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T H E . D O C T O R S
Althea, Nick & the gang at Hope Memorial Hospital - PART 1
by chrissy n 7.8.00

THE DOCTORS ran on NBC for twenty years. It was a fast-paced exciting story about the staff of Hope Memorial
Hospital.

THE DOCTORS was campy, crazy, melodramatic--a precursor to SUNSET BEACH, and PASSIONS.

For a few years, the stormy relationship of Drs. Althea Davis and Nick Bellini was the center of attention. Althea divorced Nick, and married the insane Dr. John Morrison.

Here is a scene Althea telling Maggie her plans.

Maggie poked her head in the lab and saw Althea pouring liquid into a test tube. Althea looked up from what she was doing and smiled. "Maggie."

"Hi. Are you busy?"

"Am I busy?" Althea said. "This place is always hopping, but I can certainly spare a few minutes for my best friend.
Come in. Grab a stool."

Maggie did so. "You seem chipper," she said.

"I am," Althea responded, at the coffee urn. She poured steaming liquid into a styrofoam cup. "I have some good news. I was going to seek you out, and share it with you. But you've come to me." She held up an empty cup, mutely asking Maggie if she wanted coffee. Maggie shook her head no.

"Well, what brought on this sunny disposition?"

Althea sat on a stool next to Maggie. She holds out her hand, displaying an engagement ring. "Maggie, you're looking at an engaged woman," Althea said.

Maggie was surprised. "Althea...The ring is lovely. I assume John gave it to you."

Althea sipped from her cup and nodded. "Yes, last night at dinner. He proposed."

"And you accepted?" It was a statement. Maggie's disapproval was visible. "John has been trying to get you to marry him for quite some time."

"And I finally I relented," Althea said. She paused. "Maggie, you're my best friend. Shouldn't you be wishing me well?"

Maggie placed her hand over Althea's. "Althea, you know, I want you to be happy."

"I hear a but coming on."

"Sweetie, you told me that you don't love John...that you still have some residual feelings for Nick."

"I know...and John is aware of that," Althea said.

"Yet, he still wants to marry you?"

"Yes. He feels that he can make me happy, that I can grow to love him...and that sounds logical and sensible to me... After all, I like him. And I enjoy his company; he makes me laugh."

"But Althea you're not in love with John. You said that."

"I can grow to love him." She paused. "Maggie, I met the man in Paris. He followed me here, and there have been dinners, and concerts. And one night, we went to the amusement park, and ate cotton candy, and walked on the beach. And I got sand between my toes. It was wonderful. I felt like a teen."

"Yes, that does sound wonderful. But why are you marrying somebody that you admit to not loving? Sweetie, it's not fair to you...or John. You should be marrying a man that you love completely, and John should be making a life with a woman who is totally in love with him."

"I hope you don't bring this attitude to the wedding," Althea said.

"I'm your friend, and if I seeing you making a bad choice, I'm going to speak up." She paused. "Althea, I think you're using John."

Althea was surprised. "Using John? How? How am I using John?"

"You're plunging into this marriage because you think it'll speed up getting over Nick. But that's not going to work. It never does."

Althea went ahead with the marriage. Maggie told her husband, Matt, she thought Althea was making a mistake. He lit his pipe. "Well, Maggie, you shared your sentiments, and Althea chose not to listen. If this marriage to John Morrison proves to be a mistake, Althea will have to live with the consequences."

Althea's teen age daughter, Penny was becoming a brat. Staying out late, sassing Althea, refusing to keep her room clean. "I don't know what's wrong with that girl," Althea said.

"I think she resents you," John said.

"Resents me?" Althea asked. "Why? She has every thing. A beautiful home, a generous allowance. Lovely clothes."

"But for many years, she wasn't with you. She lived with her grandmother."

"John, that's been resolved. I was young, and immature. Not ready for the responsibility of being a mother. I explained all that to Penny."

Matt Powers said there could be an organic reason for Penny's change in personality. "You should have tests done to determine what could be causing this change in Penny," Matt suggested.

Althea explained the situation to Nick Bellini, a hotheaded neurosurgeon. Nick ran tests and discovered that Penny had a brain tumor. He admitted her to the hospital.

Fearing she'd die, one night, Penny packed a suitcase and decamped. But of course, she was eventually located.

Karen Werner, a bitchy doctor, John's ally had some thoughts on the Penny situation. One night, she was dressed in a peignoir. She and John sat on the sofa, and sipped glasses of wine. "Are you terrified John?" she asked.

"Terrified of what?"

"Nick Bellini is a brilliant doctor," she said.

"I'm aware of Nick's credentials. I've read rave reviews about him in medical journals. I've heard staff members at Hope Memorial sing his praises."

"I wonder how Althea will feel if the surgery is successful...if Nick cures her daughter...If he performs a brilliant operation, that will cause his colleagues to marvel."

"She'd feel gratitude, as any parent in her position would feel."

"Yes, gratitude would be the universal response." She sipped her wine.

"Karen, why don't you stop being roundabout, and say what's on your mind?" John suggested.

"You're a psychiatrist. You're supposed to be able to read people. Why don't you tell me what I'm thinking?" Karen said.

"You think Nick saving Penny will make Althea so grateful, that they may renew their relationship," John said.

"You're very good at mind reading," Karen replied.

"But you forget. I am Althea's husband."

"At one time, Nick was her husband, and she divorced him. So she could divorce you...You've told me Althea still cares for Nick."

"That was the case when we married. But that has since changed."

"Has it really? Or are you engaging in wishful thinking?"

"Karen, I know more about the inner workings of my marriage than you do," John said.

"But there's the hospital grapevine. Over cups of coffee, the tongue-wagging nurses, and orderlies are saying that Dr. Bellini and Dr. Davis still look at each other as if they are in love, despite Dr. Davis's marriage to the shrink with the British accent."

"A hospital, Karen is a hotbed of gossip. And the opinions of candy strippers, attendants, and nurses are as insignificant as their positions."

But John was insecure about his marriage. A pretty blonde nurse, Cathy Ryker came to John for counseling. "What is the problem, Miss Ryker?"

"I love a man and he doesn't love me back," Cathy said.

"Continue," John said, sitting with his legs crossed, and jotting down notes.

"We dated casually, and I fell in love with him, but he doesn't feel the same."

"He told you that?" John asked.

"Yes. He said he was in love with someone else, and that he wasn't over her. He was honest with me because he thought I deserved that...I can't seem to get over him, Dr. Morrison. I can't get Nick out of my mind."

Of course, Cathy was talking about Nick Bellini. John decided to use Cathy in a scheme to get rid of Nick. He told her to tell Nick she was pregnant. He assured her Nick would marry her, and they could live happily together. But it didn't work, and she flipped out.

She kidnapped a couple's baby, and John feared she'd tell everyone what he told her to do. He pushed her off a cliff.

To PART 2

   
     

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