matthew ashford homepage general hospital synopsis

chapter i
: after a long absence,
dr. tom hardy returns home,
only to say he is returning to africa.

Simone Hardy watches as her son Tommy and her friend Justus Ward (grandson of Edward Quartermaine) plays marbles on her living room floor [ video 1A (30 sec; 1.1 Meg) ]. Just then Dr. Tom Hardy, former head of psychiatry at General Hospital returning after years in Africa doing humanitarian work, ran into the room, only to stop in his tracks at the sight of the three of them acting as a family. Tommy stars at his father, and noticing this Simone turns to see her erstwhile husband. Tom as if he has just be gone a couple of hours, "How are you doing?" Simone walks over, patting his cheek, and giving him a big hug, "Welcome home!" Tom glares at Justus who glares back. [ video 1B (1:15 min; 2.7 Meg) ] Tommy seems somewhat reluctant to go to Tom. Tom jokes, "It's okay I'm not going to bite!"  Tommy  gives him a weak hug and Tom gives him a bear hug. Tom, "Boy I really misses you!" A little uncomfortably Tom and Justus introduces each other. Tom sats that "my wife" mentioning him in letters. Tom asks what is for dinner and Simone says only pot pie, with a touch of anger, she adds, "It's nothing fancy, but who knew when you'd be here!" Tom raises his eyebrow at her apparent dig. Justus leaves, noting the tension. Tom has presents, a mask and drum, but still Tommy seemed disinterested. "For my beautiful wife," a necklace. Tommy tells his father he thought he never would return. Tom tries to explain that he is a doctor, and has been helping people, helping kids like him. Tom is shocked at the change in his son. Tom is disappointed that Tommy acts as if he were a stranger. Simone tells him that everyone at the Brownstone is part of Tommy's extended family, and he has Steve (Tom's step-father) but Tommy needs his father, and that father is not around. Simone tells him that she too wondered where he was as she went through family life alone, and she keeps wondering, "What is it we are trying to preserve?" [ video 2 (1 min; 2.1 Meg) ] Tom tells her that his work in  Africa "has been a revelation," and it inspired him helping people who were suffering and who had so little. Tom says that he was offered a hospital in Southern Chad, and wonders if she would join him. She cannot believe he wants her to relocate her son, that is asking a great deal. He asks to  hold her, since he missed her; she said missed him too.

[ video 3A (30 sec; 1.2 Meg) ] Audrey and Steve Hardy are talking when Tom enters the room, "What's a fellow got to do to get a hug from his folks!" They are stunned, and thrilled to see him. They ask him about Tommy's reactions. Tom tells them that he was not sure, he says he "had some bridge building to do." They reassure him that he is a great and loving kid. Tom agrees. Tom thanks  his parents for their help raising Tommy. Steve tells Tom he was glad he is back. Tom looks at them embarrassedly. [ video 3B (1 min; 2.4 Meg) ] Tom then tells him of the hospital offer in Chad. Tom tries to explain how rewarding it has been and how, because of the conditions there, he is more needed there more than in Port Charles, "I Save lives! It's so much more satisfying than.... than sitting around listening to some.... some perennial adolescent drone on for an  hour about `finding himself!'" He tells them the experience will make him a better person, it will humanize him, and thus make him a better psychiatrist.[ video 3C (40 sec; 2.4 Meg) ] Steve is disappointed, wanting Tom to eventually take over as head of the hospital. For Tom, what he is doing in Africa is more fulfilling. Tom hugs his father, but it is clear Steve is disappointed with him. After Steve has left for a nap, Audrey wants to know the truth. Tom tells her not to worry, he and Simone will work things out, eventually. Audrey sings Simone's praises, how she is a great physician and parent. Tom tells her about Justus being there when he returned. He wondered about their relationship.

The next day, Tom and Simone have dinner, she asks about his parents and he tells her that his father was not happy about his decision to go back to Africa and his mother asked about their marriage. He tells her that no matter the decision he will always love her. She tells him the feelings are mutual. However, she said she that has to worry about Tommy. Tommy's cool behavior has been due to him being hurt from left. Tom tells her that could be corrected, if they join him in Africa. She tells him she has a practice, family and friends, but that is not as important as Tommy. Tommy is only five, Africa is too much of a change for him. Tom thinks it would be the opposite, he would gain from the experience, and he would be "growing up in a culture that's a part of his heritage." Simone disagreed, "His heritage is here! This is where his roots are." She tells Tom their son is too young to understand or care that Africa is his history; his family and friends are in Port Charles. Then, she adds, there are also the problems of the "political climate or.... or  the medicine situation." He thinks that as a family they could do anything; could be safe. Simone, "You've become delusional!" He agrees, because he is afraid to lose her. Simone tells him he could always stay home. He restates his need to help people in Africa. Simone asks about her competition, "Are you in love with her." Tom remained silent. Tom finally replied, "I-I don't know." He says when he thought he was falling for Kelly that was when he wrote home. Tom tries to explain that the situation there made them have similar interests. Simone did not want to hear any more. Tom tells her being a family with her is more important, and he would let Kelly go if Simone would agree to come with him. Simone wonders, "As long as it is on your terms, right?" Simone asks and Tom admitts to having had sex with Kelly. Tom asks about Justus, saying he felt there are feelings there.  Simone asked if he wanted her to say "yes" to make him feel less guilty. She tells him she has been faithful for two years. Tom is happy, making her laugh at his hypocrisy. Tom tries to convince her that this is "in my own inept, bumbling way to fix this thing!" Tom begs her, but she sees it as an ultimatum. She wonders what he wants to save. He tells her their marriage. "The illusion of structure," she laughs. She and Tommy has pictures of him, she has a marriage license, and their letters, their marriage is based solely on paper; she did not expect that when they married.

Another night Tom and Simone go to dinner at The Outback. Mac Scorpio, the owner greets him. Tom kisses, a very pregnant, Felicia Jones' hand and praised her beauty. Tom asks about Frisco's involvement in the matter. Felicia admitts he has been very involved -- Frisco had returned the previous year , from saving the world, when Maxie was ill and needed a heart transplant, they got together which resulted in her pregnancy. Tom and Simone share some happy times talking. Tom notices the wine is a '88, "our year." She thinks the wine held up better than some marriages. They talk about how at first, because of their different races, many people thought they "were wrong for each other." Tom tells her he still has not given up on their marriage. Simone replies, "Why, because you're afraid people will think `the race issue' was responsible!" Tom says it is because he believes in their marriage and Tommy. Tom says they have common "life goals," and he wants to be beside her over other women. Simone thinks only if it is in Africa. Simone again tells him it is unfair, and potentially dangerous for Tommy. Also, she seems to feel her career is secondary to his. She still thought it is an ultimatum, and she wonders how much a second choice Kelly is. With her there would be no personal sacrifices. Simone thinks it is like he "set this up so I would say, "No!'" She wonders if he did it to shift guilt upon her. She tells him "it has to do with accepting responsibility!" She tells him she made her decision, she is not going to do that to Tommy. Tom is silent. Tom wonders, "So what now." Simone just shrugs. They decides to be honest with Tommy. She says that not long ago Tommy asked if they were still married and she told him that they were, and that they loved each other. Tom tells her he did love both of them, and for her to tell Tommy that. Tom thinks maybe his mother could give them advice on how to explain it to Tommy; then he realizes telling his parents would be as equally difficult.

Later, Tom visits his father, Steve wonders if "everything was all right." Tom replies, "it's about me and Simone." Audrey enters thrilled to see her son, giving him a big hug. Tom tells them about the divorce, "We're not going down this road together anymore. It's not fair for either of us." Selfishly, he says he could not give up the Chad opportunity. Trying to make it not his fault, he tells them that he had asked her to join him,  but she did not want to go, because of her life, her work, Tommy. They tells him he is being rash, and that he should think about it. He tells them if either of them gave in to the other, one would not be happy, and would be resentful of the other. He tells them it is not out-of-the-blue, in their minds and letters it had been there for some time. His return was meant to arrive "at some kind of conclusion." Audrey did not know what to think. Tom adds that it sounds selfish, but he says that they both agreed. Audrey wonders about Tommy. Tom replies it is Tommy who kept the marriage going longer than it should have. "A child needs both his parents!", said Audrey. Tom told her that was "in a perfect world, Mother. It's not a perfect world, is it." He tells them what he saw in Africa reinforced that, now he has a chance to "make life a little bit better." Steve thinks that his family needs him. Tom tells him, "My family is safe and strong. My family's lives does not depend on me being here." Steve think that if Simone has time she might change her mind. "Simone knows her mind, that's why she didn't come with me the first time." They love each other, he tells his parents, but the fact that neither wants to sacrifice indicates their marriage is not strong enough. He apologizes for what it is doing to them, but there is nothing to be done. Audrey perceptively asks,  if there is another woman. Tom comes clean about Dr. Kelly Hayden. He tells them that they worked together and that all the crises made them seek comfort with each other. He says Kelly knew that Simone and Tommy came first, and that if they returned with him the affair would end. Steve tells him he loves him and realizes he was human, but he thinks that he would come to regret this. Tom, emotionally, his voice cracking, tells Steve, "Don't you think I cherish the dream of working with you one day at GH. Working alongside my idle.... since I was a little boy. Oh,  I learned something while I was away, following in your footsteps means.... means being the best doctor that I could be! And doing the thing that I love, that's the example you set me in, and that's what I will try to live up to!" Audrey angrily says, "And sacrifice so much in the process!" Steve sadly added, "It's your life, Son, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it's breaking my heart." Tom, fighting back the tears, "Mine too!" Upset, Steve leaves. Tom tells his mother he is sorry for upsetting him.  Angrily, Audrey, replies, "Why shouldn't he be upset!  Tom, you're my only son! And Tommy's my only grandchild and I have a terrible feeling that I am losing you both!" Tom tries to tell her that it would not effect her relationship with Simone or Tommy. Audrey tells him it would never be the same, Simone would move on with another family, and she and Steve would be pushed out of Tommy's life.

At Luke Spencer's blue's club, Justus' Ward's grandmother, and former lover of Edward Quartermaine is to make her singing debut. Simone and Tom arrive , Audrey sees them together and is hopeful. She blames the distance and thinks that if she and Steve tried they could reunite the two of them. Audrey tells him that Simone is not completely innocent, that she has been spending time with Justus Ward. Tom and Simone join them. Audrey tells them, "It's so good too see you together. It's like old times." Tom rubs his arm, Port Charles in winter is much colder than Africa, he tries to set her straight, "It's not `old times!...." Tom and Simone tell them their decision is the correct one. Simone tries to reassure Steve and Audrey about Tommy. Just then, Justus walks in and Audrey watches him. Steve asks if they have told Tommy. They tell them that that they will, soon. Simone looks over at Justus and notices Audrey's expression. Meanwhile, Justus talks to Luke about no good seats, one table is the Quartermaines' and he does not want to be next to Edward with his grandmother singing, that would be too freaky. Then he points to the Hardys, another awkward situation. Luke notices Audrey's killer glare. Later, Felicia Jones goes into labor, without Frisco who is still off "saving the world."  All the doctors and the rest of the patrons surround her, giving their advice. Tom tells them that he has delivered more babies in "primitive conditions!" than they. However, Tony Jones tells everyone that he is going to help because the baby is his niece or nephew and a Simone will also help, since she is a pediatrician. Dr. Kevin Collins, a General Hospital psychiatrist, stays  to calm Felicia; chairs with table clothes over them boxed them off from everyone's view.  Later that night, after Felicia gave birth to a baby girl, Mary Mae  sings, "God Bless the Child," in honor of Felicia and Baby Girl Jones. As she sings, Steve and Audrey glance over at Tom, who sadly sighs.

[ video 4A (1:15 min; 2.7 Meg) ] Another day, Tom and Simone take Tommy aside to tell him the truth. Tom, "It's about your mother. It's about myself. It's about you. It's about all of us." Tommy asks, "What about us?" Tom and Simone look at each other. Tom puts his son on his lap, telling him that soon he will be returning to his work in Africa, and he would miss him. Tom tells him they tried to figure a way to be together but his mother's patients need her here and his patients need him in Africa. Tom tells Tommy he would miss his grandparents, his friends and his school if they all went to Africa. Tommy ask if he would return soon and wonders if it depended on "the sick people who need you." Tom told him, "Yes." Tommy asks, "Do you love them more than you love me?" Tom looks stunned, he tells him, "No!" Simone is about to cry and they look at each other. Simone tries to explain, "It's because your daddy loves you soo much that he wants what's best for you.... and me." She tries to explain that grown-ups have responsibilities, the sick people in Africa are his father's. Tommy thinks that he and his mother need him too. Simone then tells Tommy about the divorce. Simone signals to Tom, who adds that "We will always be your parents! Always.... that's forever!" Simone then brings up one of his friends whose parents divorced. Tommy says his friend told him that her parents did not love each and fought all the time. Simone tries to reassure him that it is different for them, and they just decided not to be married because of the distance between there and Africa. Excitedly, Tommy wonders if he would be able to visit Tom on weekends like his friend. Tom tells Tommy that it was not possible, but that he would return for visits. Simone tells Tommy that she and his father need different things. [ video 4B (1:10 min; 2.5 Meg) ] Tom add they want him happy and they both love him, and they want him to understand that. However, Tommy does not seem be so sure. After Tommy goes to his room, Tom Tom tells her that he thinks Tommy will be fine. Simone tells him that Tommy is like him, "He keeps his feelings hidden..... until he has a chance to sort through them."

About this time Dr. Ryan Collins  (twin brother of Dr. Kevin Collins) has escaped from prison. Earlier he had developed an obsession for Felicia, eventually he was sent to prison, but escaped and went to Audrey believing she was his mother, whom he hated. Upon this recent escape, he  kidnapped Felicia's newborn daughter Georgianna (Georgie). Audrey was terrified that he would go after her again, so she was given police protection. One night, despite this she is still terrified, and Steve tries to reassure her. Just then the door bell rings, throwing her into a panic; she is reminded of Ryan terrorizing her the last time; the doorbell ringing was how it started. She does not want Steve to answer the door. He tells her that might be the police "with news about Ryan," so reluctantly she lets him answer the door. It is the cop guarding the place, he has Tom with him; Tom has been trying to explain who he is. Steve assures the policeman that Tom is in fact their son. Audrey notices Tom's duffle bag; he tells her he is going to stay there. She is upset because this seems final. He tells her that they told Tommy, and everything was for the best. Audrey wonders for whom. "For all above!", he tells her; he added that Simone and he respect each other too much to live a lie, and Tommy does not deserved to live a lie either. Audrey wonders if he is using Tommy as an excuse to bail on the marriage. They ask about Tommy, and Tom says eventually he would accepted; he adds that Tommy does not want to go to Africa, but he is confused about who is going to love him now.

Later that night Steve comes downstairs to find Tom on the couch, in the dark. Steve tells him that he had given Audrey some sleeping pills, but now he could not sleep. [ video 5A (50 sec; 2 Meg) ] Tom says, "If you like to join me, we can both stare at the darkness together." Steve sits next to him, and after a few seconds of silence, Tom speaks, "Say we face it head on? Or let it lie her like another presence?"  He adds, "The offer might not be on the table indefinitely." Steve replies, "In other words, take my shots while I can?" Steve told him he was "deeply disappointed," and he realized "my response may be generational in nature," that in his day people were  more serious about marriage, "you made a promise and you kept it!" When you made the marriage vows, "it meant you pledged for your life." [ video 5B (1 min; 2.3 Meg) ] Divorce is common now, "it no longer has a stigma." Tom replies, "It was nothing easy about this!" Steve wonders if he tried everything. Tom tells him that they had. Tom said that this was the only solution, "The center does not hold, the foundation is gone. There's nothing left to build on." Steve said he was "profoundly sorry." Tom admitts he was too.

It is the day Tom is to leave, he goes to say good-bye to Tommy and Simone. The situation is awkward for them. She asks about his stuff, and Tom tells her he does not have much need for it , and just to give it to his folks. Tom bends down next to Tommy, he tells his son to obey his mother, [ video 6A (2:10 min; 4.9 Meg) ] "You could do your dad a favor, you could write him a letter every now and then and he promises he'll write back." Tommy was confused, "You're my dad!" Tom gets emotional, and asks Tommy to include his drawings too, "I'l.... I'll put them up all over the hospital and I'll say, `"My.... my son the artist did these!'" Simone smiled down at their son. Tommy nods. Tom asks him if he has anything to say. Tommy asks, "Are you ever coming back?" Simone looks at Tommy hurting for him. Tom promises he would definitely come visit." Tom says he could come to Africa, and bring his grandparents. Tommy wonders, "And Mommy?" Simone and Tom looked at each other.  Tom says, "It's all very complicated, isn't it." Tom vows they would see each other, and that he would call. Simone knells next to Tommy, patting his chest, she tells him to say good-bye and then go play. Father and son hug . Tom  looks upset,  all he can say is, "Tommy,.... good-bye!", and trying not to cry, "I-I love you!" "I love you too, Daddy!", sadly,  Tommy adds, "Good-bye!" and walks to his room. [ video 6B (1:20 min; 2.7 Meg) ] Tom asks Simone, "He really doesn't understand, does he?" Simone answers, "Do we?" Tom, running his hand through his hair, "No, I s-supposed we don't! Except that maybe it wasn't meant to work out after all." Simone sadly tells him, "Believing that would cancel out the good years that it did work!" Tom swallows hard, so as not to cry, "Right! I'll never do that!" Simone told him, "Neither will I!" Just then the taxi driver honks his horn. They both are on the verge of tears, unable to speak. Tom tries to say something and she stops him, "I know! I know!" Tom picks up his backpack and throws it over his shoulder, and walks to the door, saying nothing. Opening the door he turns around, as if he has a moment of change of heart; he then gives a slight half-wave, and shuts the door, leaving Simone alone.

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