A Friend In Need


AUTHOR: Dreamgirl
EMAIL: Dreamgirl_556@hotmail.com
CATEGORY: SL
RATING: PG-13
SPOILERS: I don't own anything except for one patient in the ER and there's no episode where this started. Just my own fic.
ARCHIVE: Yes
DISCLAIMER: ER is owned by Warner Bros and NBC. I do not own doctors and nurses.
SUMMARY: Susan finds trouble in a suicidal patient.



Part 1

The ER was completely swamped that day. Patients were being seen, the ER were fully staffed. In the waiting area, a teenaged girl sat waiting for almost four hours to be seen. Other patients were being treated but not this girl. Why? She was ahead of most of those patients. She was in the back of the waiting room and she figured she wasn't called because no one could see her easily. The waiting area was emptying out then filling up and when a patient was seen, she would get up and sit in front. Dr. Luka Kovac, Dr. Susan Lewis, Dr. John Carter, Dr. Jing-Mei Chen, Dr. Greg Pratt and Dr. Michael Gallant were coming up to get around to those patients except for this poor patient who was waiting for a long time.

She sighed in frustration after sitting back down from the admit desk. The desk clerk, Frank told her to wait and a doctor would be with her soon. She really had to see someone, get some help. Immediately! This was an ER, a place where patients are seen in an emergency. She was not in a doctor's office! What's wrong with these people?

The poor girl looked down at herself sadly. She had on her baggy sweatpants and lots of clothes on. Looked like a homeless person but she was clean. "God, what is wrong with me? Why isn't anyone seeing me yet?" she grumbled to herself. She felt that everyone hated her. Her feet aches, her head aches, she couldn't sleep, she had nothing to eat, and she was tired. When she first came in, she was restless until her energy ran out. She reached in her pockets to find some changes. She only found her last two quarters and went to the vending machine to get a package of turkey sandwiches. It was already almost dinnertime and she had been sitting around since past lunchtime. She wasn't hungry at lunch… or breakfast!

Finishing her sandwich and tossing the package in the trash, she sat back down and watched the Croatian doctor walk up to the admit desk. "Hey, Frank, who's next?" Dr. Luka Kovac asked, putting a chart back in the chart rack. With the phone still on his ear, Frank pulled up another chart and handed it to Luka. Luka looked at it then headed over to the waiting area.

"Uh, Shirley Meadows?" he said.

The young girl who was waiting for her turn looked up at Luka and rolled her eyes. "Oh, great, a tall guy with a goofy voice," she thought with a sigh. She stood up, hugging her bag against her chest. "Uh, right here," she said.

Luka lifted his chin. "Hi, I'm Dr. Kovac. Let's go to curtain one." Shirley nodded as she eyed over to her right, seeing Dr. Susan Lewis at the admit desk, charting. She felt Luka touch her shoulder, leading her over to a bed. She looked annoyed and wanted to slap Luka's hand and tell him not to touch her. Shirley managed to set her bag on the bed and sit on it.

"Ok, Shirley, how are you feeling?" Luka asked, taking a pen out of his lab coat pocket.

"Not so good," Shirley groaned.

"Ok, can you tell me how old you are?"

"Too young for you."

Luka looked at Shirley, still waiting for an answer.

Shirley rolled her eyes. "18."

Luka nodded. "Ok. Can you tell me what the problem is?" He took down Shirley's age on her chart and pulled up a stool to sit down. Shirley didn't answer. She was still looking over at Susan across the ER at the admit desk.

"Shirley?" Luka asked. He took note of her strange behavior. Her sarcasm, her ignoring him, no smiling at all since she arrived and how overdressed she was. The doctor knew something wasn't right about this girl. "Shirley, why don't you tell me what the problem is and maybe I can help you?"

"I don't want you to help me."

Luka stared, confused. "Oh…"

"No offense. I just feel more comfortable with a female doctor."

Luka raised an eyebrow and nodded. "Oh, I can understand. That's no problem. Um, how long have you been waiting?"

"Almost four hours."

"Four hours? Didn't you see the desk clerk and remind him you were here?" he asked, surprised.

"Yeah, he kept telling me to wait. You seemed busy."

Luka opened his mouth slightly then looked over at Frank at the admit desk and made a mental note to yell at him later. He looked back at Shirley's chart. "Shirley, I am so sorry about that. I was going to make you wait again before we got a female doctor to see you but since you waited so long, I think I can make a rush on that." Luka stood up, pushing away the stool.

"Ok, is there any chance I can see that one?" Shirley asked, pointing towards the admit desk. Luka looked at Shirley and looked over at Frank and Susan.

"Oh, the blonde-hair doctor?" he asked.

"Yeah."

"You know her personally? Friend of the family?"

"No, I just think I should see her."

Luka nodded. "Ok, I'll see what I can do. Someone will be with you soon." He turned away from curtain one and walked over to Susan at the admit desk. Shirley sighed on the bed, watching Luka and Susan.

"Hey, Susan, are you too busy to see one more patient?" Luka asked.

Susan groaned. "Luka, you know how swamped I am!" she said, still looking at the chart.

"Yeah, I know that but one particular patient made a specific request to see you."

Susan looked up at Luka. "Do I know her? Has she been here before?"

"I don't know. I'd have to check her file. She prefers a female doctor but she wants you. It might help her, too. She seems a little disoriented."

Susan nodded and took the chart from Luka's hand. "Ok, where is she?"

"Curtain one. 18-year-old female. She hasn't complained about what the problem was yet. She just kept asking for you. Do you want a psych consult just in case?"

"No, not yet. Let me just see her first and I'll make the call."

"Ok, good luck. Name's Shirley Meadows."

Susan nodded again, taking the chart and heading over to curtain one. She took notice the chart was nearly blank. Obviously, the girl didn't want to tell all about her problems, her medical history or anything of the sort. Susan looked up at Shirley in curtain one and smiled. "Hi, I'm Dr. Lewis. I understand that you preferred a female doctor."

"Yes."

"Ok, no problem." Susan pulled up a stool and sat up on it, clicking her pen. "Ok, you're 18 years old. Can you tell me what you're here for?"

"I just don't feel right," Shirley replied, not giving much of an answer. "It's been like that for a long time."

Susan nodded. "Ok, have you been having chills? I noticed that you got a lot of clothes on."

"No, I'm just trying to stay warm in the streets."

"You don't live with anyone? You're pretty young to be homeless. Did you run away or something?"

Shirley rolled her eyes, looking away from Susan. Susan turned her head to look at Shirley. "Shirley, it's ok. You can tell me. Can you tell me what's going on?"

"Nothing," Shirley mumbled. Susan sighed, trying to think of what else to do or ask her.

"Shirley, do you still live with your parents?"

"No. They threw me out. I had no one else to go to."

"You came to the ER."

"Yeah, because I feel so tired and my whole body aches and I haven't eaten anything lately."

"When was the last time you ate?"

"Well, I had some sandwiches from your vending machine."

"And before that?"

"Yesterday morning for a small breakfast. Before my parents threw me out."

"Why did your parents throw you out?"

Shirley shrugged. "I don't know. I just want to go to sleep." She was exhausted as she leaned back onto the bed.

"Shirley, you can't really sleep here. We need the beds for the patients. Why don't I do a physical exam on you and we'll see what's going on? You probably caught something or got yourself in danger by wandering around in the streets." Susan pulled back and handed her a gown from the side of the bed. "Here, put this on and I'll be right back, ok?"

"Aren't you going to stick around?"

"Do you need help? I can get a nurse to come and help you."

"No, that's ok. I can do it myself."

Susan nodded then rose from the stool. Letting out a sigh, she pulled the curtain closed. "Luka's right. Something's not right about this girl," she thought to herself. She gave Shirley some privacy for a little more than five minutes then returned back to curtain one.

"Hey, Shirley. I'm back," Susan announced, pulling open the curtain.

"Welcome back," Shirley grinned at the doctor. Susan chuckled and put down the chart and took up a thermometer and blood pressure cuff.

"Ok, I'm just going to check for your temperature and blood pressure. See where we are and we'll go from there." Susan went through Shirley's physical exam, satisfied that everything was fine. To be sure, she asked a nurse, Abby Lockhart to draw up some blood work. With a sigh, she handed the chart to Abby. "Ok, check for a CBC, Chem 7, blood count and a urine sample," she instructed. Abby nodded, taking notes on Shirley's chart then Susan looked down at Shirley who happened to look down at Susan's feet. Susan looked down at her own feet. What the heck was she looking at?

Shirley reached out to touch Susan's arm. "Thanks for seeing me, Dr. Lewis," she smiled.

Abby looked up from the chart with a smirk, watching Susan's reaction. Susan had no idea what was going on and what to say. "No problem, Shirley," she forced a smile back. "You get some rest and I'll be right back."

"I'll be here," Shirley grinned. Susan nodded then turned away from curtain with Abby following her.

Susan could hear Abby snickering. She rolled her eyes at Abby. "Ok, I don't want to hear it."

"Hear what?" Abby laughed.

"What you're laughing about."

"Why? You can tell, can't you?"

Susan sighed, tossing Shirley's chart near the computer. "I can tell something is with that girl but I don't know what it is."

"I do!" Abby continued to laugh.

"Abby, it wouldn't be right. She's a woman and I'm a woman."

"Yeah, but you see how she smiled at you and the way she touched you. 'Oh, Dr. Lewis, thank you for seeing me,'" Abby mocked.

"Ohh…" Susan moaned at Abby's mocking.

Abby laughed and continued to mock. "'Dr. Lewis, could you check for my pulse? My heart is pumping and I would die for you unless you fix me!'"

"Abby, I am warning you…" Susan said, wagging a finger at Abby.

Abby gasped. "'Oh, my gosh, Dr. Lewis! I got a yeast infection. Would you check it out for me?'" She finished her mocking. She laughed out loud with the last joke. "Yikes!!" she yelled when she saw Susan running and chasing her across the admit area.

"I'm going to get you, Abby!" Susan exclaimed, smiling. Susan and Abby laughed out of the area, passing Kerry Weaver. Kerry was startled by the horse-playing and was rather annoyed by it.

"Hey, hey! Cut it out! No jumping over the desk. What is this, a Jackie Chan movie?" the Chief of Emergency Medicine yelled.

Susan and Abby calmed down after receiving some yelling from Kerry Weaver for their childish behavior. "Abby said worst things than Shirley did," Susan mumbled to herself as she headed over to curtain one with a piece of paper in her hand. She pulled open the curtain and saw Shirley resting her eyes.

"Hi, Shirley. How are you feeling?" Susan grinned.

"Fine, Dr. Lewis. Thanks to you," Shirley smiled. Susan crinkled her forehead. She hardly gave her any meds or did much to her!

"Thanks… I think," Susan said, still confused. "Your labs are back and everything seems to be fine."

"What are you saying, that I'm some kind of worry freak or something?"

Susan shrugged, sitting on a stool. "Well, you're not the first one. It happens sometimes. So I just want to talk to you."

"About what? Talking is what I do best… especially with women. I only talk to guys if I have to."

Susan nodded. "Hmm… so how did you get along with your parents?"

"Not so bad."

"That's good. Then why'd they throw you out?"

Shirley shrugged. "I don't know."

"Well, I'd hate to make you think about it too long. You been in here for a long time, as Dr. Kovac told me."

"Oh, that's no problem. I kind of liked it in here."

Susan raised her eyebrows. "You're the first one to say that. Everyone hate hospitals."

Shirley shook her head. "Not me." She grinned and Susan knew what was going on. She shifted around uncomfortably, seeing Shirley look down at Susan's legs. Her legs were long and skinny.

"I see…" Susan said. "Shirley, it sounds more like a psychological problem to me. So, I'd like for you to talk to a psychiatrist."

Shirley lifted her head up from her pillow. "Do I really have to? I mean, I think I'm actually starting to feel a lot better." She quickly pulled off the covers and sat back up to grab her bag of clothes from under the bed.

"Uh, Shirley, I highly recommend that you talk to someone."

"No, thanks, Dr. Lewis. I'm fine now. I guess I was just tired. I'll be fine now." Susan sighed then looked up when she saw Shirley reach behind her back for her gown. She was surprised to see her patient wasn't embarrassed about undressing in front of her. She had to stop her fast.

"Uh, Shirley…" Susan continued, stopping her. "Shirley, why don't you tell me what the problem is?"

"Look, Dr. Lewis. I appreciate your concern but nothing's wrong. I'm fine."

"Well, you came in here, waiting for so long. There had to be something going on here." Susan was getting determined to keep Shirley from leaving. She looked up when she heard Michael Gallant call out her name. He held out a file folder and asked her to come over.

Susan looked at Shirley. "Ok, I'm not done with you. I'll be right back, ok?" Shirley nodded then Susan stood up to leave the troubled patient alone, approaching Gallant.

Susan sighed. "What is it, Gallant? I need to get back to my patient quickly."

"I was looking at Shirley's old files as you asked me to. She's been here three times in the past two years for attempted suicide. She had her stomach pumped twice and once just for suturing when she slit her wrists. Lives with her parents. Refused to see someone and she always left AMA."

Susan sighed loudly, slapping her hand on her forehead. "Oh, god, how could I not know that? Who saw her when she came in?"

"Uh, when she was admitted twice getting her stomach pumped, she was under the care of Dr. Weaver and Dr. Carter sutured her up almost five months ago."

"She's a repeated suicidal patient and keeps refusing to get help. She no longer lives with her parents. Her parents threw her out. That's why she got on so many clothes. She's wandering around the streets out of nowhere."

"Do you want a psych consult?"

"Yeah, call psych and get them down here right now. Let's keep her in here until someone comes and see her. She may be altered."

Gallant nodded then Susan headed back to curtain one. Shirley was fully dressed, sitting up on the bed, waiting for Susan. "So, you got dressed," she commented.

"Yep," Shirley nodded. "Waiting for you so I can go."

Susan sighed, sitting on the stool. "Shirley, someone is coming down now to come and speak to you. I really need for you to talk to someone. I think you need help."

Shirley grumbled and grabbed her bag and started to storm out of the ER with Susan running after her. "Shirley! Shirley!"

"What??" Shirley barked angrily. "What the hell do you want from me? Why do you want to keep me around and why do you want to help me? It's not like you'd understand!"

"Shirley, I'm a doctor and I know how to handle many things. Why don't you just tell me why you won't talk to someone? What's the problem?"

"I don't have a problem! I just don't want any help at all! You would never understand! You'd never understand why I'm acting so weird around you in there!"

Susan nodded. "Ok, ok, Shirley. Calm down. What would I not understand? What's going on?"

"Nobody understands! That's why my parents threw me out. They don't want no gay daughter walking around their house no more and no one wants to have a gay friend hanging out with the females! No one in that hospital wants a gay woman in there, they're afraid that I'll make them sick or something and I cannot be with a woman that I like. She'll just hate me for liking her because there's no one like me. I'm just a weird person!"

Susan sighed with a nod. "Ok, Shirley. It's going to be ok and let me tell you that you are not weird."

"You saw me, didn't you?"

"Saw you what?"

"You saw me looking at you like that and you didn't want to help me so you're sending over some guy who talks to crazy people because you think I'm crazy!"

"No, Shirley. That's not it. I don't think you're crazy. Homosexuality is not a crazy or a weird thing. This is a hospital and it's a very safe place. You're safe here."

"No… I'm safe when I'm gone." Shirley started to turn away in the ambulance bay.

"Shirley, I can't let you go home."

"Why??" she shouted.

Susan flinched then continued. "Shirley, I cannot let you go off so you can hurt yourself. You're obviously very troubled and I know that someone around can help you go through with this. Suicide isn't a way out."

"It is to me!"

"I know you feel that way, Shirley. Shirley, come on, just come back in and let us help you. No one is out to hurt you."

"You don't give a damn about me!"

"I care about my patients. That's why I want to help you."

"No, you just want to save me. You don't give a damn about how I feel!"

"Shirley, I do care." Susan's voice tried to stay calm. "It's not safe out in the streets and I don't want you to get hurt badly."

"Dr. Lewis, I just don't want to get close to you."

"Why not?"

"Because I like you. I don't know you well but I like you that much. I'm even ashamed now because of the way I looked at you and knowing that you might be straight and I can't win you over. There's no way you'd ever care about what happens to me!"

Susan turned then Gallant came out. "Dr. Lewis, psych is here. He's waiting for you."

"Ok, thanks," Susan said. Gallant nodded then walked back into the ER. "Shirley…. please at least talk to someone. I'll stay around with you if you want." Susan was determined to keep Shirley from leaving. She didn't want her to go out and hurt herself then she reached to touch her shoulder and led her back in the ER. Susan and Shirley walked into curtain one where they met with a man as he sat near the bed, waiting for them.

"Dr. Lewis?" he said.

"Hi, Dr. DeRaad. Dr. DeRaad, this is Shirley Meadows. Shirley, this is Dr. DeRaad. He's a psychiatrist and he's going to talk to you for a few minutes," Susan explained. Shirley sighed, tossing her bag back on the bed.

"Fine," she nodded, sitting back on the bed. Susan turned to close the curtain so Shirley could talk privately with them. When they were through, Shirley told Dr. DeRaad of her suicidal thoughts and problems at home regarding her sexuality. He nodded at Susan as he left the curtain, telling her that he'd put Shirley on hold at the hospital.

Susan turned to Shirley asking her if she wanted her to call someone. "Shirley, is there someone I can call? Your parents?"

"No, my parents wouldn't come for me."

Susan had her sad eyes on Shirley then sat next to her on the bed. "I know that this is hard and I'm sure that your parents still love you. I think that maybe they'll want to know that you're here and you're ok."

Shirley shook her head. "No, they're not worried about me at all. They knew it that I was gay and they just couldn't take it. They thought I wasn't normal and I just told them to get over it because I couldn't help it. I came home with another woman few months ago and my mom just flipped. She knew that we weren't just friends."

Susan nodded. "Did you have many suicidal thoughts?"

"Yeah." Shirley's voice was quiet as she looked down at her hands in her lap. Only she knew that there was a doctor who was being there for her. She was glad to have someone to talk to but she didn't want to get too close.

"Are you having them right now?"

"Some. I can't live like this, knowing who I am. No other girls are going to like me just because of who I am. I just feel like the only way to stop it is to just get out of it. End it all. I've thought a lot about cutting, drugs and alcohol. I still feel ashamed about my feeling about you."

"Do you want to get another doctor again?"

"No," Shirley shook her head.

"You sure?"

"Yeah. I think you might be best to talk to."

Susan nodded with a grin. "Ok. Listen, I'll be back in a minute, ok?" Shirley nodded then Susan left curtain one to the admit desk and saw Abby. Abby was occupied with her charting at the admit desk after finishing her conversation with Dr. John Carter. Susan smiled at the thought of them always being together. The two lovebirds!

"Hi, Abby," Susan grinned.

"Hi, Susan. How's Shirley?" Abby asked, her pen in her fingers.

"She almost left after I checked her over but I got her back. She's been here three times already for attempted suicide. Her blood work is fine. She's been out in the streets after her parents threw her out. Shirley's been upset about her sexuality and now, she's suicidal."

Abby looked at Susan with a surprised look. "Suicide?" she gasped.

"Oh, don't worry. I got her on psych hold. She should be fine."

"No, no, I meant that I feel bad about before. I was making fun of the way she was talking to you. I had no idea she was so confused and suicidal. I'm sorry, Susan."

"No, it's fine, Abby. You didn't know. I think she'll be ok, though. I have figured it out and I think she does like me!" Susan exclaimed with a smile.

Abby chuckled. "But you're straight."

"Oh, I know," Susan nodded. "I'm just flattered, I guess. I mean, I don't think I've ever had a girl become attracted to me but then, you never know. Shirley's definitely the first one to admit it to me. I feel like I should be watching after her now."

"Well, you got her on psych hold. They'll take care of her," Abby shrugged. Abby had a point.

"Yeah, that's true."

Abby grinned and patted on Susan's back then walked away. Susan attended to other patients while waiting for Dr. DeRaad to return back to Shirley. Pratt was with her when they consulted with a patient, a grumpy old man with a head lac.

"That damn man just can't watch where he's going. He's too old to be riding on that bicycle anyways!" he grumbled.

Pratt started to struggle with the suturing. "Mr. Taylor, I need for you to hold still," he told the man. He finished suturing up then Susan picked up the man's chart. She looked over at the curtain when she heard it opening. Dr. DeRaad appeared.

"Dr. Lewis, where's Shirley Meadows?" he asked.

Susan looked puzzled. "Isn't she in curtain one?"

"No, I went there and she's gone."

"Check with Frank, maybe she-"

DeRaad shook his head. "I asked. He didn't say that Shirley came to him about walking around or going to the cafeteria. She didn't check out, either. She just took off."

Susan groaned, dropping the man's chart on the bed. "Oh, god…" She looked at Pratt who nodded.

"Go ahead, I got this," Pratt told her. Susan touched the man's shoulder then followed DeRaad out of the curtain area. She looked around and saw Abby.

"Abby? Have you seen that psych girl?" Susan asked.

"Who? Shirley?" Abby questioned.

"Yeah."

"Sorry," Abby shrugged. Susan groaned then walked around near curtain one. Shirley wasn't found anywhere. She pulled around curtains looking and saw Malik in curtain two.

"Malik, have you seen my psych patient, Shirley Meadows?" Susan asked.

"Oh, the girl in curtain one? I heard her mumble something about Doc Magoo's," the black male nurse responded. He didn't seem so sure that he knew. DeRaad turned to Susan.

"Dr. Lewis, I have patients, just locate her, call security, whatever. Then call me."

"Dr. DeRaad, I promise, I'll find her down at the diner," Susan assured him.

"Fine," Deraad nodded. "Make it quick." The psychiatrist turned away then Susan sighed and walked out in the ambulance bay. It was cold but she didn't care about getting a coat. She had to find this girl fast. Shirley was a danger to herself, possibly to others. Susan dashed into County's diner and looked around for Shirley. She turned to a waitress who was cleaning up a table at a booth. "Excuse me, have you seen a girl in here? She came from County, brown hair and eyes. Lots of clothes on."

"She just left."

"Did she say anything?"

The waitress shrugged. "No, sorry. Just took out a cup of coffee and left."

Susan rolled her eyes with a groan. She didn't find Shirley then she walked back to County. The temperature was so much better than it was outside. It was so cold! Susan had to ponder about what to do and had to do it quickly. All she could remember is Shirley talking about being gay and wanting to be in a place where other women were in. A gay club! Susan was straight and a gay club was not in her league. She didn't know what gay club to look into.

Susan ran her fingers through her hair then found Kerry Weaver coming to the admit desk. "Kerry!" Susan exclaimed.

Kerry looked up at Susan's calling and placed a chart in front of her. "Susan… heard you got a pretty good psych case. How's it going?"

"Well, fine, at first. Now she's missing."

Kerry looked stunned. "You lost a patient?"

"Kerry, I'm working on it now. I've got to find her fast."

"Where do you think she could be?"

"I don't know…" Susan said but sounded like she didn't finish her sentence as if she was afraid of saying the next thing.

Kerry cocked her head. "Susan, what is it?"

"I think she might've gone to a gay club. Full of gay women."

"Oh, ok, you could start from there." Kerry nodded then Susan continued to look at her.

Kerry looked back and chuckled. "Ok, let me guess. You're not very comfortable about looking for people in a gay club."

Susan shrugged. "Well, I'm going in there just to look for Shirley, right?"

"God, I had no idea how homophobic you were!" Kerry laughed.

"I am not homophobic! I just… uh… err… well…" Susan kept looking at Kerry, hinting her.

Kerry took the hint and nodded. "Ok, ok, I'll go with you. Let me go tell Carter and it has to be fast. Did she say what club she usually goes to?"

"No, she didn't. I thought you'd know of a good club or two."

"Yeah, I know some. Let me just go talk to Carter. Grab your coat." Susan nodded then ran into the lounge to grab her coat. She found Gallant fumbling things around in his locker.

"Gallant, Shirley's missing," Susan told her.

"What?" Gallant said, stunned.

"Don't worry. Dr. Weaver and I are going to find her. Page me if you hear anything or if you see her wandering around the hospital somewhere. Dr. DeRaad already knows she's missing. I'll be back soon." With that, Gallant nodded then Susan slammed her locker shut. Susan walked out of the lounge to meet Kerry out in the ambulance bay.

Almost half an hour later, Susan and Kerry walked into a gay club full of women. "Ok, you see her?" Kerry sighed, shivering, trying to stay warm. Susan didn't pay much attention to Kerry. She kept looking around then approached to a bar. Kerry and Susan sat on stools then a female bartender walked to them.

"Hi, ladies. Anything to drink?" she asked.

"No, we're looking for a woman named Shirley Meadows. You know her?" Susan asked.

"Oh, yeah, she's a regular. I did see her but I don't if she left yet." Susan sighed with disappointment then Kerry told her that she'd check the restrooms. Susan agreed to it then watched Kerry leave her alone.

Susan looked around the club. The club was crowded and loud music was blasting. Finally, a young woman came up to Susan with a smile, sitting next to her at the bar.

"Hi, I'm Amanda," she smiled. "What's your name?"

Susan's jaw dropped. She was left alone at the bar with a gay woman! "Uh, Susan," she tried to smile.

"Hi, Susan. Nice to meet you. What do you do?"

"She's a doctor. We both are," Kerry said, swinging an arm around Susan and gently pulling her in closer. Amanda looked at Kerry then removed herself, getting the idea but the wrong idea.

"Oh, sorry. I didn't know. Nice meeting you, anyways," Amanda said nervously. Kerry nodded with a smile then Susan gave her a strange look.

"Kerry?" Susan said questioningly. She felt really uncomfortable with Kerry touching her.

"Looks like you needed some help," Kerry reassured, removing her arm away from Susan.

Susan sighed in relief. "Oh, thanks, Kerry," she smiled.

Kerry smiled back. "You're welcome. Shirley's not in the bathroom. Wasn't there a guard anywhere to make sure that she didn't wander off somewhere?"

Susan groaned, burying her face. "Oh, damn it. No, I should've had someone watch her. I was waiting for Dr. DeRaad to come back and I just turned away for a moment and she's gone!" she exclaimed. Kerry nodded and told her it wasn't her fault. They decided to try hotels.

"There's a hotel down the street, we can try that first," Kerry suggested.

"How would she check in? A young girl like her wouldn't have any money," Susan reminded her.

Kerry shrugged. "She's a teenaged girl in trouble. She'll try anything to stay warm and find a place to sleep. We've got to find her fast. She could be dead by now." The thought frightened Susan. She leaped down from the stool and grabbed Kerry's hand, leading her out of the club. Susan had no idea how she could get caught into this in the first place. Suddenly, she realized that she cared for a person in trouble. Shirley was in trouble and alone. Susan wanted to be a friend but she was also her doctor. She was a friend and a friend was in need.

Susan and Kerry had no luck finding Shirley in gay bars, clubs, shops or hotels. It was almost midnight and they had to return to the hospital. Kerry was getting off but Susan had to work a double shift that evening. Susan continued with her worried thoughts about Shirley and kept wondering where she could have been. DeRaad was off, too, so Susan was pretty much on her own while trying to find out where Shirley could be hiding in a town of Chicago.

"Hey, Dr. Lewis. Any luck?" Gallant asked, heading out to the ambulance bay with his hat, gloves, coat and scarf.

Susan sighed. "No… I'm thinking about calling up shelters. Maybe call the police."

Gallant nodded. "Good idea. I'll see you tomorrow." He walked out of the ER. Susan walked over to the admit desk, tired, and picked up the phone to call two shelters and the police. She was too tired to call any more people

Abby walked over with Susan to a computer. "Susan, any luck finding the psych patient?" she asked.

"No, Kerry and I went out looking. I've called the police."

Abby nodded. "That seems to be the best thing to do."

"Yeah… listen, I'm working a double shift and I need sleep. So, I'm going to take a nap in exam four. Wake me up if you really need help. Carter's open to trauma and wake me if you hear anything at all about Shirley Meadows."

"Yeah, sure. I'm on it," Abby assured her.

Susan nodded then turned out of the admit area. She needed a hot shower, a toothbrush. She was a doctor, working for long hours. What does she have time for? Susan strolled over to the ladies' room then over to the empty exam room in exam four. The lights were out and no one was there. Just before Susan could lie on a bed, she turned her head when she saw a dim light come on.

"Hello?" Susan responded. No one and nothing came out of nowhere. The room was silent. She slowly walked closer to the light then a familiar woman appeared.

Susan gasped, startled.

"Sorry… it's me, Shirley," the person said. Shirley, the psych patient appeared from the light and closer to Susan. "I had to see you."

"Shirley! Where have you been? I've been out looking for you and what are you doing in here?"

"I had to hide out. I thought the police might find me in clubs or hotels or alleys." Shirley looked almost ashamed but Susan was worried about her.

"Shirley, Dr. DeRaad was looking for you."

Shirley shook her head. "I don't want to go up in a mental institution or ward. It's full of crazy people."

"It's also safe there. I told you, you are not crazy. Now, why are you hiding in here and coming out here now?"

"I had to see you. I didn't want other people around when I saw you."

Susan was puzzled. "What?"

Shirley looked at Susan nervously as she stepped closer to her. She saw behind Susan that the door and blinds were closed. Turning off the dim light, she turned over to the door to lock it. The only light in the room was coming from outside of the room. Susan nervously watched Shirley walk to the door. "Shirley, what's going on?" Susan asked. The woman she was locked in and alone with was a psych patient. Her heart raced, afraid of what Shirley was going to do. She was alone with Shirley now.

Shirley turned back to Susan, eyeing up and down Susan's fully clothed body. "I had to be with you. I'm gay and you're the only one who understands me." Susan stood nervously, listening. She watched Shirley walk closer to Susan.

"Of course, I understand you. You need a friend."

"Is that what you consider me? A friend?"

"Well…"

Shirley shook her head. "I didn't think so. I have to make you understand, Dr. Lewis. I'm glad that you treated me today and I honestly wouldn't want to leave you."

This was making Susan nervous. She didn't know what to do or say next. Shirley moved closer to Susan and touched her arms.

Susan trembled then Shirley planted a kiss on Susan's lips. The kiss was soft as her lips were. Just standing there, Susan let it last for a short second then pulled away. "Uh, Shirley…"

Shirley stroked Susan's blonde hair. "What I'm trying to say is, that I love you. I know we don't know each other that well but I'd like to change that." Susan didn't know what to say. Somehow, she felt stuck at the moment. She froze, not sure of what to do. Shirley looked down at Susan's body and gently pulled off her white lab coat from Susan's shoulders. Shirley kissed her again but it lasted longer.

Susan tried pulling away. "Shirley, wait…" She broke off the kiss again. "This isn't appropriate."

Shirley didn't want to listen. She smiled and tried again on Susan. Susan felt helpless. If she tried breaking off the kiss, Shirley would just start again. Her body stood still, trembling then her muscles contracted when she felt Shirley's hand go up Susan's arm. Shirley pulled Susan in closer then slowly bumped her to a bed. They pushed over to a bed then unable to break free, Susan sat on the bed. Shirley stepped forward and pushed Susan's body onto the bed. The bed had wheels as it moved; only moving Susan away from Shirley. Shirley took Susan from the bed and gently pressed her onto the wall near the door. She heard Susan's helpless whimpering.

Susan only prayed that someone would come in. Everyone knew that Susan was in there, supposed to take a nap so no one bothered to come in if a patient came in to be seen by a doctor.

"Shirley, please…" Susan pleaded. She feared when she felt Shirley's warm hand up on Susan's chest. She slid her hand down and it went up under Susan's blouse. Susan gasped. She had never had another woman slip her hand under her clothes before. She wanted Shirley to stop so she figured she tried again to stop her.

"Shirley, please stop…" Susan tried again. She grabbed Shirley's hand to stop her. Shirley was alarmed by Susan's reaction.

"What's the problem?" Shirley asked.

Susan shook her head. "Shirley… we should not do this. I'm not gay."

"You don't have to be gay to have sex with another woman." Shirley did not want to give up on Susan. Susan only stared at Shirley then Shirley proceed. Shirley kissed her lips again only harder.

"Shirley-" Susan started but Shirley pushed Susan's lips harder with hers. Now it was harder to stop Shirley and break free. Shirley fondled Susan's back and arms and tried pushing her hand up Susan's blouse again. This time, she succeed until she reached up to feel Susan's bra up in front. Susan prayed that Shirley would back off soon but Shirley was only making it worst. She fondled Susan's breasts and kissed her harder. The kiss was getting painful and so was her chest. Her heart thumped against her chest really hard. Susan was running out of breath.

Shirley took Susan's hand and stopped kissing her. Susan breathed out she was holding during the kiss and gasped for more air. "Have you even touched another woman?" Shirley asked. Susan's jaw dropped, ready to protest. Shirley took Susan's hand and placed it down on the waist of her pants. She made Susan feel down lower in her pants, feeling Shirley's underpants. She was warm.

"Oh, god…" Susan moaned, trying to choke back some tears.

Shirley smiled. "Do you like that, Susan?" It surprised Susan that her patient called her Susan, not Dr. Lewis. Susan had to stop this and tried to move away but Shirley only kept her in front of her. "You're a very attractive woman, Susan."

"Shirley, please let me go," Susan begged again. She was getting shaken up with the situation and wanted out. She was not gay and was dating Luka at the time. She wished he was there now.

"I love you, Susan. Do you love me, too, Susan?"

Susan sighed, wishing she could leave now. Now she felt shock when Shirley reached behind Susan's back and unhooked her bra. "Shirley, no, please stop," she tried again. Shirley shook her head and managed to drop Susan's bra on the floor after doing a tricky way of getting it off Susan's body. Susan was surprised that Shirley knew how to do that then felt Shirley's hand fondle her again.

Shirley grinned then pulled away. She bent down to pick up Susan's bra and handed it to her. With one last kiss, Shirley told her, "I'll probably see you upstairs in the ward. I hope to see you again, Susan."

Susan closed her eyes tightly, trying not to let tears come out then she heard Shirley unlock the door and leave the exam room. She didn't want anyone to know she was alone with her so she waited a few minutes, trying to compose herself then with the door locked again and some privacy, she removed her blouse so she could put her bra back on. She couldn't sleep so she took one last deep breath and came out of the exam room, feeling herself shaking.



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