Let Me Fall After Her

Chapter 3 "A Neurotic Situation"

Anna sat with her legs tucked under her on the couch. As she watched Kerry pour coffee for them, she tried to form her first question.

"Kerry, I'm still a little confused." She knotted her fingers together and tried to speak casually. "What were you talking about out there? What did Carter do exactly?"

Kerry looked up with a mixture of uncertainty and concern. She quickly sat down across from her and clutched her coffee cup. "Anna, I'm not really sure if I should be saying anything."

"Does it have to do with Carter?" Kerry only nodded. "What about him?"

"I'm not sure if he'd want me telling you."

"Kerry, please."

"Two Valentine's Days ago, he and his med student were attacked here in the hospital." There, she'd managed to spit it out. For the longest time, she couldn't even speak of the day. Anna didn't say anything. "Lucy, Lucy Knight, she was his med student. She had a patient who first had a headache then became disoriented throughout the day. Carter was supervising her, however, I'm not sure he was doing such a good job. They ruled out meningitis and called for a Psych consult. Only Psych never came. Lucy sat with him, the whole evening. And he stabbed her. The staff was having their Valentine's Day party. They had the music on so damn loud, nobody heard or saw anything happen. Later, though, Carter went to look for Lucy. He went in the room, and the patient stabbed him in the back. Twice."

Anna couldn't fight the tears that came to her eyes. Oh my god, she thought to herself. How could this have happened?

Kerry continued, wanting to get the whole story out before Anna said anything. "We didn't find them until a long while later. They both lost a lot of blood but Carter managed to pull through. Lucy, on the other hand, didn't. She died while they were trying to repair a pulmonary embolism near her heart. Carter blamed himself for her death. For months he acted like nothing was wrong, that everything was fine. And for some reason, we all believed him. Every once in a while, people would ask how he was doing, and he'd always say the same thing, that he was fine. And we believed him," she added with a laugh. "We believed that he was okay, that everything was normal. It didn't turn out so normal, though. Something had changed him that night. He got himself addicted to narcotics."

The door opened and Carter walked in as Kerry spoke the last sentence. He stopped quickly, his eyes darkening as he saw the figure sitting on the couch, near tears. The Styrofoam cup of coffee that was in his hand fell to the floor. A full second passed before he realized what he did and he quickly went to pick it back up.

"Anna," he managed to say. Nothing more. A million emotions flew through him. First it was anger. Then surprise, confusion, but in a few seconds it was back to anger. He recalled hearing Kerry say something about an addict. Was she telling Anna about him? The realization made him even more furious. How could she tell her that? It was his own damn business, and he didn't want anyone else hearing about the mistakes he'd made in his past. He would tell them, in his own time.

Noticing the pause and awkwardness, Dave stepped forward eagerly and introduced himself.

"Hi, I'm Dr. Dave, and you are?" He held his hand out for Anna to shake. She stared at it, then laughed slightly and got to her feet.

"Anna Del Amico," she answered, taking his hand and giving it a firm shake. Dave grinned back at her, instantly infatuated. She easily looked away from him to Carter, her stomach already sick by the look on his face. She really had no idea how he was going to react when he saw her again, but she'd hoped it wouldn't have been like this.

Carter watched the interaction between them, a searing rage of jealousy building inside of him. He swore it would be the worst if Dave and Anna got close. He and Dave had kept up a friendship at work; he wasn't about to allow a friend date someone whom he loved with all his heart. True, being absent from Anna had allowed his feelings for her to settle down considerably, but seeing her again made them roar back up in a flash. And he didn't know how to handle it.

As she looked from Dave to him, a sledgehammer pounded his stomach and he felt nauseous.

"I have a patient," he said to no one in particular. After fixing Anna with a flaming gaze, he turned and left.

"John, wait." Anna broke away from Dave and ran after him. She caught up to him in front of the ER doors, making them an easy audience for all that watched from the desk. He stopped and slowly turned to look at her.

"Don't be mad at me for coming back," she said.

"I'm mad because you left in the first place," he growled, keeping his voice down. He was well aware of all the people who were watching, and didn't care to be seen under the microscope. But either Anna didn't notice, or she didn't care. She stopped him from leaving, grabbing him by the arm.

"John, don't be mad at me for anything," she said loudly. "I'm sorry I left, but it was good for me. I had to go back to Philly, I didn't belong here. You of all people should understand that."

"Why, because Max didn't want you here?" he asked testily.

She pursed her lips. After all these years, Carter still despised her boyfriend, Max. Just because he screwed up a couple of times with drugs. Carter hated him for that. He was so sure she deserved someone better.

"It had nothing to do with Max. I still can't believe you hate the guy. So someone uses drugs and all of a sudden he's not perfect enough for you? You gave Chase a chance, hell, you even did it yourself!" The last statement was out of her mouth before she even had a chance to stop it.

Carter's eyes turned cold, deeply cold. His face paled and he visibly trembled.

"Fuck you, Anna." Quickly he turned and shoved open the ambulance bay doors going outside. This time, Anna didn't bother to follow him.

Part 4
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