Let Me Fall After Her
Chapter 4 "A Return of the Old Self"
The days that followed were slow. Anna took up Kerry's offer
to stay at her place while she was in Chicago. Rumors were flying
around the ER about Carter and Anna, after seeing their first fight
in front of everyone the day she was back. They all knew Carter had
a thing for Anna, though he tried to deny it. After Anna had left,
Carter was visibly depressed, and growing a beard was one of his ways
of coping and forgetting. Now seeing his anger towards her had
everyone surprised, and worried. Since his return from Atlanta,
Carter was recovering nicely, and returning to his normal self once
again after so many months of hiding behind a monster. Now the
monster was back.
Carter stayed quiet at work, avoiding everyone but his
patients, which he dealt with neatly and quickly. He never stayed
once his shift was over, not even to hang out with others at Doc
His suspiciously familiar characteristics worried the other
doctors. Mark kept his distance, not wanting to upset Carter even
further by bothering him about his personal problems. He knew this
had been a mistake before, so he watched him carefully. Kerry was
going out of her mind wanting to talk to him. She didn't want to
have Carter go into a relapse because of what happened, but she was
told to keep her distance as well, by Mark and Anna. Anna told her
it was her problem and that she would take care of it.
Five days into her visit, Carter had still not spoken to her,
or anyone. He avoided Anna with a vengence and even stopped talking
to Abby, who was hurt considering she'd thought they were friends
again. She was ready to yell at Carter, to tell him to stop acting
like a baby whenever something happened. That afternoon, she nabbed
Carter on his break.
"Carter, I need to talk to you."
He stopped in the hallway outside the men's room, but didn't
turn to look at her.
"What's going on with you? You've been avoiding me for
almost a week. What's up?" she persisted.
"Abby, I don't really want to talk about it." He moved to
open the door and sneak inside the bathroom to have some privacy, but
Abby stepped in front of him, blocking his way.
"Tough. I want to hear it." She straightened to intimidate
him. It worked.
"Abby, get out of my way, please." His voice kept quiet. He
could feel his temper build, but he did not want to yell at her.
Abby was his dearest friend, and getting mad at her would only hurt
him even more. Lately he couldn't control his anger. Not after
seeing Anna. It felt like he'd gone back in time, to before he'd
gotten help for his addiction. His cravings for a "quick fix" were
stronger than ever these days, as was his terrible temper. Shouting
at Abby would make things worse. He could feel a headache coming on.
"Carter, I just want to talk to you. Like we used to. Why
won't you talk to me?"
"Because… because there's nothing to talk about. Now
please. I have a headache and I want to rest a bit before my break
is over, so get out of my way. Please," he added, giving her a small
puppy dog look.
She stared at him for a long time. "No."
"No. I'm not letting you back out anymore. You're good,
Carter. But not that good. Your ideas of backing out are getting a
little old." She folded her arms, waiting for his reply.
"Abby," he began but broke off when they both heard calls
from the ambulance bay.
"Hey, we need some help out here!"
Carter gave her a small glance before running in that
direction. She sighed. He was lucky this time, but she would soon
talk to him again.
That time never came. When the multiple trauma was over,
Carter was no where in sight. Abby went to the front desk to see if
his name was on the board.
"Is Carter with a patient?" she asked Mark.
"No, he went home." He noticed Abby's look of dismay. "His
shift was over."
Abby stared at nothing for a moment. "Bastard," she
muttered, going off to finish her own shift.