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 Magoo's.

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.

Part 5
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