One is the Loneliest Number
CATEGORY: Cast Angst
SPOILERS: Such Sweet Sorrow
ARCHIVE: Feel free to archive it wherever you'd like, just
let me know so I can go see it :)
DISCLAIMER: The characters John Carter, Luka Kovac, Abby
Lockhart, Dave Malucci, Robert Romano, and Kerry Weaver do
not, I repeat, do not belong to me. Although I do have the
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Tonight I was feeling a bit blue, so I wrote
this small piece.
SUMMARY: A peek into the lives of some of the characters of
John Carter signed his last chart and threw it on the desk,
letting it knock down a couple of pencils as though it were
and avalanche of snow. After twelve hours of ungrateful
patients and periodic episodes of head and pack pains, his
body was about to succumb to exhaustion. He pulled the door
to the lounge open and walked to his locker, his legs asking
permission to each other before they each took a step. After
the dial was turned twice to the right and once to the left,
the small door came open towards him and he retrieved his
things, his mind thinking ahead to the softness of his bed
and the serenity of solitude.
"Dr. Carter?" A patient peeked his head into the
"Yes, can I help you?" Carter walked outside with
"I was your patient today, remember? Asthma?" the
Carter snapped, "Of course! What can I help you
"I forgot to ask you how often I should use this new
medication, the pharmacy didn't know"
Carter took the medication from the man's hands and read it
carefully, thinking how his life had reached a point in
which he couldn't remember his patients anymore, on account
of his disinterest.
"Right" he gave the man his bag back, "Just
use your normal medication and only use this one when you
get an asthma attack. You should still come to the hospital
if you feel you can't handle it" Carter put a hand on
the man's back and smiled.
"Thanks Dr. Carter" The smile vanished as soon as
the man turned around.
The streets of Chicago didn't look the way they used to be.
That sparkle and excitement the city hosted was long
replaced with dark alleys and suspicious strangers to
Carter. Even the hot dogs he so much loved from that famous
street vendor didn't taste as good, although apparently it's
popularity was still at its highest peek.
The lights from the inside of his grandparent's house were
not shinning tonight, a glance to Carter's watch offered an
explanation. He stepped in, careful not to wake the three
inhabitants of such an enormous household, and out of sheer
instinct made his way into his room in the darkness, his
only companion. With a swing, his bag went flying to a
nearby chair and his shoes were left in the middle of the
room, still laced.
Every night was a repetition of the same ritual. Carter laid
in his bed, looking at the ceiling. But the darkness made it
impossible for him to see its color. Every morning, lying on
his bed, he made a silent promise to whom ever was up there,
that he would turn his life around and travel back to those
days in which happiness could be found everywhere. It was in
his job. It was in his friends. It was in every grateful
patient, even in the not so grateful ones. It was in his
independence and in his accomplishments. It was in his life.
But then the night came, and like a dreaded hurricane, it
tumbled all his strength away. No. Happiness doesn't live
here anymore. It disappeared when that knife opened the
gates of hell. When he saw Lucy lying on the floor. When he
later learned she was dead. When his parents were too busy
sight seeing the world to visit their dying son in a
hospital room. When he couldn't even recognize himself in
the mirror. When he realized John Carter was just a fool,
tricked by childhood dreams of eternal love and a happy
He turned on his bed and saw the hours slowly pass by on his
alarm clock. And now, another morning had arrived. In this,
he saw an indication that life indeed continued. But it
could continue without him. John Carter didn't have the any
strength left in his body to keep running in hopes to catch
a train which was now so far away, it was just a memory.
What is the point of longevity if there was no one there to
celebrate it with? To love and to honor. To run to when
things didn't seem so good, or bad. To take away these
feelings of regret and loss, and guilt. To revoke this self
punishment that was killing him inside. John Carter couldn't
go on anymore.
He needed consolation.
Luka Kovac sat alone at his apartment long after Carol
Hathaway had caught that plane to Seattle. His eyes rested
unwillingly on a television set he had never grown
accustomed to. With the click of a button, the screen went
black, and he rose from the couch and walked to his bedroom.
Turning the lights on was an unnecessary task. It was also
an opportunity for his mirror to play its tricks again and
show him the real Luka Kovac. The man everyone watched from
afar, but no one dared to know inside. The man women looked
at with dreamy eyes and melted at the sound of his Croatian
accent, but never thought twice to walk away from. The man
he was most scared of. Himself.
It all started nine years ago, with the wailing of a siren
and the destruction of a building. After that, darkness made
its presence be known even on the sunniest of days, and the
starriest of nights. With the wailing of a siren a life was
thrown into a precipice. A life he had once considered to be
blessed and precious, because once upon a time, he had
everything. He had the love of a beautiful wife and the
admiration of two lovely children. He had a job he was proud
of and friends who would walk on fire for him. He had his
heart beating to the rhythm of a Swiss watch, predictable
and reliable. He had dreams of seeing his children grow up
while he grew old. He had love. And that was his solace.
For the past few months, he thought he had found happiness
again. Carol Hathaway was a ticket to a ride which would
take him back to his family, to his old self. But deep
inside he always knew it could never be. He knew because of
the way she looked at him with pity and not love. He knew
because of the way she pulled her head back before he tried
to kiss her. He saw it in her eyes. He knew he was standing
on very thin ice, and he knew sooner or later the ice would
break. It broke today. And now, no one was near the hole he
had created to offer him a hand. And he was too weak to dig
Luka turned around on his bed, but he knew sleep wouldn't
come, not tonight, not for the past nine years. His mind was
a battlefield in which hope and renunciation had taken away
his sanity. So far it was ten to one in favor to disillusion
and loneliness was batting with the bases loaded. It was
during times like these when the memories of his family
would come and save the game, only he wasn't sure he wanted
salvation this time. What for? What else could possibly come
after this? His father once told him that "Things that
happen once are likely to never happen again. But things
that happen twice, will most likely happen and third"
For the first time Luka wished his father was wrong, because
he wasn't sure his heart could handle any more pain due to
unrequited love. Love was uninvited into Luka's heart. It
took too much room, forcing him to expand his delicate
organ, only to be forced out again, leaving emptiness
But Luka knew he had to get up in the morning, like every
other morning after his family was taken away from him. That
was his punishment for a crime he couldn't remember having
committed. The seasons kept coming and going. The sun kept
whipping his skin with rays of gold which would darken his
pigmentation. It kept raining tears of mint and he'd get
drunk on bitterness trying to accelerate the days, hoping
one of them would bring forth his final destination, and
he'd be reunited with his family again. But the hours kept
coming empty handed. His pillow was tired of being soaked
with silent tears, and his apartment was tired of being the
setting of such a low rated show. Yet there was nothing that
could form a smile on Luka's lips, or to keep him fighting
for. There was nothing. Luka Kovac couldn't go on anymore.
He needed a second chance.
The day had started a long time ago for Abby Lockhart, who
walked past the front desk without having the strength
needed to look at people in the eyes. Yes, this day had
started a long time ago. It started when her lawyer told her
the divorce would be finalized on May 11. It started when
her ex husband swung his fist against her face for the first
time, making blood percolate from her delicate skin. It
started unconsciously when she said 'I do', and now it would
be over in a matter of hours.
Her hand pushed the door to the lounge carefully and inside
she spotted Chuny and Lydia in which seemed to be another
gossip fest she couldn't possibly be interest in. With a
smile, she acknowledged the two women.
"Hey Abby, we're going for a beer, do you wanna
come?" Chuny said in that Spanish accent Abby envied.
"Um, sorry Chuny, I'm really tired, so I'm just gonna
go home. Have fun though." Abby said with a sincere
smile. It seemed like doing all the nurses scut work had
opened a spot for her in their 'No Doctors Allowed' Club.
She turned around and opened her locker. Immediately, a
white envelope fell at her feet, and being very cautious
about letting anyone see it, she picked it up and slid it on
her bag. After an unenthusiastic good bye, she was out of
The door to a very empty and very small apartment was opened
after another bad day at work. Abby threw her bag on the
couch and without a warning, her body followed. Rubbing her
forehead was a habit only used when something had pushed her
over the edge. Today, not only her misdiagnose had caused a
young girl to nearly die, it also cost Dave a warning from
Elizabeth Corday. She took a deep breath and sank on the
thick pillows of her couch, remembering the days when she
was happy at work. When the doctors would leave the room and
she proceeded to treat the patient with tenderness and
comfort, two things she had too much of and no one to give
them to. Those were also the days when her ex husband began
to turn into a monster, and she had nothing to turn into.
The nurses, her only friends, had already alienated
themselves from her because she had announced her plans of
going to med school, and the only members of her family
lived too far away to even visit. So she concentrated even
further but found that there was always something in her
life which prevented her from being truly happy. Even when
she was a girl her parents were always too busy fighting to
pay much attention to their children. You grow into what you
Her eyes shifted to the bag sitting next to her, and she
took out the white envelope she had received on her mailbox
this morning. Without any hesitation, she signed the papers
where it was necessary and threw them on the table in front
of her, wiping a stationary tear which was formed out of
anger and disenchantment. 'This is your life, Abby
Lockhart.' A failed marriage, an unfulfilling job, and
loneliness. Too much loneliness. So much so that the only
reason why she woke up every morning was to avoid a warning
at work. So much that she had long ago closed to door to any
prince charming who might stop by. Love was still needed.
She still craved the warmth of another person next to her on
the bed. And her hand longed for another to intertwine its
fingers with. But with love comes heartache, and
uncertainties. Abby was too tired and mistreated by life to
give away the remaining of her heart to someone else,
because she was certain she would not get them back, just
like the last time.
Letting her body fall back on the couch, she hugged one of
the pillows tight and said good bye to whomever might be
waiting for her out there, because she wasn't sure she could
make it into his arms. He would have to come for her this
time and wake her up from this nightmare, the road was just
too long for her to walk alone. Abby Lockhart couldn't go on
She needed love.
Dave Malucci sneaked his bike into his apartment building,
careful not to let the landlord see it. Under normal
circumstances, he would leave it outside with the rest of
the bikes, but tonight, his bike was the only thing he had
of value. He opened the door to his apartment and left it on
the living room between his stereo and the window. His
stomach hadn't protested yet since he got that hard truth
from Elizabeth Corday. So he went straight to bed.
Dave had enough people telling him he was a slob all day,
but hearing from someone as respected as Dr. Corday... she
somehow dug it into his heart. The other truth was that Dave
already knew this, he only had to see it in the eyes of his
co workers. He knew that part of their jokes were true, part
of every joke is. But what was he supposed to do? Leave his
guards down and let another person hurt him again? No. It
was better this way. It was better to let people know Dave
the slob and shallow man, than Dave, the man who got his
heart broken by the only woman he had ever really loved.
This Dave would never get hurt again.
But the other Dave was brought back to life by Elizabeth's
words. He could feel him inside of him, fighting to be
allowed to resurface. And now, lying alone on his bed, he
could see him in the mirror which sat in front of him. And
he was crying. So he began to cry as well. He cried for his
life, for his past and for his future, for the many friends
he had lost and for the many who were waiting to come, for
his family, for all the promises he had broken and for
himself . For being such a coward.
Memories were the only thing he held from his past. Memories
of his childhood and his affectionate family. Memories of a
new girl in town, of courtship at an early age and of a
marriage proposal which ended with him waiting at the altar,
alone. As alone as he was right now. And later a new start
in a new place, and new aspirations. Chicago was something
he stumbled upon in med school, and a decision he somehow
regretted. It was a city for the brave, and Dave was just
another observer of life. He was an understudy for those who
woke up in the morning and had everything. What he had given
up on a long time ago.
Dave turned around on his bed and looked at the time,
wishing it would just hurry or at least stop. 'No one thinks
much of you as a doctor' He didn't care because he didn't
care much of himself as a person. Not this Dave. This Dave
will get up in the morning and go to work. This Dave will
make jokes to cover the tears of the other Dave. This Dave
will force his heart to remain where it is, and will not let
it fall in love again. This Dave was safe. From everyone but
himself. And he had forced himself not to care, until now.
Because tomorrow morning he would have to get up again, and
face more insults from his co workers, friends and
superiors. Tomorrow, life would find another way to remind
him of her, and to remind him that he was living a farce.
Life would find a way to make things harder, it did every
day. But this is the end of the line. Dave Malucci couldn't
go on anymore.
He needed a change.
Robert Romano unlocked the door to his car and stepped in
after making sure no one was around. He had faced yet
another day of procedures, surgeries, and incompetent
doctors. And somehow he had managed to stay on top of
things, like the winner he was. He unlocked the door to his
house and stepped in, immediately being welcomed by his only
companion, Gretel the Dog.
"Hey girl, are you hungry? Let's get something to
eat." He patted the soft fur of the animal as they
walked together to the kitchen. He poured some dog food on
Gretel's favorite dish and put it on the floor. After that,
he went back to the living room and stared at a mess of
charts he had left from the night before. After Gretel was
done with her food, she headed to her bean bag and fell
asleep. Romano watched her carefully, "You're
welcomed" he shouted before he let out a big sigh. The
only thing which was crazy enough to spent eight consecutive
hours with him, only really needed him to provide her of
food. And now that that task was done with, he was alone
He turned off the lights and went to his bedroom. After
getting ready for bed, he curled up under the sheets and
closed his eyes, only they fluttered open again. He stared
at the ceiling because next to him there was no one to stare
at. How could there be? He had scared nearly every single
woman he had met in his entire life because of a stupid
notion that boys take after their fathers. Robert would
rather die alone than hurt the woman he loved, the way his
father did to his mother before he abandoned them. Wasn't it
true that he also was a prick? Just like daddy? Everyone at
work seemed to think so. In fact, he was absolutely sure
many hated him, those who had gotten to know him better. And
who wouldn't? No one loves a man who is empty. What is there
to love. But you have to be a rocket to make it to the moon.
Isn't that why he got his nickname? Or was it because people
couldn't wait to get rid of him on a dangerous mission?
After his father left, he promised himself he would do
whatever it would take not to be like him. He took care of
his mom when she was sick, he began working at fourteen to
help her with the rent and utilities, he studied hard for a
scholarship to make sure she didn't have to pay for college,
and he got into surgery to give her all the things his own
father did not have the will to give her. Amongst all those
things was love. Love in every possible way he could
manifest it. From respect to a house the most luxurious
suburb of Chicago. His love for his own mother would always
be there. But another part of his heart was saved for
someone else. Someone he knew would never come, because he
wouldn't allow her to. For years he had made sure no one got
to know the real Robert Romano, the man who was desperate
for love, but who was also reluctant to get it. The morning
would come soon, and after that another one, and another
one. But still the left side of his bed was empty. And it
would never be filled, even though with it, his heart would
be filled as well, and he could finally show everyone that
the real Robert Romano was capable of loving and welcoming
all kinds of feelings. But he still needed that someone.
Because without her, Robert Romano couldn't go on anymore.
He needed redemption.
Kerry Weaver finished the previously interminable stack of
hospital documents before she turned the small light from
her desk off and, leaning on her brace, walked towards the
"Dr. Weaver? There's a lawyer on the phone, he says one
of his patients was the victim of malpractice and he needs
to speak to whoever is in charge, so..." Randi showed
the phone to Kerry.
"Randi? What time does it say on that clock?" She
"Seven fifteen" Randi just answered, knowing where
Kerry was going.
"Exactly, my shift was over fifteen minutes ago, find
someone else who is in charge" Kerry said as she limped
into the lounge and got her things. After another argument
with Chen over a day off, Kerry walked out of the ER to go
and find her car.
She opened the door to her apartment and with no difficulty,
turned the light on as she put some charts on the table
neatly. Pouring herself a glass of brandy always kept her
calmed and ready to face another day. Tonight she didn't
have the strength to face anything, so she turned all the
lights off and sat on her bed, looking at her feet. Her
foot. The source of many speculations and gossips in the ER.
After stories of how she went limp from getting polio in
Africa, to having had an accident when she was a girl, it
would really disappoint everyone to know she was just borne
that way. But she enjoyed this guessing game, so it was kept
She let the soft comforter embrace her as her eyes looked
around her room. A room in which in years there had only
been one person, and many prayers. Prayers for strength and
courage, for light and guidance, for patience, and for love.
All been heard except the latter. But love had been in her
heart, and she knew it could easily come back. What she
needed right now was a friend. It had been months since
Jeanie Boulet moved away, and today, Carol Hathaway tendered
her resignation. Two faces she could never turn to in a time
of need, two friends hollered away by love, and leaving
behind a lonely woman. A woman who needed someone to talk
to, someone to scrape away these dried tears, someone to
laugh and to share her life with. Someone. Perhaps love
would never find its way into Kerry's heart. Perhaps it
already had, and she let it go because she couldn't
recognize it. Perhaps it wasn't late and it was under her
nose. She didn't care. Love was a dream she could go back to
anytime she wanted. And what she wanted now, was her life
Being the head of an emergency room is not the easiest job.
Not for a man, not for a woman. In the years Kerry had been
in that position, she had only gotten appraisal for a job
well done. And that was the reason she kept going. Because
she had built all this by herself. She had respect from her
employees, the admiration from her patients and colleagues.
Kerry Weaver had it all, yet her life still seemed empty.
Most everyone at worked feared her for being the boss, and
for the same reason they would keep their distance. And she
was tired of being her sole source of comfort, her own best
friend. The woman who limps for no reason. A human being who
didn't even know her real parents, and who was too scared to
find out. The person everyone went to when they needed a day
off, but no one approached to go out for a beer or just
This was Kerry Weaver the woman, and she was asking for a
change she knew could only bring her heartache. In one hand,
she held her job and her future, and in the other, she held
her heart. None could be held at the same time, and the hand
which held her heart fell on defeat, so did the hand which
held her future. Kerry Weaver couldn't go on anymore.
She needed companionship.