Pleasant Surprises

AUTHOR: Lindsey
CATEGORY: EC/RR friendship
SPOILERS: Season 5 (from 'Rites of Spring' onward) to Season 8
ARCHIVE: Email me and tell me where
DISCLAIMER: All characters are property of Warner Bros., Amblin Productions, NBC, etc.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: If you like this fic, please email me. If you hate this fic, please email me.  I'd love to hear ANY and ALL suggestions and/or comments.  Thanks, and enjoy!
SUMMARY: Elizabeth goes back to England after Mark's death, and encounters more than a few surprises.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seatbelts.  We will be departing momentarily."

The voice of the stewardess jolted Elizabeth Corday from her thoughts and daydreams.  A year ago, she was doing great at County, had a newborn baby girl and a loving husband.  Now, months after being front and center in a hospital investigation, weeks after watching her daughter cling to life and days after her husbands funeral, here she was, on a plane that was leaving for London in three minutes.

After what seemed like an eternity of soul searching, Elizabeth finally realized what she needed to do: go home.  Not to 1211 Dupont Drive.  Home.  England.

Thoughts filled her mind as the 747 took off.  What would happen to her?  What would happen to Ella, to Rachel, to everyone that Mark cared about?  Back in December of 2000, when Mark was first diagnosed, she had feared the worst, but when he had his operation in January, she thought everything would be okay, even though she knew at the back of her mind that everything could fall apart at any second.  And eventually, it did.

Mark's last days in Hawaii were the worst, and yet they were the most peaceful.  They all knew the end was near.  It was just a matter of when.  They had cried together writing letters to Rachel and Ella, and finally, to the ER staff. 

Memories were the only link she had to her husband now.  Memories of their first meeting in the ER, the casual flirting, the chaos (and humor) of trying to get to the Chicago Society of Trauma Physicians meeting and crashing a wedding reception and learning to tango instead, their first kiss at Navy Pier (after missing yet another engagement), Mark's proposal in the kitchen of their new house, getting pregnant, the news of Mark's tumor, Mark's operation and recovery, their marriage, the birth of baby Ella, the addition of Rachel, Ella's ecstasy overdose, their separation and reconciliation, the return of Mark's tumor, and, inevitably, the end.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Elizabeth's plane touched down at Heathrow Airport 13 hours later.  As she stepped off the plane, she couldn't believe she was actually home. 

"Wow..." her English accent echoed her amazement as she looked around.  She hadn't been back since she left for the States in 1997, and amazingly, everything looked the same.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Mother?"  Elizabeth let herself into her mother's mansion in downtown London, using the spare key that she knew would be under the dark green doormat.  "Mother, are you here?"  As silence returned her calls, she picked up the mail lying on the front steps.  Bills, invitation to a conference, copy of the latest Harrod's catalog, latest issue of The London Times...  As she hurriedly flipped through the day's mail, something caught her eye.  "Elizabeth Corday," she read aloud.  "Why on earth would someone send letters here?"  She made her way into the spacious foyer and into the immaculate kitchen.  She threw the rest of the mail on the counter and sat down at the table, opening the mysterious envelope.

She gasped as she immediately recognized the scrawled, childlike handwriting.

April 19th, 2002
Dear Elizabeth,
Happy Anniversary!  I'm sitting here in Hawaii with Rachel.  She's reading the latest star gossip in CosmoGirl and sulking because there isn't a television.  I miss you. 

Please don't cry.  Don't miss me.  I love you very much and I always will.  I may not be there physically, but I am there spiritually.  I will always be there.  This is very short, but it's taken me 2 hours to write it.  I'm sorry.  I'll wait for you.  I love you.  Always remember that.  Take care of Ella and tolerate Rachel.  She really does like you.  Tell Ella about me.


She stared at the letter for what seemed like hours.  "How...?"  She tried hard to form her thoughts.  "How did he know to send...?"  She gently laid the letter on her lap and sobbed.

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4
Sequel: All Those Years
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