Pregnant Pause


AUTHOR: Koistin
EMAIL: cheerchick57@hotmail.com
CATEGORY: AL/JC/LKo
RATING: PG-13
SPOILERS: none
ARCHIVE: please don't archive without asking. it's not nice!
DISCLAIMER: i don't own the characters, etc etc, blah blah blah. you know the drill.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: i really love Carter/Abby, and really hate Luka. Please don't flame me!
SUMMARY: While the cat's away (Luka) the mice will play (Carter and Abby). teehee.



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MAY 1st 2001
The sun was shining brightly, a mirror of her immensely joyful mood. She was as happy as every bride should be on their wedding day. She gazed lovingly at her new husband, wishing she could preserve this moment forever. She turned, lifted her veil, and walked back up the aisle, her new life-partner on her arm. She sighed contently as she stepped outside into the gorgeous day, just as the cathedral bells started to ring. They rung sweetly for a few minutes, but the sound soon turned harsh and unwelcoming. Nurse Abby Lochart groaned as she realised that there were no cathedral bells, it was not her wedding day, it was all a dream, and that her phone was screeching incessantly. She rolled over in bed, and answered the phone groggily.

"Hello?" she croaked.

"It's John," the voice of her good friend, Dr. John Carter replied. "I really need to talk. Is it OK if I come over?"

"Sure, " she said, pulling herself up into a sitting position as she spoke.

"I'll make a pot of coffee, and we'll talk".

"Thanks. I really appreciate this," Carter answered gratefully.

"No problem," Abby lied, glancing at her bedside clock.

It read 3:32 AM.

With great effort, she dragged herself out of bed, pulled on a bathrobe, and headed for the kitchen. It was going to be a very large pot of coffee.



"So. What's up?" Abby asked, looking closely at Carter's face across her breakfast bar, searching for some of the emotions he had started to bottle up since his return from the drug rehab centre in Atlanta, two months previously.

"I can't do it anymore," he sighed, staring into his coffee. "The drugs are the first thing I think about when I wake up, and the last thing I think about when I fall asleep. Rena's starting to notice, and it's putting a strain on our relationship."

"She's training to be a psychologist, I'm sure she'll understand, and help you through this if you just talk to her about it," Abby assured him.

"She doesn't know," he whispered. "I just didn't have the heart to tell her. I didn't expect a one-night-stand to turn into a relationship. I didn't even consider telling her until I knew where this thing was heading, and then I just couldn't find the words. She's gonna hate me when she finds out."

"Oh John!" she said, as she stood up and embraced him. "It's OK. I know how you feel. When I first came to terms with the fact that I was an alcoholic, I didn't tell Richard, and I was married at the time. You have to tell her though, because it's not fair to her. The whole ER knows except her."

"I know. I'll do it tomorrow." He wiped away the tears that were threatening to spill from his eyes, and hugged her back. They pulled apart, and looked into each other's eyes. Carter thought to himself <Why did I choose Abby to talk to? I could have talked to Mark, but instead, I woke Abby up in the middle of the night, to cry on her shoulder.> He looked at her once again, her face full of sympathy and understanding, and realised why he chose Abby. Abby was thinking the same thing, and she too realised why he had chosen her. They hugged tightly, and Carter felt his lips touch Abby's in a gentle kiss. Suddenly all thoughts of Rena and his drug abuse flew from his mind. Likewise, all thoughts of her serious boyfriend, Dr. Luka Kovac, left Abby's mind in a moment they had waited so long for.



MAY 2nd 2001
The phone rang, wakening Carter from a deep sleep. He turned over in Abby's bed, and lifted the receiver from the cradle.

"Hello?" he said groggily.

"Who is this?" asked Luka's strong Croatian accent. "Is that you Carter?"

"Damn!" he swore under his breath. "Yeah. It's me," he replied into the receiver.

"Why are you answering Abby's phone at 7 am?

"I'm giving her a lift into work today. Her car's in the garage." He replied, thankful that he had a reasonable excuse.

"That's what I was phoning about. I was going to ask her if she needed a lift, but you've obviously got that covered." With that, the Croatian hung up. It was no secret that there was no love lost between Carter and Luka, as it was apparent that both were deeply in love with Abby, and until last night, Carter could only watch from afar. Now he had his chance with her, and he wasn't letting go without a fight.

Just as Carter hung up the phone, Abby entered the bedroom, from the bathroom, wrapping a towel round her hair as she spoke.

"Who was that?"

"Luka. It's OK," he added, when her eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. "I told him I was picking you up for work, so that's your story and stick to it!"

"Don't worry, I will," she giggled, snuggling in to him for a deep kiss.



JUNE 1ST 2001
Abby rolled over and looked at the man lying next to her, and she knew she loved him. She thought about the man she'd spent the last 12 months of her life with, and knew, no matter how hard she tried, she would never truly love him.

It would be so hard to tell Luka that she was leaving him for Carter. She decided to do it now, before she went to work. She got out of bed, got dressed, and kissed Carter lightly on the forehead before leaving his apartment.



LATER THAT DAY
Luka ran around his hotel-room apartment, throwing clothes into a suitcase as he spoke on the phone. He was trying to get a flight that morning to Croatia, but American Airlines apparently don't fly there from Chicago. Frustrated, he threw the receiver across the room, which flew into the wall, dragging the rest of the phone with it. A knock on the door interrupted his fight with inanimate objects.

It was Abby.

"Come in," he said smiling. He hadn't seen her for 3 days because of the shifts they worked at the hospital. "What brings you here?"

"We need to talk," Abby replied abruptly.

"I'm sorry Abby, but I don't have time. My father is ill in Croatia, and I have to go to him. He doesn't have enough money to pay his medical bills, so I have to pay them. I guess I won't be able to take you away o n holiday like I planned."

"That's OK. Here," she said, lifting his suitcase, "Let me help you with that." She drove him to the airport, where he still didn't have a flight.



LATER THAT DAY
She didn't see John again, until she was at the hospital. She was getting a cup of coffee in the doctors lounge when he came in. They didn't say anything until they were alone.

"I went to see Luka this morning, to tell him about us, but I didn't get the chance. His father is ill in Croatia, and he has to go to him. He will be away for 5 months. I'll tell him when he gets back. I promise." Abby said.

"OK. But let's keep this quiet. It's only right that he hears it from us. I don't want the whole ER knowing." Carter replied, giving her a quick kiss, before they left the lounge to begin their rounds.

"Whoa!" exclaimed Dr. Dave Malucci, as he pulled off the blanket that had been covering him as he lay snoozing on the couch in the lounge. He hadn't meant to overhear Carter and Abby's conversation, but this gossip was too good to keep to himself. He was only going to tell one person……...



"You're kidding!" exclaimed Haleh, one of the ER nurses, as Dave told her what he'd seen and heard in the Doctors Lounge.

"Nope. Heard it with my own ears, saw it with my own eyes. I'm telling you, Abby's having an affair with Carter."

"Who's having an affair with Carter?" asked Chuni, an attractive Mexican nurse, smiling at the prospect of some juicy gossip.

"Abby Lochart," Haleh reported.

"Well I hope she's careful. It's hard to keep a secret in this place. I can't believe she's being so stupid though, with Carter and Luka working together." Chuni said.

"If you play with fire, you're gonna get burned," warned Randi, the receptionist as she passed.

"How did you find out?" asked Dave in wonder.

"It's all over the O.B. department. The receptionist up there saw them kissing. Abby was upstairs doing a check-up of one of her patients from when she was a O.B. nurse, and Carter went up to take her to lunch. We haven't had gossip this good since Carol and Doug started going out," she added, laughing.

"What's this about Carter?" asked Rena, Carter's girlfriend who worked in the Pedes. department in the hospital. "I keep hearing his name in conversation around the hospital, but I don't know why everyone is suddenly so interested in him." She said.

"He's a popular man," said Chuni, as she walked away, her arms full of charts.

Rena stared after her in wonder.



SEPTEMBER 14th 2001
The staff of the hospital had decided to keep quiet about the fact that they knew of the affair, because it wasn't their place to butt in on other people's lives. They went about their duties in the ER with as little gossiping as they could survive with.

Chuni noticed that Abby was being strangely quiet one day, and when the two of them were alone in the store room taking inventory of sick pans, she asked her if she was feeling OK.

"I'm just a little faint, that's all," she answered, before throwing up in one of the basins she was counting.

Chuni looked at her and said, "Lightheadedness and throwing up at 9:30 in the morning. You were an O.B. nurse Abby. You know that's not nothing."

"What are you saying, Chuni?" Abby asked, insulted. "You know Luka's been away for more than two months."

"Carter hasn't," she said, pointedly.

"You know?"

"Everyone knows."

Abby shrank against the wall, and looked at her friend.

"I'll run the test for you," she said, patting Abby's arm.

"Thanks. Chuni, you won't tell anyone, whichever way the test turns out, will you?" she asked, worried.

"Of course not" Chuni smiled, as she left the store room.



LATER THAT DAY
Chuni walked past Abby, and slipped a piece of paper into the pocket of her nurse's scrubs. It was the results of her pregnancy test. She headed into Exam 4, which was empty, and sat on the bed. It took her 20 minutes to work up the courage to read what it said. She took a deep breath, and looked at it.



SEPTEMBER 24th 2001
Abby was shattered after a double shift in the ER. She couldn't wait to go home and see Carter. She had to convince John to tell Rena about their relationship. Sighing, she turned the key in the door of her car, and got in.



LATER THAT DAY
John and Abby were enjoying a quiet dinner in his apartment, when Abby put down her knife and fork, and looked at John.

"You have to tell Rena," she said. "It's not fair."

"I know," he sighed, "It's just… I can't seem to find the words. I mean, where is this relationship going. I am going o leave Rena for you, or am I going to tell her about us, and try to patch things up with her?"

"What do you want to do?" she asked.

"I don't know. I really love being with you, but I also like being with Rena."

"Well, I think I have something that might help you make your mind up," she said slowly, and handed him the results of her pregnancy test.

"Oh my God!" Carter whispered in shock. "Is it mine?" he asked, looking into her eyes. When she nodded, he asked, "How far gone are you?"

"10 weeks" she replied.

"Do you want to keep it?"

"Yes," she said, as she looked at him.

"I love you, you know that, don't you?"

"Yes, I do. I love you too," she smiled. "You'd better go see Rena, and explain about us. There's no point putting it off any longer. Just don't tell her I'm pregnant."

"OK," he said, kissing her forehead. He grabbed his jacket from the coat-stand by the door, and headed out the door.



NOVEMBER 7th 2001
Abby was dreading going into work. She was starting to show, and the only people that knew she was pregnant were Chuni and Kerry Weaver, Head of Emergency Medicine, though only Chuni knew who the baby's father was. Abby hadn't wanted to tell her, but she had to, it was part of her contract that if she was pregnant, and wanted to keep the baby, she had to let her bosses know by 12 weeks. She was now 16 weeks, and Luka didn't know. He wasn't back from Croatia yet, and she hadn't seen him for five months and six days. She'd talked to him on the phone, but she hadn't told him about Carter, let alone that she was carrying his child.

She had no choice though, she needed her job to support herself. She put on her baggiest scrubs to hide her bump, and went to work



LATER THAT DAY
When she got to the hospital, she noticed that Luka's name was on the board, meaning that he was on duty. She thought it was a mistake, because he hadn't called her to say he was back in town. When she asked Kerry about it, she said there was no mistake. Luka had turned up for the start of the shift, and asked Kerry if she needed an extra pair of hands.

"You didn't mention about him becoming a father, did you?" Abby asked.

"No, I didn't get a chance to congratulate him. Why?" Kerry answered.

"Because he's not. Carter is."

"I see. I'll keep the pregnancy quiet then. I guess no-one else knows?

"Only Carter and Chuni."

"OK. Does anyone know that your relationship with Dr. Carter is more than just platonic?"

"I don't think so. We've been careful to hide it."

"Doesn't look that way to me," Kerry said, eyeing Abby's bump.



LATER THAT DAY
Luka was in the Labs, chasing up some blood tests when he found out. He was looking for the file on a repeat patient of his, Annabelle Lochart. He was looking in a filing cabinet to see if a copy of the results had been filed yet, when his eyes fell on a file marked 'LOCHART, ABIGAIL'. Curious, he removed the file and opened it. The labs only kept files for three months, before sending them to be stored. The only results in the file were for a pregnancy test, done on September 14th, and an ultrasound scan, done on September 21st, both while he was away. He closed the file, and forgetting all about his patient, went to find the person he knew was responsible for this.



LATER THAT DAY
"Where is he?" Luka demanded, as he stormed through the ER.

"Who?" asked Dr. Jing-Mei Chen, a pretty, and heavily pregnant, Chinese doctor.

"Carter" he said gruffly.

"Admit desk."

Luka ran round the corner, and punched Carter, who was signing charts, square on the jaw. Dr. Greene and Dr. Dave had to pull the two apart.

"What the hell are you doing?" yelled Carter.

"What the hell am I doing?" Kovac said. "I have just found these in a filling cabinet in the Labs," he yelled back, throwing the file at Carter. He caught them, and opened them. Playing it cool, he said, "What has this got to do with me?" "Who answered her phone at 7 am?"

"Is this Abby they're talking about?" Dave whispered to Mark Greene. Mark nodded as Carter answered,

"I was giving her a lift to work!"

"Fine! Explain this then. Abby is 16 weeks pregnant, and I have been in Croatia for 21 weeks!"

"Busted!" grinned Dr. Dave.

"Shut up Dave!" warned Mark, before Carter and Kovac killed him.

Just then, Abby came running from Exam 1. She had heard shouting and had come out to see what was going on.

"Luka! You're back" she said brightly.

"Shut up! You've got a lot of explaining to do."

Taken aback, Abby replied, "Explaining? Explain what?"

By now, there was a large group of nurses and doctors gathered around them to see what all the noise was about.

"I know you're pregnant," he shouted, "And I know it's not mine!"

The ER gasped in surprise. They'd known about the affair, but hadn't known about the pregnancy.

Luka turned to Carter and said, "Is it yours?" Carter nodded. Luka turned to Abby and said, "You have a choice, Abby. You can have this baby, and go live with him, or you can back to me, and forget all of this ever happened. It's your decision."

Abby was outraged. "You're asking me to choose between my child, and you? You're right. It's NOT your child, and you have no right to tell me what to do with it!" she yelled, crying.

Carter put his arm round her, she was now sobbing hysterically.

"Have your things out by 10 o'clock tonight. I hope you two have a nice life together. But I want you to know that if you keep this child, you will have deal with the guilt of what you've done. Every time you look at that him or her, you will be reminded of what you did. I hope you can live with that!" Luka turned round and stalked towards the Doctors Lounge, pulling off his stethoscope, and throwing it behind him.

"You will have my letter of resignation by 9am," he called to Kerry Weaver, who had been too shocked by what was going on, to stop them fighting in public.

"Luka, are you sure you don't want to think about this a while?" she shouted after him, concerned.

"No! I'm going home to Croatia, and staying there!"

With that, he slammed the door to the Doctors Lounge, and the ER was strangely silent. The silence seemed to last forever, until Dave said, "I guess this is what they call a pregnant pause!"

Weaver hit him over the head with the charts she was holding.




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