John walked in through the swinging doors of the ER at the start of his shift. Chairs were nearly full with people waiting to be seen. He didn't want to deal with it just yet so he headed for the lounge to put away his belongings and get ready to face another, what is appearing to be another hectic day in the ER.
He pulled his stethoscope from his locker, threw on his lab coat, and headed out into the chaotic world of emergency medicine.
Carter glanced at the board lost deep in thought as he wondered how he was going to get through another gruelling day.
"Carter, MVA pulling up in 3 minutes. I need you in Trauma 1 now," Weaver barked at him. John glanced over grimaced and he followed Kerry with out a second thought.
He could hear the sirens in the distance as he watched the ambulance pull into the bay. The doors opened and a female paramedic hoped out pulling a stretcher behind her.
"28 year old female, restrained driver, T-boned by a DUI running a red light." she continues, "BP is 90/40, pulse is weak and thready, we’ve got a 14 gauge is the right arm and a 12 gauge in the left. Gave her a bolus of fluids in the field. She was LOC at the scene and she has not regained consciousness."
They push the doors open into trauma bay one.
"I need a CBC, chem. 7 and lytes on her," Carter barked at one of the nurses, "Chest x-ray and ultrasound of the belly."
"Pulse ox is dropping, we need to get her intubated now." Kerry says, "John hand me the tray."
"I got it Kerry," As he tilts her head back, " 5 of suxs, and 10 of etomidate." He slides the tube down into the airway. The woman begins to slowly stabilize. Kerry orders a CT scan to rule out blunt head trauma. Carter glances down at the woman lying there. She seems almost familiar; he knows her face but just can’t place it.
"Kerry do we have a name on our Jane Doe?" John asked looking quite puzzled. Damn he wished that he were better at putting names with faces. He should know who she is. He thought for a minute as it slowly came to him, the plane back from Atlanta, John thinks back and is pretty sure that is where he saw her.
"Yeah she had ID on her. Brenna Ross." Kerry’s face went white, "It’s Doug’s sister."
Luka pop’s his head in the door, "How’s mom doing? The daughter seems to be okay."
"She’s stable for now," Kerry states.
Kerry snaps off her rubber gloves, "Carter, you should try to reach Doug and let him know what’s happened. I’m sure he’ll be worried about his sister."
…Flash back to Carter coming back from rehab…
It was one of the longest flights of his life. The 3 months he had spent in rehab had been the hardest that he had ever had to face. That and the combination of everything that had happened were just too much. Carter wondered if the plane was ever going to reach Chicago so he would be home.
Carter glanced over to the seat next to him. A very attractive young lady was sitting there. She seemed almost to be lost in thought.
"Do you live in Chicago, or are you just visiting?" She asked the stranger staring at her.
"I live there now," he said. "How about yourself?"
"I used to live there, I’m staying there for a few days. I need to wrap up a few loose ends before heading Seattle." She told him.
They sat and talked for the rest of the flight. It seemed that they had a lot in common. Their parents didn’t really care about them; some bad breaks and they were both young struggling doctors. When they reached Chicago they headed back to her apartment and Carter spent the night there. Trying to find some solace in a strangers arms, a stranger who understood everything that he had been through. She was everything that Carter needed then and so much more, but he knew that he would never see her again after she boarded the plane for Seattle. Maybe though, just maybe this was the best thing that ever happened to him.
……….End of flashback…
What was Brenna doing back in Chicago, Carter thought to himself? He headed off to call Doug, he was her only relative… or at least the only one that Carter knew enough about to reach. Carter picked up the phone hoping that Doug was there.
"Hello," a voice on the line said.
Carter couldn’t help but recognize Carol’s voice. She had taken the girls and headed to Seattle after Doug about a year ago. She really loved him it had just taken her a long time to realize it. "Hey Carol, it’s John Carter is Doug there?"
"Oh hey Carter, it’s nice to hear your voice, hold on a minute he’s playing with the girls." She told him.
Carter sat there as she went to get Doug. He still couldn’t understand why Brenna was there in Chicago; hopefully Doug could shed some light on the mystery.
"Hey Carter. Did Brenna and Johnna get to Chicago all right? I know she was pretty anxious to see you." Doug said.
"Oh I didn’t know that she’s in Chicago to see me? I had no idea why she was here," He said.
"Hey Carter if you didn’t know she was there to see you, then why are you calling, is she okay?" Doug was starting to get anxious talking to Carter. He sounded almost as puzzled as Carter was.
"Actually Doug, you might want to catch a flight down here. They’ve been brought into County. She was t-boned earlier and is stable right now, but she has been pretty banged up."
"Shit," Doug stated. "How’s Johnna?"
"I honestly don‘t know Doug, I am Brenna‘s doctor, and I haven’t seen the girl that was with her."
Luka walked by and Carter grabbed him.
"Hey how’s the little girl? Doug wants to know."
"She’s okay. She’s got a few bumps and scraps but other than that she appears to be okay. We are just watching her for now, as soon as another parent shows up she can be released." Luka told him.
"She’s okay Doug. A little banged up but she looks good. Luka was with her. He says that they are just watching her and when her other parent shows up she can be released."
"Tell Brenna that I will be there in a few hours. I’ll catch the next flight out of Seattle." Doug told him, "See ya soon."
The phone went dead as Kerry walked by.
"Did you get a hold of Doug?" She asked.
"Yeah Kerry I did, he said he would be here as soon as he can."
"What’s up, you look like someone who’s been hit by a bus," she mentioned to him.
"I’m fine Kerry, it’s nothing. I am fine, really." He lied to her.
"Sure," She said as she walked away.
John was baffled by what Doug had told him. She was in town to see him. She hadn’t even called him to say that she was coming in. And he hadn’t heard from her since the she had left Chicago. He had never expected to see her again. Carter walked over to the room where Johnna was. He peeked in to see how she was doing. What he didn’t expect to see shocked him. There was about a 9 – month - old infant lying there sleeping. He walked over to her and stared at her peaceful sleep. She was beautiful. She looked so much like her mother. As Carter looked at the sleeping child, he saw what he couldn’t believe. She resembled him. She had deep dark hair. Brenna was a blonde through and through.
"I’m just imagining it." He said to what he thought was himself.
"Imagining what?" Susan said. Carter hadn’t heard her walk into the room.
"Nothing." he nonchalantly.
"Oh come on John, you can tell me just about anything. You of all people should know that I wouldn’t rat out your thoughts." She told him.
"Susan, do you think she looks like me?" He asked.
The question John asked through Susan for a loop. She glanced at the sleeping child and then at Carter. The child did look a little like him. "Carter yeah I can see a little of you in her. Why?"
Carter paused for a minute. He wasn’t sure if he should go any further with it. But there was a nagging feeling in his gut that this was the reason that Brenna was in Chicago.
"On my way back from rehab a met a woman on a plane, one thing leads to another and to make a long story short. I ended up sleeping with her mother. I think that this may be my child. She may be my little girl."
"Carter, surely if this was your child, by now her mother would have told you something. I mean how long ago was this now Carter a year, year and a half. She wouldn‘t have kept this a secret from you of all people."
"Yeah it was about a year and a half or so. But I just can't shake this feeling that this is the reason that she came here from Seattle to see me. Why else would she fly in with out saying a word to me before hand? It just doesn't make sense. None of this makes any sense. I thought that I would never see her again." Carter said shaking his head.
"Did you know she was here to see you, or is that just a suspicion that you have in your head?"
"Actually when I called Doug to let her know she was here, he told me she had come to Chicago to see Me," he said.
"Whoa what she’s related to Doug? I didn‘t know that Doug had any family other than Carol and the twins." Susan said surprised.
"Yeah, this is Doug’s little sister."
"Did you know that before you slept with her?"
"Yeah I did, she told me all about it on the flight back from Atlanta. She was really open with me and the connection we had on the flight back was amazing. But it seemed like once she got on that plane back to Seattle that was going to be the end of it. That she wasn‘t ever going to come back."
"I think that you are going to have a lot to explain to Abby." Susan said as she walked out the door.
"Susan what does Abby have to do with this?"
"Oh come on Carter. Everyone knows that you have feelings for her. Deep ones too that goes beyond friendship." She stated.
"I think that her and Luka are dating again puts a damper on anything that I might have felt for her. I don’t want the kind of relationship that she does anyway." He said and watched Susan walk out of the room.
…. Several hours later…
"Hey Jerry," Doug said as he walked into the ER, "long time no see."
"Hey Dr. Ross, what are you doing here. Didn’t think that we would ever see you in Chicago after Carol and the girls left for Seattle."
"My baby sis is here. I guess she had some kind of car accident. Do you know where Brenna and Johnna are?" Doug asked.
"Yeah let me get Dr. Carter, he can take you to them." Jerry said turning to Abby, "Can you find Carter and let him know that Doug is here to see his sister."
Abby walked down the hall and leaned into the room where Carter was sitting mesmerized by the infant girl. "Dr. Carter, Doug is here to see Brenna and Johnna."
"Tell him I’ll be right there." Dr. Carter said. Not even taking his eyes off the child.
Abby had to wonder what was up between Dr. Carter and this mysterious woman who had come crashing into the ER. He was acting weird since her arrival. She knew that she had something to do with it but she couldn’t put her finger on his behaviour.
John heard Doug’s voice from behind him. "So how is my niece? She doesn’t appear to be too bad off."
"She’ll be okay Doug. She’s been bounced around a little." John told him, "It’s Brenna you need to worry about."
"How bad is she?" He asked.
"Come on I’ll take you to her." John said leading him down the hallway. "She’s broken a couple of ribs, but the trouble is that she hasn’t woke up yet. She’s been in a coma since she got her. CT scan didn’t show anything to out of the norm, but until she wakes up when won’t know the full extent of just what happened. We didn‘t see anything on ultrasound that seemed to out of the ordinary either. It‘s just going to be a matter of watch and see for now."
"I know." Doug said to him as he sat down and picked up his sister’s hand.
"Doug I don’t want to go to Chicago and tell the Johnna's father about her. You can’t make me go." Brenna cried, "how many times are we going to have this argument before you give it a rest."
"Brenna you need to tell him, you can’t keep him in the dark forever about all of this." Doug shouted at her. He was frustrated with her.
"Why, you don’t know him, I don’t think that he even would want a child. I am not going to force her on him like some kind of prize. He’ll think that I’m just there to get money from him. And I don’t want or need that. And what he doesn't know isn't going to hurt him."
"What, oh now come on. I’m sure that money isn’t the first thing that he’s going to think that you want from him. Besides Johnna needs to know her father. What will you tell her when she gets older? Sorry sweetie you're dad was just a one night stand and I didn't think that he needed to know about you." Doug said.
"Doug, I know John better than you do. He’s got a lot on his plate right now and I am not going to add another thing to it. Let alone a baby. Johnna can go find her dad when she's older if she, and only if she wants to." She told him.
"So his name is John, that’s the first time you’ve given this guy a name other than him or her dad." Doug said.
"Yeah it is so what big deal. It was a one-night stand thing. He and I just happened to get along really well and enjoyed each other’s company on the way back from Atlanta." She said, "I don’t see any harm in just letting it stay that way. Besides he’s working his way up the ladder at the hospital that he works at. I’m not going to put any bumps in that road. You’ve said yourself it’s hard to move up at County, several times."
"County, you mean this guy works at Cook County?"
"Yeah he does, but really that doesn’t matter."
Doug got silent. It had been a long time since he had been in Chicago. He was now happy in Seattle working as a pediatrician. With Carol and the girls in Seattle now, he had no reason to even think about the time in his life where he almost lost everything that was important to him. John, why did that name ring a bell with him? Carter!! Dang it, she slept with Carter off all people.
"John Carter, Brenna it was John Carter. Holy shit you like your men all fucked up don’t you."
"Doug, damn it knock that off. I don't have to take shit from you right now."
"No and what you’re doing isn’t far, you’re going to get on the next flight to Chicago and go and tell him aren’t you!"
"Will you leave me alone if I do?" She asked.
"Yeah I will."
"Right now I am willing to do anything if it will get you to stop pestering me about this. You are too much of a busy body and I want you out of it." She said walking away.
"Doug, why did Brenna come to Chicago to see me?" Carter asked.
Doug was off lost in his own thoughts.
"Oh what Carter? Sorry." Doug said coming back to reality.
"Why is Brenna in Chicago to see me?" He asked him again.
"You need to wait for her to tell you." Doug said.
"Come on Doug I need a better answer than that?" Carter said. "She shows up in Chicago with out even a phone call. Ends up in the ER and all you can say is I need to wait. You are going to have to do better than that."
"Carter, do you have any feelings what so ever for my little sister?" Doug asked.
"What does that have to do with anything?" He asked.
"I just want to know. I don’t want to see her get hurt any more. She’s had some rough times and getting hurt is the last thing that I want to happen to her right now." He said.
"There’s nothing going on between your sister and I. What happened is in the past and I can’t change it or undo it." John sighed, "but as for now I haven’t seen her since she took that flight to Seattle. I never thought that I would see her again."
"I know you haven't seen her since she was on that trip to Atlanta." He said. Looking down at his sister, "open your eyes Brenna, you have to come back to us."
Brenna squeezed Doug’s hand and her eyelids fluttered.
"She’s triggering the vent." John said. "Brenna can you hear me open your eyes."
She struggled for a minute and then opened her eyes.
"Welcome back." John said looking a Doug.
"You have a tube in your throat to help you breathe better. You broke a couple of ribs and gave us all a pretty good scare."
Brenna looked up at John. She was still really groggy from the medication and the tube was irritating her throat. She wanted it out. She reached up toward to the tube and was going to pull it out herself.
"Hey slow down there. I know doc’s make the worst patients. " He said to her. "Doug have the blow by ready and I'll take this tube out before she gets up and does it herself."
"Brenna takes a deep breath in and when I pull the tube blow out as hard as you can.
"One.... two...three...now blow, blow, blow." He slipped the tube out of her throat. Carter heard her take a deep breath of air followed by a coughing spasm.
She started to try to talk.
"Hold on, don't talk if you don't have to. You're throat's going to be really sore and you need to rest anyway. " He told her. "You can stay here with her if you want Doug make sure she does get some more sleep though it shouldn't be hard for her. That pain med we gave her ought to keep her pretty groggy for a while.
John looked at her and smiled before he headed out of the room. He paused at the door - way and said, "Just yell for me if you need anything I'll be around here somewhere for awhile longer."
"Night Carter." Doug said as he watched him walk out the door.