Sometimes The Grim Reaper Rings Twice
AUTHOR: Gayle Ben-Ezra and Sharon Short
CATEGORY: Drama/Angst JC/AL/Cast
ARCHIVE: Sure, just let me know
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of the characters, yadda, yadda, yadda, although Noah Wyle IS my personal sex slave. ;0)
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is not a Carby. It's just an illusion. Sharon begins co-writing with Chapter 19
SUMMARY: Abby moves back into her apartment.
Carter slammed the trunk of his car, and the sound echoed through the early morning darkness.
"I think that was the last carton." He said to Abby, "Luka said he'd check around to be sure, though."
She sat on the steps of her building, her head down, with her hair, unkempt as usual, obscuring her face. She nodded silently, and flicked away the end of her cigarette.
Carter tilted his head to the side, "What? Don't tell me you're mad." He said, trying to cajole her. "I've had this conference booked for months. I can't cancel. I'm the keynote speaker."
Abby shrugged, "Sure. Fine. Whatever." She said, sullenly, "You have to go. I just hadn't counted on staying here alone." She hugged herself to suppress a shudder; "It still sort of gives me the creeps."
"This was your idea, Abby." Carter said, "You were the one who wanted to move back in here. Luka was fine with you staying there until you could find something else. You were the one who couldn't face him anymore. He told me he's glad for us." Carter swept her hair out of her eyes, "You could always move in with me..." He suggested.
Abby shook her head vehemently, "We already discussed that, and I already told you no. I'm just not ready for that, and neither are you."
"Suit yourself." He told her, " I'll only be gone ten days. You'll be fine. If you need anything, you can call Luka. He still cares about you, Abby."
Abby exhaled loudly, "Yeah. I know." She said, rolling her eyes and raking her hand through her bangs, "Just get out of here, before I change my mind." She gave him a weak smile, her hands shoved down into her back pockets. She lowered her eyes, and cleared her throat; "Have a good flight." She said, barely above a whisper.
Carter glanced down at her, "Abby…" he whispered, lifting her chin so he could look her in the eyes, "Everything will be fine. They don't even live here anymore. You've got nothing to worry about. I'll call you when I land." He leaned down to kiss her, and she backed away. Carter nodded, stung by her rejection. He shrugged it off. This was her defense mechanism; he should know this by now he told himself. The Great Wall of Abby. He was determined to break it down; he just didn't know if he ever could.
Abby watched him get into the car, start it up and drive away. She watched the taillights until she couldn't see them anymore, and then she turned and went upstairs.
Abby unlocked the door to her apartment and threw her keys on the table near the door, and sighed loudly. "I'm the keynote speaker…." She mimicked Carter; "I'm your goddamn girlfriend…." She answered herself, wishing she'd said it to his face. Last night was the first time she'd spent in this apartment in the past two months. She hadn't been too frightened with Carter here. Now, alone, she felt anxiety and paranoia beginning to take hold.
In the weeks since she and Carter been together, Abby had become increasingly uncomfortable with the whole living situation. Sure, Luka kept telling both she and Carter that he was happy for them, but Abby could tell by the look on his face how he truly felt. She knew she had to move out of Luka's place. He'd invited her to stay with him after the assault, she was well aware, in the hopes that they could rekindle their relationship. Abby had only stayed as long as she had out of convenience she told herself, nothing more. Up until the very moment she had told him about she and Carter, Abby could see that Luka had still held out hope that they'd get back together. Abby had never really discounted the possibility herself until she and Carter had kissed in the trauma room. Somehow, even still, the fact that Luka still wanted her gave Abby just the slightest twinge of pleasure; she had two men who desperately wanted her, and she was taking full advantage. Carter was her lover, her protector, and her best friend. Luka was willing to do almost anything to appease her, including turning the other cheek to her drinking.
In the end, Abby had decided it was best for her to face her fears and move back into this apartment. She didn't want to move in with Carter, and she couldn't stay with Luka anymore. There was really no other choice.
The sudden ringing of the phone startled Abby. She shook her head, and chuckled to herself, "He's calling to beg my forgiveness already." Abby answered the phone, "John…just get on your flight." She blurted out. The line went dead. Abby looked into the receiver, puzzled, and put it back into the cradle.
Abby lit a cigarette, poured herself a cup of coffee, and set about the business of getting settled back into the apartment.
In the den, Abby picked up the empty wineglass she had been using the night Brian had beaten her. She brought it up to her face, and sniffed. It still had a vague odor of the wine she'd been drinking; though its contents had long since evaporated. She wondered if there was still any left in the bottle. She opened the refrigerator, and the phone rang again. She dropped the glass and it shattered on the floor. "Shit!" she spat as she went for the phone, "Hello?" Abby said, bending down to clean up the glass. All she heard was the dial tone. The phone rang again, almost instantaneously.
"Look, you asshole!" Abby shouted into the phone this time.
"Abby?" Carter interrupted, "You're still pissed?"
Abby put her hand to her forehead, "John? No, I mean, yes, I am, but that's not it. I've been getting hang up calls all morning. I thought this was another one."
"How many calls?" Carter asked, concerned.
"Four or five, I think." Abby said, "I actually thought it could have been you on your cell, but you didn't answer when I called back. It's probably some kids with nothing better to do." She told him, trying to convince herself, just as much as she was trying to convince him.
"You're probably right." Carter agreed, "If it keeps up, just take the phone off the hook. I can always page you if I need to reach you. I just wanted to let you know that I'm at my hotel." He loosened his tie, "So you're not still mad." He smiled to himself, "I knew you couldn't stay mad at me." He teased her, "It's that Carter charm."
Abby rolled her eyes, "Don't flatter yourself, Mr. Keynote Speaker. I'm still pissed." She retorted. The call waiting clicked, "John? Just a sec, I'm getting a call." Abby answered the other line, only to be greeted by a muffled "Bitch," followed by a dial tone. Abby's heart leapt into her throat, and she went back to Carter.
"Okay. This is not some kid, John. Somebody just said "Bitch" into the phone and hung up." She told him nervously.
"Abby." Carter told her, "I think you're overreacting. Who would be doing this to you? Don't tell me you think that it's Brian?"
"Why is that such a farfetched thought?" Abby said, "Who else would be doing it?"
"Like you said, a bunch of kids, Abby. He couldn't possibly know you're back in the apartment. Stop being paranoid. Why don't you go out for a while? Call Susan and get some lunch. I have to run, anyway."
Abby sighed, "You're probably right." She agreed, "Good luck with your speech."
Carter ran his hand through his hair, "Okay. I'll call you later, let you know how it went. Bye." He said, hanging up the phone.