Even the board was empty. The ER hadn't been this quiet since the small pox scare. Residents were milling around with out much to do. Dr. Carter and Dr. Lewis were standing at the admit desk pondering their current love lives or lack thereof.
Carter had been dating Abby for awhile now, they had gotten together during the small pox scare, and it seemed to be going well. Well, as well as it could be expected. He had debated over and over in his mind whether or not to take it to the next step.
The night crept on in silence. Being slow made it seem to drag on forever. They had the occasional patient, a sore throat and a child with a fever, who turned out to have an ear infection. Yet it was nothing that overwhelmed the staff of County General. The sun rose and the new morning dawned. Time for the day shift to take over the care of Chicago's needy. Dr. Chen and Dr. Kovac came in to take over for Dr. Lewis and Dr. Carter. Carter had been on for 36 hours straight again. He and Dr. Lewis were left picking up the slack for Dr. Weaver being gone so much. No one knew for sure why Kerri was gone so much lately but no one seemed to be complaining the ER Chief was missing. There had been a new found peace around the ER with her gone. There was something about Dr. Weaver that made people rejoice when she wasn't at work. It might have been that she was very possessive about her ER, and County was just that HER ER.
Dr. Carter headed out into the Chicago day. It was cold, rainy, and windy. He pulled his coat up around his neck trying to keep the wind out. He hated days like these. He would much rather have had it warm and sunny. The cloudy overcast weather gave him a feeling of sadness. The weather hadn’t affected him before that Valentines Day nearly three years ago now, but it seemed that ever since he couldn’t shake the feeling that came over him when the weather turned cold. He missed Lucy still to this day. He no longer blamed himself for her untimely death. That was Paul’s fault. He was the one who shoved the knife into her over and over again before turning it on Carter and shoving it into his back six times. Carter knew that it was just something that had happened. Paul Sobriki was sick. There was nothing else to it. There was no rhyme or reason as to why it happened it had just happened. He couldn’t change it and he definitely bring Lucy back no matter how much he wanted to. The past was the past and it was going to stay that way.
Carter watched Abby walk into the ER. She was the love of his life now. He never thought that they would be together, especially since he had loved her when she was still dating Luka. When they broke up he was elated. Not because of the pain to either one of them, but because it meant that she could finally be his. She was special to him. A rock in his life, she had been his sponsor when he was going to the AA meetings. Part of the parole that Kerri and Mark had put him on when he had gotten back from Atlanta. He had nearly ruined his career, and the funny thing is, she was the one who had caught him. As much as he wanted to deny that, it was the truth. She saved not only him from sure disaster but from losing his career as well. Where would he be if it wasn't for her and her love, although when she turned him in there was nothing between them. His addiction could have sent him someplace that he would rather not think about being.
She was followed by Luka and by Chen, they were the ones taking over the day shift. Carter didn't mind working nights all that much, the thing that he missed most when working those long hours was that he couldn't be with Abby. She was going thru a lot right now with her brother recently being diagnosed as Bipolar and Maggie taking off with him, telling her that she could take care of him, that he would need time to adjust to being bipolar and right now he didn't need her. She could help him adjust better since she was bipolar herself. Abby was upset knowing that Maggie could barely take care of herself let alone take care of Eric. But when Maggie had told her that she was taking Eric back to Michigan, Abby told her not to bother to call her when they got there, as far as they were concerned she was done. All she wanted was to be happy and live what was as close to a normal life as she could get. But she didn't know if that was possible.
Abby headed toward the lounge to put her things away. She noticed out of the corner of her eye that Carter was following in the same direction. She had missed him last night. Sleeping was not the same with out his warm body curled up next to hers in sweet dreamland. She wondered if he had missed her while he was working, and if he would miss her today when he went home and curled up in the empty bed that she had left just an hour ago. Surely he would, she knew that he loved her. He didn't have to say it even. Abby could tell just by the look in his eyes when he was near her.
"I missed you." He said walking up behind her and encircling his arms around her waist.
“I missed you too.” She said putting her things into a locker. “It’s hard to sleep when you’re gone at night.”
“It will be hard to sleep today while you’re gone.” He said turning her around so that she was looking at him. He reached down and ran his finger down her check bone. Her skin was so soft, yet her face held an expression of someone who was emotionally worn out. He knew that it was from everything that had happened with her family. He had also vowed that he was going to be there for her no matter what happened. He leaned down and kissed her. She melted into his arms. “I love you.”
“I love you too Carter.” She said. She wanted so much to stay in his arms but she needed to get to work. “Are you off?”
“Yeah I am. I think I am going to head home and get some sleep.” He told her, “or try rather to get some sleep.”
“I’m off at four. Are you working tonight too?” She asked hoping against odds that the answer would be no.
“No I’m off tonight. I am working tomorrow morning.” He said not wanting to let her go but he knew that she would be needed out on the floor.
“Then I will see you when I get home.” She said pulling away from him, “as much as I would like to stay here I need to get to work. You know how Weaver is when we are late.”
John knew that all to well, but he also knew that Weaver wasn't here today. "She's gone today."
"I still need to go to work." She said heading toward the door, "don't worry I will see you when I get home."
He watched her walk out of the lounge. He put his white lab coat into his locker and pulled out his coat. He headed out of the lounge and toward the ambulance bay entrance. He glanced Abby's direction and waved to her as he walked out the door. John walked slowly toward the EL. He hadn't driven his jeep because it was almost as fast to take the EL from Abby's apartment to the ER. He walked up the stairs to catch the train that would take him home.
He walked up the stairs to their apartment. He threw his keys on the table by the door and his coat over a chair and headed to the bedroom. He was tired and could barely keep his eyes open. The night shift had worn him down. He missed Abby greatly.
Abby wished that her shift would just fly by. She wanted to be home with Carter. She had missed him last night. She didn't know where they were going, the road had been bumpy to say the least. But someone had once told her that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. She hoped that it was true. She hoped that everything that they had been thru was just making them stronger as a couple. Nothing was the same anymore and it could never been the same. She wasn't sure how much closer she should let Carter get. They were living together, but yet she still kept her distance from him. There was something inside of her screaming that she shouldn't get to close. But she couldn't explain to herself what that was. She didn't fear Carter at all, and she knew that he was not like Richard and wouldn't cheat on her. She knew Carter well enough to know that when he said that he would be there for her, that is what he meant. He had been her best friend for a long time. And after what she had done, turning him in for his drug addiction, she was surprised that they were able to be friends. She had always assumed that Carter had forgiven her and that he knew that she was just looking out for him and for the patients that he worked on. She didn't want to see him ruin his career. Maybe part of that was because even then she cared for him. Not the way that she did now, but more along the lines of a dear friend. John was her boyfriend now. How could she not let him into her life more. Maybe it was because she was afraid. Afraid that she could still end up like Maggie. The bi-polar ate at her like the dreaded disease that it was. She knew that Carter wanted children, and she knew that was something that she couldn't give him. She feared that her children would be bi-polar and that was something that she wasn't willing to pass on to anyone else. She had to grow up with it. Living thru it once was enough.
Dr. Weaver's voice snapped Abby from her thoughts.
"Abby we need you over here now." Dr. Weaver snapped.
Abby heard everything that was going on around her. She managed to follow and do what was needed but during the entire trauma that they were running she couldn't get her mind off of him. Carter was consuming her every thought.
They finished the trauma and Abby headed into the lounge and grabbed a cup of coffee. She stood there staring blankly at the wall. Thoughts of Carter consumed her. He was in her head all the time.
She walked out of the lounge and out the ambulance bay door and lit a cigarette that she pulled from her scrub jacket. Whether they were together or apart Carter was in her thoughts and she couldn't understand how after such a short period of time that she was consumed by him. She had never felt like this before. Richard, or Luka for that matter, were never in her head like this. If this was love, real love, she didn't know if she wanted it.