CATEGORY: JC/AL Romance
SPOILERS: Not that I know of
ARCHIVE: Please ask first, not that you’d want to archive this!
DISCLAIMER: I don’t own ER or Noah and Maura, but hey, Christmas is coming soon...
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Please, please send feedback! This is only my 2nd attempt at fanfic, and I’d like to know what you think.
SUMMARY: Carter and Abby get stuck together due to bad weather...
Carter sighed as heavy snow hit the El full force. He leaned back and shut his eyes. The train stopped without his noticing. He was lying comfortably, thinking about his hectic day at work and how nice it would be to get home, take a hot shower, and lay in bed with a medical magazine. Lost in his peaceful thoughts, he was startled when someone loudly called his name.
He opened his eyes to find Abby sitting next to him.
“Hey!” he said, sleepily. “When did you get here? I thought you drove today.”
“I did.” she said simply. “My car is dead in the parking garage, though, and I needed exercise, so I thought I’d walk to the next El pickup. Good to see you.”
It was all Carter could do not to tell her that she looked wonderful without the exercise, but somehow he managed to keep his mouth shut.
“It’s nice to see you too.”
For a few minutes they made small talk about work and their coworkers. Then, suddenly, the train stopped.
All of the passengers mused aloud about what was happening. Most knew they weren’t at a regular stop, but no one knew for sure, because the snow was falling so hard outside it was nearly impossible to see anything. Then, someone came over the loudspeaker system to tell the nervous passengers what was happening.
“I’m sorry, but it seems a part of our train isn’t functioning properly. Don’t worry, it’s not terribly serious, but it is serious enough that we’re going to have to stop this particular train’s route for tonight. So someone from the company will come to pull us off the tracks, and another train will arrive shortly for you passengers to board,
so just sit tight for a few more minutes. Thank you for your cooperation and for choosing to join us today.”
“Oh, I’m really glad I joined them today.” said Abby in a sarcastic tone.
Again, Carter had to bite his lip to keep him from saying, “I’m glad you did.”
For several minutes they sat in silence, staring at each other. Both wanted to talk, but neither knew exactly what to say. The uncomfortable silence was broken, however, by the scratchy voice over the loudspeaker.
“Folks, again, I’m sorry, but it seems that we’re having more difficulty than we first realized. Idling here on the tracks has caused the snow, which is falling extremely quickly, to build up against the sides of the train. So, unfortunately, we can’t seem to open the doors, let alone move the tracks. Also, the company has decided that due to the weather, it would be best to send someone in the morning instead of tonight, so we’ll probably have to spend the night here, on the cars. Don’t worry, though, we’re equipped with enough fuel that providing we have no further damages to the train, the heat will be able to be kept on all night. We’ll be coming around shortly with blankets, pillows, and food... but I’m not sure how many blankets we have, so how about sharing with a neighbor?” The man laughed at his own joke, then said, however reassuringly, “I was just kiddin’, there’s enough to go around, so thanks for your cooperation and have a good night’s sleep!” He chuckled again and then was gone.
Carter was exited. He’d seen the way Abby looked at him when the man joked about sharing with a neighbor...
Abby was so happy! Not that sleeping on a train was cause for celebration, but this wasn’t any old train, this was a train carrying John Carter. As long as he was on it, she’d sleep there any night! And hadn’t he looked at her, suggestively in her opinion, when the guy was talking about sleeping? She really hoped so...
Suddenly both turned to each other, realizing how much they wanted to talk.
“So, Carter, what was going on with you and that patient in Exam 2 today? You know, that cheerleader with the fractured kneecap? You were a little too eager to explain to her her x-rays, huh? Another Roxanne, maybe?”
“Abby, you’re only saying that in hope that I won’t comment on you and that firefighter with the burns? You seemed a little bit reluctant to let go of his hand when you were done bandaging it... does fire-resistant clothing turn you on or something? I remember when that other firefighter asked you out...”
“I would KILL to see you in a fireman’s outfit.”
Shit, Abby thought, what did I just say? Well, if Carter heard the comment, he didn’t respond.
Carter heard what Abby had said, but chose to ignore it. Changing the direction of the conversation, he said, “You know, I was a firefighter for Halloween once. Gamma got me a real fireman’s hat... I was so excited... then it was too heavy for my head she ended up carrying it while I trick-or-treated.”
Abby laughed. “ I didn’t have that many happy Halloweens that I can remember. Usually, I made my own costume, because it wasn’t like Mom was going to do it, and I didn’t have the money to buy one on my own. It was usually something basic like a bum or a witch... the only Halloween I remember during which Mom was on her meds, I was a sheet ghost. Eric never even trick-or-treated, he just went egging with a bunch of his friends every year.”
“Yeah, I did the egg thing too. Only usually I did my own house instead of other people’s.”
“Your own house? Isn’t that a little bit redundant?”
“It didn’t seem so at the time.”
Carter and Abby talked for hours this way, switching subjects frequently. More than a few times, nearby passengers yelled for them to be quiet. But neither cared. Both were just glad to be talking to each other again like they used to. The last few months had been very difficult for both of them, and even though that’s when they’d needed each other’s friendship most, it was when they talked the least.
Then their topic switched to the inevitable, yet hopefully avoidable- their relationships of the recent past.
“Honestly, Carter, SUSAN? Come on, she’s not your type. You know, maybe Chen was right about you having a thing for older women, because she’s nice and all, but that’s the only thing I can see that would draw you to her.”
“I guess it was just out of curiosity. We’d had a crush on each other way back when, only then, she was taken, and when she wasn’t, I was. Then Susan left for Phoenix, and we had time to think about it... and although she came back looking for Mark Greene, when he wasn’t available, she found me, and I was free. I think both of us really just wanted to know what it was like. I really wasn’t ever serious about it anyway, and I don’t think she was either.” Deciding he was through with that somewhat uncomfortable subject, he added, “Besides, Abby, don’t talk, you dated Luka for how many years?”
“Hey”, she said, “it wasn’t my fault. He’s changed so much since we first dated. Back then he wasn’t as tense, or as defensive. Luka was a really sweet guy then. I just felt safe being with him. And as the love in our relationship wore off, and believe me, Carter, it wore off, that’s all our relationship came down to. Security. He didn’t have any reason to hurt me, nor did I him. So we dated for emotional security. That ended up being so terrible, not loving him but having to endure doing the same things that we’d done for years that had become routine- kissing, dating, sleeping together, it all became so dull.”
“So why did you break up anyway?” Carter asked. “I mean, we all thought you two were in it for the long haul.” He knew what he wanted her to say and that there was a very good chance she’d say it.
C’mon, Abby, this is your chance! She wanted to leap into his arms and tell him she loved him, that she couldn’t stand loving him from afar now, that she wanted him now. God, she thought, look how crazy he makes me! Like I’ll ever tell him, she thought, resentfully.
“You!” She exclaimed, breaking the hush that had suddenly fallen over the car.
“What?” said Carter, hoping she’d just said what he’d been imagining...
“Carter”, Abby said, “I did it for you. I saw no point in continuing to be unhappy being with a man I didn’t love. You’re the one I love, Carter, I always have. I think I’ve loved you since I very first laid eyes on you. You have no idea how hard it’s been pretending, acting as though I didn’t care, trying not to let you know I’d fallen for you HARD. And when you started dating Susan, I began to think I’d never get the chance to tell you how I feel... and when you broke up with her, I was so happy, but I had to keep up my act.” She paused momentarily, because tears had started to form in her soft brown eyes. “I waited this long to tell you how I feel... I can’t believe I wasted so much time.”
Slowly, Carter reached out and touched the side of her face with his hand. Gazing into her eyes, he said, “We have now, and that’s all that matters.”
“I love you, Abby, more than I’ve ever loved anyone. Each day I’m more and more in love with you. And I’m not sure how much longer I’d have been able to go on not knowing whether or not my love was reciprocated. But Abby, just by letting me know you love me too, you’ve made me the happiest man in the world.”
With that, he let his hand slide off of her cheek and down around her neck. Both moved in for a kiss. The kiss started out softly, then deepened. Finally, taking the next step, Abby sucked on Carter’s lower lip, he opened his mouth, and their tongues explored and battled each other wildly. Reluctantly, both pulled away, though not leaving the position they were in. Carter’s arms were around Abby’s neck, and she was sitting on his lap, her legs stretched out, his torso between them. With their faces still inches from each other’s, Carter said, “You’re my Abby, and I’ll always love you.” They kissed again.
Then, pulling only one blanket up from her side, Abby rotated so that now, Carter lay on his side and she lay on hers, his arms still around her. She pulled the blanket up so it covered their intertwined bodies, lay her head against his toned chest, and closed her eyes. But within a second she opened them, stared into his liquid chocolate brown eyes, and said, “I love you, Carter.”
Pulling her closer, he said, “I love you too, Abby.”
The next morning, all was right again on the train. Someone had come and dug them out so that a door could be opened. Now all they were waiting on was a train to take them back to their original destinations. Carter and Abby, however, were still asleep in each other’s arms. All morning, passengers and crew had tiptoed past the two, commenting on how cute they looked together.
Carter woke up first, and looked down at his beautiful Abby, still asleep in his arms. He gently shook her, then sat both of them up. When she came to alertness a few seconds later and he looked around, a round of applause was suddenly instigated among the train passengers. Carter and Abby looked embarrassed, but pleased.
Later, when the train had come for them and Carter and Abby were walking, Carter’s arm around her small waist and their hands interlocked, Carter turned to Abby and said, “We should make it a point to take the El more frequently!”