The Sun Will Shine Again
SPOILERS: Such Sweet Sorrow
DISCLAIMER: Unfortunately, I don't own Doug Ross, or the rest of the ER characters in this story, NBC and Warner Brothers do. I am not making any profits from this story, so please don't sue me.
SUMMARY: Such Sweet Sorrow from Doug's point of view.
Soft rays of sunlight streamed through the window, as a gentle breeze rustled the curtains of the master bedroom. Beneath the covers of the large oak bed, Doug Ross stirred slightly, smiling as he remembered his dreams from the previous night. Her face was so clear, so vivid, and he could almost feel her presence in the room. He closed his eyes tightly, not wanting to lose the image before him. He dreaded the moment in which he would fully awake, and be forced to face another day without her, without them. Each morning he hoped, he prayed, that when he awoke, she would be next to him, that it wasn't just a dream.
The shrill sound of the alarm on the bedside table woke him from this daze. Doug sat up quickly, trying to erase the sad and lonely feelings from his mind. For the first time in 3 weeks, he had a day off, and he didn't want to spend it moping around, mourning over what could have been. Maybe he'd take the boat out, or work on finishing some of the rooms in his new house. There were endless tasks that needed to be done, numerous things to take his mind off of her, of them.
He poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down at the table with the newspaper.
He scanned the headline news and entertainment section, the settled down with the sports page. He was disappointed to find that the Mariners had lost to the Red Sox again. 'What the hell were they thinking in trading Griffey?' he thought. Turning to the second page, he discovered that the Supersonics were playing the Bulls tonight. There it was again, Chicago. He couldn't even read the newspaper without being reminded of his former town and all he left behind there. He threw the paper down in disgust and went to take a shower.
The shower was able to calm him down a little, but nothing could completely erase the hurt he felt after she had once again turned down his offer to move to Seattle with him. He knew in his heart that it was a long shot, but it still hurt to hear the words of rejection from her. He had bought this house on the lake with his family in mind, hoping someday his girls would be here to enjoy it with him. But with each passing day, the reality of that situation grew slimmer, and his heart ached more. His heart would always belong to Carol, but he didn't know how much longer he could live with the pain and suffering she was causing him. Every time he heard of Chicago, County, or even treated baby girls, he was reminded of the life he longed to have, but was denied.
Doug dressed and got ready for a day that he hoped would be productive, or at least refreshing. He didn't bother shaving, figuring that no one would have to see him today, and he just through on some old work clothes. Passing through the living room, he paused at the pictures on the mantle, and stared at them, reliving the memories. There was one of Kate and Tess, taken around Christmastime, and one of him and Carol, taken a couple of years ago, when they were happy and envisioning a lifetime together. He could still remember that day, a day when they skipped work and went to a cabin in the woods instead. It was worth it, for even the lecture they got from Kerry Weaver afterwards couldn't dampen their spirits. It was hard to believe that merely two years later, they were living over a thousand miles apart and barely speaking to each other.
He picked up the framed photo of Kate and Tess, and stared at it sadly, remembering the few times they spent together. It had been over a month since he saw them last, and since that most recent visit, they had probably grown and changed tremendously, but he wasn't there to see it. It pained him to think of all he was missing with his daughters, him not having the chance to watch them grow up. He already lost out with his son, and he didn't want to make that same mistake with his daughters. Gazing at the picture, he could almost smell their fresh baby powder scent and hear their soft coos and giggles as he held them and played with them. He longed or a chance to see them, but knew that the likelihood of him getting out to Chicago anytime soon was slim with his new work schedule.
Doug had just started a new job, opting to go into private practice, to help pay for his new house. He had always been against the idea of working in a private practice, but he felt it would be best for his family, if he ever managed to have a family. The hours, once he gained seniority, would be better than those in the E.R., and he would have the option of extended vacations. The pay was great too, much better than what he had earned in the E.R., good enough for him to buy a wonderful home on Lake Washington and renovate most of the house. The first room he fixed up was a nursery for his girls, a room he hoped they would one day fill. He had given up his lifelong dream of being an E.R. pediatrician for his family. Now all he could do was wait for them to hopefully come and make his home, and his life, complete.
Doug sighed and replaced the photo back on the mantle. It didn't do him any good to stand around and think about what he should have done differently. He had work he had to do. The new furniture he had ordered had arrived a few days ago, and he had yet to do much with it. The boxes were piled up in one of the guest rooms, unopened. He would try to at least unpack the boxes today, if not organize and arrange their contents. He knew it could be awhile before he had a full day off again, and he didn't want to waste it.
After a few long hours of hard work, Doug grabbed a beer and stepped out onto the porch for a well-deserved break. It was a mild day, and surprisingly it wasn't raining, although the skies were darkening fast. He stood there for a few minutes, letting himself cool down, before turning to go back inside. He stopped at the mailbox on his way in, but found it stuffed only with bills. He wasn't surprised, only disappointed, not to find an envelope with her familiar handwriting, containing photos, or even just a letter or note to keep him updated on the latest happenings in Chicago. Taking one last look at the sky, he threw the bills inside, and decided to take the boat out before it rained.
Doug had never been much of a boater back in Chicago. The previous owner of his house had left behind their boat, however, and after a short while, he took a real liking to being out on the water. It was relaxing, drifting around on the calm waters of Lake Washington. He was usually the only one out on his side of the lake, so he usually didn't have to worry about being disturbed. He could just motor around the lake for hours, leaving his troubles behind on shore.
The hot afternoon sun pounded down on him, leaving beads of sweat on his forehead. He decided to explore another, shadier area of the lake, a little alcove on the opposite side. As he glided across the choppy waters, he smiled, imagining taking his girls out on the craft someday, teaching them the finer points of boating and fishing. He could almost hear them laughing and playing in the water with their daddy. He just hoped that their 'daddy' would be him, and not some other man.
A low rumble of thunder in the distance interrupted his thoughts. The sky was dark, and menacing. The clouds that had quickly replaced the bright sun threatened to open up and rain down on him at any minute. Doug quickly turned the boat around and headed back towards the pier, not wanting to be caught in a sudden downpour. He docked the boat, and reached over the side to secure it from the heavy winds that would most likely accompany the storm. As he was fastened the final rope in place, he spotted someone, her, out of the corner of his eye.
His heart leapt into his throat as he realized who it was. He blinked, trying to hold back tears, as he slowly sauntered up the hill towards her. Carol looked as beautiful as ever standing there, smiling nervously with her hands folded across her chest. He was in shock, in disbelief, that she had finally come to him. He composed himself long enough to realize that she was waiting for him alone.
"Where are the girls?" he managed to stammer.
"They're with my mom," she replied calmly, waiting for him to make the first move.
He smiled shyly as he realized that she had come for her and not the girls. She was there to see him. He tried to suppress his excitement that the day he had been waiting for might have finally arrived. He looked down, letting it sink in.
"It's beautiful here," she said apprehensively. She looked up at him nervously, letting him know that she wanted reassurance from him, that he wanted this as much as she did.
He gazed into her eyes, then gently put his hands on her face. Having received the answer she was hoping for, she grabbed him back and kissed him fervently. Excitement soared through him as he returned the passion, kissing her back and gently caressing her face. Tears welled up in his eyes as he became fully aware of what he was experiencing. He had waited fifteen months for this day, and it was better than he could have ever imagined. He pulled away momentarily and chuckled heartily, overwhelmed with emotion. He wanted this moment to last forever. He held her tight, lifting her above his head as she laughed and squealed. Raindrops began to fall around them, but they were oblivious to it at first, as they continued to laugh and cry with happiness. At last, Doug was forced to set her down.
"I'm so glad you came," he said softly.
"Me too, me too," she whispered back.
"Let's go inside before we get soaked," he offered.
Hand in hand, they walked up the incline towards the house. Doug put his arm around her as he opened the door and ushered her inside. He flicked on the lights, allowing her to see the interior. Her eyes widened with amazement.
"It's huge," she said. "It's wonderful."
"I haven't quite finished decorating it, so excuse the messiness," he said smiling. "Should we sit down and talk?"
"Sure," she responded. "I think we've got a lot to talk about."
They went into the living room and sat side by side on the couch. Doug broke the ice by speaking up first.
"So, how long are you staying?" he asked curiously, hopefully.
"Forever, I hope," she replied, looking into his eyes lovingly. "I don't want to ever lose you again. I couldn't stand to live without you another day," she said, her voice breaking. "I love you so much. I can't believe I was so stupid."
"You weren't stupid," he said comfortingly. "We both made difficult, regretful decisions. I'm just glad you're here with me again. I've missed you."
He pulled her close and stroked her hair lovingly, something he hadn't done in such a long time. They lay together for hours, talking and reminiscing about the last few months, before Doug was finally forced to break up the conversation so they could get some rest. He brought her upstairs, promising to sort everything out in the morning.
"You can have the guest room if you like," he said.
"I don't want to be apart from you tonight. Can I stay with you, in your bed?" she asked timidly.
He smiled. He had waited so long to hear her say that. "Of course you can. You can stay with me for as long as you like."
She fell asleep in his arms almost instantly, but he stayed awake for hours, watching her sleep next to him. He finally drifted off satisfied with the events of the day. When he awoke, he was afraid to open his eyes, afraid that it would be just another dream. But this time it wasn't; this time it was real. He slowly got out of bed and walked to the window, staring at the woman of his dreams alive in his bed. Peering out the window, he was disappointed to find rain pouring down, but despite the gloomy weather, the day, and his future, had never looked so bright.