The Loves of My Life
Susan Lewis walked around her comfortable Chicago apartment, a cup of tea in her hand. She sat by the open window, letting the warm breeze gently push her hair away from her face.
It was a typical late summer night in Chicago. Susan looked at the clock -- almost 9 p.m. She smiled, knowing that Luka would be home soon. Susan sighed with happiness, and reflected upon the many loves of her life.
Div Cvetic. He and Susan had begun dating when they both worked at County General. It had gone okay at first, although they had both decided to keep the relationship a secret. Of course, there were tense moments between the two, like the time that Div chewed her out for releasing a psych patient of his. Then again, they had made up in his apartment that night...rather, his bed. Then came Thanksgiving, and Div had become more and more depressed and withdrawn. He tried to convince Susan that it was just stress, that he was fine, but she didn't believe him. Right before Christmas, Susan found out that Div had quit County. Carter had offered to drive her to Div's apartment, and when they got there, Susan was stunned to find that he had moved out. The biggest shock came months later, while attending to a cab driver who had been injured. Susan and Malik were shown a scrapbook of people the cab driver had fixed up, and one of the newlyweds was none other than Div Cvetic. Susan had been in shock for a couple of days afterwards.
Susan sipped her tea and pushed all thoughts of Div out of her head. He was gone now, married to someone he'd met through a cab driver. Susan leaned her head against the window and looked up at the starry sky.
Mark Greene. Mark and Susan had been best friends since the first day they met at County. They had been quite a sight: skinny Mark with the glasses, and nervous medical student Susan. Mark had taken Susan under his wing and showed her the ropes. At first, it was like a big brother - little sister relationship. Mark was married to Jen, and they had a baby daughter, Rachel. Susan was still in her mid twenties and enjoying the single life. Not that she had time, as a medical student, she was either at the hospital or studying. After a few years, things began to change. Mark and Jen divorced, and he was the one leading the carefree single life. Suddenly, the "Mutt and Jeff" of the ER were finding themselves attracted to each other. Susan, however, had decided to move to Phoenix to be closer to her sister and niece. Mark had run up to her at Union Station, declaring his love for her. Susan knew she would never forget the look on Mark's face as she told him that she had to go. They shared their first and last kiss together, and then Susan stepped onto the train, said "I love you" to Mark, and waved good-bye. He was heartbroken.
Five years later, Susan was back in Chicago. Mark was remarried this time, to fellow County surgeon Elizabeth Corday, and they had a beautiful baby daughter named Ella. However, their joyful reunion was short-lived. Mark had battled a brain tumor a couple of years earlier, and when it returned, it was terminal. Mark and Elizabeth were separated at the time, and he confided in his best friend, Susan, about his condition. Susan had reluctantly agreed to keep his secret, but it wasn't long before Mark announced it to the ER. He left a short while later, took Rachel to his childhood home in Hawaii, and was later joined there by Elizabeth and Ella. Sadly, Mark succumbed to his tumor in early May, 2002, and Susan had lost one of her best friends. She missed him every day, but knew he would always be a part of her.
Susan exited her kitchen after refilling her cup of tea. She climbed through the open window and stood on the fire escape. Leaning against the railing, she continued to think about the many men who had been important in her life.
Keith Parker. Susan had met Keith through a friend at Phoenix Memorial Hospital, where she had worked for five years. They had gone out to an Italian restaurant on their first date and had a wonderful time. The couple dated for a year when Keith proposed to her. Susan joyfully said yes, and began to plan their wedding. Two events then would change her life forever: she found out through hospital gossip that Keith, who was close with several of the other doctors, had been cheating on Susan. Susan was devastated. She felt as though she had finally found the man she wanted to spend her life with, and he was unfaithful. After confronting him, Keith admitted that he was seeing someone else and didn't want to marry Susan.
The next event was more surprising: Susan learned that she was pregnant. She told Keith right away, secretly hoping that he would return to her. To her dismay, he not only didn't want the baby, but he told her to have an abortion. Susan told him that she would never do that, and decided to end all contact with Keith. One fateful day three months later, Susan began to hemorrhage while at work. She passed out and was found by a doctor she worked with. When she woke up hours later, Susan was given the heartbreaking news that she had lost her baby. With nothing to keep her in Phoenix, as her sister Chloe and family were moving, Susan packed her things and headed back to Chicago. She never wanted to think about Phoenix again -- not Keith, the baby, nothing. She wanted a fresh start in Chicago.
Susan sat on the steps of the fire escape. Her return to Chicago had surprised many at County. Especially Carter, she thought, as a smile crossed her face. She could still remember the day that she walked into the ER after being away for five years. Carter was bent over at the admit desk, trying to find a spider. Susan had teased him, saying, "Funny, that's not how I remember you." Carter, stunned to hear a familiar voice, got up and hit his head on the desk. Susan laughed and replied, "That is." Carter embraced her in a warm hug, and they became close friends once again. Carter accompanied Susan to her yoga class -- and knocked her over, Susan recalled with a soft laugh. He confided in Susan about the stabbing and the drug addiction that followed. Then one day, after treating a couple with a peculiar allergy, Carter and Susan shared their first kiss. Seven years earlier, when Carter had driven Susan home after the night that she found out Div had moved, he had tried to kiss her, but Susan stopped it. Carter was a medical student, she was a resident; it wasn't right. Seven years later, the kiss was wonderful. A second kiss followed, and then more...they had dated for a few months, but Susan hated to admit that there wasn't much chemistry. She saw Carter with Abby Lockhart, a nurse at County who would eventually become Susan's close friend, and she had to admit to herself that they had wonderful chemistry together. Carter and Abby now dated and Susan was happy for them.
Susan glanced at her watch. It read 8:58 p.m. She rested her chin in her hand, and smiled, knowing that Luka would be home soon. He had recently moved into Susan's apartment with her. Susan thought back to the day that their relationship had changed, from colleagues to something more.
She had still been dealing with the loss of her baby when another baby, soon to be yet another victim of SIDS, came in. Luka, Carter and Susan tried their best to save him, but it was to no avail. Susan had run off, memories of losing her own baby too much for her to bear. While Carter went to give the SIDS baby's parents the terrible news, Luka had gone to see if Susan was all right. There, on the rooftop of County General, Susan poured out her heart to this man that she barely knew. She told him about the miscarriage, and how she was still grieving. Luka revealed to Susan that he had lost his wife and children in the war in Croatia. He had also promised to keep Susan's secret, and he had kept his word. Susan was still keeping another secret at the time: the one of Mark's terminal illness. She had been caring for her best friend, as well as working long hours at County, and the emotional turmoil was beginning to catch up to her. One afternoon, at her apartment, she tearfully confided in Luka about Mark's condition. Luka, also upset, had stayed with Susan. She woke up on the sofa the next morning to find Luka holding her in his arms. For the first time in months, Susan had slept peacefully. When Luka woke up, he and Susan had stared in each other's eyes. Then his watch alarm had sounded. Damn that thing, Susan had thought at the moment...she wondered what would've happened if they hadn't been interrupted.
Not long after, Mark passed away. Susan and Luka spent more time together, mourning the loss of their friend together. Then one night, at Luka's apartment, they shared their first kiss. It was perfect -- gentle, passionate, loving. It was the beginning of a fairytale romance. After dating for a few weeks, Luka confessed his love for Susan. She in return told Luka that she loved him. They soon became lovers, and most recently, Luka moved into her apartment. Susan secretly hoped that a marriage proposal was in the not-too-distant future. She could picture her life with Luka: working side-by-side at County, coming home together, raising a family...it was all she wanted in life.
A strong pair of arms wrapped around Susan. She turned around and smiled. "Hi."
"Hi," a thick Croatian accent repeated. "What are you doing?"
"Just getting some fresh air," Susan replied. She stroked Luka's face. "How was work?"
"Not as chaotic as this morning," he said. Susan smiled.
"Do you want me to make you something to eat?" Luka shook his head.
"No, I went to Doc Magoo's and had some dinner," he replied. "I couldn't wait to get home to you." He leaned in and tenderly kissed Susan. "So, when I got here, you looked like you were pretty deep in thought. What were you thinking about?"
"You," Susan answered. "And how you are the true love of my life." Luka leaned in and they kissed again. Susan laid in his arms and they looked out into the starry night, holding each other and talking about their wonderful life together.