The Very Good Years

AUTHOR: Lindsey
RATING: R - sexual situations, language
SPOILERS: Just the obvious Carby
ARCHIVE: email me and tell me where
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any ER characters, except for Carter and Abby's children
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Authors live for feedback! Love it? Hate it? Comments, questions, suggestions? Let me know!!
SUMMARY: This fic takes readers into the lives of John and Abby Carter. Feel their love, joy, anger and sorrow as they travel down the rocky road of life together.

November 22, 2008

Dear Abby,

Hello, sweetheart.  I'm sorry I haven't gotten the chance to write lately.  I know I could call or e-mail, but nothing beats an old-fashioned letter, right?  Things have been extremely busy over here.  The Foundation is setting up nicely and the entire team and I are extremely pleased with it's success.  I only wish you were here to share it with me.

How are things over there?  How's County?  You're taking it easy, I hope.  You know, since I've taken over the Foundation, you seem to forget that I'm still a doctor, and this doctor's orders are to slow it down.  I don't want Susan or Kerry calling me and saying you've gone into labor right in the middle of a trauma. 

Not much else to report from here.  Weather has been cloudy with rain lately.  How is it in Chicago?  Is the snow flying yet?  I'll be home sometime before Christmas, but the details are still fuzzy.  Just need to get things wrapped up here and I'll be on my way.

I miss you, baby, and I can't wait to see you again.  Stay safe and out of trouble.


Abby smiled as she finished his letter.  It was now the 27th, Thanksgiving Day, and he'd been gone for almost a month.  She was missing him terribly, especially today.  She'd agreed to take a shift at the hospital, which she normally took off, but with John in Paris, what was the point of spending the holiday alone?

Abby grabbed her coat, put on her gloves and wrapped a scarf around her neck.  Winter had come early to Chicago and it was freezing outside.  On her way out the door, she caught sight of their wedding picture sitting on the mantle.  She smiled sadly and hurried off to County.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Abby!  Good, you're here.  We've got an MVA en route.  ETA in five," Susan said, as Abby walked through County's doors.

"Okay, can I at least put my things away?" Abby asked, giving Susan a small smile.

Susan gestured to her with the pile of charts she was holding.  "Oh, yeah, sorry," she said, coming up beside her.  "How're you doing?"

Abby shot Susan a puzzled glance.  "Uh...fine?"

"Are you sure?" Susan asked, as they went into the lounge and Abby began putting her things away.  "I mean, I know it's gotta be hard.  With the holiday ... and Carter being so far away..."  Susan wasn't trying to pry, she just wanted be there for her friend.

Abby shrugged her coat off.  "Why do you think I'm here?"

Susan nodded.  "Well, if you ever need to talk, you know where to find me."

Abby smiled.  "Thanks."

Susan started to leave the lounge, then turned to Abby.  "Potluck's at five," she paused. "I just hope I'm in the mood to eat after ... well, you know how Thanksgiving is around here," she said, laughing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Mr. Jameson, next time you decide to cook Thanksgiving dinner, have a fire extinguisher handy," Abby said, rising from the stool and slipping off her gloves.

"That was the longest shift in history," Abby said, waddling up to admin and leaning on the counter. 

Susan gave her a sympathetic smile.  "Rough day?"

"I mean, is it honestly THAT difficult to cook a turkey?!"

"What can I say?  All I know how to cook is this ... gooey dip stuff," Susan said, holding up a dish from the potluck.

Abby heaved a sigh.  "I'm starved," she said.  Just then, her cell phone rang.


"Bonsoir, mon amour."

Abby smiled and winked at Susan.  "Hey, John." 

"Oh, lemme listen!" Susan begged. 

"How's my blushing bride?" he asked

"Beet red!" Susan said loudly, laughing.

"Ab?" John asked.  Was she working today? he wondered. 

"Shhh!  Yeah?"

"Where are you?  Are ... are you working today?"

"Uh... kinda.  Why?  Is that a problem?" Abby asked.  He was thousands of miles away, what else was she supposed to do?

"Abby.... I want you to take it easy.  Please?  I worry about you, especially when I'm not there.  I don't want you to put the baby or yourself in any danger.  Please listen to me, sweetheart," John pleaded.  He hated the fact that he couldn't be there with her.  He'd taken over the Carter Family Foundation a few years back and he was constantly busy.  This time he was setting up a Foundation branch in France.

Abby sighed.  "John I'm fine.  I promise you.  I know my own limits and when I get tired, I take a break.  Besides, I've got Susan here, breathing down my neck every hour of the day."  She said this for Susan's benefit, who in return playfully hit her friend on the arm.  "I'm not that bad!" she said, defending herself.

"Is Susan there?" Carter asked.

Abby shot a glance in Susan's direction.  "Yes, why?"

"Let me talk to her."

Abby rolled her eyes and held out the phone to Susan.  "He wants to talk to you," she said.

Susan smiled.  "Hey, Carter.  What's up?"

"Is she overdoing it?" he asked.

"Uh... no. I'm keeping an eye on her.  She takes breaks when she needs them, or when I tell her to," she said, grinning at Abby. 

"Just ... keep a close eye on her, okay?  It drives me crazy that I can't be there."

"I know.  But she's in great hands, John, so don't worry too much, kay?  I'll let you talk to Ab.  Hurry back!"  Susan handed the phone back to Abby.  She felt sorry for them.  They were so in love and yet had to be on two separate continents.  And Abby's being almost 8 months pregnant only complicated matters.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The next month practically flew by.  Abby finally took maternity leave, urged by Dr. Coburn, Susan, Carter and the entire ER staff.  They all felt a need to watch over her since Carter was still away.

It was the day before Christmas Eve and Abby had been out shopping.  She had done all the decorating by herself this year, except for the tree, which Susan insisted on helping her with.  She unlocked the door to their apartment, dropped her bags and kicked the door closed with her foot.  She was exhausted. 

Her face lit up when she saw the light blinking on her answering machine.  Hoping it would be John, she anxiously pushed the 'Play' button and listened.  "Hey baby, it's me.  Look, Ab..." Abby heard him sigh and his voice break.  "I... I'm not gonna be able to make it home until... Friday.  I am so so sorry, baby.  I'll call you later, I promise.  I love you so much, Ab.  Bye."  *click*  Abby did a double take.  Friday was December 26th.  "What?!" she shrieked.  She listened to the message two more times to make sure she had heard him right.  She sank into a chair and cried.  How could this happen?  This would be their last Christmas with just the two of them.  Next year they would have an 11 month-old in their lives. 

That night, Abby fell asleep with the phone in her hand, and John still on the line.  He felt absolutely terrible about their situation, but they'd screwed up his flight and to top it off, the weather was wreaking havoc on all flights into O'Hare.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The next few days passed in a blur.  Abby could hardly manage to get out of bed, much less be excited about the holidays. 

On Christmas Eve, Abby finally decided to put herself in the spirit of things.  She lit the Christmas tree, turned on their electric fireplace, put some Christmas music on the stereo and made herself comfortable on the couch.  John had promised to call as soon as he was done with meetings, which he guessed would be somewhere around 10 o'clock Chicago time. 

Abby woke with a start around 11.  She listened hard.  She could have sworn she heard a noise.  Fear consumed her.  Was someone breaking into her apartment?

"H...Hello?" she managed to utter.

"Abby?  Are you awake?"

"John?!"  He came around to the couch where Abby was lying.  She saw him and sprang to her feet immediately.  "Oh my God!  What are you doing here?!" 

John laughed.  "Oh so now I need a reason to rush home to be with my wife on Christmas?"

Abby giggled and kissed him passionately.  It was one of those kisses that seem to last forever, but are over too quick.  "God, baby...  I missed you so much."

John took a few steps back.  "Let me look at you!  My, how we've grown," he grinned, putting his hands on her belly.  "You know," he said, kissing her neck.  "Seeing you this way ... it's very ... sexy."

Abby's knees almost buckled.  "Seeing you any way is sexy," she said, as she started unbuttoning his shirt.

"Are you sure you're up to this?" he asked.

Abby laughed.  She pressed herself against him, feeling him grow beneath her.  "The question is, are you?"

"Let's... not do this here," he whispered, caressing her breasts.  "I'd carry you, but..." he broke out into a grin and she laughed.  She started walking toward their bedroom, letting her black silk robe fall to the floor.  John just stood there, admiring her.  "You coming?" she asked.

All of the passion they had been forced to keep inside for the past two months was unleashed that night. 

They finally collapsed, both spent, in each others arms around 4am.  "Well, if I wasn't already pregnant..." Abby teased, smiling.

John kissed the top of her head.  "Merry Christmas, baby."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

John and Abby smiled at the memory.  That Christmas was now 4 years behind them and they now sat cuddled on the couch, watching their daughter Stella open her Christmas presents.  She was almost 4 years old and this was the first year she fully understood the presents and Santa Claus and the magic of it all. 

Abby rested her head on John's shoulder and watched their daughter.  "I think Stella needs a playmate," she said casually.  She waited a few moments, then looked up at Carter and beamed.

John's eyes got wide, but all he could do was kiss her and laugh happily.  Life was definitely good in the Carter home and it looked like it was only going to get better with their new addition.  Only time would tell.

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