by writer
added 02/02/02

Spoilers: Other than for the existence of Sandy Lopez, one that I can see.
Timeline: Falls before S8E11 "Beyond Repair"
Rating: PG-13

It is five o’clock. I am in my car waiting like a lost puppy for a woman who exasperates me to no end. A woman who not only infuriates me, but makes me wish at times that I had never spoken to her. This woman also happens to be the one who causes this tingling in my stomach and tightening in my chest, making me anxious with longing for our next meeting. I am speaking of Sandy Lopez.

Outside County General Hospital, I sit in my car and peer out of tinted glass windows like a stalker as I catch a glimpse of Dr. Mark Greene and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Corday. As I watch them walk down the parking lot, seemingly caught up in another one of their marital disputes, I say a silent prayer of thanks that I am not either of them. They are so ill-suited, I almost want to laugh out loud at times.

With Peter gone, I feel as if the inner fold is slowly peeling away like skin of an onion – or perhaps just creating a clear path for the up and comers – like the youthful and talented Dr. Michael Gallant.

Still, I wait, and now as my thoughts seem to clear I turn on the radio to the classic rock station, and it makes a grand overture for her entrance. She strides along the parking lot, approaching my car before I even have a chance to prepare myself and not appear as if I have been desperately awaiting her.

“Hi,” she says as I curse the power windows.

“Hi.” I smile. “Get in.”

She does, and I am instantly caught in the light airy fragrance that is hers. As usual, I am mesmerized, but I have to admit, its been getting harder and harder to deal with. She immediately takes my hand in hers and I smile as I give it a gentle squeeze before putting both hands on the steering wheel – perhaps for leverage. God, I am getting way too caught up.

“Been waiting long?” she asks, and I turn to her.

“No. Not long – besides, I sometimes like to people-watch.”

She nods at the comment. “I do that.”

I stop for a moment and think before turning to her again. “Uh, where are we going again?”

Her smile is radiant. “Wherever you want, Dr. Weaver.” I notice that her hair is down around her face and she is wearing form-fitting black slacks and turtleneck. She really is a beautiful woman.

“Hmmm.” I contemplate. “Maybe we could try the Italian place again? I mean, they should be open, right?”

Her laugh is throaty. “You’re a riot – but sounds good.”

I put the car in drive and try not to be distracted by her left hand gently fondling the lapel of my coat. “So, why do you keep calling me Dr. Weaver? I do have a first name, ya know.”

“Oh, that’s right – ” she teases, “what is it again? Kerry or something?”

I suppress a laugh. “Something like that.”

“Did you have a good day, Kerry?” she asks me, turning somewhat serious.

I nod, lying. It was actually miserable, but I don’t want to spoil the mood with my twisted tales of dealing with the ever-satanic Robert Romano, hostile disgruntled co-workers like Mark Greene, and un-save-able death-bound patients like the small boy found floating in the pond at the park.

“Yep. Pretty good,” I say. “How about you?”

She snorts. “You know, I usually enjoy my days off, but if my landlady who lives in the same building catches wind that I’m gonna be around – I can forget it.” I smile as I imagine a little old woman bothering her all day to help with chores and various odd jobs. I can almost see the fake plaster of smile on her face as she carries out the old woman’s garbage. Sandy is shaking her head, remembering. “The lady had me running like fifteen different errands, and I nearly didn’t make it home in time for my favorite talk show.”

I wince. “Please tell me you don’t watch those.”

She chuckles. “Okay. I don’t watch those.”

“Liar,” I tease, and she is chuckling next to me.

I pull into the parking lot of the restaurant and we park. We sit in silence for a moment before I glance over at her, and she pulls me in gently for a tender kiss. This has become very routine, now. The two of us alone for more than five seconds, in the dark, definitely warrants some kind of body contact, and, as usual, I welcome it with open arms.

Her hands are in my hair, my hands have wrapped around her wrists, like hand holds on the El train. I am lost to all sensation but her mouth on mine, the gentle probing of her tongue, her breath warming my face. I can’t help but adore this.

“Kerry …” She breathes and I am forced to focus my eyes.

“Sandy,” I say in response.

“Kerry, I am loving this.” Her hands are still in my hair. “I – ”

“Shhh …” I whisper, bringing my mouth gently to hers, and this time, my hands are at her face, slowly easing their way into the caramel-golden-streaked waves of her hair.

When she begins to trail kisses down my face to my chin, then to my neck, I feel like I should probably mention dinner although it’s the last thing on my mind.

“Sandy,” I whisper, noticing how foggy the windows are. “Did you still want to eat or – ”

“Definitely …” she murmurs against my neck, as I blush almost immediately.

“No.” I tug gently at her jacket. “I mean dinner … we should probably …”

“Oh.” She forces herself away from my neck. “Right. Dinner.”

I am straightening my hair and clothes in the rearview mirror as I steal a sideways glance at her. The mischievous grin makes my spine tingle, but I try to ignore it as I reach for my crutch and get out as we make our way into the restaurant.

Nearly thirty minutes later, we are seated at our table, and I am sipping a Merlot as she is watching me intently.

“So,” I say, finishing up my little story. “Finally, I just kind of told him in not so many words that he was useless to the hospital and, more directly, he was useless to the ER, and I proceeded to fire him, and then he …”

Sandy is waiting for me to finish, but I’m not sure I can, as I have never told this story out loud. I’m actually not sure why I’m reliving it now. “What?” she asks, and I am forced to conclude the thought.

“Well,” I kind of shrug. “He called me a Nazi Dyke.”

Her statement tells me she is dumbfounded, and I instantly regret telling her about my last verbal encounter with Dave Malucci. God, why did I do that?

“He sounds like a real bastard.” She breathes, and I am suddenly uncomfortable.

“It was probably my fault,” I say as I take another sip, and I notice her eyebrows are knitted together.

“How can you say that, Kerry?” Her eyes are like dark mirrors, and I don’t want to look into them for fear of seeing the pathetic image of myself. Why did I tell her about this? Did I want sympathy? “This poor-excuse-for-a-loser doctor calls you out of your name and you feel responsible? What’s up with that?”

I shake my head, simultaneously signaling for the waiter. “It really doesn’t matter anymore.”

She folds her hands on the table in front of her. “ I think it does matter.”

I allow the waiter to serve me another fluke filled with the intoxicating beverage that will be my undoing someday, I’m sure of it. “Please, can we just drop it,” I say, and I don’t like her statement. She seems disenchanted with me, and I am saddened by that.

After a moment of her toying with her pasta, and me avoiding her eyes, the silence finally wears on me and I can take no more.
“Okay,” I say, lowering my voice. “I am still trying to deal with the possible ramifications of what he said to me.”

Her eyes are very understanding when she responds. It feels promising. “What ramifications?”

I sigh deeply and meet her eyes. “I wasn’t sure how my colleagues would respond …” I feel deeply embarrassed by this. “… I’m still not sure how they will.”

There is a smile threatening the corner of her lips, and I have to admit to being perplexed by that. “You aren’t ‘out’ to them?” she asks me like she’s asking what I did on summer vacation. I am reluctant to answer, but eventually, I do.

“No,” I say very stiffly. “I am not ‘out’ to them.” I consider this before adding. “Well … not all of them.”

My mind is wrapping around the concept of her inquiry. Am I ‘out’ to them? Well, in the grand scheme of things, I guess that would be what I was working towards – or at least getting myself to a place where I wasn’t always afraid of being found out or afraid of little trolls named Robert Romano sending out e-mails to everyone about my newfound sexuality. God, how that still frightened me …

“Everybody goes through that,” Sandy says simply, bringing me out of my reverie, and I face her, warm brown eyes, friendly statement, hand on mine patting gently. “Right now, they’re all clueless – next year, they’ll be giving you subscriptions to Maxim magazine for Christmas.”

I snort. “Oh God. Don’t say that.”

She is laughing now, and I can’t help but join in. How did I meet someone like her?

After we have paid the bill and are heading towards the car, Sandy grabs my hand and I meet her eyes.

“Wanna walk through the park a bit, first?” she asks me, and I shrug. The night is cool, but actually unseasonable for January in Chicago. Snowy, but not cold. I nod.


It bothers me only slightly that we are walking though a park where people are abound and she has my hand in hers. There are a few times when I want to shove them into my pockets, but I don’t want to lose the contact. I don’t want to lose the touch. She meets my eyes as we get to the pier and we lean against it to look over into the water’s edge.

“It’s very beautiful here,” I say. “I can almost make out a few constellations.” I glance up and I realize she is very close to me.

“I could never make out any of those,” she says, looking up. Her hand is still in mine as she nuzzles at my collar.

I reach for a stray lock of her brown curls. “I actually learned to read all
the constellations while I was in Zimbabwe.”

Now, she glances up at me, wide-eyed. “Africa?”

I chuckle. “Oh yeah. I’ll tell you all about it sometime.”

She beams at me like I am a gem and brings her hand to my cheek. “Later.” She whispers, and before I know it, the city lights, pedestrians, and constellations disappear as I am lost to everything but her smoldering kiss.