by writer
added 04/14/02

Story: Third in a series
Spoilers: No
Rating: R

Abby Lockhart restocks shelves in the ER corridor as Luka Kovac comes up behind her, trying to diagnose her mood. She sighs as his presence brings about the usual strain in her shoulders.

“Hello, Abby,” he says in that dark, depressing way of speaking he has, and she turns to him, more out of courtesy than concern.

“Hi,” she says, her face deadpanned, and instantly his eyebrows knit together. He senses that something is wrong.

“Everything okay?” he asks, leaning against the wall, regarding her, and she can’t help but throw him one of her perfunctory smiles. It is one of those that she usually reserves for certain asshole patients, waiters, grocery store clerks, and the like. She stares at him, wonders when she arrived at the conclusion that she didn’t want him back. She wonders when his brooding good looks, universal charm, and irrepressible desire to heal the world became too much to bear. She wonders when his bad qualities – the baggage, the horrific inability to think things through, and, again, his irrepressible desire to heal the world – began to outweigh his good ones.

“Everything’s fine, Luka. Why?” she responds gently, slipping a lock of dark hair behind her left ear. She has grown accustomed to speaking to him as if he were a young child on the brink of adolescence.

Smiling sadly, he bends his head so low that his chin nearly touches his chest. “I was just thinking that you have been very patient throughout this whole Nicole business, and I just wanted to thank you … for being understanding and …”

Blah, blah, blah, she thinks as she ignores his murmurings. Honestly, she couldn’t care any less about pathetic, fake-blonde Nicole than she already does. She wonders if it would be rude to just walk away from him and clock out quietly, slipping through the doors and leaving him there in the hall, spilling his guts to nobody in particular. Or, she considers, I could just give him a quarter –

Just then, Dr. Kerry Weaver limps by, and Abby glances in her direction. It is strange to Abby how the redhead is always able to invoke something inside her. Unsure if it is fear or loathing or just intrigue, she usually writes it off as genuine indifference – if there is such a thing. Nonetheless, she considers this a good opportunity to escape from Luka.

“Luka, I have to give something to Kerry,” she says, interrupting the Croatian’s ramblings. “I’ll see you later?”

She takes off down the hall after her boss, not waiting for a response from her ex-lover, and follows the Chief into the lounge.

It is darker in here than she remembered, and, as she realizes she is alone with Kerry, her heart rate speeds up. God, she is anxious – or possibly having a panic attack.

Kerry notices Abby immediately and throws her a “Hi.”

Abby, just inside the lounge doors, considers bolting, but instead stands her ground. “Hi,” she responds, feeling like an idiot immediately.

“You off?” Kerry asks, and Abby is glad for the distraction of small talk, as her mind has began wandering to places she swore they never would. At what point has she noticed that Kerry is very petite, and quite well dressed, that she has very stylish red hair and very nice features and –

“Yeah. I’m off.” Abby tries desperately to think of something else to say. “I was off an hour ago, but … well … I don’t need to tell you how it is around here.”

Kerry smiles at the comment, and Abby feels a tremor creep up her spine. Wow, she thinks. Kerry Weaver just smiled at something I said? I made her smile? Impossible.

Now, watching as the older woman maneuvers the crutch in order to get into her coat, Abby feels a pang of something in her stomach. She isn’t sure what it is, but as Kerry says “See ya tomorrow” to her, she is sure it is the unmistakable feeling of loss.

* * *

Much later, in her apartment, Abby sits on the edge of her roommate’s (her mother’s) bed and tries to impress upon her how important it is to take her meds as the woman argues defiantly.

“You don’t understand, Abby.” Maggie regards her daughter. “These aren’t helping me – they just make me feel … I don’t know … run down …”

“You have to take them or you can’t stay here – that was the deal,” Abby says matter-of-factly, and her mother frowns deeply.

“You hate me, Abby,” she says in a deep, quiet voice. “I always knew you did, but this only confirms it.”

“I hate you when you get like this.” Abby leaves the pill cup beside her mother’s bed and steps into the living room to reflect, closing her eyes tightly as she hears the shout from the bedroom.

“If you hate me so much, Abby, then maybe I should just take the whole bottle!”

Abby smiles at this and replies calmly. “Perhaps you should, Mother.”

Maggie gets up out of bed and stalks into the living room where her daughter is leaning against the windowpane, glancing out on a cold Chicago night.

“I can’t help the way I am, Abby,” she says, sighing. “I know you think this is something I can control, but – ”

“I know it’s not something you can control, Mother,” Abby interrupts through clenched teeth before turning to regard the woman who made her childhood into some kind of fun-house ride, who drank and went through horrible mood swings ranging from Donna Reed-like sweetness and compassion to Joan Crawford-like abusiveness and neglect, and now, as she stands here before her, like a needy child, Abby is almost unable to muster any sympathy.

Maggie, sensing her daughter’s mounting anger, takes the pill cup and downs it, without water, as Abby looks on, eyes dark in the dim lighting of the room.

“I’m going to bed now, sweetie,” she says simply, and Abby unclenches her stomach, sighing deeply, counting to ten, silently.

Since breaking up with Luka Kovac, having her mother move into her home, into her life, and also trying to make sense of whatever feelings she may or may not have for John Carter, she has been trying to keep a lid on her emotions. Now, there are new developments, and she wonders if maybe she shouldn’t just drown her sorrows, wash it all away. It is so easy for everyone else, but at times she wonders if she may not be hiding a deeper truth.

After a moment of mentally debating it, she throws on her leather jacket and checks on the sleeping form of her mother, who looks ironically peaceful at this late hour, before dashing out the door and into the mean streets of Chicago in search of the hardest liquor she can find. She can’t fight it any longer.

* * *

Miles away, in a cab, Kerry Weaver is considering the youthful blonde next to her. The girl can’t possibly be more than nineteen, and the redhead can’t keep the girl’s hands off her. She thinks her name is Suzy – if she’s remembering correctly.

Suzy came up to Weaver in the bar, accepted the drink Weaver bought for her, then accepted three more, and the next thing Kerry knew, they were making out in the ladies’ room. It had all happened in a dream sequence, but then, somehow, it slipped out that the young woman had school the next morning, and Suzy avoided Kerry’s question of her age.

So now they sit in the cab, heading toward the address on the girl’s key ring, which, hopefully, is where she lives. Kerry holds Suzy’s wrists, feeling a nervous pang in her stomach, hoping the young woman was referring to college, at least, but also hoping that no angry parents meet her at the door when they arrive.

The cab pulls into a long paved drive leading up to a large Victorian home and the blonde squeals. “Hey – that’s my house!”

Kerry sighs deeply at the youthful image mixed with way too much alcohol and turns to Suzy.

“Okay, honey, do you think you can make it to the door?” Kerry asks, and the girl regards her, eyes slightly unfocused, lips pouting.

“What – you’re not coming in?”

She slurs most of it, and Kerry wrinkles her nose, shaking her head. “No, I’m in enough trouble already.”

Suzy tousles a lock of Kerry’s hair. “Why would you get in trouble?” she asks, like a child. “I’m eighteen. I can bring home whoever I want.”

Kerry feels her heart stop at the words, but maintains her calm exterior. “Oh … well … that’s really sweet, but I’d better be going now, okay?”

As Suzy gets out of the car, giving Kerry one last lingering look before stumbling to the door and going inside, Kerry instructs the driver to head back toward downtown and doesn’t exhale until they are speeding down the narrow expanse of highway toward the city lights.

Once they reach a main street, Kerry pays the cab fare, gets out, and heads to the nearest pool hall in desperate need of a drink more now than ever.

* * *

Inside that same pool hall, Abby stands at the bar and orders a Coke, scared to death of what she is leading up to, of what she is putting off, and with good reason. Drinking the Coke and ignoring the stares she gets from a man sitting next to her at the bar, she glances up just in time to see the flash of red hair and stifles the gasp that threatens to slip from her lips.

“Oh … my … God, it’s … Kerry … Weaver …” Abby murmurs as she tries to drop her gaze and allow the dim light of the tavern to mask her features, but it is too late. Kerry has already spotted her and is fastly approaching.

“Hi,” Kerry says as she comes to stand right next to Abby at the bar. “I try to find someplace inconspicuous, and I find you. Strange.”

“Yeah. Strange,” Abby says, returning her boss’ smile. God, Weaver smells good, Abby notices before chastising herself for the thought.

“Vodka – neat.” Kerry orders before regarding Abby again. “I don’t want to bother you. I’m just going to go sit at a table,” Kerry says as Abby shakes her head.

“You aren’t bothering me, Kerry,” Abby says, squeezing lemon into her Coke. “Actually, I could probably use the company.”

Kerry smiles again and when she gets her drink they head to a table near the back of the establishment.

Seating themselves across from one another, Abby is reluctant to meet her colleague’s gaze, but her eyes drift up as Kerry shrugs out of her coat, and she is surprised to notice that Kerry is wearing a very sexy lime green blouse that really hugs the woman’s figure.

“I like your shirt,” Abby says, and Kerry sips at her drink.

“Thanks,” she responds. “It was a gift.”

Abby smiles, wondering if a woman gave it to her. She then wonders why she would wonder such a thing.

“So,” Kerry asks, trying to break the awkward silence. “How are things for you? How’s your mother?”

Abby rolls her eyes, but loosens up a bit at the thought. “My mother is … well … infuriating.”

Kerry chuckles a bit, and Abby is surprised to find herself smiling as well. What is it about Kerry Weaver?

“Are you and Luka still …” Kerry doesn’t quite finish the thought as she notices the darkness clouding Abby’s brown eyes.

“Me and Luka are over – we’ve been over for a while.” Abby stirs the Coke, getting restless. Now, her eyes meet Kerry’s again. “You wanna play pool?”

Kerry’s eyes squint as she considers this. “Umm … I’m terrible at pool.”

Abby nods, wishing she were someone else. “I’m just kind of …” She glances across the table and feels another unexplainable wave of anxiety. “I should get out of here.”

Kerry watches as the brunette suddenly gets up from the booth, slips on her jacket, and begins the short trek towards the door before stopping mid-stride and lowering her head. Now, she turns and slowly approaches Kerry again with a sad statement.

“Listen, ah … Kerry …” She gestures as she is at a loss for words. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Kerry considers her words, cryptic but sincere. “Do you want to talk about it?”

After a pause, Abby nods. “Yeah … but not here.”

Kerry finishes off the drink as Abby looks on. “I don’t live far from here.”

“Okay,” Abby says. “Why not?”

* * *

An hour or so later, Abby stands in Kerry’s living room, glancing through her bookshelf as Kerry busies herself in the kitchen, warming pie in the microwave. It is a few minutes before the Chief comes in carrying two saucers with steaming apple pie on them. Abby smells the pie before she hears Kerry enter.

“I hope it’s okay,” she says, setting them down on the coffee table. “That pie has been in the fridge for a couple of weeks.”

“You read all these?” Abby asks, ignoring the comment about the pie.

“Well.” Kerry thinks about it. “I’ve read most of the medical journals, a few of the classics, a lot of those I have to make time for, eventually …”

Abby finally turns and goes to where Kerry sits on the couch. She sits next to her and regards the pie. “Looks good.”

Abby picks up the saucer and forks some into her mouth enjoying the apple warmth that spreads through her, rethinking her remark. “Is good,” she corrects.

“I can’t take the credit,” Kerry says, biting a piece of cinnamon-dusted crust. “I ordered it.”

Abby smiles in the redhead’s direction. “Well, at least you admit it.” Kerry smiles as Abby continues to watch her face. “It occurs to me that I don’t know anything about you, Kerry. I mean, does anybody?”

Kerry swallows her bite full and glances toward the younger woman. “What do you want to know?”

The question takes Abby by surprise, and she is at a loss for anything intelligent to say. “I … I dunno … it just occurred to me. Nothing specific, really.”

“Well, you can ask me something simple.” Kerry is surprised even at herself by how open she is being tonight, and she almost regrets it when the corners of Abby’s lips turn up into a slight grin.

“Okay …” she begins. “How come you haven’t killed Romano already?”

Kerry smiles, slightly relieved. “I haven’t killed him yet because I wouldn’t be able to dispose of the body without the aid of another person …” Abby laughs out loud, and Kerry is charmed as she adds, “… also, I wouldn’t want to involve anyone else in my felonious, possibly career-ending, crime.”

“You’re a trip,” Abby finally says once she is able to talk again.

“I’ve been told that,” Kerry replies, watching Abby’s face. “It’s good to see you happy.”
Now, Abby meets Kerry’s blue eyes, unsure of how to take the comment, and Kerry, hating uncomfortable silences, stands and heads towards the kitchen.

“I’m going to have a drink – you want anything?”

Deciding to follow, Abby nods. “Sure.”

In the kitchen, Kerry reaches for a bottle of something expensive-looking and pours herself half a glass of the amber liquid as Abby remembers why she left the house tonight.

“I’m an alcoholic,” she blurts out and Kerry regards her, statement unreadable. “I’ve been sober for years, but … umm … I left the house tonight with the intent to get really drunk – to forget the drama that is my relationship with my mother.”

“Oh sweetie.” Kerry reaches for Abby, who steps back to avoid whatever comfort Kerry may want to administer, deciding she doesn’t deserve it. “I’m so sorry,” Kerry finishes in a quiet voice.

Nodding slowly, Abby wishes she hadn’t admitted to her illness, but it’s too late for regret. “Kerry, I’m sorry for being …”

“What?” Kerry asks, desperate to help her colleague.

“Forget it,” Abby says, suddenly feeling like a bumbling fool.

“Don’t be afraid of talking to me,” Kerry says, seeing the mask of pain on the young woman’s face. “I want to be here for you – if I can.”

“I know,” Abby says, feeling the lump in her throat and hating herself for it.

“Abby …” Kerry says, approaching her again.

“Don’t, Kerry.” Abby turns, feeling one cool tear fall from her eye and trail down her cheek, a stream of loneliness and need. “I shouldn’t have …” Her voice trembles, but she continues. “… I shouldn’t have come home with you.”

“Why?” Kerry asks her back, wanting nothing more than to comfort the younger woman but knowing Abby has to allow it, to want it.

“I just shouldn’t have.” Abby sighs before turning, and Kerry notices the darkened eyes, wet with the hurt that crying brings. She approaches Kerry again and reaches towards the counter where the alcohol sits, resting her hand inches away from the ironic clarity of the glass. Brown eyes meet blue ones. “I need this,” she says simply.

“You don’t, Abby,” Kerry says as she watches the hand reach for the glass.

“Why resist it?” the brunette asks, holding the drink in her hands, watching the way the liquid slowly rolls with her every movement. Then she also notices the small pale hand that wraps around hers and around the glass.

“I won’t let you do this,” Kerry says, guiding the other woman’s hand to the counter, where she gently pries her hand from around the glass. Now, Abby feels the tears fall freely and allows herself to be enveloped in Kerry’s embrace.

They hold onto one another for a long while as Abby sobs softly into Kerry’s shoulder and Kerry murmurs words of comfort into the other woman’s hair. When she pulls back, her eyes are red-stained and she is still grasping Kerry’s shirt.

“You’re going to be okay,” Kerry says, barely above a whisper, unable to speak. Abby nods, bringing her hand up to Kerry’s face, and the redhead leans in close, surprised when her lips brush against Abby’s, softly. It is meant to be a kiss of comfort and friendship, but as soon as it is over, Kerry feels a wave of panic.

“I’m sorry,” she breathes, and Abby’s face is unreadable. “I’m so sorry, I just …”

Abby interrupts by bringing her lips gently to Kerry’s in a tentative kiss. When she pulls back, her eyebrows are raised in quiet consideration as Kerry waits for Abby’s next move. When it doesn’t come Kerry again kisses the lips, this time gently pulling the bottom lip into her mouth. This time, when she pulls back, she is shocked to feel Abby pull her in again for another soft kiss, marveling at how their mouths mesh together, also thrilled at how the nurse teases her tongue with the tip of her own. She sighs, moving her hands from Abby’s back down to the slender waist, and when they pull out of the kiss, Abby has a distant look on her face, and Kerry feels her head spinning. How did this happen? she asks herself, noticing – not for the first time – how attractive Abby is.

“Please, say something,” Kerry says softly, wondering how the young woman is processing this new revelation.

“I … I don’t know what to say, Kerry,” Abby says, tightening the embrace, glad she isn’t drunk, happy to be coherent for such an experience. “You’re a great kisser.”

Before, Kerry has a chance to respond, Abby’s mouth is on her again, and her hands are caressing her back, gently. The kisses have gotten more passionate and Kerry wonders just how far they should take this.

“Abby,” Kerry says between kisses. “I don’t want there to be any misunderstanding here … I mean … I … really like you, but I don’t want you to regret …”

“How could I have been so stupid?” Abby thinks out loud. “I must have felt this way for a while, I mean …” She trails off, regarding Kerry. “I must have wanted to do that for a while.”

“What?” Kerry asks, still holding onto the other woman.

“Kiss you,” Abby says simply. “I couldn’t explain that feeling, but I should have realized.”

Kerry pulls her in for a deep kiss, exploring with tongue, suddenly uncaring of the consequences as the nurse’s hands trail upward, cupping her face in her hands as they kiss, then sliding them into the dark red mane of hair, scratching at her scalp, gently.

“Abby …” Kerry whispers, allowing the name to take on a different tone than it had previously. “You smell so good,” she says as Abby’s mouth explores her neck.

“Thank you – ” Abby murmurs, planting soft kisses at the woman’s mandible before glancing up to meet darkened blue eyes, “ – for everything.”

“You’re so beautiful,” Kerry says, stroking Abby’s cheek with her thumb. “So incredible.”

Abby gazes into her boss’ eyes before taking her hand in hers and leading her into the living room where she reclines onto her back on the couch and pulls Kerry down on top of her.

“What’s this?” Kerry asks gently, inquiring as to what Abby’s intentions are.

“I thought we might be more comfy here than in the kitchen,” she answers, inches from Kerry’s lips. “You don’t mind, do you?”

“No, I don’t mind,” Kerry answers, shifting her weight. “Am I crushing you?”

“No,” Abby says, bringing her mouth to Kerry’s, hugging her close as they kiss, deeply and sensuously. A sigh escapes them both as Kerry explores the body beneath her, running one hand through her companion’s chestnut cropping of hair.

“We probably shouldn’t be doing this,” Kerry says, unzipping Abby’s shirt.

“So what,” Abby murmurs, unbuttoning Kerry’s blouse as her hand goes straight for the older woman’s breast, squeezing gently. “I think I’ve had a crush on you forever.”

Sighing, Kerry smiles, blushing a bit before responding. “Really? On me?”

“Uh huh,” Abby says, pulling Kerry in for another kiss before adding, “I was just afraid to approach you. I didn’t know you would be … interested.”

Kerry brings her mouth to Abby’s bra-covered nipple, biting at it gently. “I’m definitely interested.”

Abby’s moan triggers something in Kerry and the redhead reaches around the nurse’s back and unfastens the bra with one hand, lifting it up over small pert breasts almost simultaneously. Abby shudders as the cool air hits her, causing the dark nipples to harden instantly.

“Lovely,” Kerry says, before bending down to claim one nipple between her lips, suckling insistently, loving the feel of Abby’s hands holding her to her bosom.

“That’s nice …” Abby says, bending her knee to rub against Kerry’s crotch.

Now, getting on her knees between Abby’s legs, Kerry lifts her shirt and bra over her head before bending down to relieve the brunette of her shirt, and Abby’s hands have found the waistband of Kerry’s slacks, slowly unzipping them and slipping them down slender hips.

“What a beautiful body,” Abby says in awe as she allows Kerry to unbutton her jeans and her eyes rove over the slim figure of her boss, shapely and youthful with a light dusting of freckles.

“Not as beautiful as yours,” Kerry says softly, pulling Abby up on her knees to face her on the couch, and as they kneel together, both wearing only their panties, Abby is the first to pull Kerry to her, latching onto her with an open-mouthed kiss, tongues entwined in a sexy dance.

Kerry’s moan is deep and sensuous, driving Abby to strive for more sounds like that, so she reaches down and slips her hand just inside the waistband of the other woman’s black silk panties. Kerry’s gasp is lost in Abby’s kiss as the younger woman allows her hand to reach further inside and tangle in a soft mound of damp red pubic hair.

“Abby …” Kerry sighs, reaching for Abby’s forearm, riddled with nervous anticipation, but the nurse drives even lower, slipping a finger just inside the slick wet folds that is her boss’ sex. “God, Abby …” Kerry’s head falls backward, even as she hangs onto the other woman, feeling the driving of fingers in and out of her wet opening.

“You’ve …” Kerry grasps Abby arm to cease movement and allow her the strength to speak. “You’ve … d-done this before,” she finally manages as Abby kisses her gently on the lips.

“Yeah,” she replies to Kerry’s inquiry. “I’ve been with women before.” Her fingers begin to move again, slowly driving the doctor insane, “But none quite this sexy and wonderful …”

Just as Kerry claws at the younger woman, feeling her orgasm gently take over her body like a warm heat, she also feels Abby’s tongue dance over one hardened nipple, pushing her just over the precipice.

“Abby …” Kerry holds onto the nurse, shuddering. “Abby …”

The dark-haired woman trails her hand back up Weaver’s belly, causing another tremor to course through her superior, before wrapping her arms around her and bringing them both back to the couch to collapse in a loving embrace.

In the dim light of the room, shadows dramatize their naked contentment as Kerry silently praises Lockhart by gently kissing her neck.

“Abby …” Kerry begins. “There’s so much I’m feeling right now – so much I’ve felt … for a long time …”

Abby turns her dark gaze to meet Kerry’s eyes as the older woman hugs her closer, trailing her hand down to the soft buttocks.

“There’s something … you’ve been feeling … about me … for a long time?” Abby asks, emphasizing the words that stick out to her, that excite her.

Smiling, Kerry squeezes her gently, ready to make love to her. “Yeah, but … maybe I should wait until a more appropriate time.” She bends down to kiss the soft bosoms before her, ignoring Abby’s expectant stare.

“I don’t think we have the same definition of ‘appropriate time’, Kerry,” Abby says, momentarily losing her train of thought as Kerry’s fingers tangle in her soft mound of dark pubic hair, but as she closes her eyes, thinking that perhaps it can wait after all, she hears the familiar beeping of her pager.

“God.” She sighs as Kerry ceases her exploration. “It’s my pager. How nice.”

As she grabs for her jacket, which she realizes she was using as a pillow, she digs through the pocket to find the tiny black contraption, shoulders slumping as she realizes who it is.

“County?” Kerry inquires, sitting up a bit, regarding the other woman.

Shaking her head, Abby replies. “No. It’s Carter …” Now glancing upward to meet cloudy blue eyes, she raises an eyebrow, frowning. “… how’s that for ‘appropriate timing’?”

… to be continued