During one of the rare downtimes in the Emergency Department, Kerry Weaver took a few moments to retreat to the physician’s lounge and review some of the patient files that she’d been working on. Sometimes working in the ER the staff reverted back and forth between chaos and quiet, and one never knew which it was going to be. So one took advantage when one could.
The quiet, as usual, was not to last. The door abruptly pushed in.
“Kerry, there are traumas coming in, multiple vehicle accident on the Dan Ryan Expressway,” Abby Lockhart called out.
“How many are we getting?”
“Three major, eight minor.”
“How long out?”
“ETA: five minutes.”
“Thanks. So much for this.” Kerry looked over her pile of paperwork.
“Nothing. I’d just kinda hoped for a few moments of quiet to work on this before going home to play with Henry.”
“Ah yes. Such is life. Luca’s coming in early so maybe you can get out early.”
“How much are you willing to bet on that?” Kerry remarked with a wry grin.
Abby laughed. “I couldn’t afford that much, Kerry. How about we settle on a coffee and dessert?”
“Sounds delightful. Alas, we should get out on the floor. Hell breaketh through.” Kerry picked up her lab coat and stethoscope and joined Abby walking out into the ambulance bay, and donning the trauma gowns and gloves as their colleagues had done.
The ambulances arrived quickly and the paramedics moved the stretchers out with due care, calling out the victim’s names and their immediate conditions. Pratt, Neela and Chuny took the first patient with glass perforations of the chest and an open tibia-fibula fracture. Ray, Morris and Haleh grabbed the second major patient who’d had a heart attack. Kerry, Abby and Sam took another patient with multiple facial lacerations and who was also having problems breathing. Other minor injuries were delegated to the junior doctors and interns to handle. Each team worked in clockwork. Other nurses moved between rooms, as the need was determined. It was a well-rehearsed dance they played with no less seriousness.
By the time the teams had worked out which patients were to be treated medically and which needed further surgical intervention, the adrenaline of working emergencies had kicked in fully. The young fellow with the open fracture had been sent up to surgery as soon as the glass perforations could be safely removed. The man with the heart attack had died as the coronary infarct had done too much damage to be repaired. And the young woman with the difficulty breathing, due to an acute asthma attack was currently on an oxygen concentrator and bronchodilator aerosols.
Kerry and Abby stood behind the ER work centre sorting through some lab results when Luca walked up to the desk.
“How did the trauma go?” He’d already been notified of the traumas coming in so just needed the breakdown of the cases. Abby and Kerry filled him in as to the whereabouts of the patients.
“And since you’re here,” Kerry nodded her head to Luca, “and we’ve got a few minutes of quiet again, I’m going into the lounge to work on charts before going home.”
“Kerry, you owe me,” Abby quipped.
“Yeah, I know,” Kerry responded with a cheeky smile. “And I intend to collect. But not right now.” Kerry walked into the deserted physician’s lounge and started up where she had left off.
“What was all that about?” Luca asked Abby.
“Just a friendly little wager.”
“And Kerry lost?”
“Yep.” Abby smiled as she disappeared around the corner with some lab reports to go check on one of the patients and to check on the situation in Chairs. Many of the waiting patients had created a bit of a backlog due to the trauma. It took some time to clear said backlog and when Abby finally pushed her way into the lounge after her shift was over she found Kerry hunched over her paperwork with her head resting on her arms. Her glasses were lying over the haphazardly strewn paperwork. Abby hated to disturb her seemingly peaceful slumber but if she left her that way, Kerry would definitely be paying for it later with stiff muscles.
“Kerry,” Abby called out gently. When there was no response, she repeated the other woman’s name. Still no response. Abby was a little concerned so she walked up behind Kerry and laid her hands on her shoulders, gently massaging as she leaned down.
“Kerry, your shift is over. You can go home.”
“So you are alive then,” Abby giggled softly.
“Good, for a second there I doubted I’d get a coherent word out of you.”
“Keep doing that and I won’t. God, that feels good.”
Abby wasn’t entirely sure what prompted her, a built up friendship with a certain amount of lust creeping in, but she went with the flirtation softly whispered in Kerry’s ear, “I have more where that came from.”
A shiver went down Kerry’s spine but not an unwelcome one. She sat upright and pushed her hair back from her face and rubbed at her eyes. “What time is it?”
Abby looked up at the clock behind her. “Half past eight.”
“I need to get home to Henry. Can I take a rain check on owing you that bet?
“Kerry, you’re not yet awake enough to drive. I’d hate to have to come back to work with you as a patient, no offence. I’ll drop you home.”
Kerry thought about it a minute. “Thanks, Abby. You’re sure I’m not putting you out?”
“No. Plus, I get to see my godson. He’s getting so big.”
“Tell me about it. It’s funny that as much as I was worried about the hip surgery, I’m awful glad I had it. It makes things a lot easier chasing after him.”
“You’re a good mother, Kerry. Speaking of, do we need to pick him up from his uncle’s or are they at your place?"
“At his uncle’s. If it’s too much trouble, I can get him and travel on the El.”
“Kerry, relax. If I didn’t know you better I’d swear you were trying to get rid of me.”
“Not when you give massages like that,” Kerry smiled at Abby as she went to her locker and picked up her coat and purse. She stuffed the last of the journals into her briefcase and packed it in for the night.
“Do you need anything from your office?”
“No. I’ve got everything here.”
“Okay, let’s go.” Both women left the lounge and headed towards the elevators to head to the parking lot.
“We’re out of here,” Abby called to Haleh at the admin desk. “See you tomorrow.”
“Goodnight,” Haleh responded.
When Kerry and Abby left Sandy’s brother’s place with Henry, he was sound asleep, tucked into the spare child car seat Kerry had borrowed. The drive back to Kerry’s was relatively quiet with the radio playing softly. Kerry’s head rested against the window. Abby took a brief look at Kerry and rested a hand on the other woman’s leg.
“Kerry, are you all right?”
“Yeah, just too many bloody meetings, not enough money…the usual.”
“Any end in sight?”
“I wish. There are days when I regret taking up taking on the job as hospital chief.”
“Why not tell Anspaugh to look for someone else? You could spend more time in Emerg, and I know you like the hands on care. You’d also have more time for Henry.”
“It has crossed my mind. Since my surgery I’ve been re-evaluating a lot of things in my life. What’s important, and what’s worth giving up for peace of mind. Trouble is, I’m a bit of a perfectionist.”
“No. Really?” Abby joked with her. “Anyway, we’re here.” Abby pulled into a parking spot in front of Kerry’s townhouse and got out to open the door to take Henry out of his seat. Kerry got her things and Henry’s carry all out of the car. Once Kerry opened the door of the house Abby brought the young boy inside and up to his bedroom. He stirred briefly when Abby laid him into bed.
“Shhhh. Go to sleep, little one. You’re home.” Abby tucked him into his sheets and pulled a favourite toy from the end of his bed and tucked it in with him.
“You’re very good with him,” Kerry spoke from where she stood, leant against the doorframe to her son’s room. She pushed off and walked over to them and bent down to give her son a good night kiss.
“What’s not to like?” Abby smiled over at her.
“Do you have time for a night cap?”
“Yeah, I think so. I’m not back on until tomorrow evening.”
“What would you like to drink? I’ve got some tea, coffee, hot cocoa, juice or water.”
“Some tea would be nice. Thank you.” They stood together and walked down to the kitchen. Kerry led Abby into the living room and directed her to the cd player and asked her to pick something out while she went into the kitchen to fix them both some tea.
A few minutes later Kerry emerged from the kitchen with two mugs of tea, listening to the dulcet tones of Diana Krall coming from the speakers. They settled on the couch and Kerry handed Abby her mug. Kerry tilted her head back and sighed.
“This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I said I’d owe you one, but right now, I doubt that I’d be able to put one foot in front of the other for too much longer tonight.”
“Don’t worry about it, Kerry. Besides, I like this. Relaxed. With you.” The latter two words came out quietly. “Here, turn around.” Abby moved so that her back was against the side arm of the couch. Then Kerry turned so her back was facing Abby. The younger woman placed her hands on Kerry’s shoulders and gently kneaded the tight muscles she found there. Kerry’s head lolled forward as her body gave way to Abby ministrations.
“Oh, God. Abby, if you keep doing that I’m going to have to marry you.”
“I didn’t realise I was that good,” Abby said with a smile and low laugh. Testing the waters, she leaned forward and kissed Kerry’s neck. A murmur of contentment emerged from Kerry, so Abby continued to place light kisses along the older woman’s neck and earlobe.
“Mmmmmmm.” Kerry gently turned around, her hands finding Abby’s face and she held her there for a moment. “Abby, are you sure?” She looked steadily at the other woman’s eyes. A nod, almost imperceptible but there nonetheless, and Kerry leaned forward, brushing her lips lightly against Abby’s. One kiss led to another and another and before long both parted, breathing heavily. Kerry rested her head on Abby’s shoulder.
“Kerry, I’ve been wanting to kiss you for so long now. I’m glad the fantasy lives up to expectation.”
“You’ve been fantasizing about me?”
Abby looked down, slightly chagrined. “More than once.”
“More than twice?” Kerry chuckled.
“Kerry, you’ve been a mainstay of my fantasy life for some time. Just never found the right time or opportunity.”
“You never said anything before now.”
“No. It just never seemed like the right time before.”
“I’m glad we shared this tonight.” Abby started to sit up. “But as much as I would like to continue this, you need to get to bed and I need to get home. We can continue this again. No need to rush it.”
“Abby, I’ve wanted this as well. But you’re right. No need to rush. And I’m dead tired.” Kerry stood up and helped Abby up as well. Abby went to pick up the abandoned tea mugs but Kerry stopped her. “I’ll do that later.”
“Yes, I’m sure.” They walked out to the front door.
“I’ll see you tomorrow. Goodnight, Kerry. Sleep well.” Abby leaned into Kerry and kissed her. Light at first, but grew with intensity until both could barely stand.
Kerry broke the kiss first. “Go. Or I won’t be responsible for what happens next. Forget about sleeping well.” Her breathing came fast and furious. Once Abby left Kerry closed the door and locked up for the night. Then closed her eyes as she rested her head on the door, and tried to control her breathing. So much for getting a good sleep now.
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