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A fine state of affairs, part 10 by Marieke Vink


The day went by in a flash. Abby tried to hide her excitement and just get on with work and Kerry managed to bury herself knee-deep in paperwork to make sure she didn’t have time to get nervous and cancel the date.

“Hey Malik! What is wrong with The Chief today? She’s not running around yelling and screaming. You think she got laid?”

“Doctor Malucci!! If you have nothing better to do than standing around and gossip about Doctor Weaver, maybe I should tell her to reconsider your residency. You are obviously not learning enough anymore here.”

Malucci almost swallowed the pen he was chewing on.

“Doctor Legs….I mean Legaspi. You look good today. Erhm……I think I need to go and see my patient now. If you want The Chief, she has been reviewing charts in exam 1 since ages. And erhm….she has been acting weird all day. Just thought I should warn you.”

Kim tried to hide a giggle as she walked up to the exam room. Kerry acting weird. To most of the ER staff, ‘weird’ with regard to Kerry meant she was being nice. Or at least not barking orders at everyone.

The blinds of exam 1 were closed. Kim carefully knocked on the door.

“Kerry?”

No answer. Kim quietly opened the door. Kerry’s small body was bent over the exam-table. Her head buried in her arms, on top of a number of patient-charts. The slow regular breathing sent a shiver of recognition through Kim’s body. Many nights she had stayed awake, listening to Kerry breathe. Quick and panting during their lovemaking, deep and steady when she was asleep afterwards, irregular when she was having a nightmare.

Kim walked up to the sleeping redhead and gently put her hand on Kerry’s shoulder.

“Kerry………..sweetie, you need to wake up. You should be getting home. Your shift ended 20 minutes ago. “

Kerry opened her eyes. She blinked hard against the bright light in the room. Kim hurried over to the switch and turned it off.

Kerry shuffled her charts together and ran her hand through her hair, grabbed her crutch and stood up.

“What’s up Kim? What’s the time? Oh God, I was so tired I must have nodded off for a few minutes.”

Kim smiled. The wrinkles in Kerry’s face showed her that it had been longer than a few minutes.

“You not been sleeping well last night?”

“No no, I slept fine. Just that today I had to do a lot of running around and I could not concentrate very well. There were patients everywhere and Luka was making a mess of the board. So I was exhausted and came here to work in peace for a little.”

“Well, I was going to ask you if you fancied a video and some take-away at my place but maybe you should have an early night instead.”

Kim smiled empathetically and the small redhead. Kerry looked tired, she thought. A night sleep was what she needed. And probably some peace of mind.

Kerry looked at her watch again. It was 6.25pm. A little over 30 minutes left before Abby would be at her front door. It would take her at least 20 minutes to get home on the El. --And I look like a total mess-- She thought about telling Kim about the date with Abby tonight. But when their eyes met, Kerry couldn’t bring herself to tell Kim. --I told her about Sandy too so what’s the problem this time? Because Sandy was nothing but rebound and Abby is ‘being in love’? Little too early to tell Kerry.--

“You are right. I think I should turn in early tonight. I am just going to get my stuff and then I am out of here. Thanks for waking me up.”

“No problem Red. Remember you always used to be the one who had to wake me up? I just thought I would return the favor. Do you want a ride home?”

Kerry checked her watch again. Taking the El would take forever and getting a ride with Kim would be a lot warmer and faster.

“Sure, that would be great. Give me 3 minutes and I’ll be ready.”

With that Kerry hurried out of the exam-room. If traffic was smooth enough, she would still have about 15 minutes left to get ready once she got home. As long as she was home when Abby arrived, it was OK.

She made her way to the doctor’s lounge to grab her stuff out of her locker. As she opened the door, her breath stopped for a second.

“Abby!! What are you still doing here? Your shift was over 2 hours ago.”

The young nurse looked up from the paper she was reading. It was obvious that she hadn’t expected Kerry to still be in the hospital. Quickly she got off the sofa.

“I…….…well, I didn’t know where you were most of the day so I thought you had gone home. And I didn’t feel like going home after my shift so I thought I would just wait here until it was a decent time to pick you.”

“Why did you not want to go home?”

Kerry gave Abby a puzzled look. She knew she had a reputation for practically living in the ER until not too long ago. But since she had found much better balance in her emotions, she could quite easily shut the door behind her at the end of the shift and go home. Home was not longer a place of loneliness. It was now a place of peace and quiet.

“Well, Maggie is home and things haven’t been too great since she got out of the hospital again. Sure she is taking her medication and so on but I just can not stand her anymore. I wish she would just leave and I told her so. And then I called to say I would be home late tonight. “

Abby allowed herself to think.

Kerry stretched out her hand to touch Abby in an effort to comfort her. The tension was obvious on her young face and Kerry couldn’t help wondering if the tension was because of the situation with Maggie or because of their date tonight.

“Well, now that we are both here, we might as well go to my house together. Then I can get change and we can still go out if you feel like it.”

Abby just nodded and opened her locker to get her stuff out. Kerry grabbed her coat. She dropped her crutch on the floor and Abby quickly bent down to pick it up. As she came back up again, her face was a mere inch away from Kerry’s. For a second too long, they stared at each other before Kerry swallowed hard and took the crutch. From a place she didn’t recognize came a strangled

“Thank you.”

“Kerry, are you ready to go? If we don’t go home soon you might as well come home with me and watch that video.”

Kerry and Abby looked up, somehow both feeling like teenagers caught making out behind the bike-shed at school.

Kim, oblivious of what just happened smiled at Abby.

“Hi Abby. You OK? How’s Maggie? Say hi to her from me. Come on Kerry, let’s go.”

Kerry looked from Kim to Abby, not sure what to do. She didn’t want to tell Kim about her date with Abby. Not after she had lied about it just a few minutes ago. Abby rolled her eyes when Kim turned towards the door. Kerry lifted her wrist, pointed at her watch and mouthed to Abby.

“Give me 30 minutes.”

A fine state of affairs, part 11