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A fine state of affairs, part 6 by Marieke Vink

The apartment had an eerie feeling of silence. Only the clattering of Kerry making tea in the kitchen. The past few days had sucked all the energy out of Abby. And tonight had just been the drop of water that makes the bucket overflow.

Kerry brought two mugs of steaming Rooiboss tea. Nice touch Abby thought. Rooibos is after all famous for its soothing qualities. Abby gratefully accepted the tea as Kerry sat herself down on the sofa next to her. They sipped their tea in silence. There was a sense of expectance in the air that neither of the two women understood. Finally Kerry was the one who spoke first.

"Do you wanna talk about it? I am not just good at barking orders you know. I can be a good listener too and right now it seems you need someone who listens to you."

Abby gripped her mug tighter, lost for words.

"I'm ok thanks. I just need a good night of sleep. Tomorrow will be another day."

Kerry knew that Abby was lying. She wasn't good at all. She looked like hell. But from Kim she had learned not to jump all over someone who approaches emotions that way. Hell she did it that way herself until not too long ago. She would just hang around the rest of the night, being available to Abby, gently poking at her until she would start talking. And Kerry was sure she would start talking eventually.

"Ok. You don't have to talk about it now if you don't want to. I am just going to call Kim and see how things are at the hospital OK?"

Kerry left the room and Abby was alone again. Mentally cursing herself for being a total coward. If not now, then when? When would she be alone with Kerry again? Maggie would be in the hospital at least a few days so this was the perfect time do get it over with. But what if Kerry would be so shocked that she would walk away? What if Kerry would laugh at her? Her life would be hell every day in the hospital. What if she herself was wrong about her feelings and was rushing in to her declaration of love. That would make her look like an even bigger idiot. She could see why Kerry had struggled with this so much when she had fallen for Kim. Love wasn't easy. It wasn't simply falling in love and enjoying the feeling. Abby had thought she had found it with John. They were comfortable, sex was good, he was tender, caring if not a little overprotective. But eventually it had died out when Abby realized it just wasn' Just wasn't what? It. She couldn't find a better word for it. What she had felt for Carter, and Luka and Richard before him, just had not been 'it'. Whatever the hell that meant. If you do not know what you're missing, you can not miss it. And she could only see it now that she had


"She's crying and she doesn't even know it. I tried to get her to talk to me but she froze when I just looked at her. I don't know how to help her if she doesn't want to talk. My God she looks so fragile and lost. Kim, you are her best friend, why don't you come over here and I go to the hospital and see to Maggie?"

"No Kerry, Maggie needs me more than Abby does. I think Abby needs you more than you realize. You don't need to talk. She needs to feel that you are her friend, that you care. Do you know she cares an awful lot about you? Do you know she has a bad day when she has not reached your standards? Do you know all she wants to do is make sure she does right by you? She admires you for being so strong. I think right now she needs to know that you care for her. Not just as her boss, but as her friend. And if I have not been completely fooling myself lately, I think you DO care for her more than just as a boss. Let her set the pace for the conversation. She will talk. Now I will just drive home from the hospital, you think you can get a cab home?"

Kerry assured Kim she would be fine. Kims words had surprised her. A warning signal had shot up to her brain. None of that had actually come as surprise. Had Kim not just said what Kerry already knew? She was just surprised that Kim picked up on it before she had done so herself. A sign of a truly good friend, Kerry thought with a smile. How did she ever survive without friends? As Kerry entered the living room, she felt her heart being torn in to pieces. Abby was sitting on the floor, her head in her hands, sobbing uncontrollably.

For a moment, Kerry froze and didn't know what to do. Then she did the only thing she knew. She sat next to Abby on the floor and pulled her in to her arms. Abby grabbed hold of Kerry as if she was the last thing keeping her from drowning. Kerry stroked Abby's hair and kissed her on the head. She mumbled sweet soothing words into Abby's hair and closed her eyes, gently rocking the limp body in her arms.

They sat like that for at least fifteen minutes until Kerry asked: "Abby, please talk to me. Please tell me what it is."

Barely audible, in-between sobs and sighs, Kerry could clearly distinguish the words: "It is you

A fine state of affairs, part 7