DISCLAIMER: Unfortunately, none of the characters are actually mine. They belong to the geniuses behind ER. I've simply borrowed them and turned their lives upside down.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I was inspired by a series written by Sharon Bowers that left an ending open for a change. Check her website for the ones that led up to this.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
For a Little While
By Foolish Heart
Six months had passed since the last time her body had been tangled with Kim's. Six months of waking every day to the familiar, but not welcoming shape of a distraction that came in the form of a boyishly handsome face shrouded by dusky dark hair. Six months of dreams that left her body aching for a touch that had become as familiar to her as breathing and her heart a cold empty spot in her chest.
She lay quietly in sheets that had long ago lost the scent of her ex-lover, listening to the heavy breathing that indicated that John was lost in a deep and peaceful slumber. Abby watched the two red dots on the digital clock fade in and out of focus as the minutes turned to hours and she drifted into a half-sleep that had become all too familiar.
Her breath caught as she watched the lean form move beneath her, responding to her touch in ways that she had never seen before. Blue eyes shuddered closed as Kim's chest moved with her ragged breathing.
"Oh God Abby, I've missed you so much your touch everything Oh yes, please "
Abby smiled to herself, still amazed by the affect she seemed to have on this beautiful creature laid beneath her:
"Come for me baby just let it go "
No, that's not right. Even as she said it, she new it wasn't right. That had always been Kim's request, not hers. She was always more willing to let her actions speak for themselves.
"Abby Abby Wake up," John was shaking her. Ripping her from that warm grip of the only place where happiness was.
"Wha " she stammered, trying to calm the blood that had left her brain and settled somewhere just south of her equator.
"You were whimpering in your sleep. It sounded like you were having a nightmare," concern set into his sleep fogged features as he leaned over to her side of the bed they had shared for the last six months. "Are you okay?"
A thousand angry retorts sprung to her still spinning head as she tried unsuccessfully to hang onto the wisps of her dream.
"Yeah, I'm fine Carter. I don't even know what I was dreaming about," she lied.
In truth, she hadn't even remembered falling asleep, but if the clock beside the bed wasn't lying, she had drifted off nearly two hours ago.
"I should think you'd be glad not to remember," he said with a small smile. "Because it sounded like it wasn't very fun."
Abby smiled silently to herself, glad that it was still dark and he couldn't see the flush that had slowly made its way up her body to settle just under her sad brown eyes.
"What time do you start today?" he murmured into her ear as he curled himself around her smaller frame and placed butterfly kisses over her left shoulder.
Unwillingly she found herself thinking about the first time she and Kim had woken up together and she had found herself in a position much like this one, only with a softer body surrounding her with more natural warmth.
"9am. I managed a halfway decent shift these next two weeks, although I don't know who to thank."
"And you get off at seven?"
"Yeah that's when you come on, huh?"
"Yep. I got seven to seven the rest of this month. Jing Mei asked me to switch because she was starting to feel like a zombie. Now I kinda wish I had told her no," he added with a sheepish smile.
Emotions mixed somewhere between sadness and joy rolled inside Abby's mind. The nights seemed a little shorter when he was with her, but while her body might be wrapped in his arms, her heart and mind were a million miles away. Actually, it was only as far away as Atlanta, Georgia, with a certain blonde haired, blue eyed lover that she just couldn't get out of her system.
"You have any plans for tonight? I hate to think about you here all alone," he said softly. Leaving the 'I wouldn't want you to fall off the wagon' unsaid but still resting uncomfortably between them.
"I think I'll survive John. I'm a big girl. I can find ways to entertain myself that don't involve a bottle and a lime," she said coldly.
"Hey easy there tiger. That's not what I meant Abby. I meant that I would rather be with you tonight than with the staff at County. Is that so hard to believe?"
"No. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap. I just didn't sleep much last night, and my back is killing me. You really can be a bed hog, you know?" she added with a smile as she rolled over to face him, gently brushing her lips against his, more because it seemed like the right thing to do that because she wanted to.
He pulled her into a longer kiss and she couldn't ignore the urgency behind it or the nagging feeling in the back of her mind that he wasn't what she really needed or wanted.
She gently pulled away from him, placing a gentle kiss above his right eyebrow as she got out of bed and headed towards the shower. "Put some coffee on, please? I need a shot of caffeine "
"Abby, can you get vitals on the back pain in two and a bedpan for the diabetic in three?" Haleh asked as she trotted past admit and into trauma one.
"Sure," Abby sighed to herself as she checked the clock for what seemed like the hundredth time in the last five minutes, reminding herself that she only had an hour left to go.
Things had basically returned to normal at County in the months following Kim's resignation and the removal of everyone's favorite inspiration for gossip. For the most part, Randi had gone back to discussing the looser she had met the night before at the bar and everyone else seemed content with the fact that Abby and Carter had gotten together, thus restoring the delicate balance of the ER ecosystem.
Even Kerry seemed to look a little more kindly upon Abby in the past weeks, leading her to assume Kerry had either found someone to help her get over Kim (like Abby had with Carter) or that she was planning a more imaginative way to get back at Abby for the dramas that had taken place. Either way, Abby couldn't care less. She was just happy to be able to breathe in the ER once again.
Six thirty had come and gone while Abby assisted with one trauma after another, barely getting the blood washed off her arms before moving to the next. Pedestrian versus car, gunshot wound in four, stabbing in one, vomiting in chairs all in a days work for the gloriously understaffed and underpaid.
"Hey you," John smiled as he came into the lounge where Abby was hiding for the last ten minutes of her shift.
"You look exhausted."
"That's probably because I am exhausted," she replied with a small smile. "It's been Hell today."
"So I noticed. I barely got through the door before Chuney was throwing a chart at me. It doesn't look to be a very promising night."
"At least you'll be busy. That makes it go faster anyway."
"Yeah," he sighed as he wrapped his arms around her waist. "But I'd rather be busy with you somewhere that isn't here."
She turned into his embrace almost out of instinct and rested her head on his chest out of pure exhaustion.
"Yeah, that might be nice. But it's not in our cards for the near future."
"I know sad huh?" he said quietly as he leaned down to kiss her softly. "I'm not sure I'll survive."
Leaning into his kiss, her eyes closed and her mind reaching for the memory of her mouth against Kim's in the slow exploration she'd become so accustomed to during their short time together.
"Carter! Weaver needs you in trauma three now. Multiple MVA. The mother and the daughter are here now dad's on his way," Malik said quickly as he threw the door to the lounge open.
Abby jumped back from Carter like his lips had sent a bolt of lightening straight through her when the door opened. Then she opened her eyes and remembered that it was Carter she was with and that it was okay for her to be 'caught' kissing him.
Dammit she thought to herself. I have got to get a grip on this. Kim's gone. She chose to leave. And she's not coming back. Carter's the choice I made and now I have to deal with it.
"OK Malik. I'm on my way," he said quickly. Either not noticing how fast Abby had pulled away or choosing to contribute it to something else. "I'll call you tonight Abby. Maybe we can get breakfast tomorrow."
Another quick kiss and he was gone, leaving Abby to gather her things and take the short ride on the 'L' home. To sit and brood and wish that things were somehow different.
She felt like she had been sitting in the same position for hours. Sipping the Connamera and fighting the impulse to simply pick up the phone and call her. Just to hear her breathe. Even after all this time, she still knew the number. Still knew that she would pick up on the third ring if for no other reason than to make the ringing stop.
Stevie Nicks was singing in the background over Lindsey Buckingham's guitar and Kim could close her eyes and feel the smaller woman wrapped tightly in her arms in the hot summer heat. She could still feel Abby's breath over her too sensitive skin cooling the sweat that had formed from the mix of body heat and desire. She could feel Abby's hands gently roaming over the lower plains of her body, exploring her newfound favorite pass-time. And she could feel the all too familiar throb between her legs at the memory of how skilled those hands had turned out to be.
"Dammit Legaspi," she swore at herself. Why are you thinking about all this? It's in the past and you always swore the past stayed in the past. So why can't you let her go?
"Because you don't want to let her go," a little voice from the recesses of her mind. "You want her more now than you did before you left her. And no matter how many bottles of this shit you try to wash her away with, you'll never get her taste out of your mouth."
The psychiatrist in her realized that having conversations inside her own head was not a good sign, so with a wry smile she screwed the cap back on the bottle and made her way to bed. Hoping the cool silk sheets would help calm her overheated body.
She lay in bed for what seemed like hours trying to think about anything other than sex and Abby Lockhart and only succeeding to think about nothing but. Rolling over onto her side to check the clock, her hand brushed the phone on the bed-side stand and knocked it to the floor.
Hmm midnight here that's eleven there she thought to herself quietly. Maybe she's still up. Or maybe she's at work. Or maybe she's in bed with Carter Ah Hell, maybe I should just call her and put myself out of this wondering misery.
"Hello?" the familiar voice questioned on the third ring. Kim's breath caught in her throat as she fought the urge to hang up the phone and forget she'd ever called.
"Hello! Is anyone there?!" the lovely voice a little more demanding now, becoming angry.
"Hi," Kim breathed, barely above a whisper.
Abby's world tilted and the ground fell out from under her. Just from that single word. More of an exhale than anything else.
"Yeah Abby It's me."
"What how why Oh God, how are you?" Abby stammered. Not believing what she was hearing. Certain it was another half sleep dream to fuck with her head.
"I'm good I'm sorry, maybe I shouldn't have called I just I guess Oh Abby, I don't know why I called. It seemed like a good idea at the time."
"And now it doesn't seem like such a good idea, is that it?" Abby asked, a little more coldly than she had intended. Immediately slipping into the defensiveness that had become second nature.
"No. It's not that. It's just that now that I've called, I just don't know what to say," Kim replied sadly.
Silence stretched across the line as each woman worked through all the emotions that had built up over the time they were apart.
"I've missed you," they both whispered at the same time.
Those were the only words either woman needed to hear to open the floodgates on what they'd both been holding back for so long. Silent tears slowly made their way down Abby's cheeks to leave bullet holes on her scrub top.
"God Kim. It feels like it's been forever in one sense, but not more that a few hours in another."
"I know hon. I've wanted to call so many times before now. I've fought the urge almost every night since I left."
"And why did you wait until now? Christ Kim, the only reason I even knew what state you were in was from that postcard you sent Kerry right after you left. Why didn't you try to get in touch with me?"
"Because I thought I needed to be alone. To be away from it all. To be away from you and everything you made me feel so that I could get over it over you, I guess."
"And have you?"
"Have I what?"
"Gotten over me?" The fear of the answer was audible in the waiver in Abby's voice.
"I would like to say yes but I think the correct answer is no." Abby could hear the wry smile in Kim's voice.
"Would I what?"
"Would you like to say you are over me?"
"No. No Abby. I don't want to say I'm over you. Because that would leave me feeling emptier than I feel right now."
Two hours later, her throat too sore to talk anymore, Kim finally said goodnight, promising to call again soon, but hesitant to say exactly when.
Abby hung up the phone feeling happier (even if a bit more confused) than she had been in months. Just knowing that Kim missed her as much as she did, knowing that Kim thought about her as much in a day as Abby's thoughts drifted to her was enough to lull her into the first sound sleep she'd had in weeks.
Abby heard the phone ringing somewhere in the back corners of her mind, but simply couldn't bring herself out of the warm embrace of her dreams to answer it.
She and Kim had been talking well into the night every night for the past few weeks, and with hers being the last voice Abby heard before she went to sleep, she was almost guaranteed to have inspiring dreams. This morning was no different and her subconscious wouldn't allow her to disentangle herself from the lovely long legs for anything. Not even her current boyfriend calling to make plans for that evening.
"Abby are you there? I guess not. Anyway, I have tonight off and I thought maybe we could go out to dinner or something. I kinda miss you. I mean we haven't really seen each other outside of work in quite awhile well; when you get this, give me a call."
"Shit, shit, shit," Abby swore to herself as she tried to get to the phone before John hung up.
"Hello Hello John?" but all she had in response was a dial tone. Just as she hung up the receiver, the phone rang again.
"John?" She answered before the first ring was up, but she was greeted by silence and a sharp intake of breath.
"No I guess you weren't expecting to hear from me until tonight," Kim's voice resonated softly in Abby's soul.
"Shit Kim, I'm sorry. But John had "
"You don't have to explain yourself to me Abby. I knew when I left that you would move on."
"That's not what's happening though "
"Are you dating John?"
"Yes but that doesn't "
"Then you're moving on," Kim finished simply.
"No. Dammit Kim, you should know better than anyone that just because you're fucking someone doesn't mean your heart is with them!" Abby snapped without thinking. All the hurt having simmered far too long.
Abby could hear the sharp inhale and almost see Kim recoil from the shock of her words.
"I guess you're right about that," she admitted softly. "I didn't realize that's how you felt about what happened between us though."
"No I'm sorry Kim. That's not it. It's just that it's not that easy. Carter's here and "
"So that's why you're with him? Because you can't be with me?"
"Now is not the time to go all doctor patient on me Kim. That's not why I'm with him at all."
"Then tell me why you're with him."
"I don't know "
"Do you love him?"
"No yes no. Not like he loves me."
"It seemed like a good idea at the time?" Abby said half jokingly, mimicking Kim's reason for finally calling her that first night.
"That's not true Abby. Tell me the truth. Why are you with Carter?"
"To forget about you! To forget what you made me feel. To forget what you made me want and what you felt like when I held you while we made love. To forget that the one time I ever found something someone that I wanted to hold onto, fate came along and slammed the goddamn door on my dreams," Abby couldn't hold any of it back anymore. There was too much loss and too much pain and too much need. It all tumbled forth in less time than it took for her to realize what she'd said.
"But it's not working," Abby added sadly, defeatedly.
"What's not working? You and Carter?"
"Well no but I meant forgetting. Because even when I'm asleep with him, I dream of you. You're in every part of me Kim and nothing I do can get you out of my skin."
Because of their opposite shifts, Abby had managed to successfully avoid truly having to deal with Carter on any majorly emotional level. In fact, other than a few kisses in passing and fifteen minute phone calls, she really hadn't seen him in weeks. The rational part of her mind missed him, but other parts of her body missed someone else entirely.
Kim had taken Abby's heated declaration much better than she had ever expected, and had even begun calling at times that didn't involve a darkened room and at least a glass of Connamera. Both women had begun looking forward to their daily conversations which seemed to stretch longer and longer each day.
Hmm eight o'clock I wonder what Kim's up to, Abby thought to herself as she sat in her apartment watching 'Friends' re-runs with one hand on the phone. She's usually called at least once by now.
Christ, what am I doing? Kim thought as she took the too familiar exit into downtown Chicago in the too small rental car. What the Hell do I hope to accomplish? What am I going to do if she's not there? Or if she is and Carter's with her. Or what if she just doesn't want to see me?
It wasn't that she hadn't thought about all these possibilities a thousand times before she dropped the five hundred dollars for the next flight to the windy city. And it wasn't that she was looking for more pain. In fact, it was just the opposite. She had come back to test the waters and alleviate the pain she had carried with her for far too much of her life. And the chance that it wouldn't work out yet again wasn't strong enough to stop her.
"Son of a bitch," Abby swore softly to herself as she hung up the phone. "I wonder where she is. She didn't say she was going out. Of course, she doesn't have to tell me what she's doing, but I thought she "
Her one sided conversation was interrupted by the ringing phone.
"Hi. How are you?"
"I'm good. I was beginning to worry about you," Abby answered with a laugh. "Thought you might have forgotten about me."
"Never love I just had a few places I needed to go. Sorry I made you worry. Hey, you know you forgot to get your mail today?"
"My mail? What the hell are you talking about?" Abby asked as she unfolded herself from the recliner and padded towards the door to her apartment.
"You left your mail in the box. You really should be more careful about that. You never know "
Abby reached to pull the door open as Kim was talking.
" who might be hanging around," Kim finished as the door swung open. "Hello lover "
The phone fell from Abby's hand as the shock of seeing Kim in all her lithe, blonde glory standing on her doorstep.
"What are you doing here?" Abby asked her quietly. Too afraid to let herself get excited until she knew Kim wasn't going to turn around and walk away.
"It was a slow day at the office, so I decided to take a little fly and the only tickets they had available were to Chicago," Kim answered with a smile. "Actually, I don't know exactly what I'm doing here, but I just felt "
Her nervous rambling was broken by Abby throwing her arms around the taller woman's neck and pressing her lips against the warmth and softness she had dreamt about for so many nights.
They stayed like that for what seemed like forever, sharing a breath. Not caring who passed by or if it was really something they should be doing. Abby gave herself over to the familiar and gentle exploration of Kim's mouth on hers. Their tongues dancing together like no time at all had passed. Her body responding in a way that she hadn't felt since Kim had walked away from her that past summer.
Eventually Abby broke the kiss, pulling back to caress Kim's face and look into her beautiful blue eyes. Trying to assure herself that this was real and the woman who had held her heart for so long had actually returned.
"Are you for real?" she asked softly.
"Yeah baby this is for real. Neither one of us is dreaming now," Kim replied as she held Abby's hand over her pounding heart.
"I figured I'd never see you again."
"I know. This trip wasn't exactly written into my planner," Kim joked dryly.
"Then why? What are you doing here?"
"I needed to see you. I couldn't stay away any longer. The more I talked to you, the harder it became."
"Kim, I've missed you so much that it made it hard to breathe."
"I know lover. It hurts right here," Kim answered, laying the palm of her hand over Abby's heart. "It hurts me too."
Silence stretched between them while Abby lost herself in the pools of Kim's eyes. Then she was pulling Kim into the apartment and their lips met in a searing kiss. Hands fluttering over cotton and denim. Tugging at buttons flies. Trying desperately to find the familiar softness of each other's flesh. Their breathing ragged and uneven as they made the familiar trek into Abby's bedroom leaving a trail of discarded clothing in their wake, but refusing to loose contact with each other in the process.
"Oh God Abby. I've wanted you so badly. Ever since I left you've been in my head."
"I know. I dream about you," Abby's breath caught and she lost the ability to speak as Kim's mouth explored the curves of her upper body, covering the most sensitive places with warm and lingering kisses. "Oh yes Kim, please make love to me."
And they were both lost in a flooding of their senses. Taste, touch, sight, and sound, as their bodies moved with each other, like they had been born to move together. Gentle caresses turning into longer touches. Abby's body pressing against Kim, trying to take her more deeply inside, allowing Kim total control. Finally, Kim's name on Abby's parted lips as she rode the waves of a shattering orgasm.
"That was better than my dreams," Abby whispered with a small smile.
"I should hope so."
"Do you know what made it better than my dreams? The fact that when I opened my eyes you were still here. I could get used to you being here Kim."
"I could get used to being here too," Kim replied quietly as she traced random patterns over Abby's back.
"Are you sure? Because I don't want this time to end like the last."
"I don't want this time to end at all Abby. I came back because my life was missing something that only you can give me. I might not have been able to admit that then, but I can now. I love you Abby," Kim murmured through gentle kisses.
Abby's heart skipped a few beats with those four words. Like her whole life stalled and then turned over. She couldn't stop the tears from falling from her eyes anymore than she could have stopped the sun from rising the next morning.
"I love you too "
The next three days passed in hedonistic glory. The two women lying claim to each other's bodies time and again. Reacquainting themselves with each other, lying tangled in sheets that smelled of Kim's spice and Abby's sweet. Both willing the clock to stop for just a few hours to prolong their time together. Neither wanting to admit that a certain male doctor still had a drawer full of clothes in Abby's bedroom.
"You know, I'm going to have to go back to work soon. I work for doctors. They know how long the flu lasts," Abby joked late on the third afternoon.
"Well, we could forge you a doctor's note that says you have something more serious. How does malaria sound?"
"Ew yellow was never my color. Plus, it's not exactly a tropical rainforest out there in downtown. I don't think that one'll work."
"Damn okay. Well then, call and tell them you're moving out of state and won't be back at all," Kim said half jokingly as she held Abby close to her on the couch.
"What ?" Abby began to ask in shock when there was a light knock on her front door. "Shit, who's that?"
Abby disentangled herself from Kim and gave her a light kiss before padding towards the front door and slowly pulling it open.
"Carter what are you doing here?"
"I got off early and Weaver said you had called off sick again, so I thought I'd stop by and see how you're doing. You don't look too sick," he added as he took in the tight tank top and blue jeans Abby was wearing.
"Oh. I uh, guess I'm feeling better. Kinda. I was just worn out today. From being sick you know. So I thought it best to take it easy."
"Yeah. I guess that makes sense. Well, I'm glad you feel better," he said with that boyish smile as he leaned in to give her a kiss.
Abby ducked to the side and gave him a hug and a light kiss on the cheek instead.
"Can I come in for a little bit?" he asked quietly, confused by her avoidance of kissing him.
"I don't know Carter," Abby hedged. "I'm still not feeling all that well. And I wouldn't want you to get sick."
"It's okay. I have a strong immune system. Come on, I'll rub your back while you rest."
"No I'm just going to eat some soup "
"Abby, who's at the door?" Kim asked as she came around the corner carrying two steaming cups of coffee.
Abby's heart stopped and she fought the urge to push past John and run away from the look of anger and disgust in his eyes.
"What in the hell is she doing here?" he asked angrily. "Is she why you've been off work?"
"Hello John," Kim answered coolly.
"Don't you even speak to me!" he yelled at Kim, turning to face Abby. "Abby, how can you do this again? How can you go back to that?"
"That has a name. And I'm not going to have this conversation right now John. Not here."
"No Abby. We are going to have this conversation now. I can't believe this. What kind of hold does she have over you?"
"She doesn't have a hold over me John," Abby sighed heavily, raking her hands through her hair. "I'm not going to explain us to you, because you don't want to hear what I have to say anyway."
"No I do want to hear it. Because this time you do owe me an explanation. Dammit Abby, I've shared that bed with you in the last few months. Did you stop to think about that before you fucked her?!" he spat at her, taking a step forward and into the apartment.
"John, stop," Kim said quietly as she stepped up beside Abby and rested her hand on the small of her back. It was like he saw her for the first time; saw them for the first time. All the anger fell away, leaving him slumped and pale.
"Why Abby? Why am I not enough for you?" he asked softly, his voice barely above a whisper.
"It doesn't really have anything to do with you John."
"But I love you Abby. Isn't that enough?"
"I know," she answered as she stepped towards him and took his hands in hers. "I love you too, but not as much as I need to to be with you. Not enough for you to be happy."
"But I am was happy. To have any part of you makes me happy."
Abby remembered saying almost those same words to Kim before she left and she smiled sadly because she knew how bad Carter was hurting just then.
"John, you think thought you were happy. But I can't live my life in pieces and you deserve more than a part of me. You deserve someone who can give you all that they are."
"But I want you Abby."
"I know. But I'm not yours John. I never really was," she added with a sigh.
"And she makes you happy?" he asked, almost inaudibly.
"Yes. She does. I'm sorry John. I didn't want this to happen this way."
"How did you want it to happen Abby? With a note and an apology?" he asked angrily.
"No. But I didn't want to hurt you."
"It's kind of hard not to hurt someone when you're breaking their heart," he said bitterly.
"I'm sor "
"No. Don't apologize Abby. I'm so damn sick of apologies. If this is what you want, I'm not gonna stand in the way. But I'm also not going to be happy about it. You've obviously made your choice, and I never was happy with second place.
"Good bye Abby," he added over his shoulder as he stormed away.
Abby sighed deeply and slowly closed the door.
"Well that went well," she said sarcastically. "Maybe we can do it again tomorrow?"
"C'mere you," Kim whispered as she pulled Abby to her and gave her a gentle kiss, feeling Abby's body tremble with tension. "I love you, you know that, right?"
"Yeah, I do," Abby answered softly, resting her head against Kim's warm chest. "And I love you too. But where do we go from here?"
"I don't know lover. But I do know we'll figure it out together," Kim whispered to her as they turned together and headed back towards Abby's bedroom.
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