DISCLAIMER: I don't own Scrubs or any of the characters, nor do I own the dialog at the very beginning of the fic.
SEQUEL: To Her Closet Encounter, Her Sixth Person and Her Realization.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Her Cable Car
By bank_farter


Elliot Reid is totally pathetic. She knows this. She's known it for pretty much her entire life, but here's the first thing that really gave it away tonight: she drove almost ten miles out of her way just to find a bar that was both far enough from the hospital that she wouldn't run into anyone, and also not icky or biker-y.

That last part is super important, she decides—not because it's a class thing or anything (definitely not, because she's totally not like that…no matter what Carla says). No, it's more because she's a scrawny white girl who doesn't feel so much like dying tonight.

(Well, maybe a little. But she's getting past that. Really.)

Anyway: pathetic. Totally. And it's even worse now because she's sitting at the bar, earphones in, listening to her IPOD—did she mention the part about being in the bar while she's doing this?—and staring into a scotch that she only ordered because it seemed like a good "depressed" drink. It works for Dr. Cox, after all. Why not her?

(Probably because she really doesn't like scotch.)

Oh, and she's playing The Fray on repeat. Yep. Because it's completely normal and healthy to be drinking herself silly while she listens to the song about being in over your head again and again and again. Completely.


Elliot sighs and rests her forehead on her hand. She can't help it: she is in over her head right now. She's got an overbearing mother, a father who steadfastly refuses to love her, and an ex-boyfriend who's convinced that she still loves him. She can't even bring herself to look said-ex in the eye anymore, either, which is awesome because they work together and it's not at all awkward or anything.

(Except it totally is.)

Oh, and then there's the fact that she might be kind of, sort of infatuated with her boss's former spouse. Who is, most of the time, the meanest person ever. And, also a woman.

Elliot lets her head slide down until it hits the bar with a loud thunk. How did she get into this mess?

She glances up when she feels someone staring at her. It's the bartender. His lips are moving, and she frowns as she takes out her ear buds. "Sorry, what?"

"I asked if you were ok," he says with a small smile. Then he adds, "Sorry, I didn't realize you had earphones in. Long hair and all."

"It's fine. I'm fine," Elliot replies in her best 'I'm not about to fall apart right now, really' voice. She tosses back her scotch with an air of confidence and tries desperately to suppress the urge to gag. "Another, please," she manages to choke out.

The bartender looks at her skeptically for a moment before taking her glass. "Whatever you say." He pours another shot and turns to ask whoever it is that just settled into the stool next to her what he can get for him or her.

"How about a bourbon there, sport?" says a voice Elliot recognizes instantly. Please no…"Makes the blue bombers go down smooth."

Elliot cringes and, before she even realizes what she's doing, whips her head over to take in the sight of the Chief of Medicine wearing a '70's style button-down that exposes a tuft of chest hair and sporting an Asian woman young enough to be his daughter on his arm. Just when she thought this night couldn't get any more disturbing, fate had to kick in with this. Great. Just great.

Kelso squints at her before exclaiming, "Dr. Reid!" jovially. Judging from his demeanor and the smell drifting off of him (alcohol, old spice, and old man), the bourbon is clearly not the first drink he's had tonight. "What are you doing here?" he asks, his voice a weird mix of warmth, confusion, and suspicion.

"Oh, I just… you know," Elliot pauses. It seems sort of pathetic to admit the truth, so she finds herself floundering for an alternate explanation. When she fails to stumble upon one, she decides to result to a time-honored Reid family method: avoidance. "Nothing. Just—nothing. What are you doing here?"

"Oh, I like to take my, shall we say, 'dates,' far enough away that there's no chance of Enid finding out about it. Not that she can leave the house anyway, but you know how it is…" he grins and slaps Elliot on the shoulder. She suddenly feels dirty all over, but he ignores her shudder and points to her drink. "Scotch?"

Elliot nods and looks away quickly, praying that Kelso will take the hint and drop the conversation. No such luck.

"I had an old navy buddy who used to drink Scotch. Johnny. Great guy," Kelso pauses. "Said it used to give him trouble with the old crankshaft, though, if you know what I mean."

So this is why Jordan's so blunt with him, Elliot thinks as she downs her fourth shot of scotch and tries desperately to tune him out. Not that she's not like that with everyone…

Elliot finds herself smiling a little sadly, and Kelso stops his rambling about the blue discharges and butt tattoos long enough to frown. "Thinking about Dr. What's-his-name… Dorian?"

"No," Elliot, sighs. "Not him. It's this other th—"

"Sounds fascinating, dear," Kelso interrupts. He grins and gives his date a quick pat on the posterior before gesturing for her to give him a minute. When she wanders off, he leans closer to Elliot, the smile fading from his face. "Listen, sweetheart. Let me give you a little professional advice." His voice hardens. "Whatever it is you're moping about, you'd better snap out it soon. It's causing problems for the hospital, and that's causing problems for me. I can't play my Pac-Man when I have to deal with all you malcontents pouting about your personal problems all the time."

Elliot opens her mouth to say something, but Kelso cuts her off by growling, "Just fix it, Dr. Reid." He gives her a syrupy grin. "I'm glad we had this talk."

Elliot stares after him when he walks over to rejoin his "date" (Is that what they're calling hookers these days? Huh. Who knew?), and glances down at the empty glass in front of her. It hits her then: even though that whole conversation was like, twenty-six different kinds of disturbing, Kelso's right. This is ridiculous, hiding at a bar, drowning her feelings in gross tasting liquor. She's better than this. She can handle this. She needs to handle this, for the sake of whatever shred of sanity she has left.

And she will.

Elliot signals the bartender as she pulls out her wallet. "Check, please."

The End

Return to Scrubs Fiction

Return to Main Page