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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Her Stalled Elevator
By bank_farter



It isn't the word Carla would have used to sum up the situation, but she understands the sentiment. Boy, does she ever understand.

Izzie had started screaming at 4:30 that morning. 4:30. And, of course, Carla was the one who'd gotten up to take care of it, and the one who'd stayed up afterwards because it took so long to calm Izzie down that there was no point trying to go back to sleep.

Turk was the one who'd slept like a log through the whole thing, which had, predictably, annoyed her. And when he did finally wake up, the first thing he did was roll over, prop himself on one arm, and give her that "Hey, baby, what do you say we do a little somethin'-somethin'?" look. More annoying.

Then came the most annoying part, which was that he had the nerve to go and make it worse by doing that suggestive belly rub thing that she'd already told him at least five times made her feel really fat. So, of course, she turned him down, and he pouted, and it all ended in yet another argument about how little intimacy they'd had since the baby came.

Carla couldn't even begin to explain how sick she was of having that conversation with him (dammit, she wasn't ready for sex, and what was she supposed to do about that?), so she settled for just being relieved when it was finally time to head out for work. Apparently, though, her day was just destined to suck because during the first two hours of her shift, one patient coded, another developed a dangerously high fever that required almost constant monitoring, and she got assigned to change a foley cath on another guy who was seriously up there in the running for Most Perverted Patient of the Year.

The only semi-good thing that had happened to her so far was that she didn't end up having to change the cath after all. Even that had a downside, though: the only reason she got out of it was that the freakin' elevator she was riding in (the one she's still in now, ten minutes later) had decided to screech to a halt in between floors. Which is exactly why Elliot, the car's only other occupant, is currently pacing and letting out a stream of agitated fricks.

"Elliot, calm down," Carla says firmly. "I'm sure they'll fix it in a few minutes." It crosses her mind that she should probably be annoyed about having to control Elliot's freak-out when she feels so crappy herself, but somehow it actually makes her feel better.

"I know, I know," Elliot says quickly. "But I hate being in tiny enclosed spaces."

Carla raises her eyebrows skeptically. "You ride the elevator all the time."

"I know, Carla!" Elliot snaps, exasperated. "I mean for, like, extended periods of time. When I can't get out. Or when I could plummet at any moment and not only die, which would suck, but leave behind a really mangled, gross corpse. And then I'd have to have a closed casket at the funeral, which would be weird because I've never really pictured a closed casket funeral." She wrinkled her nose. "Then again, I always think it's kind of creepy that people display dead people like that, so maybe I'd just be cremated."

Carla just sighs and sits down on the elevator floor, wrapping her arms around her legs.

After a moment, Elliot stops pacing and slides down to sit beside her. She rests her head against the side panel and, after hesitating for a split second, puts a hand on Carla's knee. "Sorry," she says softly, even though she can't possibly know what it is that she's apologizing for.

"You must be." Carla laughs a little in spite of herself. "You're actually doing a comfort touch."

Elliot smiles. "I know! It still makes me feel a little ooky, but I try to hide it."

"Next time, you probably shouldn't announce that," Carla replies, rolling her eyes and managing a small smile back.

It must not have looked as happy as she'd hoped, though because Elliot's expression darkens again. "Really. What's wrong?"

Where to begin? "It's nothing," Carla says, shaking her head. "Nothing big, anyway. Things have just been kind of rough lately."

"You mean with the baby?"

"With everything. It's just…" She sighs again. "Everyone knows I had a hard time after Izzie was born… I mean, I always wanted to be a mom, you know? But it's hard, and I'm tired all the time, and Turk and I haven't done anything since she was born."

Carla hadn't really meant to blurt out that last part, but there it was. And now Elliot was giving her a weird look that was a mix of "eww, T.M.I." and "you went that long without sex?!"

"Don't look at me like that!"

"No, no," Elliot says quickly, raising her hands. "I'm just surprised, that's all." She pauses. "Nothing?"

"No." It's embarrassing to admit, but a part of Carla is kind of relieved to be talking about it with someone. "I don't know why. It's like I just can't feel pretty anymore. And, besides," she cringes, "I'm somebody's mom now. I'm old."

"You're not!" Elliot says hastily, then frowns. "Well, you are somebody's mom, but I meant the old part. You're not. And you're pretty."

"Yeah? You think so?"

And now the look Elliot's giving her is more like "why are you being retarded?"

"Carla, of course. I mean, your hair looks really shiny today, and you look totally awesome for someone who hasn't slept more than 10 hours in the last week. Plus, I'm not much for the whole 'junk in the trunk' thing normally, but I thought your butt looked really good today."

"Thanks." Then it hits her what Elliot actually said. "Wait, did you just tell me I have a big butt?" She pauses again. "Did you just admit to checking out my butt?"

"Well, yeah. I mean not the big butt part. Totally not the big butt part!" Elliot corrects quickly, blushing. "And I wasn't 'checking out.' I just happened to notice."

Carla just stares incredulously at her until she caves.

"Ok, fine. I was looking at your butt. Doesn't mean anything."

"It means I have a nice butt," Carla says, relieved to feel a trace of the old cockiness coming back. "What else?"

"What do you mean?"

"What else do you like?" Carla asks. When she sees Elliot give a little squirm of discomfort, she tries to lighten the mood: "Come on. Humor the no longer pregnant, but still incredibly bloated lady."

Elliot smiles a little. "Well…um, like I said, your hair is really nice. Mine's really thin, but yours always looks so…" she raises her hand to brush a piece from Carla's face "…full. Healthy, I guess."

Her eyes and her fingers drift down to Carla's face. "Oh, and eyebrows. They're always perfect, which is amazing because I can't even get around to plucking mine half the time, and I don't even have a baby or anything. And your lips are…nice. I like your lipstick, I mean…So, yeah..."

Carla is flattered and kind of touched, and she's also a little amused about the fact that Elliot is starting to look more and more flustered. Her hand is frozen on Carla's cheek, and her face is red, and Carla decides that it's only right to bail her out of the situation. She opens her mouth to spout some joking remark, but she doesn't even get a syllable out before Elliot's lips are pressed against hers.

By the time Carla snaps out of her shock enough to register what's going on, Elliot is pulling back, embarrassed.

"What the hell was that?!" Carla hears herself demand.

"Sorry! Sorry!" Elliot says, quickly. "Force of habit."

She finds herself staring quizzically at Elliot for what feels like the millionth time that day.

"What? I told you I use sex as an icebreaker."

"…Icebreaker? Elliot, we've been friends for six years."

"I know! I meant, like, when I get uncomfortable," Elliot fiddles with her hands a little just to illustrate the last emotion.

"Why are you uncomfortable?"

"I just… I don't know. I don't usually talk about what I think of other women's appearance unless I'm calling them sluts or whores or something. It's kind of…" Elliot frowns, searching for the right word. "…gay?"

"Ah," Carla says, bemused. "So you thought you'd make it less gay by kissing me?"

"Yes. I mean, no." Elliot shrugs. "It was just a heat of the moment reaction, ok?"


There's a long minute when neither one of them looks at each other. Then, Elliot turns to Carla.

"How was it?"

"Pretty good," Carla replies, turning to face her friend. "I was actually impressed. There could have been less open-mouth stuff, though."

"What do you mean?"

Carla tries to think of a way to explain, but gives up. "Here," she says, pulling Elliot towards her. "Let me show you."

An hour later, when the elevator finally arrives on the third floor, JD is waiting for them as they step out of the car.

"It's about time you…" he pauses, looking them over. Elliot's lab coat is smeared with something red, and Carla's hair is unkempt and frizzy. "Jeez, are you two all right? What the heck happened?"

"Nothing!" Carla says, too quickly. "Why would you think something happened? Not that it's any of your business anyway. It was just a rough stop, ok, JD? Just stop prying."

"Yeah," Elliot agrees, brushing past him quickly. "Do you have to be so nosy about everything?"

JD just pauses for a moment before turning to watch them leave.

Women are strange.

The End

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