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She Hated Illinois
She hated Illinois. Hated it with a passion that was only surpassed by her hatred of the city of Chicago as a whole. Nothing good ever happened to her in Illinois. Every bit of happiness she thought she'd find there always turned around and bit her in the ass. She'd leave if she could, but honestly, where could she go? She wished she could go to Kim, but she had no idea where to even begin looking for her. How was it that no matter who she fell in love (deeply, madly, unequivocably) with, she always ended up alone.
She'd come to County all those years ago after being pursued heavily as a potential Chief Resident in the ER. Good career move, bad personal move. Everyone there hated her, from the very beginning. And those who'd had a hand in hiring her had a hand in undermining her. So she played up the bitch role, even though, had anyone asked the staff at her old hospital, bitch was the last thing they'd call her. Brilliant. Personable. Quiet. Not Bitch. Her happiness at seeing Mlungisi came more from the appeal of having someone around who liked her, even if their divorce still hurt.
Six years later, life threw her a curveball in a game she hadn't even known she was playing. The appearance of Kim Legaspi changed her life in ways the blonde haired woman would never be able to comprehend. This woman, this beautiful, young, energetic woman pursuing her forced her to recognize that the women she'd known in the Congo were more than just friends she'd occasionally slept with, under the guise of the fact that it was common practice in the tribe she worked with. She hadn't wanted to be anymore different than her leg forced her to be, and here was Kim, proclaiming that it was ok. She watched herself as though mentally detached throughout those seven months, unable to stop the train wreck that was her denial of what she knew to be true.
Her career fell apart before her eyes and she reached the point where she didn't care anymore. Sandy's arrival in her life came at just the right moment, when she was at the bottom and needed to work her way back up again. And yet, Sandy would ever be tied to loss. Loss of her baby. Loss of her lover. Loss of her son, even if only for a few months. Loss of her birth mother. Loss of her ER. She couldn't afford to lose anything else, not and keep hold of the tattered threads of her life.
And so, she couldn't leave Illinois. It would mean another fight for her son. As much as she loved Kim, was now able to have a relationship with her (she always ignored the thought that Kim wouldn't want one with her again), she couldn't go. It would mean losing everything she had. She hated Illinois.
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