Fitting Right In
By: Jamie Sommers
Synopsis: Set after the episode A Boy Falling Out Of the Sky. What if Abby had said yes to Carter’s question?
Disclaimer: I don’t own ER, but I’d love to because then I’d be lounging on a beach, getting a wonderful tan and sipping a margarita.
Fitting Right In
“What?” Abby was in complete disbelief. How could this man ask to marry her when he knew what her family would put them through? What they were currently putting them through. “You’re crazy!” she shouted at him with a half smile on her face.
“Well… Then I’ll fit right in.” He chuckled. Carter couldn’t believe he asked her. He was a bit surprised at himself for blurting it out. Within a split second he had gone from being completely frustrated with her to proposing marriage and he prayed that she wouldn’t say no.
A team of doctor’s and nurses rushed past them to care for the patient arriving on the helicopter. No one seemed to notice Abby and Carter standing there, or perhaps they were simply preoccupied. What seemed to be an eternity turned out to be mere seconds. Within a minute they had all disappeared. No doctors. No nurses. No one was screaming in pain. As quickly as the chopper arrived it took its departure and the whole world around them fell silent. Neither one of them moved. They stared into each other’s eyes, waiting to see who would speak first.
Abby, breaking the deafening silence, shook her head no, admitting her fears aloud, “I can’t marry you. You’d hate me within a month. I’d constantly have to drop everything and take care of my crazy family. I mean… Look at how I treated you tonight? Look at … My God! This is crazy.” She paced back and forth and began reasoning. “First there’s my mother. Lord,” she sighed. “My mother alone would drive you to drink. Hell it drove ME to drink, but that’s beside the point.” No need to open up another can of worms, Abby thought to herself. “Now there’s this whole thing with my brother. I thought maybe it would be easier this time. Maybe, since I could somewhat handle it as a kid, I could handle this now but…” Her thoughts trailed off as she began searching through her pockets for another cigarette. Telling herself, once again, that she would only smoke half.
“Are you trying to talk me out of it Abby, or yourself,” Carter asked. He walked closer to her, taking hold of her frantically searching hand, “Because you’re not scaring me Abby. Your family’s situation isn’t going to make me stop loving you.”
“How can you love me??” She threw her head back in exasperation. “How can you even think of wanting to be with me?” She pulled herself away from his touch and turned away. She couldn’t think when he touched her that way. “I’m no good for you Carter. I’ll just bring you down.” She turned toward him and said, “You were dead right when you said that I’m negative.”
“Noooo…” He walked closer toward her. “I didn’t say that you were negative, just some of the things you say.”
Her eyes rolled upward and a familiar look crossed her face. “What’s the difference?”
“There’s a big difference,” he countered. “A person can change the way they look at things Abby.”
“NOT ME!!! Don’t you understand? You… me…” Her breathing became labored. “Stay away from me Carter. Just stay away. Let’s just get out of this now before you see the real me and what my life actually is.”
“Why do you keep saying things like that?” He was getting pissed again. He tried his best to keep his voice steady. “I see you Abby. I know you. I know what your life is and what it will take to make it work.”
“TO MAKE IT WORK??” She never meant to yell, but somehow she couldn’t stop herself. It was for his own good that she ended this relationship with him now before it caused her anymore pain than what it was causing her now. “You don’t know shit about me Carter!! You think just because we share an addiction for addictive substances that you know me??? Do you???”
He took a deep cleansing breath, trying his best to keep his cool, before saying, “Is that what you really think Abby? Do you think so little of me…”
Abby immediately cut him off, knowing that she had gone too far. “NO!” She turned towards him and said, “My God. Of course not. It’s not you I think little of here, Carter. It’s me. I’m the one that’s not worth a damn. I just don’t… don’t…” she searched her head, but there were no other excuses she could come up with. She didn’t know what else to say to convince him that she was wrong for him. She didn’t deserve him and he most certainly didn’t deserve to go through the kind of life Maggie and Eric put her through.
He shook his head and looked down at his feet before lifting his eyes slowly to meet hers. “So you’re saying you don’t love me?”
Her brow furrowed, “Oh John,” she sighed. “That’s not it.” She spoke quietly as she stepped closer to him. “I do…” she cleared her throat and swallowed before saying, “I love you.” She didn’t know why she said it; she just knew she had to tell him. Just once she wanted him to know that for a little while, he gave her peace. For a little while in her life she had security and comfort. For once in her life she felt truly loved and she needed him to know that she loved him too. Her eyes met his as she said softly, “I love you, John.”
“I love you too, Abby,” he held out his hand hoping that she would take it in hers.
Without disappointing him, she threaded her fingers through his. Smiling at him, she took another step towards him. “You know,” her soft smile made her eyes glow. “I think that’s the first time we actually said that to each other.”
“Yeah, I know.” He chuckled a bit. Grateful that they could relish the moment, he squeezed her hand in his. “We love each other, Abby.”
“And that’s also why I can’t marry you.” Her smile left her face as she continued, “It’s because I love you that I can’t marry you.”
“Can’t or won’t?” He countered.
“I won’t do this to you John. I won’t.”
“What Abby? What are you doing to me? Hurting me?? Because you are Abby. You are. You’re saying, no, hurts more than anything Eric and Maggie combined could ever do to me.”
She lifted her hand to his face and cupped his cheek against her palm. “I don’t want to hurt you.” That was never her intention.
He turned his face and placed a gentle kiss against the palm of her hand and whispered, “Then marry me Abby. Be my wife.” He looked into her eyes and tried explaining it to her one last time. “Don’t you understand Abby? I’d rather live my life with you and your family, then not live with you at all.”
She could see his eyes tearing over and wanted desperately to ease the pain she was causing him, but she needed to be honest with, not only him, but herself as well. “What about children John? Did you think of that?”
“Yes.” He remembered her saying that she really didn’t want any kids because she already raised one, her mother. “I know how you feel about passing on the disease.”
“And… I’ll admit… I would love to raise a family with you, but if the family we raise has to be Eric and Maggie, then so be it. I can live without having children, Abby. I can live with the constant interruptions from Maggie. I can live with your worrying about Eric at all hours of the night, but what I can’t do is live without you.”
Her smile at his admission radiated across her face. “You’re sure about this?” She took another step and placed her hands on his shoulders. “You really want to marry us? Because it would be us Carter, not just me. You’d be marrying Maggie and Eric too.”
“I know,” his hands found her waist.
“I can’t promise that I’ll change my mind about having children,” she pressed her breasts against his chest and dug her fingers, gently into his shoulders. Lord was she really thinking about doing this?
“I know that too,” his head tilted downwards as he urged her closer.
“Then ask me again,” her face was a breath away from his. Hurry, she thought. Hurry up before I change my mind.
“Abby Lockhart,” his voice was thick with emotion, “Will you marry me?”
“Yes,” she whispered against his lips. “God help us John, but yes I will.”
Their mouths met softly at first, a mere brushing of their lips, before he pulled her tightly to him and kissed her deeply. His hands wrapped around her body as her fingers dug into his neck. Their hearts pounded rapidly through their thick winter coats as his tongue danced within her mouth.
His lips left a trail of moisture across her cheek as he whispered harshly in her ear, “I love you so much, Abby.”
Her hands guided his warm, mouth back to hers, as she responded, “You are crazy you know?”
“Yeah,” he sucked her bottom lip into his mouth. “I told you I’d fit right in.”