Title: Revised Plans
Dedication: Thanks to Taboo, Jackie and everyone else that encouraged me to write, for Jackie as a beta, and for all the "innocent" ones for making me feel comfortable enough to post this story.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of them, much to my intense sadness
Setting/Spoilers: This fic takes place in an alternate universe where Kerry is not with Sandy. No real spoilers. Set essentially in Season 8. From Kerry's POV. Kerry/Abby
Archive: Ask me first please.
Rating: PG, I suppose.
I wanted to scream at someone, preferably someone from the airlines, which I would have done had I answered the call. Instead I had just gotten a message on my machine. One of those "we've randomly changed your flight times at the last minute, because we can. Have a nice day!" messages. The flight in question was for an upcoming conference on "doctor/nurse relationships and how to keep everything running smoothly". A two-day conference that starts Monday morning and ends Tuesday night, which I just found out, I am now getting into Monday night. I dial the number of the airline and get stuck on hold with musac styled hold music punctuated with recordings imploring me to stay on the line. Don't they know that combination tends to have the opposite effect?
After 20 minutes I've given up. I've reasoned with them, I've yelled at them, I've used my best chief voice. It turns out the earlier flight that would have gotten me to the hotel by 8am wasn't full enough so they canceled it and moved everyone to a later flight. A quick call up to Romano confirmed my suspicions that the hospital wouldn't be willing to buy another ticket for me, which would be very expensive, this close to departure. Romano put it this way - "The hospital will cover a rental car and a cheap motel along the way. Have a nice drive." That little troll. Unfortunately I can't think of anything better myself.
"Damn it!" I said, well maybe yelled, a bit louder than intended.
Until that moment the lounge had been empty, but right then Abby walked through the doors. I groaned, mentally cursing my luck.
She looked a bit startled and like she wished she hadn't picked that moment to come into the lounge.
"Is something wrong, Dr. Weaver?"
I debated for a second and decided it couldn't hurt to vent a little. After all, it concerned her, too, because she was going to the conference as the ER nurse's representative.
"The airlines moved my flight, so as it stands I'll miss the entire first day of the conference. Robert has informed me that that means I'm driving. Which involves trying to get both a rental car and a hotel room at the last minute," I trailed off.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Dr. Weaver." Abby seemed to be standing there debating with herself over something.
"God, she's cute," I think to myself. Once again, I remind myself nothing would or could ever happen. I'm her boss. It wouldn't be appropriate. And besides she's straight, I think, or at least I've never seen anything indicating otherwise. I'm still trying to convince myself when Abby waves at me to get my attention. It seems she's finished debating with herself, though whether she's won or lost is not clear.
"Um?Dr. Weaver, I'm driving to the conference because I have friends I want to stop in and see along the way and I already have a hotel and everything. What I'm trying to say is that you're welcome to come with me," she finishes, looking slightly nervous.
"Wow, I can't believe she just offered that."
"Um, sure Abby, that would be wonderful. I hate to impose, but that would help me immensely," I say in relief.
"No imposition," I offered. "I'll pick you up at noon on Saturday, k?" she says with a grin.
I say, "Ok" and wonder at the wiseness of what I've just agreed to. I'm going on a road trip with Abby.
I finished packing all the last minute things a good half an hour ago which cut down on the last minute packing panic, but has left far too long to panic, uh, not panic, worry, about the upcoming trip. I've been sitting here worrying if she knows I like her (in that way), whether she would care if she knew and how I am going to manage to act "normal" around her, so she doesn't find out when we are in this informal of a setting without our hospital relationship to fall back on.
<Ding-dong> that's probably her now. I try to push all my worries out of my mind and go and open the door.
"So far, so good" I think. We've been driving for a few hours now and things are going pretty smoothly. The only mishap so far was Abby leaving her coffee on the roof for a good mile. It took us that long to figure out why people kept pointing to the car and looking amused.
We've settled in, listening to music and talking occasionally. Abby has a varied taste in music and I brought along a few CDs of my own, so it's been pleasant listening so far. It will be just my luck if she turns out to be a fan of something annoying like French rap. In biased though, my roommate my first year of college used to play it incessantly and I've heard enough of it to last me a lifetime.
I'm surprised how well things have been going. I know we're both on good behavior and all, but I also know I can be a difficult person to get along with sometimes. This gives me hope that Abby and I can develop a relationship other than that of boss and employee, though I don't dare hope for anything more than friends. Lord knows I could use a good friend among the ER staff.
I look back to the map on my lap, hoping to figure out exactly where we are before Abby asks again.
We got into the hotel just before the storm broke. While the car ride today had been surprisingly pleasant, I was still grateful to finally be there. As much as I would hate to ever admit it, long car rides always did a number on my leg.
We climb out of the car and stretch. That feeling of finally being there, of being able to get out of the car and truly stretch without having the fact you will soon have to get back in hanging over your head, is truly amazing. I've got this big smile on my face (contrary to popular ER belief I do smile, especially when I'm not there). I'm sure I look a little goofy, and I look over and Abby has a similar smile of relief on her face. Our eyes meet and we both laugh a little, and there's this moment of total connection, and I realize that against my best efforts I am falling for her, hard. I wonder what she's thinking.
We go in and register, then park the car in front of our room. We've decided to share a room, partially for convenience but mostly because the hotel was completely booked.
We drag our luggage into the room and I start to unpack the necessities while Abby sits on her bed trying to get a working TV station.
About 5 minutes later there is a bright flash of lightning and an immediate bang of thunder, far too close by, and all the power goes out.
"And I had just found a movie that looked good" was Abby's only comment.
"I've seen it. It isn't," was my reply.
About ten minutes later the hotel manager came by with a choice of flashlights or a lantern. We chose the lantern, figuring it easier to see by.
I'm sitting there in the lantern light trying to read a medical journal when Abby suddenly says "Do you want to play cards?"
After a moment to reorient myself I say, "Sure," after all it's better than continuing to try to read medical journals in this half light (or so I justify).
She rustles around in her bag until she finds the cards and then sits back down and starts shuffling.
"What game?" I ask.
"Strip poker," she says in a serious tone.
I attempt to not choke on the water I am drinking and counter, "I always thought that game was played when people just wanted an excuse to get naked," all the while thinking "she can't be serious, can she?"
"Oops, my mistake," she says laughing, though with what seems almost a hint of regret.
It can't be that though, I have to be reading into it. But she has that certain twinkle in her eye that leaves me wondering.
After a not so exciting poker game in which Abby won all of the M and M's we were using for poker chips, we turned in for the night. Mental note: never play poker with her for money. She has too good of a poker face (though the room being barely lit probably helped).
By midmorning the storm finally died down to an intensity that was safe to drive in. Even though we got a late start we rolled into the hotel the conference is being held at a reasonable hour. Fortunately the hospital had booked us three nights there, including that Sunday night. I was lucky I hadn't called yet to cancel my room for Sunday night, as I had planned to save a day by getting in Monday morning.
We checked in, got our room keys, and retired to our rooms for the night.
It's the second day of the conference now. It's been a busy few days, though slightly boring. I wonder if some of the people that present at these conferences have ever actually been in a working ER.
Much to my disappointment I haven't seen much of Abby these past two days. Our rooms are relatively close by, but I still haven't seen her except in passing. It's disappointing because I thought we were getting along rather well and I wanted our friendship to have a chance to really establish itself away from the hospital.
I'm sitting in the biggest conference room, lost in thought, 'listening' to the closing remarks, when I'm jerked back to reality by a hand on my shoulder. I look up slightly startled as I realize the speaker has ended and people are filing out.
"Dr. Weaver, a few of us are going out for drinks and I wanted to invite you along."
It's Abby, of course, speak of the devil. Against my better judgment I agree to go along, admitting to myself it's just for a chance to be around her.
We ended up at a shady bar near the hotel with about 8 other nurses. The décor of the bar was neon with strands of palm tree lights. Lovely. I'd planned on having one drink at most, then switching to cokes, but someone replaced my drink a few times and by the time midnight rolled around I was feeling no pain. I did notice that Abby didn't drink at all, instead sticking to cokes, like I'd intended.
I don't usually drink very much, for a good reason. I'm small enough that a little bit of alcohol goes a long way and I hate the loss of control that comes with drinking even small amounts. But for some reason tonight it doesn't seem like such a bad idea.
By the time we were ready to leave, most of us were at least a little unsteady (myself a lot). I'm not so far gone that I don't feel a touch of shame - that possible colleagues could see me like this. But the feeling passes as I decide I will deal with pesky things like feelings of regret in the morning.
I feel a surge of gratitude when Abby sticks a warm arm around my shoulders to steady me. Being this close to her is a bit of an illicit thrill, and I admit to leaning into her slightly more than was absolutely necessary.
My attempts at wit were probably fairly stupid sounding to one that was sober, but she laughed anyway, and I fell for her all the more because of it.
We finally arrived at my room and she says, "Here we are, Dr. Weaver."
"Call me Kerry." I instantly reply. It suddenly seems so wrong that she would be calling me, Dr. Weaver. "We're friends, at least I hope we are."
She smiles a soft smile and says that, "Yes, we are friends," and she will call me Kerry if I like, but that I can change my mind in the morning.
I turn and look at her and get lost in the depth of her beautiful eyes. I think I said something to that effect, because she blushed and said, "Thank you." I said, "You're welcome," and spontaneously gave her a big hug. It felt so right, and it made me sad that unless I got drunk again, I probably would never get the nerve up to do that again.
"Thank you for helping me back."
"You sure you are going to be ok?" she asks, looking concerned.
"Yeah, I just need a few glasses of water and a long sleep."
I manage to get the door open, get inside, and drink a few glasses of water before collapsing on the bed fully dressed.
I wake up feeling like hell. My head is pounding, my mouth feels like cotton, and I must have left my contacts in because my eyes feel like they are glued shut.
"Ugggggghhh" I groan.
Suddenly the details of last night come back to me and I groan even louder.
What was I thinking going drinking with her? After the way I acted last night, she would have to be blind to not know I had a thing for her. Hell, I doubt I could have been more obvious if I painted it on a billboard. That line about her eyes?
I groan again and stick my head under the pillow. My bladder finally convinces me to get up and do something about it. Since I seem to be able to get around ok, with nothing that time and some extra strength Tylenol won't cure, I force myself to become presentable for the day (or at least more presentable).
I am not looking forward to facing Abby, but short of walking back to Chicago I don't have much choice.
A short while later there is a knock on that door that is actually Abby (and not the maid service like the knock before was).
She smiles and asks me how I'm feeling.
"It's better not to ask," is my reply. I finish packing up my things and we head down to her car.
She's walking ahead of me and looks great in jeans that hug her ass in just the right way, a soft looking gray sweater, and her hair has that slightly tousled "just got out of bed" look that is both adorable and sexy at the same time.
Tempting though it is to continue staring at her ass, it finally gets through my hung over brain exactly how bad it would be to have her catch me doing that. At this point it may not matter, but if possible I want to keep things from getting really awkward between us.
Much to my surprise there is very little awkwardness between us at all. Abby actually seems warmer and more open than before. Probably seeing me like that last night made me more of a human, not just a boss, in her eyes. Not really the way I was hoping for that to happen though.
A low chuckle escapes me.
"What?" she asks.
"Oh nothing, just thinking about what you must think of me after last night." I reply ruefully.
"Ah, don't be hard on yourself. You were a bit out of character at times, but you didn't do anything embarrassing. Ok, well, that attempt at karaoke might be considered slightly embarrassing, but I'm sure no one will remember."
She grins at me.
"Argh, I forgot about that."
I sink down lower in my seat. "Did you have to remind me about that?"
"Well, it wouldn't have been so memorable if you had picked a song other than 'I'm Too Sexy'." Abby bursts out laughing. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, but 'I'm Too Sexy.' Why?"
"I'll have you know they chose the song," I replied indignantly.
"But you sang it!" she said and started laughing even harder; to the point where I begin to worry that she would drive off the road.
"Come on, you could at least try to pretend it wasn't that funny." I glare at her.
"Okay, okay, I'll try." She succeeds for about five seconds before breaking down again. It takes her a few tries but she finally gets herself under control. "I'm sorry Dr. Weaver," she says.
"I remember saying you could call me Kerry, and I meant it."
"All right, Kerry." she says. She flashes me a big smile.
I finally smile back slightly.
"Ok, I admit it could be considered slightly amusing. But no telling anyone!"
She laughs, "What'll you give me?"
"Your life?and a hot fudge sundae. And I won't buy a tape of polka at the next gas station."
She pretends to consider my offer, then says, "Ok, deal," and reaches out and shakes my hand to seal it. I wonder if she felt the connection I felt when our hands touched.
I treasure this, this easy banter. I have it with so few people. And here I am in a car, after just having embarrassed myself in several ways, hung over, and being made fun of, but somehow it's ok, because it's coming from her, and there is no malicious intent, just one friend giving another a hard time, and I realize just how much I treasure these moments.
So, here we are, in the middle of nowhere about half way back, in a hotel that is a prime example of why most people avoid the middle of nowhere in the first place. This much time with her has again proven to be great but a little unnerving. For better or for worse it looks like we are going to be spending more time even closer together. And as I enter the hotel room I realize exactly how close. We are sharing a room again because a flat tire put us into the hotel too late to get another room even if we had wanted to. It's not sharing a room that's the problem, but rather the fact that the small room is dominated by a large queen bed. I've walked in slightly before her, realizing our situation first, and I'm still standing there trying to figure out the best place to drop my bag when she pushes past me into the room. The idea of a roll away bed flashes through my mind, to be just as quickly cast aside. The space left in this room serves as walkways, barely; certainly not large enough for a rollaway, even if the completely full hotel had had any left. We're going to have to share the bed. She comes to the same conclusion.
"Looks like we'll have to share the bed," she says with a slight sigh, and a slightly worried look.
"At least I don't steal covers," I offer weakly.
This is going to be a long night and while the thought of sharing a bed with Abby cannot be called unappealing, I'd hardly call it wise.
I'm lying in bed thinking, while Abby has somehow managed to fall asleep.
I'm too tense from being so close to her to possibly fall asleep. I'm terrified that I'll wake up and find myself draped across her or something. She's so peaceful sleeping with a slight, soft snore that is absolutely adorable.
I'm just about as far to the left as I can get without risking falling off the bed (Off the bed and into our suitcases. Lovely hotel.) I force myself to relax and after managing to talk myself out of sleeping in the bathtub, finally fall asleep.
I wake up slowly, becoming aware of a weight on me that wasn't there when I went to sleep last night. I open my eyes to find Abby has done exactly what I feared I would do. Her arm is across my waist and her head is resting on my chest just under my chin. What a wonderful way to wake up. I hate to wake her, but I really should. Maybe I can get her to move without waking her all the way up. As I try to shift her, she wakes up partially and begins kissing my collarbone. Oh, now I really don't want her to move.
"Abby, Hon, you need to wake up." I reluctantly say.
"I am up," she says in a sexy, gravely, morning voice.
Much to my surprise, she leans up and gives me one of the most passionate kisses I have ever been a part of. While I'm still recovering, she slips out of bed and into the bathroom to get ready.
I'm not quite sure what just happened, but it holds such promise of things to come.
And when she drops me off at my house later that day, I ask her if we can go out sometime.
The soft kiss and big smile is the only answer I need.
Continued in "Revised Plans - Abby's POV (2/2)"