Friday, June 24, 2005

Ghosts 29/37

Chapter  29

An ER Fanfic following the "Bishop Stewart" arc

Damn you, Luka.  Abby tossed the magazine that she'd been thumbing through onto the table, then cussed inwardly as she watched it slide across the smooth surface and onto the floor on the other side.  Where are you?  After glancing at her watch she rose and walked across the room to the window, he should have been back by now, or at least called.  What if something had happened to him.  She could feel her heart beginning to quicken as her mind raced through the various tragedies that might have befallen him.  What if he hadn't even gotten there?  Maybe she should call and see... she reached for the phone then forced herself to lay it back in the cradle again.  She wasn't his keeper, he was an adult...damn you, Luka.  Hadn't it been his decision to go alone?  Why was she even sitting here waiting for him?  She turned back to the window in frustration, resisting the urge to scream, maybe if she wished hard enough she could make him appear.  Laying a hand on the cool glass she closed her eyes, only to open them a moment later.  Nothing, the street below remained all but deserted, Damn you, Luka, why couldn't you have just let me go with you?

It was all he could do to keep himself from following the woman as she led the young doctor from the room.  Father Joe shifted his gaze from the closing door to the podium where Alexander Fletcher continued to speak, seemingly oblivious to the drama they played out at the back of the room.  As he panned his eyes across the members of the congregation who listened to the man in rapt attention he found himself wondering who needed him more.  The Croat was one man, while he had no doubt he was indeed lost, how many others here were also in need of his counsel and support?  It all came back to the choices he had always had to make and almost unbidden a quote surfaced in his thoughts.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...or the one.  He cast a final glance to the door then brought his full attention to those who remained, Luka was in good hands, he had to believe that, whatever was about to happen would happen between the two of them, with or without his being there.  Dr. Forquet's appearance was not accidental and if God had intended for them to be reunited this night then it was not his place to intervene.

Luka said nothing more as they walked the short distance to a small diner, and Angelique used the time to watch him.  He still seemed dazed and that concerned her more then she wanted to admit.  Was this how he had lived the last 5 years?  All the progress he had seemed to make before she had lost touch with him gone in that time?  She smiled over to him as they reached the door, laying a hand in reassurance on his back.  "It's all right, Sweetie."  She could feel his tenseness and the underlying tremble of fear.  Why was he so frightened by this...what was he so afraid of seeing?  The questions rolled through her thoughts even though she doubted she would ever find the answers to them.  How could she ask him to explain what even he probably didn't understand?

When they had settled in the farthest booth she gave him a moment to himself, ordering coffee for them both as she gratefully accepted the offered menus from the waitress.  "You need to eat something, Sweetie."  She slid one of them across the table to him as the waitress moved away from the booth then dropped her eyes to her own.  Normalcy she reminded herself.  "I think I'm going to get the chili...what about you?"  She lifted her eyes from the laminated card only to find his settled firmly on hers, the menu still untouched on the table in front of him.  Offering a simple smile she tapped his to draw his attention back to it.  "You need to eat something, it'll make you feel better, trust me on this."

Luka opened his mouth to protest that he was anything but hungry, then closed it again after releasing a deep sigh of resignation, and nodded.  She was right, Abby had been trying to get him to eat all day...Abby, shit, he'd forgotten about her.  He flicked a glance to his watch, she'd be worried...but what would he say to her, how could he explain this?  If he told her what had happened she would want to come to him and he wasn't ready for that, not yet.  He lifted his eyes as the waitress returned, then ordered a cheeseburger though he knew he wasn't hungry for it.  Only when she was gone did he finally trust himself to bring his full focus back to Angelique.  "I didn't think I'd ever see you again."  He made the confession quietly as he toyed with the coffee cup in front of him

At the statement Angelique lay her hand over one of his, giving it a slight squeeze before speaking.  "It's funny how fate works sometimes...I just retired, I was closing my office when Alexander asked me to come on the tour with him."  She found herself drawing a deeper breath before continuing.  "I had been thinking about all I had done as I  packed my offices and how many people had come in and out of my life, and how I would never know what had happened to most of them."  She smiled again, patting his hand, "I never expected this, you look so good..."She lifted her other hand to touch his cheek gently, "You've put on weight."

Despite everything Luka found himself smiling at the simple gesture and her observation, "How long will you be here?"  The woman found the chuckle bubbling out despite her efforts to contain it.  "Why, you want to get rid of me already?"  She reached for her own coffee and took a sip.  "No, I....I didn't mean it like that."  Luka's face reddened slightly as he found himself flustered and stumbling for words.  "Sweetie, it's all right, I was joking."  Angelique patted his hand again before releasing it as the waitress returned with their meals.  "I'm, staying as long as I need to stay, now, let's eat now, you can tell me all about your job."

to be continued...

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