Dancing in Circles
Chapter One: Neverending Story
Luka closed his locker and left the lounge. Apparently it wasn't his day
off after all. He'd been at the hotel, trying to decide what to do with
himself, when he'd gotten a call from the hospital. They needed him to
come in, because apparently Dr. Greene had suffered some sort of seizure.
He didn't see Abby anywhere, so he figured she was in with a patient. He
wanted to know how her morning had gone once she left the hotel. There had
been extra tension floating around her since her mother's arrival, but so
far she hadn't said much about the whole situation. He reminded himself to
talk to her when he got a chance, just to make sure everything was okay.
As if his thoughts had conjured her, she walked in through the ambulance
bay. Her arm was wrapped around her mother's shoulder, and Maggie was
splattered with blood. Clearly everything was not okay.
He asked Cleo what had happened, but she had no idea. Luka stepped away
from her as Abby herded Maggie through the ER, looking for an empty bed.
When she found one she immediately pulled the curtain closed around them.
Tension sizzled in their wake.
Luka frowned. Hands on hips, he walked slowly away from the admit desk and
watched as Abby emerged from behind the curtain and walked into the empty
trauma room next door. He watched through the window as she sat and her
shoulders slumped, weary and defeated.
He walked past the curtain area and glanced briefly inside, but Maggie's
quiet ranting was background noise. His attention was focused on Abby.
For several moments he stood at the door of the trauma room. Her eyes
roved around, but he didn't think she was seeing anything. She didn't
Her eyes lifted to his. She tried to smile, but it didn't reach her eyes.
"I just need a minute."
Luka walked into the room and let the door swing shut quietly behind him.
She was quiet for several moments, then shook her head. "Maggie happened."
She ran a hand through her hair and shrugged out of her coat. "I
shouldn't have backed off on the blood test. I should have known she
wasn't really taking the pills, and I should have followed through, damned
if she was late for her interview or not."
"Uh...maybe you should start at the beginning."
Her eyes caught his and held for several minutes. Luka supposed she was
trying to decide whether or not to confide in him. Then she sighed and
"When I got to my apartment this morning there was fabric everywhere and
she was in some sort of sewing frenzy. Said she had to make a jacket or
some job interview this afternoon."
She got up and paced. Luka followed her progress back and forth across the
trauma room. He didn't interrupt her.
"She walked in while I was counting her pills in the bathroom. I convinced
her to come in for a blood test. But Malucci walked in on us before I was
done, and I just let her go. I shouldn't have let her go."
"What was Malucci doing?"
Abby shrugged. "Hiding from a girl."
She sat back down. "I was working my shift when we got a call that Maggie
was hurt outside some store on Oak Street. I got there, the store's front
window was shattered, the store owner was irate, and Maggie was manic."
"Is she all right?"
"She needs some sutures on her hand. Can you take care of it?"
"Of course. What about you?"
"Are you all right?"
"Why wouldn't I be all right?" she asked carelessly, starting to pace
"No, really. I've been dealing with this since I was a kid. She cycles
into a manic phase, she promises to take her pills, then she quits and it
starts all over again. This isn't anything I've never faced before. I can
"You don't have to do this alone."
"I'm not going to drag you into the middle of it. I just need you to
suture her hand."
"You're not dragging me into anything. I'm offering to help."
"Thanks, but there's not really anything you can do. There's nothing
anybody can do."
"Maybe there's a program we can get her into, get her some help."
"She won't stay in a program, and she hates taking her medication. It's
the way it's always been." She walked out of the trauma room and crossed
the hall to avoid the curtain area where her mother waited.
Luka followed her, noting the stiff line of her shoulders. He looked down
and saw her fist clench and release. This was weighing on her much more
heavily than she let on, but she was the most stubborn woman he'd ever met,
and she refused to admit she needed help. She tried to fix her mother
while ignoring her own pain.
Abby walked into the lounge and stuffed her coat in her locker. "We better
get back to Maggie," she said. "If she's left alone for too long, she's
liable to disappear."
Luka sighed inwardly. Abby had erected a wall between herself and the
world, closing everyone off from her pain, and he didn't have time to scale
it now. Maybe once Maggie was taken care of, he thought, Abby would be
more willing to talk to him.
"I'll take care of her hand," he said. And maybe he would look into some
treatment programs, he added silently. Maybe Abby would open up if she
knew that Maggie was getting help.
"I'm right behind you."