|Waiting in the Rain
Author: pygmymuse PM
Sometimes it's saying too much. Sometimes not enough. And sometimes, just the right thing.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Romance - Eva Zambrano & M. Procter - Chapters: 9 - Words: 29,012 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 06-03-10 - Published: 05-24-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5996698
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Waiting in the Rain
Word Count: 2,142
Disclaimer: I can't own anything. The pygmies and debt collectors own me.
Summary: Sometimes it's saying too much. Sometimes not enough. And sometimes, just the right thing.
Spoilers: Up to 1x07. *sigh*
Author's Note: I admit, a certain new character's arrival in episode seven and a certain person's reaction to her made me feel... more than a little unhappy. Not sure why shows always feel the need to have someone else complicate the dynamic (which could have gone several ways already, so no need to add another person to the mix, right?) Episode six seemed to be leading somewhere, and then out of nowhere, there's this new person and all that's out the window? What?
Fic was needed. This is me working out those issues (and a few others.) I was searching for a title for this and listened to Genesis' "Misunderstanding," and it kind of fit, so the title is from a lyric to that song, "waiting in the rain for hours."
"Do you have a moment?"
Proctor looked up from his file, surprised to see that Eva had returned to the table. The others had left for their various homes, and he had thought she had done the same. He had thought about going home himself. He did not entirely know why he had chosen to stay. Another round, more contemplation, and getting himself lost in thought... How long had it been? He should check the time, since he should be moving on from here.
Then again, she had asked to talk to him. He would be here for a while yet.
"Assuming that it is not, in fact, closing time, then I have several moments," he said, reaching for his drink. She put a hand on his arm.
"I would prefer it if you didn't have anything else to drink tonight."
He frowned at her. He had not actually consumed that much, of that he was quite certain. He did a quick review of the rounds they'd had, and he'd been nursing this last one for a while. No, he was not impaired, not in any significant way, and it wasn't like he was driving anywhere at the moment. "I'm not intoxicated."
"I don't want you to have any excuse to misinterpret me."
She shook her head, holding up her hand. He stopped speaking and waited for what she had to say. "Something got kind of crossed, I think. Because I got a different impression than you did, obviously."
"I beg your pardon?"
She looked at him for a long moment, and he sat back in his chair. Oh... Indeed. He had, perhaps, gone a bit... too far in his attempts to comfort her. He did, specifically, remember telling her it wasn't because he cared, but she had to know that was a lie. He did care about his team, in his own way, and for her... How had it come to this, exactly? Initial curiosity, admiration of her skills and the way she cared for her patients, a close working relationship—she had become a liaison of sorts between him and the others on the team. And then, in the height of concern over Tuck's condition... Proctor had gone too far. He had allowed an impression—not entirely false—to be given that should not have been.
"Ah... yes, I see," he began a bit awkwardly. This was not the way that he had ever thought he'd be addressing this situation. "I should apologize—"
"I want things to be clear," she interrupted. "You did have... regrets about nothing happening that night after the Crab Shack, didn't you?"
Yes, he did. Not because what he had done was the wrong thing to do under the circumstances, but because he was attracted to her. She was a beautiful woman, a skilled and talented one, and she would perhaps have been willing to go further if she had not been so drunk. Or not. "Eva—"
"That was the impression I got," she said. "Tell me I was wrong."
He looked down. She wasn't wrong, but this wasn't going to make things any better. "You realize this situation isn't going to—"
"All I want is a direct answer. If you tell me the truth, we can end this conversation that much faster," she told him, and he shook his head.
"You want this to be simple, and it isn't."
"No, what I want is to know where we stand. If there is... tension or anything, then I want to know and I want to resolve it," she corrected, a cold tone to her voice. "Don't get me wrong, it's not like it wasn't... somewhat of a relief that nothing happened, but after Fia, after Tuck... You know, I have been known to misinterpret things. Not like Chris or the whole hospital that thinks I'm sleeping with him, but we all make mistakes, so—"
"Eva," Proctor interrupted. "I fear that there has been a miscommunication, but I should not allow you to shoulder the burden of the assumption on your own. I may have... been too... unguarded, which I can only apologize for. It is true that I admire your abilities highly, and you are an invaluable member of my team. I could walk away and know they were in the best, most capable hands. I cannot claim that I have failed to notice your attractions in other areas, not at all, unfortunately. It has become an issue, for which I—"
"Is this one of those 'I like you, but' conversations? I haven't heard one of those in a while. I haven't missed them, either."
He rubbed his forehead. "Where is this sudden need to clarify this issue coming from?"
"Chris' little observation about you chatting up Sable bothered me a whole lot more than it should have," Eva answered, making a face. "I don't like it. And I don't like that I feel... almost betrayed by what you did. No, I know we're not involved, so you have every right to flirt with every little puta that comes around. It's fine. Go have quirky little babies. It's all good."
"No, it isn't," he said quietly, catching her arm before she could walk away. He knew that she would feel worse about this in the morning, that she would feel she had made a mistake in airing her grievances, but she was not wrong to do so. "I'm sorry. I was indiscreet."
She snorted, yanking her arm free. "Like it would be better if I hadn't found out about it?"
"No. Forgive my vocabulary for a moment. I meant that I acted... without self-restraint. Both in my conduct towards her and more so towards you. You are in an inconvenient place, and I'm sorry that I have contributed to that. I admit to feeling more than I should and clouding the issue. The truth is that a relationship between us would be problematic, whereas one with Sable, should I choose to pursue that option, would not have the same implications—professionally. She is not a member of my team; I am not her boss as I am yours. Where I should have drawn the line, I did not. I have become too fond of the freedom and expression of this new life I'm living—my future is ahead of me—and flirtation is a part of that. It is obviously not as harmless as it once seemed."
She was quiet for a moment. "Fine. Then... As long as everything is professional between us, there's no problem, is there?"
She held up a hand and walked away, not allowing him to finish. He sighed and reached for his drink again, finishing it quickly. He needed another. That had not gone well at all.
"I think I said more than I should have last night," Eva said after they had stood for a while in a stiff silence in the elevator. Proctor looked over at her. He would not have chosen to meet her first thing this morning, dealing with the unpleasant nature of the strain between them. He blamed himself, as he no doubt should. Feelings were never simple, and he should have done more to guard them. He was not Deleo, who was known to flirt with every pretty girl. If he was, Eva would not have read more into the things that Proctor said.
It would be even better if there was nothing to read into them. Or not. Better in that it would not be as complicated, but not better in that it would hurt her more and that he would think less of himself for leading anyone on in such a way.
"I feel you were very forthright, and I respect you for it," he told her honestly. She shot him a look, and he nodded. "You had reason to voice concerns, and—"
"Just drop it, okay?"
"If you wish," he agreed, though he felt they did need to discuss some of it further. His role in all of it bothered him. He had moved to Miami free and clear and enjoying life. Two years, and he had changed things, had set out with a future in front of him that had endless possibilities. Those possibilities, however, did not come without consequences. Action, reaction. Cause, effect. He had made decisions that affected others, in ways he had not given enough thought to, and that was his failing in this matter. From the moment she walked into the trauma room, asking if he was actually a doctor, she had intrigued him.
It had not taken long before the rumors about her and Deleo had reached him, and while he was disappointed, he was already her boss by then. It was easier to fall into a role of... quirky boss and some form of friend, even despite the night when she asked him to take her home. That she had woken up naked in his bed was disappointing in that he had nothing to do with it, but that was for the best. Truly. As much as he might regret his gentlemanly actions on that occasion, he should have continued to act in that capacity. Then this confusion would not have happened.
He shook his head. If he was honest, his thoughts and inclinations towards Eva Zambrano where not exactly those of a gentleman. He did more than admire her, which was difficult in the present circumstances. It was not pleasant to know just how much of a mess he'd made of things.
Their pagers went off, and they both went to look at them, accidentally knocking their heads together as they did. She stepped back with a curse, rubbing her head. He looked at her. "I am sorry. Hard head. Always have had one."
"Yeah, well, let's try and stay out of each other's way for the rest of the day," she suggested, walking away as soon as the elevator doors opened. This would be a very long day.
No, he corrected himself as he headed down the opposite hallway, determined to give her the space that she needed, a long week.
He turned around, facing Warren. "Something the matter?"
"Well... I was just... wondering if you'd heard any more about Tuck," she began a bit nervously. "I mean... We all go up and sneak a look at his chart when we have a chance, and we've spoken to him, but I—"
"The news is good," Proctor said, wondering why this question was coming to him. Why not ask Tuck? Ask his doctor? Oh. They thought he had inside information, did they? Sable. Another reason why this route should never have been taken. He might not have started down the path completely, but there were at least two people who believed he had. Four, if one counted Deleo and then Sable herself. That was something else that Proctor would have to clear up. "Eva told me you're having some difficulty with what happened. You know there's no way you could have known."
"He chose to attack Tuck. You did not choose that for him. Nor are you in any place to judge who is and who is not worth saving. We are fortunate in that we are not usually asked to triage our patients. That part of my work in Kuwait is one of the things I do not miss. Those decisions are never made easily or lightly. Our job here is to save lives. We are not in judgment. That is for someone else to do. Do not lose sight of that."
He walked away, leaving her standing there. She needed to learn this, or she would never survive in trauma. She had talent, the will to learn, and those things were important, but the right mind set was essential. It was not the same in everyone. Zambrano had it, Deleo had it, and Proctor himself had it. Warren was developing it, but she'd stopped to question it. This was not an arena for doubts.
He found himself with yet another reason to censure his behavior. He should not have acted with such blithe disregard for the feelings of others. Though he had, in his mind, placed Eva in a category that was strictly hands off, he had done and said things that had ran counter to his intentions. Perhaps it was his subconscious getting its way, but whatever his true feelings, they would be of little consolation now.
The best thing to do would be make sure that everything was professional from now on.