Author: pygmymuse PM
"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." And then the past comes back to haunt you as well.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Family - Eva Zambrano & M. Procter - Chapters: 19 - Words: 80,859 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 08-09-10 - Published: 07-18-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6154227
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Word Count: 5,167
Disclaimer: I can't own anything. The pygmies and debt collectors own me.
Summary: "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." And then the past comes back to haunt you as well.
Spoilers: Up to 1x012.
Author's Note: This story has... well, it's a bit of a story in itself how it came about. It was just a vague notion, and then there was the fic snerkyone was thinking about that we discussed, and then the chaos in my real life happened, and I found some echos of the issues going on in the fic (not at all directly, it's not in anyway based on my family, thank goodness) but it was good to work on this to help with my... situation. It morphed into a couple of other ideas and took over everything and has been email fic, so it's... it's kind of big, now.
Unlikely... Not Impossible
One minute she was closing after her first surgery of the day, a clean, beautiful and almost perfect procedure, the next she was standing over the sink, puking her guts out. It wasn't like the smell had gotten to her. She was used to the anesthetic, the blood, the internal organs, and she had seen some horrible stuff in her time. She didn't remember feeling at all sick last night, and she had skipped breakfast this morning. It could have been food poisoning, because that could take hours to present, but she hadn't felt anything else until just then.
"Eva?" Warren asked, and Eva looked up at her. "You okay?"
"Trying to decide if I've got food poisoning or came down with a weird flu or something," Eva muttered, taking a few more deep breaths. Her stomach was still agitated, but she didn't think any more was coming up, thank god. She splashed some water on her face. "I don't know. I felt fine all through the surgery and then..."
"You weren't eating peaches, were you?"
Eva rolled her eyes and made a face as her stomach churned again. "Really, Serena, don't remind me, not right now."
The door opened and Chris stuck his head inside. "Eva, Proctor wanted to know if you were available to assist with Mrs. Wright, and we've got new incoming, five minutes out."
Eva started to nod, but then she had to shake her head as she ducked her head and threw up again. She felt a little better, but she didn't think she was going anywhere for a while. "Dude, Eva, you okay?"
"Gastroenteritis, I think," she answered, hoping that she was done, at least for now. "I could assess the new incoming, maybe, but there's no way I'm going to be able to do surgery."
"I'll go," Serena said. "You really should take it easy. I'm sure Chris can triage the incoming on his own."
He nodded in agreement. "Take it easy, Eva. We can handle it."
She smiled a little, grateful. She could use a little bit to sit and recuperate. She was tired—amazing how much puking took out of a person. She sighed. She would go to the break room, get some water, and sit very still, hoping it would pass. She didn't want to go home, at least not yet. She'd never had to miss a day of work because she was sick, and she didn't want to start now. She'd done back-to-back shifts on call, days without sleep, during her residency, and if she could handle that, she could handle a bit of food poisoning or flu.
She took a few minutes after Chris and Warren left, making sure she wasn't about to throw up again, and then she headed into the break room. She filled a glass with water and sat down with it, putting her feet up on another chair. She drank the water and closed her eyes.
She could sleep for the rest of the day. It might even be nice. She would just drift off, and when she woke back up, all of this nausea would be gone. She'd be back to normal, she could finish her shift, and it would be a very good day in the end.
She opened her eyes, looking up at Proctor. "How did the surgery go?"
"Very well. Mrs. Wright should make a full recovery," Proctor said, offering her a glass. She looked at the one in her hand and back at him. "This is different. I can give you no real medical reason that this should work—that would give away the recipe—but my mother swore by it."
She accepted the glass he offered her, and he set her water on the table. She frowned as she caught the scent of the drink. "She swore by this?"
"As potentially dubious as it smells, she said that was the only way I survived to be born. The morning sickness apparently incapacitated her to a great deal, and she swore if she'd not discovered this, she would never have carried me to term," Proctor admitted with a slight smile. "If you still don't feel well, I want you to go home."
"I'm sure I'll be fine."
"You don't have to push yourself nor do you have anything to prove," he said gently. "Everyone gets sick—"
"You are now, so just take it easy and rest. Doctor's orders."
"Please. You're not my doctor."
He shrugged. "Perhaps not. However, I am your boss, at the very least. You know that you're no good unless you're able to perform surgeries. You may as well be at home resting comfortably."
She took a sip of the drink, wondering if that was licorice she tasted, and how had Proctor managed to get his hands on that in between his surgery and now? Did he just keep this mixture on hand in case? She supposed the hangover he'd had didn't involve nausea, or he would have used it then. Maybe he had and just didn't discuss it. "It's not the most pleasant tasting thing in the world."
"Agreed. Give it time to work. And go home."
She opened her eyes with a moan. She had ended up camped out on her couch, unwilling to risk throwing up on her bed. She had a bowl in case she couldn't make it all the way into the baño,and she swore she hadn't moved in hours. Proctor's drink, whatever that was, had gotten her home, but since then, she'd been nothing but miserable. "Papi? What are you doing here?"
"The one who took your job, he called me. Said you were not at work for the second day now."
"Proctor called you?"
"He was not the only one there—one of those calls on speaker—but you have not been answering your phone. You worried your friends," Alberto told her, wetting down her forehead with a cloth. She sighed, giving her father a small smile. She was glad to see him, really.
"I should tell them I'm fine."
"We'll see about that later," he said, smiling as he pushed back some of her hair. "First we make you better."
"I'm sorry you felt like you had to use your key," she said. "I didn't mean to worry anyone."
He shook his head. "You are no burden, mija.Just remember that. Your friends want to be sure you are okay, that you well, and the rest does not matter. It is a pleasure to take care of you again."
"But the shop—"
"Will still be standing tomorrow. If you are feeling up to it later, they would like to see you."
She laughed. "Just because Tuck isn't at home to fuss over any more, they don't need to fuss over me. Really."
"I told them just one visitor tonight." He held out her thermometer, and she reluctantly let him put it under her tongue. He rose and went into the kitchen. She could hear him muttering to himself as he rummaged through her cupboards. She hadn't gone grocery shopping in a while, so she didn't have a lot. She knew he wasn't happy about that. He thought she wasn't taking care of herself. She was.
"I'm really not hungry, Papi," she called to him. She took the thermometer out of her mouth. As she had thought, she wasn't running a fever—she hadn't been the last time she'd checked, either. "It's not going to stay down anyway."
"You need fluids," he insisted, and she sighed again. She pulled her blanket up around her again. She wasn't really cold; it was just nice to have the blanket. Comforting. She still couldn't believe they'd called her father. She was glad he was here, really, but that they'd called... She had a good team. Good friends.
After a while, he came back with some juice and a bowl of soup. She found herself wishing for Proctor's mother's remedy, whatever it was. She had a feeling it would help a lot more than this, and she didn't want to admit that to her father. "Thank you, Papi."
"Anything for you, Malita,"he assured her, caressing her cheek. She sat up slowly, drinking the juice first. Alberto smiled encouragingly at her. She drank the juice slowly.
"Why are you calling Proctor the one who took my job again?"
Her father smiled but did not answer. He took her empty glass. "Try the soup now. I will get more juice."
She made a face. She really did not want soup. She couldn't stop thinking about the sweet man who had offered her soup just hours before dying of a bleed in his brain that she still thought she should have caught sooner.
"No soup, Papi. Not today."
"Something wrong?" he asked, worried, sitting down next to her. She shook her head, and then she got nauseous again. She moaned and covered her mouth, trying not to puke. He helped her settle again, and he wiped down her forehead again. "Eva, you don't have a fever. No chills. No sweating. Your skin is normal. Do you have a headache? Cramps? Diarrhea?"
She made a face. "Papi—"
"You are a doctor," he reminded her. "So was I. You can talk about your symptoms."
She nodded. She knew that. She just... didn't want to discuss it. "I should be fine tomorrow."
"Or you won't."
She frowned. "I'm not that sick. I'm not dying. I'm just a little sick to my stomach. Probably food poisoning."
Not liking her father's tone or the way he looked at her, she frowned. "What?"
"Do you have any other symptoms?"
She sighed and shook her head. No, she didn't, at least not for gastroenteritis. This was probably not food poisoning. "No, to the headache, the cramps, and the diarrhea."
He nodded quietly. She really didn't like that look, either. She was saved from the lecture about to come her way by the knock on the front door. Her father got up and went to answer it. She closed her eyes again, just for a moment, trying not to throw up as another wave of nausea hit her. "Yes, yes, come in. I got her to take some juice, but she refused the soup."
"Not surprising," Proctor agreed, and Eva looked up to see him come inside. He held up a basket stuffed with boxes of tea and crackers and fruit. "The team put this together. Chris, of course, wanted to send nothing but peaches. Warren agreed, Tuck was on the fence, but I overruled them."
She smiled a little. "Thank you, Proctor. I don't suppose you brought any of that stuff you gave me the other day?"
He smiled back at her, removing a jar from the basket. "I'll make you some if you like."
She nodded. He set the basket on her table and looked to her father. "Would you care to show me to the kitchen? In exchange, I'll show you how this is prepared, since it seems to help and you'll be caring for her."
"This way," Alberto said, leading Proctor into the other room. Eva tried to sit up again and decided against it. She was not moving, not until she'd had that odd mixture that Proctor's mother had created. If she ever met the woman—assuming she was even alive because Proctor had never said—Eva would thank her.
Proctor came back into the room and handed her the glass. "Here. I hope this helps."
"It did last time," she admitted, getting another smile out of him. Her father came back into the room, sitting down next to her again. "Thank you again."
"Well, I owe the others a report on your condition, so I'll go ahead and meet them at the Crab Shack. Anything you'd like to tell them?" Proctor asked, putting his hands in his pockets and looking a bit awkward. She wondered how he'd ended up doing this. It seemed like something Chris or Warren or Tuck would have insisted on doing, not him.
She didn't even notice the smell so much now, just drank down the concoction easily. "That I'm fine, and I'll be back to work tomorrow?"
"There is no need to rush," Proctor insisted. He turned to Eva's father. "I fear you might have more success in convincing her to stay here and get the rest she needs than any of us."
Alberto shrugged. "My little girl, she is quite stubborn."
"Indeed," Proctor smiled in agreement. "Still, she should rest. I'd threaten to fire you if I thought it would help, but since it won't—"
"I'll see you tomorrow, Proctor. Go on. I'm fine. Really."
He shrugged, not believing her, but he left anyway. She turned to see her father watching her very carefully. He shook his head, quietly disapproving, though for which reason she really wasn't sure. "Eva."
"I heard you had food poisoning," Dr. Russel said, coming into the exam room. Eva had managed to call her and convince her to see her before either of their shifts started. Russel was one of the doctors who'd been around here the longest, longer even than Raynor. She was warm, well-liked, the best in her field. Eva made a face at her comment, and Russ laughed. "It's a small hospital, Zambrano. There are very few secrets here."
"I know," Eva agreed quickly. She adjusted her seat awkwardly. Normally a nurse would be in here to do all this, but Eva had begged. She didn't beg, so Russ knew something was up and came in. "I'm sure that this visit will get around just as quickly, I'm sure."
Russ smiled, brushing some graying hair out of her face. She and Eva had worked their fair share of traumas in the past, and the woman had impressed her. She was no nonsense, straight facts, and she fought hard for all her patients. "I take it that it isn't food poisoning?"
"My father's diagnosis is different from mine."
The other woman nodded. "And so you called me."
Eva shrugged. "It's unlikely... but not impossible."
Russel nodded, looking at the sample cup that Eva had already filled while she waited. She wasn't about waste any time. She just wanted this done and over with as quickly as possible. She wanted her father to be wrong. She felt better today, really. It was done and over. "Right, well, I can do the tests, since I assume you want them."
"Yeah, well, I wasn't going anywhere yesterday, but today I'm feeling a lot better, and so I'd just like this to be... done."
Russ looked at her. "You know that it might not be."
"It's unlikely, really. Just not impossible, and since it wasn't impossible, I told my father I would come in so that he'd stop bothering me about working today," Eva told her, sighing. It had been a long night, one that she did not want to think about. It was hard to avoid, given where she was right now.
"Okay, well, let's get some blood, then, and we'll get that tested," Russel said, coming over to draw the blood from Eva's arm. "I'll go stand over the lab techs and get this rushed."
Russ smiled. "Well, it's not just for you. It's for your patients, my peace of mind, and for your father. And your team. Should have seen them when you weren't in yesterday."
Eva pulled at her shirt absently, nodding as the other woman left the room. She hadn't felt bad all day, and she was afraid she was going to get sick now. She sighed, wondering what she was going to do if her father was right. She didn't want to think about it. She just wanted to leave. Right now. She didn't want the results. That was stupid. She needed to know if she had something. It wouldn't take very long, and it was better to know.
Her pager went off, and she sighed. She looked down at it. Crap. A bad accident involving a bus. They were going to need her, especially if the incoming was only ten minutes out. She shook her head, gathered her stuff up, and quickly scribbled a note for Russel as she left.
She headed over to the other building, finding the most of the others in the locker room. Warren was closing her locker, and Chris saw her right away. "Eva! Good to see you back on your feet and not so... green."
She rolled her eyes as she headed to her locker, putting her stuff away. "I never really get sick."
"Lucky you," Warren muttered. "So, you're feeling better?"
Eva nodded. Her pager went off again, and she looked down at it. Russel. She had the test results and wanted to meet. It would have to wait. Incoming was only a few minutes out now, and she had to focus on that. "Anyone seen Proctor?"
"He should be around," Tuck answered. "I saw him come in, must have been about an hour ago. He told me to tell you to go home if I saw you before he did."
"He told my dad to try and convince me to stay home, and that didn't work, either," Eva said, smiling as she shook her head. "I'm fine."
"Proctor will be waiting at the ambulance bay," Warren said. She touched Eva's back with a smile. "It's good to have you back, Eva."
"Eva," Russel called, catching up to her after her third patient of the morning. So far, things had been fine. Proctor had given her looks all morning, told her to go home more than once, but she'd been fine. She had not been sick once, and she was handling her patients fine. "We should talk about those results."
She shook her head. "I know, but I don't really have the time right now. You didn't have to come looking for me."
"Yes, I did," Russel said quietly. "Eva, your father was right."
Eva's eyes widened, and she stared at the other woman, shaking her head. No. There was some kind of mistake. There had to be. "Wait. That's not—"
"You said it was unlikely, not impossible."
That was true, and Eva knew it was, but she was still trying to figure out how to react to this. She took a deep breath and leaned against the wall. She closed her eyes for a moment. "You checked the results more than once, right?"
"Three times, just for you," Russel answered. She touched Eva's shoulder gently. "I'd like to see you again in a month. In the meantime, I'm sure you already know most of this, but this is what you should be doing and what you have to avoid."
Eva sighed, opening her eyes and accepting the paper from her friend. "Thank you."
Russel nodded. "I'll do what I can to keep this quiet, Eva, but you know that it will get around."
It was going to start right after this conversation was over, and Eva knew that. They both did. She shook her head. "Is that your subtle way of asking who the father is?"
"Just a friendly warning. If he works here, he's bound to find out fast," Russel said, looking over at Warren, who was walking towards them with Tuck. At least Chris wasn't here. He would already be on her case.
"It's not Chris."
"Oh, honey, I already knew that," Russel said, and Eva looked at her. She shrugged. "I know the rumors, and I know you. Big difference between what everyone thinks and what you think. You like Chris because he's your friend. You've never wanted more."
"And if you were going to put money on it?"
"Hmm... Tuck. But, please, tell me it was the Brit, and his accent is even better in bed."
Eva laughed, shaking her head. Russel had been obsessing over Proctor since he got to the hospital. The crush was amusing to everyone who knew about it. Proctor wasn't one of them, though. Not yet. "You're happily married, Russel."
"A girl can dream. Especially if the man is younger than me."
"With an accent."
"I have a weakness. I admit it," Russel said as she walked away. Warren watched her suspiciously, looking back at Eva. She was dying to ask, wasn't she? This was hell, and it had barely even started.
Tuck nodded. "Yeah. One stabbing and one unlucky man who stepped in front of a car. One red van, one chopper inbound."
"I'm guessing Proctor's on the roof," Eva said, shaking her head. She should probably take the ambulance bay, though Proctor would probably tell her, again, to go home. She wasn't going. She could not be alone right now. Another trauma, that was just what she needed. Working through this would be nice. And then she would have to figure out how to tell... Oh, shit. That was not a conversation she knew how to have.
"So, Eva, still holding up?" Chris asked as he came up to them. She rolled her eyes. "I heard you had a doctor's appointment today."
"I hate this hospital sometimes," she muttered, cursing and closing her eyes.
"An appointment with Dr. Russel?" Warren asked. "Eva, you're not really... I mean, are you?"
Eva shook her head. She was not about to answer that. Chris reached over and snatched the paper from her hand. He read it to himself, muttering under his breath as she tried to get it back. "Proper diet. Rest. Exercise. Limit your alcohol. Quit smoking. Sounds pretty normal, but what's this? No changing a cat box? No x-rays? Eva, you are pregnant."
"Chris, give that back—" Eva snapped, reaching for the paper. She got her hand on it and looked up to see Proctor standing there. "Um..."
He looked at her for a long moment. Then, very quietly, he said, "I still think you should go home, Eva."
Eva had known she'd find him up here on the roof after their last round of incoming. She hadn't gotten a chance to talk to him after that disastrous moment where Chris announced that she was pregnant. Proctor turned back to look at her. She winced as she saw his expression. "I'm sorry. That's not how I wanted to tell you."
He nodded, still looking rather like he'd been punched in the gut. She wanted to reach out to him, to comfort him in some way. She didn't dare touch him, though. She knew that much. It was a lot to take in. She was still kind of numb. She'd had a bit longer—not much—to cope with the news that she was pregnant. She was going to be a mother. She had almost sorted out how she felt about it—as much as she could while in denial last night and then this afternoon. She'd always been pretty good with kids. She figured she'd have them someday. Not necessarily right now, today, but... eventually.
Proctor... She had no idea how he felt about kids. She knew that he'd almost adopted a girl years ago, but would he even want this now? His future, the whole do over, everything ahead of him, that probably didn't include kids. And what about his 'never took' comment? She knew that they weren't exactly... Well, she wasn't sure what they were.
They'd had a rough day; they had a few drinks, staying later than the rest of the team. Not once. Twice. Three times, more until it was every night that they spent talking. One night it turned into a kiss, the next a lot more kisses, and so on until the night they finally ended up in bed. That happened a few more times, but they had an unspoken agreement not to talk about it. It was...
It was... not what it should be, not really. It worked for them because they were both professionals who related better to the job than their personal lives. It wasn't exactly friends with benefits, either. She knew she could have had that with Chris, but she'd never wanted it. What she and Proctor had... it was different, even if she wasn't sure what it was.
"I should tell you that I'd support you whatever decision you made," Proctor began, and she frowned at him.
"I am... I have been given an opportunity that I have my doubts I will ever have again" he began, fidgeting a little. "If you should not like to raise the child, Eva, please let me."
She stared at him. "What?"
"I realize that it must seem rather a large demand to make, that you carry a baby full term if you do not want—"
"Abortion wasn't really an option, Proctor."
He nodded, clearing his throat awkwardly. "That's... it's good to hear."
She shrugged a little. "I can't say that the timing is ideal, but I'm not—This is going to sound wrong no matter how I say this."
"It is a subject on which it is hard because I—that is, we have never discussed what 'this' is, and since we never did—There is a matter that I should settle before this goes much further," he said, and she found herself blinking in confusion.
She shook her head. "Uh... If you're married or something—"
"—I was going to say that you should have told me."
"It never took, remember?" he asked, quietly. He shook his head. "I'm not good at this."
"It's a bit archaic to assume that a child automatically means marriage."
"I didn't—you're the one that brought up marriage, and I am not, nor have I ever been married—and what I was saying, what I meant—" Proctor stopped, taking a deep breath. He lowered his head for a second and then looked back at the Miami skyline. She stepped up next to him, looking out at the city. "Eva, whether we are ready for it or not, whatever our personal feelings are, we have created a lasting connection. A child does not go away. Even a marriage vow is relatively simple to dissolve compared to the living reminder of another person."
"You've got a rather... bleak outlook, don't you?"
"Realistic," he corrected. "Tempered by experience. Remember that I was a father once. My faults—and there were many—I was forever compared to the man who sired Annabelle, regardless of whether my actions were right or wrong. She couldn't forget that other man. Even though he was long departed, he was still there."
"So, what you're really saying is that we're tied to each other whether we like it or not."
He nodded. She knew he had a point. "I should hope that we would like it, especially under the current circumstances, but—"
"I guess we should just start with what we agree on," she said, swallowing hard. He watched her for a moment before turning back to the sky. He put his hands in his pockets.
"And that is...?"
"That we're going to have this baby."
"Yes," he agreed, pulling her into his arms. He held her against him for a moment. She closed her eyes just for a second, clinging to him as she had her father yesterday.
Her father shook his head. "You're pregnant."
"I am not. Papi, please," she said, shaking her head as she got up. She was feeling fine now that Proctor's drink had kicked in, and she was going back to work tomorrow. It was just food poisoning. She didn't care if she didn't have all the symptoms of gastroenteritis. She was not pregnant. She couldn't—well, no, she knew she could be. It wasn't like she had been abstinent lately. She'd had quite a bit of sex lately, good sex, but protected. She knew it wasn't a hundred percent effective, but she wasn't an idiot. She hadn't been completely reckless.
"Malita, you may fool yourself and your friends, but you do not fool this old man," her father said, touching her shoulders gently. "You know your symptoms. And I know the way your mother looked when she was carrying you, the same way you look now."
"Papi, you're wrong. I'm not. It just... I'm not," she insisted, and then she did the last thing she wanted to do and started crying. She wasn't ready for this, and she didn't know how tell Proctor, and what the hell was she going to do if she was pregnant?
Her father wrapped his arms around her. "Shh, Malita. I'm here."
Eva opened her eyes, looking up at Proctor. At least she knew how he felt about it now. It was a little bit easier. They were in this... together. "I'm sorry."
"Why are you sorry?" he asked, confusion in his voice.
"I just—It—When you think about it, what we have, it's—we have conversations and sex, and it's not weird, but it's not exactly typical. We're both people who can't commit. So, this is like—"
"This doesn't force us to commit to each other, not necessarily. That is something separate. How we feel about each other is—it's not the same as committing to a child. Trust me, when I tell you that someone can do one and fail to do the other."
She felt her stomach churn a little, and it had nothing to do with morning sickness. "That is so not reassuring."
"This isn't a reassuring situation," he said quietly. "Eva, you and I know how short and fragile life can be. There are no guarantees. I think we both have been at this point before, not precisely like this, no, but... forcing declarations and ignoring doubts does not help anything."
She nodded. "Just so you know, there is no way this kid will be named Blarnett."
He laughed. She joined him, and, for a moment, everything was all right.