"I can't believe I'm back," Susan Lewis mumbled under her breath. She had been gone from Cook County General for five years. She had followed her niece out to Arizona and had never imagined herself walking through the familiar electric ER doors again. But something had brought her back. Was it fate? Was there a reason she had returned? She had lived happily in Arizona for five marvelous years. But Susie didn't need her anymore. And Cook County seemed to pull her back somehow.
Susan walked down the familiar white halls, making her way to the lounge. She peered at the admittance desk and caught a glimpse of a growing stack of clipboards. She moaned to herself as she began to remember too well the busy days at Cook County. She arrived in front of the lounge and entered the place that had once been her safe haven. The place she ran to when the ER, or the people at the ER, were too much to handle.
"Susan!" A familiar voice came from across the lounge. She looked to the opposite side of the room to a familiar face seated on one of the warn in couches.
Mark Green rose to his feet and approached her. The two embraced one another in a short hug and then quickly pulled away. They had not seen each other since the day they said good-bye at the train station.
"I had heard that you might be coming back, but then I thought it was just a rumor. You know how rumors spread like wildfire here at Cook County."
Susan smiled to herself. She remembered the days at Cook County when rumors began. A person could have a simple cold but by the end of the day they were dying from terminal cancer.
"So, how does it feel to be back?" A curious Mark inquired. There was still a tinge of nervousness in his voice. They had said good-bye on such a strange note.
"To tell you the truth, it's kind of weird."
Mark smiled, "Well, if you have any questions or…" he trailed off.
"Thanks Mark, I think I can get back into the swing of things." She answered politely. She too felt awkward. Their reunion after five years apart and after such a difficult good-bye was not expected to be the easiest thing.
She made her way to the opposite wall and found her locker. She quickly removed her jacket, replacing it with the white lab coat. She then removed her new leather shoes and put on an old pair of tennis shoes. She knew she would be on her feet for the next eight hours. She closed her locker and approached the lounge door. As her hand touched the doorknob Mark opened his mouth to speak. "Susan?"
"Do you want to maybe go…"
"MVA, two major, three minor." Chuni's voice cut in. "Two teenagers were drunk driving. We need both of you out here."
Susan had jumped back as the door had swung open. Mark's words had been lost in the excitement.
"Nice to see you again, Susan." Chuni said.
"You too," Susan replied as she rushed out of the lounge.
Mark followed closely behind as they shadowed Chuni down the hall and into trauma 1. Each doctor made their way over to a gurney and made themselves useful.
"What do we have here?" Susan asked the medical crew around her. At her question a head popped up from the opposite side of the gurney.
"Yep, that's me. How have you been, Carter?" Susan answered as she began to read the patient's vitals. "I think we might have to intibate."
"My thoughts exactly." Carter responded as he rattled off needed tools to the nurse attending the two. "I've been pretty good. So are you back for good?"
"Well, that's what it looks like for now."
"Great! We've missed you around here, susan. Well, I've missed you around here." Susan smiled at this comment. Carter began once more, "Do you want…" but was quickly interrupted by Dr. Green.
"Um, we need you over here." He answered in an aggravated tone.
Susan turned away from Carter and began to assist Mark with the other patient. When they had finished they exited the trauma room together. As they strolled down the long white hall Mark began to talk. "Um, I was just um wondering I um you um…" His voice trailed off as he saw Carter out of the corner of his eye. Carter stared intensely at Dr. Green and then looked at Susan. "Um, never mind." He quickly walked away in search of something to keep him busy.
Susan's day continued to drag on. She had seen two MVA's, two stabbings, three pneumonia patients, five food poison cases, and a kid who had swallowed five marbles. She began to feel as if she had never left. The patients were just as she had remembered them to be. But the staff was different. She had felt awkward around Carter and Mark all day. She had been excited to see the both of them. They had been great colleagues once upon a time and she had looked forward to working with them once again. But something wasn't right between the two. She sighed as she thought about the looks the two had given one another. She knew that drama went on between the staff at Cook County General, but she had hoped it wouldn't start her first day back.
Susan peered down at her watch. Her eight hours were up. She longed to go home and take a bubble bath. Her limbs ached after remaining in a standing position the entire day. As she entered the lounge, she spotted Carter at the counter, pouring himself a cup of coffee.
"How was your first day back?"
"Do you think its too late to back out?"
Carter smiled, "What would we do without you?"
"I don't know. What have you done for the last five years?"
"They were horrible years."
"I'm sure they were."
"Hey, Susan. You're off now, right? Do you want to grab something to eat. I'm starving."
"Um, I'm not sure. I was kind of looking forward to going home. My body is not used to this work anymore."
"Oh come on. You must be starving. You didn't take a break at all."
Susan was reluctant. She was exhausted. But she might as well. She was hungry. But secretly she hoped that Mark might go out for a bite with her. Their first day back together was surprisingly easy. She hadn't imagined it would have gone so smoothly. Their last parting was anything but smooth. "I guess." She gave in. He didn't look as if he was going to give in.
"Great! I just need to finish filling out one chart and I'll be done. Wait here and I'll be back in five."
Carter exited the room as susan found her locker and began to remove her shoes. She suddenly looked up as she heard the door swing open. Carter couldn't be done already. "Hi, Susan." Mark walked over to the counter and proceeded to pour himself a cup of coffee. "Um, I meant to ask you earlier today, but do you, maybe want to, um, get something to eat? You're off, right?"
Susan sighed loudly, "You ask me now?"
"I'm sorry." Mark apologized confused.
"I can't. Carter already asked me. Do you want to join us?" susan knew he would decline.
"Um, no that's ok. Have a nice time"
"Thanks Mark. Maybe tomorrow."
"Ok, that'll be nice." He poured the remaining liquid from his cup down the sink. He hadn't had much of it. He rinsed the mug and left the room. He walked down the hall, passing the admittance desk where Carter stood, filling out a chart. "Have fun with Susan."
"Oh, she told you?"
"Yeah, I was hoping to do the same, but I guess you beet me."
"Oh, sorry man. Maybe next time."
"Yeah, if you don't steal her then too." Mark mumbled under his breath.
"What did you say?"
"Yes you did. What did you say?"
"Nothing. Just drop it."
"What did you say." Carter pushed Mark against the wall. "Tell me."
"Get your hands off of me, Carter."
"No, not until you tell me what you said."
"Let go of him Carter. What are you doing." Kerry yelled from behind.
"He's accusing me of stealing Susan from him. I didn't know you had claimed her." Carter yelled in anger.
"You know our history, Carter. She has always been mine."
I'm no ones!" Susan bellowed at the two men. She had heard commotion in the lobby and had went in search of the source.
Carter let go of Mark. "Susan, that's not what I meant."
"Susan." Mark offered.
"No save it. You can go grab something to eat together. I'm out of here." Susan walked quickly out of the Er and began to sprint to the el. Mark and Carter followed close behind. They were furious at one another. Susan stepped onto the busy Chicago street, attempting to beet the two to the opposite side. Just as she reached the middle of the street a stray car slammed on its breaks. Susan was hit by the nose of the car and was sent flying. She hit the pavement six feet in front of the car, her head striking the road violently.