Author's Note: This story starts at the episode: How the Finch stole Christmas; during season six. In this chapter, I have a long flashback scene as I let you (the reader's) know what happened to Carter's wife and how he became a single – parent. Please read and review! Love Always, Stacey! Hope you all enjoy this story! Full summary: After John's wife is murdered; He is left as a single – parent to his six-year-old daughter, Melissa Joan. Can he raise a child and still keep his job in the ER? Will this turn into a Carsan? Who knows... You'll just have to wait and find out!!!
Two months ago, my wife, Jillian Marie, was murdered. She was shot in the head. Dead, the instant after it happened. She died at 7:57 P.M.
It was my turn to take Melissa up to bed and read her a bedtime story. As I read her, her favorite bedtime story (The Runaway Bunny), that's when we heard the gunshot. It ricocheted through the entire house. I heard my wife and daughter scream in unison as I jumped up from the rocker I was sitting in, but suddenly – I heard our front door slam shut. Everything went completely silent, except for my daughter's whimpering. I couldn't move or think. I was paralyzed from the fear I felt about the event that had just occurred. A soft tug on my shirt's sleeve brought me back into reality.
"Daddy?" A soft voice called.
I could hear the scared tremble in Melissa's voice. As I looked over at her, I could see the tears falling freely down her cheeks. I, no longer could keep my tears from falling. I embraced her tightly as we cried in each other's arms.
"Sweetie, everything's gonna be all right. I need you to stay here, okay?"She nodded yes as I tucked her into bed. I leant over and gave her a kiss.
"Try to get some sleep, honey. I'll be up later to check in on you. I love you, Melissa."
"Love you, daddy." She closed her eyes and instantly fell asleep.
I let out a small smile, but it quickly faded as I turned toward the staircase. I dreaded what I had to do, next. I slowly made my way to the family room and gasped as I saw Jill's brain splattered all over the furniture, the carpet, and the walls. I'm a doctor and have seen gun wounds like this, before, constantly. But, the victim was never my wife. She lay, lifelessly, in a pool of blood. I wanted to kill the bastard that did this. I needed to hold her, but I couldn't. I'd be destroying evidence. I went over to the phone and called the police. Ten minutes later, they had arrived. After calling the police, I phoned Susan and asked her if she could come over here. I told her it was an emergency and she said she'd be right over. Susan arrived five minutes after the police showed up. I sat cuddled, in a corner, hiding from the police. I knew I was in shock and needed medical help, but the episode of what had happened tonight, kept re-playing in my head, over and over again. Melissa was still sound asleep, luckily.
I felt a warm, comforting hand on my shoulder and looked up to see Susan looking down at me with tears forming in her eyes.
"God, John... I don't know what to say, other then, I'm sorry," she sobbed. She hated seeing her friend this way. He looked as if he had aged ten years since the last time she has seen him, which was only three hours ago. "How'd this happen? Did you see the person who did this?"
"One minute, we're playing with our daughter and the next minute, my wife was murdered. I... I... I don't feel so good." He said, collapsing onto the ground.
"Oh my God, Carter!" Susan screamed as she knelt down beside her friend. "John? John!? Can you hear me?" She asked, shaking him gently as she tried to arouse him. She took out her cell phone and called the hospital.
Cook County Hospital / Carter's mansion:
"Cook County General, Jerry speaking."
"Jerry, get Mark on the line, now!" Susan yelled with much anxiety.
"Susan, it's Mark. Where are you? What's wrong?" He asked with much concern.
"I'm at Carter's. I'm bringing him and Melissa in."
"Jill... She was murdered."
"Oh my God! Where was Carter when this happened?"
"All I know is that he and Melissa weren't in the room she was in, when she was shot."
"Jesus Christ." Mark muttered to himself. "Are they hurt?" He asked, afraid to hear the answer.
"Melissa's fine. She's asleep right now, but Carter... He's in shock and he collapsed about five minutes ago."
"Get him here, ASAP! Get him conscious, Susan! Once you do, keep him awake!" Mark demanded.
"I know, Mark, I know! We'll be at the hospital in twenty minutes or so..."
They hung up their phones.
Susan dodged all of the police equipment as she entered the kitchen. She took a cup from the cabinet and filled it with cool / warm water. She walked back to John and poured the water on his face. Her plan worked. He regained consciousness.
"What the hell..." He mumbled, wiping the water off of his face.
Susan helped Carter stand up and led him over to a chair, which he gratefully sunk, right down into.
"I'm gonna go get Melissa and then I'm driving us to the hospital."
He just sat there, dazed. The ride there was silent. Susan took Melissa into the hospital as Mark, Luka, Kerry, Peter, Malik, and Carol went out to her car to help Carter out of it.
Why did Susan take me here? I should be at home with my wife, holding her body, tightly. I'm not the one who was shot. Oh my God! Where's Melissa!? John could hear people calling his name, but he couldn't understand them. "Melissa?" He inquired, mumbling her name out, groggily.
"John, Melissa's fine. Susan took her inside," Mark answered.
"My little girl, where's she at? I need to see her."
"Carter, do you know where you are?" Peter questioned his former student, worriedly.
"Carter, you're at the hospital. Do you remember why you're here?" Luka asked.
He shook his head no.
"Carter, man... Can you, please, get out of the car?" Malik questioned his fellow colleague and friend.
He gave them no response, but tears started to fall from his eyes, once again.
"John, sweetheart – Let Peter and Luka help you get out of the car and then you can lie down on the gurney." Carol urged the young, frightened doctor.
He nodded his head yes.
As soon as they strapped him onto the gurney, he asked, "What about my daughter?"
"John, after we're finished examining you, we'll bring Melissa in to see you. I promise." Kerry said in a voice that she would normally use to calm a frightened child.
Trauma room three:
They wheeled him into trauma room three and started their thorough examination.
"Well, Carter – You're fine physically, but emotionally... Well, you need some help. I'm gonna get a psychiatrist and bring him down here, so you two can talk."
"No... No psychiatrist. I won't talk to anyone."
"Anyone? Carter, you need to..."
"I meant I'd only talk to someone I trust." He added, promptly, cutting Kerry off.
As everyone left the room, Susan brought Melissa in and then left.
Outside of Trauma room three:
"Should he be alone with Melissa, right now?"
"What kind of question is that, Kerry?" Mark asked in a disturbed tone.
"Before you go snapping my head off, Mark – I'm just concerned about the emotional state, he's in, right now. People do things they regret when they're depressed like that."
"My God, Kerry! John isn't some psyche patient; he's Carter! He wouldn't harm Melissa," Luka exclaimed. Outraged at the thought that Kerry actually believed Carter would hurt his daughter.
Carter's hospital room:
"Daddy, you okay?" Melissa asked in a small voice.
"Yes, sweetie-pie, I'm all right."
"Melissa, honey... Mommy went to Heaven."
"But, mommy's comin' back, right?" She asked in a trembling voice.
"No, honey, she's not coming back."
"Will we ever see her, again?"
"Of course we will, sweetie. Someday, we'll all be in Heaven, and we'll be together as a family, again."
They sat and embraced each other as John switched to Nickelodeon, so his daughter could watch her favorite shows.
Two hours later, Luka walked in to find Melissa asleep in her daddy's arms. He noticed that Carter was awake and that he was watching television.
"John, what are you watching?"
"I flipped to ABC to watch Friends, but then I heard my name. I'm on every single news channel."
"Well, Carter – Your wife was just murdered."
"Yeah, I know that." He said, wiping the tears from his eyes. "But, they keep saying "John Truman Carter III's wife, Jillian Marie was just murdered, four hours ago. We have word that John and his daughter, Melissa Joan, did not witness the murder, but they did hear the gunshot. The millionaire's family has been notified. We'll have more information, later, on this tragic event." The only reason why they have this murder on TV is because of the money my family has."
"I'm sorry, Carter."
"I hate that my wife's murder is all over the news. I didn't give a single person permission to release any information about this to the public. Now, the whole state must know. I hate that this has happened! I hate it! I hate it!" He yelled as he broke down and started to cry.
Luka strolled over to John's bed and gave his shoulders reassuring squeezes.
"Hey, John... You're gonna get over this. Hell, I lost my wife and two children during the Croatian War. The lost always stays with you, but the horrific pain in your heart, eventually starts to fade, and you learn that you can move on with your life."
Carter looked up at Luka, saying, "I want to believe that, but I can't. Not, right now, at least. Can you move Melissa to the bed beside me? My right arm's been asleep for about twenty-five minutes, now." He said, letting out a small chuckle.
Slightly, laughing back – He nodded and said, "Yes, of course."
After tucking Melissa into bed, he left the room.
"Dear God, my wife, Jill, was taken to Heaven, today. Please, let her know how sorry we are and that we love her, very much. I promise, Jill, we'll never forget you. I love you so much. It breaks my heart knowing that Melissa will grow up without a mother, but I will raiser her, the best that I can. Please, God, watch over us and protect us. Amen!" Carter prayed, talking very quietly, just above a whisper.
He stared at his daughter, wondering if she understood that her mother was murdered and wondered if she actually knew how serious of a crime, murdering someone was. He asked himself, Will she understand, when I tell her when she's old enough to know the truth? When other kids bring their mommy's in for show-and-tell, will she start asking questions about her? What will I tell her? She won't be old enough for me to tell her that her mother was murdered. When she's old enough to start asking questions about her, what will I tell her? I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm the only parent she's got left. What if something happens to me? What will happen to her? All I know is that it's me and Melissa, now, and nothing's gonna change that. She's my life and I'm her's. Nothing... and I repeat... nothing will ever tear us apart. With that last thought, he fell into a much-need sleep.
Two Days Later:
The funeral went nicely. Carter's friends and family members were all there, comforting him. He cried through the entire funeral. Melissa didn't even understand what was going on, which broke his heart.
Why is everybody so sad? Daddy's crying and so is everybody else. Why? Melissa asked herself as she hugged her father.
The day after the funeral, the murderer was found. Chad Ashton Bloom's attentions were to kill John, but mistakenly killed his wife, Jill, instead. He wanted to be known as the person who killed Jonathan Truman Carter III. He wanted to go down in history. He'd be famous for breaking up the Carter family's generations. He was charged with first-degree murder and was sentenced to death by legal injection.
End of Flashback:
Cook County General Hospital:
John entered the emergency room with Melissa in his arms.
"John! GSW in trauma room one," Mark shouted running into the trauma room.
He turned his head and saw Haleh with welcoming arms stretched out and she said, "Here, John, I'll take her to daycare."
With relief expressed on his face, he quickly kissed his daughter's forehead, and then he replied, "Thank you, Haleh." With that said, he barged into trauma room one.
"About time you showed up, Carter!" Peter exclaimed in annoyance.
"I'm sorry." He said, backing up from the venomous looks he was receiving.
"John, we don't need you in here, but I'll meet you in the lounge in five minutes. We need to talk," Kerry told him.
Great! I'm fired. Carter thought. He walked into the lounge and slumped down into a chair. I need to get more sleep at night. He told himself, silently.
Kerry, Mark, and Susan walked in with serious expressions on their faces. Susan sat down beside Carter whilst Mark and Kerry stayed standing.
"John... For the past month, you've been late for work. We let one month slide by, but two months is unacceptable. You need to pull yourself together and get your act straight." Kerry told him, sternly.
Carter continued to stare down at his hands, shamefacedly.
"So, I'm fired?"
"No, Carter, you're not fired, yet..." Mark paused, choosing the right words to say next. "No, you're not fired, but you have to start coming to work on time. Can you do that for us?"
"Yes, of course I can."
Kerry and Mark left the room, leaving Susan and Carter alone. Carter looked as if he was heading into a nervous breakdown.
Concerned about his current physical condition, she asked, "Carter, have you been to overwhelmed, lately?"
"I'm fine," he lied.
"No, Carter... You're not, okay."
He just sat there, fidgeting.
"What's wrong, pal? You know that you can tell me anything, right?"
"Yes, I do."
"Well, then... What's wrong?"
"I feel so alone." He said, letting out a few sobs. "It's hard enough dealing with Jill's death, but Melissa... She doesn't really remember her. She's a six-year-old; she won't remember her mother when she's older." He confessed as he started to cry.
"Carter... As long as you tell Melissa about her, she'll remember. Children have the tendency to surprise us. We may think that she won't remember, but she'll probably prove us wrong."
Susan took Carter into her arms and held him as he let his emotions out.
"Why don't you go home?"
"I can't. I have to work."
"It's Christmas, Carter. Your first one without Jill; I think Kerry can understand you wanting to spend this day alone with your daughter. I'll tell her, I sent you home. Go, Carter! Merry Christmas!"
Giving Susan a warm smile, he kissed her on the cheek and replied, "Thanks, Susan. Merry Christmas to you too." He turned and left the room, making his way up the elevator to the daycare. He entered the room, picked up his daughter, and left.
"Daddy, what's goin' on?"
"We're going home, honey."
"Not today. Merry Christmas, Melissa."
"Merry Christmas, daddy. I love you!" She exclaimed, smiling, brightly.
"I love you too, honey."
Carter drove to his grandparents' house. His parents, sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, and his grandparents would be there... celebrating the joyous Christmas holiday.
Well... What did you think? Should I continue or not?¿ If I get ten reviews or above saying that yes, I should continue... I'll have this updated by Christmas, because I'm working on many, many other fanfics that I have got to finish, first! Thank you for taking your time to read and review this. I want honest, opinionated reviews! Stacey