Title: Another Woman
Rating: I'm going to go with M for some language and, although there's nothing graphic, insinuations of sex.
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, ER and its affiliated characters do not belong to me. They are the property of NBC and its associates. No copyright intended.
Spoilers: There's no specific episode that I discuss in this story, but I do mention important happenings from season 13 (including Michael/Gates/Katey, etc.)
Note: I actually got the basic idea (and title) for this story from an episode of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman called "Another Woman." I also borrowed the character's first name "Catherine" from the show, as well. So, thank you to Dr. Quinn for inspiring me yet again.
Summary: Reela story. Ray and Neela are happily in a relationship together, but must overcome some problems when an ex-girlfriend of Ray's shows up.
"I need the portable X-Ray!" Someone yelled in the hallway.
Neela lazily opened her eyes as the sounds of shouting and people running down the hallway woke her up. She moaned and rolled over onto her stomach, burying her head in a small, flat pillow. The gurney squeaked beneath her as she shifted. She hated sleeping in one of the empty exam rooms, but she had been working for almost twenty hours straight and she needed the rest, especially after her sleepless night the night before.
She debated on whether she should get up and see if she could be of any help, but she knew that someone would wake her if she was really needed.
Closing her eyes again, Neela repositioned herself to get more comfortable. She was almost asleep when the door opened.
"What is it?" She mumbled, not bothering to see who it was.
She could hear the door close and the sound of someone's footsteps as they got closer to her. She smiled as she felt the side of the gurney sink as the person sat down beside her. She felt his hand on her back and he began to massage her sore muscles.
"Open your eyes," he whispered.
"Why?" She replied, smiling.
"I have a surprise for you."
She opened her eyes and rolled onto her side towards him. He gently brushed her hair away from her forehead and kissed her lightly on the lips.
"What's my surprise?" She asked, noticing that he was holding one hand behind his back so that she couldn't see whatever it was that he was trying to hide.
"You mean I'm not enough?"
He leaned in to kiss her again, but she pulled away, smiling seductively.
"I want my surprise," she pouted. He pulled his hand out from behind his back and presented her with a styrofoam cup. "Coffee?" She asked, somewhat disappointed even though she welcomed the caffeine.
"Well, I figured after working a double, you'd need the boost." He brought her hand to his lips and kissed it. "Oh…and…" he pulled a single red rose out from behind his back. "Happy anniversary," he said as he handed the rose over to her. She twirled it in her fingers and smelled it.
"Anniversary?" She questioned, raising an eyebrow.
"You don't remember?" He asked in response. She shook her head. "Six months ago today…you made my life complete."
He leaned in and kissed her deeply.
6 Months Earlier
Neela tried to shift the three paper bags full of groceries so that she could reach her keys in her pocket, but every time she moved, she could feel one of the bags slipping through her arms and she was determined not to drop them.
"Ray!" She yelled, kicking the door. She could hear him strumming his guitar and knew that he probably couldn't hear her. "Ray!" She shouted more loudly. "Bloody hell," she mumbled.
Neela put the bags on the ground and dug her keys out of her pocket. She shoved the key in the door and turned the knob. Using her left foot to keep the door open, she stretched and grabbed the three bags of groceries. When she had successfully positioned them in her arms, she turned and took a step towards the kitchen. When she went to step again, she tripped on a pair of Ray's shoes and stumbled forward.
In a flash, Neela dropped all but one bag of groceries and she fell against Ray, who had come out of his room to find out what all of the commotion was about. They both fell to the floor.
"Welcome home," Ray said, smiling. Neela was lying on top of him. Her left hand still clutched the remaining bag of groceries and her right hand was against his chest. Their faces were so close together that their noses almost touched.
"How many times do I have to ask you not to leave your shoes in the middle of the floor where someone might trip on them?" She growled, angrily.
She knew that she should get off of him, but she didn't move. She liked feeling his body against hers.
"You might need to ask me one more time," he replied.
"And you're crushing my windpipe."
Neela scrambled off of him and stood. She began to assess the damage of the groceries. The dozen eggs that she had bought were successfully smashed all over the floor and the carton of orange juice was spilling all over everything.
"Great," she said, picking up the empty orange juice container off the floor.
"Well, we've got a whole breakfast right here on our living room floor," Ray joked, standing up.
"It's not funny," Neela commented, trying not to smile.
"Oh come on, it's a little bit funny," he replied.
"No, it's not," she argued.
Ray took a step forward to pick up a squished load of bread, and slid on some of the spilled eggs. He found himself falling once more. As he hit the floor with a thud, Neela laughed out loud.
"Now it's funny," she said, picking up the bags and walking into the kitchen.
"If I recall," Neela said as Ray played with hair, "six months ago today your shoe nearly killed me."
"Yes, but do you remember what happened after that?"
At first, Neela shook her head, but then she remembered.
"Our first kiss," she answered.
"Out first kiss," he repeated.
6 Months Earlier
Neela was sitting on her bed, reading a medical journal about new heart transplant procedures. Now that she worked in surgery, she always tried to keep herself updated on the latest procedures and surgical techniques.
Neela heard Ray rummaging around for something in the kitchen and she couldn't help but smile. It amazed her how easily she and Ray had slid back into their old routine. She thought that it would be difficult living with him again, but after she had moved back in, everything went back to the way it had been and she hadn't even really bothered to start looking for another place like she said she would. She was perfectly content right where she was.
As she turned the page, the smell of something cooking filled her room. Intrigued, she set the magazine aside, hopped off of her bed, and walked into the kitchen. Ray was standing at the stove with a spatula in hand.
"What are you making?" She asked.
"Omelets," he answered.
"It's three o'clock in the afternoon," Neela remarked, sitting down at the kitchen table.
"Yeah, well, I've been craving breakfast since it was spilled on our floor this morning."
"Please tell me that those are not the same eggs that…"
"Haven't you Brits ever heard of the five second rule?"
"That's disgusting," Neela scoffed. She nearly gagged just thinking about eating eggs that had been smashed on the floor.
Ray smirked. He enjoyed grossing her out.
"I just picked up some more eggs when I went to the store," he explained.
"In that case, I'll have mine with cheese and pepper."
"And who said I'd be making you one?"
"Please," she pouted, sticking out her bottom lip.
"You know, you're cute when you beg," Ray said.
He immediately turned back to the omelet as Neela blushed. He had never called her cute before.
"Does that mean you'll make me one?" She asked, surprised at her own boldness. She was flirting with him.
"I'll tell you what," Ray said, flirting right back. "We can share."
Neela smiled and grabbed two forks and two glasses and put them on the small table. As she poured some milk into each of the glasses, Ray scraped the omelet off the bottom of the pan and placed it on a large plate. He set it down in the middle of the table and then sat across from Neela. He picked up his orange juice and held it out.
"To being roomies…again," he toasted.
Neela lifted her glass in the air.
"To being roomies," she repeated.
They each took a drink and then began to eat the large omelet.
"I'm glad that you came back," Ray commented.
"I am too," she replied.
They each dug their forks into the omelet.
"I have a confession to make," Neela stated, wiping her mouth with a napkin.
"Oh? What's that?" Ray asked, going for another piece of the omelet.
"I haven't exactly been looking for my own apartment," she admitted.
For a moment, he didn't respond and Neela wondered what he was thinking. She had told him that she was only moving in temporarily, but that wasn't exactly what she was planning anymore.
"Well, that's good because I don't want you to leave."
Ray reached across the table and squeezed her hand. They stared into each other's eyes, unable to break their gaze. Ray slowly began to lean over the table.
Their lips barely made contact and the kiss only lasted for a few seconds, but it still felt incredible. Neither of them had ever known a first kiss to feel so amazing.
Ray began to pull away, not sure of what he should do. He couldn't remember the last time he had felt so awkward and unsure of himself around a woman.
It was Neela who reached for him and pulled him closer to her. They kissed again, this time more substantial and long-lasting.
"So…what does this mean?" Neela asked.
"I think this means that we're not just roommates anymore," Ray answered, closing the gap between them once more.
Neela buried her hands deep in Ray's hair as he laid down on top of her, kissing her. She giggled as he kissed the spot on her neck that always made her giggle.
The door swung open.
"Neela, there's a…" Sam started to say. "Oh…" She averted her eyes away from Ray and Neela. "Sorry to interrupt, but there's a trauma coming in," she announced. "Ten minutes out."
"I'll be right there," Neela said from beneath Ray.
Sam quickly closed the door. Ray kissed Neela on the forehead and laughed.
"Why does everyone have such bloody bad timing around here?" Neela asked.
Ray rolled off the bed and Neela sat up, adjusting her blouse. Ray ran his fingers through her hair to make it less noticeable that she had been lying down.
"I'll take the trauma," Ray stated.
"You're not on for another half hour," Neela pointed out.
"I know, but you should go home and get some sleep. Besides, we have a long night of celebrating ahead of us."
Neela smiled and blushed just thinking about what they would be doing that night.
"What time will you be home?" She asked, putting her arms around his waist.
"Seven," he answered.
"Then I look forward to seven," she said, kissing him.
Just like I told myself for my last story that I would never write a story with Gates, I also always told myself that I would never do a story where Ray and Neela were already in a relationship because half the fun for me in writing stories is getting them to that relationship. So, I'm doing the best of both worlds in this story – they're already in an established relationship and I'll be doing flashbacks. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I promise that the chapters to come are going to be more dramatic/somewhat angsty. Please leave me comments/suggestions. Chapter 2 should be posted soon!