Title: "Edge of Desire"
Description: She doesn't cheat. She can wait. She can be faithful while her man is very far away. Although lately, it hasn't been easy. Written for the Shiny Happy Comment Ficathon. Prompt: ER, Ray/Neela, maybe this mattress will spin on its axis, and find me on yours
Fandom: ER
Genre: Angst
Characters: Neela/Ray
Disclaimer: It is with a heavy heart that I admit that the exclusive rights to ER aren't mine, nor will they ever be. If this is news to you, we have bigger fish to fry.
Rating: T
Feedback: Gimme, gimme, and gimme more.

Neela especially loathes treating the crazies. Surly children, hypochondriacs, vagabonds that reek of pot and urine, prima donnas… they all bring their trials, but nothing—and she verily means nothing—irks her quite so much as the crazies.

"I need you to lick my balls," a particularly gruesome man, recumbent on a cot unceremoniously parked outside of the bathroom, wheezes at her. He draws out each word slowly as if to make his insanity clearer. He is either drunk off his ass or in serious need of a psych consultation.

"Sir, I would like to ask you to refrain from speaking," she calmly states as she reviews his chart. Even as the words cross her lips she knows they are as a useless as the "energy drink" she downed about an hour ago that has only made her jittery with her tiredness.

"Come on, you know you're a cheater," he chuckles.

Cheater? She asks herself. The word implies that the man knows that she is in a relationship, a presumption that she finds unsettling. Then she remembers her ring. So many years without one, and she forgets it's there, sometimes.

"If I were a cheater, I would never cheat with you," she retorts. "Wait one moment while I find somewhere else for you to park." She walks off to find out if the crushed pelvis behind Curtain 6 has been taken to surgery yet.

For reasons unknown she thinks about Mr. Ball Licker later that night while she lies in bed. She thinks about herself. She's never been a serial dater, and she's happy for that. Not for herself. For Gallant. For Michael. Because of her shyness, and perfectionism, and foreignness and just… everything that she is, and the world is—she's gone long stretches without intimacy before. She's learned to validate herself, to console herself, to live the life of a person that doesn't have that… someone to take care of her emotionally. So she doesn't cheat. She can wait. She can be faithful while her man is very far away.

Although lately, it hasn't been as easy. To just… do without. To content herself with emails, erratic phone calls and an occasional video chat. Not since… not since Ray entered the picture. It's not easy to be alone when there is someone, someone bright and cheerful and uncomplicated, who takes the edge off. He's sweet, Ray. Thoughtful. She likes the way he anticipates when she needs coffee… or when she needs to talk. He's slightly nuts, but in the best way, the way that makes life more fun and less dreary; she could use more nuts in her life. And she can never miss the way his eyes sparkle when he suddenly turns around and she there behind him. He can't mask the excitement. She's not sure she can either.

Sometimes at night, when she's alone in bed, she imagines that in another life, another space, another time, where life wouldn't be so complicated, that she would turn over in bed (where cold sheets lie now) and there Ray would be. He might tuck her tousled hair behind her ears with his calloused hands, lean in close and say something naughty but funny (so funny) and then tell her how beautiful she is. He might kiss her on the forehead, behind her ear—he might get lost in her neck, the stubble from his face caressing her skin. And she would let him, too, because in that world, it wouldn't be wrong to touch, to feel, to hope... to love. She could be treasured, doted on, worshipped. And it would be right. Because she would belong to Ray and he would be hers.