A/N: This show is very new to me and it saddens me I didn't get hooked back when it was on air so I missed all the talks. I loved the dynamics between the siblings and I hope I managed to capture here at least a very small percentage of that.
This story takes place now and it's mostly a look at the grown-up Girardi brothers (Kevin and Luke) through two women's eyes. To make this work, I just imagined Luke went to MIT and Kevin got into a small college in the Boston area, so that the two are living in the same city. I've always pictured Joan in NY, so she's not in this story (although her presence is felt). The second option would be fudging with canon and moving the Girardi family straight to Boston, after Kevin's accident. I'm actually more into this version (although I dislike changing canon), because with all the independence he's capable of, I don't think Kevin would more to another city.
Usual disclaimers apply.
Please enjoy and review.
Three weeks into her neurology rotation, Karen was getting bored. Not the type of boredom she felt during her radiology rotation, but the "I'm never getting into this one" boredom. She was definitely an E.R. type of girl. The excitement, the thrill and pace of things got her hooked since she was kid and sneaked into the living room behind her parents' back so she could watch "E.R." with them. Sort of speak. Her father wanted her to become involved in something more girly; instead, she was interested in all those bloody procedures. And she had a crush on that foreign doctor.
So watching comatose patients and writing down their never changing vitals wasn't her idea of fun medicine. Although she got a few thrills a few days back when she got the case of a guy who become aphasic after being struck by lightning. But these kind of cases were too rare to get her interest in the field.
During this shift, she had been assigned to dr. Stansfield and his ever expressionless face. Her Attending du jour had that 'been there, done that' attitude that nothing could make him smile or frown. He was holding a pile of charts and was making rounds.
"Mr. Girardi, how are you feeling today?", dr. Stansfield asked, as he pulled the curtain of the exam table away.
"Well, I'm all good, except that nurse gave me a shot a few minutes ago and now I can't seem to feel my legs…", said Kevin, looking a bit bewildered.
Karen didn't get it at first, but soon realized it was a joke and couldn't help but chuckle a bit. Her Attending, however, seemed as unimpressed as ever.
"I was actually just looking for a refill….on my Baclofen prescription", Kevin continued, a bit disappointed that his joke didn't get as much as the attention he had hoped for. "I ran out and people thought I was rehearsing some weird dance for the next season of American's Got Talent….because of…you know…the spasms…which…", he trailed off timidly.
"How are you getting along with the KAFOs?"the old doctor asked.
"Um…pretty ok, I don't feel like I've ran a marathon anymore after walking with those things for a couple of hours", answered Kevin.
After overcoming his fear and trying electrical stimulation a few years back, Kevin included it in his physical therapy routine to maintain flexibility and prevent – on some level – muscle wastage. Or, as he put it "an attempt not to have chopsticks as legs". Vanity, thy name is Kevin, his sister Joan told him, after his failed attempts to explain to her all the physiological benefits of standing and walking for SCI patients. She mocked him a bit, but she felt good knowing that her big brother is still very much interested in his own looks. He was moving on and trying to get the best of everything. This included walking with KAFOs in therapy – hip to tow braces. It wasn't really walking, more like shifting weight with his hips, the limited movement he had as a T10 somewhat incomplete paraplegic with little feeling below injury level. Still, the first time his family saw him on his own two feet, they were overwhelmed. They have forgotten just how tall he was and how great it felt to hug him without bending down. It kept the illusion alive.
"Great! I'm being paged in the E.R. Dr. Matthews, could you continue what we were doing here and hold these until I get back? Thanks", the older doctor said, handing Karen the charts.
"For what it's worth, I think you're somewhat funny", she said, smiling.
"Somewhat? Pretty encouraging", Kevin scoffed.
"Well, yeah. Somewhat. You lack the audience so you force those jokes on the medical staff".
"Oh, come on. I had a nurse totally freaking out because of the 'I can't feel my legs bit'. "
"Was it her first day on the job?", Karen smirked.
"Yeah, probably", he laughed. "Whoa, what are you doing?"
Karen had started examining him, according to dr. Stansfield's directions.
"I'm….assessing sensory neuron and motor responses… "
"Isn't it written here all about my responses?" he pointed to the chart.
She stopped and took a very serious posture.
"I'm a medical student and I want to learn it myself".
"Can't you…learn on someone else? And let the creepy old doctor do all the assessments here?" he grinned.
"Are you serious? I'm a doctor."
"Medical student", he pointed out.
Karen rolled her eyes. Yeah, cocky SCI patients weren't her ideal ones either. Definitely 'no' to neurology.
"Fine. Wait forever until that one comes back", she said as she threw his chart on the bed. At least she was getting ahead training for the freaks that come to the ER.
"Now those are not nice bedside manners", he yelled after her.
Karen went out in the hallway and headed for the doctor's lounge. She had to pull 12 hours shifts at the hospital but she still wasn't quite used to them yet. Yet. On her way, she stopped at the nurse's station to put back some of dr. Stansfield's charts.
Pacing around the hallway was a young man, in his early twenties. Blond hair, medium height. Cute. Karen turned around and decided to ignore him.
But then she changed her mind.
"May I help you?" she asked, half turned to face him.
"Um…no..no", he stuttered bit. "I'm just waiting for my brother", he answered, shrugging.
"Is he a patient here?"
"Yeah. No. Um…It's Girardi. Kevin. Kevin Girardi".
"Oh", she scoffed.
They didn't really look alike. Different hair color, different jaw line. Same eyes though. And this one seemed a bit like her type.
"He's just getting a new prescription, it shouldn't be long", she continued.
"Oh, yeah, I know. I wasn't…I was just trying to figure something out and pacing helps."
She decided to give him her whole attention.
"Anything I can do to help? I'm a doctor you know", she smiled, a bit flirtatious.
"Its says..medical student…on your name tag", Luke blurted out, before realizing that might've come out a bit condescending to her.
Great. They really were brothers, Karen thought.
"And no, thanks. For the help I mean", Luke tried to mend it. "I have to mix some…um…It's a chemistry problem, it's a tough one", he shook his head.
And then it hit him, again. "Which you would know a thing or two because you're a doctor…"
"Medical student", she corrected him, smiling.
"I'm sorry, I'm working on a case and I can't stop thinking about it…And…too much caffeine makes me…well, a bit crazy", he tried to apologize.
Well, at least he wasn't hiding his insecurities by making half jokes, like his brother.
Caffeine was making him crazy. Caffeine and good looking, smart women. With strong personalities. Usually blondes. He tried to address that certain aspect when Joan mocked him commenting that "this brain boy" is attracted to the stereotypical hair color that usually attracts the "no brain boys". He tried to explain it by thinking that Grace, his first love, was a blonde, but then he couldn't really explain Glynis or Ellen, his fifth grade fascination.
"A case? What do you do?"Karen asked.
And as he enthusiastically went on to tell her all about his work in the CSI lab, about his father being a cop and how he felt lost for the first two years at MIT, wanting to do everything – seriously considering becoming a neurologist - but having to choose, Kevin had finish getting his prescription and wheeled out on the hallway.
And then he wheeled back. Luke was talking to a cute girl and gesturing and she was smiling and seemed to really listen. To what he was saying. Really listen. He smiled to himself a bit and parked in a corner, deciding to give them a few more minutes, as he took out his iPhone to surf the web a bit.
But first he was going to take a few pictures of his little brother flirting. Making fun of each other was something the Girardi siblings could never stop doing.
"Would you stop complaining? My car, my rules, Luke", said Kevin, while trying to accommodate himself in front of the steering wheel.
"I just don't like Mexican food. Do you have any idea how many carbs…"
"Carbs? You're dieting now? No carbs?"
"You know, maybe this wasn't such a good idea", Luke said, annoyed.
"Fine. Then I'll just drop you off at your place and I'll get some take out. You should've gone home after work".
"I already told you, my car is in the shop. It would've taken forever with the public transport, I live across town from work", the younger brother explained.
"Aaaaaand coming to the hospital, waiting for an hour just so I can drop you off seemed like a good time management plan to you?" Kevin chuckled. "And you've gone to MIT while I'm in a community college. "
Luke just looked out the window.
"Fine, let's go for Mexican. I haven't had a stomach ache in a while", Luke said.
"Sooooo…you got her number?"
"Who?" asked Luke.
Kevin rolled his eyes.
"It cannot occur to you that two people of the opposite sex can just talk? Without any other implications?"
"Well, it did occur to me that…she might be one of two people in the world not to fall asleep to your sci-fi talk. I think you should marry her", Kevin laughed.
"First of all, it wasn't sci-fi talk, I was just explaining to her about a chemical reaction between styrene and …"
"See, you've lost me right there", Kevin interrupted him.
"…and second", Luke went on "second, who's the other person?"
"What other person?"
"You said I should marry her because she might be one of the two people…"
"See? You do belong in community college".
Kevin gave him a mean look. "The second person would be that Stephen Hawking guy." Sweet revenge.
"I don't have her number", Luke continued the talk, after a few minutes. "And I'm dating someone."
"One date doesn't count as dating. You could just…check out the options."
"Two dates. " Luke corrected his older brother.
"Why do I even bother?"
"Again…I don't have her number."
"You can lurk around the hospital. I'll get you one of those camouflage outfits."
"It's a hospital, Kevin. They'd take me straight to the psyche ward if they catch me circling the place dressed like that."
"Don't tempt me, there's a shop in that neighborhood that sells those things".
"You know, last time I took advice on women from you it didn't turn out that great. Grace almost crushed me in high school. And doesn't she seem more like your type? She kinda reminds me of Lily."
"Annnd we know how that turned out, don't we?. Verbal tennis isn't high on my list of attractions anymore".
Kevin and Lily's relationship had ended after almost three years, in which they both learned a valuable lesson. Not to settle. After Kevin entered college, she found it hard to keep it up with him and his newly found interests. He wanted to be around people his age, go to parties and do stupid things, feel like a normal college kid. He, on the other hand, couldn't really understand her belief and her world, although he respected her determination.
She made him feel like a man around her, desired and still with very much to give, while she felt like putting on dresses for him. Just a few times, though, but he deserved it. He was the only man to ever bring her flowers.
Lily eventually moved to California. Their breakup was extremely sad for Helen, although she knew from the start it wouldn't last. Apart from everything, hardly ever a 21 years old boy chooses a mate for life so early, in this day and age.
"I should've asked for her number", sighted Luke.
"You should've. But I guess you could get another chance".
Luke listened very attentively to his brother.
"My Oxybutynin prescription is running out", Kevin continued.
"So…your plan is to get refills on your prescriptions until I run into her?"
"It's good you're not on too many pain meds. They would classify you as a seeking addict."