DISCLAIMER: I own nothing but the character of Madison. Everything else belongs to others and no infringement was necessary.
This is a continuation of my first 'ER' story, 'Family.' It stars my OC Madison Ross, sister of Doug Ross. Madison is currently dating Carter and working as a third year resident. This can be considered AU, but there are parts of the actual series incorporated into the tale. This is the next story regarding their relationship. How do they deal with the drama that seems to plague the ER on a regular basis. Will Carter and Madison survive?
Carter and I settled into our roles as residents and our relationship seemed to move along at a natural pace.
We were finding ourselves working different shifts most of the time and, while I understood the need for us to work opposite each other, we did get an occasional shift together. We spent a lot of time together when we weren't working and it seemed like Carter had moved into my house.
I found myself turning to him during the turmoil that was becoming my brother. I couldn't turn to Mark because he would tell me to leave Doug alone and concentrate on myself. It seemed everyone wanted to distance themselves from Doug. Everyone, but me.
Carter and I discussed the mixed signals I was getting from my brother.
"Doug is an adult, Maddie," Carter said.
"I know and he seems to be in a really stable place right now, but I'm just worried about what could happen. This detox incident just smacks of Doug Ross bucking the system and not wanting to obey the rules and using 'for the better of the patient' as his excuse to be a cowboy. Sometimes I find it hard to believe I'm even related to him. As much as he doesn't want admit it, he's starting to remind me more and more of dad.," I said.
"Did you know he planned to do it," Carter asked.
"No. He asked the other day when I was leaving and when I'd be back. I think he was making sure I wasn't going to be involved," I said.
Carter had decided to take me away for a long weekend to the Bahamas. I had never been, obviously, and, Carter wanted to take me. Despite the rift that existed with his grandmother and the rest of the family, his grandmother invited the two of us to go to their home on the island. We had a wonderful time and, despite his family being there with us, I never saw them. I remembered the wonderful time we had and was day dreaming when Carter called for my attention.
Carter looked at me. "Would you," he asked.
"Would I what," I questioned.
"If Doug had come to you and asked you to help, would you have agreed," Carter asked, wrapping his arms me.
I shrugged my shoulders. "I don't know," I said. And, at that time, I truly didn't know. I understood what Doug was trying to do and what point he wanted to get across, but I hated his methodology.
Knowing Doug had planned to do this and made sure I wasn't around upset me. I didn't know if I was upset that he'd done it or that he had purposely not involved me.
When the detox incident had been revealed, I was thrown into the hot seat because, once again, the name Ross prejudiced me. I was pissed beyond belief at him and his disregard over those careers he'd put in jeopardy.
When I cornered him in the lounge, I asked him what happened.
"What the hell? Why didn't you tell me what you were doing," I asked.
"I didn't want to get you involved. I didn't want you to suffer because you decided to help me and someone found out. I wanted you to be able to say you honestly had no idea what I was doing," Doug said.
"So you tell me after you've done it and because I might be questioned? Don't you realize that I'm going to be questioned, even if I wasn't around when it happened? Kerry said she wanted to speak to me and I have a feeling it's going to be about you and your questionable activities just because my last name is Ross. Do you even think at how some of these scrapes you get into affect everyone else," I yelled at him.
"Madison, she can't touch you because you didn't do anything to help me. You didn't even know what was happening. I wanted to ask you, but didn't," he said.
"Because you thought I'd say no," I asked.
"No, because I knew you'd say yes. I knew you'd see the benefits of doing it and would jump at a chance to help. I wasn't willing to let you sacrifice your career for it," Doug said.
I shook my head. My brother knew me so well.
"You're probably right. But, I still can't believe you did this without thinking of who you were pulling down," I said.
Doug didn't respond. I shook my head. "You're doing what you're best at Doug, leaving someone else to clean up your mess," I said before I left the lounge.
Things between us were pretty tense at that point and I slowly watched my brother, under the guise of a caring pediatrician, burn bridges with every one he'd ever met at County. The relationship he'd enjoyed with Mark, slowly crumbled. I knew Mark loved my brother like his own family, but he wasn't about to let Doug's volatile practice style get him in trouble. He'd even pissed Carol off, who, like me, loved him no matter what.
It wasn't long after that, my big brother moved to Seattle. He'd called to say goodbye and we'd met for coffee before his flight.
"You sure you want to do this," I asked him.
"Mads, I have to leave Chicago. There's nothing here for me. I have a chance of running a peds ER in Seattle. I can't pass it up," he said.
"What do you mean there's nothing here for you? Carol's here, I'm here. Have you thought about that," I asked.
"Madison, you can handle life without me. You have a strong group of friends. Mark's still here. Life will be a lot easier on you if I'm not in the same hospital as you. I love you, sis, and leaving you and Carol is the LAST thing I want to do, but I have to," he said.
"She doesn't want to go with you, does she," I asked.
Doug shook his head. "Call me when you get settled. I'll schedule my next vacation to come out and see you," I said.
"You going to bring Carter," he asked.
"Maybe. I love you, bro," I said. We shared a hug and he got up to get on his flight. As I watched him walk down the terminal, I felt alone.
I headed back to the hospital for my shift, feeling melancholy and lost. Carter sensed my unhappiness and managed to get someone to cover for a few hours of his shift so he could take me to the roof for a picnic. The gesture was sweet and meant a lot to me. Carter didn't pry. He knew I was upset and angry. Upset that Doug had left and angry because he was taking off and I was having to deal with the fallout, despite not being involved.
Several weeks after Doug's departure, Carol called and asked to meet for coffee. I told her I'd meet her before shift at Doc Magoo's.
I couldn't imagine what Carol wanted to talk to me about because we hadn't discussed Doug at all during our few conversations since he left.
I entered the restaurant and found her sitting in a booth already. I asked for a cup of coffee and sat down with her.
"How are you," she asked me.
"I'm good. What did you need to talk to me about," I asked, thanking the waitress for my coffee.
"Have you talked to Doug," she asked.
"Yeah. I've talked to him just about every night. Why," I asked.
"He calls, but I think he does it when he knows I won't be home. Did you tell him my schedule," she asked.
"If I did, it wasn't intentional. What's wrong," I asked.
Carol took a deep breath. "I'm pregnant."
If I had been drinking my coffee at the moment she made the revelation, she would have been bathing in it.
"Pregnant," I said.
Carol smiled and nodded.
"Are we happy," I asked, secretly elated that she was pregnant with Doug's baby.
"Yeah. I'm just scared. Please, don't tell your brother until I have a chance to tell him. I'm not sure how I'm going to tell him, but I want to do it on my own time," she said.
"Of course. I won't say a thing to Doug until you've had a chance to tell him. Will you do me a favor? Promise you'll let me help with anything you need," I said.
"Sure, but you have your hands full. You're almost done with residency and you have Carter," she said.
"I'll be there for you, Carol," I said.
She thanked me again and we finished our drinks. I went to the counter and ordered a breakfast platter to go and two more coffees. I knew Carter wouldn't have eaten anything yet and thought I'd bring him breakfast.
Carol and I walked into the ER together and Carter was at admit arguing with someone on the phone.
I didn't know who he was speaking with and, despite us living together, I didn't think it was any of my business.
I caught his eye and held up the takeout containers. He nodded and returned to the phone call. He hung up the phone and followed me into the lounge.
"Do I want to know who or what that was about," I asked.
"My father. Apparently they want me to make an appearance at the charity dinner tomorrow," he said.
"Well, you can go if you want," I said.
"Maddie, it's the first day we've had off together in a while. I thought we'd spend it together," he said.
I walked over to him and grabbed him by his lab coat lapel. Pulling him toward me, I said, "I managed to get the next two off with you. I bribed some people and we have a few more days off together. How does that sound," I said.
Carter kissed me. "Heavenly, Sonny," he said. "If I go, you going to go with me?"
"Sure, but your parents don't like me," I said.
"Gamma likes you. In fact, Gamma loves you. That's probably why my parents, who have never met you, claim to not like you," he said.
"I just have to worry about pleasing your Gamma and Grandfather. As long as they welcome me into the Carter fold, I'm in," I asked.
"You bet. And what's not to love about you," he asked, kissing me again.
As much as I would have loved to lost myself in that kiss, I pulled away. "We need to get out there. You eat and I'll check on your patients," I said.
I took my stethoscope from off the hook in my locker and headed out to Admit.
"Morning, Madison. Nice of you to join us," Mark said, winking at me.
I looked at the clock. "Two minutes. I have two minutes left before rounds are supposed to start, so don't start with me," I said, smiling at him.
I listened to report and took the sign offs from the overnight residents. I checked on Carter's patients and he signed his patients out to me when he came out of the lounge.
"I'll see you in twelve. I'll drop my tux off at the cleaners. Can you pick it up on your way home," he asked.
"Sure. You going to have dinner ready when I get home," I asked.
"I'll be sure to call and have it delivered before you get home," he said.
He hung his stethoscope and lab coat in his locker. He kissed me and headed out the door. I ventured out into the ER to start my twelve hours shift.
"Mark, can I pick your brain," I asked, looking up from my chart.
"Sure, Maddie. What you got," he asked.
"Well, I have a patient that had their gallbladder removed three years ago. Presenting with severe, sudden onset of abdominal pain. Patient has been seeing their physician and their primary has basically labeled them as a drug seeker," I said.
"So why are you talking to me? You know how to handle them," Mark said.
"That's just it, Mark. I think they have a stone in the common bile duct. The patient has had two ultrasounds, but not during their pain periods. I think the stone is floating and the patient has been scanned during the times when the stone has been back in the bile duct and not causing an obstruction," I said.
"So you want to scan them and admit them to surgery," he said.
"Yeah, but the problem is Peter has seen the patient and agreed with the initial assumption of the primary," I said.
Mark caught my meaning. "Order the scan. If it's positive, you have to get him to see them. If you have a problem with that, I'll talk to him. Do the labs back it up," he asked.
"Elevated liver function tests and lipase. Nothing alarming, but enough that I think it warrants investigation," I said.
"Do it. I'll sign off on it," Mark said.
"Thanks," I said, heading to the desk to order the necessary scan.
"Randi, can you get me an ultrasound on the patient in curtain one, Tucker," I asked.
"Sure," she said, picking up the phone.
I went to see another patient. I was busy charting when radiology called with the results of the ultrasound on Tucker.
"This is Dr. Ross... Really? Thank you," I said, hanging up the phone.
"Randi, page Dr. Benton. I have a CBD stone for him," I said.
Mark heard me call for the page and looked at me. "You're going to gloat, aren't you," he asked.
"Nope. I'm going to make sure he apologizes for assuming the patient was seeking. That's the only thing I'm interested in," I said, smiling.
Mark shook his head and went off to see his patients.