DISCLAIMER: “ER”, the characters and situations depicted are the property of Warner Bros. Television, Amblin Entertainment, Constant C Productions, NBC, etc. They are borrowed without permission, but without the intent of infringement.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By A. Magiluna Stormwriter
For a moment, I'm struck dumb. Just to hear her voice again after all these years; it's not something that I'd expected to be doing. I wouldn't be doing it, if it hadn't been for Christy's damned dare. I can't believe I let her manipulate me into admitting things. I must have picked up that phone and dialed her number half a dozen times, always hanging up before it would ring. Well, if I'm honest, it's more like a dozen. But I can't back out on the dare, no matter how childish and immature it may seem. It's a matter of pride and curiosity, if I'm totally honest.
"Hello? Is anybody there?"
She's starting to sound annoyed now. I guess she still hasn't gotten over that lack of patience of hers. I can just picture the pissed off look building on her face: her eyes are starting to squint over the rim of her glasses; the frown lines are deepening around her pursed lips and down-drawn brows; and she's probably chewing at her cheek a bit. God, but she's sexy when she's annoyed. I should really be honest with myself here and admit it's my fetish for older women in charge: teachers, doctors, nuns. What can I say? Even a psychiatrist isn't always perfect.
"I don't have time for this. I'm going to hang up."
No! She can't! That's not
"Kerry, wait!" I blurt out breathlessly. "Please don't hang up."
The silence on the other end of the line is terrifying. I'm actually afraid I waited too long, and she's hung up on me. She won't answer again if she sees this number on her caller ID. And then I'll lose out on this opportunity.
"Who is this?"
I can't say I'm not hurt or disappointed that she doesn't recognize my voice. Then again, I'm sure she hasn't been pining away for me all these years. At least, that's not how I've heard the rumors from Christy.
"It's Kim. Kim Legaspi."
Wow! Do I really sound that lame? Like a love struck teenager? It's only been six years, for goodness sake! How can I still be this hung up on her? It's the alcohol. It's got to be the alcohol. I've had girlfriends since Kerry. I've worked my way up the ladder of success at the hospital, too. There is no reason for me to feel like this.
"Oh. Kim!" She sounds surprised to hear it's me. Not that I blame her. It's not like I left her many options for contact after I dumped her like so much garbage. "How, uh, how are you?"
I can't help chuckling at her question. "I'm okay, I suppose. Perhaps had a little too much wine tonight, but when has that stopped me?"
Her own knowing chuckle echoes across the line. I can picture the impish grin on her face. "You never could hold your liquor that well, Kim."
"You should talk, Kerry," I retort. "Weren't you the one that spilled the wine over Thanksgiving dinner?"
"I think you're misremembering the situation." Her voice has taken on that sly, teasing tone that always made me hot. "Perhaps you should try the memory association game when you're not drunk."
"I am most certainly not drunk, Kerry." Methinks I protest too much, but whatever.
"Then why are you calling me?" Her voice is soft, curious, almost hurt. "Why wait until you've been drinking? It's not like my number's changed since you ran off back to San Francisco. And I know you've kept in touch with Abby, so it's not like you couldn't have verified my number through her."
I don't have an answer. I take that back. I do have an answer; I just don't want to admit it. So, I guess that means I don't know how to answer her. Not that this surprises me.
"Your silence is very telling, Kim," she continues in a soft voice. There's no teasing this time; but is that understanding I'm actually hearing? "So I'll ask the question again. Why are you calling me? Now? Out of the blue? On New Year's Eve?"
"Christy dared me." The words are out of my mouth before I realize I've said them, and I can feel the blush heating up my face at my audacity. The blush increases when Kerry laughs; it's a harsh, almost cruel sound.
"Still doing what Christy tells you, hm? I thought maybe you'd grown out of that when you got out of her immediate clutches. I guess I was wrong."
"That's not true!" I retort. "I've wanted to call you for quite some time, but never got up the courage. I was drinking when she called me, and she ended up daring me to finally get off my ass and call you. So I did."
There's that silence again, and it allows me the opportunity to try to pull my foot out of my mouth. And I force myself to get up and dump the last of my wine. I've obviously had far too much to be wise tonight.
"You've wanted to call me for quite some time?" she repeats slowly, as if trying to come to terms with the concept. Or savoring it, perhaps. "Why?"
I sigh and grab for a bottle of water. If I'm going to make good on the resolution Christy harangued out of me, I might as well start now. "Because I've wanted to know how you're doing," I reply just as slowly. "And I've wanted to apologize."
"What would you want to--?" Her voice trails off suddenly, and I can hear a small voice in the background calling out 'Mama' repeatedly. "Uh, just a moment, Kim. I need to check on Henry."
I don't even get to respond when I hear the phone being set down and her moving away. I'm surprised to note that I can't hear the telltale thunk of the crutch on those lovely hardwood floors in her brownstone. I can hear a murmur in the background, then her voice grows louder as she comes back toward the phone.
"Kim? Are you still there?"
She sounds a bit breathless and I can't help my curiosity. "I'm still here. Is something wrong?"
"No, Henry's just had a nightmare and wouldn't go back to sleep without me. So I've got him here with me, if that's all right."
What am I supposed to say to that? No? "Um, sure. Kerry, who's Henry?"
"My son." There is so much love and pride in her voice.
"Oh. I had no idea you were even pregnant. Abby never mentioned " Damn! Just let it slip that you've kind of been keeping tabs on her.
"Well, I didn't give birth to him. Sandy did." Once again, I hear that soft voice mumbling something at Kerry, who murmurs, "I know you miss Mami, sweetie. Go back to sleep now." My god, she sounds so in love with the boy.
"Tell me about them?" I can't believe I'm asking the question. Or that I really want to know.
"I met Sandy about six months after you left," she starts slowly. "She was a firefighter and tried to kick my ass for doing something that was admittedly stupid, but saved a woman and her unborn child."
I grin at the way Kerry justifies her recklessness and her big heart. I'm riveted by the story she tells of this woman who blew into her life like a whirlwind and turned Kerry's staid little life even more on its ear than I'd ever thought possible. I'm stunned and a bit angry at the way this woman outed Kerry, but at the same time I can hear the pride she has in her relationship with this woman, once all that initial hell was dealt with. When she starts describing the situation with her miscarriage and Sandy's subsequent pregnancy, I'm impressed by the extent of her maternal side. I've always known it was there, but it's nice to see it finally having a regular outlet like this. And when she discusses Sandy's death, I can hear and feel her loss.
And then she tells me about Courtney, and the changes at County, including Robert Romano's death "I already knew about that," I interrupt. "Abby called to let me know both when he lost his arm and when he died."
"I'm not surprised. But yeah, that's the life of Kerry Weaver, post Legaspi," she says with that self-deprecating grin in her voice that always made me smile. "So what about you? What have you been doing?"
I launch into the standard speech that I've perfected for family and friends about the wonderful life of one Kimberly Legaspi, MD. And then I realize that this isn't right. Clearing my throat, I give Kerry the honest truth of what's been going on: the string of short term lovers; the issues at work with my lesbianism, how it's not even safe in San Francisco; the way I've risen to Assistant Chief of Psychiatry at the hospital. And before I realize it, I'm telling her just how much I've missed her and wanted to talk to her again. That segues into my own therapy sessions and the deal I've made with both my psychologist and Christy.
"So you're doing your own version of the AA twelve steps?" she asks lightly.
"Something like that, I guess," I reply, wishing I had my wine again.
"I'm glad you called, Kim. I've been thinking about you myself lately. I guess I've been considering how things might have been different. And I would like to thank you."
"Thank me? For what?" Okay, is it even worth saying that I'm curious as hell what she's thankful for?
"If it hadn't been for you, and our relationship, no matter how doomed it may have been from the start, I wouldn't have met Sandy or Courtney. And I certainly wouldn't have Henry. He's the light of my life, my reason for living. And he's a big part of the reason I ended up getting the hip replacement surgery. It was too difficult to deal with a toddler on my crutch."
"How did that surgery go?" I ask, not ready to comment on the reasons for her thankfulness.
"I'll tell you this. It's very strange not to have the crutch after all these years, but still worth it in the end when I can pick up Henry and cuddle him close without having to juggle with it. Um, can you hold on another minute? Henry's asleep again and I'd like to get him back into bed."
"No, I'll let you go. He's far more important right now than catching up with an old " What am I now?
"Friend," she supplies softly. "Not old, not former, not anything negative. Despite everything that happened, or maybe because of it, I still consider you a friend. I've been just as stubborn and shy about contacting you, too. I'm glad you made this step. Maybe "
"No, never mind. It was foolish to even think it."
"No, Kerry, what it is?" I persist, curious to know what she's thinking.
"Maybe you'd like to come out for a visit and meet Henry sometime. Or we could come out there. But I suppose that would be awkward because of Courtney."
I chew at my lower lip. Would it be awkward? Isn't this at least partially what I've wanted all these years? What I've been working toward in my therapy sessions? A friendship with Kerry again? How do I mention the knife to the heart that she's not only moved on without me, but seems quite happy with her life now. I've no longer got any claim to her heart, and I really need to accept that. But friendship is better than nothing, right? "You know, it might be awkward, but I think I'd enjoy either option. But I'll probably come back to Chicago. There are more people for me to catch up with while I'm there. And I would love to meet the guy who has totally captured your heart. He sounds like a wonderful little boy."
"Well, listen, Kerry. I'll let you go to put him to bed. But I'll give you a call after the holidays are over. We can discuss ideas for a visit or something."
"That'd be great. And you can email me, too. Both the home and work emails are still the same."
"Thanks, Kerry. Um, Happy New Year. I hope you get everything you want out of it."
"Happy New Year to you, too, Kim. Talk to you soon."
"Yeah, definitely. Bye."
Hanging up the phone, I feel an old weight lifting from my shoulders. Granted, Kerry's got someone in her life now, but friendship is more than I could have hoped for. Maybe my life is finally starting to look up, now that I can really work past that particular hurdle.
Happy New Year, indeed.
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