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If I Didn't Have You

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oOOo The Next Day oOOo

“Are you sure Kerry, this is… Wow… don’t you have to think of your kids? College?”

“First. I have no doubt they’ll get full rides wherever they chose to go, if they chose to go. But-- I also…” Kerry cleared her throat, “Apparently writing serieses of steamy romance paperbacks under a pen name or two is a very lucrative job.” She stared at Kate, “And if you tell anyone that…”

Kate made a zipping motion across her lips, “My lips are sealed.”

“Thank you Kate. I know that this isn’t really what you do. But you know contracts and…”

Kate put a hand on Kerry’s shoulder. “We’ll get the Garage looking better than new, and Roberta’s place fixed up for her.” Kerry was about to interrupt, but Kate continued, “And yes. Roberta’s first… Go, go, implement phase two of whatever ginormous evil plan you have.”

Kerry blinked in surprise, “Ah… plan, evil plan?”

Kate laughed, “Oh, you have that James Bond look in your eye. Or maybe Jason Bourne. You are definitely the woman with the plan.”

oOOo One Week Later oOOo

“You’re taking me home?”

Kate did a half a bow, “Your chauffeured ride home awaits.” Kim rolled her eyes, “I have a deposition at 4, but I’m yours ‘til then if you want me. Where’s Roberta?”

“PT. She has a couple of weeks before she can come home.”

“Good.”

Kim looked over at Kate with a frown, “What?”

“What what?”

Kim shook her head, “Anyway, we haven’t figured out where the hell that will be.”

Kate handed Kim her bag of personal belongings, “Ah, it’ll work out. You’ll see. So, talked to Kerry recently?”

Kim sat down in the wheelchair and they waited, “No, we, ah…”

“You were an idiot and screwed up the one bright light at the end of your damn dark tunnel huh?”

Kim stared up at Kate, “Are you spending time with Christy now?”

Kate shook her head, “Nope. I haven’t seen hide nor hair of her for a week or so. So, what are you going to do about your big Kerry blunder?”

Kim sighed, “I don’t know.” She blinked in surprise as a nurse appeared in the doorway, “Malik?”

“One man army ready to get you outta here Doctor Legaspi.”

Kim frowned, although Kate wasn’t sure if it was because of the use of her former title or at the other implications that Malik’s sentence implied. “Did Kerry send you?”

Malik tilted his head to one side, “Is it better if she did or didn’t?”

Kim was silent for a moment, “Hell, I don’t even know anymore.”

Malik weighed his options, “Ah, well then, yes. She asked if I’d push you out. Oh… and to give you this.” He handed Kim an envelope. She stared at it as she was wheeled from County General. Kate and Malik’s conversation washing over her without her really hearing it.

oOOOOo

“You’re sure you can do it?”

Rachel smirked, “It gets me out of being here right? While Chaz and Julia and the others have to cover?”

Kerry nodded, “There’ll be an attending to, but, yes…”

Rachel shook her head, “Yeah, a temp, no one likes working too much with them. So… 3 weeks?” She looked down at the calendar on her phone, “Good luck making the timing work.”

Rachel started to leave, get back to work, but Kerry put a hand on her shoulder, “Rachel-- Things weren’t always perfect between me and your father, but you’re part of this family too.”

Rachel put her hand over Kerry’s, “Thanks Chief. Now, I know, I know, back to work.”

oOOOOo

“I thought I said I wanted to go by the Garage?”

Kate quickly shook her head, “I-- ah-- I think the NTSB is still futzing around. Soo. Home it is.” She paused, “Are you going to read the letter?”

Kim stared down at it, “It’s probably telling me to stay away from her and her family.”

“Or… not.”

Kim glanced over at Kate, “Do you know something? You’re acting very… skittish.”

Kate shook her head as she pulled into a spot just before Kim’s building. “I can honestly say that I have no idea what Kerry wrote in that letter.”

Kim rolled her eyes, “God woman, you’re such a lawyer.”

oOOOOo

Kim waited until Kate was gone to slice open the letter. It was written longhand.

Dear Kim,
I decided to use your name, no more hiding behind anything. As you can see this is not an email and was not delivered by an impersonal website but by Malik. We did better this way didn’t we? It’s only when we’re in the same room trying to have a relationship that it doesn’t seem to work for long. It’s never my intention to hurt you, and yet it seems as though I always do. I’m sorry.

I’ve never been great with my emotions. I may have a new hip, have had my hip dysplasia cured, but, I will in a lot of ways always be that little kid who doesn’t trust those who want to be her friends because those friends may turn on her like they have before.

But, I’ve gotten us off on a depressing tangent. The previous paragraph was a bad way of saying that I’m sorry. And I am sorry for the fact that the first words out of my mouth when I came to the garage to say Thank you weren’t that I was H and L’s Mom and knew that you were Chicagoan.

So, I’ve said my piece, guerrilla kissed you at an inappropriate time. NOw the ball is in your court or field, the puck on your ice.

And because I’m not sure if you would believe me if I simply said it to you out loud. I love you. Even on my worst pain days you were able to get me to smile, you have never let me get away with being less than I was, and saw through to the real me that so few had ever truly seen. Oh, and you are the most beautiful woman I have ever known, inside and out. And look what you did. All my tenses are discombobulated. If that’s not a sign of love. I don’t know what would be-- is--

Love,
Ker

Kim stared down at the last sentence, then skimmed the rest of the letter again before carrying it over to her desk and sitting. SHe shuffled through the drawers until she found a piece of stationery that still seemed to have an envelope that went with it.

She started to write the salutation in cursive, then looked at it and shook her head, “Nope. Not going to happen. Print it is.”

She continued in printed letters.

Dear Ker,
I love you too.

That has never been our problem. We’re both alphas, although, if half of what Teresa has said about Sandy is true I believe that just may be your type.

We do seem to be able to have a better epistolary relationship one than a life and in person one. And Kerry, I never saw it, I’ve said it before and I will say it until you believe it. I’m not saying that I’m one of those amazing people who don’t sometimes do quick double takes here and there at someone who’s on crutches, or whatever. But with you-- it was Christy who brought it up after that disastrous meet the friends dinner. And until that moment I hadn’t seen it. Not really.

I’m not good at this. Not as good as you. I need to see your eyes, hear your tone of voice. So, you’re wrong about me believing you if you tell me you love me in person. And, as for the kiss, I’d say that makes us even for kisses out of the blue, perhaps for our next one it can be mutual?

Kim put down her pen, then picked it back up and put it back down. Finally she hurfed and finished the letter.

Love,
Kim

She had just put it in an envelope when her doorbell rang. She groaned as she got up and answered it. “Julian. So, you’ve got the rest of today?”

Julian gave his big sister a big hug. “Yep. So. You okay?”

Kim rolled her eyes, “I’ve been alone for maybe half an hour Jules. Buttt… you can do something for me.” She retrieved the letter, “Will you give this to Kerry?”

He held it up to his ear and shook it, “Can I open it?”

Kim grabbed him around the neck and gave his hair a ruffling, “You better not. Remember that I know all your secrets little brother.”

Julian squirmed out of Kim’s arms, “Yeah, yeah. She seems okay you know. She didn’t even punch out Christy. And Christy totally deserved it.”

Kim shook her head, “We just… it’s like we’ve switched places since last time we did this dance. It wasn’t healthy then, and it’s not healthy now. I-- maybe I should… I--”

Julian’s face went surprisingly serious. He’d always been the joker in the family, would probably always be, but he had bouts of time when he channeled their Mom and how serious and compassionate she’d been. “Kim, will you take some advice from your little brother?” Kim nodded. “Stop thinking so much. Just. Go with it.”

Kim frowned, “And if I can’t?”

Julian put an arm around his sister, “Then you may miss out on the best thing that has happened to you in quite a while.”

“Yeah, no pressure huh?”

Julian shook his head, “Yeah, I think that’s the point Kim. Can you think of anything worth anything that isn’t hard to get? So… send her some flowers or something.”

Kim’s eyes twinkled, “That works for you Jules?”

Julian smirked, “Oh yeah, every time Kimmy…”

oOOOOo

Kerry looked up from one of the computer’s at the admit desk when she heard Julian’s voice, “Hey Kerry.” He passed her the letter, “I promise I didn’t read it.”

Kerry smiled as she took the envelope and put it in her lab coat pocket. “I believe you.”

“God, could you be my sister than, ‘cause I’m pretty sure Kim thinks I was gonna steam it open.” He paused, “So, what does it say?”

Kerry took it from her pocket and seemed to weigh it in her hand. “Either that I’m an idiot or that I have a chance.”

Julian patted Kerry on the back, “Go with anchovies and artichokes…”

Kerry smirked, “Nice try, but that does give me an idea. Thank you Julian.”

He started to walk away, then paused and turned back. “Ah, Kerry, you’re not going to-- I mean. Last time wasn’t pretty. Are you sure about this? About you and Kim?”

“It it makes you feel better it wasn’t pretty for me either Julian, and I didn’t have friends and family like Kim did.”

“You were totally miserable?”

“Entirely.”

Julian shrugged, “Sure,” his eyes twinkled just as his sister’s did as he smiled, “helps a bit…”

Kerry turned to go back to the admit desk and nearly slammed into Allison Cameron. “Planning on staging a coup?”

Allison turned bright red, “Ah…”

Kerry took pity on the woman, “You’re meeting Detective Ortiz here.”

“How’d you know.”

Kerry gestured to her ER, “The key to running one of these places very well is to know everything. And I do. Here she comes.”

With that Kerry escaped to her little used office and slid behind the desk. She’d get a couple of breaths of silence before the next crisis hit. She opened the letter and read it. When she finished she sat back in her chair and pondered her next move. Finally she picked up the phone. “Hi… Delivery…” She smiled at the response she got. “Oh I know it’s been a long time. What can I say, my kids love my home cooked meals…”

oOOOOo

As the local news went to national Kim realized that she had no idea if she even had anything in her fridge that was still new enough to eat without risking food poisoning.

She stood and took a step towards the kitchen when the doorbell rang. Once she’d opened the door she blinked in surprise as the person on the other side thrust a warm bag at her. “Note inside.” And left a very confused Kim at the door.

She opened the bag and shook her head, “Kung Pao Chicken from George’s?” There was a note nestled amongst the boxes, she pulled it out and read it. “Thought you might be hungry and tired. K.”

Kim stared at the cooling dinner for a moment. THen her stomach made itself known. Kim shook her head, “Fourteen years and she remembered my favorite.” She glanced at the door, “And I’ve gotta get her to tell me how the hell she got them to deliver.”