Takes place at the end of Season 5.
Chapter 1: Just Another Girl in Chicago.
Lucy sat at the table in the lounge. She slowly and meticulously reviewed her last three patient's charts. She wasn't trying to be thorough; she was stalling. She knew she could go out to the admit desk and get any resident or attending to sign off on a few charts of discharged patients. But she didn't want just anyone's signature. She wanted to see Dr. Carter, one last time before she left.
The semester was over today, and Lucy was not scheduled to return to the hospital for three months. Even when she did return to county, she was going to be doing another surgery rotation. So, this would be her last chance to see Dr. Carter for quite some time. She wasn't heading home for the summer, but she had no plans to return to the hospital for the next three months. She thought this would be a good time to get a summer job, decorate and paint her new apartment, and get a leg up on next year's surgical rotation. So, she was willing to stick around a little while longer even if she was only going to get five minutes of his time. She hoped it would be enough to last all summer.
They didn't make eye contact when he walked in. She didn't want to seem overzealous, like she'd been waiting for him. He didn't want to seem distant, like he had been putting off this conversation. He spoke first.
"Lucy. I completed your eval and placed it in Dr. Greene's box. So… you should be all set for summer. Don't worry, it was of course a glowing list of all of your accomplishments this term." Carter said in a celebratory fashion. He really meant it too. This spring she had really stepped up her game and proved to be a real asset the Emergency Department.
"Thanks. Hey, while you're here, do you mind signing off on these last few charts?" Lucy asked.
"Sure." Carter sat down at the table across from Lucy. No, he didn't really want to sign off on her charts, he didn't really want to be seated this close to her. He had spent the later part of this Spring trying to distance himself from her.
"The head lac was sutured and released, the weak and dizzy was admitted to medicine, and the sprang ankle was wrapped and released, radiology cleared the films. I was just finishing a few notes on their charts before I left today" she explained.
"Umm Hum." Carter nodded as he reviewed and signed the charts. "So, what did you have planned for this summer?" He asked. "Going back home…vacation with friends…"
"Actually neither…just working and hanging around the city." Lucy replied. "It is my last real summer, hopefully I will be starting my Sub-I somewhere next summer." She clarified.
"Yeah…well maybe you'll pop in sometime and we could get some coffee or lunch in the cafeteria, my treat." John proposed.
"Well….and not to sound ungrateful…I am going to try to stay far away from this place during my break. I mean, I've really learned a lot here and I love everybody. Its just that this is my last chance to have a real summer break. I don't want to think about this place for the next three months." Lucy admitted.
"Yeah. I can understand that." John said, a little deflated.
Lucy looked at him with surprise. Should she say what she really wanted to say? Her heart began to beat a little faster. Should she tell him that the real reason she didn't want to see him this summer is that it hurt too much to be constantly reminded of what she could not have? Should she…no she shouldn't. She decided that it would be best if she just kept her mouth and her heart shut to him. "Well, I should probably get going." Lucy said as she held out her hand to Dr. Carter.
"Of course, maybe I'll see you around this city this summer." John said as he shook her hand, feeling a little breathless.
"Maybe." Lucy said as she smiled, not yet letting go of his hand, meeting his smile as she looked into his deep brown eyes. "Thanks for a great year Dr. Carter." Lucy forced herself to say as she let go of his hand and turned away. She quickly returned her last three charts to the admit desk. When she returned to the lounge to gather her things, John was slowly stirring a cup of coffee, still sitting at the table.
Lucy double-checked her locker, making sure to take anything she may need during her break. She was being honest with John when she told him she didn't want to return to County General this summer. She gathered her bag, placing the strap over her shoulder, and headed for the door. "Good Bye, Lucy." John said as he walked out behind her and held the door for her.
Lucy stopped. Don't do it. Don't say it. But, in spite of herself she turned to face Dr. Carter. Now they were face to face. She could feel her heart beating through her chest. She didn't say anything for a while, she wanted to say this in as cool a way as she had rehearsed at home.
He stood there looking at her for what seemed like an eternity. He wished she had just kept walking. He didn't want to look into those blue eyes for another three months, or see that smile that he loved so much. However, he didn't want her to go either. He loved the smell of her floral perfume. He would miss that this summer. He would miss her this summer.
"Dr. Carter…" She started to speak and then changed her mind. "John, I guess I can call you that, I mean…I'm not your student for the next three months, am I?" She wasn't sure if she was questioning him or herself. "Anyway…I just didn't want to leave it this way. I didn't want you to think that I needed a break…well..from you." She admitted. "I just thought…maybe this summer…if I wasn't around here…you wouldn't think of me as your medical student." She let out a deep breath as she said those last words. The words she had been holding onto all afternoon. "Maybe you would just think of me as… just another girl in Chicago." She continued. "So, this summer, I won't be around here." Here eyes looked around the entire E.R. Then, they met his with a smile. "But I will be around…out there." She said as she motioned toward the city. She was relieved to see a smile on his face.
John didn't know what to say or how to react. So, he said nothing. He smiled at her one last time and watched as she turned to go. What he wanted to say was that he could never see her as just another girl. He had spent too much time with her to think she was just an average girl. He knew how deep her passions ran. He knew what made her tick, what made her mad, what made her cry, what made her smile, and how to make her laugh out loud. But he saw her point. It was his decision to stop their one attempt at romance because he desperately wanted to see her as just another student. It was him who put up walls so that he wouldn't think of her, in that way. It hadn't really helped the situation. Every time he tried to push the thoughts of her aside, move on to someone new, he failed. He didn't want to blame Lucy for his break-up with Roxanne, but he knew he could never make it work with her if he was constantly thinking about Lucy. He took a sip of his coffee, grabbed another chart, and smiled at the thought of Lucy… just another girl in Chicago