Usual disclaimer applies...characters not mine...except for Mary and Molly...they're mine.
The Philadelphia Stories
1. Lost and Found
Robert got in from work and threw his keys in the dish that sat on the French bureau by the door. At that same precise moment his nostrils were assailed by the cooking aromas of his favourite meal, and he inhaled deeply. Seeking confirmation, he walked straight into the kitchen and paused as he was prone to do, so he could appreciate the view. Elizabeth was busy at the stove stirring pans and Molly was sat in her high chair, banging a crayon about while smiling at...well, whatever was in Molly's world at that moment in time. He tried to sneak in and surprise Elizabeth but Molly saw him and called out loudly. "Dadda!'
Elizabeth turned to see him and smiled. "I didn't hear you get in."
He smiled at her and paused long enough to give Molly a kiss before carrying on to Elizabeth, hugging her tightly. He gave her a long, slow, deep kiss. "Missed you."
She laughed. "Robert, I left you not less than three hours ago."
"My point exactly," he said looking around at the various pans and dishes. "So do my nostrils deceive me or are you doing a roast?"
She leaned in for another kiss. "They do not."
He snatched up a handful of chopped carrots and looked at her as he bit into one. "For what reason?"
She smiled. "Does there have to be a reason?"
He narrowed his eyes at her. "Well for one it's a weekday, and two, experience has taught me that that is normally the case."
"Well, maybe, I just wanted to make your favourite dinner for you. Did you ever think of that?"
"The thought crossed my mind for maybe a millisecond…so am I wrong, or is there a shoe about to drop?"
She smiled and turned back to stir a pan. "I think your daughter is calling you."
Turning back to Molly, he lifted her out of her chair, and held her close to him, then looked back at Elizabeth with a raised eyebrow. "So?"
She turned back around. "On a totally non-related matter...that has absolutely nothing to do with me cooking..."
He grinned. "I knew it! Go on."
"Well, we received a wedding invitation today."
Robert looked surprised. Most of their friends were already married and the ones who weren't, were quite happy to not be. "Did we? Who the hell's getting married?"
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. "Mark Greene.
"Greene's getting married?!"
"And he invited us?"
"Well he invited me, which means by extension you're invited as my hanger onner."
"Do we have to go?"
"Yes we do, and it'll be fun to catch up with everybody, don't you think?"
"If you say so." He pulled a funny face at Molly and she giggled making him smile broadly. "So who's he bored into marrying him then? Kerry?"
Elizabeth laughed at the image and shook her head. "We've never met her as far as I know. A Susan Lewis?"
Robert shook his head and shrugged. "Never heard of her. She can't be all there though if she's agreed to marry him!"
Elizabeth fixed him with a glare. "What, so when I was dating him I wasn't all there?"
He grinned. "Just said so yourself. Still, I guess it just proves the old adage that there's someone out there for everybody. I take it we're going then?"
"Of course we are, and I want you on your best behaviour."
"Hear that Molly? We're going back to Chicago!"
"Actually, I thought we could leave her with your mother and make a long weekend of it?"
Robert looked at Molly and jiggled her up and down making her laugh. "Nah, she can come with us. They'd love to see her," he said, and then dropped his voice to a coo. "You wanna go Chicago too, don't you?"
"Actually, this brings me on to why I'm making your favourite dinner."
He looked at her with a cocky grin. "Hah, I knew it! Go on."
She walked over and gently took Molly out off his arms. She gave her a hug and kissed her before placing her back in the high chair, then turned back to Robert.
He crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes at her not liking where this was going.
She wrapped her arms around him and leaned in for a kiss which he obliged her with before pulling his lips away a little. "What's the dinner for Lizzie?"
She moved her lips to nuzzle his ear. "To seduce you."
He smiled against her soft curls and breathed in her smell. "Lizzie, you know you don't actually need to do anything for that?"
"Good to know," she purred into his ear and he felt his knees threaten to give out on him as they always did. "But, I was thinking that a long weekend away would also be the perfect time for us to…start trying for a little brother or sister for Molly?"
He unfolded his arms and wrapped them around her waist. Pulling his head back, he gazed up into her eyes and smiled. "Really?"
She nodded and smiled back at him.
"Well, consider me seduced," he said softly. "By any means necessary, use me and abuse me, my love."
Although the windscreen wipers were going as fast as they could, visibility was still very poor as the rain battered the car from all angles. "Nice day for a wedding," Robert said grumpily and pulled up as close to the church as he could get. "You go on in and I'll move the car."
Elizabeth turned and nodded. "Thanks." She reached into the back and then pulled her hand back empty and looked sheepish. "Oh no!"
"I've left the gift in the hotel room."
"So? We'll just give it to them later."
"No! No, we can't Robert. We'll have to go back for it!"
"Lizzie, it's all the way across town! It took us long enough already, just to get here!"
"We're not going in there without a gift! We'll look cheap!"
Robert rolled his eyes and took in a deep breath. "Okay, fine! Look...why don't you go in ahead and do the whole catch-up thing that I know you're dying to do, and I'll go back and get it."
"Really? You don't mind?"
"I don't really have a choice, do I?"
She smiled sweetly at him.
"That's what I thought. Where is it then?"
Elizabeth closed her eyes and tried to visualise their hotel room and how they'd left it. "It's on the bed," she said confidently.
He looked at her sceptically. This wasn't the first time she'd faked him out like this. "You're sure now?"
She nodded, leaned over and kissed him. "Thank you, sweetie," she said opening the door. She released the clasp on an umbrella and raised it heavenwards. "And don't be too long."
Robert made a face at her and gestured both his hands up at the rain.
"Okay, fine. Drive safely and try not to be too long."
He shook his head and smiled at her. "Go on. Get in there before you drown."
He watched her get out and dash off up the stairs into the church trying not to get soaked. Once he saw her go safely inside, he put the car back into drive and pulled away heading back to the hotel.
Elizabeth entered the church and shook out her umbrella. She looked around at the various people already milling around.
"Elizabeth!" She heard a familiar voice call out and she turned and smiled. "Hi Donald!"
He pulled her in for a big hug, before pulling back slightly keeping his hands on her arms. "You look absolutely wonderful Elizabeth!" he said. "Philadelphia obviously agrees with you!"
She nodded. "Indeed it does!"
He looked over her shoulder towards the door. "Is Robert not with you?"
She nodded. "He is, but unfortunately, I left our wedding gift back at the hotel, so he's been dispatched on a search and recovery mission."
"Well, it's great to see you again. When did you get in? I heard they are cancelling flights due to the bad weather."
"They are, but fortunately we got in yesterday ahead of the storm. I have to say I do not miss the weather here at all!"
Donald smiled. "Well, come and fill me in on what you've been up to." He pulled her away from the door and more people spotted her and wandered over to say hello.
"Hey, how's Phily?"
"So are you guys still living with Romano's mother?" Carter asked.
"No...we found the most perfect house and finally moved in two months ago. And its only a fifteen minute drive from her, so we drop Molly off to her on the way to the hospital if we're both working the same shift...so it's absolutely ideal!"
"Where is Molly?" Kerry asked.
"We left her at home with her Nana."
"Awww, that's a shame," said Haleh. "I would have loved a cuddle!"
"Me too! Does she have her first words yet?" asked Chuny.
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. "Yes she has, and whatever you do don't ask Robert...you'll never hear the end of it!"
Haleh smirked. "Let me guess...it was 'Dadda?'"
"Yes! In fact she's a complete daddies girl and she's inherited his stubborn temperament to boot. One night she just wouldn't settle. I tried everything, but she only wanted her daddy and no-one else would do! The problem was, he was still in surgery. I was at the end of my tether and actually had a call put through to the O.R so that he could..."
"He could, what?"
Elizabeth looked around at all the expectant faces and wished she'd never started the story. "Err, nothing. Forget I said anything."
Several glances were exchanged. "Come on, you can't tell half a story and leave us hanging like that," Carter said jokingly.
"Well, when she's incredibly fractious there's really only one thing that calms her down."
They all nodded their encouragement to continue. "Which is?"
She lifted her hands up to cheeks and shook her head. "Do not let Robert know I've told you this."
"Just tell us already!"
"Okay, fine. He had to sing her favourite lullaby to her."
Carter lifted a finger and left it mid-air. "Let me get this straight…Romano sang a lullaby...while operating?! In front of people?"
She nodded squirming, hoping no-one would have the balls to bring the subject up later when he arrived. "I really didn't give him much of a choice...I was desperate and Molly was quite literally screaming the house down..."
"Oh, this is great! What did he sing?"
Elizabeth decided she'd already revealed way too much and shook her head. "It doesn't matter...the point is, it works every time and she was asleep before he'd even finished."
"Oh, I wish I'd been there!" said Shirley. "What did they say?"
"Actually, they were all very impressed. He's very musical and has an amazing voice," she said proudly. "He still gets ribbed about it, even today. The nurses are constantly asking him if he does requests!"
"And he's not fired them?!" Kerry laughed.
She shook her head, smiling. "He can't, can he? He's no longer the boss. Actually it endeared him to the nurses, which he of course capitilised on...it's quite sickening how he has them twisted round his finger now. A bit like he had with you, Shirley."
"Excuse me, I'll think you'll find it was the other way around," Shirley said smiling.
"So, no little brother or sister on the way?"
Elizabeth shook her head. "No, not yet. We've had so much going on this last year, what with the move and the house hunting, and then another move...but now that we're settled into our own place we've just started trying for another. That's another reason why we left Molly with her Nana."
Malik winked. "Dirty weekend, huh?"
Chuny elbowed him roughly. "How come you look so ridiculously tanned and healthy?"
"Probably because we just got back from Costa Rica."
Elizabeth shook her head. "Medical conference, but we managed to get a few days off whilst we were there."
"Hey Kerry, how come we don't get to go to Costa Rica on medical conferences?" Carter asked wearing a pouty expression.
"They let you go together?" Kerry asked raising a disbelieving eyebrow.
She smiled and nodded. "They're practically falling over themselves to please Robert. They want him to take over as Chief of Surgery."
"That didn't take long! Is he considering it?" Kerry asked.
"No. He's enjoying the current status quo, as much as I am. We pretty much do our shifts, finish on time. Days off are actual days off. It really is the best possible move we ever made."
Kerry looked a little sceptical and Elizabeth changed the subject. "Hey, and we heard about what happened to Robert's replacement! How is he doing now?"
Kerry shook her head. "Not very well. His surgical career was effectively ended that night. I think he's looking at teaching very seriously now."
"Hey, Elizabeth you made it!" Mark said making his way towards her. "Thanks for coming!"
"Wouldn't have missed it for the world." She gave him a warm hug when he reached her.
"He's on his way. He had to pop back to the hotel for something, but never mind. Tell me all about Susan then..."
Robert stepped out off the elevator with the wedding gift now safely secured in his hands and headed for the hotel lobby doors. The gift had not, as he'd suspected been on the bed, and it had taken him another five minutes of hunting before he finally located it in the hotel safe. Who the hell puts crystal goblets in the hotel safe he grumbled?! He was still mumbling to himself and was half way to the exit when a voice calling his name stopped him and he spun around trying to locate the source.
That's when he saw Abby Lockhart waving frantically as she rushed towards him.
"Abby? What are you doing here?"
"Oh, thank God!" she said. "I thought it was you."
He smirked. "Missed me that much have you?"
She put both her hands together as if she was praying. "Please tell me you're here for Doctor Greene's wedding?"
He nodded and lifted the wedding gift. "I am, but if I don't hustle I'm going to miss it." He looked at her properly then and raised an eyebrow. "Why are you dressed like a blancmange?"
She scowled at him. "Because I'm a bridesmaid at the wedding you're running late to." She gestured at herself with a sweeping movement of hands. "And this is what she's making us wear!"
"She means me."
Robert turned around to see a pretty blonde woman in a white wedding dress. Stood next to her was Jing-Mei Chen, sporting the same blancmange awful dress that Abby was.
He nodded at her, trying not to laugh. "Jing-Mei."
"Hello Doctor Romano."
"Wait," the blonde woman said. "You're Rocket Romano?"
He nodded and smirked. "The one and only. I see my awesome reputation precedes me."
She laughed. "Let's just agree it precedes you."
He raised an amused eyebrow and looked her up and down properly. She was a very attractive woman with the sort of spunky spirit he liked...definitely someone he'd have probably asked out pre-Elizabeth and he shook his head, bemused by the very notion that he and Greene obviously shared a type.
He flashed her one of his best smiles. "So what gives ladies? Why are you cluttering up the hotel lobby when you should be at church? Don't tell me there is perhaps a case of...cold feet, afoot?"
"Okay," Abby said. "Here's the deal. The limo that was supposed to take us to the church has broken down and they can't send another car. The doorman has been trying to get us a cab, but in this weather it's nigh on impossible!"
"And on top of that," the blonde added. "They cancelled my dad's flight this morning, due to the storm!"
"Not having much luck are you?" he said, smirking.
"Well we weren't, but now we have you!"
He raised his eyebrow. "Really? Where do I figure into this disaster?"
"Do you have transport?"
He nodded. "My car is outside."
The blonde smiled mischievously at him and threw her arms around his neck taking him by complete surprise. "Thank you so much for doing this!"
"What exactly am I doing?" Robert said, trying to pry himself free.
"You're going to get me to the church on time...and then you're going to give me away!"
"Yes, you are," she said and planted a kiss on the side of his cheek. "I'm Susan by the way."
"Robert," he muttered.
Chen smiled. "Hey, do we still have to call you Doctor Romano?"
He shrugged, not really caring. "Robert or Rocket. Pick either."
"So will you do it?" Susan asked, beaming at him.
"Oh, like I'm going to say no," he said returning her infectious smile and proffered his arm to her. "Your chariot awaits."
"Thank you so much!" Susan said, linking her arm with his right one.
"You may want to grab a couple of umbrellas from the doorman," he said to Abby and she nodded and hurried ahead.
They all piled into the car and Abby got in the front with Robert. "So how's it going in Philadelphia then?"
He pulled them into the slow moving traffic as the rain continued to pelt the car. "Well for a start, there's no threat of imminent drowning, but yeah...life is pretty good."
Susan leaned forward. "I've heard your name banded around a couple of times. So, you used to be Chief of Staff at County?"
Robert glanced back. "Yeah."
"He was the Chief of Staff and Surgery," Chen said.
"Really?" Susan said impressed. "How come you left?"
He shrugged his shoulders and switched lanes. "Got tired of all the crap that went with it."
He glanced at her in the rear view mirror. "If you really need me to answer that, then you haven't worked there long enough."
Susan caught his eye and laughed. "Fair enough! I retract my stupid question."
"Smart girl," he said and she smiled at him. "Although a smart girl might take note of all these omens."
"The storm, no daddy, no limo...maybe it's God's way of telling you you can do better than Greene?"
"Doctor Romano!" Abby said horrified.
He chuckled, and looked in the mirror again at Susan, his eyes dancing with devilment. "Just putting it out there."
She nodded and smirked back, her own eyes glistening with amusement. "How about you just shut up and drive?"
He grinned and tipped an invisible forelock before returning his eyes to the road ahead. "Yes Ma'am."
He pulled up in front of the church just as the rain seemed to increase in ferocity. "I'll let them know we're here," Abby said.
"Could you maybe tell them to give me a few more minutes to get straightened up?"
Abby nodded, opened the door, hitched her dress and made a run for it.
Robert turned to Susan and Chen in the back. "Let's get you inside then, shall we?"
He got out into the pouring rain and opened an umbrella. Chen opened the door and did the same, and together they tried to keep as much of the rain off Susan as they escorted her inside. Once there, Robert left again to move the car. By the time he returned all three of them had freshened up. He shrugged out off his raincoat and Abby handed him a towel.
"Okay, we're going to get things rolling. Be back in a minute, okay?"
Susan nodded and Abby and Chen disappeared again leaving them alone.
"Well, as your surrogate father for the day, I need to ask. You seem like an attractive, intelligent woman with a good sense of humour. I'd be remiss in my duties to just give you away without first checking this is what you actually want. I can provide a get away car if you like?"
Susan laughed and swatted his arm. "You're not what I imagined Robert Romano."
He raised his eyebrow at that. "Well, what did you imagine?"
"I don't know. From some of the stories I've heard...Kerry Weaver, but with a penis?"
Robert burst out laughing at that and she joined him. When he regained his composure he smiled warmly at her. "In that case, I'm overjoyed to hear I am not what you imagined. So you and Greene. How long have you known him?"
"Ages. I used to work at County...before your time, I know. Anyhow, we skirted around each other for a while, and well, long story cut short..I looked after my niece pretty much from a baby until her mom came back on the scene. She'd had her problems but had got herself clean and found herself a nice man. They took her away and I couldn't bear to be away from her...so I followed them to Phoenix. Mark tried to stop me leaving but, well...I couldn't not have little Susie in my life."
Robert nodded. "I can relate to that. They have an absolute power over you don't they?"
She tilted her head and looked at him. "Yeah, yeah they do. Never heard it quite put like that before though."
Robert shrugged. "I'd do anything for Molly."
He smiled and nodded. "Want to see a picture?" he said already reaching for his wallet. He opened it up and took out several pictures he always carried with him.
He passed her his favourite one. It was one Mary had taken without their knowledge, and it showed himself and Elizabeth all natural smiles, playing with Molly.
She took the photo and smiled. "Oh, she's a little sweetie! You'll have your hands full keeping the boys away from her! Is that your wife?"
He nodded. "Elizabeth."
"She's beautiful," Susan said impressed. "Mark said he used to date her?"
"Yes, she is...and yes, he did for a while."
"Sorry," Susan said looking up at him. "I haven't upset you, have I? I'm always putting my foot in it."
He shook his head. "I'm not upset. Why would I be?" he said tapping his finger on the photograph with a cocky grin.
She smiled and handed it back to him just as Abby reappeared with Chen. "Okay. They're ready. It's show time!"
"So, then token daughter, there's no talking you out of this then?" he said grinning.
She rolled her eyes at him nodded. "I'm sure, Pop's."
He proffered his right arm to her. "Let's get you married then, shall we?" he said, as the music started to play and the doors opened. She slipped her arm into his and together, they set off slowly down the aisle.
People turned in their seats to get a better view of Susan, their smiles turning to puzzled surprise when they saw her on the arm of Robert, and a collective gasp seemed to trickle down like an audible Mexican wave.
Elizabeth and Donald both did a double-take as they passed them by. Robert, grinning widely, winked at Elizabeth and she shook her head trying not to laugh.
"Why is he?" Donald spluttered, his hand suspended mid-air.
"I'm sure there's a perfectly sensible Robert reason."
Mark, standing nervously in his tuxedo raised an eyebrow when he saw Robert Romano walking his beautiful bride down the aisle. She caught his eye and smiled at him and he felt a little dizzy.
As they reached him he held out his hand to her and she slipped hers into it.
"You look beautiful," Mark said.
"Thank you. You look great too."
He looked at Robert. "Err, how come you're?"
Robert grinned. "I brought you your lost and found, Greene. Try not to let her get away from you again."
Susan giggled and shook her head slightly.
"Thanks?" Mark said.
Still grinning he turned to Susan and gave her a chaste peck on the cheek. "Good luck."
The ceremony began and once he'd officially given her away, he quietly made his way back to Elizabeth and sat down beside her, shaking Donald's hand as he did.
Elizabeth leaned over and whispered in his ear. "Where's the gift?"
He looked at her with amusement. "Really? You just watched me walk a total stranger down the aisle and that's your first question?"
They both looked at him expectantly as did several others and he rolled his eyes. "Long story. I'll tell you later over Champagne."
The ceremony went off without a hitch and then it was back to the hotel for the reception. Robert stood at the bar with Donald and Kerry. He leaned his back against it looking at the party in full swing. The room was packed out, with more and more people arriving.
"So tell me, Kerry. Is there anyone actually left working at County or did you just close the place up for the day?"
She snickered, casting him a sideways glance. "What can I say Robert...Mark's a very popular man, and people wanted to be here to share their special day with them."
He did a quick head count and the maths while quaffing the rest of his champagne. "Well, the rate this horde are eating and drinking I'd say Mark's now a very poor man."
"Ahh, so now we know the real reason you wanted to keep our wedding small," Elizabeth smirked, sliding up beside him.
"Not small, Lizzie…just selective." He slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her into his side, smiling up at her as he did.
"Elizabeth tells me they're pushing you to accept Chief of Surgery?" Kerry said.
"You're not tempted?"
He shook his head, still smiling at Elizabeth. "Not even close, especially right now. We're hoping to add to the family."
"It's a real shame we can't coax you both back here," Donald said. "We've not had much luck since you left. You heard about Jack?"
Robert nodded sombrely and shuddered at the very thought of what had befallen Jack Shepherd, his replacement. "Yeah, we heard. How's he doing?"
"Surgically speaking, he's a goner," Donald said. "Probably going to move into teaching, so we're looking for another Chief. I don't suppose you'd consider…."
Robert smirked and shook his head at the same time Elizabeth said, "No, he won't.'
"Had to ask," Donald laughed.
"We could send you our Chief but I don't think you'd thank us."
"Yeah. Never has a man failed to live up to his name. Man's a complete moron! I think they only hired him to cajole me into accepting the position myself."
The band started on a popular number and the dance floor filled. "Care to dance Kerry?" Donald asked offering her his hand. As they walked off Elizabeth made to follow, pulling on his hand but he didn't move. "I'll sit this one out if you don't mind."
She shrugged and set off to join a group already dancing in a circle, but stopped as she heard her name being called. She looked round to see Susan waving a beckoning hand at her, and made her way over to where she was sat.
"Hi Elizabeth," Susan said offering her a fresh glass of Champagne. "I just wanted to thank you for coming and also to thank you for allowing me to commandeer your husband earlier!"
Elizabeth laughed accepting the drink and sat down. "Oh trust me, he loved every minute of it!"
"But seriously, thanks for coming. I know it meant a lot to Mark." She lowered her voice a bit. "I must admit I was a bit nervous when he told me he wanted to invite his last girlfriend to our wedding…."
Elizabeth smiled and shook her head. "Yes, I can see how that might have been a bit disconcerting! But, you needn't have worried...we really never were that serious to be fair."
Susan nodded, quietly pleased to hear it. "Well, any worries I may have held, disappeared when your clearly doting husband, showed me a picture of you and Molly. He obviously loves you very much...Chen told me he gave it all up for you."
They both looked over briefly to the bar where Robert stood talking with Jerry. He caught them looking and smiled at them before they turned back. Elizabeth shook her head again. "You know, if you ask him, he'll tell you there was actually nothing to give up and that if anything, we gained so much more by leaving. I think some people...people like Kerry for example, just don't get it."
"Hah! No, she's not changed much has she?! You know, I did mention to Robert that I'd heard stories about her predecessor who'd reigned terror over the halls of County, but he seems nice...and kinda funny...in a non appropriate way?"
Elizabeth laughed. "Yes, that's one way of putting it!"
"People say you brought out the best in him."
"I disagree. Robert hasn't changed...I think maybe, it was just people's perceptions of him that changed."
"Yeah, but I'm guessing it was you then that enabled people to see him differently?"
Elizabeth glanced back to Robert and smiled.
"So you guys are all settled in Philadelphia then?"
"And you have no regrets about leaving?"
"That's a shame...that you're no longer locals, I mean. I think we would have become good friends."
Elizabeth returned her gaze to Susan. "I don't see any reason why we still can't be?"
Susan smiled. "That's true, and hey, maybe one day, we'll get out of Dodge too."
"I would genuinely recommend it. County has a habit of bad things happening. When you're a young resident, its okay, but I think you can only do that for so long and when you have a family...well." Elizabeth looked back over to Robert. "You know, we're trying for another..."
Susan watched the contented smile that fell over Elizabeth as she looked lovingly over at Robert and hoped that was what people saw when they looked at her and Mark. "Yeah, we've already talked about having kids, but I do wonder if Mark will ever be up for leaving," she said as she watched her new husband join Robert and Jerry at the bar.
Robert watched Elizabeth and Susan fall into an easy conversation and leaned back against the bar again, just as Jerry sidled up to him.
"Hey Doctor Romano. Nice to see you again."
Robert looked up at the large man and was reminded of the time he'd brought him coffee when he was recovering in hospital. "Likewise. Not dancing?"
He looked down at his feet and Robert's eyes went with him. "Nah, I'm not really a dancer. Two left feet, and pretty heavy ones at that. It never ends well."
Robert laughed and brought his eyes back up. "Let me buy you a drink then."
Jerry looked down at him momentarily confused. "Isn't it a free bar?"
Robert grinned. "So it is. So can I buy you a drink?"
Jerry shook his head in amusement and grinned back. Robert turned and held his hand up attracting the bartender. "Two scotch on the rocks."
"So, you want to bring me up to speed?" he said as the drinks were placed in front of them.
"What have I missed? Where's Peter Benton for one?"
Jerry took a quick sip. "Oh, he left to take care of Reece. There was a custody battle not long after you left, and one of the conditions for him winning care was to work less hours."
Robert nodded, both impressed and understanding. Whilst he didn't like the man he could never fault Peter's dedication to his boy. "Okay. So I don't see Malucci. He draw the short straw?"
Jerry grinned. "Oh no! Doctor Weaver fired him!"
"Really?! What for?"
"More a case of what he didn't do, but the final straw was when she caught him with a paramedic in the back of a rig...y'know? Getting down to it!"
Robert laughed and nearly spat out his scotch at the mental image that it presented. "You're serious?!"
Jerry laughed nodding. "It's true!"
"Maybe she was jealous?" Robert threw out taking a sip of his drink.
Jerry shook his head and looked around trying to locate her. He lowered his voice. "No, I don't think so...she's gay."
Robert's head picked back up and spun around to look at her still dancing with Donald. "What?! Since when?!"
"Yeah, she came out last year."
"Well, I'll be damned. Guess she followed my advice after all," he said impressed.
"You told her to come out?" Jerry spluttered and Robert looked at him like his was stupid.
He spoke slowly. "To get a life."
"Oh….and hey. You heard about the helicopter versus the new Chief of surgery?"
Robert grimaced and nodded.
"Yeah. Just imagine, Doctor Romano...that could have been you!"
Robert shuddered at the thought. "Trust me, the thought had crossed my mind."
"Plus there was the monkey pox that shut us down for two weeks."
"And people ask us why we moved," he said shaking his head. He turned back to the bartender. "Two more. Wait, make that three," he said as he saw Mark Greene approaching them.
"Hey maybe I should move away too, huh?" Jerry said.
Robert turned back to him. "I'd highly recommend it."
"Should we be worried?" Mark said as he joined them, nodding his head in the direction of Susan and Elizabeth who were deep in conversation.
Robert handed him the drink and smirked. "Well, they can't compare notes on me, so I'm okay. You, however? Yeah, you should be worried."
"Thanks, Robert," Mark said and took a sip of the scotch.
"He has a point Doctor Greene."
"Yeah, thanks Jerry!"
Robert chanced a sideways glance at him. "Only one way to find out. Come on... you can consider this my wedding gift to you."
Mark nodded and they knocked their drinks back. As they stepped off, Robert turned around. "Hey Jerry?" he said looking back.
"Take care of yourself."
Jerry beamed back at him and nodded. "You too!"
Together they wandered over to where Elizabeth and Susan sat talking. When they reached the table, Robert laid his hands on Elizabeth's neck and slid them down, gently massaging her shoulders. She relaxed into his touch and tipped her head up smiling as he lowered his lips and kissed her forehead.
"Hey gorgeous. Enjoying yourself?"
"So, what are you ladies talking about then?"
"Elizabeth was just giving me some pointers," Susan said mischievously and Mark glanced nervously at Robert. 'Help,' he mouthed silently.
Robert lowered his mouth to her ear as his hands moved some of her thick curls aside allowing him to brush his lips against her ear. "Dance with me?"
"Thought you'd never ask."
He held out his hand and helped her up, leading her back to the dance floor winking at Mark as they passed by.
"So are you caught up with everyone you wanted to see?"
"I think so. It's been great seeing everyone again."
"I thought maybe you'd like to go up to our room and make a baby?"
"Well, when you put it like that how can a girl possibly resist?"
Robert snickered and then turned serious. He stopped swaying and took her face in his hands. "I love you."
"I love you too."
"And I'm glad we came...but I can't wait to go home."
"I know what you mean. It really does reinforce how good we have it doesn't it?"
Robert reached down and took her hand his. "Shall we disappear?"
She smiled and nodded, and together they quietly slipped out of the room.