For the next two days after his conversation with Natalie, Crockett threw himself into his work. He was a machine, running on pure adrenaline, remembering Morgan and Henry and Kate-the two kids from the bus-and vowing that he would never let another child, another patient suffer. His colleagues were amazed at the pace he was keeping, and he would still catch Natalie glancing at him every so often, though she always made sure to give him the space he needed.
Heading out of the hospital at the end of his shift on Friday, he said goodnight to Will, Dr. Charles and Maggie as the doors to the ER slid open. He hadn't taken more than ten steps toward the parking lot when he heard a familiar voice.
He stopped short, his breath catching in his throat and suddenly feeling lightheaded. Slowly, Crockett turned toward the voice, and found himself face to face with his ex-wife.
"Rachel. What are you doing here?"
"You wouldn't answer my calls, and I really needed to talk to you." Crockett shook his head.
"I never told you where I was going. How did even know where to find me?" His voice was low, quiet, wounded. Rachel took a deep breath.
"It's called Google, Crockett, it really wasn't that hard. All I had to do was type your name and the hospital's website popped up." She looked him in the eyes, and he quickly averted his gaze. Rachel sighed.
"Crockett, we have to talk. Is there somewhere we can go?"
Crockett paused, unsure if he was ready to rip away the healing that had begun over the past year. He knew Rachel was right, they needed to talk, and after his previous conversation with Natalie he figured that now was as good a time as any. He knew it wasn't going to get any easier, no matter what he told himself. Inhaling slowly, he finally looked up at Rachel.
"Sure. We can go to my apartment."
The drive to Crockett's apartment passed in complete silence. When they arrived, they took the elevator up in silence as well. Croskett unlocked the door and pushed it open, motioning for Rachel to enter ahead of him. She walked in slowly, surveying the living room. It looked so different from the apartment they had shared in Louisiana with Morgan. Rachel took a deep breath.
"This is nice," she said, her voice a little unsure. Crockett didn't respond, just dropped his backpack on the floor under the coat hooks and hung his jacket on the hook nearest the door. Glancing at, then quickly away from Rachel, he motioned to the couch.
"Have a seat. Can I get you anything?"
"Just a glass of water," Rachel replied. She removed her jacket and set it on the couch next to her. Feeling slightly awkward, she scratched at her left thumbnail with her right one until Crockett returned from the kitchen and handed her the glass of water.
"Thank you," she said quietly, taking the glass and a small sip before setting it down on the coffee table.
Crockett nodded. "Sure." He was about to walk over to the chair across the room, but Rachel gestured to the empty cushion at the end of the couch.
Hesitantly, Crockett lowered himself on to the couch, still avoiding Rachel's gaze. He stared at the floor, feeling as though he were on pins and needles.
"So...say what you came to say." The despondency and pain in his voice was palpable.
Rachel clasped her hands together. She had been trying to come up with the right words and now, sitting in the apartment of her ex-husband, she couldn't get her voice to work. Drawing a deep breath, she summoned her courage, trying to quell her nerves.
"Crockett...I'm sorry." He raised his gaze but still didn't look at her. Swallowing hard, he managed a whispered response.
"For everything. Everything I said when Morgan-" Rachel's voice caught, and she took a shaky breath. "Crockett, I know you won't believe this, but I honestly didn't mean to hurt you." Crockett let out a short, humorless laugh.
"Yeah, well, in spite of the lack of intent, you sure did a pretty good job." Rachel closed her eyes, feeling her throat constrict. When she opened them again, they were brimming with tears, and when she spoke, her voice shook.
"Crockett, I had no right to say what I said to you. I had no right to accuse you of not watching Morgan, or to have expected you to just magically save her. The truth is, I never blamed you. I was just so angry that I wasn't there for her and you were, that I took it out on you. I know it was an accident and that there was nothing you could have done. I'm so sorry." She inhaled quickly, trying to choke back a sob.
Crockett finally looked at Rachel, his eyes filling with tears. "Why did you wait so long to tell me?" he asked, his voice soft. Rachel shook her head.
"I've been trying to think of a way to tell you for the past year, I just couldn't figure out how. When you left I figured you would never want to speak to me again, and I just pushed everything away. When you called the other night I just...it was late and I wasn't expecting it. After you hung up I realized I had never told you any of this, and I knew I had to before any remaining connection we had between us was destroyed forever."
Crockett exhaled sharply, trying to keep his composure. "Rachel, I wanted to support you when Morgan died. I really did-" Nodding, Rachel cut him off.
"I know you did. After you hung up the other night I sat up thinking about it, thinking about how I pushed you away after...Crockett, I just handled everything so badly...I don't expect you to ever forgive me." The floodgates opened, and Rachel began to sob, burying her face in her hands. Crockett moved to sit beside her and pulled her into an embrace, smoothing her hair the way he used to smooth Morgan's. He lowered his head and whispered into her ear.
"Rachel, I forgive you. I know you were in just as much pain as I was, and there's no right way to grieve. It's ok...it's ok." Rachel reached up and clutched his shoulders, twisting the fabric of his shirt in her fists.
"I miss her so much," she cried, the words almost incomprehensible with her face buried in his chest. Crockett swallowed.
"I know. I miss her too. So, so much." On the last word his voice broke, and he too began to sob, his tears falling onto Rachel's hair. They embraced each other for a long time, together yet somehow each still very much alone.