FHT by Simplyshelly
Summary: The continuation of The Highest Bidder/High Roller Series .
Categories: Regular Characters: John Carter, Other-Female, Other-Male
Genres: General
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 2 Completed: No Word count: 8677 Read: 28829 Published: September 11, 2004 Updated: September 11, 2004

1. Chapter One by Simplyshelly

2. Chapter Two by Simplyshelly

Chapter One by Simplyshelly
John was beyond tired. The hospital had been swamped, Weaver had been on a tirade, and Abby was driving him crazy. True, she was trying to plan a wedding with his mother, after all. But why did she have to come home and take it out on him? It's not like he asked to have an overbearing mother, one who was trying to make up for decades of guilt by 'helping out' with the wedding plans. It also wasn't his fault that the guest list had somehow gone from a comfortable fifty to an astronomical 300 plus, and that the wedding itself, once booked in a nice, quaint chapel was now being held in one of the largest cathedrals in Chicago.

John was the innocent victim in his own life. Well, actually upon voicing that very analogy, Nick was quick to correct him in explaining that now John was an adult and he was no longer the 'innocent victim'. Now he was the wise male who knew when to keep-his-nose-out-of-the-way-in-order-to-save-his-own-ass. His new focus was to smile when necessary, agree when ganged up on and let the women fight it out between themselves. He was actually pretty impressed that his mother and Abby seemed to have found their matches, both head strong and stubborn, although it made John uncomfortable to think that Abby shared any of the same traits as his mother. Truth be known, he knew they were much more alike than he liked.

Life, overall wasn't horrible. While trying to stay clear of the women in his life, he still attended regular counseling sessions, having become quite close to both Mike and Nick; and Luka remained to be very supportive. In fact, Luka was becoming so much more than a work collage. He was someone that John could really relate to and they often spent time shooting baskets, working out at the gym, taking in a game or two, doing guy stuff. Luka was also someone that John could talk about Abby with and Luka had some amazing insight.

Besides, John was getting married in several months to the woman of his dreams. He had respect and felt in control for the first time in his life.

So why was he feeling so empty?

There was one person missing in his life. Brandon. Since his return from rehab, Brandon had taken a back seat in his life, as had Veronica, explaining that he needed to continue to grow without their help. John could become a bit too reliant on Brandon and this was a time that John needed to stand on his own.


"Hey, handsome." Abby said, coming up behind John as he leaned on the front desk, holding the receiver up to his ear. He smiled and gave her a quick kiss.

"Yes, I'm still here. No, don't put me on hold again! Dammit!" He yelled at the phone, giving up and slamming the receiver down.

"Bad day?" Abby asked, her eyebrows rose in question.

"Bad day? How about bad day, week, month... I'm tired of getting the runaround." He said, placing his arm around her as they walked to the lounge. "How'd you sleep?" he asked, holding the door.

"Fine. Barbara called. She wants me to check her mail over the next week. She said she got called back to Japan for some big meeting." Abby explained as she opened her locker. John went to fix them some coffee.

"Dad mentioned something was going on. Some new merger or something." John added.

"Well, anyway, I told her I'd be happy to do it." Abby said.

"Good. I got a call this morning from Nick. He's doing a meeting tonight and he wants me to speak." He said, leaning back against the counter as he watched Abby getting ready for work.

"Are you going to do it? It's been a few weeks since you've done that." She said, pulling her hair back into a ponytail.

"I know. He says it would be good for me. He said with all the pressure, it's good to keep going, keep sharing, and keep getting the help." John explained.

"I know, I know. You get to go to a meeting and I get to have tea with your mother." She complained lightly. John couldn't help but to smile.

"Oh, let's see. Tea at the country club discussing roses, daisies, or orchids or reliving my mental breakdown, hospitalization and recovery. Hmmm, I can see where you'd be jealous." He kidded.

Abby rolled her eyes. "Ok, fine. You win." She accepted the cup of coffee he held out for her, giving him a kiss on the chin. "Thank you."

Suddenly the lounge door opened.

"Dr. Carter, Abby, your impending marriage is no excuse not to work. I want you both out here seeing patients in thirty." Weaver demanded.

"How does she make it sound like a death sentence?" Abby commented as the door closed.

"I love you, too." John laughed as he returned to work.


"How are you holding up?" Nick asked as he slipped into the booth across from where John sat. They had just finished the session and John was emotionally drained as well as being tired from working all day. John forced a smile.

"I'm tired. That took more out of me than I thought it would." He sipped the black paste that was often called coffee.

"When was the last time you took a break?" Nick asked, looking closely at John's tired face. John looked almost as tired as he did when they first met so long ago.

"Besides my wonderful stay at your lovely resort? Shit, Nick, I haven't had time for anything except to sleep a bit, eat on the run and appear to have my shit together because everyone is watching me under a microscope." John groaned.

Nick shook his head. All he had to do was to look at John and John could read his mind.

"I can't take any time off work." John protested, anticipating Nick's thoughts.

"What if I told you there was a medical conference coming up that I knew about and that I thought you could get a lot out of it. They're having sessions on both emergency medicine as well as PTSD. We could send you there on the Center's behalf and have County pick up the tab. I hear Dijana has gotten in quite tight with your Dr. Romano." He suggested.

John snickered, still amazed at the working relationship that Dijana and Romano had developed over the past several months. They could often be seen yelling at each other in his office, both having no problems expressing themselves in heated debates. Secretly, John could tell that Romano quite enjoyed the sparing matches they got into.

"How do you expect me to go off to a conference, Nick? Besides all the shifts I'm pulling, I am trying to plan a wedding as well." John said but actually the idea of getting away sounded very nice.

"No, John. Abby and your mother are planning the wedding. You're just trying to stay the hell out of it." Nick teased. "One week, John. What will one week hurt?" He nudged.

John thought for several minutes. "Where is it?"

Nick smiled, unable to hide the fact that he couldn't wait to see John's face.

"New York."

John stopped breathing. New York. Of all places, New York. Suddenly, the loneliness and emptiness he'd been feeling for months filled with what? Hope? Desire?

"New York?" He repeated quietly. Nick placed his hand over John's.

"I heard about it and I know you want to see him. You told me yourself that you haven't spoken in months. Maybe it's time you sent him a hotel key."

John blushed, surprised that Nick had remembered that. Actually, he was surprised Nick remembered so much about alot of things.

"I couldn't." John tried to tell himself.

"Why not?" Nick challenged. John looked Nick in the eyes and he tried to come up with excuses....but he couldn't.

"Fine. I'll speak to Weaver in the morning. So, how long have you waited to spring this on me?" John questioned, a smile curling the edges of his lips.

"Weeks, and let me tell you, it was hard! I just think you always seemed more at peace after you've seen him. For you, John, it seems that Dr. Montgomery has a holistic healing ability when it comes to your emotional state." Nick analyzed with a hint of mischief in his voice.

John smiled shyly. "That he does." He whispered more to himself. "That he does."


Brandon smiled as he entered his sparkling white, perfectly antiseptic examination room. He flashed his million dollar smile at his patient, one of the leading actresses in Hollywood, in for yet another consultation at how to fight aging and the laws of gravity. There were days in which he just wanted to tell all these aging movie starlets that there just wasn't enough places left on their fading bodies to tuck, tug, chop or staple up anymore but that would be committing professional suicide and honestly, Brandon liked his big house and fancy sports car.

"Ah, Ms. Douglas. May I say that you look absolutely ravishing this morning." He greeted, kissing the offered, over manicured hand.

"Hello, Dr. Montgomery. So, have you looked over my chart?" She asked, managing to flash a bit of breast in his direction but Brandon was far from impressed. He'd implanted them himself two years ago and knew they were nothing more than silicone.

Brandon made an act of looking over her chart with the incisive eyes of a professional, adding in a moan or a grunt to make sure it looked like he was truly considering all the options. When the appropriate time seemed to have passed, and he had years of experience to know just how long that was, he closed the chart and smiled at his beautiful patient.

"My dear, I do believe that I can help you." He stated, much to her pleasure. "Now, why don't you return to your penthouse and take a few days off. I am unfortunately booked for the next several days but I believe that I can make room for you, say, in one week? I'll take good care of you, Ms. Douglas. All the usual arrangements. Security, recovery, and speed. How does that sound?" he smiled.

"Sounds perfect, Dr. Montgomery. Just perfect." She said, standing and giving him a hug, pressing the gel filled breasts against his broad chest. "Your wife is very lucky." She whispered, attempting a seduction with sweet whispers in his ear. "If there is anything I can do to repay you, Dr. Montgomery, you won't hesitate to call me now, will you?" She purred.

Brandon managed to gracefully take a step back. Sure, he had a beautiful wife but he was an all American male. "Now, make your appointment with Lisa at the front. She has the itinerary I've established and you can go over the details with her." He casually walked her to the front desk.

"Lisa," He smiled at his receptionist. "Go over the schedule for Ms. Douglas, will you?" He smiled, giving his receptionist a quick glance at how tired he was but never allowing his beautiful patient to know. Lisa nodded, knowing that it was her show now. Brandon escaped back to his office but not before picking up his stack of mail and getting himself another cup of Espresso.

Sighing audibly, Brandon sat behind his massive Mahogany desk and reclined back into the leather seat. For months, he'd been working almost non-stop, trying to fill some sort of void he felt had come into his life yet always being unable to fill it entirely. His beautiful wife Veronica understood his feelings of being misplaced and while she supported him, she also allowed him the freedom to explore and try to discover what may be the source of the emptiness that had come over him.

Brandon thought maybe that he just needed to throw himself into his profession, booking more tucks and nips than he'd done the previous year into the past several months. His work days often went into the tenth hour or later, many times six to seven days a week. He wasn't avoiding home or his duties as a devoted husband, for he knew that was stable. It was something else entirely and frankly, he was becoming tired of the search.

A slight knock came at his door and he looked up from the massive amounts of mail and files all requiring his attention to see what this intrusion was.

"Yes, Lisa?" He called. His beautiful and highly competent receptionist entered his office with a smile and a delivery.

"Sorry to bother you, sir but I ordered you lunch and this just came for you." She said, setting down a tray from the cafeteria and an overnight envelope.

Brandon couldn't help but be warmed by her thoughtfulness. Time to give her another bonus, he mentally thought.

"Thank you, Lisa. Can you hold my calls for a bit. I just want some silence." He smiled, accepting the envelope.

"Of course, sir." She closed the door quietly behind her.

Brandon looked at the delivered envelope. Quite often he received special deliveries, mostly patient's charts and thus but this envelope seemed almost empty. He carefully tore the end open and slowly slid out the contents.

A key.

A slow smile came to his face and for a brief moment, the void he'd been feeling filled. A key. Behind it, came a note. Handwritten, it stated simply "Ritz-Carlton, room 624. ASAP." Brandon couldn't help but laugh. How long ago had he written the exact same thing? He chuckled to himself, wondering if this hotel had a Jacuzzi.


"Lisa, dear," Brandon said, coming out of his office a while later. "Reschedule the rest of my appointments today and call my wife. Let her know I'm meeting an acquaintance at the Ritz. Tell her not to wait up, will you?" He said, the air around him seemingly more relaxed and the playful look on his face was a relief to see.

"Certainly, Dr. Montgomery. You do have a surgery scheduled for 6am tomorrow." She reminded him, watching as he signed a few more important items needing his attention. He looked up and thought for a moment.

"You know what, Lisa? Cancel tomorrow also. I believe that I may be a bit preoccupied." He smiled.

"With your acquaintance at the Ritz." Lisa stated softly, a teasing tone in her voice. She'd worked for Dr. Montgomery for over ten years and knew more about this strange doctor and his beautiful wife than most did.

Brandon's eyes twinkled and a smirk came to his lips. "Yes, Lisa. The Ritz." He winked.


Brandon stepped inside, set his bag down and smiled. This room was almost identical to the one he had in Chicago. Silently, a towel clad young man stepped out of the bathroom, the humidity from the Jacuzzi filling the room. Brandon couldn't help but to sigh in relief.

"You always seem to be able to tell when I need you most." Brandon said softly, loosening his tie as he slowly stepped toward the bathroom.

"Trust me, it was a purely selfish need." The young man stated, watching Brandon's every move.

"Well, then let's give it up for being selfish." Brandon slipped his tie off and dropped it on the bed, followed by his suit jacket and soon he was unbuttoning his shirt. He'd already slipped his shoes off at the door. "You look fantastic." He purred, taking a few steps towards the man in the doorway, managing to pull his socks off as he walked.

"Come here." The young man whispered, reaching out for Brandon. Once within arms reach, he slid his hands up the front of Brandon's shirt and took over the task of unbuttoning the garment. "I didn't pull you away from anything important, did I?" He asked, slipping the crisp peach shirt open and off the shoulders, devouring every inch of exposed flesh with his eyes.

"Nothing that couldn't wait." Brandon smiled, noticing how tired the young man looked in his eyes. He brought his hands slowly up to cup the face, his thumb gently running along the bottom lip, causing the younger man to sigh.

"I've missed you." He smiled, looking appreciatively over Brandon's expansion of bare chest. His eyes twinkled as his gaze continued on to his slacks. Before Brandon could respond, the younger man slowly went to his knees before him.

"One of these days, John, you're going to kill me." Brandon teased, reaching out and bracing his hands on the frame of the doorway.

John chuckled and he skillfully unfastened Brandon's belt and slacks, allowing them to fall to the floor, puddle at Brandon's ankles. "That would be a great loss." he smiled. "Hmm, I do believe that it is you with the tight boxers this time."

"What do you suggest we do to remedy that, Dr. Carter?" Brandon asked, wriggling his hips closer to John's face. Instead of a replay of the past, John slid his hands up the legs of the boxers and pulled them down, helping Brandon step out of the offending material.

"Oh, I believe I know exactly what to do." John mumbled, brushing his cheek against the powerful muscle standing at attention before his eyes. He nuzzled the soft hairs, taking in Brandon's scent, placing soft kisses along Brandon's hip.

"Yes," Brandon whispered, closing his eyes and focusing on the feelings. He could feel John stroking his manhood with his face, nourishing in the intimacy they shared, caressing him so lovingly. John's strong hands held onto Brandon's hips, keeping him still, keeping him from seeking out more contact. "Oh, I've missed you so much, John. I've missed this..." He mumbled, lost in the sweet touches.

John was lost in sensation, in the smell and the feeling of Brandon's hardness, in his ability to be able to do that to another man, to Brandon of all people. Brandon was still amazing to John, someone who he still looked up to and aspired to be like. Brandon oozed class, he oozed sexuality, and he was just so together even when they were both falling apart in Atlanta.

John's kisses moved along Brandon's flesh, his tongue beginning to slide along the column of flesh until he reached the tip, already moist. John's eyes looked up and locked on Brandon's as he silently slipped his lips around the swollen head.

"Oh, God!" Brandon whimpered, his knees going weak and unstable. He gripped the wood trim of the bathroom doorway a bit tighter as he felt himself engulfed in a searing heat. "John, please, I need to sit down." He begged.

"It's been too long." John smiled as he let Brandon slip from the warm cavern of his mouth. He stood and wrapped his arms around Brandon, kissing him properly.

"If I didn't know you better, I'd ask who the lucky one was that you've been practicing on." Brandon kidded as he found solace on the edge of the bed.

"You are the only man I've been with," John said comforting the older man. "The only one I'll ever be with, the only one I want to be with." He continued as he crawled over Brandon, forcing him to lay flat as their bodies came together. Brandon pulled the towel away that John had been wearing and dropped it to the ground.

"We certainly don't need this anymore. Well, I have to say that I feel privileged, John." Brandon said, trying to keep talking to hide his brief discomfort. After all, he was equally attracted to John and always had been. He felt for John what he felt for his wife, in the same strength and the same intimate levels and that made him a bit uncomfortable.

True, it was Brandon who had seduced John. It was Brandon who had more experience and had shown John the pleasures of loving another man. It was also Brandon who had reassured John that what they shared was okay because they cared about one another.

But how could Brandon ever explain to John Carter, heir to a small fortune, doctor and man about to be married that he had, in fact, fallen deeply in love with him.

Brandon had managed to keep his feelings at bay over the past year, distancing himself for safety if nothing else but the second he opened that envelope, the second he saw that key, his resolve crumbled. John was his weakness.

Brandon gasped, John biting hard enough on his over sensitive nub to bring Brandon back to reality. With it, he brought back a desire, an overwhelming burning inside Brandon that he couldn't and didn't want to control. Brandon rolled them over, effectively straddling the smaller body beneath his, pressing his pelvis, rubbing their engorged flesh together making John whimper.

John's arms gave out as his body responded strongly to the man spread on top of his body. He wanted to be taken, he wanted to lose control, he wanted, no needed to give himself over to capable hands. If he had the ability of speech, he'd have asked Brandon to take him but speech was something he was not capable of and feared he'd never be capable of again.

Brandon's hands and lips were everywhere, on his lips, his ears, his chest, his neck, caressing, fondling every inch, making him writhe beneath him and only make sounds in response. It was as if Brandon had been possessed by some demon, whose sole purpose was to devour John alive.

Somehow, Brandon's conscious mind spotted the lube on the nightstand. Without missing a beat, he squeezed a generous amount onto his palm and slid his way between John's legs.

"Please..." John moaned as he felt his scrotum wrapped in a warm, slick hand, massaging the flesh, sparking desire to greater heights that an hour ago, he never would have thought possible. He could feel Brandon's heart beating, their chests together, quickly becoming slick from sweat as the humidity in the room increased from within. Finally, John felt a finger slip inside, his body rejoicing in relief of what he knew would be coming soon.

"So beautiful." Brandon murmured, his lips searching the folds in John's ear, finding all the sensitive spots that Abby never seemed able to find. John arched his body, seeking more contact. Brandon slipped in another digit, the slickness making the path easy to follow as the muscles seemed to give way on their own accord.

"Now, please Brandon...I need you now!" John begged, twisting his hips away from Brandon's hand. It wasn't the hand he so desperately needed.

Understanding entirely, Brandon squeezed more lube, probably making a mess on the bed with the amounts he was using but not really caring much about consequences of their act. He coated himself liberally while untangling his legs from John's to place himself between. The brief respite of touching allowed both men to look once more into one another's eyes, both seeing the same deepness, the same need, the ultimate love they shared reflected back into their own.

"I love you, Brandon." John's said clearly without words.

"I'm in love with you." Came Brandon's silent reply.

Brandon positioned himself at John's entrance, getting a slight nod from John, stating he was ready. Slowly, carefully Brandon moved forward, the tight entrance resistant at first but then the muscles relaxed and soon he was being pulled into the hot, moist caverns of John's depths.

Both men held their breaths until Brandon could go no further. Sighs were heard, low moans, guttural sounds of relief as they re-acclimated one another to their own unique bonding. Within moments, John shifted and began to massage Brandon from the inside and Brandon began to pull slowly out. It felt as if a thousand hands were massaging his tool, pulsating along his length. At the opening, he stopped and once again met John's eyes.

A sudden thrust forward brought loud moans from both men, cries of pleasure and soon a quickened pace was found by both. Neither held anything back, both having the same painful agony that only the other could help.

Sweat dripped off Brandon's face, dripping onto the pale chest below him as he felt a trail of sweat run down his spine. They were both panting for air, neither bothering with proper oxygen intake at the current time and neither one caring. One of John's hands gripped hard onto Brandon's shoulder, his fingers digging into the muscle while his other hand had grasped his own erection, pumping in time with each and every one of Brandon's thrusts.

Brandon brought his free hand on top of John's, assisting in the strokes. Normally, Brandon would have been batting John's hand away but it was just too erotic of a picture to stop. Brandon had himself braced up on one shaking arm and judging by the moans and the intensity of their actions, they both knew it would be very soon.

John squeezed his eyes shut and Brandon smiled.

"Open your eyes, baby." Brandon said, amazed at how controlled his voice sounded. John complied and smiled as he looked into Brandon's beautiful blue eyes.

"Brandon..." John whispered, saying more than words themselves could say.

"Jo...." Brandon tried but at that moment, he found his release, his groan escaping from his throat, filling the room with such a primitive sounds. He thrust deeper, his body convulsing as he released over and over within John's body.

White sparks suddenly engulfed John's mind as he found his own release, thrusting himself within his own grasp, feeling Brandon's hand tighten like a vise.

"Oh, Go....yes....yes...oh, yes..." John cried, everything he had flowed in complete loss of control. It was almost too much as both men collapsed together in one spineless heap.

The only sounds following were those of lungs trying to reclaim some much needed oxygen. After several moments, John started to chuckle.

Brandon looked at him with amusement, watching the younger man unable to control himself. Unfortunately, his giggles were also infectious and Brandon found himself joining in.

"What are we laughing at?" Brandon finally asked after several minutes.

"I have no idea." John laughed, only laughing harder.

Finally, both men calmed, bodies still entwined with each other and eventually, satisfied sighs replaced the giggles.

"I missed you, baby." Brandon finally admitted.

"I missed you also." John agreed.
Chapter Two by Simplyshelly
"Hey," Abby smiled as John came in to the apartment. "I thought your flight wasn't coming in until morning." She said, up to her elbows in dishwater.

"I caught an earlier flight." He smiled as he set down his luggage and came over to give her a kiss on the back of her neck. He loved how she looked on her days off, hair pulled up in a messy ponytail, old Bulls shirt that once belonged to him and usually a pair of his old boxers. She was always working on one project or another, particularly with their wedding date approaching.

Abby looked hard at his face. "Anything I should know?"

He snickered. "No, the conference was boring, Brandon is fine and Veronica sends her love. Can you believe that they are actually talking about opening an office here in Chicago?" He explained, popping his neck. It didn't matter if you flew first class or coach, planes always knotted his neck up.

"Really? That would be great. With the amount of time Veronica has been spending at the Center, it would be great to have them closer." She said. Besides, she also knew John would love to have Brandon closer.

Very few people truly understood John's relationship with Brandon, and yes, they did indeed have a relationship. It only took Abby a few therapy sessions herself to realize that fact and actually say it out loud. It was something that she found was indeed baring her from committing completely to John, knowing she'd always have to share his heart with another.

Veronica was always there for Abby but as a friend. Veronica was very much in the same boat, having to share her husband but she'd had Brandon all to herself for much longer than Abby had and understood the situation better. Abby was still a bit insecure when it came to her relationships.

Actually, when it came right down to it, Abby was still insecure about many things. She had, however managed to stay dry and still even went to AA meetings but usually only after having to spend the day with Mrs. Carter.

Eleanor meant well. She was just trying to make up for all the hurt, all the pain that John had been through in his life and sometimes, John just wished to go back to the days when she had never known what happened to him as a child. At least he'd be able to look her in the eyes without seeing the guilt. A hard and withdrawn Eleanor was better sometimes than a meddling Eleanor. Particularly when nothing Abby did was right.

"Are you tired?" Abby noticed that John had dark circles under his eyes.

"Uh, yeah." He smiled sheepishly. "I haven't gotten much sleep. I think I'm going to lie down for a while." He finally gave in and admitted he was tired. "Care to join me?" He winked as he held out his hand.

"I'd love to." She tossed the dishrag onto the counter and gladly followed.


John rolled over and he hit the top pf the alarm to quiet its buzzing. Abby tossed her pillow at him.

"Go, so I can go back to sleep." She mumbled, burrowing deep into the piles of covers.

"What? No 'I'll miss you'?" John kidded, kissing her face.

"'Miss you, now go away." She smiled, her eyes still closed. John chuckled and crawled out of bed. Abby had another few hours to sleep but then she'd have to be up as he was.

“Don’t forget you have that meeting with my mother after your shift.” He reminded the sleeping figure.

“It’s not a meeting, John. It’s tea and we’re going over the flowers.” A voice mumbled from under the pillow.

“Whatever. Just don’t forget.” He said gently. She tossed the pillow at him.

“Fine.” She mumbled. John smiled. He needed to get going anyway because he didn’t want to be late for work. Slowly, he stepped into the shower, needing the water to wake him completely. Instead of making the water warm, he kept it cold and the shock to his body made sure he was wide awake in seconds.

"Oh, man!" He mumbled, trying to get his body used to the freezing cascade. He jumped around until he could stand completely under the spray, his whole body shivering.

After dressing, shaving, and kissing Abby once more, John headed off to the El to begin his day at County.


"Just the man I want to see!" Susan commented as John walked through the doors.

"I'm fifteen minutes early, Dr. Lewis." He held up his hands, continuing towards the lounge.

"Just enough time to hand over all these criticals I've been juggling all night." Susan followed with a stack of charts.

"Come on, Susan. Let me at least get a cup of coffee." John complained, walking into the lounge.

"Carter, please. Romano has been leering from the corners the entire night, Weaver's in a bad mood but don't ask me how I can tell because she's acting like she always does and I'm on the rag. I need to get out of here." She complained, collapsing on the couch.

"Busy night?" John sipped his cup of coffee, watching Susan with a hint of amusement.

"Six MVA's, three GSW's, an impaction that Gallant succeeded in disimpacting, right before the guy exploded two weeks worth of shit all over the exam room and some drunk with a puss filled boil on his ass. Need I say more?" Susan recited as John made a face.

"Okay, fine. Give me the charts and get out of here." He finally agreed, tossing his cup into the trashcan.

"Oh, bless you. You've got chest pain in 3. He's hooked up to and EKG monitor. In 2, you've got a ten year old who had a bike accident on his way to school, possible broken ankle, he's waiting to go up to x-ray. Curtain 2, stomach ache, Curtain 1, dehydration, you've got a elderly man rolling up in five who was found not breathing in his nursing home room and I am outta here. Have a great day, John." Susan handed him the charts and turned to her locker.

John chuckled at the stack of charts in his arms. This was going to be a good day.


"All right, Mrs. Waters, that should do it." John slowly stood up and stretched his back. He was stiff again and really needed a muscle relaxer. "Have Chester here keep his knee clean," He shot Chester a warning look. "Keep the bandage on until tomorrow, then let it air dry over night. No picking at it, right?" He ruffled the boy's hair. Chester had been in before and Doctor John remembered cleaning an infected wound more than once.

"Thank you doctor." Mrs. Waters said, gathering her purse. Chester hopped off the table and waved a shy hand towards John.

As John walked mom and tot out to the lounge, he swore he caught a glimpse of his mother going into the lounge. He signed the discharge papers quickly, handing them to Jerry as he kept trying to see into the lounge.

"Uh, here, Jerry. Get Mrs. Waters signed out, okay?" He craned his neck and as soon as the desk clerk grabbed a hold of the chart he was being handed, John went to find out if he was hallucinating.

"Mom?" He asked, walking into the lounge and instantly regretting it. Several of the nurses had also joined Abby and Eleanor, several bridal magazines spread across the tables.

"Dr. Carter!" Haleh called, turning him back around to the door. "You aren't supposed to be in here. We're looking at wedding gowns. You can't see which one's Abby likes. It's bad luck." She insisted, ushering him back to the door.

"But why is my mother here?" He asked, not minding not being allowed to stay, just curious that Eleanor would spend time here for this.

"John, darling, please talk some sense into your fiancÚ. Explain to her that she cannot wear a white gown." Eleanor complained, grasping John's forearm.

"Mom, there's no reason why she can't wear white if she wants." He said lightly, pulling himself from her grasp.

"But she cannot. White is reserved for those with pure virtues, those who are pure in both mind and body. You cannot stand there and tell me that you and she have never..."

"Mom!" John stopped before she could say anything else. The last thing he needed was his mother discussing his sexual relationship with Abby in front of some of these nurses, who had known him for nearly ten years. He carefully led his mother out of the lounge, leaving Abby and the nurses to snicker over his mother/son relationship display. "Mother, these days, brides wear white." He tried.

"Jonathan Truman Carter, this wedding will have the most influential people in Chicago attending and the last thing we need is your middle aged, previously married, middle class bride walking down the isle of the Cathedral wearing white." She snapped but kept her voice low enough so that only John heard.

Luka glanced over and he could see the irritation in John's eyes. He looked like he was about to explode.

"Dr. Carter, may I get your consult on this case?" Luka walked up to the overbearing mother and furious son before anything could happen.

John glared at his mother, his entire body trembling as he managed to refrain from lashing out. "Mother, we'll discuss this later." He stated, following Dr. Kovac to the other side of the emergency room.

"How are you doing?" Luka asked, holding the chart up so it would look like they were talking about a patient.

"She infuriates me and sometimes I think she does it just to get me pissed off." John snarled, keeping his voice under control.

"What did she say to you that made you so upset?" He asked, not having seen John this upset in months.

"She..." he paused, looking back at his mother going back into the lounge, smile on her face as she rejoined the women. "Nothing. It's not important. Listen, thanks for getting me out of there."

"No problem. Now stay away from there. Abby told me she was going to spend her lunch looking at gowns and I was to keep you busy." Luka smiled, making John laugh softly.


John sat down at the table, blank paper in front of him and he could clearly imagine standing before 300 people but the only person he'd see was the woman in front of him.

"When I sat down to write this, so many words came to me, so many ways to tell you how I felt. You and I have been though so much. We've seen each other as friends, as lovers, as people who can't live without each other. We have supported each other through some very rough times and we have had our share of fights and misunderstandings. We have gotten through what would have broken up most normal couples yet we still managed to stay strong.

Just when I think I can't love you any more, something else happens that makes me love you more. I need you in my life, I need you to need me..."

He stopped, unsure what direction to go. Luka came into the lounge and John flipped the notebook closed quickly.

"Uh, hi." He said, looking curiously in John's direction. "What are you writing?" He asked as he fixed himself a cup of coffee. He could hear John sigh behind him.

"Abby and I are writing our own vows. When we first talked about it, I didn't realize how hard it was going to be." He admitted, opening the notebook back up and looking over the words.

"May I?" Luka asked, motioning to the notebook as he joined John at the table. John slid the notebook towards him.

"I'm just not very good at putting my feelings into words. I never have been. I hear all these song lyrics and poems and I wonder how these people do it, chose which words go together that can convey how much a person means to them verbally." He rambled, watching Luka read the words on the page.

Luka finished and he looked out at the window. John watched him, waiting for some kind of comment. A smile came to Luka's face.

"If questioning would make us wise
No eyes would ever gaze in eyes;
If all our tale were told in speech
No mouths would wander each to each.

Were spirits free from mortal mesh
And love not bound in hearts of flesh
No aching breasts would yearn to meet
And find their ecstasy complete.

For who is there that lives and knows
The secret powers by which he grows?
Were knowledge all, what were our need
To thrill and faint and sweetly bleed?

Then seek not, sweet, the "If" and "Why"
I love you now until I die.
For I must love because I live
And life in me is what you give."

He finished, looking in John's eyes.

"What was that?" John asked, a gentle peace had fallen over the room as he'd listened to Luka's words.

Luka blushed. "It's called 'Because She Would Ask Me Why I Loved Her'. I believe the author's name is Christopher Brennan." He smiled.

"I could never write anything like that." John said, rubbing his face.

"Keep working on it, Carter. The words will come." Luka smiled as he got up and left John to work on his vows.


"It's not boiling yet, Abby." John complained, watching the pot intently.

"Haven't you ever heard the saying that a watched pot never boils?" Abby asked, looking at him.

"This is boring." John grumbled. "I'm hungry." He went to the refrigerator and opened the door. Abby shut it quickly with her hip.

"You have been looking inside that refrigerator over twenty times this afternoon and you never get anything. Come on, we're too close to dinner. I don't want you to ruin it." Abby scolded. "Here, stir the sausage." She handed him a spatula.

"Oh, me and a frying pan? You did talk to Kerry about the time she tried to teach me how to cook, didn't you?" John nervously walked to the stove and peered in the pan of sizzling sausages.

"Not Kerry but Corrine gave me a few tips. Just stir it and brown the meat. I have to get the sauce ready." Abby turned back to the counter and began chopping fresh tomatoes and adding them to the large pot.

"Oh, Abby! It's boiling! Finally!" John said, just a little too excited by some boiling water.

Abby couldn't help but giggle. "Honey, now you add the noodles. Do you think you can handle that?"

"Abby, I am a doctor. I think I can handle putting some noodles into the boiling water." John scoffed, setting the spatula down and opening the box of spaghetti noodles. He dumped the entire box into the water, splashing hot water onto his t-shirt clad stomach. "Oh, shit!" John yelled, backing up and hitting his back against Abby's back, knocking the large pot of fresh spaghetti sauce, spilling it across the tiles, down the front of the cabinets, and splattering onto the floor.

"Dammit, John!" Abby yelled, throwing her hands up in total frustration. John had gotten to the sink, wet the hand towel, and he was holding the cool, wet towel against his soaked belly.

"I am…so sorry, Abby." He said, looking at the red mess all over the kitchen.

"You can be such a klutz sometimes." She complained, beginning to wipe up the mess from the counter.

"I warned you that I was a walking disaster in the kitchen." John shrugged, feeling bad.

Abby turned around and saw the smoke billowing up from the frying pan of sausage still on the burner.

"John, turn the stove off!" She yelled, knowing he was much closer than she was. John turned around and grabbed the handle with his hand, immediately yelling and dropping the pan of cooked sausage all over the floor, splattering grease all down his front and arms.

"Ow! God, that hurts like a sonofabitch!" John cried, holding his hand between his legs in severe pain.

"Put it under cool water, John!" Abby reached forward and grabbed his hand, attempting to get him to the sink but she slipped on the spaghetti sauce and ending up flat on her butt in the middle of the floor.

"Abby, are you okay?" John asked, seeing Abby lay down and turn over. It looked like she was crying. John knelt down next to her, in the middle of the sauce and gently touched her shoulder with his burnt hand. "Honey, are you hurt?" He asked.

Abby lifted her head and she had tears streaming down her face, laughing hysterically. She was covered in tomato sauce, chunks of tomatoes stuck to her hips and oregano dotting her arms. John looked at her, unsure.

"You're laughing?" He asked, a bit hurt. His hands still stung and the kitchen was a disaster. His stomach chose that moment to growl quite loudly, sending Abby into another fit of laughter.

"I'm… sorry!" She managed between fits. John kept staring at her and her giggles were becoming contagious. He began to laugh with her.

"I ruined dinner." He said, his laughing only making Abby laugh harder.

"We…could eat…off the…floor!" She said.

"We have… noodles." John was trying so hard not to laugh but he was also tearing, holding his stomach.

"Noodles!" Abby was rolling on the floor, getting sauce all over herself. John leaned over and licked some sauce off of her cheek.

"You don't have much of this stuff on you for being the one to make all the mess!" Abby kidded, taking a finger full of red stuff and wiping it down John's nose.

"But I got burned, several times. I told you we should have ordered out." John mumbled as Abby began kissing him.

"I'd rather eat in." She purred, climbing on top of him, making him lay flat in all the mess. John was quickly sold to her way of thinking as he kissed back.

"We can't do this here, Abby." He moaned, his hands slipping under her shirt and pulling it off. Abby was kissing his neck while her hands were trying to pull his shirt off, slipping on the sauce.

"I'm having my dinner." She snickered, sliding down the front of his body. John giggled as she pushed his shirt up, spread his stomach with food and licking every inch of it back off.

"As long as you aren't expecting on putting that stuff on my noodle." He joked, her hands expertly slipping his sweatpants down his hips.

"Oh, no noodles down here. Just a sausage." She purred, kissing down John's length that popped up to welcome her to dinner.

"Well, you'd better eat all your dinner, Miss Abigail." John lifted his head, watching her kissing him, loving the feeling.

"Oh, I always eat all my dinner." She winked, looking into his eyes. She brought her mouth down, taking him completely, causing John to gasp.

"Oh, man, if I had known ruining dinner would have done this to you, I'd have started a food fight with you a long time ago." He whispered, gasping for air as Abby continued her feast. Suddenly, he began to feel his orgasm coming way too quickly. "Abby, stop!" He said with such urgency, it stopped her, mid-lick.

"Huh? What, honey? Don't you like dinner?' She asked with a smirk.

"I'm the one who's hungry, remember?" He smiled, pulling her back up along his body, rolling her onto the floor under him. Luckily, Abby was just wearing a pair of thongs, since he'd already gotten her shirt off. He moved his legs between hers, causing her to bring her knees up, spreading her legs for him as he kissed his way down her neck and to her breasts.

"Oh, you'd better be hungry because I am a virtual smorgasbord!" Abby moaned, holding his head against her chest.

"That you are." John smiled against her skin. Abby arched her back up, pushing his head lower.

"Appetizer." She teased. John giggled as he nibbled his way across her skin.

"I love how you've been keeping yourself shaved." He mumbled, pulling her hips up towards his face.

"I know. That's why I do it." Abby purred as he licked her petals.

"You are so wet." He moaned, lapping at her warmth. Abby raised her hips, urging him deeper.

"Not spaghetti sauce, I hope?" She asked, having trouble keeping up her teasing with what he was doing to her.

"Homemade, yes, spaghetti, no. This is a special recipe." John smiled, inserting two of his fingers into her depth, causing Abby to toss her head back, no longer caring about the mess on the floor.

"John, I want the sausage." Abby begged, needing him inside of her.

"Oh, you sure? You ready for the main course? I haven't finished the appetizer yet." He said, trying to sound disappointed but the smile on his face was a dead give-away, that is if Abby could see him. Her eyes were closed, enjoying the sensations.

"Fuck the appetizer, John. Give me the main course." She begged.

"So, I'm not dessert?" He asked, moving back up her stomach with his mouth, his hands spreading her thighs wider.

"Mmm., the main course. I'll figure out dessert later." Abby looked up at him, smiling when she saw the absolute passion in his eyes as he watched her face.

"You are my everything." He whispered, moving himself against her opening, not quite entering quite yet.

"I am." She smiled as he slowly, painfully, agonizingly slowly thrust himself into her body. Abby caught and held her breath until he was finally completely engulfed within her. A low guttural moan escaped John's throat.

"Oh, if all food was this good." He whispered, his lips finding Abby's neck as her hands grasped his hips.

"Everyone would want some." She smiled, thrusting herself up to him and holding his hips against her.

"Reservations only, one table, just for you and you only." John murmured, withdrawing and thrusting in again.

"My own private chef." Abby giggled, trapping John's earlobe between her lips.

"Oh, man." John groaned.

The sounds in the kitchen slowly changed from their light bantering to those only of their breathing, moans, and gasps occasionally breaking their pattern. Hands, lips, tongues, and private parts slapping against one another as their shared desire built. After all the time they'd been friends and the year that they'd been a couple had not diminished their desires for one another. Even when in it simply for the physical exertion, their passion remained immeasurable compared to any of either one's past partners.

"Yes, John. I'm, oh God, yes, yes, like that, yes." Abby mumbled incoherently, unable to form a complete sentence. John couldn't even form words as he concentrated his entire worth on pleasing both of them.

After what felt like an eternity, John's breathing began to come in short gasps, his movements becoming urgent, more directed. Abby tightened herself around him as her fingers dug into his backside, urging him on.

"Oh, John!" Abby gasped, sucking in her breath as her entire body began convulsing, jerking uncontrollably as she gave in to the explosion in her brain. John groaned loudly as his body lost the battle and he began his release.

"Oh, sweet mother of God." He gasped, collapsing on top of her, his entire brain fuzzy. Abby giggled.

"I never knew you were a man of religion." She panted, kissing his sweat covered neck. He chuckled.

"Only when you take me to heaven the way you do." He laughed. He gently picked himself up from her body and began kissing his way down her slick, spaghetti sauce smeared body.

"Hey, where you going?" Abby asked, playfully pouting.

John looked up at her and smiled. "Dessert."
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