"Good morning, Doctor Carter." One of the nurses said as he logged onto the computer, coat, and bag still hanging from his shoulder. His head turned in the direction of her voice, a smile playing on his lips.
"Good morning, Chuni." He acknowledged her greeting. "So, what kind of day are we going to have today?" He asked Frank, who was using his one finger typing to get labs back on a patient. The large man grunted.
"As long as the riffraff keep themselves out there and not in here, any day would be good." He grumbled. Carter snickered as he walked to the lounge to deposit his things. He had actually woken up in a good mood today and he was looking forward to having a productive, if not long day. He smiled as he saw Abby at the coffee machine, attempting to make a new pot.
"Damn it! Why isn't there any coffee? Haleh? Whose job is it to order the coffee?" She yelled as she stormed towards the door. "Oh, hey, Carter." She noticed him at his locker. "Haleh?" She continued on her quest.
"Shit. I'm glad I stopped for coffee." He mumbled to himself as he put on his lab coat and swung his stethoscope over his shoulders. "Today will be a good day." He thought, as if chanting it over again in his head would make it so.
"Hey, Frank? Are my labs back on the lady in four?" Carter asked, placing another chart into the 'discharge' bin and wiping a name off the board.
"Don't know. Check the stack." Frank mumbled. He was always such a pleasant man. Carter noticed Kerry and the nurses giggling over at the other end of the admit area, which struck him as a bit strange. Kerry and the nurses?
"So, Dr. Weaver. What are you guys talking about?" He asked, trying to be nosey. The nurses were looking at him a bit strangely and giggling. Kerry was also having trouble keeping a straight face.
"I was just telling the nurses about the fundraiser for the hospital next week. It seems like they've come up with a new angle to raise funds." She giggled. Carter felt like Lydia was checking him out. Actually, most of the nurses were looking at him, checking his full length out. He shifted, trying to turn his body away.
"Oh, yeah?" He asked, feeling very vulnerable. 'Man,' he thought, 'This must be what women feel like when they walked past a construction site.' Kerry began walking him towards the lounge.
"Yes, John." She said, regaining her professional voice. "They've actually decided to update the events a bit this year and hold an auction during the formal event."
"An auction? I'd better tell Gamma. She lives for fund raisers and auctions." He chuckled. Kerry was shaking her head.
"Oh, I don't think she's going to be interested in this one." She began to giggle again and tried hard to suppress it. He stopped and looked at her, confused.
"What are they auctioning, Kerry?" He was getting a bad feeling about this. Kerry stopped and looked at him, smiling widely. John hadn't noticed but most of the nurses were at the other end of the hall, watching for his reaction.
"They're auctioning you." She said, continuing towards the lounge.
Carter stood in the hallway, unable to move. Her words kept playing in his head. 'They're auctioning you'. 'Him?' He felt his head begin to spin from the lack of oxygen. He held his breath and hadn't realized he was doing so until he felt the tunnel vision set in. He gasped for air, his thoughts going a mile a second. Even though he felt as is he'd been standing there for hours, only a few minutes passed before he found the strength to run after her. What had she meant when she said they were auctioning him? He had to get clarification.
"Kerry…Dr. Weaver? What are you talking about?" He asked, feeling a bit flush. He suddenly felt like he was ten years old and had been waken by his sister after having a 'wet' dream. God, he'd never been so embarrassed, that is until now. "What do you mean auctioning me?"
Kerry was enjoying this all too much. She'd seen John at his most personal side when he lived with her and she liked that John. She'd always hoped more people in the ER could see how sweet of a man he really was, not just with the patients.
"Well, it seems that they've come up with some crazy scheme to auction off the eligible single physicians who work in the hospital as a fundraiser. The winner gets treated to an evening out with that physician in exchange for their donation. Each department has to nominate at least two males and two females to go up on the auction block and I will say, I collected the votes from the department and you won hands down. Seems everyone wants to get a chance at an evening with you." She smiled, watching his ears turn red.
"But I'm still a resident here." He tried. Kerry shook her head.
"You're Chief Residency status makes you eligible, but good try. No, John. You're not getting out of this." She smiled, opening a water bottle.
"So, um, who else is going to have to do this with me?" He asked, feeling a bit better knowing the details. Now, it was Kerry's turn to look embarrassed.
"Their criterion is that the doctor has to be single and unattached. Malucci would have jumped at the chance to strut his stuff up on a stage but since he's gone, that leaves you and Luka for the men, and myself and Susan for the females." She shrugged.
"I bet Mark's loving this." He smiled.
"He is." She snickered. Then Carter's face paled as he thought of something she had said.
"Do we have to, you know, 'strut our stuff up on a stage'?" He asked. Kerry laughed and shook her head.
"No, Carter. I just figured Malucci would turn this whole thing into some sexual show but no; we can keep it as professional as we'd like. No swimsuit competitions, thank God. None of the hospital staff will be allowed to place bids but I will say, several of the nurses have already told me they're going to protest. As a matter of fact, several of them said they'd give up a month's salary for a night with you." She walked back towards the door.
"Really? Who?" He asked, his self-confidence totally regained and a bit over blown. He looked towards the admit desk watching some of the nurses.
"I'll never tell." Kerry smiled, knowing that Carter would be all right with this now.
She had worried about him. She always knew he had a healthy ego when it came to work but personally, it was always a battle. His self-esteem away from the hospital had always been low as far as she could tell. The more she learned about his family and his past, the more she knew this to be true. Ever since that February night, even his professional self-confidence seemed to be somewhat misdirected.
Carter was someone who was always in some sort of relationship. He had confided in her one late night after yet another breakup that he had a fear of being alone and that's why he instantly went from one woman to the other, seeking out comfort and companionship. Since the stabbing and the subsequent return from rehab, Carter had been single, focusing on his own recovery. That is until Susan had come back but Kerry didn't think what Carter had with Susan was serious or ever could be. It was convenient for both of them but unemotional.
While they had lived together, Kerry had learned much about the caring yet insecure resident that was unknown to most of his co-workers. Kerry learned that John was so classically codependent. John felt the desire to make everything right, to take on the blame, to punish himself for all the 'world's' problems and his own insecurities made him believe that he needed to have a partner all the time, even if she wasn't good for him. It wasn't like he'd been very successful in finding woman who he could grow with. Abby and Harper used him, Anna's focus was someplace else, Elaine also used him although he gave her much in return, Rena was, well, just young and Roxanne was all about appearances and sex. She discovered the later late at night through her vents. They would make love for hours a night, keeping Kerry awake and reminding her how alone she was. Then there were the morning afters, where Kerry would come downstairs and find John sitting at the breakfast bar, alone and looking so unfulfilled.
John seemed to go for the older, strong woman type, that is except Rena but she didn't last long. She was much more a physical need than anything else. Kerry would be lying to herself if she said that the thought hadn't crossed her mind to try to comfort him in many ways. But whenever that thought came up, she pushed it back out of the way. Kerry always felt more like an older sister to John than a passionate lover. Although there was a few times where she thought he'd accept if the invitation had been made. He was still emotionally immature. He craved affection and seemed to have imbedded into his mind that when a woman showed him a bit of compassion, that he was obligated to get into a physical relationship with them.
Sometimes Kerry felt that John thought this was his best asset to give to a relationship and he was a perfectionist. At least that's what Roxanne had said. And judging from the sounds coming from the vents, he took his job seriously. Roxanne had told Kerry that John had incredible stamina and staying power and Roxanne had a long, very long list to compare him to. John always made sure that she was beyond satiated long before he allowed his own release. Of course, John did not know that Kerry knew these intimate details and she had no intensions of telling him. Since the accident and the events of the past year, he'd been getting more stable, more secure in his own self and she thought that maybe this auction thing would be what he needed now.
Carter emerged from the lounge feeling quite good, trying to figure out which one of the nurses had wanted to pay money to have him all to themselves but he was distracted by an incoming trauma.
"Ok, give me the bullet." He said, falling into step with the paramedics.