Series: Light, Water, Muses.
Category: Sequel to Reflections. Begins mid-2001, nearly two years later. Pairings: Oh, you'll see. The couple you will be introduced to is my take on the old idea that opposites attract. And the two of them could hardly be more opposite...
Personal disclaimer: Zo Goldston, so briefly introduced in Reflections, is mine! Bwahahahahaha! I hope you enjoy her and any other newcomers, as well as my version of Cook County General.
Disclaimer: “ER”, the characters and situations depicted are the property of Warner Bros. Television, Amblin Entertainment, Constant C Productions, NBC, etc. They are borrowed without permission, but without the intent of infringement. This site contains stories between mature, consenting adult females.
Notes: All words in italics are phonetic foreign words, mostly Greek.
Spoilers: There are references to events in ER season 7, but most of this tale is an 'alternate universe' version of season 8.
Important note: Mark Green died with his first collapse in the ER back in December of 2000. A Xena-esque doctor named Mel Tairnghael has replaced him as head Attending.
Summary: Now that Zo has started to settle into her new life... time to make an impact on somebody else's!
++ Kerry ++
The shout caught my attention and I turned around. Like some kind of pagan-fairy gypsy in wild colors and tattered blue jeans, Zo bounced over to regale me with her smile.
“You struck me as the cultured sort,” she flattered in that sexy voice and the periodic flash of the tongue piercing distracted me. As a doctor, the idea horrified me, but I'd heard stories about some of the uses of those metal rods through flesh and the idea was making me fantasize like mad. “I don't know many people in this city and have tickets.” In the dramatic pause where I tried to get my brain back on track, two purple cards materialized in her hand. “To Shakespeare in the Park.” If those were what I thought they were, her prospect was positively delicious. They were hard to come by, not to mention this sexy young thing's company. Fighting a queasy case of nerves and hormones, I felt myself smile back and quickly snatched the tickets from her hand.
“I'd be delighted Zo. And you're in luck, I'm off at six.”
“I'll be here with bells on.”
“I'll just bet you will.”
Her soft chuckle followed me down the hall.
Several MVA's ran us ragged that late afternoon as John Q Public decided to ignore the basic rules of the road. Several times, I'd caught a glimpse of inky curls as the clock crept past six. It was after seven before I wearily dragged myself to the board and rubbed off my final patient's name. As I gathered my things, Abby came over to stand beside me. “She's a natural.”
Following the line of her gaze, I saw Zo with several children. She was obviously entertaining them with some kind of wild tale. With sweeping gestures and ridiculous facial contortions, she kept them utterly enraptured. That young woman's energy was a force of nature. “Yeah,” I grinned at Abby and she smiled back. “Maybe I should offer her a job.” Abby's chuckle warmed me. Ever since I had been dragged outside for that unexpected sandwich lunch, both Randi and Abby had been almost friendly. I was growing to enjoy it.
“Have a great night, Chief. You better get out before something else hits the fan.”
“Agreed. Have a good night, Abby.”
As I approached Zo and her gaggle, I realized that she was speaking in fluent Spanish. Better than mine! Better than some natives of the language. Taking subtle note of my presence, Zo quickly wrapped up her story that entailed something about dragons and clouds. Each child got his or her hair ruffled and flashed smiles at their entertainer. The scene was touching, something that was an unexpected bright spot in my dismal ER. But hadn't she been just that since the day she'd walked in here?
“Shall we?” Zo enthused as she stood up beside me.
“Lead the way.”
Only in the parking lot did I remember that the only transportation I'd seen her with was strictly muscle powered. “Unless you have a rickshaw, maybe I should drive.”
Chuckling, Zo pulled a ring of keys from her pocket and pressed the little remote there. Tail lights on a butch blue Dodge truck flared to life with a trio of sharp beeps. “Never judge a book by its cover,” Zo advised sagely. “I only look like a starving student. Do you really think I wouldn't treat you like a lady?”
Her gentle tone took any sting from her words and I was warmed by the flattery. “Charmer.”
“I learned from the best.”
It was a quick, hot wave of jealousy that swept through me. So shocking was the sensation that it froze me to the spot beside the door she had so gallantly opened. I had no memory of wanting something so badly, merely for the sake of just wanting it. Never needed something for purely selfish reasons. I always had a reason! Always! There was a means to an end to everything I did. But this frisky little minx made me want to grab her and take what my traitorous body so desperately craved.
++ Zo ++
Wow. When Kerry's gray-green eyes went smoky, I swallowed hard. This was one of the reasons I generally preferred the company of women. No man could ever offer that intense look! Certainly none that I had ever met. Something about this wounded lioness had tangled in my heartstrings the very first time I had laid eyes on her. She was such a startling contrast between fierce independence and aching vulnerability.
And now this helpless, possessive glare like a hungry animal on the hunt. Normally, that kind of possessiveness would irk me, but from her I loved it. That reluctant, predatory 'mine' look spoke volumes. Seems the good doctor had been repressed for a very long time and I desperately wanted to get to know all of her. What could I say to encourage her? To show her I meant her heart and soul no harm? What could I do that wouldn't send her scurrying back into her emotional armor?
A slow grin reeled her in closer. The family charm really did come in handy sometimes. With a deliberateness that would have put any actor to shame, I pitched my voice low and soft.
“Bet you're a great teacher.”
Goal! The pink flush raced across cheekbones and ears. Ever so lightly, I put my hand on her arm and felt the fine muscles above the cuff of her crutch. Those fascinating eyes dropped to stare at my intruding limb before returning to my face. That defenseless look was utterly charming and I vowed to be very careful with this enigmatic creature. Besides, I had the feeling that if I did hurt her, I might not survive the experience. This was a woman who got what she wanted, a woman who survived by any means necessary.
Gentle pressure against those arm muscles made her step toward me. “C'mon, the show awaits.”
Silence hovered in the truck and I wasn't certain how to break it. Kerry was so nervous that I wondered if I'd bitten off more than I could chew on without choking. Then I saw her competent fingers reach out to trace the snapshot on my dash.
“That's my sister,” I supplied quietly and felt the familiar ache of separation. “She's my strength, my sanity and the best damn teacher I've ever had.”
It was a great shot. Janet had taken it when Art and Sam had walked in to find me unexpectedly visiting a couple Christmases ago. There was Art in her oh-so-serious fatigues and me in my wild gypsy clothes. Both of us grinning in stupefied delight as we hugged loosely. It was my favorite picture of the two of us.
“Damned if she doesn't look really familiar. You're close?”
“Very. She took me on as a ward when I was thirteen and she taught me the power of freedom and responsibility. It was rarely easy, but I think I turned out pretty good.”
“You miss her?”
It was as much a statement as question. A quick grin pulled an answering expression from Kerry. I liked making her smile, it was obvious she didn't do it enough. “Desperately. She's career Army and I'm still busy sowing my wild oats. We see each other when we can. Do you like dogs?”
That startled her slightly and the grin deepened. “They're okay, I guess. I've never had one.”
“Maybe you'll get to meet Cooper or Lucky. Art's MP-K9 corps and her dogs are amazing. Cooper was retired a couple of years ago, but she lives with the teen that adopted him, so she gets to be with him a lot. Here we are.” The comical double-take that startled over Kerry's face caught my attention away from the road for a moment. “What?”
++ Kerry ++
The shock rattled through me as memories matched up with the snapshot on the dash. “Wait-a-minute... I met an Art with dogs named Lucky and Cooper, at a commitment ceremony in Colorado.”
“When were you there?” Zo's shock wasn't feigned, I could see that. “Yes, Art's my sister. How the hell did I miss meeting you?”
“Kerry, I was there.”
My life had suddenly grown very strange. “You were?”
“Yep, came in the day after the ceremony. I was held up by school.”
“I had to leave early to get back here.”
“Freaky. We almost met back when.”
There was a strange look on Zo's face that said that she was faintly disturbed by the odd turn our lives and conversation had taken. I could sympathize. I had been on Kim's arm at the time and happily in love. The harsh memories of that loss still grated, but I shoved it aside. This delightful young woman was worth it. She smiled faintly when I touched her arm, feeling the muscles relaxed beneath the café a latte skin. “I'm rather glad that we met the way we did. I'm not sure I could have handled the awkwardness around friends and family.”
Zo actually laughed at that.
++ Zo ++
Ah, Jackson Park. I had loved this place from the first time I'd seen it and the fascination had never waned. It was an artist's paradise, always full of fun and company and entertainment. “You up for a bit of a walk?”
“My place is down the street a few blocks and the parking around here sucks.”
The neighborhood abruptly switched from funky to industrial. The locals had obviously been renovating this area for years and it was finally beginning to show. I loved it here and it was going to be hard to leave if that time came.
“You live here?”
“Don't sneer, Doctor Weaver,” I admonished gently. “This building is amazing. I'll show you around later.”
The security gate led into my familiar, cavernous parking garage. Only two of my six neighbors were in this fine evening. There was no chance for me to get Kerry's door, as she was out of the truck faster than I was. A quick glace around earned me a skeptical look. Kerry was so expressive. It was still quite hot and I admired Kerry's slim, muscled arms as she stripped off her overshirt. The silky purple camisole was extremely flattering and I was quite intrigued by her slender but strong physique. Visions of paint and light began to play out in my head. I knew Kerry Weaver would do wonderful things for my creativity.
I could hardly wait to hit the paint and canvas.
Grabbing the big backpack from the space behind my seat, I led the way back into the sunlight. Conversation was light and casual as we walked back to the park. My driven little doc kept getting ahead of me, crutch or no crutch, but it gave me a chance to watch her move and again appreciate the contrast that was so her. Without the obstruction of the lab coat, I could watch her awkward yet graceful stride.
At the park, I shot Kerry a significant look and she flushed and handed over the two tickets. There were only few spots left and I quickly commandeered a few square feet on one of the grassy tiers. “Wait, don't sit yet,” I instructed and she paused long enough for me to yank a blanket from the depths of the backpack. With a flick of the wrists, I gallantly offered my lady a place to sit. Kerry was pleased and carefully settled herself. “Egg salad, roast beef or turkey?” I asked casually and fished out all three kinds of sandwiches. Cooler-insulated backpacks were a wonderful thing. Picnic in hand, we settled in to enjoy 'Twelfth Night'.
++ Kerry ++
It didn't take much soul-searching to realize that this was the most fun I'd had in far too long. Fresh, solid food, good entertainment and the company of a beautiful and attentive young woman. Zo had been a treat so far; charming, complimentary, friendly and observant. My eyes were drawn over again to study the striking lines of her face in profile as they were lit by the faded sun. Certainly, she possessed physical beauty, but it went far deeper than that. Zo had an unexpected soothing effect on my battered soul and coaxed me into wanting to try again. There was something about her that awakened and soothed the beast inside me.
Zo was leaning up against the short wall that made up the tier behind us; one arm thrown negligently over a bent knee and the other stretched out behind me. I hadn't leaned up against the stone wall because I was still nervous about what was or wasn't happening between us. Curiosity and need got the best of me in the long run and I shifted back to lean up against the wall. Close enough to feel her body heat against my shoulder blades.
While Zo didn't move, I felt her attention shift to me for a long moment. Heart and hormones sang when her arm curled around my shoulders to tuck me up to her side. Oh yes…
Only torches lighted the amphitheater now, and they guttered in the lazy breeze. Normally, I would have been too cowardly to curl up with Zo like this, but God, she felt good! It was rare that I let my heart rule my head. Hell, I couldn't think of a time I had…
Except that first night I had let Kim in.
Into my heart, my soul, my body. They were so different, these two tall women that had shown me interest as a viable, attractive human being. More importantly, they had made me believe it. By her looks and personality, there was little doubt in my mind that Zo could have her choice in partners. Yet she had made her attraction plain, going to great lengths to reel me in. So I vowed to be more careful this time, more open and willing with my heart and body. All I could hope for was that she was all I wished she was. Ignoring the twinge in my right leg, I curled along Zo's side and rested my head on her shoulder. Unsure of what to do with my hand, the problem was solved when Zo captured my dangling fingers and pressed them to her firm abdominal muscles.
“Mmm hmmm,” I hummed dreamily, remembering making the same wordless response to Kim as I would watch her get ready for her day, my hungry eyes following every move…
That brought me up short as I suddenly realized that the pain of Kim's loss miraculously seemed to be lessening. Oh, I still ached inside for how badly it went wrong, for losing that first real love, but Zo's attention was beginning to heal those raw edges. The Shakespeare play, as good as it was, seemed far less interesting now and I shifted my head to look up at Zo's profile.
Night-dark eyes met mine and I felt the jolt like electricity down my spine. There was something so familiar about her... As though we'd met a hundred times before. I wanted her so badly that I was salivating. Literally! Close enough that our noses touched, I watched the firelight dance in her shadowed gaze. Unable and unwilling to resist her, I felt her breath on my lips, the soft brush of skin on skin. With that combination of gentleness and barely restrained energy so characteristic of her, Zo leaned into me, pressing me back against her arm, the pressure of that fine mouth increasing. Nearly panting with need and stimulation, I buried my hands in her magnificent hair and let her in. It was a tangle of lips and tongues, heat and wet. I dimly took note of something hard and mobile in the wet embrace, the banal part of me remembering the tongue ring. I was ready to straddle her leg and give myself to her, to hell with the few hundred people crowded around us!
Thunderous applause shattered the quiet evening and sent my BP soaring into orbit. For a brief, insane moment, I thought it was aimed at us and panicked. 'Twelfth Night' was over and the crowd was on their feet. Then the sting, high on my forehead, registered. Sure enough, Zo was clutching her face and blinking rapidly.
“Oh shit, Zo, I'm sorry,” I babbled and breathed a sigh of relief when the electric park lights suddenly blazed to life. “Let me see.” With practiced ease, I pushed her hands away and ran fingers over the defined planes of her face. She hissed a couple of times, but nothing was bleeding or out of place. “I didn't come out here to break your nose,” I teased softly and she smiled.
“Or to play doctor?”
I chuckled and felt a visceral thrill race through me at the suggestion behind those words.
Play doctor, indeed.