Title: “Scared Straight: Waiting ”
Author: A.M. Glass
Copyright: Jan. 21st – Jan. 31st, 2003
Revised: Feb. 10th, 2003.
Spoilers: For “Scared Straight”, “Prisoner Exchange” and major spoilers for “The Perfect Storm”.
Disclaimer: Jordan Cavanaugh, Lisa Fromer, et al belong to Tim Kring, Tailwind Productions and NBC Studios. No copyright infringement is intended or inferred. The story along with any/all original characters are the sole property of the author and cannot be used without expressed permission first.
Pairing: Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh and Dr. Lisa Fromer.
Series Notes: This is the 10th story in the series, the first being “Easy”, followed by “The Call”, “All Yours”, “A Good Reason”, “The Invitation”, “Destination”, “If You Can’t Go...” , “Gone”, and “Interrupted.” This doesn’t follow the companion piece, “Love, Jordan,” however.
Author Notes: This story is what you might call a behind the scenes piece. It takes place during the episode, “The Perfect Storm”. After it had aired the idea for the story popped into my head, what if Jordan had tried to call Lisa to let her know what was happening... to tell anymore here would ruin the story. I was surprised at what happened during the episode and actually cursed my television set after a certain incident occurred. I hope that I’ve been able to bring certain a character to life to make them more human you might say.
Thanks: To Myra and Claire for taking the time to go over the story and pushing me to make it better, as well as staying true to Jordan’s character. At this present time I decided to go ahead and post the story without getting the file back from one of my other beta readers. As soon as I get it, I plan to combine it with the file(s) I’ve received.
Feedback: Would be nice.
I looked at the clock for the seventh time in the last two hours. I realized that it won’t make time go any faster, if anything, it seems to be moving slower, as if taunting me. Taunting me with the knowledge that all I’ve done since I last spoke with Jordan has been worry about her.
She called to tell me that she didn’t have much time, and that there was a... problem. I’ve heard different versions of Jordan’s voice since we’ve been together. I know when she’s happy, angry, upset, excited, surprised, and I can even tell when she’s scared. Something she doesn’t show much.
This was... different.
This wasn’t Jordan being self-assured... cocky.
I didn’t think - no, I knew I never wanted to hear that voice ever again. That was Jordan being petrified.
Before I had a chance to find out what the problem was, the line went dead. I redialed as soon as it happened silently praying that I’d be able to get through.
“Come on...come on,” I muttered as I waited. I slammed the receiver down.
Nothing - except an anonymous voice saying: “All circuits are busy, please hang up and try your call later.”
I couldn’t stand for that, not for one second. As soon as I’d hung up, I made my way to the front door, I reached out for my coat and it dawned on me.
As much as I wanted to leave and find Jordan I knew... I couldn’t.
I’d never make it to the end of my block before being caught in the blizzard. I never felt more helpless in my life, there was only one thing I could do, and that was wait.
* * * * * *
“Are you all right Jordan?” Elaine asked.
“Fine,” she replied, closing her cell phone. “Just fine.” Jordan turned to face Dr. Duchamps and gestured with her head, “How’s he doing?”
She watched as Elaine continued to wipe Dr. Winslow’s forehead in hopes of keeping him cool.
“As well as can be expected under the circumstances.”
Jordan nodded briefly. She looked down at her clenched hand and stared at the cell phone.
“Staring at it won’t make it work,” Elaine said softly.
“I know. I can’t help it,” Jordan sighed as she sat down.
There hadn’t been any word from Macy or the others as to a possible connection between Dr. Winslow and Lou, the security guard who had been found dead in the elevator.
Whatever the unknown agent was, Jordan had to admit that she had never seen anyone react as quickly to it as Winslow had. And as much as she wanted to stay focused on right now – on what was happening – what could be happening, her thoughts strayed to Lisa.
It wasn’t fair – they had only found each other, had passed the hurdles her uncertainty had caused, and now she was possibly living on borrowed time, without the benefit of being able to tell Lisa that she loved her.
“I know that look.”
“Excuse me?” Jordan replied as she looked up.
“The look on your face. I know it,” Elaine replied softly.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Of course you do, Jordan.”
“No. You look,” Elaine said as she stood up and moved around the autopsy table Dr. Winslow was resting on. “I may not have anyone at home waiting for me, but I did. And he’s the one I’d want to get in touch with,” she said as she walked closer to Jordan. “I’d do anything to tell him that I love him. But, your life is your business.”
Jordan knew Elaine was right. Elaine knew exactly what she was feeling at the moment. “I’m sorry.”
“You don’t say that much, do you Jordan?” Elaine asked with a knowing smile.
“No. Not really,” she answered smiling in return.
“You know, you can be quite amusing when you want to be,” Elaine said as she returned to her vigil at Dr. Winslow’s side.
Jordan kept smiling until she was drawn once again to her cell phone.
* * * * * *
“You’ve reached my voice mail...”
Lisa’s hopes were dashed she had actually thought she had gotten through.
“Please leave a message after the beep...”
Lisa wasn’t going to lose this chance to contact Jordan even if it was a voice mail.
“Jordan...it’s me, Lisa. I don’t know what’s going on right now, but please come home...don’t leave me...I...”
Lisa looked at the telephone receiver as it beeped. She had run out of time.
“God damn it!!”
She took the glass of water she had been drinking and threw it against the wall. She watched as it exploded sending water and shards of glass everywhere. Lisa knew she was probably over-reacting, that the problem Jordan was dealing with wasn’t as...
Life-threatening? as she made it out to be.
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes bringing a mental picture of Jordan into her mind. She smiled.
“You will come home – do you hear me Jordan?” Lisa said as she opened her eyes. “You belong with me...and...” tears began to form, “I love you. Don’t you leave me...I’ll...I’ll never forgive you if you do.”
Unable to keep the tears in check, Lisa sank to her knees and cried, while slowly rocking back and forth.
* * * * * *
Jordan entered Garrett’s office quietly – the soft glow from the candles placed all around gave the room a sense of warmth that seemed more appropriate for a romantic dinner for two than this.
Seeing him lying there shook her badly. One moment he was leading the effort to find out what kind of virus they were dealing with, the next, he was coughing up blood.
Now... now he was sleeping peacefully. ‘Could he be wondering if he’d ever wake-up again?’ she thought.
Would they all end up like Dr. Winslow, Lou, and now Garrett? Would anyone be left behind to tell their story?
To pass on last words?
Jordan could feel the letters she had written in her back pocket – just in case. Although it was somewhat fatalistic on her part, she felt better after writing them.
She had written not only Lisa but her father as well. She asked him to forgive her for leaving the way it appeared she might if they couldn’t figure out what the virus was.
She asked him to look in on Lisa for her.
Jordan and her father had had a long talk about her relationship with Lisa and, slowly but surely, he was reaching out. He always asked about her. Always extended a dinner invitation – which, to her deepest regret, they had not accepted.
Shaking her head she left Garrett and went looking for Bug. Perhaps he and Nigel had some new information to pass along.
* * * * * *
Lisa waited as the phone rang.
“It’s Lisa... Jordan’s... friend,” she hadn’t quite figured out how to define their relationship to Jordan’s father.
“How are you? Jordan’s not here if you’re looking for her,” he replied. “Is there something wrong?” he asked sensing her hesitation. “Is something wrong with Jordan?”
“I... I don’t know.”
“Wadda ya mean you don’t know? Is she hurt? Where is she?”
“Mr. Cavanaugh,” Lisa sighed, “Jordan called me earlier tonight...”
“There’s a problem at work...”
“What kind of problem?”
“The phone line went dead before I had a chance to find out.”
“All right... hold on for a second.”
Lisa could hear the sound of him opening a drawer, the rustling of paper before he got back on the phone.
“Gimme your address.”
“Your address. Give it to me, I’ll be right there.”
“Listen here, there is no way I’m going to let you sit by yourself any longer.”
“You’ll be caught in the storm...” Lisa told him.
“Let me worry about that.”
Lisa heard him sigh in the background.
“Lisa... do you love Jordan?”
“Very much,” she replied readily.
“Then how can I let someone – you – who loves my girl be alone at a time like this?”
Lisa wasn’t sure what to say, she truly hadn’t expected this reaction. She only wanted to tell him what was happening, something she knew she should have done earlier.
“Nah, don’t thank me... just... just be good to my girl. She’s all I have.”
“Good. Now, gimme your address.”
As Lisa gave Max Cavanaugh the information he wanted, she could glimpse a piece of Jordan’s character.
“Sit tight Lisa, I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
“Thank you Mr. Cavanaugh.”
“Call me Max.”
“Thank you... Max.”
As Lisa hung up the phone, she felt a sense of peace wash over her. She knew she wouldn’t be alone much longer.
* * * * * *
After the helicopter took Garrett and Dr. Winslow to the hospital, Jordan walked back down to the autopsy bay known as the crypt. The power had come on driving away the shadows of despair that had surrounded the entire staff during their isolation.
In the back of her mind, she hoped that the helicopter that had taken her two stricken colleagues away would return quickly for Bug. He wasn’t sure how long ago he had eaten the contaminated brownie, and time was of the essence.
That was at the back of her mind – what was at the forefront was the person lying on the autopsy table. It was always so different when you knew the person rather than a stranger off the street, regardless of the empathy she felt for them.
Taking a deep breath, Jordan slowly pulled the sheet down exposing Elaine’s face.
‘It just looks like she’s sleeping,’ she thought momentarily.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. She shook her head at the enormity of it all, as tears cascaded down her cheeks.
You weren’t supposed to die after eating a desert - a stupid brownie.
Jordan had moved passed the Pomeranz case and Elaine’s involvement with it. Tonight, in the desperate hours of their confinement, she had glimpsed a side of Elaine that she knew she would have never seen... or sought out on her own. Jordan sadly acknowledged that they were very similar in certain aspects, both striving for answers. Both guarded – not allowing anyone to get passed their barriers.
She had lost an opportunity to know Elaine better, to build upon their shared experiences this night had created. She would never know whom Elaine wished she could have called.
She angrily wiped at her tears before turning to face Nigel, “Yeah.”
“Why don’t you go home,” he said softly as he entered the crypt. “There’s a break in the storm,” he told her. “You may not get a chance later.” He looked down at Elaine and felt a sudden sadness well up in him. He had never really gotten to know her, but she was one of them. He knew it could have very well have been him lying there now. “I’ll look after her, you have my word,” he said as he looked at Jordan.
She nodded. Looking back at Elaine’s face one last time, she slowly brought the sheet back up, pausing to bend down and whisper: “Good-bye.”
* * * * * *
Lisa had just given Max a cup of coffee when they both stared at the television set. She had turned it on to get the latest information on the storm. She grabbed the remote and turned the volume up.
“Once again for those of you just tuning in. There have been unconfirmed reports coming from the Center for Disease Control that a virulent strain of E. Coli has hit the Medical Examiner’s office downtown...”
Lisa felt Max’s hand in hers, squeezing it.
“...reports are coming in that five or more people have been affected...”
Lisa’s vision began to dim. She could hear Jordan’s father’s voice as if through a tunnel.
“There are reports of two unconfirmed fatalities. We will get you more information as it becomes available.”
Two unconfirmed fatalities.
It was the only thing Lisa could hear.
Not like this.
She is alive.
As soon as the reporter had said, the M.E.’s office Max was on his feet. When Lisa failed to respond to his voice, he gently led her to the couch and sat her down, taking the remote control from her grasp.
He ran his hand through his hair. This wasn’t something he could fix. But he knew his kid... knew that Jordan was one of the lucky ones if the report was true, he could feel it. All he could do until she proved him right was to stick by Lisa.
* * * * * *
Jordan had every intention of getting into her car, braving the snowdrifts, and making her way to the hospital Garrett, Dr. Winslow and Bug had been taken.
As soon as she opened the car door and sat down, she spotted a strip of photographs – the kind you could get at any mall. She stared at the black and white pictures of Lisa and her.
Jordan remembered that Lisa hadn’t wanted to take any, but after a few minutes of telling Lisa in great detail what she would do if Lisa would agree to pose for them, Lisa had practically shoved her into the booth.
Starting the engine, she traced Lisa’s face with her fingertips. She knew where she had to go.
* * * * * *
Max had turned his head in the direction of the door as soon as he’d heard a key slip into the lock. He was already going towards it when it opened and Jordan stepped inside.
“Dad?” She wondered why he was here. Had something happened to Lisa?
“Jordan,” he called out as he brought her into his embrace. ‘Thank you God, thank you.’ he said silently as he hugged his daughter.
Jordan slowly returned the hug, feeling secure in his arms.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
She nodded her head, “I’m fine. Where’s Lisa?”
Max stepped aside allowing his daughter an unobstructed view of the living room.
“Lisa!?” she called out as she saw the blonde sitting there motionless.
“Dad... let go...” she tried to get around him.
“Listen to me, sweetheart,” he said as he placed both of his hands on her shoulders stopping her momentum. “Lisa... she’s been very worried about you. We heard a report on the television about what happened... she’s in shock Jordan. We didn’t know if... if you would make it home.”
Jordan looked deeply into her father’s eyes and could see the utter relief he must be feeling to see her, to be able to hold onto her.
“I have to go to her,” she said simply hoping her father would understand.
“I know. I’ll get my stuff and head out,” he replied as he removed his hands from her shoulders.
“Yeah Jordan,” he answered as he put on his coat.
“I love you... you know.”
“Yeah... I do,” he replied gruffly, his throat tight. “Call me later.”
Jordan watched as her father – her tower of strength - walked out the door. Turning her attention back to her... what? What label – and that’s all it was - a label that would define her relationship with this woman.
No. That would pigeonhole their relationship as purely sexual, at least to some people.
Girlfriend? Lisa was so much more than that.
A thought struck Jordan as she walked towards the couch. She sat down next to Lisa taking her hand and frowning at how cold it was.
On that rare occasion she happened to be home one evening, she had caught a television program, a fantasy show if she had to categorize it. What had drawn her to it was one of the characters, a red head, was discussing with her friends? the treatment recommended to take care of her girlfriend – a blonde.
She had said something about the blonde being her girl... her always. At first Jordan couldn’t believe someone had actually said that on television, what kind of writing was that and promptly changed the channel.
Now she knew exactly what the red head was talking about.
“Lisa,” she whispered. “Lise... it’s me, I’m home.”
Lisa sat quietly in her own world until a voice pierced her shroud of despair.
“Lise... it’s Jordan... please say something.”
She watched as Lisa slowly turned her head. Lisa blinked a few times, as if unsure of what she was seeing.
Lisa reached out and touched Jordan’s face.
It felt warm – it felt real.
Could it be?
Was she dreaming?
Jordan smiled broadly as she heard Lisa’s voice. “It’s me Lise...” Once again, she found herself wrapped in someone’s embrace.
“You’re here... you’re here,” she heard Lisa repeating.
“I’m home Lisa... I’m home.”
“I love you...”
“God, I love you, Lise...”
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