Title: Conflict of Interest
Disclaimer: All characters belong to the powers that be at Warner Bros.
Rating: Somewhere between PG 13 and NC 17
Summary: An exhausted Abby, in surgical rotation, is called on the carpet by Elizabeth for an avoidable mistake made in the OR earlier in the day. Emotions run high with interesting results.
Spoiler or Other Information: First attempt at ER. This is the result of a challenge from The Raven. She provided me with the guidelines, the paring and the scenario and this is what came out of it. The challenge was to write 3 to 5 pages in 90 minutes or less. It was…educational and, most of all, fun.
Archive: Only with permission from the author.
I had very high hopes for Abby. I still do and I certainly wasn’t looking forward to having to reprimand her for a situation that could have been devastating for the patient as well as for County General. Instinctively knowing it was not neglect but a time and fatigue issue that caused the incident to occur and having been in Abby’s shoes, I was certainly aware of how such things could happen. Still, it needed to be addressed.
Even the rapping of her knuckles on the door sounded tired. “Come in,” I stated, elevating my voice, so that it could be heard through the old, rotting wood. Abby entered, closing the door behind her. She took three slow steps and stood before my desk, shoving her hands into the pockets of her lab coat.
“You wanted to see me?”
There was already a defensive edge in her tone, a defiant set in her jaw before I could even open my mouth. Rocking slightly back and forth on her heels, her eyes narrowed in suspicion and her lips closed in their normal pout – something I had always secretly found quite appealing. In fact, there was something about Abby, period, that I found myself quite unexplainably drawn to…that delicate balance between strong and vulnerable, innocent and jaded, stoic and passionate. Shaking those thoughts from my already overloaded brain, I gestured for her to take a seat.
“No, thanks, I’ll stand. I’m afraid if I sit down, I won’t get back up.”
“Abby,” I began, in my best professional timbre, “this morning, the boy with the gun shot wound –“
“The thirteen year old, the one with Aplastic Anemia, what about him?” I looked up, noticing her stance had steadied and her body language was much more obstinate.
“We made a regrettable mistake during his surgery…” I looked down at the file and surgical chart laid before me on my desk.
“What’s this ‘we’ shit, Dr. Corday? I don’t remember you up in the OR, frantically trying to transfuse this kid with platelets, so he wouldn’t bleed out right in front of us.” The contempt in her voice set my teeth on edge. I bit my lip and blamed it on her exhaustion. Surgical rotation did have that effect on doctors – especially doctors in training.
“It’s the platelet issue that bears discussing, Abby. The platelets you ordered and that were transfused into the Roberts boy this morning were CMV positive. Jay Roberts is CMV negative.”
“Elizabeth! I saved this kids life! It was insane up there and they started the platelets in the ER, we just continued them in the OR –“
“Yes and it was your responsibility to make sure the platelets were checked before they were put into the patient! Now, this boy, who has this horrible disease will have to wait to see whether or not his condition has been possibly fatally complicated by this mistake!”
Abby stepped menacingly closer to me and slammed her hands down on the messy blotter that covered the hard oak desk that came between us. Her aggression startled me momentarily. “Elizabeth! I have had no sleep – not even a nap – in two and a half days! Weren’t you the one who went before a committee and begged them to change the unrealistic rotation schedules of residents and interns? And now you’re coming down on me for not noticing a plus or minus symbol on a bag the size of a change purse when I saved that kid’s life?!”
I angrily stood up and rounded my desk, walking over to the door and locking it. I did not want to be interrupted in my journey up one side of her and down the other. I quickly moved back so that I was in front of her. I had meant to keep my cool but she was pushing my buttons and she knew it. Come to think of it, she had the knack to push my buttons often…but that was one of the things I so adored about her. She was never afraid to challenge me. However, at this particular moment, adore is not the word I would use to describe my feelings about her. “That little plus or minus sign, however insignificant to you in the grand scheme of things, may mean life or death to a patient with Aplastic Anemia!! Great, you saved him from the GSW! Except now you may have killed him by putting a blood virus in his already immunosupressed system!!! This is what being a doctor is, Abby, dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s!! Now we wait to find out whether we have infected his blood with cytomegliovirus. If we have, we have given him an eventual death sentence and his parents will sue not only the hospital but you, as well, because you were in charge!!!”
“I’m sorry!!! I’m sorry that I am not perfect like the great Elizabeth Corday!! Who has obviously never made a mistake in her career!! Oh, wait – I know that’s not true…”
“WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT ME, DR. LOCKHART!!” I hadn’t realized not only how loud we were but how close we were. We were toe to toe and I could feel her breath on my face with every word she spat at me.
“Right, right,” she nodded, almost laughing in frustration and sarcasm, “do as I say, not as I do!! Why don’t you have that embroidered on your scrubs, Dr. Perfect??!!”
Now, she had crossed a line. I was so incensed, I wasn’t sure I could find the proper words to respond. “Oh, piss off, Abby!!” Well…those weren’t it.
“Fuck you, Elizabeth!”
The sudden silence in the room was deafening as we stood mere inches from each other, glaring. I don’t remember the exact second the hostility became unbridled passion. What I do remember, that surprised me immensely, I was not the one who made the first move.
Leaning into me roughly, Abby smashed her lips into mine, almost feeling like a punch. Shocked, but only by her being the aggressor instead of me, the force of her kiss propelled us backward two steps. I realized that I wanted this to happen but not like this. I finally mustered the strength to move my face from hers.
“Abby…Abby…stop. Stop.” My commands were breathy but quietly firm. She bowed her head in obvious embarrassment, and attempted to take a step backward, away from me. I locked my arms behind her back, halting her mid-step.
As her face lifted, she surveyed my arms around her waist, slowly looking up to meet my eyes. “I…I don’t know what came over me. I’m sorry, Elizabeth…”
“I’m not,” I admitted to her, honestly. She studied me, questioningly, but allowed me to gently, softly, touch my lips to hers. She responded slowly, as if she really couldn’t believe this was happening between us but then she became much more confident and assertive in her actions.
Pushing me a few more steps backward until my back was against the wall, I was getting lost in her kisses. There was strength in the tenderness of her touch. Abby was a woman whose passions were motivated by want and need, as were my own, and I believed that in the privacy of her own conscience, gender was never an issue when it came to intimacy.
Our kissing and touching was becoming more urgent and the thought of what we were doing, in my office, was a huge turn on to me, knowing that, even though the door was locked, our colleagues were right outside going on with their day, oblivious to what was occurring behind that door. The actions of our lips, tongues and hands were becoming a blur of movement and new sensations. Had I known the creative Dr. Lockhart was quite this adept at pleasing a female and meeting her needs, I would have found something to discipline her about sooner. I found my body responding to her instinctively and she freely explored areas that had been long ignored. Not since I had experimented and hooked up with a very experienced female flat mate in medical school, did I feel this satisfied and uninhibited. I was leaning against the wall for support, my eyes recording her every movement, trying not to moan too loudly (after all, the walls were thinner than necessary), Abby untied my scrub pants and pulled them down with her as she fell to her knees.
I still don’t know how it all happened and how everything got so out of control so quickly. When we were finished, we laid on my couch, Abby beneath me. We were both still breathing harder than we should have been. She was the first to speak.
“Well…that was…educational…” she commented, her tone hovering between embarrassed and amused. “Now what?”
I studied every inch of her impishly beautiful face and kissed her softly before I answered. “The million dollar question, eh?” I sat up and began pulling my scrubs on. Abby slid around me and did the same. “Are you sorry it happened?”
She snapped her head in my direction, scooted closer and kissed me in a manner that almost made the room start spinning again. “No. Sorry is the last thing I am. You?”
“Abby, I’ve had my eye on you for a while now.” I laughed when she smiled, blushed and looked away.
I pushed her and she grinned wider. I looked down at the floor and back at her. “It was everything I had fantasized it would be…save the accommodations, of course. But we both know this can’t happen again, right?”
We stared at each other meaningfully and she nodded. “I know. And I know it needs to remain between us – God forbid we get recruited into Kerry Weaver’s sewing circle…”
Speak of the devil and she interrupts. There was a loud knock on the door and we both heard, “Elizabeth? The Sexual Harassment Committee meeting is in five minutes…are you coming?”
“I was ten minutes ago,” I mumbled to Abby, who cupped her hand over her mouth to stifle her chuckling. I finished dressing and stood up. Leaning over, I lightly kissed Abby’s cheek. “Consider yourself spanked and punished,” I whispered in her ear, as she exited my office and I walked to my private bathroom to clean up before my meeting.
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