Hope and Fear
part 11 by Jen
Luka stumbled home from the park. By the time he reached his apartment he was nauseous. What had he said, he couldnt even remember everything he said, all he could remember was that he said they wouldnt have to rape her, she was always so eager, but of course they had raped her. It hadnt been in Spain, she had told him in such a way to be sure that he would believe that, but of course it hadnt been in Spain thats why she never spoke of it. It had been in Serbia, and she had protected him from the knowledge that they had raped the only other woman hed ever loved, too. Protecting him when it should have been the other way around. He threw up in the kitchen sink because the bathroom was too far away. Then he went to the bathroom to take a shower and he threw up there, too.
He slumped in the chair where he had curled with Anna in his lap the night before and foolishly turned down her advances. He had thought they had all the time in the world. What have I done, he thought? How did this happen? This morning he had woken up with Anna in his arms, frustratingly scrub bottomed and tee shirted, and he had fully expected to fall asleep tonight with her in his arms again, this time naked and flush from making love. Instead he was slumped in a chair, alone, wondering, what have I done? Morning found him there thinking, what have I done? He dragged himself out of the chair, stood under the shower until it scalded him, drank black coffee, and rode the train to work, hoping and fearing that he would see Anna. He didnt.
He walked through his days in a fog. He started picking up extra shifts at the hospital again, causing Mark look at him sideways. Everything okay, Luka?
Luka brushed him off. Fine.
Bullshit, Luka. That bruised look around his eyes was back.
Im fine, Mark.
At night hed lie on his back with his feet on the wall to rest his back and pick up the cordless phone and dial the first few numbers and stop. Who am I kidding? She wont talk to me. What would I say? What could I possibly say to her? This isnt like before, I cant just show up at the coffee shop and apologize for this. Theres no apologizing for this. Ive ruined everything. He couldnt sleep. When he closed his eyes he saw her shocked and pale face staring back at him. Even Marija seemed to scowl at him.
Every day it was the same. Luka would haul himself out of bed, stand under the shower until it scalded him, drink black coffee, and ride the train to work, hoping and fearing that he would see Anna. He never did. Everything okay, Luka? Fine. Luka, talk to me. Im fine Mark. You dont look fine. Im *fine* Mark.
He stalked the ER like a thundercloud. Except for Mark the staff steered clear of him. His entry into the lounge for a cup of coffee cleared the room. Even Malucci seemed to sense he was in no joking mood and worked with him swiftly and quietly, saving his jokes for Abby. The nurses secretly jockeyed to be on whatever trauma Kovac hadnt caught. Benton gave him a wide berth and Kerry observed him watchfully out of the corner of her eye.
At the end of a long day Luka was shrugging into his coat to head home when Abby nervously stuck her head in the lounge. As med student and eternal low post on the totem pole shed drawn duty to find Kovac. Dr. Kovac? she said softly. We have three GSWs coming in. Dr. Weaver told me to catch you before you left. She needs you to stay, she finished apologetically.
Luka sighed. Im coming, he whispered. Why not? What else am I going to do but go home alone? He leaned against the lockers and admitted for a minute how weary he was. He closed his eyes and thought he could cat nap for just a minute, here on his feet.
Dr. Kovac? Abby had stepped inside and was approaching him. She couldnt tell if he had heard her. We have three GSWs coming in? Dr. Weaver needs you?
I said Im coming! he shouted and slammed his locker door so hard it bounced back open. Abby jumped and backed away from him. She was small and white and pale and afraid, and looked just like Anna had looked. Luka brought himself up short. Im sorry, Anna. Im sorry for yelling at you like that. He took a deep breath. Tell Dr. Weaver Im on my way. Im losing my mind, he thought as he watched Abby scurry away from him with a question mark in her face.
Every day it was the same. Luka would haul himself out of bed, stand under the shower until it scalded him, drink black coffee, and ride the train to work, hoping and fearing that he would see Anna. He never did. You okay, Luka. Fine Mark. Yeah, well you scared the shit out of Abby yesterday. And you called her Anna.
Lukas head jerked up. What?
She said you called her Anna. Luka. Whats going on? Come on, man, talk to me.
Luka sighed. Its nothing, Mark. Ill apologize to Abby again.
Its not about that, Abbyll be fine. How about you?
Its nothing, Mark.
Its nothing, Mark.
Mark sighed. He was getting nowhere.
That night on the El Elizabeth tapped Marks arm. Is that Anna, Mark? Lukas Anna? By the door?
Mark looked down the length of the car. Yeah, I think it is.
Good lord, Mark, she looks worse than he does! Elizabeth turned to him. What happened? Are you going to talk to him? I like her, Mark, and I like Luka with her. Are you going to talk to him?
Mark sighed in exasperation. Ive tried, Elizabeth. He wont have it.
Well try again, Mark.
He wont hear of it, Elizabeth. I bug him every day. Hes getting to hate the sight of me. Why dont you try?
Oh, very funny, Mark.
Im serious, Elizabeth. Maybe it would be better. Ive been bugging him for a couple of weeks already and hes not going to talk to me. Besides, maybe hed feel better talking to a woman, I dont know. You might as well try, Elizabeth. Im telling you, he wont talk to me.
The next day Elizabeth approached Luka in the lounge. Luka?
He looked up.
If you have a minute today, could you see me upstairs?
Luka wrinkled his forehead. What is it, Elizabeth?
Oh, alright. Ill try to get free.
Luka used what could have been an actual lunch break to knock on Elizabeths door.
Luka! She hadnt really expected him to show up. Come in. Shut the door, Luka. She took a deep breath and dived right in. I dont mean to pry, Luka, but Im going to pry. I saw Anna on the train yesterday.
You did? Luka looked up. Did you talk to her? What did she say? How does she look? he asked eagerly.
I didnt talk to her, Luka. But she looked awful. Just like you do. Luka, is there something I can do, or Mark? Wont you talk to us, Luka?
Luka shrugged. Whats to say, Elizabeth? I ruined everything.
Elizabeth sighed. Luka. What happened? You do tend to be hard on yourself, you know. It cant be as bad as all that.
Luka let out a short laugh. Oh, trust me Elizabeth, its as bad as all that. I said unforgivable things.
Luka. Unforgivable? Thats a pretty strong word. Did you talk to Anna? Wont she talk to you?
I cant face her, Elizabeth. I said horrible things.
What do you mean you cant face her? You mean you havent even tried!? Youre scowling around here like the grim reaper making everybody miserable, scaring the hell out of the nurses and yelling at poor Abby and YOU HAVENT EVEN TRIED?! Oh for the love of god Luka youre insufferable!
Luka dropped his head. You dont understand, Elizabeth. I said horrible things.
Everybody says things they dont mean when theyre fighting, Luka. Annas a big girl, Im sure she knows that.
Luka stared at his feet. I called her a whore, I didnt use that word but I made sure she knew what I meant, and I asked if she enjoyed sleeping with the men who raped my wife. I said unforgivable things, Elizabeth, and I ruined everything and will you tell Mark to please stop asking how Im doing every morning before I kill him?
Elizabeth stared. I should slap you on her behalf Luka, she finally said.
I wish you would. It would be the start of what I deserve at least.
Luka, the only thing that could make you more insufferable right now is if you start getting a martyr complex. Youre right, you sure screwed up, Luka. But I think its high time you figure out how youre going to deal with it. You cant go on moping around like this.
I know I ruined things, Elizabeth. Why do you think I look like this? I know I did.
So fine. Now do something about it. The way I see it you have exactly two choices. You need to either admit that you messed up and give up and move on and stop making everybody around you so miserable or you need to go throw yourself at Annas feet and beg her to forgive you. Either way, Luka, I think its time you grow up and take responsibility instead of storming around like a miserable fifteen year old angry at the whole rotten unjust world.
She was right. He had to do something, either give up completely or try completely but this middle ground was killing him.
Would you want to see me? Would you forgive me, Elizabeth?
No, Luka, I wouldnt. Elizabeth watched his face fall, if were even possible to fall further. But Ive seen her with you and that girls in love with you, Luka. Maybe she will. If you throw yourself at her feet and beg her to forgive you, maybe she will. You might as well try, Luka. Youve nothing to lose. You never know. People do such unexpected things when theyre in love, dont they?
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