Part 4 by Vicki


Whispered words were spoken, tender moments captured. In the soft flicker of the surrounding candles and the gospel voices of the angels humming overhead, her future was no longer set and how could it be? She felt Luka's soft breath on her neck; the sweetness of it touched the side of her face. The moment immediately surrendered to the silence. Two naked bodies enveloped each other. His hand lay softly in her own, his touch gentle like a warm summer breeze. He wove his long fingers within hers and drowned his lips upon her lips for a deep kiss. She felt the essence of his simple beautiful being and the beating of his heart against her chest, and forgot her own name. Was this really happening? She had only known this man for 8 weeks and it had not always been good between them.

No longer were they friends. Tonight he touched her face with such a gentle grace and placed peace in her heart. Tonight they become lovers. Jude finally knew. Her prays finally answered. His precious soul cascaded through his eyes as she watched them close and felt the sweet taste of heaven from his lips.

Suddenly the dawn strip over Jude's face. Her tears began to fall afresh, it was her sadness crying. Her heartache ravaged through its own crisis. It had all been just a dream, perhaps even a nightmare because she was still too frightened to let another man in to her life. She wanted death to swallow her. She felt if dying meant keeping him from her heart than that is what she would allow it to mean.

Jude had been in Chicago over 8 weeks now and keeping her thoughts away from Luka Kovac was getting harder every day. She tried ignoring him at work but it was impossible, when Dr. Romano insisted Luka still watch over her.

Luka took her under his wing and they brought the best out of each other. Kerry often the mediator in their bickering. They made the smallest things in to full-scale war. Kept each other on the defensive. Jude had already had her spirit crushed, Luka his heart with the loss of his family, both sure they didn't want to go through it again, but both having a hard time trying to ignore the fact they affected each other like they did. He wondered why he let this woman slip into his heart, when he suffered through his own crisis. He thought about his wife and kids, their faces etched in his mind. Jude fought and struggled with the demons around her and with the ones in her memories and tried to not think about him.

Kerry banged on the bathroom door several times as Jude took a long hot shower. “Are you okay in there?” screamed Kerry. She wondered what had gotten her friend up so early when she was not due into work for another 4 hours.

“I'm fine,” yelled Jude. She didn't want to tell Kerry she couldn't sleep and hadn't properly in the last week.

“Okay. Coffee's hot. I'll see you at work.” She was on the early shift. She had no idea what was going on in Jude's life right now, and Jude didn't tell her. Saying it out aloud and telling someone made it more real, and it was not real, she wouldn't allow it. Doctor Kovac didn't exist in her life and she would do everything in her power to make sure he wasn’t. Be a bitch. Treat him badly. Pretend she didn't care what he thought or who he was. Argue back even when he already surrendered. Ignore him when she knew he was right.

“Okay. I'll see you there.” Jude stood in the hot shower and heard Kerry leave the apartment to go to work. She was pleased about the peace and quiet, not that Kerry made too much noise but she needed time to think and she needed to be alone to do it.

As she got out of the shower and wiped the steam from the mirror, she saw her naked body and remembered why she was so afraid. She stood looking at her chest and softly traced her fingers over the faded scars, one big one and several little ones. Instantly the happiness of where her life was right now drowned from her eyes and abandonment filled them. In a single moment, her once beloved father had betrayed her, and her life had stopped living.

She threw on her robe and went to the kitchen to get some coffee. She didn't want to think about it anymore. She changed her mind. She didn't want to think about anything, her past, her father, her life, or Luka Kovac.

**It was devastatingly cold. Jude Baker couldn't find any other way to describe her father’s attitude or his confession. She wondered if he had set out to hurt her on purpose. He reflected not even a glimpse of regret or guilt. The words fell from his lips so rehearsed and so harshly. Her mind tormented through them repeatedly. Her heart became divided at his actions. Half still loved him, the other half died. Her spirit tranquil within its own devastation. Her soul quivering. Each and all lost in the vast unknown of loneliness and alone. His decency and goodness faded and his cowardliness showed. Jude never imagined he could be so cruel and vicious, leaving her wounded and her emotions raw. She was five years old at the time, what did she know? **

Jude could already feel a migraine coming on and she had not even started work. She was thankful the morning had been a quiet one and she had time to catch up on her charts in the suture room that was not being used.

Luka wiped the name Kurt Owens, his chicken pox patient off the admit board and tried to find a room that was not being used to catch up on some sleep. The morning was quiet and he had pulled an all night shift, and didn't finish for another six hours.

“Jesus!” screeched Jude. He startled her as he stammered in to the room. “You scared the hell out of me.”

“Sorry. I didn't think anyone was in here.”

“And yet there is.” she jokingly admitted.

“I thought this would be a quiet place to sleep.”

“Night shift?” Luka nodded as he yawned. He took it upon himself to sit down on the spare seat. Jude had the bed covered in charts and reports, and just squeezed on with her legs crossed.

“You just get on?”

“A couple of hours ago.” She was embarrassed. She didn't know what to say to him. Her dream of the two of them together still so vivid in her mind. She wondered what he would think of her if she told him. He caught her staring.


“Nothing.” Damn, he caught her. She had to cut it out. What did she really know about him anyway? Voice deep and mesmerizing at times. Who was he? A man who had scars of his own. A doctor who gave to his patients and didn't expect anything in return. A man who listened and consoled when he could, and got passionately frustrated when he couldn't. He yawned again. He couldn't help it, he was so tired, and it took all his will to keep his eyes open.

Jude's smile couldn't be deterred. Luka loved how she smiled. “You should do that more often.”

“What's that?”

“Smile. It brings something out in your....” Jude feared where this conversation was going, Luka was glad it was going there. It was inevitable; she couldn't help but find herself lost in his eyes, when she sat looking at him, while he tried to explain to her what he meant. He circled his face with his hand, trying to show her. “I mean it brings something out in your face.” She had to look away. She couldn't stand it. His eyes burnt right through to her soul and touched places she had hidden away so long ago. “There's like a...sorrow there that's, it's beautiful.” They were both quiet, Jude worried, Luka cheeks flushed. He knew what he was saying was not coming out right, the expression on Jude's face told him so.

“Great.” She was angry. “I'm so glad my sorrow makes me beautiful to look at.” She was pissed off. He had seen it there, the sorrow she had hidden away years ago. If he had seen the sorrow, what else had he found there? Her heartache, her anguish, and the scars. Her feelings for him. She didn't want him to know any of it. Afraid if he did she would break.

“Come on Jude.”

“Come on what, Kovac?” She bit back and got off the bed.

“That's not what I meant.”

“Yeah well...” she struggled to find the words. “I don't really care.” Of course she did. She cared about what he thought. What he needed. His feelings. His life.

The past 8 weeks had gone so fast. So many faces. So many names. Patients in and out of their life's. Some saved and some were not. All her spare time was spent helping Michael recover from his trauma. His wound was healing nicely and his slight depression fading. Their conservation's heading towards prosthetic. It was a plan, one she and Michael strived for, one his mother welcomed, one Luka watched over.

“You sure about that?” He was smug. She was put off by his remark and his attitude. She hated herself for getting into this situation with him. She gathered up her charts and papers and headed to the door. He jumped off his chair and grabbed her arm, with no force or anger, just gentleness and passion and wanting.

“I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you.”

“You didn't.” she snapped at him. “And don't flatter yourself in ever thinking you could. Contrary to what you might think Kovac, what you do and the things you say, don't affect me one way or the other.”

“And yet your still leaving.” He shot back.

Bastard. She spoke no more words to him. The look on her face showed everything. He let go of her arm and watched her walk out, the door slamming behind her. She spoke to him in contempt but he saw what her eyes showed. He thought he had touched her soul. He hoped he had. She denied him everything of herself. She was not about to risk her feelings to a man she hardly knew and knowing him was something she just was not going to let happen now.

He fell back in the chair, exhausted, and it had nothing to do with work. The way this woman played on his mind was just too hard. Why was she doing this? Why was she pretending something just didn't happen between them, when he knew only too well it had done, and so did she? He saw it. Felt it. He didn't want to surrender to the emotional blizzard placed upon his heart by the touch of her warm flesh but he couldn't help it. He felt deep in his heart of hearts he didn’t want to give up on her, or being a part of her life.

Jude walked through the ER oblivious to all the people around her, lost in her own life, thinking her own thoughts, dealing with her own emotions, unaware his heart broke and his soul cried. He had lost his heart to her and he had let it easily be taken. He liked how they nursed the sick and injured together, and supported each other through the trying times. He liked the way she tried to hate him and couldn't. The way she allowed him to piss her off. The way she let him get to her. It was the principal of the thing and her pride and she would argue until the end of time itself that she was not interested in Luka Kovac no matter how nice he was. He liked how she called him Kovac when she didn't want him to see what she truly felt.

Luka wanted to ask her straight out. He wanted to know. He wanted to be with her away from work. Tell her his secrets and dreams. Hear hers. He wanted to protect her from harm and heartbreak. Did he have a chance? Was there a possibility they could be more than work associates? Friends? Lovers?

He sat restless and unsettled in the chair, remembering all the things of the past 8 weeks. He caught himself in her stubbornness; he strongly felt made her even more loving and lovable. He voluntarily lost himself in every part of her, her body, her soul, and her sweet being. He took care of patients with her, spent time going over charts and x-rays, making diagnosis, disagreeing with her when he thought she was wrong, apologized when she insisted he was. Luka embraced the sadness Jude endured when she held a crying man's hand in her own, while he watched his wife die. He breathed in the happiness Jude desperately held on to when she helped bring back from death a baby delivered with its cord around his throat. It warmed his heart when they talked about things that were important and those that weren't, sometimes in to the dawn of a new day, and it embodied his spirit when they stood and argued until neither could breathe about everything that life threw at them.

He sat thinking of her, wanting her, slowly drifting to sleep, dreaming of her, and hearing Dr. Romano yelling out his name.


“Allowing this to drag on will not win her favor, Kovac,” explained Robert. Luka had no idea what he was talking about. They stood in trauma room one looking at x-rays from a patient Luka sent up for surgery on his heart.

Dr. Robert Romano saw it. Most of the ER did too. Luka and Jude were the only two who were oblivious to it.

“What?” asked Luka.

“Jude. You drive this girl nuts because you like her.” Luka didn't know where this was coming from. He and Robert weren't exactly friends. Their relationship had been nothing more then employer and employee and now here Dr. Romano was discussing a patient's by-pass surgery and giving advice about women. “You keep chasing her out of the room, she will never see the guy you want her to see you are.” Robert had seen their meeting earlier through the window of the suture room.

“That's ridiculous.” He was not going to stand there and discuss his private life with a man who never showed an interest in anything but throwing his weight around.

“Fighting against her will not get you what you want.”

“I didn't get here by giving up on a good fight.”

“Maybe but Jude Baker hasn't been a part of your life before either, and I get the feeling, she's not the kind of person to back off from a few good rounds herself.”

Robert grabbed his x-rays and left Luka with his thoughts. He had no idea what his conversation with Dr. Romano meant and he didn't think about it too much, he had something else on his mind, and someone else.

Jude had a fighting will that matched his own. She was a woman who even when covered in blood and body fluid still came out smelling sweet, usually the scent of Vanilla. Her sweet laughter toyed with his soul. Her personality often disagreed with his and it was bound to, they were different from each other. Born in different times and places. Lived different lives. Survived through different tragedies, and in being different, they were somewhat the same. They were decent and kind to strangers who became patients. They were caring and giving to people who became friends, and they were scared and vulnerable to finding new love. Luka had lost his family, Jude her parents. Lovers and loved ones, soul mates and friends. All missed deeply and living in God's gentle place.


Time past, and the season changed. Snow veiled over the ground, and the brutal breeze froze anything in its path. Life in the ER was hectic as usual, patients caught by the sudden chill of winter, treated for pneumonia and the common cold. Dr. Kovac couldn't get his car to start again this morning. Time to trade in and get a new one he thought as the car pulling up alongside his, honked its horn. He knew the driver, a redheaded nurse from the hospital, Jenny Adams, ICU nurse, watched over Luka while he watched over Michael Barnett, and ignored Dr. Baker.

He sat in the warmth of her car, and felt a little embarrassed at her flirtations. He knew she liked him and he liked her but not in the same way. She was a nice girl, helpful and polite, but he knew deep down his feelings belonged to someone else.

Jude stood in the warmth of Magoo's waiting for her usual morning cup of coffee. Strong, black and very sweet is the way she liked it and they made just right every time. She caught a ride in with Kerry who was already up in a staff meeting that was supposed to go on for most of the day. Her own shift didn't start for another 10 minutes and she couldn't get through the day with out her first cup of coffee, if she missed it, she was a grouch.

Jenny pulled up alongside the curb, near the emergency ambulance bay, to let Luka out. She got out as well hoping for the chance to ask him out before he went inside. They stood in front of the car, wrapped warmly in the overcoats.

“Thank you for the ride.” said Luka. He appreciated her generosity on this cold freezing morning.

“Your welcome.” She was glad she could help. She would do anything for him if it meant making an impression. Jenny Adams often got what she wanted, when she wanted it, and Luka Kovac would be no exception. No challenge was too hard. Her tastes and treasures always exquisite and beautiful. She was both seductive and seducer. Trickster and teaser. Her vanity torrid. Her conniving schemes unspeakable. Her mind full of destructive thought and ruthless theory. She used and abused anything or anyone that got in her way. Jenny Adams stopped at nothing until she got what she wanted.

Jude sipped her hot coffee as the doctor she knew from Pediatrics held the door open for her as she walked out into the cold and slow falling snow. He was glad to obliged, and Jude smiled in appreciation. She stood on the sidewalk waiting for the car to pass and noticed a couple standing together across the street. A smile came to her face; it was a nice to see. Friend's making plans to meet for lunch perhaps. Lovers making plans for the future. She couldn't help but find herself staring, suddenly she recognized the woman, a nurse from upstairs, and from behind, he looked somewhat familiar. Jude adjusted her sight to the daylight, and through the light snow, she saw who she thought she did.

Jenny Adams was a calculating, manipulative young woman who got what she wanted, usually from Daddy, but no matter what she did or the games she played, Luka Kovac was going to be a lot harder to get then she anticipated.

“Maybe another time.” She was disappointed he didn't want to have dinner with her tonight. His excuse was he had to work, which was not exactly a lie; it just wasn't the truth either. He had hoped he would grab a bite to eat at Doc Magoo's with a doctor he had had dinner with two nights last week. Jenny didn’t need more than one guess to know who that happened to be.

In the corner of her eye, she saw Jude standing across the street, her eyes fixed on them, and in her sly and cunning, Jenny would make her impression. She leant forward and gently kissed Luka on the lips, he was a little taken aback. He didn't expect it. Jenny didn't care. He didn't kiss her back and he didn't need him to, Jenny got what she wanted.

“Is that Dr. Baker?” She knew damn well it was, “Standing across the street.” Luka looked across the street, and saw Jude standing there. Jenny was pleased with herself. Jude noticed them noticing her, checked both ways of the street, and crossed the road to go inside.

“Morning, Dr. Baker.” teased Jenny. She loved rubbing this woman the wrong way. She could honestly stand there and say she didn't like Jude Baker and Jude didn't like her, and neither woman cared the very least.

“Good morning.” said Jude, she was not going to let this woman get to her, not today.

“Yes it is, isn't it?” smiled Jenny. The smirk on her face couldn't be deterred. She had succeeded. Her plan had worked and Jude had seen it. Luka didn't say anything. He regretted accepting the ride from Jenny.

“If you say so.” Jude headed off inside, leaving Jenny feeling good about what she had succeeded in doing, and Luka confused. He liked Jenny but he didn't care about her the way he did for another young woman who had been a part of his life for the past 3 and a half months. Just because Jenny kissed him, didn't mean he would stop caring for Jude and give his heart instantly to another.

“I better let you get in,” said Jenny. Luka smiled in appreciation for the ride not the kiss. She got back into her car, and drove up to the car park to start her own shift, pleased with herself. Luka walked inside, dragging his feet, he looked as if he had the whole world on his shoulders. He shook of the snow from his coat and went into the doctor's lounge to change.

Jude was on the couch, changing her shoes. She didn't look up. In her stubbornness and hurt pride, she was not about to let what he did move her. She felt like throwing up. She hated herself for letting him make her feel this way. How could he? He meant nothing to her. He could go anywhere with anyone and do what he wanted. She had no say in his life or what he did and whom he chose to do it with.

“Morning.” whispered Luka. He was embarrassed. He didn't understand how Jude could cause so much calm and comfort to his heart and in the same instance set confusion and commotion in him. How could something so beautiful cause so much heartbreak? How could such a gentle soul he believed she was, inflict so much violence to him and his existence, just by sitting there pretending what she just witnessed didn't touch her?

“G’day.” In some way, she thought she had to be cold to stop him from seeing the truth. She would under no circumstances let him in.

He closed his locker, and threw on his white coat, and felt he needed to talk to her, explain what just happened. The moment between them awkward. Time momentarily still. The only things standing between them was the fear her father bred in her and another woman's kiss. He tried to find the words to say but nothing came out. She fidgeted in the chair; she wanted to know what he wanted from her and this moment. He stood watching her, just wanting to talk to her, spend time with her, and touch her.

“See you.” Jude got off the couch and rushed out of lounge, leaving Luka by himself. He could do nothing but render himself to her. He had chased her away with his stupidity. How could he have let Jenny kiss him the way she did when there was nothing between them? With foolish heart and weakened strength, he had let Jude walk out of the lounge and possibly his life. He prayed she was not gone too long.

Jude snatched the chart from Frank at the front desk, her first patient for the day, and felt stupid. She didn't care for this man but at the same time, she felt betrayed and used. How could he do this to her? What was he doing? Nothing except living his life as he was entitled to do and she had no right to judge him or think badly of him just because he kissed a woman. What did she feel? She didn't know too much about Luka and what she did know she kept telling herself she didn't like. What did she care? She didn't. She didn't allow herself to care about him or anything he did. Who was he? No one. A man she worked with, she worked with other men. Carter. Dr. Green. Malik. She allowed Luka to be no different. Why did seeing him with another woman affect her like this? She was not about to dwell on it, discarded him and her thoughts of the two of them together from her mind, and joined Lydia in exam room two to examine her patient. What was she feeling? Simple and plain jealousy. Why? She didn't know and didn't want to find out the answers to the questions that suddenly hammered repeatedly in her mind.


“What do you think?” asked Lydia quietly, so 8-year-old Thomas Crawley didn't hear their words.

“I think beating up a defensive little kid makes him feel good, the son of a bitch.” whispered Jude.

X-rays showed Thomas suffered two broken ribs, fractured wrist, and contusions to his lower back, chest, and upper arms. Jude and Lydia could tell he was hiding something but they didn't want to push him, and alienate him any further into his shell. His father's story of Thomas falling down the stairs just didn't seem right. Thomas's eyes showed the truth. He was scared of his father, almost petrified. They couldn't be sure but they thought the bruising around his left arm looked like finger marks. Thomas's father would insist he held Thomas too tight when he tried to check on the little boy's lifeless body at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for paramedics to arrive.

“Who do we like at Social Services for this?”

“Adele Neumann.” answered Lydia. “She's good with this kind of thing.”

“Call her.”

“You got it.”

Lydia headed to the front desk to call Adele, and Jude went back to check on Thomas. His father Scott sat in chairs, waiting, waiting, and still waiting.


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