part 8 by Vicki


Jude sat in the suture room, putting 12 sutures in Phil Portman's forehead, from a nasty gash he received after slipping on the snow, and was somewhat glad her talk with Kerry was over. She loved Kerry but still didn't want to talk about what she felt and thought.

Phil Portman was a businessman on his way home from work, when he slipped on the wet sidewalk, and was brought in by the doorman of his building. Jude cleaned his wound and numbed the area, and began putting the sutures in.

“Forget it, there is no way American football is more entertaining than Australian Rugby Union, please. You guys wear padding from head to toe, for crying out loud, we are nothing but body and skin man, body and skin.”

“Please!” ridiculed Mr. Portman.

“I'm serious Mr. Portman. American Football versus Australian Rugby Union, no competition.”

“We've got the best players in sport history, Abdul-Jabba, Aikman, Atwater?”

“Compared to my men? Their girls.” smiled Jude. She was kidding. She loved Aussie Rugby and didn't care much for the football, but she was teasing and Phil loved talking about his favorite sport.

“Get out of here!” pushed Phil. They were laughing at each other. He pushed her shoulder and she rolled away on her chair.

“I'm kidding. They are good players, but nothing can beat the Union,” hinted Jude. He was having suture's put in his head; he couldn't feel anything but he was having a good time. She kept her mind busy; just so, she didn't have to think about Luka, unaware he was searching the ER looking for her so they could talk.

“How about the hockey?” asked Mr. Portman.

“Don't even get me started,” joked Jude. She continued putting the rest of the sutures in Phil's head, as Luka saw them through the window of the trauma room. He saw she was with a patient, but he would interrupt, he needed to talk to her while his courage and faith were gathered all in the same place.

“Can I speak to for a second Dr. Baker?” pleaded Luka as he stood in the doorway. Jude was little surprised to see him.

“I'm with a patient right now.” Mr. Portman instantly felt the awkwardness between the two of them, on his forehead.

“Ouch.” sighed Mr. Portman.

“Sorry.” apologized Jude. She hated herself. Letting him affect her like this. For God's sake, he was just standing in the doorway.

“I need to finish Mr. Portman's sutures.”

“I'll wait,” insisted Luka. He was not going to make this easy for her. They were going to talk and that was all there was to it. He wanted to hear her say the words he felt in his heart. He needed to say the words he hoped she felt in hers. He longed to hear her kindred spirit that he often saw ricochet from her eyes. He paced back and forth in trauma room waiting for her, wondering when his someday with her begun. Jude continued Mr. Portman's sutures. Mr. Portman wished she didn't.

“I don't want to sound like a girl,” started Mr. Portman, “But you're hurting me.” Jude was upset.

“I'm sorry.”

“Look, why don't you go do your thing with this guy,” He nodded out to Luka, “And I'll wait.”

“That's okay, really, I'll be gentle, I promise.” She gently finished the remaining sutures, and stayed true to her word, Mr. Portman felt nothing else.

Bandaged, clear for release, with instructions in keeping the area clean, and appointment to have them taken out organized, Mr. Portman put on his coat, and scarf and was appreciative to the doctor, who had made the experience less painful with her conversation.

“Thanks Doc. I'll give you a call when I've got tickets to the Bears.”

“Your welcome and don't bother, I'll stick to the rugby. Take care of yourself.” wished Jude.

“I will, you too.” He nodded towards the trauma room where Luka still waited. She understood what he meant. Her smile one of thanks, his of understanding.

Jude took the deep breath she needed and braced herself to met the man who was about to change her life. Luka took the deep breath he needed and rejoiced in watching the woman he adored coming to him. He instantly saw his future right before his eyes



“You came to my apartment,” started Luka.

Think before you speak, thought Jude, or better yet don't say anything at all if you know what's going to come out will be stupid, “I wanted to talk to you about Thomas.” finished Jude.

He deserved respect and decency from her. He had been nothing but friendly and honest and she had treated him badly, and right now, she wouldn't beg for his forgiveness. She wasn't about to sacrifice anything to anyone, especially Luka. It meant more. It meant the difference between life and death. It meant living in the light of life and the torment of darkness, and she was tired of the shadow that covered her for so many days past, that she would continue to be nonchalant and detached from everything that was Luka Kovac.

“We both know that's not why you came.” She wanted to burst his inflated ego.

“Look, it's done okay. It's over. Thomas is safe. His old man is probably where he should be.”

Luka was a little surprised at her disrespect for human life. He didn't know anything of her past. He knew she had survived through torment but he didn't know the extent of which she had suffered. She appreciated life now, that of her own and of others, and sometimes she hated herself for feeling that in his death Scott Crawley got what he deserved. She saw the disappointment on Luka's face, “What now?”

“A man died, Jude.” She loved how he said her name.

“So what.” She yelled. Everything about her father came flooding back. She didn't need this in her life. “Why don't you take a good look at yourself before you judge anyone. You are not perfect. You've made your share of mistakes and you've disappointed plenty, I know.”

There were times when they made each other laugh, laughed until they cried. They made each other mad and drove each other crazy and then out of nowhere they did something special and giving. Finished the paperwork of a patient. Followed up on tests and test results. Covered shifts when something came up. Paid for dinner and train tickets. Walked home together, and walked to work. They formed a bond; both felt but would deny could ever be broken no matter the decision made, or the people that came into their lives, or the paths they chose to take.

“You are my responsibility.”

“Who says?” argued Jude. She was no one's anything, at least of all their responsibility. She looked after herself. Watched her back from trouble. Granted she relied on Kerry sometimes to help but she didn't need this guy telling her what he felt.

“Dr. Romano insisted I make sure no rules are broken, and that hospital staff play by them. I was the Attending and when a Resident breaks the rules, I...” These were not the words he wanted to say. He had let his temper get the better of him. He had let her voice, her eyes, her soul touch him. She always brought the best out of him, and she always brought out the worst in him.

**She was his North, and his South, His torment and storm, His escape and harmony, His shelter.

She was his fiber, and his blessing, His conceded and yearning, His character and dignity, His indifference.

She was his sanctuary, and his capture, His unrest and matter, His meaning and civil, His hand.

She was his canvas, and his maze, His labor and language, His river and shame, His searching.

She was his risk and his riot, His outcast and seasons, His calm and clever, His humble.

She was his insanity and his sane, His light and darkness, His life and death, His breath.

She was his sorrows and his sins, His worship and church, His goodwill and compass, His wings.

She was his keeper and his keepsake, His written and wrong, His pillar and petty, She was his core. **

“You’re what?” she cut in, “You're the Attending and I'm only the Resident but you know what, Kovac, just because you're the Attending that does not automatically make you God.”

He didn't want to be fighting with her. He wanted to take her into his arms. Be with her in every way. Friend. Lover. Soul mate. He loved how she let the smallest things touch her so deeply, and how in simply holding the hand of a child restored her faith in why she became a doctor. He adored how she pretended the gentle words of a wives love to her injured husband didn't affect her, and how that his own didn't either.

“Why do you always insist on pushing things to the line?” asked Luka.

“That's none of your business.”

“It is my business when it affects your work. Dr. Romano made you my responsibility,” She wished he'd get off this subject. She wondered how many times she had to tell him.

“I am no one's, made you, anything.” She was her own person. Free to do whatever she wanted when she wanted to, of course within the guidelines of the hospital and the state of Illinois.

They were both too opinionated for their own good. They were too much alike and that's why they didn't get on. “I am here to do a job and I do it well. I am not here to please you. You know, Kerry never judges me. Yeah I piss her off sometimes, but she finds a place in her professional life to support me no matter the right or the wrong, but that's just expecting too much from you, isn't it?” She was getting personal, and was not sure she should be going here.

“That's not what this is about. You came to my apartment because like me you know this is about something that's broken between us,” explained Luka. He had all these things he wanted to say and she was not hearing him.


“You and me.”

“For a thing to be broken between us there needs to be a thing, and there isn't a thing between us. You and me!” Jude had had enough. She had things to do and only a couple of hours left in her shift to do it in. She had things to do and running away from this was one of them. She slowly headed to the door of the suture room, to clean up, hoping to get away with her feelings intact and Luka not knowing how she really felt.

“Go ahead Jude, runaway,” bitched Luka. He tried everything to keep her there. He was tired of watching her walk away. He would do anything in his power, to keep her there. Talk to her. Get to know her better. Care for her and be cared by her. Take her body into his welcoming arms and just hold her. Nothing made sense to him in his life when she was near, and nothing made sense in his life when they were apart. Jude constantly drove him crazy but his heart fluttered when he saw her smile. Her sweet voice drifted him into dreams, and she was usually cursing at him and occasionally calling him names in Croatian, but they inhabited in his mind and lived in his heart.

“What do you know about it?” She was pissed off. She didn't runaway from anything. She walked away.

“I know that every time we get here, to this place, you won't take that step and, just let go.” Jude didn't need to hear this from Luka. He knew nothing about her and the more he pushed her the more she was determined to make sure he didn't know anything.

“Don't even try and pretend you know me because you don't. You don't know the first thing about me.

“That's because you won't let me in. I ask about your day. I ask about your life. Are there things you want? Things you'd like to do? Do you miss home? I think you're afraid to show me.”

She didn't want to get personal with him. She was afraid if she did, she would open up a part of herself that had been damaged and trampled like so many times before, and she conceded to the reality that she would never survive through it again. Heartbreak surely taking her to meet her mother in the heaven's gentle light.

“Show you what?” She threw her hands into the pockets of her pants, hoping Luka didn't see them shaking violently.

“Your life!”

“That's ridiculous!”

“Is it?” They were calm and silent. The moment intimate and intense. He noticed how she went silent when she needed to deal with life. Hers and that of others. He exulted in how the silence reflected such beauty and passion in her face. He often remembered life's sweetest delights. His wife's smile. He daughter's laugh, his son's tiny strong hand, and the beautiful eyes of the woman who stood before him today, and he desperately hoped to touch her deep within her breaking heart, and ask her to be his, always. “You twist and tangle everything so that in the end I know nothing.”

“I am not going to stand here and listen to this from you, because when it comes down to it, we're strangers you and I.”

“We've known each other almost 5 months.”

Jude laughed. She couldn't help herself. “Doesn't mean you know me.”

He wished it did. He wished he were closer to her than her closest friend. Someone who was there until the end. He wished he could celebrate the good times with her, and guide her through the hard moments. He wished that what he did stirred her deeper than the deepest ocean. He wished she would let him fight, bled, and voluntarily lay down his life for her. He ached to take her to a place that became their secret hiding spot, where they existed only for each other, where they shared their secrets and joys, their love and dreams, where babies would be conceived, time would pass, seasons too, and their love, would always remain.

Kerry knew something was going on between them. She didn't mention it to Jude, knowing she would deny it to the ends of the earth. Kerry felt that maybe they needed to emotionally beat each other up, so they could get past whatever was going on between them. Maybe they needed to cross the line to find each other and their feelings for one another.

“Your absolutely right.” exclaimed Luka. His feelings were lost within his love for her. He had so much more to say to her. To tell her, and he opened his mouth to speak the words he hoped would allow him the woman he cared for but they were not spoken.


“Lizzie Madsen, 15 year old, auto versus pedestrian.” yelled Doris, as she pushed in Lizzie Madsen, a 15-year-old girl on the gurney with her partner, into the trauma room.

“Okay on my count, nice and easy,” ordered Dr. Carter, “One. Two. Three. Lizzie can you tell me where you are?” asked Dr. Carter. Lizzie responded to his question with difficulty. Dr. Carter assessed his patient, and noticed her skin color was pale and her hands and feet were cool to the touch. Haleh and Lydia took her vitals and yelled them over Lizzie's crying.

“The right side of her back near the bottom of her ribs is pretty badly bruised. The left leg at the thigh is swollen,” described Doris. Doris and her partner grabbed their stuff and left them to it.

Dr. Kovac and Dr. Baker stood, watching each other, wanting, and needing. Dr. Carter needed their assistance.

“Can I have hand over here?” wailed Carter. Jude rushed over to help Carter. Any excuse so she didn't need to deal with what she needed to with Luka. Luka watched them run the trauma; disappointed things had not gone to plan. He feared he would never have her in his life the way he wanted. He feared what not having her in his life would do to him.

“What have we got, John?” asked Jude. Ignoring Luka as he depressingly strolled out of the ER. She watched him walk down the corridor, his shoulders round, his head down, his brow haggard, only half hearing Carter's description of the trauma that lay in front of her.

“BP 76 over 62, heart rate 140, respirations 22.” relayed Haleh. Jude was too preoccupied with Luka, and Haleh noticed, “Dr. Baker?”

“What, yes.” Jude jolted back into the trauma, her mind distracted from the man who walked away from her. “Let's get a CBC, chem. 7, chest film and CT scan, let's type, and cross match, get some o. neg. in here.” Jude helped Carter with his patient, treated her two broken ribs, and dislocated leg. She didn't have a skull fracture and her heart and lungs look normal by x-ray. When they checked her urine, it contained a small amount of blood. The ultrasound indicated a small tear in her left kidney. They paged Dr. Benton, stabilized her vitals, and got Lizzie in to surgery.

She was glad for the distraction from her life and the things she needed to deal with. Having someone suffer so she would be distracted was the last thing she wanted, but deep down she knew she would take anything she could get if it meant she didn't have to face Luka and her feelings for him.

She felt she had made a fool of herself. Turning up at his door like that, expecting him to be alone. He was a good looking man, funny sometimes, caring and gentle, pigheaded occasionally but attractive to women anyway, and in her anticipation and eagerness she forgot that or perhaps ignored it, and hoped she was the only woman in his life, but she wasn't and neither was Jenny Adams.


Luka sunk into the booth at Doc Magoo's, his hot coffee steaming on the table, and lost his thoughts in the day he saw pass before him. The snowflakes fell softly over Chicago, and Luka watched them from the window. Memories of his wife and children suddenly filled his heart. How he missed them. He had come so far in his life in only the last few years. A new city. A new hospital. A new love. He knew he would always love his wife and kids and remember them dearly but his thoughts couldn't be deterred from another woman, who he hoped would share with him his past, and the future to come. His moments of good and bad. He felt if she was the woman, he believed her to be, she would embrace them as if they were her own. Rejoice in the smiles, comfort the tears, argue for what she believed in, and graciously give in when she was wrong.

He finished the last of his cold coffee, paid his bill, and decided to walk home. It was a good distance but he needed to think. He didn't want to stop fighting for this woman. He cared about her too much just to let her slip away, but in his friendliness for another woman, he made a mistake. Jenny Adams meant nothing to him, Jude did. Jenny Adams would give him anything he wanted if he wanted it. Jude, he thought would too sometimes and then there where other times when he knew she wouldn't, and now Jenny Adams was the furthest thing from his mind, as Jude still mentally tortured him, on his way home.


Luka took the last corner that would lead him to his apartment and knew life could be cruel sometimes. His wife, his children. He never stopped loving them, and in loving them, he found a reason to go on living. In sharing his life with them for as long as he did, and experiencing their pleasures and passion, he found reasons to get on with his life. In being blessed with such beautiful people in his life, he knew they would want him to be happy, to experience love again, to smile and laugh like he once did, and as he crossed the street that would lead him home, he thanked them from within his appreciative heart for their special gift.

Jude jumped up from the step of the stairs that led into Luka's apartment building. She saw him coming across the street lost in his thoughts, as beautiful as she always remembered him to be. She stood scared to death of where the next few seconds of her life was about to go. Luka stood in the middle of the street; terrified he wouldn't be given the chance to go there with her.

Time stood still. Their eyes locked within their love for each other. Their hearts entwined. A passing car tooted its horn at Luka, instantly thrown back into life; he walked slowly off the street on to the sidewalk, and stopped in front of Jude. They came face to face. She needed to stand up an extra few steps to meet his fixed gaze, but she didn't mind and neither did he.

Eyes fixed. Breath held. Love flowing. Two gentle souls immediately came together. Jude had finally taken the risk, knowing deep in her heart of hearts Luka Kovac was worth taking the risk for. Her love for him had guided her home. This was not a dream. He melted her heart with his smile.

“What are you doing here?” whispered Luka. He didn't want to frighten her away. Not this time. This time she would stay, always.

“You were right. I only think of myself, and I've got to stop doing that. There are usually other people involved and it's unfair of me to always be putting them into the situation.” This was emotionally killing her. She could not bear thinking about losing him now, or living her life without him being apart of it. Fear had ruled her life for so long, it's how she thought living was meant to be. Afraid to open her heart. Terrified of allowing someone to touch her deep within her soul, “And I know better, and I shouldn't have...I mean I...” She couldn't go on.

“It's not that hard, is it?” asked Luka.

“You can't even begin to imagine,” murmured Jude, and he couldn't. She wanted to tell him she was sorry for all the things that had been said and done. She wanted to show how she longed for him in her heart, and how deeply she loved him in her soul.

“You want to come inside?”

Jude didn't have to think too long. She already knew the answer. She would go anywhere with him. Suddenly all her fears, questions, and doubts just didn't measure up against the love she felt for Luka Kovac.


to part 9

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