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The Advocate

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The Advocate

Elizabeth fixes up the cut on Romano's arm. He's bitter. She's tolerating it. Pretty standard stuff. "What's next? I could cut it while slicing a bagel and not realize it until I pass out from blood loss," he grumbles. "Or, maybe I could set the damn thing on fire." Easy, Rocket. Wait for May sweeps. Elizabeth tsks that he needs to be patient. "Yes, so everyone keeps telling me," he sighs. "Although none of us actually believe I'm even going to partially recover, do we." Elizabeth meets his toes but says nothing. "Do you believe in the laws of karma, Elizabeth?" he asks. "So I can be a jerk. So what? I've always been honest. Brutally honest. Bruised some egos, hurt some feelings, maybe provoked a few tears, but you know, honesty's a hell of a lot more than most people can claim." He pauses, staring at her sadly. "I don't deserve this," he says. This sucks. They made him stupid so they could lop off his arm, and then they turned the story into a tale of office politics, of all things. How terribly boring. Why is it that every story on this show feels like it's been sliced and diced?

Carter catches Abby outside on the way to her meeting. Their discourse is stilted until he finally stops and faces her. "You know, right?" he asks softly. She feigns ignorance. "That night at the restaurant, I had a ring. You knew that, right?" he adds. Abby looks down and shrugs that she figured he'd talk to her about it if he wanted to discuss it. She did not, probably, imagine that he'd stop her on the way to a meeting with her AA sponsor to tell her that he second-guessed spending his life with her. It seems Carter is something of an idiot. With difficulty, he explains that he didn't propose because it didn't feel right. "I don't know why, and I wish I did know why, but I think the fact that I didn't means that maybe there's something that isn't working," he finally admits. Abby stares at her shoes. "I get it," she says. "It's okay. I gotta go." And she does. Which is so typical of her -- rather than have a mature discussion, she just assumes it's over and adds one more mark to the grand He Loves Me Not tally that's she's made synonymous with her life.

Carter chases her. "Well, that's good. Maybe you can explain it to me, because I don't get it," he yells angrily. "I know that I show up at work and you act like a completely changed person, and I think that's great if that's real. The patch, the sponsor..." Abby jerks her head up. That is exactly the reason they don't work: he wants her to be different, and she's generally not ready for that. "'Real'?" she asks, narrowing her toes. "For real, for you. Or is this something that's going to get thrown out the window the next time something bad happens?" he shouts. "Because if you're trying to prove to me..." Abby gapes, "What? I didn't do it for you." Carter closes his mouth. "I woke up sick of myself, okay? And you're sick of me, and just...all of it. I don't blame you!" she adds with great self-pity. Carter spits that he doesn't understand how she hears that in his words. Personally, I think she heard it in the silence that replaced his proposal, and the fact that he just basically admitted that he thinks it'd be great if she changed. Carter's as enamored of his role as the put-upon boyfriend as Abby is her role as the put-upon toilet into which life takes a daily dump. "All I ever do is disappoint you. I feel like all I'm ever going to do is disappoint you," Abby wails. "STOP!" Carter screams. "Stop with this whole routine, this whole fatalistic, black cloud, 'nothing good is ever going to happen to me' routine." Also a good point. God, these two are such mopes. Abby shouts that it's not a routine, and tries to storm past him. He grabs her wrists and leans in to her face. "What do I have to do to get through to you?" he begs. Abby is silent. The unsaid words are that he could have proposed to her. He could have wanted her forever instead of just for now. Abby won't look at him, and so Carter stalks off past her and into his car, where he slaps the steering wheel in anguish because he sat down without unwadding his panties. Abby remains rigid for a few seconds, then continues toward her sponsor meeting.

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