Title: Difficult Choices
Summary: Takes place directly after Love Is A Battlefield. What if Ray had decided to surprise Neela and witnessed the events that took place at the end of the episode? How would he respond? Who will Neela choose in the end, Ray or Simon? Ray/Neela/Simon triangle.
Author's Notes: I know this story will have a lot of angst ridden moments but I haven't decided whether or not to have Ray and Neela finally be together in the end and find somebody else for Simon, or vice versa. I have even thought of having Neela end up alone and the two men move on with somebody else besides her. Tell me what you think about the story or what direction you think I should go with this.
Disclaimer: The characters you recognize in this story all belong to John Wells Productions, NBC and Warner Bros. I'm just borrowing them for this story.
Ray had parked his car and was walking towards the ER entrance,with a dozen roses in his hand, when he saw Neela running from the building. He was getting ready to go and see if she was okay when Simon Brenner came running after her. He got close enough to hear their conversation and his heart broke when he heard Neela tell him that even though she didn't want to, she liked Simon and wanted to be with him.
The second Brenner pulled Neela to him and kissed her and Ray saw Neela respond, he turned around and started to walk back to his car. He moved to quick and one of his prosthetics hit a patch of snow, causing him to fall to the ground.
Neela and Simon both pulled away from each other and turned to where he was at. A look of embarassment came over her face when she saw it was Ray that had called out before concern over the fact he had fallen took over. She rushed over to him, with Simon right behind her, and knelt by his side touching his face where he had cut his chin when he hit the ground. When Ray shoved her hand away from him, Neela knew that he had heard what she said to Simon and witnessed them kissing.
"Stay the hell away from me, Neela. Call Morris, hell call Gates for all I care, I don't want you or your Aussie asshole anywhere near me!"
Simon, who had been staring at Ray's prosthetics which were visable, snapped out of his reverie and knelt down by Ray also. He could see the tears in Neela's eyes at Ray's words and knew that the other man had a piece of her heart as well. He wasn't just a friend to her like she had told Simon in November. He didn't know who she was lying to more, herself or him but Simon also knew the other man needed medical treatment. So he pulled out his cellphone and called inside the ER to get somebody to come outside and help.
Neela silently watched Ray as he stared at anything but her and she knew that she had just screwed up, big time. She saw a dozen red roses lying on the ground beside Ray and reached over to pick them up. When she did, Ray pulled the flowers away from her and threw them down the street. In that moment, she knew that he had been planning on giving them to her. Her heart broke at the pain she had just caused him all because of a dream that made her think she wanted Simon instead of Ray. In that moment, Neela wished she had never kissed Simon and told him she wanted to be with him, because it wasn't the complete truth.
Morris, Gates, Daria and Sam all rushed outside with a gurney. When Gates saw Ray on the ground and the looks of anger he was giving Neela and Simon, he knew that Mayday was doing the same crap she had pulled on him and Barnett two years before. Only this time it was Simon Brenner who was the third wheel instead of him or Neela's late husband, Michael. He saw that Morris and Sam had figured out what had happened as well. So he helped get Ray up onto the gurney and stayed behind as he was taken inside.
Neela was standing on the sidewalk with tears in her eyes, watching as the gurney was being pushed away, before she ran after it. Simon went to follow her but was stopped by Gates, who had grabbed him on the arm. The chilly look in the resident's eyes made Simon realize that this confrontation with Gates wasn't going to be pretty.
"Leave her the f*** alone! You are the last thing on her mind right now! Take my advice, don't let things get too serious with her because in the end, she always goes back to him."
"Back off, Gates!"
"No! Two years ago, I was in the same place you are right now and before it was over, a medical student got her heartbroken, Sarah's mother died, Ray lost his legs and Neela was almost killed.So before anybody else gets hurt, accept that whatever she told you just now was Neela doing what she does best, lying to herself about her feelings for Ray Barnett."
"She never told me he was a double amputee and that they were only friends. Although..."
"When I went to her apartment on Halloween and he was there she was very quick to get rid of me. In fact, Neela was very vocal about the fact that she didn't want me there and quick to tell me to leave. So why would she tell me the next week that they were only friends?"
"That's vintage Neela. She is very good at denying her feelings for someone. It also doesn't help that she started to fall for him while they were still roommates."
"They were roommates?"
"Yes and from everything Sam told me, Neela started to fall in love with Ray long before her husband was killed in Iraq. She moved out of their apartment and shut him out of her life, thinking it would make things better. All it did was cause more heartache and pain, especially when she moved on with me and like I told you in the end, there were no winners, only losers in the whole mess. She always goes back to him."
"She just told me she liked me and wanted to be with me. Although I thought I heard her say that she didn't want to like me or want to be with me. I have feelings for her, Tony, so I won't just back down and let him have her without a fight."
Gates shook his head in disgust before walking back inside without saying a word. Brenner followed him and saw Neela standing outside of exam 2, talking to Chuny, who was trying to comfort her. Ray was inside being treated by Morris and Laverne, the other man was very vocally telling them he wanted Neela to stay away from him. The anger and hurt in his eyes was apparant to everyone around him, even Simon who was standing close to admit.
He walked over to where Neela was standing and touched her gently on the arm. Simon was stunned when she threw his arm off her and glared at him. It reminded him of how she used to look at him before they had finally started to become friends.
"Leave me alone. I don't want you near me," Neela said, her tone completely different from earlier when he had kissed her. Ray coming back had changed things between them and he had a feeling that Gates was right. If it came down it and Neela had to choose between him and Ray, he wasn't going to win.
Simon walked out of the hospital, trying to get some air and wondered why he had to fall for a woman who's heart belonged to someone else. Even if she was too full of pride to admit it. He had finally met someone that made him want to stop being a womanizing sexist creep, to be a better man than he had been and she loved another man.
As he got on the El, Simon wondered how all of this was going to turn out. Who would Neela choose to be with or would Ray even want her after he had seen her kiss Simon and tell him she wanted to be with him. He had a feelings things were going to get a whole lot worse before they got better.
AN: Ray is pissed at Neela, Neela is angry with herself and Simon, who is struggling to understand why Neela is treating him the way she is. Who will Neela end up with? Who will she choose in the end? If it's Ray, can her forgive her for what he overheard her tell Simon? If it's Simon, can he get past the fact that he isn't the only man in her heart?