Dear Abby

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Dear Abby

Elizabeth finishes up a few things at the front desk before taking off for the night. She's wearing a horrible blue shirt that looks like Laura Ingalls Wilder cut the sleeves off one of her prairie dresses. "Burning the midnight oil?" Romano asks, pleasantly. "Not if I can help it! How are you doing?" she asks. "Well, thanks," he replies gruffly.

Dr. Diego intrudes on this moment, making Romano the meat in his sandwich with Elizabeth. "Is this where the cool kids hang out?" Diego asks. "Not if we can help it," Elizabeth grins. Romano takes one look at Diego and slowly backs away; Diego and Elizabeth waste no time closing the physical gap his departure left. Diego flirts outrageously with Elizabeth about how she owes him one. "What do you want?" she asks, leaning into him. "A foot rub," he replies. Elizabeth searches for a snappy comeback, but she's too turned on, so Diego picks up the slack: "I'd settle for coffee." Elizabeth considers, and then whispers, "I have to be home in an hour. And there's nothing fancy -- no coconut-frosted double javaccinos..." she trails off. Diego nods and wiggles his eyebrows all over the place. They're a sex toy in and of themselves. He's going to make her reconsider the coconut frosting, if you know what I mean, and I think you do...I'm talking about ejaculatory fluid, if you get my drift. They take off, Romano watching them very pointedly. "'Night, Robert," Elizabeth says happily, trotting off in her big black strappy hooker shoes as Romano slowly advances back up to where they were standing, piercing their backs with his sad gaze flecked with something...lonely and yearning and even a little lost. I swear, Paul McCrane gives things nuance that the ER scribes can't even imagine.

Romano slowly strolls into Trauma Yellow and sets his jaw. Then he sets aside his coffee cup, removes his stethoscope from around his neck, and shrugs off his long lab coat with difficulty. Off comes Go-Go-Gadget Heartbreak, which he stares at for a second, cradling it in his good hand before throwing it furiously through the window into Trauma Green. The glass shatters to match how he feels. A few people behind him stop and stare, confused, because that's what the stage directions told them to do.

Outside the restaurant, Chen's parents pull away in their swanky Mercedes, and Chen lets out a sign of relief. "How bad was that?" she giggles. "What, the jellyfish or the ambush?" Pratt asks good-naturedly. Chen apologizes sincerely for her parents' appearance. "If it's any consolation, they didn't hate you," she says. Are these the same parents who were so appalled at her relationship with a black guy in Season Six? Right. Maybe Pratt's just safe until he knocks her up.... Oh, God, don't let him knock her up. A Prattlet and a Chenette -- a Chattlet? -- would be a demon baby beyond anything even Rex The Wonder Preemie could be. Pratt's amused by her remark, so Chen clarifies that her traditionalist parents want her to marry someone Chinese and are scouting for husbands in China. "Just tell them to relax. It's not like we're getting married or anything," Pratt offers, raising his arm to hail a cab. Chen turns to stone. Burn. Because no matter how much she agrees with that sentiment, it's going to make her think bitterly, "Wait a second, though, why NOT? Why so vehement?" Then, Chen pulls a bad idea from her feathered hair shelf and throws it right at Pratt. "What are we doing?" she asks. A Mafioso runs out and gives her the kiss of death. "You're kidding, right?" Pratt gapes. "We're dating. We're having fun. Neither one of us is ready to settle down, right?" Chen doesn't like this answer, I guess, for reasons I will never understand because Pratt's always been such a sacfungus to her. Pratt doesn't get why she's freezing up on him. Chen gets into her cab, which she's clearly not going to share with him, and curtly says, "I'm sure you'll find yourself a new bang buddy. Good night." She leaves a dumbfounded Pratt standing by himself on the street, and a collective whoop rises from America's living rooms. Ding, dong, the witch is dead.

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