Since nobody wanted to know, Abby tells her tale first -- Howie Thomas, age sixteen. Susan makes fun of Howie's name. "He sounds like a plumber!" she snorts. Luka laughs in spite of himself. Carter just watches and waits. "Okay, my turn," Susan says. "Mark Greene." Ha! That did get a genuine laugh from me. Carter stabs the desk with his highlighter as Susan waves off her little joke and confesses she gave it up at age fifteen to Lloyd Walker in the shed behind her father's radiator-repair shop. Up next is Gallant, who glances uncomfortably at his senior doctors. "You don't need their approval," scoffs Abby. "Give it up." Gallant, evidently, got naughty at age fourteen in the balcony of his church after choir practice. He exalted God's goodness and then rode the pony at a sin carnival. Abby and Susan are impressed. They like him better dirty.
"Carter," Abby prods. "Come on!" He doesn't want to play. "Oh, my God, you're still a virgin!" Susan gapes, probably only half-kidding. Carter rolls his eyes at her and says he was eleven when he first had sex. Susan gasps, and wow, it's pretty horrible acting. I don't know how else to describe it. Everyone's pretty startled. When asked, Carter admits the instrument of his deflowering was a twenty-five-year-old maid. They crack up, and he shakes his head, the merest hint of a smile on his face. "Hope you gave her a hell of a Christmas bonus," Susan snickers. Carter reddens and stares out the window. A lot of people have called this a case of child abuse, but Carter's demeanor, while solemn, isn't terribly traumatized. I have a hard time reading "child abuse" into Noah Wyle's performance. I just can't tell what's going on here, and frankly, I think it's a plot point they either need to make clear, or not bother with at all. If it was abuse, it's a pretty major part of who Carter is, and to gloss over it this way is ridiculous. Either way, though, the raucous laughter of Susan and Abby comes off bitchy and grating.
Abby turns to Luka and says that if he'll hurry up and confirm he was older than eleven, they can award the prize to Carter. "I get a prize?" he brightens. Carter smells a victory. "My wedding night," Luka blurts. The room falls silent. "I lost my virginity on my wedding night," he repeats. Wait, so if his wife died right before he moved to Chicago, then is Abby the second person he ever slept with? No wonder she's fallen so silent. Luka interprets it as guilt about bringing his beloved dead wife into this. "It's okay, it's a good memory," he beams. "I hadn't thought about that in years." Carter's face actually falls. He won the contest, but Luka claims the prize anyway -- the admiration of the two women, who are so touched that they look ready to mercy-screw Luka just to bang the pain further and further away. Luka dreamily recalls that his wife was religious, and he adored her, so they waited. Still there's silence. "It's okay, it's okay," he insists, grinning. Carter huffily picks up his pen.