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Rating: PG -13
For all that I know about myself, I have no clue what the hell I did before Maura came into my life. This apartment has become both my sanctuary and my prison. I long to be here just as much a crave being away. For all that I know, I had no idea just how much time Maura and I spend together. Excuse me, spent together.
I do know that it’s been five weeks, one day, and sixteen hours since Maura started dating Reggie. But who’s counting, right?
A knock sounds at my door and I’m irrationally happy for the distraction. It’ll keeps me from counting the days, hours, minutes…seconds. The clock and the calendar consume me as they both mock and inform.
Well this is certainly a surprise. It’s a knee jerk reaction, but I look behind her and down the hall.
“I’m alone, Jane.”
She knows me far too well.
“Yeah, of course.” I step aside and allow her into my apartment. I close my eyes and hold my breath as I do so. There was a time when just the simple act of Maura walking passed would fill me with an inordinate amount of pleasure. Now her scent stings my sinus bringing tears to eyes that need not follow her form from place to place.
She looks around my apartment with barely restrained disapproval. I know now that my apartment is usually a reflection of my emotional state. When all is well my apartment is tidy and presentable at a moment’s notice. When I’m not in the best shape emotionally, neither is my living space.
Now though, now my apartment looks the worst it ever has.
“Sorry, I’ve been busy,” I mumble as I quickly move to clear the couch of the piles of newspapers, clothes, and Joe Friday. “Sit, please.”
Her eyes find mine, which is no easy feat as I’m far more interested in anything but looking at her.
“Jane,” she calls softly.
I know this tone. This tone means she has something to say, she’s noticed. It means my mask as slipped and I need to put it back in it’s place quickly because I’m not prepared for this. I can’t afford for Maura to notice.
I smile warmly asking, “Can I get you anything?”
Even though she hasn’t been here in weeks I still have the wine she likes stored in my kitchen. The organic sugar she prefers is still in my cupboard. Somewhere in my bedroom there is a pair of silk pajamas.
“No, thank you. I just wanted to talk to you.”
Shit. “Okay.” I take a tentative seat as far away as politely possible.
Her eyes continue to search my face and I struggle to maintain eyes contact.
“I’m getting the distinct feeling that you are…that you’re avoiding me.”
“What?” I frown. “What gives you that impression?” Especially since I’ve worked so hard at not making it obvious.
She looks incredulous. “I haven’t seen or spent time with you in weeks.”
I stand to my feet to put some much needed distance between us. I don’t need to face her pity.
“You’re seeing someone, Maura. I wouldn’t say you have a wealth of time available for me anymore.”
“Just because I’m with someone doesn’t mean I don’t have time for you. I was hoping that since we’re all women we would all be able to spend time together.”
Is she fucking kidding me? As time has ticked by it’s become harder to tamp down my indignation. Yes, I’m hurt and in pain, I’ve become a professional at hiding those feelings, but damn it Maura has to have noticed that something isn’t quite right. She’s here now, sure, but for her to think that I for one second would be the third wheel on the tricycle of her relationship is crazy.
“Um, no. I don’t think we can do that.”
She looks genuinely confused. “Why not?”
“Because its…weird, Maur. You’re in a relationship, a new relationship. You need to take the time to enjoy that, each other.”
That sounded nice, didn’t it? Almost like I’m concerned about the state of Maura’s relationship. Her look she not buying it.
“I see what’s going on here.” Maura stands to her feet so we’re eyes to eye. “This has to do with Reggie…”
“…being a woman.”
She answers my questioning look.
“Jane, I know I didn’t really give you any indication of my interest in women, but I had no idea it would be such a problem.”
I have no clue how to reply to that. She rolls her eyes at my extended silence.
“I never thought you to be such a homophobe. I guess I misjudged you.”
Laughter. It’s a rare practice for me these days, yet it comes bubbling forth unbidden at the very idea that she thinks I’m a homophobe.
“Nice,” she grouses. “Well so much for discussing this like adults.”
I lunge across my living room before she can reach the door.
“Wait.” My hands are around her waste spinning her around in place before I can register the intimacy of our positioning. “Stop, Maur. That’s not it…at all. I didn’t mean to insult you by laughing, its just…no I’m not a homophobe and I have absolutely no problem with you dating women.”
No problem at all. It’s just this woman that’s the problem.
She’s staring at me with relieved eyes laced with expectation. I’ve got to give her something.
“But I do have a problem with you not telling me . You kept this from me for a long time. I think I deserve better than that.”
That may be a partial truth, but it is the truth nonetheless. Maura may not be able to lie, but she’s certainly able to omit.
“I know,” she looks away guiltily. “And I’m sorry. It just all happened so suddenly and I was…confused. This is new for me.”
Well that’s a nice little tidbit. I was wondering if this was a first time thing.
“I wasn’t looking for Reggie, she just…happened.”
It’s now that I realize that my hands are still around her waste. Her scent fills the space between us and acts as slap in the face.
Pulling away abruptly I’m eager to put space between us again. Because even though she may think we’re bridging the gap between us she has no idea that the gap is more of a yawning chasm.
“I understand, Maura. I’m not entitled to every detail about your life.”
Her eyes are pleading. “That’s only partially true. You are a part of my life and you deserve the truth. You’re always willing to share and be open and honest with me, I’m sorry that I didn’t do the same in this situation. I was just so scared that…I don’t know. That you wouldn’t understand.”
I understand more than you know, Maura.
“I get it.”
Silence fills the couch sized distance between us.
“Well, good then. I guess I’ll…Reggie’s picking—”
“Okay,” I interrupt.
I don’t give a shit what she and Reggie are going to be doing! I want to scream and I just may if she would get the hell out so I can be left alone with my sorrow.
“Why don’t I feel better about us, Jane?”
I shake my head. “Everything is fine. Really. I’m just not very present right now, you know killers roaming about and all.”
“Yes, of course,” she sighs. “Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow then.”
Not if I can help it.
She looks sad as she offers a small smile and makes her exit. It’s easy to ignore her sadness as white noise fills my senses. I make an immediate move to my bathroom, stripping along the way. I learned around week two that the shower keeps me from destroying things around my apartment. I learned around week three that crying jags were going to be a common occurrence in my life. It was around that same time that I realized the shower was both a great place to keep my belongings in tact and to hide the tracks of my tears.
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