Title: Answering the Question
Author: Michelle K. (CageyGrl@yahoo.com)
Archive: Lists. Others ask.
Summary: "I don't know what to say to you." (Post-ep for 'Commencement')
Disclaimer: Not mine. Don't sue.
Answering the Question by Michelle K.
I don't know what to say to you. Why the *hell* would you even ask me that? Why would I be with you if I were in love with him?
Unless, of course, you're with me *despite* the fact that you love him, and you're just biding time until he's interested in you again.
That wouldn't be so improbable, would it? But I don't want to believe it. I don't want to believe that I'm in another pointless relationship.
But I always am. Larry, Sarah, Kevin, Denise, Cliff, Jack, now you. The list is longer but I *really* don't want to spend the rest of my night compounding my sprained heart with thoughts of the past.
It's confusing enough just thinking about you.
I cross back to you, sit in my chair. I don't meet your eyes although I can feel you staring at me.
"Why would you ask that?" I finally manage.
You're silent for a moment before declaring, "You seemed a little in my face there about how you know Josh so much better than I do."
"I said I didn't mean..." My voice trails off. I really don't know what to say. What do you mean, anyway? Because I understand this man who's been my friend for years, I have to be waiting for him to love me? I must be attacking you and your past relationship with him? I must be using you?
I'm not. But I'm not going to say that. I don't want this to be a bigger fight than absolutely necessary. At least then, if we're over, I can slink away with my dignity intact.
"I was only defensive because you wouldn't let it drop," I declare. "Why does it even matter to you if I think you don't get him?" I continue, finally bringing my gaze to yours. "Why are you still so *obsessed* with Josh?"
Your mouth opens, then closes. "I'm not, Donna. I'm really not." You pause, give me the same look of appraisal you did when we started this part of our conversation. "You never answered my question."
Because it's complicated. Sure, I love Josh. He's my friend. There was even a time that I thought I was in love with him, but that passed. We'd make a terrible couple, really. Worse than you and I do, even.
I take that back. I'm happy with you a lot of the time, Amy. You just always have to make everything about something that it's *not* at all about.
I look straight into your eyes. "I'm not in love with Josh, Amy. Are *you?*"
Your visage is unreadable for a moment; so much so that I worry you may have turned into stone. Maybe you've been made of rock this whole time, completely unable and unwilling to let me in.
That's not fair, though. I shouldn't try to take stock of my relationships when I'm angry and a little drunk.
Your eyes never waver from mine, though, and I appreciate that.
Maybe I should tell you that I appreciate you. Would that make you stop talking about Josh? Would that make things between us run smoother?
"I'm not in love with Josh, Donna," you say evenly before taking a sip of your beer.
I exhale. "So, that makes two of us." I stare at the papers in front of me, scanning the words but not understanding their meaning.
I should add 'trying to work' to the list of things I shouldn't do when angry and a little drunk.
"Look, I'm sorry."
I look at you again. "You should be, Amy. I'm not a lovesick little girl pining after my boss and I'm not using you. You don't have to be so jealous."
I'm jealous of you and Josh, granted, but I don't show it. This -- we -- shouldn't be about Josh anyway. This should just be about you and I.
Sometimes, I think you don't understand that.
"I know," you continue. "Just blame the beer or something, okay? It'll make it easier on all of us."
Maybe this isn't supposed to be easy. Maybe it'll never be easy.
"Okay. I'm sorry too, by the way," I say.
You smile as your hand covers mine. I smile back.
"Want to come back to my place after this?" you ask.
"Sounds good," I say, a blush rising on my cheeks.
We go back to work, talking as if nothing happened, acting as if a crisis hadn't just been averted. We may have this fight again, I fear. You may never believe that I don't have a thing for the man who once had your heart.
But this feels so natural, Amy, when it's just the two of us, without you placing him over our shoulders. I'll forget about the baggage you're carrying around.
I hope you'll be able to, too.
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