“Nice to see that you’re studying at least,”
Annalise glances sideways to see a bold striped blouse meeting the waist of slim deep blue jeans.
It’s Eve of course, with her impossibly long legs and worn beige trench-coat. Annalise doesn’t even have to look to know because she’s gotten so accustomed to that sing-song sarcastic tone of hers in class. She’d know it anywhere.
The silent treatment usually worked in situations like this. People would cuss Annalise out, call her a bitch and leave it at that, but the shadow Eve’s casting over her Torts notes doesn’t move, doesn’t budge.
So she keeps her head down, eyes scanning and re-scanning a single highlighted sentence in front of her since Eve completely threw off her reading. Her fingers retrieve a mouthful of chips from the bag to the other side of her.
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’ve been avoiding me,” Eve adds after a beat.
It wouldn’t be a lie. Not exactly.
Usually, she’d be tucked away in a corner in the library or in her room, but there would be no avoiding Eve there. Eve who is as tall as most of the men in their class. Eve who looks more like she belongs on a runway than in a courtroom. Eve who has the bad habit of picking up on things others normally wouldn’t.
Eve who maybe, definitely, flirted with her over drinks the other night. Ever since then, it’s been increasingly hard to focus on anything when she’s around.
Annalise would never admit it out loud but part of her wanted Eve to come and find her.
It’s the most terribly inconvenient thing.
“Well, I haven’t.” Annalise deadpans, reaching for another handful of chips and stuffing them into her mouth before looking up, “Happy?”
Wordlessly, Eve sits beside her on the bench, fiddling with the straw poking out of her Coca-Cola bottle. Annalise glances over again, eyes drawn to Eve’s lips closing around the mouth of the straw.
“You haven’t returned any of my calls.”
“I’ve been busy.”
Eve hums. “Was hanging out with me the other night that awful? And here I thought you were finally warming up to me,”
“Look, I’m not -”
Like you is what she wants to say but Eve cuts her off.
She tilts her head with a sly close-lipped smile and Annalise feels her resolve start to crumble already. “I didn’t say you were anything, Annalise just- come with me to Al’s this Friday night?”
“I will if you leave me alone,” Annalise mutters.
Eve calls again that night to confirm plans again and Annalise can’t help but roll her eyes, still chuckling over the phone. When she hangs up, she pours a drink to chase away the butterflies.
Annalise wakes to an incessant ache in her head that pounds in time to the high-pitched ring of her cell phone. Groaning, she gropes for it blindly somewhere on the bed behind her and rolls over.
She missed the call.
Straining one eye open she looks at the tiny screen on the cover with the caller ID. It takes a while for her vision to even out but she’s pretty sure she read it right the first time.
Why the hell was Eve calling her? They had broken up over three weeks ago. Or to be more specific, Annalise broke up with her and left when she’s pretty sure Eve was going to make things more serious between them. She’d panicked. Hard.
Thinking about it now made her stomach lurch and she rolls off the bed hurriedly to stop herself from emptying its contents onto her sheet. She finds relief in the cool of the bathroom tile beneath her knees. Her throat burns and her head still hurts but it’s blissfully silent now.
Slumped against the toilet bowl, she vaguely remembers downing the bottle of vodka currently on her rug and speaking to someone on the phone.
Running her hand down her face, she realizes, belatedly, that it was Eve. She’d called Eve last night and told her about therapy, and worse - Sam.
“Oh...” Eve had said. Annalise wanted her to shout at her, let out everything she’d been holding back the day she left, but all Eve asked after a long pause is, “Are you okay?”
And Annalise hung up.
When the phone doesn’t ring after, Annalise tells herself Eve won’t be calling again.
At first, she thinks she can take it.
It feels like everything slips away from her the moment she loses the baby.
He’s not the first child she’s lost. But none of the others had ever been this close to being real. He’d been tiny but perfectly formed, and hers. All hers. Her own flesh and blood, half hers and half Sam’s. Every time she closes her eyes she remembers holding him. All she sees is his tiny blue face, unbreathing and lifeless.
“One of your lawyer friends was waiting here last night,” Sam says, opening her snack for her on her tray.
It had to have been Eve. Nothing bad’s gonna happen. She remembers her saying. Annalise hates herself now for hoping that maybe Eve was right. She was clearly wrong.
“What did you tell her?”
“I told her to tell them you’re off the case.”
She blinks back tears, trying to scrub the image of Rose bleeding on the floor and poor, sweet, Christoph out of her mind.
When she finally gets to go home, she sleeps with her back turned to Sam. She hates it but she can’t help but feel that he’s frustrated with her. Disgusted even, at not being able to give him a child. It’s irrational, she knows, since he’s lost his son too but her gut feelings were rarely wrong.
The accident had proved it.
In the days, she sees Bonnie watch her through the cracked door, worry etched all over her face and she wonders how long it will take Sam to do to her what he did to his ex-wife.
Eve calls again a few days later, but Annalise doesn’t answer.
She can’t find the words to.
When Eve wins Nate’s trial they go back to her hotel room to celebrate.
Annalise hates how easy it is to slip back into this.
When they don’t bring it up, sometimes it almost feels like they never really broke up. Like they were only ever physically apart and nothing had changed. Like Annalise hadn’t knowingly broken her heart. It’s a relief amidst all the chaos of the Hapstall case, to have someone to talk to about everything; the things she hasn’t even told Bonnie yet.
“You are a very good person.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Fine, you’re not, but I still get to think so.”
When they meet in the middle with a kiss, Annalise sighs. It feels like a weight’s been lifted off her shoulders with every feeling of Eve’s hands sliding over her skin, pulling at her dress. She allows herself to revel in the way Eve writhes beneath her, and the worshipful way she strokes her hair. She takes in all the little things she hasn’t been able to in so long and mentally files them away. Like the crinkle of Eve’s nose when she tilts her head back laughing, the look in her eyes as they both come down from their high or the way they lay tangled beneath the sheets, fingers twined together, and how it never seemed to stop feeling so good.
“I wish this could be every night,” Eve whispers, brushing their noses together. This time, when they smile at each other Annalise feels so full and warm, it has her smiling all the way home.
Once Eve’s back in New York, there are messages exchanged including one more “I miss you” than Annalise would ever like to admit.
There’s a picture she's sent, of a room with a view of the Sacré-Cœur in the distance about which Eve eventually asks, “Do you really want to go?”, at some point over the phone.
Annalise starts avoiding her calls altogether because sometimes she really does.
“Don’t look so surprised to see me, you’re the one who didn’t return my call.” Eve teases after showing up somewhat unexpectedly on Annalise’s front porch.
She claims she’s in town for a conference, but Annalise knows that conferences are one of Eve’s least favourite things in the world. Or at least they used to be. Selfishly, Annalise wants to believe that Eve’s really just there to check in on her because she’s worried and she misses her. But if there’s worry, Eve plays it off well. She talks sarcastically about what’s happening with her in New York as if she doesn’t want to haul Annalise home with her more than anything. Then Annalise plays along, conjuring up perfect images of what could be before going into everything that would go wrong. Each time stoking that lingering hope of those things becoming true, but only just so. Eve’s eyes are positively alight.
Neither of them would ever admit it’s becoming their thing.
“You look like you could use a drink,” she says, breezing past Annalise to sit on the couch. “We should go out tonight.”
Annalise can't say no.
It’s spring and Annalise sits at her desk, her stomach in knots.
“You should give her a call.” Bonnie had said earlier when she delivered the message.
After months of virtually no communication, Eve had called and left a message asking for Annalise to call her. Undoubtedly because Annalise no longer had the same cell number. Or house.
The San Francisco area code number stares back at her as her thumb hovers over the call button. Taking a deep breath, she presses down and tries to put a smile on her face. The first thing she hears when the line opens is what sounds like a bunch of people laughing.
“Hello, Eve Rothlo’s phone.” comes a light pleasant voice on the other end.
Annalise frowns. That’s probably that Vanessa girl, she thinks and she hesitates to reply, wondering if she should hang up and try again later.
Sucking in a breath, she puts on as pleasant a voice as she can.
“I’m an old friend of hers, is she around?”
“Uh yeah, hold on a sec...E!” Annalise hears the woman call, followed by the sound of footsteps.
God, Annalise had missed her voice.
“Was that Vanessa? She seems nice.”
After a few seconds of muffled movement, the noise and laughter she was hearing before goes quiet when she hears what sounds like a door shut in the background.
“Hi...” Eve says airily. Annalise suddenly pictures herself back at Harvard at 26, tangling up her fingers in the coiled phone cord like some smitten teenager, “I didn’t think you’d call. How- how are you?”
“I wasn’t sure if you’d get my message,” A pause. “I heard about what happened with the Mahoney case...I’m so sorry,”
“It’s okay, I got Bonnie looking after me.”
“And your personal bodyguard?”
Annalise rolls her eyes. She’s talking about Nate of course. “He’s... around. Doesn’t want much to do with me though, which is perfectly understandable.”
“What about you, why did you call? Are things okay with you and Vanessa?”
“Great actually- in fact, that’s part of why I called,”
And that’s when Annalise knows exactly where this is going. She swallows.
“She asked me to marry her- ”
“And lemme guess, you said yes.”
Eve doesn’t say anything but it’s enough for Annalise to feel like she can hear everything that hasn’t been said.
“I meant what I said that night,” Annalise shuts her eyes, frowning, “You deserve that. All of it.”
Tears prickle her eyes as she opens them. With everything that’s happened with her parents, Frank and Bonnie and Wes, life’s too short for her to be skirting around the one big elephant between them.
“There’s a lot I regret...things I wish I could have said, things I should have done- or not done- but Eve, you have to do this for you. I’m happy for you...I love you, and I want you to be happy.”
“I know,” Eve sighs shakily.
“And I always will.”