Actions

Work Header

The Way We Were

Work Text:

“I’m nervous.”

“Nervous?” Nick scoffed at her through the phone. “About presenting an award? You don’t get nervous, Amy.”

She could hear Megan chiding him through the phone. Of course Megan understood why she wanted to be anywhere else but the Golden Globes tonight without her having to say a word. Nick apparently wasn’t aware of the particulars though. She heard Nick sigh and an audible slap which she hoped Megan hadn’t gone completely overboard with and Nick appeared back on the phone. “Have you spoken to him?”

She shook her head no before remembering they were on the phone and Nick couldn’t see her. “Not about what happened. I haven’t seen him since that night. I woke up the next morning and he was gone.”

Nick felt his blood begin to boil. “He hasn’t reached out to you in damn near a year after he-“

“Nick,” Amy cut in tiredly. “I haven’t exactly reached out to him, either.”

“You didn’t send him something for his birthday?”

“... Well yes but that’s...”

“Did you send his kids Christmas and birthday presents?”

“Of course, but only because Naomi,” Amy winced. “Sent presents to Archie and Able and it’s not Frankie and Graham’s fault-“

Nick’s voice dropped again. “Did you send him a fake anniversary gift on Ben and Leslie’s anniversary?”

Amy swallowed heavily, unsure of why she had called Nick to talk her through this instead of Rashida, Aubrey or Retta. Probably because she felt at least partially responsible for splitting up their Parks family, the few that did know what had happened that night after PaleyFest now feeling as though they had to choose a side to be on, either Mom’s side or Dad’s. That in itself was silly. She didn’t want her family choosing who to show their allegiance too after she had chosen to have one ridiculously incredible night of insanely gratifying and satisfying sex.

With her former television husband.

Whom last time she had checked - TMZ, IMBD and for the hell of it Wikipedia earlier that morning - was still married.

“It’s tradition,” she argued weakly. “I’ve never not sent him something before. I didn’t want Naomi asking why things were any different in case it caused trouble and...”

“I think trouble and a wake up call are exactly what that boy needs,” Nick muttered. “Hang on.”

Amy looked idly at her watch, realising her make up artist would be arriving soon. The doorbell had rung before which she assumed was her dress being delivered or the boys play date, she wasn’t sure. She should probably check on that.

“If we hang up now I can head back to the house and find a tux. It won’t be this seasons but it’ll do. I’d struggle to fit in a trim but Megan is quite handy with the scissors and-“

“Nick-“ Amy’s voice cracked and she fought to regain control of her emotions, extremely touched by his unspoken offer to accompany her. “No. Thank you, thank you so so much for offering but no. As much as I would love to see you that’s unnecessary.”

“Are you sure? I don’t know if you’ve forgotten but I do scrub up okay when I put my mind to
it. Megan does not mind.”

“You scrub up very nicely,” Amy assured him as she blinked up an unexpected wave of tears. “And I know she doesn’t. You’re both far too kind to me. It’s one night. He might not even be there. Maybe he’s not even going.”

Nick scrubbed his beard with his hand knowing full well Adam and his wife would be in attendance at the Golden Globes tonight. He didn’t want to tell her in case it wound her up even further. “Amy.”

“Mom? Amy turned to see Archie hovering in the doorway. Furiously she swiped at her tears, not wanting the boys to see her cry. “The make up person is here and so is Lincoln’s Mom. She wants to know if we want to play at their house instead because there will be other kids there that Lincoln’s Dad didn’t tell her were coming...”

“One second Archie. Nick, I’ve got to go,” Amy sighed into the phone. “Thank you. For the offer and for being there.”

“Anytime. Be well.”

Ending the call Amy turned her focus back to her son. “Kristen is here? Are you sure?”

Archie screwed up his face. He wasn’t allowed to call adults by their first name. “Is Kristen Lincoln’s Mom?”

“Only for the past eight years or so,” Amy joked as her son stared blankly. She was in desperate need of some adult conversation. “Sorry honey. That wasn’t a very funny joke.”

Surprisingly enough Kristen was downstairs with her son Lincoln. Her husband Dax had supposedly forgotten that he had offered their nannies services for the night to a friend and Kirsten was wondering would Archie and Able like to have a slumber party with not only Lincoln and Delia but who other than Adam’s children Graham and Frankie. Amy had felt her stomach drop at the realisation of what that meant and before she could gracefully decline the boy’s heard the kids names and were already halfway out the door. They’d grown up with Graham and Frankie. The kids all got along famously. Amy could hardly say no because the adults didn’t.
As soon as their bags were packed and they were on their way Amy turned to her make up artist with an apologetic smile and asked if they could started. The make up artist smiled agreeably with a smack of her gum and Amy’s journey to the 2020 Golden Globes had begun.

She should have stayed home.

She wished she had stayed home.

Presenting the award was fine. She wasn’t a massive fan of Taylor Swift’s music but she liked the girl personally. She had morals and she stuck to them which made her better than most in Amy’s book. The meal they had provided was standard award show fare. She supposed her tablemates were nice enough but if she was being honest she wasn’t even paying enough attention to know who they were. She sat straight as a board, nerves so raw and awake she felt as though her skin was aflame. She hadn’t seen him yet. She was sure she had seen Naomi enter the ladies earlier in the foyer and that had been enough to send Amy scurrying in the other direction.

She couldn’t believe their relationship had boiled down to this.

From the first time they had been officially introduced on set she had known their lives were about to change. Not just his and hers but the entire cast. The introduction of Rob and Adam for what was meant to only be a handful of episode made so much sense Amy and Mike had immediately petitioned for them to stay.

So they did. And the next nine years of Amy’s and Adam’s lives become irrevocably intertwined.

They ran lines together. Shared dinners. Car rides. They welcomed each other’s children and their families spent the summer together. Amy adored Naomi and Adam tolerated Will. Amy and Naomi made baby books and doted on each other and each other’s children. Amy and Adam spent hours pouring over old novels and stand up on VHS and when Adam started work on A.C.O.D Amy was the first person he made sure was cast. They grew closer. More comfortable with each other. Amy was always generous with her laughter but no one made her laugh harder than Adam. He knew it, too, and did everything in his power to make her smile. Long days on set were often followed by long hugs goodbye, the two seemingly always maintaining a physical connection that rivalled their emotional one. Adam was the first person Amy told about her separation from Will and the dissolution of her marriage. Ben and Leslie got engaged and then married. Adam and Amy flew to England and Paris for the show and clung to each other note tightly than ever. Their co-workers watched guardedly as the chemistry Adam and Amy shared on set slowly overflowed into everyday life. Adam and Naomi celebrated anniversaries. Amy became very lonely. Nick Kroll appeared and as soon as Adam realised he was lingering on the periphery of his relationship with Amy he developed a personal distaste for him. Nick came to birthday dinners and drinks and Naomi overcompensated for Adam’s standoffish behaviour by being too nice. A groundswell of affectionate feeling and love between Adam and Amy began to ebb closer to the surface, flirtation on the set continuing after hours in text messages and phone calls. Naomi and Amy remained close, connected by their children and of course their love for Adam. Nick disappeared from Amy’s life and Adam and Amy’s relationship came to a tipping point as Parks shuddered to a close. Heartbroken by the loss of Leslie Knope and the most fulfilling partnership in her life outside of her children, Amy momentarily spiralled. She had thought she was ready to say goodbye but when it came time to rip off the band aid she couldn’t do it.

How could she say goodbye to this group of people that had become her family, her friends, her confidants? How do you go from seeing the same faces every day for five, six, seven years to nothing?

How could she say goodbye to her best friend and biggest supporter, her greatest defender and the man that had he not been married to Naomi she was sure would have been her soul mate?

She threw herself into thinking forward. She booked awards shows, signed on to produce and direct multiple projects and promoted her book. She spent large chunks of time with anyone but Adam under the pretense that if she didn’t say goodbye, then she wouldn’t have to let him go.

He knew perfectly well what she was doing and went along with it. He had absolutely no intention of letting her walk out of his life and deep down he knew she knew that.

On their last day of shooting, she was a mess. She fawned over Aubrey and Aziz and planned an entire cast reunion for the following year with Retta and Jim. Nick tried to make her laugh and Rob helped, a little, when prodded by Rashida. Chris was physically present though his mind was obviously elsewhere and Amy made sure he was called out about it early and often. She and Adam circled around each other, maintaining a close distance and as soon as the clapperboard dropped on their final scene she headed straight to her trailer in a flood of tears. No one moved, every set of eyes instead travelling to Adam as he trailed after her.

He let himself in and sat next to her on the couch, drawing her into his lap. Her entire body shook from the force of her tears and he touched his lips to the crown of her forehead again and again as her sobs slowly subsided. When he felt as though she had managed to calm herself down he tipped her chin up to see her face, eyes still brimming with unshed tears. He looked at her with a helpless expression, knowing that in the moment there was nothing he could do that would take her pain away.

So he kissed her.

Only once, a long, drawn out expression of want and need fuelled by far too many years of wanton lust and longing. He opened his mouth to her and as she touched her tongue to his she told herself this was their goodbye to Ben and to Leslie and the fact that she could feel Adam beneath her meant nothing.

When they finally withdrew she ducked her head immediately, knowing that if she locked eyes with Adam whatever this was could get out of control and fast. He held her close, valiantly trying to ignore the sound of his own heartbeat pounding in his ears and the physical stirrings not made any easier with Amy squirming on his lap. He knew she could hear how hard his heart was racing and she took comfort in what she saw as validation of their love for one another.

Platonically.

She couldn’t bring herself to acknowledge it in any other way.

He was married. As much as she wanted him to be hers he never could be.

And that was it.

She threw herself into producing. Voiced some animated features. Invested a tonne of time in her friendship with Tina. Focussed on her boys. The cast remained in constant contact via text and she saw Rashida and Aubrey often. Contact with Adam became more infrequent though she regularly spoke to Naomi and the kids. She sent birthday and Christmas presents to Graham and Frankie and a gag anniversary gift to Adam every year on Ben and Leslie’s wedding anniversary. The arrival of the present would always spur a flurry of texts or a phone call and for a few weeks they would be as thick as thieves before things petered off again.

Amy and the kids moved East for a bit. She started dating a lawyer. He was kind to her and the boys though he seldom made her laugh the way Adam did. She made the move back to LA and they continued on long distance for a while with the relationship definitely on life support when she started working with Nick Offerman again in 2018.

She loved working with Nick. She socialised with both him and Megan and the job was comfortable. It allowed her to be home most nights and it provided a steady income. The kids became settled again at school and things were almost back to normal, her relationship with Adam notwithstanding.

Then Mike called.

PaleyFest.

Packs and Recreation 10 Year Reunion.

Would she do it? Was she available?

She jumped at the chance. Their family, reunited for the night? Celebrating a time in her life she still held so dear? Of course she was in. Mike laughed at her exuberance and said he would be in touch with more details.

Within minutes the Parks text chat exploded. Could everyone make it? Mike said maybe late March. Was everyone free? Chris wasn’t sure but he would do his best to get there. Aubrey told him in no uncertain terms he had to be there and everyone began to chime in.

Amy had just set her phone down when it beeped with a text alert. Curious, she picked her phone up again to see a text from Adam.

Mike wouldn’t let this go ahead if you weren’t available.

Is that your way of asking if I’ll be there? Haha. I’ll be lining up with the fans out front hours ahead of time.

I miss you.

Miss you too.

The night arrived much faster than she thought possible. They weren’t seated together, which she was a little upset about. When he ran on stage she ducked her head, simultaneously excited and terrified at the prospect of seeing him again. She cried when responding to the first question Patton asked her and she silently thanked Aziz when he picked up where she fell off. Adam looked at her with concern as Nick comforted her and she tried her best to smile through it. The rest of the evening passed by in a blur and then there was dinner and drinks at Mike’s house to afford the group some privacy and eventually it was only Adam and Amy still standing, Ubers having collected the remainder and Mike and his wife having gone to bed hours before.

Adam was nursing the same glass of scotch he had had when Aubrey left, Amy a couple of glasses of wine ahead of him. The clock read 2am when she checked and she wondered to herself if he had to get home. They were sitting at opposite ends of the chaise lounge when he caught her staring and he lifted his arm in an invitation for her to snuggle into his side. She was at his side in an instant and as his lips found her forehead she was transported back in time to when things between them had been easy. Dance parties in her trailer he had begrudgingly joined initially only to champion them to the rest of the cast. Table reads spent laughing and subsequently getting shushed and eventually separated by Greg and Mike. Long flights where he has fallen asleep with his head on her shoulder. The inside jokes. The giggling. The soft half-smile he seemed to reserve only for her.

The second his lips touched her skin it was as if someone had struck a match and poured gasoline on the fire they shared that simmered just below the surface. His arm tightened incrementally, her eyes closed involuntarily and she let out a heady sigh as she felt a rumbling in Adam’s chest. His voice was rough as he brought his lips to her ear. “Let’s get you home.”

She didn’t remember saying yes or no or the car ride back to her place. She remembered the searing heat of his mouth on her neck as he pressed into her from behind on her doorstep. She remembered fumbling with the keys so much that she dropped them and Adam ended up unlocking the door. She remembered him undoing her blouse and pushing it off her shoulders. She recalled him losing his pants halfway up the stairs and the excruciatingly sweet agony of his length pressed against her core as they tumbled to the carpet. Her lips wrapped around him as he tongued her clit ferociously, her glorious ass in his face. The abject euphoria as he came hard and fast inside her for the first time. Brushing sweaty hair back off his forehead as he feasted between her legs, his carefully coiffed hair vanishing sometime between round two and three. Screaming his name as he drove into her from behind in the shower. The blissful look on his face as he came with her on top, her chest heaving as she fought to catch her breath. The soft kisses shared as they held each other in a jumbled mess of limbs. The way he whispered that she was perfect. That she was beautiful. That he loved her.

The next morning she woke up alone.

“Amy? Amy!”

Amy jolted up in her seat, completely consumed in her memories to the point that her nails were digging deep into her palms.

“Naomi? Hi!” Amy forced a wide grin, standing with fake aplomb. She held out her arms to embrace the woman and unsurprisingly, at least to her mind, winced when the brunette closed the hug. “It’s good to see you!”

“You too,” Naomi chirped. “You looked amazing up there! Taylor is a wee slip of a thing, isn’t she? How have you been?”

Amy’s gut twisted as Naomi withdrew from the hug and grabbed her hand. “Good! I’ve been good,” she repeated as if trying to convince herself that was true. “How are the kids?”

“Frankie is great,” Naomi smiled. “The science kit and books you sent for Christmas? Massive hit. Her favourite gifts, honestly. Graham is ... Well, he’s Graham. Nothing new there.”

“Well, you know boys,” Amy said weakly. “I don’t even know who Archie and Able are some days.”

“Are you okay? You look a little... Flushed.” Naomi frowned. “It’s a little warm in here. Do you want to step out and get some air? Let me get you some water. I’ll be right back.”

Naomi was already well on her way to the bar before Amy realised what was happening. Sitting down heavily in her chair she closed her eyes, only to be completely blindsided by the person she was trying to avoid.

“Amy?”

Her name sounded like a question leaving his lips. He was hesitant, rightly so, to approach her let alone speak to her but selfishly, stupidly, he wanted to make sure she didn’t have the chance to tell Naomi about their early morning escapades of the previous March. He didn’t deserve Amy’s protection or her love, that he knew but as her nails once again dug into her palms and their eyes met he knew that she still harboured the same feelings she did ten months ago. Feelings he still carried today.

He was aware he had majorly fucked up. Yet aside from half of their Parks family pretending he no longer existed, his life hadn’t changed. A day later, he had gone home to his wife, his children, his life.

Amy had spent a full week in bed before Aubrey and Rashida had physically dumped her on the floor as they removed her sheets and replaced them with brand new ones. The ones that smelt like Adam? Shredded and burned in a barrel in the backyard, he could only assume from the photos Aubrey had sent when she took it upon herself to defend Amy’s honour and practically rip his head off. Aubrey wasn’t upset that they had slept together. She thought it was about damn time, to be honest. She was mad that he had cheated on Naomi. She was absolutely livid that he had left Amy without even so much as a goodbye.

He deserved it. He deserved not being able to remove the smell of her from his skin for what felt like weeks after. He deserved to lose what had been the most fulfilling friendship, nay relationship of his adult life for the way he had treated her. He deserved to lose Amy and Naomi both.

“Adam,” she replied softly. “It’s ... It’s good to see you?”

She was trying her best not to cause a scene but he could tell she was in way over her head here. As was he.

How do you approach the person you believe to be the love of your life after you’ve treated them like he did her?

How do you say that you wish you had been brave enough not to leave?

How do you turn back the clock sixteen years, re-write your own history and hope like hell that your path remains somewhat the same? That you didn’t get married and you instead wait for the woman you had always dreamed of loving, worshipping, adoring for the rest of your days?

He choose his words carefully, putting the ball solely in her court. “Did you ... did you want to go somewhere and talk?”

“Here?” She asked incredulously in a hushed whisper. “You want to talk here? You’ve had ten months to find the words to say to me, Adam. Ten months to come clean to your wife. Ten months to explain and apologise to us both. Do I want to talk to you?” He could hear the visceral pain in her voice as she choked back a sob. Her cheeks were pink and she was practically radiating with hurt. “What I want... What I want is my life back. To not be able to feel your hands on my body every damn time I close my eyes. To not climb the stairs in my own home and think about the look in your eyes as you spilled inside me. The bruises on my thighs that lingered for weeks afterwards. Realising-“ She tried to stop herself, telling herself this was not the time nor the place but it was too late. The fury that had been building inside her for months was doing it’s damnedest to escape and it was too late to protect herself now. Her heart was already broken. “Realising you were already gone when I woke up and finding that picture of us that you always keep in your wallet on the pillow in your place? What do you think? Do I want to talk to you, huh?”

His carefully crafted expression barely registered the hit but she saw him flinch and his walls go up. He looked like he was itching to reach out and touch her but knew that he wasn’t allowed to. Not anymore. “I’m sorry-“

“Yes,” she said simply, forcing up her own emotional safeguards in response to his own retreat. “You should be.”

“Ms. Poehler? Mr Scott? Can I get a photo of the pair of you please?”

The pair turned to see Todd Williamson of NBC standing nervously with his camera. Their interaction had started to catch the attention of others and poor Todd had clearly been sent over in an attempt to defuse the situation.

“Sure.” Amy’s response was clipped, her posture stiff. “Is for the website?”

“The archives,” Todd nodded. “We’ve always gotten a really positive response to the pair of you in pictures and you’re not seen together a lot these days....” He trialed off awkwardly, regretting ever opening his mouth as Amy glowered at Adam. “But that’s irrelevant. Can you move a little closer together please? I promise I’ll be quick.”

Practised as they were, it took a moment and some impassioned pleading from Todd for them to actually have some sort of physical contact in the photo. Amy’s fingers dug into Adam’s shoulder like a vice and he relished the pain as he stared at the camera impassively, Amy’s smile seemingly genuine to the untrained eye but for the clenching of her jaw and the imperceptible grinding of her teeth.

“That’s... That’ll do,” Todd muttered, scrolling through the digital thumbnails and hoping there was something salvageable he could use. “Thank you. Have a lovely night.”

Todd scurried away as Naomi returned with Amy’s water. The smile on her face fell as she felt the undeniable tension between the pair and put the bottle down on the table closest to her. “Amy, I found some Tylenol, just in case... Is everything okay? What’s wrong?”

Amy lifted her chin and stared pointedly at Adam who failed to react or even acknowledge that he registered her gaze. “Nothing is wrong,” she lied through her teeth. “I’m just not feeling very well. I think I should go.”

“But we haven’t had a proper chance to catch up,” Naomi protested, eyes darting back and forward between the pair. “We rarely see you anymore, I was hoping... Did you two have a fight? What have I missed?”

The same word fell short on both the lips of Adam and Amy. Everything.

“I’ll see you soon,” Amy promised. Without warning she drew Naomi in, hugging her fiercely. Bewildered, Naomi accepted the gesture responding in kind. “You look stunning,” Amy told her friend in what would most likely be their final meeting if Amy had anything to do with it. She didn’t know how she was going to explain to the kids that they couldn’t see the Scott children anymore but she couldn’t do this. She couldn’t continue to keep her heart on ice for a man that she loved dearly but whom was unable to freely love her back. She couldn’t be the other woman. This ended tonight. “I love you. Look after yourself.”

“I love you too,” Naomi replied automatically, completely confused. “Amy-“

Amy felt Adam’s eyes on her back as she turned on her heel to leave. Tossing a casual “Goodbye, Adam” over her shoulder with finality she managed to hold it together until she got to the foyer of the theatre before her tears came in earnest. Footsteps came striding after her and a hand rested gently on her shoulder, extending a pocket square for her to dry her eyes with.

“Poehler? You okay?”

She threw herself into the arms of her ex-husband as he glanced at his date shrugging his shoulders.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Will cradled Amy awkwardly as she shook her head, trying valiantly to remind herself to breathe. She had finally done it. She was free. Humiliated but grateful that Will had found her instead of someone else, Amy shook her head again. “Can I call someone? I saw Adam inside, I can get him...”

“No!” She practically shouted. Will raised an eyebrow and she corrected her behaviour immediately. “No. There’s no need to get Adam,” she cleared her throat, gesturing to the ladies room. “I’m fine. Can you call me a car? I need to freshen up.”

Knowing she wasn’t telling him the truth and being glad of that fact Will nodded. “Car will be here when you get back.”

It wasn’t, but that was alright. The cool air on her face was refreshing as she waited outside. When the vehicle pulled up, she discovered Will had given the driver Rashida’s address and settled in for the drive. Rashida and Aubrey were waiting out the front for her when she arrived and both enveloped her in a hug.

“Want me to kick his ass?” Aubrey asked tetchily. “Just say the word. It’s done.”

Amy managed half a laugh. “No. It’s alright. Thanks Aubrey.”

“Did you want to talk about it?” Rashida asked softly. “Or do you want to drink lots of wine and pretend tonight never happened? Both are fine choices.”

“Let’s drink lots of wine and maybe I’ll work my way up to talking about it,” Amy said shakily, the adrenaline of her evening’s events starting to wear off. “Is that okay?”

“Absolutely,” Rashida assured her. “In the meantime we can talk about how ugly some of the dresses were and you can tell us all about your new friend Taylor Swift.”

Amy and Aubrey made a face as Rashida lead them inside, Rashida’s boyfriend Ezra presenting Amy with clothes to change into before excusing himself to take over toddler duty.

An hour later, sufficiently tipsy and feeling considerably better if only due to the alcohol in her system, Amy turned off the television and turned to her friends. “Have we got tissues handy? I’m ready.”