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Just Between Us Did The Love Affair Maim You Too?

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Therese lay in bed with a box of tissues and Dannie’s cat curled into her side thinking about how not even 48 hours ago that cat would’ve been Carol. A few moments later Dannie’s cat moved to sit on Therese's chest as she had finally turned her light off ready to go to sleep, even though it was only 10 pm. Just as she had fallen asleep her phone rang with a FaceTime call from Dannie. When the call connected she saw Dannie and Tommy stumbling all over themselves. “Hey, T! Be ready in 30 minutes, we're going out and picking you up on the way!”

“Where and who’s going?” Therese sat up in bed which caused Benjamin to meow and scratch at her chest. She put her arm around him to hold him in place.

“We are going to a bar Abby has been wanting to check out for a while, and Abby and Genevieve are going to grab Carol, so? Are you going to get ready?” Tommy drew out his last words.

“Wait, when did it start snowing?”

“Like 3 hours ago, where have you been?”

“I’ve been in bed with your cat,” Therese turned her light on and angled her phone to Benjamin.

“Um ok, also, why are your eyes all red and puffy?” Dannie said as he slowed his pace to focus more.

“She’s been crying you idiot,” Tommy slapped the back of Dannie’s head.

Dannie seemed to assess the situation, “Ok, never mind. we’ll be over in 45 minutes, forget about the bar, Tommy texts Abby to tell her that we aren’t going to be able to make it,”

“Ok hang on,” Therese buts in, “one who said I crying, and two why are you coming over,”

“Because you’re crying and we don’t know why not that we need to, but we are coming over to either cry with you or distract you, your choice”

“Both? Cry with me because of the distraction I guess?”

“Ok so sad movie it is, pick one and we’ll be over soon,” Tommy hung up the phone before she could say anything else. She flopped down onto her pillows again causing Benjamin to hop off of her. 15 mins and a few tears later Therese begrudgingly dragged herself out of bed and into the living room to turn the lights on and get the movie set up.

•••

“Ok, so I just got a text from Tommy saying that he, Dannie, and Therese won’t be able to make it because of something up with Therese, and they are going to stay in,”

“Alright, so what do you want to do? We could go to Carols? Or back to our place,” Abby suggested.

“We can’t go back to our place for the next few hours. Rindy has friends over, that's the whole reason we went out tonight. Remember?”

“Ok well let's head over to Carols I mean we were already going to grab her anyways so now we can just hang out there,”

“Let’s get a bottle of wine before though so we can hopefully make up for bothering her, even though we were going to do it anyway.”

•••

Carol heard people walking up to her apartment just as she had finally stopped crying. When she finally mustered the strength to get off of her floor and climb into bed she heard someone unlocking her door. She assumed it was Therese but quickly remembered the events of last night and started crying again but soon stopped when she heard Abby ask Genevieve why it was so dark. Carol rolled over and groaned into her pillow not in the mood to deal with people, “oh my-”

36 hours ago

“-GOD!” Therese stormed around her apartment gathering Carol’s things from last night. “You can't keep doing this Carol!”

“Doing what?” She tried to grab hold of Therese's arm in hopes of slowing her down.

“This! Asking me to move in with you, and then ignoring me when I say no!” She threw the clothes down on the bed looking exhausted, “Look I love you, I really do,” she took a step back, “but I'm just not ready to move in with you yet. You can't keep disregarding my answer! I love spending nights with you and I love waking up with you curled into me but I need my own space. I just can't move in with you yet!”

“Why not! You can still have your own space! We can rent you a studio for photography or you can have my office, god knows I don't use it,” Carol took Therese's hands in her own and pulled her closer. “Please we can make this work. I know we can, I can't lose you, please.”

“Oh my god, you still don't get it,” Therese pulled away and walked to the other side of the room. “I need a space that is completely my own, not just a room, not mixed with work, just something that is completely my own. And do you know how expensive it is to rent a studio? I can’t afford it, we can’t afford it! I’m not ready for this and I can't just make myself! And you can lose me, you lived without me for 32 years, you just don't want to. And I know we could work it out but I don't know if this is worth it, I don't know if you're worth it.”

“You don't know if I'm worth it? Not even 12 hours ago you said to me ‘you're the light of my life’ and said you loved me more than anything or were you just kidding when you said that? Because as far as my knowledge goes we were doing great, perfect even, we had worked everything out, so what changed Therese? What went through your head while I was asleep that made you change your mind?”

“Nothing made me change my mind, Carol! We have never been perfect and we never will be, we have not worked everything out and you're not even trying to anymore, you just ignore the issue until I stop bringing it up! It's exhausting Carol, it's like you don't even care anymore.” Therese stood breathless. “If you want a relationship Carol you have to try, you have to put energy into it, and you're just not doing that. I can't be with someone who isn't willing to try.”

Carol stood speechless, tears slipping down her face, unable to form a response without completely breaking down. She slowly started to pack her stuff into her bag. When Therese looked up at the movement tears started to form in the corners of her eyes because she saw the tears streaming down her and the heartbreak that had made itself present, the heartbreak that she put there. “Carol I’m sor-”

“Don't, please just don't.” Carol grabbed her clothes and made her way over to the door. She paused with her hand on the handle and said “I'll see you later tonight,” Carol wiped the tears that were streaming down her face and shut the door behind her.

By the time Therese finished sliding down against the door and hit the floor, it felt like years had passed. She had tears streaming down her face as she wondered what she had just done. Somewhere deep down she knew she would find her way back to Carol, they always came back to each other, but right now it all seemed so impossible. This seemed like a fight that would make them lose each other forever. This was the fight that rendered Carol speechless and Therese regretful, neither of which had happened in recent memory. Carol always had something to say, a comeback for everything, and Therese always thought everything through until there was no reason to have any doubt, but this, this is the one thing that she regrets and will regret until the day she dies.

When she finally stopped crying and regained enough energy to get ready for the party it had been 3 hours. She thought about texting Dannie and telling him what had happened but she knew that would just make him worried and she didn't want to do that to him tonight. She reluctantly put on her makeup and her dress, an emerald green dress that Carol had given her.

•••

“Carol! Are you here?”

“We brought wine!”

Carol heard Abby and Genevieve rummaging through her cabinets trying to find the wine opener even though they used it more than she did. “Top drawer three cabinets to the left of the stovetop!” She called out, tired of them making noise.

“Well, well, well, look who is here, and crying?” Abby looked confused, “Are you ok? This is like I don't know maybe the 4th time I've seen you cry in all the years I have known you,”

“What? No, yeah, I’m fine, I promise,” Carol felt bad for lying to Abby especially because she knew Abby was going to pry it out of her one way or another, “I just watched Inside Out, I forgot how sad it makes me.” She could see the gears turning in Abby's mind. The only thing either of them know about Inside Out is that it is a sad Pixar movie with no other purpose than to make you cry, of course, she's never seen it, she doesn't even know the plot.

“Ok, so I am going to let that lie slide because god knows you've never seen that movie. But I am going to need you to tell me what is wrong because it is painful to see you this sad.” Abby climbed under the covers next to her and motioned to Genevieve who was now leaning against the door frame to get water for Carol.

•••

Therese sat on the sofa like a little kid waiting for Dannie and Tommy to arrive. She felt the tears pricking in the corner of her eyes as she had for every waking moment since their fight. She knew she overreacted but she couldn't help it, she just got so tired of it, and so exhausted, it had all been building up until that moment except she hadn't noticed until it overflowed. She put her head in her hands in a feeble attempt to stop the tears from falling.

Dannie chose the exact wrong moment to open the door, sure he had seen her cry before, many times, but she had never been his much of a mess. Dannie quickly swept her into the tightest hug he could manage, he let her fall apart in his arms, and she gladly took the opportunity to have someone else help support her for the first time in what had felt like ages. “Hey, it's all going to be ok, whatever happened between you two will all work itself out,” Dannie reassured her.

“It won’t, she hates me now, I fucked up, but the worst part is that I don't even know if I want to fix it.” Therese sobbed into his chest, “God it just got so hard and tiring and I just got fed up with everything, I don't think I could fix it even if I tried to.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” Tommy asked while gently rubbing her back.

“We had a big fight about me not wanting to move in with her yet because she kept ignoring my answer of no, that happened before the party. And it was bad Dannie, I said a lot of things I regret.”

“Ok but we can come back from that,” Dannie rubbed her back and let her lean into him.

“You and Carol always find your way back to each other, you know that, Carol knows that, everyone knows that,” Tommy reassured her.

“Not this time. I don't think I can fix it. I said ‘I don't know if this is worth it if you're worth it’ how do you come back from telling someone that you love if don't know if they are worth it?” Therese was sobbing into Dannie’s side by now. “I love her and I probably always will I just don't know if I want to keep putting energy into this relationship when it feels like she is not putting anything into it,”

Dannie and Tommy exchanged a look that seemed to say how do we fix this. “Ok yeah that's bad, BUT, it doesn't mean it's not fixable, it just means that it is going to take some work.”

“That's not even the worst of it, we fought more at the party when she was trying to apologize,”

“Ok, what happened at the party?” Dannie asked her tentatively, as if not to push her off the edge.

“Well I showed up, as you saw, and we kind of avoided each other until around 11 pm when she decided to try and apologize. And she came over to me and said-”

24 hours ago

“Tonight the music seems so loud, I wish that we could lose this crowd,” Carol was standing beside Therese now against her better judgment.

“Maybe it's better this way, we both know we will only hurt each other with the things we want to say,” Therese refused to look at her.

“Please, Therese, I’m trying to apologize. I said a lot of stuff that I didn't mean, and I want to try to make things better- Ow, what are you doing?” Therese took her by the arm and led her to the door and onto the sidewalk.

“Look, Carol, I know you're sorry about walking off like that, and I’m sorry for the way I said things, but I did mean it. I can't move in with you and I don't know if we are worth fighting for anymore. We have tried so hard and I love you, I probably always will, and who knows maybe someday we will find our way back to each other, but right now I can't do this. And I know you can’t either, we are both at very different places in our lives and it's just not working anymore.”

“I am sorry for how I walked off and for not listening to you about this, but I love you, can't you see that? I love you, I will not lose you. We can make this work. I can do this Therese. I’m not afraid of what comes next for us, I just don't want to lose you. I will put in more effort into this relationship and listen to what you need from me instead of just assuming, and I will make sure I am being the best partner you could ask for, I promise.” Carol was wiping the tears from her face when Therese suddenly started talking again.

“I have to go and you probably should too, judging by the state of our makeup someone is going to know something happened and I don't think we want to ruin everyone's night. And now I’m not so sure that I want to put my energy into this relationship, you have said this before and nothing has changed. I love you, I truly do, but I can't do this anymore.” Therese said with a finality that shattered Carol even more. “I’ll see you at work,” and Therese walked away.

Carol stood there in shock, unable to move or do anything until she was finally snapped out of her daze by the sound of footsteps.