|All in the Timing
Author: bourbon PM
Woody and Jordan struggle with their conflicting emotions in the aftermath of Devan's death. COMPLETE!Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 4 - Words: 8,294 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 4 - Updated: 12-08-04 - Published: 11-18-04 - Status: Complete - id: 2139994
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The rain fell soft and grey on the cluster of black-clad mourners in the churchyard of St. Bridget's.
They stood huddled against the chill, not speaking. They hadn't spoken of Devan's death in the week that had past, not really. There are been a kind of silent acknowledgment among them as they moved numbly through the halls in those first days. Then, they had fallen back into the routine and averted their eyes as they went by Devan's empty office, and it was almost as if she had never passed through.
"I hate funerals," Bug finally said.
"Not a funeral," Jordan followed grimly. "Memorial service." And then, quietly, "No body."
The silence fell back over them as they watched the others file into the church. There were some of Devan's med school classmates, sorority sisters, and members of the Maguire family. Devan's mother arrived, dignified under a black umbrella. Her face bore the unnatural serenity of one who had been slightly sedated.
"Anyone seen Woody?" Lily asked. They all turned their eyes expectantly to Jordan. No response came. "I didn't realize he and Devan were so close," she went on in a small voice. "I thought you and Woody..." her voice trailed off.
Jordan looked down and kicked at a loose stone with the toe of her shoe. "We were just friends."
There was another silence, and Jordan wished someone would fill it with something, anything, talk of the weather, rather than this.
"Oh. Were they...serious?"
"What, is that a polite euphemism for were they 'doing it?' I'm not Woody's keeper. How should I know?" Jordan had meant it to sound light and flip but was surprised at the edge in her voice.
"I'm sorry, Jordan, I just thought you might know..."
"Well, I don't," Jordan cut her off. As if to punctuate, she sent the stone skittering across the churchyard.
Jordan looked up at Lily, her brows raised in surprise, her mouth a round 'O.' "I see," Lily said softly. Jordan's eyes fell, and she busied herself with the buttons of her coat.
She searched for something witty and casual to say to leave them with the impression that she could not care the slightest about Woody and Devan's relationship, but then she became aware that Woody had come through the iron gates of St. Bridget's and was walking up the cobblestone walkway. His face was ashen, his hair dampened with rain.
Her mouth fell open to call his name, and her hand raised to wave him over. He saw them and nodded once in recognition. Then he turned and cut across the grass to where Mrs. Maguire stood. She watched as he reached out his hand. They spoke solemnly as she patted his hand in hers, and then they embraced and he kissed her gently on the cheek. He went into the church without looking back.
Jordan turned to the group. Their eyes all quickly darted away, and they pretended they hadn't seen her watching him. They stood again huddled in a circle. "Poor Woody," Lily finally said quietly. "He must be devastated. Have you talked to him at all, Jordan?"
Jordan said nothing for a moment and then folded her umbrella with a snap. "No," she said sharply. "I'll see you guys inside."
She found her mind wandering during the mass, lulled by the voice of a priest who had never even met Devan. She was uncomfortable, wedged between Garret, Lily, Bug and Nigel and passed the time counting candles and scanning through the congregation, as she had done at many a childhood mass.
There were the Maguires in the front pews. They all looked alike, all cool blondes with the air of the aloof about them. Jordan knew the kind, like her grandmother, who would never show any signs of public grief, but she could only guess at the depths of their pain.
She felt a pang of guilt now and again, thinking of the family and of her last conversation with Devan. But mostly her only emotion was a sense of curious detachment. She almost had the feeling of being at a play, and not a very involving one at that. And then her wandering eyes would fall on Woody, who sat alone in a pew a few rows ahead of her.
He was unusually still, as if he were trying very hard to be so. She could not see his face, but his head would bow occasionally and his shoulders would sink for a moment, but then he would snap back up, straight and stoic.
Why had she not gone to him? Why had she not slid into the pew next to him and wrapped her arms around him? How many times had she thought to call him this week but had not? He suddenly seemed remote to her, someone she barely knew at all.
The mourners spilled out into the churchyard after the service. The rain had ended, and they squinted as their eyes adjusted to the new sunlight. Mrs. Maguire crossed the grass toward Jordan, supported on the arm of a young Maguire cousin.
"Jordan...I'm so glad you came. Please. Come back to the house, won't you?" She spoke slowly and deliberately.
"Well, actually, my father...I own a bar and some of use from the office were going to go there and..." Jordan cleared her throat uneasily. Mrs. Maguire smiled.
"Devan would love that. She wouldn't want her friends to be sad. Go. Have fun." The young man took her elbow and steadied her as they turned to go.
They all traded uncomfortable looks, knowing that none among them had really though of themselves as Devan's friends.
The mourners dispersed and Jordan made her way with the others toward their cars. She scanned the crowd for Woody, but he was gone.
There was a respectable number at the Pogue. Emy and Sidney, and some of the others from the M.E.'s office. Even some detectives and ADA's with whom she had worked. Garret stood behind the bar.
The mood was subdued, but not altogether joyless. There was music from the jukebox and stories about Devan being Devan. They all laughed and shook their heads knowingly. Jordan sat apart from it all at the bar.
The group had dwindled by the late afternoon. Nigel and Bug and a few others remained. Lily busied herself gathering dirtied mugs from the empty tables.
She passed by Jordan and put a reassuring hand on her shoulder.
"You okay, Jordan?"
"Yeah, fine. Listen, Lily. I want to apologize for what I said this morning. I..." She didn't bother to finish but shrugged.
Lily opened her mouth as if to speak, but then thought better of it. She smiled. "I'll see you tomorrow, Jordan."
The door opened then. It was Woody, the last of the day's sunlight streaming in behind him. They all looked silently at him as he crossed to the bar. The sound was broken by Nigel's chair sliding across the floor.
"Well...I guess I'd better get going," he said softly.
"Good idea," Bug murmured. Lily gathered her coat. She smiled with concern at Woody and followed Bug and Nigel out.
Woody settled on a stool at the other end of the bar from where Jordan sat. "Set me up with one, will you, Dr. Macy?"
Garret drew him a beer. "Well," Garret said quietly. "I guess that's last call. I'll see you tomorrow, Jordan. Woody...take care of yourself." Woody only nodded in response.
He sat silently until Garret closed the door of the bar behind him.
"I sure know how to bring a room down." His voice was thick.
She moved to the end of the bar to where he was sitting and slid onto the stool next to his. "How've you been, Woody? I've been meaning to call you all week." She started uneasily. It occurred to her that this was a conversation she should have with an acquaintance, not with Woody.
He shrugged and took a swallow of his beer. "I'm fine, Jordan."
She licked her lips and fumbled for words. "I'm sorry, Woody. I didn't realize that you and Devan were...dating." The last word stuck in her throat.
"We had only gone out a few times. Besides. Do you really think we wanted to air our business around you people?"
Jordan winced. Sometime in the last month or so, he had started seeing Devan Maguire and Jordan, herself, had become just one of "you people." How had she missed this?
He went on. "I mean, all that gossip was bad enough about you and me, and we weren't even dating. Imagine us dating. How stupid is that?"
"Yeah, I guess so." They sat for a moment in the uncomfortable stillness of the bar. "Anyway. I'm sorry. I just wanted you to know. And if there's anything I can do..."
"Well, how about this?" Her voice sounded artificially upbeat. "I bet you haven't had a decent meal in a week. Why don't you let me take you out for a hot dinner? Steak and a baked potato?"
He drained his glass. "Thanks, Jordan. But I'll pass." The cool finality in his voice took her breath.
He rose from the barstool and headed for the door. He paused and stood at the top step. "I guess I'll be seeing you around the office, then." He stood and looked at her questioningly, as if he were waiting for her to respond, but she did not.
He walked out into the twilight. She watched him go, sitting alone in the darkened space, powerless to cross the considerable chasm that had somehow opened up between them.