|Something Worth Waiting For
Author: BuffyPikeBike PM
Ronan attempts to explain why he is the way he is ... A Heather/Ronan - HeRo - one shot.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort - Heather S. & Ronan M./Aiden Lansing - Words: 1,431 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Published: 07-11-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8308535
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Something Worth Waiting For
Heather was utterly shocked when she came into work this morning and Michael grouchily informed her that Ronan had called in sick. As long as she had known Ronan, he had never let a little sniffle get in the way of doing his job. It meant whatever he had was serious. He was a transplant patient. Was it possible that he had had some kind of relapse? And if so, why did she care? Whatever impossible to name thing that they had shared in the past was way over. They were merely colleagues now and yet … She was worried, right or wrong. She knew Ronan well enough to know that he would never call anyone to come take care of him, never reach out to anyone, so she had to be the one to go to him. She didn't even second guess the decision or tell herself she was pathetic at that moment. She was just on autopilot through morning briefings and as soon as lunch break rolled around, she skipped out of the office in a hurry to get to his new place at the Athletic Club.
She sighed as she pulled up in front of the place. She always got such bad feelings every time she came here. It had been months since Ricky's death and her father had long since been cleared of any wrong-doing in it but it still bothered her sometimes to come here. It was a tragic reminder of how life could be over in the blink of an eye.
She wasn't a person who scared easily but the thought of Ronan being sick made her feel a tad bit shaky. She realized it was very probable that she felt more for him than she should, more than she even wanted, and certainly more than Ronan would accept.
She had just passed through the revolving door when she spotted a familiar figure sitting at the bar nursing a rum and coke.
"Ronan?" She said. She instinctively moved towards him and he looked up at her with a slightly irritated but also surprised expression etched on his face.
"Heather, what are you doing here?"
"I could ask you the same thing … In fact, I will. Why are you down here drinking when you should be upstairs resting? Unless … You were never sick to begin with."
"Brilliant deduction, Sherlock," Ronan said darkly. "Seriously though, did you come all the way down here just to check up on my story?"
Heather willed herself not to flush in the face and she succeeded, thank god. "No! Yes. Okay, yes, I came to check on you but only because I was worried. You've never called in sick before. I was thinking the worst, that some other organ had failed …"
"It's nothing that serious," Ronan said. "But thanks for caring." He sat stiffly on the bar stool and Heather felt beyond idiotic for coming here, for basically revealing her feelings before she had even realized how powerful they were.
"I shouldn't have come. God forbid anyone worries about you," Heather snapped though she was far angrier at herself than him. In fact, she was angry and humiliated.
She started to turn on heel but Ronan was suddenly calling after her. "Heather, wait."
She kept going because she felt so ridiculous that she couldn't stand to face him right now. Work was going to be so awkward thanks to this debacle she had gotten herself into.
"Heather, I said wait, didn't I?" He asked gruffly, finally catching up to her and reaching for her arm. He fairly yanked her under the alcove beneath the grand staircase and glared at her. "You sure don't listen very well."
"And you sure haven't learned any manners." She shook loose of his grasp. "Look, I am not going to tell Michael you played hooky for whatever reason if that's what you're worried about."
He shook his head. "I'm not worried about that." He shrugged. "I just didn't want to advertise the real reason I couldn't come in today."
"What's the real reason?" Heather asked, searching his eyes for answers that didn't seem forthcoming.
At first he said nothing and then sighed. "Do you know what today is?" Ronan asked.
"Uh … November twelfth…?"
"Yeah. It's November twelfth, the day I actively avoid thinking about every year."
"Something bad happened." It didn't take a rocket scientist to see that that was the truth. His guarded stance and stormy eyes communicated it all.
She held up a hand. "Listen. Don't tell me. It's your business, not mine. I am sorry I pried and pushed and –"
"Can you just shut up and listen?" Ronan snapped. "For one damn minute?"
Heather was tempted to lash right back at him but resisted. "Okay. Talk then." She crossed her arms across her chest as if it could effectively keep him and her feelings for him at bay.
"November twelfth is like D-Day for me every year. It has been for the past six years. I was engaged once, believe it or not." His eyes took on a faraway look. "Her name was Francesca but I called her Frankie. She was … beautiful. Sweet. Perfect… The kind of girl you read about in books but never expect to find in real life. She took a bullet though meant just for me. She just was literally in the wrong place at the wrong time … Today is the sixth anniversary of her death and every year I tell myself I am over it but may be, I never will be."
Heather watched Ronan for a long moment, unsure of what to say. No words she could push past her lips would be adequate to express her condolences for the way he was clearly suffering. She knew now that some of his steel walls had been erected by the death of Frankie. Hell, he might have been a completely different person before her untimely death.
Ronan sighed. "Well, aren't you going to say something? I just told you something no one else knows about around here."
"Everything I can say … Well, I honestly feel like it's not going to help but make things worse somehow. And platitudes suck anyway."
Ronan nodded. "They do. But I just thought you should know the reason I took off. Normally I would work through it and just bury myself under a mountain of paperwork but I can't. Not this year."
"Why not?" Heather asked.
"Because I feel guilty, okay?" Ronan snapped. "Guilty because every minute I share with you makes me happy to be alive; makes me hope for the future while Frankie can't be happy and she will never have a future. And I don't believe in that afterlife shit either though if anyone is an angel, it's gotta be Frankie."
Heather sucked in a breath, holding it until she must have appeared blue in the face. Of all the things she had expected Ronan to say, that was certainly not it. "Ronan, honestly, I am sorry for your loss. I am but –"
He held up a hand to stop her. "Is this the part where you let me down easy or the part where you pull out one of those sucky platitudes?" Ronan asked.
"I am not going to do either because Ronan I do care about you – way too much – but I won't be the reason you keep on hating life. If you're ever ready to embrace the present, maybe even the future too, then we can have something. But I never want you to come to resent me."
She leaned over and kissed his cheek and then started for the door, tears in her eyes. Just as she was stepping out onto the patio, she heard him come crashing through the doors to get to her. He roughly grabbed her and pulled her into a smoldering kiss. She went to fight him but it was useless. She wanted this and Ronan had a way of breaking down her walls too.
When they pulled apart, Ronan looked at her. "Soon …"
"Yeah. Soon enough, I think I am going to be ready to face the present and the future and that stuff... Just promise me when I'm at that point, you're going to be there."
Heather nodded and clasped his hand. "I will be. You are worth the wait, Ronan Malloy."