This story is on the more mature side of the T rating. Its not explicit but things do get a little heated between our dear Jo and Henry so just be aware :) Otherwise, enjoy some Henry/Jo hurt and comfort!
Henry had a list of his own personal rules to keep his life in better check. When you lived as long as he did, you had to have balance in your life or things could spiral out of control. It wasn't about personal preferences; he'd tried what felt like was everything at least once. It was about keeping his secrets safe. Certain situations lent themselves to easily spilling personal secrets and they had to be avoided.
But that wasn't to say that he didn't break his own rules. While he considered himself good at self-control and mastering his considerable passions when need be, he was still human and sometimes he broke his own rules. Currently, he was breaking two and not even feeling remotely guilty about it.
Broken Rule #1- When emotionally distraught, avoid public places and other people.
Broken Rule # 2 – Never drink in excess with other people, especially in public.
Maybe he should have felt guilt about it but it was a bit difficult to feel bad when there were lips and teeth pressed against his neck and hands pulling his clothes off.
When Henry had first woken up that morning and his eyes fell on the calendar, he decided to ignore the day altogether. Take a few (or several) sleeping pills and sleep the day away. What could some shameless drug use really matter if it was all done to avoid doing something even worse to himself? He'd even pulled himself out of bed and been making his way toward the bathroom for the pills when he had gotten a call from Jo. Double homicide, decapitation in Central Park; it was just the kind of case that would have him grinning like an idiot any other day. He could tell even Jo had a smile in her voice as she related the details to him; she was sure that he'd be ecstatic. He thought briefly about telling her he was sick and couldn't come in; the idea of burrowing back into his bed was oddly appealing. But that's not what he had done; he'd taken the bait and found himself in Central Park 30 minutes later looking at disembodied heads and feeling completely sick to his stomach. Everyone seemed to notice his ill pallor. Hanson had taken the opportunity to make several jokes about how Henry wasn't as weird as he'd imagined since this was obviously getting to him. But the bodies and the blood splattered across the grass wasn't what was getting to him.
It was the anniversary of the day Abigail had left him and even though it had been thirty years now, that didn't make it stop hurting less. The pain of Abigail's leaving him never really went away; it was always in the back of his head but it was manageable. But every year when this day came around he couldn't help but be consumed by his memories and how he had felt that day. It was a nightmare; a living nightmare. He'd known that Abigail had been growing more and more unsatisfied by the apparent age gap between them. He'd hated to see the pain in her eyes as people around them seemed to throw her dirty looks anytime that she chanced to hug Henry or hold his hand; eventually she refrained from being familiar with him at all in public. At the end, she wouldn't even go out with him. She just couldn't stand people thinking she was his mother. While he couldn't blame her for the pain she was feeling, he never imagined that she would actually leave him.
He'd run through the gambit of emotions regarding it. He'd felt her betrayal in harsh waves; how could she leave not only him but Abe, her own son? He'd felt fear, sure that if she had never come back that something terrible had happened to her. He'd come to a place of being sure he hated her for the pain and abandonment she had forced on him. But mostly all he felt was overwhelming love and loss. All he could think of was a million memories of Abigail and how she had made his life worth living. He'd have ended it all then if he could have. For Abe's sake, he was now glad he hadn't been able to go through with it. Abe had pulled him out of the mire of his depressed thoughts and helped him put his pain mostly behind him.
There were still triggers, plenty of them to be sure. There were still those dozens of little things that reminded him of Abigail and would send him into the throes of sadness. But most of the time it was manageable. He found happiness in a multitude of other things. His relationships with women were still a wreck. Sure, he got on well with women but they never went further than one night of passion before Henry would do a specular vanishing act and make sure that he left no trace for the woman to ever find him again. It wasn't his desired manner of interacting with people by any means. But he couldn't develop a deep connection with anyone like he had with Abigail and he still had certain needs; it was a necessary evil.
Mostly Henry was pleased with his life as it was now. He and Abe had never been closer after their long absence, he was thoroughly enjoying his job of catching criminals as a side to his job as a ME and he was starting to make real friends at the NYPD. But certain days, like the day Abigail had left him, brought to the forefront of his memories his old pains until they consumed him.
Somehow Henry managed to get through his day in the field without breaking down but by the time he had made it back to station he was wearing thin. He was being short and rude with people but he couldn't find the strength to care and even the smallest effort caused him a huge amount of energy that he didn't have. When he got to the morgue, he instantly went to his office and closed the door, in no mood for Lucas' incessant prattle.
After about five minutes of shuffling through his paperwork he could see that he was going to get nowhere in his current mood; he should have stayed home. Intent on getting out and calling it an early day, Henry was clearing up his things to get ready to leave for the day when Jo walked into his office.
"Are you leaving?" Jo asked, noticing Henry's flustered, emotional movements.
"Yes…..I'm not particularly feeling well so I'm just going to head home early" Henry tried to brush it off but he was unsuccessful. When he turned around he could see by the sympathetic look on Jo's face that she was not fooled; she knew something was wrong with him other than ill health.
"Well, I was getting ready to leave too" Jo said nonchalantly though Henry could tell she was trying to appear at ease. "If you want, you could come with me and get a drink."
"I'm not really in the mood to be around everyone from the station" Henry said tiredly. The last thing he could imagine now was trying to be normal around Hanson, Lucas and whoever else decided to tag along. How exhausting…
"I wasn't going to invite anyone else" Jo said bluntly. "Just you and me"
Henry knew he should have said no. He was already so emotionally spent and combining that with drinking was likely to put him in place of wanting to talk about something that he couldn't possibly talk about. But there was something so appealingly calm in the way that she said 'just you and me' and the small smile she gave him. Being with Jo was easy; she wouldn't force him to talk and she was happy with long quiet pauses the rare time that he gave them to her. So, against his better judgement, he had given in.
"Sure…..that sounds great" Henry had said, forcing a smile.
True to Jo's wonderful nature that Henry was slowly discovering, she didn't nag him. They went out for drinks and she never once asked him what was bothering him though it was clear that she knew he was upset. Henry knew that he could have talked about it if he had wanted to; she was open like that. But at the same time she occasionally interspersed comments about work and mundane things like current movies and personal details that got him thinking about and talking about other things.
Despite himself and his rules about keeping to himself when he was alone, he was finding he was enjoying himself. Jo was good company and though he should have been paying more attention to how much he was drinking, he had enough that worries were long gone. Jo seemed to match his fervor, ordering more drinks for herself when Henry's was empty and he could tell by her wide smile and rosy glow that she was enjoying herself as much as he was and just as intoxicated.
After a while, they stopped talking about work altogether. It became more personal, discussing their childhoods and favorite books and music; Henry was delighted to find that even with his vision spinning slightly, he was able to censor himself enough that he could share personal information with her without giving himself up completely.
He could sense when he hit the level of intoxication where he turned on his charm and yet he felt powerless to stop it. He could feel himself looking at her differently; he really hadn't been lying when he told her, most bluntly, that she was hot. Maybe he could have used less scientific language but he was being sincere. His limbs, which were becoming more and more fluid due to the alcohol and were drawn to hers magnetically in brushes of his hands against her and his foot rubbing against her legs under the table. At one point, he found himself reciting Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 to her shamelessly. It was embarrassing! Usually he had more tact but he felt like a racing train wreck, unable to stop himself.
But a strange thing began to happen; she not only wasn't repulsed by him, but she was reciprocating. When Henry stopped rubbing his foot against hers under the table, he found that her foot began to run up and along his leg, making him shiver in a way that he hoped she couldn't see. When his hands managed to be still and keep close to his own side of the table, Jo seemed to make excuses for reaching across the table and touching his hand. He didn't fully understand the phenomena of what was happening.
It didn't become clear to him until they had stumbled out of the bar, leaning so heavily on each other that it was a miracle that either of them stayed upright. Henry was beyond gone; he hadn't been this drunk in years. The world was spinning around him permanently, the stars bright and erratic in the sky above him. He was waiting to hail a cab and watching the clouds of stream coming from his breath; it must have been wickedly cold out but all he felt was a wonderful warm glow. He was rambling about something; oddly he almost sure he'd been talking about the proper procedure for opening a chest cavity. He'd been cut off most unexpectedly.
"God, Henry…..don't you ever stop talking?" Jo had said, half in exasperation, half in admiration.
Before Henry could turn on her and defend himself, Jo's lips were on his own. Quite an effective way to make him shut up, really, and that's what he thought she was doing. That was until he felt the slam of a hard surface behind him as Jo pushed him against the brick wall of the bar and the kiss not only lingered but deepened.
Henry's slowed, drunken mind swirled with activity and sensation. He should have stopped her; that was the right thing to do, right? They were both completely drunk and that would have been the gentlemanly thing to do. But Henry's body was coming alive with long ignored sensations and desires and the last thing he wanted to do was be a gentleman.
Jo's hands were in his hair pulling hard as she coaxed his lips into action. His frozen state was quickly thawed and he felt his lips match the quick slide of hers against his own. Almost immediately he felt Jo's tongue pressing at his lips and as soon as he opened his mouth to let it in, she was exploring every inch of his mouth. His hands rested on Jo's hips, pulling her closer to him with a quick nudge before they began to run along her back, shoulders, and the firm curve of her bottom. Henry felt a sigh of longing trill through Jo's mouth into his own before her movements became almost biting, teeth nipping at his tongue and lips. When Jo pulled back for a moment, Henry was afraid it was all about to end. When her mouth found his pulse point on his neck and began to suck on it so hard Henry actually whimpered, he knew this was not ending anytime soon and he was completely alright with it.
It had been so long…Henry had had enough encounters lately and that should have been fulfilling. But this…this….was different. In his one night encounters with random strangers the actions were familiar and straightforward. While they always ended in a definite physical release, they lacked the intimacy of this moment right now. Most people assumed that letting your genitals touch another's was the height of intimacy but it paled in comparison to this. It could almost be clinical at times; producing actions that would get the results you wanted with very little exploring. Being overpoweringly kissed on the street by someone who seemed intent on consuming your very flesh out of desire…there was nothing better than that. And Henry hadn't had that in a very long time.
Henry was going to have bruises tomorrow and though that should have embarrassed him (he could just hear Hanson laughing now) all it did was excite him. He'd always been a sucker for hickies; he didn't care if it seemed like the mark of an overexcited teenager. He loved being marked and when he realized every time he whimpered, Jo pressed harder, he started being exaggerated just to spur her on. He grabbed her hair and pulled hard enough to make her falter, pulling it to himself. He pressed his face into her hair, feeling it rub along his cheek and run through his hands; oh how he loved this….
They were lost in their own world, sure to be giving everyone on the street a show. It wasn't until someone yelled 'get a room' before chuckling heartily that Jo finally pulled back from Henry. He felt his neck throbbing in the most delicious way; get a room…..what a great idea. But Henry was sure that Jo would now be sobered enough to stop. When she pulled back and he see the dark, heavy lidded expression she viewed him with, he thought that maybe he'd underestimated her.
"Let's get a cab" she said, her voice low and out of breath.
Henry's heart skipped several beats and he felt a head rush. "Yes" he managed to gasp out even though he should have said no and gotten his own cab. He should have stopped this madness. But with his heart racing, his head still swirling and his blood filled with hormones, he couldn't resist the mounting excitement. How rare it was that he was truly excited about anything, how rare anything felt new and novel.
When they finally managed to hail and cab and tumble into the back, Jo gave the cabbie what Henry assumed to be her address. Sitting in the cab, unable to get lost in Jo's lips, his drunken mind was starting to work again. Given a bit of power, his mind began to drift toward what was happening here. Was it expected that he was staying at Jo's tonight? Surely that was what she intended, right? But what if she didn't? What if….
Henry train of beginning coherent thought stopped immediately when he felt Jo's hand in his lap. He gasped slightly at the unexpected contact but quickly quieted himself. A quick glance at Jo from the corner of his eye saw her smirking at him in pleasure but then looking infuriatingly unaffected as she continued to stroke her hand along the front of his trousers. Curse her…..curse the cabbie; it was all he could do not pounce on her. Henry generally showed more restraint but this was over the top. Jo knew that Henry couldn't do anything without making a complete spectacle of himself to the cab driver. But Jo…her hand was completely covered by Henry's long coat and anyone looking on would see nothing amiss if Henry managed to keep it together. It was a delightful tease and Henry had to smile despite having to bite the inside of his mouth to keep from giving himself away.
This was torture….Jo pressed just hard enough, just fast enough to make Henry sure he was about to ruin these trousers before she let off for a second only to begin again. Henry felt himself beginning to sweat under his numerous layers. How far away could Jo's house possible be? Henry gripped the seat of the car as Jo gave him a particularly hard squeeze. This was pure and inhuman torture; Henry wanted to think that he didn't deserve this but he was only kidding himself. He was a complete masochist and he loved every moment of this.
There was a brief moment of burning agony that made Henry feel detached from his body as they exited the cab and Jo walked up the stairs to her door. His mind went black, desperation clawing at him and then Jo had the door open.
He was rarely so rude but Jo didn't seem to care. Henry pushed her against the wall, shutting the door behind him with one push of his foot. His mouth was on hers again and a sigh spread out from his chest out of his mouth; it was like he'd been starving for this and he hadn't even known it. Jo's hands moved all along his chest, arms, back as she kissed him back earnestly, seeming to not know whether she wanted to fight for dominance again. It occurred to him at that moment that wearing clothes was a huge inconvenience. It was cemented in his mind when Jo began to press up against him, brushing against him deliciously.
Henry kept his lips firmly cemented to Jo's as he began to pull off her coat which seemed like an exceedingly difficult task in the current moment. Finally he managed to get it off of her, along with her scarf. As he threw it in the floor in a heap, he felt Jo's hands on his arms, steering him away from the wall and in the opposite direction.
With Henry's alcohol induced vertigo he nearly fell into the floor as he stumbled back into Jo's room. He felt her grip tighten on his arms as she nearly lost her own balance. She quickly regained herself and began ripping off his clothes. Her lips were back at the swollen spot on his neck and he bit his lip as he felt the shudder of aroused pain as she nipped at the already bruises spots.
With shaky fingers Jo tore off his coat, scarf, and jacket but seemed to struggle with the buttons on his waist coat. Jo gave a rare curse of frustration. "Why do you wear so many clothes, Henry?" she said in a wonderfully breathy voice as she struggled with the buttons.
"Seemed like a good idea at the time" Henry gasped out, his hand going to undo her belt. "You know, a good sense of fashion can really get you-"
Henry stopped as Jo bit him hard on the crook between his neck and shoulder. "Shut up, Henry. It was a rhetorical question" she shot back as she finally got his waistcoat off and proceeded to his shirt.
Henry smiled at the snap in her voice. She was bossy; he liked that. He tore of her pants with an excited push and smiled at the plain white panties; he liked that too. Not all of the time of course, but in a chance meeting like this it was exciting; it spoke volumes about not trying too hard. He really hated it when women tried too hard and-
Henry's beginning to wander mind was cut off as Jo managed to free him of his shirt and tie and she kissed a trail from his neck to his chest. She flinched slightly. "That is the biggest scar I've ever seen…" she marveled, her lips trailing over the scar in his chest.
"Don't ask…..not now" Henry said in his own commanding voice. He pulled off Jo's underwear and that was the last of that argument.
In a furious rush of shaky, nervously aroused movements the rest of the clothes came off and Henry fell back on the bed. He closed his eyes and got lost in the sensation of simply feeling everything. Jo was on top of him and his hands were instantly searching her skin. Henry was already shaking with desire and he was sure that he would finish embarrassingly quick at this rate so he forced himself to slow down and just enjoy the lips on his and where his hands went for a moment.
He would never tire of the feel of soft skin and perfect womanly curves along his fingers no matter how long he lived. He would never get tired of feeling skin and curves pressed perfectly along his own body. He rested his hands on Jo's bottom, giving a teasing, reflexive press against her before he let his hands travel up her back, along her shoulders. On a delighted path to her chest, Henry's finger got caught and he opened his eyes briefly to see the entrapment and instantly felt himself grow cold.
Henry's desire washed away as if he had been doused with cold water. It was more sobering than if he had a gallon of Abe's hangover cure. Henry's finger was caught in the plain gold band around her neck she wore on a chain. Henry was horrified in himself and felt panic closing around his throat like a fist.
"Henry" Jo said, her voice thick but beginning to worry as he'd gone completely limp under her. "What's wrong?"
When he didn't answer, Jo's eyes traveled down and she saw the problem. Flushing, she grabbed the chair and pulled it away from him. "S-sorry…..I normally take it off." She said, thoroughly embarrassed.
Henry wanted to diffuse the situation; she had no reason to be embarrassed. But he was so thoroughly horrified in his own actions that he couldn't bear to even look at her. In a flurry, Henry pushed his way out from under Jo.
"I'm sorry…I can't do this" Henry gasped out, getting off of the bed and retreating into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him.
It was a very sobering reminder. All of the good emotions and happiness Henry had felt that evening with Jo fizzled out and all that was left was his pain from earlier. He'd made a mistake, a big one at that. He'd always been so careful after Abigail. He made sure he didn't get connected, that he didn't develop real feelings for the women that he went home with at night. That was why they were always strangers, people he cared nothing for. But this…Jo was not a stranger. He did care about her; to have slept with her tonight would have completely destroyed any friendship they had. He cared about her feelings and he was sure that even now, though he had stopped himself, he had ruined the carefree relationship they had. He should have never gone out with her when he was so emotionally compromised. He'd broken so many of his own personal rules and this was the very reason he had those rules; they kept him from completely screwing up his life.
Seeing Jo's wedding ring around her neck, even as she was completely exposed in his arms reminded him of something; she was just as lost as he was. She was not over Sean's death; it still haunted her. He knew that; he could see it in her eyes sometimes, especially in those moments he saw her absently play with the ring around her neck when she thought that no one was watching her. He could see that she was dying inside she missed him so much but she buried it away because she was expected to be strong and let no one know how much losing him affected her. Henry knew this because he knew exactly how she felt. He was not over losing Abigail but since it had been thirty years since he'd lost her and no one even knew or could know of his pain, he buried it and left it only inside himself. Jo used the same coping mechanism as he did; it was only cemented by her response, 'I normally take it off'. She knew to take her ring off when she went looking for a shallow meaningless encounter with a man. When you held so much pain inside the only kind of interactions you could face with people were meaningless because anything deeper would cause you to expose your pain. Jo hadn't taken it off tonight because neither of them planned this. Even so, Henry felt completely responsible.
Henry dreaded going back out there but he knew that he had to. He'd behaved horribly and he had to apologize. He didn't relish having to see her disappointed face; already he was preparing to hear her tell him to leave. He would have to accept that he had massively fouled up but he still had to apologize.
Henry took several minutes to compose himself before considering leaving the bathroom. Looking around furiously, Henry located the only towel in the room and put it around his waist. Ironic that he'd been so intent on getting all of his clothes off; now he felt completely exposed and foolish without his layers. His emotions were raw, the sorrow of the date coming back to him and all he wanted with his grief and ebbing intoxication was to go to sleep. But he had more important things to do.
Henry walked out of the bathroom and cautiously made his way back into Jo's bedroom. Jo was sitting in the middle of the bed, curled up cross legged. She had hastily thrown her shirt and pants back on, obviously worried Henry would come back before she did, he deuced as he noticed her underwear still shoved under the foot of the bed. Her face was red and as she heard him coming, she hastily wiped her eyes and sniffled.
As Henry walked up to her, she immediately launched out. "I'm sorry…..really I am" she said. Guilt was heavy in her voice and Henry felt responsible for it. He sat down on the bed next to her, feeling oddly embarrassed now to be in her bed in nothing but a towel.
"It wasn't your fault" Henry tried to argue but Jo was faster.
"It was….." she insisted. "I was drunk and being…..irresponsible. I had way too much and I threw myself at you. I'm so sorry"
"Well, perhaps we can agree that we both share blame" Henry said, rubbing his now throbbing head. "We both had too much to drink. I could have stopped your advances but I didn't want to. I encouraged it. I am sorry; I shouldn't have."
Henry felt his cheeks redden just as he saw Jo's as she slowly nodded. Henry felt terribly awkward, looking for what to say, such a rare thing for him. Jo broke the silence before him.
"Who did you lose?" she asked. Her eyes were shinning and nothing but sympathy showed on her face.
Henry faltered; he felt the weight of Abigail in his mind again like had all day. "I don't know what you mean" Henry lied. It was weak and Henry knew it.
Jo pulled the chain still around her neck out from under her misbuttoned shirt and Henry felt himself recoil at the sight of it. "Henry, I saw the look you had when you saw this" she said. "It's the same you look you have now. You weren't upset because I had this on; you saw it the very first time we met. You explained, in your extremely personal and evasive way, that you knew I had this on because I lost my husband. It wasn't a surprise…you were upset because it reminded you of someone in that moment. So…who?"
Henry felt his throat getting tight and his eyes burning and he absolutely wanted to refuse to cry here and now like this. He wanted to go, wanted to leave and rush home to the security of solitude where he could break down. But that wasn't what he ended up doing. "Abigail…" her name burst from Henry's lips in a gasp of sorrow and longing. Just saying her name after never speaking of her had some kind of release.
Jo's eyes shone; she knew how hard it was for Henry to open up about this though she didn't understand why yet. "Who was she?" Jo asked. Her voice and her face showed so much understanding, so much openness. How long had it been since someone had asked about her? Henry's chest was caving in from the tears he wanted to cry and while he prolonged them, he couldn't stop the words.
"She was my wife" Henry said, looking down at the bed to avoid seeing so much understand in Jo's eyes. She reached out tentatively and took his hand in her own. It was such a small gesture but Henry felt heat and warmth spread from the contact.
"What happened to her?" Jo asked. "Did she…pass away?"
Jo understood so well Henry's pain subconsciously because it looked so much like her own. They were two broken souls, drawn together by their extreme pain. Henry couldn't stand the pressure any longer. He hurt so badly and he wanted so much for someone to know that it all came spilling out.
"She left me" Henry said in a strangled voice. "Abigail was my wife and I loved her so much and she left me…I knew she was unhappy, I should have done more to help her. And one day it was just too much and she left. I don't know where she went or if she was even okay. And today is the anniversary of the day she left me and no matter how much time passes, it always gets me. Every time it's like it's that day all over again and I just…"
Henry's throat was so tight that he couldn't go on. His eyes clouded from his unshed tears and he was mortified in himself. He'd almost slept with Jo out of his own selfish needs and now he was about to cry in front of her over his wife. She should have been disgusted with him.
But strangely enough, she wasn't. Jo surprised Henry but pulling him toward her and lying down. She gently placed his face against her chest, sheltering him from view as she began to play with his hair. Henry slowly began to disintegrate. Jo was so intuitive; she knew he needed to fall apart but couldn't do it while she watched.
"It's okay, Henry. It's okay that it hurts; let it out" Jo said softly, stroking his hair.
Of all of the commands she'd given him that night, this was the easiest to follow. For so long he had been holding in the pain of it all; he couldn't let anyone see how much he hurt over it. The only person who had even known the loss he suffered was Abe and after nearly destroying him with his grief, he refrained from even letting him know. After a while it just became a huge burden in the back of his mind. It wasn't just the assurance that he could cry and it was okay, it was freeing to be told that it was okay that he was still hurting. It didn't matter that Jo didn't know it had been 30 years since he had lost Abigail; she could see the pain in him and knew what it felt like because she was going through it too. It was just like he told her the first time that Jo spoke about Sean and her loss; it never really went away, no matter how much time passed.
Henry got lost in his grief, sobs shaking him as he cried harder than he could remember doing in years. He hid his face in Jo's chest, reassured by the soft sound of her heart beating and her arms around him. This was what he needed. As nice as it had been to be lost in passion for a time, it wasn't what he really needed like he thought it was. What he really needed, more than anything, was someone that could see some of his weakness and still accept him; arms around him while he cried meant a lot more than ones that held him passion.
Henry drifted in and out of sleep all night though he never fully opened his eyes upon waking. Pain and loss were still at the back of his mind and Abigail's face made its way into his dreams several times but even so his sleep was mostly peaceful. A weight had been lifted off of him and was slowly pushing its way through his hurt.
When Henry woke the next morning to cold grey light streaming through the big windows and he felt the press of unfamiliar sheets under him it all came flooding back to him. The embarrassment of throwing himself quite literally at Jo, his breaking down and sobbing in her arms; it left him with mortification but at the same time he was almost relieved that it had happened. It was so freeing to not be the only one holding the knowledge of how he had been hurt.
Henry sat up in bed, feeling suddenly embarrassed that he was still in Jo's bed. He quickly saw that she was gone and he didn't know whether to feel relieved or not. He was thankful to be spared the awkward exchange of waking up next to her, somehow made even more awkward by the fact that they hadn't slept together. But at the same time he felt a little sad that he hadn't been able to thank her at least for what she had done.
When Henry heard the sound of the shower running, he relaxed. She was still here so it would give him the chance to profusely apologize but still give him time to pick his clothes off the floor and make himself presentable. Henry felt another wave of embarrassment as he found his numerous articles strewn around the room but he didn't allow himself to dwell on it, set on being completely clothed when Jo returned.
Henry had thankfully put all of his clothes on and was finishing tying his shoes when Jo came into the room, also thankfully dressed and drying her hair with a towel. When she noticed him awake and watching her she jumped slightly. "Oh…..you're awake" she said, looking nervous and unsure. Maybe she had hoped to sneak out while he was still asleep. Henry couldn't blame her; the situation was more than a little awkward.
"Yes" Henry said, flashing her a smile to put her at ease. "I'll….uh…..be out of your hair shortly."
Jo shook her head, trying to diffuse the awkwardness. "That's okay" she said with a smile of her own. She shifted on her feet, standing by the bed as if she didn't know if she should sit next to him. "Did you sleep alright?" she asked after a long pause.
"Yes" Henry said. "It was…..nice" Even though he had woken many times throughout the night, just sleeping in the same bed as someone else had been nice. It was a simple act of intimacy that he hadn't had since Abigail had left and he felt it hit him in the stomach hard. "Thank you…..for letting stay here." Henry looked away, feeling embarrassed.
Jo raked her hands through her hair nervously. "No problem" she said, shifting on her feet.
Henry reached out his hand and took Jo's, catching her attention. "No, really. I mean it" Henry said seriously. Though it was embarrassing and humbling, the whole situation, he wanted her to know that her understanding had meant a lot to him. "My behavior last night was inexcusable and you treated me as a true friend. " Henry paused, feeling a strange lump in his throat. "I miss Abigail so much sometimes and I've never really been able to tell anyone. Thank you for listening to me; thank you for understanding."
Jo sat down next to Henry, working her fingers through his to hold his hand. She looked down at their twined hands as she spoke. "I know what it's like Henry. To love someone so much, for them to be such a part of your life and then one day…..that's all just gone. People that haven't faced that don't understand" Jo looked up at him, pain in her eyes that Henry could understand all too well. "But I understand that. We share that Henry; you can talk to me anytime. We are friends, aren't we?"
Henry smiled. After everything that happened the night before, it was the least they could do to be friends. They had a bond of loss that linked them together. "Yes we are" Henry said. It had been a long time since he had been able to call someone a friend and though he had just met Jo not so long ago, he felt closer to her than many other people he had known.
"It works both ways" Henry told Jo, giving her hand a squeeze. "You can talk to me too, you know. I know that you you're used to holding it all in. Everyone should have an outlet"
Jo nodded. "Yeah…..that would be nice" she said smiling, meeting his eyes.
"Perhaps I could take you to dinner sometime" Henry said, giving her a sly smile. "And a real dinner, not that fast food junk you consider food"
Jo laughed and the sound of it relaxed Henry, breaking up the last of the tension. "Don't you have a concept of comfort food, Henry?" she teased.
"Real food is my comfort food" Henry said. His head throbbed from his hangover; a nice real food meal was just he needed right now to make him feel half way human again. "And perhaps, next time, no alcohol would be best."
Jo smiled half way, her cheeks pinking at the memories of their drunken encounter. "Yeah, that might be best" she agreed. She winced slightly. "What you must think of me….."
"Now, none of that" Henry said. "I never need an apology for being kissed by a beautiful woman."
Jo smiled at the compliment. "Sorry about your neck" She reached out and touched his sore neck tentatively. "You'll never hear the end of it from the guys."
Henry grinned mischievously. "I could always give you away, Detective" he teased. "Then all of the attention would be on you and not me."
Henry stood up, putting his coat on as Jo looked at him with a death glare. "You wouldn't dare" she said darkly.
"No, of course I wouldn't" Henry assured her, putting his scarf on, the idea of a shower and change of clothes sounding like bliss at the moment. "Never underestimate the power of a well-placed scarf."
Jo looked relieved. "Much better" she said in relief.
Henry smiled at her before heading toward the door. "That's what friends are for, right?" he asked, feeling lighter than he had in a great long while.