Sorry it took a while.
Disclaimer: I do not own Will&Grace, or the characters.
Warnings: slash, language, some angst, maybe OOC, Grace's POV
Summary: lil sequel to 'The Finest.' Grace and Karen find out.
I first noticed the change when they returned from their trip. Karen and I were greeting them at the airport.
"Hi! Welcome home!" I said, grinning like a lunatic. They both smiled and greeted me in return. That was when I sensed something different about them. They were less tense, and at ease. I assumed the California atmosphere made them like that. So I just welcomed them back and didn't think too much about it.
I hugged Will and smiled.
"So, how was San Diego? Meet any hotties?" I chided, poking Will in the side. He frowned slightly and shook his head.
"Ugh, not even. Most homophobic city in the country, I swear, and that's including towns in Alabama." he raised his eyebrows and readjusted his bag.
"Yeah," Jack said. "Whatever happened to the gentle people? You know, with the flowers in their hair?" he asked innocently.
"Jackie," Will turned to him. "That's San Francisco. We went to San Diego." He smiled and laughed. Jack frowned to himself, and then shrugged.
"But besides that," Will continued. "it was great. It was sunny everyday, except for the last day, when it rained. But the sunrise that came after the storm was the most beautiful... gorgeous, just gorgeous." he finished in a hushed voice, and stared off dreamily. Jack just nodded in agreement.
I was becoming more intrigued with how Will was acting. He appeared so bright and pleased. It was as if he had gone on a full fledged vacation, instead of a business trip. And Jack, he looked so serene and content. I was wondering what happened to the hyperactive drama queen I once had for a friend. But then again, he had been acting strangely before they left as I recall. What had happened between them? Will never actually told me.
And then, they returned with something different. I couldn't put my finger on it.
"Poodle!" Karen chimed in suddenly. "You should have told me you were going to Diego!" she whined, growing exasperated.
"Why?" Jack tilted his head.
"Its right next to Mexico! Easy refills!" she complained, waving an empty prescription bottle in her hand.
"I didn't like Mexico..." Jack uttered, almost inaudibly. He looked depressed all of a sudden.
"Oh Jackie," Karen caught on. "Come on. A little shopping'll cheer you up! Driver's out front!" she took his hand. Jack looked back at Will expectantly, as if needing permission. Will merely smiled, took Jack's carryon bag and watched the two walk off.
"So." I said, smiling at my best friend. He just smiled back, and we left the airport.
was so glad Will had returned. It was torture being alone. Karen's
company was not always dependable. But she did provide some comfort
in dealing with my husband's absence.
I thought it would be good to stay with Will for the time being. Whenever Leo was away, I liked to be there. It was my second home.
When we got back to the apartment, Will took a shower. After he was done, we went into his room so I could help him unpack his things. The whole time he was singing some old song I had heard in a gay bar once. But he kept singing the first few lines over and over. He had such a happy expression on his face. I gazed at him in wonder.
"What?" he asked, when he caught the look.
"Nothing." I shook my head a bit. "You're just different. Must have been quite a trip."
"Sure was. Oh man. I wish you could have been there!" he said and started to talk about the beach and the rest of the trip. I listened intently. But I felt like he was leaving stuff out. Whatever happened on the trip that made him so happy, he wasn't going to tell me anytime soon. He continued gushing over the bay and the sunrise.
"Didn't you do anything else there?" I asked, a little perturbed that he was skipping some stuff. He thought about it for a while.
"Well, we went to the zoo and Tijuana."
"Did everything go smoothly?"
"Um, yea...I guess."
"What do you mean you guess?"
"Well. All in all, the whole trip was great ... until,"
"Until what?" I asked, suddenly interested. I pulled the rest of Will's clothes from his suitcase and turned to him. He looked bothered and hesitated before answering the question.
"Well, Jack got lost when I was meeting with my client..." he uttered, putting his suitcase away.
"Oh my god." I scoffed and rolled my eyes, as I followed him out to the kitchen. "So predictable. Shouldn't leave Jack alone without childproofing the door first." I laughed. Will stayed silent and began to make dinner. "So what happened?"
"nothing, well it was-ugh, an idiot cab driver, just stupid!" Will got frustrated as if he didn't want to explain it to me.
"Took the wrong cab?" I asked.
"People are so paranoid down there! He got kicked out of a cab, just for touching the guy on the arm." Will looked disgusted. He hastily slammed some chicken on the counter and began cutting it. "People are so stupid sometimes."
I myself had never witnessed Will or Jack directly assaulted or ridiculed for being who they were, but I knew it happened. Especially with Jack. You could point him out anywhere. Leaving the safety of Manhattan's diverse streets is dangerous for someone like him, who "wears his sexuality on his sleeve," as Will once put it.
"The bastard threatens to call the cops on him, for touching his arm! I mean, what is that?!" Will continued fuming, as he pulled out a frying pan. "Then he leaves him in a crummy part of the city, in the middle of the fucking night!"
"Oh my god, was he okay?" I asked more softly, now understanding.
"Yeah... just scared. I'm still a bit mad at him for leaving the hotel room," he muttered, carefully placing the chicken in the pan. We were quiet.
"Anything else happen?" I gave a teethy smile and sauntered over to him. He just ignored the question and started cutting some vegetables.
I began to despair a bit. He was holding something back.
Will and I just talked about random things for a while. I picked at him, but still he gave me nothing in regards to the trip. He'd just repeat his tale about the beach and the polar bears and the friendship garden. Blah! I knew there was something else, but he wasn't saying a word. An hour later he finished up preparing the meal, and we began setting the table.
Just then, Jack and Karen came in, five shopping bags on each of their arms. They dropped them and plopped down on the sofa, apparently exhausted. Jack was smiling softly, going through one of his bags. Karen on the other hand, seemed a bit bothered about something. I didn't want to prod, but...perhaps she had noticed the change in our boys as well.
"What's wrong Karen?" I asked casually. She glanced at me briefly, a slight look of concern appearing on her face.
"Oh, its nothing honey." She said and began digging in her purse for a pill to calm her. I looked over at Will, who was pulling out a bottle of juice from the fridge.
"Okay. Dinner is ready!" he announced and waited for us to seat ourselves. I smiled at my friends, delighted that we were all together again.
"In honor of your return..." I started, raising my glass of juice.
"Grace, we were only gone for five days!" Will said.
"In honor of your return," I repeated and looked at him. "I have decided to stay here, until Leo gets back!" I said excitedly. While Karen seemed uninterested, as expected, Will was unpleasantly surprised by it. Jack also looked up, a bit bothered. "What's wrong?" I asked.
"Well, what about your apartment?" Will asked.
"Its too far from work and from you. And Leo is gonna be away so long...I just thought it would be a good idea." I reasoned and stared at him. "Its ok with you isn't it?"
"Yeah, ok!" he smiled at me and began to serve the drinks.
"I even brought my stuff here while you were gone!" I chirped clasping my hands together.
"That's great." Will said curtly and seated himself. I didn't think he was too happy with my decision, but I decided to let it sit until he complained.
"Everything's like it should be." I grinned and looked at my friends.
"Yeah right." Karen muttered. I glanced at her, still a bit unnerved by her behavior. Everyone was acting weird that day! Jack was dreamy and calm. Will was happy and confident. And Karen had become agitated and irritable, ever since the boys arrived. I wondered if she knew something I didn't, or if she at least suspected. I would have to ask her the next day at work.
Jack ate in silence, and I realized that he hadn't said one word to me yet. It was Jack I was most concerned about. The shift in his attitude began to get to me. The only time Jack was like this was when he was keeping a secret or when he was upset with someone. I discarded the latter and observed my friend as he took in the meal Will had prepared.
Will began talking about us all going on a trip together.
"Didn't we just come back?" Jack asked tiredly.
"Yea, but I was thinking of going on one for the summer. Still got a few months until then."
"I guess so," Jack sighed and began to pour some of Karen's liquor into his cranberry juice.
"Oh, good idea." Will said and reached out for the bottle, before Karen smacked his hand away. She gave him a harsh frown and held the bottle close to her, refusing to let Will take it.
"Oh come on Kare, don't be selfish!" Jack said. They stared at each other and then started giggling. I guess Karen was the only one who could draw Jack out of his perplexed state, because they started chatting away in that instant. I glanced over at my best friend who just shrugged and finished eating his food.
After we were all done, Karen was getting ready to leave.
"Don't forget to come see me tomorrow, poodle." she told Jack before heading out the door. He nodded and watched her leave.
We began watching television together, when the phone rang. Will jumped up to get it. Apparently it was someone from work, because he walked to the kitchen to converse. As he did this, I looked over at Jack.
"Hi Jack!" I smiled.
"Hi Grace!" he smiled back and gave a little wave, and turned back to the television screen.
"So, how was your experience in San Diego?" I asked, shamelessly scooting closer to him. He tilted his head a bit, not exactly looking at me.
"It was...liberating." He said simply and changed the channel.
"Liberating? Wow, that's quite a word. What did it liberate you from?"
"You." he smirked. I shook my head and snatched the remote from his hand.
"No seriously..." I pushed again.
"Seriously?" he put his hand on his chin and closed his eyes. I think he was mocking me. "You." he said again, and smiled, reaching for the remote. I pulled away, and frowned at him. He sighed. "Ok, ok, the city, New York, blah blah blah! It liberated a lot of crap! Now gimme the remote." I handed it back to him, but did not want to give up just yet.
"Did you have fun with Will?" I asked. He looked at me impassively, but then smiled.
"How were the beaches? That's all Will's been talking about."
"The beach was the best. I don't know how many Will saw, but I only saw one." he finished off, sounding a little bitter.
"Yea. I bet. You guys said you went to the zoo. How was that?"
"Fun? Just fun?" I felt like I was interrogating him. But he would give me crap answers.
Will returned from his phone-call and sat down on the sofa with us.
"What's happened?" Will asked, digging into a bowl of popcorn.
"Don't ask me, Jack keeps changing the channel." I muttered, but wanted to keep prying at my friend. I turned to him again. "What happened when you got lost Jack?"
Will started coughing, on a piece of popcorn.
"You told her that?" Jack asked Will softly, turning to look at him.
"Jack, th-" Before Will could finish, Jack got up and ran out of the apartment. Will hurried after him. I sat on the couch, a bit dumbfounded. As soon as Will closed the door, I could hear them talking in the hall. I walked over and put my ear against the door, trying to catch what they were saying. Looking through the peephole, I noticed them standing in Jack's doorway.
"Why are you upset?" Will asked.
"Why did you tell her that?" Jack whispered. I could barely hear him. Then Will lowered his voice as well. It was so inaudible, I tried holding my breath to listen. I don't know how long they spoke, but I didn't hear a thing. Feeling very left out and hopeless, I wandered back to the television sofa and sat down.
Will came in.
"What's wrong?" I asked him. "Why did he get mad?"
"He's just embarrassed about it..." Will sighed. "he doesn't like it when people think, he doesn't know what he's doing. He hates being lost." he said as he cleared the table.
"But he's always lost." I murmured, looking at my friend closely. He stared back and nodded.
"Yea, yea he is." Will crossed his arms and slowly walked towards his room. "Im going to sleep. You should do the same."
"Okay." I sighed.
He closed the door behind him. I turned off the television and sat in the dark.
That night, I was laying in bed, still awake. I couldn't sleep. It had been such a long time since I had slept in Will's apartment. The guest room was comfortable enough, but I still couldn't fall asleep. I missed Leo. But then, I felt so content when I was close to my friends. I sat up and peered out the window.
Suddenly I heard a noise outside my door. I sat still and listened closely. Will was coming out of his room. I stood and opened my door a little bit, peeking out. He crept down the hall, silent as ever and slipped out of the apartment. What was he doing?
I was out of the guest room in a flash, pressing myself up against the front door and peering through the peephole. Why was I being so nosy? I was concerned. I had a right to be concerned as to why my best friend was sneaking out of the apartment, at one o'clock in the morning.
Will knocked lightly on Jack's door, and waited for a couple of seconds before the door opened. Maybe Will hadn't resolved what had happened just a few hours ago. But I was wondering why he was dealing with it so late. He stood in the doorway for a minute, before Jack let him inside. I stepped back from the peephole and frowned to myself. Perhaps they still had a lot of talking to do.