Title: My Richard. Part one
Summary: Dick receives an upsetting letter
Disclaimers: These guys aren't mine, they don't belong to me, worst luck, so don't bother me.
Feedback: Hell, yes.
It had been another double shift today, starting at 7 am, which meant that he'd had to be up at five-thirty to shower, shave and get to the station on time. It was almost eleven at night and Dick was just now unlocking the front door of the building he lived in. He was beat, whipped, exhausted.
This was the fourth day in a row he'd pulled a double, but the president had been in town and then there were the protests down at the park and after that there was that dockworker's strike followed by the terrorists threats so they'd had to beef up the security around the train station and the airport—the last few days had been a complete and total bitch and he was as happy as he was capable of that tomorrow he wasn't due in until four in the afternoon.
He was hungry, too, but he knew he was too tired to do anything about it and he didn't even care.
So far today he'd alternated between working crowd control and riding in the squad car for almost nine hours, led a class of third graders on a tour of the station house and done more paperwork than should be legal—without making more than a small dent in the pile.
His back ached, his head hurt, his stomach was growling and he knew there was nothing in his fridge other than some bottled water and maybe some left over take out that was so old he was afraid to even look at it. Eleven o'clock. No place worth ordering from was still delivering.
He climbed up the stairs, wishing that there were an elevator so he could stop moving under his own power. The hall light was out—he'd have to mention it to Clancy in the morning. Inserting his key and pushing his door opened, he clicked on the light and only then saw the bag when the too bright spill made it obvious before he kicked the thing.
Leaning against his front door, it had a take out menu stapled to it, it smelled like Chinese and he thanked whatever God—or friend of his—who had the kindness to bring him dinner. It was even still hot.
General Tso, fried rice and an egg roll, it was heaven. Greasy, but exactly what he'd been craving and it was even from Number One, the best Chinese food around.
He tossed his jacket on the end of the couch, toed his shoes off and after loosening his tie, sat down and ate the entire contents with the plastic utensils provided. God it was good.
Fifteen minutes later he was in bed. The next thing he was aware of was light coming through his dirty bedroom window and the particular sound of stillness in his apartment that only happened when everyone else has left for work and he was probably the only person in the building. Looking at the bed stand he blinked at the fact that it was almost two in the afternoon.
When was the last time he'd slept that long? He had no idea, but truth be known, he could just as easily rollover for another couple of hours.
No. Couldn't do it. Not today, not right now. This weekend he could sleep as long as he wanted and he dangled that as a carrot for himself as he tried to talk himself into getting up. Saturday he could sleep in. Sunday he could sleep in as well. They weren't that far away. He could do this.
He lounged another ten minutes then made his way, naked, into the bathroom. A few minutes after that he was showered, slightly more awake and surprised by the rubble of his dinner.
He'd forgotten about it, forgotten it had been there and forgotten that he'd even eaten—which led him to the fact that he was hungry again. The Chinese had been fourteen hours ago and as he started to clear the containers and see what, if anything, he could find for his breakfast, he tried to figure out who had done him the favor.
The thought that his life was becoming a ride on a treadmill passed through his mind.
One of his Titan friends? Unlikely. They were all busy and they had no way of knowing that he was close to being overwhelmed. It's not like they talked on the phone every day or anything.
Barbara? That was a long shot at best. She was more likely to just tell him to stop at her place and feed him herself. Besides, she would have had to get someone to carry it up to the third floor and that would have turned the operation into a production...no, not Barbara.
Bruce or Alfred? Bruce, not a chance. Alfred giving him take out? Not in this lifetime. Besides, Alf had a key. He would have left the perfectly prepared homemade whatever on the counter with a note or, more likely, waited to serve it himself along with a lecture about taking better care of himself.
Clancy. It had to be Clancy.
She had been sympathizing about his schedule and asking if she could help. Sure he knew she had a crush on him and he knew she was trying to get him to notice her—which he already had—and it was the sort of thing she might do.
Clancy. Yup, that was it, had to be her.
Good. Mystery solved. He'd thank her on his way out.
He knocked on Clancy's door as he left and got no answer. Well, fine, he'd catch her on the way back in. Maybe. He wouldn't be back until one in the morning at the earliest. Well, he'd thank her when he could.
The blur of recent days continued and if he hadn't known how shorthanded the force was, he would have called in sick just because he knew he was close to simply falling over. He didn't, of course, and pushing himself hard he made it through to the end of the week. He caught some more sleep over the weekend and rested enough so that he could do some laundry, take an hour to resupply his kitchen. It wasn't that he minded cooking. It was just that he knew he completely sucked at it and had absolutely no interest in learning. It occurred to him that he should do something about that but mentally shrugged and let it slide like he usually did. Stouffers made some really good stuff and Alfred could usually be counted on in a pinch.
The mail had piled up, too and he grimaced slightly as he sat down with the bowl of pasta and a reheated pot of some of Alfred's alfredo sauce and started to sort through the foot high pile that had accumulated.
Most of it was junk mail; there were a few magazines, some bills—just the usual. A post card from Donna and Roy, written by Donna, of course, from some place in Hawaii they'd gone for a few weeks. There was a belated birthday card from the aunt he saw maybe once every couple of years and there were a bunch of menus from local places hoping to drum up business.
And there was a familiar pale pink envelope with the familiar handwriting that made him stop the fork half way to his mouth.
Christ, how the hell had she found him this time after almost three years? He'd thought that this was over and done with, that he'd managed to put an end to it and here it was again.
He debated a few seconds about whether or not to even open the thing but gave in, even though he knew what it would say even as he slit the top the envelope. They all said the same thing, there were just variations on the theme. The postmark was from a week ago.
It's been so long since I've written to you. I've left you alone just like you asked, but I'm hoping enough time has gone by that you aren't still angry with me. I want you to know that despite what happened three years ago, not a single day has passed that I haven't thought about you.
I've felt so badly about how it ended between us. I never wanted what we had together to disintegrate into what it did and I know that it was largely my fault. You were so wonderfully kind to me and so patient after the way I acted that I was too embarrassed to contact you before this about everything. I said things to you that I know hurt you—and you have to know that was never my intent.
The things I said to you and about you in front of all those people—there's no excuse for them and I know that. I was upset, yes, but there was still no reason for what I said or for what I did.
You were right to be angry with me. You were. I would understand if you still are, though I hope you'll give me just the chance to tell you in person how desperately sorry I am.
I was wrong. I know that and I think I even knew it at the time, but I was so terribly hurt by everything that it all just happened.
I know, I can see your face as you read that. I can see you shaking your head and that small frown you have when you don't like some piece of news you've just received, but I also know that you'll think about letting me make it right between us.
It was good, wasn't it?—before the unpleasantness began and it became ugly and painful? It could be good again, like it was when were we happy.
I don't think I'll ever have any more perfect moments than the ones waking up in your arms, in your bed. I still picture those mornings, you would kiss the back of my neck and your arms would tighten and we'd start all over again and make one another late for work...do you think about them the way I do? You would tell me over and over how you loved me, how we'd get married and how someday you would caress my stomach and our baby growing there.
Do you ever still think about that? Do you ever still think about me?
Please, Richard—my Richard. Let me see you again to tell you how sorry I am.
I see your head shaking--that lock of hair falling in your eyes the way I always loved. Just let me see you once and then I'll never bother you again if that's what you want. I promise you that. I do—just one lunch and that will be the end.
He let the letter drop onto the pile of junk mail, looked at it for a minute, retrieved it and tossed the entire stack of ads and catalogues into the trash. He went to his personal file cabinet and pulled out a large folder that was overflowing with letters written on the same paper in the same handwriting. He added the newest note to the pile then logged into a secure website on his laptop. After a couple of dead ends he had the answer he suspected would be there.
Laura Woodward had been released from a private psychiatric treatment facility two weeks ago.