Disclaimer: I don't own anything to do with 24, it's created by people far more intelligent and talented than I could ever hope to be. No money is being made from this story, I'm simply showing my appreciation of a great show so please don't sue.
Author's Notes: Having recently watched episode 20 of season 4, I saw the scene where Tony's g/f calls and thought there was more to the exchange between him and Michelle that followed. This is my take on Michelle's thoughts during those few seconds...
This was written before episode 21 aired, but I have been unable to publish it here until nowbecause of harsh and unfair actions taken regarding changes to allowed content that I had no idea had taken place, and which now affected a story published 3 years ago. I would have removed the story had I known of the changes but instead of notifying members via a global email of the changes, the story was removed and my account locked without notice.
A few hours ago, I thought I knew what I wanted. Bill is a great guy and I'd been considering whether it might be time to let go of the past and give him a chance to make me happy again. Then the call came in, and I was back in charge of CTU in LA again, which I didn't mind because it gave me a chance to see some old friends. What I didn't expect was for him to be there. The man I fell in love with, the man I married, the man who saved my life.
The man I left behind, when he finally got out of jail and couldn't cope with life as a 'traitor', even though we both knew he wasn't. I thought that, when I left, I was doing it for the right reasons, because of his drinking, but now I'm not so sure. Did I leave because he couldn't cope and resorted to the bottle for solace? Or because I couldn't cope with the knowledge that he would forever be known as a traitor to his country and I didn't want to share in the shame? I don't know the answer anymore, because being around him has made one thing crystal clear.
I still love him.
And now I've lost him, because he's living with someone else. I can't blame him for that, but I do. When the girl on the other end of the phone asked for him, and said she was the woman he's living with now, the world around me shattered into a thousand pieces. I had to get away from him then, because I couldn't let him see how much those few words were hurting me, yet he followed me, wanting to explain. I tried to shrug him off, but he wouldn't let me. Maybe he wanted to explain the situation, or maybe he just wants to make me suffer, as he probably thinks I made him suffer after he got out of jail. And now I can't avoid him telling me, because he grabbed my arm and pinned me against the wall, so I'd have to listen to what he has to say.
"When you left, everything fell apart. Jen happened to be there for me." I hear the words, but there's something about his tone that makes my heart beat faster. Being this close to him again, I can no longer deny that I'm still in love with him, but he's found someone else now.
"You don't have to make excuses for your relationship," I tell him, trying to keep the pain out of my voice. I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes and my chest aches so badly that I want to scream, but I have to appear as if it doesn't bother me.
"I'm not making excuses, I'm just telling you how it is." Each word feels like a knife stabbing into my heart, but I can't let him see that. I'm falling apart; I can see it in his eyes.
"Do you... love... her?" I ask, before I can stop myself. I can't believe I just asked that question, because it's none of my business anymore, yet I have to know the answer to it, because I still love him. I nearly choke when I say the word love, because my tears are threatening to overwhelm me now. I'm terrified of what his answer will be; yet nothing else matters at this moment than knowing it. Even knowing that we could all be dead in a few hours means nothing to me, until I know his answer. It seems like an eternity while I wait for him to answer, and all the while I can't do anything but stare into the beautifully expressive eyes of the man I love. For a brief moment, he lowers the barriers he's built up around his feelings and I can see into his soul. I know the answer, even as he shakes his head and the ache in my chest feels like it's going to crush me any moment.
"No." He shakes his head as he says that one, single word and everything fades away. I draw in a sharp breath, shaking with the emotions I've kept bottled up for so long. Everything he suffered, he did for me and I betrayed him by leaving him. I pushed him to drink because I couldn't cope with his shame. I caused his world to fall apart, when I should have been there to help him pick up the pieces and start again. I want to tell him that I still love him; to ask for his forgiveness for all the pain I've caused him. My vision blurs from the tears I've refused to allow myself to shed, but I can see the love in his eyes. He doesn't love her, because he still loves me! I have to tell him how I feel, to let him know that I still love him as much now as I did on the day we got married, but as I try to make my lips move to speak the words he wants to hear, Edgar's voice intrudes and I know we have to get back to work. I want to scream at Edgar to go away and leave me alone, so I can try to finally make things right but I know I can't. The crushing pain in my chest feels like it's going suffocate me but I take a deep breath to regain control and look at Tony. He nods to me, ready to get back to work but telling me that he knows this conversation isn't over.
Whatever happens in the next few hours, I will tell him how I feel...