She hastily scrubbed off her makeup and threw on a pair of sweats. He was dressed when she re-entered the room, sitting with his metal crutches across his lap.

"I'm sorry, Jordan..."

"Don't be," she said roughly and grabbed her keys from the end table. "You'd better get back."

She was surprised at the amount of anger she felt at him, anger mixed with a sense of guilt. This was the way he must have felt all the times he reached out for her and was soundly rejected.

She had no desire to speak to him on the return trip to the hospital and pulled up to the curb in front of the rehab wing with a screech of her tires.

"I'll be here at 10AM to drive you home," she said curtly. He paused for a moment with his hand on the door.

"Jordan...this is for the best, and you know it."

She wanted to speak, to tell him that she knew no such thing, but she couldn't find the strength. She looked out the windshield with her fingers gripped around the steering wheel and couldn't watch him as he hobbled back inside the building.

Her shoulders heaved once with a sob, but she raised her head and threw the car into drive.

XXXXXX

She showed up the next morning with an empty copy paper box to help him carry home the stuffed animals and other get-well gifts he'd accumulated in the last few weeks. He was ready to go, sitting silently in wait.

There were no greetings, no conversation. "Ready to go?" she asked quietly.

He nodded. "You didn't have to do this, Jordan. I could have called one of the guys from the P.D."

She didn't respond. He was right, but she knew with an aching sense of loss that this might be her last chance to see him. Once he closed his apartment door and retreated inside, the door on their relationship would probably be forever closed, too.

A nurse wheeled him out while she walked behind with his things and then loaded the car.

She felt the sense of dread growing as they rode the elevator up to his floor and then inside to his apartment. She set his duffle bag and the box down on the kitchen counter and stood awkwardly across the room from him with her hands tucked into her back pockets. He looked back at her, supporting himself on his crutches.

"Well. I guess that's everything," she said softly.

He nodded. "I guess so."

She walked slowly around the room, taking a last look. They had curled up on that sofa watching old movies. He had held her there as she cried on the anniversary of her mother's death. He had made her his famous spaghetti there in that kitchen. Her eyes welled with tears.

"You're so damn stupid, you know?"

His eyes widened. "I'm stupid?"

"You're about to let the best thing that every happened to you walk out the door."

"Funny. I never really thought of being yanked around and rejected as being good things."

She crossed to him pleadingly. "That's over now, Woody."

"And I'm just supposed to take your word for it?" He looked away from her.

"Yes! You are! What do you want? Do you want me to say the words? I will. I love you, Woody."

"Jordan, we've been through this. I'm not the same person. Look at me. I can't be what you want me to be."

She clenched her fists in frustration. "Is that what you think? You think I fell in love with your body? You think I fell in love with your police badge?" She took a deep breath as the tears poured in sheets down her face. "I fell in love with you. And yes, it took almost losing you to realize it. But I love you, Woody Hoyt. I love how you stammer and blush whenever I tease you. I love your hideous ties. I love your corny jokes. I love the way you get choked up at Hallmark commercials and then pretend you weren't. I love you. Why can't you see that?"

He turned back to her, unmoved.

Her heart dropped as she looked at him for a long moment. "So, this is it. You're really going to let me walk out that door," she said in a small, broken voice.

"Jordan, we've been through this. It's too late. I can't do this anymore. This dance."

"Haven't you noticed, Woody? The music has stopped. I'm not dancing anymore. I'm here, in front of you, and I meant every word I said."

He shrugged weakly. "I'm sorry, Jordan..."

The pain was too sharp. She nodded and retreated quickly to the door. It was done. She had tried, and it was finally, completely over.

No. Not yet.

She turned to him, a fire in her eyes. "Do you know what I think? I think you're scared. Scared to commit."

He snorted. "Me? Jordan, I ran after you for years. I gave you a diamond ring to try and get you to commit!"

"Oh, you'd really like me to think that, wouldn't you? You keep telling me and everyone else that you gave me that ring as some grand gesture to get me to finally declare my feelings. But that's crap, and you know it."

"You don't know what you're talking about."

She crossed angrily to him. He shuffled uncomfortably, trying to look away, but she ducked into his line of view. "It's true. I'm right, aren't I? You gave me that ring because you knew I'd never accept it."

"Stop, Jordan!" He swung out his crutch at her to keep her at bay, but she dodged and moved in.

"No, you have me that ring so you could play the martyr and say, 'Poor me. I tried, but Jordan just doesn't love me.' The truth is, you never had any intentions of committing."

"That's a lie!" He moved away, but she followed.

"The truth is, you were just as scared to commit as I was. Because when you love someone that much, you're terrified you're going to screw it up."

He shook his head. She could see the tears form in his eyes. "No..."

"When you love someone that much, you're terrified it might all be over in an instant and you could lose them forever."

"I've lost EVERYBODY!" he finally raged. "Everyone I've ever loved! My mother, my father, Cal. Gone. I can't do it anymore!"

He sank onto the sofa and covered his face with his hands while his body shook with sobs.

She crossed and sat gently next to him. "I know," she said quietly. "I know, Woody." She slipped her arms around him. "But I'm not going anywhere. Do you understand? I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere." She stroked his hair as his sobs subsided.

They sat with their arms wrapped around each other for a long while. His heart beat strong and steady.

He looked up finally and brushed her hair from her eyes. "I'm terrified."

"I'm terrified, too." She laughed through her own tears and took his face tenderly between her hands. "But I'm more terrified of walking out that door and never seeing you again." She kissed him softly on the lips.

They were quiet for a time. Finally, he sat up and looked at her sternly. "Whaddya mean you didn't fall in love with my body?"

She smiled. "No. Sorry. It's not about the body. Although it is quite spectacular."

He smiled back. "I can live with that, I guess."

"Good." She nestled in next to him. "Because I'm not going anywhere."

He dropped a kiss on the top of her head. "I know."

THE END