A/N: Follow-up to my fic To Be Numb.
Warning: Course language.
Disclaimer I don't own anything. I'm not making any money. I just like playing with emotions and characters.
I could feel Web's eyes on me as I continued to type at the computer. God it was unnerving sometimes, having someone always staring over your shoulder. I got up and went to refill my cup of coffee. Going inside of the break-room, I found Paul fast asleep on the couch. He looked absolutely exhausted. I don't blame him, he had just lost his wife and a couple of weeks prior to that his baby. He told me he was going to have a girl. A sweet innocent girl ripped from her mother's womb. No point thinking about that now though. All I can do is just help Paul with his pain. Pain, my personal friend.
I slipped off my jacket and draped it over Paul's sleeping form. Then I made my way to the coffee. I downed the cup pretty fast but still managed to yawn.
I looked up at Web who was standing at the doorway. I didn't give him the satisfaction of a response. He walked over and stood beside me, refilling his own mug with tea.
"Coffee is bad for you," he warned.
"Thanks for the tip," I replied.
Web looked over at Paul and took another sip from his mug.
"He looks terrible," Web commented.
I just nodded my head.
"Maybe you should take him home," he suggested.
"You must be joking."
"Paul is being a coward, not going home."
I had to try hard not to roll my eyes. Sometimes I wished Web wasn't so brutally honest, but he saw everything through such clear vision not clouded by emotions.
"He trusts you, Rebecca. He doesn't trust me," said Web.
"That's not true."
"I'm not stupid."
"Never said you were."
Web finished his tea.
"You didn't have to," he replied before walking out of the room.
I stared blankly at the door. Only to be interrupted by Paul waking up.
"What time is it?" he asked, letting his eyes adjust to the light.
Looking at my bare wrist, I shrugged.
"Time to get a new watch," I said.
I thought for a moment that I saw a smile form on his lips.
"Are you going home?" I asked.
Paul shook his head and ran his left hand through his tousled hair.
"No, I have some work to catch up on."
"I'm sure it can wait," I reasoned, thinking back to what Web said. "Let me take you home."
"You need to go home, Paul."
I could see in his eyes that he wanted to argue with me but I guess fatigue won. Reluctantly, Paul got up and handed me back my jacket. He followed behind me as we walked out of the room.
"Goodnight, Mel, Danny," I said.
They both gave me a nod before I led Paul out to the parking lot. When we reached his car, he handed me the keys and got into the passenger seat. The drive was rather long and Paul kept relatively quiet. He was staring blankly out the window when we arrived at his house.
"We're here," I announced rather lamely, not knowing what else to say.
Paul didn't respond. I unbuckled my seatbelt and got out of the car before holding open the passenger door. Paul just remained in his seat. Getting somewhat frustrated, I reached over and unbuckled his seatbelt for him.
"Web's right," he said. "I'm just a coward."
I wasn't sure if I heard him right or if I was sucked into another dimension, a dimension where Paul was one of Web's groupies.
"Web isn't always right," I replied stiffly.
Paul slowly got out of the car and brushed past me. He stood motionlessly in front of his house. I locked up the car and stood next to him. Silently, I slipped the keys back into his hand.
"I can't," he said. "I can't go back in there."
He sounded like a little kid, lost and confused. He reminded me of little Becky George. Shaking my head, I cleared my thoughts and watched Paul lift the key up to the lock. He just froze in that position.
"Yes you can," I edged him on.
I could tell my patience was starting to wear thin.
"I haven't been back here since the funeral," he said, his eyes trained at the door. "I managed to convince myself that Karen would walk through this door again. And now it's hitting me that she won't."
Paul's voice was bitter, his eyes steely and cold.
"Fuck you, Web," he cursed, mainly to himself but I heard it. "Fuck you, you son of a bitch."
"Are you done yet?" I asked irritably.
He glared at me for a minute before chuckling like a maniac.
"You and everyone else think he's so wonderful. I have a newsflash for you, open your goddamn eyes and see that monster for who he really is."
His hands were now clutching my shoulders and his face was inches from mine.
"He told Karen we were sleeping with each other."
I was shocked but I didn't let it show on my face. Remaining as collected as I possibly could, I removed myself from his grasp.
"Web didn't pull the trigger Paul, your wife did," I said.
I didn't mean to sounds so cold and heartless but it was the truth. Not that Web was cleansed from all guilt. He was, after all, the catalyst of Karen's untimely death. It was ironic. The gun Paul had was supposed to protect his wife; instead she used it to kill herself. I suddenly felt guilty about how I said it.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean…"
"No, no, you're right," he said darkly.
Paul said nothing more as he turned the key and unlocked the door. He didn't bother closing the door behind him so I took it as an invitation to come inside. The house was spacious but cozy at the same time. It felt more like a home than my three room apartment. Making my way into the living room, I saw Paul lying on the sofa eyes staring blankly ahead.
"Go home, Becca," he said motionlessly.
I should have just done what he had told me to do. Hell, if he said it earlier I would have left in a heartbeat. Instead I sat down on the carpet in front of him. Facing him, I watched as he struggled not to let sleep take him over. But in a few short minutes he drifted off.
"Sweet dreams, Paul."