Thank You

by TeeJay

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Summary:
Songfic based on the song Thank You by Dido. The song already tells a story, and I took that story and applied it to Adam and Joan. This takes place in the future, a couple of years after their high school graduation.

Author's Note:
This is just a short story revolving mainly about Joan, inspired by Dido's song "Thank You". I first heard that song when I watched the movie "Sliding Doors", years ago. It was at least one or two years before Dido even became really popular, and I already liked the song a lot before she did.

I love songs that tell a story, and I thought I'd take this story and apply it to my favorite couple. Very high on the cheesiness factor, so if you don't feel like cheesy, don't read it. It takes place at a yet undefined time in the future, at least a couple of years after high school graduation. It's not really important when it plays exactly, what matters is that both Joan and Adam have jobs now. You'll see why.

Just a short explanation on the origin of this story. It has been snowing heavily in Germany the last two days. So heavily that there were, like, 3000 miles of traffic jam on the motorways and even driving around town was like throwing yourself into an accident waiting to happen. Which prompted me to abandon my plans to go out, so I stayed at home. And what better to do than to keep your mind busy with your favorite TV couple? Sad, I know, but that's the way I like it. And you will profit from it, so don't complain.

I didn't mean to imply that Joan doesn't have enough drive and talent to find a job that she's happy in. It just sometimes happens that you take a job and later find out that it's not what you expected, in a negative way. Also, things tend to change over time. I was really happy in my first job, but then things changed over time and just a few months ago I decided to quit and look for something with better conditions (which luckily worked out quite well so far).

I say this in every author's note, and I will say it again: Please leave a review if you think you have something to say. Even a simple 'I liked it' will make my day.

That said, I'll leave you to it. So long, and thank you for the fish (that's from 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', in case you don't know.)

Disclaimer:
These characters and settings are not mine. Nor am I claiming they are. They are property of CBS, Barbara Hall Productions, Sony or whoever else they might belong to. I'm not making any money out of this, although I wish I was.
The song "Thank You" belong to Dido and Arista UK or Sony BMG or whoever owns the copyrights.

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My tea's gone cold, I'm wondering why
I got out of bed at all.
The morning rain clouds up my window
and I can't see at all.
And even if I could it'd all be grey,
but your picture on my wall,
It reminds me that it's not so bad,
it's not so bad.

The insistent beeping rips me from my sleep and when I turn over to hit the snooze button, a dull pain explodes in my skull. I silently curse myself for that half bottle of red wine I drank all on my own last night. I don't even remember why I drank it. It was probably my lack of resistance to give in to the temptation of the pleasantly dry but somehow addictive taste and the effect of the alcohol lulling me in.

I close my eyes again and ask for five more minutes in bed, five more minutes of blissful ignorance to hide from a world of cruelty and unpleasantness and bitchy office colleagues, pushy bosses and deadlines. When the alarm clock goes off again after those five minutes, I jerk my hand out from under the covers and rise into a sitting position with a start. I feel like I was just roused from a deep sleep trance and it takes me two shocked seconds to realize that it's only been five minutes since the alarm first woke me.

Groggily, I switch it off permanently for the day and drag myself out of bed. The pain in my head intensifies as I stand up. I put on that old sweatshirt over my t-shirt and slip a pair of woolen socks over my bare feet to pad into the kitchen with. I listlessly let the water flow into the electric kettle from the tap to make myself some tea, pouring the water into the mug after it has been heated to boiling temperature. I leave the mug standing in the kitchen before I head for the bathroom.

When I sit down at the kitchen table after I have taken a shower, the mug with tea is only lukewarm. Should have thought about that earlier, but my head feels like it's packed with too much cotton wool that will wrap itself around any clear thought waiting to form.

I sit down at the small kitchen table anyway and cradle the warm mug in my hands. Outside, the sky is a spiritless, dull gray and a slight drizzle obscures the houses in the background. I wonder why I got out of bed at all. I glance at the clock on the kitchen wall, and from there my gaze grazes over a set of passport photo machine snapshots pinned to the refrigerator with a magnet. On them I see your face smiling at me, making goofy grimaces or simply showing me that beautiful laugh of yours. And suddenly I realize that things aren't so bad when I know that you're around, that you're with me, that I have you to rely on, to catch me when I fall.

I drank too much last night, got bills to pay,
my head just feels in pain.
I missed the bus and there'll be hell today,
I'm late for work again.
And even if I'm there, they'll all imply
that I might not last the day.
And then you call me and it's not so bad,
it's not so bad.

Rushing from the bedroom, dressed in a much too boring, too ordinary light gray skirt and matching jacket, I put on my high-heeled shoes with one hand, my other hand picking up the stack of bills that I uncaringly tossed onto the dresser in the hallway yesterday on my way in. Disgustedly, I put them back down, not wanting to be reminded of the way my bank account savings are thinning with every passing day. I curse myself for having spent all that money on the much too expensive winter coat I bought last week.

When I leave the house and close the door behind me, I see the bus driving by in the street and a quick glance at my watch tells me that that was the last bus I should have taken to be in the office on time. The next one's not gonna be for another fifteen minutes. Despite the two aspirins I took with my tea, a dull ache still thumps in my head as I sigh and walk to the bus stop to wait the extra fifteen minutes.

When I enter my office, I try to ignore the dismissive glances of my colleagues. I know what's going on in their heads. 'Look, it's Joan, she's late again. It's the third time this week.' – 'Joan's late again. I wonder how long it's gonna be before she gets fired.' – 'Poor thing, she always looks so stressed. Maybe she should see a psychiatrist.'

I lift my chin as I walk first by Darlene's and then Cara's cubicle, trying not to let them see that their arrogance and silent pity keeps scratching at my self-esteem with every passing day. I sit down in my own cubicle and switch on my computer. While it boots, I go through the stack of envelopes and papers the boss put into my 'incoming' plastic tray on my desk. I sort the urgent from the not-as-urgent tasks and type in the password to gain access to the local paper computer network environment.

Three hours later, my stomach growls and the letters on my screen start swimming and blurring into each other. Just then my phone rings, and I hear that voice that has just rescued me in my time of greatest need. "Hey, Jane. How's your day?" you casually ask.

"Awful," I drawl into the mouthpiece.

Your tone of voice takes a turn from cheerfulness to concern. "Why, what happened?"

I try to quickly reassure you. "Don't worry, it's just that I have the worst hangover and then I missed the bus and... well, let's just say this day started off badly and doesn't seem to be getting any better."

"Jane, I'm sorry," I hear your comforting voice. "Anything I can do?"

I want to hug you, to kiss you, to be enveloped by your loving arms, you telling me that it's gonna be all right. "No," I sigh. "I'll just muddle through and crash early tonight. Things are gonna look better tomorrow," I tell him. "How's your day going?" I ask back.

"Oh, you know, the usual. We're building the set for 'The Shape Of Things', it's gonna be really funky. With a water pool built in and everything. But it's kinda slow going."

I can hear the enthusiasm in your voice, you're always that way when you get excited about something. At least one of us has a job we really thrive on and enjoy. "When will you be coming over?" I ask you. You live about a one and a half hour drive from me, a few towns over, and we only see each other on the weekends. Sometimes I hate that we can't see each other every day, even though I know I should be grateful for the time that we have together.

"I'll come over Friday night, after work, okay? I should be there around six, traffic permitting." you tell me.

From the corner of my eye, I see the boss approaching, and I quickly say, "I gotta go, boss is coming."

"Okay," you reply. "See you on Friday, Jane."

"Yeah, bye." I quickly hang up just before the boss is in earshot.

And I want to thank you
for giving me the best day of my life.
Oh, just to be with you
is having the best day of my life.

The boss tells me that he heard I was late the third time this week. And that he's not gonna tolerate that kind of tardiness and unreliability much longer. I know it's the last reprimand, my last warning. One more morning of unpunctuality, and this job is mine no longer. And maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing, then I would finally have the incentive to go looking for a job that suits me better than working in this hellhole.

When the boss has finished his rant, he walks away, pushing his fat beer belly along the aisle in front of him. I stick my tongue out at his back and Darlene gives me another condescending look from her cubicle across from mine. Bitch. Mind your own business.

I long for Friday to arrive. Friday, when you will be there, your comforting presence will fill my apartment and your kisses will make all the stress and ugliness of my every day life melt away like ice on a hot plate. I have never longed to be with you as badly as in this moment.

Push the door, I'm home at last
and I'm soaking through and through.
Then you handed me a towel
and all I see is you.
And even if my house falls down now,
I wouldn't have a clue
Because you're near me.

I get off the bus and almost sprain my ankle when I slip on the wet steps with my high heels. God, how I hate dressing like this every day, pretending to be someone I'm not. Why can't I just wear jeans and sneakers to work? Oh, right, it wouldn't be professional. Yeah, like how you dress affects the quality of your work! I'd really love to see Darlene's and Cara's faces, should I ever decide to actually turn up there in faded jeans, an old t-shirt and worn sports shoes. A sardonic smile briefly crosses my face at the mental imagery.

After only a few steps of the five minute walk to my apartment building, I feel a few drops of rain on my face. Oh, crap! I think. Neither am I wearing a suitable jacket or coat for rainy weather, nor did I remember to take an umbrella this morning. As I fasten my step as best as possible in these incredibly uncomfortable shoes, the rain intensifies and finally crescendoes in a torrent-like downpour. In a matter of seconds, both my clothes and hair are soaked. A perfect ending to a perfectly sucking day.

The keychain with my apartment door key slips from my wet and freezing hands as I try to fit it into the keyhole. "Dammit," I swear out loud as I bend down to pick it up. To my surprise, the door opens as I straighten up and I don't know whether I should laugh or cry when I see you standing there in front of me.

"Jane, my God, you're soaked," you say. "Hang on." You disappear from sight.

I step inside and take off my soggy jacket, kicking off my now also wet shoes so that they skitter over the hallway floor. But I don't care about them. You reappear in front of me with a bath towel and gently place it over my head, carefully rubbing my hair.

When you finish and lift the towel from my head, I look up at you and I know you recognize the wetness in my eyes, the wetness that doesn't stem from the rain.

"Hey," you whisper. "Jane," you say in that soft voice of yours, and I can't help but lean against you, let your arms envelop me. I can't stop the tears now, what with you stroking my back with your slim but strong hands, with you just being here when I needed you most but didn't expect you at all.

I know you can feel my shoulders shaking now and you softly say, "Shh, it's okay. You're home now."

I compose myself and pull away slightly, wiping away my tears. "Yes, and you're here," I say in a teary voice, now forcing a smile onto my face.

You push a wet strand of hair from my face and tell me, "You were having a bad day. I thought I'd surprise you."

Tears are springing into my eyes again, but I blink them away this time. I hear your voice telling me, "Go put some dry clothes on, I'll make us coffee."

"Okay," I say and go into the bedroom to find more comfortable and dry items of clothing. I choose a pair of old jeans and a woolen v-neck sweater that I just bought last month and have come to love already.

After a quick trip into the bathroom, I return to the kitchen, where a bouquet of flowers in vivacious yellows and reds greets me in a vase in the middle of the table. I take a step closer and say, "Gerbera, my favorite."

"I know," you say with a knowing smile on your lips.

"Adam," I exhale, walking over to you, planting a very soft kiss on your lips. You return it and pull back after a second, handing me a mug with coffee. Milk, no sugar. I want to kiss you again for knowing all my quirks, my habits and my secrets. Even my biggest one, the one I haven't shared with anybody else.

And I want to thank you
for giving me the best day of my life.
Oh, just to be with you
is having the best day of my life.

We just stand next to each other with our back leaning against the kitchenette, sipping on our coffees. There is complete comfort and understanding in the silence. My hand plays with the roots of your hair at the nape of your neck, and between sips I say, "Thank you."

You turn your head to look at me. "For what?"

"For being here, for saving this sucking day, for turning it into the best day of my life. Well, maybe not the best, but..."

You give me another one of those irresistible smiles and put down your mug next to you. You take the mug from my hand, put it down next to yours to stand in front of me. Your hands find their way onto my hips, you draw me closer to kiss my forehead and you say, "Don't be so quick to judge. This day's not over yet."

You take my hands and together we walk into the bedroom, our thoughts and bodies in complete sync. You're right. This day is not over yet. And I know it can only get better.

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THE END.