Lightning And Thunder

by TeeJay

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Summary:
After Joan kisses Adam goodbye at Chicago O'Hare airport after years of separation, Adam wonders about whether it's time to make changes to his life. First tie in to my stories Old Wounds and Time's A Great Healer. ONE SHOT.

Author's Note:
This is the first tie-in to my stories "Old Wounds" and—most prominently—"Time's A Great Healer", both future fics that play nine years after Joan and Adam graduated high school. This is just a short piece, I'd call it an epilogue to "Time's A Great Healer" because it refers directly to something that happened in that story and even uses a piece of dialogue from it.

I am planning to write a sequel to those two stories, it'll probably become a trilogy at some point. And this is the first of the interludes that will set up part three. A short note on the timeline. "Old Wounds" plays in January. "Time's A Great Healer" plays in March. This should play some time around June. The year is 2014, eight years after Joan, Adam and Grace's high school graduation.

Thanks go out to everyone who reviewed "Old Wounds" and "Time's A Great Healer" and, again, special thanks to GermanJoan for being a fountain of ideas and scenarios. And for screaming for new reading material almost every day. So, girl, here's more to satisfy your cravings. Happy now? It goes without saying that I love reviews, right? Please leave me a note, however small, letting me know if you loved or loathed it. Thanks!

Oh, and I don't know why I have this weird obsession with rain drops. Guess they just fascinate me and make for such good tools and metaphors. shrugs shoulders

FYI: There are two more interlude stories to follow before I'll give you part three of the trilogy. The interludes I have already written, part three is still only in my head. On a personal note: I will be moving to a new apartment a few days before Christmas. And since my DSL provider said it might take four to six weeks for them to set up the new line there, I might not be around much at the end of December and for pretty much all of January. Hopefully, that'll give me more time and opportunity to write part three. Stay tuned.

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.

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Rain drops softly tap against the window pane in regular intervals; it reminds me of the fast heartbeat of unborn children that you can sometimes hear on the ultrasound of mothers-to-be. The cold of the clinkered bricks that my back leans against penetrates through my cotton sweater; my knees are drawn up as I sit on my window sill, staring out the window. The hot steam that rises from the mug of peppermint tea I'm holding condenses on the window pane—steamy streaks that slowly ebb away around the corners, only to recondense again from newly rising steam. The temperatures are way too cold for summer, even for Chicago.

My finger draws idle shapes on the opaque portions of the glass pane that feels cold and wet beneath my fingertip. The movement makes a faint squeaking noise and I lift my finger again, cupping my hand around the mug to savor its comforting warmth. When I place the rim of it to my lips to take a sip of the spicy beverage, I remember how her lips—Joan's lips felt on mine when we separated at the airport, that somehow familiar, yet strange feeling that I still can't wrap my head around.

"I just needed to see if you felt the same way," she said. Damn right I do. Even though I know it's completely unreasonable, it's irrational and just wrong, I just can't seem to get it out of my head. It meanders through the convolutions of my brain, popping up at odd moments to catch me unawares.

For a split second, the room and the city outside are illuminated in bright white light, seemingly freezing the world in its tracks, as if it's a miniature replica in a snow globe, only without the snow. The thunder follows seconds later and I watch the dusky city streets, a stray passer-by hurrying along, feebly fighting the downpour and violent, gusty wind with something as fragile and useless as an umbrella.

The silence that follows is penetrated only by an old Dido album that plays in the background; her gentle, sad voice accompanied by melancholic instruments that seem to make the music float on air. It reflects my soul perfectly, because I'm here and she—Joan—is hundreds of miles away, probably doing something meaningful and expedient right now. And I feel like a fool, sitting here, thinking about how illogical it is that I miss her and wish to be closer to her.

Get a grip, Rove, I mentally slap myself. You have a life here, you have a job, friends. What are you gonna do? Move back to Arcadia? I mull the idea over in my head. There's a million reasons against it, and only three I can think of that would justify giving up the life I have built for myself here in Chicago: Dad, Grace... and Joan. Reasons enough to take a step that big?

Another flash shoots through the rapidly approaching dark of night and more rain cascades from the sky, leaving traces in the form of pearly rain drops on the window. They remind me of teardrops spilling down, each one a small part of someone's sorrow. Maybe one of them is hers—Jane's, a mark of her grief for the mother she lost too unexpectedly? On the inside of the window, my finger traces one of the rain drops sliding down outside and I imagine I'm wiping the tear away from her face with my finger instead.

The next cracking rumble of thunder reaches my ears—and is it just my imagination that it beckons me to make a decision? I hear it saying, Make up your mind, man, for what it's worth. Do what you think you need to do, so I can move on to someone else I can disturb.

All right, I silently tell it. I'll call Dad tomorrow and ask him what he thinks about me moving back to Arcadia. Christmas is still a few months away, I'm not gonna see him for a while, so a phone call will have to do. Maybe I'll also consult Grace, see what she has to say.

With that newfound resolute decision, I gather the now empty mug of tea and get up from the window sill, suddenly feeling cold from the bricks I'm sitting on and leaning against. The thunderstorm has let up, the rain slowing to a drizzle, the lightning reduced to faint light streaks in the night, far away now. The thunder subsides, only audible as throaty whispers that don't even drown out the metropolitan sounds of the big city anymore.

I stride into the kitchen and put the mug in the sink; cleaning it will have to wait until tomorrow, just like the decision about whether my life is gonna take a significant turn—another significant turn. I briefly wonder if I'm ready for it, but deep down inside I know that I have made the decision already.

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THE END.