Disclaimer: If I owned Crossing Jordan, Garret and Lily would be married by now.
Spoilers: post ep for "Judgement Day"
A/N: I loved that Garret hugged Lily at the beginning, but the eend left me yelling at the tv "Go after her!" I've sat on this for a while, because I was unable to find a transcript for the ep and was not sure if I remembered all the details exactly. I decided to post it anyway...
Huge thanks to Gabesaunt, who did an awesome beta job on this for me. You're a goddess, Michelle!
She couldn't start the car. With unsteady steps she had made it out of the building and into her car, but now her hand was shaking too badly to fit the slim key into the ignition. The key ring was grasped in her hand, leaving the loose pieces of metal to clink together. Frustrated she dropped the keys into her lap and clasped her hands together in an effort to stop the tremors. She had been able to control the quaking while she was in the office. Mostly. Once she was alone, though, the image of a gun being pointed at her reappeared before her eyes and she could not get rid of it.
Sleek and black, it seemed to her a hundred times bigger then she logically knew it to be. It was all she had been able to focus on, even when she had been talking, try to use her words to ensure that all three of them walked out of the room alive. Then the gun was no longer being pointed at her, and she had failedOnly two walked out of that room. Two walking and a third body wheeled out on a stretcher, wrapped in a body bag. The jacket thrown onto the passenger seat of her car carried the blood-splattered evidence of her day. She wasn't sure why she was bringing it home with her, why she hadn't thrown it into the trash. Pressing a hand to either side of her face in an effort to block out the images that wouldn't stop, she rested her forehead against the steering wheel.
He was not reading the newspaper, but he held it in front of him so that anyone walking past would know to leave him alone. No one tried to infringe on his solitude, until Jordan walked behind him and hit the top of his head with the file in her hand.
"Who the..." He whirled around in the chair, ready to grumble to whatever bumbling receptionist or lab tech had walked behind him. When he saw that it was Jordan, he knew the rap had not been an accident. "What do you want?"
"Who, me?" Jordan lifted her eyebrows, trying to look innocent but failing miserably. Innocent and Jordan were two words that Garret would never put in a sentence together.
"Yes, you." He was tempted to return to his newspaper, but knew from experience that if Jordan wanted his attention she would not be easy to ignore.
"I saw you talking to Lily a few minutes ago." Jordan leaned against the desk behind her. "How is she?"
"Really? 'Cause she look a little shocky to me. Lack of color in her skin, trembling hands. Not what I'd call fine." She wasn't sure what had made her come over here. If she had been brooding (and he would never admit it, but that was what he had been doing) she wouldn't have appreciated the interruption. She had seen Lily walk away, however, and saw the look that flashed across her boss's face before he hid behind the refuge of the paper. She couldn't resist the urge to speak up.
"She said that she was okay." It had been a polite lie, and they both knew it.
No one could have been through what Lily had, and be anywhere close to fine. He hadn't pressed her, but instead watched her walk away, assuming that she would go home and cope in whatever way worked best for her.
"If it had been me..." Jordan started.
"If it had been you, you would have stopped at your Dad's for a drink, and then fallen asleep in front of the TV at home." The teasing tone of voice negated any sting the words might have held.
"True." My bestest girlfriend she had jokingly called him once. It was true. He knew her as well as, or better probably, then any female friend she had. He certainly had seen her after enough hairy situations to know how she'd react. Almost weekly, it sometimes seemed, she managed to get herself into some kind of trouble. Not that it was her fault, of course.
"But Lily is not me." She thought she heard a thank goodness under Garret's breath, but chose to ignore it. "She could probably use some company right about now."
Sighing, Garret folded up the newspaper and placed it on the desk. "Shift's over for the day, Jordan. Don't you have somewhere to be?"
"Trying to get rid of me Garret?" she teased.
"Well, on that friendly note, I will head on out." Jordan grinned for a moment, but then relaxed her face and looked serious. "She just left a minute ago. She's probably still downstairs."
Garret simply nodded, and watched as she walked away. For several long moments he sat still, until the faint ding of the elevator signaled that Jordan had left. Slowly he collected his jacket and the files he intended to take home with him. As he left the building he told himself that the extra attention he gave to his surroundings was because it was dark, and he more then most people knew what could be waiting around any corner. He wasn't looking for anyone, and the fact that he spotted Lily's car within a minute of walking into the crisp autumn air was purely coincidence.
From where he was standing, all that he could see was her long hair covering her face as she bent over her steering wheel. Concerned (the same as he would be for any co-worker or friend, he told himself) he cautiously approached the car. If her white knuckles hadn't given away how tight her grasp on the steering wheel was, he might have thought she was asleep. He watched her closely, his hand resting lightly on the car's roof, and tried to decide if it would be better to tap on the glass or say her name to alert her to his presence. While he was still trying to decide which would startle her less, she raised her head and turned to face him.
She sensed his presence. In the minutes that had passed she had been able to calm down enough that the shaking no longer overwhelmed her. When a new jolt of electricity shot down her spine, she almost mistook it for leftover adrenaline. This was different, though just as recognizable. Like radar, it told her that she was not alone. Not only that, but the person waiting on the other side of the glass was the one person she didn't want to see. With almost calm hands she put the key in the ignition and turned it the quarter turn that allowed her to lower the power window.
"Dr. Macy," she greeted him, then pressed her lips together to worry the lower one with her teeth. What was he doing out here? When she had looked over her shoulder and seen him raise his newspaper, she had assumed that it would be a while before he left work. Guess what they say about assuming is right.
"Lily I..." while he was trying to think of what to say, his eyes wandered across the blood stained jacket. It was inches away from her, and he suddenly felt the need to get her away from it, and what it represented
"Come on." Motioning with his hand, he reached down to pull open the car door.
"What?" She was tired. Quickly she calculated whether it would take more energy to argue with his command or get out of the car. Knowing the man as well as she did, she decided it would be easier to do as he asked. She reached behind her to get her purse, but Garret shook his head.
"You won't need that." He shut the door behind her when she stood up, testing the handle to be sure it was locked.
"Where are we going?" Lily asked when they had put a block between themselves and the office.
"Deli. Around the corner," Garret answered. "Lousy atmosphere, but the food is good."
"I'm not hungry," Lily protested.
"Yes, you are. You just don't realize it."
"I think I'm the best judge of..."
"People who are under stress burn calories quicker then non stressed people. You've had not one, but two major shocks today. On top of that, I bet you skipped lunch. You're hungry. Come eat something, and then I'll drive you home."
"I'll eat," she relented. "But I can drive myself home."
"How many car accidents happen every year because the driver was too distracted or emotional to be driving?" he asked rhetorically. "I'll take you home."
Lily didn't argue; decided to wait until later. Food in her system and time to think would give her a better edge in preparing a logical reason why he shouldn't take her home. She was afraid that if he did, she might be weak and ask him to stay, embarrassing the both of them. She was strong, and could get through this on her own. If she told herself that often enough, she might believe it.
She had stirred the bowl of soup in front of her a dozen times, but had yet to bring the spoon to her mouth.
"It doesn't count as eating unless you actually eat it." He was already half done with his Rueben, which he returned to the plate in front of him. "Would you prefer something else?"
When they had entered the deli Lily had gone immediately to a booth, leaving Garret to guess at what to order for her. He had chosen simple; minestrone soup, crackers, and a slice of lemon pound cake. It was still all on her tray.
"No, this is good." Lily sighed, but swallowed a spoonful of the soup. Aware of his scrutiny, she took another. She managed to eat most of the minestrone, but the single bite of cracker caught in her throat and she drained most of her water in an attempt to wash it away.
"Are you feeling any better?" he asked, once it was clear that she wasn't going to eat any more. Not willing to lie, Lily shrugged her shoulders.
"There are people you can talk to."
"I don't want to talk." Under any other circumstances, she would have laughed. Garret 'Stoic' Macy trying to get her to talk. She, usually so open and over talkative, resisting.
"I just want to forget. Erase this entire day; cardboard boxes and letters from my brother and visits to the courthouse." That wasn't quite true. There was one moment earlier in the day that she wanted to keep, to treasure. Garret had hugged her. She wondered if that was enough to outweigh the rest of it. Would she give up all her memories of today if it meant giving up that brief embrace? It wouldn't change anything. Her mother, who wasn't her mother, would still be dead. The man she had talked with, connected with, briefly, would still be dead too.
"Lily, you can't..." She didn't wait for him to finish his thought, but gathered up her tray and rose from the booth. Garret watched her thoughtfully for a moment before standing up and joining her.
"Thank you for the ride, Garret." After leaving the restaurant, she hadn't protested when he had insisted on driving her home. She was tired, so very tired, and the sooner she could get home the better.
"I'll walk you inside." Unclasping his seat belt, Garret reached to open his door.
"You don't have to do that." Escaping from the car, she walked up the front steps to her apartment building.
"You might need these." Garret spoke from behind her, keys dangling in one hand and purse held in the other. He didn't wait for a response, but reached around her to unlock the front door.
Automatically stepping out of her shoes, Lily headed straight for the bathroom.
Filling a cup with water she downed a pair of aspirin. Looking into the mirror, it didn't surprise her to see the image of Garret reflected back at her. He stood in the doorway, silently watching her. With palms on the counter, she hung her head down and let her hair cover her face.
"He had kids," she whispered. He didn't respond, seemed to understand that she needed his silence in order to continue.
"That's why he was trying to escape. To see his kids, to take care of them. And I convinced him that they were better off without him. He listened to me, and he killed himself. It's my fault that a man is dead." She looked at him then, and there were tears rolling down her cheeks. He was relieved to see them.
"Lily, no." A hand on her shoulder, Garret gently turned Lily to face him. "What happened today... the only thing that you are responsible for is keeping yourself alive. You were not the one with the gun. You didn't kill anyone."
"I don't understand why."
"I don't think anyone can explain why a person..."
"No, not that. That, I think I get." Suddenly the room was too small, and she couldn't breath. She pulled away from him, leaving his hand to float in the air for a moment before he brought it down to his side. There wasn't much space but she managed to duck past Garret and flee the room. He followed her down the hall and into her bedroom, where he found her perched on the side of the bed. She was holding a picture frame in her hands, staring intently at it.
"He loved his kids. It had been years since he had even visited them, but he loved his kids so much that he was willing to do what he thought was best for them. He killed himself for them." Taking a deep breath, she continued. "No one has ever loved me like that. Not my real mom, not the mom who raised me or the brother I never see. Why? Am I that unlovable?"
Dropping the frame onto the bed beside her, Lily drew her legs into herself and wrapped her arms around them. Garret could see now the grainy photo she had been looking at. Three people, a woman and two children, stood in front of a house. They were obviously posed, staring at the camera with unsmiling faces. No trace of affection showed through, too much distance separated the three people and if he didn't know any different he wouldn't have guessed that they were related. Frowning, he moved the photo onto the table next to the bed. Toeing off his shoes, Garret moved onto the bed. Pulling Lily into his arms, he moved so that his back was resting against the pillows at the head of the bed.
"Christ, Lily, you are not unlovable. You are the opposite of unlovable. When you first started working at the office, I was worried. Your heart is so big, and you give so much of yourself, that I figured you'd burn out in a matter of months. And if other people can't see that in you, it's their fault." He frowned, wondering if he was one of the unnamed people who made her feel the way she did. It wasn't like he went out of his way telling her any different.
He wasn't sure what else to say, so he just sat there and rubbed her back with one hand. Eventually her breathing slowed, became gently rhythmic. Garret eased her on her side, laying her so that a pillow cushioned her head. There was a brightly colored knit blanket folded at the end of the bed, and he draped it over her. He stood at the foot of the bed, watching her sleep and wondering what he should do now. Would it be better to leave, or to stay? Would she feel abandoned in the morning to find him gone, or would her primary emotion be one of relief?
As he stood there, Lily shuddered slightly. When he bent down to pull the blanket tighter around her, she rolled slightly towards him. His mind made up, Garret took off his jacket and belt, and lay next to her on the bed. Just for tonight, he told himself, she wouldn't be alone. Plus, his more logical side argued, he had driven her home and she would need a ride to work in the morning. Gently kissing her on the temple, he reached over and turned of the bedroom light.
"Sweet dreams," he whispered.