A/N: Words cannot begin to express how disappointed I am with the direction the writers have taken Woody since "Loves Me Not." His actions are beyond bizarre, and I wonder if he is even worthy of Jordan anymore. I'm a major J/W shipper, so I'm sure I'll get over it, but until then…Woody needs to suffer. Writing this has been therapeutic! I have a feeling many fanfic writers feel the same way I do. I think this will be a one-shot, unless Woody redeems himself… and QUICKLY.
Jordan knew. She knew.
He and Lu had been there with her in trace while she explained the results of a tox screen in a homicide they were working together. He had been aware that her eyes were flitting back and forth from him to Lu, as if she were searching their faces for a sign of what she had begun to suspect. Afterwards, she had left them alone with a professional nod of the head, and they had lingered there trying to make sense of the report.
Jordan had come back in then, and he and Lu looked up as if they had been caught in something. No one breathed. And Woody realized with a sinking.
Jordan's eyes dropped. She muttered something, fumbled for a clipboard she had left behind, and backed quickly from the room.
Neither he nor Lu spoke for a moment. "Well, the cat's out of the bag, I guess," Lu finally said. He didn't respond, and they drove back to the precinct in silence.
She knew. Jordan knew, and this was not the way he had planned it. He had wanted to keep the news of his relationship with Lu from her for as long as possible. He couldn't hurt her that way.
His motives weren't entirely selfless, though. He could face death every day on the job, but he had come to realize that he was an emotional coward. Jordan's discovery of his deception would lead to accusations and recriminations he, himself, didn't want to face.
But the worst part of him thought perhaps the affair with his ex-shrink would fizzle before Jordan suspected anything, and he could pick up with her as if nothing had ever happened between him and Lu.
It was too late now, he knew as he drove toward Jordan's apartment. There could be no more subterfuge, no more delusions that he could come out of this unscathed.
Falling into a relationship with Lu was the last thing he had expected to happen. He was sure he wanted something with Jordan when he had left her there at her doorstep that night, but he knew they both needed some distance from her break-up with JD.
Then as time passed, and he began to spend more time with Lu, his feelings for Jordan and the possibility of a relationship with her seemed more cloudy. Lu kissed him. She made the first move. She wanted him. It was so easy, where everything with Jordan was always so hard. Lu was soft and yielding where Jordan was brittle. Lu was open where Jordan was inaccessible.
He had almost died the year before. He had been robbed of much of his childhood and adolescence. He wanted some fun, he deserved it, and he didn't want to have to work for it.
It was wrong, this thing with Lu. He still had feelings for Jordan, and if he tried hard, he could still feel her skin under his fingertips. There was a sort of unspoken promise between them. But the lure of Lu and everything a relationship with her had to offer was too strong to ignore.
Lu had pulled the swing shift that night. He feigned disappointment that they wouldn't be able to spend the evening together, and then sped towards Jordan's apartment on Pearle Street, not knowing exactly what he would do or say once he got there.
Jordan sat curled up on the sofa sipping at a glass of shiraz. It was Australian, she noted with a mirthless smile as she uncorked the bottle and refilled the glass. It was one of the bottles that JD had left behind, and it only served as a reminder of how completely muddled her romantic life had become in the last year.
She wasn't sure what she expected when she woke up in the Lucy Carver Inn wrapped in Woody's arms. There was JD to consider. It would end, most likely. As it probably should. She had tried. She had honestly tried with him. He was smart, witty, sexy, responsible. It was all the things he wasn't that had unavoidably driven a wedge between them. He wasn't Woody. And as improbable as her romance with Woody often seemed, there was no getting past the truth of it. She loved him, utterly and unalterably, and being with someone else, no matter how hard she tried, could not change that.
Then they had returned to Boston, JD learned the truth, and it had all ended badly. She could not have expected anything else. Their break-up had been inevitable, but she felt nothing but confusion. There were too many unanswered questions. How could she have hurt someone she cared about? How could she so easily have let herself fall into Woody's arms after so many months of anger and hostility?
She had invited Woody in one night right after her breakup with a sort of nervous apprehension that came from not really knowing what might happen between them if he crossed the threshold, but he had left her with a chaste kiss, telling her only that he didn't want to be her "rebound guy."
She had felt a sense of relief that night as she settled in –alone – to bed. Things had indeed been moving very fast these past few weeks, but she was surprised when sleep had been slow in coming. Rebound guy…it ran in an endless loop through her head. How could he possibly be her rebound guy, when JD had been her rebound guy from Woody's own rejection after his shooting? His words, which had seemed so sensible earlier, now seemed like an illogical cop-out.
Still, she felt as if the door had been left very much open. They both seemed to want a relationship with each other. Not now, but soon. When she had sorted out her confused feelings for JD, when they could come to each other free of doubt.
She hadn't thought it would be next week or even next month, but she had at least thought they were moving toward it. Together. Baby steps.
Instead, she finally understood, he had run the other direction into his former therapist's arms. Was it all a matter of timing? She had offered him her unconditional love after his shooting, and he had angrily thrown it back in her face. Now he was with the woman who had helped him work through that anger. The bitter irony was difficult to swallow.
Woody and Lu were together. It was an unavoidable truth. She had known it when she saw them there together in trace, the way he stood behind her, reading the report over her shoulder. His hand was resting gently on her other shoulder, and it was the intimacy of the gesture that hit her with the stab of knowledge: Woody and Lu were lovers.
It was the intimate gestures between herself and Woody after their return to Boston that had given it away to JD. Karma's a bitch, she thought to herself and polished off the rest of the wine.
They were together. They were together. The idea, the image spun through her consciousness, and she pressed her hands against her eyes in a vain attempt to block it from her brain.
He had been with other women these past four years, she knew that. Just as she had been with other men. But not since they had shared that night in Littleton. Never when there was the implicit promise of a relationship.
She had gotten on with her day after she had discovered Woody and Lu in trace. She would not cry. But now, as she sat with her emptied bottle of wine, she felt her resolve weakening. What they had between them was delicate. How could he have treated it so callously? How could he have turned so quickly and so completely to another woman after all they had been through? And Lu? His ex-shrink?
She felt herself begin to tear up. She bit her lip against it and reminded herself of what she had been thinking increasingly since her discovery of their relationship.
Forget him. He's not worth it, Jordan…
She wiped her face with the back of her hand and dumped the empty bottle with a resolute clank into the recycle bin. She would take a shower, get a good night's sleep, and begin again in the morning. Without Woody. It was strangely liberating.
And then there was a knock.
She gave a weary sigh and padded over to the door.
Woody. Through the warped perspective of her peephole, she saw him standing there in the hallway with his hands jammed apprehensively into his pockets.
She thought for a moment she should just ignore him and carry on with her previous plans for her evening. But no. She had to hear this. His excuses. His feeble apologies.
This oughta be good, she thought as she slid the chain from its lock and opened the door.
"Hi…" he croaked sheepishly.
"Hi," she responded in kind and let him linger in the hallway.
"Can I come in?" He was giving her those sad, big, blue eyes. It was his stock and trade, and she had seen him use it with waitresses, sales clerks, and secretaries to get what he wanted. Now, he was using it with her. Is that what she had become? The help?
She shrugged and let him pass her. She didn't bother re-hooking the latch. She didn't think he'd be there that long.
He shuffled his feet and ran a nervous hand through his hair before speaking. "I just want to clear the air. I didn't just want to email you or leave a message on your machine."
"Since you're so honest and mature," she spat and immediately regretted it. Sarcasm would only show how much he had hurt her. She wouldn't give him that.
"Jordan, please. This is hard enough for me."
Oh, poor, poor baby, she thought, but kept it to herself. "All right. Go on."
"I just wanted to say…" he took a deep breath. "I'm sorry. I know you guessed that I've been seeing Lu, and I just wanted to promise you that neither of us meant it to happen."
"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" she asked calmly.
"Well…" he sputtered. "Yes. I guess. I never set out to hurt you. It just sort of…happened between me and Lu."
"Tell me. When?" She held her hands up. "And please… spare me the gory details,"
He frowned and paused a moment before going on in a small voice. "After the subway bombings. She took it pretty hard, and she reached out to me."
Jordan's mouth curled into a bitter smile. "And Woody the Hero just can't resist a damsel in distress."
"Come on, Jordan!" He pointed at her accusingly. "Do you have any idea what it's like to finally be with someone who's not afraid to need you? Who is actually open and honest with her feelings?"
"Oh, so this is my fault? I drove you into her arms? Is that it?"
His shoulders dropped. "Please, Jordan. I'm just trying to be honest. I know I owe you some kind of explanation."
"At least we agree on something."
There was a silent impasse. He shuffled in a circle on her rug.
"I'm sorry," he began again. "I should have told you earlier that Lu and I were seeing each other."
"No, what you should have done is not get involved with Lu in the first place." She shook her head angrily. "How could you? Is that how little what happened between us meant? I understand that sometimes things just happen. God knows I understand that. But correct me if I'm wrong. You've continued to see her, right? After she reached out to you?"
He answered her by dropping his eyes to the floor with shame.
"Look, we weren't committed to each other, Woody. We weren't dating. But am I wrong in thinking that there was something there? There was an understanding at least? Am I wrong? I'm not crazy here, am I?"
He shook his head sadly. "No. You're not."
"Then why? Why when we're so close?' Her voice ached with pain. "I kept you at arm's length for years. I admit it. But I wasn't ready for a relationship. We both knew that. Now, when I finally want something, when I'm finally ready to work towards a commitment, you run the other way? After four years? Why?"
He shook his head wordlessly. "I don't know. I just wanted something…fun. Something easy. No strings attached."
She took a step back and gave out a short, humorless laugh. "Is that all this thing with Lu is? Fun? A fling?"
"She knows what happened with us. She knows I have feelings for you, Jordan."
Her estimation of Lu suddenly plummeted. "And she's still with you? It's not over between you then, is it?"
"No," he said softly. "She's a great girl, but I don't love her. Like you said, it's a fling. And when it's over…"
He nodded his head towards her. So, that was it. Once he had scratched his itch with Lu, he expected her to pick up where they had left off.
Her eyes hardened as she watched him stand there helplessly. "You know…I think I could almost forgive you if you were in love with her. At least then, I could understand why it happened. But this? " She shook her head slowly. "No."
His eyes widened. This was not the reaction he had expected. He took a step in towards her, and she backed away. "Jordan, I'm sorry. I've messed this up, but there has to be a chance for us!'
"You're still with Lu! And you have the nerve to ask me for another chance?"
"I'm not in love with her, Jordan! Believe me!"
She walked towards the door and opened it. "Please go. This is over, Woody."
"No. No. Don't say that. It's not over. We've been through too much."
"You're right about that. We've been through way too much. Go. Go back to Lu."
He looked childish standing stubbornly in the center of the room. "But you're still mad. As long as you're still mad, then you still care. As long as you care, there's a chance, right?" he asked in a small, hopeful voice.
She wrinkled her forehead and pondered the question for a moment. "No, Woody," she said firmly and coolly. "No. There's no chance. It's true that it took almost losing you to finally figure out how I felt, but I was always as honest with you as I knew how to be. I never gave you false promises. But you? We could have had something, and you blew it. You don't get to have me. Not ever. It's over."
She watched as a cold wind blew in from the hallway, and he shivered. His eyes were dark, and he swallowed hard. "I'm sorry, Jordan."
Her eyes glistened with tears, and she sniffed hard to draw them back in. "Don't be. I think you did me a big favor."
He shuffled past her into the hallway. He turned toward her to say something, one last appeal, but she had already closed the door firmly against him.
He stood for a long moment before turning his collar against the late spring air and walking numbly back to his car.
She was right. He blew it.
It was over.