Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. The rights to those characters and to the show belong to the creators of the show, to CBS, The Sullivan Company and to A&E.
By, Ashley J.
Written April 1, 2006
Her eyes watered, as she peered through the crack in the door, seeing the man she loved kneeling down before Catherine. What on Earth could they possibly be talking about? She had seen the way Catherine clung to him as if he was all she had left in the world.
Michaela's heart pounded, and her hand gripped the doorknob. It shook slightly, but neither one of them seemed to hear it. Before her eyes, they were trapped in their own little world.
"You and me. We are same?" she asked, her eyes glistening with hope and need. Sully's heart dropped, feeling almost ashamed for getting so close at this moment. He didn't know how to respond, but he knew the truth, and it almost crushed him.
"Yes. We are." Michaela couldn't believe her ears. No. He couldn't have. How could he hurt her much with three little words. They were three words that seemed to reflect a lifetime full of questions and needs and longings.
And then Catherine began to lean forward. Tears broke loose, and Michaela covered her mouth. She watched, her eyes fixed on the small gap between his lips and hers. She felt the last few months shatter to pieces around her. The knots in her stomach tightened, and she knew that forever was about to change.
Feeling her breath on his lips startled him, and he realized what was happening. She was reading him all wrong. This was wrong. So wrong.
He shook his head, putting his hands on her shoulders and pushing back, but as he was touching her, he heard someone startle at the door. He shuddered, and his gaze turned in time to see her hair flying in wisps behind her, as she retreated down the hall.
"God no," he breathed.
"What wrong?" she asked, her hands touching his, as they continued to rest on her shoulders. He pulled back as if he'd been burnt.
"No. This is…this is wrong."
"Why wrong?" But Sully couldn't linger. He couldn't give Michaela any more reasons to be upset with him. He couldn't even begin to wonder what was running through her head. "I love her. She is my heart." His words fell on hurt ears, as he retreated out the door with his heart in his hands.
Michaela clutched Flash's reigns, and pulled herself into the saddle, afraid of what would happen next. Right now, all she cared about was getting as far away from him as possible. Away from them.
When he made his way out onto the porch, he already saw her rushing out of town on Flash's back, so he borrowed Matthew's horse and rushed off after her.
She was gasping for breath, as she dismounted at the homestead. She left Flash to graze outside and rushed into the barn, falling down into a fresh pile of hay. Her hair was in tangles, her face was stained with tears, and she couldn't begin to imagine was had happened after she'd left.
"Sully," she cried, holding her turning stomach in her hands. Her back shook, as she cried heavy, hot tears into the hay, and for a moment, she wished to God that she could turn back time and still be back in Boston where he couldn't hurt her.
But her heart was tearing, because he was the one she loved more than life itself. He could never hurt her like that, could he? But she…she had never been with a man before. She didn't know how to act sometimes, and that frightened her. It frightened her beyond belief.
"Michaela!" His voice outside made her jump, and she wanted to run away. She wanted to get away from him and not have to face him. What had she done so wrong to make him turn to another? Had he turned? Had he… "Michaela!"
She heard the homestead door open and shut, and she heard his footsteps retreating away from it but growing closer to the barn. She wanted to disappear.
The barn door swung open, and his heart stopped beating for a moment, as he glimpsed her wounded form lying in the hay. What had he done? He hadn't even kissed Catherine, but he had hurt her.
"Go away," she cried, her tears pouring forth harder than before.
"I can't do that."
"Go away!" she screamed. "Just leave me alone!"
"I can't. I need to be here. I don't want to…to hurt ya."
"It's too late for that, Sully. Just go away. I don't want to see you right now. Just leave!" He had never seen her like this before, and that hurt him more than anything.
"Why are ya turnin' me away? Why do ya keep hidin' from me?
"Don't you dare blame me for this! Don't you dare blame me!" She didn't dare to move from her spot on the ground. Sully swallowed the lump in his throat, but it rose again quickly.
"I ain't. I ain't."
"Why? Why did you?"
"I didn't kiss her, Michaela. I swear to ya. I swear that I'd never do that."
"You almost…you almost…"
"Please, Michaela. Just…just…"
"Just go, Sully." She took a heavy breath, and he turned his back. But, before he walked outside, he called over his shoulder.
"I ain't leavin' ya. I'm just givin' ya a little time. I'm never leavin', Michaela. Ya gotta know that by now." And, he went outside, leaving her to her thoughts.
She shook her head, angrier than before. He hadn't even attempted to say why. So, she pulled herself up, brushed away her tears, and took a deep breath. She walked out of the barn to see him leaning against the side of it. His gaze met hers with guilty tears stinging the whites of his eyes.
"Why?" she whispered.
"I didn't, Michaela." She swallowed hard at his soft words. "I didn't kiss her."
"You wanted to."
"No." He shook his head.
"Why? Why did you pull back?" Sully slowly moved toward her, afraid to touch her but afraid that if he didn't, he'd lose her forever. So, he gently took her hands in his. She wanted to pull back, but at the same time, she needed his touch.
"I did it for you. I did it for us." Michaela's gaze fell, and she shook her head.
"You said you were the same," she whispered. "You and she."
"We…we have some things in common," he said with a nod. "That's true. But, Michaela…I don't love her. I don't feel nothin' but her…except…"
"I feel sorry for her. You gotta know by now, Michaela. You're the only one I want. You're the only one I could give my heart to." He squeezed her hands in his.
"I'm afraid, Sully."
"Afraid?" She nodded her head, but she was silent. "Michaela, ya gotta trust me. Ya gotta trust that I ain't gonna hurt ya. I didn't kiss her. I didn't want to. I knew when she tried that…that if it happened, I might lose ya forever…even if ya didn't know. It'd kill me to hurt ya like that, Michaela. Please, please trust me."
"I do trust you, Sully! I trust you with my life, and that's what frightens me! I'm afraid…I'm afraid that I'm not giving you…what you need. I'm afraid I'm going to…to push you away and lose you forever."
"That ain't true," he said softly, stepping closer to her, as her hands fell limply at her sides.
"Isn't it? Sully, I know I've been…distracted lately," she said softly. "I'm afraid that it's hurting you, and…"
"Don't. Just stop, Michaela," he said quietly. "Ya have been busy. I'm sorry that…that I been pushin' ya to spend more time with me. It's just 'cause I love bein' with ya. Bein' without ya is…it's…this is killin' me, Michaela. Just seein' them tears in your eyes on account of me…it hurts worse than anything." He watched her raise her eyes to meet his again, and her lower lip trembled. "I never meant for it to happen. That's why I pulled back. I didn't know 'til that minute, Michaela. I didn't know she felt that way."
"How could you not, Sully?" He took a deep breath.
"'Cause all the time she's been here…I was lookin' at you…thinkin' of you." With those words, Michaela knew the truth, and her tears burst forth again. Her shoulders slumped, and Sully pulled her into his arms. She cried against his chest, and he didn't know what to do to make it better. "I love you. I love you more than anything in this world. I don't wanna see ya hurtin'. I'd do anything to make ya smile. I'm sorry, Michaela. I'm sorry ya feel this way."
"I'm feel so…foolish," she whispered, clutching the back of his shirt in her hands.
"Don't. I'm the one who's foolish." He felt her tears seep into his shirt and dampen his chest. Slowly, she pulled back, and he gently smiled at her.
"I'm the one that's sorry."
"No," she breathed, shaking her head. "I've been so focused on work lately, and…and, the reason I've been avoiding…well…" She took a deep breath and forced herself to continue. "I'm afraid to be alone with you."
"Why?" he asked, searching her eyes and her heart.
"Because, when I'm with you…I feel things that…that…" She looked down. "And when I saw you with her, I realized that…those things I've been feeling have been…have been…" She was at a loss for words, and his hands gently rounded her shoulders.
"Take you're time. Just take a breath." And she did.
"Sully, when I saw you with her, my heart stopped. I realized that I've spent so much time being afraid to show you how I feel that…that I haven't stopped to think about what that's doing to you. I don't want you to think I don't want to be with you. I do. I love you with all of my heart. I'm just frightened, because that's…that's a very powerful feeling."
"As much as you're afraid…I am too."
"You are?" Her eyelashes fluttered for a moment, and she felt the tears welling up again.
"I am. I ain't never felt like this before, Michaela. Nobody's ever made me feel the way you do, and it scares me, 'cause I don't wanna scare you."
"You could never," she whispered, gently stroking his cheek with her fingertips. He took her hand in his and gently kissed the pads of her fingers.
"I want ya to know how much I love you."
"I do," she whispered. "I suppose I just let…let my own fears get in the way. I want this to work. I want you to know that I trust you. I just don't…I don't trust that she knows. She needs to know about us."
"I shoulda told her from the start. I should've…done somethin'. I'm sorry I didn't say nothin'."
"I should have too," she breathed. "Sully, the point is that…loving you is something I never realized I could…well, I never realized how powerful it could be." Sully shook his head.
"Me neither." Slowly, he leaned down and drew her into a kiss, tasting the salt of her tears there. She moaned softly against him, as he pulled her closer. They pressed together with a mutual longing pulsating through their veins.
When he pulled back, their lips were moments apart. They opened the windows of their souls to one another, and Michaela smiled with relief.
"I promise ya, Michaela," he began, "you're the one that's got my heart, and that's the way I want it to stay." She nodded.
"And you have mine." They kissed again, each feeling the pain receding from their hearts.
"What now?" he wondered, as he held her close. She wrapped her arms around him and rested her head against his beating heart.
"Just hold me, Sully. Hold me and never let go."