Disclaimer: Never have, never will own them. Nope.

Author's Note: See the Author's Note in "Anymore" for all the details as I am feeling lazy at the moment. Beyond that, it's the alternative POV, playing on Abbie's end on things. I wasn't originally going to this but I figured why not? I was listening to Juliana Hatfield's "Perfect Stranger" song and felt inspired.

Beta: My beta has life to contend with, so patience.

Timeline: Transition from "Deep Vote" to "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Ready Go!

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You hauled your remaining boxes to your new office and admired the window space. You desired to slump down on your equally new office chair and soothe your aching muscles, yet could you afford the indulgence. Could you allow your newfound co-workers to picture you as the typical damsel in distress? No, you always had to be the cold-blooded Hang Em Higher Carmichael, as you were in the prior stopovers.

You chided yourself, since that was a falsity. There was one place (or honestly, one person) where you had no pretenses, masquerades, or scathing defense mechanisms. This person was the only one to whom you admitted your rape, to whom you dropped your public deadpan image towards when your friend Toni was murdered, and ultimately the only one whom grasped your pursuit of justice. He made the game worth engaging.

You then pondered his current fate and your replacement. Will she encompass the same convictions, politics, and outlook as yours? Your precursors were of the liberal stripe, so the possibilities of him being with another conservative are next to nil. That aside, you yourself were captivated by his conservatism, traditionalism, and genuine approach to the game.

Despite your adulation, you hunted for the bigger arena. At the time, you deigned it a career matter but it was another falsity — you simply could not properly conduct yourself around this enthralling man anymore. It was not lust or animal attraction. Could it be love, you questioned yourself. You weren't positive it was the case, on the other hand, you couldn't declare it wasn't.

It was of minor consequence anyway — you veered away from him after all he has done to purify you. The epiphany swarmed within you, waiting to consume. The man was the perfect stranger: he healed your wounded self, propelled you to inconceivable heights in your occupation, and proved you were not completely alone while claiming none of the attachments of a boyfriend or lover. It was perfect. If it was perfect, then, why did you purge him out of your life, you grilled yourself in the seething irony.

You unpacked your Longhorn Pendant whilst your mind coasted to other issues: would he loathe you for departing or wouldn't he mind since he shelved you as well? The answer would be futile, for your bed was prepared and it was time to lay in it.

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