Disclaimer - Primeval and all it's characters belong to someone else.
A/N - A bit of an expansion of Abby and Stephen's awkward conversation in episode 3. Feedback is always appreciated.
Abby's spiky indifference was starting to grate on my nerves.
I winced as she slammed another heavy pack on the trolley and then spun back towards the flat bed of the pick-up without once looking at me.
I sighed and trailed behind. Great, I couldn't take my eyes off her, but she seemed to have no problem in ignoring me completely!
I closed my eyes for a moment - it was pretty much what I deserved, I suppose.
As I thought about what I'd said in the ambulance, I began to feel more uncomfortable. If I pride myself on anything, it's my honesty and loyalty - neither seem to have been much in evidence of late.
What had Connor said about near-death experiences? Oh yeah, 'Helps you sort out your priorities. Focus on what's important.'
For once, Connor had been dead right.
In those moments, with Abby's frightened concern a palpable force next to me, I'd just said what I felt.
No analysis. No internal censor. No erring on the side of caution.
And I'd meant it. I still meant it.
Sure, I'd thought about Alison too as I lay there pretty much convinced I was going to die. But thoughts of my girlfriend had been a sort of hazy, distant regret about a relationship that had been over long before my fateful encounter with a giant centipede.
But catching sight of Abby had sliced through the pain in my body and given me something so much more real to focus on. I couldn't say I was in love with her - we'd hardly had the time - but I knew that I regretted that I'd never have the chance to find out.
Her impatient sigh brought me back to the present and as I stared at her rigid back, I decided that enough was enough.
"I remember what happened." I said, noticing the way her slight figure stiffened further, "Or at least enough to know why you're angry with me."
"It's nothing. I've forgotten all about it." Abby replied, without looking at me.
I took a deep breath and let it out with an explosive sigh, "Great! I remember and you forget."
"It's fine." She insisted through gritted teeth, before hefting up an air cylinder.
"I'm sorry." I informed her retreating back, "I didn't know if I was going to see you again and I wanted you to know that I... liked you." I trailed off awkwardly. Damn, I'd been so right when I'd told her that it was a lot easier when you thought you were dying!
"You should have been thinking about your girlfriend." Abby retorted warningly.
I closed my eyes again, wishing that I had a reasonable defence for that one - I'd didn't think the old 'we've grown apart' was going to cut it and I could hardly tell her the truth. There had been no romantic reunion. No falling into each other's arms and onwards to bed when Alison had picked me up from the hospital. We'd sat like strangers - like the strangers we were, I suppose - and made excruciatingly polite conversation. Then she'd headed off to a friend's house to sleep, leaving me in little doubt of the content of the 'serious talk' she'd promised we must have when she was less jet-lagged.
And I was relieved, I'm ashamed to admit. I didn't know what I was going to do with her, when the only image I could see in my head was Abby in that skirt she'd worn to the hospital.
I realised that Abby was expecting some sort of a response, "Truth is, we hardly know one another these days."
"Well, good thing you've got this chance to get reacquainted." Her acid reply confirmed that excuse wasn't going to fly.
"Can we at least talk about it?" I was surprised to hear myself pleading.
"It's fine. I fancied you for a bit. Now I don't." Abby stated with finality.
That hurt more than I thought it would.
How had I managed to screw up this relationship without actually getting started? It was a record, even for me.
As I picked another pack up from the trunk, Abby's stormy, angry eyes finally met mine.
We held each other's gaze for a long moment and I could feel the electricity arching between us.
And she did too, because I could see her fighting an involuntary smile.
She looked away eventually, breaking the moment, but it didn't stop the little seed of hope I felt starting to grow.