Disclaimer: I do not have any rights to LOST.

Sisters

Juliet pressed the tissue into her face and shuddered, squeezing tears out of her tightly shut eyes. "Thank for just letting me barge in like this."

"it's okay; you don't need to thank me."

"No, god, I didn't call --" Juliet paused as her breath hitched in a near sob, "--or anything, I just started driving and then I was here, and --" She tore the tissue away, only to replace it with her hand, shielding her eyes from the harsh reality of her life. "Just...thank you so much, Rachel."

Her sister tightened the arm she had around Juliet, and Juliet leaned into her. "You wanna tell me what happened?" she asked. Her voice was calm, comforting, but knowing. Christ, had everyone known? Was she the only one in the dark? Edmund had hurled that observation in her face a week ago, that she was always the last one to figure things out, and maybe it was true. Stupid, stupid Jules, trusting Jules, blind Jules.

"He left me," Juliet said, her voice shaking. She kept her tears under control. "There was a note."

"What do you mean, a note?" Rachel looked horrified, and Juliet felt a fierce rush of gratitude for this response.

Drawing a deep, shuddering breath, she said, "I took the day off to go to the doctor. Just to make sure everything's okay, after --" She couldn't bring herself to say it. "---to make sure nothing's wrong. Just a check-up. And I came home, and he was...he was just gone, and there was a note. A note saying that he'd left and wasn't coming back."

"Oh, Julie," Rachel said, her eyes filling with pain, echoing her sister's, trying to share in the heartbreak in order to lessen it.

"I just left it there. On the table." That meant she'd have to go back and see it. It meant she'd have to pick it up, to read the words all over again, because she wouldn't be able to just throw it away without seeing them, no matter how hard she tried to avert her eyes.

It wasn't just that Edmund was leaving her. It was the fact that she'd thought things could be fine, that she'd hoped they could fix what was wrong, that she could save their marriage. But she suspected she'd killed it, just like she'd killed the tiny life inside of her, that tiny life that Edmund hadn't wanted anyway but then had been so upset about losing. The ride back from the hospital that night had been made in stony silence, and Juliet, stung by his coldness, his lack of sympathy, his indifference, had sensed something else in him, some anger with her, and had lashed out. "You must be happy," she'd said, almost lazily -- probably from the drugs. "Now you don't have to worry about trying to convince me to have an abortion."

He hadn't looked at her, just calmly signaled a lane change and sped by another car on the freeway. Juliet had watched lights blurring as they went by, red-white-orange, and felt sick.

"How ironic that you're a fertility researcher," was all he said to her that night, and Juliet had cried and cried in bed, waiting for him to come to his senses, to be kind, to be the man she'd fallen in love with. But he kept his back to her all night and in the morning, he left for work, saying only that she'd better stay home.

Stupid, to think that she could save their life together. How stupid she'd been.

"I want you to stay here tonight," Rachel said. "You need to be somewhere else, with people, instead of by yourself in that house."

"I can't, Rachel; I don't want to impose," Juliet said weakly.

Rachel shook her head firmly. "Nope, don't even bother. I rented a couple movies last night and if you don't stay I'll have to watch them by myself." She raised her eyebrows and smiled a little crookedly. It was the same smile she'd given Juliet when they were kids, whenever she'd had some crazy idea for how to while away a summer afternoon, or when they were in high school and Juliet had been stood up by her prom date, or when Juliet had gone to college and announced to their parents' horror -- to their father's horror -- that she had no interest in the family business, that she wanted to be a fertility researcher and help women start families. Rachel always made things seem like they weren't so bad with that smile, and Juliet always believed it.

She managed a small, watery laugh. "Okay, you're right. I wouldn't want to leave you in the lurch with those movies."

In response, Rachel turned to her sister and hugged her tightly. Juliet clung to her gratefully, her heart swelling painfully. The gaping hole left by Edmund's abandonment hurt. Hurt horribly. But right then, right at that moment, her sister's love made it seem like it would all be fine. It felt as though it was damming the torrent of sorrow flooding through her. "Thank you so much, Rachel," she whispered, burying her head in Rachel's shoulder.

Rachel rested her cheek on Juliet's head. "Hey, what are sisters for?"