May 2009

Staring at Danny's dripping form, Lindsay wondered what she'd done to deserve this. He looked beautiful, earthy, like an old rendering of Adonis, despite the jeans and leather jacket. His eyes were locked on hers as the water slid down from his drenched hair and across the planes of his face. He was so exquisite her heart ached, and her fingers swelled with the need to touch him. Surely she must have committed some horrific, unspeakable karmic crime to bring her to this moment.

Everyone was silent as Danny remained lodged in the doorway, half in, half out of the room, his chest heaving in exertion. The whole lab had caught its breath at his entrance, trapped by the intensity of his expression. Even Flack seemed at a loss as to just what Danny thought he was doing, and Lindsay knew Flack understood Danny better than Danny understood himself—recent interpretive blunders not withstanding

Water ran in rivulets over the worn leather of Danny's jacket, dripping into the already soaked denim of his jeans. The room stood frozen, waiting for any sign that he hadn't turned into a living statue, eyes forever trained on Lindsay.

She could feel Stella next to her, muscles tensed, unsure what to think of Danny abruptly bursting into the room all of ten seconds—or maybe an eternity—before. Lindsay wanted to reach out and touch Stella, assure her friend that everything was all right; Danny didn't have the power to sweep everything away that he once had. But the words didn't carry the ring of truth they would have just moments before, and it was a moot point anyway. Lindsay had turned to stone even if Danny had not.

The pain was still there, worse when she looked at him, but it had faded after all this time to a much softer misery. She would no doubt carry it through the rest of her life, a constant companion to the warmth of his memory. She supposed everyone who'd been in love and lost had felt this ache—an amalgam of the barely remembered happiness and its echoing cry of what could have been.

Danny stepped forward into the lab, followed by a waft of rain, and Lindsay felt the whole world click into focus. The clean smell New York rain produced as it washed away the humidity swept over her, swirling through her senses as Danny's eyes darkened to a deep blue, and she knew she'd always associate the scent with him now. One more memory that would forever be intertwined with Danny.

Frustration welled inside her. This day was no different than the day before. She'd woken, showered, dressed, come to work, all with the knowledge that she wouldn't see Danny. It had been a relief, a temporary reprieve from the constant reminder of what she would never have.

So why did looking at him in this moment make her heart pound, her eyes sharpen? She'd killed this hope off long ago, the night Danny walked out of her apartment—or maybe the night of the wedding, but really did it matter? It had been a choice she'd made not to let herself dream of a day he'd change his mind, a kindness she'd done herself for the last year. And now it was thrown away with one look. A glance. A winded man staring at her as though she were the only thing in the room.

He stopped again, looking uncertain and vaguely afraid. Her heart started to race and her breath hitched as he opened his mouth. Her body strained forward, every atom of her being focused on the corresponding atom of his.

Then he spoke and the world stopped.

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A.N. The first real chapter should be up in a couple of days. Let me know if anyone is interested in being a beta for this story. And don't forget to sign the DL support letter! (