Author's Notes: Oh, Beatles. How I love thee.
hope is a thing with feathers
my wonderful roommate
They didn't really say anything. There were no gestures, no shifting eyes, no hidden smiles. In fact, it seemed to Lucy that there was no time between when they first made eye contact on the roof and when they were in the middle of the street, not even kissing, just standing close enough to breathe the scent of his skin and feel his cheek against hers.
He wrapped her hand in his; maybe he said, "I'm sorry," but she didn't care then and hardly cares now. She nodded, whispered against his neck, "Me, too," and then he was holding her so tightly she could barely breathe, and she had her arms and legs wrapped around him and he could have been crying-- she certainly was-- and all she could see was Jude and his strawberry behind them.
She doesn't know how long they stood there; she doesn't know what finally made them let go. But when he whispered I love you she believed him, for the first time.
The decision to marry was easy and casual; he drew her a picture of a ring and placed it in a locket that she wore around her neck. He said it was temporary; but she preferred the necklace. It sang of him and smelt of him and felt like him.
She asked, one night, when he first realized that he was in love with her. He smiled, eyes wrinkling at the corners. "Probably the first shag," he mused teasingly. "Yeah, I'd say around then."
She squealed and punched him on the arm; he caught her hand on the recoil and kissed her smartly. She was giggling as he pulled away. "When I stopped wanting to make it work with Molly," he said seriously.
She crawled off the couch into his lap and wrapped the blanket around the both of them; she pressed her forehead against his and allowed a moment of pity pass through her for the woman who'd had Jude and loved Jude and lost him, forever this time. "I loved you from the moment you let me take the front seat," she confessed with an embarrassed little grin. "All of Max's other friends would have made me sit in the back, so I knew you were different." She frowned, playing with the hair on the back of his neck. "You know, when Daniel died I thought my life was over. I thought-- I thought I would never fall in love again. And I couldn't figure out why, of all people, I wanted to talk to you."
He was looking at her with that half-awed expression he sometimes wore, and suddenly wrapped her so close she wasn't sure where she ended and he began. "Oh, Lucy," he murmured. "Oh … Lucy."
"Where will you live?" was her mother's first question. Her father wanted to know about college; Uncle Teddy suggested she reconsider the whole affair. Even her little sister didn't quite understand, still believing she was somehow in love with Daniel. Lucy had forgotten how slow time passed in Massachusetts.
"You liked Jude," she pointed out to her mother, wrapping her hands around her coffee mug. "Remember when Max brought him for Thanksgiving? You said he was charming."
Her mother frowned. "He is," she scolded. "Maybe a little too charming."
Anger blazed for a moment; but to write off everything that had happened-- everything that had happened-- as some sort of hormonal game . . . Lucy laughed. "Mom," she said between giggles, "Don't comment on what you don't know shit about. For once in your life."
She took a sick sort of pleasure in the older woman's facial expression. "Lucy!" She cried, scandalized. "How dare you say that to me! This is what I was afraid of, letting you run off to New York . . . look what that place did to you!"
"It set me free, Mom," Lucy answered calmly. "Don't you get that?"
"Why couldn't you fall for someone more like Daniel?" Her mother sniffed, clutching at the coiffed napkin she'd been folding. "He was such a nice boy . . ."
Lucy looked away. "I don't love Daniel anymore," she whispered, and it hurt to speak this truth. "I don't know if I ever did. I think I was more in love with the idea of him."
"And you're sure that's not what you feel about Jude?" Her mother sent her a curt look, eyes snapping across her Lucy's face as if she could read it. "He's not just something new and different? Something exciting?"
Lucy smiled, nearly laughing to herself. "Jude's not any of those things, Mom. He's just . . . Jude."
The older woman sighed, rubbing her hands over her eyes. "I'm worried, Lucy. You are entering your junior year at college, and he doesn't have a job or any prospects for the future. Is he going to make record logos for the rest of his life?" She leaned in closer. "Think logically, Luce. What about your children? What about retirement? There is so much more to married life than two people, Lucy! There are bills and mortgages and all sorts of other worries that you haven't ever had to think about before. Christ, he couldn't even buy you a ring!"
Lucy looks at her own reflection in her coffee and can hear Jude singing on the rooftop. "All you need is love, Mom. Don't you know that?"
The wedding was small; her family and Sadie and JoJo and Prudence and Jude's parents-- Lucy had tried not to stare at their reunion-- and a couple of girls from college. They were married in front of the drawing he'd done of her on the wall; her mother's heels had sunk into the sand but she wasn't crying over the shoes.
"I love you, Lucy in the Sky," he vowed, and she didn't think she could be blamed for the tears.
Eleanor was born on May 5th. Jude painted her room and her furniture and Prudence made a quilt out of old t-shirts; Sadie and JoJo gave them a CD of lullabies (sung, of course, by themselves); Max set up camp in the nursery and refused to budge for the first three weeks. She thought of her words, years earlier: I'm never having children.
That was then; that was Daniel and Massachusetts and high-waist plaited skirts. She can see so much more than a carbon copy in her daughter's face-- she can see rooftops and rallies, planes and sketches and rotting wood and walls turned into art.
Jude says she has her mothers eyes. And maybe she does; but then she smiles, and Lucy knows she will have her father's mouth.