Disclaimer: Not mine. None of it.
Summery: Clay maybe have gained a second chance at life, but was the price truly worth it? How does one move one when there is nothing left to move towards?


It was raining outside, the perfect imagery of his tormented thoughts. It had been three months, twelve days and fourteen hours since Clay had undergone the surgery. The heart transplant was a success and his recovery as they put it, had been miraculous. Nothing miraculous about struggling to survive so they wouldn't win. Nothing remotely heroic about it either.

Dr. Neyer informed him that he should visit a psychiatrist to take off the edge. If Clay couldn't even trust those he loved, what made him think he'd trust a complete stranger?

He was alone now, truly alone, and for what? A new heart did not replace the mother he had lost, nor did it change the fact that his best friend and his wife had betrayed him. For all of his money, training and education Clay Beresford was still nothing more than a naïve fool. A naïve chump who lost everything in the hopes of gaining it all.

Sighing softly he lit a cigarette and took a couple quick puffs to ensure the light was strong. Clay knew he this wasn't the wisest course of action, especially given his delicate condition. Nevertheless it was hard to resist when he knew smoking was the closest he'd ever come to feeling peace again. His fingers shook as he drew back the cigarette from his lips. He couldn't tell if the shivers he felt were from the chill in the air, the water now soaking his head and face, or from exhaustion. He really didn't care either.

One thing hadn't changed, and that was work. Despite the operation, the legalities and the multiple court hearings, Clay still had to keep up with his work. He was exhausted from it all but it didn't stop him from continuing to push himself as hard as he could. He had no other choice now, not anymore; his work was all he had left to live for.

The sound of footsteps from inside alerted Clay to the fact he wasn't alone, at least not literally. Taking another drag of his cigarette he glanced over his shoulder to catch sight of a maid placing a steaming cup of coffee onto his desk. The young woman glanced up to the window where he stood and meeting his gaze gave a polite, but kind smile before departing.

Clay knew young woman had nothing to do with the events surrounding his heart transplant, or the betrayal of his wife and best friend. She was innocent of all that, yet it didn't stop him from immediately feeling suspicious of her. He knew better and yet a part of him couldn't help but think that she too was biding her time waiting for her chance to take advantage of him.

Suddenly he wondered when he had become so suspicious of everyone around him, or why he hadn't felt this before. As he exhaled -causing plumes of smoke to escape his lips- Clay wondered if he would ever be able to trust again, or if his life would consist of nothing more than paranoid games of cat and mouse.

His cell phone rang jolting him from his thoughts. Clay took one last drag of his smoke before tossing it to the ground and putting it out with his foot.

Answering the call with a tired greeting Clay promptly found himself on the receiving end of an invitation for a night out on the town. A kind gesture from a concern co-worker, one whose fascination with old horror films used to make Clay laugh. Though he appreciated the consideration Clay couldn't say he was really interested.

"Oh come on Clay, its not like the work won't be waiting for you in the morning anyways!"

Clay smiled to his colleague's encouragement knowing that he was right but also knowing that by morning there would be even more paperwork waiting for him. Clay tried to argue the point but his co-worker would have none of it. But then in his mind there was nothing that a few drinks or a few hot strippers couldn't cure.

But it wasn't fast women or cheap wine that Clay really wanted, not anymore. The only woman he truly desired and (as much as it hurt) loved was now standing trial for attempted first degree murder, amongst other things. Swiftly he buried all thoughts of Sam knowing that what they had, had been nothing more than a fools dream.

Perhaps a night out was what he needed after all; if only to prove to the world –and to himself- that he wasn't affected by the events of his operation, and the loss that followed.

Though tomorrow promised to be a long one; filled with court cases, medical examinations and of course the usual endless amounts of work, Clay found himself accepting the invitation. His colleague clearly surprised and relieved promised Clay that he wouldn't be disappointed. Clay wished he shared his compatriot's enthusiasm.

The call soon came to an end leaving Clay to quickly put away his cell phone into the hidden pocket of his now soaked designer jacket. It wasn't the prospect of losing himself to drinks that lightened his mood, nor was the possibility of spending time with scantily dressed women. In truth it was something else entirely, a feeling he couldn't quite shake or hope to explain.

Stepping inside from the rain he couldn't help but feel as though through his life was once more about to change, this time he hoped for the better.