This is for whoever voted for "Announcement" in the poll in my profile. Feel free to vote for another story or send me a suggestion.
The orange light in the hall sent a dingy glow onto the floor, though the light could hardly be blamed for its current appearance. He thought he could hear a moth near the ancient bulbs but dismissed it to focus on his current task. He glanced at his watch and then back to the door.
Something told him she wouldn't be happy to see him.
"Gonna make me beg, then?" He began to doubt if she could hear him. Resting an arm above his head against the frame, he knocked on the door again. "I know you're here…" Perhaps she'd come out when neighbors began to complain. But no, she had never cared for the opinions of others. He knew very well that the walls in the complex were thinner than regulations probably allowed. She must have known he was out there by now.
He inhaled, thinking of another way to get her out when the door swung in with a rush of warm air.
"What?" Her voice was sharp and bitter but he welcomed it nonetheless. He couldn't even speak, consumed in thought.
She stood in her doorway, leaning on the open door out of sheer exhaustion, never fully realizing her effect on him. Her scent was poison –all at once and it would surely kill him. It was something he needed to get used to, though even that barely helped.
"I…" He forgot to take another breath, captivated.
She shifted her weight to her other leg. "Are you drunk?" He opened his mouth- "Again?"
He shot her a look, silently asking her if she was serious. While looking him over, she tried to decide just how sober he really appeared. After a quiet moment, she moved aside. She did so out of responsibility, he knew as he walked in, and not kindness like she used to. He began to wonder when that had changed…
Again, her scent washed over him and he stopped near the small kitchen, happily asphyxiated. She still smelled like her tea –some mix of herbs he had no name for. It had such a calming yet energizing effect on him that he had almost forgotten why he had come.
She walked past him irritably and down a small hallway, leaving him standing uncertainly in the darkened room, leaning on the kitchen counter. With a sigh, he looked around the apartment, fingering the ring on his middle finger. Only days before there had been another –but it seemed long since he had cast it off. The apartment looked smaller than ever; any available space was taken up by boxes filled with books. He remembered to ask her what day she was going to rent a moving truck.
But, no –his reason for coming here would change that… hopefully.
With his thumb, he slipped the metal band off and placed it in his coat pocket. He hated it there, anyway. He gave a slight sigh of relief, feeling more normal now that it was gone. Lifting a hand, he looked down at his palm, smiling when he saw the correct skin color once more.
His ears perked up when he heard her voice from the hallway. "Gar, you really need to stop-" She rounded the corner and tripped over her feet, startled at his appearance.
"What?" He raised an eyebrow.
"…Nothing." She shook her head, wisps of hair falling out of the clip she had just put it in. She pulled her blue robe tightly around her form, even though she wore a t-shirt and pants underneath. She walked by him without looking at his face, pulling a kettle down from the top shelf –She hadn't used it in a while.
He wasn't really sure if that was a bad sign…
He felt more comfortable as she started to make her tea. It seemed to make everything a bit more normal. But, his feeling of dread returned when she sighed while turning the stove on.
"You really need to work this out with her."
His ears drooped, but he took a step closer. "I know. I've tried-"
She crossed her arms over her chest and kept her eyes on the kettle. "She's your wife for goodness' sake, Garfield." Her eyes narrowed in either concentration or drowsiness. "I can't play mediator for you two."
He cleared his throat, running a hand through his hair. "I know." He said quietly.
She exhaled loudly and still wouldn't turn to him. He instantly regretted waking her –but it was too late now to go home. His ears picked up the faint sound of the water beginning to boil as she locked her fingers together and put her hands behind her neck. He glimpsed the subtle violet of her eyes before she closed then.
She jumped when he took her hand, pulling it down from her neck. Turning her back to the stove, she gave him a tired look. His eyes were on her hand as he touched a similar ring on her finger, stealing it but keeping his eyes down. It didn't change color like his –she still had the same pale skin as when-
She watched as he looked up at her, a smile spreading across his face as he held a lock of her violet hair between his fingers. "Quit, Garfield." Had she managed to say it with a straight face? She had never been able to understand how they wavered over the line of friendship and… she wasn't even sure what.
He turned away for a moment and she waited for what he obviously needed to say. Yet, she was startled when the kettle began to whistle. She took it off the heat and grabbed two mugs. "Go sit." He didn't question her but headed to the living room. Once he was gone, she sighed, running her hands through her hair and trying to stay awake. How many times had they gone through this before? How often did he come over, barely sober, only for her to willingly take care of him and convince him to go home? How many times had he complained about his wife… and she was unable to voice her agreement?
Too many, she decided.
When he'd vent about what it was like with her, she wanted nothing more than to agree –to tell him how much she hated the woman for breaking his heart, betraying her friends, and then causing her best friend to fall for her once more. Yet… she didn't want to be the thing that came between the two –for though there was many a night that he was unhappy, she had seen him years ago when he loved that woman more than anything. And she knew she wanted to see him that happy again.
If only… If only-
She shook her head and grabbed the hot mugs, the tea bags shifting inside. She found him in the dim living room on the edge of the couch, his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. As she walked past him, he took one of the mugs from her hand without looking up and stared down at his reflection in the liquid. He could feel the couch stir as she sat next to him, drinking hers as if it were morning coffee.
He took a small sip, the sweet smell nearly choking him. Afterward, he cleared his throat, though it felt on fire from what he needed to say. "I need to talk to you about something…"
"That's a first," Her sarcasm was as alive as ever, and she smiled as she took another drink. "What's on your mind this time?"
His stomach filled with that same fear and he sighed in anguish as he set the mug down on the table in front of him. Her concern suddenly overflowed in her tone. "Hey…" She put a comforting hand on his knee. "It's okay."
He was glad she couldn't see his eyes, obscured by his hair –not that it mattered, seeing how she could taste any emotion in the room anyway. Her hand made him uncomfortable –not because of the action, but because of the reason behind it. He wondered why it so hard for them to be the way they should be –it was just too easy to be this close to her –closer than a friend should be.
"No." He still had his head in his hands, but she could feel his frustration as his fingers tightened in his hair. "It's not." He stood then, almost hitting the table and knocking over his drink. He walked around it and faced the corner, refusing to meet her eyes as an angry snarl managed to escape his lips.
"Nothing's okay." His fingers curled into fists as he turned back to her. "I don't love my wife anymore." Looking down to the ground in shame, he leaned against the wall near the dark window.
She sat in complete silence, an expression all too calm for the situation. She only listened –not moving an inch as he began to pace again.
"It's over –it's finally over." He stopped and pinched the bridge of his nose, squeezing his eyes shut. "Terra and I are getting a divorce."
She cast her gaze down the carpet for a moment before catching his eyes. Their emerald color burned in the glow from the light over the stove in the next room. She almost shivered as she hesitated. "Now, I'm sure it's not that-"
She wished he'd stop shouting.
"I know you listen to me and I know you can feel what I'm feeling," He wished he could look away from her as he spoke. "But it's not the same. You can't understand…"
He watched as she looked back at him, saying nothing. He then sighed, closing his eyes for just a moment. "I'm being pulled in two directions… it's agony."
He could clearly see her lips form a question in the shadows, but he continued. "There's someone else."
"…And Terra doesn't know?" She asked quietly.
"Please don't jump to conclusions." He begged, his throat dry. "I would never cheat on her –but I couldn't help… falling in love." Again, a guilty look came over him as he stared down at his feet.
He heard her take a deep breath and watched as she set her mug on the old table. She gazed off into the corner of the room for some time before he could hear her solemn voice again. "Gar… the only thing I wanted was for you to be happy. I don't want to see you ruin this."
"Ruin what?" He countered, looking over at her. "This was doomed from the start. I was just too dumb to see it."
"…But what about this other woman? Certainly she doesn't approve of you doing this?" She crossed her arms.
He looked off to the right for a moment, gazing out the window. "She doesn't even know I love her… and she most definitely wouldn't approve."
"Well," She said, picking up the mugs and heading for the kitchen. "At least she has some sense in her."
He absentmindedly nodded, fighting back the smallest of smiles.
She could hear him follow her into the kitchen as she set the drinks down into the sink. Turning, she rested her elbows on the counter, leaning against it slightly. "Look-" She managed to catch his eyes. "I don't even know how to help, Gar. I- I don't have any advice…"
He let a small grin come over his lips. "You always help." His hands rested in his coat pockets as his smile grew. "You actually listen."
She caught the smile and returned it with less sincerity than his. "Can I ask her name?" She said calmly.
His smile disappeared instantly and he suddenly found interest in the kitchen chairs off to the side, none of them matching the other. "What is it?" No reply. "Do I know her?"
Still, he did not answer, a sickened look coming over his face –not that his skin could appear any sicklier than it already did. She watched as he took a breath and managed to keep it. "Her name…?" His voice was almost a whisper.
She could clearly see that he was struggling to speak and was about to tell him she didn't need to know when-
"…Raven." His head tilted slightly to look at her. "Raven Roth."
And now, I ask you, kind people who have read this, to send me a message with ideas for an ending. Remember that I have a PG-rated mind. Please keep it that way.
My mind apparently could come up with this. Now I need you to help me with the rest.
Oh, yeah, and don't forget to drop me a review… ;)