Title: See It All Dissolve
Characters/Paring: Alex, Janine, Alex/Gigi
Word Count: 1524
Spoilers/Warnings: If you haven't seen the movie. o_o; Slight cursing.
Summary: He's an idiot and he knows it, but maybe he might just get a second chance after all.
A.N: I can't believe I actually finished this! It's been sitting incomplete in my fanfiction folder for forever, but here it is--complete at last! So yeah, this is pretty much a "missing scene" from the movie where Janine, in order to try and cope with her decision to divorce Ben, somehow winds up at the restaurant Alex works at. And once they discover who they are they have a little heart-to-heart. Enjoy!
Think about the lonely people
Then think about the day she found you
Or lie to yourself
And see it all dissolve around you
--She Has No Time, Keane
Alex takes a hasty step backwards as he drops his second bottle of beer that night, watching with a dumbfounded expression as the drink spreads across the floor. His customer sends him a despairing look with a matching sigh and Alex smiles weakly in apology.
"I'll get you another one."
"You better," he mutters under his breath and Alex rolls his eyes as he grabs another bottle and motions for Tyrone to clean up the mess ("Dude," he groans as he trudges towards the mop). Alex sighs as he walks into his office, shutting the door with a slam behind him before crashing into his chair. What the hell is wrong with him? He has no idea.
No. That isn't true. Alex's eyes flicker briefly to the computer on his desk and he swears his heart skips a beat--fucking skips a beat--when he sees a new e-mail sitting in the inbox. It drops again like a lead brick when he realizes it is just Kelli Ann calling out for the night.
"Damn it," Alex presses his fingers into his forehead before sliding them down over his face. Ever since Gigi had chewed him out after the party--after she had literally thrownherself at him and he had turned her down (seriously, what the hell had he been thinking?)--he had been so off his game. He could barely even tell up from down anymore; he may be a genius when it comes to analyzing other people and relationships but when it comes down to himself he doesn't even know what to think.
With a small groan of defeat Alex stands back up, smoothing his shirt down before heading out into the restaurant and bracing himself for the remainder of his shift.
He knows it's going to be a very, very long night.
Janine's not sure how she ended up at a restaurant in downtown Baltimore but here she is, standing in line as she waits for a table. Not that she's hungry; really, she feels kind of sick, but she hasn't eaten anything since lunch and now it's almost 11. So she stands in line, mind still numb-shocked from the pack of cigarettes.
She wonders if she made the right choice. It makes no sense, leaving her husband because she found a pack of cigarettes when the fact that she knew he had cheated on her made her want to strengthen their relationship more.
She bites back the urge to laugh as she realizes just how messed up her priorities really are. In an instant she forgets the dinner, the table, the hunger that's just started to gnaw at her stomach, and she stalks towards the open bar and orders a scotch without a second thought.
Alex can't help but notice as he mixes up her second drink that she seems detached and broken. He's always been good at reading people and he wonders what could have happened to her that would leave her feeling so alone.
The fact that a few weeks ago he wouldn't have even wondered, let alone cared, doesn't escape him. He offers her a sympathetic smile as he hands her the drink and she just shakes her head, her brow furrowing in what seems to be a mix of frustration and confusion.
"Can I ask you a question?" She blurts out unexpectedly and he tries not to let the surprise show on his face as he nods.
"Would you leave your wife if you found out she was smoking?"
He doesn't even try to hide the surprise on his face this time, but it's not the question that catches him off-guard. God knows he's heard stranger reasons for divorce. No, what catches him off-guard is when he suddenly imagines Gigi trying (and failing) to properly take a drag from a cigar. He shakes his head, mentally cursing himself, before clearing his throat. "Uh, I'm not married. And even if I was I smoke on occasion... so no. Probably not."
"But you'd leave this hypothetical wife if she told you she was cheating on you, wouldn't you?" She presses and he can't help but raise his eyebrows at her and he's hesitant with his response.
She nods forlornly to herself and Alex isn't quite sure what question he just answered for her, but after so many years in the restaurant and bar business he knows it's probably better not to press.
"What's your name?"
He answers her without thinking--"Alex."--and suddenly her disposition changes, her head snapping up. Her eyes are watching him with a slightly scrutinizing gaze that makes him suddenly feel very, very uncomfortable.
"What restaurant is this?" She asks him quickly and he rubs the back of his neck sheepishly (though he's not quite sure why he should be feeling sheepish at all).
"Uh, City Supper," he answers before shaking his head slowly. "I'm sorry, did I say something wrong?"
"You're Alex," she says dumbly, blinking at him. "You're Alex Thrall? You're Gigi's Alex?"
And suddenly the strange feelings of his heart leaping into his throat and his stomach fluttering over itself is back, his mouth running dry as he leans closer to her over the counter with a babble of speech he can barely even comprehend himself, the dam he had been trying to build up around him bursting without warning.
"You know Gigi? Is she okay--I, shit, I didn't want to say that. I don't know why I said that to her--" his lips are forming words at a speed his mind can't catch up with and he pulls back and begins to pace, his hands running distractedly through his hair "--fuck, I'm such an idiot. I didn't want to hurt her, you know? I tried calling her but she never picked up and--" and suddenly there's a hand griping at his sleeve.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa." The woman's reaching across the bar, grasping his shirt in her hand to still him, staring at Alex with a half-bewildered, half-confrontational expression. "Sit down and take a breath."
He complies, pulling up an extra stool to sit on and leaning against the counter as he tries to get control of himself. Part of him is embarrassed that the cool, collected Alex was so easily rendered into a babbling mess but he pushes it aside, holding his head in his hands as he tries to ignore the feeling of her eyes on him. He asks the only question he can think of, muttering defeatedly, "What's your name?"
"I'm Janine," she says carefully. "I work with Gigi. She's my best friend."
Alex stiffens, clenching his shoulders together, before raising his gaze to meet hers. "I screwed up." Janine nods, not quite sympathetic but not quite accusatory either, and he sighs again. "Is she... do you think she could ever forgive me?"
"You hurt her." This time her tone is accusing and he forces himself not to flinch at it--Alex Thrall does not flinch. "You humiliated her and led her to believe all these things--" He opens his mouth to protest but she continues on before he can. "You did. I don't care if you didn't mean to or if you didn't realize that you were, but you did. Why the hell should she forgive you?"
"Because I lo--" the word dies on his tongue as he realizes what he was just about to say and he leans back, eyes widening almost comically. Kelli Ann was right. He's got it bad. How in the world had he missed something that big for so long?
The word he almost said doesn't go unnoticed by Janine and she's staring at him with a dumfounded expression. "Holy shit." The phrase somehow doesn't seem like it should be coming from her mouth and Alex has the sinking suspicion she doesn't swear often.
"I am such an idiot," he breathes out, mostly to himself, but he sees her nod slowly out of the corner of his eye. He gives her a pleading look, desperate as he urges, "You have to tell me where I can find her."
She bites her lip, looking wary, and Alex can't really blame her for hesitating. But his insistent expression must break her resolve and she sighs out, "She went out on a date with your friend Bill. If you leave now you can probably catch them getting back."
Alex is on his feet before she finishes the sentence, tossing the keys to the bar to a confused-looking Tyrone. "Tyrone, I gotta go. You're in charge! Lock up an hour early tonight." The kid stares at him, open-mouthed, but Alex isn't paying attention anymore as he turns back to Janine, whispering a thank you under his breath and setting money on the counter for a cab ride back home before rushing out the door and hailing one of his own.
Gigi's address rolls easily off his tongue and before he knows it the lights of Baltimore are streaking by; all he can do is hope he isn't too late.
Lonely people tumble downwards
My heart opens up to you
When she says
She says she has no time
For you now
Reviews would be LOVED. :)