Glad those that reviewed enjoyed the first chapter! This one has very little Jo-john interaction but is important.
Jo felt so unbelievably tired that she was amazed she actually got through a whole day of court without falling asleep. She had been slightly distracted by John too, or should she say Lord Justice Deed in these circumstances. Not that being distracted by him was uncommon, but this was different, she was extremely worried about him. She'd been worried before, she'd feared for his job and his reputation regularly but never for his mental health. He'd always seemed so strong and almost untouchable before last night but now she felt like he'd took all her normal perceptions of him and obliterated them. She felt like she hardly knew the quiet and aloof Judge who sat in-front of her today, she couldn't remember him interfering once.
Someone said hello to her and it brought her back to her present surroundings. She was still stood in the corner of the lobby outside the court and she wondered if she had been stood there too long to catch John up. She began to walk down the corridor towards his temporary office and saw him at the top of the stairs talking to the clerk. She held back until he'd finished his conversation but then as the clerk walked off the French Judge, Juliette Panis, approached from the other direction and grabbed his attention. Jo doubted either of them had seen her so she shifted back around the corner so she was out of sight but not out of earshot. Jo knew it was a bit out of order spying on him but she had to know he was ok and perhaps she had to know how he was around other women at the moment.
"Perhaps you like to come to my office to discuss case or perhaps a drink?" The French temptress was blatantly trying it on with him. Jo felt her blood boil slightly at the tone of Panis' voice.
"No thank you" John replied disinterestedly. Jo wished she could see the look on Panis' face but hearing her reply was good enough.
"Non?!" The French woman replied aghast.
"I've heard enough about this case for one day" Deed explained politely, obviously backtracking a bit because he realised he's offended her.
"Then we just have dinner and discuss something else" She continued persistently.
"Thank you but no thank you" Deed said firmly "I'm not in the mood for company."
"Would it be different if I was Madame Mills" There was a slightly edgy tinge to her voice, like she knew she was hitting on a nerve. Now Jo's blood really was boiling and it took all her might not to go and shout at her.
"It might" John replied after a pause "Mrs Mills and I are old friends"
"Ah oui, old friends" she replied sarcastically "So I've heard!"
"This isn't going to make me go to dinner with you" John pointed out to her.
"A member of your civil service told me she no longer want you, why do you still chase her?" Panis was becoming far too pushy now for Jo's liking and obviously for John's too. Still, what he said next surprised Jo and made her realise just how he was struggling to keep his self control at the moment.
"Because I love her" John snapped "That's not about to change."
There was silence, Panis did not expect to push his buttons so easily and now she was clearly lost for words. Jo decided now was a good time to jump in and rescue him.
"Oh John there you are, good!" Jo announced as she turned the corner "Charlie rang, said she couldn't get hold of you."
"Excuse me" The French Judge dismissed herself and headed off in the direction of the offices.
"Is Charlie okay?" John was concerned.
"I wouldn't know" Jo confessed "I haven't spoken to her!"
"Ah" John understood her "How much did you hear?"
"A bit" She confessed, bowing her head in mock shame. John smiled and linked her arm, she linked him back and they walked towards his office in silence. Once they had got into his office she finally felt safe to speak up.
"John, you lost control out there in the corridor. You reacted to her stupid comments." John turned away and began to strip of his judicial robe.
"John" She continued "You need to find some way of dealing with this or it could spell trouble."
"Yes, I'm well aware of that" John snapped back at her, throwing his robe at the coat stand rather than hanging on it. Jo through her hands in front of herself in frustration with him.
"I'm not having a go John, I just want to help" Jo said softly, trying to calm the situation down.
"I know" He turned to her "I don't think I can do this now Jo, I don't think I can talk to you about this."
"What?" Jo felt so confused and hurt, last night she was the only one he could talk too and now he couldn't talk to her about it at all.
"This has given me some frightening perspective Jo" He explained hurriedly "I understand what I want more than anything and it's further away from me than it's ever been."
Jo watched him pace across the room and gaze out his window, then pace back to the coat rack and pick his robe up and place it on the rack. She had never seen him so restless and she knew that she was a major cause of what was troubling him.
"John ...." She was cut off by a knock on the door it was John's security officer.
"Your lift awaits sir" The burly man explained, giving them an apologetic look for his intrusion.
"Coming" John said briskly, throwing his long black coat on. The security guard walked off and Jon headed towards the open door, holding it open for her.
"John..." She started again as she got to the doorway but he cut her off. They were virtually nose to nose and she felt that tingle she often got around him rise again.
"Jo" He cut in "its okay, I do understand. You have every reason not to trust in what I say."
She couldn't think of a reply, she wanted to believe that he could commit to her but he'd never managed it before and they had been through a lot together. It was hard to believe he was suddenly going to start being faithful now. He didn't wait for her to formulate a response. He allowed the door to gently shut behind her and walked off, following his security officer down the long corridor back towards the stairs.
Jo felt tears stinging her eyes and she desperately tried not to cry. She had no right to be upset at him pushing her away, she'd spent long enough doing so to him. It didn't make her feel any better though, it just made her wonder how he had felt all those times she'd walked away or refused to let him hold her. She'd spent so long convincing herself he didn't really love her and now it had turned tables and suddenly he obviously thought she didn't love him. He was so wrong, she did, god she did, so much so that it always felt like he'd stabbed her through the heart every time he did something stupid. She had refused to admit it for so long and now the idea of trying again with him terrified her, yet exhilarated her at the same time. Could she really risk her heart on him yet again?