N is for Nostalgic
Characters: Adam Rove and Joan Girardi
Summary: It's been a long time since they've seen each other. And then Joan and Adam run into each other unexpectedly when both are back in Arcadia to visit their families.
Character Age: 34
Joaniverse: post-TV show
Author's Note: I apologize for the cliché nature of the situation, but there has to be a reason why it's being used in the movies and on TV all the time, even though I imagine it not happening all that often in real life. This was inspired by a scene from 'Private Practice' episode 2x20. Also, apologies for writing Adam (possibly more than) a little out-of-character.
It had been so surreal. Adam couldn't stop thinking of her. Jane. Was she even Jane anymore? He tried to remember how many years they hadn't seen each other before today, and he figured it must be at least six. The 10 year High School reunion, was that it?
That night, the gym was filled with familiar faces and he had tried all night to take her aside to catch up, but he had been side-tracked too many times by people coming up to him. Reliving the old days had dominated the evening, and by the time he finally had a moment to look for her, she was already gone—some kind of emergency. He hadn't exchanged more than a few sentences with her. Why had he never made that phone call afterwards to catch up on what they didn't have time for that night?
And now, back here in Arcadia, what were the odds that they'd both be back home at the same time? That they'd run into each other randomly at the grocery store? Was there such a thing as fate? It had been a pleasant surprise, and the forty minutes they'd spent chatting over coffee in the coffee shop across the parking lot had been intense and laden with crackling energy and innuendo.
Her face was etched into his mind. He only realized now that it had been nagging at him all day. He had to know.
He got up from the kitchen chair and put on his shoes.
"Where are you going, sweetie?" His wife suddenly stood in the doorway, eyeing him.
He said the first thing that came to his mind. "I forgot to buy eggs." He wasn't even lying. After meeting Joan, he had thrown the shopping list to the wind.
She frowned at him. "It's 9:30 at night. Do you really need to go out again?"
"Yeah. I want to make omelets tomorrow morning."
The frown didn't vanish from her face, but she relented. "Okay," she said skeptically.
He wished Kevin still lived where he had lived all those years ago. Adam had only been there once. Joan had mentioned she was staying at his house while Kevin and his wife were out of town.
The windshield wipers made a squeaking noise every time he used them until the rain picked up in intensity. By the time he arrived, it was coming down in steady strings. Even in the dark, he recognized the house as he passed it. There was a light on, which he took as a good sign. Parking spaces in this area were hard to come by, so he had to park a block away. He realized he should have taken a jacket, but it was too late now.
His shoulders and hair were wet by the time he reached Kevin's front porch. He hesitated for half a minute before he rapped on the wooden doorframe. His breath hitched when he saw movement behind the door through the window. He could feel butterflies fluttering in his stomach when he saw Joan's face peeking through the window pane as she draped the beige curtain aside. He had to suppress the urge to turn on his heels and run, but before he could act on it, the door opened.
Her gaze went from his face to this wet hair and t-shirt. They looked into each other's eyes for a long moment. He felt something electrifying the air between them, and he said, "I don't know... why I'm here. I... I just had to know."
He noticed she was only wearing a loose-fitting light pink men's shirt and he stepped closer, slowly closed the gap between them. The frown on her face only vanished when his lips softly touched hers. He couldn't help but deepen the kiss, and he felt her responding, hesitantly.
Her hands eventually found his neck, then went into his damp hair and caressed it. Her fingers were all over him, his neck, his face, his wet t-shirt. All rational thought was obliterated, and the passion was undeniable—for both of them.
She suddenly drew back, gently pushed him away with her hand on his chest, gasping for air. "Adam. No. You're married," she finally stammered.
"Yeah," he whispered. "But seeing you again, I suddenly realized..." He broke off.
"What? That you don't love your wife anymore?"
"No. I don't know." He sighed. "This is all so confusing."
"Does she know that you're here?"
He didn't even have to respond, Joan answered her own question. "Of course she doesn't know. Stupid question."
He grinned sheepishly and a little ruefully. "I told her I needed to buy eggs."
"Oh, that's original."
He shrugged and there was an awkward silence between them before Joan quietly said. "I think you need to leave."
He hesitated. "What if I don't want to."
Her face grew stern. "Adam, think about this. You can't just waltz in here like this. You have a wife waiting for you, and technically, you're cheating on her this very minute."
He sighed and then chuckled. "You do realize how ironic this is, right?"
"What? You cheating? With me?"
He nodded and she smiled a sad, nostalgic smile at him. "You know, high school seems like a lifetime ago."
"Yeah. Don't you wish we could go back and do things over, though?"
She thought about that for a moment and then shook her head. "Not really. I think things happen for a reason. I'm sure they happened that way for a reason back then."
"So this is happening for a reason too?"
"Yes, but maybe not the one you're thinking of."
He frowned. "What do you mean?"
She could only shrug. "I don't know. I need to think about this. And so do you."
She softly, tenderly made him a step away from her and away from the door. "Goodbye, Adam."
The door fell quietly into its lock behind her before he could think of anything to say.