Set two years after "Love Actually" and around Christmas as well. Peter and Juliet are in a car accident and Mark is in Rome on business. Tragic at first but gets way better…

Chapter 1

Peter put the key into the ignition and started the car. He and Juliet were going to a Christmas party for his work. "I can't believe it's already almost Christmas." Juliet commented.

"Neither can I" Peter agreed, as he turned onto Park Lane. Before either one could say anymore, an SUV rolled out right in front of them, slamming into Peter's side. Their car stopped before Juliet could be seriously injured, but she was so shaken.

"Peter!" She shouted over and over as the ambulance came to get him out of the car. There was no one in the SUV; the police figured someone must have forgotten to set the parking break. Juliet was taken away in an ambulance as a precaution, but she was fine, not even a scratch on her.

"I need to see my husband." She begged the nurse. "Please…"

The nurse sighed and looked down at the white tiles of the hospital floor. "I don't know how to tell you this mam," the plump woman with red hair began. "But your husband did not survive."

"What? Are you sure? Can you please just check again? I – I –" Juliet began to tremble and then sat down in one of the waiting room chairs. "No…He can't be…" She began to sob uncontrollably.

XXXXX

Mark got a call not from Peter, but from his brother the day after the accident. "What?" Mark looked shocked then began to cry. "How is your family holding up? How is Juliet?" He asked, his tone worried. Peter's brother could tell he had been crying.

"They are all devastated, but Juliet is the worst." He replied.

"I will be there as soon as I can, I promise." Mark told him. They hung up soon after and Mark booked a flight home. Normally he would have taken the train and enjoyed the scenery, but under these circumstances, he couldn't.

As the plane landed, Mark knew everything was about to change. He had, for the last two years, immersed himself in his work. He had fallen so hard for Juliet and when Peter had married her, he was devastated. Now she was a widow and single and his best friend was gone.

What could he do? A huge part of him wondered if Juliet was going to blame him in some way; he had indeed wished at one point that Peter would just 'disappear' so that he could have Juliet all to himself. But it was back when both of them had first met her, and it was childish really. He had thought he had gotten over her, he had even dated a few women, but none had compared in his heart to her.

He was one of the casket bearers at the funeral, and when he saw a weeping Juliet, his heart just went out to her. He wanted to hold her and let her know that everything would be okay, that life did move forward and perhaps right now it didn't feel like that, but in time, everything would be fine. He wanted to be her rock right now, and he knew he had the strength to do it, but would she let him in?

After the ceremony, he found her and looked her in the eyes. Words didn't need to be spoken as he embraced her tightly. "I came as soon as I heard." They held each other and cried.

"I just can't believe it." Juliet sobbed. "I thought for sure we would start a family and be together forever and now…" Mark continued to hold her.

"I know…" He whispered to her. "I know…"

XXXXXXX

Juliet didn't leave her room for a week, then two, then three. Mark had moved into the downstairs to make sure she didn't starve herself or do anything stupid. He was working from there.

She was aware of his presence, but she didn't really want to socialize with him. A small part of her felt like he might be trying to replace Peter in her life. He wasn't trying to, at least not yet. And she knew no matter what that they were very different men, and if she did end up falling for Mark at any point, she would be falling for him, and not someone trying to be Peter.

But today, for the first time in three weeks, she was going to be coming down and seeing Mark. "Hello." She greeted him as she came down the stairs.

"Hey! Your up." He smiled at her. "Would you like me to get you anything?" He asked her.

"I think I'm good thank you." She replied, joining him on the couch. "What are you working on?" She asked him.

"Just an account." He replied casually, turning the laptop to face her so she could see that he was telling the truth. "And a boring one at that."

She gave a little smile and he noticed it. "Why did you move in here?" She asked. "Did the doctors ask you to?"

"No, I am just concerned…" Mark replied.

"I know…" Juliet nodded and looked straight ahead into space. "I was crazy right after the accident, but looking around, life has gone on. There are still people here; I am not completely alone even if it does feel like I am sometimes…" She whispered.

Mark hugged her tightly. "It will all be fine." He told her. "All in time…take everything one day at a time."

She nodded against him and did her best to suppress the tears. "I know…Thank you." She stood up and made some tea and sandwiches for them for lunch. They sat on the sofa and talked about old times, Juliet even got out a photo album.

There were so many beautiful memories in those albums, and the fact that they had shared so many of them too had made it easier for Juliet to heal from losing Peter. "Great times." Mark said as he closed the album. "And there are still great times ahead." He told her.

Juliet nodded. "Thank you." She nodded. "It was nice thinking about happier times."

"Your welcome." Mark replied. "It really was."

"I never thought to ask you how you were doing…You just lost your best friend and here I am crying and a total mess and…" Juliet began, but Mark stopped her.

"I'm getting by." He replied. "But I do miss him greatly. Sometimes, I expect to see him here, just walking around doing his usual." A tear rolled down Mark's cheek as he realized that he would never see Peter wandering around the house ever again. He would never see Juliet smile the same way either and that pained him so much. If only he could make her smile like that…

"Oh Mark…" She hugged him tightly and he let the tears flow. He hadn't cried since the funeral, and here he was, finally letting his guard down and crying. Mark closed his eyes and listened to Juliet's steady heartbeat. He let it relax him until he had fallen asleep, but he could still feel her stroking his hair all night long.

Morning came, and they were lying on the couch together still. Juliet felt Mark stir and she realized where she was and who she was with. "Oh my gosh…" She stretched and then smiled a real smile for the first time in three weeks. "Well, now we have slept together!" She joked with Mark.

He looked up at her and when he saw that smile, he couldn't help but smile back at her. "I love that smile." He told her. "It's beautiful."

"Thank you." She got up and walked into the kitchen. "And what would you like for breakfast? Muffins? Eggs? Toast?" She asked.

"Cereal!" He shouted back.

"We're out. I think you might have eaten it all." She told him.

"Well I guess we will just have to go to the market then." He told her.

"We don't have to take the car do we?" Juliet asked. "I am still a bit shaken up because of…" Her voice trailed off.

"No, we can walk. That's the beauty of London." Mark smiled at her and she smiled back and they nodded at each other.