Woop! Exam results back out and (not to toot my own horn) I did much better than I expected with a 2.1 :D So how shall I celebrate? Hmm . . . by writing another fanfic me thinks! And as I've just found out that Lucy Brown is returning to primeval some time in series 4, there is much celebration needed :)
This takes place in series three with two changes: Helen didn't try and kill Cutter, and Jenny's engagement was never broken off. I'll try and update as often as I can.
And so begins our story . . .
Cutter sat in his office, hunched over his desk, fingering a lace-bordered cream-coloured invitation moodily. Every time he glanced down at the gold-inked name, it felt as though some one had thrown a bucket of ice over him.
Dear Nicholas Cutter,
John and Felicity Lewis invite you to the wedding of their daughter, Jennifer Lewis, to Mark Banks, son of Mary and Francis Banks . . .
The first time he had read it, it was the equivalent of taking a bullet, but now it was more of a dull constant ache in his heart. It was bad enough when he had found out she had a fiancé, but at least then it was only a probability . . . people got engaged all the time, but it didn't necessarily mean that marriage would be the eventuality. Some couples stayed engaged for years, and some broke it off before the china patterns had been chosen. But this looked like this was actually going ahead. Cutter sighed heavily and rubbed his hand over his creased forehead in a futile attempt to elevate some of the tension. The thought of her getting married . . . the thought of her starting a family . . . it was unbearable. She'd be a wife. A wife. How could he even begin to comprehend that? A long time ago, he had come to terms with the fact that she was not Claudia Brown, but it hadn't seemed to have changed the way he felt about her. He loved her, it was as simple as that. And there was no way he could watch her get married to someone else. He was sure the invitation was just a formality anyway. After all, he and Jenny hadn't exactly gotten off to the greatest start. Admittedly, they had been getting along better of late, but he was sure that he had only received an invitation because she had invited the rest of the team, and it would have been bad form to leave out the 'team leader'. She probably expected him to say no.
He glanced back down at the invite, re-reading it for what felt like the millionth time. It seemed to be one of those weddings that Cutter had always considered overly extravagant. Apparently, they had hired out the entirety of some posh hotel in the middle of no-where . . . how romantic, he thought to himself sourly. All the wedding party were booked into a room to spend the night; all the men would join Mark for the stag-do in one wing of the hotel, and all the women would be with Jenny for the hen party in another. Then the next day would be the wedding. Just the thought of being stuck with Jenny's husband -to-be the night before she married him was Cutter's idea of hell. There was no way he was going . . .
There was a knock on his door, and Conner poked his head around.
"Ah, you got one too?" he said as he entered the room fully, gesturing at the disheveled invitation on Cutter's desk.
"Aye," Cutter sighed bitterly.
"Great, well Abby and Sarah are going up with the Jenny, so there's only four of us. I reckon we bug Lester to take us in his car, I'd love a spin in that - "
"Hang on," Cutter interrupted abruptly. "I'm not actually going to go."
Conner's smile faltered. "Why not?"
"I - I just can't," Cutter lied lamely, avoiding making eye contact.
Conner paused, and approached the desk slightly, and when he spoke, his voice was low as though he feared being overheard.
"I know you and Jenny don't get on very well - "
"We get on just fine," Cutter interjected gruffly.
"- but it is her wedding, Cutter. Her wedding. It's a pretty big deal. And she is one of the team."
"I can't come," Cutter repeated firmly. "I might be needed here."
"Lester's organised a temp team while we're gone, it'll be fine," Conner waved away his excuses airily. "So if we leave tomorrow about midday - "
"Conner, you're not listening to me - "
"I am listening, but I'm choosing to ignore you," Conner said with a smile, obviously trying to joke him out of his mood. Cutter glared back at him, unmoving, so he rearranged his expression into a pleading look. "Please Cutter! You can't leave me alone with Lester for the weekend - "
"Becker will be there," Cutter pointed out.
"That's not much better!" Conner retorted. "Please! Just forget for a minute how much it'll hurt Jenny if you don't go . . . do it for me!"
"Conner - "
"Please!" he begged, his hands clasped together in a gesture of prayer. "I'll do anything! I'll . . . I'll clean your office for you - "
"No - "
"I'll . . . I'll pay for all your drinks when we get there!" Conner continued, waggling his eyebrows. "Eh?"
"The invitation says free bar," Cutter pointed out, holding up the evidence.
Conner sighed and looked down at his feet, his brow furrowed. Silence fell between them for a few moments; the student shuffling his feet stubbornly on the overly-polished floor.
Finally, unable to bare the stand-off any longer -
"Oh alright!" Cutter burst out, throwing his arms up in the air helplessly. "Alright!"
"Super cool!" Conner beamed. "So be ready to go at midday tomorrow."
And with that, he bounced off, leaving Cutter to his musing. He leaned back in his chair, sucking in a ragged breath of the ARC's sterilised, regulated air. How was he going to watch her as she got married? He raised his hand and rubbed it over his temple. Then again, maybe it was good that he witnessed it; maybe then, he'd finally be able to accept that he could never be with her in that way . . .
There was another knock on his door, but instead of Conner, it was Jenny that strode into his office, making his heart jump involuntarily into his throat. He met her gaze, and she offered him a weak smile.
"I just need you to fill in some more forms about the Jurassic anomaly the other day," she said, her sweet voice making the hairs on the back of his neck prickle.
"I- I thought I was done with all that," he stammered, everting his eyes to his desk to stop himself staring at her.
"Well it was a rather . . . nasty situation," she grimaced, flopping a bunch of papers on his desk.
Cutter sighed loudly, and chanced a glance up at her, watching as she tucked her hair behind her ear, and ignoring the pang he felt as her engagement ring sparkled in the false light. She raised her eyebrow at him slightly, obviously irritated by his unwillingness to work.
"Well surprisingly Cutter, chasing you around for paperwork isn't exactly the highlight of my day either," she said curtly. "But it has to be - " she stopped talking abruptly, her eyes falling on the rather tattered invitation resting by his hand. "Oh," she continued, "so . . . so you got the invite then?"
"Aye," Cutter nodded, staring determinately at his desk.
"Right, well . . . are you coming?"
"I, er - yes. Yes I am," he said quietly.
"Oh," she said again, sounding slightly taken aback. "That's - that's good."
"Yeah," Cutter replied, feeling the tension in the room mount.
"Well . . . great," she nodded, turning to leave. "So, I'll . . . I'll see you there then."
"Well, I'll probably see you before then," Cutter pointed out.
She turned, her face set into a look of confusion. "Right, yeah, well I'll see you both of those then's," she stammered, accidently falling into the door, banging her back on it hard.
Cutter stood up, watching her with open concern. "Are you okay?"
"Fine," she said immediately, struggling with the doorknob. "I'm fine." She wrenched open the door. "Bye."
"Bye," Cutter replied, feeling bemused as she shut the door behind herself.
Jenny slammed Cutter's office door closed, and squeezed her eyes shut, cringing with embarrassment. Not exactly the most dignified exit she'd had. Shaking her head, she made her way back to her own office, her thoughts running a mile a minute. He was coming. He was coming to her wedding - now she hadn't expected that. He had to know the invitation was a formality, didn't he? It's not like they were bosom buddies or anything. She had just assumed he would make up some lame excuse.
She reached the warm familiarity of her office, and sunk into her chair, reclining back with a sigh. It really shouldn't bother her this much - so what if Cutter was coming? She'd be so busy that she'd hardly see him anyway. But still . . . the thought of him hanging out with Mark at the stag party . . . the thought of him watching as she promised herself to another man . . . well quite frankly, it caused her to flush. For reasons that she didn't understand, and certainly didn't want to examine, it made her feel nervous.
After pondering this for a few moments, she straightened up and shook herself mentally. She had more important things to worry about than Nick Cutter; flowers, seating charts, bridesmaid dresses . . . why did it matter if he was going? She really didn't care.