Living a lie

Disclaimer: Everything belongs to BBC Casualty

Nothing much, just a little something between Edward and James.

Edward looked across the table at James and sighed. James was silently sipping his coffee and staring into space, his handsome, innocent face contorted in a look of defeat and hurt. Slowly Edward reached for James' hand,

'James…'

James pulled away, 'Don't Edward, just don't.'

Edward winced at the harshness in his voice. He had first met James, oddly enough after a conference,

he had been waiting for a taxi when this handsome man came up next to him, it was raining, the man shuddered,

'Rotten weather isn't it?'

Edward nodded, 'Yes, horrid!' He took a moment to glance at the man beside him, He was a few years younger than he was, had an air of innocence about him and an endearing face. Edward felt at once enchanted and protective. Suddenly a taxi came up Edward gesture,

'After you.'

James shook his head, 'No! No, you were waiting first.'

Edward smiled, 'Look, where do you live?' James told him, 'Why! That's on the way from where I live. Listen, I'll drop you off on the way.'

'Are you sure?' James asked.

'Of course!'

Well, it's very kind of you!'

Edward smiled as he noticed the man blush slightly, he was beginning to like him more by the minute, 'Not at all.'

As they sat in the taxi, James smiled shyly, 'By the way I'm James, James Malloy'

'Edward Thurlow'

James smiled, 'So, What do you do?'

'I'm a consultant at the local hospital'

James smiled.

'What do you do?'

James shook his head shyly, 'Just a boring office job. Nothing really.'

Edward shrugged, I wouldn't say that, someone has to push the paper around!'

James laughed, 'Thanks, no-one's tried to give me a status before!' They reached James' place, 'This is me!' He turned to him and held out his hand, 'Well! It was very nice to meet you Edward.'

'Youi too, James!' Suddenly Edward handed him a card, If you ever want to talk or have an accident of any kind, give me a ring!'

James laughed, 'I will.'

That had been a couple of years ago, then Edward got promoted and he found himself entering a world of prejudice and appearances. He couldn't be himself, he could never be himself. He had to make the ultimate sacrifice and unfortunately, it couldn't be the one he wanted, he needed his income.

'Edward? Are you listening to me?'

Edward shook himself out of his reverie and looked at James, it was now or never, he knew that, slowly he reached for James' hands,

'James… You know I love you.'

James looked at him in disbelief, 'Well, no… believe it or not, I don't. I know you enjoy marrying unsuspecting women and putting your job before me…'

'James!' Edward groaned, he sighed and placed his hands on his shoulders, 'James, Please! It isn't like that, the board are very strict about stuff like this!'

'But why should it matter? This is YOUR personal life!'

Edward nodded, 'I know!' He sighed, 'But the higher you go, the more of an appearance you have to make!'

'Then don't go any higher!'

Edward sighed, 'You know, in a perfect world, I'd've married you, and had a good job, but we have to be realistic James, the higher you go in a job, the more pressure they will put upon you to have the perfect cereal packet family it shouldn't affect them but it does!'

James swallowed, tears glistened in his eyes, he knew this to be true, He looked into Edward's face, 'I-I don't want to lose you.' He whispered

Edward swallowed, 'I know.' They kissed tenderly, 'I love you' he whispered, 'I love you so much.'

James nodded and hugged him tightly, 'Me too' he whispered, tears coursing down his face.

The two men held each other in silence, they say that love is the strongest tool, but reputation and pressure can easily override it, right or wrong, the battle between boss and employee continues.