Lucy asks if you want to talk about it. Talk about it? You want to do anything but. However, you know she won't leave you alone until you do talk, so you might as well get it over with. You tell her that you don't even know when it started, and both of you know that's a lie. It started with the letter.
That stupid letter from a high school friend. Oh, not one of yours, the letter wasn't even for you. It was for him. The letter was friendly, not intimate - he let you read it, wanted your opinion.
You told him to go for it. You didn't think it would end up like this.
The letter had been simple, a woman he used to hang out with in high school was visiting for a couple weeks, and she wanted to go for drinks or something and catch up with him.
So with your encouragement under his belt, he left work one Friday evening and met her. You called later that night to see how it went, and he seemed happy. He enjoyed his evening with his old friend, and you were happy, too, for him.
On the following Tuesday, he mentioned having dinner with her, and something in his expression made your stomach twist unpleasantly.
Three weeks later, and she was still in DC, and he was still seeing her at least twice a week. And you knew you'd made a mistake. Hindsight and all that.
When he came in late on Monday, looking as if he hadn't slept all weekend, you felt like you were going to be sick. She showed up around noon and you left before she even got to his desk.
Lucy told you later that they had gone out for lunch... all you knew was that he was late getting back. In annoyance and pain, you couldn't help but comment to Lucy that his new girlfriend was interfering with his work. Your reply was a sympathetic look.
Three months later, and not only was his "old friend" still around, but she was now living with him. And there was a gold and diamond ring on her finger. The exact style that you always imagined him putting on your finger.
It was harder to work with him now. She came in at least once a week to have lunch with him, and when she did, you "mysteriously" disappeared... and Lucy and Tara could always find you in the ladies' washroom, leaning against the counter, head down. If he noticed, he didn't say anything. At least not then.
He didn't talk to you about it for another couple months. One month before his wedding, actually.
You tend to try not remember that talk, because it hurts too much, but now you have to talk about it.
He had invited you out for dinner, and taken you to a small, quiet (so he said) restaurant. The lighting was dim and you were apprehensive. He asked you if you were really okay with his marrying her. You put a half-fake smile on your face and said of course. He didn't believe you. That's okay. You didn't believe you, either.
You talked, through your meal, dessert and coffee after. You spent three hours talking, and the manager finally asked you to leave. He walked you home. You cried.
He had told you, more than once over the course of the evening, that he loved you. He also told you how scared he was to make a move, and when she came to him - as a friend - he took what she had offered. He'd needed the support. He told you how he didn't know how she had ended up in his bed, in his apartment, in his life. He told you that he didn't know how that ring wound up on her finger.
It happened so fast, he had told you. Too fast, and now he didn't know what he was doing. You wanted to hold him, because you could tell he was confused, but that would only complicate things further.
He kissed you.
In the middle of a park, beside a fountain, in the moonlight, his lips touched yours. You trembled and his hands trailed over your back. But you pushed him away, and you said it was wrong, and he couldn't help but agree. But he had told you that he just had to hold you one last time, so you sat together on the park bench, his arms around you. You stayed like that for an hour, then he finished walking you home. The kiss on your cheek at your door was bittersweet, and you didn't look back as you walked inside.
Two days later you noticed a different vibe in the bullpen, and a sudden lack of wedding planning on Tara's part. At lunch time, you ask her what's going on, and she asks if you don't know. You give her a look.
She explains that the engagement was broken, and she had gone back to her home town. He was suddenly single again.
The next day, you ask him to join you for lunch, and ask what happened. He tells you, and you start to wish you hadn't asked.
He had told her, like he had told you, that he loved you, and still does. He told her what happened when you went out for dinner, and she had asked him in return if he wanted you more than he wanted her. He had said yes. So she left, giving him back the ring, packing her bags and buying a ticket for the next flight out of DC. She was gone in three hours.
You startle when he takes your hand, and your eyes widen when he says that he wants to do things right with you. That he wants to be with you, but he wants to take things slowly. She had hurt him, like he had hurt her - and you - and everybody needed some time to sort things out.
But his intentions were now out in the open, and you nodded faintly, and he smiled.
And now here you are, the evening of the same day, spilling everything to your best friend. You cry and she holds you, you punch the couch and she gets out of your way. You talk and she listens.
And one day, you know you'll be planning your own wedding and she'll be there for you then, too. Because now things are getting back to the insane normal that you keep them at, and you know everything is going to be perfect. In time.