For oxoniensis in the fandom_stocking fest.


As Ruth-Anne rang up her groceries, Maggie half-listened to what she was saying, thinking instead about what she was going to wear to the wedding. "You know, Joel was telling me—"

Maggie abruptly clutched the counter and squeezed her eyes shut. "Oh, not again."

Ruth-Anne stopped punching keys on the register, immediately concerned. "Are you all right, dear?"

She put a hand to her forehead and swallowed. "I'm okay." She opened her eyes and peered woozily at the older woman. "It's just that every time someone mentions Fleischman, or I see him, or I think about him, I feel really dizzy and sick to my stomach." She sighed and let her hand drop. "Ron thinks it's because I know subconsciously that we aren't going to work."

Ruth-Anne crossed her arms. "Well, that's nonsense if I ever heard it."

Maggie blinked. "You don't think my body's trying to tell me Fleischman and I can't be together?"

"Not at all." Ruth-Anne smiled. "I think you're falling in love."

The revelation hit her like a moose at full speed. She laughed nervously. "Me? In love? With—with Fleischman?" She shook her head, trying to indicate what a silly idea that was.

Ruth-Anne shrugged. "Well, I'll admit I wouldn't have seen it coming. But he does seem to make you happy."

She bit her lip, considering this. "Well...yeah, I guess so." She couldn't help the smile that came over her face when she thought of all the ways in which he did in fact make her very happy.

"And he certainly seems more cheerful," Ruth-Anne continued. "He was in here the other day just whistling like a bird. He said he had something special planned for the two of you that night."

She blushed, remembering what that had entailed.

"So I wouldn't give up so quickly if I were you." With that pronouncement, Ruth-Anne finished ringing up the groceries. "That'll be fifteen eighty-seven."

Maggie handed her the money and took the bags. "Thanks, Ruth-Anne." She left the store, the bell jingling merrily behind her.

After putting her groceries in her truck bed, she paused, keeping a tight hold of the frame and closing her eyes. Cautiously, she allowed herself to think of Fleischman, picturing his face, his mouth curled in the sweet smile she hadn't even known he'd possessed until four months ago. She felt light on her feet, a little wobbly, perhaps, but not like she was about to fall over or throw up.

She opened her eyes, and stayed steady on her feet, grinning. Maybe Ruth-Anne was right. Maybe she had been falling, and now she'd stopped, having finally reached the place she was supposed to be.