"Enough" Jackie/Dr O'Hara. Set after last week's ep 3:11
You stand trembling on her doorstep. She had called, and you had come running. More often than not it was the other way around. But you needed her, she knew it. You began to wonder what kind of thrill she was getting out of this, out of having all the control?
You shake your head, the vicious pang of guilt ripping through you, reminding yourself how she had bailed you out time and time again. How she very well could have thrown you to the wolves a long time ago. How she had gone out of her way, despite her obvious discomfort, to help you.
Your hand is shaking as you ring the door bell. You tell yourself you're shaking because of the cold, that's all. Or that you need a fix. But it's not true, You're terrified. And you don't know why.
She opens the door silently, she turns and walks into the living room, and you follow behind her. You've never needed an abundance of words between you, there had always been an unspoken understanding. But this feels cold.
People describe her as cold. They might describe you the same way. Perhaps it's why you get along, despite the obvious gap in social standing.
To you, she has never been cold, although she makes a pretence of it. To you she is the woman who was jumping out of her skin to be godmother to your girls, she is the keeper of your dirty secrets. She knows you, better than anyone, better than Kevin, better than Eddie, better than your daughters. And she still hasn't abandoned you. Yet.
You'd seen glimpses of her vulnerable side too, something childlike and carefree that she likes to keep hidden from the rest of the world. She likes to appear strong. And for the most part, she is.
You, on the other hand, are weak. The exact opposite of her. You need this pathetic crutch, these pills, to get through your life. You are weak, she is strong, a complete imbalance, and yet she still hasn't abandoned you, yet.
When you allow yourself to meet her gaze you see disappointment, sadness, fear. It makes you shift uncomfortably from one foot to the other.
"Do you see yourself?" She asks quietly as you stand before her, nothing to offer her, begging for her help.
You roll your eyes, you can't help it. Yes, you see yourself. Pathetic weak woman, burnt out, a complete failure as a wife, a mother, a nurse, a human being. You see it.
You see her too. Exotic, beautiful, strong, fearless, intelligent.
"No." She cuts in quickly "No, Jacks, that's not what I mean." Her tone softens.
You take a deep breath, absolutely determined not to cry in front of her.
"Do you see yourself through my eyes?"
You can only shrug patiently, wondering when the lecture will end. Wondering when she will just hand over the thing you came for.
But you allow her the moment, after all, she holds all the cards. After all, she is your friend, your only true one. The only one who knows you, has never let you down. Even that creepy intervention you could forgive. At least forget. She had meant well.
She takes your hand, and shivers run down your spine.
"Jackie." She says your name so sadly it stops your heart for a moment. Her voice is laden with sadness disproportionate to the situation.
You look away, you can't face her. You, nurse Jackie, who never flinches from the starkest horror, you can't look her in the eye. Shame washes over you. Yes, shame. Shame enough to make you wish you'd just quit the damn drugs. Withdrawal couldn't be more uncomfortable than this moment. Life without that crutch couldn't be more uncomfortable than her staring into your soul.
You wonder just what it would take to push her away too, to push her over the edge, to the point where she finally had enough. And let you go.
Still, you're not afraid to come to her begging, not like Eddie. She never made you feel condemned, never made you feel like you owed her, not intentionally. She never made you feel like you had to be something you weren't, not like Kevin. What she offered had always been unconditional.
You had never fought tears so hard than that day, last week, when you had accused her of ratting you out. When she had informed you angrily that she could have done it a long time ago, that she had been asked, that she lied to protect you. When she offered everything she had to find a solution, risking her own career and conscience to help you.
It was her hand, her tender delicate hand, and her hand alone, stopping you from sinking into a pit of your own destruction. As she put it, disappearing so far underground no one would hear your cry for help. And it wasn't that you were holding on to her for dear life, she was holding on to you.
"Bad day?" She asks , abandoning her earlier question, and offering you a drink.
You shake your head, refusing the drink. But acknowledge it had been a hard day. "Lost a patient."
"You don't look happy." She observes
"I lost a patient." You repeat, as if this was an excuse for all your misery.
"You don't look happy." She says it again, meaning something different.
A moment of awkward silence, then she comes out and asks "The methadone?"
"It's working fine, controlling the symptoms." You answer uncomfortably.
"You still want something more." She states, she doesn't ask. She doesn't have to.
What does she want from you, you're not a freaking saint. You'd kill for a fix, a real fix. Not her stinking methadone. But, for now, you think of your children, your career, of her expectant eyes, you play the game. You show up every day, and she gives you the dose. Watching you take it, as if you couldn't be trusted.
"I suppose that's what you came for." She says wearily.
You don't answer. Afraid of saying the wrong thing. Afraid she will rescind her offer, leave you out in the cold with nothing.
She reaches into her pocket. "I lost a patient too, today." She tells you.
"He left behind these." She finishes.
She shows you the packet of fentanyl patches. Your eyes light up, you can't help it. Fentanyl. To feel that rush, that false sense of serenity. You want it. So badly you'd endangered your marriage and career with your drug habit. Damn you want it. And she stands there, with it in her hands. Watching you, waiting.
But you can't reach for it. She is challenging you somehow. Wordlessly, in that way she was gifted in.
What does she want from you? She knows what you are. A complete failure. Yet she is still there, hand outstretched to you. Her hands are shaking too, you notice. She knows you can't resist. If she if offering it, you can't say no.
She is looking at you like she thinks she can save you. Like she thinks you're better than you are. Her stare is so powerful that you do hesitate. But only for a moment.
She can't save you. You've made your choices. You have to live with them.
You reach for the box, and she pulls it away. Your heart beat quickens, so close, is she doing this to torment you?
"This isn't an every day thing." She warns you. "It's just I happen to have them, and..." Her voice trails off.
"Do you, Jacks?" She asks wearily. But you don't answer.
She takes a patch from the box, ever so slowly, and replaces the box in her pocket. She removes one solitary patch from the box, carefully peeling off the backing as not to contaminate her own fingers with fentanyl. It strikes you again how utterly different you are. She moves closer, pushing aside your jacket, unbuttoning your shirt. Your heart speeds up again. You tell yourself it's the anticipation, the fentanyl. But it's her, her proximity, that make your breath catch in your throat.
Gently but firmly she places the patch on your chest, rubbing it down to seal it. You close your eyes. Her touch is like nothing else. Not like Kevin, not like Eddie, not like the hugs of your little girls. Her touch is unique, electrifying.
She steps back, looking at you, then nods slightly. Nervously you re button your shirt.
"It won't take immediate effect." She tells you
"I know." You answer her. You are a nurse. And a drug addict. You know.
She discards the days methadone down the sink. No point in taking that now. And she reaches into a cupboard for a bottle of painkillers. She shakes four into her hand, and offers them to you.
"You'll need something. Take it." She tells you to take it, but her tone forbids it.
It's who you are even though you're not proud of it. You don't even have the courtesy to wait until you're out of her presence to throw the pills in your mouth. You are desperate. And pathetic.
She watches you with something in her eyes. Not disgust. Not pity. Something you don't recognise.
"Thank you." You mumble, looking at the floor.
"I wish I knew how to help you." She tells you. "I wish I knew how to make you happy."
"You are helping." You assure her. You begin to feel the rush of medication to your head, that feeling of peace, tranquillity, that's what you needed.
She shakes her head, she doesn't believe she is helping you. But she doesn't know what else to do.
"I don't want to lose you." She whispers. "What am I supposed to do? Sit back and watch as you self destruct? Watch you buy drugs on the street, spiral downhill, overdose and die?" There are tears in her eyes, and her voice is shaking. She's been drinking, you realise, a lot. "I don't like this. I hate this. But I don't know what else to do. I look at you, and the person I know, the person I love, has faded away."
She hates herself for what she's doing. She hates you for putting her in that situation. You didn't understand until that moment just why she did it. Because you mean that much to her.
"It's ok." You assure her, placing your hand on her arm. "I'm ok. Everything will be ok." You slip into your reassuring nurse tone without even realising.
"Don't try that nurse bullshit with me." She orders, composing herself, and pouring another drink. "Don't treat me like one of your patients. Don't treat me like someone you have to put on some great act for. I want to talk to you, the real you, I miss you."
"I'm right here." You tell her. And you are. You're here, you're fine. You're a nurse, you hold a job, raise a family. So what if you need a little pick me up now and then. But you see her point, as you have heard those words come out of your mouth so many times, to Kevin, to Eddie. You don't think you know how to be real anymore. But, for her, you make the effort."
You sit, uninvited, on her sofa, and again you tell her "This is the real me."
She wants something from you. You don't know what it could possibly be. But you wish you could give it to her. Usually after your methadone transactions you slink away as fast as possible, and you never ever talk about it with her. But somehow, you can't bring yourself to leave tonight.
The spot on your chest where she placed the patch is burning. You tell yourself it's a reaction to the adhesive. But you can still feel the exact spot her fingers pressed against. And you want her to touch you like that again.
"I just wish..." Her voice trails off in a heavy sigh as she sits beside you.
You're afraid to ask, but you take a deep breath.
"Wish what?" Does she wish you were better, stronger, well you wish those things too.
"I wish, Jackie, that you could see yourself. That you could see the amazing person you are. How courageous, inspiring, strong, beautiful."
You only look at her incredulously, she has definitely had one too many drinks tonight.
"I don't have many people I consider ...friends." That last word slips awkwardly off other woman's tongue. "I wish you could see what you're worth to me. You still don't see how much I care about you, how much it tears me apart that I don't know how to help you."
"I see." You acknowledge, but you're well aware you've slipped back into that patronising nurse voice. She doesn't seem to notice though.
"I want you to be happy, I want you to be ok." She tells you.
"I am." You answer her. "It's ok, really, I am." You want to reach for her hand and squeeze it, but you stop yourself.
"You don't need all this." She motions to the space on your chest, almost touching you. Almost but not quite.
"You don't need it." You tell her. "You're a better person than me."
"I'm not, you know. You're a mother, a nurse, you care about people. You have such beautiful girls, a loving husband. I don't understand why it isn't enough. I want to understand. But I don't."
Your chest tightens at her words. No, none of that is enough. God how you wish it were. "I don't know what you want me to say."
"Why am I not enough for you?" She whispers softly in your ear as she leans close.
For a moment neither of you speak, neither move. She pulls back "I wish you didn't turn to this, pain killers, benzo's, anything but me. Why can't you turn to me?"
"I do turn to you." You assure her. "I'm here now. How many times have I come to you? You're my closest friend. I rely on you."
"No." She tells you adamantly. "You rely on drugs. You turn to drugs. To fill that empty void."
"There is no void." You tell her calmly. "You just told me, my life is full, my life is perfect. It's who I am, I'm flawed. I'm weak. I am who I am, I can't pretend otherwise, not with you. I've never had to pretend with you." It dawns on you then, maybe you just put too much pressure on her. Maybe no one can stand to see the real you. Maybe you have to be more careful, distance yourself, not let her see the dark places in your soul.
" I value that immensely, that you show yourself to me. But you are not weak, Jackie. There is something missing. Something you're desperately seeking. I want to be it, that thing that completes you. That makes you whole, that heals you. Not this." She shakes the pill bottle in your face. "Not this, me. Why can't you turn to me?"
She's a little drunk, and you're a little high, perhaps you should have saved a couple pills for later. That's what you put it down to, what happens next. The way you brush her hair back from her face, wiping her tears away.
She wants to heal you, make you whole. You want it too, but you don't quite believe in it. She believes it though, and for a tiny moment in time, that's enough.
It should make you angry, that she wants to change you, the way you're angry at Kevin. But this is different. She is different. She knows you, accepts you, she loves you anyway.
"I'm sorry, this arrangement, it's not fair, I wont come again, I wont ask you for..." You begin.
"Shhh." She silences you, her finger on your lips. Her red hot finger, burning like fire. "I want to be the one you come to. I want to be enough for you. Let me try."
You look at her, in that moment, in the way you've never let yourself. Not even when you found out she had an interest in woman, not each day she came to work dressed immaculately, not each time she called your name in her lilting accent, not the way she favoured you from day one among all the nurses, not even when she confided in you, respected you.
She was always different. Different from Eddie- Eddie who was just a bit of fun, just a way to score pills. And Kevin, your husband in name and nothing more, a relationship you clung to for the girls more than anything else.
But she was unique. You never let yourself feel it, never let yourself believe it, or wish for it. It was something that would hurt too much to lose. And that moment, when she is drunk, and you are high, you wonder if she is right. Maybe she is the void. Maybe she had always been the void.
There is unmistakable desire in her eyes, and you can't refuse her. You want her. It's the first time you've wanted anything as much as you wanted a fix. Maybe you even want her more. More than you wanted your job, your marriage, more than you wanted to save a dying patient, to calm your daughters irrational fears. It was so draining, all of it, it was the reason you'd turned to pharmaceuticals for solace in the first place. To escape. To get away from everything.
Everything but her.
She stands there offering you something tangible, real, lasting. And you want it.
You want her.
Slowly she leans in, kisses you. More passionately than anyone has ever kissed you.
"I want you to want me." She whispers.
"I want you." You tell her.
She is dubious. You can't blame her. You're a drug addict. A master manipulator. A skilled liar. She isn't going to believe anything you put into words. You are going to have to show her.
You reach forward, unbuttoning her shirt slowly. She closes her eyes as you lean forward caressing her soft skin.
There are tears in her eyes, and tears in your own. You don't understand why you're crying, only that it pleases her, that she kisses your tears away, and pulls you close, that you've never felt safer. That, finally, you're able to let go of everything. Everything but her.
And she is enough
You wake up in the morning, in her bed. A dwindling sense of peace washes over you. But then you roll over. She is gone. Suddenly that peace is gone, you're cold, you're alone. And abandoned.
She's scrawled a note and left it on the pillow, hastily you read it but the words don't sink in. Something about work, an emergency, she'll see you around the hospital later that day. She doesn't even sign it.
It occurs to you then, she is something like a drug. Something amazing. Something beyond your wildest dreams. That first time that takes you to a higher place than you ever imagined. But it's never the same, not after that first time. You want it, more and more and more, but it's never enough.
You want her, now, tomorrow, forever. But still, not enough.
You dress hastily, making your way downstairs to leave. You'll have to lie to Kevin, tell him you worked night shift. You'll have to go home, shower, get ready for your shift in the afternoon. You don't have a lot of time to waste. Yet you pause, at her kitchen cupboard. You open the door.
Sitting right there, is that bottle of painkillers. The bottle she had taken from her dead patient. For you. As she'd shaken pills from that bottle to hand to you, she'd had tears in her eyes. Wishing you didn't want them, didn't need them. Wishing you wanted her. Now, her wish came true.
You wanted her.
But she isn't here.
Why had she left them here? For you? You knew exactly where to find them, she knew you would. Or had it been an oversight? She forgot they were there? Or had she thought you were cured?
Or, even worse, was it her way of saying 'Well thanks for the night of fun, but go back to your pain killers now.' ?
There was no way to be certain, it's not like you could ask her. It's not like it mattered.
Nothing is enough. Nothing.
And with that thought, you shake the contents of the bottle into your hand, swallowing the lot, with no thought to the consequences. And everything goes black as you fall to the floor.