Her abnormally, albeit slightly comical, large glasses, rimmed with a fair amount of black plastic, are perched on the end of her nose. Her oak brown eyebrows are higher than usual; some would say in surprise, those who know her would just say out of habit. Her almost lily white blonde hair rested just below her shoulders, soft and like silk when touched, gleaming like a candle flickering in the darkness. Her rose pink lips were pursed together, but as delicious as her smile looked from a distance, up close her lips were cracked and peeling. Her skin, that was once so radiant, was not so perfect anymore, covered in freckles and blemishes. It was now pale and almost the same colour as an albino. It was giving her a vague look of illness, her skin looking almost transparent, and her veins clearly visible on her thin wrists. She has fifteen stitches meshed and, well, stitched into her left cheek. The wound is healing all too slowly; the crimson red cut still visible underneath the white strips is only closing over with extensive periods of time. It may be yet another five weeks before she had the courage to remove the stitches and face up to the severe lapse in judgement that she made. But her eyes are the one thing that makes her appearance altogether too strange and enthralling. For all of her intelligence, displayed outside and with her work, these gems hidden behind thick black rims are simply a mirror for her wit and charm. Clear blue, crystalline, light cobalt in colour, with large piercing irises that could display so much or so little emotion. Her hands are thin and skeletal and her fingers are long and skinny, a small golden band that no longer has any sentimental attraction to it placed on her fourth finger on her left hand. Her pristine nails are painted with a silver coat of polish that sparkles sometimes when caught in the right light. Her breathing is slow and steady, giving evidence that she has been sat down for some time now. Her arms are wrapped within long sleeves of soft blue material. Her shirt is made of cotton, it is deduced, and is slimming against her already slight form. Save her wedding ring, she wears no jewellery, apart from the small diamond studs currently situated in her lobes. She received them as a gift twenty two years ago, and though she once lost them, she found them again, just as she rediscovered feelings for the gentleman who had given them to her. She wears dark grey, so dark most would classify them as black, trousers which have bulging pockets, full of knick-knacks, her mobile phone, and some loose coins for that damned parking meter they had put up outside. Her shoes are a defined and very shiny black, with high four inch heels. They make her appear to be so much greater in height which is always helpful in most situations.
He stares, analyzes, watches, puzzles out, looks at, gazes at, glances towards, peers at and observes her. He notices everything: the exact shade of lipstick she is sporting, the exact number of stitches embedded in her cheek, the exact height of her heels, and he notices now how forlorn her expression is. He notices the things no one else ever would and he cannot imagine what it would be like not to stare at her, sitting so graciously in her swivel chair behind her desk. He can't quite believe that in a few weeks, he won't see her everyday, but he knows it's what he has to do. However, regardless of others opinions of how imprudent and disconcerting his glances are, he doesn't care, because he loves her. She is his everything, his life, and he cannot imagine what his life will be like without her. He almost lost her; life would not have been worth living if he had lost her.
She remembered all that he did for her on the day and the following two weeks she spent in hospital that she received her fifteen stitches on. She remembered how he had surely saved her life, how he had kissed and loved her unrequitedly. She remembered being slumped in agony against her stairs, and she remembered when he ran in, picked her up in his arms and saved her. She remembered being led down in a hospital bed with him at her side, she remembered how much he promised to care for her. And she wishes with all her heart that she could return his love, but she cannot do it to Adrian, no matter how much their characters disagree.
He watches as she slowly sighs out in frustration and raps her knuckles against her current work. She so wants to finish this work tonight, before she goes home. But the sky is already turning indigo and dark blue is spilling across the clouds. Her eyebrows crease into an obvious frown and her eyelids flicker shut, trying desperately hard to concentrate and not fall asleep, so he makes her coffee. It has been four days since she returned to work, and everyone is still treating her like she is made of tissue paper. Four days have passed since they had uttered any words to one another. The morning she had come back, she had looked tired. Not rough tired, but he could tell by the way her eyes were not as sharp a blue, calmer and softer, and the way her hand had trembled and quivered ever so slightly when she had held her pen. He had hugged her so protectively and closely and with such great enthusiasm that she had been lifted off the ground. He wrapped his hands around her so tightly that had Rachel not coughed loudly, he would probably still be holding onto her now.
He strolls as casually as it is humanely possible for him in his current situation over to her busy, messy desk and places a mug of coffee on her desk and murmurs,
'Drink up. You look like hell.' He still hasn't quite got the hang of flirting, but she knows this and smiles up at him, removing her glasses from the tip of her nose. She takes the coffee and it is soothing as the warm liquid trickles down her throat. The sensation is pleasant and she hums out in agreement when she takes the mug from her lips. She grins up at him,
'Thanks Andy.' They are the first non awkward words that she has said to him since she told him that "she couldn't do it anymore".
He was driving her home from the hospital in his silver Vauxhall (seeing as Adrian was too "busy" at work to come and get her). Apart from the obvious cut on her face, and the unnoticeable slice on her stomach where the knife had plunged into, she looked absolutely gorgeous. He begrudgingly pulled up to her house and offered up, 'You can come to mine for a drink if you like?' She smiles sadly at him and replies, after a few moments of quiet, 'I wish I could Andy, but I have to go and see the girls.' He nods his head, she has a point. She hasn't seen her daughters for almost a week and he isn't going to be the idiot who tries to come between Janet and her family. 'Okay Jan, just take it steady for a few weeks, I'll come round at some point,' he tells her professionally, waving his hands sternly to portray the seriousness of his words. She rolls her eyes happily and leans across the gear stick and kisses him gently on the cheek, 'Thanks for being so sweet Andy, about everything.' He has a blank look on his face when he turns around to face her, and she is hurt slightly, and bows her head and looks down at the floor. Andy reaches over to her and tentatively places a hand on her cheek and lifts her head up so she is looking right at him. He leans in towards her and she shuffles to the left, edging towards him. He nervously looks her in the eyes, but she just moves forwards as well and, simultaneously they join lips. He begins to roll his fingers through her hair when she suddenly pulls away, remembering where she is and what she is doing. 'I'm so sorry Andy, but I can't do this,' she whispers out at his confused expression. She unclips her already loose seatbelt , picks up her bag from next to her feet and quickly clambers out of the car so he won't see her sudden tears. 'I'm so sorry,' she breathes out as she stands on her porch and watches him drive away, her heart shattering into an infinite number of pieces…
'So, how are you?' he asked casually (or so he thought and hoped), standing awkwardly next to her desk where she replaced her glasses to her face and continued reading the text in front of her. 'I'm fine thanks Andy, how are you?' she asked sincerely. She had been worrying about him ever since he had driven her home from the hospital. She was so scared that he would go and get hammered and then end up doing something really stupid and life-threatening. And now he was really. She couldn't believe he would even consider leaving, let alone actually doing it. She was going to kill him if he left. She wants to hold his hand that hangs so weakly next to his body, and she wants to tell him how much she loves him. But she just can't, it's not right.
'I'm fine thanks Janet.' He recognizes that the conversation is over and walks away, hanging his head lowly, and he collects his jacket and his car keys and leaves the office. He was so ashamed of himself that he couldn't find the courage to talk to her properly.
'Is everything okay with you two?' Rachel asked suddenly, staring after Andy's retreating figure and then straight at Janet, worry all over her face. She took a large bite from her cheese and tomato sandwich, wiped the mayo from her mouth and raised an eyebrow concernedly at Janet just stared into space where Andy had previously been stood. Janet groaned in annoyance when she realized Rachel was going to keep asking until she 'spilled all' as it were.
'No, not really,' she sighed out, 'This whole thing…' she put emphasis on the word thing so that any others in the office would not have a clue what they were talking about, 'I just don't think either of us are taking it that well.' She looked sad, hopelessly sad. She gazed wistfully into space and thought sadly.
'Then why don't you…do something about it?' Rachel hissed, ignoring everyone elese in the office who was attempting to eavesdrop and overhear the womens hushed argument.
'Because I'm married Rachel!' Janet cried out infuriatingly, making Kevin jump in his seat. She notices how much attention this gave her and brought her voice back to a hushed whisper, 'I have kids, and I can't just go running off with Andy.' Janet shot her a pleading look, begging Rachel, the young, slightly naïve police officer to understand what she was talking about.
'Come on, I'm going for a fag,' Rachel grumbled, pulling out a box of cigarettes and motioning with her head for Janet to follow. Janet found no reason not to, and so she shrugged her shoulders at no one in particular and followed Rachel outside.
X – X – X
'Fag?' Rachel offered, blowing smoke out of her mouth into the atmosphere. Janet stepped out of the direction of her exhalation and coughed loudly, 'No thanks. I'm alright.' Rachel nodded her head and took another puff, 'So, you and Andy. He loves you,' she stated simply, like it was the most perfectly acceptable thing in the world. Janet agreed, and attempted to but in, but Rachel talked over her and murmured, 'And you love him.' Janet started to protest loudly, opening her mouth and ready to retort, but was cut off when Rachel rolled her eyes and said, 'You know I'm right.' And there was no way that Janet could argue with that.
'When I was off on leave for you know, the stabbing,' Janet began suddenly, after several moments filled with several cigarettes worth of silence, 'I was just thinking about life being too short, yeah?' She stared at Rachel, looking for confirmation, 'Andy's leaving'.
'What?' Rachel cried, dropping her cigarettes in shock. Janet nodded efficiently, 'And you know why, of course you do. He's leaving because of me.' Rachel stared again in horror, mouth open in sheer admonishment and she looked for a few moments, rather like an enthralled goldfish, before she stuttered out, 'What are you going to do?' Janet really didn't know. And then, in less time than it take for a clap of thunder to rumble, she did, 'I'm going to made him stay. At all costs.' She went to leave, her mind made up, but Rachel tugged on her arm like a little child before she muttered, 'What about Adrian?' That question almost stopped her. Almost, being the idealistic word there. But everything was new, all of a sudden, she could see through a new perspective, she could see what was really important and she couldn't let Andy disappear from her life.
'Like they say,' Janet began hesitantly, gaining newfound confidence with every word, 'Life's too short.'
X – X – X
'Janet,' he said plainly, like it was the most unsurprising thing in the world to see her. He hadn't been drinking at all (which was strange – she had expected him to be properly pissed by now) and his smile only reached his jaw muscles which he ungraciously tried to move into a standoffish grin. She stared up at him, looking at his face, his hair, his eyes, his lips. How could she never have been tempted like this before?
'You know,' Janet said slowly, stepping through the half opened door to Andy's appartment, 'You could at least try to look more pleased to see me.'
'What good would it do?' he asked impassively and under his breath, allowing her to slip through the front door, past his figure and into his humble abode. The place still looked exactly the same as it had this time last year, after the…ahem…Christmas do…incident…thing. Janet dropped her bag at the floor, slipped out of her coat and placed it on one of the hooks, like she knew this place so way she could walk around it blindfolded. Well, she knew the bedroom pretty well, if that counted. No! She thought suddenly, she wasn't going to go into detail. She turned around and beamed ruefully at him, his total unawareness amusing her, however slightly 'I hear you're leaving.' The sadness in her voice was hard to disguise, and she sat down in a leather armchair and stared at him.
'What do you want me to say Janet?' he asked all of a sudden, 'Do you want me to say I'll stay for you? Do you want me to say I'll stay and watch you with him every single day?' Andy's voice was now rising to a shout and he was scaring Janet with his words embellished with fury. She slowly stands up from the chair, walks towards him and clutches onto his hand like she wished she had done earlier, 'Yes, I would like to say that you would stay for me,' she murmured, staring into his light chocolate brown eyes, 'Please Andy. Stay for me, life's too short.'
The moment is raw, like skin after it's been ripped open when someone falls over, and it takes him a few precious seconds to understand fully what she is trying to say to him, 'Are you sure?' he asks tentatively. Before he even finished asking his question, she nods her head passionately and then starts attacking his lips with her. The loves rage, unblemished between the two at the moment their lips collide, like two cars banging into one another, and he can barely contain his joy as he pours all of his energy into that kiss. His hands run all over her form, stopping at her waist, her neck and hair. That hair, luscious strands of silken dreams, blonde to see and sassy to touch. He rolls his fingers through it, cherishing every second. He holds her cheeks lovingly when she begins to trail her fingers across his torso and pulls her even closer to him. The stitches on her face are forgotten as he caresses her gently, exchanging their hearts with one another. He could make her so happy, and now he is definetly sure he will. If he had woken up this morning, knowing that Janet would come to his appartment and kiss and love and beg him to stay, he probably would've died of excitement – which wouldn't have been good, he was glad it was a surprise. It was a lovely surprise. His lips burrow impossibly deep into hers, and she responds with such passion that he is taken aback for several moments. It is impossible for anyone really to go this long without oxygen, but it's been almost two years since this had happened before, and now she was promising him that it would happen again even after this, he could not bear to part from her for more than a second. As so, they take a second to quickly breathe and kick their shoes off and they then find the sofa. It's almost a reawakening memory as she lies down with him on this sofa, like déjà vu. She smiles, slipping her tongue through his teeth and brushing against his. There is something gentle in the way she kisses, yet something is lurking behind closed doors, something wild and untamable, waiting to freed from their bars of sensibility. His hair, she discovers is just as good to run fingers through as her own is for him. She literally cannot stop this; they are hurtling forwards, together, at a million miles an hour, and she has no intention of letting him go ever, ever again. She entwines her fingers within his and smiles broadly and beautifully for one of the scarce minutes where they leave each others lips.
'Never thought life being short would work in my favour,' Andy mumbled breathlessly, holding Janet's waist like his hands were superglued to her hips. She beamed brightly again and it was now that he realized how serious she was being in wanting them to be together. This could work, this could really really work. Because love answers most problems in life, whether or not it was the first to cause them in the first place which, nine times out of ten, is actually what happens.
'I love you so, so much,' he whispered to her, holding her body on top of his, looking her directly in the face, and clutched her hands once more. No tears came with this revelation this time, she's not being stabbed or shocked or whatever, and she replied, every word leaking and dripping and overflowing with truth and wanting, 'I love you too. Please, please don't go.' She plants a kiss on his hand and holds it to her face, using it like a blanket almost.
'I won't, I'm not going anywhere.'
And she smiles once again. He loves that smile, especially on her.