I Would Have Loved You Anyway


Pairing: Mary/Lou

Rating: PG

~May 1978~

Mary came out of her walk-in closet with an armful of clothes. She carefully laid them across the bed and began taking them off the hangers, stopping occasionally to wipe the tears from her eyes. She folded them nice and neatly before placing them in the suitcase. She did this several times until all three of her suitcases were full. She was fastening the last one when Lou came in the room.

He leaned up against the doorjamb. He wanted to be as unemotional as possible, but the truth was the doorjamb was what was holding him up. Fighting the urge to completely crumble to the ground was getting more difficult by the moment. He couldn't seem to find his words or his voice. He just stood there, watching her.

She looked up to see him in the threshold of their bedroom door and quickly looked away. She tried her best to busy herself with collecting the needed items off her vanity and placing them in her makeup case. She could feel him watching her and it made it even more difficult.

"You need any help?" he asked

Mary shook her head. "No." she replied. "I'm almost done."

"At least let me take your suitcases out to the car." he said. "It's the least I can do."

She kept her back to him and her mind focused on her packing. "Thank you."

Lou stepped inside the room and loaded all three suitcases in his arms. When they had gotten married a little over a year ago he never thought it would come to this. But here he was watching another wife walk out on him and on their marriage. He made his way down the hallway and out the back door to the garage.

Mary was trying to fight back more tears but more importantly the overwhelming need to break completely down. She wanted to leave graciously with her dignity in tact. She closed her makeup case and fastened it. She grabbed a tissue and wiped the smeared makeup from under her eyes. In the reflection of the mirror she saw Lou in the doorway. She quickly averted her eyes, stuffed the tissue in her pocket and picked up her makeup case.

Walking past him and out the door was going to be the hardest thing she ever had to do. She was struggling to gather her strength. Putting one foot in front of the other shouldn't be that hard. All she had to do was walk out the door. After all she was the one who wanted this. She was the one who wanted more than she was getting out of her marriage. Pride was a double edged sword. And one that cut deep.

He sensed her inner battle. "You don't have to do this." he told her. "You don't have to leave."

"I have to do this." she told him, taking a few steps toward him. "I'm unhappy here and I know you are too, even though you won't admit it. We need some time apart."

"I love you." it wasn't something he could always say easily, but saying it to her had become like breathing. And maybe that was part of the problem. Heavy words and empty actions. "I don't want to lose you."

Her heart was racing and tears were freely falling from her eyes. "I don't want to lose you either." she choked out. "But I can't stay, Lou."

He nodded. The sight of her crying always tugged at his heart strings, but now he was on the verge of tears as well. So much so that the light was reflecting from his eyes. "I trust you." he said, reaching out for her. "I know that you'll make the best decision for us."

He pulled her closer to him, enveloping her in his arms. She buried her face in his shoulder, finding momentary comfort in his strong arms. If only everything was that simple. If only everything could be fixed with the warmth of his arms around her. "I hope so." she pulled back to look at him. "I really do love you." she half smiled. "And I really want this to work, Lou. I don't know what I would do without you in my life."

"You'd managed." he wiped away a few of her fallen tears. "You're strong and resilient, you're going to be just fine."

"This is the hardest thing I've heard had to do."

"And it may end up being the best." he wanted her to be happy. He wanted to be with her, but more than anything he wanted her to be happy. Even if that meant they couldn't be together. "I have a feeling we're going to come out of this on top."

Hope danced in her eyes. "You really think so?"

"Yeah." he lied. "I think so."

Mary leaned in and softly kissed him. He held her to him, not wanting her lips to part form his. After several long seconds he reluctantly let her go. "I guess this is goodbye for now."

"Not goodbye." she whispered. "Never goodbye."

"See you around then, huh?"

"Yeah." she breathed out, pulling completely away from him. "I'll call you."

Their marriage was barely over a year old. There was no courtship. There was no romancing. They had lost their jobs at the station and in their parting grief they up and decided to get married. He loved her, she loved him. They were friends, they had a great time together, and in so many ways it was like they had been in a relationship for years. All good qualities they thought would give a marriage a solid foundation.

They had found that they really did love each other the way all husbands and wives should. They had trust and respect and devotion. They were wonderful together on so many levels. And completely awful on others. Talking their feelings through wasn't always the easiest thing to do, but they managed rather well. But the last three months things had been terribly amiss. An unexpected pregnancy had ended up as a heartbreaking miscarriage. And Mary had clammed up and pushed him away. She busied herself with work and it left very little time for her marriage.

Mary had managed to miss all the signs of being hit on. Of being shamelessly flirted with. Or maybe she hadn't. Maybe she had enjoyed the attention that John Greene, the new producer at channel six, was showering her with. Maybe it was easier to be around someone who knew next to nothing about your life.

But John knew that Mary was married. He knew it. He just didn't seem to care. He kissed her. Right there in the middle of her office on a Tuesday afternoon he kissed her. And from that moment on everything spiraled out of control.


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