When you're weary

Feeling small

When tears are in your eyes

I will dry them all

Bridge over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel

Chapter one – The Beginning

It should have been raining. That blue sky was indecent when she thought about it. The sun pierced through the large windows and came to embrace her body like a delicate reminiscence of the summer that had nonetheless left a few months ago now. But she wanted to feel cold, and lonely. No one could appreciate such a weather when deep inside the heart, the clouds had covered everything with a black veil of stifled cries. At times the world simply didn't match her state of mind.

Crossing her arms on her chest, Karen leaned her head against the window and closed her eyes. Even the contact with the thin layer that separated her from the outside wasn't cold. She wished it had been. Then a chill would have run down her spine and she would have felt alive. In pain perhaps. Probably.

Damn. The nursery. Between the disillusion of the negative result and the sentiment of emptiness that she had tried to fill through a ridiculous phone call to Stan's children, she had forgotten about it. But it was there, now. And it burnt, harshly. The key was in her bag, abandoned by her desk. Protectively, she turned her back at it and looked by the window instead.

The sun blinded her and all of a sudden, she remembered her father's funeral. It hadn't rained that day either and she had found it odd. Being only seven by then, she had assumed that whenever someone was put in grave, the sky let its sorrow pour out through a veil of icy rain.

Warm temperatures should have never been allowed when one stepped into a cemetery. It rhymed way too much with life to seem possible, acceptable. Just as the sun had slid on her father's coffin before it disappearing under the ground for the eternity.

The phone rang in her back. She didn't go for it. Eventually the person would leave a message. It was just that she didn't feel like talking. As a matter of fact, she wasn't sure that she would have been able and articulate the slightest word without bursting into tears. Because the tears were close, now. Just on the edge of her eyes and tightening an invisible grip on her throat.

Jack had left in an awkward hug and confession before leaving her alone with that bitter if not obvious disappointment that she had tried to hide as long as her friend had been her side. Now that she thought about it, she should have never confessed him the slightest thing. Just in case, because of what ifs. The exact same ones that were hitting her hard now and she was paying the price for it. Quietly.

She should have known better instead of rushing into things and conclusions like the novice she wasn't. The truth was that she had simply hoped that for once, it would go her way. That it would be her turn and her life would finally make sense. But she had only failed, one more time. And nothing was left of it all, now.

A wave of sobs suddenly brushed her lips and she swallowed it back, leaning her head against the window; closing her eyes tightly. No, she wouldn't cry. Not now. Never. Hopefully the dinner she was invited to with Stanley in the evening would do the trick and get her focused on something else. Something light. For once, she was eager to actually go out. The mansion would have turned oppressive, even more the door at the end of the corridor, opposite the small library. She would have passed by it and she would have stared blankly at the knob that she wouldn't touch anymore. Because it was over, now. She knew that it was. Irremediably.

"A failure. A complete failure, Grace. But maybe there is some hope over..."

The voice in her back made her jump and she turned on her heels immediately, hiding a last sob and a couple of tears that had managed to run down her cheeks. Will was standing there, in the middle of the office. Briefcase in hand and obviously surprised by her presence there.

"Grace left an hour ago. I guess that she had to meet her mother somewhere near Times Square."

Bobbi Adler's presence in Manhattan had broken down everyone's routine and all their references had exploded into a zillion pieces before laying there at their feet; not making that much sense anymore. It was a mess and Karen felt lost among it.

"Are you alright?"

He had seemed to hesitate before daring to say the words that made her blush instantly. She cleared her voice as if to get rid of the discomfort that was slowly growing between them then shrugged, going to pour herself a mug of coffee. Her eyes caught the negative pregnancy test in the paper basket. Will was standing close to it. What if he noticed the opened box? Facing Jack's reaction had been enough to deal with. She didn't want to have to go through it again with someone else. Will like any other one.

"Of course, honey. Of course, I am. Why wouldn't I?"

They spoke, from time to time. As a matter of fact, she enjoyed his presence. Will was one of the rare people she relied on for a reason that she couldn't explain. It came naturally, as if they understood each other with an undeniable logic. Grace and Jack probably knew about it but nobody dared to say it out loud and it was all about pretending the exact opposite; like two children who showed their love only through teasing behaviors.

Children. Karen held back a bitter laugh. If she couldn't have any then perhaps she still could act like one. Pitiful compromise but better than nothing.