The moment Lemon caught sight of Zoe Hart, she knew that her night had hit rock bottom. She had been so engulfed in the fact that Zoe was there she barely noticed Wade loitering behind her. It wasn't until she was watched the female doctor step inside Harold Tucker's hospital room that she felt his presence at her side. Neither one said hello, they merely exchanged a quick glance before diverting their attention back to the gesture taking place at Mr. Tucker's bedside.
"You alright?" Wade questioned softly, the background noise of heart monitors and the tennis shoes of the nurses and doctors making their rounds was quickly becoming the soundtrack to their solemn night.
Lemon looked away from the scene before her, George and Zoe's hand interlocked in what seemed like a more than just friendly gesture. Her painted red lips were pressed into a firm line while her kohl rimmed eyes remained strong and focused, not letting Wade see her bothered in the slightest. Despite her vital attempts at masking her heartache, he had seen the look in her eyes the moment he brought Zoe Hart into the waiting room of the hospital. He was just waiting for her to snap on him simply due to the fact that he was the cause of the scene before them.
"Peachy." She quipped with her sharp Lemon like tone. "Of course I'm not." A scowl was etched into her hardened features.
Wade sighed, holding up his hands in a defensive manner, the last thing he wanted was a hostile Lemon Breeland on his hands. The situation was already stressful enough, he didn't need anything else to make it worse.
"I only asked because you're the only one that can understand how much seein' them like that hurts." He breathed, watching Lemon's harsh expression soften significantly.
Despite his feelings for the woman across from him, he still was trying his damnedest to move on and he thought Zoe Hart would've been a step in the right direction. The young doctor just so happened to be charming and always up for a good laugh which had caught his eye rather early on.
But now to see her looking at George Tucker the way she was and the whispers going around town of the speech that she had delivered at the M.O.T.Y. dinner at Lavon's, only made him realize that he was no competition when George Tucker was involved. Not with Zoe Hart and certainly not with Lemon Breeland.
He sure knew how to pick 'em.
Lemon leaned herself against the wall, her tired head tilting back so that it also was supported. Her eyes slipped closed as she felt tears begin to form and squeezed them so tight she hoped to stop them from falling. After the day she had of debating whether or not to let her fiance know of her biggest, darkest secret, she was lucky that she had managed compose herself long enough to even make it to the Man Of The Year celebration let alone the hospital in one mentally stable piece. And then to be blamed by her said fiance of causing his fathers heart attack was truly taking its toll on her emotionally exhausted frame.
"You want some coffee or somethin'?" Wade asked, stealing a glance at her tense and uptight expression, it wasn't unusual but if he could help her relax a little he'd much rather see her smile. Lemon's eyes fluttered open slowly, but she kept blinking to rid the tears from her eyes and shook her head at his question.
With a steady stance she moved back to the window that looked into Mr. Tucker's hospital room, George and Zoe still had their hands clasped together as they watched the rise and fall of Mr. Tucker's chest. Lemon couldn't help but stare, as if staring long enough would make them break apart even though she knew that it wouldn't unless she physically went in there and did it herself.
"Look, I know you wanna stick 'round for George and all but maybe you need a change of scenery." Wade came up behind her and placed his hands on the sides of her arms. Lemon's gaze faltered from her fiance and the female doctor then moved to the man behind her, her eyes looking like she was on the brink of giving up. She didn't even need to answer him as he took that as she was willing to go anywhere if she didn't have to watch Zoe with her fiance any longer.
Lemon must have been overcome with emotion because the next thing she knew she was being lead through a darkened hallway. On their way, they passed a quieter than usual Magnolia, her head down and coffee in her hand as she told Lemon not tell her father where she was. Wade insisted that they wouldn't tell and continued guiding Lemon until they reached the coffee machine in a dimmed and vacant wing of the hospital.
Within a couple minutes she was sitting on a cheaply made chair that looked way past their prime with a cup of hot coffee in her hand. Wade sat next to her, a cup in his hand as well, but he was looking around the small, and empty, corridor as if the room was far more interesting than it actually was. The sounds were still the same as before but the scenery was without a doubt better than back where they had been. They sat silently for several minutes, Lemon let her coffee cool slightly before taking large mouthfuls in attempt to ward off sleep.
"Feelin' any better?" Wade asked, even though his eyes were looking to his left. He turned his head back, a meek half smile creeping its way across his lips though it didn't quite reach his eyes.
Lemon shifted in her seat, and rolled her neck to one side to rid of the stiffness that had built up. "George hates me, and the only person he wants to see right now is Zoe Hart. I'm feelin' much better, Wade, thank you." She shot back sharply, not intending to snap at him but more so at her self proclaimed arch nemesis Doctor Hart. "I'm sorry...it's been a long day." She answered with a defeated and exhausted breath.
Wade cracked a sarcastic smile and released a scoff from his throat as he recalled Brick basically calling him trash while he scolded Magnolia. "Tell me about it." He took a hesitant sip of his sugarless and cream-less coffee, wincing at the bitter yet hot taste that filled his palate.
"What happened?" Lemon asked, sounding more than genuine in her questioning though Wade was unsure if he should really open that can of worms. She was already dealing with a lot, the last he wanted to do was tell her that her father had basically said his company wasn't worth keeping.
"I was helpin' Magnolia with somethin' for the M.O.T.Y." Wade explained softly, doing his best to sound nonchalant. "Let's just say Brick wasn't too fond of me and Magnolia bein' friends." He flashed a meek and forced smile as Lemon's gaze only softened upon hearing it. "Does he even know we're friends again?"
"I—I don't think so. What did he say?" Lemon's posture straightened and her piercing eyes narrowed suspiciously. He could tell already that she was getting worked up, and Wade feared if he told her she'd surely lose what little coolness she had left in her.
Wade could only assume that if Brick didn't want him around Magnolia, then surely that would apply to him with Lemon as well. But Wade knew as well as anyone that if there was anything Lemon Breeland hated, it was when people told her what to do.
Wade shook his head. "It don't matter now, Breeland. He was just bein' a protective father. Guess it just surprised me." He casually shut it down, Lemon's features seemed to fade rather quickly but a quizzical look remained. "Not really used to it and all." He finished with a shrug of his shoulders and halfhearted chuckle.
"How is your daddy?" She asked softly, the tone of her voice and the way she had said 'daddy' reminded him somewhat of a small child. The amount of emotional extremes the woman beside him could through in such a short amount of time literally stunned him.
Lemon had known Earl Kinsella all her life, she had seen him before his drastic turn into climbing onto rooftops and days spent stumbling around town with a bottle of whiskey in his hand. She chose to remember him as the hard working father who spent countless hours providing for his wife and two sons, and the man who had dressed up to play Santa a handful of times after she had started grade school.
"I'm just askin' because every time I see him..." She trailed off, unsure of how to word it without coming off too harsh or blunt.
"He's drunk." Wade finished for her without even the slightest hesitation. His father's alcoholism wasn't something he could hide, he had accepted it years ago but he couldn't say it didn't bother him."Old kook, can't even go one day without it." Wade scoffed, shrugging the matter off as if there were no underlying issues there.
Lemon knew Wade better than that, he cared. He just hated admitting it, a trait that seemed to be common in the Kinsella men.
"You two used to be so close." Lemon mused, recalling a time when the father and son were always walking around town with their fishing poles and tackle boxes. A cookie cutter example of the ideal father and son relationship which along the way had turned inexplicably sour.
"Before my mama passed." Wade pointed out the pivotal moment that had changed the course of not only his but also Earl's and Jesse's, forever. That one monumental event of his past had help mold him into the man he was today, both in positives and negatives.
The passing of Joy Lynn Kinsella had sent shock waves through out Bluebell and well into Mobile and several smaller municipalities. The Kinsella men had never been the same, gone were the days of a happy childhood and not having a care in the world. At the young age of nine years old, Wade had found himself without a mother and had been left to look after an alcoholic father with an angry and confused older sibling.
The death had taken its toll and by the time he hit sophomore year in high school Wade had already gotten himself the reputation as the resident bad boy of Bluebell. Pretending as if the passing of his mother and the emotional absence of his father didn't phase him in the least. Suffice to say, it didn't take long for Wade to perfect that art, if you could even call it that.
Through it all though, he had learned that he never wanted to end up like his old man. He refused to. Wade was fairly positive the alcohol was merely a means of numbing and medicating the pain, the true trigger of his fathers downward spiral had been because he lost the love of his life. Earl had been so in love with Joy Lynn that his life had seemed meaningless without her. Wade couldn't fathom feeling so strongly for one person, though his fear of being vulnerable with a woman only to be cruelly torn from her was in large part why he didn't quite understand it. He hadn't ever been close enough to someone to get it, and he was starting to think he never would. That he was merely destined to be the lowly bartender who idly stood by while everyone else lived their lives.
Darkness had over taken Wade's features, his mind elsewhere, and Lemon recognized it as a look similar to her own whenever thoughts of her mother passed through her mind. She wasn't sure how to help him, her heart hurt for him and she desperately wanted to make it better. With that feeling, she suddenly realized that she had put Wade in this very situation on more than one occasion.
Lemon did the only thing that came to mind, she slipped her free on top of his and held it with her own securely. "You okay?" She asked sweetly, her nails scratching lightly against the back of his hand.
Wade's eyes were set on his cup of coffee, secretly wishing it was a beer in his hand rather than caffeine. He inwardly cringed over how much he sounded like his old man, sometimes he thought he may end up like Earl just by default.
Wade snapped himself out of his somber thoughts, his mind immediately focused on the light grazing on his hand. His eyes took in the sight of his large, rough and tumbled hand wrapped in her much smaller and delicate one that showed off a perfect french manicure and engagement ring.
He stared for a brief moment, silently wondering just how either of them had gotten here. She was one half of a couple that Bluebell, if they had royalty; herself and George Tucker would be it while he was a screw up with no clear direction in life other than possibly becoming his old man.
Yet here they were clinging to each other and didn't even give it a second thought as they revealed their parental issues aloud. They were so different; she was prim and proper whereas he was sarcastic and careless; and somehow they related easier than she did with George or he with any of the lengthy string of women from his past.
Wade cleared his throat gently. "Right as rain." He forced out even though it was far from the truth, a lazy smile eased it ways across his mouth. Lemon let out a faint sigh as she released his hand then furrowed her brows as if she didn't understand his answer.
"You know I never quite understood that sayin'." She mused before taking a small sip of her much cooler coffee, not minding the bitterness of it in the slightest. "How is rain right?" Lemon let a smile cross her crimson lips, her pearly whites nearly blinding in contrast.
Wade stifled a laugh as she seemed very interested in the reasoning behind the old saying but kept quiet cause he didn't really have an answer for her. He appreciated her attempt at lightening the mood.
"I, for one, don't find it right, especially if it rains on my weddin' day." She rambled but caught herself and a defeat look took over her features. "If George even wants to marry me still." Lemon mumbled just loud enough for Wade to catch over one of the nurses paging a doctor to the second floor nursing station.
"Y'all are the fucking royalty of Bluebell, Lemon." Wade said letting his words slip out freely, he wasn't about to let her doubt her up coming nuptials. She had spent so much time and energy putting it together that it'd be a shame for her not to get her perfect day.
"You and George will get married, I'll be there watchin' and it'll damn well make Will and Kate's look like Rilda Ann's trailer park weddin' last July." Lemon almost choked on her laugh as she recalled the god awful wedding that had taken place on a hot sticky day in July of the previous year. It took a moment but after she got over her amusement of what he said, she raised a curious brow, not hiding her shock that Wade Kinsella knew the names of Britain's future royalty.
"I can only hope so." Lemon agreed but knew without a shadow of a doubt that with her luck there was bound to be something to derail the wedding, at least temporarily. The pair were silent a moment, Wade sipped idly on his coffee while Lemon contemplated where her and fiance currently stood.
So much had happened within twenty-four hours. She found out that Lavon had gone and told Doctor Hart about their torrid affair which had led her to believe she had to tell George before Zoe had her chance. In the midst of that, there was the hesitance she had felt about Mr. Tucker's presence and warned George of the fact which had only led to the reason she was sitting in a hospital well after midnight.
She could only imagine the anguish that George would've been enduring had she chosen to tell him about the affair and then the heart attack had taken place. Lemon was sure she'd rightly be a single woman with a unworn wedding dress hanging in her closet by the end of the night had she did as planned. However, another part of her wished that she had, merely because she'd have nothing left to hide from him. The weight holding her down would finally be lifted and she could proceed with her life knowing she was free from any secrets.
"Wade?" Lemon breathed softly, her voice coming out barely above a whisper. She needed to know what to do, and the only person she felt perfectly comfortable with was sitting next to her.
"Hmm?" Wade replied with a sound as he had a mouthful of hot liquid.
Lemon paused before taking a large breath in and exhaled slowly. "If I told you somethin'...could you keep it between us?" She pondered before shifting her eyes over to him, a curious but intrigued look graced his features.
"Always do." He countered quickly, adding in a half smile for good measure. Lemon smiled back before clearing her throat to begin her long and complicated ordeal.
"I haven't told George yet but I—"
"Lemon!" Brick's voice called from the end of the hallway, both Lemon and Wade looked up as he walked towards them rather quickly. Lemon promptly pressed her lips together and tried to act like everything was fine even though it felt like everything was crumbling down around her. "There you are sweetheart I've been lookin' everywhere for you."
Lemon abruptly got to her feet and Wade followed, but he kept his eyes downcast in fear of upsetting Brick Breeland for the second time in forty-eight hours. "Wade was just keepin' me company while I rambled." She laughed nervously, garnering a weary look from Wade but her father thought nothing of it.
"The nurse brought you girls from blankets if you're tired." He explained, darting his eyes between his daughter and the Rammer Jammer's resident bartender. "Magnolia's already made herself comfortable. Do ya mind if I talk to Wade alone?"
"Okay, daddy." Lemon shook her head before she stepped forward to kiss Brick's cheek gently. Before she left, Lemon cast Wade an apologetic glance to which smiled as a silent assurance that he was fine. Brick moved aside for Lemon to pass by and head back towards the waiting area, both men watched the tall blonde descend until she was out of sight and could no longer hear the clicking of her heels.
"Thank you." Brick said suddenly, catching Wade completely off guard. At first he thought he was hearing the man wrong but by the sheepish look upon Brick's face, Wade knew that he had heard right. "I apologize for sayin' all those things to you."
"Brick." He interrupted with a half smile. "You're not eight years old anymore,Wade. We're both adults and it's because I'm an adult that I sincerely say I'm sorry for all those things I said. Tonight you proved me wrong." Brick extended his left hand to the younger man, Wade stared for a moment before replying.
"I appreciate it." Wade smiled softly as he shook Brick Breeland's hand. "Brick." He stifled a chuckle before he began to head back towards the waiting room to sit, or leave. He wasn't quite sure what to do with himself.
"Your momma would be proud son." Brick managed to say before Wade got too far. Wade stopped in his tracks; it was the first time in a long time that anyone had taken a moment to tell him that. Joy Lynn Kinsella had been a staple in Bluebell but few spoke about her, at least in his presence. His father talked about his mother all the time but never in the way that Brick was currently. Wade cast a thoughtful look Brick's way, a wistful smile crossing his lips.
Brick didn't realize it but he had just made Wade's day a little better. "Thank you sir, that means a lot."
So not an overly shippy chapter but the next one will definitely focus more so on the relationship between Lemon and Wade, this one kinda set up and explained a few things before I set some things in motion. Let me know what you think, please? :)