Title: A Little Surprising
Fandom: Army Wives
Pairings: Denise/Claudia Joy
Spoilers: Probably, just for Molly I think.
Summary: When Denise left it wasn't surprising. Her and Frank had been having troubles for a long time and the couple finally decided to call it quits. A month later, Claudia Joy left.
Author's Note: Oh my god this is so AU and probably OOC, but I've stopped watching Army Wives after the first season and I never thought I'd get back into it, but I saw a think for Denise and Claudia Joy in the bloopers on Tumblr where they are kissing and, damn it, it was beautiful!
Disclaimer: I do not own, I think that is Lifetime.
When Denise left it wasn't surprising. Her and Frank had been having troubles for a long time and the couple finally decided to call it quits on their two decade marriage. Things were settled fast and after a simple going away party with Roxy, Pamela, Roland, and Claudia Joy, she left Fort Marshall with Molly. She gave them a forwarding address in San Diego, California in case they needed or wanted to come see her.
It was weird around the compound, but this happened plenty of times. Wives left friends behind because their husbands moved to a new post or they couldn't handle their husbands constantly being away. For one reason or another, women came and went at Fort Marshall. The group slowly began to move on, all but one.
Claudia Joy was taking it the hardest and they could sympathize. Denise was her best friend, the two rarely did anything without each other and now that the tall ex-Army wife was gone, the light haired brunette was left alone and that spark in her eyes were fading. Roxy had tried to help ease Claudia Joy out of her growing depression by bring her to bars with the other girls, but that only succeeded in getting her drunk and weepy about Denise's absence.
Pamela had thrown a nightly get together like they use to and sent the kids to be watched by Trevor and Chase. They turned on the TV to watch movies, but Claudia Joy stopped them from changing the channel. Later, when the movie on TV was over and the brunette ran off home, Roland told them the movie was Denise's favorite.
Roland had called Claudia Joy to his office to talk to her in private. It didn't help. She insisted that she was fine and nothing was wrong, she just missed Denise was all. The tall man didn't believe her and told her as such. She shot out of her chair and yelled at him, about how he doesn't understand, about how she shouldn't have left, about how it wasn't fair, about how she missed Denise. Then she left the office, never looking back, but Roland has seen the tears in her eyes.
A month later, Claudia Joy left.
It shouldn't have been a surprise, but it was. Besides Denise leaving, she was doing fine. Michael was home, he was being sweet and attentive, he tried not to leave her side, but word got around one month after Denise moved that Claudia Joy had packed all her things in her SUV and left in the middle of the night. Leaving behind a letter saying she was sorry and pre-signed divorce papers, only awaiting his signature.
Roland, Pamela, and Roxy had tried to get a hold of her, calling her cell phone and leaving messages until one day, the number they called was disconnected. The three left in the group worried and assumed the worst. When Chase, Trevor, and Joan were in their respective homes, their significant others bought plane tickets and flew to California to see Denise, knowing they had to tell her in person because it would be cruel to let her know of her phone that her best friend was missing and presumed dead.
A taxi dropped the three off at the address Denise had left. It was in a suburb with kids running up and down the street, playing tag and cops and robbers. The house had a green lawn surrounded by a small white picket fence with no door to the walkway and a large oak tree growing out of the ground. They quietly walked up the cement steps and knocked on the light blue door.
Laughter was heard in the house and as it moved closer to the door, they recognized it to be Denise's. The door opened and her laughter stopped upon seeing them. "Oh my god!" A smile lit up her features and she hugged all of them, asking why they were in San Diego and why didn't they call.
"Can we go inside? Please?" Pamela asked gently, eying the kids that ran into Denise's yard to retrieve the baseball that just flew into it. As if sensing their downturned moods, she stepped to the side and let enter her house.
It was small, they could tell as they passed the kitchen that was at the front of the house on their left. On their right they noticed a hallway with four doors, all open, lined opposite sides of the wall. Pictures littered the walls, most of the people they couldn't place, but Molly was in most of them while Jeremy, Amanda, and Emmalin were in others. Roxy smiled when she saw two in the entryway they where walking through that were of their Tribe.
The group of people entered what seemed to be the living room. A love seat was pushed up against the far wall with a medium sized TV on the other side of the room, the screen black from being switched off. A wide sliding glass door allowed natural light to flood into the room, coating every surface with warm rays. In the middle of the room, sitting on the floor playing with one and a half year old Molly was a small, light haired brunette woman. "Who was at the door, Dee?" She asked without glancing up from the dark haired child.
"Some old friends." Denise answered cryptically. At her tone, the woman spared the people in the doorway a moment of her eyes. When she realized who it was, her head popped up.
"What are you all doing here?"
"Us?" Roxy asked, coming out of the shock at seeing Claudia Joy sitting in the living room of Denise. "What are you-"
"We thought you were dead!" Pamela interrupts, looking near tears. "We thought you had killed yourself because you didn't say goodbye and you disconnected your phone and-god, we thought you were dead." The room is silent after the red headed woman's outburst.
"I thought you were going to send them your new number?" Denise directed the question to Claudia Joy. Her tone is slightly hurt and that made the smaller woman look at the tall brunette. She hands Molly the last supersized lego and gets to her feet. She's in front of Denise in a moment and has her face in her hands. Claudia Joy's thumbs run gently over the EMT's cheeks.
"I was, I swear." She promised, staring straight into Denise's chocolate brown orbs. "I was. I…I didn't want them to ask questions." The tall woman moves her eyes from side to side to stare into both eyes of the woman clutching her face. After a brief moment, while maintaining eye contact, Denise turns and kisses the palm of Claudia Joy's hand.
"Are you two…?" Roland's voice cuts into their moment and, once Claudia Joy releases Denise's face, they turn to look at the group who stood agape.
"Dating? …Yes." Claudia Joy smiles reaching out to take the woman's hand, fingers entwining. Denise sends a cheeky grin to the group and waits for a reaction.
"I don't believe it." Roxy says finally, shaking her head while a smile crosses her features. "You two finally figured it out!" The blonde races forward, dropping her purse, and throws her arms around the older women. "When did this start?"
"The dating or…noticing we had feelings for each other?" Denise asked leading them all to the kitchen where a dinning table sat with a multitude of chairs after she placed Molly in a child place pen.
"…Both." Pamela said after staring around at her other friends. "Both." She states again, smiling at the way Denise and Claudia Joy hadn't detached their hands.
"We've always known there was something." Claudia Joy said, "but we didn't act on it until I was held hostage with Roland in his office-"
"That was five years ago." Roland exclaimed, his eyes going round.
Denise nodded. "Yes, I guess that's about right. We didn't start having sex until last year and I felt so guilty about what I was doing behind Frank's back."
"And me with Michael, but we couldn't stay away from each other." Claudia Joy locked eyes with Denise. The love in the room was practically palpable. "Denise asked me to leave Michael, but I couldn't just…leave him, not without something solid behind me. But then Denise divorced Frank and she asked me to come with her and I told her no." A frown flitted across the two women's faces.
"Why?" Roxy asked, leaning forward on her cross arms, looking every bid a teenager.
"I want to say it was to be with Emmalin, but she left for college, and I want to say because I still loved Michael, but I'm not in love with him, not anymore. All I can say is that I was scared." The shorter woman said lowly. "I know I've fooled around with women in college, but to spend the rest of my life with one? I never even tickled the thought until Denise."
"And I came here, changed my last name back to Branch, found a job with the local paramedics and about a month later, Claudia Joy was at my door, soaked to the bone because a storm had rolled in that morning and she just…kissed me." Denise raised their laced hands to her mouth and kissed the back of Claudia Joy's.
"That entire month, all I could think was, I could be with Denise. I could be waking up to Denise, I could be feeding Molly and Denise, I could be kissing Denise goodbye while she went to work, I could play with Molly all day, I could be with Denise."
"And than you left. For her?" Pamela wiped a tear from her eye. "That is so cute."
"I couldn't even imagine being without her now. I think this is the best thing I've ever done for myself." Claudia Joy whispered, talking for to the woman attached to her hand. Denise smiled and kissed her hand again.