A/N: Yes, I tweaked with the timeline of the show in order for it to fit the story, and I'm just making a note of it to prevent comments like "Leo didn't show up that early in the show though!"
A/N #2: Before I forget, I want to send a shoutout to QueenofQuiet17. Your fics are actually what got me started on this pairing and are one of the main factors of my falling head-over-heels in love with Karen/Grace.
Life isn't a movie. No matter how hard you try to make it like one (God knows you've tried to recreate enough on-screen kisses to last a lifetime) you always come back to that realization.
Your obsession with making your real life like a movie began when you were still just a kid. Your con-woman of a mother made real life so hard to handle, so you coped by creating scenarios in which some leading man would sweep you off your feet and take you away. The credits would roll and everything would just be perfect.
This fixation continued into your teenage years, where you foolishly put your trust into every leading man-type that looked your way. But after the nth heartbreak you threw your obsession away and locked the scenarios up in the back of your mind. Once that was done you recreated yourself. You became insensitive, emotionless, and even a little cruel. You made it your job to get what you want from someone and then break their heart before they could break yours.
And then came Stanley Walker, with a fat wallet and promises that your mother could never keep, so you said "I do" and traded Karen Delaney for Karen Walker. And instead of finding your true love and having the credits roll, you married for money.
For years you lived in a loveless marriage and, surprisingly, didn't feel too bad about the way your life had turned out. You did have some attachment to Stan, but it was mainly because he kept your closet full of Chanel and your cabinet full of liquor.
But then 1998 showed up. The second you walked into that office building and shook hands with one Grace Adler, you knew you'd found it. You found the one thing you spent half your life dreaming of and the other half forcing into the back of your mind, and all you could do was pray that it wasn't too late.
By the time 1999 came around you found out that, although not being ideal timing, it wasn't too late afterall. Only six months after that interview you found yourself curled up on Grace's couch, fingers intertwined with a smirk that would show up everytime she leaned over and kissed you.
The next two years were full of whispered "I love you's" and movie-like scenarios that put the ones you dreamed of to shame.
But then Leo Markus entered the picture. The man who, despite Grace's denials, was the redhead's leading man. So in your movie-turned-real-life scenario he became your competition; the one that you'd have to fight to get what you so desperately want.
Fast forward fourteen months and here you are, curled up on your couch with a bigger-than-usual drink your hand, which isn't big enough considering the pain in your chest that you're trying to get rid of and the feelings that you're trying so desperately to drown.
As you go to take another sip, a realization hits you (one that involves running in the pouring rain to pour your heart out to the woman you love) and before you know it you're stumbling into the rainy evening and haling a cab, spitting Grace's address at the cabbie before you're even halfway in the vehicle.
The drive seems to drag on for hours, but once you spot a familiar building bile starts to rise in your throat and you find yourself wishing it would slow down.
When the car finally does stop the driver has to snap his fingers in your face to get you out of your thoughts. If it was any other day, any other situation, you would would have gave him hell for that, but right now you could care less; something that shows when you toss a wad of bills on the dash and climb out without saying a word.
After the cab speeds off you're left standing on the sidewalk staring up at the building that seems bigger than usual while taking deep breaths to try and calm yourself down. The rain that is drenching you through your clothes is merely just part of the setting for what you consider to be the single most bravest thing you have ever done.
You feel your heart pounding in your chest and the bile that was tickling your throat in the cab makes another appearance as your pumps lead the way into the apartment building and up the countless flights of stairs. (Elevators were never your thing. Besides, since when does the protagonist about to confess their undying love take an elevator?)
You're halfway there when you make the decision to increase your speed; the sooner you see her face, the better.
By the time you reach your apartment all the courage you had leading up to this moment is gone. The pounding in your chest is all you can seem to focus on as you stand frozen in front of the door blocking you from the one person you've ever loved. But after several deep gasps for air you lean over and rap quickly on the door.
You're met with the face of Grace Adler sooner than expected. As soon as you register her puffy red eyes, you drop your gaze to her left hand and feel a shock shoot through you when you see that it's bare. When the redhead in front of you notices your gaze, she answers the question bouncing around in your head before you can force it out of your mouth.
"I called it off. When he demanded a reason, I told him about you."
Her answer does nothing to stop you from doing what you came here to do, so after that last word is out of her mouth you meet her watery gaze with your own and pour your heart out as planned. You tell her things she already knew and you tell her things she had no idea about. But most of all, you tell her how much you love her and how you'll do anything to get back to the way it was before you let your jealousy consume you and she slipped away.
When you're done professing your love for the woman in front of you, you're met with something you weren't expecting; Grace stepping out of the apartment's entrance and walking towards you until there isn't room for her to take another step. Her lips are so close to touching yours it's painful, but despite everything in you screaming to press your lips to hers, you stand there and let Grace take control and she does just that; she whispers a soft "I love you too" before connecting them to yours.
Fireworks, sparks, electricity. Every single cliche possible is there. And, finally, the credits roll and everything is perfect.