Author's Note: Okay, I didn't see the whole finale last night but I saw the last 25 minutes and it made me grin like a maniac. Not only did she break up with Justin for real (I hope it sticks…), the one place she is spreading her wings to put herself back together is right…next…to…Ben. Fuck yeah. That's gonna be fun. And it's good fic fodder. Once I finish this sequel, I'm definitely writing something for that new can of worms.

Disclaimer: "Honestly, it's not mine!"

Excerpt from Severed Ties

"If you and Justin couldn't make it work when you were both legally and morally obligated to do so, what makes you so sure that it'll work now?"

"That is none of your damned business." she replied in a mock pleasant tone and through gritted teeth.

"…it may not be my damned business but it's also an ACME dynamite kit that's gonna explode in your face. And the fact that you didn't answer my question proves it…"


"Don't give up, man.", Leonardo Prince urged between bites of meat lovers.

"Aren't you Kate's assistant and best friend and that means you support her decisions, no matter what?" Ben Grogan asked while peeling the label off of his third beer.

Kate Reed had another not-a-date with Justin Patrick. She had plunged full tilt into a pseudo-relationship with the future DA and it was like getting kicked in the gut every day he saw her. See, this is why he didn't bother with 'feelings'. All they led to was drunken desperation, mule kicks to the ego, and sleepless nights imagining Kate fucking Reed all over a staid workaholic that didn't deserve her and was idiot enough to her cheat on her…

"Only when the decisions are good or toe the line between sane and insane. Okay, I love Justin. He's a great guy but her getting back with him after all the shit they put each other through is a stupid-ass decision and I've elected to ignore it in favor of the much more reasonable yet still stupid decision of getting with you. So, don't give up."

"Why the hell shouldn't I? First, she tried to use me as drunken revenge sex. Then, she called me empty and morally bankrupt, which is…pretty much my SOP but not when it comes to her. And then she let me hold her hand when she cried, kiss her at the elevator, she asked me on a 'business meeting' and stood me up to fuck Justin, causing the event that shall never be spoken of again to happen…"

"Did I mention how sorry I am for telling her about it?"

"…only a million times, it's fine…where did I leave off? Oh yeah, and then when I basically clubbed her over the head with how I feel about her, half naked in a Tahoe hot tub, mind you…she looked at me like I was a fucking five headed rabid dog and ran back to Justin, yet again. Now, looking at it objectively, one could say that she doesn't want me or is too damned scared to want me and I should just cut my losses. I…I really should."

And the idea of doing so caused him even more pain. Damn, he just couldn't win with that maddening, stubborn, beautiful…okay, time for Beer #4…

"Yeah. But…you don't want to. You honestly should but…you don't want to and it ain't over until the fat lady sings Ave Maria at the chapel and she says 'I do' again. Don't give me that look and don't give up. Look, I know Kate! Even she knows when to let a dead horse stay dead! She and Justin are a dead, rotting, maggot ridden horse!"

"I know that! Everybody knows that, even them, but Kate's also stubborn and scared and if it'll keep things status quo, she'll cling onto that dead, rotting, maggot ridden horse as easily as Bear Grylls will drink his own piss!"

And that was the raging bitch of it all. No matter how he felt and no matter how she felt, no matter how brash and reckless she was on the job, she just wasn't brave enough to take another leap of faith in her personal life, even when it was viable. Especially when the leap of faith was viable…

Something else to give Justin a thank you kick in the balls for. Thank you ever so much for fucking over the only woman I could possibly be completely compatible with so hard that other men that want her give her the hives. Yes, thank you, future DA Patrick…

A knock at Leonardo's door made him slump further into the couch and pick up another slice of pizza. He wasn't that hungry (unrequited…feelings…was the best diet ever) but if he didn't eat, his hangover would twenty times worse in the morning…

"Wow. Déjà vu."

"...Is Ben here? His…his car's here but that…is he here?" a cracking voice asked softly.

"Lauren's good scotch straight from the bottle, huh? You and Justin…"

"There is no me and Justin! Okay? Not anymore and I shouldn't have gotten back on that hell train anyway and…is Ben here?"

"I don't know. Are you here, man?"

Ben sighed and sat up, letting Kate see the back of his head. Or multiple heads, if the half full bottle of booze Leonardo set on the table was any indication. The stuff was at least 40 years old and he could see raspberry colored lipstick on the top, the neck, and even a kiss mark on the bottom. Kate herself wobbled in, looking like a wind driven and damp from the drizzle outside mess.

The dark blue dress she had worn to the office was wrinkled, smelling of sweat and sex. Her dark hair was a tangled rat's nest and she was shaking, her lips parted from cold and crying. Her pale white heels were in her hand and her normally fiery gaze was bloodshot with alcohol and misery. She sniffled and sat down on the floor in front of him, resting her head on his lap, stealing one of the garlic crusts from the box.

Ben brought a gentle hand to her hair, slowly finger combing the tangles as Leo got her a blanket.

"Did you walk here?"

"The last 4 blocks."

"Why?"

"…I don't know."

"Okay. You're lying but we'll revisit that in a minute. So, what happened? You and Justin get into a car fight and he kicked you out on the side of the road?"

"More like Justin finally called me out on all the shit I've been pulling on him, you, and myself before kicking me out of his place and life forever."

"Ah. I'd say I was sorry but then, I'd be lying. Not only because I was totally right about the whole ACME thing but also because you're better off without Justin, anyway. What made you drink?"

"…the fact I've turned into a shorter, darker version of Bella from Twilight. Two good men fighting over and for me and I can't even pick one…or the right one without shit going wrong first. Me and Justin are toxic."

"Yep.", he replied, popping the 'p' in the word.

"You knew that from the get-go, didn't you?"

"Yep."

"…but you didn't really try and stop me from getting back with him?"

"Katie, you didn't want me to and I already told you that I don't do things unless I think I can win. After the whole thing with the business dinner and Tahoe, I figured I couldn't. Plus, you seemed happy. I'm definitely a jackass but I still want you to be happy, even if it's not with me."

"If that's true, then why'd you say the ACME thing? And the morally and legally obligated thing? I mean, they were good points but…shit."

"Because part of wanting you to be happy is not wanting you to settle for less than what you deserve. Justin is way less than what you deserve. He may have been good enough for you back in the day but he ain't now."

"True…or…or maybe I've just outgrown him. We've just outgrown each other…", she trailed off with a hint of her usual idealistic whimsy.

"Good point. Here, have some actual pizza so you don't pass out and die from rich people alcohol poisoning."

Kate snorted ruefully and folded the slice of veggie pizza in half like a taco before wolfing it down. Ben passed her a slice of meat lovers and a cheesy breadstick, the two meeting the same fate. Leonardo tossed her a shirt and a pair of her yoga pants before turning around to let her change. Ben had no such compunction and watched her move avidly. Even though she still smelled like sex, there weren't any love marks on her and her skin was the same brushed amber color everywhere. She left her grey lace boyshorts on but discarded the bra on a rack above the radiator, making him lick his lips slightly as her curves stood out in sharp relief…

Definitely no need for a WonderBra theremore than a handful's a waste, after all…

"All right, kiddies. I'm gonna leave you two to your chatting and if you two end having loud, nasty monkey sex like you should've weeks ago, please don't do it on my couch…or my kitchen table. Good night." Leonardo declared before taking his leave for the evening.

"Night." they replied in dry unison.

Ben picked a plastic cup out of the sleeve and opened the scotch, pouring himself a liberal amount. Kate smiled and opened a can of diet coke.

"To outgrowing."

"To being brave." she tacked on while taking a swig.

"And most importantly, to the loud nasty monkey sex that we will be having."

He couldn't help but grin when the soda shot out of her nose and he drank the drink of the victorious man as she laughed gaily.

thank you, future DA Patrick.