This is a Joria continuation from my last story Reality Check. This story should stand alone for any who haven't read it but it gives good background if you do read it first.
Let me know what's working and what isn't or what you'd like to see. I'll see if I can work it in.
Joy rose to her tired feet and stretched her back. Her feet may have been aching but she knew Victoria needed to get some air. This had been a long…very long 6 weeks. Victoria stepped past her and took two light-weight sweaters out of the closet near the front door. Victoria still hadn't said a word. Joy was beginning to get a bit worried. It was quite unlike Victoria to stay quiet for so long.
The past six weeks had been horrible on Victoria. But if Victoria was anything she was strong and resilient.
Victoria finally pushed her arms through the thin grey material. They all shared the same winter-wear around here. Cleveland weather was so wishy-washy that they just took whichever sweater or coat was first available in the closet.
She held the black sweater out in front of her for Joy to slip her arms into. The lanky brunette in front of her wasn't too much taller than she was but Joy still had to bend a little to shrug into the sweater. Victoria pulled Joy's long, wavy hair from under the sweater collar. Leaving her hands on top of Joy's shoulders, Victoria squeezed lightly. A silent 'thank you' for always being there.
Together they walked out into the cool night. The air was crispy and light. Cleveland nights was one of the best things about not being in LA anymore. Joy and Victoria took these walks in LA for years but it wasn't the same. It was close to midnight so the streets of their neighborhood were empty and quiet.
Victoria and Joy didn't have many secrets they kept from Melanie but their walks were one of them. It started over 20 years ago back in LA. Walking in the middle of the night, talking about their lives and their problems was their thing. It allowed both of them to truly open up and be themselves. They didn't have to hide behind a glass of wine or a tv screen.
They walked in silence past several houses before Joy finally broke the silence. "So…"
"So…" Victoria replied.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm great." Victoria answered with a lift in her voice.
Joy stopped walking and grabbed Victoria's bicep to stop her too. She turned her around to face her. "No, are YOU okay?" Joy demanded.
Victoria shrugged. These past few weeks have kept her so conflicted. She hadn't intended to reveal her whole life's history to the whole world. But her daughter, Emmy, hadn't left her any other choice. It was great seeing all of her children together again for the first time in years. But she wished it had been under different circumstances. But after all was said and done, she'd forgiven Emmy and put it behind her.
"I'm okay, Joy. Really. I'm just glad this is all over with. What I need is a nice long, relaxing vacation." Victoria laughed knowing that wasn't going to happen.
They continued walking along the sidewalk talking about the past weeks.
At the end of their street was a little beautiful park. At night the shrubs were dotted with small twinkling white lights. And antique black gas lamps cast long shadows down the dirt path.
They both sighed softly as they sat down on the wooden bench. Joy wrapped her right arm through Victoria's left and leaned her head down onto her shoulder. Victoria rested her head on Joy's. It was moments like this that they cherished. They were away from everyone and everything was quiet. It was just them. Friends from beginning to end.
"I was really worried about you, you know." Joy confessed. She could feel Victoria smile against the top of her head.
"You should know by now not to worry about me."
"Yeah right." Joy laughed. "You get yourself into more fiascos than anyone I know." Joy paused. "Someone has to look out for you."
Victoria patted Joy's leg. "Well I'm glad it's you."
They sat there like that for a long time not saying anything. While Victoria was thinking how grateful she was for having Joy in her life, Joy was thinking the exact same thing about Victoria. They had been through good times and bad together. They had seen each other at their worsts and bests. Joy knew Victoria better than any of her ex-husbands had known her.
Victoria lifted her head and asked softly, "You ready to go back?"
They walked back up the street in silence again. But just as they were about to walk up the front steps Victoria stopped Joy in her tracks. "You can have your room back. I'll make Emmy stay with me." Victoria said.
Joy looked at the ground in front of her and thought about it for a few moments before answering. "If it's okay with you I think I'll stay with you again."
Victoria grinned slightly. And with that they walked into the house.