Hope is sometimes the only thing that keeps her at ACN. She's still tired, she still doesn't get a full night sleep and someone keeps her eating pattern in check by putting a salad on her desk at lunch and again around six.
Will has a habit about getting her hopes but over them finding solid ground and the next thing she knows, he's parading his new 'date' around in front of her. She doesn't miss the glares Sloan and Jim send in Will's direction but Mackenzie keeps her head up high. She will be the better person.
He stops after a while, she see's less and less strangers hanging around the newsroom, looking out of place against the backdrop of journalists who were tired and ready to go home. But with this comes hope, hope that he isn't interested in anyone else.
She doesn't even want to admit to herself that she's scared of making the first move, he was the one that needed to forgive her, if she pushes him into it, and she's going to do more damage than good.
Then Brian happens and she feels like she's just picked up a card on a board game that says go back ten spaces. After she let him go on air high she thought that they had gotten somewhere, on the road to recovery. He smiled at her more, didn't argue with her as much as they would spend hours after everyone had gone home, sat in his office throwing ideas around. But Will has to pick the guy he knows she cheated on him with, and she has to deal with him in their spaces for months, following both of them around, pushing Mackenzie into dates, or late night texts. There's a few times after cocktails that she almost takes him up on his offers but she just rolls over in bed and falls back asleep.
The article gets published, Will ends up in hospital and he questions her about the answerphone message. She doesn't need to know what is on it to understand the context of the words. Mackenzie still pushes him however, askes him when she thinks she has him in the palm of his hand and then he closes up again.
Four months after they all have secured jobs they go out for a drink, just the two of them. He says it's a celebration, she's not sure what for and she doesn't ask. She drinks the cocktails and they start talking about the past, the good things that happened. The lazy weekends, the spontaneous trips that he would take her on and the week they spent in the South of France where she got sun burnt within the first few hours, it was also the place where he witness first hand her loathing of jellyfish.
One too many cocktails and not enough foods ends up with her asking him back to her apartment and to her surprise he complies. They make it in the elevator before he has her pushed against the wall, hands pulling at her blouse. She can taste the scotch he drank but she's too interested in his hand running over her ribs and the alcohol buzz she's experiencing to stop him.
There's nothing gentle about that night, he fucks her against the wall with their clothes half hanging off them. Her nails scratch into his shoulder as she moans louder than she has for years, and his head is buried in her neck, biting down on the tender skin.
They catch their breath, don't really say anything but he leads her to her bedroom and spends the next hour putting her through torturous pleasure. His lips and hands touching all the right places but never letting her orgasm. The next time he pounds into her from behind, she can barely breathe as her legs are folded under her, each breath is painful and her hands grab at her sheets to find some clarity. When they're finished she stays in a heap on the bed, trying to make sense of what happened but she can't. What was it meant to be; hate sex, a way to get rid of frustration or a start of something? She's not aware of Will as she closes her eyes and falls asleep with half ripped stockings and her panties still wrapped around the ankle of her left leg.
She goes into work the next day and Will doesn't say anything else, he doesn't seem to notice she's picked a skirt that is a bit shorter than what she would normally wear. He goes home straight after the show and she spends her night with a glass of wine and a movie. The next few weeks go the same way, they both act like nothing has happened and Mackenzie goes on a few first dates with men she's introduced to. The grapevine on Will's dates start again, no one says anything and they do their job.
It's election night and they've wrapped up the broadcast, Mackenzie is tempted to set an alarm for an hour time and nap on the couch in her office. It won't take long to get home at this time but she's been on her feet most of the day (she hates sitting down during broadcast) and it looks so welcoming. Sitting down on the leather, she kicks off her heels, putting her head back, telling herself she'll close her eyes for a few seconds.
"Mackenzie." Out of instinct she puts her hand out and tries to push away the person who is gently shaking her shoulders. She knows it's Will's voice but she's cranky and doesn't want to deal with the cat and mouse game she's dealt with since she's been here.
"I'm tired, leave me alone."
"Come on. You're not going to get a proper sleep there and you're going to need to get ready in the morning so you might as well leave now."
She lets out a moan of protest and rolls over so her back is to him. Mackenzie doesn't here any moment so she's taken by surprise when he lifts her up and then sets her down on the floor.
"My place is closer, you can sleep over and get a shower and whatever in the morning then deal with going home when you're awake."
She slips her shoes, wincing as the pinching starts in the balls of her feet. She sometimes questions her decision for heels, she's tall enough as it is but she's worn them for as long s she can remember. They make their way downstairs and she slips into his car first. Before they even set off her head is on his shoulder and she's back asleep. Mackenzie wakes up enough to make her way to his apartment and without a word she takes off her shoes and jacket. She heads for the couch but she directs her to the bedroom, whispering that he will take the couch and she's too desperate to be under the sheets to care.
When she wakes up the next morning, she feels Will's chest against her back, his arms wrapped around her waist. She breathes in and all she can smell is him.
Hope. It was all she needed.