Janet - Arms Christina Perri

I never thought that you would be the one to hold my heart

But you came around and you knocked me off the ground from the start

You put your arms around me And I believe that it's easier for you to let me go

You put your arms around me and I'm home

How many times will you let me change my mind and turn around

I can't decide if I'll let you save my life or if I'll drown

I hope that you see right through my walls I hope that you catch me, 'cause I'm already falling

I'll never let a love get so close You put your arms around me and I'm home

The world is coming down on me and I can't find a reason to be loved

I never wanna leave you but I can't make you bleed if I'm alone

You put your arms around me And I believe that it's easier for you to let me go

I hope that you see right through my wallsI hope that you catch me, 'cause I'm already falling

I'll never let a love get so close

You put your arms around me and I'm home

I tried my best to never let you in to see the truth And I've never opened up I've never truly loved 'Till you put your arms around me

And I believe that it's easier for you to let me go

I hope that you see right through my wallsI hope that you catch me, 'cause I'm already falling

I'll never let a love get so close

You put your arms around me and I'm home

You put your arms around me and I'm home

Sometimes I think I must be an idiot. Actually, I take that back because I know that I am, in fact an idiot. I have always been the funny, chubby, friend girl. Not girl friend, friend girl. It is just the way it has always been, and honestly it has been a comfort. Going thru this harsh, hopeless world is much easier when you know your place in it. You know exactly where you fit and with whom. Not that anyone would let me forget my place, even if I wanted to. Why is it that people, no matter what they have, who they have, how they look, still manage to be complete and total assholes. Ready to pounce and crush what little glimmer of happiness you just happen to find. Or maybe I am just the kind of person who allows people to take their happiness away, maybe I even give it away with both hands. I guess it really doesn't matter, the point is I had happiness and now I don't. And trust me when I tell you the only thing worse then not having happiness at all, is losing it.

I had a man, a great man. He thinks he is just a guy, just a run of the mill guy, chasing the glory days of his youth. Just a boy at the bar. Trying to find his place in the world, when everyone wants him to stay in this box; be what they want him to be, what they need him to be. But I know better, because I actually see him, I always have. I see his strength and his weaknesses, I see his courage and his fear. I see it all, he could never hide it from me, despite his best efforts. For me everything begins with Eddie, and he is where everything stops.

I miss him, he won't look at me or talk to me, he won't even acknowledge my existence on the planet earth. But I miss him, so much that I ache. This deep, hollow pit deep inside of me, every time I think about what happened, about what I did, about what he said. This pit just grows, and knots me up so I cant move or breathe. Striking at all the wrong places and times. When I am at work, when I am driving, when I am alone in my house. The feeling starts and then the tears. I cant stop them. Just tears.

It's been two weeks, two long weeks with out him and I know deep down he is never going to forgive me. I cheated, not because I was unhappy or because I wanted another man more then him. I cheated because I am an idiot. Because I am insecure, because I never thought I was good enough, because I love him and don't think he loves me back. Well now I am sure that he does not love me, after what I did. So two weeks have passed, and I have hidden for most it. Just going to work, and coming home. Avoiding our friends, knowing that if sides need to be chosen, they will chose his. They should, not that his hands are clean, not that he didn't play a huge part in what happened. How it was that I ended up drunk and in bed with another man. But who cares about the details of a break up really, its all about the end game. I had sex with another man and he kissed another women. The scales of justice teeter on his side.

My house was starting to feel small, really really small. I needed air and space, I needed milk and bread too and maybe some wine. Ok, several bottles of wine. I felt like a zombie walking up and down the aisles of the market, my mind was just blank. Word had gotten around our small town, what I had done. So I was acutely aware of the whispers and sideways glances I was getting, stink eye was being thrown my way left and right. I pulled my Sox cap further down on my head and kept my eyes down. I mindlessly put items into my cart, until I got to the holy land, the wine section. I threw a few six-packs of beer in the cart out of habit. Eddie was a beer drinker, so I always kept my fridge stocked. When the wine ran out, I admit I finished the two six packs that I had, but I missed seeing them there, stacked in my fridge. Deep down I bought them in the hopes he would return, but I know he never will. Next I turned my attention to the rows of reds, I didn't really care what they tasted like. I couldn't tell mango notes from peach ones. I just wanted something on sale that didn't taste like cough medicine. I found a few that looked promising and picked up a few whites for Hannah. My oldest and dearest friend, who had not abandoned me in what we were calling my Scarlet Letter days.

It was then, like cat following a laser beam of light I saw him, with Ikey picking up a few cases of beer. I stood there watching, just watching, my body tingling just having him so close. He looked sad, something in the furrow of his brow, the slump of his broad shoulders, he looked defeated and that was all my fault. I wasn't sure if I should fight or flee, and my indecision made the decision for me when Eddie's eyes locked with mine. His bruises were fading, and the gash over his eye looked like he was healing well, I could still sense his body was in pain just from how he was carrying himself. The royal ass kicking he had gotten from Matt Lauche left it's mark in more ways then one. I felt self conscious under his angry gaze, his eyes burning at me, burning thru me. I pulled on my sweatshirt, uncomfortable in my own skin as usual. My cheeks began to burn and I couldn't help the tears that were forming in my eyes, I also couldn't speak or move. I was like one of those whales trapped in shallow water.

I watched him take two steps towards me, and then just as quickly he took three steps back, his face unable to hide his inner conflict, his confusion. For a second I thought that I saw that look, the one he used to give me right before we kissed, a hungry I missed you, I need you, I want you look. But I was so wrong, just as quickly his face turned to ice and then he was gone. Ikey standing there, pity in his eyes, he gave me a small nod before turning and following Eddie out the door. Their cases of beer still in their abandoned cart.

I grabbed two more bottles of wine, wiping the tears from my cheeks with the sleeve of my sweatshirt and made my way to the check out line. It was the first time I had seen him, and for a few seconds before he saw me, it felt good. Just to be near him again, it felt right and then it didn't. The second his eyes locked on mine, all the shame and the regret came one back with a vengeance. And he hated me, that was easy to see. Hate radiated off on him, like sex used too. I drove around for bit, with the windows of my Jeep wide open. I drove along the edge of town, where the trees were all green and full and the only car on the road was my own. I drove too fast, my foot pressed on the pedal, it was the first time that I felt in control for weeks, maybe even months. If only I could drive around forever, like a shark never stopping. Maybe then I could forget, maybe then all this sadness would go away. But all there was to do was go home, change from my day sweats to my ratty night sweats open a bottle or two of cheap wine and a bag of cheese puffs and wait for morning to come so I could do it all again.

Walking in to work used to be an easy thing to do. My place is Sully's. My safe place, even before I started working there, I would sit in a back booth, order a burger and crack open my textbooks. For the most part I could sit there and be left alone, Sully would keep refilling my sodas and quiz me every once in a while. When the money for the Duf ran out, and my rent was due it was Sully that gave me a job, bussing and wiping down tables, rinsing out pitchers. And then like a flash, ten years passed and I am still bussing tables and rinsing out pitchers. But again who cares, its my place. And I am lucky to have one. But lately it sucks being here, everywhere I turn there is a picture of Eddie, or one of his friends is sitting at the bar, or one of our stupid songs will come on the jukebox and I just feel like crap. Total and complete crap.

I have tried to quit, but with Rooster leaving with no notice, not that I wasn't grateful for his exit. After what happened and how he took advantage of my drunken state and broken heart, I was thrilled when he up and left to go work at the Johnson Inn. But now I feel stuck, all I want to do is go far, far away. Start new and fresh, a new life on a new shoreline. But I can't, my place is here, Eddie is here. I cant leave Sully in the lurch after all that he has done for me, so here I am working a double on a beautiful sunny Saturday. Waiting and wondering if Eddie was ever going to come back to the bar, dreading if and when he did.

The place was packed, it always was on Saturday. There was no place better to go and we had the best wings for two counties. I was always grateful for a crowd, kept me busy, kept my mind on thought of refills and burgers. Hannah and Ray were in the bar tonight, which was becoming more and more frequent. Ever since Big Cat put that ring on her finger, he took to showing Hannah off like she was a 1965 Mustang at a car show. It turned my stomach, but I kept my mouth shut. Hannah had enough on her plate, Sam's baby daddy drama, the Nick drama, the Ray drama. She didn't need my two cents, and I honestly didn't have the energy. I was barely dealing with my own stuff.

"Hey you, god its busy tonight." Hannah sat down at the bar with an empty beer glass in hand.

"It sure is. You want a refill?"

"Nah, I am just about to leave, we only have the sitter until ten. I just wanted to tell you that Eddie just got here." I froze, deep into my core. I went cold as my eyes darted around the bar looking for him. He was at a high top in the corner, with Nick, Owen and Ikey. Karen was taking their order. Thank god for Karen. "Janet did you hear me?" I nodded robotically, unable to take my eyes away from him. Damn it. I forced my gaze back to Hannah, doing my best to keep my expression from giving me away.

"Ok, ok Hannah. He is here. We talked about this. It was bound to happen. I mean I ran into him… kinda…at the market yesterday. So, its fine. I am fine." Hannah raised on of her perfectly sculpted eyebrows, not buying a word I was saying.

"And you are lying." It always made me crazy how Hannah could read me like a freaking book, how she always knew when I was full of crap. "Its ok that you are not fine Janet. You have earned the right to not be fine."

"Hannah I had sex with Rooster, what right did that earn me, come one?"

"And he kissed Rory. You both were wrong, the only difference is that you were drunk… And let me tell you Eddie had made his fair share of drunken mistakes." There was something in Hannah's tone that lead me to believe there was more to the story, but everyone knew Eddie's past. It was nothing new. I saw Ray off to the side, giving Hannah the not so subtle lets go vibe, if he wasn't so good looking he wouldn't get away with half of the crap he does. Deep down I still believe that he knew that Matt was going to give Eddie an ass kicking.

"Damn it. I have to go. Look if you need me tonight, just call. Don't worry about the time." She gave my hand a reassuring squeeze before she turned and walked away into Ray's extended arm. I looked back at Eddie's table, this time keeping my attention on Nick. He watched Hannah the same was I watched Eddie. From a distance, a sad distance. I took a deep breath, hoping that it would refresh me, instead it made me dizzy. I laughed in spite of myself, picking up and rag and wiping down the bar, quickly before getting back to the dance that was my job.

People don't realize that doing what I do is an art, it's a juggling act really. Knowing what people like and how they like it, remembering all the little things, knowing when someone has had too much, listening to stories offering advice, keeping tabs and that's just behind the bar, when you are out on the floor well it's a freaking ballet. Delivering food and drinks, keeping the customers happy, cleaning up messes, breaking up fights. By the end of the night I have run a marathon and I still have to close the register, clean the taps and get ready for a new day tomorrow. So yeah, I am just a bartender but I am the best damn bartender you're ever gonna find. So when Matt walked into Sully's with a few of his buddies, out on bail I didn't hesitate to do what it is I do.

"You're not welcome here Matt." I crossed my arms against me chest, trying to hide my shaking hands. Matt always gave me the creeps, even before the beat down. He was always making comments, making fun of my ass and then grabbing it.

"This is a public establishment Janet. I can be here if I want to. And I want to."

"Actually, you cant be within one hundred yards of Eddie who by my estimation is about thirty yards to your immediate left." I pointed in the general direction of Eddie's table, not having the courage to turn my head and see if he was looking in my direction. A coward to the core. "So like I said you are not welcome here."

"You and Latekka kiss and makeup?" I saw a smirk, flash across his face and I could tell he and Eddie had made eye contact.

"What? No." I responded, quickly… too quickly, because before I knew it Matt's attention was back to me. He pulled me into him, and kissed me. Every part of my body, recoiled as his tongue forced it way into my mouth, I bit down until I tasted his blood. That seemed to loosen his grasp and I finally was able to push him away, getting a sharp slap across his face. I think it hurt my hand more then it hurt him because he started to chuckle, spitting blood on the floor.

"What the hell is your problem Matt!" I yelled out, completely unglued. "Get the hell out. NOW!" Endorphins were pumping thru my body, I was pissed and embarrassed. I could feel the quiet of the bar like the night sky behind me. I stood there like a stone, watching as they left waiting for the doors to close behind them before I forced myself to turn back around. I kept my eyes to the floor, willing the tears to wait, just a few seconds until I was alone. I nodded at Karen, who's face said it all, a mix of pity and horror.

I grabbed a bottle, not really sure of what and a shot glass and walked past the bar back into the storage closet slamming the door behind me. The tears finally came, and I was helpless to stop them, you would think with all the tears I had cried that I would be fresh out, unable to produce a single tear, but nope. I am a tear making factory, like one of those Chinese factories where the poor workers never stop. Thru the fog of tears I was able to pour myself a drink. The first shot was more like mouthwash, to rinse away any trace of Matt, the second was to calm my nerves and the third was just because I needed another shot. It was after that, I was able to control my tears and my breathing. Ok, a few deep breaths and back to the mines.

I heard a light tap on the door, as it slowly pushed open. I expected to see Karen there, but my eyes followed up the long length of plaid, to Eddie face.

"Hey." His voice was soft as he closed the door behind him, leaning against it.

"Hey." I could feel the tension between us, in this small space. The closest we had been for weeks.

"Are you ok?"

"I'm fine Eddie." Even I wasn't convinced by the false pitch of my voice. I turned my back to him, it was hard to look at him. So tall and his brown eyes filled with concern instead of anger. The ache began to build again and I would be dammed if he saw me cry.

"Janet, come on, are you ok?"

"No. ok. No." I bit my lip hard, to try and give myself a focus.

"I am sorry that Matt kissed you. That son of a bitch. That had to do with me and you just got caught up in the mess. It wont happen again." I could hear the controlled anger in his voice, and I hated to admit that it made me happy. Happy that he was pissed that Matt had kissed me.

"Yeah, I know." His arms wrapped around my shoulders from behind, pulling my back to his chest. I always felt so small when I was this close to him, his frame and height eclipsing me completely. My body instantly relaxed, it couldn't stop it even if I tried. When his arms were around me I knew that I was home. I heard a small sigh escape from his lips as his chin rested in the top of my head. My hands wrapped around his wrists. I couldn't tell you how long we stood like this, but neither one of us wanted to move. It was so simple for a little while, anyway. Just Eddie's arms around me, like it was suppose to be.

"I don't know what do here Janet. I just don't know what to do." I could hear the sadness in his voice, and it tore a hole through me.

"Either do I." I wanted to beg him to forgive me, I wanted to kiss him, to feel his mouth on mine again, to tell him that I loved him and for him to tell me the same. But didn't have the right to ask or the will to beg. When he release me from his grasp and stepped away, I felt the cold air circle my body. Missing him already. I didn't turn until I heard the door closed and I knew he was gone. I wiped my eyes, put the cap back on the bottle and with my head high I went back to work. Sully's was my place, and no one not Matt or Eddie had the power to take that away from me. It was all I had left.

The night came to it close, Karen and I were closing up shop. It had been a bitch of a day and I couldn't wait for it to end. I was counting out the register, while she mopped the floors. We worked well together, and had everything done in under an hour. We made our way to the parking lot, and I saw his truck parked outside in his usual spot, just waiting. I waved to Karen who smiled broadly from her car as she sped away.

"I uh, just wanted to make sure you made it home safe." Eddie had rolled down his window and yelled across the lot.

"Eddie, its fine. Go home its late." I couldn't believe he was there, like he used to be waiting for me. It was nice for a change, to be the one being waited on. I felt like I was always the one waiting around for Eddie to make up his mind about me, about us.

"Janet, I am going to follow you anyway." I opened my mouth to protest, but I knew this had to do with Matt and Eddie still feeling responsible for me. What was usually a hollow pit in my stomach was now full of butterflies.

"Ok, Eddie, Thank you."

I drove home slowly, with Eddie in my rearview mirror. How many times had we done this before. Him following me home after a long night, most times we would barely make it to the front door before his hands were on me, unbuttoning an article of clothing. Laughing the entire way to my bedroom, god we were happy. I wish I would have paid closer attention to all the little things, things that were long forgotten. Things that would never be again. I couldn't help the feeling of disappointment that filled my heart when I pulled into my drive way, knowing that Eddie would not be coming with me. But I did feel safer having him there and I was grateful for that if nothing else. Maybe we could still be friends.

I got out of the Jeep, my entire body aching. I stretched, my entire spine cracking loudly.

"Wow, that sounded like a machine gun." I jumped at the sound of his voice so close behind me. "Sorry I didn't mean to scare you."

"I um, thought you left."

"I was going to, but I have to ask you something." Oh, shit…shit… shit… I couldn't for the life of me figure out what he wanted to ask me. Maybe it was along the lines of why are you such a slut?

"Sure Eddie, anything." I braced myself for the worse, making a silent promise to not over react regardless of his question. I could see him struggling to find the right words, crafting the sentence in his mind.

"Why didn't you call me out, at the bar. When you knew she was in town, you knew that I saw her? Its just not like you to not… put me on notice." A wave of relief flooded over me, a question I could answer.

"I uh, wanted to, I planned on it actually. But then she came in to Sully's and I talked to her. She was so freaking pretty and sweet. I thought I could never compete with that, never. I mean first the Rory and Eddie history and then her utter perfection. You were being so distant, so shady. I just felt like it was over, like your mind was made up and you just didn't have the heart to tell me. So I did nothing. I should have fought for us. But I did what I did based on the information I had, mixed with every insecurity I have and there you go."

"I didn't know that she came to Sully's." He stood there silent, I could see him processing everything I just said, playing the day over in her head trying to make sense of it all. "How did Rooster… I mean…"

"I called him, I was really upset, after I saw you guys kissing. In my mind you were fucking her, honestly that what I thought was happening. So I called Rooster because for years he has been the guy in my life. The person I called when I needed a friend. And let me tell you, that night I needed two things booze and a friend, but what I got was Moonshine and Rooster."

"He brought you MOONSHINE?"

"Yes, but I am a big girl Eddie, I chose to drink it. I would have drank gasoline, if it would have helped get rid of the thoughts of you and Rory in bed together. So I drank and drank and drank, and then everything got fuzzy and I didn't hurt so much. And Rooster started saying these great things. How I made him feel, how he wished I saw the Janet he saw, how he loved me. And I kissed him…" I wanted to lie and sat Rooster made the first move, but I had never lied to Eddie before I wasn't about to start now.

"You kissed him… wow Janet." The hurt was etched across his face, and I hate to admit that I felt like he deserved it. Like he knew what I felt like watching him kiss Rory, I hated that I was so childish and petty but I couldn't help what I was feeling.

"Then I don't really remember much else, its all like flashes and blurs but I woke up and he was there and I felt awful. I cant even begin to put into words, what that was like for me. Because I had betrayed myself. At that moment in my mind you were waking up with Rory, but me I had sex with a man I didn't love, I had taken all my pride and self-respect and thrown it away over you." And then I realized how angry I was at Eddie, for weeks I had put the focus on what I had done and his feelings ever allowing myself to tap in to what I was feeling.

"And then when I acted like what happened with Rory and me was no big deal, it was to you." I could hear the shame in his voice.

"It cost me everything, Eddie. But you always regarded me with such little concern."

"Excuse me?"

"You did, every step of our relationship I was an after thought. The BBQ, homecoming, providence, the French place, Rory. I was always secondary to something or someone because you knew like a loyal dog, no matter how hard you kicked me I would always be waiting for you… Because you must have known from the very beginning that I loved you. You not Hail Eddie and all the lore and bull shit, but you. The guy who lets Phil live with him for free, no questions asked, the guy who takes Sam to movies on the off chance he is best friends son. the guy who always makes sure I get home safe. But I forget sometimes, that there are two Eddies, the one who fucks girls just because he can, the guy who let his buddies make fun of me for years, the guy who kisses his ex just to see if he could, the guy who will never love me…" The words were just coming and I couldn't stop them, like everything that I had wanted to say the entire time we were together came pouring out. I was always so afraid to be honest, because I didn't want him to leave me, but in the end he did. I felt like a weight had been lifted, and I could breath again with out pain. Eddie looked at me like I had slapped him in the face, and in a way I had. I was exhausted, all I wanted was my bed. I turned and walked up my path as quickly as I could, not wanting to hear what he had to say. For once I wanted the last word.

"Janet wait!" I heard him call out and his foot falls behind me. "You are no delight either…"

"Excuse me?" I turned quickly, angry.

"You heard me, since the beginning you have been pulling me in and then pushing me away. You want me to be something I am not, I am not a knight in shining armor here to fix you and your never ending list of emotional issues."

"My never ending list of emotional issues… ok…wow…"

"I get that you had it rough, I do…but you never trusted me… you never trusted us."

"Yes I did, that's what is so hard, I did. That morning, I thought this is what happiness is, this is what love feels like… I didn't want you to fix me, because I didn't need fixing. I thought you wanted me at face value, I didn't have to change, or hide parts of myself I could just be…"

"Yeah I thought the same damn thing…"

"Then why did you kiss her?"

"I have no idea, I have thought about this for weeks and I have no idea."

"I think you're just as insecure as I am. the way you need approval from the masses."

"Maybe that's true, I'll never fucking know. Damn it Janet, I don't want to be here with you like this. I didn't want this for us."

"Yeah well… I gotta go Eddie, I am just so tired. I cant sleep anymore. "

"Janet, wait!"

"Eddie just go home ok." I was shouting now, not caring about my sleeping neighbors, not caring about Eddie feelings. The only thing that I cared about was getting into my house before I started to cry again. I bolted, not giving him the chance to speak or change my mind. I was angry at him, at myself at the entire situation. And I was done, done being sad, done feeling guilty. And then I heard it, the only three words that could make me stop and turn around. The three words that I had waited a life time to hear. Three words and everything changed.