consequences by phoenix.writing

18 Apr

Author’s Note: This is a bonus missing scene between last week’s Conspicuous and this week’s Falling-Out.

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Jo wanted nothing more than to crawl into a hole somewhere for a few days and ignore everyone who knew her.  But calling in sick would only leave Angelica asking lots of questions, and it was generally better for Jo's peace of mind when she wasn't doing that.  There were certainly no questions that she wanted to answer right now.

She'd sat on that address for a week, and as long as she didn't act like a complete idiot, there'd be no reason for Angel to suppose that she'd suddenly made use of it.

Not acting like a complete idiot seemed a little more difficult than it had been in the past, but there was no need to add insult to injury by going all to pieces where other people could see her and comment.  She'd keep herself together, give Angel no reason to be suspicious, and everything would be fine.

It was a toss-up, really, to say whether she wanted to see Angel or Chris less right now.  Given that Chris had been doing a stellar job of avoiding her recently, she hadn't really thought that was going to be an issue.  Murphy's Law was clearly in effect, however, because when she closed the store that evening, she found that he was waiting for her outside.

"Can I talk to you?"

Punching him or screaming at him that no, he could not would probably not be very mature.  Jo practiced her deep breathing and allowed him to escort her to the nearest coffee shop.

He was clearly ill at ease in a way that he hadn't been before, and she knew before they even sat down what he was going to say—except that he seemed to be scrubbing his hands through his hair a lot and not actually speaking.

Jo's patience wasn't exactly at its best right now, and she survived through refusing a coffee, watching him get one for himself and not drink it, and about two minutes of silence before she snapped.

"Let's make this simple," she said, voice clipped but quite civil, she thought, all things considered.  "You're breaking up with me."

He looked at her with this shocked expression as though he could not believe that she had worked it out, and she barely suppressed a very bitter laugh.

Finally, he managed a shaky nod.  "It's not what I thought would happen.  I mean, I really like you, and—"

"Don't you dare," she interrupted, glad that the anger was preventing the tears from doing more than prickling a bit in her eyes.  "You can take liking me and you can shove it, because you don't cheat on someone you like."

A stupid way to phrase it, probably, because maybe you did cheat on people you liked because they just weren’t important enough, weren’t someone you loved, weren’t beautiful and blonde and clearly more desirable than Jo was.  But she wasn’t feeling terribly eloquent at the moment.

“How did you find out?”

At least he hadn’t tried to deny it.

“Beyond the fact that you were behaving like someone I didn’t even know over the last month?” she asked, kind of incredulous that he could be that clueless.  “You should maybe give kissing other women in the street a miss if you’re trying to hide the fact.”

“You saw me and Jennifer?”

Maybe he had a thing for names that started with “J”.  As far as she had been able to see, that was the only thing beside gender that she and the other woman had in common.

“You were standing in the middle of the street.  Anyone with eyes could see the two of you,” Jo answered sharply.  “My mother, my best friend, my boss: anyone.  I asked you what was wrong, and you had ample opportunity to tell me it wasn’t working out before.”

“I thought I could get it sorted.  I didn’t mean for any of it to happen. Circumstances conspired.”

Yeah, and his tongue had accidentally fallen down Jennifer’s throat.

She raised an eyebrow and eyed him superciliously.  “In what manner?”

“She’s getting over a bad break up.”

Jo bit her tongue until she tasted blood to prevent any “rebound” commentaries from coming out.  He might deserve it, but they were in the middle of a coffee shop that was located down the street from her workplace.  A big vocal fight with her ex-boyfriend was not an option.

And it didn’t really matter in the end.  Jennifer had been getting over a bad break-up, and Chris had left Jo every single time to go to the other woman.  Jo had seen people go through bad break-ups, and she sympathised, she did, but leaving your girlfriend in the lurch repeatedly for weeks to go deal with the bad break-up of someone else—and hiding that fact—was pretty indicative.

Sticking his tongue down her throat was more than indicative.

When it became clear that she wasn’t going to say anything, he kept going.

“I’ve known her for years, you see, and uh….”

The cute little half-smile, and suddenly, Jo really did understand.  Jennifer was extraordinarily beautiful, Chris had been crushing on her for forever, and she had finally taken an interest.

Jennifer won hands down without even having met Jo face-to-face.  She’d won before Jo even knew there was competition, and there had never been anything she could do to stop it.

Jo rose from the table, and Chris looked up at her, startled.

“I hope you’re happy.”  Part of her just wanted to smack him, but it was tempered by that continuing desire not to cause a scene and the fact that she did understand better than she had done.  “I hope that you get everything you want.  But just,” she swallowed and reminded herself that crying now would still cause a scene, “don’t be an asshole next time.  Deal with it before you make the person you’re with feel completely worthless.”

Really not wanting to know if he had anything to say to that, she turned and fled, though she ensured that this was restricted to a slightly fast walk so that she was still not causing a scene.

She wondered if he got how different it would have been to break up because he’d become interested in someone else rather than breaking up because he’d cheated on her.

Since the past couldn’t be undone and she wasn’t ever going to have anything to do with him again, she didn’t suppose that it mattered.  It was officially over.

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Links to The Dangers of a Red Shirt, Conspicuous, and Falling-Out.

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3 Responses to “consequences by phoenix.writing”

  1. ingridfnl April 19, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    So painful… and so well written. I’m glad that you wrote this bonus. 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. falling-out by phoenix.writing « the character project - April 18, 2010

    […] to Jo, Chris, and Angelica: The Dangers of a Red Shirt, Conspicuous, and Consequences (bonus fic that shows the day after […]

  2. infinite possibilities by phoenix.writing | the character project - May 16, 2010

    […] family can be seen (or heard) in: The Dangers of a Red Shirt, Conspicuous,  Consequences,  Falling-Out, The Uses of Math, and Subliminal […]

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