Her Virtues Slighted Be
by Oro

She was so scared, at first, of getting back together with him: after the first time they had sex, she spent the rest of the day analyzing every sigh, every moan he made, wondering if he did the same with his adult film actress friend. She attributed every single improvement to that woman, and was not at all pleased, judging by how he's never been more passionate and gentle with her at the same time; it was perfection on a desk, dazzle on a chair, and heaven on the floor, and she's never been so petrified that she might not have been the one he's been thinking of the whole time.

Jeremy sent her flowers after that. He told her that he'd missed her so much. She looked into his eyes, examining them but not seeing the entirety of their meaning; she didn't believe him, but she wanted so much to give it a try. He told her again, and it just made everything all the more painful. She said she was tired that night but came anyway, and he just held her close to him until he fell asleep. Natalie didn't manage to do the same and stayed up all night, staring at the wall in front of her face and wondering if anything had changed about it.

She didn't voice her doubts to anyone, not even Dana; she just kept them hidden, pretending that everything is fine and happy and good. Dana made a funny noise when Natalie told her, something between a sob and a very excited wail, and put her hand over her mouth. They embraced; Dana's sincere happiness was quite touching. She looked so tired for a moment, when Natalie looked at her and caressed her cheek, but was immediately resuscitated by that touch and asked for all the details in her gossipy, Dana-esque way. Natalie replied that everything's great and made a witty remark, something about knowing that Jeremy couldn't have remained impervious to her hot looks and sharp wits for long, and Dana might've said something about a bunny.

Nobody remembered that they ever split up after that, so there were no discussions about that and no congratulations.

He took her out to restaurants and was so romantic, his every "I love you" secretly questioned, yet she still tried to derive happiness from this situation. They were never as close and yet it seemed as though she had no idea who he was at all, every now and then; their constant lovemaking somewhat reminded her of what she used to think was true about them, and she collected every one of those moments until she scraped up the foundation to trust him again:

But he'd already left by then.


She walks alone now, feeling the emptiness quiver inside her; she mistakes it for the cold and wraps her coat tighter around her body. She mutters a curse word as some guy on a motorcycle drives too fast on a puddle, splashing water on her shoes and knees. She takes her cell phone out of the bag, hoping in vain that the battery has not died yet; sighing, Natalie decides to go see if she can possibly charm Jack into letting her use the phone at the bar, or at least charm him enough so that he's charmed and she feels charming again.

The heat seems very welcoming as she enters the bar, and Jack looks at her strangely, carefully. He even invites her for a drink, constantly chatting with her and keeping her busy. She does the charming thing and he does seem charmed, behind his achingly disturbing carefulness and the half-looks his giving a certain point behind her back.

When enough seems like enough, she turns around, following Jack's gaze to see Jeremy's back. At least, someone who looks very much like him sitting in front of an attractive, somewhat familiar woman, whose name she constantly forgets but whose profession and meaning go before her.

Natalie's heart sinks, landing on a soft, numbing layer of alcohol. She gets up so quickly her chair falls. Jack tries to say something -- she doesn't quite understand -- but she just mutters apologetically, sloppily picking up her things, dropping them, and picking them up again. She hurries outside to avoid further embarrassment, unaware of Jeremy's worried gaze from the other side of the room.


Jeremy will follow her outside, calling out her name over and over again. She'll turn around after her name has been called about three times. The wind will blow through her hair and into her eyes, forcing her to squint slightly. She'll look at him, hurt and pain flooding her eyes until they glisten with her tears. He'll try to minimize the distance between them, and she'll back away; he'll look down at the wet asphalt as she tries to comprehend the situation.

He'll take a few more steps in her direction, faster this time; she'll slap him on the face. She'll hit him on the chest until she decides she's made such a fool of herself, tears won't be completely inappropriate. He'll wrap his arms around her and draw her closer to him, if only to make her stop hitting him. She'll sob into his chest and he'll stroke her hair.

He'll tell her that he loves her and that he misses her. She'll look up at his face and into his eyes she will see their depth and regret, and the way they're tearing up (possibly because of the emotion, but she'll rather think it's the wind, if only because it's an easier thought to bear). His eyes will reflect the momentary clarity of hers, the prolonged restlessness and uneasiness of being apart.

She'll believe him.

They will kiss, tasting alcohol and warmth and love; she'll sigh into his mouth as they break contact and resume it almost immediately.


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