Tears On My Pillow
See Disclaimer et al. in Part 1.
"Julie Parker" is for *the* Jules Parker:) Happy Birthday, Sweetie!
- - - Part 2 - - -
“Wasn’t it so sweet? Wasn’t it? Didn’t we love?…
Sometimes I just get this way
I can’t forget you anyway
I wouldn’t even try…” – “Didn’t We Love” by Tamara Walker
- - -
“This lawsuit, ladies & gentlemen, isn’t about infidelity. It’s about love. When Ms. Parker started dating Mr. Simmons, she was told right away that she was given the green light – if she couldn’t overcome the temptation to sleep with someone else, she could give in to it, as long as she gave Mr. Simmons the right to do the same… Now, of course, these conditions may seem peculiar to you, to say the least. But it was what they agreed on, and after that they lived together wonderfully. They were great companions, had great sex, everything was fabulous… Until Julie Parker met Eric Johnson. Now, according to their agreement, she could sleep with him if she wanted – which she did. She knew her boyfriend was sleeping with other women, now her turn had come. Mr. Simmons was never jealous, as he testified, until… until Julie fell in love. And when it hit him that Julie would leave him, he went nuts on her – as Dr. Leavenworth told you. Now, of course, people are by nature temperamental and can get angry, it doesn’t say anywhere that they can’t, but Mr. Simmons went overboard by far. So far, in fact, that, as Dr. Leavenworth testified, he’d caused Julie’s emotional breakdown by his behaviour. Opposing counsel will probably say that Mr. Simmons was simply angry, and that there’s no proof that Julie had been stable before… But if you’ve ever been in love, ladies & gentlemen, for that’s what Simmons claims caused him to do what he did, you probably know that you would do ANYTHING to avoid hurting the person you love. Now, infidelity stems of love – or lack thereof. And if Mr. Simmons was so obsessed with sleeping with as many women as he could, it means he wasn’t getting what he wanted from his relationships, and of course THAT means he was GIVING what was needed… Now why should Julie Parker have to stay in a relationship like that? Opposing counsel *may* argue that that’s what they agreed on, but – legally speaking, so what? They never signed any papers. Their “agreement” was never signed by a notary. It was just a conversation they had that evening, and though it may have meant something morally, legally it meant nothing. Julie never swore she wouldn’t fall in love ever again, and certainly Mr. Simmons never told her she *couldn’t*. It all comes down to jealousy on his part… And as for hers – she was looking for a way out of a relationship she couldn’t live any longer in. People fall in love, and they can’t do anything about it. Infidelity is often caused by a person wanting to leave, get out, and though it may start with raw sex, with time it grows into something more… And Julie Parker is looking for you, the jury, to recognize that she had done NOTHING wrong. The wrong here was committed by Mr. Simmons. It’s emotional distress, and it was intentionally inflicted with the sole purpose of getting even with her. I have nothing further, Your Honour…”
- - -
He left, relieved. He had won a large sum of money for his client, and he was glad he could make a difference in the woman’s life. There were few people during his practice time that had left a lasting impression, and Julie Parker was one of them. In the courtroom he was always the hero, but going home afterwards was the hard part. Maybe he had fallen prey to her seduction at the time, but the more time he spent with Jamie, the less he liked her attitude. He felt as though she was distrustful, suspicious, jealous, and when tried to confront her about it, she’d make a lame excuse and change the subject. He didn’t want to live like that, as though she had control over him, as though she felt superior to him. He felt he couldn’t back out, for the sake of his son, but he also felt a need to. And when he saw Ally at Daniel’s party, he started to creep out of the fog he’d been living in and realize that… maybe he & Ally hadn’t been ready before, but maybe… just maybe… there was a chance this time. Yet he understood that she might not want him back, and he would have to give up everything for a chance to talk to her, and risk getting falling face down into mud. It was a sacrifice he wasn’t ready to make… Yet.
But everything could change in the blink of an eye.
- - -
“I need the phone…”
“Who are you calling?”
… Ugh, there’s the tone again. It’s almost as if she ENJOYS tormenting me like this. And she always says it in such a way as though she’s sure that with every phone call I make, I’m looking to leave her.
Well, she’s right this time. Sorta. And she won’t even look up. It’s like she’s controlling me with one part of her brain, and the other goes about calmly doing what it was doing when I *dared* to crawl out of the slave’s corner and interrupt.
“It’s a work conversation…”
… I’m beginning to get tired of that attitude.
“Look, Jamie, I just need the goddamn phone, is that so hard?”
“Sor-ree…” she glances up at me in a “WTF is *your* problem?” way.
I excuse myself with the exact same glance and go upstairs. I remember her number by heart. And… I’m not about to go around pretending nothing happened. She still hasn’t called… Oh, after all, what kind of man am *I* to wait for *her* to make the first move? I know Ally, she’s probably pacing the room right now, afraid of touching the phone with a ten foot pole… God, I’m beginning to sound just like her… How ironic.
- - -
“I held a jewel in my fingers,
And went to sleep.
The day was warm, the winds were prosy,
I said “T’will keep”.
I woke and chid my honest fingers –
The Gem was gone.
And now an Amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.” – Emily Dickinson
“And you… just…” Renee’s smile sprawled across her face.
“Yes, we just… Oh, what the hell is wrong with that?!”
“Ally, wake up and smell the coffee! The guy went back TO his ex, INTENTIONALLY broke your heart for the MILLIONTH time, and you go off and just…”
“Yes, RENEE, I go off and JUST. And he didn’t break it intentionally. It broke itself.”
Silence. Renee seemed surprised. Ally was desperate to know why.
“What?” she asked impatiently.
“Do you realize that this is the first time you’ve spoken about a guy like that?” Ally turned a bright red. “There’s just something about this Larry Paul, isn’t there? You’re here DEFENDING him after he dumped you on your ass! You go off to God knows where, do God knows what with him till the wee hours of the morning –“
“Wh-Why is that so damn important?!” Ally blew up.
“Ally…” Renee said in the calmest voice she could manage. “You had sex with someone who lives with someone else… who has a CHILD with that someone else… who left YOU for that someone else…”
“I had to clear the slate, OKAY?! It’s what I did with Greg, and partially what I did with Billy, and…”
“Ally, you are not the slate-clearing type, believe me, I know you better than you know yourself… And for you to just…”
Ally made a gesture to signal that Renee should skip the loathed word and go on…
“… there’s gotta be something serious going on… With Greg you still loved him, and with Billy you still loved him…”
Ally looked down.
“…And that’s the case here, isn’t it?!” Renee was shocked, but strangely delighted. “Hand over your checkbook, dah-ling… We made a bet, and you owe me one hundred baby greens…”
“Get it yourself. Good night.” Ally stood up and went to her room, closing the door firmly behind herself.
- - -
A knock shattered her half-foggy state. She looked up to see John in the doorway, looking as if he was about to tell her World War III had started.
“Hi.” She said, and the corners of her mouth reached for her ears. It was one of those smiles you could cleverly hide a worried state behind, but it didn’t fool John.
“Hi. Anything, um, new… with you?”
“Nope.” Another calm smile. She was hoping John would go away and quietly let her hang herself. Tough luck.
“Nelle, I…” a long pause, as if he were looking for the right words.
“Please don’t…” she gestured for him to stop. “You… know, right?”
He looked up at her with almost enough courage to answer “yes” right away, but then noticed that her face… It seemed strangely different. She seemed pale, weak, tired. He saw not the glamour girl she’d always been, but a different Nelle – a Nelle so tired of life, so wanting a way out, that it scared him. He didn’t want her to be like this. They’d parted and went their separate ways, but he always knew that deep under the perfect hair and the lovely face was a soul who actually cared for him. She knew him, though never admitted it to him. Sure, she might’ve not understood him completely, but more often than not she could sense what he was thinking, what he was feeling. He was determined on staying friends. And now, he was trying to provide help.
“Yeah…” he said, looking at the floor. Looking her in the eyes was too much for him to handle.
A long moment of silence passed, and then he heard her quietly gulp back tears.
“It wasn’t supposed to be like this, John. This isn’t the time, or the place in my life, or… or the person. I… I usually don’t… but this was just… and I never expected…”
A single crystal teardrop rolled down her cheek and fell on the desk. This was Nelle, crying. Admitting her weaknesses to the world. This was about as rare as it gets. John understood that, but couldn’t think what to do – whether to say something, or just hug her, or simply sit in silence and stare at the floor.
In a minute, she wiped her eyes with a handkerchief . “It’s okay. I can get through this. I really can.” She said it to herself, but looked at John for encouragement.
This is the Nelle he had always known – confident, strong. “I’m sure you can. And I ensure you that this will stay between the two of us until you decide otherwise.”
“Thank you,” she whispered.
“John…?” She said a moment later when John was getting up to leave.
“Will…” she hesitated, as the question sounded rather silly to her. She’d been set on the opposite her whole life, and now… “…Will I make a good mother?”
John smiled. “You’ll make a wonderful mother. Your child is very lucky, you do know that, don’t you?”
She nodded a yes, laughing a little through her tears, which didn’t seem to stop. Sure, this would take some strength, and some sacrifices. But, after all, everything happens for a reason. She still wasn’t completely sure *this* was the way she wanted kids, and whether she wanted them at all… But she had a chance to decide. And this was what she’d been struggling to realize.
- - -
Days came and went, clients were brought in and taken out. Nothing had changed at the office, nothing had changed in her life. She knew nothing of Nelle’s pregnancy, or of any other news in the lives of her colleagues. Every night, going down to the bar, she felt as if she were trying to run away from something, to hide between all these laughing and dancing people from the one thing that terrorized her – love. She was hesitant to admit it even to Renee, who’d been her best friend all of these years, but she was even more hesitant to admit it to herself – she’d fallen in love all over again. She tried to cry to ease the pain, but the tears wouldn’t flow… She wanted to run, but she kept coming back to where she’d started. And now, as her days grew grayer, every day she tried to lose herself in the streets, between the houses, in the puddles and in the everflowing rain. It was like the whole world had turned black & white, but she didn’t have the palette to color it.
Meanwhile, back in Detroit The Palette spent every waking hour contemplating whether or not to call. And Ally certainly couldn’t speed up the decision herself, since she had no idea her feelings were shared.
Then, one day, the phone rang in a strangely loud manner, as if to urge Ally to pick it up.
“My name is Alisha Turner, I work at Kelmer & Grant… Did you receive the fax I sent you this morning?”
Ally picked through the far corners of her brain to remember that something of the sort *did* come in that morning, though she regarded it as useless and stored it away as far as possible.
“It’s about Valerie Hartman, your client from Detroit.”
‘Her name was Valerie Hartman?’ Ally asked herself in surprise. Obviously while in Detroit her mind had been occupied elsewhere.
“Yeah…” Ally replied again.
“Ms. Hartman came in with an out-of-town lawyer several days ago… There are still some issues to settle. Can you meet me at the Kelmer & Grant offices tomorrow around 10?”
“Sure…” Ally said and pressed the Off button without even bothering to listen to Turner.
“Tomorrow will be a day like always…” she thought.
Little did she know…
- - - End of Part 2- - -