hetsmut single annie mcmanus whittlesey
Bleed To Love Her
"Once again she steals away
Then she reaches out to kiss me
And how she takes my breath away
Pretending that she won't miss me"
His footsteps echo in the empty hallway. He's been looking for her for
half an hour, only a gentle finger of worry sliding down his spine at this
point. He turns the corner, sees Armstrong loitering.
"Have you seen Diane?" Keeps an unconcerned note in his voice. The
gossip about the two of them is bad enough as it is without sparking more.
Especially now, with no job to do and too much free time for idle
speculation and salacious innuendo. Armstrong jerks his thumb.
"Thought I saw her going into the Sister's office a while ago."
"Thanks," he replies, but Armstrong is already heading the opposite
direction, looking for a dark corner to sneak a smoke most likely. He
retraces his steps and pushes the door to Sister Peter Marie's office open.
There she is. She's lying curled up on the cheap sofa, head propped on
an armrest in a way that's going to give her one hell of a crick in the neck
when she wakes up. But for now she looks peaceful, the lines in her face
smooth for the first time in months. The shirt of her uniform has pulled out
at the waist, revealing a slim expanse of pale skin. One arm is dangling
limply, fingers brushing the carpet that needs to be vacuumed.
He hates to wake her. Knows she'd be grateful it was him that found her
like this and not one of her fellow officers. She gets enough shit for being
one of the few women on the job; she doesn't need the ribbing she'd get for
falling asleep on duty.
He crouches in front of her and shakes her shoulder gently at first,
then harder as she slumbers on. Finally, she comes to, blinking slowly until
she focuses on him.
"Wha-Tim?" She jerks upright, rubbing her eyes. "Shit, Tim, I'm sorry.
I had to talk with Pete and when she wasn't here, I just." She raises a hand
in a half-shrug and trails off.
He understands. "It's ok." He tilts his head and studies her for a long
moment. "You alright?"
She barks a short laugh. "Do I look alright? Three days now we've been
in twenty-four hour lockdown and it feels like months. I thought the riot
was bad but this waiting, doing nothing.the Goddamned tension is getting to
me. I'm not sleeping at home anymore. Then I get here and all I wanna do is
sleep. How fucked is that?"
He tries for the reassuring approach. "Leo's working on it, Diane. This
"---last forever. I know. I've heard it all," she interrupts. "Look,
Tim, I let you talk me into staying when I wanted to take my vacation time,
but I can't do this anymore."
He searches her eyes and sees the truth in them. She's close to the
breaking point and all he's done is keep pushing her, telling her he needs
her, he can't do his job without her there. He nods. "I understand. Take
your vacation, Diane. Go somewhere with Didi and get away from here for a
She's shaking her head before he finishes. "You don't understand, Tim.
That's why I came to see Sister Pete. I was gonna come see you next."
An alarm goes off inside him. "What're you saying?"
"I'm saying I'm leaving, Tim. I'm not coming back."
The alarm is now a shrieking cacophany in his head. "Shit--- Di--- No!
NO!" He manages to stutter out. "Don't do this. Take some time off, relax,
think things over. But don't make a decision like this just because you're t
ired and tense. Fuck, we're *all* tired and tense!" He's babbling, close to
counting off reasons on his fingers for why she should stay. Not that he can
think of a whole lot in his current agitated state but he's willing to try.
She looks away, staring out the tiny window in Sister Pete's office.
"It's. it's not that. Not all of it."
"Then what? What is so fucking horrible that makes you want to leave
here for good?" His voice is spiralling upward and he barely manages to
catch himself before he begins shouting at her.
"You," she replies evenly.
He's stunned, knocked into silence by an invisible kick to the solar
plexus. She rubs a hand over her eyes.
"No, that's not what I mean," she tries again, wearily. "It's you and
me. Or more specifically, it's you and me in this place."
His anger is warring with his confusion and hurt and for a moment,
anger wins. "Can you give me a fucking straight answer for once, Diane?"
She looks out the window again, over at the desk, on the carpet.
Anywhere but at him. "Do you remember the first time we made love, Tim?"
"Of course I do. It was the night of---"
"---Jefferson Keane's execution," she finishes for him. "Yeah, and do
you remember *why* we made love that night?" She goes on, not waiting for an
answer this time. "We were so disgusted by the whole idea of execution, of
death, of *killing*, that we had sex to prove to ourselves and the world
that we were still alive. And it was great, Tim. It was fucking great."
He smiles, remembering the heat and the frenzy of that night. "It was
pretty great, wasn't it?"
She smiles with him, lost in the past for a moment. Then her smile
fades and she continues. "I fell in love with you that night, Tim. But I
also started losing myself that night, only I didn't know it then. Oz had
seeped into my pores and it wasn't until the night of the riot that I knew
the Diane Wittlesey I was when I first started working here was gone. I went
from the Diane that cried at the death of a deer, the Diane that got
nauseated at a murderer's execution to the Diane that killed a man without
hesitation or remorse. I stopped being who I was that night and became
someone else. Someone I hate."
He raises his hands to stop her. "Di, you did what you had to do to
keep both of us alive. Scott Ross would have killed me and raped you if you
hadn't shot him."
She nods. "I know, and in my mind I know I did the right thing and I'd
do it again if it happened. But in my heart. in my heart, I hate myself for
what this place has turned me into. And even though it's not fair, I hate
you for not changing too."
He snorts. "Not changing? Do you really think that's true? Do you truly
fucking believe that I'm the same person you knew three years ago?"
"The same person? No. But you haven't really changed, Tim. You've just
become. more of the person you were back then. But I've become less, and
that's why I've got to get out of here. Before it's too late. Before I
become just like the ones you still want to save."
He struggles to argue with her, feels the hot wave of his temper
surging through him, threatening to wash over him in a flood of bitter words
and defiant denial. But the weight of her measured words squash his
objections. He pulls her into his arms and whispers against the clean scent
of her hair.
"What will you do?"
She leans into his embrace. "I don't know. We've got some money coming
to us from Ma's will. It's not much, but it's enough to get me and Didi
settled somewhere far away from here, give me time to find a job. I'm
thinking England. I've always wanted to go there."
He doesn't say anything, knows that there's nothing more than can be
said. So he holds her for as long as he dares and wonders when exactly he
fucked up so badly, when his life and Diane's life became such a shitstorm
of regret and chances missed that she wants to go all the way across an
ocean to escape it. He holds her and he silently tells her he loves her,
will always love her, because saying the words out loud will hurt too much.
The door creaks open and Sister Pete walks in, stopping in her tracks
as she sees them sitting wrapped in each other's arms on her couch. She
raises an eyebrow but says nothing and he could almost kiss her for her
polite restraint. He releases Diane and they both stand. Sister Pete smiles
pleasantly at them.
"You needed to see me?"
"I did," Diane replies. She looks at him and he clears his throat
"I've got some paperwork to do," he lamely adds. He knows all that's
left is the formalities, that Diane has left Oz already, has left him
already. He bends down to kiss her gently on the cheek before he goes. He's
halfway out the door before he hears her voice again.
He keeps walking.
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