Summary: Lightning continues to flash and thunder continues to rumble. Wind gusts at twenty-five miles per hour and he wishes he could think of another radio station to listen to. The curb seems more inviting to him than the actual house. Its demeanor is dark, with blood-red brick and it feels too sandwiched between the other houses.
Disclaimer: I don't own. Never have, never will. I would be honored to, though.
"It’s Michael Scofield. Please leave your name, number, and the reason for your call and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can."
"Hey. It’s me," the voice sighs into the answering machine. "I know we haven’t talked since our fight, but I really need your help right now. Uh, I am sorry to call so late. I’m at the corner of Panola Street and Townsend Drive. Please call me if you’re going to come, ’cause I don’t want to hold false hope, if you understand what I’m trying to say. Please hurry, Michael."
The beep resonates in his loft as he rushes around, searching for the nearest jacket and first pair of shoes he can find. Once said articles of clothing are in place, he runs out the door, not forgetting to grab his cell phone, wallet and keys on the way.
The door slams behind him and he doesn’t bother to lock up, knowing the doorman wouldn’t let anyone past him he doesn’t know at this time of the night.
The headlights of his sleek Mercedes-Benz clue in on the figure of a lawyer, standing unsurely on the corner of Panola Street and Townsend Drive. Her arms encircle her body, in defense he notes. However, he shakes that off and starts to get out of his vehicle, pulling his jacket closer to him as the wind blowing from the nearby river cools his body.
His steps sound hollow to his ears as he walks onto the pavement of the sidewalk.
"Hey," he says in a soft voice, approaching the lawyer cautiously.
"Hey," she replies, "Thanks for coming." Nodding, he extends his hand. The lawyer steps back, frightened.
"It’s okay, I’m just going to take you home," he assures, offering his hand once more. "I promise," is added in vain. But she listens to him, grabbing his hand as he pulls her toward his car, gently. He opens the passenger door for her, moving his hand to the small of her back, steadying her as she steps into the car before walking over to the driver’s side.
The heat of the car is centered on her as he drives down the deserted streets of Chicago. Lightning flashes in the sky and he turns his head to check on his passenger. She’s huddled into the corner of her seat, hands on the car handle. Her form seems to shrink as thunder booms above and around them.
"You okay?" he asks, turning his eyes to the road but immediately focusing them on her face again.
Nodding, she whispers, "Great."
"You’re being sarcastic. What’s wrong?" he prods, eyes on the road now, as she straightens her spine but still clings to the door handle.
"It’s a long story," she attempts to discourage.
"We’ve got the time."
"—Was it that guy again?" he asks nonchalantly and she shudders, closing her eyes.
Sighing, she relents, "Yeah." He shakes his head, rolls his eyes and a scowl forms on his lips.
"I don’t think it’s a good idea to discuss this, Michael."
"Because last time you and I talked about Sebastian it ended horribly!" she yells and he slams on his brakes before he speeds past the red light. The car jolts to a stop and she latches her mouth shut, despite the fact that she’s hurt her arm against the car’s dashboard.
"Well it’s not my fault that you won’t leave him!" He turns his head and glares at her menacingly. "I told you and you didn’t want to listen. Soon enough, you’re going to end up in jail for possibly killing the guy because you found no other way to defend yourself. I don’t want that to happen to you!" Steaming, he sinks into his chair, eyes burning holes into the steering wheel in his grip.
A minute later, she’s whispering, "The light’s green," and he sits up, pressing his foot against the gas pedal lightly.
She’s been in the same position for the past ten minutes, hand holding arm against her stomach, attempting to ease the pain away slowly. After all, she’s used to that sort of thing.
The silence is only digging deeper into her skin, making her ballistic with the anxiety she feels from having no comfort from her best friend.
It’s nerve-racking and she has no way to keep herself above the surface. She feels her breathing speed up and her fingers urge for the contact of skin against skin.
"Michael?" she asks in a tight voice, arm still clutched to her stomach.
He notes the distress in her tone and he turns his head. "What’s wrong?" he asks softly as his car rolls to a stop at another red light.
"I just really need you to hurry," she cries, her head splitting.
Lightning continues to flash and thunder continues to rumble. Wind gusts at twenty-five miles per hour and he wishes he could think of another radio station to listen to.
The curb seems more inviting to him than the actual house. Its demeanor is dark, with blood-red brick and it feels too sandwiched between the other houses.
He doesn’t like the idea of townhouses.
She’s watching the storm from inside his car, just as he is. The coruscating lightning and the thunder that follows persuades her to seek the warmth of her home, but she doesn’t leave for fear of being sucked into the super-celled storm that surrounds them.
"Do you want me to walk you up?" he asks hesitantly, denying his real feelings of being in a storm of such grandeur. She nods and he quickly exits the car, lets the door slam behind him and jogs to the passenger side. He opens the door for her, hurrying her out of the car gently, and beeps his car to a lock.
Lightning flashes frantically a multitude of times before the individuals make it to the door. They both turn their heads to the source only to find the lightning flash across the sky about a mile behind them.
"Come on. Let’s get you inside," he urges, putting a hand on the small of her back. She nods as she fumbles with the purse in her hands to find her keys. He pushes the front door open and leads her to the door of her house.
He suddenly notices the affection he’s showing with his palm pressed against her back and he pulls it back, as if she were a disease waiting to spread.
"Sorry," he mumbles, looking down at his feet.
"It’s okay," she whispers, finally unearthing her keys from her purse. "Michael?"
He looks up and finds the door to her house open, she already inside.
"I want to talk to you," she mumbles, biting her bottom lip and busying herself with the sleeve of her coat.
Nodding, he steps into the house, happy to find a distraction from the threatening disaster.
"I can’t believe this!" he yells, knocking over the kitchen chair as he stands furiously. He rubs a hand over his face, turning away from her and walking towards the tall window of the room. Lightning is still flashing and thunder is still rumbling as rain pours heavily outside.
"—I told you to leave him! Why did you never listen?" he screams again, kicking his foot against the wall.
"Don’t do that," she whispers, focusing her eyes on the simmering liquid of the green tea she made thirty minutes before. "You don’t need to make me feel guilty."
The tranquility in her voice vexes him and he kicks the wall once more, this time slamming his open palm on the counter nearest him simultaneously.
"I thought you were going to let me talk," she counters, her tone as calm as it can be.
"Oh, I let you talk. I’ve heard enough," he spits with poison that causes her to recoil, her form shrinking into the corners of her seat. She drops her hands to her lap and refocuses her gaze on the mug before her.
He huffs, throwing his head back, and runs both his hands down his face, his right hand stinging from the recent contact with the soapstone countertop. Finally looking down, he looks over at her, cowering in her chair and he knows he should back off.
"Things just weren’t working out with him at work, okay? I couldn’t leave him when he was so vulnerable. I’d have been kicking him while he was down if I left him." He uprights the chair he knocked over a minute ago and sits in it again. Gulping, she continues, "I had to stop hanging around you if I wanted to protect you, Michael."
"I don’t need you to protect me," he states, a feeling of sorrow washing over him. He caused this. "It was my fault, wasn’t it? Him hitting you?"
She shakes her head forcefully, gazing at him with teary eyes. "No. Don’t ever think that."
"It was," he responds to himself, hanging his head. "God, I’m so sorry."
"—I should’ve known. I should’ve done something."
The guilt trip he’s currently heading irks her to no end.
"There was nothing you could do," she tries in vain. She knows he won’t stop feeling responsible. It’s just the way he works. "This wasn’t your fault."
"I could’ve stopped him. I could’ve told the police. Damn it! I could’ve done something!" He stands once more, this time storming out of the kitchen and into the living room.
"Michael," she tries, following him. She finds him on the couch, head in his hands, back hunched.
"I could’ve done something," he whispers, his voice cracking. He feels the cushion sink as she sits next to him and he looks at her, eyes filling with tears.
"I should’ve listened to you. It wasn’t your fault that I didn’t listen." Nodding, he feels himself lean forward, disregarding his guilt and focusing on the freckles that dot her face.
Their lips join gently, hesitantly, and neither knows what to do from there. One tear escapes the corner of her eye and he feels it trail down his own cheek. She’s pushing him away, softly, and he has to oblige.
"You have to go," she mutters, more tears clouding her vision. He nods, and licks his lips in an attempt to savor the moment. She catches him off guard when she announces, "Sebastian’s supposed to be here soon, Michael."
A new fury lights a candle on a dimmed lobe of his brain and his eye twitches involuntarily. "What?"
"He called me before I called you, telling me he wanted me home in three hours."
"You called me to take you to him?" he screams, disbelief at her actions igniting the flame.
"—You make me feel guilty only to stand here and witness this? I thought you ended it with him!"
"I never said that," she cries as he gets to his feet, gathering his coat from the arm chair.
"No, but you implied it," he accuses, inhaling deeply while trying to keep his anger at bay. "I can’t believe this."
"—Where was he?"
"What?" she asks, startled with the new question.
"Where was he? When he called?"
"Visiting family for the weekend."
"Do you seriously believe that?" he inquires incredulously.
"Why shouldn’t I?" she counters.
"He hurts you here then disappears for a weekend? That doesn’t make you suspicious? Does he even have family in Michigan?"
"He’s from Lansing." He nods, still doubting, and turns from her, walking towards the door.
"I should go," he states, hand on the doorknob.
"You should," she agrees. He sighs, nodding, and twists the knob.
He’s sat in his car for the past hour, waiting for the bastard that is her boyfriend to exit the building. The guy’s car pulled up behind him thirty minutes ago and he strode past his car with a spring in his step that would lead to tons of confusion.
The storm has gotten worse since the man entered the building. Gusts of wind are almost tipping his car over and the fact that his car may not be the tallest object around doesn’t decrease his fear of being struck by a spontaneous bolt of lightning. Rain is pounding on the aluminum roof of his car, its sound resembling a hailstorm.
He’s beginning to lose his patience but his blood isn’t coursing through his veins anymore. A monster has taken charge.
The front door of the building slams shut, the noise echoing despite the rumbling thunder. The man he’s been waiting for appears on the steps and he quickly exits his car, walking toward him determinedly.
"What do you want?" the man yells over the rain and before he can reply, he throws a fist at the man’s face, following with a punch to the gut. "What the hell?" The man grabs his leg, pulling him to the floor.
However, he doesn’t let himself be manipulated. The new determination he’s experiencing won’t permit him and he pulls the man onto the ground with him, throwing another punch into the side of his jaw.
"You’re not going to hurt her any longer, Sebastian," he warns, throwing his right leg over the side of the man’s body and sitting on his stomach.
"What’re you talking about?" The man glares at him, his voice growling.
"You know very well what I’m talking about." He returns the glare
"You’re Michael, aren’t you?" Nodding, he cuffs his chin. "Well, I hope you feel guilty."
"Don’t try that. It doesn’t work."
"Really? It looks like I’m already upsetting you."
"I’m going to call the police on you. Then you’ll know what it feels like to be locked up in a prison where you belong," he growls, not leaving his spot.
"And you would know?"
"No, but I can’t wait for you to tell me." He finally gets up, soaked from the rain. "It’d suit you if you don’t come near her any longer," he states over the rain.
"Don’t worry, I won’t," the man coughs, sitting up.
He shakes off his comment as he runs up the front steps and through the door. Running down the hall, he comes to her door and pounds on it. "Veronica!" he yells, hoping she can hear him. "Veronica! It’s me!"
The doorknob turns rapidly and he’s dragged into the house. She’s wearing different clothes now, a long-sleeved, V-neck shirt and a pair of sweatpants. A new bruise adorns her right cheek and he feels his resolve slip away from him.
"What happened to you?" she asks worriedly, towing him towards the hallway.
"I should be asking you that," he says tenderly, stopping her. He pulls her to him, not too close but not too far.
"You’re going to get pneumonia if you don’t get out of those clothes," she whispers, folding her arms across her chest, throwing him an indignant look.
"What happened?" he asks. Sighing, she stares at him, tugging on her bottom lip with her teeth.
"I broke up with him," she whispers.
"And he left?"
"With a proper good-bye." He rises his eyebrow and lets it fall almost simultaneously.
"He punched you and packed his things?"
"He has no things here and he did punch me. A few times." His gaze becomes steely thinking of the multiple times he threw his fists at the man. "Come on, you have to get out of those clothes."
He’s lying on the couch, forty minutes later, in his dry boxers and one of her giant T-shirts.
She’d managed to dump his boxers in the dryer long before he ever finished taking a shower and once he had, the cotton was warm, instilling in him a peacefulness he hadn’t felt the entire evening.
His leg is slightly sore from being pulled to the ground and he just noticed a few scrapes on the palms of his hands.
He pulls the blankets he’s using up to his chest as the air vent above exhales a long, chilly breath. He can’t sleep knowing he hasn’t talked to her about her situation and knowing the storm outside will never allow him to leave the house.
He never did like lightning.
Deciding he’s had enough, he stands, his feet hitting the ground softly as he rubs a hand over his face. The living room is dark, the floor is cold and he has to limp to find the carpet of the hallway.
The door is cool beneath his rapping knuckles. The soft metal of the doorknob is even cooler as he twists it.
"Veronica?" he whispers into the darkness.
"Can’t sleep?" she asks softly. Shaking his head, he crosses the threshold and sits on the desk chair in her room. "Me neither."
She reaches over to turn her bedside lamp on. "I want to talk about what happened," he states boldly.
"Michael, please," she yawns, her eyes still adjusting to the light.
"What happened after I left?"
Sighing, she replies, "He came, he saw, he conquered."
"Nice," he says sardonically.
"What else do you want me to say? That he raped me?"
Eyes widening, he jumps to the conclusion, "Did he?"
"No! Of course not."
"Michael, there’s nothing to say. He came in, I told him I was done with him, he punched me a few times and told me he had someone better up in Detroit."
"I knew it!"
"It’s not time for a victory dance, Michael."
"For you? It should be. You’re out of his clutches," he tells her, standing up from the chair and sitting on the edge of her bed.
"Yeah," she says softly. His eyes dance across her face, absorbing each freckle, each worry line, each bruise (light or dark).
He leans forward, extending his hand towards the lamp. The light goes off and he finds her eyes, telling him to go for it. Reaching forward, he cups her left cheek in his right hand and kisses her lips gently. He urges her to respond and she does, poco a poco.
Before long, she’s pinned underneath him, his hands running up her sides and lingering near her breasts. She’s writhing, her hands clutching at the front of his T-shirt, aching to feel his abdomen against her palms.
His lips still haven’t left hers and he hasn’t attempted to stick his tongue down her throat for he’s not that kind of guy. Frankly, he hopes she’s not that type of girl. However, he’s licking her bottom lip softly, and he uses his hands to inch the fabric of her shirt up. Her skin rises in goose bumps under his scrutiny and he trails kisses up her jaw line and down her neck.
Her fingers are removing his shirt slowly, taking their time to torture him in equal amounts now that his teeth are nipping at the skin between her collarbones. She feels a moan build in her throat as his callous hands stop below her breasts. Inhaling sharply as his fingers brush her breasts teasingly, she finishes pulling the shirt over his head and discards it over the side of the bed.
His lips trail down her exposed chest, leaving small, open-mouthed kisses all over her skin. He pulls back for a few seconds, watching her eyes as she watches him and he sits her up, reaching toward the hem of her shirt and pulling it over her head. It surprises him to find her bra-less and he knows it’s not just his eyes that are surprised. Gulping inaudibly, he kisses her lips once more, pushing her gently onto the bed. Chest against chest, he deepens their kiss as he reaches toward her sweatpants, pulling on the cord to untie the bow.
"Michael," she groans as he presses against her, occupying the bit of personal space she has left. She aches to feel his entire form against her and she has to push him off her to remove the rest of her clothing as he does the same.
They’re lying on each other, her hands framing his face in her hands as he pants heavily. She offers him a small smile, trying to encourage him now that one of her needs has been fulfilled.
"I can’t," he whispers, tears springing to his eyes and she stitches her brow in confusion. "I can’t," he repeats, this time feeling defeated. He hangs his head, pushing himself up and trying to regain his courage. "I’m sorry."
"Michael," she coaxes. "What’s wrong?" He just shakes his head as he snaps the waistband of his boxers into place. "Michael."
"I’m not going to do this, Veronica. It doesn’t work that way," he states angrily.
"What’re you talking about?" she inquires, sitting up and holding her blanket to her chest.
"I don’t want to be your second choice."
"Really? Then you kind of threw me off, considering you didn’t want to be with me until after Sebastian!" he screams, pulling his shirt over his head.
"I had no idea—"
"Oh, I know! I’ve always had feelings for you, Veronica! But there was always someone else and I respect that. But I’m not your rebound," he says, his tone menacing.
She gulps, a tear leaking out the corner of her eye. He sighs dejectedly, rubbing a hand over his face. "I’m sorry," he whispers, angry with himself for lashing out at her.
"You meant it."
Silence bounces between them, waiting for the next statement. She finally decides to break it. "I want to be with you now, Michael. We can give it a chance."
He nods, swallowing past the knot in his throat. "After you get over Sebastian, we’ll talk about it." He walks to her, sitting on the edge of the bed, and cradles her right cheek in his left hand. She’s crying, tears falling rapidly and he smiles sadly.
She leans into him, kissing him another time, but it doesn’t last long. He pulls away before anything can come out of it and he whispers into her ear, "Just call me when."