Warning: This work has been rated 18+.
The sound of the glass vase shattering on the floor, made both of them jump out of whatever they were focused on. They didn’t know many things, but knew that it was the first time there was no chance they could read each other's mind. Thanks to Lucy, now they had to do something apart from staring away from each other. Lucy barked and left the scene. Maybe it was the broken glass, but even the dog didn’t want to be there.
Michael reached for a towel, to clean the mess without a second thought. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, but that blurred look in Joanna's eyes, made him want to clean the floor as fast as he could. A bleeding foot was the last thing he could handle right now. There was a lot that he couldn’t handle at the moment.
Joanna took the trash bin, and knelt beside him, bringing herself to help him clean the mess.
"Was it anything good?"
He said, which made Joanna's hand tremble. She couldn’t say a word. It wasn’t that she didn’t know what to say, it was just that she didn’t want to talk. So the answer came as a pair of round questioning eyes. She stood up, and sat on the counter hugging her legs.
"The vase I mean, was it anything expensive?"
Michael asked again, pretending that he really cared about the stupid vase. Joanna didn’t answer, and made him notice that the pale color of her face had a scared look within. Why would she be the scared one? After all it was Michael who was in trouble.
"Cause if so, I promise I'll buy you a new one. Or even better. I'll get you that thing from the Antique shop you always wanted. I'm sure it'll look quite good in the house. Matches everything and all."
He stopped a little too late. Maybe playing it cool like nothing happened wasn’t the wisest option. He felt the air getting colder, or was it just the fear he felt, seeing Joanna touching her lips. She always touched her lips before saying something serious. In this case something that could set fire to the whole place.
"It didn’t mean anything to you did it?"
She finally said it. At last she confronted the Storm they were facing. Oh what he would give now to go back to 5 minutes earlier. The 5 Minute of dark hollow silence.
"Joey, I'm sorry. I swear it was a onetime thing. It was a mistake. I swear it didn’t mean anything."
"I meant the vase Michael! It was yours. Someone gave it to you as a Gift."
"Oh was it? No, no babe…that's ok."
Damn! He thought to himself. She wasn’t talking about last night. She was talking about the stupid broken vase. Michael felt a short relief as the moment passed, and soon doubted it. She was a volcano, he thought, a volcano ready to explode any moment. He almost wished she would just scream, and hit him and get this over with. It couldn’t be worse than this choking denial. Could it?
Joanna washed her face in the Sink, and then glanced a few moments at the Remain of make up on the towel in her hands. Tears and make up. Had a glass of water, then cleared her throat and tried to say with the most normal sound she could come up with.
"What should we have for lunch?"
She asked while her voice still trembled.
"Wanna grab a bite at Bistro's?
"No, no, I don’t feel like going out. I'll cook something. Do you…um….do you like some…I don't know…spaghetti? Or some casserole? Do you love some mac and cheese? Michael do you love her?
"Joey what d…"
"OR FOR GOD'S SAKE MICHAEL! DO YOU FUCKING LOVE HER?"
She screamed and smashed the empty glass. The volcano burst into a puddle of tears.
Another towel. Another mess to clean. But this time Michael wasn’t sure he could do it.
"Come on darling, come on let's talk this through. Joey babe…"
He reached for her.
"Do not touch me."
She said with a robotic voice. Filled with all and no emotions at the same time.
"Okay babe, but could you please move? There's glass everywhere….come on let's sit on the Couch"
She agreed, but when he got to the Dining room, there was no place on the Couch for him to sit. She was laying. Of course she had the right to not wanting him beside her.
Michael sat on the Table facing her. He started talking even though he didn’t know what he was supposed to say. What do they really say in situations like this? What do they do to make everything the same as it used to be? Or is it possible at all?
"Joey I'm sorry. You can't imagine how sorry I am. I promise it won't happen again.no.no it won't. She was…I mean I was drunk. And she well…she was pushy. I'll ask Patrick to transfer me. I won't see her ever again. I'll change my job if you want me to do so. Joey…"
His eyes were getting teary and warm. There was this stingy feeling in his throat and it was then when he understood what he has done. He loved joey. He only loved her. And that was just the biggest mistake of his life he had done last night. He gulped that ocean of emotion down his throat and continued:
"Joey…I'm sorry babe…I'm just sorry…and I love you…god knows I love you so much…joey…are you listening to me?"
She had this distracted look in her eyes while playing with that book in her hand. Was she reading? Sure she loved to read, but how could she read at a time like that?
"Joey? Joey are you ok?....honey…HEAVEN'S SAKE SAY SOMETHING!"
It was a moment of anger, and the next thing he knew, he had slapped the book out of her hands. Almost slapping her face with it. Anger is a sudden kind of feeling. Like many other one of them, it can cause harmful damage, and Michael had already had too much of sudden kind of feelings, sudden moves…sudden mistakes. So he kissed her hand, apologizing. Reached for the book and grabbed it.
Pictures of a man came out of the book. The sound of them scattering on the floor jumped Joanna even more than the breaking glasses.
"Who…who is this?"
He asked while gathering them all, and looking at them one by one. It wasn’t those 6 pictures of a happy smiling man that made his heart skip a beat, but the 7th picture. The 7th picture with Joey in it. Joey beside the man.
"His name is Alex. I met him in Paris the summer we were broken up. I was with him last night."
Joanna said with a weak voice barely hearable.
"You were with him?"
"Yes….and no. You see Michael it's not the fact that you slept with your coworker last night that breaks me. It's that I was in the same situation as you last night, and I didn’t do anything wrong. I chose not to do it.
"What was he doing here?"
"He came to see me. I mean he came to New York for a meeting, but he came to see me. He loves me Michael….he loves me."
Two moment of silence passed between them. But to Michael it felt even longer than those two years back in college, which they were broken up. The years in which she met this Alex fella.
Joanna sobbed, but gained all her courage to be able to talk again, like a runner out of breath who tries to run the last mile to the finishing line. The finishing line which Michael never wanted their marriage to meet.
"Yeah…Alex loves me….and you know Michael I love him too...I do ….I love him back and I spend the whole night with him but I just …. I just didn’t sleep with him…I couldn't …I thought of you Michael…I thought of you…while you were…."
She burst into tears again. But that was enough for Michael…he didn’t need to hear anything more…
He crumpled the 7th picture in his fist, and looked down hoping she wouldn’t see him crying…"I love him too" the words echoed in his head…
The glass was broken…the picture was crumpled…they were looking each other in the eye with salty cheeks , crushed and not knowing what would happen next.