For Tiggy, who listened to me complain about wanting to write a TL5Y fic and them telling me, in no uncertain terms, to just DO IT. :P
Any other person would describe it as a typical day in the city. Warm, sunny with a bit of cloud coverage; all in all nothing out of the ordinary. The same people who were headed to the same places and were perfectly happy to one with the mundane repetition that came with day to day life. The same beggar sat on the same bench in Central Park and the same people who ignored him every other day just did as they had always done. It was almost some sort of perverted pattern, he noticed. A pattern that seemed invisible to the majority, yet clear as day in his eyes.
Shaking his head, he shoved his hands into this pockets and turned up the next street. Leave it to him to see something most people didn't. According to his agent, that's what made him into the author he was now. Two bestsellers and another one on the way; at least that was how his work was heralded by the press. An indignant snort escaped his lips. What did they know? If they bothered to ask him, he'd tell them that his latest work was nothing more than a pile of crap. It had been ever since Elyse left him.
No, not Elyse.
Sure, she had been a part of his life. Enough to lead him to cheat on his wife. Then again, Cathy never had been easy to live with. She'd spent the last few years of their marriage chasing pipe dreams that never seemed to lead anywhere. Although he'd never admitted it a loud, he thought her foolish for pursuing it for that long. His novels were more than enough to provide for them. Why couldn't see have been content with that?
Because that wasn't who she was. And he knew it. She was just like him in that respect. Stubborn, a dreamer, and determined to make it on her own terms. She wanted to be an actress and God help anyone who stood in her way. She was foolish. She was incredible.
She was standing right in front of him.
"Cathy." Her name fell from his lips before he had a chance to stop it.
She smiled up at him, awkwardly, unsure of how to proceed. For a moment, she acted as if she might hug him, the restrained herself, choosing instead to cross her arms over her chest and glance up at him with guarded eyes. "Fancy meeting you here."
"I know." He ran a hand through his light brown hair. "I thought you were back in Ohio. What brings you to New York?"
"I, uh, got a job," she said simply. "I managed to land the lead in a play."
"Wow! Cathy, that's wonderful!" A smile crossed his face. "Which one?"
She shrugged. "It's nothing major. An off-Broadway production by a local director. But, it is a job and you have to start somewhere, right?"
He could only nod as the awkward silence stretched out between them. "Well, you'll have to tell me when it opens."
"Sure," she said, tucking a strand of blonde hair behind her ear. "I could probably get you tickets if you like. You'd need…two, right?"
Subtly had never been her strong point. "Yeah, that'll work. I'm sure I can find a date."
Her brow rose. "Ellen doesn't like plays?"
He chuckled. "Elyse, actually. And I have no idea. We broke up three months ago."
"Oh…" She shyly met his eyes. "I'm sorry."
Are you? Not that she'd have any right to be. After all, he had left her. "Yeah, well. Life just goes that way, doesn't it?" He shifted. "Listen, Cathy. I have to get to work, but my number is still the same. Maybe you could call me and we could meet for coffee or something."
She shook her head. "I don't think that's a good idea, Jaime."
"What? Why not?"
Her eyes closed momentarily and she swallowed hard. "We're over, Jaime. We have been for a year now. We've moved on, have different lives, different dreams. We're not the same people we were five years ago." She shook her head. "It's just best if we don't go down that road again."
He nodded, knowing he had done this to himself. "I understand. Hey, let me know about those tickets, all right? I really would like to see your show."
She smiled, looking a bit like the girl he once knew. "I will." Stepping forward, she snaked her arms around his waste, squeezing slightly. "It's good to see you."
He returned the hug, breathing in her scent of lilies and lavender like a long-lost friend. "You too. Take care of yourself, kid."
She released him, offering a small wave as she turned to leave. "I'll see you when I see you."
Raising his hand in farewell, he nodded slightly. "See you when I see you," he whispered as he watched her disappear into the crowd. She seemed almost…happy. As if this whole episode had been forgotton on her part. He would have been surprised, however, that her thoughts at the moment mirrored his exactly.
I still love you and I'm still hurting.