Author: kohlrimmedeye (aka paperclipbitch)
Pairing: Julie Wilson/Lisa Cuddy
Prompt: 9. Wilson divorced his wife because she was cheating on him, but what they didn't tell you was that it was with a woman from PPTH...
Disclaimer: Mine when Jimmy stays faithful.
Author’s Notes: Uh… this wasn’t quite the direction I meant this to go in, but hey; it happens. ;)
Julie had this thing where this wasn’t going to be happening any more. Where she was going to say ‘stop’ and mean it and everything was going to screech to a halt and make sense or something. And she wasn’t going to the Bad Guy, because she was only the one in the wrong through being a victim of circumstance. Complications, and it all depended on where you stood and how far you were willing to go when it came to spreading around the blame. Mistakes and lies and she was determined to make this whole thing come crashing down and just stop.
Femme fatale. Bunny boiler. Alliterative teasing temptations just ripe for the picking. Only nothing like that. Julie didn’t see this coming and now she was mildly trapped, because saying ‘no’ never really stuck, kissed off as easily as her lipstick and just as easy to re-apply and lose yet again. She didn’t start out with the intention of having an affair (and she’d plead ignorance forever) but if pushed she would blame the whole thing on James, partially because it was his fault, partially because it seemed viable enough not to sound like a lie. It was always James’ fault.
She met them once. You know. The ex-wives. They warned her over coffee, twisting locks of hair around their fingers. Laura, still impossibly young-looking, baby girl from her second marriage on her lap, eyes glittering through the steam of her peppermint latté. Rose glowering softly, lips set in a thin slash of Max Factor, fingers twisting together. Laura was vastly unhelpful, telling her that she’d get hurt but it would actually be worth it. Rose was far more bitter, obviously still stinging from what James had done to her. The overall message was get out and run and don’t look back but Julie did not listen and still wasn’t listening to a certain degree and she was still looking over her shoulder.
Julie’s marriage was burning away in a tired fashion, like ethanol under glass or something, whatever she did to staple it back together again. Ashes crumbling to dust and blowing away in a wind of disinterest and hate. All sorts of tacky metaphors. Crying in the shower. Dining alone. His fault. Only not really. Not always. Not entirely. There were still shreds of love clinging to her overly tired bones.
They met at a hospital fundraising dinner, Julie sitting dejected while James flirted with that slut in accounting who stood no chance with him, blonde hair shimmering and black dress too low cut, and Julie felt like reminding James that he’d made his wedding vows for a reason until she noticed that he wasn’t wearing his ring anyway. She looked up into a pair of sympathetic blue eyes and couldn’t help but wince that someone else had noticed just how far apart she and her husband had grown.
Julie got a business card and a smile for her pains and went home to pull her hair down around her shoulders and watch James undo his cufflinks and fall into bed without looking at her. She knew that she’d looked beautiful because she’d taken care to make sure that she would be so, but James didn’t notice and never noticed and Julie realised that evening, washing off her mascara with tears stinging her eyelids, that it no longer mattered what she did or didn’t do because she was no longer in any sort of control. James no longer loved her and she should have run and she- she couldn’t.
It started with coffee and tennis games, innocence all over, conversations in which Julie omitted most of the details of her life, her marriage, and her past. Strange then, that they found anything to talk about, but they did. Words twisting and spilling around and Julie got really good at beating her at tennis.
She can’t remember the switch and the way lips met hers on a street corner in the dark, the first contact she’d had in too long (James wouldn’t even look at her anymore; and when he did he gave her accusing looks like he blamed her for everything that had ever gone wrong in his life, so painful it made her ribs ache). Maybe that was why then; Julie was so hungry for any kind of touch she’d destroy her marriage for it. Destroy her marriage without even so much as a thought.
At first… well, she’d always wanted to be married, or at least, if not wanted, she’d always assumed that she would be, which Julie understood was not at all the same thing but was something nonetheless. And James had been married twice but he had this edge of charm that Julie couldn’t and didn’t resist; perhaps she was blinkered, trying to convince herself that it would work. Or maybe it was just that James was there and she’d convince herself to the ends of the earth that she’d do anything to make him stay. It was always like that, at first. James had this edge and Julie was his long before she even began to consider the possibility that she might be.
And their marriage worked to a point, but James worked long hours and spent even more time not being at home even when he wasn’t working, and Julie hated being alone, sitting at a dinner table set for two and wishing she could bring herself to clear the untouched food away. So she felt that it was ok to do what she was doing, to throw her wedding vows onto the floor and walk over them, the same way James did. This wasn’t what marriage was supposed to be about, she was sure of it, but there wasn’t any way to change it.
So it was simple, and it was still simple, to give in to lust and desperation, to take trembling step after trembling step down a path that she could never walk back up again (once you’ve cheated once, it’s easier and easier to keep on doing it, to tangle your fingers in her long, dark hair and promise yourself that you’ll deal with the consequences one day- or maybe you’ll never even have to). Waking up to smiles again (because it wasn’t like James was ever home to find another woman in their bed), having someone to talk to, not having to sit around at home working out exactly how much of a bottle of wine was too much and how much was just about numbing. Having contact, whether it was skin to skin or hands intertwining and twisting together, gentle and purposeful, and Julie felt lonelier and lonelier when she was left alone again.
James, for reasons of his own, started coming home again, bringing chocolate and flowers and those helpless little smiles he specialised in, and Julie began to think that maybe having an affair was a pretty dumbass idea after all, and took a step back so fast it made her head spin. Accusing blue eyes on her as she walked away without refusing to look back because it was James that she’d made her promises to, however worthless they’d worked out in the end.
It didn’t work. Julie was determined that all of this would stop and she couldn’t make it stop, because it wasn’t James she wanted now, no matter how hard she tried to make her mind blank and clean, to remember what it was like waiting for him and wanting no one but him (and perhaps she’d never wanted him like that, but that wasn’t a thought that would be productive at this point in time). It took a week and a lot of slightly crying in the shower before she cracked, gave in, and fell backwards into the pit she’d been trying to pull herself out of.
But even that- even that was a lie. It wasn’t a pit and Julie was glad to be there. Warm blue eyes and smiles and in the end it was almost too easy to sit James down and pretend she couldn’t see the tears in his eyes and tell him that she’d been having an affair (oh, the dirty blackness of that word, oh, how it stained). He shouted but they could both tell that his heart wasn’t in it and Julie had to dig her nails into her palms to prevent herself from pressing her lips against his cheek like a ‘sorry’ or maybe not, letting him walk away and in spite of everything her lips curved into a smile.