[Disclaimer] This is pure fiction, written about real people.
[Pairing] Connie Britton & Chip Esten
[Note] I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. It wouldn’t go away, so I had to…
A one shot.
The room is silent; a stark contrast to the sounds of filming that had assaulted her for the majority of the day. She sinks back into a pillow, the top of her head resting against the headboard of her bed. Next to her the display of her phone flashes. She doesn’t need to look to know that it’s not a message she wants to read. Pulling a blanket around herself, she focuses on her breathing.
It was stupid of her to mention anything. She was feeling sorry for herself and without thinking made a comment which brought on the sweet, but unwanted attention of her friends. During every break she had on set that day there were notifications of texts and emails, inquiries into her feelings and declarations that she was going to be fine. She was glad that she only had to run through the explanation once, knowing that the information would be passed along to the rest of the group.
In the intervening years since her parents have passed, the markers of time have become increasingly more difficult. Each anniversary, holiday, and birthday is a reminder of both life and death, a reminder to cherish the people who are in her life, a reminder of those who are no longer with her in the same way. This year, she’s found herself in a rut.
She thinks back on this time last year, when things were complicated in a much different manner that now. She had readily accepted that she had feelings for her married costar. She had allowed herself to encourage the bond that she had with him. She found herself hurtling head over heels deeper into an emotional affair which was certainly not one sided.
And now a year later all of the process that had been made has come to a grinding halt. For the past several weeks, Chip has been radio silent on anything not directly involving work. She’s not sure what happened, although she can venture a guess. If anything, she wishes that he would have the decency to answer her when she’s asked him what gives.
They had gotten too close, she knows. They had given in to temptation and then some, the affair crossing over from just emotional to include physical. It had been inevitable, only a question of when it would finally happen. And once it had happened, she thought that there would be no going back. But suddenly he was being cordial; he was keeping his hands to himself. Even worse, he was keeping his words to himself. Before, she couldn’t remember the last time she had gone more than twenty four hours without talking to him.
Work has been forcing them to interact more, forcing them to face each other and the blur between their own lives and the characters. The increase of time spent together is like picking at an open wound, yet at the same time she craves it. No matter how much it may hurt to see him, she knows deep down that it’s better than the alternative of not seeing him at all.
On the eve of her birthday, she found herself mulling over everything. Her parents’ absence, one too many times missing reading a bedtime story and tucking her son into bed, Chip’s withdrawal: It was all weighing down on her at the same time.
The clock ticks as the hands move from eleven fifty nine to midnight, and her phone lights up again. This time she grabs it to scroll through the conversations. Finding the one with his name at the top, she opens it.
It reads, “Happy birthday. I love you.”
A tear streams down her face, curving and pooling at the corner of her upturned mouth. She hadn’t known what, if anything, to expect from him. This goes beyond anything she had realistically allowed herself to consider.
She doesn’t trust herself to call him: She doesn’t trust her voice; she doesn’t know if she can handle her call going to voicemail if he’s not free to talk. So she sends him a text back, happy that the lines of communication are open again.
“I love you, too.”
While she’s unsure what exactly this means for them, she knows that things are looking up. Tucking the blanket under her feet, she curls up and falls asleep as soon as she closes her eyes.
[Note] I’m currently working on something else which I promise will be much happier!