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The Night After

by Katie McNamara

Remember WENN and these characters arenít mine... Blah, blah, blah they belong to Rupert Holmes and AMC.

This story takes place after And If I Die Before I Sleep

Jeff slowly opened his eyes. He wasnít quite sure where he was, but he knew wherever he was it was dark.

Oh no, this canít be happening again, he thought. He was comforted when he turned his head and found his co-workers sleeping around him, Hilary curled up to his left.

Jeff sat up and moved closer to her as she shifted slightly. Brushing a curl away from her face, Jeff thought about the events that had happened some twenty-four hours before. Could it be true that she still loved him? As he thought, he could hear her voice in his head...

Life is brief, and you and I are such a pair...such a pair of briefs.

Okay, so that ended in delirious silliness, but would she have said it if she didnít mean it? Smiling, he remembered when she broke down into tears on the air and for one brief moment, he was able to hold her close again. He meant everything he said in that moment, and would have said more except that Betty had fallen asleep and he and Scott had to wake her up. Jeff looked at Hilary once more and smiled before he went back to sleep, his hand over hers.

Around 7 oíclock, Betty woke Jeff up gently. "Why donít you go on home and get some sleep?" she said as she bent to wake Hilary.

"No, Betty, donít. Iíll do it," he whispered. The young writer smiled and moved to wake Scott.

"Hilary?" he whispered. She turned and opened her eyes slightly.

"Hmm?"

"Come on, lets go home," he said, lifting her into his arms.

"Oh, Jeff. Iím so tired," she murmured as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

"I know," he said, quietly opening the door and moving into the hallway.

Later, in the taxi, Jeff watched the Pittsburgh skyline fly by as he once again thought how lucky he was to be home and not still in war-torn London. He turned and looked down at Hilary asleep in his arms. He smiled, hugged her close and returned his gaze to the window.

At his touch, Hilary opened her eyes to the glare of the city lights and watched her ex-husband as he stared out the window. Smiling, she remembered how he took care of her when she almost fell asleep on the air and how he gently woke her up after her first fifteen minutes of sleep.

Jeff turned when he felt Hilary slip her hand into his. "Its about time you woke up," he commented, loosing his grip around her.

"Speaking of time, what time is it anyway?" she asked, sitting up and rubbing her neck.

"About 8íoclock. How about getting something to eat?" he asked, glancing at his watch.

"Good idea, Iím starving," Hilary said, removing the clips from her hair.

"Well, man cannot survive on coffee and the Butteryís food alone," Jeff replied, stretching his arm over the back of the seat.

Hilary smiled and settled back into the seat as Jeff gave directions to the driver.

When they reached OíMalleyís, the waiter seated Jeff and Hilary in a quiet corner booth and took their orders. Both ate in what would appear to be a strained silence. Not that they could hear each other in the noisy bar anyway.

After dinner, Jeff softly covered Hilaryís hand with his and spoke. "Hilary, I..."

"No," she stopped him, quickly pulling away. "Jeff, donít even say it. You know what my answer will be, so just donít bring it up."

Jeff sighed and sank back into his seat. "Okay. Iím going to pay the check. IĎll be right back," he said as he stood up.

Hilary watched him head toward the bar until he was lost in a sea of people. Running her finger around the glass in front of her, Hilary thought about Jeff and all he had done for her in the past couple of days. She knew he wanted her back and she wanted to go to him. But was she ready to trust him? He had hurt her deeply but it was so unlike him to do something like this. And his explanation did seem logical...

I donít know what to do, Hilary thought. But I wonít think about that now, she finished as she saw Jeffrey approaching the table with their coats.

When they got to the house, Hilary decided it would be okay to invite Jeff in for a drink. Much to her surprise, he refused, saying he wanted to get to bed early.

Hilary nodded and smiled lightly as he brushed his hand over her shoulder and headed down the front steps.

After he left, Hilary closed the front door and locked it. Walking through the house as she turned off the lights, Hilary decided that she could treat Jeff decently, but she wouldnít give him the pleasure of knowing that she cared so much for him. Before heading up the stairs, Hilary spotted a picture of Jeff and herself on their second honeymoon. She picked it up and ran her finger over the glass. Suddenly, the memories came rushing back and Hilary knew that someday she could forgive him, no, she had to forgive him.

She smiled as she put the picture down on the table and continued up the steps. Then, Hilary looked over her shoulder towards the picture and whispered, "Goodnight, my Pumpkin," just before turning off the hall light and going upstairs.

THE END

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