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Because You Were Sad
She wasn’t crying. Her shoulders were still and her face was dry, but she looked so utterly lost that he wasn’t quite sure what to do. But he wanted to do something. She wasn’t someone he spoke to often, wasn’t someone he spoke of often, if for no reason other than he didn’t really know her. He thought that, maybe, after all these years, he should.
“You okay?” John asked, taking a tentative step towards her. She looked up at him, startled, then nodded. “I might be wrong, but somehow I don’t believe ya.”
She let out a huff that wasn’t a laugh, wasn’t really anything other than a sad smile and a sigh all mixed into one and, when she didn’t seem to object all that much, he sat down next to her. The sat together, side by side in silence for a while. He made no move to ask her what was wrong and she didn’t seem to feel the need to tell him, but slowly, by fractions he almost couldn’t make out, she began to relax. Her shoulder slowly melted into his arm, not leaning, but not moving away either.
He chanced a glance at her and saw the edges of a smile on her lips. Her frown was gone and she was just…sitting there next to him. Peaceful, almost. It kinda made him want to smile himself.
“Cena! Get a move on!”
The sound of Randy’s voice made them both jump and John felt (not for the first time) the urge to run his friend over with his car.
“I gotta go,” he said softly. She nodded and he chanced a smile. “You okay.”
“Yeah,” she said, her face splitting into a grin. “Yeah, I actually am.”
“Ya know what. I think I might believe ya this time.” John winked and stood up, holding out a hand to help her to her feet. Without really thinking about it, he reached down and scooped her into a quick, tight hug, grinning at the startled yelp she emitted. He could feel her shaking with laughter when he put her back on her feet, steadying her, before stepping back.
“What was that for?” she asked, still chuckling.
“Sorry,” he said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck self-consciously. “Just looked like ya needed it.”
She stepped up onto her tip toes and he leaned down to let her kiss his cheek. “Thank you, John,” she said and turned to walk away.
“Any time, Lilian, anytime.” He watched her until she turned the corner, smiling to himself and actually thinking he might need to take the time to get to know her a little better.
“Shut it, I’m comin’!” he yelled back and, taking one last look down the empty corridor, headed out to the parking lot.