Pairing: Phyllis/Billy (Philly)
Title: Here For You
Michael looked up from the stack of paperwork, his mouth curving into a smile as he saw her standing in the doorway.
“To what do I owe this honor,” he quipped?
Phyllis walked over, leaning in for a quick hug and obligatory kiss on the cheek. “Well, I hadn’t heard from you and I was just sitting there in my daughter’s apartment dreading your phone call–feeling more and more pathetic by the minute.”
She sighed, her life was a sad state of affairs and everyone knew it. There was no point in trying to put a good spin on it–not that there was one to be found.
She forced another smile. “Anyway, I just figured I would take control over the only thing I have any control over…you know rip the band aid off. I’m sure Jack didn’t waste any time signing the divorce papers and sending them back, right?”
“Um,” Michael hesitated, “Actually I haven’t received anything back from Jack’s lawyer yet. I think he’s probably been preoccupied with Ashley being in the hospital.”
The look on her face told him she didn’t know.
“Ashley,” she breathed, her mind racing with possibilities. No one called her, No one even thought to include her because she was no longer a part of this family. Jack wanted her out of his house, out of his family, and out of his life.
“What happened?” she asked.
“I don’t know all the details,” Michael admitted, “I just know it was something to do with the health scare she had a while ago….and apparently it’s pretty serious.”
Phyllis stood stunned for a moment. Her immediate instinct was to rush to the hospital. She felt she should be there for Jack, but he wouldn’t want her there. She’d just make things worse. No one would want her there.
She thought of the family all gathered there–of Jack, Traci, and Abby, of Billy…
Her breath caught in her throat.
“Billy,” she whispered.
Michael’s eyes narrowed as he watched her. “Phyllis,” he warned, “Don’t do this. I know what you’re thinking…don’t.”
“Michael,” her voice cracked, “I already know what you’re gonna say, but how can I not go? How can I not be there for him? His entire family has turned against him and that’s pretty much my fault. Jack has his entire family there supporting him. Who does Billy have?”
“I’m not saying I don’t feel for the guy, Phyllis, but if you show up at that hospital, do you honestly think it’s gonna make anything better?”
“I don’t know,” she said honestly, “but I know I have to try.”
She rounded the corner, her eyes searching the crowd of anxious faces. He saw her before she saw him.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Jack spat. He stepped in front of her, blocking her from moving any further into the room.
“Jack–I didn’t come here to make this worse…I promise. I don’t want to upset you.”
“And yet you had to know I wouldn’t want you here…so why? Why do it? Why show up here now? Are you really that selfish? Do you really think that if you’re here for me now that I’ll just forget what you did? That I’ll forget the lies, the betrayal, the…”
“Jack–stop it.” She took a breath. “I didn’t come here to hurt you. I didn’t come here to impress you and I certainly didn’t come here to upset you like this.”
“You never do, do you? Life just happens to you. It’s just out of your control!” His booming voice echoed through the hospital corridor.
“Damnit, Jack! I didn’t come here for you–I came here for Billy!”
Jack stopped, opening his mouth to speak and then reconsidering. He shook his head and walked away.
Phyllis walked into the hospital waiting area. She felt the family’s angry eyes follow her. Abby stood beside Jack with Traci just behind them. Their cold stares were unforgiving, but she couldn’t focus on that now.
The glass enclosure gave her a clear view of the chair in the further most corner of the room. He sat there, his head in his hands, his suit draped across the chair beside him.
She walked into the room. “Billy,” she whispered.
He looked up, his eyes red and swollen and completely devoid of hope. He said nothing, but simply stood and stepped closer to her. She wrapped her arms around him, realizing in that moment how much she’d missed being so close to him.
“I’m so sorry,” she whispered, “No one called me or I would have been here. Why didn’t you call me?”
He pulled back, his eyes staring into hers. “Why?” He shook his head, confused as he led her back to the chair where he sat. She took a seat beside him, her hand finding its familiar spot–intertwined in his.
“I didn’t think you’d be up for another round with Jack,” he said honestly.
“Still,” she argued, “You shouldn’t be here alone. If the tables were turned, you’d be here for me.”
His eyes met hers as she said the words. Warmth rushed through her body and she felt his hand squeeze hers slightly.
“You think so?” he asked, smiling a bit. This was the first time he’d smiled in days.
“I don’t doubt it for a second,” she said softly. The intensity of his gaze forced her to look away.
“That’s because I love you. That hasn’t stopped for me–even if you don’t feel the same.”
Her eyes darted back to his, his words inspiring an immediate reaction. “I never said that.”
The words rushed from her mouth before her mind had a chance to edit. She saw the look in his eyes–the spark of hope.
“Never said what?” He touched her face gently, keeping her from turning away. He couldn’t let her overthink this. He couldn’t chance her head overshadowing her heart.
“Never said what?” he repeated.
She swallowed hard. “I never said I didn’t feel the same way. I said I wanted to fix my marriage. That can’t happen. That’s over. It’s been over a long time. I know that now. I said I loved Jack and I do–I probably always will, but I never ever said…”
She hesitated, taking a deep breath before continuing, knowing the gravity her next words would hold.
“What?” he implored.
“I never said I didn’t love you,” she said, staring into his eyes. “I never said that because I did…I still do.”
His hands took hers and she immediately felt it–the same connection that had drawn her to him from the start.
“Listen,” she whispered, “I can’t fall back into this with you so quickly. I love you and I know you love me, but I need this to be about us–the two of us –not our mutual pain, not our mutual loss, not revenge. I want this to work. I want to take this slow. You mean too much to me to let this go again. I don’t know if I realized just how much I needed this–how much I needed you, until now.”
“I’m here,” he said quietly, “And I want this too…so much.”
She nodded. “Right now, I want to be here with you..for you. We’ll have plenty of time for the rest later.”
“You’re not gonna come to your senses and run out on me again,” he asked?
She leaned in close to him, brushing her lips against his for a brief moment before pulling away. “I think running to you today is the most sensible thing I’ve done in a long, long time.”