Fandom: Phyllis and Billy (Philly)
Title: New Start
He knocked on the door again, restlessly shifting from foot to foot. “Come on, Phyllis. Open the door. I just want to talk to you.” Hearing nothing he turned the knob, surprised when the door opened.
The desk was covered with papers, files, empty coffee cups, wrappers from granola bars. She’d clearly been pulling all nighters here–no doubt trying to prove how committed she was. Billy sat down in the chair, his eyes falling on a cover sheet.
The submission report on top showed the document had already been faxed, but it was her handwritten signature on the next page that drew his attention. His eyes scanned the page, key words catching his attention at first. He stopped, putting the paper back down on the desk. There had to be an explanation. She wouldn’t do something like this and not tell him.
“What are you doing in here?”
Phyllis stood in the doorway, a stack of files on one hand, the other hand firmly planted on her hip. “You shouldn’t be in here.”
Billy stood, gesturing to her chair. “It’s all yours,” he said quietly. “What exactly are you worried about though? You think I’m going to steal Jabot’s secrets? Somehow I doubt my brother’s sharing any inside info with you.”
Phyllis sighed “No.” She sat down again, tossing the files back on the desk. “No he’s not.”
“I assume you’re not making any progress in your quest to save your marriage?” Billy watched her intently. He didn’t revel watching her suffer. The last thing he wanted was to cause her pain, but she was intent on torturing herself–on trying to save something long dead.
“You assume correctly.” Her eyes narrowed as she saw him nod knowingly. “Don’t act like you feel bad about it. I know you never wanted things to work out with us. You thought things were doomed from the start.”
“I just wanted you to be happy, Phyllis and I don’t think Jack can do that for you. It’s that simple.” He should turn and leave–leave well alone, but he couldn’t. He had to know. Not knowing would be something he wasn’t sure he could live with.
“When were you going to tell me?”
Phyllis looked up, her eyes flashing with surprise. “What?”
“I was just wondering when you were going to tell me…I mean…you were going to…”
The look on his face was his answer. He reached for a file box, pulling it away from the wall and sitting on it. “You weren’t going to tell me at all, were you?”
“Billy…I…” She shook her head. “How did you find out. Did Summer….”
He scoffed. “No. I haven’t talked to Summer, but it’s nice to know someone else knew too. Who else, Phyllis? Jack, Ashley, Michael, Lauren, how about your manicurist…”
“Stop it, please…” Her voice shook. “Just Summer. I haven’t told anyone else yet.”
“So if I hadn’t found the papers, I never would have known….”
It was stupid to leave them like that, but he had no right….
“You have no right to come in here digging through my desk drawers…”
Billy stood up, stepping towards her. “I didn’t dig through anything. It was right on top of your desk.”
“It was not,” Phyllis yelled, jerking open the drawer and pulling out the lab report.
Billy grabbed it from her hand. “What the hell is this?” His head spun as his brain began to process the information. They were arguing over two entirely different secrets.
He looked at her, his eyes wide in total disbelief. “You’re pregnant?”
A nervous smile played upon his face until the next piece of information hit, “But you weren’t gonna tell me…” He leaned forward, brushing through the papers to find the faxed acceptance letter. “You were going to leave town, accept this job offer in Chicago, and never even tell me you were carrying our child.”
To hear it out loud, from his lips–it sounded more awful than she’d even dreamed. It was the utter disbelief in his voice–the fact that he was so genuinely shocked that she could be capable of such an act.
“I wasn’t trying to hurt you…I swear. I just. I ruined everything…your whole life. Your family turned against you, your mother’s on the warpath, Victoria’s more spiteful than ever, the press is having a field day dragging all of us through the mud, you can’t even see your kids right now–and it’s all because of me. I just wanted to stop the bleeding, you know? Contain it…that’s what you do when you’re dealing with a disaster…you try to contain it..minimize the damage.”
“And you leaving without so much as a screw you–that’s not damaging? Do you have any idea the hell I would have gone through if you’d just disappeared without a word? No goodbye…nothing? Why would you do that? Why would you want to leave me like that?”
“I didn’t want to, but I knew..,I knew you’d look at me just like you’re looking at me now. I knew your eyes would melt every shred of resolve I had. I knew you’d touch me…” She closed her eyes as the feeling of his hands on her bare neck sent a warm wave rushing through her. “Just like that,” she whispered, “and I knew…I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk away.”
She felt the warmth of his body as he leaned in closer to her.
“Wait,” she whispered. “I do want you to know that I told Summer about the baby do that she could tell you later. I wanted to get settled in my new job and my new place and I wanted to make sure everything was ok with the pregnancy…get through those first few weeks. I was going to tell you. I wanted you to know. I would never…”
He pulled her close to him. She could feel his warm breath on her neck as he whispered his acceptance. He took a seat on the desk, his hands still on her, one gently tussling her hair and the other gently stroking her hand. It was as if he was afraid breaking contact would cause her to vanish. They sat like that for a while–neither one speaking, both just enjoying the momentary simplicity of the moment.
“What you said earlier…” Billy turned, training his eyes on her, “what you said about getting settled in your new place and in your new job–what if you had some help?”
He smiled as he saw a flicker of light in her eyes. “I know some people in Chicago. I know I could get a good job there and it’s not too far from home..I could make trips to see the kids on weekends–fly them out on holidays..”
She shifted her body to study him more closely. “You’re really serious about this aren’t you?”
“Yeah–absolutely I am. There’s nothing keeping me in this town. My kids will still be in my life and most importantly,” he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her tight against him, “we’d get to start fresh in a new city where people don’t know us, won’t judge us, won’t try to tell us what to do or how to feel.”
“Right…especially when we already know how we feel,” Phyllis smiled.
Life was a funny thing. She’d spent all these weeks chasing what she thought she wanted when what she actually wanted was sitting right in front of her the entire time.
“How did you know?” she whispered? “How did you know I loved you when I’m not even sure I knew myself.”
Billy shrugged. “I guess I didn’t…not for certain…not really, but I loved you too much to miss the chance–even if you turned me down, even if you pushed me away…I had to try.”
She shook her head. “I’m so sorry that I hurt you. I’m so sorry I was so stubborn and stupid and…”
He silenced her, his lips pressing down on hers with a kiss that nearly took her breath. She leaned back, blinking, stunned.
“No more apologies. This is a new life–new town, new job, new baby–new everything…”
He pulled her close to him again. “No baggage this time–just the memories and the love.”