[chapter eleven]

(The following morning)

Fiona sat with her hands wrapped around her cup of coffee tightly, staring into the blackness of the hot drink. Around her, McDonald's was a bustle of activity, but she saw and heard none of it. Upon waking an hour before, Fiona had slid out of Junior's arms and snuck out of his house. She couldn't face him…not yet. Not after last night.

She'd called in reinforcements. Maggie was on the way.

"Oh honey…" She looked up as Maggie's voice drifted across the restaurant. Maggie swept her into a tight hug, then sat down across from her. "Tell me everything."

"Oh Mags…what am I going to do?" Fiona moaned.

"Tell me." Maggie demanded. "Start from the beginning."

Fiona related how she had found Shannon and his…paramour…in their bed, her subsequent flight to Junior's, and her decision to sleep with him.

"You slept with him?" Maggie asked gently. Fiona could only nod, with a blush colouring her cheeks. "And?" Maggie prodded.

"And…I don't know. Oh god, Mags…" Fiona cried. "I don't know what now. I mean…Shannon and I have so much history, and we've been together so long, and then we've been drifting apart, and I've been thinking so much about Junior and how he makes me feel, and he treats me so much better than Shannon has lately, and he seems to care about me too, but then maybe it's an act, I mean, he is considered a womanizer, and what if I was just a trophy to him, or what if I don't mean anything to him, or what if I do, and then there's my job…"

"Take a breath, Fi." Maggie insisted, interrupting her friend. "One thing at a time. Shannon."

"Shannon…I don't know. We obviously have been on rocky ground, and have been fighting more. I knew we weren't where we were supposed to be, but I didn't even consider that he was cheating on me. In retrospect, it explains all the nights he was out or the distance he's been putting between us."

"Junior." Maggie said.

"Junior…god, Mags, I've fallen for him, whether I like it or not. He's so…so…I don't know. He's a gentleman, he's kind, he's hysterical, and he's protective of me. We get along so well, and I feel so…safe with him. I can't picture a day without him in it. That sounds weird, since we really haven't known each other that long, but…" Fiona paused. "It's like wild chemistry, but the whole package is included. I just hope he feels the same way. I'd hate it if I was just…"

"How was last night?" Maggie said, with a small smirk. "You knew I had to ask."

"Phenomenal." Fiona blushed again. "Amazing. Wonderful. Fun. Tender - all that stuff that makes your toes curl."

"Excellent." Maggie smiled. "Okay, job."

"Job." Fiona sighed. "I don't know, Mags. I crossed a serious line last night - that's why I left in such a hurry today. Can I face him again? Can I continue to do my job? Can I keep this to myself or do I have to tell Jade? Should I fire myself?"

"I don't know about this one. I would keep it to yourself for a while. Talk to Junior, see where he is." Maggie recommended.

"I can't…what if he doesn't feel the same way. God, I feel like a simpleton. If I risked my job…" Fiona said.

"Talk to him. See what happens. See where it goes…" Maggie repeated.

"Can't I just avoid work for a while, like normal high schoolers?" Fiona moaned to which Maggie laughed.

"If only life were that simple."

***

Junior leapt out of bed, threw on a pair of boxers and walked through the house. When he saw Fiona's clothes gone and his sweats neatly folded on his couch, he knew she was gone. Sinking down onto the couch, he rubbed his eyes slowly and leaned back.

God, last night was amazing. The same thought kept swirling in his head. But in the harsh light of day, he winced. Maybe it was a mistake. She was hurting and upset, and maybe he took advantage of her - his own lust and feelings for her masking his need to "do the right thing".

But he couldn't stop. He just couldn't stop.

Junior sighed and tried to picture what a day at the office would be like today. They would have to have that awkward silence between them again. The sideways glances. Hell, maybe even the "what now" talk.

He didn't want all that. He just wanted everything to be like it was - only better. Better where he could touch her, hold her, be with her all the time…

Junior wondered if she'd gone back to Shannon yet.

God, he hoped not.

'Only one way to find out, bonehead', Junior chastised himself. He stood and walked slowly to his bedroom to get dressed.

***

"Hi." Junior said, knocking on Fiona's door.

"Hi." Fiona said softly.

"I…um…so…" Junior stumbled, and Fiona hid a small smile.

"Let's just not…not here. Or now." Fiona said and Junior nodded. "That was…unprofessional, and I'm sorry I put you in that position last night. I shouldn't have come over. I apologize."

"I'm not sorry." Junior said. "If there's anything I can do…"

"Thanks." Fiona said. "I'll be fine. Let's just…for a few days, let's just keep things…"

"Professional?" Junior asked.

"Yeah." Fiona whispered. "I have some things to sort out, and I just want to do a good job here. With everything. Okay?"

"Sure." Junior said. "I better let you get back to work." Junior exited her office and closed the door behind him. Heaving a big sigh, he walked back downstairs as Fiona uttered a large sigh of her own.

Damn.

chapter twelve