posted by maverickangel35
A note from the author: I would just like to say what a pleasure it is to write for such wonderful... kind... understanding people as you all are. I bow to you.
“Jesus, Lisa!” He burst out, sitting straight up in bed. “I am fully aware of what I am! Do you honestly think that I would be doing this—saying these things—if I had a choice? I’ve tried to stay away from you. I’ve tried to stay angry with you—I’ve even tried to ignore you, and you just won’t go out of my mind.” He breathed hard, laying back down. He could hear Lisa’s breath grow ragged on the other end and closed his eyes—and plunged. He whispered. “I want you.”
On the other end, Lisa swallowed in shock—and suddenly a coughing fit seized her as her saliva went down the wrong pipe entirely. Hugh’s voice was coming stronger over the phone, but she couldn’t answer.
“Lisa?” There was no response. “Lisa, are you alright?” Hugh was starting to get himself up, wondering if he should call 911, or—
“God—” Cough. “Damn it. I’m here. Sorry.”
“Well,” said Hugh dryly, sinking back into his pillows. “I’m not sure what I expected, exactly, but I can assure you… that wasn’t it.”
“Sorry.” Lisa croaked, trying to catch her breath.
“Yeah. I’m fine. Um.” She closed her eyes tightly. “Where were we?”
Hugh glared at his wall. “You know perfectly well where we were, you horrible, evil woman.”
“Ok. Right. You… want me.” Her voice cracked and she rolled her eyes. Honestly, who was acting like a thirteen year old now? “Um. Are you sure?”
“Am I sure?” Hugh actually took the phone away from his ear and stared at it incredulously. “Lisa, this is pathetic. What, do you want a list of reasons, a rundown of how I know this? Fine. Here it is. We’ll start with that funny feeling I get in my stomach when I realize we’re shooting together that day, or the fact that you know me so well that you went off and brought in a gross of Really Crazy hats just to make me laugh even when I was being such an ass to you. I never did thank you for that.”
“You’re welcome,” Lisa said quietly, but Hugh wasn’t done.
“And in the beginning of the season, when Michael was on set, I would see him flirting with you, and it would make me nauseous, and I couldn’t understand why. You wouldn’t back away when we were doing the Staredown for that photo shoot, you just—how about the fact that I now know you could sleep through an avalanche and I think it’s the most endearing thing I’ve ever seen in my life, or the note you left me when you spent the night because your car wouldn’t start? Hell, even the fact that your car died on you and you called yourself spacey? Lisa, you’re one of the smartest, best people I know.”
“I am not finished.” Hugh said sharply. “Do you know I still have no bread in my house? You ate it all when you brought me my script, and I haven’t been bothered to go to the store and get more, but now I realize that probably the only way I could get you over here is to promise you any variety of toast you could possibly want, and that—is irrationally upsetting to me.”
“You think I only care about your toast.” Lisa said flatly.
“I know exactly what you about,” Hugh murmured. “And I’ll tell you for damn sure what I care about. I am just completely and totally overwhelmed by you. The way you can go from Cuddy’s clothes, which are just outrageously sexy, but even more, the way you look when you’re just wearing comfy pants and t-shirts before and after filming. The way you brush the hair out of your eyes. The way you cheat at Uno—and the way you’re getting all riled up and ready to deny it right now.”
Lisa had sat straight up in the bed, and now leaned back again, narrowing her eyes and waiting for Hugh to play himself out.
“You’ve done something to me,” he continued. “The way you make my palms sweaty, and you don’t even have to be doing anything… you send me crashing into set pieces and put me at great risk for injury—and even the fact you totally called me out on reading the Twilight books, and have been unforgivably cruel to me ever since. You came after me when I finally threw that temper tantrum during filming, and you got up in my face and told me I was being an ass, and then—God, Lisa…” Hugh rubbed his face with his palm, the phone slippery in his hand. “Kissing you… I don’t even have words for what it’s like to kiss you. I thought it was incredible even with all the cameras and sound guys and lights and everything, until I kissed you in the rehearsal room, and that was just—I’m serious. I can’t even tell you what you did to me that day. And I am, therefore, quite sure that my earlier statement still stands, in light of the evidence… I. Want. You. Period.” Hugh stopped, and for a few seconds there was nothing but heavy breathing on either end of the phone. “And when I tell you this momentous fact… your response is to choke to death.”
Lisa burst out laughing. Hugh smiled into the air on the other end, waiting for her response.
“God, Hugh…” Lisa was still chuckling lightly. “That was… not what I was expecting. I mean, it was wonderful, but…”
And the world came crashing down around him. “But?”
“No, God, Hugh, don’t misunderstand me, please, just—give me a second?” Lisa took a breath. “I understand. I do, I know exactly what you mean, just—the only thing I can’t understand, because I’m not in the same situation, is how difficult it must be for you to… go out on a limb like this, and take a chance like this, all the while knowing you have—I mean, back in London, you’ve got—”
Lisa Edelstein absolutely positively hated to cry. She could do it, yes, at the drop of a hat, should it be required for a scene. But when it came to real life, she point blank refused to let herself get overwhelmed to the point of tears. Now, though, having this conversation, with this man… Twice already she had tried to use the word ‘wife’ and twice her throat had closed up convulsively and she began to feel sick to her stomach. Her eyes welled up against all her internal railing at herself, and one single tear fell before she could get herself under control enough to speak clearly.
“Ok. Here’s what we’re looking at. It’s—its curiosity, that’s all. The lure of the unknown. And that’s—”
“Don’t you dare.” Hugh hissed into his mouthpiece. “Don’t you dare try and talk this away. That’s all we’ve done is talk things away all year, and I won’t have it.”
“What exactly makes you think I’m giving you a choice?” Lisa’s dander was up. This is good, she told herself frantically. Anger I can do. Yelling I can do. Loving him…
“You’re not giving me a choice, you’re not taking away my choice, don’t you see choice has nothing to do with anything anymore?” Hugh argued. “Lisa… ok. I want you to say the words. I want you to tell me, once and for all, that I’m wrong. Tell me what you’re thinking.”
And Lisa raised her eyes to the ceiling, said a few completely heinous swear words to herself in her head, and closed her eyes. “I don’t want you.”
Hugh’s heart jumped into his throat; his stomach roiled. “You’re lying.”
“Look, you told me to tell you, and I told you. And now I’m going to tell you to hang up the phone and get some sleep. We have to film tomorrow.”
“I’ll see you on set.” Lisa pulled the phone away from her ear and pushed the ‘off’ button. She put the phone down and picked up her pillow and buried her face in it, trying to convince herself that if the pillowcase absorbed all her tears, they hadn’t really fallen.
Hugh set down his phone, walked into the bathroom, and finally gave in to the nausea that had overtaken him. Resting his head against his arm, not moving from his position on the bathroom floor, he closed his eyes and tried to make sense of what had just happened. She was lying. She had to be. But what could he do about it?
Suddenly he lifted his head, his eyes set and determined, a faint smile beginning to cross his lips. She could lie to him on the phone. She couldn’t lie to his face. He was going to give her one last chance.
This was, after all, an emergency.