Not only was I incredibly touched and honored, I was floored. It's exactly
they type of scenario I would have chosen had I decided to write this scene.
It could be dropped right into my story (after the scene at Roy's house),
and no one would be the wiser. It was too good to be shared just between
the two of us, so she graciously allowed me to add it to my site as a companion
to the story that inspired it. I took the liberty of including a few lines
from Requiem around the piece (in italics),
so you can see it in context. Once you've read it, drop her a line and
tell her to find time in her busy life to write more fan fiction, why don't
It Might Have Gone Like This. . . .
by Michelle Cornelson
(Companion to Requiem by dee_ayy)
“What was Chet THINKING?” John exclaimed the minute Roy closed the
front door on their
Roy sat back down on the sofa. “I don’t know, Johnny, I don’t know.”
“I can’t do this, Roy! What do you say at a funeral?”
“You’ll think of something.”
“Yeah, right,” Gage said bitterly. “You know what this is, don’t you?”
“It’s the phantom’s last prank, that’s what it is. His last prank.”
It was well past 11 PM when Roy returned from the viewing at the funeral home.
Joanne lay silently in bed, listening to her weary husband get undressed.
“How was it?” she finally asked.
Roy sat down heavily on the bed, shoulders slumped. “Long. Draining. I wish…I mean, I know why Mr. and Mrs. Kelly wanted all of us to be there, but…it was…damn tough.”
He slid into bed next to his wife of almost 18 years and gently kissed her. Despite the fact that he’d just brushed his teeth, the undeniable scent of Guinness lingered. Joanne smiled knowingly.
“Cap treated us to a couple of beers at Kavanaugh’s,” he admitted with a wry grin.
“Your dress blues are pressed and ready. Oh, and Chris polished your shoes—they’re in the closet.”
“Thanks, hon. And thanks for getting Chris to do the shoes.”
He could see the puzzled look on Joanne’s face, even through the darkness. “Roy, I didn’t ask him to polish the shoes—I thought YOU did!” Both parents smiled.
“I guess we all tried to stay a bit busy today. A couple of times I caught Jen in tears. Chris has been pretty quiet. This is really hard on the kids, hon.” Joanne explained with a huge sigh.
Raising himself on his right elbow, he looked at his wife. “And what about you? How’re you holding up?”
“Who? Me? The ultimate fireman’s wife? No one caught me cryin’ today. No siree! The minute I felt the urge, I locked myself in the bathroom!” she answered with a sad smile.
Roy knew her words were true. For some reason, she couldn’t stand to let anyone see her cry.
“Really, Jo…how’re ya doin’?” It was a question she’d asked him several times since Chet Kelly’s death.
Her eyes filled with tears as she answered, “I’m in a constant emotional battle between grief and guilt. On one hand I say, ‘Oh my God! It was Chet!’ and in the same breath say, ‘Oh thank God it was Chet and not my husband and my kids’ father!’
“Sounds like you’ve been talking to Jennifer. She said the same thing…well, basically the same thing. She wondered if it made her a bad person to think that way.” The tired man laid back onto his pillow. A minute of silence passed between them in the moonlight. A minute full of thoughts unspoken.
“We’d better get to sleep. Tomorrow is gonna be another long day,” Joanne yawned while wrapping her body next to her husband, so they resembled spoons resting side by side.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow he'd gather with a sea of men in freshly pressed blue uniforms and polished shoes. Tomorrow he'd drive an impeccably clean squad through the streets of LA to a cemetary. Tomorrow they would bury Chester B. Kelly. Tomorrow.
Joanne didn’t know how much time had passed when Roy’s body began to tremble and sob uncontrollably. The man of steel finally broke.
“Jo, I just—”
“Sshh…it’s okay, honey. It’s okay.” She positioned herself in a way
so that she was cradling him with her arms, his head on her chest, slightly
rocking, caressing his hair while her husband cried for the loss of his
Joanne cried silently, too. Tears of grief for Chet. Tears of pain for her husband. Tears of joy that Roy was in their bed, not a funeral home.
They fell asleep like that, Joanne comforting Roy. Somewhere in the darkness, he stirred, waking them both.
They made love slowly. Almost reverently.
As a tribute to their love.
As a tribute to life.
Mike pulled his pickup into the parking lot behind the station. It was early again, but again he had a task to do. Both the front and back doors of the apparatus bay were thrown open, and the men of C shift were already hard at work polishing the engine and squad.
But today it was his engine. His responsibility. He was gonna make
sure it was done right. He
slipped into the locker room to hang his dress uniform up, then wandered back into the bay. The engine was pulled forward, out into the open, so the sun was glistening off her.
A beautiful day for a parade, Mike noted mirthlessly. Some parade.
Like it? Let Michelle know.
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