She sat outside of the clinic and waited. It didn't matter that snow covered the ground and that the wind blew harshly against her skin, she had to prove to herself that she wasn't a coward anymore. Even if things worked out against her, Lacey at least needed to know that she tried.
The way she had led her life was always to only act after the first move had been made, and she never made the first move. She would give people there space and the time they needed. They would have to come to her when they were ready to face whatever problem had come between them. This was a good way to keep from getting hurt, and it was never her fault if they never came back.
Just give them time. Just let them make their own decisions without her influence. Let her be the one willing to talk, but never approached. Let her be the one who had all the answers but never shared them with those who refused to listen. Let her be the coward.
"What are you doing here?" Tamera asked as she recognized the figure standing hunched over against the side wall of the clinic.
"I'm making the first move." Lacey answered and pushed her hands further in her coat pockets.
"The first move towards what?" Tamera turned away from Lacey and put her key into the lock for the clinic door.
"If I were to ask you out to dinner would you turn me down?"
Tamera stopped turning the key in the lock and forced herself to look at Lacey. "Probably."
"If I let you hit me then will that probably turn into a no?"
Tamera couldn't help the smirk that came over her face. She had been thinking of doing just that when she realized who it was standing outside. "How long have you been out here?"
"Long enough for my face to get numb enough so that I don't feel a thing when you punch me."
"Well if I went inside I'd be making all the first moves. At least this way I can pretend that you came to me instead of the other way. It has to do with my pride."
"You stayed out here for your pride?"
"Don't make it sound completely unfathomable."
"You do realize that pride has been the downfall of many a man...and woman."
"I do," Lacey nodded then blew out a puff of air. "I also realize we're very good at coming up with distracting subjects so that we don't have to discuss why I'm here."
Tamera pulled her key out of the lock then pushed on the door and walked back inside the clinic. The warm air brushed against her face and caused a certain calm to come across her. She didn't want to face Lacey now. She never wanted to face Lacey again.
"You can come inside now," Tamera called out to her unexpected companion. "I refuse to let you subject me to your own self-torture."
Lacey dipped her head and entered the clinic. Instead of the heat calming her it made her tense. She had gotten her muscles to relax in the freezing weather and she had been prepared to make her stance there. The change in environment rocked her senses.
"May I ask why you just didn't go to Morgan?" Tamera took off her coat and threw it on the back of one of the chairs in the waiting room.
Lacey stood only four feet from the door and still had her hands in her pockets and her coat buttoned to the top. "Because Morgan loves you more than she does me, and I'll have to prove to you first that I'm not the person in the story you heard before I can return to Morgan and be her friend."
"Are you going to try and talk me into believing that people can change?"
"I don't have to."
Tamera raised her brow in question.
"I've known you for a while now-- as long as Morgan-- and I know that you have a good and forgiving heart. You forgive those you have brought harm to you, but you hesitate to do so for those who have brought harm to those you love. I think this only shows how big of a heart you really have. You care more for others than you ever will yourself."
"I don't believe I've ever heard you say so many words before in one statement." Tamera ran her hand through her hair, this being her only sign of her discomfort. "But what is your point exactly?"
"My only point is that I understand why you feel towards me as you do, but I want to put in question whether what you think you feel is really how you feel."
"I think you're letting your anger override your true feelings and I think your true feelings scare you."
"How did you come to this conclusion?"
"You are standing across from me now, are you afraid of me?"
Tamera sighed and shook her head. "No."
"Do you think I would hurt you?"
"No, but I'm sure that Morgan didn't think you'd hurt her either when you did."
"That's something she can only answer, but I would say she suspected that I would eventually. She was loyal to me when she shouldn't have been."
"I am the person who you always thought I am, Tamera. I'm the one who became your confidant when you and Morgan were hiding your love. I'm the one that supported Morgan through it all and I'm the one who brought her back to you. You have never met that other me and you will never get a chance to meet her. I buried her a long time ago."
"But she's still in you."
"That's true, but I know how to control her now. Even if I didn't I'd kill myself before I'd do anything..."
"You'd hope that you'd be able to at least."
"I hope that if I couldn't then someone else would."
Tamera crossed then uncrossed her arms. She shifted her stance then shifted it again.
"Judge me for my past if you want, I can't stop you from doing that, but I want you to remember who you know me to be as well."
Tamera shifted once more then released a long sigh. "Instead of you taking me to dinner why don't you come over to our place instead? If you wanted you could call Kelli up and she could be there too."
For the first time since she had stepped into the clinic Lacey removed her hands from her pockets and relaxed her stance.
"I'd love to."
To be concluded in Fine Now