kay_brooke: Two purple flowers against a green background (spring)
kay_brooke ([personal profile] kay_brooke) wrote in [community profile] rainbowfic2017-06-18 10:09 pm

Argent #22, Silver Screen #11, Wedding Dress White #10

Name: [personal profile] kay_brooke
Story: Unusual Florida
Colors: Argent #22 (time to heal), Silver Screen #11 (What we've got here is failure to communicate), Wedding Dress White #10 (chapel)
Styles/Supplies: Frame, Graffiti (Red Carpet #1, Shojo-ai/Shonen-ai)
Word Count: 1,203
Rating/Warnings: PG-13; no standard warnings apply.
Summary: Julia notices Hope is upset.
Note: Constructive criticism is welcome, either through comments or PM.


She didn't say anything, but Julia knew something was wrong, from the way she walked, steps jerky and short, to the way she opened a cabinet and stared inside it for a good minute before retrieving a coffee mug, to the listless way she dropped into the armchair, setting aside her coffee and ignoring it.

"Bad day at work?" Julia asked, keeping her voice light. Hope was reticent at the best of times, and would shut down entirely if she thought her problems might burden or upset someone else.

"No," said Hope, and offered nothing more.

Julia put down the article she had been reading. They were both working to put themselves through grad school, but Julia had lucked out and secured a teaching assistantship at the beginning of the year. Hope was working as a part time paralegal to make ends meet, a career field Julia knew held nothing but bad memories for her. But it paid better than retail, and had more predictable hours. "So you don't want to talk?" She tried very hard to keep the frustration out of her voice. She was an impatient person by nature, but with Hope she'd had to get better at waiting until the other person was ready. She did learn, because Hope was worth it, but no one could completely change overnight.

"It's stupid," said Hope, which was an encouraging sign. At least she hadn't point blank refused to say anything.

"If it's upset you, it's not stupid," said Julia.

Hope smacked the chair's arm. "But it is," she insisted. "I shouldn't be so upset about it. I should have gotten over it. I should have moved on."

Julia waited.

Hope looked at her for several moments. "You don't want to hear about it. You really don't."

"I do, if you want to talk about it."

Hope winced and looked away. "It's just...it's about an ex. You don't want to hear about it."

"That Tobias guy?" Julia asked gently. She thought her relationship with Hope had progressed far beyond the point where they had to worry about being insecure over exes.

Hope snorted. "No. He could be dead for all I know. Or care, for that matter." Her voice was too breezy.

"Okay."

Hope sighed, as if she realized Julia wasn't going to drop it just with that. "No, it's Maria. I told you about her."

"The one who heartlessly dumped you?" Julia asked, wary now. Tobias was okay territory, because he'd clearly been an abusive asshole and Hope had left him. But Maria was someone Hope had been truly in love with, and Julia was sure they'd still be together if Maria hadn't cut and run. So maybe there was a tiny little bit of insecurity left.

Hope shrugged. "I don't know if I'd say heartlessly. We grew apart. She was just the one who ended it first."

That was years of distance and maybe a little bit of historical revisionism speaking. Julia knew the tone, but she didn't point it out. Sometimes historical revisionism wasn't an entirely bad thing.

"But she's getting married," Hope continued, punctuating the announcement with a slight shrug of her shoulders, as if she hadn't been shutting cabinet doors a little too loudly only minutes before. “In this gorgeous little chapel down the road from where we used to live. She isn’t even religious.”

"Tell me she didn't invite you!" Maybe, maybe that would have been appropriate had the two remained on good terms, but as far as Julia knew Hope hadn't spoken to Maria since the breakup.

Hope looked horrified. "Of course not. I heard about it on Facebook. Mutual friend." She shrugged again. "I don't really talk to him anymore, but he's been on my Facebook since forever. I kind of forgot I was still following him. Anyway, Facebook graciously let me know where he's going to be next weekend."

Julia wasn't sure how to respond. "So," she said, drawing out the word in the hopes something profound or inspiring or at least coherent would come fill in the gap. It didn't, so she finished, "Is this a good thing? Bad thing? Sad?"

"It's not anything," said Hope. "Forget about it."

Julia couldn't. "You're upset." She tried not to sound the same and didn't quite succeed.

Hope's head snapped up, her eyes narrowing. "Fine, I'm upset. But not because--" She shook her head. "Not because I'm jealous or whatever it is you're thinking."

"I wasn't thinking that," said Julia.

"I just." Hope waved her hand around. "I don't know. I'm not upset that my ex is getting married. It's not like I wish we were still together. I'm just upset that I was...reminded of her existence, I guess. I was unexpectedly faced with a past that I would rather not face unexpectedly." She grimaced. "If that made any sense at all."

"It did," said Julia, but she was stewing. She didn't have the whole story behind Hope and Maria and what exactly had happened among their mutual friend group after the breakup, but she knew enough. They had all sided with Maria, had cut Hope out of their group entirely, and she hadn't seen any of them since. It made Julia's blood boil, especially considering Hope's already extensive history of being rejected by people she should have been able to trust.

Hope looked over at her, going very still. "Julia," she said.

"What?"

"This is old news." Hope leaned forward in the chair, reaching for Julia's hand. "Don't be upset on my account."

"How can I not be?" Not when a thoughtless Facebook announcement could still ruin Hope's day?

"It's my job to deal with this," said Hope.

"It's my job to support you." Julia was already making plans, the wheels in her head turning as she wondered how easy it would be to track down this mutual Facebook friend and read him the riot act.

But Hope knew her too well, and her face took on a look of alarm. "Don't," she said.

"Don't what?"

"Don't try to talk to any of these people. Don't inject yourself into the situation. Please."

Julia sighed. "Hope--"

Hope squeezed her hand. "I know you want to support me. I also know sometimes you kind of forget about boundaries."

Julia bit her lip, because she couldn't really deny that. She tried to remember to keep her nose in her own business, she really did, but her efforts seemed useless when Hope’s day had gone to shit and someone out there was the cause for it.

"I already unfollowed him on Facebook," said Hope. "The mutual friend." She sat back. "I'll get over this. You can stop worrying."

"We'll go somewhere next weekend," said Julia, because she had to do something. "Somewhere amazing and gorgeous and way better than that chapel your ex is having her wedding. Your pick."

Hope let out a laugh. "Kind of short notice."

"So?"

Hope considered this, clearly trying to come up with an argument against a spontaneous weekend trip, but Julia could already tell she really didn't want to. So she finally said, "Sure, okay. Let me think about it."

She looked like she was already feeling better, and Julia smiled, her job done.

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