by faithinthepoor

The floor is a sea of glitter and construction paper, much of which has wandered well beyond the boundaries of the newspaper that they had so carefully laid. She had taken special care to try and keep the mess to a minimum but apparently stopping the tide would have been a more fruitful endeavour as the carnage on the floor is little compared with that covering her body. The fingers that aren’t blackened by newsprint have been pigmented with various hues of paint – she looks like she has some bizarre variant of gangrene and she knows that it would probably be easier to amputate her fingers than it will be to clean them. She thinks the scissors are conspiring against her because they have failed to cut anything easily with the notable exception of the piece they dissected from her sleeve. She doesn’t remember gluing having been one of her assigned tasks but at some point her intact cuff must have come in contact with glue because she can’t imagine another explanation for the red bit of paper that has attached itself there like a brightly coloured limpet. She’s certainly looked better. Yet, when she glances across at Bree, apart from a few specks of glitter shining on her face, there is no evidence that the other woman has spent the afternoon working on any sort of art project, let alone one that involved the three human tornadoes who are finally asleep upstairs. She wonders if Bree has a force field that repels dirt of if the dirt is simply intimidated by her.

Bree catches her staring and they lapse back into the awkward silence that has dominated their afternoon. She probably should be happy that they have moved to a point where Bree is willing to spend time with her but she can’t help but mourn the loss of the easy camaraderie that they used to share. Every attempt that she has made at conversation has been shut down and although she wants to be content with the fact that she is in Bree’s presence, she can’t silence the part of her that wants more. She really wishes that she could because her inability to be content with her life is what got them into this position in the first place.

Almost as though she has some innate capacity to recognize that Lynette is at an impasse, Bree picks that moment to stand. She watches as Bree pauses to dust non-existent debris from her clothing and when it becomes clear that Bree is going to leave, Lynette pulls what she considers to be her trump card, “Aren’t you even going to help me clean this up?”

She is satisfied to note that Bree seems troubled by her comment and appears to be contemplating staying to help, which is why her reply is so surprising, “You’ll have to excuse me but I can’t stay, I need to spend time with Rex.”

She takes a moment to process what she’s feeling and while she’s never actually had a dagger put through her heart before this is not what she imagined it would feel like, there is no searing pain, just a dull ache and this incredible feeling of emptiness in her chest, she is tempted to check her pulse because it’s possible that she may have been eviscerated. Something must be providing oxygen to her body however because apparently her voice still works, “So this is how it’s going to be?”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Bree replies as she inches closer to the door.

“We could just pretend I am referring to the way that you keep leaving when we need to talk but I’m tired of hiding the fact that when you leave like this you are really hurting me.”

She’s not sure that she can interpret Bree’s motives anymore but at least she has managed to literally grind Bree to a standstill, “That’s not my intention; I just want things to go back to the way they were but I don’t know how to make that happen.”

“I think we both know that that can’t happen and besides if things were the way they used to be you would rather have died than walk out the door without tidying up. All you are doing is sending me mixed messages.”

“I think I’m being perfectly clear. All I want is for us to be friends again.”

“You’ve got a funny way of showing it, you never want to spend time with me, you won’t talk to me about anything of meaning and then, at a funeral of all places, you link you arm through mine and in front of everyone, our husbands included, you hand me a rose. I know it may have meant nothing to you but don’t you get that it meant something to me?” Bree doesn’t respond. “Don’t you feel this?” she can’t help moving her arm back and forth to indicate the air between them even though she knows that Bree won’t see the gesture while her back is turned.

“Of course I feel this, I’m trying to tell you that there can’t be an us”

“I think you’re missing the point, it’s too late, there’s already an us.”

“Lynette I’ve thought about this a lot and there are just too many reasons why we can’t do this.”

Lynette lets out an amused snort, “You have an actual list don’t you? Do you have index cards? Is it alphabetized? In bullet point?”

Bree’s body still faces the door but she turns her head to look at Lynette over her shoulder, “You're choosing now to mock me?”

Lynette gives her a lopsided grin, “It’s what I do,” she states and earns a smile from Bree in return. “So tell me one thing on that list that is more important than how you make me feel.”

There is an edge to Bree’s voice, “Being an adult means sacrifices, you don’t just go around doing things because they feel good, we’ve got to be more responsible than that. We made choices and we both have to live with them.”

“So what are you suggesting we do?”

To Lynette’s delight Bree comes and sits back down on the floor, “We acknowledge how we feel and we try our best to keep it at that but I think I am going to need some ground rules, you have got to stop flirting with me and you are not allowed to touch me in anyway that could be remotely construed as sexual.”

“Are you trying to tell me that you have a hard time controlling yourself around me?” Bree doesn’t make eye contact as she nods her confirmation. “So would this be OK?” she asks as she pokes Bree in the shoulder.


“And this?” She kicks her foot against Bree’s shin.

“Well that was just irritating.”

“And this?” She picks up a paint brush and wields it, her stroke not drawing blood but rather leaving a blue streak on Bree’s face.

“That’s unacceptable but for entirely different reasons.” Lynette reaches up to clean Bree’s cheek but instead rests her fingers along the jaw line and slowly strokes the pad of her thumb across Bree’s lips, smearing her lipstick and further marring Bree’s façade. Bree’s eyes flutter closed and her breath is warm against Lynette’s skin. Lynette’s heart has apparently been returned to her chest cavity because she can feel it racing. She is terrified of rejection yet she feels an undeniable sense of power. Her feeling of elation fades when Bree opens her eyes and she is forced to note that they are full of tears. “I hate the way you make me feel.”

“Bree this is not some sort of disease.”

“Yes it is. It has to be. You may joke but I know we can’t do this and then you look at me and I forget all my perfectly good reasons, I can’t see anything but how much I want you. Things with Rex are better for the first time in a long time, how dare you make me think that that doesn’t matter.”

“You think this is easy for me? Tom is good man and when he’s around he’s a great husband and yet I’ve spent this week trying to mend the marriage of virtual strangers because I don’t think that I can save my own.” Her voice cracks and she swears to herself she will not cry in front of Bree, she is so focused on trying to control her emotions that she doesn’t notice that Bree has encompassed her in a hug until Bree whispers endearments in her ear before kissing her temple. “Not that I’m complaining but I think you are doing a whole lot of illegal touching there.” When Bree doesn’t let go she is tempted to plant a kiss on her neck but decides not to push her luck and instead turns in the circle of Bree’s embrace. Bree adjusts her arms to secure Lynette firmly around the waist and in response Lynette rests her hands on top of Bree’s. They stay that way for some time, the silence a lot warmer than it has been for a while but Lynette can only stand silence, even if it is companionable, for so long, “So can I ask you what you find more disturbing, that I’m married, that I’m a woman or that I am not a card carrying Republican?”

Bree’s laugh is full but she doesn’t answer other than to drop a kiss to Lynette’s shoulder before resting her forehead there. Lynette is busy lamenting the fact that there is material between her skin and Bree when Bree finally responds, “You know this doesn’t change anything, I’m not going to have an affair with you, no matter how cute you look in that damn little tennis outfit.”

Lynette giggles as she reaches her right arm up to tangle her fingers in Bree’s hair, “I think we both know that you want to, I’m not going to break, you don’t need to protect me.”

“Maybe I need to protect myself. In this room, when it’s just the two of us, it all seems so possible and I can almost forget how dangerous what I’m feeling is and all the people that we would hurt. I don’t want some tawdry affair with you, I want all of you, it’s just that I can’t see a day when I’d be alright with announcing our relationship to the world, nor can I see us raising your kids together. I don’t want secrets and shame and I don’t want to be spending all my time trying to convince myself that your feelings for me are real and not just an attempt to escape the monotony of your life. I’m frightened that we would grow to hate each other and I can’t have that, I can’t lose you, so we can not do this.” As she finishes speaking, in what appears to be complete contradiction to her words, she grazes her lips across the nape of Lynette’s neck.

“You’re sending those mixed messages again,” she sounds low and breathy and she hardly recognizes her own voice.

“It’s my way of saying to you that I’m going home now, you’ll have to clean up by yourself and before you protest, I think I’ve done more than enough talking.” Bree stands but in contrast to her recent aborted retreat she pulls Lynette up to join her and continues to hold her hand as she leads her to the door. They pause at the exit and Lynette can feel her feet shuffling but doesn’t seem to be able to stop them, Bree grabs a hold of both of her hands in an attempt to still her and then with a delicate kiss to Lynette’s forehead she is gone having let her self out and closed the door behind her. Lynette leans against the door and before banging her head on it because, while Bree may be certain that with a simple decree everything is sorted, Lynette can’t stop thinking that her life just got a whole lot more complicated.

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