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Losing Love Forever by Rev. Anna
Summary: A decision made from love almost destroys the love between Skinner and Sharon. Harem Guilty Pleasure challenge fic. Skinner/Sharon, pre-XF.

Title: Losing Love Forever
Author: Rev. Anna
Category: SR
Rating: R
Spoilers: Avatar
Keywords: Skinner, Sharon, pre-X-file
Disclaimer: Everyone in this story, except Sharon and Walter Skinner,
belong to me and I'm glad to share 'em. 1013 Productions owns Sharon
and Walter.
Summary: A decision made from love almost destroys the love between
Skinner and Sharon. The music and lyrics of Losing My Mind was
written by Stephen Sondheim for his 1971 Broadway musical Follies.

Losing Love Forever
By Rev. Anna

`The sun comes up
I think about you
The coffee cup
I think about you
I want you so
It's like I'm losing my mind'

Sharon listened to the familiar and comforting sound of old hardwood
beneath her feet as she walked the aisles of the old bookstore. She
ran her fingers along the spines of the books, enjoying the feel and
smell of the old leather. She perused book after book until she
found one on her favorite Impressionist, Berthe Morisot. She sat
down in a window seat with the sun on her back and leisurely turned
its pages, feasting on the color plates displaying the artist's work.

She smiled, surprised at how many of these little out of the way
bookstores Walter knew. He could probably find his way around
esoteric and obscure bookshops blindfolded. There was the Black
History shop in Columbia Heights not far from Howard University where
she found a first edition of Josephine Baker's memoirs and the
theater shop where she bought an original cast soundtrack of Stephen
Sondheim's Follies on vinyl! Now this Impressionists book and print
store with this wonderful edition on the works of Berthe Morisot.

She looked up and smiled as she watched Walter talking animatedly
with the clerk behind the counter.

A hearty laugh and friendly handshake ended the conversation and
Walter had turned his gaze in her direction. Their eyes met and
their smiles widened. He came over and plucked the book from her
hand, giving it a quick once over.

"Let's go for a walk," he said, taking her book over to the register
and paying for it.

"Ms. Washaw, do you plan on joining the rest of us at this meeting?"

Sharon blinked, startled not to find herself with Walter but staring
into the face of an angry supervisor.


"I've addressed you twice and you still haven't responded. Did I
stutter? Have I stopped speaking a language you understand?"

"No, sir."

"Then get your head out of the clouds or wherever the hell it is and
come back down to earth!"

Sharon shuddered, summoning the strength of will not to give him a
smart ass reply. It was bad enough being dressed down by Harriman in
front of her colleagues; worse still when he was in the right, rare
as that was.

"Yes sir."

"Now for the third time, why did no one see this discrepancy?"

Sharon cleared her throat, took a deep breath and spoke, clearly and

"Because it's not an obvious error, like numbers being transposed or

She paused and passed out a sheet of paper outlining what she was

"In a conversation I had with Simmons from the Horton group--"

"Simmons from the Horton group!" Harriman shouted. "In case you've
forgotten, you work for my group -- the Harriman group!"

"Yes sir but---"

"And you know that I don't want our group communicating with other
groups about our proposals until we've sent them out."

"Yes sir I know that but I was stuck."

"The people around this table should have been help enough," Harriman
snapped, looking contemptuously at the people assembled before him,
all squirming uncomfortably under his unrelentingly scathing
glare. "Obviously they weren't."

"It--It's not that, sir." Sharon took a deep breath to continue. "I
knew Simmons had just helped his group get a sizeable grant money
from the Harrel Foundation. I was congratulating him on it and just
happened to mention that I couldn't put my finger on something that
was bothering me about our proposal. He offered to take a look at it
and I accepted his offer."

"What did he say?" Maxwell Petty asked, ignoring their supervisor's
look of irritation.

"He said we're working from a huge assumption that, as it turns out,
happens to be false. An assumption that can be made because of the
way the grant application instructions are worded. When I looked
more closely at similar projects that the Harrel Foundation had
funded, I saw that Simmons was right."

"You shouldn't have consulted anyone outside this group without my
permission," Harriman snapped.

"Yes, sir."

"Don't yes sir me!" Harriman said in an abrupt and non-appreciative
manner that caught everyone by surprise. "Make sure you don't do it

Without missing a beat, he addressed the others.

"That goes for all of you. If this proposal had gone ahead as it
was, it would have meant our collective ass," he said. "Heads would
have rolled ladies and gentlemen. They still may. Get this damn
thing ready for review. Meeting over."

He left the room without another word, slamming the door behind him.
At the sound of the door closing, a nervous laughter filled the room,
tense shoulders relaxed and sighs of relief were released.

"Heads would have rolled ladies and gentlemen. They still may."
Maxwell Petty said, imitating their supervisor. Then he looked
skyward. "And please God let his be the first."

"What a dumb shit," Roger Lewis, the team's most senior member,
said. "If he weren't such a paranoid can't-share-the-credit/can't-
learn-from-anyone-else asshole, Washaw would have had that
conversation with Simmons sooner."

"Damn straight," Andrea Skinner agreed. "It isn't like Sharon didn't
say from the start something didn't feel right about the damn thing.
We all looked at the proposal a hundred times. Only an outsider like
Simmons could have helped us correct it."

"Well since dickhead didn't do it, I will," Maxwell said. "Sharon,
on behalf of our group, thanks for saving our 'collective ass.'"

Assenting murmurs and nodding heads accompanied a round of applause.

"Well, I don't know about the rest of you," Andrea said. "But I'm

"Yeah," Roger agreed. "Let's eat and start fresh after lunch. And
you know what? Fuck Harriman. I'm going to get Simmons and the
whole Harmon group to look at our final product before we send it
off. It's time we took this 'don't ask/don't tell' policy of
Harriman's head on."

He patted Sharon on the shoulder on his way out.

"Good looking out, Sharon."

Sharon sat down, eyes closed, unable to respond.

"Are you all right?" Andrea asked after the others had left.

"Of course I'm all right."

"Bullshit. When are you going to see a doctor?"

"What?! For what?!"

"Something's wrong with you! For the last two months, you've been in
some kind of trance."

Sharon blinked, confused.

"What are you talking about? I'm fine."

"Oh yeah? Well as much as I hate to admit it, Harriman was right
today, Sharon. He spoke to you twice and you just stared right
through him. Both times! Just what were you thinking about?"

Sharon cleared her throat, not wanting to continue the conversation.

"I was thinking I'd rather be anywhere but here."

She stood up and made for the door.

"Sharon, why won't you tell me what's wrong?"

The worry and genuine concern in her friend's voice held her more
firmly than any physical grip could have. Sharon stood with her hand
on the door, finding it difficult to breathe suddenly.

"Because I'm not quite sure myself," she whispered, hoping the soft
volume would cover the lie. Then she hurried from the room before
Andrea could challenge her.

`The morning ends
I think about you
I talk to friends
And think about you
And do they know
It's like I'm losing my mind.'

Sharon staggered to the elevator and pressed the button insistently.
The hallway was disconcertingly empty. With nothing to distract her,
she had no defense against the power of memory pulling her back to
that day at the bookstore . . .

. . . The sunlight seemed unusually bright after the cool dimness of
the bookshop. Sharon let her eyes run over Walter's muscles, nicely
outlined against the yellow polo shirt that covered them. She
glanced behind and appreciated the tight ass cheeks that filled out
the tan chinos he was wearing.

"If a man looked at your body the way you're looking at mine . . . "
he began.

"You'd break his neck," she finished for him.

He laughed and gave her a quick squeeze, giving her a once over. She
had on a turquoise cotton knit dress with little buttons down the
front; loose and casual and, to Walter's eyes, drop dead gorgeous.

"Is there any esoteric little shop in the DC area you don't know
about?" she asked.

"Probably, but not many. When I first moved here, walking was the
only respite I found for my insomnia. I covered a lot of ground."

"Why couldn't you sleep?" she asked.

"I started having nightmares about one of my experiences in `Nam
again. I've thought about going to a sleep disorder clinic for it."

"Want to tell me about it?"

He shrugged indifferently

She stopped in front of him and wrapped her arms around his waist.

"Are you sure?"

"You're not going to make it an intimacy request, are you?" he asked

Her eye caught his and warmed the sadness away. She smiled and shook
her head no.

"I save those up like my divine IOUs."

"Well, then I'll think about it."

She planted a soft, sweet kiss on his cheek.

"Take all the time you need. I'm not going anywhere."

He hugged her and, placing his arm around her waist, started them
walking again at a decidedly brisker pace.

She looked forward to these weekends all over the DC Metro area and
she was still getting used to the brisk pace with which he walked.

"Must you run everywhere you go?" she panted, pulling back on his arm
to slow him down. But his arm wrapped more tightly around her waist
and he pulled her along even faster.

"We're being followed," he answered not looking back and not breaking
his stride.

She blinked, quickening her pace with his, trying not to trip.


"One of Spender's goons."


"A guy with the Department of Defense who has been hounding me ever
since my probation period ended," he answered quickly. Unexpectedly
he pulled her into a coffee shop.

She clutched her purchase to her chest as she caught her breath,
watching him step back outside and stand stock still. Caught totally
offguard,.a man ran right into him.

Walter grabbed him by the collar and shoved him over to a parked
car. Sharon came over to the door but a quick glance from Walter
told her to remain inside.

People were passing the two men, some slowing at the sight of them,
others crossing the street. Walter wasn't loud but he wasn't being
discreet. People in the coffee shop were beginning to look in their

Conflicted, Sharon remained put and watched as Walter sent the man
sprawling on his way. She watched him stand there, staring after the
man then remove his glasses and rub his nose before coming back
inside, anger still pouring off of him like heat from an oven.

"Let's go," he said, grabbing her arm.

His fingers gripped her upper arm brutishly. Reflexively, she tried
to pull away, shaking her head no.

"Ow," she said. "You're hurting me."

Walter blinked, surprised and put his hand down. He stepped back,
obviously contrite.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make a scene," he said,
apologizing. "I just hate that that bastard has ruined our day
together. Do you still want to come to my place?"

She nodded quietly, acutely and uncomfortably aware of the eyes
focused on them. Walter stepped outside and hailed a cab. Without a
word, Sharon followed and got in. As they were deposited in front of
his apartment building, they still hadn't said word.

He unlocked the door and let her precede him. The oppressive silence
that had settled between them was now filling the apartment. She put
her book down, stepped over to a window and opened it, letting in the
sunlight and fresh air. With her eyes closed, she breathed deeply,
doing her best to disperse the malaise surrounding her.

Behind her she could the phone was ringing but Walter wouldn't answer
it. She turned and saw him staring angrily at it until it stopped.

"Walter, what's wrong?"


The phone began to ring again. She watched him go into the kitchen
and pick up in there. A conversation in hushed angry tones ensued.

"No! You listen to me, you son of a bitch and hear me good. Don't
you fucking use her to threaten me," Walter snapped. " . . .
Bullshit! This is just the rise you hoped to get out of me. So I'm
letting you know, you got it. And now I'm letting you know something
else, the next time I see one of your goons anywhere near her, I'll
won't break his fucking neck, I'll break yours!"

She listened to the phone slam down and waited.

And waited.

When he didn't come out, she went in and found him standing by the
kitchen counter, staring into it a glass of scotch in his hands.

"What are you thinking?"

"About the satisfaction I would get smashing that ever present
cigarette into Spender's smug, self-satisfied face."

She watched him gulp down the scotch and pour himself another. She
walked back into the living room and looked for Follies. Walter had
liked listening to her album so much, he bought the CD. She found it
and cued up Losing My Mind to play and repeat, hoping it would have
the desired effect.

It did.

She looked up and saw Walter come toward her smiling. He let her
take the glass from his fingers and, after setting it aside, lead him
to the couch.

"When did this torch song become 'our' song?" he asked, letting her
push him back against the couch with her body and carefully removing
his glasses.

"Is that what it is?" she asked coyly, pressing her lips against his
as she straddled his lap, entrapping his thighs with hers.

"You know it is."

He rubbed his fingers gently along her arm up to her neck,
appreciating how beautiful she looked right now.

"Yes I do," she said softly, nipping softly at his earlobes. She
moved her lips to his mouth, using her tongue to play knock-knock
with his lips. He moaned, allowing her to press her tongue inside.
The feel of his chest hard against her breasts and his thighs warm
beneath hers added a delicious sensation to their increasingly
passionate kissing.

"Ready for a little love in the afternoon?" she whispered.

"Now what have I told you about reading my mind?" he asked

"To do it often as I can," she said.

"Beautiful, clairvoyant and obedient," he laughed, moving his fingers
up the front of her dress. "I think I'll keep you."

His fingers played lightly over her breasts, coaxing her nipples to
stand at attention. She gasped, as a delicious shiver ran up her

"Sharon, I love you," he whispered in her ear.

"Walter, I love you more," she answered playfully.

He placed his head against her neck and his arms wrapped around her

"I didn't mean to grab you back there," he said with his eyes
closed. "I didn't realize how scared I was."

"The safety of special agent mode," she said, kissing his cheek then
running a finger along his lips. "Why can this Spender guy get under
your skin so quickly?"

"It's hard to explain -- it's not what he does, but what he
implies. 'I've been watching you Mr. Skinner. A man of your talents
and insights can advance quickly, become an AD in no time with the
right support.'"

"Wouldn't you like to be an AD someday?"

"Not if I can't be my own man."

He sighed tiredly.

"Damn. I knew there were going to be things about this job I wasn't
going to like. I just didn't think I learn about them so soon.

He searched her face.

"Is this why I joined the FBI? Passed all their tests, finished my
probation period with high marks. So that some cigarette smoking
thug in a suit and tie can proposition or threaten me."

He hugged her desperately.

"Just now he said a man like me needs to plan ahead, think about
safeguarding the ones I love. I don't ever want any kind of danger
to come to you because of what I do."

"I'm not in any danger because of what you do. If anything, I've
never been safer." She placed her hand tenderly on his face and
smiled. "Okay?

"Okay," he said, but not convincingly.

He helped her to her feet and, with his hand against the small of her
back, guided her to the bedroom. Gently, he pushed her down on the
bed and kissed her as his hands kneaded her breasts.

"Wow," she gasped, "If this is what results from run ins with Spender
and company, bring them on. I won't complain."

He laughed.

"No fear there. He isn't through with me yet."

"And neither am I," she said, opening his shirt, kissing her way down
to his navel then back up until their lips met while he undid the
little buttons down the front of her dress. Within a few minutes
they were undressed and making love until, totally satisfied, they
fell asleep in each other's arms. . .

The sound of the elevator arriving, pulled Sharon back into the
present, and without opening her eyes, she surged ahead only to
rebound off of someone hard, large and solid. Stunned, she opened
her eyes and saw him.


Suddenly the air grew scarce and instead of oxygen, the words of
Stephen Sondheim's tune swirled inside her lungs as her eyes met his.

`I dim the lights
And think about you
Spend sleepless nights
To think about you
You said you loved me
Or were you just being kind?
Or am I losing my mind?'

She stepped back, seized by a dizzying light-headedness. She knew she
was falling but there was nothing she could do to stop herself. She
gasped and closed her eyes, expecting to hit the floor hard, but
instead a pair of strong hands gripped her arms tightly and held her

"Sharon? Sharon, are you all right?"

Again her eyes met his and the concerned gaze she saw there almost
sent her falling again. She held onto his arms and lowered her
head. Other people were gathering around and she had to do something.

She nodded her head yes and tried to pull away, but his grip was

"I-I'm fine. I haven't eaten today and I was just going out to get

"I've come to have lunch with Andie. Why don't you---?"

"No!" she said quickly. "No, that's all right."

He let her go and she quickly placed a hand against the wall to
steady herself. He stepped forward, poised to catch her if she fell

She took a deep breath and held up her other hand to ward him off.
The warmth of his hands on her would send her reeling again.

"Sharon, can we talk?"

"What do we have to talk about?"

She hurried into the elevator before he could answer. The doors
closed and she pressed herself in a corner, hugging herself tightly.
She tried to stay in the present, but failed as the past became
present again. Another Saturday a week or so later. Not a bookstore
but a park. Kissing under a tree. Bicycles. Laughter.

With a last kiss, they were on their feet, walking toward the bikes
which had lain on their sides just a few feet away from them. She
was already astride hers and Walter was just setting his up on its

`I'll race you,' he dared.

`You're on,' she laughed, sprinting ahead of him.

`Oh you little cheat,' she heard him exclaim. His happy laugh echoed
behind her, distant at first but getting closer all the time. The
sun was warm on her face, the breeze cool through her hair, through
her clothes.

She could feel him gaining on her and her heart soared as she glanced
quickly, briefly back at him.

`Just you wait until I catch you!'

She threw her head back and laughed, heartfelt and joyous.

There was a series of loud bangs and suddenly she was falling, over
and over, bike and all. Dirt and grass brushed her lips as her face
hit the ground. A sickening pain streaked up her back then down her
arm and she pulled it to her chest with a cry as she rolled onto her
back. Walter was on top of her in an instant, covering her,
protecting her. She could hear people screaming, see them running.
Then she caught a glimpse of Walter's gun drawn, his eyes scanning
the area around them.

His weight and the pain in her wrist became too much. The last thing
she remembered was the fear in his eyes before the darkness swallowed
her up.

When she awoke, she was in an emergency room bay, her left arm in a
sling. Walter was by her side, stroking her forehead lightly with
his thumb.

"Hi," she breathed.


"What happened?" she asked.

"A shooting in the park. A bullet hit the tire of your bike, sent
you sprawling. You dislocated your shoulder in the fall."

"Was anyone else hurt?"

"No. No one. Whoever it was got away. There were shell casings
from a rifle up on a ridge overlooking the park."

Her heart froze as she watched his face harden.

"Walter, you don't think-"

"I don't know what to think."

But she knew what he was thinking, who he was thinking about. She
touched him with her good hand and watched him smile.

"I'm okay, Walter. Don't let this ruin our afternoon. Okay?"

"Okay." He bent down and kissed her softly. "Let's get you home."

Things were ruined after that though. Walter seemed more tense
around her and their Saturdays together grew fewer and shorter until
they were no more.

When the elevator reached the parking level where she was parked,
Sharon ran for her car, trying to outrun the melancholy truth of
Sondheim's song. But once inside her car, the words caught up with

`You said you loved me
Or were you just being kind?
Or am I losing my mind?'

She lowered her head and cried.

Half an hour and a BK Broiler later, Sharon was back behind her desk
not worse for her run in with Walter, but definitely not better.
Andrea had heard from Walter what had happened in the hallway and was
now ranting at her.

"Don't tell me you're fine, damn it! You need to see a doctor!
Shit! What do I have to do? Drag you there by your hair?"

"I always knew there was a cavewoman in you grunting to get out."

"This isn't funny, Sharon. I'm serious. Why you haven't passed out
before today is beyond me."

"Come on, Andrea. I ran physically ran into Walter. You ought to
try it sometime. It's like running into a brick wall. So I didn't
exactly bounce back right away."

"Nice try but no cigar Washaw. He said you almost passed out. Now
what gives? Are you pregnant?"

"Am I--? Of course not!"

"Then what?"

"Look this proposal was really freaking me out. I hadn't really
eaten or slept for the past two days thinking about it. But now that
everything is figured out, I'll be all right."

That stopped Andrea's tirade for a minute. A brief minute.

"Okay then. Start the recuperation now. Go home early."

"The proposal-"

"Is well in hand. Go home early or I'll report you to Harriman."

"Big whoopdeedo," she muttered, unimpressed.

"I'll tell Walter then."

That got Sharon's attention.

"Don't you dare!" she shouted angrily.

Andrea nodded sagely, then quite casually said, "I was surprised
Walter came to have lunch with me and not you."


"Why? I figured you'd be the first person he'd want to spend time
with after being away on some kind of assignment for two months."

"He invited me to join you. I said no."

"Why didn't you tell me you had broken up?"

"It never came up."

"Come on, Sharon. Don't you blow smoke up my ass too. He handed me
the same b.s. at lunch. I was sure I'd be watching you walk down the
aisle. Was I wrong?"

Sharon closed her eyes and wiped away an offending tear.

"It appears so."

"What happened?"

"Ask your cousin. It was his call."


Sharon got up, shaking her head no.

"I think I will go home early."

Home at last, Sharon sat down and put her feet up. Still not feeling
all that well, she closed her eyes and let the cool darkness of the
room soothe her head, still throbbing from her run in Walter today.

Their last meeting had been here in this living room. About two
months after the incident in the park, Walter had called, telling her
he wanted to talk to her. He came in but didn't take his coat off.

"Sharon, I think we need a break from each other. A cooling off

She hadn't responded. Hadn't asked why. Didn't want to. Just
nodded yes and looked away. Somewhere, deep down inside she had been
expecting this. Somewhere deeper inside she had been praying it she
was wrong.

She remembered the night was warm and Sondheim was playing in her
head. Walter was speaking but she couldn't hear a word he was
saying. Only words from Losing My Mind filled her ears. She
couldn't recall how she had gotten to her feet or how she had the
presence of mind to hand him the set of keys he had given her.

"I'll go now," she heard him say. "Don't bother to see me out.
Thank you for being so understanding."

She just nodded again, without a clue as to what she was being so
understanding about. The door closed softly behind him, but it rang
in her ears like a Chinese gong.

When she finally summoned up the courage to confront him, she learned
he was on an assignment in New York. Two whole months passed without
a word from him. The fire between them had been doused suddenly, as
if a bucket of cold water had been poured onto to it. And because of
its abrupt and unexpected demise, Sondheim had been haunting her for
the last two months.

`All afternoon doing every little chore
The thought of you stays bright
Sometimes I stand in the middle of the floor
Not going left
Not going right . . .'

Now he was back, she wondered if she'd ever find out what he had said
that night. She wasn't sure she wanted to know.

"Get it together, Sharon. Life goes on. The man doesn't want you?
Well, suck it up and get over it."

She knew she wanted him, but she'd be damned if she'd be humiliated
and beg. That just wasn't her. Besides, the time to beg was that
night. Lord knows she felt humiliated enough.

She shook her head and stood up, suddenly hungry but not knowing for
what, she stood up, trying to remember what there was to eat in the
place then looked dolefully at the kitchen, realizing there wasn't
anything. She'd been eating all her meals out: breakfast at
Friendly's, lunch at Burger King, dinner anywhere but here, if she
ate at all.

"Stop it!" she chided herself out loud. "Enough already. Go
shopping. Take care of yourself."

She picked up her pocketbook and made for the door. Then she

`Make a list,' she thought. `Think about what your body needs or
you'll come back here with a bunch of unhealthy comfort foods and end
up sicker and weaker than you already are.'

She shook her head against that advice.

`Fuck it,' she thought. `Find a restaurant and deal with the food
and the future later.'

She pulled the door open and there, poised to knock, was Walter. She
gripped the door to keep a repeat of this afternoon's fainting spell
from happening again.

'Damn it,' she thought. 'I'm not some freaking shrinking violet.
What is the matter with me? Maybe I do need to see a doctor.'

She straightened up and looked him in the eye.

"What are you doing here?"

Her tone was harsher than she'd intended it to be, but her heart was
in her throat and her knees were rapidly turning to water.

"I know we agreed not to see to each other for six months,
but . . . " Walter began.

Sharon blinked and stepped back, foolishly letting go of the door.
Was that what he had been saying? She vaguely remembered words here
and there: it's not safe, a separation is best, find a way to protect

She took a deep breath as a pain bounced against her chest. She
could tell she was losing it and quickly reached for the door. In
her attempt to grab it again she missed and fell against him. The
nearness of him went to her head and she lost consciousness.

When she opened her eyes, she was flat on her back on the couch.
Walter was sitting next to her, applying a damp dish cloth to her

"Sharon are you all right? Have you seen a doctor?"

"I don't need a doctor," she said angrily, pushing his hand and the
cloth away from her forehead.

"Sharon, you nearly passed out in the hallway today too."

`Because of you,' she thought bitterly.

"Why are you here?"

She tried to sit up but felt dizzy and just laid back down.

"Because I couldn't keep our bargain any longer. I came here to beg
you not to keep it any longer either."

"Wha-what are you talking about?"

"I can't go on like this another minute. Not touching you, not
talking to you, not being with you. I can't. Holding you this
afternoon proved it to me. This separation was the stupidest thing I
ever thought of. You were good to agree to it but-"

"I didn't agree to it," she answered.

Now it was Walter's turn to look stunned.

"All I remember is you standing here in my living room saying we
needed a break from each other. A cooling off period. I just sat
there in a daze. I knew your lips were moving but I didn't hear a
word you said."

She closed her eyes so she wouldn't see his face.

"I've been sick and confused about us these past two months, without
a clue as to what was happening or why and I didn't have the courage
to find out. This afternoon, running into you just brought it all to
the surface and the same thing just happened at the door just now."

"Oh Sharon, please forgive me. I never meant to cause you any pain."

"Well you did!" she snapped. "For two whole months I tried to figure
out why you didn't want me anymore. Tried not to feel used and
stupid and worthless! Six months! Did you really think I'd put my
life on hold for you for six months!?! You selfish son of a bitch!"

"Sharon, I was concerned for your safety! After the shooting in the
park, Spender came to me, expressing his relief that you weren't more
seriously hurt. Then again he implied I needed to make decisions
that would keep you safe. Don't you understand? What happened in
the park that day was no accident. I had to put some distance
between us."

"So you left me alone?!"

"I couldn't think what else to do.

"How about sticking it out with me? Together we could have faced
Spender and his threats. We could have consoled each other,
comforted each other, assured each other we're going to be all
right. Instead I've been alone and miserable. Miserable! You
better have been as miserable as I have been!"

She sat up quickly before he could answer and pressed her lips
against his in a bruising kiss. All the rage and longing and hurt
that she held pent up inside for the past two months supplied the

Unprepared for the assault his mouth opened and she plunged her
tongue between his lips, re-familiarizing itself with every tooth it

An equal longing seemed to take hold of Walter and he was suddenly
pushing back, kissing her hard, claiming her. She could feel his
tears mingling with hers as his fingers tangled themselves in her
hair, holding her head tight against his as they fought each other in
that kiss.

She couldn't tell if she was trying to hurt him or was just blindly
groping to find her familiar holding places. She wanted to pummel
him, make him feel physically what she had felt emotionally these
past two months, but she was just so glad to be back in his arms
again, feeling him against her, it didn't matter. The pain and rage
of the past two months dissipated into the relief and release of the
kiss as it grew more fierce, as she could tell he was feeling the

Walter was sobbing. He interspersed each kiss with a whispered word.

"Oh .Sharon....." he breathed. "These.... last.. few.... months....
have.... been .. hell!"

More tears slipped down Sharon's face and her lips trembled, agreeing
with her whole heart.

"I was so afraid you didn't want me anymore," she cried.

"Forgive me, forgive me. Please, please say you forgive me," he
cried, kissing every inch of her face.

Her hands cradled his face and she kissed him softly. He sighed at
her touch.

"Yes," she cried. "Yes."

Walter cried with joy and relief, kissing her back.

"I love you. Oh Sharon I love you!"

"I love you more," she cried, a small smile flickering up at him.
Walter's heart soared at the sight of it.

"I've missed you so," he whispered. Their lips met again, this time
tenderly, softly.

"Please don't ever leave me again," she said tearfully, curled up in
Walter's arms. "Promise me."

"I promise."

He sighed deeply and smiled. She watched him get up and go over to
her record player. He plucked out an album and put it on the
turntable. Sharon smiled as she listened to the sad violin intro of
Losing My Mind begin. Tears began to run down her face and his as
they listened to their song:

`The sun comes up
I think about you
The coffee cup
I think about you
I want you so
It's like I'm losing my mind'

`The morning ends
I think about you
I talk to friends
And think about you
And do they know
It's like I'm losing my mind.'

`All afternoon doing every little chore
The thought of you stays bright
Sometimes I stand in the middle of the floor
Not going left
Not going right . . .'

`I dim the lights
And think about you
Spend sleepless nights
To think about you
You said you loved me
Or were you just being kind?
Or am I losing my mind?'

Walter smiled at her as the song ended. He turned off the record
player and rejoined her on the couch. They both just held at each
other as the warmth of the ensuing silence wrapped around them.
Finally, Walter spoke.


"Yes, Walter?"

"This is our life now. There is no you, no me. There's only us. Do
you agree?"


"Good," he said. "Let's get married."