"Why would Jonathan want to elope? It makes no sense!" Lucy cried, pacing back and forth while Jayne poured their tea.
"Perhaps he feels threatened in some way? And wants to do the ceremony sooner rather than later."
"Threatened by what?" Lucy asked, turning on her heel to face the older blonde. "You don't think-"
"No, I do not think your friend would speak of your feelings." Jayne said, patting the couch beside her. Lucy stared at the cushion a moment before settling herself down upon it. "It may be an insecurity born of a more... Masculine gossip."
"Whatever do you mean?"
"Jonathan is consorting with many new, higher ranking associates... He's no doubt trying to find any way that he can to fit in and impress them."
"You think that by hurrying the wedding along he will be able to establish some form of common ground?" Lucy asked before taking a sip of her tea.
"I doubt that marriage itself is the cause... More the consummation of it." Lucy's eyes widened and she coughed slightly, making the older woman quirk a brow. "Believe it or not... Men are just as prone to gossip for things other than business. Jonathan's presumed virginity most likely leaves him feeling emasculated."
"So he should rush his fiancee to wed and bed him? That is low, even for Jonathan!" Lucy exclaimed, disgust evident in her tone.
"Men view themselves as superior... In most cases. They take what they want, when they want it. I don't know your friend well but... She seems to be an intelligent girl. I doubt she'll go for it. Especially with the hard work that you've been putting into the ceremony."
"What if he tries to force her?" Lucy asked in a quiet voice, seemingly more unsure than ever.
"Only time will tell us that, my Dear. But as you said, that is low, even for Jonathan."
Lucy leaned against the doorway to Dr. Van Helsing's office and watched quietly as Mina moved around the space. They had been on their way to dinner when the brunette asked if they could stop by. She had been trying to be patient but she was growing bored.
"Mina, darling... Why is it that your fiance keeps avoiding me when I try to meet with him?"
The other woman paused in what she was doing to glance over her shoulder toward the blonde. "I don't know."
Lucy frowned and set her jaw. She would much rather enjoy her evening later and discuss the difficult topics now.
"It doesn't have anything to do with him wanting to elope, does it?"
Mina's eyes widened and she turned around more fully to face her friend then. "N-no! Of course not! I don't know the exact reason but that is not it."
"Are you sure?" Lucy pressed, pushing off of the doorway before stepping closer. "His outfit requires very little time compared to yours... And yet, he keeps rescheduling."
"I will talk to him. I do not know why he would do such a thing but I already told him that I would not elope." Mina said quickly, her tone and expression dripping sincerity.
"If you don't mind me asking... Why would he suggest such a thing in the first place?" Lucy asked, hurt reflecting in her own expression.
"I don't know," Mina confessed. "I've been asking myself the same thing."
Lucy paused a step away from the brunette, "He isn't pressuring you to do anything else, is he?"
Mina's eyes widened and her cheeks darkened almost immediately. "N-no, of course not! Jonathan isn't that kind of man..."
"Mina, I know he isn't. I may pick on him but I've known you both for years. You did however say it yourself... His work and the people he's been associating himself with... They've changed him."
Mina glanced down, her brow heavily furrowed as she digested her friend's words. It was true, he'd traded out his old friends for new ones. Business associates of Alexander that he had so often said were men he would never consort with. She had feared for a while now that some day he might wake up and find her as expendable as he had Szabo.
"He has... But not toward me." The brunette whispered in a small voice.
Lucy swallowed thickly, pained both by her friend's tormented expression and how futile her own love for the brunette seemed in the face of Mina's love for Jonathan.
"It's just... I want you to be happy, I always have. And I was worried that he was trying to rush you into something that you weren't ready for... I could never forgive myself if I stood by idly and watched you be hurt."
Mina knew what the other woman was hinting at, what her words were dancing around. Guilt twisted her stomach as she raised her eyes to meet the sad ones watching her.
They told each other everything, she had used that to get the truth from Lucy the night of her confession. But she had kept two things from the blonde, Jonathan wanting to elope and...
"I slept with Jonathan." Mina gasped suddenly, the reveal no better than the one she'd made just the other day. "But it was my choice, I initiated it." She added quickly, her heart breaking at the expressions flickering across her friend's face. The last part might have originally been intended to ease some of Lucy's fears but saying them out loud didn't feel right. The whole conversation had brought back all of her insecurities and doubts surrounding her fiance and his new career. She wondered now if she hadn't offered herself up to him before they were married just to insure that he didn't drift away. And that realization hit her hard, knocking the breath from her lungs.
Unshed tears prickled at Lucy's eyes and she blinked rapidly to try and clear them from her vision. Everything she had been doing felt worthless now. All of Jayne's advice and the fragile hope that Mina could possibly return her feelings were crumbling away.
The blonde turned away, unable to look at the guilty eyes watching her. She couldn't believe that she had even for a moment believed that her friend could ever love her. It had always been Mina and Jonathan and she would still have to plan the celebration of the end of the only thing that's ever mattered to her. Her chest felt tight, her heart heavy and numb.
"I can't." She breathed, her voice nearly cracking from the pain.
"Lucy, please! I'm sorry... I don't know why I didn't tell you. It happened before I knew..." Mina begged, moving to follow when the blonde started for the door.
Lucy paused but did not turn, "When?"
Mina blinked, a little surprised by the question. "After the three of us went to dinner... It had rained and-"
"Stop." Lucy muttered, a sharp sting of pain twisting in her chest at the brunette's response. She started walking again before the other woman could say anything else.
Mina lingered in the office, watching sadly as Lucy settled herself on one of the seats in the classroom.
"Just finish whatever it is that you're doing. We still have a reservation at the Savoy."
Mina swallowed thickly, the sharp tone in the blonde's voice was not one that she was used to. But she deserved it, she knew she did. She had been so caught up with her fears about her relationship that she had begun to close herself off from Lucy, even before the blonde's confession.
She nodded, even if Lucy didn't see her, before turning back to continue collecting her things.
Several minutes passed in tense silence and Lucy was doing her best to reign in her emotions. She was as good with measurements and fashion as she was at putting on a fake smile.
She was wiping the tears from her cheeks when a sound other than Mina's hurried movements caught her attention. Startled, the blonde sat up a little straighter. "Hello?"
"What? Is someone there?" Mina asked from the other room. Lucy narrowed her eyes and glanced toward the office. If she didn't know any better, she'd say that the other woman sounded worried.
"I thought that we could be here?" Lucy asked, rising from her seated position. "Are you not Van Helsing's assistant?"
"I-I used to be. When I pressed about that substance, he let me go. I just wanted to collect my things."
Lucy rolled her eyes, another secret. "So I was merely your look out. Fantastic, Mina."
Mina frowned and hastily stuffed the rest of her notes into her bag over the cushioned vials she'd snuck from the wall.
"Come on, let's go." She said as she shut and locked the door to her teacher's office. Lucy was too busy glaring at the brunette to notice the two men lurking in the dark hallway nearby.
"Not so fast, Ms Murray. We've been hoping to have a chat with you."