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201 – Sleep

 

            Like everything else, she does it neatly. Liz sleeps on her back, facing the world; Juliet feels like the slightest touch would wake her. Her father says she never wakes when he calls, when she wants to be lazy – but Lester only complains because it hides the truth. He doesn’t wake his daughter before she wants to get up, because she’s shared her sleep with fear far too many times. She’s allowed to share a bed with Juliet because he hopes it comforts her and keeps her sleeping.

 

            Juliet knows Liz hasn’t slept deeply since she was a little girl.


202 – Loyalty

 

            Since she was a little girl, Juliet’s been determined not to be the princess in the tower, awaiting her one true love’s return. The last thing she needs is being patronised more.

 

            No, Liz isn’t a prince, and Juliet doesn’t know she’s her one true love. But someone called Helen has taken Liz and it’s got something to do with the thing Juliet doesn’t think about, the thing with the mutant-lizard-maybe-dinosaur, and here Juliet is, a fucking princess in a fucking tower.

 

            Liz is in so much trouble when she gets back, Juliet thinks, and never once considers mourning her.


203 – Rescue

 

            Mourning her is what everyone seems to think she should do – either that, or expect her to walk around every corner when Juliet knows that’s ludicrous. Juliet can’t seem to get anyone to clarify this, because Liz’s abduction is apparently top-secret.

 

            It takes Liz three weeks to rescue herself. Three weeks for them: for Liz, it was at least three months. She’s thin, tired and tanned with a torn-up shoulder, but she’s alive and sane and she kisses just the same way as ever.

 

            She looks at Juliet like Juliet’s everything good in this world, and Juliet’s looking right back.


204 - Confession

            Looking right back, it probably started well before Liz’s abduction; feeling guilty, Juliet places the first cracks back in last September, when she joined the Royal Ballet School. It was the way she and Liz were suddenly apart, and the way ballet consumed Juliet completely. That started it, but Liz’s new distance and the things she can’t tell Juliet about that have changed her absolutely – that’s finishing it.

 

            Juliet tells Liz everything, and Liz hears her out and agrees, stone-faced, and kisses her on the cheek and walks away.

 

            Liz’s a fool if she thinks Juliet doesn’t see her cry.

 

205 - Once More Unto The Breach

 

            Her cry of it’s not fair, though silent, raises the roof.

 

The first Juliet knows about Mick Harper’s tell-all book, including lurid chapters on people’s private lives, is its publication. As she reads her own name in the chapter on Lester she feels hunted – but the rest is worse, because it tells her what Liz went through on the other side of the anomalies. She throws up when she reads that.

 

            The only silver lining is Liz’s testimony in court. It’s Juliet’s first glimpse of Liz for months; she looks grim, but okay. If she’s okay, then everything’s all right.


206 - Matt Anderson

 

            All right – he doesn’t look dangerous. But Juliet objects to odd men lurking outside her flat in Milan.

 

            She fully intends to call the police, except that when the man sees her grab her phone, he says “No – stop! Wait! I’m looking for Liz Lester.”

 

            Juliet keeps hold of her phone. “We’re not in touch.”

 

            “That can’t be right,” he murmurs. “She was always talking about you when I knew her.”

 

            “That was a long time ago. Leave me alone.”

 

            He hesitates. “If you can contact her, tell her Matt Anderson’s looking for her.”

 

            Juliet won’t do any such thing.


207 - Cold Blood

 

            Thing is, Juliet never relied on the anomaly locking machine the way everyone else around her seemed to, even though she’s met Connor Temple by now and she’s fully aware that he’s a genius. Whatever the safeguards, she knows anomalies will be back one day.          

 

            So when she picks up a phone call that can’t possibly be from Liz – except it is – her blood runs hot at the sight of Liz older and stronger and still definitely one of the sexiest women Juliet knows, and cold at the news that the anomalies are back, but only the call surprises her.


208 - Getting Married

 

            Her surprise isn’t going away, even a year later. The anomalies are back; the government is throwing money, manpower and international co-operation at them.

 

            But what really surprises her – although really she should have known it would happen – is that she’s fallen back in love with Liz as quickly and easily as falling off a cliff.

 

            They’re giving it time. But they’re dating, and they’ve slept together a few times, and sometimes Juliet catches Liz watching her with quiet warmth, and something in her own heart answers.

 

            If Liz ever does ask her to marry her, Juliet won’t say no.

           
209 – Damage

 

            “No,” Juliet says aloud when she gets a phone call in the middle of the day, seriously disrupting her rehearsal. The choreographer clearly wants to throttle her, but is prevented by one of the soloists (Pasha, such a nice boy, such a strong Russian accent, such awful taste in men) standing in front of him.

 

            “Is something wrong?” Pasha asks.

 

            Juliet fumbles with her phone. “I don’t know – oh, thank God. Jon. Is she okay? What did she do, play chicken with a T-rex?”

 

            “No, an ankylosaurus,” Lyle says, “and she’s unconscious.”

 

            “I’m coming,” Juliet says, without a second’s thought.


210 – Fear

 

            Thought didn’t come into it, when she was a girl with an incongruous crush on a tough, angry classmate. It was amazing, and when it blew up it almost broke them both.

 

That’s exactly what Juliet’s afraid of now as a fully-grown, highly successful adult; that they won’t think and they’ll screw up. She’s doing everything she can to make sure she gets it right, doesn’t do anything they’ll regret, and she’s not sure it’s enough.

 

            But when Liz is with her, she knows it’ll work out. She knows sooner or later, they’ll get it right. Just like everything else.