It's only words
And words are all I have
To take your heart away
-"Words", The Bee Gees
Molly Hooper and Martin Crieff’s first fight starts with a wheel of cheese. It’s expensive cheese, a triple-cream brie that’s rare enough to hire a charter jet for. Or, at least, that’s what the man in the suit tells Carolyn, and the way she sees it, if he’s willing to pay MJN’s exorbitant last-minute fee, then it’s not her fault if he has more money than sense. All she’s concerned with is making sure that the job gets done, and if that means ignoring the more-manic-than-usual behaviour of a certain captain, then so be it. After all, she thinks to herself as she casts a grim look at the hunk of cheese that seems to be leaking some mysterious and probably not sanitary liquid, she has bigger things to worry about.
Molly knows nothing about triple-cream bries or mysterious liquids or airdot CEOs hell-bent on making sure that a job gets completed. All she knows is that it’s now 8pm, which makes Martin officially three hours late for their date. And as much as Molly tries to tell herself that it’s okay, the fact is that, well, it’s not. It’s not okay that she’s here alone in Barts because everyone else has had the sense to go home. It’s not okay that she’s shivering in the morgue after having changed into a pathetic red dress that she had bought just for today. It’s not okay that she’s spending her fucking thirty-third birthday surrounded by dead people who are probably less lonely than she feels right now while she waits for her boyfriend who is now three. Hours. Late.
At that very moment, Martin stumbles through the door, almost running into the doorframe in his haste. Molly takes one look at his disheveled uniform and the small bouquet clutched in his hands that he could only have picked up from the airport florist, and she knows what’s about to come next. He’s going to start babbling his apologies and she’s going to swallow her pride and accept them because that’s how their relationship works. Well, normally, at least. But today isn’t a normal day and this isn’t a normal date and frankly, this time Molly doesn’t want to play along. So before Martin can open his mouth, she silences him with a shake of her head. “No, Martin. Just- I don’t want to hear it right now,” she says softly. She worries at her lip for a moment and suddenly a wave of anger surges through her body and she finds herself shouting in a harsh voice, “God damn it, do I mean nothing to you?”
Martin starts, taken aback by the uncharacteristic outburst. He opens and closes his mouth soundlessly for a few moments, before finally choking out, “Wh- What are you talking about? You know I-“
“No, don’t you dare even start. Not right now, not today. You promised me, Martin. You promised me that you wouldn’t be late, and then you-“ Molly’s voice teeters on the edge of a sob and she stops, blinking back hot tears. Her next words are spoken in a harsh whisper, low volume belying their sting. “It’s just one job. One stupid little job.”
“Is that what you think, then? You think flying is just a job to me? Do you know how hard I worked to get that ‘stupid little job’? I- I thought you of all people would understand!”
“What’s there to understand? A last-minute flight came up, and you just went along with it, didn’t you?”
“You know just as well as I do that Carolyn would never cancel a job, not even if I had begged and pleaded and told her about our date!”
“Did you even try? “
Martin flinches and says gruffly, “It wouldn’t have made a difference.”
“Don’t you dare lie to me; you know as well as I do that Douglas is more than capable of flying the plane by himself. If you’d just told Carolyn- But no, you were too busy being swept off your feet by the promise of another flight to spare a thought for your fucking girlfriend. I am not your van and you cannot expect me to just stay here and- and rust while you fly off on your wild adventures.”
For a moment, there is silence, and Molly’s words just hang in the air between them like thick smog, both obscuring and revealing too much. Molly looks at Martin, and she can see the shock and raw hurt written in his face and it stings more than any act of apologetic tardiness ever has. And Molly so desperately wants to take back those words, to stuff them all back into her mouth and bury them under a pile of awkward apologies and nervous giggles, but she knows that she can’t. It’s not fair to him, and it’s not fair to her. So Molly chokes down the bitter lump in her throat and waits for Martin’s reaction.
He swallows once, twice, and murmurs softly in a heartbreakingly earnest voice, “What am I supposed to do then? Would you really try and stop me from flying?”
Molly’s last threads of self-control snap and tears start to fall. Martin approaches her, instinctively trying to help, and Molly just can’t take the sight of that familiar habit. Not now, when so much has changed. She shakes her head and Martin stops in his tracks. “I don’t know,” she murmurs, eyes downcast, “just- just leave.”
Nothing happens for a few moments, so Molly forces herself to make eye contact with Martin. He looks so lost, so forlorn, and Molly knows that, although she’ll have to deal with this at some point or another, she just doesn’t have the strength to do so right now. “Please,” she whispers.
Martin nods and walks toward the door, head hanging down dejectedly. He can’t even find the anger to slam the door behind him, as much as he wants to, and instead the door swings slowly shut with a sad little ‘click’.
With that ‘click’, Molly crumples to the floor, slowly folding in on herself like a dying flower. She leans against the leg of a metal table, and catches a glimpse of her distorted reflection in the shiny aluminum. Happy birthday to me, she thinks bitterly to herself.
Molly Hooper and Martin Crieff’s first fight may have begun with a wheel of cheese, but it ends with something far more personal.
The chill of metal pressed against a cheek wet with tears.
The rumpled red dress, a garish reminder of the optimism of a few hours ago.
The sound of sobbing amongst the silence of death.