The elevator bumped and then plunged into darkness. Katherine's stomach lurched as they came to a still, and she took a couple of deep breaths. To the right of her, Delilah gasped.
Katherine turned on the light on her cell phone and looked for the building's phone. A short conversation later, she turned off the flashlight and leaned against the wall, sliding downwards until she was sitting on the elevator floor.
"What did they say?"
Katherine rolled her eyes at Delilah's impatience, grateful for the darkness hiding her. "City wide blackout. We'll just have to wait for the power to come back on."
"Who knows, maybe we'll become the best of friends," Delilah laughed nervously. "It worked for John and the boys, right?"
The silence felt heavy, as did the air around her. Theo had done some presentation on elevators a few weeks before, and Katherine could almost hear his voice in her head. 'Did you know, mom, that you can't run out of air in an elevator? Because the cabs aren't airtight, so even if you get stuck, you'll be able to breathe. Isn't that fascinating?'
Still, it felt like breathing got harder by the minute, the walls pressing in on her. She missed her family. She missed the way they used to be, which was ridiculous, because they hadn't been right for so long now. But Delilah swooping in and abusing that crack in her relationship, prying it open until there was nothing left...
"How could you do it?" The words tumbled out of her before she realised she was even thinking them.
"John was never home," Delilah said. "And-"
"John was working," Katherine snapped. "He was trying to provide for his family."
"He was providing for everyone but me."
Katherine leaned her head against the wall, pushing through the anger at anyone treating John that way. It was always so much easier to defend someone who wasn't her - after all, that was her job - but this was the time to put herself first. Stand up for herself, and her family.
"I've always been the outsider," she said. "I know that. But how could you think so low of me that you thought my husband was yours to take?"
"Aren't you mad at him?" Delilah asked, deflecting, and Katherine rolled her eyes.
"Of course I'm mad at him. But it's you I'm stuck with right now."
She could hear Delilah's sharp intake of breath and steeled herself for the tears that would surely follow. She had always equal parts envied and despised Delilah's ability to show her emotions.
"It wasn't about you being the outsider. It was-"
"Would you have done the same to Regina?" Katherine interrupted.
Even though she had seen it coming, Delilah's exclamation still pierced through her armour. It hurt, more than she'd expected, because she knew this had been it, right? She knew that she hadn't been enough to ever be granted more than visitor's status by anyone but John.
"That's not what I meant," Delilah said, trying to soften the blow. "It's just- Regina is always there for Rome. Supporting him through everything he does, he wants..."
"You think I don't support my husband?" Katherine's voice rang louder than she'd intended, and she reigned herself in. "I stood by him as he got sober. I make sure I earn enough money so he can be home to take care of Theo and live his passion through teaching music. I'm sure you love telling yourself that I deserved this through my actions. But the truth is, you wouldn't do the same to Regina because you are friends, and you've never taken the time to get to know me."
They fell quiet for a bit, the silence all the more eerie for the lack of hums from any electronics. Katherine took a couple of deep breaths, trying to calm down, to force down the tears and anger that were threatening to overwhelm her, because at any point the elevator could spring back to life and she'd have to walk into that office as if she weren't dying inside.
"It wasn't about you," Delilah whispered eventually. "Eddie was... attentive."
"Attentive," Katherine echoed disbelievingly. But that was the Eddie she had come to know this past year, right? The Eddie who would work to delay a school play so she could see Theo perform. The one who gave her all the space she needed. The one who waited for her to be ready for him.
"Yeah." Delilah's voice trailed off, as if she wanted to say more but didn't know how, and Katherine was grateful. She didn't need to hear a whole exposé about how wonderful her husband had been to his mistress.
"We both felt a little lost, I guess," Delilah said after a while. "We didn't think of our families. We didn't think of the consequences. Truthfully, I think that not thinking was part of the whole appeal."
"And you're still not thinking," Katherine pointed out.
"That's not fair!"
The elevator shook a little as Delilah presumably got to her feet, and Katherine sighed. Even though the elevator was pitch-dark, she closed her eyes to steel herself for her next question. "Do you love him?"
The rustle of clothes indicated that Delilah sat back down. Silence stretched on for so long that Katherine thought Delilah wouldn't answer at all, and perversely, she was grateful. What had gotten into her to ask such a question?
"I thought I did," Delilah whispered eventually, so low that Katherine almost couldn't hear her.
"Do you know what this is doing to him?" She would fight for her family, tooth and nail, no matter how much it hurt her. That was who she was. And it was the only way the three of them - the four of them? - could ever make it out of this alive.
"What?" Delilah sounded genuinely confused, and Katherine wondered if she really hadn't seen what she was doing.
"When Theo was born, Eddie was drunk. The only way I would allow him to see his son, was if he got sober. He went to rehab and missed the first months of his son’s life." She took a deep breath. "I saw Eddie with Charlie this morning. The way he cradled her, looked at her, loved her. I took that from him to protect my son. What's your excuse?"
"We're not that different, you and I," Delilah said. "I'm protecting my children as well."
"Are you? Or are you just protecting the ones you already had, leaving Charlie to fall through the cracks as you build her whole life on a lie?"
At that point, the lights flashed on, and Katherine could see Delilah staring at her as if she'd seen a ghost. Katherine stood up, surreptitiously wiped the few tears that had managed to fall away, the spell broken now the elevator was bright once again. The doors dinged as they arrived at Katherine's floor, and she led Delilah to her office.
"If you could just sign here, and here." She handed Delilah the papers and avoided all eye contact completely. Fortunately, Delilah seemed to understand, or else was still too shocked by what Katherine had said to think of any words, and signed quietly and left.
"Wasn't that-?" Carter asked as he saw Delilah leave, and Katherine nodded.
"And you were-?" His eyes flitted to the elevator, obviously surmising they had been stuck together, and Katherine nodded again. "Tell me everything."