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Love is tricky

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It is after a particularly long day at work that Helen sits down in her office, reluctant to ever move again. Without looking she slides her left hand down one side of her desk while the other nests her head in the way she wishes a pillow would. She opens the third drawer down, where it doesn’t take long for her to locate her ‘secret’ bottle of wine that’s she pretty sure most of her coworkers at New Amsterdam know is there. After a couple - okay, maybe 3 or 4 - glasses, her mind shifts from her hectic day to the person who always seem to make an appearance in her head, day after day, night after night, whether she wants him to or not. She plucks at the debate in her head the way one would to the petals of a dandelion - I love him, I love him not.

She loves him. She know she does. It’s at the forefront of her mind every time he smiles at her.

I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU.

Her heart is equally as aware. The way it pounds out of her chest when he initiates even a whisper of a touch.

I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU.

Logically, it makes sense too. Like, when she thinks about it, she knows that in any scenario she would do anything and everything for him. Helen Sharpe is as strong as they come and she does not let anyone, let alone a man, to make any decisions on her behalf. Yet, she’s very aware that if and when he asks something of her, (providing she understands and somewhat agrees with his reasoning), she is always more than willing to help him. She loves him. Simple as that.

Except, it’s not simple. It can’t be. Because if it was, her heart wouldn’t get caught in her throat the moment she attempts to tell him as such. The mere thought of such a confession wouldn’t terrify her as much as it does. And most of the time she really doesn’t understand it - she has had no issue expressing her love for Lauren, her best friend who is undoubtedly irreplaceable, or for Iggy, the annoying big brother who pisses her off but makes her feel safe and warm. Floyd is much in the same and Vijay is like that uncle that always shows up to holidays with the best food.

But sometimes, sometimes there is a whisper of a truth that she isn’t sure she’s ready to face. The way her heart beats for him and him alone - she knows that’s love. But it’s not the same love that fills her heart when she thinks of the others. The very truth that yes she loves him, but more accurately she is in love with him, fills her mind persistently.

Rationally she knows it’s okay to be in love with him - it’s Max. There’s been something about him - about them - since the day they met. She loves Max with all her being, but she is so terribly afraid to love him. It’s not because she doesn’t trust him - she trusts him implicitly. She admires his large heart and is in awe of him most of the time. She knows it’s not because of Luna either - Luna is one of the best things that’s ever happened to her. She loves that little girl in the same capacity that she loves Max.

No, she’s terrified to hand her heart to anyone but herself. She’s terrified of her heart being shattered like it has in the past. But at this point it’s really unavoidable - it can’t be ignored like it probably has since shortly after they met. She falls more in love with him every single day.

I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU. I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU. I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU.

Fuck.

A thought she almost speaks out loud before she is interrupted by a knock at her door. She lifts her heavy head to acknowledge the intruder, only to meet eyes with the ones that haunt her dreams.

Max. Of course it is. It always is.

He smiles at her sheepishly, as if he’s seen straight into her mind and feels guilty for making her love him. It’s not that, of course, really he’s smiling like that because he always smiles like that when he sees her. The sight of her always seems to zap Max, like a bolt of lightening, giving him energy to last a lifetime. She looks at him under her lashes, a look that always renders him breathless. Tonight though she is kind of looking at him as though she doesn’t know what to make of him - doesn’t know what to do with him.

“Everything okay?” He asks quietly, not wishing to disturb the silence of her office.
“Oh, you know, just pondering one of life’s most troublesome concepts” she replies, eyes refusing to leave his - not on purpose though. She feels as though he’s a magnet she can’t pull away from.
“And what would that be, Dr. Sharpe?” He replies, breathlessly, almost stunned at her simple beauty, though the question still seems teasing nevertheless. His heart stops at her simple reply. She’s tipsy and both of them know it - so he’s not quite sure what to make of her response:
“Love.”