Things were meant to end this way. It had been a long time coming and in one way, it felt like a relief to be walking away from it all. But on the other hand she still so desperately wanted to cling on… But Brenda knew that things were slipping through her fingers faster and faster and writing the goodbye letter she had just read out to the members of her division had only confirmed that. There was no way she could come back to this. Sometimes the only right thing to do was to leave.
Instead of taking the elevator down the lobby, Brenda pressed a different number and whilst biting into the Ding Dong, watched as the doors slid shut. The elevator started moving and only moments later the doors slid back open, revealing another corridor. She stepped out into the by now very familiar space and looked around for a moment before turning right and heading towards the glass double doors at the end of the hallway.
She swiped her key card, she would have to give it back to the security officer downstairs when she left the building, and the doors swung open revealing a bright and airy bullpen. Without thinking Brenda crossed the open space towards the office on the other end of the floor and felt a sense of relief when she saw the door was partly ajar. She tapped her knuckles against the doorframe and behind her desk, Sharon Raydor looked up.
"Hi," Brenda smiled.
"Brenda," Sharon sounded surprised and put down her pen. "Hi."
"May I come in?"
"Please," Sharon answered and gestured for Brenda to close the door behind her. She then watched as the blonde walked over to one of the chairs across from her desk and sat down. For a few moments neither of them spoke. The air between them was thick with things left unspoken and eventually it was Sharon who broke the silence.
"I'm so sorry it had to come to this."
"I would say I'm sorry too but I'm not sure that I am," Brenda admitted. "Maybe some things just naturally find their ending, one way or another." She looked at her hands, neatly folded in her lap and twisted her wedding ring around her finger. Then she peered up at Sharon through her eyelashes. "I came to say goodbye. And to say thank you."
"Please, don't," Brenda said softly, shaking her head at the interruption. "Let me finish. I probably will only get one chance at this and…" She swallowed. The lump in her throat was unexpected. She hadn't come here with the intention of getting emotional. "I don't want to leave here never havin' said the things I want to say."
"I just wanted to say thank you for everythin' you've done for me. I know I wasn't always appreciative of your efforts and for that I am truly sorry," Brenda continued. She looked up slowly and found Sharon looking back at her. Green eyes were intently studying Brenda's face. "I know it wasn't easy for you to do the things you had to do and… I want you to know that I truly appreciate the effort you put in to make things work out for me."
"You're a stubborn woman, Brenda. I think we can both agree on that," Sharon said slowly. "But like I said before, I think the secret of any good relationship comes down to the things you're prepared to overlook." She leaned in a little, resting her elbows on her desk. "You made mistakes, Brenda, but you were not bad at what you did. In fact, the LAPD is going to have one hell of a time finding someone to replace you."
Brenda smiled knowingly. "I wouldn't be too sure of that." She shifted in her seat. "There's somethin' else… Something I think we should have talked about some time ago and…."
Sharon's eyes fell shut when she realised where this conversation was going. "Oh Brenda…"
"About that night…"
"We said we were just going to forget about it," Sharon reminded the younger woman. "What we did…"
"Was a mistake, I know." Brenda sighed. Something felt heavy in her chest; the feeling of having held on to this for far too long. "For you."
"What?" Sharon's eyes snapped open again.
"It was a mistake for you." Brown eyes glanced at Sharon before looking away. She couldn't bear looking at the brunette because she knew that what she was about to confess, would change everything. "It wasn't for me."
"Brenda, maybe we shouldn't…" Sharon began but Brenda shook her head.
"I think I knew for quite some time that what I feel, is something completely different. I'm not sure if I just tried to deny it or not but that night… that night I knew. And I've known ever since." Brenda forced herself to look up at Sharon, to look into the green eyes that had both healed and broken her soul. "I love you, Sharon." The words rolled off her tongue so effortlessly, Brenda was a little surprised. "But I know that's not how you see me and today, for the first time, I realised it doesn't matter. It's ok. I'm ok. And leaving here…" Brenda wiped at the stray tear that slid down her cheek. "Is also leaving you and maybe that's why I feel this is the right thing."
"That's why you objected to the reprimand," Sharon concluded. She felt a sense of shock as the pieces slowly began to fall into place. It hadn't made sense to her that Brenda had so fiercely objected to the reprimand for attacking Stroh. It was minor compared to what could have happened. "You didn't want to come back."
"I think it's more a case of I can't come back," Brenda smiled sadly. "I always knew that this was just somethin' only I felt, Sharon. And I never expected it to become this…." She tried to find the right word but nothing came to her. "I just… I felt you had the right to know. More so than anyone else." She pushed herself out of the chair and started for the door, only turning around when she heard Sharon say her name.
"Wait," Sharon said as she circled around her desk and walked over to Brenda. She held still a couple of inches away from her. Just like the night where they had kissed each other, and eventually found themselves in a hotel room Sharon had paid for, the room filled itself with a tension they couldn't put into words.
"I should go," Brenda said softly. "I just wanted you to know that I really am grateful, Sharon." Brown eyes held green. "For everythin'."
"Are you ok?" Sharon asked before realising it was a stupid question.
Brenda nodded. "I will be. You didn't have to ask."
"I know," Sharon softly answered. "But I wanted to." She took a step closer towards Brenda and hesitated before leaning in and softly kissing the blonde on her cheek. "I'm sorry."
Brenda shook her head. "I'm not." She let her fingers ghost over Sharon's hand and then reached to open the door. "Goodbye, Sharon."