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Do The Math
By still_nina



You've always liked numbers. When everything else in your life had been out of control and in chaos, you could always retreat to a world where you knew all the rules and could predict every outcome. In college, you got a double major in business and math. You almost went the academic route after one of your professors handed you an information package on PhD applications and funding. In the end, pragmatism had won out and you took a high paying job in one of San Christobel's finance firms. You'd liked the student life, but it was time to stop living with three roommates and a cat nobody owned. And that choice has led you to financial success at least. It has also cost you all kinds of things. It has also led you here.

Even when your life changed so many times and so often that you'd felt adrift at sea, numbers had remained your constant. These days, everything was chaos. You didn't know what you were feeling, you barely knew who you were… and so you returned to what you knew: numbers.

You start with the basics. You start counting. Touches, eye contact, hugs, smiles. First hers, then yours as well. One hand on your back, three smiles, a hand on your elbow, twice. Her shoulder and arm, pressed briefly against yours. Her hand in your hair as she fixes a lock that escaped your pony tail. All those before breakfast.

You keep records in your head. You made no conscious decision to do so, but they're there all the same. You go over them in your head when you can't sleep at night. Statistics assemble in your head. You make projections, collect them carefully.

It takes you a while to even realize what you're doing. You might have made the decision not to tell her about your feelings, you might have accepted that she'll be with Frank, but in your head you're making plans and find excuses. You tell yourself that she feels it too. She must. You have the numbers to prove it.

As soon as you realize what you're doing, you stop. Or at least you try to. Instead of descriptive math, you turn to prescriptive formulas. You ration yourself, make the numbers decrease. Weaning yourself off her like she's a drug. No more than two hugs per week (unless she's upset), no hand holding (unless Emma's there as well), no wiping away of imaginary food (unless you haven't touched her all day)… no more.

You fail. Like a criminal, you keep separate sets of numbers now. Those that let you sleep at night and those that tell you that you need her, just to get you through the day.

Your math grows more and more complex. Branches of diagrams have grown in directions you didn't expect. Quality, quantity, frequency… everything is factored in. You need it all to tell yourself why. For the first time in your life you doubt your own equations.

In your head you've filled countless black boards, like you did in college. Data, projections… It's all there for you to obsess over. You've stopped telling yourself that you're in control. Numbers have started to appear out of nowhere and all you can do is bend your math until it fits. You almost look forward to the day when you can clean these boards. When numbers will no longer appear randomly, throwing everything into question. The wedding.

You will finally be far enough away from her and this place where one plus one always equals you and her.



You watch her close those expressive green eyes and know that she's silently counting to ten. You tell her you love her and she hides from you. Hides behind her fears and worst-case-scenarios. You know that look. You've seen it before, when everything had still been a 'secret'. Everything had gotten so complicated until everything either of you did threatened you both with its multiple meanings and unpredictable interpretations. And even now, after you told each other, nothing is simple. You finally realized that it is pointless to fight this. You know that your love for her just is. You left a man in a church for that truth. She unfortunately seems to have decided that you are an impossibility. "There is no us."

You know differently. You know better. You don't have the fancy degrees you've found hidden in her desk drawer, but this time you know better.

It all adds up. You've never been happier than when you spent your time with her. She made you better long before she loved you and you instinctively responded to her touch long before it meant anything to either of you. Both of you always reacted to each other.

You loved her before you liked her, which is how you know that the two of you will work. Even when you don't like each other, you still love one another. You know that the odds are against you. You know that she is focusing on that. When she tells you that you're not ready. When she tells you that you shouldn't change who you are.

What she doesn't know is that you've already changed. And for the better. You've become self-confidant. You always knew things about yourself. You knew that you could be a mother to your son when everybody else told you it was hopeless. You knew that you could work tirelessly until you got enough money to buy Rafe's medicine. You knew that you could fight for Nicky and win, when everything seemed to be against you. You never really knew yourself though. She gave you time and space to figure that out. She basically forced you to take a look at yourself and reassess what you had done with your life and what you could do with your future. Once you knew what she was doing, once you stopped fighting her, it was all too easy to see in yourself what she had so easily seen.

So when she gives you reasons why you have no chance at a future together you can protest. You can reach out to her and tell her that you know better this time, because this time you see something that she doesn't trust herself to see. This time you will force her to take a look at both of you and you will tell her what you can be, what your future can be, until she stops fighting.

You hold her hand in the very same church where you almost broke the bond between you and you know that you have a chance to figure things out. You have a plan and if it doesn't work you know that you can just grab her by the ears and hit her over the head with this.

Because when you look at everything in your life there are very few constants. One is Rafe. One is Emma. One is Olivia. One is your love for all four of them. And everything a little eight year old girl wrote in a paper about every part of the family that you have found in this most unlikely place, is true. It is as true today as it was back then. What you have is good and it's love. There's nothing that can keep you from being what you are. A family.

You're counting on that.

The End

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