DISCLAIMER: The title is courtesy of R.B. Greaves; the rest is all me.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is just a weird little idea that I had to get out of my head. Enjoy, if at all possible.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Take a Letter, Maria
By EldritchSandwich


Maria Petrelli looked up from her desk to see her boss gently shutting the door to her office, purse slung over her shoulder with a wry glance in Maria's direction. Maria couldn't help smiling. "Going home early, Mrs. Prince?"

Jenna Prince had to chuckle; maybe she was working too hard if even her assistant recognized six o'clock as 'going home early.' "Well, I thought it would be nice to see my husband at least once before the next ice age."

Maria's smile twitched as she turned back to her computer. "Have a nice night, ma'am."

Jenna leaned over her assistant's desk. "You're going to get out of here too, right?"

Maria cleared her throat sheepishly. "I just have a little more work to do, Mrs. Prince. Honest."

Jenna held Maria's gaze until the dark-haired PA had to snap her eyes back to her computer; Jenna just blinked and nodded. "All right. Have a good night. I'll see you tomorrow."

"You too, ma'am."

As Jenna headed across the floor to the elevator, Maria kept her eyes fixed doggedly on the screen. When the doors closed behind the redhead, Maria let out a sigh.

When the doors to the elevator opened again less than an hour later, Maria practically jumped out of her chair; she was about to call for security when she registered her boss' round face staring back at her.

Maria cleared her throat, a dark blush rising up her cheeks. "Mrs. Prince. Did you forget something?"

When Jenna stepped into the light of the office, Maria gasped.

The redhead's eyes were bloodshot, mascara running in rivulets down her cheeks, one of which was swollen and red. Maria was out of her chair almost before she could register what she was doing, and it was only her boss' gentle hand that stopped her from carressing the injured cheek.

"Maria. Would you...I already shut down my computer, would you...could you please find the number of a good divorce lawyer and give them a call first thing?"

Between the touch of the redhead's fingers around her wrist and the blank stare from her puffy red eyes, Maria didn't even realize Jenna had spoken until she blinked. "Mrs. Prince?"

"Ms." Jenna cleared her throat and dropped Maria's wrist. "Ms. Hartman."

Wordlessly, Jenna broke from Maria's gaze and slipped stiffly through the door to her office.

Fifteen minutes later, Maria eased the door open with a creak, a cup of coffee in each hand, to find the redhead curled up on the corner of the leather couch opposite the office's looming windows. The lights were still off. "Mrs...Ms...Hartman?"

Jenna looked up, a split second of stark terror in her eyes before she wordlessly accepted the mug in Maria's outstretched hand. She only rocked slightly when the slender brunette sat gingerly at the other end of the couch.

Maria was in the middle of a tentative sip of her coffee when Jenna finally spoke.

"He was with two of his students. Two."

Maria's eyes went wide, but she said nothing.

"When I walked in on them, one of the girls got really quiet, started crying. The other one started screaming at me, telling me I was a...dried up old cunt and that it was my own fault for not paying attention to him. She's the one who..." Jenna gestured half-heartedly to the slap-mark on her cheek. "He just laid there. He didn't say a word."

"I..." Jenna's eyes locked on Maria's, and the brunette averted her gaze with a fiery blush.

Jenna sniffed. "Maybe she was right. Maybe if I didn't spend every waking minute here, my husband wouldn't have to crawl into bed with two high school girls. Hell, for all I know, this was the first time, and I'm just widly overreacting to my husband fucking two teenagers in my own bed."

Maria winced, and for the first time Jenna looked up at her. "Maria?"

The brunette took a gulp from her mug, wincing again as the coffee burned the back of her throat. Then, she set the mug on the floor with shaking hands. "Last year, when you brought him to the Christmas party. He was...drunk, and when I was coming out of the bathroom he...his hand was under my..." Maria's eyes were fastened on her own knees as she began to sob. "He was drunk, I let it go...I would have told you if I thought...I didn't want you to hate me..."

Maria tensed as she felt the couch shift, then even more as Jenna's arms settled around her. "Don't," the redhead whispered. "It's not...just don't."

Maria could feel from the wetness against her throat that Jenna had started crying again. The brunette shuddered, burying her nose in the fragrant hair at Jenna's neck.

"I don't...I don't hate you," Jenna mumbled. "I spend more time with you than I do with Michael." The brunette tightened her arms, and she could feel Jenna's wry smile against her neck. "You're the only thing I have left."

Maria was thankful Jenna couldn't see her blush, but even still she was having trouble keeping her breathing in check as she felt the redhead's breasts press against hers. "You're...you're the only thing I have too."

Until she felt Jenna go rigid under her, Maria didn't even realize that her lips had pursed against the redhead's neck.

Maria rolled from the couch with a curse, Jenna barely able to keep herself upright as she watched the brunette scramble away in tears. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry, don't...I didn't mean to..." Maria flinched as she backed up against the edge of Jenna's desk. The redhead, however, was just watching her, blue eyes wide in the darkness of the office.

"Didn't mean to do what?"

Maria winced. "I kissed you."

Jenna's eyebrows narrowed. "So, what's wrong with..." The redhead blinked. "Oh."

"I'm sorry."

Maria heard the couch creak as Jenna stood, and buried her face between her knees. Then, she felt a delicate hand on her chin.

When she met Jenna's eyes, only inches away from her own, her tears started to flow again. "The first time we stayed late together," Maria muttered in answer to the question Jenna was either too polite or too mortified to ask. "You made me coffee. When you gave me the mug, our hands touched and you...a strand of my hair had gotten loose, and you pushed it behind my ear. Ever since then."

As Jenna's hand disappeared from her chin, Maria's head began to shake. When the redhead's lips ghosted against hers, Maria froze.

Jenna pulled back, eyes locked on the brunette, watching as her eyes fluttered in time to her breathing. The redhead cleared her throat. "I'm not saying..."

Maria nodded feverishly. "I know."

"I can't..."

"I know."

Jenna's hand settled around Maria's as she slid down against the brunette's side. "Just...hold me. Just for tonight."

As Maria's arm closed around Jenna's shoulder, she just nodded. That, she could do.

The End

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