|Primary Characters:||Lilly, Scotty|
|Warning:||adult themes, m/m sex|
|Description:||Scotty has some serious troubles in his personal life. He does a few things that he shouldn’t have. There are some embarrassing moments to endure.|
For some reason, though Lilly had kept the whole thing quiet, Vera and Jeffries and a few of the other guys had managed to get a hold of the story behind the false confession. Though they tried not to joke about it in front of Scotty, Lilly was afraid he was aware of what was being said behind his back. He never referred to that in any way, but she thought he looked tenser than usual, though that might be due to the healing stab wound.
Lilly had once been stabbed in the line of duty and she knew it hurt a lot but also that it itched like mad when it was healing. Even now, several years later, she could still feel the scar whenever she raised her arm higher than usual.
Just as Lilly had suspected, Scotty had overheard Jeffries and Vera joking about the suspect who had fallen in love with him and confessed only to please him. He knew Lilly hadn’t said anything, but since everyone knew he’d taken James Thorpe into the box and for what reason, and Jeffries had been standing by his desk, when he led Thorpe through, he’d probably noticed the looks Thorpe was giving him. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out why he’d confessed to a crime he hadn’t committed.
One afternoon, when Scotty got back from a lonely lunch hour, while Lilly was seeing Kite, he’d walked into the men’s washroom, only to find Jeffries, Vera and two other guys standing there talking so animatedly they hadn’t noticed him come in.
“And I’m telling you, the guy was all over him. Looking like this.”
Jeffries made a ridiculous face, eyes enormously wide and a smile which would have looked better on a teenage girl.
“He thought our boy would be pleased if he saved him the trouble of going after the real killer.”
“Sweet. You have to admit they’re both quite – good looking kids. They’d make a nice couple.”
All four men were laughing so hard tears came to their eyes.
Jeffries was holding his sides, really getting into the spirit of things.
Mortified, Scotty crept out again, deciding to try again later. He’d just have to hold it in a while longer.
It was odd how empty his place seemed, even though Elissa had never really lived there. He’d always gone to her place to check on her, but she’d visited more times than he could count, and once or twice she’d spent the night – while he slept on the couch. It must have hurt her that he couldn’t make love to her anymore, but it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise, after she’d broken off the engagement. He knew she’d done that so he wouldn’t remain tied to a sick woman, who might never lead a normal life again. Unfortunately, that wasn’t how it had turned out. He hadn’t regained his freedom and though their relationship was over, they were still too close to lead separate lives. At least until now.
After it had happened, Scotty had done his best to put her out of his mind. There wasn’t anything else he could do for her and where she was now, she wouldn’t need him anymore. In fact, that suited him fine. He knew it was unfair, but he couldn’t help resenting her for what she’d become. It was as if this new, changed Elissa, had taken the real Elissa, whom he had loved so much, from him. He could tell himself a million times it wasn’t her fault, but he still felt an intense anger towards her.
Not only her. All the women who had passed through his life and his bed, in the years since Elissa had become ill, had meant nothing to him. Because of her, he’d never even looked for someone to replace her, and the result had been that he’d ended up with women who slept with anyone. To begin with, it had been great, but as time wore on, he’d begun to miss what he’d had with Elissa. Because she was still around, in the flesh, if not in spirit, he’d never been able to get over her.
Now, with all that emotional baggage, he suddenly found himself disgusted with the one-night stands. It felt so – cheap – so sordid. Suddenly, the looks from the women, following him around, just like Lilly had pointed out, made him feel sick.
He found himself drifting towards bars where you could get down to some serious drinking, instead of looking for pickups. Not that he drank all that much. It was just that he liked the solitude and the potential of confiding in the bartender. He didn’t do that either. What he was trying to figure out was still too unclear to put into words. Instead, he sat there, nursing a couple of drinks, trying to find a peace of mind that eluded him.
Lilly. She was different. Out of all the women he’d known, she was above all those petty games. He realized that he idolized her, but he felt he had reason to. She was his mentor, his role model. But not even Lilly would understand what he was going through now. How could she? He wasn’t sure he understood.
At night, he tossed and turned, skin tingling with repressed sexuality, which he found hard to find a release for. After a while, he resorted to movies, but the reality behind the cheap sets and the poor acting, left him cold. He’d seen through all that when he was working Vice. It didn’t turn him on anymore. When it became too much for him, he dealt with it on his own, but his upbringing had instilled in him a distaste for that sort of solitary indulgence.
Dreams haunted him, in which he saw Elissa as she’d been, all those years ago, but was unable to reach her, or even make her listen to him. Once or twice he woke up tormented by guilt, vaguely recalling snatches of confusing dreams in which Lilly played a prominent part.
He dreaded going to sleep, and even on work nights, he’d find himself sitting on a bar stool until late. One Saturday night, he sat like that, trying to put off returning home just a little bit longer, though he knew the bar would be closing before long. Someone sat down beside him, but he didn’t look up until he realized that the guy was buying him a drink. The bartender cast an odd glance at him, but left to carry out the order.
Scotty glanced uneasily at the guy who had taken it upon himself to buy him a drink without even asking, then looked away, as he realized that guy was gazing at him unnervingly intensely. It reminded him uncomfortably of the way James Thorpe had looked at him, and he decided to get up and leave. He was about to do so, when the bartender returned with two large Scotches.
The guy on his right raised his glass and let his eyes wander across him, in a way that made him blush. Scotty wanted to leave, but found himself picking up the glass and taking a sip. Filled with shame, he got up to leave, without a word of thanks or explanation.
He walked as fast as he thought he could, without seeming to panic, though he knew that was what he was doing. Outside, it was raining, softly, but insistently. He looked around for a cab, but at this time of night they were few and far between. As he stood there staring into the street, he heard footsteps behind him and the guy from the bar was standing there, an amused smile playing on his lips. He was a little taller than Scotty but had the same build. There was a dark shadow of stubble on his cheeks. The chin was strong and the eyes – seemed to measure Scotty and find him acceptable.
Scotty felt dizzy for a moment, but that was most likely because he’d skipped dinner. When he turned back towards the street, a cab appeared and the guy behind him moved closer. Without knowing quite how it happened, Scotty found himself getting into the cab, with the guy and when the guy gave his own address, Scotty didn’t protest.
Fifteen minutes later, they were riding in an elevator, getting out on the ninth floor and standing in front of the guy’s door. The guy was fishing for his keys, and when he found them he unlocked the door, somehow sweeping Scotty with him inside. He shut the door behind him and shoved Scotty up against the wall.
Taken by surprise, Scotty was stunned to feel a stab at the pit of his stomach. He realized he was rapidly becoming aroused and when the guy pressed his lips against his mouth, he didn’t make a move to get away. Hands were fumbling with his zipper and he felt a hardness grinding into him, bringing him further along. Within moments, the other guy was on his knees in front of him doing things Scotty had hardly experienced with any of his numerous girlfriends.
Some time later, they retreated to the bedroom, where towards morning Scotty woke up with a start, covered in sweat. He panicked and made a frantic search for his clothes, found them and ran for the door. The other guy was awake, still smiling in an amused way, but making no move to stop him.
Back in his own apartment, Scotty spent the better part of the morning throwing up, showering, scrubbing himself clean, an anguished sobbing shaking him, filling his ears. On Monday morning, he called in sick, but the following morning, he was back, terrified that Lilly would ask what was wrong. Lilly, with eyes that saw too much. Lilly, who understood far more than he was comfortable with.
The next Friday night, he was back at the same bar, dreading, hoping, fearing, wishing that the same guy would be there. He wasn’t. On Saturday night, Scotty found himself drawn to a gay bar he knew of from his work. He prayed no one would recognize him there, but in the flashing lights and the sharp shadows on the dance floor, it wasn’t easy to recognize anyone. It wasn’t long until the same thing repeated itself. An unknown face, a stranger’s touch and a cab ride taking him beyond the bounds of everyday life.
He spent Sunday morning and well into the afternoon scrubbing his skin raw, then mentally torturing himself over what he’d done. Perhaps he too was losing his mind. Considering how he’d treated Elissa, it was a fitting punishment. He just couldn’t get over the fact that he’d gone out and done what he’d least of all wanted. It was like a nightmare, but one he couldn’t wake from.
Was this how Elissa had felt? Slowly turning into another person, one totally alien to the one she’d been before? Except this hadn’t happened slowly. One minute he was still wary of anything vaguely connected to homosexuality – the next – he was wallowing in the mire with men no different from the women he used to resort with.
But whatever he felt deep down, he found himself helplessly drawn towards the gay clubs and bars. After the first two occasions, he woke up to the risks of infection and took precautions. He even forced himself to go and get tested, under an assumed name, terrified that someone from work would find out.
Someone, or in particular Lilly. It saddened him to think that now he’d never be worthy of her friendship. At times, he’d been hoping that what she felt for him was more than just professional camaraderie. He’d longed to confide in her and when she’d stumbled on his other secret, by accident, it had somehow felt like a relief. For once, here was someone who listened and seemed to understand. She’d even tried to offer him some consolation.
He knew she must be wondering why he’d clammed up even more than before. She seemed to be watching him, filled with concern. It hurt to brush her off, as if what they’d shared meant nothing, but the alternative was even more unthinkable and he kept shutting her out, with a grim resolve.
Saturday night, he was back at the same gay club he usually went to. It was large and men would come from all over the state, guaranteeing his anonymity. He was having a drink with a likely pickup, when suddenly all hell broke lose. For a second, he feared that a gang of gay-bashers were attacking, then he realized that it was far worse than that. Uniformed cops swarmed in, performing body searches of one man at a time. Scotty even thought he recognized a colleague from Narcotics. He tensed up, staring helplessly for a way out, but it was too late. The narks were already covering all the exits.
He cowered unhappily in his corner, when suddenly an even more familiar figure walked up to him. Wincing, he tried to look away, hoping she’d miss him, but he knew that was a forlorn hope. Lilly glanced around the room surreptitiously then put a hand on his shoulder. She spoke close to his ear, encouraging him to get up.
“Come on. Quickly. Look like you’re searching the premises. Now.”
The last word came out a little louder than the others, and Scotty jumped up and began to follow her in the direction she was going. She was walking slowly, trying to appear unhurried. When they reached a wall, she stopped and looked around. One of the narks walked up to them, staring inquiringly at them.
“Hey. I thought you guys could use some help.”
“Lilly? What a surprise.”
“I just heard on the radio and I was out and – do you need some help?”
“Sure. You could help search these guys for drugs. Who’s your friend?”
“This is Scotty Valens. My partner. We were having a few drinks and – well, you know how it is. Always on duty.”
“Damned right. Hi. Red Thompson.”
Scotty weakly held out his hand and squeezed the big, ruddy faced guy’s hand. His lack of enthusiasm wasn’t lost on the nark, but to Scotty’s relief, the guy seemed to interpret his reaction his own way. Before Red moved away, he winked at Lilly, twisting his face into a leer. Scotty noticed that Lilly played up to him and shrugged apologetically. Now she’d really put herself on the line for him. If Kite found out about what that guy thought, she could be in trouble with her boyfriend – because of him and his weakness.
He kept quiet and followed Lilly around, going through the motions of searching the men in the bar for narcotics. It felt ridiculous and humiliating. He kept expecting one of them to challenge him any second now, but no one did. Except for the guy who had been hitting on him, no one seemed to have noticed him. That would have been a blow to his self-esteem if he hadn’t been so mortified.
Once the raid was over and Lilly had talked to a few more acquaintances, he expected her to say something, to ask him what he’d been doing there, but instead, she was so tactful he felt he was choking. He kept wanting to blurt out the truth, just to get it over with, but somehow, he managed to keep quiet. Lilly’s only comment was another offer of help.
“I’ll drop you off at home. You’re not going out again tonight, I guess?”
He answered gruffly and was hoping she wouldn’t change her mind and start asking questions. If she did, he had no idea what to say. This had to be the most humiliating moment of his life. While Lilly drove him home, his cheeks were burning up and he kept staring at his own feet, carefully avoiding Lilly’s gaze. She let him go, without comment, leaving him to agonize in peace for the rest of the weekend.
He considered calling in sick, but realized it would only make things worse. That, if nothing else, would really make Lilly wonder and worry about him. What an idiot he was. What a sick, degenerate fool.
He didn’t think things could get any worse, but on Thursday, he received a bottle of champagne. There was a card attached to it, and before he even read it, he knew what it was going to say. He half feared that it would be from some of his colleagues, but he really knew who it was.
The minute the guy began to nag him to see him again, he’d known he was trouble. He was young, maybe 25 or so, and very well built. Easy, or so Scotty thought. There had been no problem getting what he wanted, but nothing beyond that. And then the guy had to ask to see him again. He’d said no, sharply, and believed that had taken care of the problem.
What an idiot he’d been to let this Ryan guy come to his place. At the time, it had seemed like a good idea, since Ryan apparently lived with his mother. In retrospect, Scotty wished he’d just backed off.
On Friday, Ryan called and on Sunday afternoon, he was standing in the hallway, ringing the doorbell. Scotty looked through the peephole and kept as quiet as he could. With any luck, the guy would think he was out. After a while, Ryan gave up and left, leaving Scotty lightheaded with relief. He should have known it was too good to be true. On Tuesday, there was a note. Not a letter. A handwritten note, asking to see him again. He tore the note up and threw it in the trash.
The next day, there was a letter on his desk at work. Lilly hadn’t arrived yet, so Scotty snatched the letter away, hoping no one would have noticed. His name had been written on the envelope, in an elegant, flowing script. Ryan had said something about being some sort of designer. Scotty had taken that to mean the fashion business and had purposely avoided asking more.
He was hoping that now Ryan would take the hint, but it wasn’t long before Ryan was back outside his door, pounding on it, begging to be let inside. A moment longer and the neighbors would have been complaining. Eventually, though, Scotty heard Ryan sobbing outside, then walking away.
His hands felt clammy and he had to wipe his brow. This was getting uncomfortable. He didn’t fear Ryan physically, but this obsession was making him uneasy. A guy like that would be capable of anything.
After a while, Scotty became aware of someone following him around. It had to be Ryan, but the guy was pretty good at tailing him, without being seen. At least he had to hand it to the guy, he had the makings of a good cop, if he could only master his emotions.
Scotty found himself warily glancing over his shoulder. Walking in the street with Lilly, in the course of their investigations became a torment. Tensely avoiding Lilly’s inquiring glances, while edgily trying to catch Ryan out, he forced himself to focus on the job.
Lilly was really worried now. Scotty was acting really strangely, especially after she’d caught him in that gay club. That was the last thing she’d expected. In fact, seeing him there, had been quite a shock.
She was wondering how this fit in with all the women chasing after him. Were they only an alibi? And his homophobia? Was that a clever ruse to hide his own sexual orientation? She found that hard to believe. In fact, there had been times, when his eyes had travelled across her, in a way that was only too familiar. She’d found it touching and flattering, considering what a success with the ladies he’d seemed to be.
Now she was wondering if all of that had been merely an act. On the other hand, gay or not, he was her partner and she was concerned about him. In the past couple of months, he’d lost weight. At first she’d put that down to the aftereffects of the stab wound, but the wound had healed perfectly, as far as she knew. He also seemed pale and edgy.
The final straw was when she noticed that he was being stalked. It hadn’t taken her long to figure out why he was constantly staring over his shoulder. Her powers of observation had revealed who the stalker was, or at least his outward appearance. Now that she’d seen Scotty at that gay club, she thought she could guess at the guy’s reasons for following her partner around. All that remained was confronting the guy, and if possible scare him off. Scotty’s reaction to him told her this wasn’t just some game between them.
After sending Scotty to interview a witness on his own, she began to tail the stalker. It was an easy matter, cornering him and herding him into a spot where she could talk privately with him. She knew just the place. Vera and Jeffries used it all the time to make contact with informers.
It was a little chapel off one of the most trafficked streets downtown. Fortunately, it happened to be in the neighborhood where the witness lived.
Having had the tables turned on him, the stalker didn’t look very menacing. In fact, Lilly was reminded of James Thorpe. This guy was about the same age, and slightly less – delicate, but emotionally, he seemed to be as unstable.
She was hoping he wouldn’t resort to violence when he was cornered. Fortunately, she had her gun close to hand. Just in case, she avoided crowding him too much.
The yard behind the chapel was a nice, cosy place. She imagined families would be waiting here before christenings or weddings, if the weather was nice. Even today, it wasn’t too chilly to be standing out here, but no one was around.
“Why are you following me around?”
There was an edge to the guy’s voice which told Lilly it would be easy to crack him. Child’s play, compared to some of the criminals she’d made to confess over the years.
“Funny, I should be asking you almost the same question. Why are you stalking my partner?”
“I don’t know what you’re -”
“You don’t know what I’m talking about? Spare me. I know you’ve been following him around for weeks now. What do you want?”
“You have no right -”
“Save us both the trouble and tell me right away. Go on. What’s your name, by the way?”
“Ryan. He – ”
“I just want to see him again. He’s not like the others. I think we could really have something.”
“I love him, but he told me he didn’t want to see me again.”
“How many times had you seen him?”
“Once. He’s always doing that. I asked around. Always one-night stands. Except with me, it could be different.”
“I see. Listen to me, Ryan. My partner’s just come out of a very complicated relationship. He’s not ready for any commitment. For your own sake, as well as his, let him go. I know him. It’s no use.”
“Did you two – Is he -”
Lilly didn’t reply. She nodded meaningfully towards the street. Ryan hesitated, then he appeared to give up.
“Ok. I’m going. Tell him – I’m sorry. He was amazing.”
Reading Lilly’s face, he refrained from going on about how fantastic it had been between him and the guy he’d fallen for.
She didn’t think she’d elaborate on what Ryan had said, but she was going to tell Scotty he wouldn’t have to worry about his stalker again. It might ease his mind a little. At least she hoped so.
So she waited for Scotty to return, knowing he must have wondered why she sent him out as some kind of errand boy. Usually, they’d only separate if they were pressed for time. It was getting late, and she thought Scotty might agree to go out to dinner with her. She’d just have to call Kite and cancel. Just this once couldn’t do any harm. Besides, he was the one who would call and cancel most of the time.
By the time Scotty walked in, still with that harassed look on his face, she’d managed to get Kite on the phone. She’d had the impression he’d forgotten about their meeting and it hadn’t been difficult at all to back out.
“Did you get anything out of that guy?”
“Just as we thought, he was there on the night in question, but he didn’t kill her. At least so he says. Except, I believe him. That old neighbor saw him leave, at least a half hour before they heard her scream. He didn’t see anyone else though, so this didn’t get us very far.”
“Ok. We’ll get back on it tomorrow. Listen, I was wondering if you’d like to go out to dinner. It’s been ages since we -”
Scotty tensed up and she could tell he was trying to think of an excuse not to agree, but she wasn’t going to accept that.
“I know this really great Italian place. You’ll love it. I’m starving. Please say you’ll come.”
Lilly shot him a smile she only rarely used these days. It hit her that she’d been in the habit of using it on Sam. It was the ‘please daddy, can I have that – whatever it was she wanted’ look. She blushed a little and hoped that Scotty wouldn’t notice.
Unhappily, he stood in front of her, staring at his shoes. He knew what she was going to do. This was it. It wouldn’t be any use putting it off any longer. Sooner or later, she’d find a way of cornering him, one way or the other and then he’d be forced to face her questions and her reaction to what he’d become. It might as well be now.
“Great. Let’s go.”
Dragging his feet, he trailed after her to her car. Once inside it, he knew what was coming.
“Oh, about Ryan – I took care of it.”
Whatever he’d expected her to say, that sure wasn’t it. Stunned, Scotty snapped out of the worst of his tension and stared at Lilly in astonishment.
“How did you -”
“He’d been following you around for nearly two weeks. Give me some credit.”
Scotty blushed vividly. Of course. She wouldn’t be much of a cop if she couldn’t spot a tail.
“Oh. What did you -”
“I just told him you weren’t interested. Was I wrong?”
His blush deepened.
“Scotty, I’m not going to ask you any embarrassing questions, though I have to admit you’ve really had me puzzled about the whole thing. It’s just that I couldn’t help noticing that you’ve been – well, not yourself lately. Is anything wrong? I mean, other than Ryan stalking you?”
He couldn’t stop the tears that burned his eyes. Blinking furiously, feeling like – someone like Ryan or James Thorpe – he struggled to think of something to say. All that sprang to mind was a feeble plea, his voice cracking like a little boy’s.
“It’s not like you think.”
“Ok. I just don’t see why you were so bothered by James Thorpe and the way he felt about you. Was it simply that he wasn’t your type? I know that at first when Kite -”
“No. It’s not like that. I – Ok, it’s worse than that.”
Lilly regarded him in a puzzled way, wondering what Scotty felt was worse than being outed.
“I – I don’t think I’m gay. It’s just that – after a while – it got so -”
He broke off, feeling that whatever he said would be humiliating in the extreme. Did he really want Lilly to know all the sordid details? Besides, how could he explain – to a woman? Did they ever get so – desperate?
If he’d known what Lilly was thinking, he’d most likely have been even more mortified, but after a while, he abandoned the effort, not realizing that Lilly understood far more than he was saying. She’d figured out right away that his one-night stands had to mean one thing alone, urgent sexual needs. What she still couldn’t figure out was why he kept denying he was gay, even in front of her, his partner, but then guys were always uptight.
“I was so angry with Elissa, for changing. You don’t have to tell me – it’s not her fault. I know that. She broke off the engagement, but she didn’t really have anyone else. Her parents – it’s a long story – anyway, they couldn’t look after her. I was all she had. When I – dated other women – I just couldn’t let go of her, and she couldn’t let go of me. Even if we weren’t – involved anymore – she was still a part of my life.”
“I understand. You were trying to help her, but you both needed to move on. Maybe now, you can.”
“Yeah, maybe. But it’s not like you think. I’m never going to have a relationship with a guy.”
“Scotty, no matter what your parents might think -”
“No. It’s not that. I’m not really into -”
Again, he was overcome with emotion and couldn’t bring himself to continue.
Lilly tried to catch his eye, but after a while, she decided to ask the question that had been on her mind ever since they’d started this awkward conversation.
“So you prefer women. Ok. Why didn’t you just go on dating women?”
This was exactly what he’d been afraid of. How could he explain without exposing himself as the worst kind of pervert?
“After a while, it just felt – sordid. Ok, I know what you’re thinking. This was even more – sordid. I just got so tired of the game. This was just easier. No pretense. Just -”
Lilly nodded to herself. That made sense. Of course, what Scotty was having such a hard time accepting about himself was the fact that he was bisexual. She didn’t think that was such a big deal nowadays. It might have left her giggling and embarrassed twenty years ago, but she wasn’t a kid anymore. Life had taught her there was more variety among people than she’d have dreamed of at fifteen.
“Ok. I understand. You know, I think it would be easier if you tried not to beat yourself up over your feelings towards Elissa. It’s only natural that you resent what has happened. Just try to direct your anger at the scizophrenia, not at her. Try to think about it from Elissa’s point of view. She probably knows she attacked you. Imagine what kind of guilt she must be living with. If you’d hurt someone you cared about, wouldn’t you feel terrible?”
“Yes. I know. You’re right. I’ll go and see her and tell her it’s ok.”
“Maybe. Ask her doctor if it’s a good idea for you to see her. You could leave a message. Send her a note.”
“Then tell yourself that it’s ok for you to let her go. It is ok. You’ve grown apart. One day, she could meet someone else and he’ll see her as the person she is today, not who she was. Scotty, it’s been so many years since you were in high school, she would have been a different person today anyway. So are you. Time doesn’t stand still, even for those of us lucky enough not to be sick.”
“Ok. Do you think maybe we should get going to that restaurant now?”
“If you like.”
“Or – we could go to my place. The girls will be hungry too.”
Scotty hastily rubbed the back of his hand against his eyes and cast a sideways glance at Lilly, He could tell from the way she sounded that she didn’t invite just anyone to her place, or to see her cats. On the only other occasion he’d visited her place, it had been more or less by chance. Somehow, despite everything, he felt honored. Kite probably spent the night there once in a while, but other than that, he didn’t think anyone was welcome. Apparently, she kept her home a very private place.
“I’d like that. Of course we shouldn’t let them go hungry.”
During the drive over to her place, they didn’t speak about anything in particular. The small talk came more easily after a while, and Scotty realized that telling Lilly about his troubles had left him feeling somehow cleansed. He hadn’t been aware of it before, but he’d been in pain, all this time. A little hard knot of pain nestled inside his heart, but now, that pain was gone. He felt numb and dazed and he knew it would be a while until he could fully sort out his feelings, but he knew one thing and that was that Lilly had once again saved him.
All he could do to repay her, was to stay her friend, and never let her know how he really felt. A guy like him had no right to come between her and Kite, even if he’d stood a chance, after what she’d found out about him. Besides, he wasn’t ready for any new commitment just yet. Maybe he never would. At least it felt that way right now. Considering what Elissa must be going through, maybe it was only fair.