Title: "The Love Song of Archie the Gardener"
Fandom: "General Hospital"
Rating/Classification: SAC, Skye/Coleman, mild language.
Disclaimer: Nope. I don't own them.
Summary: Should auld acquaintance be forgot? *Can* it be?
The crisp dollar bills are waved away and after a nod from the man
behind the bar, there is no stamp applied to the back of her hand.
They know her here. They know she'll pitch a fit if she has to scrub
ink off her skin at three in the morning. They know it might just be
enough annoyance to keep her from coming back.
"You came," he murmurs, his gravelly voice perfectly pitched to echo
below the shouts of New Year's revelers gearing up for midnight.
Perfectly pitched and faking surprise.
"You knew I would." She laughs, dryly, slipping off her coat and
handing it back to him so he can put it, safely, beneath the counter.
"What else was that performance at the Quartermaines' for? A party' at
Jake's...the cover charge..." She rolls her eyes. "It certainly
wasn't for Edward's benefit."
"You know what it was for, Princess." He tilts his head, smiles
knowingly. She shivers, remembering those lips lingering on her skin.
The eyes of her not-family lingering, too, as the blush heated her and
she covered it up with embarrassment.
Of course he had to make it all the worse by slapping her rear. The
man has no class.
"You gave Dillon a ride home on the off-chance you'd find me there and
grope me? Why Coleman...I'm touched." But she is. She *was*. Her
shoulder is still tingling, bared now as if to plead for an encore.
Maybe she has no class either.
"What about you? Coming here...? For what? The ambiance? My fine
selection of booze?" He slides the soda and lime across the bar. "I'm
touched," he mocks, softly.
He probably is.
It hasn't escaped her notice that she seems to keep coming back here.
That he's always waiting. That he always reaches out, kisses her
'hello', reminds her of...of what? What they shared? Isn't that
romanticizing a few months of highly ill-advised sex?
Highly ill-advised relationships seem to be her forte. "Luke," she
points out, defensively. "I only came back here because of Luke."
"You still seeing that old cat?" He shakes his head. Something dark
flickers in his eyes. Something that makes her breath catch. It looks
like... envy. Jealousy. Isn't jealousy for people who care? "Where's
Spencer now, Princess?" he demands. "I don't see him here. Unless
you've turned into one of those psychic friend AA sponsors and he's
gonna walk in any second."
No. Luke's not going to walk in any second. She knows that. As much
as she'd like to say they've got something special...that she's more
than a sponsor to him, more than a business partner, his disappearing
act after Christmas proves that she can't. And she can't use him as
her excuse. She doesn't know why she tried.
Instead of saying "I told you so," Coleman lets her own her silence,
moving around to make sure no one is throwing up in a corner or
starting fights. The big screen t.v. he rented from god-knows-where
has Times Square in technicolor, with the big spiky ball inching down
and Dick Clark making his deal with the devil for one more year of
The hands on her shoulders, warm and strangely comforting, are what
signal his return...and he still doesn't give voice to whatever he's
thinking. No, he just leans down and, this time, without an audience,
she simply arches up, craving the rasp of his long hair against her
throat as he kisses her cheek, her jaw, and finally her lips.
"You and *that*?" Tracy had asked, looking thoroughly disgusted,
appallingly elitist. As if she'd never slummed in her life. Ha. Skye
stammered and blushed and turned away rather than answer in the
affirmative. "That". As if this man is less than human, less than
dirt. If she was a braver woman, a stronger one, she would've turned
to her dear not-aunt and said, "He's hung like a horse" or "He fucks
like you wouldn't believe"...except that using words like 'hung' and
'fuck' in the hallowed halls of the Quartermaine mansion is strictly
verboten...and she seems to need that family even if they don't need
There would've been five cases of apoplexy right there on the spot and
maybe envy...jealousy...in Ned's eyes. But isn't jealousy for people
"I think he likes you," Luke had said a few weeks before. Teasing
inflection. No green-eyed monster on his shoulder. Nothing at all.
She twists on the barstool, curving into Coleman's arms...suddenly
sick of sneak attacks from behind where she doesn't have to
reciprocate, where she can still pretend it's against her will and
paint a denial on her face even as her body says "yes." He's been good
to her. Unfair to himself. Allowing her that illusion.
Still no "I told you so" from his smart mouth. No. Just the barest
of satisfied sighs as she kisses him back with tongue and teeth and
tenderness that only exists here. Between them.
Somewhere in the distance, people are chanting. Numbers. Counting
She slides her hands beneath his shirt, laughing softly because it's
grey and sedate--so unlike him--but the warmth, the strength is
familiar. It always will be.
"One," he whispers, pulling back just long enough to breathe. "Happy
new year, Skye."
"Happy new year, Coleman." She's surprised that she means it. Even
more surprised when she kisses him again. And again, until he's taking
her hand and leading her some place where they can be truly alone
together and naked.
She'll always come back to him. He'll always be waiting.
She'll take it for as long as he's willing to give.
It's who they are.
They'll allow themselves this illusion.
But they'll never call it love.
January 1, 2003.