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The day after.
Snatching his sweater from the floor, he shook it impatiently, "Then who is this other guy?"
She gulped, "My boss."
"Yeah, I got that part, you didn't lie about your boss calling, who's the oth-Oooh..." comprehension dawned, and he froze midsentence blinking at her, "You're sleeping with your boss?"
Her eyes were blurry with unshed tears, she could barely see him, and she nodded then shook her head, but he went on, "Is that why you left New York?" his tone grew softer gaining an understanding quality, and she nodded.
He took a couple of steps in her direction, then remembered he was shirtless, and pulled his sweater on before enquiring, "Were you trying to end it? Was he...?" he shook his head, "I don't understand, I mean, why did you leave if you're in love with the guy?"
She wiped at her eye, "It's complicated."
"Did he make you leave? Was he the one who put an end to things? I don't understand," he repeated once more, "I mean he called you yesterday, so he obviously still wants something. I don't understand."
"I'm not asking you to understand," she shook her head, "all I want is to beg for your forgiveness. I didn't mean to drag you into my personal mess. This is my own hell to dwell in." the second she finished talking, the gates of tears opened, and she was left with twin rivers running down her cheeks, "I love him, and now I can't stay and work for him anymore."
Her weeping must've disconcerted him, because his face fell, and he murmured her name, but she shook her head again, "I'm sorry."
"Claptrap!" he held her by the shoulders digging his fingers firmly into her skin when she shrunk back, "I'm not gonna walk out on you now, not when you obviously need someone. Is this guy trying to blackmail you? Use you? Why did he call? You were so upset after talking to him. Is he threatening to fire you? Talk to me, Jillian, I can see that you're not the kind of woman that gets herself in a tight situation by choice."
He was taking it in stride, and she mentally applauded him for his standup attitude, but shook her head, "It's very complicated. And you're right, I didn't walk into it by choice, but I didn't stop it either, and I'm paying for it now."
Presuming, he said, "If there's no hope for anything with this guy then why do you agonize over him? I'm here, and I want you. You can open up to me."
Eyes wide and bleary with tears, she faced him, "That's where you don't understand the situation."
"Then make me understand it, daggammit!" He used substitute curse words eve when he was angry and serious, and Jillian didn't know why it ticked her off so much.
"It's a long story." She started but he pushed her down on a chair and sat on the coffee table in front of her.
"I have time."
Abbreviating as much as possible, she recited the synopsis of her ongoing saga with Marc omitting all the private sexual information, and Marc's threesome from the other day. But she recounted the Christmas meeting -sans sex details- to press the fact that Max had every right to be angry, and can leave without a backward glance.
And he did latch on to that fact, "You saw him while we were dating?"
She nodded wiping the remnants of mascara from under her eyes, and he asked hesitantly, "Were you intimate with him?"
We fucked like nymphs, "That's what I'm trying to tell you; I spent the night in his hotel room."
He looked at her in that way where his eyes stare at each one of hers in turn like strict teachers do to little children trying to intimidate them, and succeeding, "What made you decide to, you know, with me now?"
When she didn't answer, he added, "I know we didn't get far, but I know you intended for us to."
Since truth was the best policy and all that jazz, she shrugged, "I've been trying to move on since before my Christmas...relapse, and since we parted ways, he and I that is, I thought I can do it. I wanted to do it. I didn't mean for you to be put in a situation like this."