They met at Bobby’s Bar, a suggestion Sarah had thrown out sarcastically back when the whole idea seemed laughable. She hadn’t expected Rachel to take her up on it, nor did she expect the sight that greeted her when she walked into the place: Rachel chatting with Bobby over her martini like she’d been coming here for years. Bobby was smiling.
Rachel Duncan was making Bobby smile.
“Hey, you,” Bobby called, finally spotting Sarah at the entrance, frozen in place. “You’ve got a hell of a family.”
Rachel turned to face her, face tightening, suddenly defensive.
“Yeah,” Sarah said. “You have no idea.”
“So, what’s this about then, ey?” Sarah asked. “If you came to apologize, I don’t wanna hear it.”
Rachel blinked back at her for a moment, caught off guard, before nodding.
“Then I hope you will allow me to at least express my… regrets.”
She turned to her glass, nervously tapped her finger against the base of it.
“I have so many regrets, Sarah. For what I’ve done, for what I am. I was too deeply embedded in that world to see it. It was easy to justify everything as a means to an end.”
“And what?” Sarah shot back. “If you’d gotten everythin’ you wanted, would you still have regrets then?”
Rachel raised her eyes and stared at some point on the far wall, considering. She offered a small, rueful laugh.
“I don’t know,” she admitted. “I don’t suppose my regrets mean much at all then, do they?”
“Look,” Sarah sighed. Rachel turned to her, looking almost hopeful. “Cos never woulda been able to cure everyone if not for you. And I guess I did sorta shoot a pencil through your eye.”
Rachel laughed in response, and then Sarah was laughing. What else could they do but laugh about it now?
“So,” Sarah continued. “Let’s just call it even, yeah?”
“Even,” Rachel repeated, playing with the word on her tongue. “I would like that very much.”
“Great,” Sarah said, offering Rachel a firm clap on the back. It felt every bit as awkward as Sarah imagined it would be.
They were silent for a moment, Sarah allowing Rachel at least enough time to say her peace before offering a half-assed excuse and ducking out.
“I don’t suppose,” Rachel started, voice shaking. She paused again. “You’d be willing to start again?”
“What?” Sarah blurted, raising an eyebrow.
Rachel cleared her throat, extending a hand in Sarah’s direction.
“Rachel Duncan. Pleasure to meet you.”
“God,” Sarah laughed, and it felt like a release. She pushed Rachel’s hand away. “Don’t do that, you weirdo.”
Sarah sighed deeply, running a hand through her hair. Rachel really did seem to be trying, and she supposed that had to count for something.
“I must be crazy,” Sarah muttered to herself.
“One drink,” she said. “That’s all I’m promisin’.”
“I think that’s more than fair,” Rachel said, and Sarah had never seen her smile like this before.
Sarah quickly found Bobby at the other end of the bar and motioned her over. She had no idea what the rest of the night held, only that she sure as hell wasn’t drunk enough for it.