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A Change of Heart

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Are we awake? Am I too old to be this stoned? 

When Doctor Jotaro Kujo came into his office that chilly Monday morning, he went about his usual routine. Take off his long white coat, set it on the back of his chair, feed the fish in his tank, and lastly, sit down and reach for the steaming mug of coffee that was always there every morning. 

Except, his usual black mug wasn't there. Perplexed, he looked around his desk and tidy office, making sure he hadn't missed it- but alas, his black mug that you always prepared him wasn't here this morning. 
Oh, well. Maybe you were too busy this morning, or you were sick and hadn't called in yet. Rolling his tense shoulders, Jotaro scooted his rolling chair up to his desk and took a quick look at his three framed photos before he began to go through a stack of his student's papers. 

 

For goodness sake,
I wasn't told you'd be this cold.
Now it's my time to depart and 
I just had a change of heart.

 

"What do you mean you're not coming in today?! We need you, (Y/n)! You're the only one who keeps him in a somewhat good mood!" (F/n) almost yelled down the phone. 

   Holding your phone a good 3 feet from your face, you squeezed your dry eyes shut and waited for your rambunctious coworker to shut up for a few seconds.

   "I'm just not feeling good." You lied smoothly, twirling a few strands of hair around your index finger, looking at all of the split ends you loved to pull apart. The ends of your (h/c) hair were turning grey from the dead ends and the way you treated them. 

I really need to treat myself better...

  "Do you wanna talk about it, (Y/n)?" 


God, yes. I'm beyond heartbroken over that asshole and I feel like I'm falling apart and I'm afraid I might- 

  "No, but thanks anyways. I'm sure I'll be feeling better by tomorrow." 
Another lie. You were getting better every time. 

  "Ok.... well, get some rest and hopefully we'll see you tomorrow if Kujo- Pardon me, Doctor Kujo doesn't kill us." (F/n) laughed over the phone, but their happiness made you feel even worse. 


You're such a loser


You said your goodbyes quickly and hung up the phone before they could say anything else. You were glad that (F/n) actually called you for once instead of trying to facetime you like usual. You wouldn't have been able to explain your splotchy complexion, tear stained cheeks, and everything else wrong with your appearance. You turned to your bedside table and grabbed some pain killers, downing them with a bit of the cheap wine you had bought the night before

 

Oh, I just had a change of heart

 

True to your word, you were back to work at your local university the next day. You were looking a bit better than yesterday, but you still weren't completely back to your normal standards. Hopefully no one would notice.... 

"Oh my god, you look like shit! What'd you do? Get hit by a road roller?" 

   You turned your head slowly, fixing (F/n) with the best 'fuck you' look you could manage. 

  "Man, I'm just saying! Are you a dumpster fire? Because you're a hot mess!" They giggled at their dumb joke and your stony expression as you kept up your best poker face. 

   "Ha, ha, ha. Sooooooo funny." You retorted, turning back to your computer and the missing book report you had been given as soon as you'd walked in the door that morning. 

   Working under Dr. Jotaro Kujo at the Franklin University of 
Science and Arts truly wasn't the worst job in the world. Honestly, when you weren't the world's biggest mess you actually quite enjoyed your job. You used to enjoy seeing your boss almost every day, too, but hey- shit happens. 

      "-so I heard from her that she heard the guy from robotics [who is TOTALLY gay!] say that your fill-in yesterday said that Kujo was being an asshole. But like, a bigger asshole than usual, you know what I mean? Poor dude brought him three coffees before Kujo finally just told him to sit down and fill out forms." (F/n) said, their swivel chair faced towards you for optimum tea spilling. 

   "Yeah," you said, not paying attention. You had read the same sentence over and over again, not being able to focus. You didn't want to think about Jot Kujo. You wanted nothing to do with him, really. At least this dumb missing book report wasn't due back too terribly soon, giving you ample time to sit in self pity as you typed everything in as slowly as possible. 

  Was he mad that I wasn't here yesterday? Because I totally don't care if he missed me or not. Knowing that asshole, he probably threw a party because I wasn't here. 

   "Hey!" (F/n)'s voice pulled you out of your thoughts, along with the rounded edge of their shoe hitting your shin a tad too hard. ("Ouch, you bitch!")


   "Are you listening? I had to hide behind the water cooler in the lounge to get some of this good-ass tea, you better pay attention!" 

   With an inaudible sigh, you saved your progress on the report before you turned to (F/n) so you could listen to their ramblings. Maybe if you were lucky Dr. Dio Brando, the (self-obsessed) psychology professor, would come into the biology department of the Franklin building to annoy Kujo and you would finally have a reason to leave the conversation, seeing that it was your job to call school security whenever he came in. Those two dummies argued like cats and dogs. 

You smashed a glass into pieces,
That's around the time I left

 

   You stood in the staff's bathroom crying pathetically in front of one of the porcelain sinks. Your teeth gritted automatically as you felt your hot tears drip down your face before they fell like raindrops into the damp sink basin. 


Quit being such a little bitch!

    You tightened your grip on the sides of the sink, trying your best to regain your composure. Take a breath, hold, exhale. Take a breath, hold, exhale. 

   You had been doing pretty good today until she had walked by, stopping to talk to (F/n) about her weekend. 'She' being Kujo's (quite new) fiancee. You didn't even know her name, but you knew that you hated her. You hated her beautiful, shiny hair and her stupidly gorgeous eyes. Her athletic and alluring figure she proudly but not explicitly showed off, her sweet and gentle voice. You especially hated her pretty, delicate fingers- specifically her left ring finger that boasted a large, diamond ring. 

    You didn't even know they were dating until he posted a photo of them together on his barley used Instagram- the man who kneeled for no one down on one knee, holding a velvet box that was dwarfed in his large hands. She had looked beautiful in the picture, even caught off guard with her mouth wide open and a shocked expression. You envied her. 

   You had finally stopped crying when you raised your head to look in the mirror. Your eyes and nose were bright red, your face puffy from crying. Your lips were chapped from your nervous tick of wetting them too often, and with the rest of your features distorted with sadness your appearance made you feel sick. Without thinking, you smashed your fist into the mirror, shattering the fragile glass and cutting your knuckles a little here and there. You hissed as you heard the pieces of glass hit the floor and sink, a small 'tink' emitting from where they landed. 

Way to go, (y/n).You just added seven years of bad luck, dumbass. 

   Hearing footsteps approaching outside of the bathroom door, you quickly (and quietly) slid into one of the stalls and locked the door before climbing up on the toilet and crouching so no one would be able to see you. You breathed as quietly as you could, hearing the door swing open with a soft creak. 

   "What's going-! Oh my god!" 
    The distinctly feminine voice and footsteps became quieter as the woman left quickly, letting the bathroom door creak shut. You were sure she'd be back with someone in a few minutes, so you stayed quiet in your place. As you had expected, she returned less than a minute later; this time with two new voices, one masculine and the other also feminine. 

   "I heard something like glass breaking and when I came in to investigate the mirror was like that!" The original voice explained to the other two. 

     "What the hell?" Said the masculine one. "Who's gonna pay for this? Who did it? Do they think we're made of money or something?" You glared at the deep blue stall door in front of you as the man continued to complain about costs like he actually did anything to help around the office. 

    "Shhh," the last voice chided gently. You knew that it was her immediately. You clenched your fists again, digging your thumb into one of the small cuts you had obtained. 


    "Mirrors like these aren't expensive- We can have it fixed by this time tomorrow. What we need to do is find out if the person who broke it is ok. I'd hate to have someone walking around injured if we could help them." 

Fuck you- I don't want your sympathy! Mind your business!

  Even you were appalled at your own hostility towards the future wife of your boss. You were known for usually being level headed and cool. This was the complete opposite. 

   "Fine." Came the masculine voice. "Let me go grab the broom and I'll clean this mess up so that no one gets hurt." 

  "Thank you very much, Mr. Zepelli." She said. You could hear the sincerity in her voice. 
    "Please be careful not to hurt yourself." She said before departing, and the other light footsteps followed after her. You continued to hide in the stall until you were sure the glass was cleaned up and Mr. Zeppeli was gone. 

  Stepping down gently, you washed your bloody hand off in the sink before slinking out of the restroom. 

And she said, "I've been so worried 'bout you lately."

 

  A week had passed since the bathroom incident, and you weren't feeling any better. You were bitter and withdrawn, unable to hold a conversation even if your life (or job) depended on it. You couldn't bring yourself to care, though. Why should you? The man you had secretly loved for years was engaged to the literal personification of an angel (the complete opposite of you) who's name you still didn't know. 

   You had stopped eating when you were supposed to, making you feel weak and tired and shittier on top of everything else. Your hair was in even worse condition than usual, leaving you to pull it up into something messy but quick, keeping it out of your face. Your skin had paled and your eyes dulled from their (e/c) hue. You looked like a zombie most days but it wasn't like you could fix it. 

    "(Y/n)? (Y/n)? Earth to (Y/n)? Any sign of intelligent life up there?" (F/n) tapped their knuckles against your temple, waking you from your daze. 
   "Wuh?" You said dumbly, turning to look at their concerned face.
    "I've been trying to talk to you for like 10 minutes you airhead. What's wrong? And don't tell me that you're alright again 'cuz I know that you're not." (F/n) crossed their arms as they talked, their stance telling you that a half-assed excuse wasn't gonna work for them this time. Sighing, you saved the literal one word you had typed on your assignment before turning to your coworker and closest friend. 

   "Wanna take a smoke break?" You asked. (F/n)'s eyebrows furrowed as they stared you down. 

     "You don't smoke." They said coolly. 
  "Yeah, but you do. Grab a cig and let's go." You said, snatching their lighter (which was practically always on your desk anyways) before they could protest. 


You used to have a face straight out of a magazine.
Now you just look like anyone.

   "I don't even know her name and I fucking hate her." You sighed, looking over the building's balcony to the street filled with cars below. You wished you were in one of them, heading somewhere far, far away from here. 

   "She's literally gorgeous. She looks like she was on her way to a fashion show and she somehow ended up here on accident. And it's an everyday thing! I've never seen her in a pair of jeans or anything that is remotely casual!" You ranted. 
   "I literally didn't even know they were dating until Saturday. He's never talked about her or mentioned her in anyway and I've never seen any pictures of her in his office. He talks about Dickhead-Dio more than her! Hell, I was there when his dad died! I was the one who comforted him through that! I was there for him this entire time! But now he's engaged and she's perfect in every way at everything and I hate how I look and feel about myself."   You stopped to take a breath so you could continue complaining but finally just let it go. There was no use in bashing someone who had never done anything bad to you. 

    "Damn. I didn't know you had it that bad for him." (F/n) said, blowing out a whisp of smoke. You sneezed after accidentally breathing in most of it, causing your friend to giggle before apologizing. 

    "I don't know what to tell you," they said, waving their hand through the puff of smoke to clear it from your face. 
     "I've never gone through something like this and I'm not gonna lie and say that I have. And you can't really confess to him now, can you?" They asked, staring ahead at the city's skyline. You knew they were in deep thought when that look crossed their face. They always seemed to drift when they looked over the city. 
      In your first year here you had even happily switched work spaces with them (under Kujo's watchful eye) so that they could have a clear view. From the early morning when the clouds and fog were so dense you couldn't see the building across from you unless it was ten feet from your face; to late at night when the neon lights would flash and apartment windows would glow yellow until eventually blacking out like the ones around them. You didn't know why (F/n) loved the city so much, but you never really questioned them either. 

    "I hate that she's so nice." You confessed, tapping your fingers against the metal bar on the edge of the balcony. 
    "If she was a bitch I'd feel better about hating her, but she's literally perfect. I'm sure whenever she gets paid she gives her entire paycheck to homeless shelters or some mushy shit like that. Maybe she works weekends at the soup kitchens, too." You almost snorted at the thought of her in a dirty soup kitchen, wearing a designer dress as she hands out bowls of food. 

   (F/n) did snort before dropping their cigarette and putting it out with the bottom of their shoe. Putting their hand on your shoulder, they gently squeezed until you made eye contact. 
     "I can't tell you what to do, but if I were you, I'd put as much space between Kujo and myself so that I wouldn't get attached or hurt again. And who knows? Maybe she's too nice for that grouch. Maybe one day she'll leave him to serve soup to people in one of her Gucci dresses. Then you can make your move and you two can be grouches together!" Your friend joked, making you smile just a little. You were pretty grouchy...

   "Thanks, (F/n). I really appreciate it." You said before giving them a genuine hug. They reciprocated, wrapping their arms around you, holding you until you moved to pull away. 
   Giving you a soft pat on the back, (F/n) gave you a blinding smile. 
     "Alright, let's get back to work so that you can continue typing exactly one word per hour!" They teased before laughing and quickly dodging the hand you had slung out to hit them. 

I never found love in the city.
I just sat in self-pity and cried in the car.

 

    As you turned off your desktop, you looked to (F/n), seeing them still hard at work. 

How do they do it?

    Shaking your head a little, you mumbled a soft goodbye to them before grabbing your personal belongings and heading for the stairs. Most people (including yourself) would take the elevator down to the main office instead of walking down 9 flights of stairs, which made it perfect for you. It was quiet and you didn't have to look at anyone or push any buttons.

   The only other person (that you knew of) that put themselves through the torturous stairs was Polnareff, a massive man going for his Bachelor's in dance, and that dude's calves were HUGE. You huffed out a strange laugh, thinking that at this rate maybe one day you'd have bulking calves, too. 


   Finally on the second floor, you stopped to give your legs a rest. Maybe you'd be extra lazy and take the elevator now instead of taking the remaining 20 steps. Pushing open the metal door, you froze when you heard voices. 
      "You promise you'll be home in time for dinner? Jolyne misses you quite badly... She was upset that you had to grade papers last night." 
       A deep "tch." was the only reply. You knew both of those voices, one better than the other. Slowly backing away, you let the door almost click shut, leaving only a tiny gap open so that you could still hear. 


    "Seriously, Jo. She loves and misses you. Please at least try to come home a little earlier tonight. I'll even make your favorite." You heard nothing except for a grumbled 'Yare yare daze' which was almost too soft to hear. 
     "I love you." She said, and you could feel the passion in her voice as she spoke. You closed your eyes and imagined it was you speaking to Jotaro instead, his massive height blocking out the ceiling light behind him, making it look as if a halo hung above his head. You had imagined yourself saying those same words to him many times in many different places and ways, but this time... 
This time you received a reply. 

    "I love you, too." Jotaro said, his voice taking on a softness you had never heard from him. In all of the times you had imagined yourself pouring your heart out to him, you felt as if you could never get his reply right. 
    The Jotaro in your head would always say it a bit too fast or a bit too loud, but this one was perfect. 

It just wasn't meant for you. 

   Quickly covering your mouth, you clenched your eyes tighter as they began to water. Letting go of the metal door, you heard it click shut quite audibly but you couldn't find it in yourself to care. Keeping a strong hold over your mouth as if you were going to be sick, you practically raced down the stairs, skipping two or three at a time. Near the last step, your foot slid out from under you, causing you to fall backwards and land rather harshly on the concrete steps. You didn't bother to cover your mouth or wipe away your tears as they dripped down your face. You cried not only from the pain coming from your scraped palms and bruised back, but also your heart. 

   After a few minutes of crying, you finally convinced yourself to get up and at least walk to your car. You could cry there in peace, without having the school's security cameras film your soap opera worthy performance. You were sure whoever saw you bust your ass on the stairs was having a good laugh right now, but you couldn't find it in yourself to feel ashamed or embarrassed. 

    After getting in your car, you sat for a while, trying (and failing) to calm yourself down. Your sweaty forehead rested against the hard plastic of your steering wheel as you sobbed your heart out once more. As you poured out the emotions you had been holding back, you suddenly remembered a scene from a movie you had loved growing up. It was from Alice in Wonderland- one of your favorites. You couldn't remember how it happened, but she had become stuck in a bottle, floating adrift in an ocean of her own tears. A part of you wished you were in that same drifting bottle, bobbing on the waves as your tears carried you. Maybe if you tried hard enough
you could find a hole to fall into. 

   Sniffling, you looked up at the clock on your dash. 11:03 PM flashed back at you in muted white light. Picking up your head, you tried to calculate the amount of time you had spent in your car, but eventually gave up before wiping away the fog that had settled on your windows. 
    You couldn't make yourself go home just yet. Scratch that, you refused to go home to an empty apartment, void of and other living things. You didn't even own a house plant- you couldn't keep them alive no matter how hard you tried. Laughing bitterly at the irony, you started your car and pulled out of the university's parking lot before you began to drive, and drive, and drive, letting the roads take you wherever they wanted to go. As long as you weren't near Jotaro and his fiancee, you couldn't bring yourself to give a shit about where you ended up. You had decided that since he didn't care, why should you? 

 

Oh, I just had a change of heart.


    The next week at the office had been a very hectic one, especially because (Y/n) had practically disappeared without a trace. The university's security footage showed her getting into her car and sitting in the same spot for a few hours before her lights finally flickered on and she drove off, never to be seen in the town or surrounding areas again. When reported to the police, they did little more than shrug their shoulders. 

"She's an adult, she can take care of herself." 

  The next few days she was absent from work, and when someone had gone to check her apartment, it seemed as if no one had been inside for a while. A few items of clothing and personal items were missing, but that was it. 
   A week after (Y/n)'s departure, a static filled voicemail had been left on (F/n)'s work phone. The voice was obviously (Y/n), but she didn't sound like herself. Her voice didn't sound pained or frightened or anything of the sort, it just didn't sound like the girl they had come to know. She explained that she had a family emergency to attend to, and that the voicemail she had left was essentially her quitting her job. Out of everyone in the office, Jotaro and (F/n) were the most affected. 

    (F/n) didn't understand her reasoning for simply leaving without a goodbye or explanation, but they knew she must have had some reason for leaving so suddenly. Every morning as they sat at their desk, they would take a quick look at the city skyline they loved so much, watching the sun rise above the harsh edges of the other buildings. Getting to work, they would smile at a framed picture of (Y/n) and them together, taken a month or so before she had gone. 

   Two weeks after (Y/n)'s disappearance, Adelina decided to clean out her workspace so that her old coworkers wouldn't be faced with the sad reminder everytime they walked past the empty desk. 
    She hadn't thrown away anything besides scribbled papers and notes, letting (Y/n)'s coworkers pick and keep some of her old belongings as reminders and so that none of them would have to throw her things away. Tucked in the back of one of drawers on the desk, Adelina found a framed photo of a much younger (Y/n) and Jotaro dressed in black on a rainy afternoon. She was pretty sure it was the day of his father's funeral. 
    In the picture, Jotaro held an umbrella over the two of friends, keeping them dry as (Y/n) slung both of her arms around Jotaro's middle with a big, goofy smile on her face. Even Jotaro's barley-there smile had made an appearance, almost hidden by the rain and shade. 
    Adelina couldn't help but smile herself as she looked at the happy moment. Jotaro had once told her that he and (Y/n) were extremely close, the smaller woman was practically a Godmother to Jolyne in his eyes. 
    Since she never really had many friends of her own, Ade was planning on asking (Y/n) to be her maid of honor at the wedding since Jotaro talked so highly of her. She hated that she never truly got to talk to the smiling girl; she was sure that they would have been good friends if she had just reached out a bit earlier. Brushing a bit of dust off the golden frame, Adelina took the photo to Jotaro's office and set it on his desk, right in between two others; One was a picture of Jotaro proposing to her not too long ago, and the other was Jolyne's most recent yearbook photo (minus two front teeth).

    Adelina smiled as she looked over the small collection of pictures. Now that (Y/n) had joined Jolyne, Holly, and herself on Jotaro's desk, he had a picture of the four most important people in his life.