"Second Chances"
by Cass

DISCLAIMER: The characters (except for Sarah) do not belong to me. Neither does WNYX, or New Hampshire for that matter. They belong to Paul Simms, and a whole bunch of people who will go unnamed. I don't know who owns New Hampshire, either. I'm not a writer, please keep that in mind.

Lisa Miller had never been the type of person to think things all the way through. She preferred the spur of the moment, like her marriage. Now that she lived in New Hampshire, she had time to think. Maybe her marriage to evil hobo/wino Johnny Johnson wasn't a very good idea. Dave had tried to convince her not to do it of course, but she was too caught up "in the spur of the moment" to listen. Maybe if she had listened to him, she might be with Dave now, instead of talking with her divorce lawyer. As it turns out, while in prison Johnny discovered his budding homosexuality.

Dave sat in the break room of WNYX. Although he didn't work there anymore, the owner was his boss, so he still spent most of his time there. Not to mention his fiancée was the News Director. Wow, he couldn't believe he was actually getting married. He always thought he would get married someday, he just thought it would be with someone else. But it was too late. That women was already married to another man. Johnny Johnson knew that Dave was in love with Lisa. And Johnny taunted him by asking him to be the best man at their wedding. He had wanted to say, "But I'd rather be the groom", but only pain and humiliation lie down that road. Lisa didn't have those feelings for him. She may have had them at one time, but now she was in love with Johnny. Then a disturbing thought came into his mind. What if during the four years they had been together, she had never loved him?

He shook his head. It didn't matter now. Sarah was the one he was going to marry, and that thought made him happy. They didn't fight as much as he and Lisa did. Their relationship had always craved friction, and apparently that's not healthy. But it had always felt like there was something more to it. Sarah and he were friends before it got romantic. He could talk to her. He felt comfortable around her, she understood him.

Sarah stood in the doorway, watching her fiancée stare at the blank computer screen.
"You know, you have to turn the computer on for it to do something."
He turned and gave her a goofy expression. "I did not know that." He got up to give her a kiss that was supposed to be short, but didn't turn out that way. In fact, they would still be kissing if Matthew hadn't run in and knocked them down.

"Hey, were you guys kissin?" Matthew asked with a big goofy smile on his face. Matthew missed the annoyed look Dave shot him, and Sarah quickly changed the subject. "So, Matthew, are you ready to go to New Hampshire?" she asked.
"Yes. I leave in about an hour." Matthew answered. "You sure I can't convince you to come along?" he asked Dave.
"You could use a vacation, you've been really stressed out lately." Sarah chimed in.
" I couldn't. I've got so much work to do." Sarah wouldn't hear it.
"It's too late, I've already bought you a plane ticket."
"But there's no time to pack" Dave countered.

Sarah stepped out of the room and came back with a bag, which she dropped at his feet.

"There's clothes for a week, and anything you might need. There's even a birthday present for Mr. James."
" I forgot it was Mr. James' birthday." Dave said with a sheepish grin. Then he tried to pack his cell phone and laptop.
"No working" Sarah said as sternly as possible. "It's your vacation."
"I think you guys are conspiring against me." Dave joked.

Beth and Joe greeted Dave and Matthew at the airport. It was an awkward reunion. That is, until Dave took off his hat, exposing his recently bleached blonde head. Beth and Joe starting laughing, Beth so hard that she fell over.

"You must be starved for entertainment." Dave said angrily.
"YOU'RE BLONDE? AND YOU HAVE A GOATEE!!!" Beth yelled in between laughs.
"Dude, you're funny lookin." Joe chimed in.
"I don't care, my fiancée likes it." That got their attention.
"FIANCEE?!" They both shouted in unison, the surprise clear on their faces.

Dave started walking toward the baggage claim, Beth, Joe, and Matthew following.

"SO, who is she? Where did you meet her? Tell us about her." They pleaded.
"I'm not going to tell you, because you made fun of my HAIR!" Dave teased.
"Her name is Sarah, and she's the News Director at WNYX." Matthew answered.
"Thanks, Matthew." Dave said sarcastically.

They found their bags, and piled them into Joe's van. The drive to Mr. James house was very scenic. It reminded Dave of Wisconsin, only warmer. Matthew was just thrilled, every time he saw something he had to point it out to Dave and Beth. Soon enough they arrived at Jimmy's "BIG ASS" cabin.

Jimmy James was sitting on the front porch watching cows eat grass. He was so content with his cow watching that he didn't see the van pull up. What finally got his attention was Dave taping on his shoulder. He turned around and screamed.

"I'm sorry Dave" Jimmy said when he regained composure." I didn't recognize you."
"Yeah, I've been getting that a lot." He replied.
Jimmy gave Dave a big hug, lifting him off the floor.
"So, what do you think of my cabin?"
" It's ni---" Dave began, but was interrupted by Max running out on to the porch.
" I heard a scream! Is everyone all right?" He screeched.
"Oh, hey Matthew, Dave. You wanna see my pig?"

Matthew and Max sat watching the pig roll in the mud, and Dave watching them. To Dave, Matthew laughing hysterically, Max eating a sandwich, and a pig rolling in the mud felt normal, like this was how it was meant to be. Well, almost. There was one thing missing. Dave turned to Jimmy, who was next to him.

"Where's Lisa?" The two words seemed to echo in his mind.
"She's probably at her newspaper." Jimmy replied. "In fact, I think Joe is going to pick her up pretty soon."
Dave nodded, then paused. "You all live here together?"
"Well, yeah, I get lonely"
"It's not like you don't have enough room."
Jimmy was quiet for a moment. Finally he said,
" If you're gonna go pick Lisa up you better tell Joe."
Dave smiled and went to go find Joe.

There was one light on in the newspaper's office. Dave stood in the doorway watching her. In the dark room, the light seemed to wrap itself around her, making her the only visible thing in the room. Not that Dave wanted to look at anything else. The sight of her made him weak in the knees.

Without looking up she called out "We're closed, come back in the morning."
"Do I have to? I was kinda hoping to see you today."
Lisa was facing him now. "Dave? "
"Sorry, Joe couldn't make it. I'm Dave, I'll be walking you home tonight."
Lisa walked over and hugged him hard. "I've missed you a lot" she whispered.
" I've missed you, too."

Realizing that she was still hugging him, she let go, and took a moment to look at him. He had dyed his hair blonde and had grown a goatee. He was wearing blue jeans and a plain white shirt. She couldn't remember the last time she had seen him wear jeans and a tee shirt. He looked relaxed, unlike the days when they all worked together at WNYX. Maybe their separation had done him good. That thought made her sad. Not that he was happy, but that she had to leave for him to be happy. She hadn't realized how much she missed him. Just seeing him brought back all the feelings she had ignored since they broke up. She was still in Love with Dave, she realized. And now he was here, with her.

She shook her head, and realized she had been staring at him. "What?"
" What are you staring at? Did I spill something on me, or what?"
"No, you didn't spill anything. You look good." she said, giving him another quick hug.
"Well, I try." He said as they started for the door.

Back in New York, Sarah was just coming home from a movie. 'Dave would have enjoyed that movie' she thought to herself. She grabbed the mail, and headed to the apartment that she and Dave shared. She started to open the letter, but stopped when she got a paper cut.

"Damn!" She yelled in frustration. She went to Dave's desk to look for the letter opener. But instead, she found a picture of Lisa. A picture of Lisa and Dave being affectionate, to be exact. Why would he keep this picture? He probably just forgot that he had it, she told herself. Something about the picture bothered her. Turning it over didn't help any. On the back it read:
Dave, I'll love you always. -Lisa

In frustration, Sarah ripped the picture in two. She went back to opening letters. Until she found a letter from Lisa herself. The letter was to tell Dave that Lisa was no longer married. She had a bad feeling about this.

Matthew got to the phone first.
"Hello. Oh, hi Sarah! Oh, Dave is picking Lisa up from work. Oh. Mr. James, David's fiancée wants to talk to you."
"Hello! This is Jimmy James. Call me Jimmy. Uh-huh, Awwww. That's sweet. Sure it's okay. See you then."

Jimmy set the phone and looked at Joe, Matthew, Max, and Beth.
"She said that she missed Dave, and wanted to come up."
"Awwwwww" everyone said in unison.

The sun was setting as Dave and Lisa walked back to Jimmy's cabin. The sky was pink and the weather was warm, the perfect weather for romance. Every time they accidentally touched, it sent shivers through Dave. He felt like holding Lisa's hand, putting his arm around her, any kind of contact. He couldn't believe that he still felt this way, after all this time. He knew that she filled his heart with an indescribable passion, that he would never feel for anyone else. It had always been that way, ever since the moment he met her. For four years he thought that his love for her would diminish with time, but instead it only grew. It scared him that he could love one person so much. And like a fool, he had ended it. It was the stupidest thing he had ever done. Sure, he loved Sarah, but Lisa was the one he would be thinking about on those dark and lonely nights.

"So what's new with you?" Dave asked, suddenly breaking the silence.
"Well, Daisy is having puppies, I'm divorced, and I broke a nail." she said painfully, looking at her broken nail.
" You're divorced?!" Dave was in shock. "But what about all that stuff you said about being in love?"
"I don't think I was ever in love with him, I just wanted to believe that I was in love with him. Besides, Johnny's gay."
"Wow, I never would have guessed Johnny was gay." Dave said in amazement.
"Apparently neither did he." They both laughed.

It felt good to laugh with Dave. Had it been so long? she wondered to herself.
"Lisa" Dave turned and looked at her, with a grave expression on his face.
"Lisa, I'm engaged. I'm gonna get married."

The words cut into her heart. It took her so long to realize her feelings for Dave that she hadn't taken the time to think that he might have moved on with his life. Lisa just stood there with a shocked expression on her face.
"Lisa?" Dave asked, concerned.
" Huh? Oh, I'm sorry, Dave. Congratulations!" Lisa said, mustering as much sincerity as possible. She gave him a big hug.
"I'm so happy for you!"

Outside, she was doing a lousy job pretending to be happy, inside she felt like crawling in a hole and staying there for all eternity. They didn't talk the rest of the way. It was an awkward silence, the kind that lingers. It was no better when they reached Jimmy's. Everyone was talking and catching up, but all Lisa could think about was how hard it was going to be seeing him get married to another woman. She would quickly glance at him, and then he would quickly glance at her. Everyone noticed this, but no one said anything.

"Hey, Lisa, isn't it your turn to make dinner?" Beth asked suddenly, with more than a little hinting in her voice.
"Why yes Beth, it is my turn to cook dinner." Lisa replied, thankful to get out of the room.
"I'll help." Beth said, following Lisa in to the kitchen.
"You know he's getting married." Beth said when they got in the kitchen.
"Yes, I know, Beth." Lisa sounded annoyed.
"He isn't married yet. You can still get him back."
"I couldn't do that, he's happy, and he loves her." Lisa didn't know who she was trying to convince more, Beth or herself.
"You don't know that. He could be miserable and desperately wishing that you would come and save him from the torture of marrying someone else."
"Beth, where do you come up with these ideas?" Lisa was really annoyed now, but deep down she wished that what Beth said was true.
"It could happen, now think about what I said." Beth said as she left.
"Hey! You're supposed to help me make dinner." Lisa yelled after Beth.
"Sorry, I have a date." Beth said mischievously. "But I'll send someone in to help you.
"Beth, don't even think about it." Lisa's warning did no good, Beth was already gone.
Sure enough, Dave walked in.
"Beth said I was supposed to help you, so here I am."
"Oh, good." Lisa replied
"So, ah, what are we making?" Dave asked curious.
"I have no idea. To tell the truth, it wasn't my turn to make dinner tonight, so I wasn't really prepared." Lisa said, feeling very unprepared.
"Yeah, I guess it was a little awkward in there. To tell the truth, I was a little relieved to get out of there." Dave said, smiling. Lisa smiled back. They knew each other better than most people know themselves.
"Besides, I didn't want to be in there with them, when I knew I could be in here with you." Dave said, giving her his best smile, and puppy dog eyes.

He didn't know how sweet he was being, and how it was affecting her.

"The question remains, what to make for dinner?" Dave inquired.
"I think we should just ditch them, and go to McDonalds or something." Lisa responded mischievously.
"I like the way you think, Ms. Miller"
"I Know, Mr. Nelson."

In the living room, nobody realized that Dave and Lisa were sneaking out the back. They stopped for a couple of minutes in front of an open window to hear the conversation going on inside.

"Fifty bucks says Dave and Lisa get back together." Joe wagered.
"I want in on that," Jimmy added.
"I say there's no chance that they'll get back together. Dave and Sarah make a great couple." Matthew countered.
"Besides, how can Lisa be with Dave, after a man like Johnny?" Max added, and then sighed.

Outside, Dave and Lisa were shocked.

"I knew they talked about us, but betting on us is another thing." Dave said angrily.
"With all your hobbies, I thought you'd be used to it." Lisa joked.

An hour and a half later, Dave and Lisa stumbled in the front door to be greeted by their angry, very hungry friends.

"Where's my dinner?" Max demanded.
"Where have you been? We've been worried sick!" Jimmy yelled.
"Don't freak out, we went to McDonalds." Lisa said, throwing a bag of hamburgers at Max, who eagerly tore into it.
"Easy there, Max, save some for the rest of us." Dave urged.
"It took you guys an hour and a half to go to McDonalds?" Joe asked suspiciously.
"Okay, first of all, we were walking. Second of all, Lisa got us lost!" Dave said with a laugh.

The awkwardness had lifted, and everyone was sitting in the living room chatting when there was a knock at the door. Dave, being the closest, got up and answered. But to his surprise, it was none other than his fiancée, Sarah. She greeted him with a kiss that surprised everyone, including Dave. All the years Dave and Lisa were together, they hadn't shown hardly any public displays of affection. But that certainly wasn't the case with Sarah. Dave introduced Sarah to his friends, and she did the traditional: "Dave has told me so much about you", and things like that. But when He introduced Lisa, Sarah just kind of looked at her, and then nodded her head. Of course with Lisa's luck, no one noticed.

"So how did you two meet?" Jimmy asked.
"I got this one," Sarah said. She was sitting on the couch, cuddled up to Dave, who had his arm around her. 'That should be me' Lisa thought to herself.
"When you guys left, I was the new producer. Then, Dave, here," She took this moment to put her hand on his knee."started doing some extra work for Robin Robins, the owner of WNYX. As it turns out, Dave was very good at the extra work, and Robin promoted him, and I became the News Director. And since he was at the station almost every day, we started seeing a lot of each other, and sort of became a couple."

Everyone was completely enthralled with Sarah's story, everyone except for Lisa.

"So, Dave, what is this extra work you did for Robins?" Jimmy inquired.
" I'm sorry sir, but I can't tell you that." Dave replied
"Don't feel bad, he won't even tell me." Sarah added.
They talked until Beth came home. After being introduced, Beth decided to go to bed,
"I'm tired from my date, we went line dancing." she said, unimpressed.
"I'm feeling tired too, I think I'll go to go to bed also." Lisa said, once again happy to get out of the room.

In the middle of the night, Daisy was scratching at Lisa's door. She whined until Lisa let her out. Then she darted down the hall, forcing Lisa to chase after her. Lisa lost Daisy, and had to go looking for her. Unfortunately, she forgot that the guest room was be occupied, and barged into Dave and Sarah's room. They were sleeping peacefully. She was snuggled up really close, and he had his arms around her. They were the equivalent of a Celtic knot.

Lisa turned around, and left the room. She didn't even knock when she came to Beth's door. She barged in on a sleeping Beth, who wasn't happy about being woken up.

"How can He be with her?" Lisa yelled.
"You married another man, then took your time figuring out your feelings. Did you expect him wait for you? He went through hell. He had to watch the women he was in love with get married. Maybe you should, too." Beth snapped.
"I didn't know. Was he really in love with me?" Lisa stammered.
"It was so obvious to everyone but you." Beth said.
"Why didn't he say something? Why be the best man?" Lisa asked.
"You seemed happy, he didn't want to ruin that for you. Being the best man, that was just stupid." Beth rolled her eyes.
Lisa sat down beside Beth.
"I'm never going to get him back, am I?" She asked painfully.
"Well, you have three options. One, you could talk to Dave, tell him how you feel, go and get your man. Second, you could kick Sarah's ass. Although you won't get Dave, it would make you feel a whole lot better. Third, you could leave them alone. But, no matter what you do, there is one thing you have to do."
"And what's that?" Lisa said.
Beth gestured for Lisa to lean closer, and she did.
"YOU NEED TO LET ME GO BACK TO SLEEP!" Beth yelled in Lisa's ear.
"But what do you think I should do?" Lisa questioned.
"Good-NIGHT!" Beth said.
"But-" Lisa started.
"I said good night!"

Lisa went back to back to bed, but she didn't sleep. Finally, around four, she got up and sat in the kitchen, sipping coffee. Like an omen, Dave was the first up.

"Coffee?" Dave mumbled, half awake.
Lisa handed him a cup, and he drank most of it in the first sip.
"Good morning." Dave said, fully awake.
Dave started to go back to his room, but Lisa stopped him.
"Uh, Dave, can I talk to you?" Lisa finally managed to get out.
"Okay." Dave said as he sat down beside her.
"Dave, I don't want you to marry Sarah." Lisa said.
"WHAT?" Dave was shocked. But it made him think. Deep down, he didn't want to marry Sarah either.
"What are you saying?" Dave stammered.
"Do I have to say the words?" Lisa asked annoyed.
"Well, obviously you do." Dave said loudly.
"I'm in love with you!" Lisa yelled suddenly, she hadn't meant to tell him like this.
"No you're not." Dave couldn't believe this. Being with Lisa again would be the end of him.
"Yes I am! Don't tell me how I feel." Lisa yelled.
"Yeah, well I'm in Love with you, too!" Dave yelled back with passion.
"I'm going to kiss you." Lisa said forcefully.
"You damn well better." Dave answered.

Lisa kissed him hard, conveying all the emotions she had held inside for so long. Pressing his back into the wall, Dave matched her, kiss for kiss, his thoughts filled with what he wanted to do to her. But then he thought of Sarah. Suddenly he broke away from Lisa.

"I can't." was all he said.
"Dave, marrying Sarah will be the worst mistake of your life." Lisa pleaded.
"No, breaking up with you was the worst mistake of my life." he replied.
"Dave?" She brought her hands up to cup his face. He turned away from her.
" I knew I wanted you like no one else? I told my Mom that I found myself in your eyes? I loved you so much. But? But I can't." he stuttered.

She just stood there in shock, unable to move. As he starting walking for the door he stopped, and turned to face her. In her eyes, he could see the life they would have had together. He wanted that life so bad. In that moment he made up his mind. He walked over to her. And, without thought, their lips met softly. The kiss was short. When it ended, he didn't move away. Their faces were close, and she could fell his breath on her face.

"I will always be in love with you." he whispered.

Then he kissed her again, this time deep and passionately. To Dave, it felt right; this was how it was supposed to be.

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