“Believe me, the temptation was definitely there”.

It was so surprising that there were not tears, that the all too familiar choking feeling had yet to rise in her throat. Somehow, by some miracle or another, through this conversation Sue had managed to hold herself together. Even the thought had her sobbing into a pillow mere days ago, and in the meantime it seemed that fine porcelain skin had turned to steel, far stronger than before. Maybe, just maybe, Sue was stronger than she thought.

“I suppose. Just wish that it had worked out…” There was the faintest of smiles, tinged with sadness, for a moment that disappeared just as quickly. Before the vacation, Sue had been so desperately hopeful that things would work out for the best. And perhaps, she was beginning to realize, it probably had. Perhaps they were simply better apart.

“Possibly. I’m just a bit concerned about who she is with, and that she’s dealing with all of this alone”. But she sincerely wanted to believe that Valeria would be alright. That despite everything, she would pull through this. “But Valeria’s strong enough, I’m sure of it”.

There was a quirk of a smile, responding in third person with just a hint of amusement. “Newly re-minted Sue Storm is trying to figure out who she is again without Reed honestly. Kind of enjoying it honestly”.

There’s a certain amount of strength in those that endure personal tragedy ( or in humanity in general, because haven’t we all at some point or another? ) and Maria respects that. She respects resiliency and pride that’s hard-won. Sue’s earned that from her on top of the given trust and admiration that comes along with nurturing a friendship over many years. Maria takes a long pull from the wine and savors the bouquet before shaking her head gently, exhaling.

       “At the risk of sounding… idealistic, perhaps it was for the best? Rather than spend the next ten years unhappy, you’re free now to make the rest of your days your own.” Her words hold the weight of her belief that they’re true- she can’t be expected to understand that despite the bad there had been GOOD, too. 

             Another drink, Maria frowns gently. “Who is she with?” As much as it pains her to admit that there’s something she doesn’t know, she doesn’t mind that it’s to Susan. “You know if you want someone on the ground to keep eyes on—” All she needs to do is ask.

She tips back the glass to finish its contents, offering up a close-lipped smile. “Good. I’m glad. And.. I’m proud of you, Sue. What you did isn’t easy.”


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