Gladys has feelings and Zach is terrible at handling such things. Luckily, Andy doesn't know.
Initial Setting: Zach's office.
Timeline: Well after either of them should have let this go. People are stupid at relationships.
Gladys knows she's in deep shit though, because she said the "L" word... and meant it. But she also likes Zach? argh. "You ever feel like you'd do anything to help a friend, anything at all, cuz they were hurting so bad?"
Dr. Tailor seems to look up from his book, a little oblivious or maybe just that deep in thought. "I might be the wrong person to ask that." She is in his office and whatever it is, it's serious, because she hasn't explained anything yet.
Gladys: There's that wall again, "And why's that?"
Dr. Tailor feels bad even as he does it; he softly curls his left hand into a fist, places the fist behind his ear, and extends his index finger, wiggling it like a little antenna. That wall, coupled with cartoonish, brutal honesty.
Gladys: stares at him, confused. "OK, Harvey, but, what?" she keeps her voice very low.
Dr. Tailor: Maybe it's because he was interrupted while trying to think through some complicated personal stuff, but the asinine act goes on a little longer as he pantomines tugging the headset off. "The answer is no, I don't feel like that. Because when it comes down to it, evidently I will do anything."
Gladys crosses her arms, pouts, "You're confusing me, you say you don't feel that way but then say you would do anything? That doesn't make any sense."
Dr. Tailor: Good old Isaac, he thinks. Can't have a single conversation without obfuscating every step. "I don't 'feel like'. I legitimately take action; for better or for worse." his tone doesn't seem bothered at all but the stalling is so damn obvious one has to wonder if he is.
Gladys: "Yeah ok now we're splitting hairs." she leans on his desk, frustrated but keeping her tone low, even though she wants to shout, "Zach I want to sleep with you again and I don't know what to do about it, or what to make of it."
Dr. Tailor holds very, very still, and does not break eye contact for an uncomfortably long time. Like he's just realized he's standing on a landmine and is busy trying to think his way off of it. He sets the book down with slow, deliberate care. Still looking at her, "But you are with Andy." As if this made any difference.
Gladys can feel the blood leave her limbs, "So it's no big secret then, huh." she looks down. She clenches and unclenches her fists. It doesn't change anything. She was hoping it would.
Dr. Tailor does not stare at his feet. He does look over his glasses for a moment, but not being able to see Gladys's expression doesn't bring any sense of security like it did when he talked to Ardette. "Erhm, to be fair, I have a habit of finding things out. I don't think it's public knowledge." ohh this was not how he wanted to have this conversation at all. She had jumped straight to the point so fast it blindsided him.
Gladys would NOT let herself cry, not now, not in front of him. When she looks up at him again it's obvious she battling hard. "What am I supposed to do?"
Dr.Tailor: An imperceptible change to his expression, somehow he's capable of 'caught flatfooted yet still in charge'. Or he hopes he's still in charge. She'd do anything for him? ...why? He has to ask himself this. "When... I agreed with you to break it off... I thought," he bows his head submissively, hoping the gesture takes his appearance of defensive authority down a peg for her sake, "There was another man. I didn't want to come between anything."
Gladys sighs and works a hand through her hair. "There was. Is. I don't know any more. I like you too!" she starts pacing, past wanting to cry and moving towards wanting to hit things. "I don't know if, if it's hormones or, or I'm just screwed up in the head? Why does this have to be so hard! Can't I just like two people? Is that so weird?"
Dr. Tailor shields his eyes with a hand to his forehead, breathing with the intent of someone who needs reminding not to say anything incredibly stupid. "I - Gladys -" he listens instead of butting in. "...It's not just you and it's not just hormones; if it was, I wouldn't be in the exact same position right now." Well, maybe. "Monogamy is stupid and I hope for the sake of my paycheck that door is locked." he breathes again. Defenseless and without a solution. "I don't know how to deal with this without someone getting a hurt heart."
Gladys drops into a chair, already emotionally spent. "I could lose my job over this. He could lose his job over this. If you know then there's probably a handful of spies on both teams who know." she sighs. "He's a really good guy, better than I deserve. Maybe that's why I'm freaking out."
Dr. Tailor looks up from his desk finally. "...am I that bad with spies?" that joke just failed. The answer in his case was actually yes. Unfortunately that just furthers Zach's decision to try something... "He is a good guy. Better than I am, anyway. Whatever issues he's got are probably easier to handle." that was not the direction he wanted to persuade her, but it seems the kinder choice.
Gladys doesn't really get his meaning. She looks up and squints at him. "'Issues?' What do you mean by that?"
Dr. Tailor isn't quite sure if the squinting is judging him, or trying to work out if he knows anything about Andy that she doesn't. "I mean it takes me over a couple months to clue in that the woman who keeps on knocking at my office door, and going so far as to lay on me, might like me. Tell me that's normal." the look on his face as he addresses her is not one that wants to say no to anybody.
Gladys grins, and then laughs a little, "Ah, hah ha, you're asking me about normal? How the hell would I know what normal is? I seem to think it's perfectly acceptable to throw myself at virtually anyone, so of course you wouldn't think you were anything.. special..." it all clicks together and she feels really stupid. Really really stupid. "How, uhm, how long have you liked me?" She fights the urge to curl up.
Dr. Tailor watches with unfortunately unwavering eyes as she tears her own self-depreciating argument apart. Her silence as she watches him, like there was something at stake here. His own continued silence almost answers for him. "Far longer than it took for me to act on it. I'm not naive, but that means little when you like someone." watching Gladys struggle with this hurts more than his half of the situation. Why?
Gladys: "Oh..." she sinks down into the chair a bit, looking away and blushing hard. She opens her mouth a few times to voice a 'why didn't you...' or a 'you should have...' but she knows it's pointless and swallows them before she says them. She feels cheated somehow, and yet... she still really does like Andy. And something told her, Andy wouldn't want to share.
Dr. Tailor: He should have played uninterested. Not even given her a choice to make. He doubts he could have done it without starting this conversation on his terms though. He gives her some space to think before replying. He needed it too. He relights his pipe to give his hands something to do. "When... you asked me, if I ever felt like I would do anything for a friend - because they were hurting so badly -" he should just be telling her to go back to Andy. He already knows the answer but he wants to hear it. "...is that how you feel about me?"
Gladys is staring into space, somewhere over his shoulder. "Yeah..." she replies, softly. "But now I gotta wonder if I'm only being selfish."
Dr. Tailor: Directing either of them through this was beginning to physically ache. "...do you feel that way about him?" This was the last time he was going to ask questions honestly, ever.
Gladys seriously thinks about it, then tries to dodge the question, "I can't go on feelings, they change too easily. An, I dunno, I don't know him as well as I know you, and I don't hardly know you at all..." she gnaws at a fingernail. She wishes she felt strongly one way or another, but right now she's just kinda wishywashy.
Dr. Tailor: dodging questions works as well on him as it does on her. It doesn't. "If you said "I love you" and then left him, left the base. Never to see him again. No explanations, just disappear. How much would it hurt you?" Some small tiny part of him was angry about this. Angry at himself. He would prefer to be mad at Andy, but the guy hasn't done anything to justify it. "How much would it hurt, Gladys?" he feels horrible for saying it. It sounds like he's still mad about being left. He would rather she walk out on him. He knows he'd survive it.
Gladys doesn't like being pressed when she knows she's cornered herself. She takes a few deep breaths, trying to collect her thoughts. "I don't know--I don't know alright! I'd miss him yeah, just like I miss every person I've ever cared about who's, inevitably left, or died, or moved on with their life. I'd get lonely... it all hurts in the end. Everything I do hurts!" Why was she yelling?
Dr. Tailor: You can say that again, he thinks. He felt sore. His pipe's gone out already from inattention. He keeps his voice as calm and quiet as he can, pushes the second thoughts out of it for the most part, "So. Don't leave him. You won't be cheating if you walk out of my office." He can't believe the words coming out of his mouth. Sex sounds like a vast improvement over being the nice guy if it means less conversations like this. "If you really love him though... make sure you know him." nothing he says sounds as final to him as he wants it to.
Gladys rubs the heel of her palm against her eye, "I don't want to get to know him. Because I don't want to have to tell him about all the screw ups I've made, and the trouble I've been in, still am in, and all the men I've fucked, and the drugs I've done, and how I'm stuck in this dead end job where other folks've got the option of walking away while I'm still working off a prison sentence. I know he's got a family back home and he grew up with both his parents and while things weren't always perfect for him, I'm /jealous/ of that." she sniffles and scowls at nothing in particular.
Dr. Tailor is struck dumb for long enough to be awkward. If he weren't already in his office right now he'd stomp off to his office and get the door between him and Gladys so he'd have air to think this through properly. This time when he looks away, it's genuine uncertainty and no social tricks. "I don't... mhhhh. I'm far from impartial but you just said all of that to me without so much as a second breath, and you don't want to get to /know/ Andy?" which way was he even trying to argue this? He keeps playing devils advocate to everything. Shit. For a doctor, he seems to do an awful lot of picking at the wound.
Gladys: "Because he's nice. Not that you aren't but, I've seen how you pretend to smile when you're hurtin,' and whatever it is, it also has to do with Harvey, and if I had to hazard a guess I'd say it was something right fucked up. I can talk to you. Plus you've probably read my medical files." she pauses and then mumbles, "I don't wanna ruin him. I already kinda have."
Dr. Tailor: ...guess it does take one to know one. A guilty little pang in his middle as he recalls who she reminds him of. "I seem to ruin everything I touch these days... I'm sorry, that wasn't helpful. But you should know I keep my job separate from... hrmh." He can't genuinely say that. He's going to have to pick a side, preferably one that doesn't involve confessing this to Andy. "I wish I could tell you what to do but you aren't making a lot of sense and I would make it worse if i tried to solve this."
Gladys mooshes her hands on her face and groans, "I knowwww. I know." she sighs and sinks further into the chair, practically laying in it. If she was so convinced Andy would hate her, knowing who she really is, then she should tell him as soon as possible. She'd feel bad for leading him on this long, but at least he'd know. And if he didn't hate her for it, well, maybe they could move on in a better direction. "But what about you?"
Dr. Tailor is wearing a long tired scowl. The sort that comes with deep thought and exhaustion, not anger. He drags his head back up to look at her, "I am a tired and lonely old sod, but I'm not about to go off the deep end if things don't go my way." So quick to dismiss himself. Talking about the emotional was so bloody foreign to him, though regret itself wasn't. "...you at least challenge my honesty when I'm wearing a smile. But not because you're an idealist. You get it."
Gladys idly picks at her cuticles, "Look, I wouldn't be this distraught if I didn't think highly of you. And it helps that you actually appreciate me for who I am instead of pretending to ignore my past. So, thank you, for putting up with my bullshit."
Dr. Tailor hasn't done nearly as much fidgeting, maybe because he's been sitting frozen on high alert most of this conversation. "I should say the same to you. Apart from Harvey I think you're the only person on base who actually knows me. ...yea. ...considering the steaming mound I've got, it wouldn't make much sense for me to judge." a flitting thought, like a little pin. Taliba. No. That was a mistake. A poorly executed mistake that didn't end in respawn. There was no love there. It wasn't worth considering except as a source of frustration to take up and beat himself up with after the fact. He remains quiet.
Gladys tries to think of something else to say but there wasn't anything more. She sighs. "I need to sleep." The thought of sleeping alone fills her with dread. She hesitates, and then stands, the muscles in her jaw clenching like she wanted to say something. "Goodnight then."
Dr. Tailor sniffs lighty, and doesn't reply right away. He's stuck. This was all sorts of wrong making her just leave like that. Making her stay was wrong too, for ... less immediate reasons. He gets up from his desk to at least see her out the door, or. ...what could he even do that wouldn't exaggerate the problem. In his eyes, he was at fault for not acting sooner. If he'd ever even had a chance. He gets the door for her, and many inappropriate wants go unsaid on his part. He could feel it in his throat.
Gladys nods as if there was some silent communication between them and decides the most responsible thing would be to leave, so she does.
Dr. Tailor: a twitch of the head for a nod, the corner of his mouth thinking of a smile and forgetting about it just as quickly. She leaves first. With his hand on the doorknob, he slowly takes notice that he's just standing there alone in the medbay staring at the thing like it's valuable. "Hmmh." He waits a few more minutes. Sofa tonight. He'd been in this office long enough for now.
Gladys: He didn't say goodnight. He was right not to, it wasn't. Mercifully, back in her room, she falls asleep quickly, emotionally drained.