Re: Live and Breathe: Derek and Marta
Derek was unlike anyone else Marta knew, presently or in the past, a spark to her that was hard to describe and impossible to match. It didn't make Marta relax, not exactly, but it did push away some of the stress of the morning. In the same way her carefully set and followed schedules helped to provide a strong foundation for her days, Derek's brightness and confidence was something Marta could count on.
The other woman's smile was easy to respond to, even if Marta's was barely a curve in response. It at least reached her eyes in a soft warmth, nothing like what she'd been reaching for a temporary time during her recovery, when laughter had become easier in her throat and smiles readier to her lips. That ease had faded away again, though she continued to try for good things and improvement.
Her own makeup was subtle, just enough to cover those old, faded scars along her cheeks, to line her eyes with a soft shade, to give her lips at least a little color. She looked better and healthier than she had in months, maybe even close to a year, but the careful application of that makeup helped even more. To her own eyes, it brought her back into the range of "acceptable".
Her attention flickered over to the early-morning customer, and she nodded at the information about the girl's college classes. She'd sat in on a course - only one, and only once - but she could understand how someone might need an extra advantage to get through it. She herself hadn't even finished out highschool, and she couldn't quite believe how people could go on to even more, even harder classes. Not that everything had been difficult in highschool, but she also never really tried very hard at the time. But now, she was just happy to have the confirmation that she wasn't late for work, especially on her first day back.
And then Derek's arms were out, welcoming, and Marta blinked for probably too long as she stared at the other woman, wondering if Derek wanted to hug her. It was a strange sort of thought, and she wasn't entirely certain how she felt about the prospect. And yet, she knew that if she stepped back, that Derek would respect that. She wouldn't have to worry about another boss stepping too close, touching too much. And that made it okay, whatever happened next. So she nodded and stepped forward, toward the spread of Derek's arms. "I have to switch my shoes," she said, gesturing vaguely with her bag, suddenly important that Derek knew she wouldn't be wearing her beat-up tennis shoes all day.