All the King's Horses
Part I: Chapter 17

“All I want to know, Livvie, is if she’s in love with him! I’m not asking you to tell me anything other than that!” Lucy said quickly, rushing with her would be stepdaughter out of the Recovery Room.

“I just don’t want to feel like I’m breaking her confidence or something, Lucy, can’t you understand that?”

“Yes! Yes, yes, yes! I understand! I understand completely! But my poor little cousin is kind of falling really, really fast for this girl. I just want to know if there is any chance at all that something more might pop up out of it if he’d give it a chance!”

“Fine.” Livvie shivered when the wind blew again. Rafe was falling for Alison. Very interesting. “But you didn’t hear this from me, got it?”

The older woman held up her right hand. “Oh! Yes! Yes, cross my heart and all that other stuff!”

“She says she’s not-”

“Well of course she says she’s not you silly girl! She’s totally got a boyfriend. But you’re her friend, you know things, right? You see things other people might not see too clearly? I want the inside scoop, Livvie. From someone that knows how she thinks and feels and all that other stuff. Tell me what you think. Not what she said!”

She stopped short of crossing the street, burying her gloved hands deep in the pockets of her coat. “Lucy, come on, all you have to do is see Alison when she’s talking about Rafe. Anyone with half a brain can see those two are totally into each other, you know.” Looking over suspiciously, Livvie sighed. “Why do you want to know, Lucy? Are you going to jump in or something? Please, please don’t! Those two have it coming hard enough as it is, and you can’t make it worse by trying to keep them away from each other. Promise me that you won’t?”

“Well… What do you mean by jumping in?”

Her interest was renewed. “What are you thinking, Lucy?”

“He’s in love with her! And if she’s got feelings for him but is denying it…”

Livvie nodded. “All they need is a little push in the right direction…”

“Which may just happen to be toward each other despite what he may think.”

“Oh… We’re gonna play matchmaker?”

“Not exactly.” Lucy pulled her coat tighter around her. “See, it’s not matchmaker, because they’ve already made the match! All we’d be doing is… helping them along a little bitty tiny bit.”

“That sounds like so much fun!” she exclaimed. “They would just be so perfect together you know? Have you seen the way they look at each other?”

“Oh yeah. Rafe and I stopped by to get coffee while Alison was working today, and they were like thisclose,” she said, holding her index finger a millimeter above her thumb to demonstrate. “the entire time we were there!” Lucy leaned forward just a little, her voice lowering as if she was sharing a secret. “They didn’t want to leave each other. Alison kissed him twice!”

“Wh-Whoa! Lucy… Are you sure?” her eyes widened. “Because Alison and Jamal just broke up this afternoon… She kissed Rafe?”

“Oh… Well this afternoon it was just on the cheek you know. But still!” Biting down on her lip, Lucy couldn’t help but giggle. “It was more than that last night from the way Rafe was acting and freaking out about it. I just had to stay and town and keep him out of trouble you know!”

“Wait! You were going to leave town?”

“Well, I was thinking about it until Rafe showed up saying he really needed to talk to me. And then I couldn’t just leave him all by himself to try and win her, because he wouldn’t. He would just let her slip right on through his fingers! He’s just so clueless about love!”

“Right,” Livvie shook her head, shivering again. “Let’s go over and see if my dad is in his office or not. Maybe we can plot some place warmer.”

“Oh, oh, alright.” They huddled together as they started walking across the street, trying to ignore the biting cold as best they could. Lucy started talking again suddenly, “I was think-” She grabbed Livvie’s arm suddenly with a gasp. “Livvie! Livvie! Look!”

The younger girl glanced around. “What am I looking at?”

She tried to be discreet, nodding her head back, and failing miserably. “Smooching couple, twelve o’clock,” she ground out through her teeth.

“W- Oh… OH! Lucy! Lucy! That’s-”

“I know!” she gasped again and lowered her voice. “I know!” Lucy hissed. She glanced over her shoulder, back at Livvie, then over her shoulder again. “You know… We might as well go say hi!”

Not bothering to fight it when Lucy grabbed her hand to drag her over toward them, Livvie smiled slyly. She could almost feel her expression being mirrored on the other woman. She stood on one side of them, and Lucy across from her on the other. Suddenly, they both cleared their throats.

“Sorry to interrupt you two love birds,” Lucy chirped. “But, you know me, nosey little me. I was just wondering what exactly this,” she motioned at the two of them. “means… exactly.”

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