Summery: When you've hit rock bottom... That's Life. A different take on love, lust, and destiny. (PLEASE R&R!!!)

Disclaimer- This story is totally fictious, and totally mine... thanks much!

That's Life

By: WSM

Two

Waving a dismissive hand to his secretary who was jabbering something about a line up of calls and his boss wanting a word with him, James unlocked the door to his office and entered, shutting it behind him. He tipped a soiled "McDonald's" take out bag into the waste basket next to the door and dropped into his desk chair, one of those fancy black leather one's that made him seem powerful and intimidating, not even noticing the monotony of his life. He always had a full line up of calls when he got back from his lunch break, Mr. Sholts, his boss, always wanted a word with him, everything, down to what he had ordered for lunch, was the same as it had been the day before, and the day before that, for ten years.

You see James K. Hurse is one of the few people in this world that is actually happy with the dull, repetitive cycle that had become his life. It never occurred to him that he should feel any other way, what was there to complain about? Sure his job was boring, it could be worse, he could have been the guy that had just served him his lunch, sure he and his wife hadn't made love in almost three months but they were both successful business people, in other words, busy…

He punched the first blinking red button on the machine, leaning back in his chair; there was a mechanical beep and the deeply accented voice of a foreign investor, he didn't sound too happy… James chuckled too himself, it could be worse; he could be working for that guy.

Three hours later James had listened to every message, answered a few of them by phone himself, sent a slew of reports, and tedious small print documents back down to filing and talked to a few more clients his secretary had on hold. Having nothing else left to do in two hour space of time before he could head home he gave into the inevitable, he would have to talk to Mr. Sholts sometime… how in the world the fumbling badgering idiot got put over him was a mystery, but James had never been one for mysteries, not even The Hardy Boys or Sherlock Holms. Maybe if he could put it off for a few more minutes another client would call… he could just tell Sholts that he was busy, and then he could put off the man's incessant paranoia until tomorrow.

The intercom beeped and a slightly muffed voice of his secretary filtered through from the box on the wall, "Sorry to interrupt you while you're working Sir but Mr. Sholts wants to see you."

"I know Vikki, you told me…"

"Sir, he'd like to see you now."

"If it's about someone not refilling the coffee pot, tell him I said that for the last time, I do not drink the staff room coffee… tastes like dirt."

"Mr. Hurse, it's defiantly not about coffee."

James sighed, "Alright, tell him I'll be up in five."

"Yes Sir."

"Damn…" James muttered after the intercom beeped again, announcing that Vikki could no longer hear him. "Well so much for putting it off."

It ought to have taken him less than a minute to get from the sixth floor to the eighth by way of elevator and from there Mr. Sholts' office was only three doors down, but James took his time. There was nothing attractive or even interesting about Mr. Sholts. He was a short round balding man probably entering his mid fifties, with an unfortunate blond mustache that drooped slightly and didn't match the tuft gray brown hair. That still grew on the top of his head. In the ten years that James had been working under him he had worn what appeared to be the same wilted black suit, white shirt that looked like it still had cardboard holding up the collar and a slightly off color pinstripe orange and brown tie. Recently he'd gotten a new pair of glasses that looked exactly like his old pair except that there was no chip in the left lens.

James knocked on the door of his office, hardly waiting for the voice that sounded as though its owner was always on the verge of clearing his throat, to say "Enter." Mr. Sholts was standing behind his desk, which was a change; he was usually seated in the big leather chair that looked exactly like James' except that it was a little bigger and a little more intimidating. He wore the same look a vet does when he comes to tell you that your cat has died, not grave, precisely, but somber, as if he would have given pretty much anything to have someone else in his shoes. "Ah James, sit down my boy."

James tried not to look too annoyed as he took a seat in the remarkably uncomfortable chair before the desk, you would think that after ten years, the man would get the impression that James didn't like being called "my boy" anymore than Mr. Sholts would like being called "old timer."

Mr. Sholts shook his head, "bad business…" he murmured as he sat in his own chair, "bad business…"

"Mr. Sholts Sir I'm rather busy downstairs so…"

"You won't be."

"What?"

"I said, James, you won't be."

"And… why is that?"

"Because James my boy, we're letting you go."

James blinked, completely stunned, "wh—what?" That wasn't possible, they couldn't fire him, this was why he'd settled for a paper pushing job when he could have been one of the company's actual advertising agents, because it was steady, no one ever fired the middle man.

"Just what I said, you're fired."

But but…He did all the boring or dirty work that nobody wanted! He got his ears chewed off by impatient clients or dissatisfied investors; he did all the paper work that the big men upstairs didn't want to bother with. He'd sat behind the same stupid desk in the same stupid office with the same secretary for ten years, always letting someone else take the credit, always getting the blame…! They couldn't fire him! They… couldn't!

"Why?"

"New policy," Mr. Sholts shrugged, "seems the clients want a more direct, shall we say, 'relationship' with our agents…"

"They want what?"

Mr. Sholts shook his head, "I know I know… ridiculous, but business is business, you understand."

"So this is effective…?"

"Immediately," James must have gone pale because Mr. Sholts added it what he must have supposed was a kindly tone, "don't worry James, you're young and you've got a great record, you'll find something, probably something better even."

James left without even saying goodbye, he walked back down the hallway, got on the elevator and punched the button "6" in a daze, he wasn't even aware that he was doing it until the door opened and his secretary was standing there, her pudgy pale face staring at him with tears, actual tears, in her eyes, "Oh Mr. Hurse I just got the news! I can't believe it!" James walked passed as if he hadn't even seen her, he probably hadn't. Vikki stared after him, concerned now, "Mr. Hurse? Sir? Are you alright?"

James moved into his office, the office that had his name printed on the door, the office that he'd spent the better part of ten years working in… it still looked the same, still smelt the same, still felt like his office, and if he hadn't just spoken to Mr. Sholts it wouldn't have felt any different.

Dazedly he removed his extra suit jacket and tie from the little wardrobe in the corner, and piled his belongings into one of the empty paper boxes beside his desk, photographs of his wife and daughter, bits of what the parent of a seven year old might consider "fine art", and a few other odds and ends… surprisingly little for how much time he'd spent there of late and… what seemed like much too soon, was heading back out the door.

Vikki was waiting for him "Mr. Hurse, are you alright?"

James blinked, "sure, I'm fine."

"You look kinda pale and blotchy."

"Well thanks."

"Sorry," suddenly she threw herself at him "I'm really going to miss you Mr. Hurse."

"Vikki for the last time, call me James."

"Goodbye Mr. Hurse."

"Goodbye Vikki." And then he was on the elevator, taking it down to the first floor, out the faculty exit and… gone, forever. He glanced back over his shoulder at the impersonal sky scraper that he'd put the majority of effort and energy into for nearly a decade and felt sick to his stomach. He could just imagine his wife's face when he told her the news, mercifully she was going to be late coming home that evening, she was in the middle of a big case (when wasn't she??) and was really bogged down at work…

"Shit." He muttered to himself, "shit shit shit!" His life wasn't supposed to work this way, he was successful, popular among his mates and his co- or rather former co-workers, he'd never complained, never asked for more, (truth be told if he had much more it'd be leaning on indecent)… so why was this happening to him? Why not Mr. Sholts with his false friendliness and acute paranoia or Vikki with her thirteen going on thirty looks and intern-ish attitude towards him and work in general? Why didn't shit like this happen to them? It wasn't fair!

When it came to the "crossroad" or rather the road that would direct him toward the high end of town where his flat was located or toward the 'clubbing district' he halted. He had no desire to go home to an empty house and wait for the apocalypse, it would be hours before his wife would be home from work because of that case and because of this Bethany, his daughter, was spending the evening at a friend's. He ran a hand through his dark hair watching the street sign change from "don't walk" to "walk", and after a second of staring he did so, toward more than a few tall glasses of the strongest stuff he could find.

Leanne released Duncan from their battle of tongues and let her head drop down onto his chest, breathing deeply of his musky body spray which was, she could tell, an obvious imitation-brand, his chest rose and fell heavily as he tried to regain his breath, but he didn't really want I back.. He ran his hand over her shoulder pressing her against him, begging for more, and she gave it, running her hands over his chest caressing her way down his neck and chest, lingering on his nipple, kissing and then nipping, making him gasp. "When's… when's James gonna be home…?" Duncan felt a cold rush as her body pulled away from his and he kicked himself mentally.

"If this is your idea of small talk I prefer your moaning." She said coolly, though he hands were still resting dangerously low on his navel.

He licked the remnant of her kiss from his lips but he couldn't rid himself of the taste, "and I prefer you screaming, but it's never the same name twice."

To his surprise she smiled, "you're a jackass…" and she was kissing him again, intensely, her hands moving up again to his chest, almost clawing him as the heat between them grew and the space between them shrank.

So intent were they on their exertions that neither of them heard a key slip into the lock and the click as the lock slid back into its compartment.

James stepped unsteadily into his flat, had the cab driver not been nice enough to throw him out of the cab instead of letting the meter run he might have passed out against the back seat's dirty foe leather upholstery. It was nice to live in a high-rise that had a doorman and an elevator operator; together they had deposited him in front of his apartment door, where he had sat slumped against it for the past fifteen minutes, fully intending to remain there until Leanne turned up… then he had heard a noise inside. Odd, it was only eight, and Leanne was never home this early. Too intoxicated to get his thoughts pass the point of his wife's name, let alone what she might be doing home he'd struggled to his feet and unlocked the door.

He stepped unsteadily into the apartment, it was furnished much like his office, stylish (according to 'modern business decorating' trend, which was in fact a magazine that his former employers had advertised), and impersonal. A few unintentionally scattered toys, work papers and dishes told that people actually did live here, but just barely. "Leanne…kitchen," he thought emptily, had he been of a better mind his thought would have been "Leanne must be in the kitchen heating up some takeout, she probably just stopped home for some quick dinner." But he was so plastered by now that it was remarkable he could remember things such as "Leanne", and "kitchen".

The particular corner of their three piece couch he had dropped down on felt oddly uncomfortable... he shifted, running his hand over the surface, maybe he had sat on one of Bethany's stuffed animals… he grasped whatever it was and pulled it from beneath him. It certainly wasn't a stuffedanimal; it was a man's suit jacket… "Musta left it out…" he thought with a shrug, rising, falling back into the cushion, and rising again to return it to his closet, he kicked his shoes off as he moved down the hall, his sock feet shuffling against the expensive carpeting, he moved down the dark hall, using the wall for support. He forgot why he was heading this direction but as long as he was… they hadn't bought those down pillows for nothing… His thoughts consumed by the image of their luxurious king bed and the softness of its sheets he didn't even notice the noises coming form within.

Leanne didn't hear the door open behind her but Duncan did, his attention suddenly wasn't on the part of her he was kissing but on the doorway… and her heart stopped. She turned quickly to see… "Oh god… James…"

James was standing there, staring like a deer caught in the headlights, it was obvious he had done a good deal of drinking but the intoxicated look was quickly draining from his intensely green eyes. He said nothing but continued to stare as if he refused to believe what he was seeing.

"James… I..." she rose quickly pulling the discarded blanket around her, leaving Duncan fully exposed, he just lay there, spread legged and staring, almost as stunned as James. Leanne glanced at him with venom as she crossed the room quickly, she tried to take his hand but he pulled it away, looking repulsed beneath his shock, his eyes were stuck upon her, but they were distant, as if he wasn't really seeing her. "James, listen…"

"What…is… why…? I can't even… oh my god… Leanne… oh my god…"

"James listen to me," she begged, knowing he would not, he looked like he was on the verge of a mental breakdown, he glanced over at Duncan who was pulling his clothes back on as unrifled as if this were something commonplace for him. "James look at me," when he didn't respond she raised her hand, turning his chin back to her, he stopped her mid motion.

"Don't, Leanne, don't touch me… don't…" He was running his hands through his hair, over his eyes, as if trying to dismiss the images and thoughts running through his mind.

"James I, I wasn't expecting you home so soon I—"

"Oh, so this is just something to pass the time ay?" he made a noise between a chuckle and a groan, "whatever works ya know…"

"James you're drunk…"

"Drunk but not stupid… I can't even, oh my god I can't… shit! Shit was is this?"

"This is reality man," Duncan said passing him at the door, "I always knew you weren't the type to satisfy a woman, Leanne needs a real man."

"Duncan shut—"

But James had already made it clear what Leanne would say, he punched him so hard in the face that Duncan went reeling, the sickening crack that came when his first made contact with the other man's face explained the blood that immediately spurted from his nose. "You stupid fookin'—"

Duncan didn't let him finish, he returned the gesture, kneeing James and then going to punch him, but James was already lunging at him, bloodying his fists against Duncan's face—

"Stop it! Stop both of you! James no… stop it… James!" Leanne shouted pulling her husband away from Duncan, "James get a hold of yourself…"

"I'll get a hold of something, his neck!"

"Oh yeah fag, I'll fuckin' kill you!"

"You can try!"

"James shut up! Duncan go… just go…"

"And leave you here with this drunk basta—"

"This drunk bastard is her fookin husband you stupid—"

"James inside now!" Leanne shouted, "Duncan get out!"

Neither of them was listening, as women know all too well there is something in the chemical structure of testosterone that turn men into primitive beasts whenever they're presented with sex or fisticuffs, and this something, call it what you will, had taken full control. James pushed past Leanne, barreling head long into Duncan, sending both of them tumbling to the floor. Duncan ended up on top, the impact of his punch knocking James' head back into the floor with a loud smack, for James' part he didn't seem to notice, he rolled over, and took Duncan in a choke hold…

"James let go of him! James…now! You're gonna fucking kill him! Knock it off!" Leanne screamed, James didn't seem to hear her and Duncan was turning steadily redder, clawing at James' arms like cat (typical move for a pussy-man) digging deep enough that it left streaks of blood behind. "James stop! Shit… stop it!" Leanne took matters into her own hands and shoved James, giving Duncan time to pull free, breathing heavily, and rubbing his bruised neck.

"Duncan go, just go," Leanne said, James was looking murderously at them both as he began to get to his feet and Leanne wasn't sure how long it would take for him to lunge and Duncan again.

As soon as he was out the door Leanne rounded on her husband, "you could have killed him!"

James was leaning, facing the wall, his fists clenched, "shit, fucking shit…!"

"James—"

"Don't Leanne I don't wanna hear it; just tell me what the fuck you think you're doing!"

"I—"

"Tell me that this… that it was the first time… that you…shit Leanne, in our bed?!" He was staring at her now, a pleading look in his eyes, though the rest of his features were on fire with anger.

"Don't act so surprised."

"I'm not fucking acting, how could you?"

"Oh Mr. Innocent, come off it, all those last minute business trips, late nights at the office, its obvious."

"What's obvious? That I'm overworked?!"

"That you've been cheating on me—"

"I've been—you're kidding me right?! I walk in on you and you accuse me of…" He ran his hands through his hair, a cross between a laugh and a growl escaped from his throat, he looked quite mad as he shook his head at her, his anger was building, she could see it in his face, and he was about to explode. He let out a shout of rage and punched the wall, smashing through it as if it were Styrofoam.

"James—"but he was already heading for the door, "James where are you—"

The slam of the door was the only reply; the reverberation was so powerful that it knocked a painting from the wall beside it, sending bits of glass flying as the glass and frame shattered loudly.

James flung himself down the steps, taking four at a time as he raced down the stairwell, blind with rage, he must be going mad… there was no way that what had just happened could be real, it couldn't be. Yet it was, blood was trickling from his busted lip and his stomach was churning, already upset by the liquor being kneed in the gut hadn't helped, he stumbled down the next flight, landing on his back… his stomach convulsed and he rolled over quickly, puking all over the third floor landing. "Fook…" he murmured, wiping his mouth,

Sure he had been busy, preoccupied, but he couldn't believe he could be so oblivious… he loved his wife, loved her more than he'd ever loved anyone and he had assumed… "Dammit!" He made it down the last few flights of steps and pushed open the emergency exit door.

The sudden rush of cool evening air did as much to sober him as the fight had, his stomach convulsed again but he kept walking, blindly, his mind racing with images of what he had seen, Leanne on top of another man, Leanne kissing him, his hands running over her naked body… He walked until his legs gave out and he slumped down onto a conveniently placed bench, he had no desire to sleep, to be truthful he had no desire to even be alive, but his eyelids felt like a ton of bricks and he couldn't have stayed awake, even if he wanted to.

A.N. Ok my editors still haven't been around, sorry… hope this chapter shed a little more light on the story's um…shall we say… purpose? Lol, ok review review review or I will be most disappointed!!