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Title: Such A Squalid Little Ending
Author: [livejournal.com profile] chicafrom3
Fandom: Chess
Characters: Freddie Trumper/Florence Vassy
Prompt: [livejournal.com profile] un_love_you #1. You were right about me
Word Count: 378
Rating: PG
Summary: Who'd ever think it?/Such a squalid little ending/Watching you descending/Just as far as you can go/I'm learning/Things I didn't want to know/Who'd ever guess/That this would be the situation/One more observation/How'd we ever get this far?/Before you showed me/What you really are. Future fic.


"You were right about me."

The speaker doesn't identify himself. He doesn't greet her, by name or by pleasantries. He doesn't check to make sure the correct person has answered the phone.

Florence sinks to the floor, clutching the phone, and says, "Freddie?"

"You were right about me," he repeats, his voice low and gravelly, years of alcohol and cigarette abuse audible in the words. "I just…I…"

There's a long moment of pause, as Freddie falls silent and Florence searches her mind desperately for something, anything, to say.

At last, he laughs bitterly and says, "Hi, Florence."

"Hi, Freddie," she answers softly.

"It's been a while, huh?"

Understatement of the year, she thinks, and just says, "A while. How have you been?"

"…well. I've been." He laughs again. It doesn't sound any better this time. "Could use a match against my favorite second, though."

"Freddie…"

"Never mind," he says. "Forget it. It doesn't matter. Life isn't chess, right?"

She flinches. "Right." There's another long silence, and Florence hates it. At last she says, "It's good to hear your voice again."

"No," Freddie says bitterly. "It's not. But thanks for trying, honey."

"Freddie, I'm sorry about—"

He cuts her off. "D'y'ever hear from Sergievsky?"

"Anatoly?"

"Do you know any other Sergievsky? And don't mention his wife."

She wouldn't have mentioned Svetlana anyway, but she is too preoccupied by the odd tone in Freddie's voice to mention that. "No. Not in a long time." She can't tell whether the mention of the Russian was bitter, or angry, or resentful…or wistful.

He laughs again, and she really wishes he would stop that, because it's not the laugh she remembers. "Thought you two kids were in love."

"Yes," she says softly. "So did I."

"Y'know, I used to think you and I," he begins, then cuts himself off.

She's grateful for that, the only break he has given her in this strange, twisted conversation. "Freddie, where are you?"

Another long pause before he says, finally, "Nowhere."

"Fr—"

"I just called to say," he interrupts, "That you were right about me."

She swallows.

He disconnects then, and she's left listening to the steady buzz of the dial tone.

Did she imagine it, or had Freddie whispered 'I'm sorry' before hanging up?
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