Author: Fanatic4Fanfiction PM
So maybe Annie's scared of ONE thing...Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Words: 2,209 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 2 - Published: 07-03-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6107063
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It was a typical summer Seattle evening that consisted of rain, wind, and deafening booms that accompanied the occasional shock across the darkened sky.
Nick Powell unfortunately was off the clock as soon as the storm picked up, and therefore had no such luck waiting for it to subside. The one day he left his umbrella proved to be the one day he truly had a use for it, and with an aggravated shuffle of his feet, Nick strode out of LensCrafters and into the torrential downpour. It was the vicious type which blew in sideways, he noted miserably while increasing his pace down the otherwise empty street; only a few souls had managed to be caught in the same predicament as he and they seemed to be in a hurry.
Burnaby storms had a calm, cleansing effect in comparison to the ones in the city. He could remember as a kid running out of the house and spinning endlessly under the silver droplets: the sort of rain that left a blue haze over everything it fell upon—made the air muggy and thick.
But here in Seattle precipitation descended with a god-like vengeance. "Just one more fucking block," he seethed to himself, hoping that the power worked when he reached his and Annie's apartment. Electricity lines tended to fail often during these thunderstorms and if Nick had to strip in the dark in 60 degrees, someone was going to hear about it.
Abandoning speedwalking and making the decision to jet the rest of the way was the best decision he made since wearing his LunarGlides this morning. Two minutes of sprinting and a couple of rights and lefts later, Nick was at his doorstep and making his way inside.
"Annie, 'm back from work!"
His only answer was a bold flash of lightning that illuminated the dark space. He absentmindedly withdrew his key from the door. Was his girlfriend even here? Nick dug into his pocket for his cell phone to see if Annie had texted, and sure enough, a steady stream of five or so messages appeared on his screen. Then he heard a sonorous thump, not from the storm, but the direction of their bedroom. His eyes narrowed in suspicion. The sound only grew louder as Nick travelled down the hallway.
"Annie?" he asked loudly. "Annie!"
Tired of waiting he exasperatedly threw open the bedroom door. And before he could even prepare himself for the loudness, Benny Benassi savagely assaulted his ears with acid synthesizer and pulsating bass lines. "What the fu—!"
Annie had her music on full blast hooked up to their Panasonic speakers. His voice startled her out from underneath the fortress of blankets, and her eyes narrowed as if adjusting to the darkness. Nick yelled at the top of his lungs, "WHY IS THE MUSIC SO LOUD?"
"It drowns it out!" she cried back.
"Drowns WHAT out, Annie, your sanity?" was Nick's snarky reply before marching over to the dresser and snatching off her iPod. Annie screeched in displeasure and tore out of bed.
"I need that in! You can't just—hey, lemme—"
She was attempting to jump high enough to retrieve the musical device from her boyfriend's hand, but he was good and angry this time. Annie had a habit of cranking up the air on the highest level while alone for one, and cold was now a factor in his sticking clothes. His eardrums still throbbed with so much pain that Nick felt like he just left a Metallica concert. And apparently the power was out yet again. In short, his girlfriend was so not getting her iPod back.
"I come home to a freakin' rave club in our bedroom and absolutely no fucking lights, at first I thought we were being robbed!" he spoke loudly to be heard over the growing storm.
"Why won't you give it back, Nick, come ON!"
Annie's leaps grew more frantic until she growled in exasperation and gave up.
"Why were you under the blankets like a war was on?"
She looked over at him irritably as she climbed back into bed and turned onto her right side, a true testament to her anger and a signature Annie-doesn't-like-you-right-now move. Nick began to feel guilty the more the silence or lack thereof expanded on. Then:
"Music's the only thing that helps at times like these," Annie muttered just audibly enough for Nick to catch but not comprehend.
"Times like these, a recession?"
His phone gently sounded and vibrated in his hand, one more text from his girlfriend, sent five minutes prior. He shot her a questioning look despite the fact her back was facing him, and then slid his phone open to read the message in full. What he received made Nick's heart melt and eyes soften.
'nick. you there? feel lame n clingy for askin this but please hurry back. sorry for sendin so many txts..this storm got me so on edge i needed to feel you here with me somehw. –annieeee'
As if to divinely clarify the source of Annie's dissatisfaction, the loudest thunderbolt that night struck yards from their house. She convulsed tellingly upon hearing it. Nick didn't imagine a whimper either.
Annie gasped softly when Nick slid into bed beside her to hold her in his arms. He imagined it was out of surprise or the chill of his freezing skin. But he loved her too much to do her the courtesy of letting go.
Nick nuzzled her neck lovingly and let his chin rest on her barely-bare shoulder; she liked wearing her Flashdance-style sweatshirt a lot nowadays, and he never complained.
Knowing his girlfriend was about to ask him again, he finally answered her: "You're scared of storms, babe."
Annie flushed and Nick knew it both instinctively and because her skin heated underneath his cheek. "I never noticed it 'fore because I'm an oblivious dumb-ass, but looking back now you always did things to distract yourself during them. Watching movies. And…" Her boyfriend trailed off meaningfully, knowing she got the insinuation.
She took a wavy lock of her hair and twisted it around her finger thoughtfully. "I block it out the way I block out everything I'm scared shitless about."
He cleared his throat and spooned her tighter, wet Levis against her Victoria's Secret-clad legs. "Things being…"
"THINGS. Like the future, like spiders, like growing old, like dea—"
The word involuntarily caught in her throat as if even her subconscious mind knew she could not handle its heaviness. Nick cradled her knowingly, easing the pain that coursed through her whenever she thought of her mother (or him). Annie turned in his arms. He kissed her forehead with a gentle, reassuring smile.
"I'm scared of things too," Nick mentioned. "Going bald, getting old, becoming broke, our band sucking…you know, typical grunge stuff."
She laughed at his joke and came closer.
Both in a sleep-like daze after having listening to the hypnotic rhythm of the falling water, Nick piped up after a good ten minutes.
"Those things you mentioned…they aren't the only things you're afraid of, are they?"
Annie looked over his shoulder and whistled softly, her innocent and nonchalant way of neither saying yes or no.
Her boyfriend sighed, deciding to leave it alone for the time being; she was an iron fortress when it came to open admittance of anything, and especially subjects such as these. He was amazed it got this far.
But when her lips parted and she did tell him…
"You're afraid of…that?"
Her beautiful chestnut eyes narrowed before closing altogether and she whipped around to put her back to him yet again.
"Okay, YES, Nick, I am afraid of l…-love. Fucking all that Valentine's Day and Romeo & Juliet shit. If you haven't noticed I don't have the greatest track record," she mumbled in a muffled voice into the fluffy comforter around her shoulders.
Nick observed her with silence for a long while, fingers trailing down her thigh and his lips grazing across the nape of her neck in the meantime. So Annie was not the toughest girl on the block like she outwardly portrayed herself. He supposed everyone had their skeletons, damn, but to be afraid of love?
Nick did not want to play the sensitive poet, but love was something he viewed as life-changing, the stuff of legend and fairy tales but a force as tangible as the golden-brown waves flowing over his arms and through his hands. It was the thing that saved him from death. It was the cohesion binding him and this angel—however fallen she appeared and was—together.
"Annie, can I ask you something?" he asked gently. "What makes you afraid of storms?"
Annie hummed to herself softly while tossing the question around in her mind. Then, "I guess it's the whole you-can't-do-a-damn-thing about it, it's coming whether you like it or not and it's so wild and crazy…like, so much shit and destruction it brings around. Rain and LIGHTNING and thunder. It's so—unnerving and it completely puts everything you had planned on hold. How gay is that?"
Nick raised his eyebrows as Annie regained her breath; the entire tirade was so winded that he was shocked she didn't turn blue.
She drew herself up gracefully onto one arm. "I feel a comparison comin' on, Nick; why do I feel a comparison comin' o—"
"Well, I…I kinda like storms. Not ones like this, because I got caught involuntarily. But nature does what it wants. I can't control it. Can't change it. And not all storms wreak havoc and terror. You can't discriminate with storms. You need 'em sometimes. Because love is a lot like a storm and—"
"UGGGGGGGH, CHEESE CITY," Annie wailed. "That's so cornball, dude, really…?"
Nick rolled his eyes and cupped her cheeks lovingly.
"I have a theory, Juliet."
She looked as if the fires of Hell were burning behind her eyes the moment he said that, but obeyed however begrudgingly.
"You're scared of storms because you can't predict what happens with them. You think all they do is fuck everything up. They make you put everything on hold.
The exact same reason you despise storms translates over to love. Love can be as terrifying as a storm. Love can sweep through your life and destroy it, like a storm. But every once in a while we need the rain, and the risk. What I want you to see is that you can't fear something just because of the ability it has to make or break you. Neither one is anything to give a big whoop about. Because you're here, and I'm here, either way. With you…"
Annie slowly tilted her head to the side. "Nick?"
His cerulean eyes flickered away from her and he hung his head in embarrassment before replying with an incomprehensible mutter, sounding something like the adults in Charlie Brown to Annie.
"You really mean that…?"
"Yes, Annie. Of course."
She, in a very uncharacteristically sweet manner, nipped her way from his neck to his ear. Nick groaned softly and nuzzled his face into her vanilla- and amber-smelling skin.
"Leave it to you to spit a line straight out of Shakespeare in Love and still somehow have my heart beating in the palm of your hand," Annie whispered sexily.
Her boyfriend thoroughly looked her up and down, as if groping for the right words to say but finding not a one of them adequate enough. The fiercely adoring look in those eyes was clear though; she could do damn near anything and he would still love the hell out of her.
"I was dying and you still had every ounce of my heart in your hand. Still do."
The incident no longer froze her in time when Nick referred to it but it was still a while before either of them broke the silence following. Ruptured not by sweet nothings or a smart remark. But the smack of several kisses. Relaxing with a long, contented sigh, his girlfriend said something even the aforementioned poet could not match.
"Something about the elements you can't sense coming makes them so much like, scarier…but only if you let it be."
Nick looked down at her with perched eyebrows. "What changed your attitude?"
He swept his hands down over the small of her beautiful back and up to her shoulders to pull Annie in close.
"I'm not alone anymore," she said in a voice so trusting and sweet that tears literally formed in the dark-haired boy's eyes. Beyond Ashton Park, rain pattered its way through the gutters and down the siding like miniature rivers that collected into one little ocean on the asphalt Seattle streets. And two teenagers held each other in the midst of all of it, sharing their insecurities and vulnerabilities.