Author: Cehsja PM
Early Conby Oneshot. Abby's self-esteem has been at an all-time low and Connor sets out to convince her that she's beautiful.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Hurt/Comfort/Romance - Abby M. & Connor T. - Words: 4,079 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 3 - Published: 11-08-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7535793
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Abby that Connor had first met was gone. That Abby had been outgoing, confident, and not at all shy. Connor had had a crush on that Abby, but he was in love with the Abby he knew now.
It was soon after he'd met her that he'd first noticed the other side to her: the side with insecurities and doubts and fears. She'd tried just a little too hard to impress Stephen and when she'd realised Stephen was seeing someone else, she'd been crushed. She hadn't admitted how badly she'd been hurt, but Connor had known. After all, he'd been in the same situation many times over throughout his high school and early university years.
Of course, the strong, confident Abby was still around too, but now Connor could see through it. Abby'd never admit it, but Connor knew a lot of that was an act. He'd moved into her flat and sometimes when she thought he was asleep, he'd lie in bed and peer over the railing from the loft, watching her. He knew he shouldn't, but he couldn't help himself. He felt himself drawn to her. It was in these moments when Abby thought that no one was watching that she'd let her guard down. She'd sit on the window seat with her knees tucked close to her chest and stare through the glass, lost in thought. She always looked so sad then. Sometimes the moonlight would stream in from the window and he would see it reflected in her watery eyes. She rarely let herself actually cry, but Connor knew that she came close to it on many occasions.
It was on nights like these that Connor longed to go to her and to draw her into his arms and tell her that everything would be okay. He couldn't do that though; she wasn't his to hold. She'd made that very clear from the start. He wondered if she knew that she'd hurt him the same way that Stephen had hurt her. Abby needed Connor in a different way, and he knew it. She needed Connor to be her punching bag, even though she had a real one. She took out her frustrations on him, often snapping at him or telling him he was an idiot. Connor took it gracefully, it was the only way he knew how to love her: by allowing her to use him.
Connor knew something else about Abby. She thought that the reason Stephen didn't like her was because she wasn't pretty enough for him. The revelation had shocked him, because Abby was beautiful. He'd first realised it when he'd overheard her talking to Rex one evening. She'd been sitting on the couch in the living room with a magazine and Rex was perched on the back of it, just at her side. Neither had noticed Connor approaching with a cup of tea for Abby.
"What do you think, Rex?" Abby had said suddenly, pointing to the picture, "I bet Stephen would have liked me if I was as beautiful as she is."
Connor had snuck a quick look at the picture, confusedly. The girl was alright, but she didn't have Abby's soul-searching blue eyes or angelic white-blonde hair. He wondered if Abby would punch his lights out if he said so, she didn't usually like to be complimented by him, always shot him down.
"You're better looking than she is, Abs." Connor had said.
Abby had jumped, startled to see him there, and then glared at him. "Connor! Don't sneak up on me like that."
"I wasn't sneaking. I just brought you some tea. I'm serious though, Abby. She's not that pretty, not compared to you."
"Yeah, right," Abby had scoffed sarcastically, and Connor could see she didn't believe him.
"It's true," he'd protested, despite the voice in his head telling him to shut up. "She wears too much makeup; I bet it's to hide all her zits. Anyway, look, see, her nose is a bit too big, yeah, and her ears are totally lopsided."
Abby slammed the magazine shut and stormed off, but Connor overheard her mutter under her breath, "Doesn't mean much to be prettier than someone that men think is ugly though, is it?"
Connor sighed; he really was rubbish at this sort of thing. That'd been a few months ago and since then, Connor had noticed that she had finally gotten over Stephen. She just hadn't gotten over her insecurities about her looks. He noticed that Abby didn't like to look in the mirror. She did, to apply her make-up, but he'd never see her look in a mirror without frowning and sighing disapprovingly. He wanted to tell her that she looked nice, but he couldn't quite get up the nerve to do so, worried he'd make things worse again. Once in awhile he did try to tell her. He'd muster up all his courage and then jokingly tell her that she was hot. Once, when she'd demanded a compliment, he'd mentioned that she had lovely legs. He knew it wasn't good enough, it wasn't what she needed to hear, but she shot him down often enough without him giving her extra reason too. Somehow he knew that it's hurt even more to be shot down when he was trying to seriously tell her that she was beautiful.
"Connor!" Abby called to him as he sat playing Oblivion, "I'm going for a jog! Keep the windows shut, yeah?"
Connor turned the game off and stood up. "Maybe I might go with you, if you like," he ran the idea past her. He wasn't really much of a jogger, but Stephen and Claudia had been on his case lately about the importance of staying in top shape for this line of work and, besides, it'd be an excuse to do something with Abby.
Abby hesitated in her surprise, but then nodded, "Alright, hurry up and change then. I don't wanna wait all day."
Connor nodded and ran off to find something more appropriate to wear for running.
Forty minutes later Connor was seriously struggling to keep up with Abby as she complained about how he was holding her back.
"Couldn't just wait for me to have a quick break, could you?" Connor asked between panting breathes. Abby glared at him, annoyance in her look, as she stopped moving forward and jogged on the spot for a moment. Connor stopped moving and leaned down, pressing his hands to his thighs tiredly.
At that moment, a man jogging the other way let out a low catcall towards Abby and as he passed them he called out to her, "Hey! Hottie! We should go running together sometime, seeing as your geeky boyfriend here isn't cut out for it."
Connor straightened up to glare at the guy, but stopped when he heard Abby quickly correct the man, clearly embarrassed, about her relationship status with Connor.
Connor hated it when she did that. Was she really so embarrassed by him that she couldn't have this jerk of a stranger thinking they were dating?
"Yeah, didn't think a babe like you would be going out with this dweeb," the man said. "Whadda'ya say? Can I get your number?"
Abby ignored him and turned to Connor, "Come on, Con, let's get out of here." Connor was happy to oblige, shooting the guy a dirty look as they jogged off in the opposite direction.
After a moment of silence, Connor glanced at Abby and saw that she was really upset by the encounter. Connor wondered if he could somehow make her feel better.
"At least the jerky dude thought you were pretty," Connor said encouragingly.
Abby glared at him. "He said I was hot, Con. Huge difference. Hot means that I keep in good shape and he'd sleep with me once or twice before moving onto the next girl."
Oh. That was probably why Abby never got the point that Connor thought she was beautiful then. He hesitated and mustered up his courage once more, deciding he had to say something. "Abby, I think…"
Abby stopped moving and whirled around to face him, "Shut up, Connor! I came here to jog, not talk. Just shut up!"
Connor stared, stunned and hurt by her sudden outburst. Her anger at him stung enough that he didn't notice her tears immediately, but when he did, he reached for her. Abby stepped back quickly, her voice cold, "I'm sorry, Connor. I don't want company now, that's all. Just let me jog alone."
Connor nodded mutely as he stood and watched her jog away. Then he slowly walked after her, heading back to the flat at a much slower pace and ignoring his own tears that were threatening to spill over, though he guessed they were as much for Abby as for himself. She was hurting badly and he had no idea how to get through to her.
It was a month before Connor got up to the courage to say anything else. In the meantime, Abby had pretty much pretended that nothing had happened and Connor had followed her lead. Now though, an old childhood friend of Abby's, Jillian, had called to say she was in town for the night and said she'd take Abby out clubbing.
Abby had excitedly come downstairs in a shiny silver dress with a skirt that flared to her knees and a sparkly black belt. She wore silver eyeshadow to match and Connor thought it made her eyes pop even more than usual. He thought she looked like a delicate winter fairy or something like that, and he knew he had to say something.
He took a deep breath as she called goodbye to him. "Abby, wait, come here a moment."
Abby turned to him, puzzled, "What is it, Con?"
He smiled at her gently. "You look beautiful, Abs. Stunning, actually," he told her seriously. Then he waited for her to get angry or snap at him, but she didn't. She simply stared at him with a look of soft wonder on her face. Then her eyes darted to the ground, embarrassed.
"Thanks!" she said quickly, "See you later!"
Connor grinned as she shut the door behind her. That hadn't been so bad.
It was less than two hours later that Connor heard the front door open, followed by the sound of girlish giggling. Connor was surprised, having expected them to be much later, but he turned his game off and stood up to greet them and meet Abby's friend.
"Connor, this is my friend Jillian. Jillian, this is Connor, my flatmate," Abby introduced them.
Connor shook Jillian's hand politely, "Why are you guys back so early?" he asked casually.
Jillian answered, "Abby wasn't having fun. Everyone just wanted to dance with me, so she asked if we could leave."
Connor frowned; there was no way that was true. He glanced at Abby who blushed a bit, "They asked me too, Jill. I just turned them down is all." Her eyes met Connor's and she seemed to be begging him to believe her, though he didn't know why she cared.
Connor smiled at her widely, "Now that makes more sense. Abby must have been the prettiest girl in the club! Of course she was asked to dance!" And there it was again, that little look of surprised wonder.
Jillian giggled, "Said to the girl whose own mother admitted she wasn't pretty…"
Connor felt a lump of horror rise in his throat as he glanced at Abby. He saw a little flash of hurt in her eyes, but she quickly masked her emotions and giggled, avoiding Connor's eyes. "Yeah, well, she was trying to save me from disappointment, eh?"
Connor was puzzled, "How does telling a kid they aren't pretty save them from disappointment?"
Jillian laughed, "Oh, well, it wasn't quite as outright as that. See, when me and Abs were kids, we were super good friends. But then, my mum signed me up to be a catalogue model and to be in commercials and stuff and I was always busy. Abby and me didn't have much time to hang out then, so we asked Abby's mum if she could sign up too, but Abby's mum always said no because she said, they only ever picked the pretty girls to do that kind of thing. We used to think it hilarious that a mum would admit that their kid wasn't pretty, didn't we Abby?"
Abby nodded, "Yep, we did." But Connor instantly saw that Abby was lying. No wonder Abby was so insecure. Abby continued talking, "She thought I was too plain and didn't want to waste my time. Funny this is though, remember when I was nine and she left us?"
Jillian nodded, "Yeah, dumped your dad for that rich dude, right?"
"Right, well, he had two kids that were into modelling too! She was right behind them, but they were gorgeous!"
Jillian burst out laughing as if this was hilarious and Connor swallowed. How was that funny, at all? It was terrible! He wanted to say something, but he knew enough than to embarrass Abby by arguing in front of her friend.
"Ah well," Abby laughed again with a bit of a sigh, "Prepared me for Evan, yeah?"
"Who's Evan?" Connor asked.
"My first boyfriend. I was only eleven then, way too young date really, but my mum wasn't around and my dad didn't really care what we did. Evan dumped me because a prettier girl liked him, so he said."
"And don't forget Jedi, too," Jillian said with a smirk.
Connor stared, eyes widened, "You dated a Jedi?"
Abby groaned, "Oh, gosh, Jill, I wish you didn't say that in front of Connor, now I'll never live it down. Connor's a total star wars geek."
"Yep, I could guess that. Still, Jedi was his real name, wasn't it? Had nothing to do with Star Wars…"
Abby shrugged, "Sorta. It was short for Jedidiah, but no one called him that, didn't suit him."
"What happened with the Jedi?" Connor asked. He immediately saw that Abby looked uncomfortable with the question, but he also saw she'd answer just to make Jillian think that she thought whatever it was, was no big deal now. He was glad Jillian was there actually, Abby normally never talked about stuff like this and it was his chance to find out about her past.
"He was just a bit of a jerk," Abby said. "We dated when I was seventeen. He used to try to tell me I should wear more makeup so I could look nicer. He said he put up with me, because I was good in bed, but as I wasn't beautiful like the girls he wanted to been seen with, he demanded I keep the relationship a secret. There was another girl, Patricia I think, that he pretended to go out with when in public. I guess I got tired of it after about six months and decided that guys weren't worth the trouble."
Jillian laughed, "Thankfully that idiot is long gone. Anyone who is ashamed to be seen in public just because their girlfriend is plain looking, shouldn't be in public."
"Abby's not plain! She's gorgeous!" Connor protested vehemently. He felt Abby look at him, but he didn't return her gaze. He wasn't sure if he was pressing his luck by repeating the compliment for a third time that day, but it'd just come out.
To his surprise, Abby suddenly reached up and kissed his cheek, "Thank-you, Connor."
Connor grinned at her and heard Jillian chuckle, "Aww, that's cute Abs. I always said you'd fall for a geek one day, didn't I?"
Abby blushed and started to stammer a bit, and Connor felt bad for her. Abby hated it when people thought they might be dating. He quickly corrected Jillian for her, "Nah, me and Abs are just pals. Abby doesn't usually act so sweet to me, you must have given her a few drinks."
Jillian laughed harder, "Just one, and it wasn't that strong. Anyway, I gotta run. I've promised a couple other friends I'd stop by tonight too. See you hopefully soon, Abby, and nice meeting you Connor."
Abby gave her friend a big hug goodbye and the shut the door behind her as she left. She immediately turned to Connor, "I'm tired, Con. Think I'm just gonna head for bed."
Connor knew it wasn't true. She would go hide in her room to avoid talking to him and then, when she thought he was asleep, she'd take her spot by the window. She was already locking herself in her room before Connor could respond. It didn't matter. For once, Connor had a plan. It might be a crazy, stupid, plan and she might kick him out after, but it was more important that she know.
It was nearly three hours later that Connor heard Abby's bedroom door open. He switched off his book light and put down his comic and peered out from the darkness of the loft. He watched as Abby's shoulders heaved a huge sigh as she put the kettle on. Then she moved over to the window and Connor watched as the moonlight fell upon her puzzled expression as she saw her hand mirror sitting on the bench seat with a note on it.
Connor watched her expression change as she read the words that he'd gone over so many times to make sure they were exactly right. He'd made so many drafts that he had it memorised and he recited it silently to himself as he watched her read.
I often worry that you don't know how beautiful you are. This may be silly, but please humour me and look in the mirror. I want you to see yourself as I do.
First, let's start with your hair. The colour you keep it reminds me of angel hair, so perfect and pure, but the style is more like a fairy or pixie. Tiny, graceful, dainty. I think you have beautiful hair. Angel Fairy hair.
And then there is your mouth. It is so perfect. I love the way you smile, even when I know you are sad. I find it amazing how strong you can be sometimes. I really admire you, Abby. You'll probably be mad, but I've often thought I'd love to kiss that mouth of yours.
I'd also love to kiss your ears and nose. Has anyone ever told you how cute and little your ears and nose are? You are truly adorable!
But it's your eyes that I love best. When you are mad, they are the colour of sparkling ice, but when you are happy, they are like the sky. I could get so lost in your beautiful eyes, except, I know you'd never let me look into them for that long. Still, I sneak a peek whenever I can. People say that eyes are like windows to the soul, but I've never seen it so true until I met you.
I just wanted to say that, today, before you left, when I told you that you were stunning, I really meant it. You looked like a gorgeous little winter fairy. I'm sorry if that's geeky, but I've always been a fan of fantasy and so that's how I saw you. It's not just today though. I always want to tell you you're beautiful, I'm just scared you'll punch me lights out if I do. I've seen what you can do to a punching bag or a dinosaur, after all. Still, you're pretty all the time, even when you first get up and you haven't done your make up yet. Even when we've just come back from the field and you are covered in dirt and grime, even then I always think that you are pretty.
Anyway, that's it, I just wanted you to know how I saw you.
He'd hesitated a long time before signing it "love", but he'd felt it was right for the moment. Abby seemed to be reading the letter a few times over and Connor could see that she was crying about it. He'd known she would, but he wasn't sure what that meant for him. After a long time, when she didn't seem to let up at all, he wondered if he should go down and try to comfort her. He didn't normally, but this one was probably his fault.
He sighed and nervously climbed out of bed and down the stairs as quietly as possible, hoping he'd be able to retreat, still unnoticed, if he changed his mind. He was right beside her before she finally realised that he'd approached. She jumped a bit and then just stared at him. He stared back, not sure what to say.
Finally, she just sighed. "Oh, Connor," she whispered. Connor sat down beside her and put his arm awkwardly around her shoulder. Abby didn't push him away, she just sat there for awhile, quiet. Her tears had stopped and Connor reached with his other hand to wipe the dampness from her cheeks.
"Are you mad at me, Abs?" He finally asked.
Abby looked at him, "Why would I be mad?"
Connor shrugged, "For making you cry. You hate crying."
Abby smiled at him, "You didn't, Connor. Just, some bad memories tonight, yeah? I'd forgotten how much Jillian knows about me, really. The letter didn't hurt me, just that, it's been an emotional night… both good and bad."
Connor looked at her questioningly and Abby grinned reassuringly, "The letter was definitely good."
Connor smiled back, "I just, I thought you should know how I felt."
Abby nodded, "I'm happy, Connor. No one's ever told me I was beautiful before. Never. And no one's ever cared enough to do something this special for me before," she gestured to the letter. "How did you know what I needed to hear?"
Connor just shook his head a bit, "I know you, Abby. You're my best friend."
"You care about me, don't you, Connor?"
Connor nodded his head, "Of course I do."
"You signed the letter "love". Do you love me Connor?"
Connor winced a bit, wondering what was going through her head, but he couldn't lie to her. He nodded and spoke quietly, "Yeah."
Abby leaned back into his arms, "Did you know that it's because of you I turned down all the dance invitations tonight? After you told me I was beautiful, I couldn't dance with anyone else. It felt wrong. I just wanted to be back here with you."
Connor stared at her, surprised, "Me?"
Abby giggled, "Yes, of course, you, Silly. Do you really think all this stuff about me, Connor?"
Connor nodded again.
"Even the bits about wanting to kiss me?"
Connor blushed, but nodded honestly.
Abby smiled at that. "Good, because guess what, Con? It just so happens that I find you mighty attractive too."
Connor caught his breath as Abby leaned forward and kissed him gently on the lips. He kissed her back, tenderly, thinking to himself that somewhere in the night he must have fallen asleep and dreamt this whole thing, but it felt too real and he knew that it wasn't case.
When they broke apart, Abby locked eyes with him. "How was it?" she asked, "You wanted to do that, how was it?"
Connor gently stroked her cheek with the back of his hand. "Beautiful."