Title: Nothing In Between
Summary: Today, she'd just have to accept and enjoy what all he had in store for her. Without question or complaint.
A/N: This is another installment in the same universe as Long For Me and Things That Go Bump In the Night. So enjoy! The song at the end of this piece is Just By Being You by Steel Magnolia.
Marcus moved quietly through the house and up the stairs as he carried the tray with her breakfast. It wasn't every day that he got to pamper her. She was usually up and out the door before the sun could peak over the horizon. Today, she'd just have to accept and enjoy what all that he had in store for her. Without question or complaint.
He stepped into the bedroom, smiling as he saw her still snuggled deep in the thick, downy comforter that they'd picked out together. He couldn't resist staring for a long moment before he moved quietly into the room. He hated to wake her, but they had a semi-schedule to keep, and he didn't want to miss a moment of it.
He sat the tray on the nightstand before sitting down on the edge of the bed to gently kiss her into awakeness. "Morning, Abby."
The sunlight streaming into the room was the first clue that she had overslept, that she was indeed late. She'd never been late a day in her life, and she frowned. "Marcus, the alarm didn't go off. I thought I asked you to set it." She pushed herself up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes and giving him a stern look.
"I arranged for you to have a day off. Weeks ago, in fact." He laid his hands on her knees and squeezed her hands gently. "I planned a day for us because we never see each other anymore. I miss you, Abby."
She thought about this for a long moment, tilting her head to the side to watch him and then smiled. "You did all of that because you missed me?" She pushed herself off the pillow and pressed a soft kiss to his lips. "How'd I get so lucky?" She wrinkled her nose as the smell of freshly fried bacon hit her nose. "Pinch me. I think I'm dreaming." She turned her head, taking in the breakfast tray to her right.
He chuckled softly. "Har har har. Keep up the teasing, and I'll rethink this little holiday." He stood and reached for the tray and sat it across her lap. "Take your time and enjoy breakfast." He knew that all too often she had to scarf it down in order to get to her next patient.
She shook her head with a soft laugh on her lips as she then nodded at him. "Yes, Detective Kane. Only today will I do as you instruct, but don't you go pushing your luck, understand?" She picked up her fork and then hungrily dug into the fluffy scrambled eggs that were on her plate with a moan. They were made exactly as she liked them.
He winked at her. "I wouldn't dream of it, Abby." He leaned over to kiss her cheek before he made his way to the master bathroom, whistling as he went. "I'll try not to use all the hot water."
She let him close the door behind him and waited until she heard the shower going and his voice carried out to her through the walls. The man couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, but she loved to hear him just the same. She looked down at her plate of food, then shifted to sit it back on the nightstand as she stood up and padded barefoot to the bathroom door to open it quietly and slipped through to strip and join him in the shower.
"This way you don't have to," she explained as she slipped into the shower behind him.
"I like the way your mind works." He bent low, catching her mouth in a seductive kiss. Who really cared about getting clean when a sexy, naked woman was in the shower with you? Absolutey no one.
Marcus grinned as Abby sat in the passenger seat of his Jeep Wrangler with her arms crossed over her chest. The blindfold still in place across her eyes. He reached over, patting her knee. "Oh, sweetheart. Relax. I promise we're almost there, and you'll be able to take that off, but I want it to be a surprise. I know...I know..." He sighed in exasperation as her mouth opened to protest and tell him once again that she didn't like surprises. Not even good ones. "Just trust me. Please?"
She rolled her eyes even though he couldn't see it and let out a soft sigh. "Fine. Fine. Fine. Just don't expect to get away with this all the time. Not happening, Marcus." Her arm shifted, coming down to lay her hand on top of his as it lay on top of her knee. She gave him a soft smile, letting him know that she wasn't entirely upset with him. Just a little. "But we're almost there?"
"Almost," he promised her. He flicked on the blinker and made a slow left turn and pulled into the parking spot and killed the engine. He turned to look at her as she lifted her hands to remove the blindfold. "Not yet." He reached for her hand. "Just a few more minutes so that I can get it all set up. Okay?"
She gave a soft snort and nodded. "Three minutes, Marcus. Three minutes." She had crossed her arms over her chest once again. She couldn't ever explain how it felt to be completely out of control. It just felt so uncomfortable and like she was at the mercy of someone else. It was silly to feel this way with him because she trusted him with every fiber of her being, but it definitely kept her unsettled.
"Two minutes," he promised her as he cimbed out of the Jeep and moved to grab the bag and basket that he had tucked into the backseat before they'd left the house. He moved toward her side of the Jeep and opened her door and released her seat belt. "But the two minutes doesn't start until we reach the spot, okay?"
"Okay." She was completely exasperated with him at the moment. "This better be worth it."
"It will be." He took her hand and helped her out of the Jeep and shut the door behind her. "Just be careful where you step and hold onto my hand."
Ten minutes later, Marcus moved in behind Abby and held her waist with one hand and reached up to undo her blindfold with the other. "I'm sorry this took so long, sweetheart." He leaned in, pressing a kiss to her cheek as he let it fall from her eyes and let her take in the scene before her.
Abby's breath caught in her throat at the sight before her. They were in a clearing that she recognized from their first official date. He'd recreated everything almost to a 't' from that afternoon. She leaned back into him. "Oh, Marcus," she breathed as she turned and hugged him as tightly as she dared. She breathed him in. "I can't believe you went through all of this trouble."
He brought his fingers to her lips and shook his head. "I assure you, Abby, it was no trouble. Not even a little bit." He leaned in, replacing his fingers with his lips and kissing her deeply. When her body pressed into his, he wrapped her tighter into his embrace. "I love you," he whispered as the kiss broke.
She smiled up at him, unable to hide the sheer delight from sparkling in her toffee colored eyes. "I love you, too." She pulled away from him to take his hand and lead him to the blanket. She dropped down onto her knees and took in everything he had laid out. "Champagne, huh?" she teased.
He nodded. "Special day calls for special beverages." He knelt down beside her then started to get the food from the basket. It was all of her favorites which he'd made himself. He'd hadn't ever really gone to bed in order to prepare for today. Today had to go off without disruption.
"What's so special about today, Marcus?" She shifted so that she was seated on her rear. Her head tilted to the side, taking him in as he worked to prepare their meal. "It's not my birthday."
He shook his head. "Special because we're together. Not everything has to be about specifics, sweetheart. Just relax. Enjoy." He popped the cork to the bottle and filled her glass and then his own and handed her the one he'd filled for her. "To us. To today."
Their glasses clinked together. "To today," she echoed softly before bringing the glass to her lips and taking a sip. The bubbles tickled her nose, making her smile. "I still can't believe you planned all this." She was very much still in awe at the situation that she currently found them in. She loved that he had gone to such lengths for the two of them to have time alone. "Did Clarke know about this?"
He nodded. "She sure did. It's why she's agreed to stay over at Octavia's tonight. Something about cramming for a History test they have on Friday." Not that he believed that, but it sounded more enticing than she wanted out of the house so she didn't have to see them making out in whatever room of their home. She'd accepted that they lived together, and he couldn't ask her for anything more than that.
An hour later, Marcus sat with his back against the log near in the middle of the clearning with Abby's head in his lap as he read her one of their favorite books. Also the same book they'd read parts of on that first date while she fed him (and herself) grapes that he'd brought alone. He sucked at her finger as she fed him a particularly sweet grape and let out a soft moan of pleasure. "Today's just about perfect, don't you think?" He marked the page in the book and set it aside.
"As perfect as I want it to be." In fact, she couldn't think of anything that would make it more perfect. She smiled up at him before she shifted and moved to straddle him. She needed to reward him for being so thoughtul, for being so romantic as to do all of this for them. Her mouth fell softly onto his, kissing him. He tasted like grapes and champagne, and she quite liked the flavor of it as it mixed with his natural taste.
He moved his hands to her hips. He melted into the kiss, enjoying it for what it was and not what it could turn out to be. He moaned into her mouth, sucking at her tongue as he leaned up slightly. "Keep in mind that it's in the middle of the day and anyone can happen upon us at any time."
"I plan to," she promised him as her mouth found his once again. The kisses were tame in comparison to the way she was feeling. The champagne mixed with all the fresh air was giving her a glowing buzz. Her hands moved through his hair as a moan escaped her parted lips as his mouth moved along her jaw to her ear. When he sucked at her earlobe, she hissed, "Now who's not behaving?"
"Hey. I want to remind you that all of my clothes are currently on. So I'm not misbehaving. Just giving you a sample of what comes later at home." He nipped at her throat and leaned back to meet her eyes. "And no, we're not cutting the day short and going home. We have one more stop before we head back." He then glanced at his watch and thought for a moment. "Which we'll probably need to be getting ready to pack up so we're not late."
She stuck out her lower lip in an exaggerated pout. "I thought you said we were going to relax and enjoy the day." She moved and unbuttoned two of his shirts which she preceeded to follow with her lips along his exposed chest. "I'm sick of being on a schedule, Marcus."
Her lips on his chest were doing ungodly things to his way of thinking as he moaned softly, desperate to give into her and let the moment go where it would, but he got a grip on himself. "I promise to make it up to you, Abby."
She lifted her head and sighed dramatically. "If we must..." She lifted herself up off of him and stood before kneeling back onto the blanket and starting to gather food containers and plates and placing them back into the picnic basket. "I'm not being blindfolded again, I hope."
He joined her in helping clean up their picnic and promised, "No. You'll be able to see where wer'e going. You'll love it, and you'll never guess in a million years what it is so the surprise won't be ruined." He leaned over, catching the side of her mouth in a kiss and winked. "Besides it'll be fun watching you try and figure it out."
Marcus found it curious that she had only questioned once why they were leaving Leesburg. He'd simply told her they were headed to Arlington, and that was the only clue that she was getting so she might as well give up and just enjoy the drive. So when they pulled into the David M. Brown Planetarium, he was happy when he saw her eyes light up.
"Oh, Marcus! I haven't been here since high school. Have you ever been? It's gorgeous. I love looking up at the stars." She had already unsnapped her seatbelt and had opened her door and stepped out onto the asphalt to wait for him. She could hardly contain herself.
He quickly followed her, moving around the front of the Jeep and offered her his hand as they headed toward the entrance. "I remember hearing you talk about it when Clarke's astronomy class went on a field trip here. You couldn't stop gushing. Figured it was time you were reminded just how much you love it here." He just hoped the magic hadn't disappeared as she had gotten older. This place would hopefully hold many happy memories for the two of them.
She held tightly to his hand. "You're just perfect." She stopped him and leaned up onto her tip toes to kiss him softly. "Thank you. I really mean that." She then stepped away, tugging him toward the entrance in anticipation of what lay beyond the doors.
He loved just how excited she was at the prospect of looking at the stars, even if they weren't the real stars. To her it was the same, and her amazement and wonder never grew old to him. He let her drag him along behind her as she looked at the schedule for her favorite show. Little did she know that he'd planned a private showing just for them. It had cost him a pretty penny, but Abby was worth every cent.
She turned, looking at him. "The next show is in fifteen minutes. We'd better buy tickets." She saw that he held up two tickets already. She reached for them, and he pulled them just out of her reach. "Marcus," she pleaded with a playful whine.
"Abby," he mocked her with a soft chuckle. "Remember I planned this day, and we're just on time." He carried the tickets to the man that stood behind the ticket taker's stand. He squeezed her hand as he did so. "Impatience does not look good on you, dear."
She wrinkled her nose before she gave her eyes a slight roll to the cieling. "Well, neither does gloating on you." She hated that he had all these secrets, and she only got to see them as they unfolded one after another.
The ticket taker lead them down the hall. It wasn't unusual that someone booked a private showing. It wasn't cheap, and he figured from the way these two behaved with one another that they were here on some kind of special day. An anniversary maybe. It wasn't his place to pry, but he hoped that they enjoyed themselves. "Right this way. Please make yourselves comfortable anywhere. The show will begin in two or three minutes."
Marcus thanked him and passed him a generous tip as he shook the man's hand. He then turned to Abby and gestured all around them. "Where would you like to sit, Abby?"
She then lead them to the very center (or what she hoped was the very center) of the room and took her seat. She then looked at him. "This had to have cost you a fortune, Marcus. You have to let me pay for half..." she started but was cut off by his fingers pressed to her lips once more.
"This is my day, remember?" He smiled then, replacing his fingers with his lips in a soft gentle kiss just as the music started and the lights changed. He laid back in his chair, looking up as thousands of stars light up the room around them. It took his breath away. And he finally understood why this was a favorite place of hers.
Marcus turned slowly as the show neared it's end. The song changed to the one he'd requested. Their song. This was his cue to shift and slide out of his seat. He loved that she was so enthralled in the stars and galaxies and the universe to be immediately aware of what was happening. He watched as her face took on the expression that she recognized the song, knowing that it wasn't a song they'd typically use for a star exhibit.
/ Let's run away,
Where nothing stands between me and you
Let's find a place somewhere a little closer to the truth,
And call it a home
Where there is no right and there's no wrong
And we can be all alone /
She shifted her head, not seeing him in his seat, but instead he was knelt beside her chair. She lifted herself slowly, meeting his eyes, and then she realized that he was on one knee. Her heart leapt into her throat. "Marcus," she whispered as her hand went to cover her mouth. "What are you doing?" But she knew exactly what this was as he took her left hand in his.
The music seemed to fade away. Nothing mattered but her hand that now lay gently in his as his. He gently lifted it, pressing his lips to her knuckles. "Abby, I know things haven't always been easy. And we weren't always as close as we are now. Things happened, good and bad, to bring us to where we are today, and I know I can't see me without you. And I don't want to. I love you with all of my heart. With all of my soul. You and Clarke are both very much a part of who I am, of who I've always wanted to be, and I want to be your husband and you to be my wife. Abby, will you marry me?"
The velvet box opened then to reveal a beautiful princess cut solitair diamond in an entricately woven white gold band. The tears were already falling down her cheeks. She couldn't have stopped them had she tried, and for the briefest of moments she was reminded of what love can do, how it can break you so completely, but Jake would be happy for them. He'd want this for her. He'd told her as much. So with no guilt or regret in her heart, she nodded her head in acceptance of his question. "Yes, Marcus. Yes, I'll marry you."
He stood then, pulling her up into his arms and holding her as tightly as he could, feeling that he'd break her if he held on any tighter. His lips found her hair, kissing it over and over before moving down her face to finally find her mouth. The kiss became so passionate that he'd almost forgot where he was. Almost. He pulled away, taking her face in his hands and searching her eyes. "I love you so much, Abby. So, so much."
/ When I see you standing there
You know it all becomes so clear
The way you look, the way you talk
I need the way you lift me up
This will never feel complete
Until there's nothing in between
And we have broke down every wall
Baby baby baby baby let's just fall /
"I love you, too, Marcus. With my whole heart." She moved to wrap her arms around him once again. Tears began again, making little streaks down her face to disappear into his shirt. This was one of the absolute happiest days of her life, and she owed it all to him. "We have to call Clarke," she heard herself saying.
"Already taken care of. I asked her permission before I planned today." He kissed the top of her head before she could pull away and meet his eyes.
"Well, you've thought of everything." She touched her hand to his cheek and smiled up at him.
He wiped away the tears on her cheeks. "Well, I didn't plan for what if you said no." He felt her shift as she pressed to him once again, pushing herself onto tiptoes to kiss him softly. "But I wouldn't have accepted no. I'd have pleaded if I had to."
"No chance in hell that was going to happen," she assured him as the stars danced and sparkled around them. She held out her ring behind his back and watched as it sparkled. Everything about today had been magic. And it didn't have to end with today. Today was the beginning. The beginning and the middle and everything all rolled into one. And she couldn't have been happier.