Her skin was flush, the edges of her hairline curling from the humidity of the bathroom air. She stepped out of the tub with care, wrapping herself amongst plush white cotton. She watched as the water drained, thick, soapy bubbles travelling into the land unknown. She swiped a hand across the mirror, marking a path between the layers of fog. Her freckled clavicles arched and relaxed as she moved in a circle, taking stock. Satisfied, she opened the door, emerging into the bedroom on a cloud of eucalyptus scented air.
Scott looked up from his book, watching his beautiful partner move about the room;the way the muscles in her calves flexed with each step, the confidence with which she dropped her towel to stand bare in the room, before reaching for her favourite robe. The supple silk caressessing her skin like his lips on a warm night. Her dark, unruly hair falling in waves as she let the pin out, her pointy little nose scrunching in concentration as she bent towards their shared dresser, searching for some cream or another. She was breathtaking.
"What?" she asked, not bothering to turn around.
"Just admiring your beauty." She gave him that look. Embarrassment and disbelief, but also a little pride because deep down, she knows.
She finished applying her cream and crawled up the middle of their bed, collapsing against his chest. She sighed contentedly. He snuggled her close.
"What are you reading?"
"Hmm? Oh this?" He flipped the book over to see the title, his thumb still marking his place between the pages. "Nothing really. Just something I picked up at the hospital to pass the time."
"A little dry sometimes, but...meaningful." He closed the book, tucking the scrap of paper he was using as a bookmark snuggly in place. He set Helping Your Partner Through a Miscarrige in his bedside drawer, pulling some stray junk over top it.
"How are you feeling?" he asked.
"Tired." she sighed. "A little sad." He squeezed her a little tighter. "I suppose that's to be expected though right?" He hummed in agreement.
"And you? How are you?"
He took a moment to consider the question, letting his head fall back against the headboard. "Also sad. A little disappointed."
Hope felt tears begin to prick at the edges of her eyes. She pressed her lips into his chest, her nails scratching a soft pattern on his t-shirt. "I'm sorry."
"I know. It will just take a little time." He pressed a kiss into her hair and brought his other arm around to hug her. They laid there for a little bit, swimming in their own thoughts and the pool of silence that flooded their bedroom.
"Can we - can we make a plan?"
"Can we make a plan for the baby? For the next one I mean?"
Scott let go and moved away a little, wanting to be able see Hope. He studied her face for a second. "Are you sure you are ready to talk about this?"
"No." It was the honest answer. She has promised herself to be more honest with Scott, to not hide when things got hard.
"We don't need to. Not now anyway."
"I know. But, I think it will help."
"Okay." She sat up properly now, crossing her long slender legs under her.
"I want to do it together next time."
"That is generally how it works Hope." he joked. She rolled her eyes at him, a soft smile easing some of the tension on her face.
"I mean I want to be prepared. Have a test under the sink ready to go. Maybe even plan it?"
"Really? Are you sure that's what you want? Like I said in the hospital Hope, I don't want you to do this for me. I'm happy if we stay just us."
She placed her hands over his and looked at him lovingly. "I know, and I love you for it."
"This whole thing, while certainly not expected or easy, has been eye opening. I was so scared when I realized I was late, I panicked. But when I lost the baby - I've never felt that before. As scary as the idea of being a mom was at first, once the possibility was gone all I wanted was it back."
"Oh, Hope." She smiled a watery smile, using her knuckle to clean up the tears beginning to brim along her waterline.
"What I'm saying is that yes, I want a baby with you Scott. I think I have for a while now but just didn't realize."
"Really?" he asked, smiling with joy.
She laughed a little at his childlike enthusiasm and nodded. "If I didn't I would have insisted we take more precautions, like before. I mean, we haven't exactly been very careful since returning from New York. It's a wonder it didn't happen sooner."
He grinned. "Coming back from the dead, pulling off a time heist and beating a crazed purple alien with a god complex does get me kind of randy."
"Ugh gross. Randy Scott? Really?" He laughed.
"What? Do you prefer horny? Hot for your love?" He waggled his eyebrows as he tried to pull her towards him.
"Stop! No more! It's too corny." He laughed louder and got a pillow in the face for it.
"I warned you."
She smiled that dazzling smile at him again and his heart did a little flip in his chest. How did she manage to do that? Make him fall in love with her over and over again?
They let the laughter die down a little before continuing. "I think we need to wait a while though. It's too soon. The spaces between our relationship have been longer than our time together."
"I take full responsibility for the two years from Germany, but it's not like either of us had control over the second time."
"Our time apart never changed how I feel about you, you know that right? If anything, it made it stronger. Even though we weren't actually together, together the first time, I felt pretty early on that you were it. I spent so many of my days on house arrest cursing my stupidity for messing it all up. Then you strapped my ankle monitor to an oversized ant and kidnapped me to find your mum and suddenly I had a second chance."
She looked at him incredulously. "You knew for that long?"
"Give or take, yah. When did you know?"
"I don't know really. It was sort of a gradual thing I guess. I knew I felt a lot more than I realized when you got arrested and Dad and I had to go on the run. It was hard seeing you again after all that time apart. But then I remember pulling you out of that harbour and feeling so goddamn happy that you were alive. That I could kiss you again, hold you. When you broke us out of the police station and then proceeded to literally swim after Sonny to get the lab and save my mom, I knew I wanted to be with you. Even if you are a big dumb idiot sometimes."
He smiled that crooked smile of his. "A cute one though right? With great hair?" She chuckled, leaning in to give him a kiss.
"Why do you think I agreed to move in together so soon?" she teased. "That dimpled smile of yours makes all the ladies swoon. I had to lock that down before someone else came along."
They kissed, all smiles and tenderness. "None of them are you." He kissed her again, deeper this time. She hummed softly, using her hands on his face to pull him close.
When they pulled apart her skin was rosy with desire and his eyes could barely remove themselves from her lips. "This is what got us in trouble in the first place." she breathed. He hummed in response and captured her lips once more. When his kisses began to stray down her neck and over her freckled shoulder she was forced to push him away, as much as she didn't want to.
"Scott, we're supposed to be talking, remember?"
"I can multitask." she laughed out loud.
"No, you really can't. Besides, the doctor said no sex for at least a few weeks."
"I don't have to be in you for us to have a little fun." he purred, pulling her onto his lap.
"Your insatiable" she huffed as his teeth grazed that spot just under her jawline that always drove her crazy.
"I blame you for being so damn hot. Even when you are glaring at me in anger you somehow manage to be insanely attractive." His fingers pushed their way in between the folds of her robe and caressed her breast, teasing the pert little nipple. She moaned softly.
Her phone began to ring. "Don't answer it." He pleaded, hands still caressing her breast and lips skimming against her skin.
Sighing, she gave him one more kiss before pulling away. She grabbed her phone from the night stand turning to look at him as she answered. "Hello? Oh hi Mom. No, nothing important. Just laying in bed with Scott." He gave her a little pout and she rolled her eyes. She pulled her robe back over her shoulder as she walked out of their room and into the hallway.
She was always on the move, his Hope. Constantly in motion, a flurry of energy and brilliance that would be overwhelming for some. He was glad that they had been able to take a moment, chat about it, even a little. The book said it was important in order for them to heal. To process the whole thing.
She had worried him for a while there. So stoic in the day to day, wanting to get back to work and training right away. He'd catch her though, in those quiet moments of the day, crying softly. He wasn't sure what to do in the beginning. Let her cry it out alone? Hold her? Eventually he just gave up and said nothing, opting to plop down next to her and just be there, in whatever capacity she needed.
Tonight was the first time she felt more like the old Hope again, instead of one burdened by sadness and regret. It was nice.
He looked up from his thoughts when he heard her feet padding back towards the door. "Bye Mom. Thanks for calling. Love you." She smiled at him watching her. She placed her phone back down, plugging it in for the night. She swapped the robe for one of his old t-shirts and crawled back into bed.
Taking the hint, Scott switched off the bedside light and snuggled down, pulling the soft duvet up and around them. He kissed her, not trying to start something this time, thumb gently stroking her cheek.
"Goodnight Hope. I love you." he breathed. She hummed back, already half asleep.
"You too." He smiled, turned onto his back and followed her lead.