Title: Two Years (3/3)

Author: Laura Dugan

Feedback / E-Mail: Please, at AliasGirl@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: I don't own any of it: the show, the characters, nothing.

Category:  Sydney/Vaughn romance, angsty

Summary: "She thought of things now in capitals and chunks of two."

Rating: G

Notes: This takes place previous to the episode on 1/11, so you can ignore everything that happened then.

Part III:

Sydney emerged fifteen minutes later in a subdued floral print dress that hung perfectly on her, the top half of her hair pulled into a ponytail, with locks in the front tucked behind her ears, framing her face.  The locket lay perfectly in the V of the dress.

"You look great, Syd."

"Thanks.  So where are we going?"

"You know, you're really not a very good spy."

Sydney giggled.  "I'm out of practice."

"Let's get out of here."  Eric reached out and took her hand, half dragging her out the door and into his car.

"So we're driving somewhere," she began.  "Are we going near or far?"

"Do you really think I'm going to answer any of your questions?  Just sit back and enjoy the ride."  Sydney, for all of her spying talents, failed to notice another small package on the back seat.

-~-~-~-~-

Eric drove for about 45 minutes up the coast.  Sydney grew more suspicious with each passing mile.  She had figured he was taking her out for dinner or drinks, but this was starting to seem more and more like a romantic getaway.  She loved Eric, he was now her best friend, but that's as far as it went.  And she thought he felt the same way. 

He pulled into the drive for a charming old villa that was converted into a bed and breakfast.  It overlooked the ocean, and as Eric pulled around back Sydney was awed by the sight of the setting sun.  She wasn't sure if he had planned it this way, but Eric Weiss' timing was impeccable.

"This is beautiful."  Eric said nothing and smiled a secret smile.  "What on earth do you have in store for me?"

"I promise you'll love it."

He parked and the both got out of the car, Eric grabbing the gift from the back as he got out.  They started to walk to the entrance of the villa, when Eric stopped.  He handed Sydney the gift.

"Take this, but you can't open it until you get inside."

Sydney looked at him like he was crazy.  "Weiss, what's going on?"  All business now.

"Trust me, Syd.  Have fun."  He gave her a quick hug and lightly pushed her toward the entrance.

"You're not coming in?"

"I really don't think you'd want me to."  He waved and headed back toward his car.

"Wait!  You're leaving me here?"

"Syd.  Do you trust me?"

"With my life."  No hesitation.

"Then get your ass inside and open the gift."

Still puzzled, Sydney nodded and went inside.  When she reached the lobby she stopped and stared at the gift in her hand.  She turned it over a few times like she had with her mother's gift.  Letting out a deep breath, she opened it.  Taking the wrapping paper off, she found a normal looking box.  She shook it and heard something metallic rattling.  Please – no more jewelry with hidden messages, Sydney though.  Opening the box, Sydney did not find jewelry.  Just a key.  A room key, she suspected, for this villa.

"Can I help you, miss?"

Sydney jumped, startled, as the desk clerk approached her.

"Sorry!" the clerk apologized.  "I didn't mean to startle you."

"It's okay.  I think you can help me."  Sydney handed the man the key.

"Ah.  Miss Bristow?"  Sydney nodded, surprised.  "Third floor, the presidential suite.  Right up these stairs here, then turn left.  It's down the hall on the right.  You'll see the room number."

"Thank you," Sydney said.  "I don't suppose you can tell me if there's someone waiting for me?"

"My lips are sealed."

"I'm not surprised," she said, chagrined.  "Thank you, again."

"Enjoy your stay," the clerk said, and was off.

Sydney began her climb up the stairs feeling as though she should be worried.  It could be anyone upstairs.  Or no one.  Maybe this was another gift from Eric, although it seemed a little too extravagant for his taste.

Her ramblings didn't last long as she took in the atmosphere of the villa.  It was as beautiful indoors as it seemed outdoors, full of cool colors: blues, yellows, greens.  Comforting.  Van Gogh paintings on the walls.  Oak wood, honey colored, in the railings, the stairs, the floors.  Flowers everywhere.  Sydney breathed it all in. 

At the third floor Sydney grew apprehensive.  She slowly made her way down the hallway, stopping in front of room 302.  Two.  There it was again.  She took a deep breath, fit the key in the lock and opened the door.

Sydney felt as if her world was moving in slow motion.  She looked up from the handle on the door, stared, frozen, in disbelief.  Two years.  Two years plus two years and he still took her breath away.  She placed her hand on her heart to make sure she was still living.  Rhythms of two.  This was no dream.

And he turned, also in slow motion.  Drew his gaze from the setting sun to a sight that was to him more beautiful than any other he had ever seen.  She still stood in the doorway, unmoving, eyes awash with emotion, afraid to trust reality.  And then he was moving toward her, closing the door, taking her hand.  Warmth.  She remembered the warmth.

"I don't understand," she finally muttered, eyes filling with tears, without explanation.  She was happy.  A genuine happiness that she hadn't felt in a long time.  And yet this couldn't be real.  He couldn't be here, shouldn't be here.  He had a wife, had a home, had a life without her.  He had succeeded where she had not.  He had been able to live without her. 

Her confusion grew.  He moved closer.  She didn't understand.  His hands rested on her hips, his nearness dizzying.  She struggled to breath.  Then gently, softly, he kissed her and the warmth grew, enveloped her.  Two years plus two years had not lessened her feelings for him, had not enabled her to forget how much she loved his kisses.  Loved him.

"Vaughn…" she said, pulling back.

"You're so beautiful," he muttered and she was reminded of the first time he said that to her.  How she'd blushed.  But now, now it was all wrong.  He was no longer hers.

"Vaughn," she said again, but he silenced her with another kiss.  She allowed herself to give in to the moment, wrapping her arms around him, feeling his embrace tighten.  "We shouldn't be doing this," Sydney said, breathless.

"I have so much to tell you," he said as they sat on the couch.  "I haven't seen you since… that night at the restaurant.  There was so much I wanted to say to you then but I just couldn't do it.  Everything was falling apart.  But now, seeing you, it's all coming back together.

"What are you talking about?"

"You heard about Lauren and the miscarriage."

"Yes.  Eric told me.  I'm so sorry, that must have been terrible."  Sydney didn't know what she was feeling.  Everything was so conflicted.  Why was he here?  Where was Lauren?

"It definitely wasn't easy.  That was the beginning of the end.  It happened about a year ago, then Lauren went away, back to her family home and stayed there for three months.  I barely saw here.  Then she came back, but everything had changed.  We just weren't close any more.  I don't know exactly what happened…  Then I saw you in the restaurant, what was that, about six months ago?"  Sydney nodded, concentrating on his words, trying to quell her emotions. 

"Lauren was there that night.  It was the first night we had been out in a long time, and there you were.  She saw us… see each other," he said, struggling for the words.  "Later that night we had a long talk.  She told me that in that moment in the restaurant she realized that I was still in love with you and that I would always be in love with you."  Tears stung Sydney's eyes and she looked down, noticing for the first time the empty space on his left ring finger.  Her eyes darted up to meet his.

Vaughn took both of Sydney's hands into his and looked deep into her eyes.  "It's over, Syd.  Lauren filed for divorce the next week.  It's been official for five months now."

Five months, Sydney thought, her heart sinking.  Why had he not come to her sooner?  Sydney flashed back to her mother's message.  Truth takes time.

"I wanted to come to you right after it happened.  To tell you everything, but I made myself wait.  I didn't want our relationship to be like mine was with Lauren.  I didn't want to rebound.  I wanted it to be for real.  So I took some time off, traveled a little, but no matter where I went I couldn't get you out of my mind.  I haven't been able to for the last four years.  Lauren was right, Syd, I still love you.  I will always love you."

Tears formed again in Sydney's eyes and she tried to blink them away, but more and more came.  Vaughn pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her, kissing her tear stained cheeks.  "I've missed you."

Sydney pulled back, doing her best to wipe away her tears, laughing.  "I'm sorry.  It's been an emotional day."  Vaughn smiled.  "I've missed you, too.  I've missed everything about you.  And I had nearly lost hope that I would ever be with you again.  I tried so hard to forget the way you made me feel, tried to get over the pain of not being with you, but I couldn't.

"And I have so much to tell you, too.  My mother…"  Sydney paused and looked into Vaughn's crystal eyes.  "It can wait until the morning.  It's waited for 30 years, another day won't hurt."  Vaughn looked at her with interest, but didn't press.   "Tonight I just want to be with you.  To be held by you."

They walked over to the bed and lay down, Vaughn wrapping his arms around her, holding her as close as he could.  A few stray tears made their way down Sydney's cheeks.  Never thought she'd be in his arms again.  "I love you."

He smiled.  "Happy birthday, Sydney."

Two years gone. Two years back.  And he had remembered.

The End.