Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar but I use the characters for my own entertainment. O_0
My breath hitched in my throat. I could not believe I had just said that. Just what was I setting myself up for? I mean, I believed it with all my heart and soul what I wanted Toph and I to be but I'd never thought of actually saying it (out loud anyways). I thought that if I told her she might not want me the way I wanted her.
Toph was as independent as a bird and would hate to believe that she was being tied down. Just look at the situation with her parents. She was my best friend but I wanted to hold her in the way a best friend could not be allowed to. I wanted to run my fingers through her hair and smell her. Yes, I realized that I sounded like such a creeper but I had an insatiable drive to just smell her without any painful repercussions (physically or otherwise). I caught a whiff of her when I carried her around on my back, and it was intoxicating.
Don't even get me started on the feel of her hands roaming over my arms and neck. I could just barely contain the shivers those tantalizing actions created upon my skin. For the longest time I hoped that no one could see the goose bumps erupting over my body, making my skin tighter which somehow managed to emphasis her strong, callused fingers ghosting over my skin. A huge part of me wished that she hadn't been doped up and had run her fingers over my skin because she wanted to, but I knew it was too much to hope for.
But maybe…just maybe…if I actually told her what I'd been feeling – what had been festering in my soul for a long time – that she'd reciprocate and we could maybe start an actual relationship. It had been getting progressively harder having her in the same bed as me. Being Toph, she'd start dominating my side of the bed and push me into the far edges but then she'd snuggle up to me for a brief moment, letting me feel the silkiness of her hair and the softness of her skin before she decided to go re-conquer her side.
So I took a gamble.
I turned towards her, giving her my full undivided attention and took her hand to place it over my heart. Toph had always said that she was a human lie detector, so I wanted to make sure that there was no doubt in her mind that I was serious. I don't think I would have been able to function if she treated my feelings as a joke.
"Toph…I know I-I'm in love with you. I think I have been for a very long time and I just…don't think that I asked you to move in with me as soon as I got a house because I had ulterior motives. I love you for who you are and what you do and everything that you stand for. I wanted you to move in with me because I just couldn't stand the way you would come and go from my apartment. I was afraid that you would walk out of my life and I could not handle that again." I let out a huge gust of air from my bright red cheeks. I wasn't embarrassed, but baring feelings out on the chopping block tended to make a person feel a bit lightheaded.
"I want you in my life forever and, I mean, who else is going to hit me first thing in the morning just because? I just…well…do you want to be with me?" I asked, barely able to mask the insatiable hope in my voice.
Toph's face betrayed nothing.
I feared that she might laugh or punch me for being so open with her but she was still as a rock. For a long moment–or moments–I waited painfully for her to burst out laughing or for her to tease me but nothing happened. The only reaction out of Toph was a slight stiffness in her fingers over my chest. I had a feeling that if I let go of her hands they'd rebound back to her like an elastic band. Right now my throat was so tight that if I could form any words they would come out as mumbles or something else equally embarrassing.
At last Toph took a deep breath and I held mine waiting for her to say and do something besides stare at my soul with her piercing, milky green eyes.
"Sure," she said succinctly, though the fierce blush that suddenly flooded her face betrayed any semblance of nonchalance. She cleared her throat roughly before waving her hand, "I mean…I guess I've always kinda loved you and it'd be pretty boring without you around." She cleared her throat again and retreated her fingers in an uncharacteristic act of self-consciousness. My skin felt cold where her fingers had once been but I tried not to let it bother me so much. "I've never been in love so I don't know if I'm supposed to feel a lead weight in my stomach or if my heart is supposed to do this little weird flutter thing – could be a heart murmur…umm, I'm pretty sure that's a serious condition – but I digress."
I was numb as she gave me her signature smirk. For a long time I was just dumbfounded.
"Umm…I don't know how these confessions go, but shouldn't you say something?"
I let out a shaky laugh and glomped her. All my muscles felt tight and my chest cavity felt light as air even with the weight the rush of excitement and hope her words gave me. I couldn't believe she actually felt the same for me! It was all so surreal that if this was a dream I hoped I'd never wake up from it.
"Easy there lover boy," she laughed as she tried to push me off her. "Wouldn't suffocating me defeat the purpose of wanting to live with me? I mean, you aren't one of those freaky guys who stuff their wives right?"
Even though I knew she couldn't see me, I couldn't help the goofy grin on my face at her mention of the word "wife".
"Of course not. At the very least I would mummify you."
She mockingly glared at me and flipped us over. I couldn't think of a sight more beautiful than her long hair framing her smirking face as the weight of her hand pressed gently into my chest.
"Before we seal the deal on any moving in together or girlfriend and boyfriend stuff, I think I ought to evaluate just what I'm getting into."
Now I was starting to come down from my high and into confusion. "Um, what do you mean?" I asked stupidly.
Before I could even think she leaned down and pressed her lips to mine. If my eyes weren't fastened to my head they'd be near the ceiling right now like those old time cartoons. I responded a second late and all too soon she pulled away with a grin.
"You have chapped lips."
Even though I was panting for air I managed to quip, "You're no silky feeling either."
She hit my chest with her good arm and before she could do any other harm to my body I licked my lips and pressed them against hers. My fingers with a mind all their own sought refuge in her hair and pulled her closer to me. My other arm went around her small waist. The feel of her heat, her everything, overwhelmed me. Never had I wished for the ability to live without the aid of oxygen at that moment.
Kissing her left me breathless and my whole body was tingling. When I had to pull away she pushed forward and my heart soared. Just like me, she didn't want this to end.
"Better?" I asked, my lips barely brushing hers.
She smirked, "Just shut up and kiss me."
How could I refuse?
We were both sprawled on the new couch of our new house enjoying the feel of each other's body against the other. And sure, every once in a while she or I would lean up to kiss each other but hey, I wasn't really keeping track of anything at the moment. All my paperwork that I had to finish looking at was left abandoned on the coffee table as she pulled me in for a heated kiss.
But before our lips could touch the doorbell rang. I heard Appa come running down the stairs and bark twice to alert us before running off probably to go eat. A few seconds later I heard Momo follow close behind him. I groaned into the crook of Toph's soft neck.
"Were you expecting anyone?" I asked.
God no! I had called in sick to just spend the day with Toph. Since making the call I felt horrible for lying but then Toph kissed me and I promptly forgot all about feeling bad.
"Make them go away," she ordered as she pulled me in for a chaste kiss before kicking me off the couch.
Though she couldn't see it I bowed down elegantly to her. "Your wish, my command."
"Damn straight," she stated in a not so regal tone.
I laughed as I made my way to the door.
"Coming," I yelled out as I shrugged on a shirt and smoothed down my hair. Even with the cool AC I had installed it was still too hot to walk around with a shirt on. "How can I–" my mind went blank as I saw my dad flanked by Toph's parents who were flanked by Toph's old stylists who were flanked by their assistants standing on our porch.
My first thought was rather coarse and bore no repeating.
"W-what are you all doing here?"
My dad laughed. Both the Bei Fong's looked uncomfortable in their impeccable clothing while Daniella and Evian looked a little too eager for my tastes.
"Well don't you look unhappy to see us. I know I taught you better manners than that," he joked.
I straightened up, suddenly aware that I was in the presence of Toph's parents.
"Right, umm…give me a brief moment will you?" I asked hastily before closing the door gently.
I ran towards Toph in the living room. With her super hearing she must have known who was at the door.
"What's your dad doing here?" she asked as she ran her fingers through her hair to smooth it out.
I chuckled uneasily. "My dad isn't alone. Your parents are here."
At the mention of her parents she shot up and started straightening out her tank top and shorts.
"What the hell are they doing here?" she hissed at me more out of surprise than anger.
I shrugged. "I don't know. I didn't invite them." I said as I started straightening up my paperwork and putting pillows back on their respective couches.
"Me either," she hissed as she tugged her shirt back on that she had discarded in the heat.
"Okay," I said with one last frantic look around, "everything looks good, you look hot, I think everything's in order."
She started laughing but grabbed onto my arm to direct me towards the door anyways. When all the preliminary greetings were done we were all sitting on the couches, enjoying the lemonade I had brought out. I wondered if Toph's parents could taste store bought brands.
"So what are you guys all doing here?" Toph bluntly asked. "I didn't tell you the name of the street or city."
Evian gaily waved away her comment. "Honey, we just wanted to see where you've been living for the past couple of months. And may I say, brava!" His assistants nodded emphatically.
"The house is so modernly fabulous," Daniella agreed. "Tell me where you got the designer, I must accost him to redo Evian's room." She whispered to us, "It's absolutely dreadful!"
Evian pulled out a hairbrush from somewhere and never before had I been so afraid of a styling object. I was glad I wasn't the target.
"Excuse me, who was the one who wanted Jungle Chic Parí? If I could throw up every time I looked at your room I'd have lost seventy pounds by now, and made it look better."
"Excuse me…" Daniella pulled out a barrette but before I could stop them from destroying each other with their stylist equipment I was pulled into another conversation.
"This is quite the home you have Aang," Toph's mother commented. "It's a very large space."
I nodded. "Well we needed a big place for the karate studio," I said in all honesty.
"What are you doing here?" Toph asked again.
Her father answered, "We wanted to see where you were living. Now that we have we feel it's a good environment."
"Very good neighborhood," her mother said.
Toph chuckled. "There are no neighbors."
"Yes, the privacy in youth is important isn't it," her father said stiffly, looking pointedly at me.
Toph's slender fingers stiffened on my arm in response. Whoa, I just missed something.
Before I could backtrack Toph continued leading the conversation.
"Yes, and among celebrities as you well know," she countered.
He nodded and crossed his fingers in front of his face. All small talk around me was put into the back of my mind as I watched Toph and her father have an intense conversation with such conversational tones.
"It's a good household," he said.
Toph nodded. "Yes. Always."
"You're not too busy."
"Well I do have my business, father. Aang has duties he has to attend to but we make due."
"I trust every part of you is doing well."
"Of course. Suggesting otherwise is a tad offensive."
"My apologies. And this arrangement seems to be working accordingly."
"There's been no new plans as of yet. We're still pretty young."
"True and the currency–"
"Copious for the current situation."
He nodded pensively. This time he looked at me. "And you both are in agreement with each other," he stated while at the same time underlying it with a question mark.
Toph nudged me a bit to answer when I hesitated.
"Yes," I answered with my hand over hers. "Always have been." I sneaked a glance at her passive face and saw it soften just the smallest bit.
"Plans." He was back to talking to Toph.
"Only with your agreement."
When he stood up everyone else did so as well. Sort of late, I hastily stood up only to be met with his strong hand. I reached out to shake it firmly and he left without another word. Toph's mother came up from behind and engulfed me in a hug. Bewildered, but not wanting to be rude, I hesitantly hugged her back.
"Be good to her," she warned.
I nodded. "Anything less would be sin."
When she smiled I felt like I might have said something right but this entire conversation went straight over my head. The visit didn't even last an hour. My dad laughed as he came up and hugged Toph, then me.
"Congratulations, son," he whispered. For what? I wanted to ask but he too was heading out the door with a final wink at me.
Evian and Daniella came up and looked me straight in the eyes. "Just remember," Evian said, "diplomatic immunity." He switched so quickly to a smile I thought that the menacing Evian must have been a mirage. "Be safe kids!" he yelled out as he sashayed to the front door.
"Toph, I expect a call to be made to me as soon as possible," Daniella intoned with a wag of her manicured finger.
Toph scoffed. "In your dreams. I'd rather go to Sears."
Daniella sucked in a harsh gasp and her assistants looked horrified.
"You wouldn't dare," she hissed. For a moment I thought she was about to reach for her barrette so I put myself in between the two.
"I'll call you."
Daniella regarded me carefully before pinching my cheek. "Good boy," she said before she parted with a sashay and a wave.
When the door was closed for the final time I just stared at it. Seriously…what had just happened? How did I miss this entire conversation? And why was Daniella expecting a call to be made or it'd be death for us all?
Toph hugged me from behind and pressed her face into my back.
"Damn that was nerve racking."
I threw my hands up. "What was? What just happened? Did I miss something?"
She pulled away and I turned to face her as she tangled her fingers in my hair again. "You seriously don't know why they were here?"
I started getting annoyed. "Yes, I don't know. What did I miss?"
She started cackling. She was laughing so hard she had to fall on the couch for support while I just stood with my hands on my hips waiting for her to answer me.
"Oh my gosh, you have to be the biggest dunderhead in all of history," she roared as she was overcome by more laughter.
"Toph! Seriously tell me what I missed!"
She held her hand up for me to give her a moment while she calmed down.
"You just asked my Dad for approval to marry me," she said in between laughs.
I paled. "W-when-when did I sa-say that?"
"When he asked if we were in agreement with each other. What did you think he meant?"
I scratched the back of my head nervously. "I thought he meant if we ever got into any fights or something. We always compromise so I just thought we were always in agreement…Oh God." I put my face into my hands. Suddenly, my cheeks were flooded with heat. How had I missed that?
I heard her shift on the couch. "Is it that bad?" she asked with a trace of caution in her voice.
Well, I figured, now that the ice was broken I might as well. I stood up and walked into the kitchen. I felt around under the kitchen sink and found what I was looking for.
"Toph," I said seriously before I knelt before her. My heart was pounding so hard it sounded like one of Toph's heavy metal drum solos. I took her hand.
"Whoa did you just run a marathon without me knowing about it?" she joked. I was glad she kept talking because words were getting difficult to form in my thick throat. "Look, this was all just my Dad wanting to be a father to me. It doesn't mean anything."
She was about to pull her hand away but I didn't let her.
"I've been wanting to do this for a while," I told her as I fingered the velvet coating of the small box that was about to shape my whole future for the better. I put it in her hands for her to feel. "Toph Bei Fong will you do me the privilege to be your husband?"
She gulped. "You know I don't expect you to propose marriage even after what my dad just–"
"Do you honestly think I would have put a ring in your hand if I hadn't already been thinking about it? About us? I want to marry you Toph. I want to be with you for the rest of my life because I know that there's no life for me without you," I poured my heart out to her, hoping she wouldn't think this was a joke.
It had taken a lot for me to admit that I loved her. It took even more not to act on my desires when she was around. I always wanted to hold her in my arms not to make her feel protected, but because doing so made me feel safer. The way she let me hold her hand in public or sneak kisses on elevators just gave me all the more reason to love her.
When we were alone she would always say things I would have once thought impossible to hear from her mouth. The fact that she trusted me with her secrets and the way I knew I could trust her with mine made it clear that she was the one for me. I just hoped she felt the same way about me.
She let out a shaky breath and I held mine for her answer.
"I don't even know why you asked. You know the answer was going to be yes."
I teared up. I couldn't help it. No one person could possibly deserve to be this happy. With all my feelings I kissed her and she wasted no time in responding.
"Till death do us part?" I asked.
She shook her head. "Melon Lord never dies, Twinkle Toes."
I laughed. "Then till immortality gets boring?"
She smirked. "Why of course!"
We both smiled like we were high on drugs. Long ago, I'd shockingly made a friend, a girlfriend, now a fiancée and soon a wife. Thank God for shocking discoveries.
Wow I'm finally finished with one of my stories and it only took 44 chapters. Anywho, a deep thank you to all those who have read and supported this story. Now I have time to get to my other ones so yay for that.
I hope you guys all enjoyed this chapter (no matter how late it was in arriving).
Love: Lola of the Peaches