A/N: Riley/Abigail is not my forte, but I'm going to try it. Hopefully it won't suck.
Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine.
He's a jackass. He's my best friend, but he's a jackass. As a general rule, a person's best friend shouldn't have to remind a person of his wife's birthday. Which I had to do. Thus, I've decided that Ben Gates, treasure hunter—protector—and discoverer of the Templar treasure and the lost city of Cibola, is a jackass.
Abigail is an angel for staying with him, although I don't know how she fell for his deceit. Shouldn't she have known he would return to his reclusive habits? Shouldn't she have known he would never truly love her as much as he loved himself?
Shouldn't I have told her?
If I had told her before, she probably wouldn't have believed me, and now I don't have the heart to tell her I knew all along. It wouldn't help anything, anyways—I would probably just push her over the edge.
I can't believe I didn't like her at first. There was a time, when we first met, when she first started dating Ben, that I couldn't stand her. As soon as Ben became the least bit social, she'd snapped him up from me and he'd never looked back.
But then, as soon as they got married, he became more and more solitary, and less and less involved, and Abigail became increasingly more desperate to win him back. She died her hair brunette, just to see if he'd even notice. He didn't, and that was three years ago.
It's only been five years since they got married, and already it feels like a lifetime. The last time I had a true conversation with Ben was over a year and a half ago, and Abigail, in her loneliness, rarely spends time at home, and more often than not slept in my apartment. Which is saying something, considering that she is the half-owner of a mansion.
A soft knock on my door informs me that she has arrived. She's crying, and I know why.
"Happy birthday," I whisper, and she bites her lip.
"He didn't remember," she says, and before I know it she's in my arms, sobbing. I'm ready to kill him—I reminded him. Is it so much to ask that he just listen to me? Then again, is it so much to remember in the first place?
"I'm sorry, Abi," I mutter, wishing I could ease her pain. I feel helpless—there's so much I want to say, and so much I know I shouldn't.
She took a calming breath and sniffed. "Thank you," she croaks, and I can tell she feels a little awkward.
I nod. "You ready for dinner?"
I've taken to cooking for her on nights when I know she's hurting, and tonight I made her lasagna—her favorite, and something I've perfected.
She smiles, and I feel her appreciation. "Yes."
We walk into the kitchen, and I pull out her chair for her before I remove dinner from the oven. After a moment of scrambling to find plates, I serve her, then pour us both a glass of wine—another oddity I've taken to keeping around, since she loves it.
"You didn't have to do all this," she says.
"Yes I did," I disagree. "You deserve it…and it's your birthday."
A hint of pain clouds her eyes for a moment, but they clear and I can see the smile on her face is true. "Thank you," she says again, and I know she's not only talking about dinner.
Conversation lightens during dinner, although I know she's still thinking about him. I want her to forget about him, and it's the strangest feeling. Right now, I feel so strongly that I would do literally anything to help her get through this, to help her survive.
When we finish our wine, I don't pour us another glass, because she has a funny look her in eye, one I can't quite explain. "Are you alright?" I ask.
"I'm…not," she answers, truthfully. "I need you to do me a favor."
I squint, curiously. "Anything," I answer.
She purses her lips in contemplation and looks away. When she looks back, she's another person. "I need you to be Ben for me."
A fire is raging in her eyes, a fire that I can't quench with words, and I realize, slowly, what she means. "I don't know," I say.
Desperation drenches every word when she responds, "Please."
Everything in my head is screaming that this is wrong. That, if he ever found out, Ben would kill me. But somewhere, in the back of my head, a voice whispers that right now, I feel like killing him too. That voice tells me that she deserves a chance to love him, even if it means loving me.
And I could never say no to Abigail.
I nod slowly, and for a moment utter silence befalls us. Then, as if some invisible force pushes us both, we stand, and I move around the table until I can feel her against me, and her lips are desperately moving against mine.
The only word that could possibly be used to describe this moment is natural; her fingers tangled in my hair, her lips moving in time with mine, everything about this that should feel awkward or off limits…it's so right.
It's so right that, as my lips are trailing down her neck, I barely notice her moan, "Ben."
And it's so right that I stop thinking.
Regret rears its ugly head in the morning, as does guilt, and I can tell she feels the same way. We barely speak, and every time we bump into each other, it adds to the intense embarrassment hanging over the room. It's nearly a relief when, after she dresses, she quietly leaves. Without saying goodbye to me.
Despite myself, and my better judgment, I miss her when she's gone, and I know that she'll probably never come back.
And that's something I'll have to live with until I can make this right.
When the light
starts to burn
And the pain returns
I just wish that I could heal
The hurt you feel tonight
"Soft Skeletons" Anberlin
A/N: I'm thinking about maybe continuing this. Be honest in your reviews—would you want to see it continued? …review, please?