A/N: Thank you so much for all the reviews for this one, I'm so glad you liked it. Sorry this wasn't up sooner, but I've been working on other stories, but this is the conclusion to the story so I hope that you enjoy it and leave a review. :)
She looks at him. She can't help but look at him, standing in the doorway. It's funny how moments feel longer than they were. She knew they weren't. Every moment was the same as the next, same as the one before, but there are some that seem to elongate themselves, stretch themselves beyond their limits and where words were just formed by her lips now silence was formed by the universe. His hand is still poised to knock and it hangs there, like a strange ornament. His hair looks disheveled, like he had been running or jogging, perhaps to this very door.
Her mind flips itself over and over again, analyzing, denying the analysis, flipping itself over again and then starting the process over. She fears, she knows that much, she fears and with affairs come fears. It's a constant fear, that's what an affair is because there's too many outside factors. In an affair there are never just two people, it's never her and him, it's her, him, Jessica, Paul, Ash, Cheyenne, Sierra, Aurora, Murphy, her father, his father, her mother, and the list goes on and on because they are never alone, not really, not ever. Their lives loom above them and it scares her, she's scared because it will never be just them.
She thinks of the possible scenarios, the likely ones, the ones that send him here. One thought she thinks is Jessica has found out. Careful only takes you so far, careful only last until the second you screw up and then careful is out the window and sloppy has taken over. Were they sloppy? Was she sloppy? Did she leave something with him besides her love? She can't think and it's bothering her and she doesn't want Jessica to know, she doesn't want Jessica's wrath, yes, she wanted Jessica's husband, but she doesn't want the confrontation because he loves Jessica and uses her, yes, she's used, she must be. He doesn't feel what she feels. He leaves in the morning and he kisses her shoulder, yes, but it must be payment for the night before.
Jessica's found out, she's sure of it and he's mad, he's going to rail and yell and tell her that it's her fault, that she lured him, seduced him and she will fall, oh she will fall hard and there will be no net to bounce her to her feet. He'll blame her, he'll blame her and she'll see what she doesn't want to see when he wakes up and leaves. She'll see the guilt in his eyes at what he's done and she doesn't want to see that, she fears that maybe most of all because she's let herself fall, but has he? She doesn't think he has, she thinks he kisses her and then leaves and doesn't think about her until he needs his fix.
Or worse yet, Paul's found out. Paul has found out somehow, he's spied, he's seen that she isn't alone, he snuck into their room one night, caught them and has been biding his time. Chris is here to hide and she must hide him and incur Paul's rage. He'll yell at her, he'll divorce her, he'll take her daughter's away. He'll tell her parents and they'll be so disappointed and they'll fire Chris and then, once again, she will fall. She'll have nothing in that scenario and her mind quickly pushes it away. No, Paul couldn't have found out, he'd be here by now, he'd be slamming Chris into the wall by now and Chris is not wincing, he's okay.
Perhaps the worst of all is that he's found someone else. She was merely a placeholder in his life and he has found a new person, a new woman whose back he won't trace his finger down and kiss their shoulder and most importantly, most significantly, he won't leave her. He'll lie there until she wakes up, until her eyes open and he'll smile and kiss her properly and in this scenario she will fall the hardest because at the very least, if someone has found out about them, she can pretend like he loved her once, like she meant something to him at one time, but if there's someone else, if that's what he's come here to tell her, she will fall and she will not pick herself back up again.
And all this in the matter of moments and he stands there and he looks at her and she can't look at him because if she looks at him, maybe she'll see the answer and if she sees the answer, she might push him back out, tell him she's tired and push and push until he's gone and she can cry and she hates crying. She hates crying because it feels like giving up and she doesn't want to give up, but she may not have any choice. She knows that she has things, she has people, but it's not right. Her daughters are the true loves of her life, but if she is broken from something else, something totally unrelated to the unconditional love of her daughters, how can she mend it when their love is something separate than the kind she so desperately wants from Chris?
"Can I come in?" he asks and she's not sure. How many nights has she sat there waiting, telling herself that when the moment came, when he knocked on her door for another evening, she would send him away, tell him this was it and she would close the door forever? Too many, every night, really. Yet, here he was, asking to come in and part of her wanted to say no, to banish him, but the other part, the one that always won, opened it further and allowed him entrance.
He doesn't look eager to sleep with her and it worries her even more, the thoughts racing around like cars on a track. Usually he has that look in his eye, the one where she knows that he wants her and it's not there and it's like maybe it's been extinguished and she's wasting her time sitting there when she could be crying or sobbing or lashing out and trashing her hotel room, except she knows that's not going to happen because her personality isn't like that, it's not full of rage or unending sadness. Maybe she'll just whimper and sleep until sleep can no longer hold off the heartbreak.
She doesn't know what to expect or what's to come, but she doesn't think she wants either and he's not talking and he said they needed to talk, but maybe talk meant he needed to just say the words that would end it. Did he find someone else? That was it, wasn't it, it was it and she'd have to live with seeing them just like she lived with seeing him and Jessica right now. She pictured new women in this daydream. Jessica would be replaced and she'd still have to look on and pretend and she shouldn't because she had a husband and she thinks he loves her, but doesn't love him like she should and she's awful for that. She's awful because her heart is breaking for a man that isn't really hers and doesn't even want to be hers because he leaves and he doesn't know she loves him.
"You wanted to talk," and she squeaks, she actually squeaks the words out. What is wrong with her? She knows what's wrong with her though and it's the fact that Chris takes her words. He takes them and she never has any meaningful words for him. Thoughts, oh yes, she has those in abundance, but she never has the words. Her mouth opens and she can't speak and it's stupid and he probably thinks her dumb and she wishes she could push the words out, but she can't and it's frustrating, but it's her life and she can't change overnight, though she wishes to because she would give him so many words he would've drowned in them.
"Yeah, I did, I'm sorry I'm here so late," he tells her and she's surprised at his apology. Why should she be though? He's a good guy, he apologizes, he gets sorry at things. Sometimes, she'll get a look on her face and he'll ask if he's hurting her, if he's too rough and she's not, she's just so overwhelmed by him that she feels overcome and it shows on her face.
"It's okay," she said and she reaches out tentatively because she figures, with the apology, he still wants sex tonight. He's apologizing because he thinks that if he doesn't, she won't give in, won't let her body be his until the morning, but she will. She shouldn't put up with it, but she will, she'll let it happen because it's better than never feeling his finger sliding down her back in the morning and without that touch, without that soft feeling, what does she have but a life she doesn't feel like she should be leading?
She gets to his buttons before he stops her and pulls her hands away and now she really knows. It's over and he's come to tell her. He apologized because it's over and he pities her and he's always pitied her and now it's too much for him and he doesn't care if she'll fall and she's sure he has his reasons all lined up and he's going to recite them and she'll nod and accept it because she has no choice but to accept it. She hates when he leaves in the morning, but she accepts it. She doesn't want him to ever leave, but she'll accept it, because what other choice does she really have? There are no choices, just acceptance.
"You…don't," she looks to the bed, words fail her again. Damn words, stuck in her throat as they are.
"Um, not right now," he says to her and she nods like it's fine with her, but if there is no sex, there's no them because that's what they have and she keeps nodding and nodding until it slows to her head looking down as she's all nodded out.
"I needed to talk to you, seriously, really needed to talk to you."
You almost laugh because it seems like he has an abundance of words. He's rambling and she wishes she could steal some of them, just take them right from his mouth and put them in her own mouth and say the words she wants to say. Together they could form a conversation, him with too many and her with too little and both with just enough. If he says it's over, will she speak, will the words finally come?
"Okay." Still no words, no words are coming. Say more, say something. "Is it…serious?" She wants to ask if it's about them, but she can't find the right way to say it without looking like she wants more because to have an us, there has to be more than sex and a finger running down her back in the morning and a kiss to her shoulder.
"Yeah, I think it is serious."
"Is it about you and me?" There she's rephrased it and it implies nothing, it's him and it's her and it's not them. There is no them, just him and her and they come together sometimes and she loves it and loves him, but they are not a them. They are not good enough for the plural. They are just two singulars who sometimes come together, never a plural.
"Yeah, it is," he says and stop drawing out, she pleads and he looks nervous.
"You're going?" she ventures to ask and he looks at her like he doesn't know what the two words mean. They're too few, but where can she find more, open his mouth and she could find the words.
"I'm not going anywhere," he tells her and she doesn't know how to take that.
"Look, I know we don't talk a lot. I mean, I talk, we do talk, but never about the other stuff, the stuff between us and there is something between us," he says and she looked at him like he's speaking in foreign tongue, but his words are plain. "But I've been thinking, thinking a lot…"
"You want to end this?" There's her voice. Fear, the great instigator. She fears the words that will come out of his mouth so if she intercepts them first and twists them in her own way it won't hurt so much. Oh, sure, it'll still hurt, but it'll hurt on her terms.
He looks at her and asks back, "Do you?"
"We have families."
"We do," he agrees.
"We have lives."
She doesn't know. She knows what she wants this to be, but she doesn't know what it actually is because they don't talk. He finally shakes his head. "Okay, look, here it is. I'm in love with you. I've been in love with you for a while, but you never let me talk, you don't want to talk about us. You always kiss me and then we have sex and fine, it's all well and good and you must be like the soundest sleeper on the planet because you never wake up in the mornings and I'm always trying to wake you up and you never do and I have woken up so many mornings just wanting to tell you I loved you, I loved what we are together, but you're asleep and I can't do it anymore. I can't not tell you. I love you, okay, I love you."
Too many words, shooting at her and she doesn't know how to respond because he…feels the same way. He feels the same way and she doesn't know. The words are completely gone now and she launches herself at him and kisses him and lets her tongue speak in his mouth as he kisses her back feverishly and she loves him too and can he tell, she hopes he can tell, but maybe he needs the words too.
"I love you," she croaks out, words still lingering solely on her tongue and not as sound from her mouth. He looks surprised and you realize while you've been together, you've been together in parallel. You should've let some of the words through because the words are important. "I thought…"
"What did you think?"
"Your finger, when it would go down my spine, when you'd climb in bed, when you'd kiss my shoulder, I thought it was a thank you, I didn't know, I pretended to sleep. I love you, I thought you didn't love me back."
Words are getting easier to coax out of her mouth and she loves them now because they taste like sweet sugar on her tongue and Chris is here and he loves her and he kisses her because he loves her and he touches her because he loves her and God help him, he climbs into bed because he needs that one more moment with her and she finally understands what this was all about and she gets it and she's clear for the first time.
"I do love you," he said.
"I love you," and she can't say it enough. She wants to stay here, but…but what of the morning. She hates when he leaves, all the time she hates when he leaves, what will she do now? She loves him and doesn't want him to leave so what will she do? "Don't leave tomorrow."
"I won't," he tells her and for the first morning in a long while there will be no finger brushing her spine, no kiss on her shoulder, there will be holding, but then, after the holding, then what? What happens then? She is not familiar with this routine and she doesn't know what to expect and she should know what to expect by now, but she doesn't.
"What about Jessica?" She still lingers in the air.
"I left her, for you," he said, "if you'll have me."
She'll leave Hunter, she knows it. She'll leave him without regret and one day in the near future, she will formally meet Chris's children and he will formally meet hers and they were have a nice day together and she will feel happy, but right at this moment she feels a different kind of happy so they let the talking cease and their bodies start to move and speak and dance and vibrate and the words shared here are deeper and intimate.
And in the morning, he holds her tight.
And she doesn't have to pretend like she doesn't hate it when he leaves, because this morning…