AN: I was challenged to write a pure angst piece for a local fanfiction writing challenge with a song. This was originally a one piece. Made me very sad, because it could be...
It was barbeque time at his house. Mid summer in Virginia screamed cookout. He always invited lots of friends. Pen came around the corner and kissed his cheek. "Hey, hot stuff, how're the steaks?"
"Gorgeous, tender… edible." He smiled wolfishly at her, lunging towards her neck. She giggled and scurried away. "Oh, you were asking about steaks, not yourself."
"Morgan, you are such a tease," she said, laughing before going to sit in one of the lawn chairs.
That was the way it always was between them, joking, laughing, a good time. It started the first time he saw her. He knew it was something special. She made him smile when very little else did. He originally saw her as someone to tease, someone to laugh and joke with.
He took a drink of his beer and looked over at her. She was wearing a colorful shirt and big sunglasses that were multicolored, too. She was talking in her animated style to Reid. He smiled. She was a character, from the way she dressed, to her mannerisms and expressions. Everything about her was unique and perfectly her.
It was much more than that as well. When he needed it the most, she did something he never dreamed; she touched his heart, when he didn't feel like he had a heart left. She was gentle and kind, and gave him reason to go on. She didn't look down at him, didn't see him as anything different. He wasn't a man who was abused, a man with a past. He was simply her friend. She just seemed to know exactly what he needed.
He flipped the steaks, the smell of cooking meat a tantalizing aroma. He was grateful he was a good grill master now. He wasn't always. She used to tease him about his tendencies to overcook just about everything. For five years, she tested and gave a thumbs up or thumbs down rating. He shook his head, smiling. His crazy girl.
Lost in the memories again, back to the time she needed him. She was shot. His life as he knew it came crashing down around him. He was angry: angry at her for going out with that guy to spite him in the first place, but more angry at himself for not telling her how special she was to him. She made his world a better place to be.
When he walked in and saw her, pale and helpless, in that hospital bed, he fell. Completely and utterly in love with her. He couldn't bear the thought of life without her. He needed her to know, but he never found the perfect place or time. Then later that week, he saw his chance and grabbed it.
He was standing there holding her at her home. She was trying to get him to leave, but he wasn't going anywhere. He was nervous, like a teenager again. "Hey silly girl," he said, and she turned, waiting expectantly. He wanted her to know, she absolutely had to know. "You know I love you, right?"
Inwardly, he cringed. It wasn't the most suave declaration. He planned on candy and flowers, but his heart had other ideas. Now, fool! Tell her now!
She smiled. "I love you, too."
His eyes watered; it must've been from the smoke from the grill. He took another sip of his beer.
Tamara came around the corner then and gave him a quick kiss. Then she turned to her guest. "Thanks, Kevin. Can you put the salad over by your wife?"
He watched as Lynch put the salad down on the table and stood over by Penelope. Derek watched his baby girl raise her oversized sunglasses to kiss her husband. A pang happened under his breastbone and he needed to turn away.
He almost thought it was funny. The adage was wrong: time doesn't kill all the pain.
Perhaps, it didn't have to. Despite life not turning out exactly like he thought it would, it was still all good. He had a beautiful girlfriend, and his best friend was with exactly who she chose. Life was still very similar to what it always was; most importantly, he hadn't lost her.
She smiled over at him then, holding her husband's hand. She blew him a kiss and winked at him. He smiled, and gave thanks to whatever deity existed. She'd always be there, always in his heart. Everything was okay. It was fine.
Yes, he thought, turning back to the grill: it was cool.