A/N: Hey, guys. It's been a loooong time. I've been on the site, just not writing anything lately. I'm hoping I haven't lost my touch. This one should go on for a couple more chapters at least. :) Happy reading!
The dam burst when I heard those words.
I love you.
Those three little words dispersed that dead feeling in my chest, undid the grip of anxiety, and relieved me so much I couldn't help but cry. I know it's upsetting him, I know he wants me to stop, but after the dream, after the fear, I'm just so happy that he still feels anything for me at all. He's just sitting there, shuffling his cards quickly and looking down. I start to cover my face and turn away, but I see him toss the cards onto his nightstand and get up. Before I can ask him where he's going, I see him changing out of the t-shirt he was wearing, and I'm distracted by all those lean muscles moving under his skin. He tosses the shirt onto his dresser and leans down to get a different one out. I'm too busy watching him move to cry by the time he's got his long sleeved shirt on, then he pulls on a pair of full gloves I didn't even know he had. When has he ever worn gloves that covered his whole hand? I'm sure I've some on him, but I always figured he borrowed them off a dresser when it got cold out. It never seemed to me like he'd go out and buy some to keep. When my tear-blurred focus slips back to him, he's standing in front of me, those almost-too pretty lips quirked into a small smile.
"C'mere, cher, we start slow."
Even though there are a hundred voices in my head screaming that I shouldn't, I get up and put my arms around him, carefully keeping my face away from his. It's habit and he doesn't correct me. I lay my cheek on his shoulder and feel his warmth soak through the cloth. His arms snake slowly around my waist and he pulls me just a little closer, gently and slowly. His shirt is so soft under my bare hands. Did he do that on purpose?
All of the sudden, I feel him wince and grunt. Did I touch him somehow? Did the sheath thing end up hurting him? What have I done? I let him go quick so I don't hurt him any more than I already have and he starts to fall back. I've killed him; I know I have,
My hands shoot out and catch hold of his arms, steadying him before he lays himself out on the floor, and he gives me this tired, but amused, grin. I know my eyes are as wide as dinner plates and he's grinning about it, that stupid, wonderful swamp rat.
"'M okay, jus' a lil' bit hung over. Ain't not'ing."
"You didn't drive yerself home, didja?"
I'm maneuvering him to the bed as I'm talking, and he's still grinning that sleepy crocodile grin. Makes me wanna slap the spit out of him for scaring me like that. After I sit him down, he looks up at me with those beautiful eyes and nods his head. At that moment, my eyes registered that he was opening his mouth to add an explanation, but my mouth was quicker.
"Remy! What in tarnation were you thinkin'? You could get killed on that stupid bike a yers if you keep getting' on it drunk! You stupid swamp rat! If you get yerself killed goin' out an' drinkin' like that, Ah'll follow you through heaven an' hell just ta wring yer neck! Ah can't believe you. You ain't like Logan; Ah don't care how much y'all're around each other. You can't pull yerself together like he can if you take a spill, damnit!"
My head's hurting even worse than it was, and there are tears in my eyes again, but I'm so mad. I know my hands are on my hips and my cheeks are red, because he's grinning even bigger now. I really am about to slap that smile off his face, hang over or not, this ain't funny. How could he do something so stupid, over and over again? Why not take someone with him, or have Logan drive? Logan doesn't get drunk, not unless he's trying, but Remy does. I don't know what I'd do if he really had crashed last night. I probably would've died on the spot when I heard…
That cursed Cajun's laughing at me. I feel my fists clench and he scoots back on the bed, still chuckling.
"Desolé, ma chere, mais yo're so belle when yo' angry. You know dat?"
"This ain't funny, Remy! Ah don't want you to get yerself killed… especially over me bein' an idiot yesterday."
I sigh and start to sit down, but his gloved hand darts forward and catches me. He pulls me over to sit on the edge of the bed in front of him. I'm not mad anymore, but that empty feeling is coming back just thinking about him being gone forever. I'm looking down when I feel the leather of his glove on my cheek. It's cold, and I don't like the texture, but the way he touches me makes me feel so much better. I want to feel him do that all on his own. I really, truly do. When I look up into his face to ask him for it, he's not grinning, he's smiling.
"Whatcha smilin' bout?"
That sass creeps back into my voice because I'm still feeling sore, and Lord I regret it, but that smug look doesn't change on his face. He can't stop being him, even with a hangover.
"You really do got a soft spot f' me."
"'Course Ah do… Ah jus'… Ah don't know, Remy! You drive me crazy! Yer just so beautiful an' sexy an' Ah never could have you."
My eyes are down on my hands again. I've said all this before, but it's always been me talking to someone else about him, normally Logan. Sometimes when I'm not too upset about things, I tell Logan stuff like that just to watch him make faces because it's honestly hilarious. But I know Remy's heard me say it before. Something hits the bed near my leg and before I look up, he's got his bare hand on mine, and it's just as warm as I remember. I think I might've gasped, because that sexy, irritating chuckle comes from him again, but he doesn't move his hand.
"You can have me now, y' know."
I just look at him. I can hear in my mind a hundred different ways this can all go wrong and end with him dead, but he smiles at me patiently.
"You jus' have to trust me, Anna."
"But Remy, what if-?"
His other hand rises to just in front of my mouth, and his lips purse as he shushes me. I honestly think of kissing him. I do all the time. It's why he hurts to be around. I know how soft and wonderful his lips are on mine, on my skin. His bare hand strokes my cheek and even though it takes everything I have not to flinch at first, I end up leaning into the touch. Lord, help me, I missed that so much, and I am so sorry when he takes his hand away.
"We'll deal wit' whatever happens together. 'Cause I love you."
His image doubles and blurs as I begin to tear up for what must be the hundredth time since I woke up yesterday. It doesn't take me long to make up my mind about how I want to reply, because I've wanted to be honest about it for a good long time.
"Ah love you, too, Remy."