Title: Explanation

Author: Morgan a.k.a. scgirl_317

Summary: Post-ep tag for 2.4 "Afterglow". Christina tells Tom why she said no.

Author's Note: I was seriously upset with where they ended this episode, so I wrote my version of how that last scene would have continued.

"I'm saying no."

Tom blinked a couple times, trying to comprehend what was happening. It wasn't that he was so vain that he didn't think any woman would ever say no to him. It was that he didn't understand why Christina was saying no. She said she didn't want to mess things up, but did she honestly believe turning him down would make things any better?

She seemed to sense his confusion, so she continued, "Tom, the last two days have been a rollercoaster, emotionally and physically. I don't doubt your heart, but I'm not so sure where your head is. I don't want us to marry, and then you wake up two weeks later and go, 'what have I done?' I know you'll say that won't happen, but it might."

She paused to take in his reaction; his face was disturbingly blank. "If I marry you, I have to know your head's in it too, not just your heart."

Tom looked to the ground. Her argument was sound, but it still stung bitterly. He shouldn't have been surprised; this was Christina. She never did anything without analyzing it to death. She was right, the last two days had been insane. And while that didn't change the fact that he was madly in love with her, he could also understand how she might doubt his mental status.

Christina smiled softly, placing her hand under Tom's chin to lift his eyes to hers.

"I'm not saying never, just not now," she told him, and she could see a familiar sparkle return to his eyes.

"So, you're saying that if I wait a while and then ask you again, you'll say yes?" he asked, a slow grin spreading.

"I'm saying Camile can probably help you pick out a ring."

Spirits lifted considerably, Tom leaned down and claimed her lips with his. Sure, he was disappointed she said no, but she told him he had another shot, and that made up for a lot of it. He'd give her the time she needed to be sure, and then he'd ask her again. Until then, he'd make the most of their time together.

One thing he was sure of, life with Christina Hawthorne would never be boring.