A/N: I'm so so so incredibly sorry about not updating Terminal, Every Girls Dream, and especially Flipped. Aahhh I'm just so overwhelmed with college coming up, I wanted to enjoy this summer, and so I've been spending my time with my friends. I know that's a terrible excuse, but I just decided to take a break for the summer. Don't worry! Hopefully they'll be updated soon!
So this is an extremely long one shot. At least, the longest I've ever written. It's about 4,500 words, and eleven pages on Microsoft word, which I'm proud of. I hope you guys enjoy it, because a lot of effort was put into it.
So something to let you guys know about: THIS IS NO LONGER MY ACCOUNT! This is the last fanfiction I'll be basically writing. I'm giving the account to my little sister. She's fourteen, so will have way more time than me . And, hopefully Kayla will be better with updating? She doesn't like my penname, Mrs. Malfoy Lautner Goode, and frankly neither do I, so she's changing it. The new name will be AlmostGolden, so don't get confused! Anyway, I love all of you readers. Please enjoy!
Summary: Dating Zachary Goode, she realized, was a lot like eating a box of chocolates.
Some people say that diamonds are a girl's best friend. They're sparkly, precious, and most of all, expensive.
But really, can you eat your heart out with diamonds? Can you get endorphins from diamonds? Do diamonds taste good? No.
Chocolate, you muse, is actually a girl's best friend. It's delicious, and sadly overshadowed by those showy diamonds. Honestly, what can you do with a diamond?
So there you sit. In the living room of your shared apartment, watching jeopardy, and eating a box of assorted Godiva chocolates. You don't know which chocolate is which, so you decide to work your way through the entire box. To, you know, get the full experience.
Popping a white truffle in your mouth, you chew thoughtfully, before spluttering and spitting and doing a whole lot of other lady-like things. Ugh. Raspberry.
You quickly select a normal looking milk chocolate and eat it, washing the taste of the surprise out of your mouth. And that's when it hits you.
Dating Zach Goode, you realize, is rather like eating a box of chocolates.
When girls first meet Zach Goode, they see a mysterious, handsome, sexily dangerous stranger. It draws them in. Entices them.
Because talking to Zach makes you feel… glamorous. Gorgeous. Envied. Because you know that every other girl in the mall is looking at you, wanting to be you. Because you're not only talking to a total babe, but a babe who's obviously got a secret.
A secret that girls would kill to find out. And if they ever did? Well, jokes on them.
You're talking to him, faking disinterest as he shamelessly flirts with you again, because deep down, you can see that he's too good for you, that he's out of your league. And at the same time you know him well enough to see that he's not good for you at all. You see that he could break down everything you've built since that horrible day and that horrible call. And those horrible tears falling from your mothers beautiful eyes.
He's dangerous. You know that. He could kill you, betray you, stab you in the back. But worst of all, you know that if he got too close, he could easily break that silly little heart of yours.
But in time he wears you down.
Of course, you figure. Doctors do say that a piece of dark chocolate and a glass of red wine every night is good for you. So maybe, just maybe, if taken in doses with caution, a little danger couldn't hurt.
Underneath that hard to reach exterior, the 'I'm no good, but I know you want this,' show he puts on, Zachary Goode is, well, for lack of better word.
A total sweetheart.
He'd kill you, maybe literally, if he ever found out that those are the words you'd use to describe him, but it's true.
He takes you dancing one night.
You both are whirling around the other couples. The townies. They're stepping on one another's toes and awkwardly holding each other a little too far, or a little too close. One boy has even got his hands on the girl's shoulders, and the teen is rolling her eyes and makes no attempt to correct his ideas. After all, once this dance is over, she can leave and he's another girl's problem.
Meanwhile, the ones who are against the wall, the ones who are too shy to attempt to dance, steal looks at the two of you. Easily the most graceful couple in the tiny ballroom, its no wonder you attract the attention. Although you wonder if maybe the girls are staring solely at your partner.
When he detects that your attention is drifting he wraps his arms tighter around your petite waist, frowning because if there's one thing Zach loves that you don't, it's attention. Especially if it's from you.
Leaning down, because he's tall and you're, well, not, his lips close, so close, to your ear, he whispers.
"Aren't you enjoying yourself?" And you can almost hear the adorable pout in his voice, the wheels turning in his head, where he's trying to figure out how to make the evening better for you. Because that's what Zach does. He doesn't do things half assed, as he likes to put it.
And even as you suppress the shivers that tingle down your spine, you can't help but smile at him. Stretching on your tiptoes, you lightly press a chaste kiss on his lips, and say simply, pulling back slightly, "Of course I am. This is the most fun I've had in a while, actually." After that, there's no way you can hold back the blush and grin at the euphoric expression on his face. His green eyes all lit up, like the stained glass window at a church when the light filters through. His teeth, all white and neat and nice, on display because of the smile that's stretched across his perfect face.
And conspiratorially he replies. "Me too. Do you want to know why?" And his eyes have changed again, and they're doing that thing, that thing that makes that traitor heart of yours twist and squirm with pure happiness. Eyes wide, you bite your lip so that the soft sigh that seems to want to come out so badly is held at bay. You nod every so slightly.
Leaning his tan forehead against your porcelain one, he grins and says, "Because I'm with you."
And with that, the whole world is turned upside down as he dips and kisses you, in front of everyone. Telling them that you're his. And most importantly, you think, as you wrap your arms around his neck; you're telling everyone that this sweetheart who makes you feel like you've just eaten a box of the most delicious white chocolate in the world, is yours.
You find out something about Zachary Goode that you didn't know. As sweet and wonderful and kind and funny and charming as he is, Zachary Goode gets these…
As a spy, you're always ready for the unpredictable. But that's the spy Cammie. The Cammie around Zach is… just, well…
Cammie. Just a normal girl who (maybe, kind of, probably) is love with a boy.
Which makes it so much more… difficult.
He comes home one day, throwing his suit jacket over the back of the chair near the entrance of his apartment. Wait – your apartment. Because you've moved in, and it's weird, but not weird at the same time. Because even though you haven't taken that step with any other boy, and it should be awkward, it's not. Because it's Zach, and Zach is not just another boy, which makes it so much more complicated. Life with him is blissful, and life in the field has taught you that the easier and more comfortable it seems, the more potential danger the situation has.
"Sweetie," you call as you attempt to cook dinner. He always cooks, and it makes you feel inadequate, which is something that Cameron Morgan is not. "Do you mind hanging up your coat, please? Just so we don't have to do it later?" He usually hangs up his coat. He knows you hate clutter, a characteristic you picked up from Liz at Gallagher. This was the first sign, but love has been slipping you up. Your mind doesn't register the abnormality.
And the worst part is that you don't even notice the huge sigh he heaves. So you continue slicing the peppers and hum slightly. You expect him to come up to you, kiss you on the cheek and wrap his arms around your waist. He'll then nuzzle your neck, making you giggle, distracting you, and he'll steal a piece of food just because it makes you laugh and it reminds you both of all the little things that don't seem to matter. But that's not what happens.
"Zach?" You call. He doesn't respond. "Zach? How was work, honey?"
You hear a 'whoof' of air as he drops into a chair. "It was fine." His voice, usually so playful and lilting, flat. "Just a ton of new stuff."
Still oblivious to his mood, you press on, "What kind of 'stuff'?"
"Nothing, Cam," he almost snaps, and for the first time you're slightly taken aback. Zach never snaps at you. He sighs again and you can hear the rustle of leather as he shifts in his chair. "Sorry, baby. I'm just tired. I need to just clear my head."
You understand where he's coming from. After all, you both hold the same occupation. After spending all day talking about and dealing with terrorist plots and security, you don't want to come home to the same thing. So you drop it.
After about a half hour, when the mutilated peppers and everything else are in the trash bag, and the frozen pizza has been discreetly slid into the oven, you wash your hands and walk over to the living room to keep him company. He's sitting there in the big reclining leather armchair and you can tell that he's had a rough time of it at work. Walking behind him you knead his tense, stiff shoulders, working slowly and lovingly because after all, you maybe, kind of, probably are in love with this man. Bending to caress his neck with your lips you ask, "You want to talk about it?" And while at the time it seemed perfectly reasonable, immediately you know that it's the exact wrong thing to say to Zach when he's in that mood.
He jerks his shoulders away and rests his elbows on his knees. "No, I don't want to fucking talk about it, Cam, I told you. Just please, leave me alone right now. I'm not in the mood for this."
You won't admit you're scared of him. A logical part of you tells you that there's nothing to fear. After all, he hadn't said anything threatening, and you know that the last thing that Zach would ever do is attempt to hurt you. You're more scared of the thought that maybe he's not getting tired of talking about work with you, but that he's getting tired of being with you in general. Rationally, you know that he loves you, and you take a deep breath to calm yourself, nod, and walk away.
But it's the first time you've seen him like this.
And it's not the last.
Zach has these moods often. Usually they're almost indiscernible, because he puts on his mask, isolates himself. He rides the mood until it's over, and even when he hasn't done anything, and let's face it, he never does anything because even when he's an ass he's a sweetheart, he's always there with flowers and apologies and kisses that taste like vanilla. He thinks he's protecting you, see. He thinks that by not telling you something, you'll be safe from it. He's always been like that, even since high school. And while it infuriates you to no end because you're Cameron Morgan, not some silly little school girl who can't protect herself, you think it's one of his ways of showing he cares.
But you know that no matter how well he hides it, the mood is there because there are bad times coming, and he's in the thick of it. No matter how much chocolate he tries to cover it with, the sour tartness of the fruit center lingers, and he can't always protect you.
Despite his moods, your relationship with the boy of your dreams – or, well, he likes to be referred to as a man, although you'll always think of his as your Blackthorne Boy – is going better than you could have possibly hoped.
It's not perfect. No relationship really is. But it's closer to perfect than either of you deserve. Both of you know that and neither of you take advantage because sometimes, in secret, separately, you both worry that it is too good to last.
Everyone in the business knows that dark times are headed towards you all. The clouds of the biggest storm the CIA has seen yet are moving faster than could have been anticipated.
The whole agency is working overtime, researchers are being sent onto the field because you're slowly running out of operatives. Nobody likes to talk about it.
There isn't a single person in your world left that hasn't lost someone near and dear to them; you're no exception.
One day, Rebecca Baxter doesn't come home.
You all thought that nothing could happen to you. The fact that you five – the group from school – had less experience than anyone in the agency didn't matter, because though you're young, you're all talented legacies. You were all destined for great things, and everybody knew it.
Besides, though none of you admitted it, not Grant, not Bex, not Zach, not Macey. Definitely not you. Though none of you admitted it, you all believed that if anything were to happen to any of you, it'd be to Macey. Not only was she a decently well known figure, but she had missed out on fundamentals that could make or break your career.
Bex Baxter was strong.
For months after the funeral, you were expecting her to barge into your apartment, or call you and offer to beat Zach up if he didn't pop the question soon. You're torn between laughing and crying at memories that are just that – memories. It doesn't even feel like they ever really happened anymore.
It's six months after Bex has gone missing. You refuse to accept that she's dead. A body was never found, after all. This seems too familiar to you.
The door is opened and you can hear the lock click. The rustle of fabric means that Zach is carefully hanging up his jacket.
Your eyes are closed, and you're sitting with your back straight as a rod in a reclining chair. Your hands appear to be folded politely in your lap but they're clenched so tightly that the knuckles are white as the tile in Zach's kitchen. You may or may not be drawing blood because of how hard your fingernails are digging into your palm, but you don't notice.
"Oh, baby," Zach whispers. He comes over and kneels in front of you. Taking your small, white hands in his large, rough ones; he works out the knots you've formed with your tangled fingers. He moves slowly because your fingers haven't moved in around an hour. They're stiff and he's scared for you, and slightly of you. You haven't laughed in months.
When your cold fingers are free and the blood rushes back to the tips, he holds the two hands between his own and forces you to look into his eyes.
Your stomach does a backflip because his eyes are doing that thing again, and you want to smile but you can't.
"Cam. Please stop doing this to yourself. I know this is going to sound cliché, but Bex hated it when you moped. You know what I think? I think she's watching us right now, and probably yelling at you to get off your ass. She wouldn't have wanted your whole life to stop because of this," Zach pauses here and takes a deep breath. "Sweetie, if you continue like this, I don't know what's going to happen. I'm scared for you."
You sigh, "I know, Zach. I'm sorry. It just, doesn't seem… right. You know? To have fun when she can't."
Zach snorts. "Please. Knowing Bex she's probably partying it up, wherever she is right now."
You can't help it. You do the unthinkable.
As soon as it comes out you slap my hand over your mouth, your eyes wide. You suppose you must have looked extremely comical, but on instinct your eyes narrow when Zach laughs.
You're about to say something to him when he grabs your hand and pulls you up. It's a blur as he forces a jacket on you and pushes you to put shoes on. He practically shoves you out the door and into his car. You're confused and have no idea where he's taking you, but are excited nonetheless. In no more than eight minutes you get to your destination.
"Mini golf?" You ask. Smiling you shake your head. Mini golfing was something you had done all the time as teens. It was something you hadn't done in years.
It's not like you immediately stopped grieving and went back to normal after that night. But you got better. Zach knew that there were better ways of dealing with pain than holding it in and inflicting it upon yourself.
That's the way he is, you guess. Just like a swirly truffle, even in the darkest of times, he manages to bring the light.
Three Hours Ago
Two years after Bex's body was found, you find yourself engaged. You're happy, so happy, happier than you can ever remember being.
Sure, it's the worst possible time for a wedding, with all of the chaos at work, but if you think about it, that's just the reason to have one. Keeping professional and personal lives separate is good, and why should work have any influence on the beginning of the rest of your life with Zach?
However, the worse things get at the CIA, the fouler Zach's moods get. He can't help it. So much pressure, so much stress. He's slipping up with his careful concealment.
The first and only time he blows up completely brings you both to tears.
You're arguing about something pointless, it might be what to order in, or what movie you want to watch that night. It doesn't matter, because really, it's you that makes the mistake.
He wins the debate. Triumphantly, he smiles and picks up the phone to order Italian while saying that he wants to watch The Italian Job. Again.
It had the potential to be a relaxed night, but you choose to mutter something under your breath.
That something was, "You always get to pick."
The grin slides right off his face. "What?"
"That's right." You meet his gaze with a full on glare. "You always get to pick. Whatever we do. It's always your choice now, just because poor little Zachy is having a tough time at work. Gosh, you're such a baby sometimes."
He frowns, his voice flat, "Funny. You don't usually seem to mind me picking. But maybe that's because I always pick what you want anyway." You realize this is true, and wish you hadn't said anything. "I'm always trying to please you, Cammie, and maybe I wanted to do something I want for once. Is that so bad? Maybe I had a bad day at work, but I still hold it in and put on a smile because I know that you don't like it when I'm not happy. Even when I'm not in a good mood it's you I'm thinking of, not myself."
You try to back pedal here, "You're right, Zach. I'm sorry. Let's just watch the movie."
"No. You know what? I need to go out for a bit. You can pick whichever damn movie you want." He grabs his jacket and shoves his feet into his Nikes.
"Zach! I apologized! I know I shouldn't have said anything. Please," You plead. "Stay."
He turns for a moment looking puzzled. "You can't apologize for saying what you mean, Cam. I'm not mad about that. I'm mad because that's how you've been thinking for the past few months. I can't say I haven't been acting badly for the past few months, but given the circumstances I thought you might understand. Now I know that that's how you feel. I can't be around you right now knowing that you think of me as some selfish brat."
"I never even said that!" Your voice has raised and sounds defensive now. "God, you blow everything out of proportion! How could I even think of marrying such a drama queen!" Immediately, You shut your mouth. "Zach…"
He turns away and slams the door in your face.
This was three hours ago. He hasn't come back yet. This had never happened before. You're confused, hurt, offended, but most of all – you feel guilty. Zach was the best thing that had ever happened to you, at the risk of sounding cliché, and for every bad time, there had been a million amazing moments between you two.
You feel the tears coming and you try to gulp them back.
If only you could swallow back the cutting words as well.
Of all the moments you remember sharing with Zachary Goode, the little ones are the ones that pop out. Not the time when he took you skydiving, or when he sent you on a treasure hunt to find his proposal and the engagement ring that sat on your finger. Not the time he cooked that eight-course meal for dinner with your mother and aunt, or the time he bought you a pony after York, your old black horse, passed.
It's the times that you two sat on the couch eating Chinese takeout, laughing about your fortunes with a corny romantic comedy playing on in the background.
It's the times that he'd come home from work late, and sigh contentedly as he sank onto the bed next to you, as if this, right here, coming home to you, was why he bothered getting up in the morning.
It's when he brushes your hair back from your face, and his fingertips graze your cheekbones, and you can't help but blush like a schoolgirl, even after knowing him for so many years.
It's when you occasionally talk about life after marriage, after retirement. How his face lights up when he describes the perfect, child friendly house in the suburbs you'll have, with a swing set and a dog, because not many people know that you're allergic to cats. (This makes Zach find the whole 'Suzie' incident even more amusing). How he'll take you into his arms and weave his vision so perfectly that you can see it too, and you want it, so badly. So badly. But you know that you can't have it yet, you're not ready yet, and people out there still need you.
Just like you need Zach.
And he needs you.
He's simple, but wonderful. Like the perfect piece of plain old milk chocolate. He's your perfect ending to the day.
You bolt upright, wipe tears from your eyes, and stand up. You don't bother trying to tame the mess that your hair has become, or to fix your slightly smudged mascara, or straighten your clothes, which you're sure have a chocolate stain on them somewhere. You know that he won't care.
Running out the door with your keys in your hands, wearing a pair of crocs, which you know are the most hideous things on earth, but for some reason were at the front of your shoe closet. Sweatpants, hair in a messy bun, one of Zach's old t-shirts on, you look a mess and you know it.
You know where he'll be.
So you head straight to the Putt-Putt.
He's there, but it's not like that's a surprise. He's leaning against his tiny club, which looks even more miniature because of his tall, broad stature. It looks like he's sizing up the hole, but you can tell in his eyes that he's resting. He's tired. He shouldn't be out.
Taking a deep breath you say, "Hey."
He whirls around. It's a true testament to how hard they're working him; because he's so tired he hadn't even noticed you sneaking up on him. Reddening slightly, he clears his throat and replies. "Hey."
And for the longest time you just stare at each other. To an outsider, the situation must have looked strange, even awkward or creepy. But nothing with Zach is ever that way. And when you look into his eyes, you see that he accepts your unspoken apology.
And that he really, really wants to go home.
With that, you take his club, toss it away, and kiss him, hard, on the lips.
You pull back, look into his deep green eyes and bite your lip slightly as you murmur, "I'm so sorry, baby. I'm a huge jerk."
"Yeah. But just a bit." And before you can even think about feeling hurt, he kisses you again and you can feel that he's just teasing, and that these three hours have been hell for him.
You realize that he can't always be the glue that holds you too together. Sometimes things don't go the way you plan them too, and Zach can't always be the one to pick up the pieces, or the one to apologize after a fight, or the one to smooth one over before it even starts. And in that moment, you vow to become more milk chocolate – like him.
Yeah so that probably ended up way less fluffy than Kaci intended, but I don't know, I kind of just went with it. The last part is fully mine; the rest of it was mostly Kaci writing, with me helping a bit. A bit of sister bonding before she went off to college. We actually started writing this three weeks ago, but she left, and then I just couldn't finish it until now, what with transitioning into high school. I hope you like it, though! It was extremely difficult to write, at least for me, so some feedback would be great.
So tell me what you guys think? I'd really like to know so please review, and when you do it'd be great if you could tell me if I need to improve on something. Or, just tell me what you liked! (Or didn't like. That's cool too, I guess.)
So yeah, Review please?