Summary: Only years later would they truly realize that their memories of each other could never be erased, that their love would never fade.
Author's Note: So this is a first for me. Those of you that have read my other works know that I have never written for anything other than Castle, because I have never come across any other characters that speak to me in the same way. However, this idea has been floating around in my head for a while, so I decided to put it on paper. I was really hesitant to post this, but you all encouraged me to do so, and I hope this lives up to your expectations and doesn't detract from the movie or the characters in any way. This is very different from what I normally write, but it felt appropriate for what we know of their story and their past (which is not much). Let me know what you think.
Disclaimer: I do not own For Lovers Only or its characters. Those rights belong to the wonderful Michael and Mark Polish.
9 years earlier...
Look at us now. I don't want to give this up. So how can you walk away from this again?
"This is so beautiful," Sofia murmured, leaning more firmly into Yves's side and taking a deep breath of the fresh summer air. They were nestled in the soft grass, the solid green interrupted every few feet by the few flowers that still managed to bloom this late in the year. The sky was clear, the sun warm on their skin, and a gentle breeze was blowing, taking the edge off of the late summer heat.
"It is," he replied softly, his eyes fixed on her and her alone. He reached up, gently traced his finger along the line of her cheekbone. "You are."
She lifted her head, pressed a soft kiss against his lips. "I love you."
She started to pull away but Yves caught her, his fingers on her jaw, drawing her back to him. "I love you, too," he whispered against her lips before closing the distance once more.
They kissed lazily for a few minutes, hours, they both lost track of time. Eventually, though, they parted, and she buried her face in his neck, breathing in his familiar scent.
"You ready to go find some dinner?" he asked after a few minutes.
"Mmm, no." She was far too warm and comfortable to move.
"Because I like this."
"I do too, but I'm hungry."
He started to stand but she caught him, tugged him back down. "Don't go."
"Well, we can't stay here all night," he said teasingly, his fingers gently tickling her sides as he settled back down next to her.
"I could," she replied without missing a beat, simultaneously wiggling away from his exploring fingers and burrowing deeper into him. "I could stay here with you forever."
Yves's fingers froze, his entire body stiffened beneath hers, and Sofia lifted her head in concern. "What?"
He looked away. "Nothing."
"Yves." She cupped his cheek, guided his gaze back to hers. "What is it?"
He shook his head.
"Is it something I said?"
He did not respond right away, but when he did, she felt a piece of her heart break at the melancholy in his voice; the word he spoke was normally filled with so much hope and promise. "Forever."
"What about it?"
"You want to stay here forever." It was not really a question.
She smiled lovingly. "It's so peaceful. And I love when we're just curled up like this."
Only someone who knew him as well as she would have picked up on the barely concealed dread in his eyes as he spoke again. "Forever, right here with me."
"It was just a figure of speech," she placated, now realizing what had triggered this burst of insecurity.
Yves shook his head and disentangled himself from her. "But it's not, Sofia.
"No, Sofia, it's not. I know you, I can tell. You want this," he gestured between them, "to be forever."
"I do, but..."
"But what?" she interrupted sharply.
He uncurled his legs, started to stand. "This...it doesn't last, Sofia."
"What do you mean?"
"This much happiness, this much love. It can't last."
"How do you know?"
"I just..." Yves sighed.
How did he know?
Deep inside, the voices in his head were shouting at him that this was a cop-out, that he was making a huge mistake. But he ignored them, because the other, more cynical voice in his head had somehow convinced him that his lack of faith was warranted.
And because he was scared. Scared of how far he had fallen. How in love he was with her. Scared of the pain that would come if they continued this and it somehow fell apart someday. So he was ending it now, before anything or anyone else had the chance to. It was for the best, he told himself. Forever was not possible.
He stood fully then, started to walk away, but Sofia was faster and snagged his arm before he could move any farther. Before he could leave her.
"Where are you going?"
He shrugged, his meaning clear in his body language, his voice, his eyes. "I don't know."
"But I can't go with you?" The resignation in her voice was almost enough to make him change his mind. Almost.
He bent down, pressed one last kiss to her lips. It was gentle and lingering and so utterly painful that it brought tears to her eyes.
And he was gone.
Sofia watched as he walked away, her entire body completely numb, her mind unwilling to process what was happening, refusing to accept that she was laying eyes on him for the last time.
Yves refused to look back as he rounded the corner of the hotel, knowing that if he saw the pain on her face, the sadness in her eyes, he would never be able to stand by his decision. His heart was breaking already.
He made his way into the hotel, up to their room on the seventh floor. The bed was still unmade, a result of their earlier activities. On the dresser, in a coffee cup filled with water, were the flowers he had picked for her yesterday, just because.
She threw them out later that day.
His clothing was mostly piled in his luggage and what was not, he retrieved quickly, tossing it haphazardly into the suitcase. He removed his items from the bathroom, cleared the room of anything that spoke of his presence there, and left the key behind as he walked out the door.
Yves numbly made his way out the rear entrance of the building and onto a busy sidewalk where he wove his way to the curb to hail a cab.
"L'aéroport," he informed the driver as he settled into the back seat.
He did not know where he was going, but he knew that he had to leave Paris.
Everything about the city reminded him of Sofia.
Sofia had no clue how long she sat there in the grass, her mind blank. For a split second, she had considered chasing after Yves, but something about the way he had kissed her, the look in his eyes as he gazed at her for the last time, told her that it was over. That what they had had finally become too much for him.
At long last, she convinced her leg muscles to function and got to her feet. Her mind was spinning, her stomach felt sick, her body felt weak. And as she took a step forward, the ground felt like it was crumbling beneath her feet. Maybe things would be better if it did just open up and swallow her whole.
Sofia made her way inside, through the lobby and into the elevator. She retraced the familiar path to their room, the one they had walked together just that morning after breakfast. Except last time, she had been tangled up with him. Now, she was very much alone.
She hesitated outside the door, unsure of where he had gone, of whether he might still be in their hotel room. If he really was leaving for good, she did not want to enter the room only to watch him pack up his things and walk out the door. Watching him leave once had already shattered her heart. Watching him leave again would probably completely destroy her.
An ear pressed against the door was met with utter silence and after a couple minutes, she took a deep breath and pushed her key into the lock, turning it with shaking hands.
The room was empty when she opened the door, devoid of all of his belongings. The door shut behind her, echoing through the stillness, and it hit her then, the finality of his actions. He was gone. He had left. She had no idea where he had gone, how she could ever track him down and beg him to come back. If he even would come back.
Sofia flung herself face down on the bed, not bothering to remove anything except for her sunglasses and her sandals. The bedding still smelled like him, the remnants of the past five days and nights, and only then did the tears finally come.
At some point, she cried herself to sleep, her emotional agony overshadowing the evening sun that shone brilliantly through the partially open shades.
When she woke again, darkness had settled over the city. She rolled over, expecting to see Yves's sleeping form, but was met with an empty bed, the sheets next to her completely cold.
Painful memories came flooding back then, taking what was left of her heart and wrenching it apart, tearing what remained into little tiny pieces that would never be able to be glued back together.
How had this happened? One moment, they had been soaking up the summer sun outside their hotel in Paris, and the next, she had watched the man she loved walk away without so much as a backwards glance.
Sofia had always known that Yves was skittish about love; he had grown up without a solid family, with parents who fought all the time and showed little evidence of having a happy relationship. He had struggled to share his feelings at first, struggled to say the words 'I love you.' It had been a battle from the start for her to win his trust, to convince him that she was completely committed to him. That she loved him like she had never loved anyone else. That she never wanted anyone but him.
It had not been instant, but slowly, she had seen the change in Yves. He had become more open, not just in his words, but in his feelings, his emotions, his behavior towards her when they were in public. He had cried in front of her, had shared the painful memories of his childhood, allowing her to shoulder part of his pain. He no longer hesitated to hold her hand or kiss her when others were around. And he was not at all shy about his feelings for her, especially when they were alone.
She thought that after three years, that part of their relationship, those struggles, were in the past. She thought she had convinced him that their relationship would last and that if all else failed, their love would be strong enough to hold them together. Apparently, she had thought wrong.
Sofia rolled over, burying her face in the pillow that still smelled like him, and a fresh wave of grief came crashing over her.
Her heart ached for him, a pain more terrible than anything she knew even existed. Her head hurt from crying, her eyes were swollen and red, and her chest was so tight she was not sure how she was still able to breath. The weight of it all was crushing.
Four thousand miles away, Yves's plane touched had just down in New York City, drawing him from his restless slumber. There was a kink in his neck as he lifted his head and glanced around, confused as to why he was alone, on a plane, back in the states.
She was probably still in Paris, wondering why he had walked away. Hell, he was wondering the same thing. Yves had never thought himself weak, but as he gathered up his belongings, catching a whiff of Sofia's perfume lingering on his jacket, he cursed himself for not standing up to his fears and squashing his insecurities.
He had panicked, plain and simple. He could make up whatever excuse he wanted, and he did over the next few years, but the truth was that he had panicked. He had felt nothing but pure happiness as he sat there with Sofia, but then she had said the word 'forever,' and he had panicked.
His parents had promised each other forever all those years ago, too, but most of what he remembered about their 'love' involved not being in love. He loved Sofia. He wanted to spend his life with her. But deep down, that dark part of him that had watched his parents' relationship dissolve was terrified that he and Sofia would someday wind up in the same situation. And he would rather not have her at all than have her and watch their love fade away.
So he had walked away, to save both of them from the heartbreak that would have eventually torn them apart. Only the joke was on him, because the pain never disappeared and he had unknowingly left most of his heart behind, with her.
The first year was the worst for both of them, full of tears and heartache and sleepless nights as they struggled to recover from the life they no longer shared. Broken promises. Broken dreams. Broken hearts.
Sofia had left Paris the day after the breakup and did not return, not even for work, for two years. She ended up on the opposite coast, making a new home in Los Angeles, where she attempted to continue her journalism career. She struggled at first, her editors rejecting her stories, saying they were empty and uninspired. Kind of like her life.
Eventually, she forced herself to start interviewing new subjects about new topics, expanding her horizons. Inevitably, they would say something that reminded her of Yves and a love lost, but she forced herself to push through it, to try to be okay again, even though she never really would be.
She married after a few years, to a man who reminded her as little of Yves as possible. She had thought that would help, that she would be happier if she had someone else to take her mind off of him. And she had grown tired of being alone with her damaged heart and shattered dreams. But it was a lost cause, because with everything that David did, she found herself comparing him to Yves. And he never came close to measuring up.
Across the country, Yves's agent had asked him to return to Paris for Fashion Week only two months after the breakup. He turned down the offer. It would be over a year before he dared return to the city, and even then, his visits were dull and lonely.
As an alternative, he took up other kinds of photography, turning first to nature, then to artistic photos of clocks and buildings and other inanimate objects. His new ventures, however, were all for naught.
His agent told him he was losing his touch, and magazine after magazine rejected his work, saying the photos were too gloomy and desolate. And they were, because any picture that had any semblance of life reminded him of Sofia. Reminded him that leaving her had been the biggest mistake of his life.
He would marry eventually, too, after about a year, to a struggling artist who seemed unfazed by his emotional turmoil. It was never love, never had a chance to be love, but she had made him feel something, and that was better than nothing. And then she had gotten pregnant, so he had stayed, for his daughter.
But over the years, Yves slowly watched his greatest fear come true as their love—if it had ever really been that—faded, along with their happiness. And with each passing day, he found himself missing Sofia more and more, hating himself for not believing in their love, for being too cowardly to hold on to the best thing that had ever happened to him.
Yves had long ago covered up the tattoo of Sofia's name with a wolf, hoping it would ink out his memories of her.
Sofia had tattooed David's name on the inside of her thigh, thinking it would help.
Neither idea worked.
Only years later, on that fateful day in Paris, would they truly realize that their memories of each other could never be erased, that their love would never fade.
Because when it's real, love is everlasting.