A/N: Welcome, readers! This is my first Switched at Birth fanfiction, but won't be my last! It is based off of episode 23, The Color of my Dreams. Feel free to leave any critiques or comments. Also, if anyone is curious, this one shot was inspired by a few songs off of Taylor Swift's new album, Red. Lastly, enjoy!
Bay and Emmett Forever
Bay was good at many things. She was good at expressing herself through art. As a child, she was good at jump rope and she was even surprisingly good at algebra from time to time. But one thing that Bay was especially good at was avoiding things. She developed that particular skill at a young age. It all started one brisk fall afternoon, with a young Bay Kennish hiding inside the bathroom closet. She could hear the echo of her name ringing throughout the house, yet the only movement she made was to hug her knees closer to her chest.
She was hiding from her Father. John Kennish's dreams were simple. He wanted to hand his daughter a baseball bat, and watch her swing her way into his footsteps. Twice a week, sharply at 2:30pm she would hear the familiar cling of the metal bats. And she would purposely walk the opposite direction, off to find a new hiding spot. Sometimes Toby would join her, having taught her many of the trickier spots. But most of the time, it was just her. A young girl who rather be covered in paint than dirt from the baseball diamond.
Today was different. She was not hiding from baseball, or homework. She was hiding from a single white envelope that now sat in her closet. She could unpack. She could catch up with every single member of her eccentric mix of a family. She could even kiss on the handsome lips of her new boyfriend. But nothing would change the fact that her name lay across that envelope, waiting to be read by her. It was actually easy to avoid at first. She had been avoiding thinking about him for weeks now. Whatever that letter held would wait. Possibly forever.
She sat her backpack down, haphazardly dismissing any and all responsibility for at least the moment. There were no distractions, just a quiet room. Her own room, where she was alone with her thoughts. And Bay knew the instantly her eyes grazed her slightly open closet that she could no longer ignore the call from the envelope. After all, it was only an envelope. Probably containing words. But it was not the words that would bother her. It was knowing the words came from him, the only boy she had ever truly loved. Even at the tender age of sixteen, that was a lot for her.
She pulled the box down from the shelf in her closet. It was heavy, like her heart had been. She remembered at the beginning of summer, as she prepared to leave for her trip, wishing that she could leave her heart behind in the same box she was leaving his pictures in. She wished she could leave it all behind. The countless tears hidden behind snarky comebacks, the broken promises she couldn't bear to think about and even the feeling of elation, knowing that they had beaten the odds even for that short time.
The envelope itself was surprisingly light for the heavy burden it carried on her mind. But the more she held it in her hands, the heavier it felt. She traced her fingers alongside her name, trying to hold on to the last few moments before she knew what the envelope held. It almost seemed ridiculous to her- how much she looked forward to his words. And how much she dreaded them. But hugging her knees in the bathroom closet would not help her to hide from this one. And with that, she hesitated no more. She ripped the envelope away from the paper that laid inside.
As her eyes grazed the paper, she was surprised. It wasn't the thoughtful, apologetic words she had expected. It took her a few minutes to realize exactly what she was looking at. No, not a letter at all. This was a map. She rotated the paper in her hands, trying to make sense of it. And before she could talk herself out of it, she grabbed her keys and left her room.
Bay couldn't set the paper down, even as she drove. Her eyes kept going back to the thin sheet of paper pressed against the steering wheel. She recognized his handwriting, even though the page did not hold a single letter. The familiar curve of each line was unmistakable to her. As mad as she was, as hurt as she felt, she couldn't help but imagine the amount of time he must have put into making it perfect. It was dedicated. It was passionate. It was so Emmett.
Oh, how she wished this one paper could change everything that had happened in the ten weeks prior. She would never admit it, but she wished they could go back to the night of Guitar Face's show. Where she sat in his arms under the stars and let everything fade away for the first time in her life. It was the first time she felt completely free. Free to love him, and to be loved in return. It was the first time she felt that she was exactly where she was supposed to be. Even though she was switched at birth, it all led to that moment. It was right.
But she knew that wherever he was leading her wouldn't change anything. It wouldn't changed the cracks in her heart that he had placed there. She had painstakingly put the pieces of her heart back together after that night. One by one, each piece of her broken heart was carefully placed in a swirl of sarcasm and being as far away from her home as possible.
She knew before she pulled into the parking lot exactly where he had led her to. It was the back of a building. One she had taken him to, in order to show him her street art. As nervous as she was, Bay knew he would understand. Her hands had shook as she signed the words to him, but he had smiled at her and she instantly knew she was right about him. This would always be the parking lot where she had finally opened up to someone. Where she had handed him something she had guarded so carefully- her heart.
She parked the thing, her beloved car and did not give herself the chance to hesitate. Part of her wanted to run for the hills, if only to protect herself from more hurt. But there was a bigger part of her that was curious. The part of her that needed to know that he still loved her, that he was willing to fight for her. Anything, just to prove that their relationship had actually meant something.
She rounded the corner, not really knowing what to expect. Why would he lead her here, of all places? Her heart was beating erratically. She could hear each irregular beat in her ears and with each step it got louder. She let her eyes roam the practically empty parking lot, trying to decipher why she was lead here. Whatever it was, the feeling of anticipation sat heavy in her stomach. How much more could one person possible take?
And that was when she saw it. The meeting of the eyes that had started it all. It was a timeline. Laying out all of their important moments that would never leave her. Almost all of the moments that had meant so much to them both. Their first kiss, that had taken her breath away with the shock of it. Her birthday surprise, where he had showed her just how much he cared, just how far he would go to see her smile. When he had told her he loved her in his own way, kissing her so tenderly as he held her hands between them. That had been the first moment she really realized what it was like to love another person. Having their hearts beating together, as if they were one complete person. If she had known it would be one of the last true moments she would have with him, she would have held onto him. She never would have let him outside of their bubble of Bay and Emmett, where everything else failed to be compare.
Her feet continued to move down the timeline of her love without express permission from her mind. She saw the black, broken heart that was much like her own plastered on the wall. Where he had let one mistake ruin everything they had. She didn't let herself dwell on the pain, not until she reached the last stop on the wall. Bay and Emmett forever was large and prominent, as if he was proclaiming it to the world and not just her. She instantly had to fight back the emotion that threaten to overtake her. She couldn't get the words out of her mind. She repeated the words in her mind as she stood there, taking it all in. Bay and Emmett forever. Bay and Emmett forever. It was such a simple sentence, yet held so much promise. If only she could believe them. That they were meant to be together. She could see that in his mind, it was as simple as writing the words. But to her, it was as complicated as him actually hearing the words without the signs. The burn of her unshed tears made her jump back, as if this painting could actually physically harm her.
She wanted nothing more than to turn away. She could run, hide in the bathroom closet and try to forget the pull she felt to go to him. But before she could reach the thing, she turned back to look at it one more time. Bay wanted to believe in forever. She saw it with her parents, who were dedicated to their lives together. But she couldn't understand how to believe in something that she had seen crash and burn so many times before.
Oh, how she wanted to believe in their ability to love each other fully. She almost wanted to forget it had all happened. She almost wanted to be able to feel safe in his arms again, and trust that he would take care of her damaged heart. The decision was right in front of her, waiting to be made. Was her heart even capable of letting him back in? She wasn't sure. But she knew the art in front of her was important. Something she could never forget. And for now, that would have to be enough.