I Think I Just Might Love You
Because Build Up To The Fall has been so wonderful at treating us with new fics that I felt obliged to return the favour when asked ;)
Really, the evening couldn't have gone any better. Was it possible to have been dating someone for over a year – coming on twenty months, almost – and still feel like every date was your first? To have someone who you practically know inside-out and back-to-front and still have them make you feel like you were special, and it was romantic, and fresh, and exciting…
Yes, they lived together, worked together, ate together and slept together – but somehow her life with Will was never boring. She couldn't get enough of him. And it scared the shit out of her.
She turned over from where she was spooned in front of him; his arm draped lazily over her naked waist, and looked at the man sleeping peacefully behind her, his mop of floppy blonde hair just tickling his eyebrows. Just looking at him made her smile. He shifted slightly as she turned into him, grumbling slightly in his sleep. Her grin widened and she bit back a laugh. It seemed to waken him up more though.
He didn't open his eyes, but the arm over her waist pulled her closer to him, her legs plaiting easily through his and her arm coming to rest on his chest. She gently reached up and pressed a soft kiss to his lips before her head curled back into his neck. She felt a gentle pressure as he kissed her head, and a few moments later the deep breaths told her he was asleep once more, leaving her with her thoughts.
Interesting word…loaded word. A word she had been avoiding for the better part of two decades. It wasn't that she didn't want it – she was just convinced that she couldn't recognise it; which was dangerous. When you thought it was love and it wasn't, bad things happened. And sadly, there wasn't really a litmus test for love – everyone always said "you just know". But she was an investigative journalist – she liked facts. She liked to be sure.
Part of her screamed that she was an idiot if she thought that Will hadn't proven he was in love with her – and actually, she knew that. Inside, intellectually, she knew that Will was absolutely head over heels for her…but that wasn't really the problem, was it?
No. The problem was her. Her and her damn paranoia.
She didn't really want to think about why…a college romance – she couldn't see that it was doomed; a "casual" thing, as he eventually explained to her, incredulous smirk plastered on his again. Never again had she fallen in love. Not with Peter, not with Daniel or Jack or Sam or Richard, and not with Brian – certainly not with any of her flings…but this time…
For the first time since she was twenty two, she wasn't sure.
She'd never felt this safe, or this happy. She'd never had a boyfriend who was her equal, who was her best friend first and foremost before everything else. To be honest, she'd always seen that kind of relationship as a fairy tale, an urban myth…yet here was solid, warm, flesh evidence curled next to her, holding her, to prove her wrong.
She knew that there wasn't a lot she wouldn't do for Will…maybe nothing she wouldn't do…except (right now) give him her heart. Because there were a few things to think about.
He was older than her – by a good eleven years. He had different views on a lot of things to her. He was a morning person, she was a night owl. He could cook, she couldn't. He liked milk in his cereal, she didn't…okay, now she knew she was sounding stupid, but she was trying to find things wrong; rolls in the carpet that would trip them up if she let this go on…but it was hard. And even when she found one, it didn't seem to bother her.
He was older, but each could hold their own with the other, both stamina-wise and intellectually; he had different views, but he challenged her – she had never met anyone who could argue with her like he could, and it was such a turn on…she couldn't even begin to explain how attractive that was to her. He was a morning person, but this usually meant one of three things: waking up in his arms, waking up in his arms and finding he'd made breakfast, or waking up and finding him aroused. Any one of the above was a positive in her book. She could live with the milk thing…
They made up for each other's faults, filled in the missing pieces. But somehow, instead of reassuring her, this was making her more and more convinced that there was something she had yet to discover; something that would crop up and tear them apart.
What she didn't know was that it would be her. Will was perfect for her…it was her own faults she was overlooking.
She pulled back slightly to take in his sleeping form once more, and found herself getting a little upset. Why would she ever question this? Why did she have to be so goddamn insecure?
She wished that she could believe that staying like this would be a smooth road to happiness, maybe even marriage and children – a happily ever after; she really did.
Twelve years ago, fresh out of Harvard, she would have cried to any and all who doubted her intentions that she was going to be a sturdy, well-respected journalist – family and romance would have to come as an added extra, if anything. But this past time she'd spent with Will McAvoy had finally shown her that it was possible to have both.
She bit her lip, looking up at her lover and hesitating, the words hanging on the end of her tongue. She just wanted to know what they'd sound like. But what if he heard her?
She tentatively reached a finger out and ran it lightly up his arm, something which usually woke him up if he wasn't in a deep sleep.
Wanting to be certain, she clicked her tongue loudly.
She took a deep breath and whispered "I love-"
She couldn't do it. It was stupid. She knew he couldn't hear her. If Will was awake he would have snuggled in with her when she had touched him – he was definitely asleep.
He had said this to her a good few times now – why was it so hard the other way around? Why could she not give what she was getting? She did in every other way.
She frowned at herself and blinked angrily. No, she was at least going to try this. She'd been feeling guiltier and guiltier lately that she hadn't said it yet…but it just wasn't something she could force herself into.
"I – I…love you."
She held her breath as though she was expecting the sleeping man to suddenly open his eyes and laugh and mock her in a rage. But nothing happened. It had still sounded weird though…nice, she conceded, but weird. She knew she wasn't quite ready to say it. Definitely not to him, alert and awake, even though she knew exactly what would happen when she did.
Will knew all about her romantic past – they'd been to a few office nights out and rounds of drinking games before they'd gotten together, and then they talked very openly with each other since. He knew everything – knew she was scared of commitment and why. She suspected that's why he'd only started mentioning love over a year into their relationship, even though she (and everyone else) could clearly see the effect she'd had on him from the moment he'd clapped eyes on her.
She'd shown him in every way she could think of without actually saying those three words that she felt more for him than anyone else she'd ever been with.
Deciding she'd had enough for one night, she tried to push her anxieties to the back of her mind for now and snuggled a little closer to Will. Usually this made her feel a lot calmer.
With Will's arms around her it took only minutes for her to fall asleep, meaning she missed the small beep of her phone next to her.
What she couldn't understand about herself, as she stood crying over the pathetic pot of pasta that she was attempting to cook, was how – however her bad her own insecurities might be – that she could think that Will wasn't the one she wanted to spend her life with? That she wouldn't be safe with him, loved with him, happy with him? It really had to take an idiot to doubt that, even if it was a doubt the size of grain of sand. How could you be so thick?
She sighed, furious at herself for the umpteenth time in the last three months and wondered how she was going to deal with this. She knew how she should deal with this, but that was a different problem.
She knew she basically had two options. Tell Will, or don't tell Will…oh, and then there was also stop seeing Brian or keep seeing Brian, and to her immense frustration these two other questions and the second of the first two were not mutually exclusive. It could go either way.
She heard the click of the lock as the front door opened, and Will's footsteps as he walked inside. She cursed, wiping her face on the sleeves of the sweater she was wearing (Will's sweater) and forced a normal look onto her face.
"Kenz are you cooking?" His confused voice came from the hall.
"Trying to!" She cursed again as she heard how croaky her voice sounded and focused harder on stirring the bolognaise sauce she had managed to concoct.
She could hear Will enter the kitchen area behind her and was somehow unprepared when a second later his arms slipped around her waist, pulling her back into him as his lips found her neck. Her breath caught and she felt herself melt inexplicably (because surely someone couldn't be so repetitive and still be able to do this to you every time).
"Mmmmm…actually smells quite good Kenz, I'm impressed." She even laughed a little; which was ridiculous because she was nervous, and scared and distressed…and guilty. He gently took the spoon from her hand and turned her around, leaning into kiss her when he caught sight of the tear marks on her face and stopped, frowning, instantly concerned.
"Hey, Mackenzie, what's wrong?"
"Oh – just the stupid onions, you know me…amateur doesn't begin to describe it." She was impressed at herself as she easily waved his worry aside – she had never used to be able to hide things from him – and mentally let out a sigh of relief as the worry died from his face and a bemused, teasing one replaced it.
His hands framed her face and he run his thumbs over her cheeks to rid them of the remaining evidence of her failure, before leaning in and placing a warm, open mouth kiss on her lips. "I love you."
She immediately responded, ignoring the pang of guilt in her stomach, pulling him closer to her and opening her mouth under his, inviting him to kiss her deeper. It escalated quickly and he moaned into her, finally coming up for air and breathing heavily.
"Jesus, Mac," Now able to look at her properly he caught the dark look in her eyes and she could tell what she was doing to him. He leaned in again, so that his lips were just touching hers, not quite kissing her, "You know Miss Amateur, if you just put the cooker on a little lower we could buy ourselves a few minutes before this…delicious meal is ready to go…"
He was grinning slyly and it was all she needed before she launched herself back into him, trying to express what she knew she couldn't say in words. He stumbled back slightly into the island. She was kissing him hungrily, her hands starting to fiddle with the buttons at the top of his shirt.
Grabbing on to her tightly and lifting her off the floor, he walked them back over to the gas, turning it low, before his lips found her neck and he headed in the direction of the bedroom.
A short while later, as Will gently snoozed beside her; she once more tried to blink back tears, her fingers subconsciously playing with the hand resting on her abdomen.
The first thought into her head after she'd been able to think straight and stop screaming Will's name was that this would never happen with Brian. It would never be that passionate or that loving, or that exciting. Ever.
She could remember lying on this bed only weeks ago, the night before she had gotten the first text from him, and having similar thoughts going through her head – similar, but not the same. Mainly because this time, all she could think about was how alike she and Will were.
They were both funny, loved their jobs, loved New York; were both hot-headed, liked to get into an argument, liked to curl up with a glass of wine as opposed to going out and getting completely smashed (though once in while was acceptable), they both liked to talk over dinner, and they both loved each other.
There. She'd said it. At last she knew with confidence that it was true. She just hated what it had taken for her to realise it: Brian.
Brian calling her like some kind of midnight stripper. Brian treating her simply as an outlet. Brian insulting her idealism as opposed to Will encouraging it. Brian making fun of how emotional she had become. Brian falling asleep as soon as he had finished with her, as opposed to Will cuddling her and talking with her into the early hours of the morning. Brian sitting half naked on the sofa in the morning, eating last night's take away and watching Jerry Springer as she silently left, clutching her clothes.
A tear finally escaped her eyes. God, she had messed up. And she didn't know if she could fix it. She knew she had to tell Will. Because there was one thing she had been right about before: they complemented each other, made up for each other's' weak spots and filled in the gaps. How she had ever thought this was a reason to doubt 'them', she would never understand.
He had excused his late trip home by saying Charlie had wanted a word with him. But she knew he was lying. It had been happening a few times over the last couple of weeks: Will would come home late, saying he'd been called into a meeting. He didn't do it seriously because she didn't think he expected her to believe him; but he sure as hell didn't count on her knowing exactly where he'd been. But she did. She was the best EP in the business and she had her sources.
He was looking for an engagement ring. And as much as it made her want to cry with happiness – what was that thing she'd been taught in school? For every action there was an equal and opposite reaction? Well, whenever she wanted to cry with happiness there was an equally strong part of her that wanted to cry outright. Because somehow she didn't think he'd be so eager to marry her when he found out she been having an affair for the last three months.
She knew she needed to get out of here before Will heard her sniffles.
The dinner – perfect excuse!
She gently slid out from under his hand, and he turned slightly towards her as she did so. She froze, knowing her eyes were once more red.
"Will?" Nothing. "Will, honey, I'm going to go finish the dinner."
A mumble, but nothing more. She was so scared that she was whispering now, "Will…? I love you."
She paused above him, but still there was no movement. Damnit.
Another tear fell from her cheek and she knew that she shouldn't be angry at him. It was a massive news week for them and he'd been in the office since before eight that morning…she just chose her timing terribly.
Pressing a kiss to the hand she had lifted from her body, she tucked it back down beside him and hurried from the room.
She was pacing up and down, agitated as hell, and was on the verge of biting her fingers off as she waited for him to come home.
He phone lay buzzing angrily on the table beside her, but she ignored it, trying to block the noise from her ears. Brian could fuck off. She had had to take his rejection once, so he could fucking well take hers now. Not that she'd be able to answer properly anyway – she couldn't see properly out her eyes.
Will had texted to say he'd landed an hour ago and she'd been on edge ever since.
Last night she had ended it with Brian, having finally summoned up the courage to come clean to Will. He hadn't taken it well, to the extent that she had actually left his flat in a state of fear.
She'd spent the night curled up in Will's bed, desperately breathing in the smell of him on the sheets and wondering where she would be this time tomorrow night.
Her phone bleeped again. The ID said it was Will.
5 minutes. Can't wait for a hug xx
Her breath shuddered in a way that made her think she was going to snap; but to her amazement she didn't. If she was going to do this, she was going to do it properly and not act like the victim. This was going to destroy Will, not her.
Well, okay…it probably was going to destroy her too, but she'd brought that on herself.
She went into the bathroom and threw some water on her face, blinking at her reflection in the mirror and trying not to be too disgusted as she tried to summon up some courage. She heard Will's key in the lock and hurried back out into the lounge.
As soon as he saw her he ditched his briefcase on the floor and scooped her up into his arms, burying his face in her neck.
"Mmm, you smell good Kenz." He pressed a kiss under her ear. "Love you."
"I love you too Will."
I couldn't write the confession.