Just like always, the flash of bright green caught his eye. And just he had everyday for the past two weeks, Bruce stopped and stared into the antic jewelry store window. Around him, people passed by, some knocking into him, but he didn't really notice; he was too preoccupied with the little pair of earrings that had caught his eye since the first day.
They were the least intricate piece in the window. The others shone with the diamonds South Africa was famous for, as well as the deep rubies and sapphires from neighboring nations. All of them were set in solid gold, and priced at ridiculously high rates.
The earrings were different. Smaller than the rest, they were set in silver, and were placed in the corner of the display, as if the owner of the shop was ashamed to have to put them out with the fancier pieces. They didn't come from some precious gem; they were plain peridots.
And they were the exact same brilliant green as Carter's eyes.
Bruce winced. Just thinking about her made his whole chest ache. After all he'd done to her, the pain he'd put her through... she probably hated him. And here he was, still hopelessly in love.
'Love sick' used to be a phrase he scoffed at. Love wasn't a disease. It didn't have a cure. It was a state of mind, nothing more, nothing less. There was no way it could physically affect you (well... yeah, OK, there were some ways...). Scientifically speaking, love itself couldn't do anything to you.
That was probably the single most false statement you have ever made, Bruce thought to himself.
Looking at his reflection made that clear enough. Dark circles underneath his eyes were an obvious indicator that he'd been loosing sleep. He felt tired and empty - just his facial expression alone could tell you that. Frowning at how messed up it looked, Bruce ran a hand through his hair. He'd actually managed to remember to brush it this morning - how'd it get so messed up so fast?
With a sigh and once last glance at the peridot earrings, he turned back into the flow of the crowd, heading back to his new apartment.
Almost immediately, he did a double take. He looked back to the shop window, squinting at what he was sure was just a figment of his imagination. The earrings were in the other, lower corner. There was no way that there could be -
But there it was. In the upper area of the window, he could just make out a vibrant green color, reflecting on the glass. Heartbeat racing, he whirled around.
There she was. Looking at him. Just looking at him like nothing had happened. Heart pounding, stomach turning, Bruce shut his eyes. No. This couldn't be real. She wouldn't come for him, not after everything that happened. He was just imaging things. He'd finally lost, and when he opened his eyes, she'd be gone.
No. Carter was still there. She was real, not just something he'd conjured up. Her head tilted slightly to the side, she gave him a small, guarded smile.
Before he even realized what was happening, Bruce's feet carried him forward. With more athletic ability than he'd shown in his entire life, he darted out into the middle of the road, dodging cars and stray pedestrians as he did. Carter rushed forward to meet him.
They two of them collided, immediately getting tangled up in each other's arms. Bruce took in a deep, shaky breath, pulling her in closer. "What are you doing here?" he muttered into her mess of hair. Mmm. She still smelled like coconuts.
"You threw me into a building and then left without apologizing in person," she laughed quietly, still not pulling away. If anything, she held on tighter. "What do you think I'm doing here?"
Guilt joined the other emotions swirling around inside of him. "I'm so sorry," he breathed. "I'm so sorry." Absentmindedly, he began stroking her hair. He couldn't get over the fact that she was here. And that, so far, she didn't seem to hate him.
Carter pulled back just enough so that she could look up at him. A crooked grin spread across her face, and her bright eyes lit up. "You'll have to do better than that," she teased.
God, she's beautiful. His eyes hungrily roamed her face, taking in as much as they could. Before he knew it, they'd locked in on her lips. On impulse, Bruce leaned in, pressing his lips to hers. Her mouth moved against his and -
Bruce jerked back. Looking away, he felt his face grow red. "I - I'm sorry," he stuttered. "I shouldn't have done that. I have no right to - "
He was silence by her lips against his. She leaned into him, weaving one hand through his hair. Responding just as enthusiastically, he pulled her closer, wanting more. She felt so good here pressed against him, it was almost like she fit there perfectly. Moaning slightly, Bruce deepened the kiss.
Carter ran one hand up his chest, stopping just above his heart. His heart. He'd almost forgot about it. It was beating so fast he was sure she could hear it. With a soft sigh, Carter broke away - but she left her hands on him.
"Sorry," she said in that same joking tone she always used. Putting just a bit more pressure on his chest, she added, "That was probably too much, wasn't it?"
With a start, Bruce realized that she was talking about his heart. No, it hadn't been too much; it'd been perfect. He loved the way it felt to have his heart race, to be left completely breathless. It was a thrill that he wasn't accustomed to, one he'd almost forgotten about. No more worrying about it. Only enjoying the oddly exhilarating sensation that came from feeling like you're heart was about to explode.
"Too much could never be enough."
He pulled her in again.