Disclaimer: Characters don't belong to me. I'm simply borrowing them for a brief spell and will return them as soon as I'm done playing.
So I was going through some old files with my Lou, Potterwench, and found this. It's actually one of my first song fics and I was never sure about posting it. She cleaned it up for me and encouraged me to put it out there for all you to read. So...here ya go. It's based loosely off the song I Alone by Live. I hope you enjoy it.
I felt the tingle before I saw him. I could always sense when he was around, which wasn't very often since I had agreed to marry Joe 5 months ago. I turned slowly in my chair to glance at the open window behind me and there he stood, leaning against the frame with his arms crossed over his muscled chest. The look on his handsome face was a mix of anger and rage. Gone was the blank mask, in its place was something more frightening.
I've never seen him look at me this way. Skips that had injured or threatened me had been privy to this look. The stalkers that kidnapped me have seen it too. I am guessing that this face is the last that some people see. Not me, not until today.
I don't know what I did to make him so angry. He told me to fix my relationship with Joe. He is the one who told me that what I wanted didn't matter because it wasn't something he could give me. I knew I was settling for Joe, but I was afraid to be alone. What did he expect to happen?
Turning back around in a huff, I gritted out through my teeth "What the fuck are you doing here? I don't remember sending you an invitation." I started fixing my curls that I had left down around my face. Not because they needed the attention, but because I needed something to do.
I could feel the rage roll off him as he approached me. I felt the tension in his hands as he gripped my shoulders as he leaned down to whisper in my ear.
"What the fuck am I doing here? What the fuck, Stephanie? Where else would I be? You still think I have no heart?" His dark eyes were full of flames as he looked at mine through the mirror. "I want to know something, and I want you to be honest with me for once in your life."
"Honest?! I have always been honest with you! Maybe this is a speech you need to give yourself." I whispered trying to keep my voice down. We weren't in the best spot to be having a conversation. There were people right outside the door, just waiting for me to screw this up. "What is it you want to know?"
"Are you happy?" He had the nerve to ask such a stupid question. Of course I'm not happy. I'm marrying a man that I don't love because the man I do love doesn't love me.
"You know the answer to that question. You know what I want! You're just too damn scared to give it to me!" My words were bitter and they tasted terrible coming out of my mouth.
"Why are you doing this?" His anger was gone and his words were a whisper. I turned to look at the man that I loved.
"Because, damnit, I need to be loved too! You know that I love you, I told you that before I ever agreed to this. You are the one who turned me down. I need to feel loved, Ranger. I need to know that I am wanted. You don't and can't do that for me. That's fine, but you can't act this way when all of this is your doing." I gave him a few minutes to respond to what I said.
I wanted him to grab me and tell me that he loved me too and that he would give us a chance. I wanted him, but as the minutes ticked by my hopes died. He didn't love me; he just hated to lose to Joe. I was hurt and angry. This was supposed to be a happy day for me, but I felt everything that is the exact opposite of happy, and it was all his fault.
"Damn it, Ranger. Either shit or get off the pot! You don't want me, but you don't want anyone else to have me either. What am I supposed to do? Hold out forever on the hope that maybe you'll love me one day? Just wait until you're ready for something that might never happen? I can't do that. You asked if I was happy. I'm not, but I could be if you would just let me be. I could be happy with Joe, but you have to let me go." I paused when his blank mask fell and the angry Ranger made an appearance again.
"Why can't you just let me go so I can be happy? That's all I'm asking." My heart was breaking. I didn't want him to let me go, but I knew that I needed him to for my marriage to work. I needed him to let me go so he could move on too. I hoped he would do that for me today. I hoped he would leave peacefully. My hope didn't come true.
His face was full of anger and rage again and for the first time since I met him, I was scared of him. This was not the man I loved.
"You really want to know why I can't let you go? You really want to know, Stephanie?" Oh noes...he never uses my full name. It's either, Steph or mostly Babe. I nodded my head slowly. Was I ready to hear the answer to this?
"It's because I alone love you. I alone tempt you. Your petty fear of being alone will not end what we have." He was so angry. What did he mean he alone loved me? Joe loves me.
"You honestly think that man out there loves you? He doesn't even fucking know who you really are! He doesn't know the woman that I know. All he knows is the weak, conforming, sad excuse of a person that you've become. You let him and your mother control you and you will do anything to make those two idiots happy. You will deny yourself happiness for them. That is not the woman that I know!"
Wow, that was a lot of words for Ranger to say at once. I guess he's a talker when he's mad. I wanted to hear more of what he honestly thought about me.
"Then you tell me what you see. Who am I to you?" I didn't mean for my words to come out so snarky, but I couldn't hold it back.
"The Stephanie Plum that I know is fucking fearless. She chases down dangerous people without thinking about it. She will walk into a bar and flirt with the most disgusting people on the planet just so we can put them back behind bars where they belong. She would risk her life to save her friends. The Stephanie Plum I know is so fucking loyal to those who are honored enough to be called friends. She saved Lula from a life on the streets, and she helped me clear my name when I was wanted for a murder that I didn't commit. I find it funny that Joe and I were in the EXACT same position and you HELPED me while you CHASED him!" He paused and rubbed his hand through his short hair.
"The Stephanie Plum that I know hates having decisions made for her and would fight when someone tried to make her do anything. She would not let her mother and Joe fucking Morelli push her into this sham of a marriage!" I stood and watched as the man I loved came back to me. His features softened and I began to see the pain that he was feeling.
"The Stephanie Plum I know is the love of my life, and I'm so scared that I've lost her forever." His eyes were so full of pain and fear. Did he just say I was the love of his life?
"Why didn't you tell me this earlier?" I whispered. Is he too late? Regret filled his eyes and he shook his head.
"I can't give you what you want, Babe. I can't give you this." Now, I was pissed. How does he even know what I want?
"How do you even know what I fucking want?"
"Babe, you're marrying a man that you don't love. You obviously want this life." He was so stupid.
"You are fucking unbelievable. You think I want this? I told you earlier that I want to be loved. This is what I have to do for Joe to love me. What I want, is you. How many times have I told you that I never wanted to get married again and don't even get me started on kids. All I've ever wanted is to hear you say that you love me and that you want to be with me." My voice cracked and I began to cry.
Ranger gathered me in his arms and held me close to his muscled chest. This felt so right, but it was so damn wrong. I pulled away from him and grabbed a tissue to dry my eyes. Thank God for waterproof mascara.
"This is wrong, Ranger. I'm getting married in just a few minutes." I looked at him and saw the hurt on his face.
"You're going through with this?" His voice was incredulous. I took a moment to think about my answer.
Do I love Joe? No, but I'm willing to marry him because I don't want to live the rest of my life alone. Ranger said that he loved me, but he never said he was willing to be with me. I don't think he can do that yet. He's not ready to be with me the way I want or need him and I can't wait forever. He may never be ready. I knew my answer, but I also knew that this was going to hurt him deeply.
"Ranger, you know..." I didn't get to speak anything else because his mouth was on mine. I could taste the tears on his lips. Were they mine or his? I gave myself over to the kiss. He was the only one that sparked this kind of reaction in me. He is the only one who sparked this flame of passion. He was the only one that I loved. We pulled apart when breathing became necessary and he placed his forehead against mine.
"Don't do this, Stephanie. If you do, you kill the woman that I love and I will die with her." What was he saying? Does that mean he wants me?
"Ranger, I love you so much. I want to be with you. I will leave right now with you and never look back if you can offer me more of yourself than I've gotten in the past. I don't need a ring or kids. I need a commitment. I need honesty and communication. I need you to let me in, to love me as much as I love you. Are you offering that?" I told him the truth. I had to have those things for it to work between us.
He stared at me for so damn long. His mind was fighting with his heart. I could see every emotion on his face. For the first time since I met him, I could read his thoughts. His head was screaming no, but his heart was screaming yes. I waited patiently for the war to be over, but time was up.
There was a soft knock on the door and my father poked his head in.
"Time to go, Pumpkin. I'll be right outside waiting for you." He glanced at Ranger and then closed the door.
"Time's up Ranger. If this was something that you truly wanted then the choice would be easy. I will always love you." I stood on my tip-toes and pressed a kiss to his cheek. "Goodbye, my love." I whispered as I turned towards the door.
My heart broke as I stepped through the door and heard it clicked closed behind me. My father stepped beside me and wiped the stray tears that were on my cheeks.
"You okay?" He was genuinely concerned about me. I took a deep breath and nodded my head. He took my arm and led me to the set of closed double doors. Once they opened, I would see my future husband. I heard the beginning melody of the wedding march start to play and suddenly I couldn't breathe. My father noticed my panic and didn't open the doors, he pulled me back toward the room where I left Ranger and looked at me.
"Pumpkin, I'm going to say one thing and then you have a choice to make. I can see you are warring with yourself and I only want you to be happy." He looked at me waiting for a response so he knew that I was hearing him. I nodded and he continued.
"The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open. If you want to be truly happy with the one that you love, then you have to take a risk." Shit, Shit, Shit...can I throw everything I have with Joe away for a chance at happiness with Ranger? That depends. Do I want partial happy or total happiness? Decision time. Eddie poked his head out of the double doors.
"Everything okay?" He smiled at me when he saw my tears. He knew what I was struggling with. "I'll stall for a few more minutes."
I had the answer to all the questions in my mind. I knew what I was going to do; I just hoped it was the right thing.
"Daddy..." He smiled at me and nodded. He took me into his arms and whispered in my ear.
"I'm so proud of you. You're doing the right thing. Now, GO!" I turned to head back inside the room, but before I could grab the door knob, it was forcefully opened and there stood my future. The one man who knew me better than anyone.
"Don't end this. Don't end this because I love you and I need you more than I've ever needed anyone. I can't promise you all of this, but I can promise to love you every day for the rest of your life." His blank mask was gone and I could see every emotion written across his gorgeous face. Tears were falling from his brown eyes and I reached up to wipe them away.
"I could never end this. I love you too damn..." My confession was cut off when his lips crashed into mine.
A/N - Reviews are currency for us authors. Take a minute and leave a word or two. Good, bad or ugly...doesn't matter to me. : D