So, hey all, I know this has taken me an inexcusably long time to post. I've been a little busy but more than anything, I was putting rewriting off because this is the last chapter and it's on the shorter side. Addy and Daniel have been a lot of fun to write and I do plan to revisit them. A load of huge thanks to all my great reviewers and those who have faved and followed! And thanks to my most amazing beta and Kappa and Kate for helping me keep my muses moving!
You have all made this worthwhile so without further preamble here we go!
There's a want and there's a need. There's a history between.
Nine Days Later
Addison leaned forward, putting her head in her hands. Unable to sit any longer she climbed to her feet. She left her grey knit hat forgotten on the floor where she had sat, leaning against the wall near his door. She paced a few feet down the hall then turned and came back, staring unseeingly at the blue-grey carpet as she did so, unsure yet again. Part of her wanted to leave, that cowardly part of her, that part that did not want to be hurt again. It wanted to run right back down the stairs and out the door.
Addy took a deep breath, forcing herself to calm down. She slipped her hands into the back pockets of her wide-leg jeans to keep from fidgeting. Her attention moved to the pale wood veneer door with the number three hundred and two emblazoned across it with cheaply made plastic numbers coated in golden paint.
Her momentary calm gave way to uncertainty again, and Addy sighed, pulling her hand from her pocket so she could check her watch. She had been here for a while waiting for him. She was not by nature a patient person, so the near thirty-five minutes, which was already a while, had felt like hours. She had known that when she came here, she might have to wait. She knew he worked late hours, even when he came into Ruby's, and that was one of the reasons she was here at almost nine pm. She also knew he might not be in town at all, or that he might have found another late night place to frequent. The last bothered far more than made sense or it should. However, the idea of someone else…. Addy shot the idea down before it has a chance to continue. Despite knowing, she did not know if he was home, Addy had still just come here anyway.
Daniel had given Grace his phone number that night so Addy could call him; but she hadn't been able to bring herself to pick up the phone. Frankly, she had been even more confused for six of the last eight days. She had instantly gone on the defense when Grace brought him up again, trying to protect herself from the confusion and hurt, but it hadn't worked.
Yet again, he had surprised her. She had never expected him to seek out Grace. Still, a secret part of her, one she tried to ignore, had still whispered to wait all along. It was the part that had leapt to attention when Grace told her Daniel had come to see her. But if they were going to talk, she wanted to do it in person, not over the phone. She still had absolutely no idea what he could say, but he had convinced Grace, which was no small feat.
"Add, I think you should talk to him," Grace had said. "Just give him a chance."
Addy had gone directly into defense mode, a feeling akin to panic filling her chest, and she quickly had busied herself packing. Heart racing, she wouldn't let Grace say anymore. She couldn't. Nonetheless, she had tucked his number in the inside pocket of her ski jacket and brought it and thoughts of him to Telluride with her. She had considered calling him, and almost did, but decided it would be better if she waited until they were back in The Springs.
They had originally planned on coming back on Sunday, then on Wednesday. Then her dad asked her if she minded if they stay an extra day or two, adding that he had thought they could go take a pass at the mountain. As unexpected as that had been, Addy had truly not thought about Daniel hardly at all that first day. She knew her father suspected there was something on her mind and had probably offered more for her benefit more than anything but that hadn't mattered. They had laughed and had the best days they had had in a really long time. They had talked candidly about her mum. Up until then, Addy had always known her father and her mother had shared something special and that her father had not been quite the same since she passed. But Addy hadn't known that when he was uncertain, he still talked to her mother or that it had taken months for him to stop getting her mums coffee cup out in the morning. He said all those things country singer sang about love was what he had felt. He had followed it up with a well, maybe except for that one about driving a truck through a hotel. Addy had laughed and shook her head. She knew what her parents had was special and unusual. They had known happiness was a choice, not dependent on the other person. And they had laughed and teased each other right until the end.
While Daniel had remained in the back of her mind, it was the first time since that night at The Cattlemen's that she had actually really not thought about him.
An image of him, so uncertain that evening, filled her head and her stomach knotted with the same feelings it had that night, chasing away the lighter feeling thoughts of her dad had left her with. Shaking the memory off, Addy concentrated on her time with her dad again. The distraction had given her perspective. She hadn't been nearly as uncertain when they arrived home today, she just knew she was going to let Daniel say his part with no expectations.
But at this very moment, her nerves were winning the battle for her calm. The longer she waited for Daniel, the harder it became to just sit, and the more in her own head she became. And the more angry that made her.
Needing to move again, Addy paced back down the hall toward the elevators and the large window that looked out onto a section of Old Colorado City. Car lights and street lamps, shone off the wet streets, catching in the windows of the old brick buildings lining its sides. Leaning a hip against the casing, she folded her arms over her chest and crossed her ankles. She watched the scene below, half searching for any sign of Daniel among the small amount of people on the narrow sidewalk below.
She had envied him his apartment in the old city area, with its cobbled streets and old storefronts set into brick buildings, museums, parks, and restaurants. The building three doors down had been a bordello and saloon in its day, now it was a real estate office. This area of town had such a past. Chances were this building had been built when the town was growing from just another boomtown to something more substantial, and there were still tunnels under the roads so men could enter such establishments under the road. She had always loved it here this time of year particularly, with a light snow gently falling and Christmas lights still wreathing windows. Tonight though the Christmas card quality of the scene below was lost on her.
Addy sighed, pushing away from the window casing with one foot and started back down the hall, checking her watch as she went.
Daniel looked up at the front of his building, just catching sight of silhouette moving away from the window on his floor, a light dusting of snow on the sidewalk crunching under is combat boots. He'd worn his fatigues home tonight, but only because they'd gotten back from today's mission late. He had paused long enough to drop his gear, grab his coat and order Chinese food on his way to his car. A few days ago, he would have hurried inside and into the elevator on the off chance it was her he had seen, but it had been over a week and Daniel had told himself it was time to let go. That did not stop the knot twisting in his stomach at the thought, however. He reminded himself he had tried, but she obviously didn't want to see him. He had checked his phone messages four or five times a night, just on the off chance he hadn't heard his phone ring. But he also knew it was time to let this go; let her go. That wasn't saying that he wanted to or that it would be exactly easy but he would try.
Brow furrowed, Daniel reached the glass doors of his apartment building lobby, pulling one of them open; he stepped into the deserted space and crossed the pale green tile floor to the elevators. He pushed the lighted button, waiting only seconds for the heavy steel doors to open and he was inside, selecting his floor.
He also had to keep reminding himself that this was probably for the best. He didn't know how she would fit, but even before Jacks dog story, Daniel had wanted to try. He wanted to know. Needed to know.
Daniel stopped the thought right there, knowing it would lead him nowhere good as the elevator stopped and he stepped out.
He took several steps before he looked up, his gaze drifting to his door. His steps slowed and his gaze snapped back up, heart pounding. Her blue eyes met his and held and for a split second he questioned if she was really here. His brow furrowed and he looked from her, down the hall then back. "Ad..Addy, " he stammered. He turned again, nearly pointing at the window. It was her. She had been…she had been in the window.
Addison had scrambled to her feet the moment she saw him exit the lift. Despite her best intentions, her heart gave an odd little flip and her stomach tightened. She opened her mouth slightly, but whatever she may have said died on her lips. She couldn't seem to articulate now that he was looking at her. Her attention dropped to the floor, looking for anything to focus on but his face; this was apparently going to be harder than she had anticipated.
"Addy?" Daniel stammered a second time, opening his mouth several times as more words tried to come out. It had been nine days. "You.. you're here. I…"
Her gaze darted to his face, skin pale. "I've been," she began, her voice trailing off as she finished, "gone."
"Montana?" Daniel heard himself ask, not moving.
Slipping her hands in her back pockets again, she glanced up at him, holding his gaze for a moment. "No," she began softly, shaking her head. "No, Telluride, actually."
She loved the winter. "Snowboarding?" he heard himself ask.
"Yeah," she said, with a short nod. "Dad, actually," she continued, smiling softly for a moment before she remembered where she was. "Went too," she finished awkwardly.
That smile, no matter how brief, had set his heart racing. But it was not just that quick smile that did something to him, he took a step closer. He knew how important it would be to her that her father had gone with her, before he could say anything she did.
She glanced up at him, uncertainty in her eyes. Her attention dropped to the bag of food dangling from his hand, "We should go inside."
Her suggestion, no matter how practical, left him frozen in place again. "Ah, yeah. Yeah, if you wan.. if you want," he stumbled after a moment. His attention shifted to his door before it came back to her down-turned face.
Addy shifted uncomfortably, glancing up at him with uncertain eyes.
Still unable to read more than hesitance and uncertainty in her gaze, Daniel remembered himself and stepped past her, slipping the key into the lock. He pushed the door open, flicking the light switch on before he stepped out of the way, letting her move past him.
Completely uncertain what to do, Daniel stared at her for a moment, his attention drifting down the tense line of her small frame. He opened his mouth to speak and unsurprisingly nothing came out. He hadn't planned a speech, really, he just wanted her to…he still didn't know how to articulate it. Determined to get a handle on himself, Daniel forced himself to move. He stepped past her and took a few steps inside, putting his bag of food on the table. "Are you hungry?" He asked, the words nervous and unbidden as he removed one of the styrofoam boxes from the bag.
She turned then and finally looked at him again, folding her arms over her chest, her gaze dropped again for a split second. "What do you want Daniel?"
"I," he began stammering, "I want…" Swallowing, he finally managed to get hold of his tongue and said exactly what he felt. "I am sorry."
She stared at him for a moment a silent warning going off inside her. That simple phrase and the earnest look in his eyes had the power to chase everything before now away.
"Sorry?" She spat, not ready and angry with herself for being so willing to forgive him so quickly. "You are sorry," she went on nodding her head as she spoke, contempt in her voice. "Sorry for what?" She asked, looking away from him, anger slipping across her face. "Sorry. Sorry for what?"
Daniel stood there watching her, growing more anxious the more visibly angry she became. But he had no idea what to say.
"Sorry?" She questioned again, looking at him once more, even more upset. "Sorry for sleeping with me? Is that what you're sorry for? Hmmm, Daniel?" She went on as she turned away from him, running her hands up both sides of her head as she paced to the table. "For making love to me and then offering me coffee and a cold excuse?"
Her words stung, but she they were true. Again he was helpless.
"Did you get what you wanted?" Addy asked next, knowing even as she spoke the words, they were unfair and wrong, but she wanted to hurt him. She spun around, facing him as she continued,"Don't expect a repeat because there won't be one."
"Please Addy, don't," Daniel began, panic filling his chest. He had never meant that. As much as it hurt to hear her say those words, he knew what he had done could have been easily interpreted that way.
Her heart was racing in her chest making it nearly impossible to breathe. She turned giving her back to him, not wanting him to see her face. Shame mixing in with the other emotions rioting inside her, she knew that wasn't what happened.
Daniel took one halting step toward her. "Addy," he questioned softly. The word came more like a plea than a question and Daniel found himself taking another step closer. She seemed to grow even more tense.
Still needing to protect herself, Addy spun, facing him. She put her hand up, he stopped. "Don't. You don't get to.." Panic filled her chest, Addy made to walk past him. She needed to leave.
Before he knew what he was doing, Daniel stepped closer, grabbing her arm. Surprising them both with his actions. Daniel's attention stayed on where his hand was wrapped around her small forearm. Flexing his fingers, he didn't let go. He knew that if he did, she would skirt past him. "Addison," he began, his attention moving to her face. "Please, Addy. I never," he began swallowing, his brows growing even closer as he tried desperately to find the right words. "I would never purposely hurt you like that."
She nodded, fighting tears, her gaze dropping away. "What do you want, Daniel?"
You, a voice inside him answered immediately. "I'm s…" His words trailed off before he said he was sorry again, her attention returned to his face. "I wish.. I never wanted to hurt you," he finally got out. He dropped her arm, knowing that if she walked past him, he'd make himself let her go. "I just. You… I wanted you."
Addy looked down, when he dropped her arm.
Daniel's chest tightened more as she didn't move. Her hair hung about her face, hiding it from him. He wanted to touch, just step closer, brush her hair from her face. A voice inside him, pushed him to do just that. He wanted her to look him. Actually, he needed her to look at him.
Just like the night at the restaurant, as if she had heard his thoughts, she did. Her gaze darted up for a minute before she quickly looked away. But it was just enough for him to see more moisture gathering in her eyes and the confusion dancing behind it. A vice-like pressure settled into his chest and before he knew what he was doing, Daniel stepped closer. "Addy," he whispered softly. She still didn't look at him.
His hand reaching up of their own accord, he caught her soft dark hair, with his fingers, brushing it behind her ear. He didn't urge her head up, just trailed his fingers across her cheek before they dropped away. "Addison?" He swallowed hard, before he continued. "Please let me fix this."
She finally looked up at him then. Her eyes slowly lifting. Tears were coming in earnest this time, it was almost too much. But he made himself stay still, afraid if he touched her again she would startle. Her attention drifted to his mouth.
Addy wanted to believe. She actually knew she could believe him, it was just… She didn't know. He had hurt her so much. "You made me feel like a fool," she said, her eyes meeting his again. She batted moisture from the corner of her eye.
Daniel held her gaze but didn't say anything for a moment. He truly didn't know if he was supposed to. "I didn't, I—"
"Daniel," she began. "I—I don't— it wouldn't…." She trailed off again, before she admitted, he hurt her far more than he should have been able to. "What do you want, Daniel?" She asked again, those words her only defense.
He wanted her to see just how badly he wanted this, he wanted them, he put it all out there.
One simple word, with so much meaning.
The open look in his eyes, mad she heartbeat a little harder, but she still needed to know why he had done what he had. "Then why?" she began, taking a deep breath before she continued. "Why did yo—"
"I" Daniel began, his attention dropped and he closed his eyes for a moment. He swallowed before he spoke, his eyes lifting to hers as the first of what he knew would be many half-truths came out. "I never know where I am going to be, or how long I'm going to be gone. I can't always promise you things like: I will be home at five or I won't just suddenly up and leave. I won't be able to call you or tell you tell you anything." He paused before concluding. "I didn't think it was fair. I didn't want to hurt you." Daniel waited, knowing as she remained silent that she was weighing his words. He hoped they didn't come up wanting in her eyes.
Addys gaze stayed on his hands, words not coming out. Somehow they had moved closer in the minute, so he was close enough to touch. Addy reached out, her finger tips settling on his chest. She stepped closer, her palm flattening against the firmness of his chest. Her eyes skimmed over the hollow of his throat, slowly traveling up his neck then across the strong line of his jaw, pausing on the lips she liked so much.
"Daniel," she whispered.
No sooner than the word was out, and Daniels fingers were slipping into her hair and his lips gently brushed against hers.
A few weeks later
"Daniel," a voice called as he was poked in the arm.
He shifted in the bed and cleared his throat as he threw the arm that was poked over his forehead. Yet, he did not open his eyes.
Within half a second the mattress moved and the same voice called to him again. "Daniel," said she, in a sing-song voice. He cleared his throat again, a grin tugged a little harder at his lips, but he didn't answer or open his eyes.
The bed shifted very quickly and he was poked much harder in the side. This time he rolled to his side, away from her.
She leaned over him, whispering in his ear, "Daniel." She let her breath linger there on the sensitive flesh, a shiver slid along his skin but he still didn't acknowledge her. The bed shifted again as she moved away, "I know you're awake, Daniel."
Two seconds later, "If you do not stop ignoring me, I will resort to other means."
She didn't even wait for a response this time. "All my bags are packed," she began singing rather loudly and definitely off-key. "If Ben Affleck can do it so can I," she declared in sing-song before she started singing in earnest again, "I'm ready to go I'm standing here outside yourrr…"
Daniel moved quickly, slipping an arm around her waist and yanking her over him. She shrieked loudly, giggling all the time, landing in a tangle of limbs. Daniel pulled her back tightly to his chest, covering her mouth his other forearm.
She continued to attempt to sing against his arm, her voice muffled. "I hate to wake you u–"
"Shhh," he cut her off, "my alarm hasn't even gone off yet and you do not hate it." Tightening his grip on her, he buried his nose in her neck and pulled her deeper into his chest.
Flopping around in his arms dramatically and huffing, she reached up, wrapping her hands around his forearm, pulling it down from her mouth. She turned her head and shoulders just enough so she could see him.
Daniel met her twinkling gaze. Suddenly she was singing again. "Kiss me and smile for me…" her words trailed off, the mischievousness leaving her eyes as they dipped to his lips.
"I don't want to go." Her eyes returned to his. She was really not looking forward to going back to school, even if she would be back for good in a few months. This was the last morning they had together and she wasn't ready. She already couldn't imagine being where he wasn't.
The light in his blue eyes changed with her words and he shifted, pulling her partially under him. Daniel brushed his lips gently against hers. Lifting his head, he held her gaze while he caught her left hand with his right. Addy lifted her head, catching his bottom lip between hers, nipping it softly. Daniel deepened their kiss, his long fingers threading through hers as he trapped her hand on the mattress by her head.
Thanks for reading!
Much love to Samma, this was for you!