So it's been a long time since I updated this story (I'll admit I've been distracted with my other ones). Thanks to bouc0101 for the gentle prodding to update this. I had to reread it from the beginning to kind of figure out where I want to take this but have gained some new perspective now. Thought I would just update this in time for the holiday weekend as a special treat. And please let me know if this is a story you all are still interested in. Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah!
Shortly after Hena and Annie had come back from their walk, Annie and Eyal said their goodbyes and promised to stop back by before leaving Israel. They admitted they hadn't made any plans yet but Eyal admitted he did have to see his mother.
Hena smiled a knowing smile. "That should be interesting Eyal. I would pay to see that" Hena laughed. Uh oh. 12 years no see.
"It's gonna be that bad?" Annie asked.
"Worse. If you thought I was bad, well you're in for something now!" Hena laughed again, as Eyal cringed.
"Well maybe I'll just stay in the car this time" Annie looked at Eyal, standing next to her now.
He didn't comment, just glanced at her solemnly. At least she was in a better mood now, than earlier. Although they clearly had a great deal to discuss he was pretty confident that he would at least get to have that conversation.
"We should be going. Who knows what my apartment looks like" Eyal said, leading Annie towards the front door with a hand gently on her back.
"Oh it should be fine. I cleaned it last week" Hena admitted softly.
"You cleaned it?" Eyal asked surprised.
"Who did you think has been cleaning it for the last decade?" Hena laughed. Really! Men!
"I don't know, I guess I just never thought about it" Eyal admitted. Wow, I just never thought…
"It's not like it's a safe house, it's an apartment. You made the mistake of listing me as your emergency contact. The first year you lived there they couldn't reach you and there was a gas leak so they called me. I took note and then just kept visiting every month or so to make sure it was maintained" Hena shrugged.
What did I do to deserve such thoughtful women in my life? "Thank you Hena" Eyal reached over and gave her a hug and kiss on the cheek.
"Yes well…anyway…thank you for staying for dinner and it was very nice to meet you Annie" Hena said pulling Annie into a hug. "Please come again soon".
"Thank you for having us, and it was very nice to meet you as well. We will surely see you again before we leave Israel. Good night Hena" Annie said, opening the door and stepping through.
"Good night Hena" Eyal said, smiling and following Annie out the door.
They each sat in the car and waved at Hena as Eyal pulled away.
"Well that didn't turn out as I planned" Eyal said.
After a moment's silence Annie, looking straight ahead, asked "And what did you plan Eyal?"
It was then that Eyal knew he wasn't out of the water yet. He sighed. He didn't do feelings. He knew he would need to with Annie but it just wasn't in his nature.
"Annie can we please talk?" Eyal asked earnestly.
"What is there to talk about Eyal?" Annie lashed out.
"What are you talking about? Of course we have a great deal to talk about!" Eyal responded, quite worriedly.
"No we don't. I know the truth and you're not the man I thought you were." Annie said.
"And who did you think I was Annie?" Eyal whispered. Surely this woman knew who he really was, what he really was.
"I don't want to do this right now Eyal. Can we please do this tomorrow after we've had a chance to sleep?" Annie asked. "I don't want to say something in anger or exhaustion that I can't take back okay?"
"I think that would be wise, but Annie you have to promise me something?" Eyal pleaded with her.
"What Eyal?" Annie sighed. What would he want now?
"Don't walk away tonight. Please be here when I wake up." Eyal whispered.
Oh, he thought I would just walk out? Without talking? Does he know me at all?
"I think we can manage that" Annie responded, still starring out the window of the car as Eyal pulled into the same parking garage he had taken the car out from that morning.
He waited for Annie to join him and then led her to the elevator, keying in his code. Annie noticed.
"My birthday? Really Eyal?" Annie asked surprised that he would be that overt.
"What can I say I'm a romantic?" he smiled a sad smile as the elevator dinged on the 5th and top floor. She reached for his hand as he stepped passed her out of the elevator.
He glanced back at her surprised and then toted her down the hall. He stopped in front of the last door and pulled out his key ring finding the right one and unlocking the door.
He pulled Annie through and closed the door behind them, flipping on the light switch. It had been easily 6 months since he had been here but it was just as he left it. He squeezed Annie's hand before releasing it.
After inspecting the fridge, which he noted had been filled with food, undeniably by Hena knowing of his impending arrival and checking various other necessities, he noticed Annie was still standing in the entryway.
"What are you waiting for Neshama?" Eyal addressed Annie, coming back and tugging at her hand.
Annie shook herself from her thoughts. She had been thinking about everything she had learned from Hena and what she had learned about Eyal and all the questions she had and was really just thinking herself in circles.
"Sorry, did you say something" Annie asked, looking down at Eyal tugging on her hand.
"Let's go to bed. I'm sure we can work this out in the morning" Eyal said.
He pulled Annie into the bedroom and handed her an old t-shirt out of one of the drawers to sleep in. "I hope this is ok. I don't really…well…" Eyal sighed "look I've never brought a woman here so I don't have anything…" Eyal trailed off.
"It's fine Eyal" Annie cupped his cheek. It's endearing that he's so flustered. "I'll just change in the bathroom, let me hair down before bed. Do you have an extra tooth brush?" Annie asked.
"Ah, I'm sure I do" Eyal said going into the bathroom and looking through the cabinets before emerging with a brand new one still in the plastic.
"Thanks" Annie said taking it "I'll just be a minute".
"Take your time" Eyal smiled again, softly and sadly before leaving her in the bathroom closing the door to the adjoining bedroom.
He walked over to the dresser and pulled out a nightshirt and boxers for himself. Quickly changing, wary of his shoulder he sat himself on the edge of the bed and waited for Annie to return. A couple of minutes later she emerged from the bathroom dressed in little more than his oversized shirt.
She smiled at him, hung her dress on the door handle and then came and sat next to him on the bed.
"I know we have a lot we need to talk about but just know that I'm not going anywhere until we do ok?" Annie said squeezing Eyal's hand.
"You're sure?" Eyal whispered.
"Positive, I will still be here when you wake up" Annie smiled softly.
Eyal looked into her eyes and knew she was telling the truth. He nodded once then got up and walked to the closest, pulling out an extra blanket from the top shelf.
"I'll take the couch. Good night Neshama" Eyal said, leaving the bedroom swiftly.
Annie stared after him in shock. It had never occurred to her that they wouldn't share the bed. No matter how angry she was at him she still wanted to wake up next to him.
Eyal sighed laying down on the couch. There was a beautiful woman in the next room and he was sleeping on the couch. I must really love her if I am this desperate not to screw it up.
Annie made her decision crossing the room, opening the door and creeping out in the living room. She walked over and stood in front of the couch.
"Eyal?" Annie whispered.
"What?" he all but snapped back. Tone it down Eyal. Being angry is not going to help. "What Annie?" he asked, softer this time.
"Come to bed" she said.
"I'm in bed. Now you go back to yours" he replied. What was she playing at?
"No you're on a couch. Please Eyal come to bed. No matter what we have said or haven't said that doesn't mean I don't want you there to hold me through the night ok?" Annie leaned down and pulled the blanket Eyal had draped over himself down his chest.
"Annie I don't want to screw this up. So if you need your space tonight, please take it." Eyal responded, reaching for the blanket Annie had stolen; she snatched it out of reach.
"You're not going to screw this up. We'll figure everything out tomorrow ok? Just come to bed. Please? We've shared a bed before." Annie pleaded with Eyal.
"You're sure this is what you want Annie? Because I don't want you to regret this tomorrow morning" Eyal cautioned, sitting up.
"This is what I want" Annie offered her hand.
Eyal looked at it and then up at her. He knew this was what he wanted more than anything in the world and after looking in her face that for the moment this what she wanted too.
He accepted her olive branch and followed her back into the bedroom. Parting ways in front of the bed they both climbed in.
Eyal trying immediately to stay to his side was surprised when Annie reached for him.
"Come here Eyal" Annie ordered.
"Annie" he cautioned.
"Eyal I just want you to hold me. We will talk tomorrow ok? I promise I will be here, and hey, if you hold me you'll know all night long that I'm not going anywhere" she grinned at him evilly.
Now that wasn't playing fair, Eyal thought. But honestly, when had they ever played fair. Plus it was what he wanted too. He relented and pulled her into his chest. Sighing they both closed their eyes in contentment drifting off to sleep in one another's arms.
They may not have reached an understanding but their feelings were still strong. And in the end love conquers all right?