All Or Nothing
::A/N:: Bah, I've been in a creative mood, and I was tired of trying to get Cheria's damn attribute title, so I wrote this.
I actually got the idea from a movie I watched last night, but it really had nothing to do with the plot. It made me look at this Hubert and Pascal relationship thingy a bit differently. I betcha I'm not the only one with this idea, but it got in my head, and I actually finished it, so...yeah.
Anyway, hopefully I didn't butcher anyone and it turned out good.
Thanks in advance for reading!
Note: Edited as of 7/9/13. K thanks.
Disclaimer: I do not own Tales of Graces. If I did, Richard would not play with his hair in battle, but maybe...flex his manly sexy muscles :)
All or Nothing
It was the biggest day of his life, and all he wanted was for someone to plot his assassination, to put him out of his misery.
He was due to marry the president's daughter, Elaina, the following day. There were currently hundreds of people gathered for the rehearsal dinner, which would take place later in the evening. He recognized a few faces from the crowd, but most people he had only seen once in passing, or were invited at his father's and fiancé's request, or whom he had unknowingly sent an invitation to and didn't really want to see.
For the most part, everyone seemed to be in high spirits, his foster father probably at the top of the list. Hubert knew that the second the offer came flying out the president's mouth years ago, his father would nearly force him to accept for his own gain. But even so, hearing his father speak of him with pride to the attendees, telling everyone that he was "proud to call him my son," he couldn't help but feel a small amount of joy.
His mother was shortly behind his father, but cared more for his own happiness than hers. Well, she was happy for his decision, because he was far from happy. When she arrived, she smiled at him, tears lining her bright blue eyes, and gently pulled him into her arms. "I'm so happy for you, Hubert," she told him through her tears. He wanted to tell her that she had no reason to be happy for him, as he was not happy, but he remained silent in her embrace.
However, Asbel and his recently wed wife, Cheria, did not approach him and offer him words of advice or blessings for the future. He knew he would have to face them eventually, but the past was behind him, and he was not one for digging it back up.
"What happened?" was the first thing out of his brother's mouth. "When Mom read your invitation, I thought it was a joke."
They did not need to know what happened. What was done was done, and there was no going back. "I simply made a decision that would benefit me greatly in the end. Elaina is a wonderful woman who will undoubtedly make me very happy."
Asbel and Cheria gaped at him, baffled by his response and his cold and uncaring tone. "Did your father threaten to kill you?" Asbel asked. "I can't see you just willingly accepting the offer when you were so against it."
"Did something happen between you and—"
He cut Cheria off before she could say the name of the woman he loved so much…so much it still hurt even thinking about her. "I made my decision, and that's final. I was not coerced into making it, as it was my own choice to accept the proposal. There's nothing else that you need to know."
And he turned his back on them, before he lost his composure and broke down in front of hundreds of people.
Two months ago…
Hubert sat in his room, mountains upon mountains of untouched wedding invitations piling around him. He had no interest in sending these pieces of paper, designed by some professional his father had hired, to people who wouldn't understand the irony of the situation. Hell, he didn't even want to send them to those who would know. He just wanted to toss them out the window and let the wind take care of the rest.
It's not like the entire populace of Strahta did not know about his engagement anyway. But it was all a constant reminder of what he was never going to have, or rather, who he was never going to have.
He threw his head into his hands at the thought of the woman he would have done anything for. He kept hoping that one day he would make her realize exactly how much she meant to him, and that she would return his feelings. Even after two years of talking via the communication device she had made for him, after all the ruins and "discoveries" they went to together at her request, after all the time he spent with her, he was sure she felt the same.
But even after the past two and a half years since their return from Fodra, he couldn't wait any longer.
And now, here he was, broken-hearted and alone.
It was a conversation that still caused what was left of his heart to shatter and his eyes to burn. She had come barging into his office unannounced, as she usually did, to ask him a "favor," this one including a second trip to ruins she had discovered weeks ago. She had believed them to be Amarcian ruins—he begged to differ—but the onslaught of monsters had cut their visit short. And now, she had returned, hoping he would once again acquiesce to her request.
He didn't want to turn her down, and he would likely be swayed to change his mind if she just looked at him with pleading eyes. However, he was curious to see how she would react to his refusal. It was time she come clean with him, as he was tired of hoping she could have cared for him the same way he cared for her, and that she was not just using him for his strength and willingness to follow her to the ends of the earth.
He didn't get the response he was hoping for. "Oh, so you're tired of traveling with me already?"
She said it with a smile, one that he thought she could have forced to cover up her disappointment, but one that could have been as genuine as all the others. It's what kept driving him insane after all this time: his inability to read her.
But he had beat around the bush for far too long now. He had to know what she thought of him. If there was the slightest bit of hope, he would keep trying. But he just had to know.
"What do you want from me?"
Her eyes met his, and he could have sworn he heard his heartbeat echo throughout the room. Her smile never faded as she kicked the floor beneath her. "Well, I was kinda hoping you would come with me."
He swallowed a lump of nervousness before speaking again. "Do you not have someone else you can ask?"
She stared back at him blankly, but before he could read too much into it, her eyes lit up and that smile reappeared on her face. "Of course not! Who else would wanna do all this crazy stuff with me?"
His hands clenched at his side. Was he her last resort? Had she thought of going out on adventures with other people, but instead of facing their rejection, she came to him because she knew he would never turn her down? "So, you're telling me you only ask me because I'm the only one you know will say yes?"
He saw it then, a slight flinch at his sharp tone, but it was gone as quickly as it had happened. She quickly covered any loss of composure by throwing her hands behind her head.
"Well, of course, silly!"
He slammed his fists onto his desk, his mind clouded by anger, his heart aching in fear. "This is all I am to you? I-I'm just some option you have so you don't have to venture out on your own? So if there's a threat of monsters or thieves you have someone to sacrifice?! Is that what you're telling me?!"
She stood in silence, her eyes and mouth wide. He pounded the desk again, more so because it felt good to hit something. He hoped that now she would understand what she was doing to him, and that she would say something that would hint to him what to do next.
"Why are you so angry?"
He felt a stab at his heart at her words. Could she still not see how much he cared for her, how much he loved her?!
He turned his back to her, not daring to see her reaction as he attempted to come clean with her. "I'm tired of playing these games with you, Pascal. As much as I enjoy your company, I cannot and will not allow you to use me for your own personal gain. I-I would have hoped by now you would have understood why I never refused you, but…I guess I'm as much a fool as you are."
His statement was followed by an extremely thick and uncomfortable silence. He desperately wanted her to say something, anything, to prove he had misunderstood her, to prove there was still hope.
"I understand, Hu," he heard her say softly behind him. He listened as she approached him and nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt her take his hand in hers. She moved in front of him, and he was hit with a severe case of déjà vu. His face burned and his heart raced with anticipation, just as it had done years ago when he first confessed his feelings for her.
Just when he thought he couldn't take anymore, she gave him a soft smile, one different from the others and one he had never seen before. His breath caught in his throat; this could have been the flicker of hope he had been searching for!
"I would get tired of traveling with me, too. So, I'll ask someone else this time, letcha have a break, ya know?"
When she released his hand, he felt his world fall apart. How could he have been so foolish to believe there was a chance?! How could he have been so…so stupid to think that this wild and eccentric banana loving woman would put her ever changing life on hold to be with him?!
He watched her walk to the door, that smile he had fallen for so many times in the past now making his stomach turn in pain. "I'll be back when you have had a nice break!"
When he spoke, he didn't recognize the voice as his own. "If—if you walk out that door, Pascal…" He stopped. He didn't want to let her go, but he was tired of feeling like this. He was tired of waiting for nothing. And after his second failed attempt to get her to understand, he was forced to tell himself that she would never care for him the way he cared for her.
And it hurt…it hurt so bad. He clenched his fists tighter, his eyes beginning to burn. "If you walk through that door…don't…don't come back."
And then she turned around, that same carefree attitude about her, and he wondered if she even heard him at all. "See ya later, Hu," she said with a wink, and then she was gone. Once the door shut behind her, he couldn't stop the tears that fell from his eyes.
It was over.
"This is quite a party."
He had wanted some time alone, so he had quietly made his escape once he knew he wouldn't be missed. Somehow, Asbel had managed to find him. "Aren't you supposed to be in there?"
"I want to be left alone," came his reply, hoping that his brother would leave him be. He saw him lean up against the railing of the balcony, an unreadable expression on his face. So much for leaving him in peace.
"I know you probably don't want to talk about what happened, because, well…'history is history'. But," he stopped, his eyes staring up at the pre-dusk sky. "Well, let's just say, you're still living in it. Why are you doing this to yourself?"
But Hubert did not want to talk about it. It was already hard enough thinking about it. "I appreciate the sentiment, but I'm fine. There's no need for concern."
"I'm not the only one who is concerned. You even have Mom worrying."
He felt a pang of guilt. Perhaps his mother knew him better than he thought she did. But still, that didn't mean she had to know the truth. "Tell her I will be fine."
But Asbel didn't pay him any attention. "You know what she first said to me after she met Elaina? She said, 'I thought he was marrying that girl who traveled with you. Unless she dyed her hair and grew it out…but I assumed she would have been more lively.'"
He felt his heart sink into his stomach. Asbel continued in his silence. "Even Sophie was asking why you weren't here with—,"
"Enough." However, his voice didn't have the authoritative tone that he hoped for. And even his brother smiled sadly at the lack of strength in his words.
"What happened, Hubert?"
He tried for a few moments to keep his defenses up. He would not break down now. He had fought so hard to push everything that reminded him of Pascal far from his mind. But he couldn't do it. He ran his hands across his face in an effort to shield Asbel from seeing him lose his composure.
"She wanted nothing to do with me. I was just someone who wouldn't say no to her when she needed something."
Asbel was quiet for a moment before he spoke up. "Well, did you think that maybe that was her way of being with you? She doesn't seem to me to be the kind of person who just comes out and says romantic things."
"I waited…I waited over two years for a sign, for hope that there was a chance," he said, his heart sinking deeper into his stomach at the memory. "But every time I tried to tell her how I felt…she just tossed it into the wind."
"Maybe you should have been more forward."
But it was done. He would just have to live with the past and his decision. "Nothing would have changed. Even if I did say something more direct, she would not have returned my feelings. And that is why I am here now. I will move on and be happy without her."
He began to walk away, feeling the need for space once more. But Asbel stopped him dead in his tracks. "Liar."
He slowly turned around and stared at his brother. "Why do you say that?"
He sighed before addressing his question. "You're not here, Hubert. You're living in the past, thinking about what you could have done differently. You claim to have given up and moved on, but you haven't. And now, you never will."
"…Who and what have you done with my brother?" he asked once he let his words sink in. Honestly, he was telling the truth. He thought that he would get over her by forcing himself to accept the president's offer, but it made it that much harder. He found himself picturing this moment standing next to Pascal, not Elaina, which made him feel extremely guilty for not being a loyal fiancé for her.
"It's not too late to change your mind, or at least postpone things until you know for sure."
He wanted to laugh, but he had long since forgotten how to, so he smirked instead. "Oh, yes, because everyone would be thrilled to hear that."
Asbel smiled at him. "I think the person who needs to hear it the most would love to."
He opened his mouth to respond, but his words caught in his throat. He was referring to himself, he knew that, and he hated it even more because he was right. But he couldn't just walk back inside, stop the festivities, and tell everyone that he was postponing the wedding that had been planned for months now. All because he could have still been in love with the woman he let get away from him, the same person who probably didn't love him in return. He couldn't—no—wouldn't do it.
"You do what makes you happy, Hubert," was all Asbel said before he walked back inside.
He fought with sleep for hours before he decided that he was fighting a losing battle and got up. In less than twelve hours, he would be marrying the president's daughter. Not that she was a bad person; she was actually quite the opposite. She was very beautiful and had an outstanding personality. Although slightly timid and quiet, she was always doing her best to make him happy these last few weeks.
That made him feel like a poor excuse for a human being because he could not return her affection. Not when someone had stolen his heart and still held it in the palm of her hand.
He needed to get out and clear his head. The late night talk with Asbel had left him seriously considering telling everyone that the time just wasn't right. He had spent all night coming up with responses to possible questions, but the biggest one he couldn't answer was why? Why would he cancel a wedding the day of, and why would he do so on a whim? He wasn't a spontaneous person. That was Pascal's…
He slammed the door shut to stop his train of thought. He would go through with this. He may not have loved Elaina, or ever would, the same as he loved Pascal, but maybe time would change that. Maybe there was a reason to why Pascal never seemed to show any sort of romantic interest in him. Perhaps this was what was meant to be.
He walked out of his manor and took a seat under the fountain outside the house. The sound of water helped to calm his racing mind and he slowly began to feel his fatigue catch up to him. He placed his head into his hands, allowing the sound of the bubbling water fill his ears. The sun had not yet made an appearance in the sky, so he soon found himself giving into the darkness around him as it began to pull him into a state of unconsciousness. Maybe when he woke up, it would have all been a dream, and he would not be engaged, and he would…
He could recognize that voice anywhere. His head shot up, his heart pounding against his chest as he stared dumbfounded at the girl in front of him.
"You should probably sleep on a bed. You'd sleep better."
He had so many things he wanted to say to her, but just seeing her again caused his mind to go blank and his words to catch on his tongue. He couldn't decide if he was happy, angry, hurt…afraid…or anything.
"…Wh-what are you doing here?" he finally found the strength to ask. This had to have been a dream. There was no way Pascal was standing in front of him.
"I came to see you," she replied, moving slowly towards him, an expression on her face he had never seen before.
She carefully took the seat beside him, and his nerves kicked in at her close proximity. "W-why? I-I told you I—,"
"I know what you said," she interrupted, her eyes downcast to her hands on her lap. "And I didn't believe you meant it…until Fourier told me you were…getting married."
This had to have been a dream. He had never seen her so…so depressed. She was always so full of life and energy, so there was no way this was real. It couldn't have been.
"And, I know it's a little too late now, but…I'm sorry." When she met his gaze, he literally felt his heart break. "I'm really sorry I didn't realize anything sooner."
He felt the world caving in and he found it difficult to breathe. She softly laid her hand on his, even after he flinched at the contact, and when she spoke again, he didn't recognize it as hers. "I just wanted to see you one last time to let you know that."
His heart was throbbing painfully in his chest, and there was a burning sensation at the back of his eyes. When she lifted her hand and stood up, his body acted on instinct and grabbed her wrist before she walked away.
"Why?" he asked once he found his voice. "Why are you doing this now?"
She did not look him in the eye. "Well, I wanted to before…but…I didn't want to see you being all lovey with someone else." She shifted her weight from one leg to the other before speaking again. "But…I guess I kinda thought you deserved the truth."
Oh he wanted it alright, and he had dreamt of this day, but now…he didn't know what to make of it. Asbel's words kept ringing loudly in his head, but…he wouldn't just abandon Elaina on their wedding day. Even though he wanted to, god he wanted to so bad now…but he couldn't.
He slowly stood up to stand beside her, sending a silent prayer to whomever would listen to give him the strength to do the right thing. "I want you to tell me everything."
She seemed uncomfortable, as she kept her head down and her free hand kept fidgeting with the end of her shirt. "I remember the last time we talked, and you got all mad, and I said I would give you a break. I was going to come see you after a while, but that's when we got your invitation. And…I guess it really made me see what I was going to miss."
"You can find someone else."
Her free hand then closed around his hand on her wrist. "I don't want to find someone else. Remember when you asked if the only reason I came by with requests was because you were the only one to say yes? I never asked anyone, I didn't want to. I really liked spending all my time with you, Hu."
He couldn't believe he was hearing any of this. He had waited so long for her to say something like this. And it made it that much harder to know that he was hearing it too late.
He steeled himself, not wanting to hear more for fear of not being able to push her away. He released her, his throat constricting to the point where it was difficult to speak. "I need you to walk away. I-I don't want to hear anymore. I'm going to be married this afternoon, and your presence will only make things more difficult."
It was the hardest thing he had ever done in his life. He turned to the side, unable to look at her, but also, so she couldn't see the damage she was doing to him.
"Can…can I ask for one last thing?" she said, so quiet he had to strain to hear her. He didn't make an effort to respond, for she knew by now that she could ask him to do anything. She stepped in front of him, one of her hands coming to rest upon his cheek. He tensed at her touch, but when he looked down at her, he saw the tears in her eyes. It was then that he realized how hard this had been on her, and he wanted nothing more than to wipe them away and promise that he would be hers forever.
He met her halfway and when their lips made contact, he let the tears fall. He threw all caution into the wind as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer to him. He could taste her tears on his tongue, and it did nothing to help ease the realization that befell on him.
She loved him, and now…he would never have her.
She pulled away all too quickly, burying her face into his shirt. "I'm so sorry," she cried as he tightened his hold on her. He wanted to say something to her, but all he wanted to say were false promises of a life he couldn't give to her now. He should have been more forward with her, he never should have given up on her! Now, he had ruined his life as well as hers.
Before he could say a word, she pushed off of him and rubbed her eyes with her hands. "Now I know exactly what I am going to miss," she said through her tears. He slowly reached out to her, but she took a step back out of his reach. She met his gaze one last time, her eyes still shedding tears, but her face bore a smile that destroyed what was left of his heart.
"See ya later, Hu."
And then she turned and never looked back, even when his strained voice called out to stop her.
9 hours later…
"I can't do this, Asbel."
His voice was barely above a whisper as the crowd began to seat themselves in their respective chairs. His father sat in the front aisle, offering him a smile he had never thought the man would give him. His mother sat in the middle of the same row, along with Cheria and Sophie. All three of them smiled at him, but their eyes did not hide their sorrow. A few of his own men were seated in the crowd, offering him thumbs ups and smiles from where they sat.
But the one person he wanted to be there was gone.
He felt his brother place a hand on his shoulder. "I'm sure the people important to you will understand. Just say something."
But what was he going to say? His bride-to-be would be walking down the aisle any second now. And besides, Pascal would have been long gone by now. He had tried to search the town for her, but once people were awake, he was soon thrown into preparation for the wedding.
He had long since accepted the fact that he would have to live his life without her. But now…he didn't want to.
His frantic mind came to full attention when the small group of hired musicians began to play the song Elaina had chosen to walk down the aisle to. He heard Asbel mutter, "say something!" He watched as his soon-to-be wife walked arm-in-arm with her father, the president, towards where he stood. She smiled at him as her father released her arm and offered her hand to him.
"Do take good care of my daughter, Hubert."
It killed him to hear his superior and even friend ask him to do something he knew he would never be able to do. Regardless, he masked his guilt and shame and took Elaina's hand to stand next to him. He saw Asbel sigh beside him and drop his head, accepting the fact that there was nothing he could do but support him.
As if he needed to feel more like a fool.
"We are gathered here today as friends and family, to honor these two young people before us, as they prepare to embark on a journey full of love, laughter, and happiness."
He never wanted to run away from something more in his life then he wanted to now. Embark on a journey? He never went on an adventure unless Pascal was with him…
"I hereby give my blessings upon this couple. May you two find peace and joy in each other, as well as yourself, today, tomorrow, til death do you part."
He felt Elaina squeeze his hand, and a wave of guilt swept through him like a wildfire. He had already ruined the life of one person he loved, and even though he didn't love her, he still cared for her. He couldn't let her take the brunt of his regret and ruin her life as well.
"So now I ask to you, Miss Elaina Paradine, do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?"
He pleaded that someone would rise from the crowd and shoot him, or come up and stab him…anything to get him out of this! Didn't Asbel carry a sword at all times?
She squeezed his hand again, pulling his attention back to her. "I do."
"And do you, Sir Hubert Oswell, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?"
He opened his mouth to say no, to apologize for everything, that he couldn't pretend to love her when he was in love with someone else. Someone else who he now knew was in love with him.
But he couldn't. Even as hard as he tried to say the simple two letter word…he couldn't do it. "I do."
To his right, he saw Asbel exhale deeply and shake his head, but he said nothing. To his left, he saw Cheria drop her head in disappointment. He had sealed the deal. There was nothing that could change that now.
"Now, if there is anyone who has reason to believe these young people should not be wed, let them speak now, or forever hold their peace."
He held his breath. This was it. He didn't dare look at Asbel, even though he pleaded for him to say something! He wanted anyone to say something! His mother, Cheria, even Sophie! But when there was not one sound from the crowd, he let realization hit him like a ton of bricks.
It was over.
"Then, I hereby announce you two as—,"
There were murmurs as the crowd turned toward the interruption. Hubert felt his heart race within his chest as his jaw dropped at the sight of Pascal doubled over, hands on her knees to catch her breath.
"Wait, I-I wanna say something."
He couldn't believe his eyes. This had to still be a dream. He knew she was spontaneous, unpredictable, and he wouldn't put it past her to do something like this, but…
"Don't do this, Hubert. Please." The crowd began to whisper around her, but he paid them no heed. All that he focused on was her. "I know I can't go back in time so I could tell you this sooner, but…I-I love you. I love you so much that I will stand here and say it in front of everyone! I was stupid for not realizing it before, but now that I have, I can't just let you walk out of my life without trying to get you back."
He didn't know what to say, or even what to do. He just stood there like an idiot, waiting for Asbel to whack him in the back of the head to wake him up from this dream.
He saw his father angrily jump to his feet, but he stopped him before he could say a word. "How dare you come into my wedding and say that in front of my fiancé." He wasn't angry, or cold, or…anything. Besides, if he didn't say it, his father would have. But now that the statement was out, he wanted a reply.
"I just want you to be happy, and I see how miserable you are standing there, pretending you are. And I can't tell you how hard it was not to stop you sooner."
The crowd seemed to gasp at once, and all the sudden, hundreds of eyes were on him. They all should have known that she was correct; he had been absent half the dinner the night before, and had hardly been seen with Elaina any time prior to. Any time they did spend together, they barely even said a word to each other. Any person who knew them had to have known they were far from happy. The only reason people knew they were even engaged was because of that damn piece of paper he sent to them.
His father pounded his foot into the ground. "I want to hear nothing more out of your mouth! You will not come in here and attempt to sway my son into believing you are a better match for him than Miss Paradine is!"
She simply smiled at him, not his father, and he felt a bubble of hope erupt in his heart. "I don't have to. He already knows it."
"Why, you little…"
"That's enough," he said, cutting off his father. But now he was in one hell of a predicament. In front of hundreds of people. He could abandon all reasoning and do what his heart was begging him to do and allow Pascal to sweep him off his feet again. He could stick to the plan he had accepted months ago and live a less chaotic and mundane life without her. Either way, he felt like someone was going to suffer because he had been so stupid to give up…
"Can I say something?"
He turned to Elaina, who had recently spoken in his silence. She looked at him, her eyes staring deep into his, and he soon found himself uncomfortable. "Do you love her, Hubert?"
The tension that built around him nearly suffocated him. The seconds felt like hours and the heat of the desert was starting to get to him. He had to make a stand, and he had to do it now.
He heard Cheria squeal with delight behind him, and suddenly the world was a lot brighter and his spirit much lighter. That was all he had to do to get rid of the feeling of death and misery? But regardless, he still felt guilty for having to admit out loud to his no-longer-going-to-be wife that he had, in fact, been in love with someone else.
What he had not been expecting was her to smile at him. "I knew you did. You were always so distant and quiet. I knew from the beginning you weren't in love with me, that you were only accepting my father's request because you couldn't say no."
He lowered his head in shame, but a part of him felt relieved to hear her words. "I'm sorry, Elaina."
She put her hand on his shoulder and he was forced to look up at her once more. "Don't be. Because what she feels for you…that is something on a far greater level than what I could ever feel for you. Just don't let her go again."
And he saw Asbel smile over her shoulder and nod his head in approval. He smiled softly at the woman before him as she removed her hand. "You have my word."
"Good. Because my father will let me know otherwise." His smile widened slightly at her comment. "Now," she began as she faced the crowd. "Why don't you come up here and get your man?"
He turned around to face the crowd, who were still perplexed by the string of events, but he didn't have too much time to take in the scene before Pascal ran into his arms. She buried her face into the crook of his neck, her arms wrapping around his shoulders.
"You're really something else, you know that?" he whispered into her hair, holding her as tight as he could. "I should have expected you to make a scene on my wedding day."
She laughed into his shoulder. "I woulda been here earlier, but I totally forgot what time it started." He allowed himself to laugh softly before she continued on. "But if you thought this was bad, I totally had divorce papers ready!"
She pulled away, smiling. "Yeah, no, I was kidding. I kinda figured if I couldn't convince you myself, I'd just have to let you go."
He pulled her back into him again, thanking the heavens for listening to his prayers. "You could get me to do anything you wanted if you just asked me to."
"Yeah?" she asked, turning in his arms to look at him.
He nodded. "Anything at all."
She smiled and moved her arms to encircle his neck. "Then, could you get me a bunch of bananas? I'm really hungry. And whoever planned this party didn't think to bring any."
He almost laughed out loud; it was amazing how she was able to unlock a series of emotions he thought would stay bottled up. How could he have thought to have lived his life without her?
"But before you do that, I want something else, too."
"More than bananas?" he asked as her smile widened and melted his heart.
"I want you to kiss me again, just none of that soppy teary mushy stuff that—,"
And he was more than happy to oblige.