Chapter Twenty Three + Epilogue
Tobias got up and dressed a short while later. My stomach grumbled loudly as he walked to the door. He let out a chuckle and walked back across the floor to me. He bent down and pressed his lips to mine
“I’ll be back with pizza.” he grinned.
“Okay.” I murmured, still sleepy.
Once Tobias was gone I felt my body drifting back to sleep. Even though I’d been asleep forcibly for two weeks, I felt like I hadn’t been asleep at all.
Just before I could nod off completely I forced my eyes open. I wanted to be awake, I wanted to make the most of every moment I had. I sat up and yawned before I stood up. Lazily I grabbed my panties from the floor and Tobias’ shirt. I walked out of the bedroom and down the hallway while throwing the shirt on over my head. I found myself standing in front of the open fridge, gazing over its contents. I licked my lips and, fuck my mouth was dry. There wasn’t much there. Tobias obviously had not been shopping, but there was a six pack of juice boxes, the kind parents usually pack in school lunch boxes, which made me smile. Despite Tobias being a big business mogul, he still had cute little quirks that continued to surprise me. I took one and walked to the breakfast bar and sat down.
I pulled straw off the back of the juice box and stabbed it into the foil at the top. Idly I lifted it to my lips and took a sip. It could have been the cheapest, nastiest juice in the world, but for some reason in that moment it seemed like it was some kind of nectar of the gods. It was gone far too quickly, the small box barely enough to wet my throat let alone quench my thirst. I needed to have another.
By the time Tobias returned the other five boxes sat in a row on the breakfast bar, empty. He walked inside and his eyes trained to the empty juice boxes, I watched his brow furrow and he placed the pizza box down.
“Thirsty?” He teased
“So good.” I mumbled picking up on of the boxes, sucking on the straw, hoping to get some remaining dregs. “But they’re all gone now… I’m sorry.”
Tobias grinned and pulled me into an embrace. “You kidding? They’ve been there since last week. I uh, when I was younger my dad used to get them for me when I was down… it was a comfort buy… I just wasn’t home enough to drink them.”
“Oh.” I whispered. “Tobias.” Tears peaked at the corners of my eyes. He’d been so upset about me being sick he’d needed to use coping mechanisms from his childhood.
“Relax, baby.” He whispered. “I guess our little girl likes them.”
I placed my hand down on my small rounded bump, it was barely there, but still noticeable enough for me.
“A sweet tooth.” I grinned. “I think we might need to have pancakes after pizza in that case.”
“I feel like I haven’t eaten properly in weeks.” I mumbled, then smiled. I’d been on tube feeding in hospital, up until I was awake at least and then after that they’d kept me on a bland diet. “I guess I haven’t really.”
“You’re right.” He grinned. “Well, let’s eat this pizza, and I’ll make pancakes while you watch Kill Bill Vol.1”
“Oh baby.” I moaned. “You know how to speak right to my heart.”
We sat at the breakfast bar together and shared the pizza. Tobias finished his last slice before standing and walking in to the kitchen. I was still eating as he began to retrieve the ingredients for his pancakes. He placed a glass bowl down and then hesitated.
“Everything okay?” I asked, popping a piece of pepperoni into my mouth.
He looked up at me and tilted his head. “How would you feel if I told you I was going to leave Clarke Industries.”
My eyes widened and I leaned back. Tobias had expressed briefly some time back, his wishes for something different, but it had been fleeting, and we’d never talked about it again. Of course, being who he had always been, he never failed to surprise me
“Yeah. I mean I’d still own the place, but I’d be a silent owner. I have someone in mind I think can do the job with a bit of training and eventually, I’d like them to take over from the interim CEO if they wanted it.”
“You don’t want to go back?” I replied.
“I didn’t really want the job in the first place.” he admitted. “But because my Dad built it up, I felt a responsibility and Fuck, I was good at it, but it ate me alive Rubes, you know that. Ever since we met I’ve been fighting the urge to just give it all up.”
I smiled and shrugged. “Tobias, I only want you to be happy. If leaving will make you happy then I am all for it.”
“Being with you, raising our family… being there will make me happy Ruby.”
“Then don’t go back.” I smiled. Tobias grinned and began to mix the ingredients
“Whose the guy?” I asked tilting my head. I intended on returning to work, I wanted to. So I was curious about who I might end up working for.
“Huh?” Tobias replied, his face was glazed over and I could tell for the first time in a long time he seemed relaxed. I liked seeing him this way, unburdened by stress. He stopped stirring the mixture and looked up at me.
“To replace you?” I murmured.
Tobias bit his lip and let the wooden spoon fall against the side of the glass bowl before turning to the fridge. “No one you know. Besides, I’m happy to leave it as it is for now Rubes. There is all the time in the world for that. Right now, I want to focus on us.”
“Well I do like the sound of that.” I mused.
“Good.” Tobias smiled as he walked back to the bench with a stick of butter “How about you set yourself up on the sofa and I’ll make us dessert with all the trimmings.”
I stood up and began to walk into the living area. “Don’t have to tell me twice.”
I sat down on the black leather couch and picked up the remote. The tv beamed to life after I pressed the on button and I navigated to the stored media. I started to watch the movie, but before too long my eyes grew heavy and I found myself nodding off again. I woke sometime later to the sweet smell of pancakes and maple syrup under my nose.
My eyes flickered open and Tobias knelt in front of me, holding a plate of pure indulgence in front of me. Not only was their pancakes and syrup but he’d also sauteed bananas and placed a large dollop of cream on top. My stomach grumbled with lust for the food and so I sat bolt upright, like some kind of food zombie forgetting my still tender arm. I yelped in pain, and Tobias almost dropped the plate of food on the floor.
“Save the pancakes.” I groaned gingerly rubbing the spot where my bandage was. “I’m okay.”
Tobias placed the plate down on the black glass top coffee table and came in close to me, he placed his hand over mine and gave me a look that barely concealed his worry.
“Are you sure?”
“Very.” I exclaimed. “I just got a little excited for dessert.”
The worry melted, quickly and in its place a mischievous glint. He raised his eyebrows and licked his lips. I leaned forward past him and picked up the plate.
Tobias growled and pouted. I scooped a small amount of the whipped cream off the pancakes and playfully tapped it on his nose.
“Now you’re dessert too.” I smiled as I leaned forward and kissed his nose softly.
Tobias let out a chuckle before standing, he walked to the kitchen and grabbed his own plate before walking back to the couch and sitting beside me.
“Do you think it’s finally all over?” Tobias mumbled.
“Everything we’ve fought to be together. Do you think it’s over?”
“Yes.” I replied. “I think we’ve proven to ourselves more than anyone that we can get through anything thrown at us.”
I smiled as I popped a mouthful of maple syrup covered pancakes into my mouth. I smiled and closed my eyes at the sweetness. “Mmm. so good.”
“You dropped some maple syrup.” Tobis noted as I opened my eye, pointing to my chest. I went to hook the drip up with the spoon, but Tobias put his plate down and took mine and before I could do anything his mouth was against my flesh, licking the spillage. “You’re right. Sooo Good.”
I placed my hand on the back of Tobias’ head and smiled.
“I wouldn’t change any of it you know.” I murmured. “As silly as that sounds. But if certain things had not happened the way they did, maybe we wouldn’t be here right now.”
“It’s not silly.” Tobias replied. “I know what you mean, and I feel the same way.”
We sat there for a few moments, just looking at one another like it was the first time we’d seen one another. Tobias’ face softened and he placed his hands over mine.
“I want to marry you.”
“Good thing I already agreed to that then” I teased with a smiled.
“Lets elope then.”
His suggestion caught me off guard, with being sick I’d barely even had a chance to wrap my head around getting married in the first place. I hadn’t been able to take a second to just breathe yet. The truth was though, I’d never dreamed of the big wedding so many girls dream of. In fact for a long time especially after escaping an abusive relationship I’d told myself not to get attached enough to a person that marriage became an option. I’d fucked that up of course, but in the best way possible.
The thought of being with Tobias somewhere secluded, sharing my promises with him and only him, well it seemed kind of perfect giving how over the top our lives had been to this very point. I wanted us to have something just for us.
I shifted on the couch and sucked in a breath. Tobias’ continued to look at me with hopeful eyes, but I could tell he wasn’t expectant. The answers didn’t matter anymore, as long as we had one another.
“Somewhere sunny, with a golden beach and crystal water.” I whispered as I leaned in to kiss him.
“Is that a yes.”
“As soon as the doctor agrees we can. It’s a yes. Let’s elope.”
Two Months Later
I stood on the beach, moving my toes so the small pieces of sand danced through them. The sun was warm on my body, but not overbearingly so. It was still early, so the intensity wasn’t at its worst yet. I looked out at the water, at the small waves along the shoreline as they collapsed and rushed up the wet sand. I wanted to dip my toes in, but I couldn’t right now. It was almost time.
I lifted my hands to my rounded belly, and like she knew, our little girl kicked against my stomach. “Yes. I know you’re there.” I whispered.
I’d bought a white cotton sundress at a local shop the day before. I’d had to get a size up to accommodate my ever expanding belly, but I didn’t mind.
“Barefoot.” Tobias’ voice soothed as his hands wrapped around my waist from behind. “Check.”
“Mmm” I murmured, curving into his body. I took his hands and placed them on the spot where our daughter was still kicking.
“Pregnant.” He chuckled, rubbing my stomach. “Check.”
He spun me around, until our faces were aligned. His blue eyes caught mine and he smiled so hard they danced. “I guess all there is left to do is marry you.”
“I guess so.” I smiled back.
Tobias and I walked down the beach. There was a waterfall about half a miles walk away. We’d planned to say our vows and then head to the courthouse in Honolulu to make it all official. When we made it to the spot though, things were not as they seemed. At first I thought it was a stranger standing there, but as we drew closer I realised it was Jimmy.
“Jimmy?” I could tell my tone was incredulous, I couldn’t figure out why he was here, how he was here. I rushed up to him and embraced him.
“Hey Ruby!” he exclaimed as I stepped back, he looked over at Tobias knowingly and nodded. “Tobias.” he smiled.
“What are you doing here.” I asked.
“Tobias asked me to be the officiant.”
I turned and looked at my soon to be husband and smiled. I hadn’t even realised how much I wanted Jimmy here, how much I’d wanted him to be a part of this, until I’d seen him, how did Tobias know me better than I knew myself?
“Yeah I had to do some papers on line, but officially I can officiate. Here, now.” He grinned.
My eyes welled up with tears, Jimmy been a constant friend for me, and for Tobias, even when it had been almost impossible for him. He’d been on this ride with us, it seemed right to have him here.
“So I figured we’d do the official stuff, and then I’ll leave you to say your vows and er… you know… Honeymoon and stuff… alone”
I nodded, now barely able to contain my emotions.
Jimmy had us sign the forms and announced us legally married. He gave us both a hug and then left after I made him promise to meet us for dinner at the hotel that night.
“Come here.” Tobias whispered, pulling me in close to him. “Wife.”
I listened and gazed up at him. “When we first met I knew I was in trouble. I knew that my life was going change and there was going to be nothing I could do about it. You turned everything upside down and I’ve been breathless ever since. I wake up and see you sleeping beside me and you take my breath away just like you did on that first day. I promise for as long as you will have me that I will continue to be knocked off my feet by you. I promise to love you until love in all its forms everywhere ceases to exist. I promise to listen and compromise… as much as possible, even when I think I’m right. I promise to be yours, like I have always been, for the rest of my days.”
His eyes were glazed, like my own. I squeezed his hands and smiled. We were barely containing our emotions, but we’d get through this. After everything we’d been through… telling him things he already knew was a drop in the water.
“I wasn’t looking for love when we met, but somehow it found me, you found me. I thought soulmates and one true loves were just imaginary. Then I met you. Everything changed, I love you more than I knew I could anyone. I feel whole. Tobias, we made it through the dangerous waters, we made it to the paradise, we’re standing in the light of our love and everything is right for once. I promise that as long as my heart beats and my lungs breathe, I will be by your side. That even when times are hard I will be a constant support. I will love you, without question, because I don’t know how to do anything else.”
We kissed, alone on the beach under the sun. The breeze moved around us and through us, embracing us, connecting us.
“Come on.” Tobias whispered, pulling back from the kiss. He rest his forehead against mine. “We need to consummate this marriage. Stat.”
I giggled and rubbed my hands over my belly. “I think it’s a little late for that Mr Clarke.”
“It’s never too late Mrs Clarke.”
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