CATEGORY: JC/AL Romance
SPOILERS: Not that I know of...
ARCHIVE: Please ask first.
DISCLAIMER: Carter and Abby belong to each other, not me.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Please read and review!
SUMMARY: Abby's uncertain, but Carter knows just how to make her feel better...
Slowly, Abby opened her eyes to find her body entangled in Carter's. Normally, the fact that he was holding her so tightly was enough to calm her and put her back to sleep, but tonight she felt like she couldn't get close enough to him. He faced her, his arms around Abby and hers around him so their chests touched, hearts beating in unison. Even their legs were woven together. Gently, Abby pulled herself deeper into him. Now Carter's warm, sweet breath brushed her chin and neck, soothing her slightly. Suddenly she remembered the very first night they'd been together. She wanted all of him, and to be close to him, but that night, all she had was his hand. So she'd clutched it tightly and talked to him as he slept. Abby told him everything she could about herself, and her feelings for him, and how long she'd loved him. Tonight, she had more of the same, but much more deep.
"Hi, Carter." She whispered quietly, so as not to wake him. "You probably think this is stupid... well, I guess since you're asleep, you don't think anything of it. But you would... that I'm talking to you now instead of all day... but Carter, I'm scared. Not of being with you, that's the best thing I've done with my life. I'm afraid of being without you. It's true that I've never felt like this about anybody... I've never loved them... I love you. With everybody else I've ruined things long before we got to this point. When am I going to ruin it with you? It's been almost a year. Someday I'm afraid you're going to wake up and realize that I'm not whatever you saw in me. I don't know about you, Carter, but I thought about you, and what "us" would be like all the time before. It's so much better than I imagined in my best dream... and so much harder. You were right on the roof, Carter, I'm scared. I wish I could tell you how I feel when you're awake instead of only now. But anyway, my dreams were hard to beat, and this is far better." Abby paused, remembering. "I'm afraid that you'll be disappointed in me. Whether or not I get the courage to tell you, I love you too much to let you go." Tears, familiar and fought, blurred her vision until Carter was a moving, wavering form, far beyond her reach. She slammed her face into the pillow, feeling single and alone again.
Had Carter been any less awake, even he wouldn't have caught her last line, as she dove for the pillow, "I wish you'd been serious about that... because I want to marry you, too."
Just looking at her, Carter's heart beat faster. He'd heard every word she said. Those words had hurt him to the extent of hurt, healed only by holding her, his Abby. He couldn't stand the thought of her being that upset, and believing that he didn't love her. He crawled over to her and wrapped his arms completely around her shaking thin figure. Upon his touch, Abby half-smiled into the tear-soaked pillow. Carter gently eased her up until she rested against his solid, strong chest. He looked down at her, the kissed all of the tears off of her face. "Carter." She whispered into his lips, inches from her own. He pulled back, but still held on to her tightly, settling them back into their original position. "People can change." She said softly. "You changed me."
Carter sighed into the darkness. "You don't have to agree with me. I don't need you to change, Abby. I'll always love you even if you never change. There are things about you I'd never change. But all of it, even the other things you might try to change someday, the combination of everything you are, somehow makes you completely irresistible to me. If you decide you want to change, I'll support you. If you decide to be the Abby you are now, I'll love you then, too. You'd never disappoint me. I dreamed about you, too, Abby, and you're better even than that. I'm the luckiest man in the world to get to hold you in my arms every night... and to have you happy to be there. Maybe they're not all as bad as yours, but I've had bad relationships, too. You're not going to ruin anything with me. I want to have you forever. I love you too much to let you go."
Abby sat absorbing this for a few moments of silence. Finally, she asked nervously, "Did you mean it?"
"Of course I-"
"Not that. On the roof."
After barely a second of silence, Abby hung her head. Carter raised it again, lifting her chin with his palm until their eyes met. "Of course I meant it. I want to marry you." However, Abby thought the look in his eyes said otherwise. He noticed that.
"Abby, don't think that just because I haven't asked you again doesn't mean I won't. I'm going to stand by what I said, 'I want to marry you.' I do. Maybe not right away, but soon. You are the woman I love. I could never love anyone like I love you, and I want to know I won't have to try."
Abby stared at him for a second, unable to believe what he'd said. He looked right back, then suddenly burst into his amused smirk. She smiled widely at him, too, and then he opened his arms wide. She turned out of his lap and flung herself into his embrace. Both squeezed each other incredibly tightly, and neither ever wanted to let go. Finally they pulled apart, to immediately reconnect in a long, passionate kiss. When they broke apart, Abby looked him into the eyes and said, "I love you too."
"I'm really glad you talked to me about this." Carter said.
"So, all you want to do is talk?" Abby said sarcastically, giving him a meaningful look...