Falling
Destiny, Roses & Romance
Part II: Chapter 50

He sighed softly as he pulled her to him. She didn’t fight him, she didn’t have the need or the want to. She just settled back against his chest, loving the feeling she got just from being in his arms. She’d tried watching a movie, only to find herself distracted by him. And he was light-years away from her.

They’d laughed the short drive back to Lucy’s. They’d talked with smiles that couldn’t be tamed during dinner. And then sometime in the middle of Miracle On 34th Street they fell into a comfortable silence and Rafe lost himself in his thoughts.

The movie still played, black and white scenes flickering across the screen, the characters voices soft. It was really kind of silly to be watching this movie with him, she’d thought after turning the channel over. Here she was curled up with her very own Christmas miracle, her angel, and watching a movie about how Santa Claus was real.

Alison hadn’t voiced the thought. She was still just trying to figure out what was going on with the man she loved.

Through it all, the laughing, the talking, the more than a little making out like a couple of teenagers, and now just sitting here in silence pretending to watch a movie, something had been off. Something was off, and she couldn’t pinpoint what that was. It scared her.

His eyes had held a touch of sadness, his shoulders were tense, his movements so controlled it seemed like he was fighting off the urge to hit something. A swirl of emotions could be seen in him --- he couldn’t hide anything from her any better than he could lie --- but he’d tried to push them aside, so she tried to do the same with her worry.

Rafe sighed again almost silently, burying his face in her hair, inhaling the scent of her as if it were oxygen he needed to breathe. “Don’t,” he nearly pleaded, before she’d had a chance to open her mouth to inquire about his actions. “I-I can’t, Alison.”

So she nodded, swallowing down the lump in her throat that could be any number of things, but was more than likely just pure, untamed fear. “Alright,” she whispered instead, moving just so to manage to capture his lips for an all too brief second with her own. She pulled his arms tighter around her, forcing her eyes back to the TV screen.

“I would if I could.”

“But you can’t.”

Rafe chuckled, the sound bitter even to his own ears. His fingers toyed with her hair, once again smooth thanks in no small part to some extra strength conditioner of Lucy’s. As the strands fell through his fingers softly, it was frightening that he found it almost symbolic. He couldn’t see her face, but he knew she was trying not to pout. His knuckles brushed across her cheek, and he pressed a kiss onto her neck before sighing, “I want to stay with you, Alison. I want a lifetime of holding you this way.”

“But you can’t,” she whispered past the growing lump in her throat. “I know, Rafe.”

Again, he chuckled, and again the bitterness it held sent them both reeling. But other than pulling back just the fraction of an inch, he didn’t respond.

“Rafe,” Alison sighed, pulling away, turning to sit on her knees to face him. “Hey, I understand,” she murmured, her hand under his jaw to bring his eyes to hers. “I know you have to go. And I know that if you could stay, then you would in a heartbeat.”

His eyes darted away from hers, and he licked his lips nervously.

Her eyes narrowed. “Rafe?”

“I-I can’t, Alison… It’s just… Not that way, I can’t.”

“Tell me.”

Rafe shook his head. He fingered the hem of the t-shirt she wore, fiddling with it absently, his fingers brushing her bare thigh as he did so. Opening his mouth to reply, he clamped it shut again, with another shake of his head, he offered only a slightly wobbly smile, hoping she couldn’t tell that tears were burning his eyes. “Why are you wearing my t-shirt to bed anyway?”

“Because it’s comfortable.” She pushed his hand away, finding it too distracting for her own good. “Tell me, Rafe.”

“I’m not complaining, it looks good… No, it looks great on you. The shirt has never had it so good!”

“Rafe,” Alison groaned, crossing her arms in front of her and attempting to look stern.

He had to turn his eyes away from the way that action emphasized her breasts. “I can’t.”

“You can’t tell me?”

Rafe sighed again, shaking his head. “Alison, it’s just… Can we say I had a meeting I didn’t want and leave it at that?”

“Do you have to leave?”

“My father sort of…”

“Your father?”

He put distance between them, rolled off the bed to pace. Hoping the movement would ease the tension a little more than anything else he’d tried. “He… It’s a long story.”

A frown tugged at her lips, her eyebrows furrowing. “Y-You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, Rafe. I mean… I don’t tell you about my family.”

“I know about your family, Alison. I know about your life, that’s what makes this so unfair. I’m not suppose to tell you… And I- I can’t do it, alright?”

“We’ve broken rules before, Rafe,” she murmured, tears stinging her suddenly when she tried to smile teasingly. “B-But it’s… It’s alright.”

He cursed when her voice wavered. Turning and crossing back to her quickly, his hands on her face, his lips to hers in a matter of seconds. Before the thought had even registered, he was kissing her breathless, senseless, needing to comfort and be comforted and… her. He just needed her.

The thought hit him in the gut, and he broke the kiss, swearing again.

Alison tried to smile, she ordered herself not to push. “You know, for an angel you sure have some colorful language there, Rafe.”

Leaning against the opposite wall, he attempted to return her smile, failing only slightly less than she had. “I haven’t even started in Hungarian or Russian yet. Nadia did teach me a thing or two…”

“I thought Nadia was younger.”

“She is. She’s also the one with the temper.” His smile turned rueful, and he shook his head slightly at the memories that still assaulted him sometimes.

“You don’t have to tell me.”

He crossed back to her, sitting down on the edge of the bed and taking her hand in his. “It’s not that I don’t want to,” Rafe explained softly, his eyes burning as he brought her hand to his mouth, placing random kisses along her fingers, palm and wrist with a gentleness that made her gasp. “It’s not even about rules. It’s just that all of it… All of them… It’s blurry sometimes, and too sharp the rest. It hurts to remember.”

Alison pulled her hand from his hold gently, sliding it up his arm and frowning at the t-shirt he wore that barred her from more of his skin. “It’s just… I love you.”

Rafe nodded before touching his forehead to hers. “I know.” Capturing her other hand, he brushed his lips across her knuckles. “And I love you. But that doesn’t make it easier.”

“I know.” Her hand fell from his, touched down on his cheek for just a moment before she was moving to sit behind him. With a knee on either side of him, she started working at the tense muscles of his shoulders, placing a kiss on the back of his neck that made him shiver. “I never really saw any of my family enough to build a relationship with them except for my grandmother. And even with her… Well, you know how that went.”

He smiled, nodded once before dipping his chin as her hands moved to the back of his neck. “I used to think when I was little that we were all really close. In all honesty I think it was just Nadia I was close to. Everyone else had their own problems and we were the ones that stuck together to try and fix them all. Ela was… insane,” he chuckled softly. “My… our father pushed her away to keep her safe and she acted out by doing anything and anyone. Anya, was always trying to give her all the attention she though she needed, but it was never enough. That’s the way of my family, nothing is ever enough.”

“Who is Anya?”

Opening eyes that he only just realized had drifted shut, it took him a second to understand what she meant. “Oh. My mother. ‘Anya’ means ‘mother’ in Hungarian. Old habits die hard, I guess. I still slip every now and then.”

With the heels of her hands, Alison worked her way down his back, along his spine as she said, “I just know English. And not very well at that.” A smile played on her lips, and she slid her hands under the shirt he wore to find his skin, soft and warm just like in her dream. “My mother tried to teach me French once, so I wouldn’t embarrass her while we were in Paris. After about twenty minutes she gave up. I always meant to take a class or something to learn it.”

“Quelque chose vous vouloir?,” he grinned. “Anything you want.”

“You know French?”

“Languages were required learning with us,” Rafe answered with a nod. “Hungarian was my first language, but English was thrown in from the very start, I think if my father had completely had his way it would have been our first language and the others forgotten. But my mother ruled there, she loved words, so she taught all three of us as many as she knew then got my father in on the action. I can hold my own in a lot of languages. French, German, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, Portuguese and Russian I’m fairly fluent in. Though I might have to make someone talk slower once in a while.”

Continuing to work her hands across his back to get him to relax, she stared at him with an odd sort of awe. “What language can’t you speak?”

“Japanese.”

“Japanese,” she repeated, shaking her head. “Lift up your arms.”

“Nadia and I had this game—after Anya got so wrapped up in trying to take care of Ela—we’d pick a random language and see who could memorize the most words in a week, then we kept going until we could carry on a conversation. When we could fly to that country and not miss a beat, then we’d move on to another one. We were just getting to Japanese when…” Rafe broke off his words and did as he was told, not all that surprised when she stood up on her knees to get his shirt off of him, the swell of her breasts brushing against his back in the process.

“You didn’t pick it up later?”

“Sort of had other things on my mind.” Rafe answered simply, shrugging his shoulders.

“Right. And it sort of would have been cheating.” She looked down at him, almost hoping this new view would give her better access to what was really happening. Of course, if she flat out asked him again he’d probably tell her. “I’m thinking you should never wear a shirt again,” she said instead.

“Alison?” he asked, unable to keep from grinning.

“Afraid you’ll get cold?” she teased, settling in behind him once more. Her smile came out again as she brushed her lips against his now bare shoulder, her hands returning to their work free and clear from the barrier that was his black t-shirt. Massaging his back in a series of small circles and trying to carve the feeling of his skin into her memory.

“Not a chance,” he murmured. “I don’t feel the cold.” He knew that she could sense his smile more than see it as he continued, “I’m more afraid that you’ll take advantage of my relaxed state.”

“Relaxed?”

“Miracle hands you’ve got there, Alison. Miracle hands.”

Alison laughed, bringing her lips to his skin again, brushing them across the scar she didn’t dare mention. She felt him tense, and realized that he knew all too well the thoughts going through her mind. But she stopped him from pulling away by returning her hands to his shoulders. “You could relax more, you know. I don’t think the world would implode if you happened to try and forget everything.”

“And we’re back to the you trying to take advantage of me theory,” he joked, earning himself a poke in the side that caused him to jump. “That’s cheating!” Rafe cried, opening his eyes widely for the first time in a long time.

“Rafe,” Alison whispered, biting her lip to keep from laughing. “If I didn’t know any better I’d think you were ticklish.” As if to prove her point, she poked him again in the same spot, and couldn’t stop laughing as he jumped, this time off the bed and away from her completely.

“That… That is so not funny, Alison.”

Her hand came up to try and hide her smile, and she tried to compose herself to no avail, so she nodded instead, figuring that the truth was on her side.

But he leaned forward, his hands on the bed, his weight on his knuckles as his face stopped only inches from hers. His grin couldn’t be masked, and she was just a little worried by the hint of a mischievousness it held. “I love your smile,” Rafe whispered.

She reached out, her hands aiming for his sides in defense of what she knew was about to come. But he was quicker than her, much, much quicker. Alison laughed in surprise when held both her wrists. “Rafe, I love you,” she murmured sweetly, her eyes widening in what she hoped was an innocent look.

It may have worked, because the grip on one hand lessened and she took the opportunity only to have him catch her wrist again before she could make contact.

“Really, Alison,” he sighed, a smile fighting its way onto his face despite his best efforts to look stern. “I can’t believe you think I would fall for that.”

“It was worth a shot,” she shrugged, still grinning herself. “Don’t you think it was worth a shot, Rafe?” Leaning forward, she kissed his lips once, then again before pressing a series of kisses along his jaw and pulling back. She thought he’d come after her.

He didn’t.

Rafe let go of her wrists wrapping his arms around her waist instead, pulling her to him and burying his face in the crook of her neck. In one swift movement, she was sitting in his lap, and he was inhaling her hair.

Her arms wrapped around his neck, the sudden change in mood throwing her into a state of mild surprise. She just hugged him tightly, held him, ran her fingers through his hair and tried not to be freaked out by the tears she could feel hot against her skin.

One thing hit her hard, rang loud and clear through the air, and the worry settled in again. Because no matter what, with all that they’d been through already, he was the strong one. He was the one wiping away her tears.

She’d never seen him cry.

His name passed her lips on a whisper, again and again in hopes of getting him to look at her. Or at the very least stop crying so he would.

Alison straddled his lap, wrapping herself around him as if hoping that maybe if she just got close enough… What then she didn’t know for sure. She just knew that right now she wanted to crawl into him so they could both ease the emptiness that came with the truth and feel complete, if just for a little while.

He sniffled, turned his head to press his eyes against her shoulder, obviously embarrassed and just a little bit in shock. “I…” he started, only to trail off at a loss for words.

It didn’t matter. She shushed him, shaking her head and using the grip she had on his hair to tug him back gently, just enough to look at him. “It’s alright.”

“No it isn’t.”

“Rafe-”

“Alison,” he groaned. “It isn’t alright. I-I can’t do this.”

She wiped his damp cheeks, ignoring his wince. “What can’t you do, Rafe?”

“I can’t break down like this. I-I can’t do any of this and expect us both to come out of it alright.” Swallowing hard, he settled his forehead against her shoulder again. Tears still stinging his eyes as empty promises from his father echoed through his mind. Just one itty, bitty soul for a lifetime of happiness. A lifetime of her and their children and their grandchildren. Rafe shook his head, pushing back the thought. “I want an eternity with you, Alison. And… And we can’t have Destiny, or grandkids to tell our insane little fairytale to, but we can… Eventually, we can still be together. Forever.”

Her reply was lost on his lips as they found hers in desperation. Desperation so thick she could taste it in his mouth, salty like the tears they’d both shed far too many of in so little time. But she returned it, matched his level of despair with desire and tried to sway him back to her, before he tried to pull away and declare this unfair to her, before he could think enough to realize that this could only make matters worse. Alison’s tongue found it’s way past his lips, flicking against the roof of his mouth, and she didn’t feel guilty even knowing that in his right mind he wouldn’t do this. Because something inside of her screamed that he needed her close to him right now, and nothing was going to stop her from trying to heal his emotional wounds the way he’d healed the cuts on her hand only a few days ago.

His hands found their way up her thighs and under the oversized t-shirt she wore to find her bare beneath it save for the thong Lucy had so thoughtfully provided in the bag of clothes dropped at the foot of the bed before Alison had even awakened. He groaned at his new knowledge, this time the curse he muttered was in Hungarian. He held her tighter since as long as that blasted shirt was in the way she couldn’t get any closer.

Alison broke her lips from his, needing oxygen before she passed out. But to her surprise, he didn’t pull away, just went after her neck, sucking, biting, kissing. A moan escaped her as his teeth nipped at her collar bone then started back up, her fingernails dug into his scalp, encouraging him just in case he didn’t get it when she tilted her head back to give him better access.

The hand that had been all to happily roaming across her stomach went up, cupping her breast and drawing a gasp from both of them. Rafe shuddered, grinned against her skin as she moaned at his actions. Her hips shifted, looking to ease a building ache, and he met her.

He tried to think, but it wasn’t something he was good at in times like these. All he knew was that he has never been this hard before. That he’d never wanted- No, needed someone like this. Not so much that it made his eyes sting as the heat of her skin threatened to engulf him in flames. Never before had he been so willing to walk into the fire.

And, God help him, he wanted to be inside of her so much he’d be willing to sign the damn deal. Sell his soul for one more kiss. Go through the loop hole that only gave him three measly more months because it was still more time than they had now and he wasn’t close enough to her. He couldn’t get close enough to her.

“Szeretlek Alison. Szeretnék venni -t csinál ön bánya,” Rafe whispered, his words gasped as he fought for breath and fanning across her skin, drawing another moan from her.

Anything. He’d give absolutely anything to keep her making those encouraging little noises in the back of his throat. Anything to feel her like this, to be able to touch her.

He couldn’t do this. He couldn’t keep this up and not sign the deal. He didn’t have the strength to walk away. Not knowing how she’d sound calling out his name as she plunged over the edge.

“Szeretlek,” he said, repeating it again and again, between kisses, almost unaware that he was doing it at all. Between the taste and feel of her skin and her nails sliding down his back, leaving marks but not breaking skin, there wasn’t room for much else.

It took him awhile, but he regained enough of his senses to realize that she was practically bent over backwards. And Rafe knew that he should pull away from her, try and prevent any further pain for her, but he couldn’t seem to force himself to tear his lips from her skin. He exhaled sharply against her neck, and she shuddered.

He knew she had to be uncomfortable, but she wasn’t about to complain. He chuckled and sat up straight, his hands sliding to her back to urge her to do so as well. She was pouting as her forehead came to rest against his. And it was impossible to even try and resist the urge to kiss her, so he didn’t bother fighting with himself.

A light push of her hand on his shoulder and he laid back on the mattress only to roll over and hover above her. Once again their foreheads came together, their breathing ragged as they struggled with the need for air and the need for each other.

She spoke first. “Rafe, I swear, if you tell me you can’t…”

Rafe just chuckled in response. “I would, but then you might just set out to prove me wrong. I don’t like being proven wrong, so I’m not saying anything.”

“Good.” Her mouth captured his once more, her hands wandering across his skin, warm and smooth and intoxicating and addicting all in one. Her hand brushed his side playfully, and if the way he jumped was any indication, she figured she’d found his ticklish spot again.

But before she could investigate her theory further, he’d captured her wrists, holding them both in one of his hands above her head. He nibbled on her bottom lip with a smile before a sweep of his tongue attempted to sooth it, and she was so focused on their mouths she somehow missed his hand drifting to her side.

His plan became all too clear just a moment too late when he broke the kiss to grin at her triumphantly. “Payback is such a bitch,” he whispered before tickling her.

Alison squealed as she laughed and squirmed underneath him. “Ok, ok,” she cried. “You win, Rafe! You win!”

Rafe didn’t answer, just found her mouth with his again, keeping her wrists locked above her head in his hand.


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