But no matter how much happiness she had gotten tonight the only thing her mind could focus completely on was Jared. Jared and the fact that he would be here soon. She had hoped he would come in through the doors while the showcase was still going but she knew that wasn’t possible. He had a show tonight and with all the post show activities she knew it would take a while. It was late now though and her nerves were all over the place. He had sent her a text, he was going to be here soon.
She had checked herself countless times in the mirror, making sure she was somewhat presentable. She had seen him earlier but before that it had been so long since she had been with him. Everything about him was different but also so beautifully familiar. He was the same man who she had loved, who she still loved. His eyes still had the same hypnotizing effect on her, his embrace still comforted her to the point of painlessness. He was still alive inside of her and the confirmation of that was as beautiful as she had hoped it would be. He still loved her. That was something that hadn’t changed. He hadn’t needed to say it either, it was there in his eyes, in the simple kiss he had pressed to her forehead, in the smile he glanced to her. He was still hers and she would always be his. It was unbelievable but it was the only thing she wanted to believe.
She sat down calmly, her hands fumbling with the chainlink bracelets at her wrists. She smoothed the lace of her dress and adjusted her leather jacket. Her hair was loose, the wind from the air conditioner was enough to cool her down. She was a mess on the inside, terribly nervous, and unprepared. But of course that didn’t matter because just when she managed to relax there was a small knock at the door.
She rose quickly, her heart catching in her chest as she walked towards the door. He was there on the other side of the glass, a small smile on his face and the Winter dark glistening in his eyes. She felt clumsy as she unlocked the door and allowed him in. She caught his scent as he walked past her and she breathed it in, losing herself for a moment in the memories it came with.
“Sorry it’s so late.” Jared said, turning around to face her. He glanced down at the carrier Rowan only then realized he had and gave the baby inside a smile.
“It’s okay, really.” She replied in a small voice.
Jared set the carrier down onto the ground and began unstrapping the belts. Carefully he lifted the baby into his arms, cradling her against his chest with a delicate touch. “This is Elise.” He said as he turned the baby to face Rowan, a proud smile on his face.
Rowan held his eyes while she approached the baby. She looked down into the baby’s wide blue eyes and everything warmed inside of her. She was beautiful, more an angel than anything else in the entire world. Her head was nearly bald but her small face was alive with the kind of light no one else but the innocents had.
“She’s beautiful.” She whispered, lightly touching her fingers to the Elise’s hand.
“I know.” Jared watched Rowan admiring his daughter and couldn’t help the smile that arrived on his lips. There was an inner wish that he couldn’t abandon, the one that had been there when he had first held Elise in his arms. He wished that she was Rowan’s, that Bianca had had nothing at all to do with her. It was always there, the mistake he had so stupidly made, everything he had ruined by making an unconscious decision.
Rowan looked back up at Jared with a wide smile, her eyes glinting softly in the overhead lights. She wondered what Jared felt like every time he looked into Elise’s face. Did he see Bianca? Did he remember everything that might have happened between him and her while Rowan was gone?
She felt a pull in her heart, a heaviness that erupted inside. She had regretted every moment she had been gone, every part of her life that she had lived without him. Every amount of pain that had come with walking away. She wasn’t even sure how she had survived without him there beside her. But here she was now, standing before him, looking up at him and counting this moment as a miracle.
Elise let out a small yawn and Jared laughed softly. “She’s tired. I’m not sure if it’s healthy for her to be on my schedule.”
“Shouldn’t she sleep?” A pain rang inside of her. If he walked out that door would he come back? Would she see him again? She knew that he had other tour dates, that there was indeed a life outside of this one but he had only just come back. How was she supposed to let him walk away again?
He nodded and went to putting Elise back into her carrier before standing up again. “But I don’t want to leave.” He said, glancing down, his eyes flashing with a bit of sadness.
She knew then that he didn’t want to walk away again either, that the first time had perhaps been as excruciating as it had been for her. She took in a breath, reached her hand out and lightly touched his arm. “I’ll walk back with you.” She said softly, her words lifting his gaze to hers.
“It isn’t far.” He said quickly.
“Just let me get my things.”
Jared watched her walk into the back, her hair cascading down to her waist, the leather of her jacket catching the lights around them. He reached down and took the carrier up into his hold before he took a glance at the room. The paintings on the walls were as beautiful as the ones that had been in her apartment, filled with the inner sorrow that he could feel just by looking at them. But there were some that seemed different. Spots of white appeared, marks of light that had been unseen before. She was healing and with that realization every bit of worry inside calmed.
She came back out, a small purse over her should and a set of keys in her hands. “Ready?” She asked and he nodded. She locked up the doors once they were outside and then they began walking.
The wind was their companion, following behind them softly. The city lights never faded or flickered, they simply rang their way brilliantly around them. Jared took glances down at her, watching the way she just kept her eyes ahead but noting the fact that with each step she moved closer to him. He could feel her warmth beside him, could feel the way her hand lightly brushed against his. He had to look away, the need for her overwhelming him. Elise was already falling asleep and by the time they reached the hotel she was out.
“Want to come up?” He asked, gesturing towards the massive building they stood in front of.
Rowan didn’t have to think about it, all she did was nod her head before following him inside. He led her into the elevator where they stopped on the sixth floor. They walked through the hall and met Jared’s room. He opened the door, letting Rowan in first before he closed it behind him.
Jared flicked the light on, a soft white light filled the room as he went about putting Elise into her bed. Rowan sat on the edge of the bed, tucking her hands into her lap and setting her purse down on the floor. She watched his movements as he shrugged out of his coat, set it down on the bed and then turned to her.
Rowan smiled and then rose to her feet, the air washing the lace of her skirt across her legs. She looked about herself nervously, tucking her hair behind her ear. He had his hands on his hips, his breathing almost out of his control as he watched her. He could think of a million ways he could show her how he missed her but he refrained himself. He knew how scared she was and he wanted things done right. After everything they had been through she deserved the right thing. He loved her and making her believe that meant waiting then that’s what he would do.
He went to her though, slowly but with his eyes unmoving. She let out a small sigh when his arms went around her and brought her delicately against his chest. His hands gently moved to the small of her back beneath her jacket as his eyes traveled the features of her face. The delicate gaze that were fixed on him, the parted and glistening lips, the sweet breath the he could feel on his skin. He lifted his hand, brushed her hair from her face, his own pulse quickening with how close she was. Her arms went around his neck, pulling him down closer to her. His lips brushed against hers sweetly and her body moved closer. He let out a breath, his hand slid to the back of her neck making her lips meet his. He stole her breath, parted her lips, and took every feeling her kiss had to offer. They made up for every word that had gone unspoken on their walk over.
Her touch was a dizzying spell as her fingers caressed over the back of his neck, inside the top of his shirt, softly grazing across his back. They were nearly breathless in each others arms, weakened by the flood of emotions that the time apart had built up.
He carefully took her jacket off of her, dropping it to the ground. His fingers lowered to her arms, brushing down her skin before intertwining their fingers together. He broke the kiss for a moment before he led her to the bed, sitting down on the edge and gathering her up into his lap. He noticed a slight and nervous tremble to her body, noticed the way her hands clung to his shoulders. He looked deeply into her eyes, letting his fingers trace over the shape of her lips.
“I’ll wait.” He whispered softly, the immense love that he held winning the need he obviously had for her.
She lowered her head as tears danced down from her lashes. She wiped at them with the back of her hand and let out a shaky breath.
“Sweetheart? What’s wrong?” He lifted her face up by her chin and caught her glazed eye. All he could think of in that moment was the pain he must have caused her with everything he had done, with all the repercussions he had caused by his decisions. He sucked in a breath, told himself to let it go, that it was all over now. She was here in his arms, clinging to him with the sort of love he didn’t deserve.
She looked at him then, her tears still slowly falling. Her hand touched to the side of his face, lowering down to his neck. He closed his eyes on her delicate touch, the feel of her hand almost able to heal over the scars he always lived with.
“I’m sorry for leaving.” She whispered softly, her tears evident in thick of her voice. “For walking away from you.” She lowered her head again and let out a small cry.
“Please don’t say that…Rowan, it wasn’t your fault.” He lifted her head again, brushing at the tears on her face, kissing them away and shaking his head. “It isn’t your fault.”
She locked her arms around his neck, pulling herself closer to him. His hands caressed her arms, over her waist, down to her legs. She sighed against him, losing herself in the delicacy of his touch. She closed her eyes as his lips met hers again, her fingers losing themselves in his hair.
“It doesn’t matter…not anymore.” He whispered into her ear as his lips caressed over the skin of her neck. He moved away from her, looked into her eyes with the intensity the love that he had created. “I’m here now, I’m not leaving.” He made the promise with the sincerity he could only show her.
She smiled softly through her tears, nodding slightly as she did. He brushed his lips against hers again, holding her tightly to him, not wanting to release her for a single moment. He had her face in his hands, could feel the tears on her skin drying. Everything inside of him was whole then, her love offering him a sweet completion he had never felt in his entire life.
She lost herself in the caress of his lips, in the feel of his hands on her. Her hand rested against his chest and through his shirt she felt the gentle beat of his heart. She was giving him everything, the promises they had lived without for too long. She gave herself completely to him in the perfection of his kiss.
He pulled slowly from her, his lips brushing against hers delicately. He held her to his chest, brought his fingers through her hair and he whispered “I’m here.”