Posted 04 April 2012 - 12:48 AM
Adriana was groggy as she woke to the sunlight trickling in across her face from the windows next to the bed. It took her a few moments to recognize that she was tucked safely in Shane's bed, and more importantly in his arms. Her flight from Paris had gotten in late the night before and she had driven straight to his house, even though she'd been exhausted. Their reunion had been short, just an enthusiastic greeting before hopping into his comfortable bed to sleep.
Her parents had flown her and Liam to meet them and Grace for ten days. They'd had an enjoyable visit, especially for the her family and she meant to savor it. The only negative had been that the ten days cut her time with Shane down considerably. The two had grown increasingly more attached as the summer wore on and she couldn't imagine not sleeping with him when she went back to Duke.
Adrianna pushed the thoughts from her sleep-drenched mind and snuggled closer into the soft cotton of his shirt, her nose deeply breathing him in. Her eyes fluttered close, her mind caught somewhere between reality and dreaming where both seemed equally wonderful.
Liam was whistling cheerfully as he ordered two coffees and began his walk to the hardware store. He and Shelby were at on relatively new ground for him. They had continued the routine of hooking up in the most fantastic ways, but he has grown weary of not being able to wake up with her. Carefully, he'd begun to rip off pieces of her walls by slowly giving her pieces of his.
Paris had decided it for him though, he was going to fully persue her. He wanted more from her than he'd asked for this far and his only hope was that she would be willing to give it. Liam wanted a relationship, where they could say they were each others and no one else could have them.
He pushed easily into the store, flipping the closed sign to open for her and heading straight to where he knew he'd find her, as he had every morning since meeting her. Liam couldn't help the way his face lit when he saw her and the electrifying smile that found his face. "Bonjour! Have you missed me?" he teased, holding her coffee out to hee
Posted 05 April 2012 - 06:45 AM
Adriana was home. After ten of the longest days of Shane's life, she was back. Shane had known how much Adriana meant to him but he had not been aware of how much of a fixture she’d become in his life. They really hadn’t been together all that long but when she’d gone to Paris he had felt off balance and his days seemed so much emptier.
Shane had stayed busy, or course, he wasn’t the type of person that could just sit around-especially when he was waiting for something. So he’d taken on a few more jobs, just some painting and landscaping for some of the vacationers. And when he wasn’t helping one of his clients he was at the hardware store. At first Shane had gone to help because she had a lot on her plate and also because she was Liam’s… well he actually didn’t know what she was to Liam but Shane knew that they spent a lot of time together. But after spending some time working alongside her, he’d been determined to make her into a friend. Or at the very least make her smile. He’d been successful. At least, he could now state with some confidence that Shelby probably didn’t hate him.
He’d cleaned too, his whole house from top to bottom. His books were now all shelved and he’d finished a few models then cleaned up the table he usually worked at. Shane had even gone through the fridge cleaning out all the condiments that were beyond their expiration date. And he’d counted the days, minutes, and seconds until Adriana came home.
And now she was back. Just as sweet and beautiful and wonderful as ever. And Shane was so unbelievably happy. She was in his arms and they had the whole day. Life was perfect again. He held her a little tighter and kissed the top of her head.
Shelby stared at the computer screen in the office, her head propped up on one hand as she tried to focus on the task at hand. She had no idea that today was the day that Liam was supposed to come back. It seemed like ages since he’d left and, in the fleeting moments she’d had to think about it, she had assumed that he wasn’t coming back. At first, Shelby had been grateful for the trip. They were spending too much time together and he was slowly dissembling the wall she had spent years building to protect herself. It was terrifying. So Shelby had intended to use Liam’s absence to rebuild and fortify her wall.
But that hadn’t happened. Instead, Henry had been declared healthy enough to come home. So now Shelby was responsible for her grandfather’s care on top of the ultimate success of the store. And as happy as she was to have Henry home it was a lot to handle alone. Granted, everyone in Camden had been very helpful. The woman next door frequently came by with soups and casseroles. And Shane stepped in to help around the store when he could, and he had helped fix some things up around the house. The nurses who took care of Henry during the day were absolute saints.
But still. When she was at the store she worried about how in her first month of business they had only barely broken even. And shipments never seemed to arrive on time and they never seemed to have the items that her customers were looking for. And at home she worried about Henry and if he wasn’t resting enough. Or was he not recovering fast enough. And what if something happened to him? And at night Shelby worried about everything. Needless to say, she had not been sleeping.
And so when she looked up to see Liam standing there, with a coffee, Shelby was certain it was a dream or maybe a hallucination. After all, he looked even better than she’d remembered. He was all tan and relaxed after his long vacation and he seemed genuinely happy to see her. She blinked a few times then reached out to take the coffee. His hand was warm and solid, and the cup was hot. “You’re back,” Shelby said quietly, her words as much a question as a statement.
Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:42 PM
Adriana smiled as his lips pressed against her forehead, she'd missed these soft, sweet gestures from him. She pulled her face away from him slightly as her eyes opened again, tracing his features just to make sure that nothing had changed from the image that she had in her mind. Nothing had. Her fingers reached up to brush through his hair, the simple movement waking her up entirely. Paris had put their relationship into perspective for her and it had made her realize how much she had grown to need him in her every day life. The idea of leaving in six weeks was already making her ache. She pressed closer, to rest her forehead against his, their noses gently touching.
"I wish you could have come," she said, her voice quiet and gentle, "I missed you. A lot."
It was a sentiment that she had expressed multiple times the night before and yet she still didn't feel as though it was necessarily clear to him just how empty the crowded streets had felt without her hand in his. Her fingers slipped down to his cheek so her thumb could gently brush against his skin. Adriana didn't want to leave the warmth of the bed and since they had the entire day to spend together, she felt no reason to rush the process of getting up.
When Shelby's eyes met his, Liam could feel the disconnect and how long it took for her to process that he was actually, physically there. He had to hide the smile that crept into his eyes at how dazed she seemed. Of course, that meant that she probably hadn't been sleeping...again. Liam didn't understand how she managed to keep moving with how little she slept. He didn't need a lot of sleep to function, but she was on a completely different level than he could ever be.
The questioning way she phrased her words made him chuckle and remind her softly, "Of course I am. I told you, ten days."
Liam wasn't always good about keeping to his word when it came to a time period. Before, he had told countless girls that he would call them and never did or that he'd pick them up at a certain time and then would show up ridiculously late, if at all. He knew Shelby wouldn't put up with that, and he didn't want to make her move away from him. He slipped into the seat beside her chair, his eyes never leaving the tired lines that crossed her face.
"Did anything interesting happen while I was gone?"
Posted 06 April 2012 - 08:23 AM
Shane closed his eyes as Adriana ran her fingers over his face and through his hair, enjoying her soft caress. “I missed you too. Constantly,” Shane told her honestly. He moved his hand upwards, gently wrapping it around hers and bringing it to his lips to kiss her fingers. “And I am very happy that you’re back.” Shane moved her hand downward so that he could kiss her mouth.
“But I’m also very excited to hear about Paris,” He kissed her on her nose as well for good measure. When she had first told him about the trip, Adriana had seemed kind of upset about leaving. So Shane had been extra excited about it on her behalf. He had compiled a list of placed she had to go and things she had to see. Being a history nerd, most of the sites were significant to French history but his list also included a neat bookstore, the best place to get gelato, a bar that pretty much only the locals knew about, a Magic Museum, the Museum of the History of Medicine and other small quirky destinations.
Some of the destinations were places that he had seen when he’d gone to visit some a friend during spring break. Some were destinations he had meant to see but hadn’t been able to because he’d gotten lost or distracted on the way. And some were places he’d found when he googled “Things to do in Paris” that Shane thought she’d enjoy. He just wanted her to have a great vacation.
Shelby glanced at the calendar that hung by the desk, not quite believing that it had only been ten days, “Yeah, I guess it felt longer,” She told him with a small shrug. She realized, in the back of her mind, that he probably could have misinterpreted her words. Liam might think that the time had gone by so slowly because she’d been anxiously waiting for his return. Shelby could have explained what she’d really meant. She should have. But she didn’t. Finding the words would take so much energy and besides, Liam probably knew what she meant.
The hints of a tired smile tugged at the corner of her mouth when he spoke next. “Henry’s home now,” Shelby told him, figuring those three words pretty much summed everything up. She took a long drink of the coffee Liam had brought her. It was her second cup of the day and she had more brewing. She’d been living off the stuff and by this point she was probably more coffee than person.
Posted 06 April 2012 - 03:35 PM
"Then I dragged Liam around the city trying to accomplish everything on your list and scouring the stores for a present, or three, for you," she said with a small laugh, "I loved that gelato shop, we probably went way too often." Adriana paused to think about her trip, wondering what kind of details he wanted. It would take her hours to talk about how often she and Liam had managed to get lost with their, at best, subpar French and how great it had been to spend some quality time with her brother. She also wanted to inform Shane of Liam's desire to pursue Shelby seriously, but she figured Liam would tell him when they saw one another.
"I also managed to find this really great cafe on the outskirts of the city where you can see the majority of the skyline," she said after a moment, her blue eyes falling into his brown ones, making her heart-rate accelerate slightly. Adriana lowered her lips to his before pulling back slightly, "Did you want to hear about anything in particular?"
Liam didn't read too much into her comment, taking a sip of his coffee while she spoke about Henry. He could see how exhausted she was and wondered just how little she had really been sleeping. His brow slightly creased with worry, even though Henry being out of the hospital finally was wonderful news. Shane had said he'd been helping around the store when he could so she hadn't been completely alone around here.
"Really?" he asked, nodding in approval, "That's great news. I'll have to come by and see him soon."
His fingers stretched out to gently squeeze her knee, his clear eyes meeting hers for a moment, "How are you doing with everything? You seem tired. More so than normal." Liam wasn't sure how honest of an answer she'd give him, if she'd answer his question at all.
Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:20 AM
He didn’t want to hear about it all at once though. Because he wanted to make new memories, and remind her that coming home would always be the best part of going away. So Shane grinned, and with a hand cupping each of her round, rosy cheeks, gently pulled her downwards to kiss her again. “I want to hear about everything. Especially the presents!”
Shelby nodded in agreement. She knew Henry would appreciate a visit from Liam and so would she. He’d asked about Liam several times and was eager to hear about his trip. And maybe with more visitors he’d be less restless and eager to get out of the house. Or maybe not, but at least it was worth a try.
“Of course I’m tired,” Shelby snapped defensively. “I didn’t just get a ten day vacation.” She wasn’t angry at him for going away nor did she blame him for wanting to get out of Camden for a little while. Shelby just thought it was unfair of Liam to expect her to be anything other than exhausted. She was also a little annoyed that she found his hand on her knee so comforting and by the way his clear blue eyes still drew her in. He seemed genuinely concerned about her well being and Shelby just didn’t know how to react.
She did feel a little bad about being so short with him though, “I’ll be fine once we get some more coffee in me,” Shelby told him with a determined nod. She took a long drink from her cup and gave Liam a quick, apologetic smile.
Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:42 PM
Her bare feet crossed through the familiar house, noting for the first time just how clean everything was and smiling at the newly finished models. This trip had showed her just how much she had come to care for Shane, but she reminded herself how ridiculous the idea of her being in love with him so quickly was. So, she pressed on, out the front door to her car. She grabbed two of his three gifts, returning back to the bed quickly. Adriana bounced onto the soft mattress, not caring that her hair was probably a mess and she probably still smelled like the plane.
"You get two now. The other one is for later," she said, pushing the bag toward him, continuing quickly, almost nervously, "One of them is lame, so sorry about that. And it's okay if you don't like either of them." The lamer of the two gifts was a simple keychain from the Eiffel Tower that she had bought when she started to panic about not being able to find the perfect gift. Two days later Liam had dragged her into a used bookstore down a random street and she had found something she thought he'd enjoy. It was an old, beautiful copy of a collection of letters from Napoleon to his wife Josephine, it smelled like a book should and the pages were yellowed and dog-eared. The third present was something she'd really bought for herself, but to share with him. Her bright eyes were on his features as she sat on her knees in front of him, wanting to read his features.
Liam could feel a flicker of annoyance through his mind, but he quickly subdued it, his expression not displaying anything. Before he could give an entirely appropriate response the bell chimed in the doorway, signaling a customer. He stood instantly, tossing his empty coffee cup in the trash. He paused for a moment, glancing down at Shelby before pressing his lips against her ear, so she knew the words were meant entirely for her, "I'm on your side you know."
He moved away from her, his fingers gently squeezing her shoulder as he made his way to the front of the store. After the first customer, there was consistently at least one person in the building at a time and he enjoyed helping. He didn't know what he was going to do when he absolutely had to get back to the garage. Plus, there was a potential new car for him to start refurbishing and his fingers ached at the very idea. But he owed more to Henry than anyone and he was going to stand by his word and help for as long as he needed to.
Posted 11 April 2012 - 10:39 AM
Shane returned to bed just a moment before Adriana came back through the door. “Three presents? You’re too good to me,” Shane grinned, leaning forward to kiss her softly before opening the bag. He knew he would love anything that she got him, and of course, he was right. The first thing that he pulled out was the book. Shane loved history and, more than anything, he liked knowing the backstory of historical figures. It made them seem more real, more like people than facts and test questions. This book was perfect. He opened it to a random page and ran his fingers over the soft, well-worn pages as he read one of the letters. “This is fantastic,” He murmured as he read, then closed it carefully and set it aside as he pulled Adriana in to give her a warm hug.
Shane kissed the top of her head then released her before pulling the keychain out of the bag as well. This was simpler but it made him smile just as much as the book. “Perfect, I think I know just what I’m going to do with this,” Shane grinned as he held it up to examine it.
Shelby stayed in the back for most of the rest of the morning. Mostly because she wanted time to think without Liam getting in the way of her though processes but they also had a few orders coming in so she was busy entering everything into the store inventory and getting it all sorted away neatly. But as much as she had thought about it, Shelby just couldn’t figure out what Liam had meant. Her side? What side was that? And who exactly did he think was on the other side?
She knew better than to believe that he’d meant that he was her side no matter what. Experience had taught her that no one was on her side. From the very beginning it had always just been Shelby against the world. So she spent her morning thinking of other less terrifying explanations for his words. He was just trying to comfort her. He had actually said something else. He was being nice so that they’d continue hooking up. Shelby figured that was probably the most likely scenario.
They worked quietly through the morning and, just after one o’clock, the front door chimed. An old man stepped through, carefully surveying the store as his eyes adjusted from the bright sunlight. He was slower and seemed to rely on his cane pretty heavily, but it was Henry and he wore the same half smile that he always did.
“Liam Luxe! Just the man I wanted to see!” Henry grinned as he made his way over to the counter. A woman, his nurse, followed the old man until she saw that she had made it safely to the stool behind the cash register than nodded at Liam as if to say he was in charge before heading towards the back of the store, presumably to talk to Shelby. “How was your trip?”
Posted 11 April 2012 - 10:37 PM
She reached forward and wound her fingers around the hand holding the keychain, a slow smirk replacing her smile, "I'm so glad you know what you're going to do with it." With a gentle tug, she moved his hand so that she had better access to him. Adriana kissed him slowly, deeply, and her hand forgot about his to gently cradle the back of his neck as she found her way into his lap. She noted the distinctly mint taste in his mouth that made her smile around his lips. "I told you not to move," she accused softly, her voice low and teasing.
When Henry entered the store, Liam's face broke into a wide, open smile that made him at least three years younger and more handsome than the brooding expression and half smiles he usually used. He clapped the older man on the shoulder once he sat down in an enthusiastically happy greeting. When Henry had been placed in the hospital it had driven Liam into a work frenzy where he didn't have to think about anything. It'd taken him days to work up the courage to go and visit, because as little as he might like to admit it, Henry was more a father to Liam than anyone else. He didn't hold his past against him and looked at his future with excitement, not dread.
"I can't believe you let them let you out. What about the nurse?" Liam joked easily, taking the stool beside him so that he was facing the door. His bright eyes surveyed his friend, checking for any major signs of health deterioration, but finding nothing more than a few more wrinkles and maybe a little more exhaustion in his eyes, he thought about his answer. His trip had been good after the first few days. Though thinking about the conversations, or rather shouting matches, he'd had with his father, his bright eyes clouded for a moment. Pushing the negative thoughts away, he focused on the time he'd spent with Adriana, "It was really great. Paris isn't one of my favorite cities, but it's pretty cool. I know my Mom is really enjoying working on the flat over there to bring it up to her standards. How are you doing?"
Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:16 AM
“And it’s your own fault you know,” Shane teased, pausing to leave a trail of kisses down her neck. “You know I’m terrible at following directions.” Of course, this wasn’t entirely true. He had always been a champion direction follower- especially when those directions came from Adriana. What he was actually terrible at was staying still.
Henry chuckled at the mention of the nurse, “Turns out she was married,” He told Liam with fake disappointment. He listened carefully as Liam spoke about the trip. Still as observant as ever, Henry noticed the slight change in expression when he first mentioned the trip. He knew about the tension between Liam and his father and he was sure that the trip hadn’t been a relaxing vacation for Liam. But Henry also knew that the young man didn’t want to talk about it, so he said nothing.
“Glad you enjoyed it,” Henry nodded. He wondered whether Liam and Adriana had taken any pictures, if people even still did that when they went places or if they did it all with their phones. He and his late wife had been to Paris once, years ago, and Henry was curious to know how much had changed.
As conversation turned back to him, Henry smiled, “The docs say I’m getting old, would you believe that?” What he didn’t say was that for the first time in his life, Henry was starting to believe it. He had always been of the opinion that old age was a choice. And so he had decided to stay young. He'd run for a long time, then he had walked. He swam. He sailed. He workd and took care of the house. And up until a couple weeks ago that had worked. But now there was no denying it. He was old. He had a cane and a nurse and everything seemed to require so much more energy than he remembered.
He pushed those thoughts aside though as he focused on his real task, “But listen, Liam, I really appreciate the work you’ve done around the store. Shelby tells me you’ve been a big help and I’d like to thank you somehow. Can we have you over to dinner tonight?”
Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:19 PM
His hands were warm on her hips as she kept her body raised over his, not allowing anything but her hands to touch him. The soft cotton nightie she wore scraped against him, making the gap between their bodies sizzle with charged electricity. After ten days she ached to lower herself to him and not stop kissing him until he grew tired of it, but teasing him was half the fun. "It would make everything so much easier."
"I wouldn't believe for a second," Liam said earnestly. Henry had been one of the most active people that he knew, it was part of the reason why they got along because they could talk about exercising and different ways to stay in shape. While Liam could definitely see that he seemed a little more worn than normal, he didn't seem completely awful, though he could just be refusing to see him as anything other than how he wanted to.
"I don't know how much help I've been," he said with a humble dip of his head. He tried to ignore the stab of pleasure he felt at the idea of Shelby talking about him to Henry. Of course, why wouldn't she? He just wondered how much Henry had revealed to his granddaughter about how they knew each other so well. Liam met Henry's eyes his voice low, not wanting to be overheard, "I owe so much to you Henry, that I don't think what I've done merits any sort of thanks. But, if you're up for it, I'd love to come to dinner and spend some time with you guys."
Posted 17 April 2012 - 05:54 AM
“Listen, kid, you don’t owe me a thing.” Henry spoke quietly but sternly, but his eyes still shone with a smile. He’d helped Liam because Henry thought he was a good person who just needed to know he had someone on his side. It should have been the boy’s parents but they seemed to have their own ideas about what was best for the poor kid. “And maybe I don’t owe you anything either. But come on over tonight anyways, it’s movie night and we’d love to have you.”
The door from the back opened, and Henry cocked his head to the side as he listened to Shelby and his nurse walking down the aisle towards the front register. “Sounds like they’re coming to kick me out,” He said to Liam with a grin.
“Yep,” Shelby nodded as she stepped into view, “Get out.” Her grin was smaller than her grandfather’s, barely noticeable but there all the same.
“See how mean she is?” Henry groaned. It took him a minute to get himself on his feet and organized, but he shrugged off the nurse as she tried to help and stubbornly stood on his own accord.
Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:11 AM
"The meanest," Liam said with a nod, glancing toward Shelby with a slight smirk. He was interested to see their relationship unfold that evening. Whenever he'd been with Henry it had always just been the two of them. He also briefly wondered how much Henry had told her, though if she hadn't asked (which she probably hadn't) it was unlikely that Henry had even really mentioned many details about him. A certain amount of pride surged through him as Henry waved off the nurse, chuckling internally at the older man's pluck.
"I'll see you tonight," he assured him as they left. Liam glanced toward Shelby with his deep blue eyes. She had been avoiding being around him too much for the majority of the day and he was curious as to whether or not she minded that he was coming over that evening. He leaned back against the stool, perching on the lip of the seat, "Is that okay with you?" Her answer wasn't going to deter him from going, he wanted to spend as much time with Henry as he could while he was recovering.
Posted 25 April 2012 - 09:57 AM
“Yeah, sure,” Shelby shrugged, not meeting Liam’s gaze. Instead, her eyes carefully followed her grandfather until he was safely settled into the car. In truth, she wasn’t thrilled. Having Liam at movie night meant hanging out with him in a capacity that was far outside the realm of friends with benefits. But Henry had already invited him. And what was she going to do? Tell her grandfather that she had uninvited Liam because she was terrified of what might happen if she were to be around him without hooking up with him. That was ridiculous.
Posted 25 April 2012 - 03:05 PM
Liam wanted to call her a liar, to ask what the problem was, but decided against it. He didn't want to know what was going on in her head right then. So, he just nodded, pretending like she had met his eyes when she'd answered him and that she wasn't lying. His fingers twitched with the urge to pull her into him and kiss her, but he restrained as a customer came through the door. Pushing off from the stool, he met the guy with a smile and an offer to help. The rest of the day passed fairly quickly, without anything overly dramatic happening in the store front though Liam did have to send a few customers away when they didn't have what they wanted.
He flipped the sign to closed before heading to the office where Shelby was sure to be. His knuckles rapped on the door before heading to the desk. "Here's the stuff we didn't have," he said quietly, setting the piece of paper down in front of her. There was no way that they'd be able to be stocked with everything that everyone could want, but by keeping tabs on what they didn't have it was easier to see what popular items would potentially sell well.
Edited by *Magikal*Wish*, 25 April 2012 - 03:29 PM.
Posted 27 April 2012 - 09:24 AM
They spent the rest of the morning in bed, tangling in one another’s arms. And most of the afternoon too. Shane had been a little nervous that something would change while she was away. That things might not be as easy now. But his fears quickly dissipated as they fell into their familiar rhythm. They were still perfect together. “I missed you, so much,” Shane told her, for probably the hundredth time as the afternoon light started fade.
A small smile tugged at the corner of Shelby’s lips as she glanced over the list. She had started making that type of list while Liam was away and, somehow, he had known to make it without any direction. “Thanks,” She said, genuinely appreciative of his hard work. While she had a feeling Liam’s presence would make some parts of her life more difficult, managing the store at least was much easier with him around. This had been the first day that she hadn’t seriously questioned her ability to handle everything.
She set the list on top of the pile with her other lists and stood, quickly gathering her things before looking over at Liam. “Do you want to just come over now or are you going home first?” Shelby wasn’t sure what she wanted his response to be. Part of her wanted to have some time to relax before Liam came over. But she also wanted to make sure that they started the movie early enough that Henry would still get to bed at a decent hour. And Liam would probably keep Henry busy and out of the way while she made dinner.
Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:34 PM
Liam thought about it briefly, wondering if he would need anything from his house for the dinner. When he couldn't think of a reason not to go straight back to Henry's, he met her eyes decisively, "I'll just come back with you now." Liam was excited to be able to have a long conversation with Henry again. Though he didn't know how much he'd readily talk about with Shelby within earshot. It wasn't that he tried to hide his past from people, it was more that he was embarrassed and ashamed and it usually led to his tumultuous relationship with his family. Things he didn't discuss with anyone...other than Henry and Shane.
[[Sorry those were so awful! My mind is still recovering from finals haha.]]