Always One More 6
Dani carefully pulled herself up from where she'd stopped to rest on the stairs. She hadn't stopped to spy on him, but when she'd gotten out of the same room with him she instantly had felt drained so she'd sat down to rest a second before going up to take her shower.
His voice rung in her ears as her feet carried her up the stairs. I talked to Mere today and she came to the conclusion that sometimes love just isn't enough. I know it sounds corny, but just because Dani and I love each other doesn't mean that we should be together and I'm starting to believe that.
Sadly though she couldn't agree with him more, but she wasn't about to admit THAT out loud. She'd gone through too much to quit fighting for their relationship. He needed her. She feared that if she walked away now that he'd be so messed up over it that he wouldn't be able to cope with everything else going on in his life. More though, she feared that SHE wouldn't be able to handle everything going on in her life without him. For as much as he bugged her and embarrassed her, there were moments between them away from the rest of the world where she felt completely blissfully happy and she didn't want to give those moments up just to appease her need of more calm moments in her life.
She heard feet behind her and then heard his voice. It was soft and unsure and for a moment she wasn't confident enough to turn around and look him in the eyes. She needed to face what was going on and try to see if it was still worth doing this over and over again. "Dani?"
"Hmm?" She turned around and looked at him with a flat expression.
"I know this is probably the worst thing to ask you right now," he sighed, "But can I take a shower with you?"
Her lips cracked into a smile at the thought of them in the shower. It had been a while since they'd showered together. The last time had been when they'd gone out to Los Angeles to see Farzana and JC when Chris had gotten invited to a movie premiere and the only reason they'd ended up in the shower in the first place had been because they'd had too much to drink. It turned out ok, drunk love making in the shower was better than the alternative, but still it had been a while since they'd been that intimate with each other. They were so comfortable in their relationship that making love with the lights on and taking time to notice each other really seemed too set up, too contrived to really follow through with.
Normally if they were in the shower together it was because one or the other of them had slipped in unannounced and surprised the other one, but to ask for the other's company seemed to make it forced and tense and totally not the mood that she wanted to be in at the moment. "Chris--"
"We can talk in the shower," he said with a shrug. "Without the interruption of phone calls."
She nodded and sighed. "Maybe a bath would be better." She rubbed her neck. "I could use a soak after today." Her eyes flew to meet his. "It's been a long day...not because of what happened at Mere and Justin's, but going out and shopping this morning was crazy and then well--" She sighed.
"A bath sounds great." He smiled. "I'll start up the tub. Bubbles?"
"Yeah," she said.
"Go get changed and I'll fill the tub."
"Honey?" she asked.
"Take a shower real quick and get all that mud off you...ok?"
He saluted her quickly and marched up the rest of the stairs, following her into the bedroom then went straight to the bathroom. She heard him start up the tub to fill then a few moments later, as she was removing her clothes and throwing them into the hamper before she stepped into her robe she heard the shower go on for a few moments before it shut off again.
When she pushed the bathroom door open Chris had a towel around his waist and was lighting the candles they kept in the room. He turned around to face her, hair wet from the quick shower and he smiled at her from behind his glasses. "Hey," he said.
"Hi," she waved and walked towards the tub that was now half full of bubbles. She turned to look back up at him and then took a breath. "Why does this feel strange?" she asked.
He reached out a hand to her and laces his fingers with hers standing next to the tub. "Because we haven't done this in a while. We've kind of lost touch with you and me--us. I think that after today maybe we need to do this more often because clearly the lines of communication were totally screwed up today."
She nodded, "I'd like that." She undid her robe and let go of Chris's hand long enough to drop it onto the floor. He held her hand as she stepped into the tub and kept hold of her until she was seated properly.
Following her lead, he dropped his towel and stepped into the warm water, choosing to face her instead of sit the same way as her. "This is great," he said moving the bubbles around.
"Yeah," she said.
"I'm sorry about today. I overreacted to some things and completely freaked myself out, freaked you out and totally screwed up Justin and Mere's day."
"It's ok," she said with a sigh. He really did mean it. He really was upset about causing trouble and that's probably what kept her coming back for more. JC or one of the NSYNC guys had once said that trouble and comedic moments always seemed to find Chris...even if he wasn't out looking for them and she tended to believe that although on some occasions...like that day, she didn't like the fact that those moments seemed to find him. "I've got to calm down about certain things. You didn't mean to scare everyone. You were scared yourself and I'm really flattered that you'd go overboard just to make sure that I was ok."
He nodded then sighed.
She closed her eyes for a moment when she felt his hand on her leg and tried to remember that she needed to relax and not worry about whatever was going on between them. It would only make things worse...if that was even possible.
I talked to Mere today and she came to the conclusion that sometimes love just isn't enough. I know it sounds corny, but just because Dani and I love each other doesn't mean that we should be together and I'm starting to believe that.
"Are things with us still ok?" she asked suddenly after his voice haunted her.
"What do you mean?" he asked moving his hand up her leg then down again, massaging the back of her calf before lifting her foot out of the water to move it so he could massage it.
"I mean, are we still ok? Because I know that things have been tense between us every so often and I'm not sure--"
"Do you think we're ok?" he asked.
"I want us to be." She opened her eyes. "I love you a lot Chris."
"I love you too," he said.
She moved her foot and scooted towards him. "I want you to remember that. I know that sometimes I get upset, but I don't think that means that I love you any less."
"I know," he said and pulled her towards him. His arms curled around her bringing her as close to him as he could possibly get her. "I know that you've got the best of intentions in mind when you correct me or are disappointed with what I've done." He leaned and kissed her. "You've helped me become a better man."
She took a moment to look in his eyes then finally reached and removed his glasses. When she moved to set them away from the tub, his arms slid down to massage her legs and moved to her stomach. She hesitated for a moment loving the feel of his hands on her before she set the glasses on the side of the tub. "I love you."
"You said that already," he said with a cocky grin. His eyebrows raised as his hands slid over her soapy skin.
"I know," she said, "But after today I think I need to say it a few more times."
He knew by making love to her that day that he was only postponing the inevitable. It wasn't the most romantic thing, to fight then to make love and afterwards as they lay in bed he could tell that something had changed between them that day. The words were there between them to show their love, but when Dani rolled over to face away from him to curl up in the blankets, it was clear that the physical relationship that they'd once shared was now on the rocks, despite the fact that they'd just made love.
"D?" he said softly moving to kiss her exposed shoulder blade.
"Hmm?" she said sleepily.
"I'm gonna go get something for dinner. Do you want anything?"
"No," she mumbled. "I'm not that hungry."
"Sleep," she said with a forced smile, "Sleep is what I need right now."
"Ok," he said, "I'll be back. I need to lock up the house and stuff for the night. "Want me to bring back a movie?"
"No," she said, "You can stay up though if you want to. I know you've got crazy sleeping hours these days."
He leaned and kissed her shoulder again. "I'll be back."
He slid from bed and out of the room. Getting down to the kitchen he picked up the phone and redialed his mother's phone number before he slipped into the rec room and plopped down onto the couch, forgetting his real reason for coming down to the first floor.
"Hi baby," she said instantly when she picked up the line.
"Hi mom," he said with a sigh.
He knew it was coming, but facing the question still was hard. "Did you and Dani make up?"
"Yeah--Yes--I mean--I'm not sure what's going on right now." He didn't want to talk about sex with his mother, but at the same time if something was going on she probably would need to know what he'd done to try to solve it before she could help him. "We took a bath and talked a bit and then--" He coughed. "Well and we did that and now it all seems too tense and horrible."
"Honey," she said, "It's gonna be ok."
"I don't know mom," he said, "Something snapped today and I'm not sure that this is going to hold together much longer."
"I hate to hear you like this. You haven't sounded this down in a while."
"I know," he said. "I need to snap out of this, but I can't seem to get past the idea that something is wrong between me and her and I can't fix it."
"Honey," she said, "Maybe Mere is right. I hate to admit it to you, but I've seen this coming for some time now. I love Dani like a daughter and I know it's hard to think about, but if things really are that bad for you and her, maybe you should take another break."
"But I promised her mom," he said, "I promised her that we'd be together."
"Well," she sighed, "Things happen. If you and she can't get along together maybe you'll be able to get along while you're apart."
"I don't know," he said.
"Just try it out and see."
He nodded then took a deep breath. "So when do I get to see you again?"