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[Deniaud/Salieri] Collaboration Log
Music Database on Shuffle: Laughter Lines
I’ll see you in the future when we’re older
And we are full of stories to be told.
Cross my heart and hope to die,
I’ll see you with your laughter lines.
After their reconciliation in the ruins of the water mill, they had spent the better part of the day locked away rediscovering one another. There had been tender kisses shared in their warm embrace, apologies tumbling freely from her lips. Exhaustion pulled them into a restful slumber, but her dreams pulled her into the waking world with a start and she’d been restless ever since. The world recreated by her imagination was nothing she’d ever experienced. It had felt so real and so tangible that a part of her was left reeling as the images faded where all dreams reside. Unwilling to wake him, Marielle slipped on a simple sweatshirt and jimjam bottoms. The chill of winter bit at her skin as she escaped the cottage to make her way to the manor. When she made her way into the kitchen, she blinked at the sight of her best friend sitting at the island, his back bowed as he slouched over what she assumed was a cup of hot tea. The diminutive woman turned to look out the windowed door. The sun remained dipped over the horizon, the skies still dark in the dead of morning. “Adam?” she rasped, sleep still lingering in her voice. Quiet steps carried her closer.
The medical officer straightened as he turned, her voice calling out to him to pull him out of his thoughts. He managed a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “What are you doing up at this time of night?”
“Had a weird dream,” she answered honestly. She made her way to the counter and pulled an bag of tea from the teabox. She said nothing as she made her way to the replicator and ordered the computer to create a mug of hot water. The aroma of vanilla surrounded her as she dipped the bag into the steaming liquid.
Adam watched her as she approached and took the seat across from him. The distance was not ignored. She had always picked the seat nearest him and suddenly she sought to add distance. He remained silent, deciding it was best to allow her the chance to sip at her tea. He watched as she kept her gaze on her mug. The silence between them heavy with all things left unspoken. He couldn’t help but wonder just how many times he would make the same mistake with her. “I’m sorry,” he managed finally, gulping down his shame. Muddled hazel irises settled on the warm cup he nursed between his palms. “I- I’m sorry.” It was all he could say.
Her eyes lifted in one slow blink and settled on the Betazoid across from her. She nodded slowly. She found it difficult to even push a smile to her features. “Yeah,” she managed finally. Marielle lifted the mug when she found she could say nothing more. The sip of vanilla tea did nothing to soothe her.
He ran a hand roughly through his hair. A deep inhalation filled his lungs and he released it loudly. He kept his gaze on his fingers. “I sent the parents off. I think it helped that they didn’t have to foot the bill for much,” he muttered.
Marielle groaned at the realization. She’d dipped into her personal account to pay for a good portion of the wedding. It had been her gift to Alexia. Her elbows rested on the edge of the table and she rubbed her face roughly. “Gods. What a mess,” she grumbled. She mirrored his deep inhalation and loud exhalation. She shook her head. “I’ll deal with it another day. I just don’t have the energy to think about the fallout.”
The kitchen was filled with the soft sounds of their breaths as they lost themselves to their thoughts. Adam stared at his near empty cup. “Maddie,” he began softly. “Is there a chance? For us, I mean?” He dared to look up and found her unable to meet his gaze. Somehow, he knew the answer at that very moment. “Everything has changed, hasn’t it? So- It’s definitely over, then?” When she didn’t answer, his eyes closed as his jaw clenched. “Leaving you was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done,” he managed, his voice cracking with his emotions.
Her fingers tightened around the mug. “Damn straight it was,” she retorted, trying her best to inject a hint of sass in her tone. It was a poor attempt.
He chuckled sadly and nodded. He found himself spinning the mug so that his hands could do something to distract him from the sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. “Is- Is he the one?” he asked softly.
She wanted to answer yes because she was essentially preparing to fight her father for the right to remain on the Aldrin and to stay by Gideon’s side. She ran the risk of losing everything she knew, becoming a cursed name in their family and an unpleasant memory they would hope to erase. ‘Dunno. Maybe Renard beat me to it.’ The idea that she would be without them - as demented and as demanding as they were - caused far more pain than anyone would know. She hesitated for reasons beyond her knowledge and could only assume that it was because she was well aware of the problems that existed in their relationship. The list seemed to grow with each intersection and she had no idea what kept her tied to him. She only knew - and she felt with her entire being - that he played a part in the tapestry of her life. “I don’t know,” she managed finally, settling for the truth. Adam would easily know if she lied. “I just know that for right now, I’m supposed to be with him. I’m where I need to be.”
The medical officer nodded in understanding, acknowledgement and acceptance slowly easing away the ache of his loss. “Are we going to be okay?” he asked softly.
Marielle finally lifted her gaze finally. Despite the sadness in her eyes, she managed a warm and tender smile. “Of course,” she assured him affectionately. “I love you, Adam. That won’t ever change. We watched each other grow and change. We were there for one another through everything - every beginning, every ending, every experience.” She paused and her smile turned sad. “We were almost perfect together. It’s just- Our timing- We never got our timing right, you know? We were always in different places in in our lives, and- What we loved about each other, there wasn’t enough of it to convince us to stay.”
“Not enough,” he whispered. It seemed so long ago that he had uttered the same words to her. His gaze dipped to his hands. “You were always enough. I was just too young and stupid-”
She shook her head. “No. I wasn’t. Not for you, not at that time and not now. Too much and not enough, remember?” There was no accusation, just a gentle reminder. The diminutive woman met his gaze when he lifted it. “Adam,” she began softly. “You found enough reason in her to pull away from me, but even now- you can’t find enough reason to leave her. And, I wouldn’t want you to- I would always be too much and never be enough for you.” There was the slightest lift to her shoulder as she shrugged. “And that’s okay- Who said we had to marry our childhood sweetheart? We’re better friends than we are lovers. I’m not going to lose you just because there’s history here. We can move past this. It’ll be awkward, but we’ll move past this.” There was an odd sense of confidence that moved through her and she knew it to be true.
He stared at her for a few minutes and roughly ran his hand over his face. “I’m an asshole,” he managed finally. “What have I been doing? You didn’t deserve this- Vanessa doesn’t deserve this.” He lifted his gaze once more to meet hers and could nearly see the proverbial distance between them. “Can we just ignore the confession and-”
“What confession? That you’ve been sneaking into the pantry to steal the crisps?” When she caught the widening of his eyes and the guilty expression flash over his features, she laughed softly. She giggled and looked at him knowingly. There was no need to return to the past. She only wanted to move forward. “Seriously. For a medical professional, I would hope you’d know better than to consume so much sodium.” His laughter joined hers and the two friends spoke with one another, the conversation innocent, as the sun rose over the horizon.