Isobell swallowed thickly, her throat curiously dry as her fingers fumbled with themselves. She felt very self-conscious sat there waiting for Archie to return with drinks from the kitchen, she felt tiny in the oversized apartment.
Toeing open the kitchen door, Archie stepped back out into the living room with drinks of Pepsi in hand. He couldn't help but notice how Isobell was hunched over obviously very uncomfortable at being there.
Walking over Archie tried to make as much noise as possible as she seemed deep in thought and did not look as though she had heard him return. Gingerly he placed the drinks down on the coffee table, lowering himself down onto it at the same time, so he was sitting opposite and could easily reach her.
Isobell reeled back slightly in discomfort at how close he had sat, an action she tried to pass off to look like she was simply brushing her hair back. However when she caught Archie's eyes, she knew immediately that he could see what she had done. Isobell quickly averted her eyes away from his, and his slightly hurt look. Silence fell over them and like a pillow began to smother them, with Isobell still nervously fiddling her fingers and Archie biting the inside of his cheek.
Neither one could quite look at the other, and any words that they had prepared had evidently flown from their minds. What should by all rights have been a normal second date, had been thrown into disarray by lies and heavy romantic statements.
Archie was painfully aware that he had in more or less words told Isobell that she was the one, and as much as he wanted to know how she felt, the looming possibility of rejection frightened him into silence. An uncomfortable situation that Archie had never found himself in before, it was as they say the proverbial elephant in the room.
Isobell kept on opening her mouth to say something, but every time she did, her throat became dry and her brain muddled, and the action had rendered her looking like a goldfish circling her bowl.
Neither of them had touched their drinks, so they just sat there forgotten, resting next to Archie's right thigh. Needing something to do with her hands she leant forward picking up a glass, the action startled Archie, moving him slightly so that before Isobell picked up the drink she brushed his thigh first. The touch made their eyes meet, but both of them swiftly relocated their view on realising, and a blush began forming on Isobell's cheeks.
It was then Isobell realised that Archie was just as nervous as she was, perhaps even more so, as he had been the one to put himself on the line by practically saying that she was the one. Isobell had played the message over again around five times to hear his voice again, something she would never admit to another human being.
Isobell could have physically winced when she realised how hard it must have been for Archie to say that to an answering machine, only to receive no reciprocation. But the other part of her – the slightly more malicious side- was glad that he was going through something akin to the feelings she had felt when she had found out that he had lied. After all Isobell had not yet completely deemed it acceptable that he had lied to her, nor had she completely forgiven him.
Clearing her throat Isobell realised she would have to be the one to speak first, "I haven't fully forgiven you."
Archie looked towards her surprised that she had spoken, he was on the edge of screaming as neither of them had attempted to speak, "I know, I wasn't expecting you to have… you know forgiven me," that wasn't strictly true, in fact he actually thought her coming meant that she had forgiven him.
"After everything that I had told you about Marcus and my past, and the insecurities I felt when I told you led me to believe you wouldn't haven even considered lying to me let alone actually do it," Archie opened his mouth to speak but Isobell continued, "I can, after speaking to Marcie, see things better from your point of view, but in no way does that validate you lying to me. You should have trusted me with your identity, as you trusted me with your drinking problem and as I trusted you with my feelings! But all it showed to me was that in reality you didn't trust me all that much, nor did you want to make that leap of faith. And in the end, that's what really hurt."
Isobell looked away from him feeling tears beginning to surface and hating herself for it, she had always been an easy crier. She furiously rubbed her cheeks in frustration and embarrassment.
Archie leant forward placing his hands on to her thighs, he had seen the tears begin to surface and didn't want to force her to look at him if she felt she couldn't, he didn't feel as though he was able to look at her anyway, for shame had crept up inside of him at his actions. She was right, he had abused her trust, and only let parts of himself be known rather than himself as a whole. His thumbs started tracing little circles in what he hoped to be a calming way, not only for her but himself too.
"I can't tell you how sorry I am for doing that, you're right, a part of me was worried to trust you, unfairly so. But being able to trust you with my drinking problem and not this just shows you how screwed up I really am doesn't it?" Archie laughed a little, trying to lighten up enough for Isobell to be able to look at him again.
It worked, after a few moments she had composed herself, and Archie heard a little murmured laugh. This brought up his own confidence to be able to look at her, and at the same time she looked at him, her eyes now clear of tears. Archie took this as his moment to tell her every that she had come to mean to him, but before he could, Isobell beat him to the punch.
"What about Helena?"
Archie looked confused, "What about Helena?"
Isobell swallowed before answering, "She was here earlier when I phoned you, she picked up the phone."
Archie's eyes widened, so that's why Helena had been holding the phone, "Please Isobell, don't listen or believe anything she said. I don't know why but all of a sudden she's taken an interest in me again, she likes to play cat and mouse games with people. We are most definitely not together, please Isobell don't believe anything that she said to you," Archie had most definitely not even realised that Isobell had tried to ring him, something that she internally laughed at slightly.
Isobell nodded showing that she believed him, not that there was much cause not to, but she had to know.
"Look Bell… I… I can't tell you how much you've changed my life and me; I wake up looking forward to speak to you. I secretly loved it when you fell asleep on the phone to me, to hear you breathing I could almost imagine I was next to you, holding you. I love making you laugh when you're on the phone to me, just hearing it makes my day brighter," Archie could still see the reticence in her eyes, "And I know my life seems ridiculous and stupid, but Bell you're the sweetest and best girl I've ever known."
Isobell couldn't help but want to fall for the words, every cell in her body was screaming at her just to fall into his arms and forget everything that had happened, and just enjoy the moment. No matter how little time that it lasted. But she was in too deep already, she knew that, and if she allowed herself that one little bit, she knew that it would be so much more painful.
"Look, Ja…" she looked down and laughed, "Archie, I don't want… I've never wanted fame, or infamy. I genuinely believe that you're sorry about what you did, but… but I don't know if could, or can take what your life is."
His stomach dropped, and a cold feeling flooded him, "Bell, look it's not a choice…"
Isobell placed her hands on his knees to stop him, "I know, I know it's not your choice, but it's how it is. And for you to be successful it's how it's always going to be. It's already crazy… We had one date and everyone went nuts to try and get a picture of you afterwards. And now you have your ex – girlfriend claiming it was her. Forgive me if it's not my normal day to day life."
"But you know that's not all reall right? It's nothing, it doesn't mean anything," He rambled out, placing a hand on Isobell's cheek, which to his delight she sighed slightly in to, "If I could I wouldn't have any of it, of them. But you're right, it's part of my job and I can't change that. But if you give me a chance, I'll do my upmost to make sure you won't be affected by it."
Isobell smiled sadly, taking his hand from her cheek between her own in her lap, "Can you really though? I don't think it is something you can promise. As much as I want to believe that having a relationship with you wouldn't changed my life in a way that I don't want it to. It's not something you can control, this… we… we haven't even really started and we're already falling apart."
Shifting even more forward he pulled his hands back up to her cheeks, he had to make her listen, he had to, his heart was thumping, so loud that he coud hear it in his ears.
"I know… I know what you're saying and feeling, but do you really think I can let you walk away after what you've made me feel? I know you feel it too, otherwise you wouldn't be here. You wouldn't be sat here trying to tell me it won't work, you wouldn't just called, or not even shown up at all. I can't just let you go after what's happened between us."
He felt Isobell shake a little through his hand on her cheek, he could feel her heat pulsating through his palm and radiating up his arm; the sensation was almost becoming too much to take with her just looking at him. And then she did something wholly unexpected that surprised him, and even herself.
She slapped him.
As the cracked filled the fair, instinct made Archie's hand retreat from Isobell's cheek to his own, as if in hope it would be a balm for his now stinging cheek. He looked up at Isobell stunned at her actions and was even more shocked to see her smiling.
Then out of his peripheral vision he saw Isobell raise her two hands, afraid that another slap was coming, this time double handed, Archie rocked backwards to escape. But not quick enough as she caught his face in her hands and brought his lips to kiss hers.
Archie's heart stopped as their lips connected, the slap was now long forgotten as his senses stirred and lips tingled.
Shifting slightly Archie pulled more of Isobell towards him, the kiss increasing in passion as he did so.
The fact that she had initiated the kiss was even more of a turn on, but when Isobell drew in his bottom lip between her teeth Archie couldn't contain him self anymore.
He pulled them both back onto the sofa, positioning himself on top of Isobell, revelling in the feel of her body beneath him.
Isobell drew her hands over the broad plane of his back, loving the way the muscles rippled beneath, her nails dug in momentarily when his hips grinded with hers slightly, sending pleasure coursing though her nervous system.
They drew a hairs breadth away from one another, their laboured breath tingling one another's skin.
"What was the slap for?"
"For lying to me," she breathed out, her pupils dilated and her heart thumping.
Archie laughed, the vibrations of it sending ripples of pleasure through Isobell.
"What was the kiss for?"
Isobell grinned impishly and ran her tongue over her lips tasting where Archie had been moments before - an action that Archie followed with his eyes all the way- before replying, "For calling me back the next day."
Archie dropped his lips down to her own for a small kiss, before replying against them, "You can misdial me any day."
Feels a little rush, though I can't see how to do it any other way... Suggestions?