Together, Forever! Ch. 08bysimply_cyn©
Back in Texas, Victoria was overjoyed at seeing Madelyn again. It was hard for her to believe that only one week had passed since her leaving and catching her first glimpse of Colin Mengatti. So much had changed in so little of time. When it came to explaining to Madelyn what all had happened, it was much easier than she anticipated. "Oh, Maddie," she exclaimed, falling down on the couch beside her friend. "I don't know how to explain it other than I love him. I really do." She glanced at her roommate, reaching over to squeeze her hand.
"I'm happy for you, Vicky. I really am," she said, grasping her other hand. "It's what you wanted. I just can hardly believe it actually happened."
"I know," she whispered, sitting back into the couch and closing her eyes. "I can hardly believe it myself." She let her mind take her back to California, back into Colin's arms and she couldn't help but smile.
"I don't think I've ever seen you this happy," Madelyn said, watching her friend glow.
Victoria opened her eyes, and peered over at her. "Come with me," she said, suddenly.
"I can't," she said, always being the practical one. "It's crazy enough with you going." Victoria sat upright, looking at her seriously. Madelyn recognized her friend's look immediately, realizing that she was determined to talk her into going as well. "Vicky," she began, shaking her head, "What happens if things don't work out with your new job, what then?"
"That won't happen."
"What if things don't work out with you and Colin?" Victoria sat still for a moment, her eyes falling to search the carpet. Here Madelyn had mentioned the one thing that occupied Victoria's thoughts day and night.
"I guess that bridge will have to be crossed if and when I ever reach it." If she was totally honest with herself, Victoria knew that all depended on Colin. She wasn't sure about anything right now, just what was in front of her.
"Vicky, you know I'm not trying to knock down what you have with him . . ."
"I know," she said, looking back at Madelyn. "You haven't said anything that I haven't thought of myself." Then she smiled warmly at her friend. "Isn't there anything I can do to convince you to come?"
"No," she said sadly, watching her friend. They had been close for so long that she had a hard time imagining what life was going to be like without her. "My life is here and yours is just beginning somewhere else." Victoria reached over, taking her friend into an embrace. They sat like this for a while, both lost in their own thoughts and memories of the past. Sitting back from each other, but still holding hands, Madelyn said, "I want you to go Vicky, with no regrets. There is nothing here to hold you back."
"Nothing but you," she whispered, tears coming to her eyes.
Madelyn choked on her own as she said, "I'm not holding you back. In fact," She reached up to quickly wipe away her tears, and smiling said, "I'm throwing you out of the nest." Victoria reached over once more to take her college friend in her arms.
The three weeks that she was in Texas flew by quicker than she thought they would. Colin didn't call and she didn't either. The few times Victoria thought about it, she reasoned that he was busy and she was too. She had a lot of things to wrap up in three weeks. Madelyn helped her pack as much as she could when she wasn't working. They had to change the lease agreement since Madelyn would now be living here on her own and Victoria had to get her mail re-routed. Then there were bank accounts to change over and a moving van to rent. Then she spent as much time as she could with Madelyn. They did something everyday together and she took lots of pictures and videos. They made plans for Madelyn to fly up some to visit and of course, Victoria would come back to visit when she could. She knew that inside, Madelyn must think it crazy of her to be doing this, but she knew her to be a go-getter and a dreamer. She outwardly told her over and over that she thought it was great that she had made a positive move with her career in writing. But Victoria also knew Madelyn probably thought she was nuts for going after a guy seven years her junior! Honestly, she had to agree with that, it was nuts!
When the day came for her to leave, it was a tearful one. She hated to leave her friend but was filled with the hope that she was doing the right thing and that Madelyn was going to try to come for a visit in a month or so. She didn't know how she was going to last that long without her roommate, but was determined to try this new road ahead of her! She had called Steve's office to let him know when her flight was coming in and he had promised to send someone to meet her. The whole flight over, she couldn't help but wonder if things had changed between her and Colin in the past three weeks. He had filmed another film right after his blockbuster movie and it had just reached the theaters as well. So now both his movies were number one and number two at the box-office. It was insane! Victoria and Madelyn had gone to see this new one and this time, Victoria ached for him as she watched him up on the big screen. His other movie was still in the movie theaters, in every big magazine and all over the television. The love song from the movie was number one on the charts and was all over the radio. During her three weeks home in Texas, she kept meeting up with Colin's face and pictures of him. . . old pictures with his model girlfriend, Marisa. She couldn't help but feel a little insecure.
Victoria couldn't believe her eyes when it was Colin who was waiting at the gate! It had only been three weeks, but he already looked like he had changed. His hair was longer and he looked younger than she had remembered, but that smile had not changed at all. It lit up his face and made her stomach do flip-flops just seeing it! Trying to control the impulse of running down the gate and flinging herself into his arms, Victoria felt her feet automatically pick up the pace some. 'Slow down girl!' she thought to herself. She tried to keep her composure as she walked down the gateway, her eyes glued to his. At the end of the gate, he caught her up in his arms and suddenly, Victoria was relieved that things had not changed! Her shoulder bag slipped to the ground as her arms went around his neck, her hands in his hair. Their lips met and she hungrily tasted him, grinning at the same time. He pulled back. "Let me look at you," he whispered. "Have you changed?" His eyes raked over her, his eyes shining. "God, I can't believe how beautiful you are . . ." He drew her into his embrace again, kissing her eyes, her cheek, and her lips. "I can't believe you're finally back. It's been so long."
"I know," she whispered back, pulling him closer.
"I was afraid that you had changed your mind, especially when I didn't hear from you."
"I gave you the perfect chance to back out . . ." she teased, her hands sliding through his hair, her eyes soaking him up.
"Never," he vowed. "You're not getting away from me that easily." He kissed her again. "I'm never letting go of the best thing that has ever happened to me!"
Oh God, how she had longed to hear those words come out of his mouth. 'I had him, I really had him!' were the words that kept running through her head as she hugged him close to her.
Colin took her right over to her new apartment to drop her things off, change and go out. Victoria had an early morning meeting in Steve's office at 9:00 sharp, so they decided to opt for a quiet dinner at one of Colin's favorite places. She couldn't keep her eyes off of him and she was delighted to find that it was the same for him. "Did you get everything all taken care of back in Texas?' He smiled slowly at Victoria over their drinks. He enjoyed watching her.
She nodded, looking over her glass with a smile that showed the generosity of her lips. "Yes, there's nothing left for me there."
"I'm glad." He looked relaxed and happy as he ordered another Perrier. Victoria was surprised to see him not drinking his usual cocktails. He smiled up at her, their eyes meeting and holding. When the waiter returned, they ordered a light dinner and their conversation turned more towards catching up with what had transpired in the three weeks they had been apart. As she already knew, his new movie had just been released during the time she had been back in Texas. He had gone dateless to his premier since Victoria had not been in town. His agent had also contacted him trying to get him to read a new script. He said he wasn't sure he wanted to do anything else right now. He had spent some time at a beach house he had rented in Malibu, where he had spent a few days reading some scripts and relaxing. It had been a while since he had had some time just to himself. Victoria told him about her roommate Madelyn and how they had spent the three weeks together as much as possible. She lingered on the memories they had spent together as Colin asked, "Any regrets?"
She shook her head and looked vague as she toyed absently with her salad, and then looked up at him again. "No, no regrets." For an instant, she looked vulnerable in a way he had never seen her look before. Then it was gone the moment she smiled and shrugged one of her shoulders. "Madelyn and I go back a long way. Being this far apart is not going to change our relationship overnight." Colin felt like it was something else that was weighing heavily on her mind.
"What else is bothering you?"
Victoria took another sip of her water, watching him over the rim. Putting down her glass, she watched him, wondering if she should really tell what was on her mind. Could it be possible during these last three weeks that he hadn't seen Marisa? "You know," she began, again toying with her salad but never eating it. Colin watched her fork play with the greens and then slid his gaze up to lock with hers. She put the fork down and fiddled with her napkin.
"Just say it," he urged her. She looked back up at him.
"It's nothing, really," she said, hoping her words were believable.
"Victoria . . ." he began, eyeing her.
Looking down at her lap, she quietly said, "There are stories about you all over the tabloids." Sliding her gaze upward, she continued cautiously. "I couldn't help but read some of them while I was in line at the grocery store."
"Oh . . ." he said, suddenly very aware of her thoughts. He smiled at her as he leaned forward, catching up one of her hands. "I think I know what's on your mind."
She looked over at the hand softly caressing her own. "You do?"
"Yes," he said, bringing her hand to his lips, softly caressing her fingertips with his mouth. "You've got a lot to learn about the press and the tabloids."
"I've always heard that everything printed in them is bullshit, but . . ." she trailed off.
"But," he finished for her. "It bothered you to read some of the crap that was printed in there about me and Marisa, right?" She looked down again, embarrassed that he could read her so well. His hand reached over to cup her chin. "I have no intention of ever going back to Marisa and I am not yearning for her to return."
Victoria looked back up at him, sheepishly smiling. "I guess it was pretty silly of me."
"Victoria, you have no reason to ever doubt me. I'll say this, at one time before I met you; I had hoped that she would let me back into her life." He watched her closely for a reaction. When she just watched him, he continued. "Now, we're just friends. When she ended it, she didn't think we could survive the success that was sure to come with the movie and all the attention that she thought I would be getting."
"She was right, wasn't she?" she asked, intrigued now by the story he was telling her.
"In a way, I guess. But we could've survived it. I think, in a way, she was looking for an excuse to get out." He stopped when the waiter came back with their coffee. Taking a slow sip, he looked back at Victoria. "We're friends and I value our friendship but what we had is over now. Any feelings I had for her are gone, thanks to you."
Victoria's eyes lit up slowly, with a warm glow. She had hoped it would be something like that. "I'm glad." Picking up her own steaming cup, she couldn't help but think that Marisa must have wanted to be the only one in their relationship to be in the spotlight and Victoria couldn't help but feel a pang of anger at her. It was clear to her that she had been using Colin! But he was determined to keep her as a friend and Victoria wasn't about to complain.
"I don't want you to worry about the tabloids. They usually take an old story or something they have heard and twist it into a better story than it actually is." Victoria knew all too well what writers would do to get a good, sellable story.
"You have a way of making everything all right, don't you?" His voice was powerful yet gentle, and there was something very seductive about him. She could feel the pull of the man, just sitting next to him at the table, over their coffee.
"I try," he said, ever teasing her. Victoria's eyes held a caress that almost choked him, and for a long moment he just watched her.
As they left that evening, what Colin had told her about the press suddenly met them face to face as a group of photographers flashed picture after picture of them walking out to his car. Colin continued past them, cool as a cucumber with a perpetual smile glued to his face. Victoria was amazed!! She mused that she must have looked silly because she didn't know what to do, much less what to say. There must have been some reporters there as well, because they kept calling out questions to Colin about whom Victoria was and where Marisa was and did he still love her. Victoria couldn't believe they would actually say all of this in front of her, but here they were, doing it! Her blue eyes blazed as Colin smiled reassuringly at her. He closed her door and turned to face them. She couldn't hear what he was saying, but the flashbulbs were about to blind her and then she saw him making his way over to his side of the car. When he got in, all she could do was look at him as he drove off.
When she found her voice, all she could ask was, "What the hell was that?"
Laughing, he said, "That, my dear, is what I was talking about earlier." He looked over at her, taking her hand in his and bringing it to his lips. "That's the kind of shit I have to put up with all the time and now you will too." He quickly caught on to her quiet demeanor as he drove her back to her apartment. "Are you okay?' he asked, walking her up the iron staircase to the landing where her front door was.
"Yeah," she answered. "I guess I was just taken aback by all the press. They have a lot of nerve."
"It is a lot to get used to." What she didn't tell him was that it really bothered her to hear them talk about him and Marisa like it wasn't over between them. She was starting to wonder that herself . . .
"I enjoyed being with you tonight, Victoria." His voice was quiet, and she knew he meant it.
"Me too." Her blue eyes held his for a long moment and she smiled. All she could see was Colin, and how appealing he was. "You want to come in?"
"You have an early morning meeting," he reminded her, kissing her lightly on the cheek. "If I came in now, you wouldn't be getting any sleep tonight," he hinted a slow smile on his lips.
"Is that a promise?' she teased back, good at this game.
Colin groaned as he kissed her one last time, heading back down the steps. Stopping at the bottom landing, he turned to see her blow him a kiss. He waved as he got back into his car and she watched as his car pulled away from the curb and too quickly turned a corner, obscuring him from her sight.