On Forgetting Ch. 04byewebie©
First off, thanks for reading. I appreciate the feedback I've gotten so far, it's been quite helpful. I apologise if you don't like flashbacks, but much of this story is going to involve them as Langdon's memory returns. I've gone to italics for those sequences that are flashbacks though.
This entry is a little longer than the previous chapters, I'm working on the length of the submissions. I will warn you that there's going to be a bit of a lag after this entry. I've exams for the next few weeks and, as much as I hate to admit it, they are going to rule my life for the time being. I should have Ch 5 ready before Christmas though.
Thanks for reading,
Connor ran a nervous hand through his hair and paced in front of the couch. He glanced around the small living room for the millionth time that afternoon. Laney was coming home today and he wanted it to be perfect. He'd scrubbed the flat from floor to ceiling, he'd cleaned the sheets, made the bed, cooked dinner, hell, he'd even ironed his shirts. He groaned and dropped onto the couch and rested his head in his hands. Langdon's mother would be dropping her here once all the paperwork had been finished at the hospital. He'd be relieved once Langdon was home where she belonged, but Connor's stomach turned at the thought of facing her mother again.
All things considered, the conversation could have been much much worse. Thankfully he'd met Laney's mother before she walked in on him mauling her daughter. That hadn't stopped her from giving him a scolding the likes of which he hadn't heard since he'd been a teenager. He'd borne it, mostly because he deserved it. He was manipulating Laney, he was pushing her to remember things too quickly. But what the hell else was he supposed to do? The sound of his mobile phone made him jump, and he was on his feet to answer it in a flash. "Hello?"
"Laney? What's wrong?" He started pacing again.
"Well, Connor. My mom and I were heading back into town, but I... I don't know where I'm going." He could hear her laugh nervously. "So, um, where do I live?" Connor chuckled and gave her directions. Suddenly, he didn't feel so nervous about her coming home. Even if things weren't perfect, it didn't matter; she'd be back home.
Dinner went well. After spending the past day and a half with her daughter, Laney's mother had softened her view of what had happened in the hospital room, and she and Connor had struck a truce of sorts. They had decided that it was in Laney's best interest that she sleep in her own bed and spend as much time as possible around normal settings, so she would be staying at home with Connor, rather than the hotel with her mom. Further, Laney's mother was needed back home sooner rather than later. She intended to see her daughter settled, comfortable, and functional, but hovering wouldn't benefit anyone. Her mother headed back to the hotel early in the evening, and Connor took the opportunity to give Laney a tour of their flat, just to remind her where everything was.
In the dead of winter, the sun set by five o'clock, leaving seven o'clock as dark as midnight. And though Langdon was a little tired, she wasn't ready to sleep just yet. Connor suggested they relax a little and watch a movie. Langdon thought it was a fine idea, letting Connor pick a dvd from their shelf. He pushed play and settled back on the couch, cradling Laney's head in his lap as she stretched out under a blanket.
As the teaser blended into the opening title sequence, Laney twisted to look up at Connor. "I think I've seen this."
Connor grinned. "You have," he whispered conspiratorially. "We went to see this on a date."
Something like pride reflected in Connor's eyes when he looked down at her, and Langdon felt herself grow warm under his gaze. "Oh," she gave him a contented smile and turned back to watch the movie.
She found it hard to keep her eyes open for very long. The combination of the long day, the wonderful food Connor had prepared, and the calming sensation of his fingers stroking idly through her hair gave her a sated feeling that left her eyelids heavy. Giving into the sentiment, she let her eyes drift closed. But only, she told herself, for a moment...
Langdon pushed play on the DVD and cracked the top on her can of soda. She flopped back onto the couch, ignoring Connor's sprawling limbs. He huffed indignantly until Langdon handed him the other can of soda. "You know, if you weren't so lazy, you'd spend less time thirsty with nothing to watch," she chided.
Connor grinned and tapped her arm playfully. "Why should I move if I've got you to do it for me?" Langdon punched him and he laughed. "See, I even get a massage out of it."
Langdon groaned. "You're such a child."
"Shh, I'm trying to watch this movie." He winked, ignoring her annoyed expression.
Langdon snatched the pillow from under his arm, punched it a few times, and plopped the pillow in his lap before dropping down on it. Connor oofed in response, but he was used to the abuse. Langdon watched the opening credits, but even as the movie began, she couldn't quite get comfortable. Connor was tense, she could feel it, and it was trickling down to her. She knew him well enough to know that it wasn't tension from class, and Connor had been single since Jessie so it couldn't be girl troubles. It bothered her that she didn't know what was bugging him. She shifted again and felt Connor's hand come down on her hip. "Sit still, you're driving me nuts," he chided.
Langdon removed his hand and frowned. You're driving me nuts, she thought, and stop touching me. "You are much more fun when you're soft and squishy, not tense."
Connor toyed with the ends of her hair where it lay across his thigh. He didn't think she could feel it, but he loved the texture of the strands falling through his fingers. The corner of his mouth pulled up in a wry smile. "No guy is more fun when they're soft and squishy."
Langdon shot up and gave him a dirty look. "Connor!" She punched him in the shoulder. Why did every conversation turn to sex recently?
"I'm just saying," he held up his hands.
Langdon huffed and flopped back into the other corner of the couch. It took every ounce of self-control not to crack a smile. It was funny, and the picture Connor painted was of pure mischief. "You and your dirty mind." She crossed her arms and turned back to the screen.
"Oh please, I'm no worse than you, and you know it." He patted his thigh. "Come on, I'll behave."
No you won't. "I'm more comfortable over here." She used him as a leg rest, propping her calves across his thighs.
"Excuses, excuses," he muttered studying her from his vantage point.
Langdon blinked, the look in Connor's eyes startling her. She felt heat flush through her body, leaving a pleasant cloying sensation in its wake. She was suddenly possessed with the idea that she didn't want Connor to behave. She felt her cheeks colour and quickly turned back toward the TV. "Shh, I'm trying to watch this movie," she threw back at him and pretended to be absorbed in the movie. He frowned and turned back to the screen.
It felt as though the closer he got to her, the harder she was pushing him away. If he was honest with himself, it pissed him off that Langdon didn't even seem to know how he felt about her. He had been damn near celibate for four months. He'd been using the excuse that he was taking his time getting back on the horse, but in truth, Jessie had dumped him because of Langdon. Well, dumped him because he wouldn't give up his friendship with Langdon. Jessie had been right, though. He didn't want to be friends with Langdon, he wanted more. And he was willing to spend as much time as it would take to convince Langdon that he had the right idea. Why didn't she just give it a shot?
He sighed heavily. It wasn't her fault at all. He hadn't worked up the courage to do anything about the feelings he had for Langdon. She treated him like a friend and he responded like a friend. He shot a glance at Langdon, surprised to find her watching him suspiciously. "Why the heavy sigh, Connor?" she asked softly.
Connor shrugged and played with the hem of her jeans where it lay across his lap. "Just thinking."
"I knew I smelled something burning," she chuckled. Connor's attempt at a stern glare failed miserably when he caught sight of her grin. He sighed again and gave a wry smile. Langdon found it suddenly hard to breathe. For the second time that night, she saw a glimmer of heat darken Connor's eyes. She couldn't look away. The smile on her face faltered as she blushed again, and reflexively wet her lips.
The hopelessly pink tip of her tongue peaked out from between her lips and Connor felt blood pooling in his groin. He tensed, his fingers wrapping around Langdon's ankle convulsively. As if shaking himself out of a spell, he blinked and cleared his throat, glancing nervously at the tv. "I, um..." He stood, replacing Langdon's legs on his vacated seat. "I'll be back in a minute."
Langdon sat up and watched Connor hurry from the room. She stopped the movie and stared absently at the blue screen, processing the recent sequence of events. There was no way that Connor was interested in her, was there? She rubbed her eyes. She was exhausted; she was imagining things. But the more she thought about it, the harder it was to shake the idea. Sure Connor had his flavour of the week girls, but hadn't he been single for a few months now? And what had been his excuse? She sighed, he had been giving nothing but excuses. Not that many of his girls had liked her. Then there was her recent string of boyfriends to consider. Save for Eamonn, he had been down right hostile to all of them, and even with Eamonn, he was never very supportive. But then, Connor was just protective of her. He didn't want to see her hurt.
He had been so careful with her after Katie had died. He had kept her company, comforted her, helped her through the break-up with Eamonn, he spent most of his spare time with her. No, he spent all of his spare time with her. Langdon frowned, shit. Connor was totally interested in her. But how did she feel about him? He was such a goofball, but he was reliable; he annoyed the hell out of her, because he knew her better than anyone; he never seemed to talk much, but he knew all of her dirty little secrets; and he was so touchy-feely, but seemed to know when she didn't want anyone touching her, and then he'd pester her until she let him give her a hug... Langdon groaned. How could she have been so thick? She could see interest like that from a mile away when it happened to anyone but her.
Connor let out a nervous laugh from the doorway and shifted from foot to foot. Langdon met his gaze with a raised eyebrow. "Better?"
"Uh, yeah. Fine." Connor flushed slightly. "I had to pee."
Langdon felt the corner of her mouth quirk. As blind as she had been to it before, it was now as plain as the nose on her face. Connor had it bad, and he was utterly transparent. She took in the sight of him, dark hair ruffled as though he'd been running his hands through it, the corners of his eyes crinkled in laugh lines as he tried to grin away his nerves, his button down shirt cuffed and open at the collar, and his socks... Langdon almost had to laugh; he was wearing brightly striped red, yellow, and blue socks. He was admittedly quite handsome, but the socks made him adorable. Her gut reaction to his presence only confirmed what she was thinking. Maybe Connor had the right idea. She patted the couch next to her. "Come on, I want to watch the end of this movie."
If Connor was surprised that Langdon leaned back against him as they settled in to watch the movie, he kept it to himself, but he could hardly stifle a groan as her fingers traced small designs on his knee. The last time she had seemed so comfortable cuddling with him, he'd all but shouted for joy. It had only taken four years of their friendship before she seemed relaxed, truly relaxed. He sighed, rested a hand on her hip, and hunkered down on the couch for the rest of the movie.
Langdon toyed with various ideas while the movie played, before finally assuring herself that she knew what she was doing. "Connor?"
"It's getting kinda late, do you mind if I crash here tonight?"
Connor shrugged. "Sure, you know you can always stay here. Robby's out of town too, so you can sleep in his bed if you want."
Langdon frowned. "I don't want to sleep in his bed." She turned to face him, pushing herself up onto her knees. "I'd probably catch an STD from the bed alone."
Connor tried to suppress a smile. "He's not that bad."
"I hope you don't wash your sheets with his. You'd have cooties too."
He tweaked her nose. "Fine, you want to sleep on the couch, that's your call. I just thought the bed would sound more comfortable."
She wrinkled her nose. "What if I told you I don't want to sleep on the couch either?"
Connor narrowed his eyes. "Then where would you sleep?"
Langdon caught him by surprise, straddling his lap and effectively pinning him to the corner of the couch. She rested her palms on his chest and watched his face through lowered lashes. "Maybe I want to sleep in your bed."
He froze, staring down at her hands where they made small folds in his shirt. The heat running through her palms felt as though it would burn through his skin, and it would be a miracle if she didn't notice the pounding of his heart. He cleared his throat nervously, "Then where would I sleep?"
Langdon gazed intently into his eyes for several moments before a seductive smile gradually spread across her face. "Why would I want to sleep in your bed if you aren't in it?" He swallowed convulsively and managed a weak smile, freezing again as her hands came up to rest on his shoulders. Her confidence wavered momentarily. Speechless is one thing, but immobile was something else entirely. She waited for a sign that he wanted this as much as she did, but there was none to be had. Langdon tightened her jaw for a moment before giving back in to her impulse. "Oh, Fuck it," she whispered and leaned in to kiss him.
At first as her lips feathered across his, Connor remained motionless, stunned first by her forwardness, then by her swearing. But as her lips pressed against his, coaxing them open, it dawned on him that what he had been dreaming of had just landed in his lap. He groaned and reached for her, pulling her firmly against his chest, and sliding his hands down the planes of her back. Her tongue flicked along the crease of his lips and he eagerly welcomed her into his mouth, before taking it upon himself to explore the depth of hers. His fingers found the hem of her shirt and slipped beneath it, exploring the silky skin of her back and sides.
Everything Connor did felt so right. His hands were warm and knowing, his lips like fire against hers, his tongue demanding. Langdon moaned, wrapping a fist full of his shirt in her hand in an attempt to keep her balance. Then Connor was pushing her away. He held her shoulders at arms length, watching her face closely.
Langdon blinked, trying to reengage her brain to understand what had just happened. Connor was staring at her cautiously and she stiffened. "What?"
Connor shifted. "Lang," he cleared his throat. "Are you sure this is a good idea?"
Confusion and pain flashed across her face before she could disguise it behind an emotionless mask. She spun away from him and moved to the far end of the couch, digging on the floor for her shoes. "Lang, what are you doing?"
She could hear him sit up behind her, but she refused to turn around and face him. "What does it look like I'm doing, Connor? It's late, I'm going home." She muttered a curse as her shoe refused to cooperate. "Just as soon as I can get my damn shoes on." She jammed her foot into one of the sneakers and stooped to tie the laces.
"Lang, don't leave," he rested a hand on her shoulder.
She shrugged him off. "You made yourself quite clear, Connor. My pride can only suffer so much in one night." She fumbled with a knot in the lace of the second shoe. "Why the fuck won't this untie?"
"Lang, stop." Connor reached around to take the shoe.
"Hey! Damnit Connor!" She tried to snatch back her sneaker, but he was faster than she. He caught her wrists against her chest and pulled her into the curve of his body. "Let go!" she snapped, fighting to free her hands.
"Calm down, Lang." He tried to soothe her, but she didn't still. He let her fight out some of the emotion, holding her firmly in his arms. "Langdon Ellish Murphy, listen to me," he said firmly. Langdon released an exasperated grunt of resignation and dropped her shoulders in defeat. "That's better," he sighed. "Look, Lang, before you go rushing off and ill-wishing me to the high heavens, just listen." He was silent for a moment, gathering his thoughts. "Damn. Lang, every time I'm around you, you manage to completely catch me off guard. You can't expect me to always keep up with you and that mind of yours. You happen to be a bit smarter than me."
Langdon sighed, "I made a mistake, alright."
Connor shifted her wrists into one hand and slid his free palm across her stomach. She sucked in a breath at the sensation. "It wasn't a mistake, Lang," he whispered.
"If it wasn't a mistake, then what?"
Connor released her suddenly and turned back toward the tv. "I don't know, Lang, what if it doesn't work out?"
She frowned, "What if what doesn't work out?"
"You and me," he sighed. "I don't want to hurt you and I certainly don't want to lose you as a friend."
"Connor," she rested her cheek against his shoulder blade and slid her arms beneath his, resting her palms on his chest. "You won't lose me as a friend." She nuzzled the curve where his neck met his shoulder. "Look, I've dated friends before, and though it can be weird, we're good enough friend's it won't go away."
"If it doesn't work..." He shook his head.
"What if it does work?" she kissed the side of his neck. "You can't tell me you haven't hoped for this. And I've never been so sure of something." "I want y-... I want to take care of you, but..."
Langdon huffed impatiently. "I'm a big girl, Connor. I can take care of myself."
"I just don't want to hurt you."
"Then don't," she insisted. Connor shifted away again and ran a hand through his hair. Langdon felt as though she'd been slapped in the face. "Fine," she said angrily, trying to cover the hurt that crashed through her with the rejection. She turned, intent on leaving. Enough was enough, and if he couldn't sack up, she was gone. She wasn't the type of person to throw herself at someone and she certainly was proud enough that the dismissal left a bitter taste in her mouth.
"No, Lang," he reached for her, but she scooted further down the couch in search of her still missing shoe.
"Fuck you, Connor," she spat reaching down for the sneaker on the floor. Before she could blink, she found herself on her back, Connor looming over her, pinning her to the couch. "Get off!" she shouted, trying to throw him. She managed to hook his leg with her knee, and pulled, sending them both tumbling to the floor. Langdon managed to land on top of him, but couldn't scramble up fast enough. In a flash, Connor had her pinned to the floor. "Damnit, Connor!"
He tightened his grip on her wrists. "Why do you keep trying to run away?"
"Because you're being an asshole!" she kicked out her legs, but couldn't get him to budge. "There are worse things than it not working out, you fool." Langdon struggled to keep from crying. "But if you want to wallow in your misery of want, fine."
"That's not what I want!" he yelled back.
"If I'm not worth it, just say so!" she snapped, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.