Fragility – A Hiddleswift Short Story
He can hear soft chatter and movement going on downstairs, the air now void of the laughter and music that has been so prevalent the last few days. The guests started slowly leaving this morning, giving warm hugs and grateful thank you’s to Taylor as they went. He smiles to himself, thinking about the amazing weekend this woman, his woman, just put on for those nearest and dearest to her. How unbelievably perfect the entire time had been, everyone lost in the joy and happiness and ignoring the outside world. Perhaps he had gotten lost himself, allowing himself to get lost in the moment, and lost in her, and experience a joy and elation that he doesn’t remember feeling ever in his life.
It’s been like that since he met her, every day bringing forth feelings and emotions that he has never felt before. He ignored them at first; forced to since she had a man waiting for her at home. But even then, he knew she felt the spark to and that eventually it would lead them together. And when it did, it was like kismet. Like perfection. Like destiny.
He runs his hand through his messy hair before he heads down the stairs and into the kitchen. He smiles and nods at Ryan as he sees him throwing a couple pieces of fruit into his bag. “For the road,” Ryan laughs before patting Tom on the back. “It was awesome chatting with you this weekend.”
“Yes,” he says with a chuckle. He had crossed paths with Ryan before but had never formally spoken with him. Over the past few days though, they had shared several conversations over glasses of wine and beer, mainly marveling over their ladies unabridged happiness at that time. But Ryan had also dispelled some advice to him that has remained in his head since. “Don’t let anyone else tell you how you’re supposed to feel about her.” Powerful words from a man who had previously tossed an I love T.S. shirt at him and told him it was his initiation into Taylors squad. He smiles at the memory and at Ryan’s sincere advice.
“Can I talk to you for a second,” Blake’s gentle voice breaks him from his thoughts and he turns to her and smiles.
“Of course,” he says, as he holds his hand out gesturing toward the living room.
He has gotten to know Blake well over the past few days, as Taylor catered and nurtured the mom to be, always on the lookout to make sure she was comfortable and happy. He realized quickly that Blake and Taylor share a bond unlike Taylor’s bond with others. A different sort of bond he assessed was due to Blake and Ryan being so prominently involved in the industry and perhaps knowing at least somewhat about what Taylor goes through on a daily basis, even though on a much smaller and less hostile scale.
Blake takes a seat on one of the oversized couches and grabs a pillow to prop up beside of her. She smiles gently, somewhat knowingly, at Tom. “She’s so incredibly strong,” she says softly, “because she has to be. Because she has no other choice but to be.” Tom takes in each of her words carefully, nodding ever so slightly as he stares at her. “But I think you know that she’s also quite vulnerable and quite human.”
“Yes, I know,” he says as he continues to nod at her words.
Blake takes a deep breath and turns her head toward the window that overlooks the beach. He knows Taylor is out there. He knows that just prior to his coming downstairs, Blake had been with her. She waits a few seconds before she turns to face him again. He instantly notices the concern in her eyes.
“There are going to be days when she’s not so strong. If you love her the way I think you do, you need to make sure you are strong for her on those days. Strong for the two of you.”
He allows himself a bit of time to process her words, his heart knowing exactly what she means. “I will be,” he says firmly as he stares at her.
She smiles. “You think you will be. And perhaps you will even want to be. But this isn’t going to be easy. You’ve already seen that.” He simply nods, knowing she is not done speaking. It takes her a few more moments before she lets out a deep breath. “Don’t run. Even if she tells you to.”
With those words, Blake gets up and walks to him, wrapping him in a warm hug before she walks back into the kitchen. He sits for a few minutes, his mind mulling over her words again and again until he hears Blake and Ryan yell goodbye and the front door close.
The house is eerily quiet now; the circle of comfort and support Taylor had placed around them over the past few days is gone. He feels a slight twinge in his heart as he already knows what this will bring. The vulnerability and uncertainty likely already setting in again in his girlfriend’s mind.
He pushes himself up from the couch and out the door, glancing around briefly until he sees Taylor sitting in a lounge chair near the edge of the property, her eyes glued at the ocean waves before her.
He makes his way to her, grabbing another lounge chair and sitting it down beside of her. As he sits down, he instinctively reaches for her hand and rubs his thumb along her warm skin.
“It’s a beautiful day,” he whispers, staring out at the waves gently washing upon the shore as seagulls fly in the distance, “it’s been a beautiful weekend.” She nods and smiles gently but doesn’t say anything. “What’s wrong, darling?”
She takes a deep breath before turning her head to face opposite of him. “Nothing. Just life. Reality.” She shrugs her shoulders softly. “I had let myself forget about everything the past few days. Lived in a little bubble I guess. And now it’s back to the real world.”
His eyes remain on her as she turns back to him. “Tree called. Everything is a mess. Apparently Adam’s releasing a song that is about me cheating, everyone thinks this is all for PR, which I don’t understand why we would even do that, everyone thinks that I’m ruining your career or that you are using me or vice versa.” She is talking so fast that he struggles to make out all of her words. “Tree asked what I wanted her to do.”
He squeezes her hand tightly. “And what did you say?”
She shrugs one shoulder and plants her gaze on him. “Nothing. I told her I didn’t want her to do anything.”
“That sounds like the perfect response to me.” She smiles at his words and he pulls her hand, prompting her out of her chair and into his. They lean back into the chair, Tom wrapping her tightly in his embrace as he places a gentle kiss on her forehead. “I don’t care about whatever song Adam releases, he can say what he wishes. So can the media. So can our fans. There is nothing impure or not genuine about the way I feel about you and I know that you feel the same.”
“But what if this does hurt your career,” she whispers, her voice muffled somewhat against his shirt. Her question is one he has heard before, primarily from Luke and his family and, admittedly, it’s a question that has weighed on his mind more than he would like for it to.
When he doesn’t answer after a few seconds, Taylor adjusts her gaze to look up at him. He shakes his head. “I don’t have all the answers to that, Taylor. I wish I did. But what I can tell you is that right here, with you, is exactly where I want to be. I am madly, passionately in love with you, Ms. Swift, and I’m willing to risk all that I need to risk to see where this goes.” She rests back into his chest as he speaks. “But the way I see it is that if we keep on living this life together and loving each other the way we do, eventually all truths will be revealed. Perhaps we were meant to live out this Shakespearean level of hatred and animosity to make our love stronger.”
He feels her laughing softly against him. “I’m not sure Shakespearean level is where I’d like to be.”
“Me neither, love. However, this is what we have. And I cannot, will not, change my heart because others think that I am supposed to. I am strong enough to love you through this. That I can promise.”
“But if you change your mind.”
“I won’t change my mind,” he says firmly as he tightens his embrace around her. “I won’t run. Not unless you run with me, love.”
She rises up on her elbow and looks at him. “I love you. I am madly and passionately in love with you. And I’m here for this too. All of it.” He leans forward to kiss her, pulling her as close to him as she can get. She reveals in it for a few while before she breaks back, resting her forehead against hers and glancing toward the sky. “There is probably a drone recording this.”
His lips find hers again instantly. “I don’t care. Let them see what real love looks like.”
They remain this way for some time, lost in each other as they have been so many times before over the past few weeks. After a while, their lips break apart and they settle back into their embrace, staring out at the ocean as the sun begins to set before them.
“Can I tell you something,” he says and she nods against him, “after the gala, after I went back to the hotel, I kept reliving every moment of that night. How amazing you were. How surreal everything seemed. I couldn’t sleep. So I ended up watching videos of your interviews and shows just so I could get another glimpse of your smile and hear your laughter again. But one of them stood out. I think it was from a Grammy Museum performance.” He lifts her hand up and kisses it before continuing. “You spoke of a relationship based on anxiety and fragility.”
“Yes,” she whispers, her voice breaking a bit, “out of the woods.”
“Yes. And when fate and destiny delivered you to me, I continued to remember your words from that performance. And I decided that whatever I gave you in this relationship, it would not be anxiety and fragility. I would hold your hand and face every road block with you. I don’t ever want you to feel that I won’t face those with you. For as long as you will allow me, I will be right here beside you, facing everything straight on.”
She lifts her hand up and he places his against it before they thread their fingers together and he pulls their intertwined hands to his lips to place a gentle kiss upon it. She does the same, kissing their fingers before she places their hands close to her heart.
“Forever,” she whispers, “I want you forever.”
He chuckles. “Then you shall have it.”
They rest back into the chair, no words needing to be spoken between them. And he remembers another thing she said in one of the videos he watched the night of the gala. When she spoke of a time in her life when everything was magical. She was referring to a tour then but he can’t help but think that she, that they, are living that right now. Even with all of the negativity and hatred around them, they still feel the magic. The passion. The love.
And he knows that he never wants that to end and he will do whatever he has to do to make that happen every day. Even if he has to face the wrath of the media, the naysayers and those who claim to love him.
Because she is worth it. Because they are so very worth it. He has never been so certain of anything in his life.