I loved you first (chapter 1)
(I know, I have fics running that need to be finished but we all know that’s not how it works.)
This one has been in my drafts for a while until my muse started talking to me again this week (thank you beautiful Sdcc Tom)
It’s been a while since I’ve done a real romantic multi chapter fic, I’ve been wanting to write this one ever since I finished writing Kindred but it was just an idea then. It’s become a bit more in my head now and I know I work better once the first chapter is out there so I wanted to share it with you guys.
I have no idea how long but the plan is to make this at least around 10 chapters.
Here’s the story: Emmy is Tom’s best friend and while they have tried taking their relationship to another level over the years it never really happened, putting a lot of heartbreak and unresolved feelings between the two of them. When Emmy hears about Tom’s new girlfriend she doesn’t waste any time and rushes over to London with only one thing in mind: finally making him realize that she has been the one all along.
This story was inspired by the movie My best friend’s wedding and this little silly rumor last month about Tom and a certain woman which we shall not speak of right now ;)
So expect a lot of feels, fluff, eventual smut I’m sure, probably quite some angst too but mostly feels (I already made myself cry writing parts of Chapter 2 so you know what you’re in for!)
I loved you first (chapter 1)
‘If you leave now that’s it, it is never going to happen between us!’ he yelled in frustration, his hands pulled at his blond curls nervously before he hung his arms next to his body in a defeated shrug.
I was on my way out of the room but stopped with my hand on the door handle, a heavy sigh escaped my lips. I didn’t want to turn around and have to look at him, looking at those beautiful pleading eyes would be the end of me right now, but even with my back to him I could feel them on me.
‘Are you sure that’s what you want?’ he then asked again, his voice was calmer now. I didn’t dare move a muscle, afraid he would see right through this fake wall of indifference I had tried to pull up.
‘Please look at me,’ he asked.
‘If I look at you I’ll never leave.’
‘Would that really be such a bad thing?’
I turned around and looked up, regretting it the instant my dark eyes met with his heavenly blue ones and I watched the little pleading smile on his lips.
‘Why now?’ I asked,’ why ask me now? Our lives are about to change, Tom! You are leaving next week, your timing…fucking sucks!’
‘I know,’ he sighed, and he walked up to me,’ I know. I just…I couldn’t let you walk away without telling you how I feel. I should have done this sooner.’
‘Yes, you bloody well should have!’ now my voice was the one filled with frustration.
His face was inches from mine and I was suddenly finding it harder to breathe, he lifted his hands to cup my face, leaving me no choice but to look deep into his eyes. His thumbs were caressing my cheekbones while he licked his lips.
‘Em,’ he whispered,’ I know the timing isn’t perfect, but it is never going to be exactly how we want it, that’s life. I still want us to try because…I am so completely in love with you, my darling. If we don’t take this chance now…I’m afraid we never will.’
All I could do was stare at him, my heart was starting to race when he leaned his forehead against mine and his voice dropped to a sweet low whisper.
‘Please don’t tell me it’s too late, Em.’
I still couldn’t move, the words stayed stuck in my throat as my heart fought with my mind to come up with an answer. The tears were streaming down my cheeks when I finally managed to speak,’ I can’t do this now, Tom.’
I know, I was an idiot and that right there was the moment I would regret for the rest of my life, if I could just take back those words everything would be so different now.
But that’s the thing, even if I could go back and change it I would still do exactly the same, because I truly believed we weren’t ready then. Or I wasn’t ready at least.
It’s always about timing, timing is everything, and ours had always been completely off.
I closed my eyes and leaned back against the seat of the train, it was slowing down, we were almost there.
I knew it was no use dwelling on the past, it was three years ago and life goes on. My life has, and obviously his had too, which is what brought me here.
A simple text message from a friend a few weeks ago: ‘Oh by the way, Tom was at the party and he looked amazing! He was with that same girl again, I think it’s getting serious, Em, they looked completely smitten with each other. I swear I can almost hear the wedding bells!’
You know when you think you’re over something, but then someone mentions it to you and you realize it still hurts exactly as much as it did before. It’s like an old wound that never truly heals, it just becomes a part of you so much that you don’t feel it anymore until one day, unexpectedly, you bump your arm and hit that exact spot.
My friend hadn’t seen any harm in sending that text, since to her me and Tom had never been anything more than friends.
But now there was a tiny crack in the wall where my phone landed after I threw it across the living room in an angry, jealous fit and it was nothing compared to the crack that message left in my heart.
I took my ear buds out and turned off my iPod while the train was making its way into London Pancras. I carefully put everything into my bag and took my suitcase as I stepped out onto the platform, letting out a sigh of relief to be back on London soil.
At least some things were still the same, I felt at home as soon as my feet hit the pavement.
I had barely taken a couple of steps when two thin arms wrapped themselves around me from behind and pulled me into a hug, almost making me drop my bag.
‘Hello, my sweet little Emmy!’ she laughed into my ear.
‘Good god, Haley, don’t do that,’ I smiled as I turned around to hug back the dark haired woman looking at me with a big smile.
‘You made it!’
‘Barely,’ I smiled as my friend took my bag and we both started walking towards the underground station.
‘How was your flight?’
‘Long and filled with turbulence,’ I sighed,’ how is London?’
‘Rainy and filled with tourists,’ she said putting a smile on my face,’ but over the moon to have you back in its quarters.’
‘It does feel good to be back,’ I admitted,’ now are you sure I shouldn’t just book a hotel room? I don’t wanna be in your space, I know the apartment isn’t that big…’
‘We’ve shared it before, Emmy,’ she shook her head in protest,’ I’m sure we can do it again. Besides, my best friend is finally back in town after 3 years, I want to spend as much time with her as I possibly can.’
I closed my eyes while the train carried us through the underground of London, the smells and sounds surrounding me made it feel as if I had been here just yesterday. The city had a way of doing that every time, no matter how long I had been away London always welcomed me back with open arms.
The stress of the long and bumpy flight was starting to leaving me little by little as we neared our stop.
It helped that Haley’s apartment still looked exactly the same as I remembered it from when we were roommates.
After having dinner together, I retreated to my room and started unpacking my suitcase, when I put all of my clothes in the small closet I found the picture on the bottom and let out a deep sigh.
It was one of the few actual pictures I’ve kept during the past years, the beautiful young girl in it looked so carefree and happy, so different from the woman she was now. I must have been about 22 there, with not a clue what life would bring me.
His face was nuzzled up against my cheek, those big blond curls peaking in every direction, his cheeks red and his smile so loving and genuine. I remembered exactly when and where it was taken, in his first small flat in London, the night I fell in love with him, the night everything changed.
I let out a deep sigh and fought back the tears I felt welling up in my eyes.
‘Hey there,’ Haley stood in the doorway with her arms crossed and a sympathizing smile on her face.
I wiped away my tears and tried to smile.
‘Hey,’ I sighed.
She walked over to me and sat down next to me on the bed.
‘Are you okay, sweetie?’ she asked, a look of concern of her face as she took my hand.
‘I’m fine,’ I shook my head and stopped the tears,’ I’m just a bit jet lagged, you know I get overly emotional when I’m tired.’
‘Uh-huh,’ she said.
‘I didn’t come here to cry, Hales.’
‘Why did you come here, Emmy?’ she asked, a serious look on her face this time.
‘I’m…not really sure,’ I sighed.
‘Don’t get me wrong, I am over the moon to have my friend back but…I don’t think you came back for me, did you?’
I shook my head.
‘I just need to see him,’ I then admitted,’ I don’t know what will happen if I do but…’
‘Just promise me you won’t do anything foolish, alright?’
‘You know me,’ I answered with a little smile.
‘Exactly,’ she smiled and shook her head,’ you should get some sleep.’
‘Emmy, was it?’
I could barely hear him over the loud music and just nodded my head, I usually ignored guys like him but he was a friend of our group, it seemed rude not to talk to him when he was trying so hard to bring me out of my shell.
And I had to admit he was rather cute, just not the type of cute I would usually fall for, he was too skinny and he looked about 17 years old, which I knew from our group that he wasn’t. He must be at least 20, my age.
But he had a really sweet smile and kind eyes. It was the combination of those two that made me decide to start a conversation with him that night.
That and those funny looking blond curls on his head. He reminded me of one of those little angle statues my grandmother kept on top of her desk, all that was missing was a halo. His face was all smiles and innocence. The latter, I would soon find out, was debatable.
‘Yes, it’s Emmy,’ I said as I took my drink from the small table and leaned forward to look into his eyes,’ do you want to go outside where we can talk better?’
I didn’t wait for his answer but started walking through the crowd until I made my way past the dance floor, I smiled to see he was right behind me when I reached the exit.
He followed me down the parking lot until we found a quiet spot to sit, on a small wall near the street. He sat a little closer to me than I expected from a stranger. I realized why when his hand came to rest on my lower back and he pulled me to him, looking deep into my eyes as he slowly leaned his face towards mine, his eyes fluttering closed while his lips parted.
‘What are you doing?’ I asked and I put my hand on his chest and pulled my head back, putting a look of surprise on his face.
‘I thought…when girls ask you to go outside it usually means…that they want to…you know, oh god that’s not what you meant, isn’t it?’ he was blushing and stuttering through his words and I found my initial reaction of wanting to get angry with him quickly changing into sympathy.
‘That wasn’t an invitation to make out, no,’ I stated.
‘Oh fuck,’ embarrassed he covered his face with his hands and shook his head,’ I am so sorry! Shit, I never know what the signs are, I was sure I read it right this time!’
‘It’s fine, I guess I wasn’t being entirely clear,’ I gave him a little smile to prove that I wasn’t angry.
‘I’m sorry,’ he said again,’ god, of course you don’t want to make out, you don’t even know my name.’
‘You’re Tom,’ I smiled, making him look at me in surprise.
‘Haley mentioned you before,’ I explained,’ I’m her roommate.’
‘Oh, right, you’re that Emmy!’
‘The one and only.’
‘Well, it’s nice to meet you, Emmy,’ he then said,’ I’m sorry if I acted like an ass, I truly didn’t mean to offend you.’
‘You didn’t,’ I said,’ honestly, it’s fine, I’m flattered.’
‘You are?’ he asked surprised.
‘Of course, a pretty guy wants to make out with me, why would I be offended by that?’
‘You think I’m a pretty guy?’
I could see a little cocky smile on his face when I looked up.
‘Yes,’ I smiled and I noticed the smile spread all over his face in a happy grin,’ I’m still not going to make out with you though.’
‘Damn,’ he sighed,’ I was just going to say that if you changed your mind about that, it’s still on the table.’
I looked into his blue eyes, he may have started off clumsy but I could see the hint of mischief in those flirty eyes right now. He wasn’t as innocent as he appeared to be.
‘Still? Excuse me, it was never, not even for a minute or a second, ever on the table!’ I shook my head but couldn’t help but smile.
‘Why not?’ he asked,’ you think I’m pretty, I think you’re drop dead gorgeous, it doesn’t have to mean anything.’
‘I don’t kiss if it doesn’t mean anything,’ I said, taking the smile off his face.
‘I can be open to that,’ he then spoke softly and he carefully put his hand on my knee. I had to admit he was a lot smoother than I had given him credit for, but I still had no interest in whatever he was offering.
We both stayed quiet for a moment, I know he was waiting my response before he would try and make another move. It was no use leading him on.
‘I don’t know what you’re looking for but I’m not your girl, Tom,’ I then said as I took back my hand and stood up.
‘Now how do you know you’re not exactly what I’m looking for?’ he then said and he stood up and followed me like an eager puppy.
‘Trust me, I’m not,’ I smiled as we walked back into the club together.
‘Okay, so making out is definitely off the table,’ he was walking behind me and took my hand again,’ will you at least dance with me then? One dance?’
He spun me around and I looked right into his angel face, a little hopeful smile on his lips.
‘Or does that have to mean something too?’ he teased.
‘Alright,’ I said in a smile,’ one dance.’
The loud buzzing of my cell phone woke me up the next morning, it took me a few moments to realize where I was, in my old bed, in Haley’s flat, in London. Home.
My arm reached for the night stand until I managed to grab my phone and hit the first button my fingers could reach. I let out a long annoyed sigh.
I looked at my phone and noticed it wasn’t an alarm but an incoming call. When I noticed his name on the screen I jumped up in the bed and was suddenly wide awake.
‘Tom?’ I asked carefully, my voice still hoarse from being asleep for over twelve hours.
‘I woke you up, didn’t I?’ his soft voice was suddenly very close to me when I brought my phone to my ear.
‘Shit, I should have known you’d be jet-lagged,’ he continued,’ I’m sorry, darling.’
‘I’m awake,’ I whispered and I sat up against the bed head,’ hello, stranger.’
‘Good morning,’ I could practically hear the smile on his face,’ a little birdie told me you were in London.’
‘Emma,’ I sighed,’ she wasn’t supposed to say anything, I was going to surprise you.’
‘Well, you know she can’t keep a secret, especially not a big one like that, what are you doing in London?’
‘I came to see y…Haley,’ I quickly corrected myself,’ I had some holiday days saved up at work and nothing to do, so…here I am.’
He let out a deep sigh.
‘How long has it been, Em?’ he then asked.
‘Too long,’ I spoke quietly,’ three or four years, but who’s counting?’
It’s been three years, one month and two weeks, give or take a day or two.
He stayed quiet for a few moments.
‘There’s a party at my house this afternoon,’ he then said,’ please tell me you’ll come?’
‘I wouldn’t miss it.’
I walked trough the garden of Tom’s house later that afternoon, unsure of what exactly was considered a ‘party’ I had chosen not to dress up too formal but just wear my safe classic black pants and white top and put up my long brown hair. And high heels just in case this thing was more formal than I had expected.
‘Emmy!’ she squealed and pulled me into a hug before I had the chance to recognize her.
‘Emma,’ I smiled when she finally broke the hug and showed me her face.
‘It is so good to see you again, you haven’t changed one bit!’
‘Neither have you,’ I smiled,’ still stunning.’
‘Oh stop, we both know who inherited the beauty in this family,’ she waved her hand and then pointed me towards the house,’ he’s over there waiting for you.’
My heart was racing as I walked the steps to the house, memories of my last time here flashing before my eyes, I tried to ignore all the loud chatter and the crowd of people around me. It was only adding to my nerves, who were already on edge but then I turned the corner and saw him, and it all seemed to fade.
He was taller than everyone else in the room, as usual, his long legs were covered in a tight blue pants, his chest in a perfectly tailored white shirt. He seemed to have a bit more muscle than I remembered and his hair was just a tad darker and less curly.
But then he turned around and there it was, the exact same genuine smile and gorgeous blue eyes that I had seen only in my mind during the past years. But all that time seemed to disappear now.
His smile faded for a moment when he saw me and his mouth dropped, I could see him taking in every part of me and then the smile slowly returned and he walked up to me.
Before I could speak he wrapped his arms around me and took my words from me in one of his heartfelt hugs.
I hadn’t meant to cling to him as if my life depended on it, but as soon as he pulled me close I did and he tightened the hug with the same intensity. Holding me against his body as if nothing else in that room mattered, just the two of us.
‘Em,’ I could hear him whisper against my ear and then he let out a heavy sigh and broke the hug to look at me.
‘Look at you,’ he was shaking his head.
‘No, look at YOU,’ I objected and I let my fingers run over the collar of his shirt,’ you look like you walked straight out of a magazine for god’s sake!’
He laughed and shook his head, his hands still resting on my shoulders.
‘Oh shut up, it’s just clothes and a haircut.’
‘Well, you clean up very nicely.’
‘And you look as beautiful as always,’ he said softly, making me shiver for a moment when his hands ran from my shoulders down over my arms. He laced his fingers with mine and held my hands in his for a few seconds before letting me go.
He looked absolutely gorgeous and while I stood there getting lost into his eyes I realized just how much I had missed him. Just being near him, his presence, his scent, the way he was smiling back at me with such genuine affection in his eyes, as if no one else in the room even mattered anymore.
How had I been able to stay away from that for the past years? How had I gotten through all that time without him?
I wanted nothing more than for all the people around us to disappear so I could just keep hugging him but I knew our moment was over.
‘I am so happy you’re here,’ he then said and his smile widened,’ god, Em, I can’t wait for you to meet her!’
How could such a small insignificant word inflict so much pain?
I put on my brave face and let him guide me to the living room, another shiver running up my arms as I felt his hand protectively resting on the small of my back while we walked.
My eyes were scanning the whole place, looking for the luckiest woman on the planet.
Could it be her? The tall beautiful blonde with the white dress and the perfect smile. Please, no…
A sigh of relief left my lips when we walked right past her.
Maybe that one then, the more curvy brunette with the sexy dress and the perfect tan and dreamy eyes. She could be his type.
But Tom didn’t even seem to notice her when we passed, he was clearly only looking for one women and all the rest seemed completely insignificant and even invisible to him.
‘Emmy,’ he took my arm and pushed me past a small group of people until I was standing right in front of her,’ this is Catherine.’
I stared right into the most beautiful green eyes I had ever seen, her skin was pale like mine but a lot smoother, forming a perfect contrast to her long wavy black hair, her lips a perfectly soft pink that lit up her entire face.
‘Cath, this is Emmy,’ Tom continued, seemingly unaware of my staring. And she was staring right back at me, no expression on her face for a few seconds as she took me in.
But then she smiled, it was such a warm smile, sweet and a little nervous even.
God, every inch of her was perfect.
‘Hello, Emmy,’ she then spoke,’ it is so great to finally meet you, Tom talks about you so often. I’m thrilled to finally put a face to the name.’
Her voice was soft and kind as she leaned in to shake my hand and carefully put hers over it in a friendly gesture.
I noticed the few small freckles around her nose and for the first time I also noticed her dress. It was a beautiful dark green that matched her eyes but it was also a lot more basic and less revealing than what some other guests were wearing, she didn’t use jewelry or lots of make up to stand out and yet she was more gorgeous than every other woman in the room.
She seemed completely at ease with herself catching everyone’s attention without even trying. Even more so with Tom by her side, looking at her as if she was his reason to breathe.
Yes, I decided right then and there that I was going to hate her guts, what other choice did I have? She had everything I wanted.
My heart sank as Tom’s hand was now no longer on my back but on hers, and he nuzzled his face against hers to put a soft slow kiss on her cheek, letting his lips linger there a little bit longer until she smiled shyly.
A dagger to the heart would have hurt less.
‘I can’t do this now, Tom,’ I sobbed and covered my face with my hands as I turned around but he was right in front of me in a second, grabbing my hands to force me to look at him,’ you’ll be gone in a week, I’ll be gone in a week, we’d never be able to make it work!’
‘That’s a poor excuse and you know it.’
I stayed quiet.
‘What do you want from me?’ I then asked.
‘I just want you to be honest,’ his face was so close to mine he was making it hard to breathe, or think,’ for once, Em, just tell me the truth. Do you love me?’
I fought back my tears and looked at him, grabbing his shirt with both hands as I shook my head.
‘There’s no need to be scared,’ he whispered soothingly.
‘Don’t you see? There’s every reason to be scared.’
He grabbed my neck with his hand and leaned his forehead against mine.
‘You’re my best friend in the whole world, Em,’ he spoke softly.
‘And you are mine,’ I spoke, my voice coated in tears,’ and I’m so scared of losing that, Tom, of losing you. I can’t handle anything more right now, if I…let you in like that and I lost you I’d never recover from that.’
He kissed my forehead and then slowly nodded his head as he let my words sink in.
‘So you won’t even try then?’ he asked, his face covered in disappointment.
‘I’m sorry, I can’t,’ I sobbed,’ please, please don’t hate me.’
‘It’s alright,’ he sighed and he stayed quiet for a few moments before he spoke again,’ our timing has never been right, hasn’t it?’
I shook my head in a little smile as I wiped my tears.
‘No,’ I admitted.
‘I should have taken that as a sign, maybe despite everything we’re just not meant to be after all.’
He stepped away from me and I could see him nodding his head, gathering his thoughts before he spoke again,’ you’re right, if it ended badly…better to save ourselves the heartache.’
‘That’s not what I was going to say, I just…’
‘No, Em, it’s fine,’ he insisted,’ thank you for being honest with me, and don’t worry, I won’t ask you again.’
I couldn’t help but feel my heart break at the bitterness in his words, he wasn’t even looking at me anymore.
‘You’ve made your point, there’s no need to dwell on it, let’s just…both start our new lives and forget about this.’
I watched him take his coat and head for the door, for a moment I thought he was just going to leave without looking back but then he turned around, giving me the saddest look I had ever seen on his face.
‘There’s nothing you could ever do to make me hate you, Em,’ he whispered.
I let myself sink down on an empty bench in the back of Tom’s garden later that night, when the sun was starting to go down and most of the guests had returned home. I had fled the busy living room as soon as I saw the chance.
Not only was I in desperate need for some fresh air but my face hurt from all the fake smiling the last couple of hours. Pretending to be cheerful when all you really wanted was to crawl into a corner and cry proved to be quite exhausting.
‘I’m glad you’re still here.’
His voice made me turn around instantly and I looked up to find him smiling at me.
‘I was hoping to catch you without all the distractions,’ he then said.
‘Me too,’ I confessed.
‘I’m sorry,’ he sat down next to me,’ I didn’t mean to sprung her on you like that.’
‘It’s okay, Tom. She seems really nice, I’m happy for you.’
He just looked at me without saying a word, studied my face and then shook his head.
‘What?’ I asked.
‘You were always such a bad liar.’
‘What do you want me to say?’ I shook my head in an embarrassed smile and looked away, he was silent again.
‘I AM happy for you, you know that, right?’ I then said more seriously,’ you deserve happiness more than anyone, Tom. And I do mean it, she does seem really nice. She must be if you’ve picked her, right?’
‘Right,’ he said softly,’ she was so nervous about meeting you today.’
‘Me?’ I asked surprised.
‘Of course,’ he said,’ you’re one of the most important women in my life, Em. Well, … you were.’
We looked at each other.
‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for it to come out like that,’ he then said.
‘It’s okay,’ I sighed,’ it’s true, I haven’t really been in your life much the past years. I didn’t mean for that to happen but…’
‘You don’t need to explain,’ he interrupted me,’ we both just…carried on with our lives, Em, it was the best thing to do after last time.’
‘But I’ve missed you,’ I turned to look at him and was met with a serious look on his face,’ I have missed you so much.’
He grabbed my hand and lifted it up to his lips to put a soft kiss on it, making my heart swell.
‘I’ve missed you too, my darling,’ he whispered.
We both sat in silence for a while after that, he didn’t let go of my hand and I leaned my head against his shoulder, happy to finally have him this close to me again, happy that it was just the two of us, just me and him.
The way it was supposed to be…