Robert really wasn't trying to avoid answering Giselle's questions he was really just hungry, really. This is what he kept telling himself as he and Giselle walked the few blocks to Ray's Dinner and Deli. The walk over had been very uncomfortable for Robert she just kept looking at him in a way that seemed to say that she was still expecting him to answer all of her inquiries. He was glad when they finally made it inside and began talking about food instead. Giselle didn't know what to order so she allowed Robert to order for her, he got them both a pastrami with Swiss on the house bread with lettuce, tomato, red onions and Ray's special sauce.
"Oh, this is delicious," Giselle exclaimed as she took a bite. "What do you call this?" She hadn't really been paying attention when he was ordering, choosing instead to take in her surroundings.
"I call this a pastrami and Swiss with the works," Robert said grinning.
"What's pastrami?" she asked taking another bite.
"It's a cut of beef seasoned a special way to keep it from spoiling and that special seasoning its what makes it taste so good."
"It certainly is tasty," she said in muffled words with a mouth half filled with food.
"Wow you're hungry." It surprised him to watch her eat like that most women he knew were very concerned with what they ate and even how they ate, especially if someone was watching. Giselle, however, didn't seem to care as she ravenously attacked her food. The whole thing held a strange sex appeal for him.
"Mmhmm," she agreed trying to swallow yet another bite. "I'm not usually very hungry, or at least I wasn't in Andalasia but here I am. Everything is just so yummy."
Robert began to wonder what Giselle ate when she lived in Andalasia. The way she talked about her animal friends he seriously doubted she ever ate any living thing in the woods. For her, hunting anything at all would be the same tragic equivalent of killing Bambi's mother. Hell, she probably knew Bambi's mother. Yet there she was digging into pure American beef. "You know Giselle I'm surprised that you eat meat I half expected you to be outraged and bring up a story about your talking cow friend"
"Cows don't talk Robert," she stated very seriously.
"Right, just chipmunks."
"People talk, mystical beings can talk and of course woodland creatures can talk. I've also heard of enchanted furniture being able to talk. Cows aren't any of those so they can't talk unless of course they're enchanted."
"Of course," He was being a sarcastic jerk and he knew it.
"You don't mean that."
"You're saying 'of course' but that's not what you really mean. I don't understand that about this land, no one says what they really feel. Most people aren't like that in Andalasia; things are so much simpler there." She said this with a sort of righteous indignation.
"Do you wish that you left with Edward?"
"What?" The question caught them both off guard.
"Its ok if you do, it's a very difficult decision to make in such short notice. And you make Andalasia sound like such an Utopia, I couldn't imagine that having some time to think about it you would chose New York over that. Plus what about your family, I can't expect you to give them up. Do they even know where you are or that you're ok? Won't they miss you? Won't you miss them?"
"Robert! I am so very happy I stayed. Yes, it was a difficult decision when I thought about losing everything I knew but then I thought about losing you and Morgan and the choice was simple. Andalasia is a wonderful place but New York is just as wonderful, it's just different."
"What about your family?"
"I don't have any. Except for my animal friends of course and I'm sure Pip has told them all about our wonderful adventure."
"What happened to your family?"
"My mother died when I was very young, I don't really remember much about her and my father died a few years after that, him I remember very well."
She was upset; obviously the memory of her dead parents still upset her. He was angry at himself for even bringing it up, it was his fault she was sad and he hated it. But Robert just couldn't help himself, he had to ask. What if she woke up one morning and regretted everything? It was one of his worst fears, for her to realize that she didn't consider him her true love after all. It was sad really, he'd only known her for four days and he already dreaded a life without her. And now because of his stupid fears and insecurities she was hurting.
They finished their meal in silence, she needed time and he understood. When they left the diner they walked back to the park. Robert noticed that the sadness in Giselle's eyes was beginning to fade away. He wanted to see them twinkle again; to see her smile and be happy, so he started blurting out whatever came to mind.
"Dates are for getting to know each other."
"Yes, I know. You've told me that." Not exactly the reaction he had been hoping for.
"I don't really know much about you." He knew next to nothing about her really, other than he loved her. "Well you're welcomed to ask anything you'd like, I'd be happy to answer." This time she grinned and he felt encouraged by it.
"Ok let's see," there were many things he didn't know about her, but he wanted to ask something unlikely to bring up a bad memory. "What's your last name?"
"I don't know, I don't think I have one."
"Everyone has a last name."
"Not in Andalasia."
"Right, we need to do something that. You can't just go through life without a last name." He hadn't really thought about any of that. How was she going to get through life without a last name? She definitely didn't have a last name or even a tax id, hell, she didn't even have a place of birth or at least not one that would be accepted anywhere. Robert started to make a mental note of all the shady acquaintances he had made over the years that could probably get Giselle a fake identity. He had to think this through careful, any little mistake and he could probably get disbarred. The wheels in his mind started turning as he began to think of what a monumental task this was going to be. For any regular person maintaining a false identity would be hard but for Giselle, he couldn't even begin to imagine how difficult it would be for her. She was so naïve in so many ways; he couldn't really see her lying constantly and being ok with that. The best way was probably to keep everything as close to the truth as possible, assuming that it was even possible. Using her real name, at least her first name since she didn't seem to have a last name, other things like her real birthday. Of course if she didn't have a last name then it was entirely possible that she also didn't have a birthday.
"Robert where's Morgan's mother, what happened to her?" The question hit him like a ton of bricks. He was so deep in thought that he didn't even realize Giselle had spoken at first. He never talks about her to anyone. He says that she's left and most people just accept that without any further probing but Giselle wasn't most people. Giselle's big blue eyes looked at him expectantly and slightly worried that maybe she had crossed some boundary by asking such a personal question. Robert decided at that moment that if he was going to attempt having a relationship with Giselle then he was going to have to be open and honest with her, but those kinds of things were always easier said than done for Robert, still he tried.
"I'm not sure where she's living right now but I'm pretty sure she's still in the city though. As for what happened... Um... Well one day I woke up and she was gone."
"And she never came back?"
"No, she came back and I was so happy that I let her. She said 'I'm sorry' and I forgave her. A couple of months later she left again. After that, she kept leaving and coming back and I kept forgiving her. I would wait for her to come back because I knew she would. Until one time, she left for longer than she ever had before. I began to think that maybe this time she wouldn't come back. It made me realize what she was doing to me and to Morgan. After that I couldn't forgive her, when she finally did come back, I couldn't let her stay with us knowing that she was just going to leave again. After that I filed for divorce and sued for full custody of Morgan, she didn't even put up a fight." Saying it all aloud felt like a weight was being lifted from him.
"What does all of that mean, divorce and Morgan's custody?"
"Well divorce is what the Banks were going to do they day I took you to my office."
"When you separate from your true love for ever and ever?" Giselle said it with the same sadness that she had that day in his office.
"It's when you separate from your spouse, who isn't always your true love. That's why divorce exists. People realize they didn't marry their true love and they get a divorce so that they're no longer married and are free to find their real true love."
"Oh, that makes sense."
"And I have full custody of Morgan which means that while she's still young enough to need someone to take care of her then I am the only one responsible for making any decisions on her behalf. As long as I'm taking care of her, then no one can take her away from me, not even her mother."
"Does all that mean she can't see Morgan anymore?"
"She has visitation rights every other weekend. Sometimes she comes and sometimes she doesn't. My heart breaks for Morgan every time she doesn't show."
"Is she always very sad?" He could see that Giselle's heart was breaking for Morgan and it touched him to know that this woman already loved his daughter so much.
"She used to be at first but now she just doesn't seem to care anymore is like she doesn't expect for her to come. It's almost worse that way, to see your little girl be heartbroken to the point of ambivalence at such a young age."
"Morgan is very strong Robert. You've made her that way. Her mother has no idea what she's missing out on."
"Thank you, Giselle, for listening. I never talk to anyone about this it's usually really hard for me, but not with you. Thank you." With those words he leaned in for a kiss.
It started out gently at first just a light caress of his lips to hers then his lips parted and so did hers. He brought his hands up to frame her face and hers rested gently on his forearm as he nibbled and sucked on her lower lip. Her arms wound around his neck as she let out a small moan, her fingers laced through his hair and held him firmly in place as if to say that she never wanted him to move from this spot or stop doing what he was doing. Robert pulled Giselle to him with one hand on her waist trying to get her as close to him as possible, the other hand still cupping her face. He slipped his tongue in her mouth, at first she simply let him but soon enough she began to reciprocate thrusting her on tongue into his mouth as well causing Robert to emit a small moan of his own.
Eventually the need for oxygen forced them apart. They stood there with their foreheads resting against each other her fingers drawing lazy circles at the nape of his neck and his one hand holding her close to him as the gently caressed her cheek with his thumb. Both struggled trying lower their heart rate and calm their labored breathing.
"I like kissing you, Robert," she said in a low whisper.
"Good, because I like kissing you too." He followed this with another, more restrained kiss.
"You still haven't answered my question."
"What question is that?"
"Ok, ok, what do you want to know exactly?"
"I have a lot of questions."
"I was afraid of that. Like what?" He wasn't going to avoid this anymore, he was just going to try and make this as quick and painless as possible.
"That day, was that what Nancy thought we were doing?" Of course, she wasn't going to make this easy, he thought.
"Yes." Robert was sticking to one word answers. The fewer words the less follow up questions they were likely to invoke.
"So people who aren't married do that here?" He should've known that in Andalasia unmarried people would never have sex.
"Did you and Nancy ever do that?" Why couldn't she ever ask a simple question?
"So it doesn't matter if the other person isn't your true love?"
"Yes, it does."
"But, not always?" She knew he never felt very strongly about Nancy, he had practically told her so.
"No, I guess not always."
"I don't know." He was trying to be as honest with her as he could but some questions he just couldn't answer.
"Do you want to do it with me?"
There it was, she was doing it again. That incredibly sexy- 'I'm oh so innocent but not really'- thing. Knowing Giselle, she probably was being perfectly innocent in her question, she genuinely just wanted to know. But there was just something about the way she looked at him when she asked that just made him believe that she was purposely trying to fluster him. Maybe he was seeing things where there weren't, maybe it was all just wishful thinking. "Yes."
"When you're ready." It was the most honest answer he could think of. Maybe in her world the right answer would be when they're married but they hadn't even talked about marriage and he wasn't sure that he'd could really wait that long. But he would, if she asked him to he would wait for her. He just really hoped she wouldn't ask him to wait too long.
"When will I be ready?"
"I don't know, I can't decide that for you."
"Then how will I know?"
"You'll just know."
A/N: Im really sorry it took this long to post this chapter there were several reasons for that: life got insanely complicated was originally an epically long chapter computer kept crashing. I decided to post what is really only half the chapter (all I could salvage from my last crash) instead of waiting even longer to post the new chapter.
Just to warn my readers (if I still have any v_v) if I continue the story the way I had written it before I lost it, the next chapter will most likely be rated M. Also, I swear that I read these over and over before I post them but I guess I end up reading what I intended to write instead of what I actually wrote so all these mistake keep on getting by. Would anyone like to beta for me?
Finally, thanks to everyone who's read and commented or put the story on alert it really means so much!
Disclaimer: I don't Enchanted or any of its characters.
Robert, Giselle and Morgan sat crossed-legged around the coffee table eating the Chinese take out they had picked up on the way home. Robert watched as Giselle so attentively listened to Morgan talk. All Morgan had done since they picked her up was talk and Giselle hung on her every word. Robert couldn't remember the last time his little girl had so much to say. She was a different person around Giselle, so much more open and extroverted, a far cry from the shy little girl who found it so hard to make new friends.
"Is that what karate is? It sounds very dangerous. Aren't you afraid of getting hurt." Giselle inquired, seeming genuinely concerned.
"No, not really. We have pads and helmets and stuff and our Sensei makes sure we're real careful when we're practicing."
"Oh, I see." Giselle still sounded concerned.
"It's supposed to be build up confidence and self esteem or at least that's what the brochure said." Robert whispered to Giselle who nodded in response but still had worry etched on her face.
"Daddy, we should play a board game!" Morgan squealed as if she just had the most brilliant epiphany. She was already heading back to the coffee table with about half a dozen boxes of games before either adult had fully processed what she'd said."Which one do you want to play, Giselle?"
"Oh, I don't know. Which one would you like?"
"Well, lets see; we never hardly ever play monopoly 'cause it's not really fun with just two people, but monopoly can sometimes take really long and then daddy will want me to go to bed before I get to finish the game, and chutes and ladders has always been my favorite, so I guess chutes and ladders." Giselle noticed that while Morgan was speaking Robert cleared all the plates and containers from the top coffee table and placed them a few feet next to him, giving Morgan space to set up the game as she explained the rules to Giselle.
After ten rounds and eight wins Morgan was declared the champion and Robert announced, quite dramatically, that he gave up on board games all together which earned him a giggle from both his daughter and Giselle.
"The two of you keep on playing while I take care of the dishes." Robert said as he picked up the plates from the floor.
"Oh, Robert I can do that." The young redhead announced already getting up.
"No, Giselle, it's fine. Stay here, play with Morgan, I'll handle it. I did take care of all this stuff before you came along, you know?"
"Did you? I couldn't tell." She responded with a suspiciously sly smile on her walked into the kitchen slightly baffled, to have received such a smart ass remark from his naïve little redhead. Perhaps she was adapting to New York a little too quickly, he thought with amusement as he heard her and Morgan converse in the other room.
"I'm learning how to play chess in school, do you wanna play with me?"
"Oh, I used to love chess when I was young, I'd love to." Then Robert turned on the sink faucet and couldn't hear he was done with the dishes Robert returned to watch what had apparently become a very intense chess match, or at least that's how Morgan had described it. He had been watching for about ten minutes when Morgan triumphantly yelled "check mate! I won!"
"Congratulations!" Giselle clapped with excitement.
"Thank you," Morgan responded followed by a big yawn.
"Well done, sweetheart. Now bed." Robert made the transition from proud, beaming dad to stern, no nonsense dad rather seamlessly.
"But dad-" He gave her a look that didn't welcome any argument. "Good night daddy, goodnight Giselle. Thank you for playing with me." She gave them each a hug and retired to her room.
Giselle began to pick up the empty containers that Robert had left behind.
"Giselle, leave those alone. We can do that in the morning."
"That's what you said about the clothes last night and they're still lying on the floor." There was that sly smile again, she had this extra glint in her eye that told him she knew what she was doing.
"Come on, play a game of chess with me." Robert set up the pieces and Giselle went to sit across from him. After no more than five moves Robert stared in awe as his opponent proudly announced, "check mate." He couldn't believe how fast and easily she had beaten him, while he knew he wasn't a chess master he also knew that was still a formidable opponent or at least he was usually.
"How the hell?" He suddenly realized that she had let Morgan win. Giselle was full of surprises.
"I'm very good at chess."
"I can see that."
"It was my favorite game as a child." Then he saw sadness fill her eyes, the same sadness that had seem to overwhelm her earlier that day when brought up her family. She quickly tried to blink it away and gave him a half hearted smile.
"I'm sorry about earlier, I should've never brought it up, I just didn't know it was a sore spot for you." He was taking a risk by bringing it up again but he felt that he had to apologize.
"No, Robert, I'm sorry. I just haven't thought about it in so many years, it caught me by surprise."
"Still, I shouldn't have said anything."
"You didn't know."
"Are you always this understanding?" He asked her with a lopsided smile.
"I don't know." She paused before she answered as if she was really thinking hard about it and this only made him smile more. Giselle smiled too, before unleashing a great loud yawn.
"Come on, I think it's your bed time too." Robert said as he lead her to the bedroom.
Robert woke up Sunday morning and immediately noticed that he was alone in bed. He headed for the living room and saw Giselle and Morgan on the couch, each with a bowl of cereal on their laps; Morgan was explaining the plot of her favorite cartoon. "Good morning, ladies."
"Good morning." They both responded in unison, not even looking away from the television. Robert just shook his head, smiled and headed for the shower. When he was done he went out to the living where Giselle quickly served him his own bowl of cereal and they both enjoyed a morning of senseless cartoons. Robert had noticed that the empty food containers had been thrown out, the games that had been left in the living room had apparently been put away, even the clothes from two nights ago were no longer on floor of his bedroom. He had a very good idea who was responsible for all that.
"You know, Giselle, you don't have to keep cleaning up after everyone."
"Someone has to." She said this without looking away from the TV.
"I know that, but you're not our maid and you don't have to do those things."
"I know that," this time she looked directly at him. "Robert, I do it because I like to. If I ever don't want to do something, I'll tell you. I promise." Satisfied that she had gotten her point across she turned back to the TV. After a short pause, however, she began to talk again. "Robert, I wanted to talk to you about something."
"Do you think that maybe I could get a job?"
"Are you asking my opinion or my permission?" Robert couldn't help but be slightly amused by how she phrased the question and even more amused that she paused to think before she answered him.
"I don't know. But do you think I could?"
"If you really want to, then we can definitely look into it."
"Really?" She excitedly launched herself toward him and flung her arms around him, nearly knocking the bowl of cereal out of his hands. She whispered into his ear, "you know, when I was on the date with Edward, we talked about what our lives would be like when we got back to Andalasia. I asked him the same question and he didn't think it was such a good idea."
"Well, I'm not Edward and this isn't Andalasia," he whispered back. She simply smiled in return.
"Daddy , what are we doing today." Morgan asked, still not looking away from the TV.
"I don't know Sport, I got a lot of work to catch up on."
"Oh, ok. Maybe Giselle and I could go out alone then."
"I don't know, Morgan."
"Why not? We've done it before and could show her how to use the train and stuff. Please Daddy."
She was making very good points. The two of them had gone out alone before and everything had seemingly turned out o fine, except for his credit score. And Giselle was going to have to learn how to get around New York, she couldn't just stay in the apartment everyday especially if she was serious about wanting to work. Morgan may be six but she definitely knew how to get around Manhattan, hell, she knew the train and bus routes better than the average MTA employee. Still, that didn't mean that he was going to let his six year old daughter roam about the city unsupervised, and sending her out with Giselle would be like sending her out with no another child. No, that wasn't fair. He knew that Giselle, though a bit naïve, was still more mature than he was giving her credit for; they both were.
Robert finally agreed, deciding that he trusted them and would need the peace and quiet to work anyway. Knowing from prior experience that Giselle could not be trusted with money he instead gave it to Morgan along with his cell phone. He gave them specific instructions; to call him at home if anything should happen, not to buy any more clothes for Giselle, and not to leave the borough of Manhattan for any reason on their little adventure.
Robert changed the channel to ESPN and set his laptop in front of the TV. He opened up his email account, as he expected there were several emails from Sam. But something he didn't expect to see, there was one email from Nancy, sent yesterday. Suddenly he was overwhelmed with guilt. How could he be so insensitive? After all their years together and everything they've been through, he dropped her like a hot potato and didn't even think to check how she was doing. It's not that he was completely daft, he had thought about calling her several times but what would he say. 'Hey I know we were about to get engaged but I'd rather be with this girl I met yesterday and know nothing about, sorry for stringing you along for five years. Stay in touch.' No that wouldn't do, Nancy deserved better than that.
He was a coward and he knew it. That's why he couldn't call her because he was to scare to face her after so blatantly breaking her heart. And that's why he was hesitating to open her email now, he wasn't sure that he could handle what it might say. After several deep breaths he braced himself for the worst and clicked on the email marked 'no subject'.
I have so much I want to say and I have no idea where to start. If this comes out half as jumbled as it is in my mind then I apologize in advance, but I don't know if I'm ever coming back and I cant leave without you knowing this.
First of all, I wont lie and say that what happened at the ball didn't hurt me. because it did. But probably not in the way you think and definitely not in the way I would've expected. Yes, I was heart broken but it was because I finally admitted to myself what was true all along, you and I were not meant to be together. I know you loved me but not how I wanted to be loved, not how I feel I deserved to be loved. Deep down I always knew that and so I couldn't love you the way you deserved. Please don't think I didn't love you, I did and always will.
Looking back, I think I forced romance were there wasn't any. You were vulnerable and I took advantage of it, for that I'm sorry. But despite our ups and downs, I'm not sorry for our relationship and I hope you're not either. Maybe it was forced but you made me very happy when we were together and I think I made you happy too. We were great friends, hopefully that doesn't have to change.
Please know that I don't have any resentment in my heart for you. It may be a while before I'm comfortable joining the two of you for thanksgiving dinner or anything like that but I truly and sincerely wish you both happiness. I really believe that we both finally found the people we were supposed to be with. I'm sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself. I did warn you though.
After the ordeal at the ball, Edward and I talked. He comforted me and I him, although he didn't seem to be as devastated as I was over losing his fiancé. But he understood something that I wasn't grasping yet. You were meant to be with Giselle and I was meant to be with him. Almost immediately he asked me to marry him and go back to Andalasia with him. He was talking a mile a minute about castles, talking animals, and trolls. Any other day I probably would have had him committed but I had just seen a giant dragon so I guess I had a bit more faith or something. He just kept asking me to be his queen and promising all of these things that sounded so outlandish yet so familiar. They were familiar because they were things I wanted to hear from you but now I know if you had said them they would have been the right words coming from the wrong man. I cant explain it but somewhere inside me I know that Edward is who I've always wanted to be with even when I thought I wanted to be with you.
Now, here's the funny thing about all of this. My whole life I've wanted prince charming to come spontaneously sweeping me of my feet to a far away land, consequences be dammed. And when I finally have literally prince charming doing just that, I'm asking him to wait so I can be sensible about it. Most of the technical stuff information I left with Cindy, my assistant, her number is at the bottom. I would liked it if you double checked but I'm sure Cindy will take care of most everything. I've left my business in your capable hands, you can do whatever you want with it. But whatever you do, all I ask is that you take care of my staff and make sure they're alright. I liked designing but I never loved it, maybe in Andalasia I'll find something to do that I love instead of something that I just happen to be good at.
I'm leaving with Edward as soon as I finish this. I've been up all night trying to make sure I had everything together, at this point I'm running on pure caffeine. I really hope that I didn't forget to tell you anything but I trust that I've told you enough and that you know me well enough to infer anything I may have forgotten.