after.midnight // v.naked
Title: Love Destroyed
Rating: R- simply because all the other ones were, so
what the hell.
Summary: Because, sometimes, love just isn't enough.
Disclaimer: Vaughn doesn't belong to me. But his
wife, bless her heart, does. And, you know what, I'm
rather fond of her.
Distribution: Want it, mail me.
A/N: Well, here it is, the last part. Not a happy
ended, but maybe a realistic one. Although I do think
Rachel should get points for not going homicidal.
They were married on a tiny private beach in Mexico,
just as the sun was dipping behind the horizon.
She'd always wanted her wedding to be special, an
event she would look back on, fifty years later, her
husband by her side, and remember as the best day
of her life. The weather was perfect, a nice breeze
flowing over the ocean waves, the sky a mix of oranges
and pinks, yellows and reds. Her dress was stylish,
but simple, a white chiffon and lace creation that just
brushed the sand as she walked barefoot along the beach.
Michael had made a joke about the color, insisting that white
was virginal, and she was far from that. But when he noticed
the slit up the side, which ran the entire length of
her leg, and the crimson red garter around her
thigh, he said it was the perfect representation of
the dual sides of her nature, the angel and the devil.
The ceremony itself had been perfect, walking down the
aisle, seeing Michael standing there, smiling at her,
exchanging the vows that had written just for that moment. And
then, spending two weeks on that same beach for their
honeymoon, making love under the stars, spending lazy
hours in bed, just being with each other. By the time the
honeymoon was over and it was time to head back to
real life, she knew that she would be spending the
rest of her life with a man she would love for a lifetime.
On that beach, deliriously happy and completely in
love, she never would have thought that, six months
later, she would hate Michael Vaughn with every ounce
of her being.
She only hates him because she loves him, loves him so much that
she wakes up next to him every morning, cries herself to sleep
every night, and holds him in her arms even after he breaks
their vows and her heart, destroying all the good between them.
He and Sydney have been meeting behind her back for
four months now. Sixteen weeks during which he lied to
her and deceived her. One hundred and twenty days,
and her love for him died a little more as each night
She paid little attention as Michael walked through the
front door and set his bags on the floor. As she had done
almost every night since they had started living together,
she grabbed a bottle of water out of the fridge, tossed it to
him as he walked into the kitchen, watched with
indifferent eyes as he brought the bottle to his lips
and took a drink.
"How was Italy?" she asked, grabbing a bottle of her
He looked at her, eyebrow raised in confusion. "We
were in Belize," he said as he closed the space
between them. "Italy was two weeks ago."
She let him kiss her, couldn't stop herself from
responding, too exhausted to pretend he didn't affect her,
even after all the pain he'd caused her. When he pulled away,
she smiled slightly and shook her head. "Belize," she repeated
with a sigh. "Right."
He gets out of the bed at three in the morning, lies to her
about where he goes in those hours between midnight and dawn,
but he has never lied to her about what he does, why the CIA
ships him off to one foreign locale to the next. She's not
sure when she stopped paying attention, when she stopped caring
where he was or if he was okay when he returned.
She thinks it was around the time he started fucking
another woman behind her back.
She exited the kitchen, made her way down the hall to
the bedroom. Any other night, when he came home from work or a
mission, they would sit down at the table and eat dinner.
He'd ask her about her day, laugh when she told him
about their neighbor, Mrs. Castenelli, and her date with
Joe, the man who owned the little store down the street,
smile when she told him about her newest client, her latest
sale. Any other night, they would wash dishes together, an
activity that always ended with the two of them soaked
to the skin and kissing each other senseless against the cool
stainless steel of the refrigerator. She's lost count
of the number of times dinner led to sex on the counters.
There haven't been any nights like those in weeks, and she
doesn't have the strength to pretend that being happy isn't
important to her anymore.
He followed her down the hall, and she could feel his
eyes on her, knew he realized that something was wrong,
but wasn't quite sure what to say or how to react. She ignored
his presence as she stripped out of her clothes, splattered with
paint, and exchanges them for something silky smooth.
She got into bed, watched him as he watched her, and wondered
just how long it would take him to give in and ask what had
She didn't have to wait long.
"Rachel," he said as he stepped into the room and closed the
door behind him. One the other side, she heard Donovan make
his opinion on his banishment from the bedroom known with a
sad bark. "What is going on?"
She considered not answering, of turning away, pretending
that things are fine for one more night. But she can't, not
not when pretending will only hurt her more.
"The moment I met you, I knew that I would love you,"
she said, bringing her knees up to wrap her arms around
her legs. "You were handsome and funny and
the nicest man I had ever met. You walked into my
gallery and, even though there were a hundred other
people there, I knew you were the one who would change
my life." She paused to look up at him, her lips
lifting in a small, sad smile. "I thought it would be
for the better."
Something in her voice must have alerted him because
he stepped up to the bed, sat down next to her.
"Rachel, honey, what's wrong?"
She ignored him, staring down at the sheets on the bed.
"The day I married you was the happiest day of my life," she
continued. "I thought that being with you would make me the
happiest woman in the world."
She heaved a sigh, knowing that after this, there is
no going back. In the next few moments, someone is
going to be hurt, and she wants it not to be her. But
when she looked up and her eyes met his, she knew that
hurting is something she's going to be doing for a very long
"I don't ever want to see you again," she said finally, tears
falling as the words spill out. "I want you to pack up your
things and I want you to leave. I don't want you to call me.
I don't want you to write me. I don't want you leaving me
messages at the gallery. I don't want you to tell me that it will
never happen again because, frankly, I don't give a
damn anymore. I want you out of my house and I want you out
of my life."
It hurt more than she thought it would, hurt to look
into his green eyes and tell him she wanted nothing more to
do with him, because for so long, he was all she had ever
wanted. But she has spent the last four months living
a lie, loving a man who didn't love her enough.
Hurting him may have caused her pain, but his pain didn't matter
to her anymore.
"I loved you," she said softly, wiping the tears from
her eyes. "I loved you more than I have ever loved
anyone. And you threw that away like it didn't
He started to speak, to defend himself, apologize
maybe, but she was past the point of caring. "Don't,"
she said softly. "I don't want to hear it. I don't
care why it happened or how it happened. I don't
care. I'm tired of loving you and I'm tired of hating
you. I just want you gone."
She turned her back on him, laid down, and let the tears fall.
She didn't say a word when he slipped in beside her and held her
close. She didn't deny him when he kissed her, didn't stop him
when he touched her, when he moved inside her, making her feel
things she wished she didn't. She was smart enough to end it
between them, to get out before there was nothing left of her
heart to break, but she didn't have the strength to stop loving
And afterward, when she lay in Michael's arms, the sounds
of their union still echoing in the room, she knew she
had never hated him more.