Take Me Home Aimee III: Four
Aimee almost dropped her fork, feeling her mouth go dry. “W-what?” she asked, looking at Skylar.
“Oh it’s nothing—” She stammered over her words and tried to focus on her dinner.
“No, tell me,” Aimee said, starting to sober up, blinking heavily as she tried to process the words. She could practically feel in tenseness in Heath but she pressed on. “Who…who do I look like?”
“I was just saying that Corey mentioned you look a lot like Heath’s ex-girlfriend,” Skylar said, though it was obvious she didn’t want to repeat it. She could feel daggers being thrown at her from Heath’s direction and Corey didn’t look too happy either. “I…I’m sorry,” she whispered, lowering her head. “I thought she knew.”
“No. I didn’t,” Aimee said. Her brow furrowed before she turned to Heath. “You said… before, that the reason you adopted me was because there was something about my eyes, but I could tell that wasn’t all it was,” she continued. “That’s why, though, isn’t it? It’s because I look like Sarah.” She looked up at Heath, eyes blazing. “Tell me the truth, Heath. Is that why?”
Heath swallowed, the bite going down hard. His heart pumped guilty blood through his veins. As Aimee turned around, demanding the truth, he regarded her for a few moments, knowing he couldn't lie to her.
"That was of a part of it, yes," he answered quietly. "I didn't want you to think you were a replacement. That's why I didn't tell you."
“O-oh…” Aimee said, lowering her eyes away from his. “I…I guess that that makes sense,” she mused, slowly returning back to her plate. She could feel everyone’s eyes on her, trying to figure out what she was going to do next. She could practically hear Skylar chewing on the inside of her cheek, cursing herself for the mistake.
Thank goodness she remained silent. She knew that she would hear about this later from Corey.
“I…” she trailed off, never wanting more than in that moment to be a giant. Then she could politely stand up and excuse herself. Go to the ladies room, pretend to smoke a cigarette, anything that would get her away from the table. Not wanting to embarrass herself, or especially Heath for making a scene, she swallowed hard. “I mean…I guess everyone adopts a human for a reason. There’s always something that will lead someone to adopt one of us. I guess that explains why I’m here.”
“Aimee… I’m so sorry,” Skylar stammered again.
She shrugged it off and returned to her meal, feeling how intense things were. “Don’t worry about it,” she said, looking at Skylar. “I’m…I’m not mad.” She swallowed hard.
“But it wasn’t my place—”
“I said don’t worry about it,” Aimee said, her voice surprisingly sharp. “It just is what it is.” She started to finish her meal, though it was obvious the mood had changed at the table. “Let’s…let’s not let this ruin the night,” she said, keeping her voice even.
“Maybe we should go for a dance, Corey?” Skylar suggested, stopping half way through her meal.
“I’m not finished—”
“You can finish when you get back,” Skylar said, tugging harder at him so he went to his feet. The curvy, petite woman led him to the dance floor. “Babe, I’m so sorry. It slipped out.”
Heath didn't react to the couple leaving. He could hear Corey murmuring some reassurance about how it would have come out into the open eventually anyway.
He put down his silverware, knowing continuing his meal like nothing had happened was hardly an option in this case.
"Aimee," he spoke to her back. She stiffened at the sound of his voice, and an almost pained look flashed through his eyes. "Aimee, come on, don't do this to me…"
“I’m not doing anything to you,” she said, keeping her voice polite, to the point of almost sounding stiff. “I was prepared to just let it slide. I didn’t want to make it a big deal in front of your friends. I didn’t tell them to go dance, did I?” She shook her head and continued to try eating her meal.
“I’m not going to embarrass you in front of your friends so you don’t have to worry about that,” she said, keeping her voice steady. “So I don’t know what you mean when you say, ‘don’t do this to you’. I’m not doing anything. I’m sitting here, eating my food and enjoying myself. Skylar was the one who made a big deal about it. You can tell her to come back if you’d like.”
"No, you're doing a poor job of acting like it doesn't bother you, so cut the act. And stop it, she left so you wouldn't be as... uncomfortable."
He had never seen this side of her. She had only yelled at him once... snapped at him several times, but this was different. It wasn't hot anger, it was pure ice.
"Just because you look a little like Sarah doesn't mean..." he trailed off and started again. Heath leaned down closer to her, speaking softly to keep the conversation low-key. "I never expected you to be anyone else."
Aimee looked up at Heath, though her eyes were slightly blank at this point. “Well thank you, Heath. I’m glad that you didn’t just get me because I looked like Sarah and not because you were hoping that I would act like her as well.” She took a heavy mouthful of the last part of her steak and dabbed her mouth with her napkin.
“I told you I’m fine and it doesn’t bother me,” she said steadily. “Like I said, everyone has a reason for getting a human so at least now I know yours. Your true reason,” she said. “Can we please just drop it? We’re in public. I’m sure you don’t’ want to make a scene and we’ll be home soon. I’m sure I’ll be okay…” her voice cracked slightly but she quickly cleared her throat. “I’m sure I’ll be okay by then.”
Heath raised his head, seeing that he wasn't going to get anywhere with this now.
"You're a terrible liar." He stabbed a piece of his pasta, silently promising her they would be having words later.
Eventually, Corey and Sky returned. Their slightly humorous and enjoyable experience on the dance floor sparked pleasant conversation, but an air of tension remained evident in every silence.
"Can I interest you all in some dessert?"
"No, thank you."
Heath went to pay for the bill, but Corey shoved his card in the slot and passed it off to the waitress before Heath could try to argue.
“I’m so sorry we had to end the night like this,” Skylar said about a half hour later as everyone started to gather up their things.
“No, don’t worry about it,” Aimee said, shooting her a smile. And it was genuine. Despite everything she really did still like Skylar and understood the mistake. It wasn’t her fault that Heath didn’t tell Aimee why he really adopted her. “I actually had a lot of fun.”
“Does that mean we can be friends?” she asked hopefully, reaching into her purse and scribbling something on a scrap of paper. “This is my email. I never want you hesitate to shoot one over.”
“Do you have Skype?” Aimee asked.
Skylar nodded. “I’m usually on in the evenings, but if this one here is busy working, you know who to call to keep you company.” She wrote something else on the paper and handed it to her. “Heath…I’m so sorry again,” she said, pulling him into a friendly hug as he stood up. “I hope that this won’t ruin your image of me.”
“I’ll make sure that it doesn’t,” Aimee said, smiling. “It’s really been a pleasure.”
“You too, pretty Aimee. I really do wish the best for you two.” She looked incredibly sincere. She really hoped she hadn’t done anything too damaging but Aimee looked like she was at least trying to hold it together. Heath was absolutely unreadable. She wondered… “Well I guess we should head out,” she said, linking her arm through Corey’s. “I don’t’ know about you babe, but I could still use a little desert,” she said, whispering and giggling in his ear.
"Not at all." Heath snagged Sky's hand and kissed it kindly. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Sky. I'm sure you'll be seeing us again sometime soon."
"See you." Corey smiled at Aimee and shook hands with Heath as they headed their separate ways to their cars.
While Heath and Aimee were dead silent, they could hear Corey reply something quietly that made Skylar giggle again. Heath couldn't take the quiet much longer in the car, and promptly turned on the radio.
Watching Skylar and Corey walk to their car, Aimee sat in her human-sized passenger seat, gently twiddling her thumbs. She wasn’t sure what she was supposed to say. For some reason she couldn’t help but feel as though Heath was mad at her for something – but for what?
“I didn’t make a big deal about it, you know,” she said quietly, right as he flicked on the radio. She flinched at the sound and didn’t attempt to raise her voice again.
"I know you didn’t," Heath said, his vast gaze fixed on the road ahead of him.
He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel at the stop lights until the songs faded to commercials. He switched it off then. They were close to home. What was he supposed to say? That he was sorry? That he loved her more than Sarah? What did she want from him?
"How long are we going to keep up the cold shoulder thing? It's bumming me out."
She let out a tiny gasp in surprise but crossed her arms over her chest. When the music went away, she noticed how deep in thought Heath was. What was he thinking about? She so desperately wanted to know but she didn’t have the nerve to ask.
“Bumming you out? I’m not doing a cold shoulder thing, Heath,” she said clearly. “It’s all in your head. Maybe you’re the one who actually feels bad for once.” She shrugged. “And besides…why shouldn’t I be upset? I just found out that the person I love only brought me in here in the first place to replace his ex-girlfriend.”
The car stopped suddenly when she realized her verbal slip. His bright blue eyes went wide in the dark. At first he attributed it to the Sangria. She must not know what she was saying. But her hasty cover-up afterwards told him different. She meant it.
“I mean the person who adopted me,” she quickly corrected. She started to feign like she was tipsy. “Oh man, I must have had more to drink than I thought,” she said, looking away. She couldn’t believe what had slipped out of her mouth! But she couldn’t take it back. The best she could hope for was that Heath would ignore her.
And that’s what she wanted, wasn’t it?
She swallowed, trying to regain her composure. “I’m over it, though, Heath. I wasn’t kidding when I said I understood that there’s always a reason for giants adopting humans. I know yours now and honestly…it could be worse, okay? I am sorry though…” she stopped for a moment. “I’m sorry that I can’t ever truly replace her. No one can actually replace anyone. And I would be guilty too, then. Because your kindness reminds me of Wes. So I guess we’re both guilty.” She looked over towards him, looking hopeful. “Okay? I admit that I’m guilty of starting to like you at first because you reminded me of him. Now I want you to admit that to me. Admit that it was my face that drew you to me. Admit it’s because I look like her.”
He glanced over at her with an almost urgent expression on his face. And then she went on, and finally she admitted that he did remind her of Wes. For some reason, it brought him satisfaction to hear her own up to it.
"You're not a replacement," he finally said, looking out at the road again. Even to him, it sounded like a comforting blanket of words to smooth over her hurt feelings. Maybe she was. And she loved him.
The whole thing seemed to have escalated out of his control in matter of minutes. He parked the car in the driveway, moonlight filtering through the windshield. He took the keys out, clutching them tightly in his hand.
"She dumped me a year ago. I was missing her, okay? I was just... alone and then I saw you..."
He finally turned to look at her. "You're not her, but I don't want you to be. You already know how you hypnotize me. I'm sorry if this isn't the romantic story you want it to be, but that's the truth."
Aimee was mostly relieved when Heath didn’t bring up anything about her stumble over the ‘l’ word. She wasn’t prepared for it. Yes, she did love him and yes she eventually wanted him to know but not like this. It wasn’t the right time or place and neither of them were actually prepared for it. She felt relief wash over her, almost wanting to turn and thank him for being so good about the own thing.
As Heath started to drive again though, he did say something which caught her attention. She wasn’t a replacement. It didn’t seem like much but it mattered a lot to Aimee. If he wanted to fess up to it, he could have. He was given that opening but he still remained firm…and truthful with her. She could simply tell by his voice.
“I understand,” she said in a calm voice. And she really did. “If I could see Wes again, even just a part of him again, I know that I would have probably done the same thing.” She leaned forward in her seat so she could get a better look at Heath as he parked in the driveway. “Okay? I understand, Heath. I get it.” She tilted her head to the side, trying to meet his eyes, and finally he looked at her, piercing her with his sharp yet somehow gentle gaze.
Her cheeks felt like they had been set on fire when she heard his words. Hypnotize? She did that to him? She licked her lips self-consciously, wishing that she could say the things he did and make them sound so…like Heath did. But she couldn’t. And he still accepted her that way.
It was just another reason why she loved him, but she would never say that.
Instead she shook her head after his words, smoothing some bangs away from her eyes so she could see him clearly. “I don’t want a romance story either, Heath. I just want you. I’ve wanted you from the moment I saw you…and…and that’s why I forgive you,” she said in a low voice, smiling.
And just like that, things were quiet again. Though it was dark and shadows distorted a clear view of his face, there was no denying the gentleness that grew in his expression as she spoke. Faint hints of a smile appeared, and soon after, his hand wordlessly approached.
"Thank you." He just looked at her for a moment. Sure, she looked a bit like Sarah. But when he looked at her now, he didn’t think of his ex. He just saw Aimee, exactly the way she was.
And it made him smile.
He felt her weight, her position in his palm more acutely than usual as he walked into the house. He loosened his tie. His designer sports jacket was tossed on the back of the couch.
His fingers found her and she finally started to relax again. With Heath it was becoming easier and easier to forgive him. He never seemed to keep anything from her on purpose, but rather…almost to protect her. “Are there any other secrets that I should know about you, boss man?” she asked. “Maybe that you might have enjoyed your dance with the curvy, Skylar a bit too much?” she asked in a playful voice.
"Don't worry, she's not my type," he said with a chuckle. "But I like to keep a little air of mystery about me. I'm starting to regret skimping on dessert. You want to split a bowl of gelato?"
“Ohhh…I don’t know what that is, but it sounds really good,” Aimee said, smiling as she watch start to make himself more comfortable now what he was at home. She pulled her hair out of the ponytail, letting her hair fall wildly around her back and shoulders and slipped off her heels in Heath’s palm. “I’m going to have to get used to these things,” she said, shaking her head.
He exhaled audibly as her tiny stilettos dug more into his palm before coming off altogether. That was weird; different than the flats or bare feet she usually went with. He knew that she had agreed to the high heels because of the simple comment he made earlier in the car.
She did it for him.
“But…” she looked up at him as he opened the freezer, a cold air blasting the both of them. “Did you really like the outfit Sky picked out for me?” she asked bashfully, standing up for a moment to twirl around in the dark red dress and tights.
Aimee noticed Heath take a container out of the freezer. It looked like ice-cream but Heath didn’t make mistakes. It was gelato and she was already excited to try it. And to hear Heath’s honest answer now that that they were back home.
He stopped mid-search for the ice-cream scoop in the packed drawer, his attention captured by Aimee turning in his hand. Smiling broadly, he picked up the silver scooper, set it on the counter and shut the drawer.
"Honestly... I could barely take my eyes off you. You were the most beautiful girl there." Heath leaned in a bit towards her as he rested the arm hearing her across the countertop. He managed to word it, just barely. Where did he begin to describe her loveliness? It was like writing a thesis on a timeless art piece.
“I…was?” she asked, surprised that he was being so open. “Wow…you kind of caught me off-guard there,” she said, looking shy again. “I thought you looked amazing too, especially on the dance floor. I thought you were a good dancer before, but you really do have a smooth way of moving.”
Heath gave a polite nod to her compliment and said a quiet "thank you."
She looked up at him. “I really did like your friends, too. I talked to Corey a bit.”
"Oh yeah? Get any more embarrassing stories out of him?" he murmured, bringing his free hand over to wrap loosely around her skinny width; his thumb on her lower abdomen and four squared fingertips along the right side of her back. A quiet thrill went through him, but he tried to pay attention to what she was saying.
Aimee shook her head. “No…nothing about you. But he did tell me that he used to be scared of humans.”
He gave a short laugh. "That explains a lot."
This was mild news to Heath, but he didn't linger on it.
"Ever notice how he seems to be more uncomfortable around humans than they do around him?" he said quietly, grasping at straws now to continue a regular conversation. But she was so close it set the air abuzz with possibilities. “S-sorry… you’re making it kind of hard to keep my hands to myself…”
Aimee let out a tiny gasp of surprise when Heath reached out to touch her. “You don’t have to keep your hands to yourself…in fact…” she trailed off, feeling a bit too embarrassed to finish her statement, even with the bit of the sangria effects still inside of her. Still though, it was amazing to feel his fingers around her like this. She felt so…in his control. It was exhilarating to say the least.
They both seemed to be losing focus, now that they were able to be more open with how they felt without prying eyes. Heath certainly seemed more comfortable. She wanted to crack a joke about being handsy but she was afraid if she did, he would become flustered and move his hand away. And that was the last thing she wanted.
He just wanted to be closer to her, all the time now... Heath clamped his thumb down dragging it from just below her chest down to her navel with slight more pressure than usual. He could feel her flesh beneath the right dress, how it gave in under his touch.
“You really are having a difficult time, aren’t you?” Aimee asked, though it was obvious that she probably didn’t care about the answer either way. All she could focus on was Heath’s hands and how his fingers were maneuvering all around her tiny body. She tried to laugh.
“He did have a rough time trying to talk to me,” she said breathlessly, swallowing heavily. “He…he just seems annoyed by everything. At last that’s how it comes across.” She looked up and their eyes met, causing her to almost lose her footing for a moment.
"That's just his face in general," Heath murmured with a subdued chuckle. Both their minds were obviously elsewhere. His eyes locked on her face, soaking in her expression.
“But S-Skylar seems good for him,” she said, trembling slightly over her words as the pressure increased over her body.
Gosh he was strong. There was so much power in that single appendage alone. She was putty in his hands, helpless to his touch. She loved it. She reached out rested her hands on his thumb as it continued to move up and down and she like she was going to pass out. “That…that feels good,” she whispered, closing her eyes for a moment.
"I usually try not to use much pressure at all," he informed her. While he would still be careful, it was a small revelation that he could be a little rougher than treating her like a crystal figurine and she was still perfectly fine. He held his thumb still, the fingers she stood on curling inward ever so slightly and the ones at her back wrapping around more securely. Little movements that he hardly even noticed that signaled he was prepping to pick her up.
"Guess it’s true we never stop learning…"
The gelato slowly defrosted beside them, untouched.
“I’m not a doll,” she muttered, still struggling to keep voice steady. She felt so over-powered by his presence. Even in just his hand, she felt so dwarfed against him, but safe. So safe. She tried to laugh at Heath’s comment about Corey, but she couldn’t bring herself to focus. Heck, she couldn’t even remember what Corey looked like at this point! Her brain and heart felt like they were about to explode.
“A little pressure won’t hurt me…I’ll let you know if it ever does.” She looked up at him with sincere eyes.
And she would tell him, but right now everything felt so amazing that she couldn’t imagine Heath doing anything that could even hurt her in the slightest.
Aimee felt his fingers shift and knew immediately that she was going to be lifted. She left her shoes behind and let Heath take charge.
He liked it that way.
And so did she.
Heath picked her up and cupped her against his abdomen in a brief whirlwind as he hopped onto the kitchen counter. One hand below her, the other cupped around her, the tiny woman was draped back against his fingers, her own miniature features matched by his fascinated expression just above now.
"Everything is new with you." He looked like he was just genuinely happy to see her, to be with her. Nothing else right now.
His phone buzzed. One hand drew away; Heath pulled it out of his pocket and fumbled with it one handedly to remove the battery. Pushing the pieces to the wall behind him, he glanced at the slowly melting gelato container.”
"I'm going to be sitting in a puddle of gelato pretty soon. You change your mind about dessert?" He gave her a lopsided grin.
“Everything is great with you,” Aimee answered back. This wasn’t the first time she had flirted with a giant like this, but everything was so different now. So intimate. Heath wasn’t innocent and wide-eyed like Wes. He knew what he wanted and he took it.
Like he was taking her.
As his phone started to buzz, she couldn’t help slumping slightly. He would probably have to take the call and by then the moment would probably be gone. To her surprise though, he pinned her to his body so he could…do something with it. He didn’t answer it, but it stopped buzzing immediately and he shoved several discarded pieces of the phone with him.
Aimee’s smile grew softer.
“M-maybe…” she mused, looking over as some of the fallen drops gelato around the container and on the counter “…maybe I could be some desert for you?” Her cheeks blushed even as she said, but she carefully hopped away from Heath’s lap for a moment and went over to scoop up some gelato in her hand, leaving it to drip down her arm as she held it up to him, wide eyed and slightly nervous.
“H-here…” she said, keeping her arm high for him so he could bend over and reach. “See if it tastes good.”