Obvious Decisions

BY : FlameWolf
Category: Individual Celebrities > Tom Hiddleston
Dragon prints: 426
Disclaimer: I don’t know and have never met Tom Hiddleston. This story is fiction and just for fun. No profit will be made from this.

    Music filled the air; light, sweet and pleasant while couples smiled at eachother over rounded tables.  Every so often, a violinist would pick out a lucky pair; serenading them to add to the romance filling the air.  Only one person seemed alone in this sea of happiness, gray blue eyes observing all of this with a hint of bittersweetness.  Sighing as she looked at the ginger ale in front of her, Riza gave a toast to a man who had forgotten her existence.  Just the thought that there had been a time where she had to order him to leave her alone made a sardonic smile curl her lips.  That had been months ago, everything suddenly seeming to come to a halt.

    Now, she had trouble even getting ahold of him; getting Luke more often than not.  Needless to say, her first encounter with the man had more than convinced her to just hang up when she heard his voice.  The very first time she had gotten the man, he had blown up at the mere mention of her name.  Not only had he accused her of just using Tom to get an easy paycheck, he also flat out told her he believed the child either didn’t exist or wasn’t Hiddleston’s.  Hurt and more than a bit pissed off, she had hung up; spending most of that night sobbing.

    While it had been traumatizing, the experience had an unintended good effect.  It had cured her of her obsessive and unhealthy need to stalk her ex’s events.  It had cemented the fact he was done with her in her mind and she had resolved to force herself to move on, no matter how much it hurt her.  Looking around the restaurant she had come to, she had to admit she had exactly chosen the most healthy route.  It was more like a form of torture and, watching as pairs made goo goo eyes at one another, she realized she had been setting herself up for failure for a long time now.

    Despite her resolution to try to find a new guy, she had only gone to places happy couples frequented; giving her a pretty poor chance of accomplishing her goal.  Sighing as her waiter brought her appetizer of fresh fruit, Riza stared down at her huge, rounded belly.  Even if she did manage to get a date, being eight months pregnant was sure to put a damper on anything.  Yet, as she sat here and nibbled her food, she found herself pondering if she really did want a date.  Beyond a second partner being healthier for the child, she just had no actual drive to risk her heart with anyone.  Besides that, a certain actor still haunted far too many of her dreams on a much too consistent basis.

    “Face it hun, that handsome bastard pretty much ruined any other man for you,” she groused to herself, feeling some solace with the fact she still felt a fair bit of humor about all of this.  It would have been impossible to get through this situation with any amount of sanity without it.  Placing a hand on the crest of her taut dome, the young writer smiled when her unborn child rolled just slightly.

    “Still, I really wish he was here for all of this.  Knowing what I do about your daddy, he would have loved to have seen all the pictures of you growing, going to all those silly appointments, even all the health scares you put me through.  Remember the slightly elevated blood pressure for a few days there?  He would have broken down and cried when he felt your first kick, he loves children.  You would have been his whole world,” she whispered, a single tear rolling down her cheek as her heart clamped in her chest.

    Sitting up slowly, she rubbed her lower back as she waited for her main course.  Since this morning, she had an ache in her lower back that refused to go away.  In fact, it had steadily grown worse as the day had gone on; reminding her of a particularly bad period.  Shaking her head as she tried to soothe her tight muscles, the novelist sincerely hoped it would leave soon.  If it weren’t for the fact she was still a bit far from her due date, she would have a suspicion that she had started labor.

    Strains of gorgeous music rolled through his ears unnoticed as he stared down at the steak on his plate.  Anyone else would have dug in to the well marbled slab of beef with gusto but all he felt was a lingering feeling of disgust.  It had been months since he had last tried to contact Riza.  After some consideration, he had made the decision to allow her to contact him on her own terms.  Since then, he had heard nothing.  In fact, he was starting to wonder if Luke had anything to do with this occurrence.  None of the contact problems had started until he had allowed his publicist to field his phonecalls out of convenience.  The only caveat, of course, had been that he tell Tom about the important calls.

    While he didn’t want to assume his long time friend was taking advantage of his trust, the sudden halting of information seemed highly strange for his ex.  For a long while, she had kept him in the loop, even texting him some of the prenatal pictures.  Now there was nothing and he was left with a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach that something was wrong.  He was so wrapped up in his thoughts that he didn’t hear his fiance calling his name until a hand landed on top of his.  Jolting slightly, he looked up at the worried face of Taylor.  “Tom?  You okay sweetie?  You’ve been distracted and distant for months now,” whispered the pretty blonde across from him, her pale brow crinkled in concern.

    “Yeah, yeah I’m fine darling.  Just a bit tired.  I’ve been getting a lot more roles lately and all the encounters with the paparazzi are wearing me down,” he sighed, giving a tired smile as his gaze drifted to the other people in the room.  That was when he saw something that made his breath halt in his lungs.

    At first, he thought he was hallucinating; closing his eyes as he pinched the bridge of his nose to simulate fatigue.  When he reopened them, she was still sitting where she had been.  Almost immediately, he felt an urge to go to her; to ask her the thousands of questions that were currently whirling in his mind.  None of this was helped when he caught sight of her large belly, protectiveness welling up inside him.  She shouldn’t be out while this far along, not to mention the fact she was alone.  If something happened, she wouldn’t have anyone to help her.  It was only the knowledge he was at dinner with his fiance that kept him in his seat.

    As it was, the lovely singer across from him was already looking extremely concerned.  “You sure that’s all it is?  I don’t know why but I feel like there’s more to it.  Have I done something wrong?” she whispered, giving him a sorrow filled look.

    “No, no sweetie...  You’ve done nothing...,” he assured, keeping one eye on Riza.  He couldn’t help but notice she was rubbing her lower back every so often, a strange feeling of foreboding prickling his skin.

    Staring at the delicious food she had ordered, the writer found her appetite had disappeared.  The twinge in her back had gradually grown into a band of pressure that was tightening slowly.  Grimacing as she tried to make herself comfortable, Riza felt more and more apprehension.  Pain like this wasn’t normal, in fact it matched a lot of descriptions of early labor.  “Its too soon,” she hissed, pushing her full plate away as she signaled for a waiter.  Even if it was just a false alarm, things were only getting worse as time went on.  The best thing she could do was get out of the restaurant as fast as possible and call herself an ambulance.  The last thing she wanted to do was cause a scene.

    Unfortunately, the waiter decided to take his sweet time to get to her.  Minutes ticked by and the pressure grew into discomfort, making her concern grown into full blown alarm.  Placing her hands on her tummy while a fine sweat covered her forehead, she took a few breath to help keep herself calm.  “Please, please not yet,” she whispered, gasping sharply as a hard cramp wrapped around the dome under her hands.  As much as she didn’t want to skip out on her bill, it was looking like she would have no choice.  She really wanted to avoid her water breaking in the restaurant and all the chaos that would doubtlessly ensue.  She was so distracted by keeping an eye out for the server that she never noticed someone already getting out of their seat and heading toward her.

    As dinner had gone on, he had watched Riza grow paler and paler.  When she pushed her food away and began to signal frantically for her check, he knew something was wrong.  She almost looked scared and he just knew the baby was coming.  He didn’t know how he knew but he did.  Worst thing was, every waiter seemed to be ignoring her attempts to get their attention.  Forgetting he was with the woman he was supposed to marry, Tom was on his feet and heading to his ex; the cries of his date falling on deaf ears.  Next thing he knew, his hands were on her shoulders and he was whispering reassurances that he would help her get out of there.

    Panic was just beginning to set in when a familiar baritone was murmuring in her ear and she felt herself relax.  Nuzzling into the cheek next to hers instinctually, the terrified woman gave a small nod.  “Th-thanks Tom...  Its... its too early... I need to get out of here without making a scene,” she gasped out, shoving away all of the questions about why he was here.  None of that mattered now, especially given how much his presence calmed her.

    “You’re only eight months along, yeah?  Just stay calm hun.  I’ll flag down a waiter to pay for your bill.  You call an ambulance,” murmured his soothing voice.

    “Tom?” called a feminine voice in the distance, slamming Riza back to reality in an instant.

    Turning her head as the pressure around her stomach began to build again, the young novelist was mortified to see the woman who had taken the man behind her heading towards them.  Giving her ex a wounded glance, she pulled out her cellphone to call 9-11.  “Tom...  What’s going on here?” whispered a soft voice that broke her heart as the operator answered her call.

    “Yeah, I’m eight months pregnant and I’m pretty sure I’m in labor,” she sighed, explaining before her ex could attempt to.

    “Oh!  Oh my God!  What can I do to help?” gushed the singer, bending elegantly before Riza to take her hand.

    “Keep her calm Taylor.  Here comes a waiter with her check.  I’ll pay it for her while you get her outside,” the thespian ordered, sounding more stern than either woman had heard.

    “O-of course,” murmured the bombshell blonde, helping the heavily pregnant writer to her feet.  Then the two were making their way to the door, Ms. Swift looking over her shoulder at her date while nibbling her lower lip.

    “I feel like I’ve seen you somewhere before and that this isn’t the first time Tom has reacted strangely to your presence,” she whispered, stopping when the woman next to her did; shifting her focus to the panting stranger.

    Groaning as the invisible band around her waist continued to tighten, Riza had to bite back a cry as another hard pain gripped her gravid womb.  It wouldn’t be much longer before her water broke and she desperately wanted to be outside before that happened.  “Okay, we’re almost there.  Just a bit further,” soothed a voice from above her as she straightened and waddled toward the door.  Thankfully, her predicament pretty much stopped any further questions as they made their way out the door.

    It was just in time too.  No sooner had the doors closed behind the two females, something was splashing onto the concrete as Riza went ghost pale; looking at the singer supporting her with something akin to terror in her eyes.  Taylor didn’t look much more confident, a horrified expression on her beautiful face.  “Please tell me that wasn’t what I thought it was,” she whispered, looking every bit like she wanted nothing more than to run away.

    “I’m afraid it was Ms. Swift.  Just... just help me to sit down somewhere to wait for the ambulance.  They should be here soon,” Riza assured, feeling more than her fair share of fear.  Last thing she wanted was to give birth in front of a restaurant with only a pop star and her ex for help.

    “N-no, sitting on the dirty ground doesn’t seem like a good idea.  I can at least help you stay on your feet until...,” the blonde began trailing off as the pair saw lights approaching from a fair distance away.

    Just then, the door behind them banged open; a rather disheveled Tom standing in the entry.  The normally composed male was panting hard, his eyes wide and his reddish blonde hair hanging in his face.  The moment he saw the puddle under his ex, he was rushing to her; effectively taking over for his current fiance.  “You’ll be okay darling.  They’ll be here any second,” husked his baritone as he gestured to the alternating red and blue lights.  The brunette could only nod, letting out a soft cry as a fresh pain washed over her joined with an incredible urge.  An urge that was close to being undeniable.

    “I-I know Tom.  Th-the baby... its definitely c-coming,” she gasped out, trying to keep her breathing slow and even.

    “Shhhh, it’ll be fine.  Just stay calm sweetheart.  Keep breathing and stay calm,” hushed the baritone that had haunted her dreams these past months.

    “I won’t let anything happen to you or our child,” he whispered in her ear, his voice pitched low so his date wouldn’t hear what was being said.

    Sighing and not really having the strength to push him away, Riza nodded before looking at the woman staring at them.  The blonde looked a bit confused as well as a touch hurt, her eyes clearly focused on just how close her fiance was to another woman.  The first hints of suspicion were beginning to shine in her azure orbs when the ambulance pulled up by the sidewalk, paramedics pouring out to surround the laboring woman.  Soon there was too much activity to worry about anything but what the medics were saying.

    Unfortunately, Riza’s contractions were only getting worse; making it very hard for her to answer questions competently.  Tom had to take over for her, giving them relevant information about how far apart the pains were.  Groaning as a fresh contraction rolled over her, the young novelist gripped her ex’s upper arm as she tried to fight off the urge to push.  As if sensing what was happening, the paramedics rushed her onto a gurney; lifting her into the back of their large vehicle.  It was then reality really hit her.  She was in premature labor and would be going through all of this alone.

    Terror ran through her blood like an icy spike and she reached out for Tom on pure instinct.  Gone was any reason or logic, replaced by primal need not to be alone.  Despite everything that happened, she still felt a fair amount of comfort from the star’s presence and she definitely wanted him with her now.  “Tom!” she called out, her voice choked with panic as the contraction worsened.  Her heart dropped into the pit of her stomach when she saw him hesitate.  Then the medics were turning to the actor, asking something she couldn’t hear as the double doors slowly swung shut.

    It nearly broke him to hear her call him like that but he couldn’t move even if he wanted to.  He was frozen in place by the decision that was placed before him.  If he left with Riza, the farce of a relationship he had with Taylor would be over.  While he wouldn’t be all that bothered by the end of the bothersome lie, the woman holding onto his arm for support would no doubt be heartbroken.  As far as he knew, his fiance had no idea everything had been set up by Luke and her agent for their publicity.  She had completely fallen for him of her own accord, being ecstatic when he had popped the question during a romantic dinner.  An event that still left a bitter taste in his mouth.

    Just the fact he was able to propose to a woman that meant nothing to him so easily just after having such a hard time trying to do the same with someone he actually loved rankled him.  Yet it wasn’t just as easy as dropping Taylor and he was running out of time.  “Sir?  Sir, are you going?” asked one of the paramedics, making his world grind to a halt.  Looking at the young woman hanging off his arm and giving him an injured look, Tom swiped a hand through his curly hair.  He hated to hurt anyone, especially someone as sweet as his fiance.  But he just wasn’t going to allow Riza to go through this alone.  Not only was she carrying his child but she was the woman he actually wanted to be with.  He couldn’t allow this deception to continue any longer.

    “Yes, of course,” he replied, giving his date an apologetic glance before breaking free.  Mouthing an apology, he clambered into the ambulance; taking a seat next to the panting brunette and offering his hand.

    “I’m not about to let you go through this alone darling,” he murmured, kissing her fingers as they curled around him.

    Riza could only look up at the actor, an overwhelming sense of gratitude filling her as the next pain washed over her body.  Breathing through it, she found herself leaning into the man as if he had never betrayed her, had never left.  “Tom... I’m so scared.  I’m not even close to my ninth month yet.  What... what if...,” she whispered, her voice choked and watery as her heart clamped into a painful ball in her chest.

    “Shhhhhh, everything will be okay luv.  I promise you,” assured his rich, accented baritone, a gust of his cologne filling her nose and helping her relax.  Then the vehicle was moving and two men were swarming over her, hooking her up to all manner of machines she couldn’t even begin to identify.

    “She’s in full labor, check dilation.  Let’s hope we don’t have to do a delivery in route,” called the older of the pair, a calm expression on his wrinkled face as he looked at his assistant.  The much younger blonde nodded before moving to remove her maternity pants and underwear.

    Watching another man remove Riza’s clothes was hard for the actor, his jaw tensing as he bit back a harsh, possessive snarl.  The man was only trying to do his job and his ex’s pains seemed to be getting closer together very quickly.  It might only be a matter of time before she would have to push and those pieces of clothing couldn’t be in the way.  Still, when the shy novelist let out a small gasp and hid her reddened face in his chest, it was all he could do not to punch the two medics out and take over.  “Its okay sweetheart.  I’m right here,” he hushed subconsciously, wincing when she whimpered at the intrusion of the paramedic’s fingers.

    “Two centimeters.  We’re at least an hour or so away from birth if things keep progressing at this rate,” returned the man between her legs before he was covering her lower body with a blue blanket for privacy.

    Letting out a slow breath as the contraction ended, the young woman let out a mournful sound at the medic’s words.  Just the prospect of hours worth of this pain and building pressure made her want to scream.  “Th-thanks...,” she whispered, doing her best to distract herself from her inner thoughts.  She wasn’t too surprised when Tom gave her a stunned glance.  Then comprehension dawned over his oval shaped face and an expression of poignant sorrow clouded his brow.

    “Oh my darling girl...  I can’t begin to express how sorry I am but now isn’t the time.  Let’s concentrate on bringing our child into the world safely.  We’ll have all the time we need for apologies and discussions after,” he whispered, pressing a kiss to her forehead as an uncomfortable grimace crossed her face; her hands moving restlessly over the hardening dome of her stomach.

    “Oooooooh,” she moaned out, all further thoughts about their past flying out of her mind as the contraction got harder and harder.  All she wanted right now was to get through this ordeal alive and with a healthy child.

    After what seemed like an eternity, the vehicle was stopping in front of the hospital to allow the attendants inside to wheel her out.  Panting her way through another hard contraction, Riza looked behind her with wild eyes as Tom was quickly being left behind by the fast moving crew.  “Tom!” she screamed before her attention was fully on breathing through the current pain.  Though pain wasn’t really the way she’d describe this feeling.  It was like some force was filling her body, preparing it for the battle of bringing a new life into the world.  Fighting against the urge to scream, Riza used her breathing to help distract her from the incredible discomfort.

    On top of a huge amount of pressure, it felt like her hips were being forced apart by something roughly the size of a melon.  All she wanted to do was push, giving her a pretty good indication the young man with her earlier had been wrong about how much longer this would last.  He just had to be.  Otherwise she would be begging for death long before the baby got here.  As it was, it was all she could do to keep the panic at bay; using the calm expressions of the nurses to anchor herself.  “Your husband will be back here soon.  He just has to be checked in first,” the one closest to her head assured, offering her a hand.

    Instead of correcting the young man about the actor’s status in her life, Riza gave him a grateful smile through gritted teeth as she continued to breathe through the pain.  Then she was being wheeled into a room, another nurse positioning herself between the novelist’s shuddering thighs.  “We’re already at five centimeters.  Looks like this baby wants out,” the woman chirped, sounding almost excited as she patted an inner thigh.  The laboring writer could only groan as she leaned back, swallowing thickly as tears began to roll down her pale cheeks.

    “Too soon, too soon,” she whispered as the pain ebbed, her hands moving over the tight dome of her stomach as she shifted in place to make herself comfortable.

    Tom, on the other hand, was trying to get through the admission process without losing his rag on an innocent nurse.  He knew they needed to get his name as well as get him into scrubs of sorts but that didn’t mean he liked being separated from Riza for even a moment.  He could still see her expression of panic clearly in his mind, only cementing the fact he had made the right choice in his mind.  Right now, it was all he could do just to follow the doctors calmly; especially when the doors opened and he saw the woman he had been separated from.

    She was ghost pale, hooked up to even more machines than she had been on the ride here.  To top this off, strangers swarmed around her; no doubt stressing the normally private woman out further.  From his short time with her, she had abhorred any meetings with the paparazzi.  With what he knew about her phobia of cameras, he couldn’t really blame her.  All he wanted to was run to her side, make her feel safe as soon as possible.  Instead, he forced himself to walk up to her; taking her hand in his as he drew her focus to him.  “Tom, Tom!” she gasped out, eyes snapping to his as her hand tightened on his painfully.

    “Right here Riza, I’ll not leave your side again,” he husked, pressing his lips gently against her clammy forehead.  Then she was letting out a breathless cry, burrowing into his chest as if he could protect from what she was going through.

    Just watching her, he felt a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.  He had come so close to not being able to be by her side for this.  All because of his own hang ups about marriage, a marriage he had been willing to go through when it had meant nothing.  Never before in his life had the distraught male felt more guilty or screwed up in his life.  How fucked in the head could he have to be to even think about half of the things he had consented to.  When this was all over, he would consider himself lucky if Riza agreed to just hear him out.

    Whirling in a haze of pain mixed with discomfort, she forced herself to lock onto to points of blue as someone spread her legs and propped them in stirrups.  Gripping the hand around hers, she vaguely heard a male voice saying something about being ready.  “Push honey,” husked a familiar voice in her ear and she gave into the urge gladly, gasping at the feeling of something large moving lower in her body.

    “Oh God, Tom.  I can feel it coming,” gasped a foreign voice that sounded vaguely like hers before she was giving it everything she had, only stopping when the contraction did.

    Falling backward with a noise of immense relief, Riza tried to catch her breath before the next contraction.  ‘Please, please just let our child be alright,’ she pleaded silently to any deity that might be listening, flexing her hand around Tom’s to remind herself he was there.  “You’re doing good hun.  Already beginning to crown,” encouraged a throaty voice as a new pain began to wash over her, drawing her to begin the cycle again.  Gritting her teeth, the brunette curled into the huge dome of her belly and bore down; doing her best to ignore the overwhelming burning of her nethers as her child’s head spread her open slowly.

    In a quick movement, the doctor attending the birth put his hand against the baby’s head, pushing against it gently to make sure it wouldn’t come too fast and cause a massive tear.  Frustrated at this impediment to her progress, the laboring novelist let out a low growl; sweat pouring down her face as she continued to push through the pain.  Then slowly, ever so slowly, the forehead began to emerge; followed by the eyes, nose and rest of the head.  “We have the Baby’s head!  Next contraction, push as hard as you can,” demanded the physician between her legs as the pain ebbed away.  Nodding her head listlessly and wishing this was all over with, Riza leaned into the pair of lips that landed on her temple.

    “So close now.  Don’t give up,” murmured an accented baritone as fingers twitched around hers, a forehead coming to press against hers.

    “Sir, if you want to see this child born, you should move down now,” encouraged a female voice, breaking the delicate soap bubble and filling her with absolute terror.  He couldn’t move away from where she needed him most, not now!  To her relief, Tom seemed to share the same opinion.

    “Maybe next time.  Right now, I’m right where I need to be,” the thespian replied, not taking his eyes off her as the next pain began to rise within her.

    Making a strained noise, the exhausted female doubled forward yet again; pushing so hard white stars popped up behind her closed eyelids.  Pain and pressure became her reality as the doctor turned the child so the shoulders could come.  With a loud cry, she felt the first shoulder pop free; tears flowing unconsciously down her cheeks as the second soon followed.  Then she was collapsing, panting as she found herself finally hitting her limit.  No matter how close she was now, she couldn’t possibly get the baby out of her.  “I... I can’t,” she gasped out, shaking her head in denial as the next contraction came without delay.

    “You can and you will Riza.  I know you can do this.  Not only for me but for our child,” encouraged the voice again, giving her the last bit she needed to bear down for the last time.

    Just when she was about to throw in the towel, she felt something slide free as a sense of peace came over her tormented body.  Panting slightly, Riza struggled into a sitting position so she could see her child; her heart stopping when moments went by with no cries or declaration of gender.  In fact, the newborn had been whisked away to be cleaned and stimulated so it would begin to breathe.  Still, those moments of silence passed like an eternity; a sick feeling filling her the longer it went on.  Strong arms wrapped around her and began to rock as her heart began to break, tears clogging her throat as panic and sorrow fought for top position within her.  Then the sweetest sound she had ever heard filled the room.  Angry, almost violated sounding squalls came from the direction they had taken her baby; drawing relieved tears from her as she leaned into the man to her right.  “Its a little girl,” announced the doctor, still positioned between her legs for the afterbirth.  Something that slid out of her with a small cramp and a light push.

    “A girl,” Tom sighed, his heart swelling with affection for the newborn.  No matter what happened now, he was determined to be in this girl’s life.  He had longed to be a father for far too long to allow the opportunity to slip past him now.

    “We’ll have to think of a name,” Riza murmured, her eyes barely open as she nestled into his muscled chest.

    “We?” he whispered, barely daring to hope as his heart fluttered in his chest.

    “Of course we.  She’s your daughter too and I expect you to be there as much as you can for her.  I never want her to think one of us doesn’t love her,” sighed the exhausted writer, her hand slipping out of his to grip in the cotton material of the dark blue dress shirt he was wearing.

    Tom could only stare down at his ex, swallowing thickly as he found himself overwhelmed with emotion.  After what he had put her through, he knew he didn’t deserve any of this.  Feeling hot tears prick his eyes, he wrapped his arms around the woman he loved as he let out an unsteady breath.  “Thank you,” husked out his voice in a croak, watching as the nurses wheeled their child to the bedside in the incubator they reserved for premature babies.  She was small but perfect, green/blue eyes staring right at him as her hands played with her feet.

    “Nonsense.  We both know you’d have been here from the beginning if it weren’t for...,” Riza began, trailing off as her voice began to quaver.

    “None of that matters now.  I’m here now and I won’t be leaving again if I can help it, at least not for another woman,” he assured, knowing he’d have to do more than offer empty words.

    Shaking her head, the exhausted writer merely rolled her eyes at his declaration.  Still, she wanted to believe him and simply stayed nestled into him; allowing his warmth and scent to comfort her.  “Let’s name her Elizabeth,” murmured a soft voice in her ear as she began to doze, making her smile unconsciously.

    “Sounds lovely,” she sighed, slipping into the inky waters of unconsciousness in the safety of the arms of Tom Hiddleston.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A Year Later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    A lanky man flings a small girl in a lacy dress up into the sunshine, grinning up at the silhouette that she creates while a woman sits on a blanket and watches with a soft smile.  Giggling fills the warm air as bugs buzz by and no one would be the wiser that the small family had been through Hell for nearly a year.  Not only had they had to deal with the fallout of Tom’s relationship to Taylor but the media had a field day when they found out he had gone back to the reclusive writer he had been with before the singer.  It had taken months for the actor’s career to recover from it, something Riza still had trouble forgiving herself for.

    There had been many close calls during this time, the novelist insisting things would calm down if she left for a bit.  Hiddleston heard none of it, even going so far as to hide her car keys so she couldn’t run without him noticing.  Of course, Luke didn’t help matters; doing everything he could to try to get the pair apart.  He had even gone so far as to drive Riza and Elizabeth to the airport himself.  Thankfully, Tom had caught on to what was going on fairly quickly and had caught up to her before she had boarded her plane.  Needless to say, things didn’t end so well for the actor’s longtime friend and assistant.  On the same day, Luke was fired and the star got a new agent.  That night, he had hugged her to him tightly for hours; even in his sleep.  If she had dared to just get up to go to the bathroom, he was up with her; half-awake eyes full of fear as he escorted her.

    Finally, things had settled down only for a new problem to pop up.  Tom still lived in Britain and had to leave more often than either would like.  While he was loathe to leave the nation of his birth, the actor found himself stuck.  With how things were going in his country at the moment, it was unlikely Riza would be allowed immigration; even with their child in tow.  It would be much more feasible for him to move to the states, a decision that didn’t come to him lightly.  After some discussion with his mother and sisters as well as some tear-filled skype conversations, he finally chose to begin the process of immigrating to America.

    After that, things had moved fairly quickly.  He got his temporary Visa for business, all the while orchestrating the movement of his belongings into the home of his girlfriend.  Thankfully, she had been more ecstatic than anything; helping out where she could while she wasn’t busy with their growing daughter.  It only took a few more months from there to get his citizenship, something that took other people years or they didn’t get at all.  A fact he felt guilty about for a while after.  He was under no illusion he had gotten in due to his stardom and he felt like a world class asshole because of it.  Still, days spent with his daughter and her amazing mother helped to wipe away his guilt; turning it into gratefulness that he had the opportunity to be here.

    Setting Elizabeth into the grass to watch her crawl her way to Riza, Tom knew he had made the right choice.  He just wished he had made it long ago.  He ached for all the missed time with the amazing woman lifting their child into her lap.  Longed for all the missed words and memories they could have shared.  Most of all, he hated that he had missed all of Elizabeth’s development; a problem he intended to remedy with the next child.  And there would be another one if he had any say in the matter, especially given what he had planned today.  After what happened with Taylor, his earlier fear had simply gone away; having been driven off by committing the mere act itself.

    Still, that didn’t mean his heart wasn’t jackhammering as he knelt in front of the sitting woman; digging in his pocket for the velvet box he had originally picked out for her when he was first going to propose to her.  Taking her hand in his as he brought the object out, he took in her baffled and frankly scared expression.  Licking his lips, Tom took the plunge before he could lose his nerve.  “Riza, I know I should have done this long ago.  I was an idiot not to and time has only proven that to me.  We have lived together for a year now so you should know just how crazy I am about you.  I want to share the rest of my life with you, to grow old together, to have many more kids,” he declared, his voice throaty with emotion as Riza jolted slightly as if shocked with electricity and caused Elizabeth to look at them both quizzically.

    Looking at the thespian with disbelief, the young author felt her throat clog with tears as her breathing grew quicker.  There were so many questions, so many doubts; even after a year.  Licking her lips nervously, Riza took a deep breath as she closed her eyes so she could think.  Feeling the weight of their daughter and remembering everything that had happened for the past twelve months, she came to a decision.  Opening her eyes again, she smiled as she nodded; offering her hand.  A huge grin broke out over Tom’s face, gratitude pouring out of him as he slipped the silver circlet around her ring finger.  Then he was kissing her, rubbing the head of their daughter while tears flowed down his pale face.  “I love you Riza,” he sighed, feeling overcome with emotion.

    “I love you too,” she whispered, kissing under his chin as the sun shone overhead.

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