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All We Are [ - ]
by jenron12, charmedcherie
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Story Notes:

The usual disclaimer applies - we own nothing, we're just borrowing these wonderful characters for a little while.  Please note that we have borrowed some of the dialogue in chapters 2 and 4 from the episode "Parental Guidance Suggested," as this story is our take on that episode. 

This story was inspired, in part, by the song "All We Are" by One Republic.  The main title, as well as the individual chapter titles, have been borrowed from the song.

To my co-author Ashley (charmedcherie), I've had so much fun writing this with you!  A billion thanks for doing this project with me, and also for being such a wonderful friend.

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Tony wasn’t sure how long he had been standing there – three minutes, maybe four. He was perfectly content just watching her, admiring the subtle elegance and quiet confidence she exuded even in this most private of settings. He studied her from a distance, seemingly undetected in her doorway as she busied herself with last minute preparations for the evening ahead. And though his better judgment warned him to speak up and make his presence known, he kept silent.

She had always been undeniably beautiful – deep brown eyes, a gentle laugh, and a smile that never failed to melt his heart. His attraction to her had been instant. And though it was her physical beauty that first caught his eye so many years ago, it was her warm and loving spirit that had stolen his heart. He was completely in love with her… his friend, his confidante, his partner. His Angela.

 His Angela. Pangs of guilt crashed over him in waves as those unspoken words echoed in his mind. Reality was cruel… she wasn’t his anymore.

She sat quietly at her dressing table, studying her reflection in the antique mirror in search of nonexistent flaws. This was the part of herself she kept hidden from the rest of the world… the final fragments of childhood insecurity that still plagued her. Angela didn’t hide this part of herself from him. And for that small bit of intimacy - that delicately secret trust between them, he was grateful.

Sighing, she rose from her chair and turned, finally catching sight of him standing behind her in the doorway. She was startled only for a moment before meeting his gaze with a warm smile. “Tony,” she remarked with a quiet laugh. “I had no idea you were there. Is everything alright? You look upset.”

“Everything’s fine, Ang,” he lied, hoping she hadn’t been able to read his somber thoughts. He took one hesitant step inside the room and cleared his throat, reluctantly shaking himself from silence. “Andy’s waiting for you downstairs.”

“Already?” Angela answered, her voice a mixture of surprise and irritation as she checked the clock in disbelief. “He’s early,” she said. “I’m not even ready yet - I still have to find…”

Agitated, she turned toward Tony in mid-sentence, in search of the diamond necklace that had become as much a part of her routine as her morning coffee and juice. “Looking for this?” he asked, smiling as he extended the chain in an unspoken invitation.

“You know me too well,” she answered, fighting the overwhelming sense of nervousness she felt as he quickly stepped behind her to fasten the clasp.

He spoke softly, nearly in a whisper, as he lifted the hair from her neck. “Better than anyone.”

Angela had been facing an emotional crossroads during the last several weeks - her stubborn anger at what Tony’s indiscretion had done to them, flanked by the undeniable chemistry that had always intrinsically been theirs. She closed her eyes in thought and willed herself to ignore the spark she felt building between them, trying to focus on the image of Andy waiting for her downstairs. But as she felt Tony’s warm breath graze her skin, his fingers lightly brushing the back of her neck as he went about the work at hand, the magnetic pull between them became almost palpable.

Just as Angela was about to speak, he removed his hands from her shoulders and reluctantly backed away. “You’re all set,” he said quietly, his voice strained and shaking.

She turned toward him expectantly, hoping to delay the end of their conversation. But when her eyes met his, she found them to be uncharacteristically somber. Insecurity began anew as she studied his face, nearly convinced that something was out of place. She glanced down at her dress, and smoothed her hair, hoping to fix whatever shortcoming he had seen. “Tony, do I look…”

Her voice faded as he took her hands in his own and pulled her closer, the dark thoughts behind his eyes giving way to the slightest hint of unspoken desire. “You’re beautiful, baby. You’re always beautiful.”

Time seemed to stop as they stood there, hand in hand, inching ever closer together. Slowly but surely, fear yielded to courage as any remaining thoughts of Andy slipped farther into the back of her mind. All she could see - all she wanted to see - was Tony.

But just as she began to lean into his welcoming embrace, an unexpected voice carried into the room. “Are you gonna kiss her or not?”

Billy stood smugly in the hallway, unknowingly interrupting what had been the most private moment they had shared in the last six months. He smiled innocently at them, standing still only for a short second before gathering his energy and bounding into Angela’s room at full speed, landing in a giggling ball in the center of her bed.

Tony and Angela were dumbfounded, each fighting a simultaneous urge to both throttle and hug him as they exchanged silent glances. But as he looked into the face of the precocious little boy who had become their son, Tony’s irritation waned. “Billy,” he asked seriously, “didn’t I already put you to bed?”

“Yes,” came the simple reply.

“Well then, why aren’t you in bed?”

“You didn’t tell me I had to stay there.”

Angela laughed automatically, enjoying the fact that the handsome man sitting next to her - a self-described child care expert - had just been outsmarted by a five year old boy. “He’s got you there, Tony,” she said with a grin. “Why don’t you let me give it a try this time, okay? Just tell Andy I’ll be down in a few minutes, and I’ll take Billy back to bed.”

“I can take him, Ang - it’s no big deal,” Tony offered. “Besides, Andy is waiting and…”

And, he’ll just have to wait a few more minutes,” she interrupted, taking Billy’s hand in hers as she led him toward his room. When he had finally raced through the doorway and was safely out of earshot, Angela turned once again toward Tony and couldn’t resist tossing him one final teasing comment. “You know that old saying, don’t you Tony?” she asked, her tone playful. “Sometimes the best things in life are worth waiting for.”

Expecting a similar response, she was caught off guard by his serious expression and steady voice. “I’ve waited seven years, Angela,” he said, his eyes never leaving hers. “And I’ll gladly wait another seven.”