Before and After (3/4)
I'm feeling: tired
Title: Before and After
Fandom: Downton Abbey
Summary: Sybil and Tom's thoughts before and after they tell their family of their plans to marry.
Author's Notes: Sorry for spamming this all at once but if I don't catch up now I never will.
She tried to keep her voice steady but she was so tense she couldn't hear if she succeeded or not.
She left in what she hoped was a dignified, though very quick, manner, trying to stop her hands shaking. She had had something planned, a carefully scripted speech, letting her family know as painlessly as possible what they intended but when they were suddenly faced with them all she'd panicked a bit and when Tom had insisted she not baulk just because her Grandmother was there she'd been grateful he hadn't let her back out.
Tom and I are getting married. Looking back it was probably the best way to say it, straight and to the point. Getting it over with quickly.
Their reactions had been exactly as she'd predicted, save for Granny's, which was somewhat of a nice surprise. Even if she was still entirely disapproving she was the only one of her family to give Sybil any credit for having thought at all about what she was doing.
She stopped in the hallway leading to her bedroom and was grateful Tom had followed her. She wouldn't have blamed him if he'd fled to his room in the inn straight away but of course, he would never leave her when she was so upset.
They had both known how her family was likely to take it, which was part of the reason she had told Tom she'd do most of the talking and she was pleased that he'd kept his promise not to fight with them too much.
She had briefly considered placing a warning hand on his arm when her father had mentioned him 'bowing and scraping' knowing that Tom wouldn't take that without comment but a bigger part of her had been just as insulted and she'd been rather proud when Tom had stood up to him.
Tom was saying something but she had been distracted in her own thoughts, he looked a bit upset and she was worried he'd said something important and taken her silence as disapproval.
Before she could ask him to repeat it though he was apologising for his comment at the start, when she'd suggested they wait and he had reminded her that her grandmother would find out eventually anyway and had every right to hear it from them.
"No," she stopped him, placing a hand on his arm, "I needed that. You were right- though don't let it go to your head," she added with a smile. "And thank you for reminding them I have my own mind too."
He laughed, a genuine laugh of relief and mirth. "I'll try to keep my ego in check," he promised and she couldn't help hugging him, enjoying the way he pulled her into his arms, giving her comfort.
They had spent so long not touching that now all she wanted was to be close like this. She knew there was more, young girls weren't as naïve as society liked to hope and most certainly not ones who'd trained as nurses, and while she was nervously excited by the thought, sometimes she thought she could stay like this, just wrapped in his arms, forever.
"You really are sure about this?" he asked again, pulling back just enough so that he could look at her, though he didn't look as worried as he had back in the garage.
"Tom Branson," Sybil sighed, "you are arrogant, over-confident and far too clever for your own good," she told him firmly, before smiling, "and you're also passionate, and kind, and loving and you make me feel like I was living in a dream before I meet you and yes," she said finally, because if anyone had waited long enough to hear it, it was him, "you were right, I love you. And yes, I have loved you for a long time, and I'm not planning on stopping any time soon."
His lips were on hers before she'd even finished speaking and it was like their first kiss again. She felt like someone had set her alight, every fibre in her body was singing as if she hadn't been truly alive until just that moment. If she'd known this was what it would feel like to finally be brave enough to voice her feelings, she thought, her hands curling in his hair, bringing him closer, she was sorry she hadn't done it sooner.
The moment was over all too quickly but Sybil knew he had to go, in case someone came looking for her, trying to talk her out of marrying him. It wouldn't do anything for their position to be caught like this.
"I'll come see you tomorrow," she promised, "I love you."
"I love you too," he replied and he had such a look of pure happiness on his face that she had to kiss him again.
Then he was gone and Sybil knew the next day wouldn't be easy. In the end though, she loved him and he loved her and the rest, she finally understood, was detail.--
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