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Fanfic: After the Collecting

Chapter 1: After the Collecting

Ryan awoke slowly, letting out a wide yawn. His eyes barely opened to slits as he attempted to gradually let in the bright morning light. It was May and the sunrise was early and vibrant despite the light rain that tapped at the window.

As he shifted into a languid stretch, he noted his tired muscles. His arms were still aching after the workout they had gotten the previous day. "They wouldn't be so sore if you were younger," his mind nagged. But Ryan pushed the thought away, vowing to start working out again. Well, at least weightlifting.

There had been a time when Ryan had gotten quite a workout, practically every day. Of course, that was when he was chasing cursed antiques around the country. "Those were the days," he thought with amusement. Between the running after people and the physical struggles that often ensued, Ryan had never needed to go to the gym. Or seek any workout other than antique hunting.

But now, with all the antiques recovered and locked safely away in the vault, the adventurous workouts had turned to more traditional daily work. The kind of work that didn't offer nearly as much physical challenge as his previous duties.

Ryan's eyes opened a fraction more, and he moved his hand across the bed. But instead of feeling his wife's sleeping form beside him, all he felt were sheets and a pillow. "Must be out on the terrace gardening," he thought.

Ryan smiled. His new bride (well, that how he still referred to her even though they had been married for nearly 10 years) was always up early on the weekends, tending to the garden. She had started it a few years back and it had really taken over the space. Beautiful blooms and foliage filled the terrace and, on just the right days, the smell of carefully cultivated flora would waft into their room.

They had married in a quaint chapel nearly ten years ago. It was a small, charming wedding, with only their closest of friends invited. They had married on a cold, blustery autumn evening. By candlelight because the electricity had been knocked out across the entire town due to a raging storm. It was a beautiful ceremony, and Ryan often thought back to the subtle elegance of the ceremony. But mostly he thought back to the breathtaking vision of his bride as she walked down the aisle.

Before her, Ryan had dated quite a bit, and he had grown accustomed to certain types of women. He could always pick out his "type" long before he even talked to them. They had a certain look, acted a certain way, talked about certain things. But this woman, his beautiful wife...he couldn't have predicted ever falling for her.

She was intelligent, funny, gorgeous, charming, caring...all of the things he could ever hope for in a partner.

He wasn't her usual type either. She usually went for tall, dark, mysterious men who had drive and ambition, in a more traditional sense. She had always dated businessmen, lawyers, doctors...she had never expected to fall for the artsy type. At least that's what she told Ryan when they had first started dating.

Their dating came as a shock to both of them, and they often talked about opposites surely attracting...It was one of the best explanations for why they were together. Along with divine intervention and love.

At first they had both been almost scared of what might happen. They had both lost people close to them, they had both had their hearts broken. But now, years later, here they were. As happy as ever.

When he thought back on his time collecting cursed antiques with his business partners and friends, he had a feeling of nostalgia. Those were fun times, despite the frightening and bizarre things that happened during the years.

But now, thinking about the future, there was nowhere on earth Ryan would rather be. He was content. He finally felt safe and happy. He truly felt loved. And the security that he would spend the rest of his life with his amazing wife made him grin like a guilty schoolboy.

He was also thrilled to still be part owner of the shop, and he couldn't imagine working anywhere else. He and his wife worked hard to pull together legitimate (non-cursed) antiques to sell. It was definitely a different thing than collecting the evil ones, but it was relaxing work that brought in a decent income every month. Enough for them to be comfortable and pursue their hobbies. Ryan even had a chance to finally finish the large group of drawings that had sat unfinished for so long.

Ryan heard rustling on the veranda and he looked up to see his wife coming in the delicate French doors.

Her ivory nightgown swayed gently in the breeze and Ryan drew in a long breath. She was as gorgeous as ever. "Morning. I was wondering when you'd be up."

"Morning," Ryan said, sitting up as she sat beside him, and gave him a gentle kiss on the lips, "We need to open up in an hour...why don't I make us some coffee."

Ryan nodded, "That sounds wonderful."

She went to get up, but he pulled her back to him, "Wait. Have I told you lately how lucky I am to have you?"

She blushed visibly and smiled, "Not nearly as lucky as I am to have you. I love you Ryan."

She leaned closer and was enveloped in his muscular arms. He nuzzled his face against her creamy skin, enjoying the feel of her flame red hair brush against his cheek, "I love you too, Micki."

The End.


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