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Rated: E · Short Story · Romance/Love · #2097141
Sequal to "Like A Rainbow". Read that one first to understand the events of this one :)
The smile on Niklas’s face could not, would not, stop growing as he walked into the three bedroom, 2 bath apartment he shared with his girlfriend, 17-year-old Elizabeth. The two had been dating for a little over a year now, and their relationship…Niklas had no words for it. None at all.

As hard as he tried, Niklas couldn’t even find the perfect word to describe Elizabeth. Sure, she was beautiful, of course, she’s the sweetest thing ever, but in trying to describe her entire personality and her beauty, both inside and out, Niklas simply could not.

Shaking his head to clear it, Niklas gently closed the door and locked it behind him, so he could start getting settled in for the night.

“Izzy! Are you here?”

He waited for a moment and then, not even 10 seconds later, the twinkling sound of her laugh, one of the most precious, most beautiful sound in the world, at least to Niklas, slapped his ears.

“I’m in the kitchen, Nicky!”

Chuckling, Niklas tossed his keys on the counter, threw his sweatshirt in the laundry basket, and skipping through the hallway into the kitchen, where Elizabeth was leaning on the counter, cooking what smelled like spaghetti on the stove, her eyes shining with stars, her smile the light of 1000 suns, and her hair pulled back into a simple ponytail. She was wearing a pair of short jean shorts and a dark blue tank top.

“Hello, my love,” Niklas murmured, resting a gentle hand on her hip as their lips collided in a sweet kiss.

Elizabeth pushed herself off the counter into Niklas’s body, her arms linked around his neck like a chain, as she opened her mouth, getting her tongue sliding over his, as his arms wrapped around her back to support her.

There was nothing more than the two of them loved more, adored more, than kissing after a long day of being away from each other. While both of them knew kissing could be sexualized in the media, to them, it was nothing more than an innocent and sweet display of affection, of love, of togetherness.

“I missed you, Nicky,” Elizabeth whispered once their lips became unlocked. She was playing with his hair, tangling her fingers deep inside of it, because his hair was so thick, as his left hand stroked over her back and his right hand remained propped up on her hip, the smiles never once leaving their faces.

Niklas hummed and leaned into her touch, his heart beating a little faster as her hand brushed along the shell of his ear.

Every touch of hers caused his heart rate to skyrocket, every word that left her lips compelled his heart to melt into a puddle of goo, every single star that danced in her deep, sea-blue, beautiful eyes required his stomach to flip-flop, and every time she said “I Love You” forced his lips to go dry and his hands to shake and his eyes to go wide.

“I missed you too, baby.”

Elizabeth nuzzled her face into his neck and melted into the contented rumble of his intonation, his tone sounding tired, but still happy, and she revered how deep his voice was.

“Did you make Swedish meatballs to go with that spaghetti, Izzy?”

Laughing, the girl pulled away from her boy and, landing one last pat on his cheek, twisted out his arms, snatched up the spoon, and began to stir the sauce.

“Of course I did, Nicky. They are your favorite, aren’t they?”

Niklas chuckled and leaned down to give her a gentle, not sexy, kiss on the neck before patting her bum and moving to the other side of the kitchen so he could start toasting the garlic bread left out on the counter.

“Nicky?” Elizabeth glanced up at him a few minutes later, the spoon frozen over the pot in mid-air.

Niklas frowned and gently guided the spoon out of her tense fingers, set it on the counter, and cupped her cheeks, pressing his forehead against hers.

“What’s the matter, Izzy?”

Elizabeth blushed and lowered her eyes to look at the messy, sauce covered tile floor, which she seriously needed to clean up.

“Your mom called me today…”

His eyebrows furrowing closer together, worried about Elizabeth, who sounded more nervous than happy, Niklas slipped his hand under her wobbly chin and tipped it up so that watery blue eyes locked on his clear concerned blue ones.

“And what did she say, exactly?”

Elizabeth swallowed hard and nibbled on her lower lip, squirming under his gaze. The tears threatened to spill like a waterfall from her eyes and her hands, usually so still, were trembling like leafs in the wind.

“She…she asked me if I was ready to marry you and I told her I wasn’t sure. She sounded disappointed when she hung up. Oh, Nicky, I don’t know if I’m ready!”

Her voice quivered deep within her throat and the tears that she’d been fighting so hard to hold back flurried down her pink cheeks like rain off the roof of a house. Her hand was over her mouth, trying to stifle the sobs that were pouring out of her, but it didn’t and Niklas could VERY clearly hear the heartbreak in her cries.

His heart was breaking, cracking, tearing itself in two, at how sad she looked and the guiltiness she carried in her words. Niklas knew, after a year of dating her, how bright and happy and innocent and smiley she could get, but, in the same view, how sad she could get when she actually accomplished or thought she’d achieved disappointed a person. Elizabeth hated, despised, loathed, disappointing anyone, but especially a parental figure, like her father, Andrew, or Tove, Niklas’s mother, who his girlfriend thought of as a mom, since her own mom died when she was only 3.

But why would Tove ask such a question, though? They’d only been dating for a year and, besides, Elizabeth wasn’t even out of high school yet. As much as Niklas WANTED to marry her, the relationship basically just started. Yes, they were in love, but both of them, especially Elizabeth, wanted to wait until their careers were in place, before they moved any further.

But, in a way, Niklas could understand why Tove WOULD ask that particular question. Ever since Niklas’s dad, Hasse, died when Niklas was only 11, Tove had only wanted the best for him and his two brothers, Staffan, who was younger, and Mattais, who was older. The best thing for Niklas, for their family, was Elizabeth, who was the daughter Tove never had and the sister Staffan and Mattais always wanted.

“Izzy, darling, Momma isn’t mad at you or disappointed in you. I think she’s just impatient because there hasn’t been a lot of excitement in my life, or ours, for that matter, in a long time. If you’d like, I can call her tomorrow and talk to her. Would that make you feel better?”

Elizabeth’s face grew hot as flames, but she nodded, still staring at the floor.

“Yes, Nicky.”

*The next day, 7:30 at night*

Niklas smiled, eyes glowing like diamonds, at his girl as she walked into the room wearing an old pair of ripped jeans, a white American Eagle sweatshirt covered in stains, her hair pulled back into a bun, and, in her hands, she was carrying a set of hand-paints.

This was his FAVORITE time of night. He loved nothing more than having Elizabeth lying over his lap, relaxed, calm, and designing little drawings on his legs in paint.
This wasn’t a new thing to him, however. Andrew, one time, when Niklas asked him for advice on how to deal with Elizabeth when she got panicky or nervous or, just needed something fun to do on the particular day, told Niklas about the finger-painting the girl did when she was young. Prone to more panic attacks as a child (because of all the bullying she suffered), Elizabeth discovered that finger-painting, on the table, on someone’s pant legs, or on a large sheet of blank paper, could calm her down instantly. It was a rhythmic movement, a familiar one, a motion that never changed.

“What will you be painting tonight, baby?” Niklas questioned in a loving, soft, admiring tone, taking the paints from Elizabeth’s dainty fingers so she could situate herself over his knees.

Giggling and, with a lovely shade of light pink rolling over her cheeks, Elizabeth crawled up into Niklas’s lap, so that her belly rested across his thighs, and her feet hooked over the pillow on the other edge of the couch. She loved being in this position, not only because it made her feel vulnerable—Niklas and Andrew were the only two people Elizabeth could stand to be in that particular state around—but also because Niklas administered the BEST back massages.

“I don’t know yet, Nicky. An artist needs time to figure out his designs, you know. Just like you have to figure out what strategies you want to use in hockey, my brain needs to compose a drawing in it before it becomes a reality.”

Niklas handed his girlfriend her paints and nodded.

“Alright, darling. I’ll keep quiet and let you work.”

And, Niklas kept his promise. Except for the steady sound of their breathing and the occasional hum of thought from Elizabeth, the apartment turned quiet as a mouse.

Massaging Elizabeth’s upper back with a ginger palm, because that was where her back pain always started, he didn’t disturb her and, instead, focused on his thoughts.

He didn’t understand how it was possible to fall deeper and deeper in love with Elizabeth every single day. She always managed, no matter how much Niklas told himself that he knew everything about her, to surprise him. Something new about her autism, something new about her family, a new recipe, whatever the case may be, it caught him off guard. And he liked that. It was intriguing, really, to be with someone 24/7 for a year and still not know everything about that person.

Suddenly, he was startled out of his thoughts by a tap on the leg from his girlfriend. Glancing down, he noticed Elizabeth was staring at him, her forehead furrowed.

“You don’t mind if I draw on your sweat pants, right? I just want to make sure that you won’t be mad at me getting paint on them.”

Niklas smiled again and patted her head, all the while, still rubbing her back.

“Of course I don’t mind, lovely girl.”

Elizabeth giggled and dipped her fingers into the red paint before proceeding to draw a large heart on the knee of Niklas’s pants.

“Your favorite thing, isn’t it, love?”

Elizabeth pressed into the hand on her back and hummed.

“Yes, Nicky.”

Niklas kept giving his girl the massage she loved and watched her. His heart melted at her tiny giggles as she finished a heart, his eyes shined, like diamonds, with affection at the tongue sticking out of the side of her lips when she tried to figure out how to draw her next piece of art, and his lips quirked into a smile, showing off all of his beautiful teeth, at the humming noises she’d make as she drew. Just everything about her was so perfect!

He loved seeing her in the state. This was his favorite Elizabeth. Relaxed, not stressing out over school, or worried about when a call for an interview for her next job would come in, and, most importantly, doing what she loved.

“I love you, my beautiful girl.”
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