Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Modern Family
Challenge/Prompt: fffc: July Special: Micro Bingo: Card 6: Vacation, Small, Mistake, and Summer
Word Count: 1,193
Date Written: 6 July 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to ABC, not the author, and are used without permission.
He wraps his arms around her from behind and pulls her close against his chest. He’s not especially strong. It’s not a hard, lean body into which she leans against, but it is a body whose every curve she knows and loves. He presses a kiss to her blonde hair and asks softly against her ear, “So did I screw everything up?”
Claire reaches up and wraps her arms around Phil’s. “I don’t know,” she says, staring at the ocean as it laps gently against the shore. “You did set us up at a nudist beach after all.”
“Yeah, but I got us away from there, didn’t I?” he returns defensively. “And I got us into this hotel here. This is a nice beach, isn’t it?”
“It is.” A grin pulls at her mouth. “And you know what I like even more about it?”
“What?” he asks.
“I don’t see a single naked body anywhere in sight.”
He laughs. “I don’t know,” he says after a moment. “There was that old couple in the bikini and Speedo.”
“Still not naked,” she points out.
He grins. “True.”
She watches the way the bright, Summer sun shines on the blue water. It seems almost to sparkle, and the arms around her feel so good, so right. After all these years, she still feels complete when Phil holds her, no matter how angry she is at him. He’s made worse mistakes too. In fact, in comparison to some of the things he’s put her through over the years, setting them up at a nudist resort is small. And he actually did manage to somehow make this vacation away from all the rest of their family and children work, and he did it all himself. She sighs.
“Was it really that big a mess up? You’ve had fun haven’t you?”
She has to smile at that. Somehow, he’s always found a way to make her have fun. Even back in high school, he could make her loosen up when no one else could, when she was so scared she was going to screw up and ruin everything she had so carefully been building. She’d really thought she’d screwed up major when she’d became pregnant with Haley, but looking back, Claire suddenly realizes that was quite possibly the best thing she’d ever done. And he had been responsible for that. Phil might make mistakes, but he’s also responsible for all the best things that have happened in her life. She squeezes his arms where she’s clinging to him as he holds them wrapped gently around and over her shoulders.
“Is that a ‘yes’, Missus Dunphy?”
She laughs. “Okay. Okay already!” She rolls her eyes. “Yes, I’ve had fun!”
He turns her to face him. “Good, because that’s what this vacation was all about.”
“Really? Me having fun?”
“Of course! Claire, you never lighten up any more! You never just let your hair down and have fun with the kids and me!”
“Phil, I’m the President of Closets, Closets, Closets. I’ve got a very important job -- “
“Of course you do,” he cuts in, “but you have one that’s even more important.”
“Of course! Being my wife and a fabulous mom to our kids -- “
“You make it -- “
“Easy? No. No, I don’t, and I know I don’t. I’m always making you have to be the mean one. I’m the fun one.”
“Yes, Phil, you are the fun one, and that’s one of the things I love about you, honey. You’ve always been able to make me have fun no matter what else is going on in our lives. You might piss me off doing it, but you always do it.”
“So you have had fun?”
“Yes!” Grinning widely, she laughs again. Her eyes sparkle, and he steps closer to her, feeling the warmth in her smile and the sun on her skin.
“I was going to ask you earlier,” he says, remembering. “Do you still feel small when you stand next to the ocean?”
She laughs again. “What kind of a pickup line is that?”
He shrugs. “I didn’t think I had to pick you up, Missus Dunphy. I thought I already had you.”
“You do have me,” she admits, “but -- No.” She shakes her head. “I don’t feel small against the ocean. I feel huge. I feel important. And you know why I feel important?” She gazes up into his eyes.
“Why?” he asks, suddenly feeling breathless. After all their years together, Claire can still make him feel like a fumbling schoolboy with just one look, one breath --
She closes the distance that remains between them. “Because of you,” she answers, her voice steadfast and true. She slides her hands up over his chest and wraps her arms over his shoulders, her fingers thrusting up into his dark curls. “Because you love me. Because you make me feel whole and important, like I own the whole world sometimes when you look at me in that way you do.”
“Which way?” He does the exact expression to which he knows she’s referring, like she is the only one he sees in the whole world, like his world ends and begins again all with her.
She laughs, brings her hands down, and caresses his cheeks. He hasn’t shaved today, and she likes the unfamiliar, coarse feeling against her fingertips. “You know the one,” she tells him. “That one.”
“Well, maybe that’s because you are my world, Claire Dunphy.”
A thrill passes through her, something she’d not thought she could feel again as a grown and aging businesswoman. She should have known he could still make her feel that way; he always had that power over her after all. “You’re right,” she says suddenly.
“I am? About what this time?” He grins, a flair of mischievousness lighting his handsome face. How had there ever been a time, Claire wonders, when she had overlooked this incredible man?
“I do have a more important job,” she answers, her voice dropping to a husky whisper and blowing her words against his smiling mouth, “and that’s being right here in your arms, being your wife, loving you.”
“It’s about time you saw things my way, Missus Dunphy.” He brings her closer to him, gently crushing her body against his, and kisses her like he hasn’t since they were high school sweethearts.
Claire melts willingly into her arms and promises them both right then and there without saying a word aloud that they will have many more vacations like this one in the coming future that’s made bright by Phil and their future. They will have many more trips away from the kids and the rest of their family. They will have many more private getaways where it’s just Mister Dunphy and his wife; she can hardly wait to experience every one of them and every moment with this loving, wonderful man in her arms going forward. She thinks of telling him how much she loves him but quickly decides against breaking contact with his mouth; instead she tells him with every kiss, caress, and squeeze how much she loves him, always has, and always will.