A/N: I already know what you’re thinking….“It’s about time!’” Well right you are! It IS about time! So, without further ado, I present to you Chapter Fifteen: It All Ends Here, titled so because it’s the end of Reed’s generation…and it’s a play on Harry Potter, which has been so connected to Reed, hehe. Hope you enjoy!
~*~*~*~Marina’s Point of View~*~*~*~
I couldn’t stop crying. I called up an old friend and told her about what happened, and she told me I should kick him to the curb, that I should give him the full brunt of my fiery temper (I almost laughed at that), that I should tell him to never, ever come back because the damage he created was irreparable, but the thing was…I couldn’t. I felt so defeated, so broken, so hurt, that I couldn’t even manage to yell at him any longer.
I just tried to avoid him whenever possible, and tried to pretend that everything was okay for the children, who didn’t need to see us fighting, but in the end, when I’m laying in that bed alone, all I can do is hug the pillows close to me and cry. I feel so stupid, but I can’t help it.
I never thought he would do this.
I trusted him, and he broke that trust, and now I have no idea what to do.
Do you still love him?
It isn’t that simple….
Sure it is. Do you still love him?
I walked downstairs and into the kitchen to get a glass of water, and there he was—sitting at the kitchen table and shakily drinking a cup of coffee. Instantly, a wave of anger built up within me, but the most noticeable feeling of all was the painful feeling of my heart twisting in my chest and the overwhelming veil of helplessness enveloping me.
Do you still love him?
Yes. Yes, of course I do. ….but I don’t want to anymore.
“Marina,” he said quietly then, his voice hoarse. “Can we talk…please?”
“I don’t want to talk,” I whispered in response, opening the refrigerator to get myself some cold water.
“Please,” Reed repeated, his voice suddenly right behind me. When did he get up? I could feel the warmth that radiated from his body and a big part of me wanted to just fall into his arms right now and just cry and cry and ask him why he didn’t love me enough to stay away from her, and ask him what I did wrong, and if he even did love me like he did when we first met, but I fought the feelings with one determined thought: This isn’t my fault. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered, and out of the corner of my eye I could see him start to reach for my arm and then pull away hesitantly. Again, part of me wanted to fall into his arms, but I resisted once again, thoughts of those same arms wrapped around someone else burned into the very fiber of my being.
I turned around in anger, ready to rage at him, but instead found myself despairing as I stared into his crystal green eyes. “Just- just fuck you, Reed!” I cried out in a strangled voice instead, and then, without even thinking, I threw the cup of water I had in his face, smashed it on the ground, and stormed upstairs as fast as I could, because as soon as I got back to our bedroom…I was back to how I’ve been found so many days now: curled up in bed, hugging the pillows close to me, and crying my eyes out. How was it even possible for a person to cry so much?
But most of all, the question that bothered me every minute of every day repeated over and over in my head:
What should I do now?
~*~*~*~ End of Marina’s POV~*~*~*~
I stared at the stairs in shock, frozen in place with cold water dripping down my face. I had not expected that. Shaking my head slightly, I wiped my face with the sleeve of my jacket and then bent down to start picking up the shards of glass that had exploded all over the kitchen floor. I gingerly picked up each shard with my right hand, collecting them in a pile in my left. If I just focused on this mundane task, perhaps I could forget what just happened. Perhaps, just for a moment, I could not think about how badly I had fucked up, and how much I had hurt the woman I loved more than anything.
Why didn’t you see that before?
I took in a shuddering breath, redoubling my focus on the shards of glass. I’d picked up most of the larger pieces by now, moving on to the smaller pieces. Carefully. Carefully.
She’ll never forgive you.
I let out a small, strangled sound like a whimper and then cursed as I realized my hand had involuntarily clenched, tiny shards of glass stabbing my hand. “Fuck!” I hissed, dropping the bloodied shards of glass in surprise. I stared at the tiny cuts on my hand, beads of blood blossoming from the slices the glass made in my skin. Was it bad that there was a tiny part of me that couldn’t help but think: This is what you deserve?
Three days now. Three days and Marina hadn’t said a word to me since that night, despite my efforts to constantly be in the same room as her, to get her alone to apologize once again. Every time she would ignore me, and every time I began to lose a little more hope that Marina would ever forgive me. Sure, she hadn’t kicked me out of the house, but I was pretty sure she only did that for the children. Of course, I was pretty sure they suspected something. After all, their normally “grossly” affectionate parents had barely talked to each other for days. They weren’t stupid. However, if they did notice, they seemed to not want to mention it, afraid of rocking the boat when the waves were already high.
This changed one day though when Marina left me a note in my coat pocket that I should go upstairs at 11 PM to talk to her. I really wasn’t sure what to think of this request. A part of me felt hopeful, thinking that maybe finally we would get to talk and I’d get to explain myself, but the other part of me felt absolutely miserable. What if she wanted to talk to me (and late enough so the kids would be asleep) because she wanted to ask me to finally leave the house because she couldn’t bear to look at me anymore?
I felt sick for the rest of the day, barely able to concentrate on my work and leaving it mostly to those who worked beneath me. I kept staring at the clock even though I knew it was NOWHERE near 11. After all, the sun hadn’t even set.
When I got home I just felt worse, trying to busy myself with odd chores around the house and some work on the computer, but it seemed that today of all days time had decided that it was going to take its sweet time passing by, and all I could do was wait it out.
By the time 11 DID roll around, I was pretty sure I was going to be physically sick. I took a deep breath and walked up the stairs quietly, trying to keep my heartbeat steady as I approached the bedroom door like a man condemned to die. I opened the door and then closed it behind me, looking up only to see-
“Marina?” I asked shakily, staring at her in shock. I had imagined many, many, MANY things in all of my time dreading tonight, but never once in my wildest even most hopeful daydreams did I imagine Marina standing before me in the hottest outfit I had ever seen her wear in my life, and giving me the look she was giving me now. I swallowed hard and adjusted my tie, it suddenly feeling too tight…among other garments.
Marina seemed to falter for a moment and then collected herself, giving me her best sexy smile as she strode across the room toward me. I stood frozen, unsure of how to react. Was she crazy? Was she drunk? I did notice wine set up in the room. Had she actually been drinking? “Marina I-” I began, but was cut off by a soft chuckle from my wife as she placed a single finger on my lips.
“Shhh,” she whispered. “Don’t speak.” Her lips moved along my cheek then and travelled to my ear, her tongue flicking out to graze my earlobe—an act that she knew all too well drove me crazy. I took in a sharp intake of breath and she nibbled on my ear, then tracing loving kisses down my neck. It took every bit of willpower I had not to moan and fall to pieces right then and there, so I didn’t even know where I got the rest of the willpower to take a step back from my astonishingly gorgeous wife.
“Marina, what are you doing?” I managed to gasp out, looking at her carefully and trying to read her eyes. She seemed to start to frown for a second, but then she immediately fought it, forcing a seductive smile on her face.
“Don’t you like this?” she whispered, looking up at me innocently as she slowly began to unbutton my jacket.
“Well yeah, I mean- no, I mean,” I pushed Marina’s hands away and took another step back. “Marina, what has gotten into you!?” I finally asked, thoroughly worried at this point.
“Do you not want me?” Marina asked, a tremor in her voice as she gazed up at me. Her confidence seemed to be breaking down before me as her eyes shone more brightly than before, her hands trembling as she moved them away from me.
“No! I mean, of course I do! I just- I just don’t understand, I thought- I just- I mean- you were mad at me! Not that I still want you to be, but-”
“Am I not pretty enough?” she asked tearfully, really beginning to lose it now. “Is that why you kissed her, Reed? Because I’m not attractive to you anymore? Because you don’t love me anymore? Is that why you had your tongue down another woman’s throat, Reed!?” she asked, her voice growing more shrill with every passing question until there were tears streaming down her face.
“Oh god, no,” I whispered, shaking my head in disbelief as my own eyes welled up with tears. “Marina, you are, have been, and will always be the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life and I have never, ever loved someone more. You have no idea how much I regret what I did. I-”
“THEN WHY DID YOU KISS HER!?” Marina shrieked hysterically, practically ripping out her hair in frustration now. “How could you say those things when you fucking kissed her?” she asked between her tears. “I don’t understand. What- what did I do wrong?”
“Babe…you did NOTHING wrong,” I said emphatically, walking right up to her and gripping her hands tightly. “NOTHING. I was stupid, okay? Really fucking stupid. Gin-”
“DON’T SAY HER NAME!”
“Sorry. Her and I…we had something way back when,” I began, and then while I still had the chance, burst into a quick ramble of everything, absolutely everything—about the chance I never got with her, about leaving Neverglade, about the stupid crane, about how I felt seeing her again, about the what ifs and the tension and EVERYTHING, and though Marina’s eyes shone bright with tears, she kept quiet and listened carefully to every word with no expression on her face.
I didn’t know whether this truth would fix everything, or ruin everything—all I knew was that she needed to understand. To understand what had really happened. I couldn’t have her thinking everything she was right now. It was so unlike her that it hurt—this was not my fiery, confident wife. This was a shell of her former existence, and I had done this to her. I had done this to her, and I hated myself for doing so. How could I have been so stupid?
After I finished my story, Marina looked up at me for a long moment, not saying a word. I was close to screaming from the tension of the moment, but she finally said, in a barely audible voice, “You really hurt me.”
Even though I knew I had, it killed me to hear those words. It really, truly did. My throat tightened and I nodded, feeling terrible. “I know,” I managed to whisper.
“And you really have no feelings for her?” she asked, her dark olive eyes staring straight into mine.
“Really,” I said quietly, looking right back at her. She watched me for a long moment and then kissed the corner of my mouth, causing my eyes to shut involuntarily and my heartbeat to quicken—although it might have been more in fear than in excitement. I had no idea what she was thinking.
“Prove it,” she whispered, the smell of wine overly noticeable on her breath.
“What do you mean?”
“Make love to me.”
My eyes snapped open and I found her looking at me steadily, her stance determined. “I don’t…Marina, you’re drunk,” I managed to say, taking a small step backward. I didn’t like this. I didn’t like this at all. I didn’t understand what she was doing. What was on her mind? She really had had too much to drunk, despite her remarkable steadiness.
“Barely,” she said, closing the space between us again and pressing her body firmly against mine. She placed my hands on her waist then and began kissing my neck, expertly finding my most sensitive places and making my breath catch and my mind go foggy. I tried to think of another argument against this idea, but Marina continuously made it difficult as she grabbed ahold of my belt and guided me to the bed, her eyes never leaving mine. I opened my mouth to speak, but all I could manage was a strangled moan as Marina found the bulge in the front of my pants—and then there went any hope of saying or thinking anything else coherent.
From there it was just desperation and anger, passion and love as we divested each other of our clothing as quickly as possible and fell onto the bed. At first, she wouldn’t let me kiss her lips, so I took to kissing her everywhere else I could until she couldn’t take that anymore and after that there was a frenzy the likes of which I had never experienced with her. And when we finally reached that height, Marina stifled our cries by grabbing my face in her hands and kissing me so hard on the lips that I was sure they would bruise, but I didn’t care, putting everything I had back into that kiss, my moan muffled in my throat. And it was all so…so incredible, that I found myself feeling that yes, yes of course things were going back to normal.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t have been more wrong, for when I woke up in the morning, Marina was nowhere to be found and one of the cars in the garage was missing.
She hadn’t even left a note.
Not a single word.
She was just…gone.
I didn’t understand. Couldn’t understand. I crumpled to my knees, staring blankly at nothing.
Why did she leave? And most importantly of all: would she ever come back?
A week later and it seemed the answer to that last question was, so far, no. I ate my cereal without tasting it on that 7thmorning, trying my best to keep myself completely composed for the kids. I had told them their mom was visiting one of her old best friends in Bridgeport for a week, but here was the day that they should have been expecting their mom back and I hadn’t heard a single word from her. I tried calling her, but I heard her cell phone ring from atop the dresser. She hadn’t even brought her phone.
Frustrated, I wiped a tear away from my eye and then angrily brought another spoonful of cereal to my mouth. How could she have left without even saying something at least? And after a night like that…I just didn’t understand. Had that- had that been her way of saying goodbye? God…I didn’t want to believe that.
“Mom isn’t coming back, is she?” I suddenly heard from above me. I jumped slightly and looked up, surprised to see Tamara already awake. She looked completely emotionless except for her eyes—her eyes, so like Marina’s, gave everything away. She was breaking apart inside.
“She’ll come back,” I said firmly. “She just decided to stay a while longer at her friend’s house. She hasn’t seen in her years, you know.”
“Cut the crap, dad. I know something happened between you and Mom and now Mom’s gone. You can’t keep treating us like little kids! Daniel and Catherine have noticed too you know. I mean, they’re more prone to believe this stupid story you’ve fed us, but I think it’s denial on their part. Mom left us, didn’t she?”
I stood up to give Tamara a lecture about respect and minding her language when she talked to her parents, but though I opened my mouth, the words just didn’t come out. How could I really blame her for reacting this way when everything seemed to be falling apart around her?
“She’ll be back,” I said once again, taking my half-eaten bowl of cereal to the sink.
“…is Mom seeing someone else?” Tamara asked quietly, her brave face faltering some.
“Are you seeing someone else?”
“NO, Tamara. Nothing happened. Your mother will be back, okay? She will be.”
“Is she tired of being our mom?” Tamara suddenly asked, her calm resolve breaking entirely and her eyes filling up with tears. “Is she sick of us? I know we could have helped out more around the house. We could have-”
“No!” I said immediately and more harshly than I had intended. “That is absolutely not why. Your mother loves all of you very, very much, more than you probably even realize, and that’s why I know that she’ll be back. This was my fault. She could never-”
And it was like magic really, because it was at that moment that we both heard a key in the front door…and then it opened, and there she was. She was dressed differently, but it was still her. Marina. Marina, my love. Marina, my wife. Marina, my everything.
Tamara hastily wiped her eyes and immediately ran to her, hugging her tightly as Marina laughed and hugged her back. As if she knew, she even added, “See, Daddy was telling the truth, I’m back. I just needed a little vacation, that’s all. Like my new look?” she asked with a laugh.
I didn’t hear Tamara’s response though because I was so overwhelmed at that point that I had to leave the room, mumbling that I’d be right back and then making a bee-line straight outside and to the garden…the garden that my mom had so carefully tended and that Daniel now kept alive.
I took a deep breath, rubbing my neck and closing my eyes as I pointed my face skyward. So many emotions were going through me at this point that I wasn’t sure which one to even feel. Anger? Relief? Worry? Joy? Helplessness?
“I really fucked things up, Mom,” I said quietly, staring down at the plants around me. “Royally fucked things up.”
“Not entirely,” a familiar voice said from just beside me. I jumped and turned to see Marina giving me a tentative smile, although there was sadness in her eyes.
I opened my mouth to respond, and then closed it, and then opened it again, my brow furrowed. “Why did you leave?”
“I thought that would be obvious. I needed time to think,” Marina said quietly, although the look on her face was apologetic. “And now you’re going to ask why I didn’t tell you. Well, I didn’t tell you because I knew if I said I was going to leave for awhile, you wouldn’t let me go, and I really needed to. I had so much to think about.”
“You could have told me once you were gone. Do you have any idea how worried I’ve been? How worried the kids have been?”
“I know,” she answered with a whisper, “And I’m really sorry about that. I was just afraid you’d make me come back, and I just couldn’t. Reed, I just couldn’t look at you, couldn’t even hear you without thinking of…of that night. And then I would get angry all over again.”
“And now?” I asked hoarsely. Marina paused for a moment and then closed the distance between us, cupping my face in her hands and kissing my lips softly. My eyes fell shut as I kissed her back gently, my arms wrapping around her as her hands dropped from my face to encircle me as well.
We pulled away slightly then when we heard muffled shouts and banging, turning toward the sound only to see our kids banging on the kitchen window and jumping up and down as they cheered. I couldn’t help but laugh as I looked down at Marina, who was laughing as well.
“God, Marina,” I said quietly. “I really am so, so sorry,” I whispered.
“I know,” she responded, her voice a little shaky, though her gaze on me was steady. “And it’s been, really, really hard…and I can’t believe I can actually say this but…I forgive you, Reed. I don’t know that I’ll forget anytime soon…but I do forgive you, and that’s a start.”
I nodded, unable to say anything else as relief as tangible as my soft, warm wife in my arms overwhelmed me, threatening to reduce me to tears, but as always, my wife seemed to sense this and took me tightly in her arms.
“I love you, Reed,” she whispered, staring up at me with nothing but truth in her eyes.
“I love you too, Marina,” I managed to say. “I love you, too.” And that’s when Marina’s lips claimed mine in a passionate kiss to rival all others, which I returned with equal fervor.
…there was absolutely no lack of love within that kiss, and it was the kind of love that bound together souls, intertwined destinies, and created the most powerful magic there was, made up of what else, but itself. This. THIS…was the love of fairytales…and I would never, ever threaten it again.
And this, like my mother’s before me, was my story. It’s funny looking back at when I first started this journal, at how naïve and awkward I was. Well, alright, I’m probably still a bit awkward, but I like to think that I’ve at least grown a lot from the guy who absent-mindedly watched seagulls on the beach, wondering what I would ever do with my life. I mean, I definitely figured it out, and even though I took many paths I never even planned (like having five children!), I would never change the decisions I made because I have never been happier with the life I’ve had. ….and that’s something not just anyone can say.
I’m Reed Winters and this was my story—a story about learning; a story about perseverance; a story about love; but above all, just a story about a guy who had a dream, and followed it.
Just as I hope that those who follow me, will do as well.
Dare to do that which you are afraid of and never, ever give up.
A/N: !! Another generation down! My goodness! Now judging from the comments on my previous chapter, many of you didn’t expect this happy ending, but I hope it didn’t disappoint or feel unrealistic regardless. I just always had hope that they would be able to work it out…but also knew that it would not be easy. Anyway, gahhhhhh!!! I’m going to miss Reed’s generation so much!! Being in his head for so long has been awesome as he’s been nothing but fun to write about. However, I AM really excited to tell the story of the next generation and to push myself even further in writing the best story I can =) Thank you everyone for sticking through with me thus far, even when updates have become fewer and farther between o_o; Now, here is the breakdown of the second generation:
- Get to Level 10 of the Business Career- √
- Get to Level 10 of the Charisma Skill- √
- Get married, woohoo, and have kids(s)- √
- Have at least one kid- (LOL yeah) √
- Become enemies with your mom and dad before entering your career- X
- Partner into a business- √ (yup, wasn’t mentioned in the story, but he’s partners with the grocery store and the bookstore.)
- Make over 50,000 in family funds- √
- Marry a co-worker, or even your boss- √
WOO! Every objective completed except that optional one about being enemies with your parents! I had originally planned for it to happen, but it didn’t fit with the story. Thanks so much for reading as always! The next time you return, come thirsty…for adventure that is! Time for a spark of…something new.