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The Twins and the Scales

You and I come from two very different worlds.  Though both air signs, we see the world very differently. My world is based on emotion. All I see interpreted through my binary rose-coloured glass. Your world is based on reason, on justice, on principles of fairness.

I was never one for astrology. I always believed that it was a load of nonsense, but as I got to know you better, as I had the chance to explore who I was as a person, I realized that there are aspects of who we are that draws itself from astrology. Astrology is typically broad and in removing the identifying label on daily astrology readings, we could pretty much mix them around and no one would know any better. But the core of each of the signs holds a little truth.

I was born under the sign of Gemini, the twins. I’ve always been aware of my paradoxical nature. It’s true that that is the case for many, but for me, it always seemed more pronounced. I could go from being upbeat and positive to completely drained and pessimistic in a matter of minutes. I’ve constantly battled with the rational and creative sides of me, often the creative side won. I have nurtured this side of me, let it grow and control the majority of my life. This has helped me in a lot of ways, but those advantages are also my flaws. The biggest thing for me is my emotions.

Being give gifts of immeasureable value is meant to represent something more than materialism, but more often than not, it replaces the emotion it’s meant to symbolize.

To hold this ring or wear this necklace, simply serves to remind me of the better times with you, but instead I’m forced by society, by those around me to answer to the question of cost.

As Oscar Wilde once said, “Nowadays, people know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.”

Not everybody can handle your kind of love
Not everyone is strong enough to stay by your side

You are different from everyone else
But so am I

Seemingly everywhere
My moods change on a whim
I feel emotions intensely
Extreme love
Obessession
Hate

Sometimes I’m called two faced
Because I can act
Act like I care
Act like we’re friends
But really all I want is to hurt you
To throw you into a pit of hungry lions
To burn you at the stake
To watch you die at my hand
But all you see is my smile
And hear my lies as truths

So how do you know if it’s love or hate
How do you know my heart truly feels?
To know me is to know my heart
Is it yours to possess?
Or will you drown in my eyes trying?

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Goodbye

Warning: Mature content.  This is a work of pure fiction.  Any resemblance to real life is unintentional.  It is based on a fear I’ve always had.

They say she lost control of the car.  It wasn’t impossible.  The roads were covered with freshly fallen snow.  The wet, slushy kind.  They say she died instantly.  That she felt no pain.  That there was no time for her to register what had happened.  Just like that she was gone.

People say she had such a great life ahead of her.  That it was a shame that her talent was now forever lost.  No would could ever hold a candle to her.  Not now.  Not ever.  A prodigy.  A genius.  Only one of her in all of history.

But people didn’t know her.  Not really.  She was the type of girl who got whatever she wanted.  When she set her mind to it, it was hers.

And as hard as it was to believe, she had wanted this.

***

Her name was Eleanor.  His name was Kieran.  They were as in love as anyone could be.  Eleanor had found everything she ever wanted in a man.  While he had his moments, he was still the love of her life.

Then everything changed.  Kieran had been working as a mechanic for years.  He was sick of the work, sick of the people, just sick of it all.  So he quit.  It was the best decision he had ever made.  Or so he thought.  Eleanor worried that they would be financially screwed by his decision, but she had never seen him so happy.  So she told herself she would work twice as hard to support the both of them until he was able to find himself a new job, a job he loved.

Months passed by and things between them became more and more strained.  Her finances were beginning to suffer, but that didn’t make her love him less.  Rather, it made her love him more.  But she could see that it was taking a toll on him.  And as a result, he became more and more distant from her.  Cold.  Refusing to show her affection.  Sleeping elsewhere instead of next to her in bed and when he did come to bed, he didn’t touch her.  He didn’t want to engage with her.  He had nothing to say to her.  Not anymore.  In his eyes, he was not a man.  What man could not provide for his family?  He took his frustrations out on her.  The one person who loved him more than her own life.

Finally, he stumbled across a job working in security.  He had always wanted to go to the police academy or law enforcement, but he wasn’t exactly academic minded and didn’t feel like he was ready to compete against those who were more focused than he.  So he took this as a stepping stone into the career he wanted.

There he met some girls.  They worked at the place he was acting as security for.  One in particular caught his attention.  Her name was Madison.  She was petite and cute and knew her way around guys.  She had him twisted around her little finger and Eleanor could see it.  But Kieran couldn’t.  Kieran never believed for one moment that Madison had him in his sights, that she had intentions for him.  She did everything she could to seduce him and he fell for it all.  To Kieran, Eleanor was becoming more erratic, more emotional, and he had had enough.  But he strongly believed in being loyal to the one he was with and Eleanor had no intention of breaking it off with him.

One week, she went away to visit a friend abroad, unaware of the feelings that were growing inside Kieran.  Feelings that were no longer for her.  She received a message halfway through the week: We have to talk.  For the rest of the week, a cold fear gripped her heart.  What in the world could Kieran want to talk about?  He was the kind of guy who wouldn’t talk about serious matters over the phone or via text.  This had to be serious.

He picked her up from the airport as promised and they went for dinner.  They hadn’t gone out for dinner for a very long time.  It was his way of controlling her.  She was never the type to make a fuss in public.  She would have tried to control her emotions.  He knew that.

“Ellie…I know that things have been rough for the last few weeks…and I know we decided that we had to take a break from each other, but do you ever think that maybe we don’t belong together?” started Kieran.

“Kir, of course I have.  But regardless of what happens, I think we can work through it.  We’re a partnership, which means I have your back and you have mine.  Is there something going on that you want to tell me about?” Eleanor returned.

Kieran shook his head.   He wasn’t going to be the one who broke up with her.  If she wasn’t happy, he knew she would do it.

“Then I don’t know what the problem is.  I love you more than anything in the world.  I would do anything to make this work.  Do you think we don’t belong together?” asked Eleanor.

Kieran shook his head again, “Look, first and foremost, you are my friend.  We were friends before this and I hope that we’ll be friends after.  You mean a lot of me, Ellie, but I don’t know if a relationship is what’s right here.  We started in different places when this relationship began.”

Ellie nodded, “I understand…I…I’m not hungry anymore.  Can we go home?”

Kieran signaled for the waitress to bring a couple to go boxes and they headed home.

***

Eleanor sat at home alone thinking.  Kieran was out working the night shift for his security job.  She had never felt more alone.  She played with her phone while staring blankly at the stove clock opposite her at the kitchen bar when it sprang to life in her hands.

She didn’t recognize the number, but she decided to pick up anyways.

“Do you know where Kieran’s at?”

“Who is this?”

“Do you know who he’s with?”

“I demand you tell me who you are!”

“You’ll find him at 92 Citadel Crest Green NW,”

Before Eleanor could ask who it was again, the caller hung up.  She put down her phone with a sigh.  Was this all a joke?  Kieran was at work.  He had to be.  It was only 2 a.m.  But what if he wasn’t.

She paced back and forth, debating whether she ought to follow up at that address or not.  Eventually she grabbed her purse, jumped into her car, and drove to the address she had been told.  She sat in the car for a while before going up to the house.  Even in the car, she could see that all the lights were turned on and the house reverberating with loud music.  She rang the doorbell, waiting for a response, but with all that noise, it was unlikely anyone had heard.  She tried the door and found it to be unlocked.  She cautiously made her way into the house, seeing his shoes at the front door, she proceeded further, looking for him.  The main floor was empty, save for the blaring speakers and what appeared to be Kieran’s shirt.  Her favourite.  The plaid one.  She thought she heard giggling upstairs and followed it to a bedroom with the door opened ajar.  Quietly, she peaked in, glimpsing a group of girls in the room.  Kieran was among them, utterly naked, half conscious, and completely drunk out of his mind.  She gasped, quickly covering her mouth to silence herself.  She watched as a blonde kissed him, straddling him, gently raising and lowering herself on him, and he kissed her back with a passion Eleanor had thought was dead in him.  She stifled her tears, taking a deep breath she pushed the door open.  The other girls who were watching jump to their feet.

“Who the fuck are you?!” one exclaimed.

“You know you’re trespassing!” exclaimed another.

She pushed passed them all.

“Get off of him!” she said, throwing the blonde off of him.

“Who the fuck are you?” asked the blonde.

“His fiancee,” she said, pulling Kieran to his feet.

“Ellie?” asked Kieran, slurring. “What’s happening?”

“I think you’ve had enough to drink for one night.  Let’s get you dressed, go home, and we’ll talk about it in the morning,” she said.

“Okay,” he said obediently.

He allowed her to lead him around, doing whatever to him, just like he had been doing earlier.  The blonde brushed her hand against Kieran, extracting a moan from him.  Without thinking, Eleanor slapped her across the face.

“What’s your problem?  We were just having a little fun,” exclaimed the blonde.

“If you ever touch him like that again, you’re going to lose that hand.  If you ever put your mouth on him again like that, I’ll rip your tongue out.  And if I find you on top of him like that again, I’ll kill you,” Eleanor threatened her.

“Wow, I can’t imagine Kir ever wanting to marry a girl like you,” sneered the blonde.

Hearing another woman use his nickname felt like a slap in the face to Eleanor.  It took a minute for Eleanor to regain her senses.

“I swear to God-” Eleanor began.

“Ellie, Maddie, please don’t fight,” managed Kieran, “Maddie, you probably shouldn’t have done that.”

“That’s not what you were saying earlier…what was it you were saying?  Oh yes, fuck me like you mean it,” smiled Maddie.

Kieran returned her smiled, trailing off at the end, “Did I say that? Well…”

Eleanor didn’t wait for a response, she steered him out the door, back down to the main floor, picking up his shirt as she went, and helping him into the car.  She took a deep breath, calmed herself down just enough to be able to drive home.

When they got home, she cleaned him up and got him to bed.  He fell asleep quickly, but the same could not be said for her.  She tossed and turned, unable to get the images, the words out of her head.

***

Kieran woke with a splitting headache.  Eleanor was lying next to him; her eyes red from crying all night.

“Ellie?  What happened last night?” asked Kieran.

“You don’t remember?” she asked quietly.

“No…”

“You were at work?”

“I-Ellie…I’m sorry…no, we had the day off…I should’ve told you…” said Kieran.

“Was it so I wouldn’t ask you anymore questions about that Madison girl?” asked Eleanor.

“I-”

“You promised me nothing was going to happen!” exclaimed Eleanor, borderline hysterical.

“Well, I’m not sure what happened,” said Kieran.

“Exactly what I told you would happen.  You aren’t as loyal when you’re drunk as you thought you would be.  You said you’d never let it get that far, but with drink, your inhibitions are lowered.  You would do anything and everything you said you wouldn’t do sober.  They knew exactly what to do.  You let them take advantage of you.  You fucked Madison for God’s sake!” Eleanor cried, “I’m your fiancee!  Or does that mean nothing to you?”

Kieran’s jaw dropped, “Oh my God, Ellie.  I’m so sorry…I don’t even know what to say.”

“Why were you at her house?  Why did you continue to do the things that you knew made me uncomfortable?” asked Eleanor.

“I had to blow off some steam.  You were driving me nuts!” exclaimed Kieran.

“Then you should’ve talked to me instead of messing with girls behind my back,” said Eleanor quietly, “I think I should go home…”

“You are home,” said Kieran.

“No…my parents…” she said, climbing out of bed.

***

In the weeks that followed, Kieran broke off the engagement and Eleanor came by to return the ring and clear out her things.  It wasn’t long after their separation that Kieran began a relationship with Madison.  On the face of it, he told everyone that he had loved Eleanor to the very end, but due to irreconcilable differences, they had decided to part ways.  He told everyone he knew that Madison was more compatible with who he was, with the lifestyle he had always dreamed of.  He told Eleanor she had deserved better, but really he thought he was the one who did.

Weeks turned into months and Eleanor began to worry.  She had missed several periods and every morning she woke unable to eat after a night of being unable to sleep.  For the first little while she thought it was because of the stress that she wasn’t having her period and the eating and sleeping was due to heartbreak, but after several missed months, she decided to conduct a pregnancy test.  It came up positive.

She stared at it a while.  Kieran didn’t need this in his life.  The only person she ever cared about.  The one who was her whole world.  Gone.  She didn’t need to ruin his life further.  She still loved him despite everything.

And though she had told herself over and over that no man was worth dying for.  That she would get over him one day, she knew she never would.  Kieran had and always would have a part of her that no one else would ever have.

She wrote a letter, telling Kieran exactly how she felt.  She enclosed the pregnancy test and mailed it to him as she made arrangements for her other plan.  She arranged her affairs, leaving everything to Kieran.  Nobody knew.

She had always been fascinated by Death and she could feel his cold on her everyday.  Some days he came by and sat with her, talking to her, listening to her heartbreak.  Some days he would just hold her and tell her he loved her.  That he would protect her.  The days got colder.  Her fingers ice.  And when she would reach out, he was always there for her.

And when she left that day, she went out knowing she was never coming home.  She was going some place else.  Some place better.

Embittered

“I’ve had enough!” she screamed, “You never take anything serious.  Everything’s just a big joke to you, isn’t it?!”

“Maybe it’s not me.  Maybe you’re the one who needs to loosen up,” he returned nastily.

“I don’t have to take this from you!” she shouted, standing.

“Fine, leave.  Run away and go cry in a corner like you always do, you self-centered, attention-seeking bitch!” he snarled, “Nobody cares about you anyways.  No one will miss you when you’re gone.”

Her face softened temporarily as she tried to fight back the tears.

“Fine,” she said.

She stalked out the door, slamming it behind her.  As she walked down the street, she removed her engagement ring, throwing it down a storm drain.

Those were the last words he ever spoke to her.  This is was the last conversation they would ever have.

She didn’t come home last night.  Or the next morning.  He thought nothing of it at first.  She needed her space. She was probably staying with friends or family to cool down.  But as the days went on, he began to worry.

“Hey, Victoria, it’s Michael again, have you heard from Lucy-oh…ok, thanks.  Let me know if you hear anything…” he said dejectedly.

He ran over the conversation they had had before left.  Why had he said those things to her?  He was angry.  He never meant any of it.

As he sat at the kitchen table, running his hands through his hair, he heard the sound of footsteps coming up the steps to the front door.  He jumped, throwing the door open.

“Mr. Michael Vincent?” asked the officer in surprise.

“Uhh…yes, I’m sorry…I thought you were someone else…” he said quietly.

“I’m afraid we might have some bad news,” said the second officer, “May we come in?”

He nodded, leading them into the living room.

“Can you identify this ring?” asked the first officer, handing Michael an evidence bag.

Michael turned the ring to look at the inside of the band, seeing the engraving, he broke down in tears.

“Do you recognize this ring, Mr. Vincent?” prompted the first officer.

“It-It’s Lucy’s…god…is…what…?” sobbed Michael.

“We’re not completely sure.  We found it on a body burned beyond any recognition,” explained the first officer, “We were hoping that we could identify her by her possessions.”

Michael was too far gone to be able to hear what the officers were saying anymore.

Lucy looked in through the window smiling.  She finally made him see the pain he had caused her.  It was a burden he’d have to bear for the rest of his life.  This had turned out better than she had expected.

 

Loyal No More

She loved him more than anything in the world, but sometimes she had a hard time showing it.  Sometimes she would appear difficult, but it was only her concern that drove her to be this way.  She was insecure and wanted reassurance that she was the only one he would ever care for and love in his life.  He would never come out and say it, but he did.  He was always loyal to her. Until one day when he had enough.

It was a day like any other. They spent their day separate from each other and met up at the movie theatre. This theatre was different from most that she had gone to.  It looked ultra modern with its white, polished surfaces and bright red leather couches.  They had a bar setup in the back of the theatre and a restaurant that would serve you dinner as you watched the show.  It was a new kind of luxury product on the market, so to speak.

She arrived with her family and she headed in ahead of them to save everyone spots.  It was hard since she was one person, trying to save spots for five people. As the theatre began to fill and her family was taking their time to show up, people started taking the spots she was saving.  Shortly after she was able to ward off several people, an events manager came up to her telling her she couldn’t save spots for people as this event was so fully booked that it wasn’t fair to people who showed up early if someone was saving spots for people who didn’t even bother to show up on time.  Reluctantly, she relinquished the seats, hoping her family would understand and be able to find their own spots elsewhere in the theatre.  She saved one spot for him.

Her mom came in and sat down next to her.

“Mom…I’m trying to save this spot for Declan,” said Grace awkwardly.

“Oh, I’m sorry, honey,” returned her mom, standing up.

“No, it’s-it’s fine. Um, you can have this spot and uh, dad can take mine.  I’ll find another spot when he gets here,” said Grace, shaking her head.

“Are you sure? I mean, I could go find a different spot since we need to save a spot for your sister too,” said her mom.

“Nah, it’s fine,” said her sister walking in, “I found some friends.  I’ll go sit with them, but guess who I found?”

Her sister stepped aside to reveal Declan with his arm around another girl.

In a word, she was gorgeous.  The type of gorgeous that would make you stop in the middle of traffic, the type of beauty that could get you in trouble.  She looked like she always got what she wanted and pursued what didn’t fall right into her lap.  She was smart. She was cunning.  In short, she was dangerous and Grace could see that.

“Um…excuse me, who are you?” asked Grace standing, feeling immediately threatened.

Her sister took one look at her face and knew she had to get the hell out of there.

“I’m Ashley, who are you?” said the other girl, looking Grace up and down.

“His girlfriend,” snapped Grace, “DECLAN! How could you? Who is this?!”

“Grace, relax, it’s nothing,” shrugged Declan in the casual way he often did when speaking to her, dropping his arm to his side, “She’s just a friend, that’s all.”

“Yeah, let’s go find our seats,” said Ashley taking his hand.

“Excuse me?” said Grace, blocking their way.

“Wha-” started Ashley, looking as though she  was about to protest.

“Ashley,” said Declan sharply, cutting her off.

Ashley looked from Declan to Grace and back, bewildered.

“Seriously? You’re not even allowed to sit with your friends?” asked Ashley incredulous, trying to hold back her anger.

“Drop it,” said Declan, not taking his eyes off Ashley,”Grace, go find a spot for us, I’ll go get us some refreshments.”

Grace nodded and headed up towards the left side of the theatre to find a spot along the wall.  As she settled into her bar stool, Declan returned with a plate of pasta and a basket of chips

“Sorry I couldn’t find better spots facing the screen,” apologized Grace, “I guess we’ll have to just turn the bar stools so we can see the screen, are you ok with that? I mean my back will be to you…”

Declan gave her a reassuring smile, “It’s fine, I brought you your favourite, orecchiette in an arrabbiata sauce.  Did you want a drink?”

“A Strawberry Daiquiri?” said Grace.

“Sure, I’ll be right back hun,” smiled Declan.

From across the theatre, Ashley watched Declan go to the bar.  She dropped her jacket on her seat and sprinted up to the bar.

“Hi, a sex on the beach,” said Ashley to the bartender.

“Comin’ right up,” returned the bartender, flashing her a smile.

“Hello stranger,” said Ashley sidling up to him.

“Ashley, don’t.” said Declan quietly, shooting a glance at Grace.

Her back was turned to him as she enjoyed her pasta.

“What? I thought you said you two were done,” said Ashley.

“I haven’t exactly broken up with her yet,” he said.

“So?” smirked Ashley, “We all know that you’re gonna, so I don’t see what the difference is if she finds out from me rather than you.”

“Ash, seriously, can we not do this here and now?” said Declan.

“Why is this bothering you so much?” asked Ashley.

“Cuz her parents are right there,” he said, “And I don’t want them to you know…kill me?”

Ashley laughed, “Alright, I’ll keep my distance, but just for tonight alright babe? You gotta break it off with her.”

“What if I don’t?” he asked, looking at Grace again.

“What would make you want to stay with her? You said it yourself, you said she was a psycho. You said she’s over emotional and cries over the smallest things,” said Ashley accusingly.

“She wants kids,” thought Declan, “Not like you. You have no love for children. You’re nothing more than a fling. I don’t and never will see this going anywhere farther than sex.”

Declan shook his head, picked up the drinks and headed back to his seat.

“Here, sorry it took so long, the bartender is swamped back there,” apologized Declan, setting the drink down and sliding it towards Grace.

Grace nodded, “Thanks hun.”

***

“Declan…can I…talk to you about something?” asked Grace cautiously.

“Something wrong?” asked Declan, cosying up to her.

“Who’s Ashley?” asked Grace.

“She’s just a friend,” said Declan, “Like I told you last night.”

“I know, but like how did you guys meet?” asked Grace.

“She was a childhood friend.  Grew up with her.  She was a neighbour’s kid,” said Declan.

“The one you had a crush on when you were a kid?” asked Grace.

“Yeah…” said Declan awkwardly.

“I’m gonna ask you just once, is there anything going on?” asked Grace.

“No,” said Declan immediately, “What would make you say that?”

“Well, I mean, I’m not pretty or anything. I’m always so insecure. According to you and everyone, I cry too much,” listed Grace, the tell-tale tears welling up in her eyes.

“Oh, hun, there’s nothing to worry about,” said Declan holding her close.

“Liar,” she thought.

She nodded and climbed out of bed.

“Where are you going?” asked Declan, sitting up.

“I…I just need some fresh air.  I’ll talk to you later,” said Grace walking out, feeling numb.

***

Grace drove herself down to the Glenmore Reservoir, sitting at the water’s edge watching the sunset, replaying the conversation she had with Declan, replaying the confrontation with Ashley, rereading the texts from an unknown number telling her about the affair.  From what she could see, logically she had two choices: to walk away from this or to try to make things work with him.  Her over dramatic mind gave her one more option, she could die.

Once the sun had set, she walked back to her car and drove home.  As she drove she steeled herself, prepared her mind for what she was about to do.^ (see below for ending three)

“Hey hun, everything ok?” asked Declan, picking up the phone.

“Yeah, it’s fine.  Do you think you could meet me at Chapters in Crowfoot?” she asked.

“You mean at the Starbucks?” asked Declan.

“Yeah,” said Grace.

“What’s this about?” asked Declan.

“I think this is a better conversation to have in person,” said Grace.

You could hear the pain her voice as she said it and the pain in Declan’s reply.

“Sure, I’ll see you in ten?” said Declan.

“See you,” said Grace, hanging up.

Shortly after, she pulled into the parking lot and headed inside to the bookstore.  She got herself a Grande Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher. She was a sentimental sort.  This was the drink she had had on their very first date here. He arrived shortly after, ordering Starbucks Refresher Strawberry Lemonade.

“Grace, please tell me what’s going on?” asked Declan sitting down.

“Declan…I don’t think this is working out…” started Grace.

“What do you mean?” asked Declan.

Grace pulled out her phone and pushed the messages towards him, “I know you’re cheating on me.”

ENDING 1:
Declan’s face fell, “Grace…I’m so sorry. I never meant to hurt you.”

“I gave you a chance to tell me why.  To explain to me why you would do that to me,” said Grace, trying to hold back the tears that were fighting to break through the surface, “But you chose to lie to me.”

“Grace-” started Declan.

“No, let me finish. Declan, I’ve always imagined a life with you.  Getting married, having children, growing old, but your choice has taken that away.  I loved…no I still love you, but I can’t live with someone who would lie to me about something like this.  I trusted you and I thought you were better than this.  I know I’m not the easiest person to love, but you know that I would work hard to make things work,” started Grace, “Your one decision to do this has destroyed everything we’ve built together. We’re done.  I’m sorry.  Good bye.”

She stood, turning to hide her tears that had now spilled over when Declan caught her arm.

“Can I say something before you go?” asked Declan.

Grace nodded; he deserved a chance to explain himself.

“I love you.  I’ll never stop loving you.  I know I slipped up and I regret it, but I know that will never get you back and I’m sorry,” said Declan.

She nodded again and walked away.

Declan sat there for a while longer and called Ashley.

“Hey babe,” answered Ashley.

“How dare you!” said Declan angrily.

“What?” asked Ashley confused.

“You texted Grace even after I told you to leave her alone,” said Declan.

Ashley made to protest, but Declan cut her off, “We’re done. I don’t ever want to see or hear from you again.  Get out of my life!”

“Deck…please,” said Ashley tearfully.

“I told you this was a mistake.  I begged you to leave me alone, but you clearly couldn’t stay away could you?  You just had to have me,” continued Declan, “Well I hope you’re happy because I lost the best thing that has happened to me.  I lost the ONLY person I ever loved because of you.  So fuck off and I swear to God, if you ever try to contact me, I will make sure you don’t see the light of day ever again. Am I clear?”

He hung up without waiting for a response.

ENDING 2:
Declan looked at her blankly, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Grace looked at him puzzled, pulling the phone towards her rereading the texts, “What do you mean?”

“Like I told you, Ashley was just a friend.  Yes, I used have feeling for her, but that was maybe ten, twelve years ago,” said Declan, “Look, she contacted me and asked me about starting up a relationship with her, but I told her I wasn’t interested.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t having any of it.  She somehow figured out that we’d be at the theatre that night and went there pretending not to know I would be there.  And you know that I hug people rather than handshakes, so when I hugged her she just wouldn’t let go, so I left my arm around her.”

“And you’re sure you’ve never had anything with her,” confirmed Grace.

“Years ago, before we started dating,” sighed Declan, “Yes, I had a one night stand with her.”

Grace nodded, “I trust you.  Thank you for being forward with me.”

Declan smiled, “Now come here.”

Grace returned his smiled and hopped on his lap.

“Can I see that message again?” asked Declan.

“Why?” asked Grace.

“I just wanted to double check that number; I think that might be Ashley’s number,” said Declan, “And I want to make it clear to her that she’s to leave us alone.  I promise that I will never hurt you and I will never let anyone else hurt you either.”

Grace handed him the phone and he compared the number of the unknown messager to the number on his phone, confirming it was hers. He called Ashley, putting her on speaker phone so Grace could listen in.

“Hey babe,” answered Ashley.

“Ashley, I told you that I wasn’t interested in a relationship, I told you not to make up lies about us to try and break up my relationship with Grace, and you’ve completely disregard all my requests,” said Declan angrily.

“What?” asked Ashley confused.

“You texted Grace even after I told you to leave her alone,” said Declan.

Ashley made to protest, but Declan cut her off, “I love Grace.  Can’t you see that?  What we had was gone years ago.  I intend to stay with Grace, to love her until the end of my days. I don’t love you, I never have, Ash.  Why is that so hard to understand?”

“Deck…please,” said Ashley tearfully.

“I told you that was a mistake.  I had just broken up with Charlotte and was looking for the comfort of a friend and you took advantage of me.  When I found Grace, I begged you to leave me alone, but you clearly couldn’t stay away could you?  You just had to have me,” continued Declan, “Don’t try to contact me again.  We’re done.”

“Deck, can’t we please talk about it?” begged Ashley.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” stated Declan plainly.

“How can you say there was nothing between us?  Did you honestly feel nothing?” asked Ashley.

“Nothing,” confirmed Declan.

Ashley broke down in tears, hanging up the phone.

Grace looked at Declan and smiled.  For once, she was glad she was wrong.

ENDING 3:

She drove across the grass, maneuvering around the blockades that would normally prevent people from driving on to the walking trails, heading straight for the spot she had been sitting, watching the sunset. In her mind this was the only solution. He was going to leave her; she just knew it. The world was better without her anyways. She was certain that no one would miss her. Her car bumped along; it was not made for off-roading. As her car plunged into the water she sent one final text: goodbye. Slowly, she lowered her windows. The water flooded in. She closed her eyes as the car began to fill. She did not go peacefully. Her body struggled and fought, but in the end, it was futile. She was gone.

 

Domestic Bliss

I stand alone watching the snow fall before the window. I try not to think about where we’d be now if things had worked out between us. I can still feel the warmth of your breath, the feel of your body up against mine as I gaze out the window. In my mind, nothing has changed. In my mind, you are still here with me.

You stand there next to me, lost in the beauty of the landscape. You were never one for the cold, but you could always appreciated what Nature had to offer. You were always able to recreate anything she had with the stroke of your brush. What you painted was not merely a cheap imitation but a mirror of Nature’s beauty. You reflected back to her something even more sublime than she could have ever imagined. Tonight you stood in our kitchen, your arms wrapped around me, keeping me warm as you absentmindedly sipped your tea. I can smell its aroma mixed with the scent of your freshly laundered sweater. This is what love smelled like.

I blink and you’re gone. I’m alone again, watching the seasons turn and the flower blossoms in the trees bloom. Under the raining petals, I see two lovers and I’m gone again. I am brought back to the first time we met.

It was strange how it came to be. We were both just tourists in another city, another country, but were united by a similar background, a similar interest, and we both called the same city home. Underneath the cherry blossom waltz, we made our own kind of love. One that we would never have to explain to the world. We lived in the moment. We understood that love, like life, was transient. That’s why we had each other. You were my rock and I was yours. Nothing in the world would ever change.

The fresh scent of jasmines float through the open window, the sound of a girl’s laugh brings me back. The taste of summer has arrived and with it long nights watching the sunset.

You stand outside taking in the salty sea air. I watch you with watery eyes as you lose yourself in another world. When you finally notice me, you laugh me off and tell me to go inside and fetch the peach iced tea. I oblige, we will have our Sunday tea. Tea with you is unlike any other. We have the customary scones and tarts, but that’s not all. Tea with you is like a meal and it’s one that I will happily cook. I spend hours baking and cooking up a storm as you watch, your arms wrapped loosely around my waist, your lips poised above my neck, nuzzling me every once in a while. When I’m done, there are blueberry scones and fruit tarts, cucumber sandwiches and dainty smoked ham and brie sandwiches, and of course pistachio eclairs and profiteroles. This is the future I’ve always imagined for us.

A chill comes over me, I shiver it off, shaking me into reality. The smell of rotting leaves and fire fills my lungs. I quickly pull the window shut. I don’t want any more reminders of you.

It was a long day. You were tired, as you’d been for the whole week. I wanted to make things perfect just for you. I made you your favourite meal with a glass of Pinot Noir on the side. You barely glanced up while you wolfed down your steak and potatoes, drowning them in wine. You never uttered a thanks as you headed back to your office. These days work consumed your whole life. Work had drained all the love from you. You didn’t know what it meant to put it down and enjoy what you had. I tried so hard tonight. I just wanted things to go back to the way things were, but all you could think about was the money. All you wanted was to make money, save up, and retire. You didn’t know what it meant to live anymore. You were barely surviving as it was. I just wanted to help. I wanted you to be yourself again. I wanted you to be the man I had fallen in love with. But it was clear that he was dead. That you had murdered him. And that he was not coming back.

You had turned your back on me. What else could I have done? I just wish it didn’t hurt so much. There are things that time will never heal. You are one of them.

A Lesson in Life

They all sat facing forward. A formless black mass. Their heads bowed in prayer as I made my way down the aisle. A few lifted their eyes to catch a glimpse, wondering who I was and how I dared to come so late. I took my seat at the front, next to a woman I presumed to be his wife. I set my little boy on my lap and faced forward. The woman, not much older than myself, looked over at me startled.

“Who are you?” she whispered.

“I think you know who I am,” I returned.

“These seats are reserved for family and close friends,” she hissed.

“Does the mother of his child count as such?” I returned.

She glowered at me, but said nothing. I knew her type. She wouldn’t make a scene here, but in the privacy of a sound proof room, she’d let me have it.

We endured the ceremony sitting next to one another. I watched as she rose to give her eulogy to him.

“…He was a great man who was loved by all. But most of all, he was a man who loved life and all it had to offer him…” she finished.

With that everyone rose and began filing out into the reception area. The mood had lightened. Now they were to celebrate his life. The man that he had been. I was probably going to get a talking to, but what did I care?

I rose, following the others into the reception area. She followed close behind.

“Where do you think you’re going?” she hissed.

“I have every right to celebrate the man he was-” I started.

“No,” she said cutting me off, “Not until I’ve had a word with you.”

“Why?” asked the little boy in my arms, “What has mama done?”

“Why don’t you go and play with the other…others while I talk to your mother?” she said with a forced smiled.

“Why did you bring a child to a funeral, are you insane?” she hissed.

“Stop being mean to my mama!” he said loudly, catching the attention of several guests.

“Shh, Adrian, it’s alright,” I said reassuringly.

He frowned, “But she’s being mean. You always said to stand up to bullies. She’s a bully!”

“I know baby, but let mama talk to her. Maybe she has something worthwhile to say,” I said.

“Damn straight I have something worthwhile to say. Get. The. FUCK. out,” she said enunciating each word.

“I thought I’d just come and meet you,” I shrugged, “I didn’t have to, but I thought it’d be the civil thing to do.”

“Well leave. You’ve outstayed your welcome,” she snarled.

I shrugged and walked in amongst the guests, losing myself in the crowd. He had touched so many people’s lives in his life time it was only right to have so many well wishers at his funeral.

I chatted with a few of the guests, all of them too polite to breach the subject of my relationship with him. From a distance I saw a young couple looking at us curiously. They seemed like interesting people and I approached them.

“Hello,” I said with a smiled, “My name is Brienne. This is Adrian. Thank you so much for coming today.”

“Hello, I’m Marcie and this is Luke,” introduced Marcie, “So how do you know Caleb?”

“We were high school sweethearts,” I answered, “Circumstances drew us apart…and then together again. But as luck would have it, he was already married.”

“So…Adrian is-” started Luke.

I nodded.

“Aren’t you a little young to have a child?” he asked.

I shrugged, “I suppose.”

“Do you mind me asking…when?” asked Marcie awkwardly, “I mean, Luke and I want…to have kids, but we’re kinda young too…”

I smiled, “I had Adrian when I was eighteen. That’s what initially drew us apart. But when Caleb discovered his wife was…how do I put this delicately, unable to provide what he wanted most in life, he came running straight back to me. You see, years ago, he just wanted to have fun. He wasn’t in it for a seriously relationship or committed to providing for a child.”

Marcie looked at Luke who nodded, taking her hand in his.

“Thank you Brienne…you’ve given us something to think about as we prepare for our life together. We’re so sorry for your loss,” murmured Luke.

I nodded drifting away again.

“A lot of people liked daddy didn’t they?” asked Adrian.

I nodded and said, “But you must know, daddy loved you most of all.”

Prompt: “Aren’t you a little young to have a child”

Blood red Lies

She arrived home, flicking on the light. It was late. She was tired. It had been a long day. The meeting had dragged on longer than anyone expected. The last thing she wanted to think about was finding a new place to stay. The lease was up in two days…they would be kicking her out in two days. There just wasn’t enough time. There never was anymore.

Tonight she had been less careful than she had been in the past. She didn’t notice that he had followed her again. And this time she led him straight home.

She sat down at the kitchen table with her head in her hands. What was she going to do? What could she do? How could she afford a new place now? Oh why did this have to come at such a bad time? She stood and put the kettle on and put a spoonful of tea leaves into the cup, sitting back down.

It had been a long time since she felt the tears burning in the back of her eyes, trying to break through to the surface. A knock came at the door, surprising her. Who could be calling on her at such an hour? She rose, in a sleep deprived trance and opened the door.

“Hi,” he greeted timidly.

She stared at him in shock, then swore.

“Can I come in?” he asked.

She shook her head, “It’s not a good time…not now…please…just go, just leave me alone.”

“Please,” he begged.

She shook her head again, but was too tired to resists as he pushed his way in.

“What do you want?” she asked closing the door behind him.

“Just to talk,” he said simply.

“You never just want to talk,” she said dryly.

He shrugged, “Well I do and what ever it is you believe you is irrelevant.”

“Fine, what the fuck do you want to fucking talk about?” she started.

He laughed coldly, “I don’t think you should be talking to me that way.”

She rolled her eyes, but apologized, “Can you just say your piece? I’m tired and need to get some sleep.”

“Or some time to mull things over?” he snickered, “I know your lease expires in two days.”

She looked at him in alarm, how the hell did he know that?

“Oh come on, it wasn’t that hard to figure out,” he said.

“Yeah,” she nodded, “But what’s that to you?”

“I dunno, maybe you could stay with me for a while?” he suggested.

She snorted, “Yeah right.”

He gave her a half smile, “Why do you keep pretending not to like me? Why do you keep pretending not to like it?”

“Look I’ve got a reputation to maintain,” she started.

“Yeah? And I don’t? Even if we live together, it’s not like the world is sudden gonna know every little detail of your personal life,” he interrupted.

“It’s not that I don’t like you,” she said trying to take a different route.

“We all know that you can’t get enough of me,” he said, “You can keep pretending that you have other options, but the truth is that you don’t. You’re cornered like a hunted deer, you have nowhere left to go in your sad pitiful life. So stop pretending you’re better than me. I have options, but I want you, so what does that say about us?”

Her eyes flashed angrily, “You don’t think I have other options? Where’s your evidence?”

“Well, for one, if you don’t have a place to live, how do you think you’re gonna keep holding onto that job you got there?” he smirked.

“I can handle myself,” she said defiantly.

“I don’t think so,” he said slamming her into a wall.

He trailed his hands down along her body and felt it shiver in pleasure. He grinned.

“What are you doing?” she asked with some difficulty.

“What your body wants,” he responded.

She grabbed his collar suddenly and dragged him off towards her bedroom.

***

The next morning she woke up next to him covered in blood wondering what happened last night. She nudged him slightly, he lay there motionless.

“Hey!” she called a little louder, shaking him.

Still he didn’t respond. A loud knock came at the door startling her.

“Police, open up,”

She panicked, stuffing him under the bed with the bloodied sheets. She dressed to cover the blood on her body and went to answer the door.

“Hello officers, how can be of assistance to you?” she answered amicably.

“Miss Quinn?” asked one.

“Yes,” she nodded, repeating her question, “Is there a problem officers?”

“Neighbours reported tortured screams coming from your apartment,” stated the other.

“Oh, my apologies…my partner and I were simply…roleplaying. We didn’t mean to disturb anyone,” she lied.

“Oh? And where is your partner currently?” questioned the first.

“Working. He had to leave early this morning,” she lied again.

“What’s his name?” asked the other, pen poised over a small notebook.

“Gerald,” she said, pulling a name from thin air, “Lorde, I think is his last name.”

He noted the name and continued, “And when does Mr. Lorde typically return? We’d like to speak with him to corroborate the story.”

“He’s on a business trip, so let me see…today’s Wednesday, so he should be back either late Thursday or early Friday,” she said.

“Alright, we will call again on Friday,” said the first, “Does that suit you?”

She nodded, “Certainly. He will most certainly corroborate my story.”

“Well thank you for your time, Miss Quinn,” smiled the officer.

She closed the door and turned around releasing a sigh of relief, but her joy was short lived. Behind her he stood waiting with a hatchet. Before she could scream he started hacking at her face.

“This is for not loving me,” he said fiercely, “And this is for using me.”

He hacked her to bits, stowing her under the bed like she had done to him earlier. Satisfied with his handy work he left through the front door, locking it with a copy the key he had had made earlier.

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