Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Epilogue - Real Love

“Come on, Addy. Keep up with Daddy.” A chubby toddler with gleaming titian curls trekked across the verdant lawn, her steps unsure and her hand placed in her father’s. 

“Addison, look at Mommy. She’s got your juice. We could use a drink, right?” 

She gurgled happily as she halted, extending her fleshy arms upward. Jon was lost to the look in sparkling eyes similar to his own. He swooped her up with a click of his teeth, fixing her frilly, daffodil-yellow sundress as he continued to walk towards his target, a red headed woman in white. 

Giselle crossed her legs, the skirt of her snow white maxi dress falling to adapt to her new position. She adjusted the wide brim of her large sunhat, a soft smile crinkling her face as she waited for her family to join her. Giselle took a leisurely sip of cold lemonade while she drank in her husband from behind her wayfarers. 

His bare feet peeked from the hem of jeans slung low on his hips and his short sleeved guayabera was open wide. She stared unabashedly at his toned torso and tantalizing ‘V’, feeling herself flush with the thoughts the sight of him evoked. 

Giselle blinked, and he was in front of her with their gorgeous one year old in tow. She turned away to pour him a glass, and when she turned, Jon bent to kiss her lips, pulling her hat off then replacing it. 

Addison reached for her mother the moment she realized she had her cup. He sank into the lounge chair beside them, reaching for his glass. With a silent nod of thanks, he took a grateful gulp. Giselle struggled to take her eyes off of his working Adam’s apple, but she did so with a mundane question.

“When is everyone coming?”

“In about an hour. I figured you’d need time to breathe,” he said, looking directly at her. 

“You were right. Is everything ready to get thrown onto the grill?”

“Sel, I don’t throw. Grilling is an art.” 

“Yes, dear. What did you do to my baby? She’s wholly too quiet.”

“Addy’s fine! Don’t worry about it.” 

She lifted a well shaped eyebrow at him, choosing to not ask anything more. 

“Is Steph coming down?” she asked. 

“When she’s done with the boyfriend of the moment’s family, yeah.”

“The moment? It’s been two years. I think they’ve got at least three more in them.” 

He muttered under his breath, taking Addison from her mother’s lap. “You’re still Daddy’s little girl. You won’t break my heart too, will you?”

“You’ll be a very old man by then,” Giselle teased.

“More reason why she shouldn’t hurt me. I might not survive it!” Addison smiled obliviously and grabbed his nose. He wiggled his nose and held her tiny wrist. 

“Addison, did you take my nose?” 

“No!” She shook her headful of curls as she claimed innocence with one of the mainstays of her vocabulary.

“Where’d it go then?” She widened her eyes, looking around in response to his teasing tone. 

“Well, I guess Mommy will have to go look for it,” he said with an exaggerated sigh. 

“Nope. This is my day off. Find your own nose, buster.” She took an exaggerated swallow of her lemonade.

“Buster? You tell me I’m getting old...”  


"God, it's fu-," he paused at her look, "darned hot out here."

"Or you wanted to show off your abs." 

"Oh, you noticed?" Jon asked, his eyebrows winging up. Giselle rolled her eyes.

“Mom!” It echoed as three boys came into view, running to greet Giselle. The eldest slowed, trying to appear unaffected. He gave up the act when she stood with a radiant smile, resplendent in white topped with turquoise accessories. Long, milky arms opened in invitation and she was rewarded by being surrounded by her three stepsons. 

"You look beautiful," Jesse remarked as he kissed her cheek.

"And you get more handsome every time I see you. California air's good." 

Jake was at the age where talking to adults was uncool, but he always made an exception for his stepmother, telling her about school in the brief moment he had her for. Romeo flew past like a hurricane after a quick hug, but she knew he'd be by her side later once Addy was exhausted. 

They moved on to hug Jon and pay their respects to their personal princess, Addison. Romeo was particularly enamored with his baby sister, immediately stealing her away. Her heart surged with adoration as she met her husband’s eyes, both warmed by the scene. She was where she belonged and surrounded by family. She had the man she loved completely. She was finally home. 

Our love has stood the many tests of time in our lives

There's a whirlwind of changes this life may bring

But the real thing just holds on, come what may


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Finale - Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore


Author's Note: Thank you so much for joining me on this adventure. This piece is my most emotionally trying, and I'd like to think it's helped me improve my writing skills. I hope you were able to take a journey into both Jon and Giselle. Perhaps this story has even helped someone. It's helped me. This was a long time in the making, and there will be a short epilogue soon if you'd like to stay tuned. Enjoy!

He was right, she thought as she lay there with her flushed chest heaving. Giselle fiddled with Jon's longer than usual hair, a smile coming unbidden to her face. 

“When are you going to cut this?” The sun finally cut through the clouds as she looked up through the weather beaten slats of the lifeguard’s chair. 

“You used to love my long hair,” Jon grumbled good-naturedly.  

“I still do, but you don’t anymore, right? Not half as rebellious as it used to be?” Giselle's hand stopped on Jon’s head as he looked up at her through rumpled, shaggy locks.

“I will keep my hair any way you want it.”

“You can stop kissing ass, you know.” Her clear eyes studied his face, a rebellious lock of titian hair covering one orb halfway. His slow chuckle warmed her, spreading through her veins and wrapping itself around her.  

“I love you, Giselle Bon- Spring.”

“I know. I love you, too, Jon Bongiovi.” A hot, calloused hand slid up beneath her slowly drying shirt. Jade eyes surveyed Jon, unnerving in their focus. He massaged her still flat stomach, a wondrous smile illuminating his face.

“You’re happy,” she observed.

“What’s not to be happy about?” His face was nearly ingenuous, scraped clean of bristles and bright. Jon’s smile faded as he realized her always sparkling grin was not reflecting back at him. “Sel, a baby and a new start. Smile.” He chucked her with his index finger, her lips parting reluctantly. “That’s it. Smile, baby.”

Jon skimmed his lips over hers, barely making contact but electrifying her. 

“Take me home.”

That I can do.” Jon stood, wincing when his knees creaked like an old door hinge. Giselle flopped back onto the sand, a bolt of laughter wracking her. 

“You’re getting old!” 

“Yeah, yeah, I know. Hefting your ass around isn’t easy either.” Jon yanked her up, and she brushed sand off of the two of them.

“Gee, sorry I’m not eighteen anymore!” 

“We weren’t even together then.”

“However, you liked me.”

“I can’t deny that. Your father wanted to kill me for even looking at you.” 

“I know, and when you proposed...”

“He went through the roof though you were in your 30s.”

“He couldn’t reconcile the timeline with his values. There was Romeo and then you were marrying me.”

“He told me he wouldn’t have his daughter be a mistress then have me ‘try to pretty it up by slapping my name on you.’” Giselle threw her head back and laughed, her hair again catching rays. 

“After I rejected you for twelve years running,” she teased.

“That sure hurt my pride, but it was worth it. I got to see you walking down that aisle like a dream.” Jon looked over at her with a sharp, direct gaze designed to connect.

“We have good times on the beach, don’t we?” A wistful smile 
graced her face as her eyes dropped to study their matching strides. 

“Plenty.” He stared down at their entwined arms and hands.



“It’s Bongiovi now.”


“My last name. Bongiovi.” 

Wordlessly, he thanked whatever deity was bringing her back. He squeezed her hand while the other pushed his hair away from his face frustratedly. Giselle let out a quiet giggle. 

“That’s really getting to you, isn’t it?” She glanced at him sideways, green eyes shining with mirth.

“Yeah, a little,” Jon conceded, releasing her arm then reeling her in to wrap his arm around her shoulders. Her toes wriggled into the sand as she rooted to the spot, looking from the upcoming house to the horizon. He walked a few more steps, kicking sand like she had earlier.

“It’s squishy.” Giselle’s eyes drifted closed and a sweet smile flitted over her face. Her red hair and flawless skin was made more vivid by the waning sunlight, a brighter glow settling upon her.

“Yeah, wet sand generally is,” Jon declared jokingly. He moved closer when she didn’t budge, curious why she’d paused. 

“Ara used to go on and on about the sand being ‘squishy.’” 

“That’s what sold me on this one. You liked the porch, and Ara liked the squishy sand.” His eyes clouded momentarily as he remembered.

“Jon, I never paid attention.” Giselle’s eyes flashed open, the smile fading as if it never existed.

“Yes, you did.” He took a step in her direction.

“No, I didn’t.” A tear rolled down an unblemished cheek.

“What’d Ara like to watch on Saturday mornings?” 

“‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’. She liked to watch it with Romeo and Jake.”

“See? I don’t know half of the things like that about her. You paid more attention than I did, or to different things than I did, at least, and I should have, but what I do know is that she loved you. I mean, really loved you, and she worried about you. That girl was the second coming of Josephine.” Giselle’s eyelids fluttered with the mention of her mother, blinking back sudden moisture. 

“She’d tell me when you weren’t getting enough sleep, or when you were losing weight. I was never that attuned to others and I sure as hell don’t know many six year olds that perceptive.” Jon placed his hands heavily on her shoulders. 
“Sel, you did what you could, and I did what I did, but it’s time to start over. Tabula rasa. I’m going to have to deal with my guilt, and you’re going to have to be confident that you were the best mother to her while you had her. We can’t fix this if your foot is in the past. Weren’t you the one who was telling me to pull myself together? Because it’s time for you to do the same.” 

“I tried.” Giselle was deluged by a sensation of peace as she stepped forward into the circle of Jon’s arms. “God, I tried.” Hot tears wet his shirt, and Jon held her tightly, his hand smoothing over copper waves. 

“I know, Sel.” He peppered the top of her head with kisses and clung to her in a desperate attempt to pacify her and keep her with him. Her nails dug into his back, leaving little half moons through the fabric of his shirt. Giselle’s little hitches had abated. Suddenly, she was rising onto her toes and kissing him eagerly, her arms looping around his neck. Her legs were next, and he tucked his arms under her bottom while she stole his air.

“I’m not doing this here,” he rumbled against her mouth. 

“Then take me to bed and make love to me,” she ordered simply.

Jon walked up the lonely beach straight to the house, setting a direct course for their bedroom. He laid Giselle’s unresisting body onto the unruffled bedspread. He blackened the room with a flick of a finger, shut the door with a quieted click, then reappeared at her side, turning on a dim sconce before perching on the edge of the bed. Giselle rose onto her knees behind him, palms smoothing over his shoulders as her lips traversed the back of his neck. Jon’s hands covered hers as she fumbled with his buttons from behind. He grazed the underside of her wrist with his teeth then sucked at her pulse before turning and easing her back down. 

“I want to savor you. Let me.” His mouth over hers was a salve for her shattered but healing heart. Jon kissed Giselle with purpose, intent on touching her shadowed soul and banishing whatever darkness remained. He knew the exact moment she began to slide and settled in for the fight. “Open your eyes.” Verdant pools met azure with the impact of a blow. “See me.”      
All things will heal, we’ll feel it lifted and kissed from this curse

Open your eyes, see what’s in front of your face, and save me*

Fistful of Tears - Maxwell

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Part Five - Come Rain or Come Shine


They pulled into the winding driveway of their beachfront house off the Lane, Giselle still fast asleep. Jon opened the door of the long empty home and hurried back to lift Giselle carefully from the car. She barely stirred, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck. He didn’t mind the weight. He’d taken it, her, in general, for granted before, but he knew he’d never forget the oppressive nature of lonely High Point. 

He laid Giselle down, sliding her pants off before moving her to the center. Jon stripped, finding and pulling on boxers as an afterthought. He circled his arms around her, bringing her warmth closer to him. 

“Sleep tight, Sel,” he whispered against her forehead. The sound of lapping waves lulled him into a deep, dreamless sleep.

The bed was empty when he woke up, and there was nothing but the sound of waves and gulls to keep him company. Sunrise was fast approaching. The vibrant, color casting disc was only now peeking over the horizon. With a grumble, Jon went out in search of Giselle. At this time of year, the beach would be all but deserted, the summer residents gone, and the year-rounders taking its beauty for granted. Expecting to find her wandering the beach, he was surprised when he found her asleep in the porch swing. 

Waking her with a series of gentle kisses, Jon watched as her pale green eyes surveyed the morning before meeting his. “Thank you,” she whispered. Giselle shifted on the swing, making room for Jon. He wasn’t sure what she was grateful for. 

Jon shifted so her back could brace against his front, and they could both watch the horizon. He kissed the top of her head, and enfolded her with both arms. Once the sun had finished its ascent, Jon leaned back with a sigh of contentment.

“What do you want to do?” 

She tilted her head back so she could look up at him. 

“Nothing?” Giselle batted her eyelashes and smiled sweetly. 

“Well, we have everything except food. We’re going to have to venture out for supplies some time. Hopefully, before your tummy starts growling because that’s when you start growling.” Jon exposed said tummy and rubbed slow circles on it. 

“Do not!” She crinkled her nose, and Jon kissed it softly. 

“Let’s go back to bed then maybe hit Citarella,” Jon suggested while absorbed in playing with her titian hair. 

“Mmm, bed. Do I get carried again?” 

“Yes, fair princess. It would be my honor!”  He hooked an arm behind her knees, swung her up, and whisked her into the house playfully. 

“You’re a good prince,” she said as he pulled her into his now reclined frame. 

“I’m trying.” 

“You’re doing a good job.”  

He kissed the top of her head. “Rest.”

Giselle was roused from her sleep by an intense need to reassure herself of his presence. She nuzzled her face into the warmth that was Jon’s chest. Crystal blue eyes found hers before he greeted her with a soft brush of his lips. 

They separated to take showers and dress. They met at the front door, laughing at their similar attire. Both had on white oxfords and well worn jeans. The drive down deserted roads was as silent as it was quick. They played in the grocery store, Jon managing to stuff a cold can of whipped cream down the back of her shirt before it fell to the ground. 

Sel leveled him with a stare after she stifled her yelp. She gave the startled worker behind Jon a closed-lipped smile. “We’re going to have to buy that,” she concluded after she examined the bottle with the cracked cap.

 Sel glared at him after he chuckled with a decidedly dirty edge. “Push the cart. You cannot be trusted.” Her jade eyes dared him to argue. 



“The looks are skewering me!” He held up a hand and placed the back against his forehead dramatically. Their shopping trip was finished quickly after that. Soon, they were back at the house and stowing away the groceries. 

Jon sat an objecting Giselle on the island as she directed him on where to put things. Once he was finished, he framed her face with his hands.

“You’re gorgeous.”

“You’ve said that-”

“Accept it. I’d forgotten how beautiful your hair was. Never forgot your eyes.” Jon pushed his fingers into the said locks as his gaze zeroed in on her jade pools.

She blinked as his fingertips rubbed distracting circles into her scalp.

“You never left my mind. And your hair...I haven’t seen it this long since ’95.”

“Upkeep wasn’t on my mind.”

“I know-”

Her eyes closed as he leaned in, his breath brushing over her mouth a millisecond before his lips did. Giselle’s arms draped lazily around his neck as his went around her waist. Jon tugged her closer before lifting her. He felt Giselle stop responding to the kiss and broke away reluctantly. 

“I want to...” 

“But this isn’t different than last night.” He let her slide down his body, his erection protesting vehemently though his brain agreed. 

“Let’s get it over with, but first I need some food.” She pulled out a box of Lucky Charms and proceeded to make herself a bowl. 
“Want some?”

“No, but you’re ridiculously cute when you’re channeling Ro.” Sel laughed at that before ambling out to the back porch. They were discussing the hard stuff before she’d finished the first bowl, the tears coming as she finished the last marshmallow. They talked well into the afternoon, only stopping after they’d worked out their most important issues. It was a start. 

Jon winced at the darkening of the sky before he spoke. “So we stay here for a little bit and we tell the kids?” She nodded, looking down at their interlaced fingers. “Alright. What now?” Jon hoped the twinkle in her eye boded well for him. 
“Race ya!” Giselle leapt from the porch, and Jon groaned then took off after her. Jon closed in on Giselle and swung her up cautiously, arms curled around her body. She wrestled him to the sand, and Jon gained the dominant position then began to tickle her. He stopped when she threatened to pee and was pushed onto his back again. They rolled around in the sand, Jon careful not to injure her, or leave much of his weight on her. She gave him a kiss that left him breathless and achingly hard, then stood.

Giselle rolled her jeans up then ran down the beach, kicking and splashing the ankle height water.

“Sel, can we go inside?” He glanced up at the sky nervously as it continued to darken ominously. 

“I wanna stay out here and play!” She almost squealed, a wave of euphoria taking over. 

“Baby, you’ll catch your death,” Jon said, hoping she’d take his outstretched hand. 

“You sound like my moooooom!” Giselle singsonged.

 The skies opened, and they were nearly immediately soaked to the bone. The old button down of Jon’s she wore was plastered to her skin, her entire body saturated. Jon took her hand and pulled her underneath a lifeguard’s tower. 

“You’re going to be upset when you’re sniffling.” She merely smiled and lowered herself to the sand. Sea air and Giselle cocooned him as he went down into her embrace. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hey Readers

Great news: we had a baby! His name is Adam! He's healthy and gorgeous, and I'm in love. Bad news: I'm MIA for a few days...weeks...months. I've got things scheduled to post so you won't miss me too much. This one will be finished soon!! 


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Part Four - Everything Must Change

A/N: No, it's not the end. There are probably two more parts.

Jon grabbed her hands as the third test came up positive, beaming as she shook. 

“Sel, this is golden,” he declared vehemently. 

“I...I know. At least I think I know. There are just so many changes.” Giselle croaked. 

"Everything must change. You, of all people, know that,” he said, beginning to pack a bag for himself. They were in their master bedroom and they’d finally spent the night in their bed without memories smothering them. 

“Jon, what are you doing?” 

“Isn’t it obvious, my dear? I’m packing. We’re going on a trip.” He didn’t turn towards her, but merely continued. 

“Where the hell to?” she asked, coming to stand in front of him with a hand on her hip. 

“I don’t know. Let’s just drive, Sel.” 

Jon was excited. The sparkling eyes were a dead giveaway. 

“You’re packed. I’m packed. Baby, let’s go!” he nearly shouted. 

“Jon, can you just leave like this? What about the boys?” Giselle sat on the edge of the bed, waiting for Jon’s normally ever present logic to kick in. 

“Dorothea took them until I could ‘get myself together’,” he said with a sad smile. “And I think we both need this to get ourselves together. Too many memories right here.” 

Jon was like a little boy with a secret. He flung himself onto the bed, hooking his arm around Giselle’s waist that he could already imagine growing. She flopped back onto the mattress and was immediately reeled in. 

“You know I love you, right?” he asked close to her ear. 

“Yes,” she answered, not sure where he was going. 

“And I promise to protect you from everything including myself, right?” Jon continued. She sighed before repeating her last reply. “Then trust me on this...If you’re not happy, we can come home, but I think it’ll be good to get away. Just be.” His hand rubbed along her sides, the touch unconscious and soothing.

His left hand wound into her copper strands as he traced her lips with a fingertip on his right. Giselle's pale, sea glass green eyes blinked up at him, refusing to cross at his proximity. 

“You’re gorgeous,” Jon murmured reverently. A blush suffused her cheeks and she turned her head to the side. “I’m serious. You really are.” He traced her high, rounded cheekbones and kissed the side of her freckled nose. “I want you without all of the distractions. I want it to truly be us reconnecting.” 

She nodded her assent wordlessly, but he still brushed her hair back from her forehead. The touch was familiar, but the hesitance was not. 

“You’re allowed to kiss me, you know...” Giselle whispered, her hand coming up to cup his cheek. Jon hadn’t initiated anything more intimate than little touches for fear of ruining what they were building. 

He tentatively brushed his lips against hers, his stubble scraping against her creamy skin. 

“Kiss me like you used to,” she whispered. Her left hand slid underneath his shirt, encountering the smooth skin of his back. Jon was shocked to feel a cold press against his muscles, and his eyes flew open. 

“You’re wearing them again?” She smiled and nodded, still rubbing circles on his back. 

He pressed his lips to hers and settled in, her mouth opening to his. The kiss grew in intensity, and he swallowed her whimpers. Her nails raked down his back as she arched up into him. 

“Easy, baby.” 

His ragged breathing matched hers as he lowered himself onto his back. She straddled him gracefully, watching lust and apprehension flicker in his eyes. Butterflies engaged in a pas de deux, unknown to the partners. 

Brushing the tip of her nose over his, her hands slid over his shoulders, gripping softly. Fusing their mouths together slowly, Jon's lips parted with an uncharacteristic gasp. Their tongues flicked against each other as the ragged ache grew. It was fraught and worn, but there were new elements every time. 

It was like looking through a photo album and details that had been forgotten suddenly returning with potency. The cliché of the world falling away was true. It had always been this way. It was hands gliding over a smooth back, fingers tangling in hair, the press of undone bodies, lips brushing together in a fine frenzy. Them.

Suddenly his hands that were constantly roaming, cupping her buttocks then wandering up her back, fell away. 

“Do you want me?” Jon murmured. 

She nodded carefully, but hurriedly, aware of close their faces were before returning to his mouth. 

“No, I mean really want me. Now. Like this. Before we’ve gotten all our shit together...?” he asked, all alarmingly blue eyes, scruff, and a sort of warm unease. 

She held back her hair, her back arching and breasts jutting forward with the motion as she thought. Her hands fell to knead his shoulders as she weighed the pros and cons of the situation, Giselle’s mind flashed through all of the possibilities. 

“I I want us to be okay. And I think you’re right. This, whatever this is, probably just my desperation, could undermine it all,” Giselle said slowly, measuring as she went. 

Jon nodded before he flipped her onto her back. “Let’s go,” he breathed zealously. Following him as he grabbed bags and closed things up, she was relieved to see a man of spirit return. They’d really needed each other all along. Putting a leather coat on her, he surveyed his handiwork. “It’ll do.” He pecked her lips before shrugging his jacket on. September weather was unpredictable, but there was a warm breeze blowing outside.

 Tossing bags in the trunk of the first car he encountered in the garage, Jon helped Giselle in then peeled out. The gates automatically closed behind him, and they drove off into the night. Her hair fanned out against the headrest, her bewitching eyes were closed, and even under the harsh highway lights, he’d never seen her so beautiful. North, south...he didn’t care. As long as he had her and time, he felt nearly invincible.

 It was a heady sensation, closer to the one her mere proximity gave him when they’d first met, and better than a number one album. Smiling triumphantly, he watched the highway signs and suddenly knew their destination. They hadn’t had a chance to make memories there. Their hands intertwined on the console in Giselle’s sleep as Jon lost track of the miles, pieces of the puzzle fitting back into place while other unfamiliar ones shifted.

A wounded heart will heal,
Oh, but never much too soon.
No one, and nothing, goes unchanged. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Part Three - Sleep Like A Child

Waking just as twilight settled outside, Giselle extricated herself from Jon’s tight embrace. Twisting her neck, she watched Jon sleep on peacefully, absently cuddling her pillow. Leaving the warmth of the bed fully, she placed her feet on the familiar rug before stepping onto the cold wood floor. Giselle couldn’t believe she could think of something as trivial as the heat as she considered what she had just signed herself up for. She stood in front of the wall of windows overlooking the river, biting her bare fingernails. 

Jon propped himself on his elbow, watching her think. The river was glistening under the moonlight, out of reach beyond the barrier of glass that was keeping her with him. Her eyes flashed like quicksilver in the pale light the moon gave against the darkness of the night. He spent long moments observing her, praying she wouldn’t change her mind. Jon inhaled her pillow one last time before steeling himself for rejection and leaving the cocoon of sheets.
Giselle didn’t know how long she’d stood there, all she knew was that her feet were numb with cold and strong arms were cradling her. Jon rested his head on her shoulder, enjoying the way they fit together. 

“Sel...” She hummed in response. “I love you.” 

It may have been seconds, but it felt like ages before she replied, “I love you, too.” Turning in his arms, she tried to leave his embrace, needing to figure out how they were going to get back on track.  

Clinging to his forearms as a wave of nausea gripped her, the color drained from her face. Jon held her fast as she paled. 

“Sel, are you okay?” he asked worriedly. Her grip lessened by degrees as she returned to her normal state. 

“I’m fine, it passed.” The way she said it made it seem like it was a frequent occurrence which worried him more. She moved to the bathroom to splash water on her face, wondering why it kept happening. Jon leaned against the door frame of the bathroom, watching her cool her face as he connected dots. He'd seen this before.

“You’re pregnant,” he said simply, observing her deep breathing. 

“Please enlighten me: when would I have become pregnant?” she asked, cocking her head, copper strands changing position. 

“That week after the funeral... we didn’t talk and then... well, you were packing..we got mad...” He looked down at his bare feet. 

“On the floor in the closet. I was on the pill then.” She blinked at him, questioning his logic. 

“You weren’t. You started to forget a lot.” Giselle’s face drained of all color again, as she sat on the counter. She was surprised he remembered any of that time. He'd been drunk enough for the both of them.

“Oh God,” she breathed.

 “Why ‘oh God’? If we’re having a baby, shouldn’t you be happy?” Jon knew he shouldn’t be upset at her, but he felt dread churning in his belly. He hoped she wouldn’t. Not after everything. Jon moved to stand in front of her, sensing that crowding was what she needed to bring her back to Earth.  

“It doesn’t feel right, not right now... We only just got back together and she’s barely gone. Don’t you think it would be like replacing her? I don't want any more children.” Her fists clenched and released as she felt anxiety build within her. 

Giselle made a conscious effort to relax and rested her palms flat on his strong chest. 

“You know it’s not. This is probably her way of bonding us. She’s sending us an angel. Let’s not worry until we know for sure, okay?” 

Giselle nodded, tears filling her eyes as Jon held her close. He lifted her like a child and returned to the bed. Whispering platitudes, he enfolded her in his embrace, not willing to let her go.

‘Cause I, I go insane, crazy sometimes,
 Tryin’ to keep you from losing your mind, 
Open your eyes, see what’s in front of your face, 
Save me my fistful of tears*

Fistful of Tears - Maxwell

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Part Two - Last Request

 “Because you’ve hurt me more than you’ve helped recently.” She willed herself not to look at him. 

“But I want to change that,” he declared earnestly. 

“Jon, I can’t let you! We need to move on,” she said through gritted teeth. 

“Don’t you think it’s time we say some things we haven’t said?” 

“Quoting your own songs now?” she retorted derisively, hoping to deter him with her attitude. Giselle walked away from him. When he simply followed her, she responded, “Like what, Jon? What could you have to say to me?” 

“I’ve been killing myself over this. I’m sorry and I can’t say it enough. Giselle, we’re never going to move on until we talk this out.” He grabbed her hand, hoping that he could get through to her physically, if not verbally yet. Fire illuminated his eyes for the first time in a long time. 

“I’m done talking.” She retracted the hand without so much as a glance. He followed her up the stairs and watched her struggle with the bags she’d managed to shove the rest of her clothes into. Jon grabbed them wordlessly and took them downstairs to the door. 

Nicholas knocked on the door they were behind, wondering why she was taking so long. “One night. That’s all I’m asking of you,” he pleaded with her as he took her cold, trembling hands. 

“Are you in a...” 

“Am I in a position to ask you anything?" He supplied the rest of her sentence with the ease borne of years together. "No. Clearly not. But I’m begging.”

Jon never begged. 

“What do you need all night for?” She sighed. 

“To talk to you. To make things right. To end this the right way.”

Giselle opened the door and cleared her throat. “Nicholas... you can go home. I’ll be fine.” 

He looked at her confusedly before replying, “Uh, sure Mrs. B... Ms. Spring.” 

“Nick, you know you can call me by my first name. We’ve known each other for more years than I care to count. I won’t be seeing you too much after the... this. Thank you for everything.” Giselle could tell Jon was getting antsy behind her, so she gave Nicholas a friendly hug. The embrace expressed her gratitude for his eight years of help. She waved, then shut the door. 

“Talk.” Giselle stood in the foyer, her arms crossed over her chest. 

“Not here.” He pulled her up the stairs, much to her dismay. 

“Jon, if you’re trying to get me to sleep with you, let me tell you now: it’s not happening.” 

“Giselle, I genuinely want to talk to you. I’m not going to try anything.” Jon looked at her earnestly, trying to reflect truth with his blue eyes. 

She blinked in resignation and followed him away from the master bedroom to a guest bedroom. Giselle's green eyes glittered as they passed what had once been their daughter’s room. The guest bedroom was oddly unaffected by time, everything the way it had been when their life had been good. It had been good...hadn’t it? The cropped lock of copper hair fell into her left eye as she gazed at the bedroom before her. She wished it were a portal, able to take her back in time. 

The drapes were airy and iridescent as sunlight permeated the enchanted fog that had settled over the room. The memories hit her hard. 

“What kind of color is that? It looks like my great aunt Ginevra’s hair.” Jon wrinkled his nose at her. 

“Jon, it’s sea foam and it does not. It’s soothing.” She handed the swatch to the mixer as she pouted at her husband. 

“Whatever Sel wants, Sel gets,” Jon said obligingly. He kissed Giselle tenderly, resting both hands on her full womb.

“Remember the day we went to get the paint for this room? You said the old color was giving you bad vibes.” Jon smiled at the memory. 

“Yes, but we’re not here to reminisce.” Giselle had to shut it down before he got too far under her skin. 

“Maybe that’s what you need, Giselle. Maybe you should reminisce a little,” he snapped back, tired of her frigidness. 

“Well, then, let’s get to it. Talk.” 

“Jesus, Giselle, I don’t bite.” She snorted at the statement. 
“Not like that. Sel, come sit with me on the bed. You don’t want to stand the whole time.” 

She climbed onto the high king bed with Jon’s, reluctantly accepted, assistance, and they stared at each other for a long, tense moment. 

They both broke the silence at the same instant, and Giselle let Jon speak first since he'd initiated the talk. 

“I’m going to be to the point. You gave me a beautiful daughter, and in the end, I didn’t do right by her. Or any of the kids. Or by you. And, for that, I’m sorry. I don’t know what was going through my head. There was just so much pain for all involved, and I didn’t handle it well at all.” He took her hand, kissing the back of it almost urgently, afraid she’d slip away. 

“I broke our vows, and I’ll never forget it. I can tell you now I was using her because I was a coward. You were all I ever wanted, you still are. I couldn’t bear seeing the child you’d given me wither away. No one ever should. But I left you alone to do it. I’ve repented. I torture myself every day. The’s killing me. Today was the first time I’d seen the sun in over a week. I need to know what you felt when you were alone... when I left you in the cold...” Halfway through his speech, tears had begun to stream down his face. By the time he was finished, the dam had broken. He’d thought he had no more. He’d cried forever it seemed, though in the past he could count the number of times he'd really cried on one hand.  

She wrapped her arms around him, pressing his head gently to her chest, his scruff scraping against the creamy skin of her ample breasts. Tears made a slow journey down her face, too, falling onto the golden head nestled so carefully against her. Giselle kissed his gleaming crown as they clung to each other.

 “Shhhh...shhhh... It’s alright...shh.” She comforted him as she would Arabella, his thick blond tresses reminding her of the child she’d lost. The gray interspersed with those waves reminded her that this was still the man she'd vowed to love. “Ara wouldn’t have wanted her daddy so sad. Ara would’ve wanted you happy.” 

“I just keep letting her down. I let everyone down.” Her eyes slammed shut, knowing even if she absolved him of guilt he wouldn’t himself. Nothing tortured him more than failure.

Pale green eyes pierced blue, the despair she saw there overwhelming. Her lips crashed down upon his as he tumbled onto his back with her straddling him. 

“You stop it...” she murmured against his lips. “I'm working on forgiving you, but you have to forgive yourself.” She punctuated her words with a long kiss. Jon’s hands flew to her waist as his eyes searched hers for the truth. Giselle nodded at him and pushed overgrown hair back from his face with gentle fingers. 

“Do you remember what I told you at our rehearsal dinner?” He glanced at her with a mutinous expression that said 'duh.'  

“That you were pregnant with Ara?” 

“No, not that. I said, 'I’d always come back to you because you were where I found my faith.' I’m not saying it will work... God, I must be crazy, but I’m willing to give it a try. I'm no more ready to leave than you are ready to let me. I know you’re sorry. It can never happen again. I came here to leave, but I can’t leave you like this.” Just can’t stay away. Please don’t hurt me. 

“I won’t make the same mistake again, ever. You mean the world to me.” Did that just happen? She made it too easy. What’s she really thinking? 

“Jon. Stop. I can see the wheels turning in your head. I’m not going to punish you anymore than I already have. And you have your own guilt to work through. You’ve tormented yourself enough. Hating you won’t bring her back. I can see that now. And Jon...” 

“Yeah?” he questioned absently, mesmerized by the curtain of copper locks falling around them. 

“Help me,” Giselle pleaded. 

“Help you how?” It dawned on him what she meant, she was crying out for another soul. “I can’t do it alone. We have to help each other, Sel.” 

     Jon rolled her off of him and drew her close. Giselle rested her head on his chest, stroking the silky hair she found there as his voice rumbled underneath her, reminiscing fondly about their daughter.  

Disclaimer: Pure fiction. In other words...don't sue other words...just let me be.