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.

1 comment:

  1. Great start to this story. Looking forward to reading more. Glad I stumbled upon it!


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