Generation 3, Chapter 18

     Gibson’s POV     

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I was lucky that today was a slow day for me here at the bookstore, not many customers have come in since the Easter Festival began today and a lot of the employees have either gone home or left early to enjoy the festival. It was about four in the afternoon and I sat in my office, doing some inventory, paperwork and filling out the last of my orders that I needed to place before the end of the day so new product would arrive on time for Monday morning. It was Friday, about five months after Hannah and I had our housewarming party and we were doing well in my opinion. Sure, I still wasn’t home as often as I would like, but Hannah’s suddenly become more understanding about it, and she doesn’t mind so much when I need to stay late. I don’t know what changed her mind since we fought for about a week straight after the night we had a fight when my family was over, but I was grateful that she’s been more on-board with me working so much to get all of this debt out of the way. 

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Our debt has been dwindling faster than I thought, Hannah’s been making more money at the bakery and I guess people around town have really taken a liking to what she can create. She’s been catering desserts for weddings, birthdays, baby showers and anniversary parties a lot more and has been staying open a little later, so we sometimes get home at the same time. I was actually pretty impressed with her and how hard she seemed to be working to make her business bloom. Every now and then when she works one of her catering jobs, I need to bring Oliver with me to the bookstore and watch him since she’d be way too busy to keep an eye on him. I don’t mind that much, he’s a very well behaved boy and I always enjoy our time together. Ever since Hannah made it clear that Oliver barely knows anything about me since I’d been so absent, I tried to fix that situation and the relationship with my son has gotten a lot better since I had been bringing him to my work sometimes. I suppose everything wasn’t so bad anymore, even though I still don’t spend much time with Hannah, I’ve been getting more time with Oliver and that makes me a lot happier than I have been. 

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Apparently Gareth and Nina have been at the rockiest point so far in their relationship, Nina and Kat have been staying at our place every now and then whenever Gareth and her get into big fights where Nina doesn’t want her and Kat to be around him. I don’t mind having them over, Kat and Oliver have always been close, so at least he has someone to play with a lot more now besides us grown-up’s.. He needs someone his age to be around and I think he’s been a lot happier lately, too. Hannah doesn’t seem to care for Nina very much, but I convinced her to let Nina help her with her catering jobs so Nina can get her mind off of Gareth, and also because Hannah doesn’t have enough help at the bakery. Hannah, Nina and Kat are working a dessert booth at the festival right now to promote the bakery and whenever I get done with my work, which I can guess I’ll be done around five or six, Oliver and I will meet up with them at the festival. I wondered if Gareth would show up, but I didn’t expect him to, not unless there was a free bottomless bar.

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I heard a few quiet groans coming from Oliver on the couch he was sleeping on and I looked over towards him, seeing him stir a little in his sleep and a smirk ran across my lips. My office was as silence as could be, and it needed to be in order to get Ollie to take a nap. Him being a light sleeper was rather troublesome on occasion, but at seldom times like these where I got to put him to bed and be there when he woke up, it was all worth the trouble of bringing him to the bookstore with me, even if it was a slight struggle on the days I was busy. 

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I heard the quietest knock on the other side of the door to my office and I looked up from my computer, seeing one of my employees trying to get my attention. They all knew whenever Oliver was with me and they all knew to look through the glass of the door to check and see if he was sleeping or not to judge the volume of their knock, otherwise I’d make them regret it if they ever woke him. I was happy that the almost silent knock didn’t wake him and I got up, leaving my office as quietly as I could to go to my employee and see what they wanted. 

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“Yes, Jaime..?” I questioned.

“Hey, uhm.. I was just wondering if I could go home at five..? I don’t want to bore you, but.. My girlfriend is meeting me up at the festival and it’s our three year anniversary, I wanna show up and surprise her with something nice.. So, could I leave at five to go get ready beforehand and meet her there?” He asked and I stared at him for a moment. “I-I mean.. Only if you don’t need me to work anymore.. Jill and Mike are still here working the registers, but there’s barely anyone in the store.. I was.. Just asking.. If not, it’s okay I guess.. I’ll just text her telling her I’ll be late..”

“Why would you be late? Wouldn’t that mean that you planned it earlier during your shift in hopes of getting out early in the first place?” I asked, crossing my arms over my chest and he began to squirm a little as he stood there.

“Oh, uhm.. W-Well, it wasn’t on purpose, really.. I actually was scheduled to only work until two today, but Cindy left early and I had to take over her shift,” he said with a sorrowful tone.

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“So, she left without telling me and stuck you with her remaining hours?” I asked and he nodded, “I see..” I replied, thinking for a moment as he continued to act nervous, awaiting my answer eagerly. But, he was lucky I was in a good mood, “Well, her mistake was not being a good worker in the first place, and also not telling me.. Yeah, you can go now if you’d like instead of five, thank you for sticking around and taking over her shift, even though you didn’t have to. I assume she’ll be at the festival, so if you see her before me, tell her she’s fired..” I replied, seeing his expression do a complete turn around and he smiled.

“I’ll definitely do that, thank you for letting me go! Will I see you there, too, after you close?” He asked, comfortable with me now that he knew I wasn’t mad at him.

“Yeah, maybe I’ll see you.. Ollie and I are going to meet my wife up there. You should stop by her dessert table, she makes an excellent funnel cake,” I reply with a smirk and he smiles more with a nod.

“Awesome, sounds good! I’ll see you later then, boss, thanks again,” he answered happily and I nodded, watching him leave before turning back around and going back into my office quietly. He was a good kid and a good worker, I enjoyed having him around the bookstore, and his honesty along with his genuine nature towards people made me briefly consider making him an assistant manager in the near future. I could use someone around here to help me so I don’t get overwhelmed by doing everything myself.

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I went back into my office and worked on more of what I needed to finish, and roughly around five thirty, Ollie began to wake up. Even though I only had a few more things to complete, the more he woke up, the more energy he got and he wanted to go to the festival eagerly to see his Mother, so I called it quits before the clock hit six and I got Ollie dressed to go to the festival. Nina had bought him a few Easter outfits to choose from to wear tonight, so I let him wear whichever one he wanted to make Nina happy. She needed her spirits lifted after dealing with Gareth for so long, and I’m sure seeing Oliver wearing the clothes she bought for him would bring up her mood. I cared for Nina because she was the mother of my niece, and I know I always thought less of her for being too naive to leave Gareth for how badly he treats her, but I had to admit I was impressed by how long she’s been able to put up with him. She was a lot stronger than I thought to deal with such a menace on her own. I knew I could deal with it because he was my brother and I had to growing up, but I gave her a lot of credit for being able to stay with him for the sake of Kat, even with now hearing from her that he hasn’t been faithful, which didn’t surprise me at all when she told us.. Their awful relationship made me grateful that I had someone as dedicated as Hannah in my life.

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“You look great, Ollie. You ready to go see Mommy and find some Easter eggs?” I asked him, carrying him out of my office after I had shut everything off.

“Yeah! And I wanna eat a cupcake and ice cream, a-and..” He answered excitedly, trying to think of everything he wanted to do when we got to the festival.

I chuckled at how excited he was, warming my heart as I tried to think of other things for us to do, “How about getting your face painted?”

“Yeah, that, too!” He replied and I chuckled happily again. 

“How aboutttt.. Bobbing for apples?” I continued and he nodded happily with a smile, “And.. Oh! There’s some fireworks later, too! Are you excited for those?”

“Yeah, yeah! Mommy likes fireworks, too!”

“Yup, she sure does,” I answered with a laugh, leaning in and pecking his cheek happily. We walked downstairs and I let the rest of the employees leave with us, locking the door behind us and Oliver and I made our way to the festival. 

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When Ollie and I got to the festival, we walked around for a few minutes, admiring all of the decorations and children running around gathering Easter eggs for the spring season. I set Oliver down on the ground and encouraged him to go and find a lilac colored egg to bring to his mother and he excitedly ran off to carefully inspect every egg he could find until he found the perfect one. “Daddy, look! I can’t find lilac, but I found purple..?”

“Good job, I’m sure she’ll love it,” I replied with a smile, taking it from him to hold onto and Oliver rushed off to find more eggs just for fun.

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After about twenty minutes of being there, I decided it was time that Ollie and I go on the search for Hannah’s booth and when we were looking around, I ran into Jaime from earlier with the girlfriend that he was supposed to meet here. “Hey, Mr. Dubois!” I heard from a distance, seeing him pulling his girlfriend towards me with a smile and I smiled warmly at the sight of them together, “This is my girlfriend, Belle,” he introduced her, but stopped to correct himself, “Sorry, uhm.. Fiance, Belle,” he added, giving a shy look towards her and I held an impressed expression. “This is my boss at the bookstore, Mr. Dubois.”

“Hello, Mr. Dubois,” she said politely.

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“Please, call me Gibson, it’s good to meet you,” I replied, looking to Jaime then, “So, the surprise for her was a ring? That’s wonderful, congrats,” I reply and he chuckled nervously, “Let me see the ring,” I requested politely and she showed it to me with the biggest grin on her lips, “Wow.. That’s a big rock. You’re a very lucky young woman, he’s a great kid,” I complimented and he bowed his head in appreciation.

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“Oh, this is my son, Oliver.. Say hi to Jaime and Belle, Ollie,” I insisted, but he hid his face in my neck and we all laughed softly.

Belle stepped closer, “It’s great to meet you, Oliver.. I like the egg you have, is it for anyone?” She asked nicely and he still hid his face.

“Oliver, answer her,” I insisted more and he finally came out from my neck and looked to Belle.

“..My mommy..” He answered quietly and I chuckled.

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“Aww that’s so sweet of you! My dress has purple on it, too, do you like it?” Belle asked and we watched as he shyly nodded, then went back into my neck, hugging me and hiding his face and we all laughed softly again at his behavior. I liked Jaime’s fiance, it was obvious that she liked children and I liked how she was with Oliver.

“Do you babysit by chance, Belle?” I asked, seeing her face grow slight remorse.

“No, I actually don’t.. I’m just good with kids because I have three younger siblings I used to watch. I have a part-time job right now in the mornings, but if you and your wife ever need a date night, I’d be glad to watch him if it’s anytime after five?” She hinted with a smile and I snickered.

“We’re actually in need a date night very soon, been at the office a little too much,” I replied and Jaime chuckled and nodded in agreement, “I’d love to give you a call whenever that comes up. I’ll get your number from Jaime on Monday at work if that’s alright?”

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“Yes, of course, that would be wonderful! Since we’re planning a wedding now, the extra money would be amazing,” she said with joy, looking to Jaime with a warm smile.

“Great, sounds good. Would you like to walk with us and try and find my wife’s booth?”

“Yeah, sure! We’ll get one of those great funnel cakes you recommended,” Jaime replied and I smiled with a nod, walking with Jaime, Belle and Oliver around the festival to find Hannah’s dessert table.

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Eventually, we found our way to Hannah’s booth and there were a few customers she was waiting on, but she looked over briefly and smiled when she saw Oliver in my arms. When we had arrived, she finished up with the line she had and the last customers were Jaime and Belle, giving them a funnel cake as I had promised they’d get and they thanked me before telling us to have a good night and they went on their way alone. I was happy for them, Jaime reminded me a lot of myself when I had first met Hannah and I enjoyed seeing him with the one he loved. Now that Hannah had closed the booth for the night, I was glad to finally get some time with her and Oliver together rather than at home in the normal, uneventful setting we always had to deal with. 

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Hannah came over to us after closing with a smile on her face, “There’s my big boy! Oh my go- You look so cute!” She cooed sweetly and I smiled as I watched them together.

“I found this for you.. It’s not lilac, but it’s purple!” Oliver said excitedly and Hannah smiled.

“Awww, thank you, you’re such a sweet boy,” Hannah replied, reaching for Oliver and I handed him to her, Hannah then looking towards Nina and walking off towards her and I assumed that she was going to show Nina the outfit that Oliver had chosen to wear. I let her go, though I felt a little ignored when she hadn’t even kissed me, let alone say anything at all to me before leaving my side with Oliver and going to Nina.

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I watched as Nina swooned over Oliver and his outfit that she had got him, smirking lightly to myself as I watched them, yet I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loneliness now that I wasn’t with my son or wife, or anyone. I stood there alone, averting my eyes from them eventually and looking out to the festival, seeing children and adults alike having fun on this spring holiday and I somewhat wished that I had come not dressed up in my work clothes, maybe then Hannah would have said something to me instead of ignoring me.

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I felt a slight tug on my pant leg and I looked down, seeing Katalina looking up at me with a big, beautiful smile, “Uncle Gibby, do you like my flowers?” She asked and I couldn’t hold back a smile of my own. I hated being called ‘Gibby’, but the only one I let call me that without feeling any sense of resentment was my niece.

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I picked her up and looked at her headband made of flowers, “Oohhh, they’re very pretty.. You look so perfect, Kat,” I replied, seeing her smile, pleased with my response, “Do you know if your Daddy is coming to the festival?” I asked and I watched her shrug.

“I dunno.. I hope he does,” she replied and I nodded.

“I hope he comes, too, then he can see how gorgeous you look,” I replied, hearing her laugh softly. “Do you miss him?” I asked, watching her smile fade and she nodded, “I know you and Mommy have been at our place a lot, but sometimes being apart for a little while can really help people.. You’ll see him very soon, I know it,” I reassured her, though I wasn’t even sure if I was lying at this point or not..

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“Hey, do you wanna walk around the festival with me for a little bit? Let’s go find some Easter eggs, huh..?” I offered, wanting to spend time with someone and who better than my niece since everyone else seemed to be so occupied? 

“Yeah!” She answered happily and I walked away from Hannah’s dessert table to enjoy the festival with Kat.

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We walked around for a little bit, soon finding an open area and I sat down on a bench, watching her run around, looking like a little princess and having fun being dolled up for this once-a-year occasion. Kat would run around and find a few eggs at a time, bringing them all back to me and making a small pile to hoard them for herself, telling me to keep an eye on them and I promised I would with a laugh under my breath at how adorable she was. But, as much fun as I was having with Katalina, I wished that Oliver was with us, too, but I didn’t want to take him away from Hannah after she had closed to be with him. 

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I know it was a stupid idea, especially given the situation Hannah and I were in, but Katalina made me want more kids, a daughter to be specific. How could Gareth not even show the slightest bit of care for this girl when all she did was love him unconditionally? Oliver never showed that type of excitement whenever he laid eyes on me, he did it for Hannah a lot, but that’s only because he’s spent a lot more time with her and he just prefers her most of the time. Though, with a girl, maybe I would get that attention, maybe someone would be excited to see me whenever I get home from work. 

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“Fancy seeing you here,” I heard a familiar voice and Kat put a name to the face that I hadn’t turned to see yet.

“Daddy! Daddy’s here!” She called out, running passed me and I finally looked over to see Gareth, not bothering to pay any attention to Kat or even picking her up to greet her and he stopped next to me, sitting down on the bench.

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Kat followed him eagerly, forcing him to notice her by crawling up and into his lap and trying to show him her dress and flowery headband, “Daddy, look! Do you like my flowers?” She asked, wanting him to acknowledge her and he looked to her with disinterest.

“Oh, uhm.. Yeah, baby, really pretty,” he replied with a fake smirk and she showed joy in her expression.

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“Why aren’t you wearing Easter colors?” She asked, looking at his outfit and becoming displeased by his lack of holiday involvement.

“Because, Daddy doesn’t like wearing frilly girly colors.. Uncle Gibs isn’t wearing any Easter colors, either, go yell at him instead,” he dismissed her like I knew he would, but luckily before Kat could get on my case about not wearing any holiday colors, I gave her another suggestion instead of Gareth’s.

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“Hey, Kat.. Since he isn’t wearing any colors, you should go around and find him some flowers so he can have a pretty headband like you, then you two could match!” I said happily and Kat’s level of excitement went through the roof, climbing off of Gareth and running off to find flowers.

“No, no-no-no-no, Kat!” Gareth tried to stop her and I laughed under my breath as she ignored him, her excitement of matching flower headbands with her father was too hard for her to resist. 

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“You must actually really hate me to suggest something like that to her,” Gareth said pretend sadly as he hunched over and I chuckled again under my breath.

“It’ll be fun for her.. She’s always so excited to see you.. With you and Nina being apart a lot lately, she doesn’t get a lot of time to see you anymore,” I tried to reason with him.

“You don’t hear me complaining,” he replied and I sighed heavily.

“Yeah, well.. I hear complaining a lot from her. Would it really kill you to spend an hour with her? Let her make you a flower headband thing and when you leave you can get rid of it or do whatever the hell you want,” I reply and he let out a groan. “Just make her happy today.. She misses you, Gareth, a lot.”

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“Is Nina here?” He asked, ignoring my previous statements and he watched me nod, “Great.. I was hoping she wouldn’t be, but I don’t know why I thought she wouldn’t.. I don’t even want to talk to her if she sees me, but I know she’s going to want to.. She always does,” he continued and his tone sounded irritated, “I should just leave while I still have a chance to not be seen,” he added, beginning to get up from the bench, but I put my hand on his shoulder and forced him back down into the seat.

“Stop being so immature. Your daughter is out there making you a crown out of flowers so you two can match because she barely gets to see you anymore and she would be crushed if you left without saying goodbye. If you’re not here for Nina, then be here for Kat, alright? Look at everything she does for you to get your attention.. She didn’t do anything wrong to deserve any of this, so don’t put it on her,” I stated, seeing him lean back and roll his eyes.

“Yeah, yeah.. Whatever..” He dismissed me, yet he sat there and stayed, something I didn’t expect.

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“Well.. If you’re not here for either of them, who are you here for?” I asked, looking back at him and he looked to me as well.

“No one..”

“That wasn’t believable at all,” I replied, watching him look away from me and he didn’t bother correcting himself, though we both knew he was lying. “Why so secretive? You used to brag about it all the time, telling me every gruesome, graphic detail that I never wanted to hear,” I continued, chuckling softly.

“Yeah, used to,” he answered, still facing away from me and I lost whatever smirk I held.

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I faced forward, sighing softly as I looked around the park and noticed it was getting darker since the parks lights had turned on. The fireworks would be starting soon and I wanted to be with Oliver and Hannah, though if I left, I knew Gareth would ditch, leaving Kat to come back to no one and I couldn’t let that happen.. “Why does this never change..? Ever since I met someone and moved out, we’ve never been the same. Everything kind of just.. Toppled over and there’s no bottom to stop the falling.. Did I do something?” I asked. “I know this isn’t the most ideal place to talk about this, but when are we going to get another chance? ..I just want to know what I did, simplify it even and say it outright so I understand right away,” I continued, looking back at him and he looked towards me as well.

“..You’re really bad at being there for people.. Is that simple enough?” Gareth replied and I grew discouraged instantly.

“Okay.. I understand, but.. Can you give me an example maybe?” I asked, wanting him to go more in depth.

“Well, for one, you never helped me out with Kat when she was born like you said you would, it was hell trying to figure all of that shit without you and with Nina..” He replied somewhat angrily.

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“Look.. I’m sorry that I didn’t help you as much as I had originally intended, but to be fair, I was going through the exact same thing you were but I was only behind by a couple of months.. I had Hannah and work to worry about, and when Oliver was born and with how busy I got with my job, I didn’t have the time I thought I would to come over and help you. I don’t think it’s fair that you hold some kind of grudge against me because of it,” I replied and he didn’t respond, looking away from me and I sighed softly as I faced away from him as well. This was going nowhere, just like all of our other conversations we’ve had ever since I moved out, but I didn’t know what else to say to make him happy and to make sure we were okay again.. Was this the last chance I had at trying to make things better between us?

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“I understand if you think I wasn’t there for you before, but parenting isn’t exactly supposed to be easy in the first place.. If you needed that much help, you could’ve easy looked up some stuff on how to do whatever it is you were having trouble with when raising Kat.. You don’t need me to guide you through it, you’re smarter than that, Gareth,” I replied, looking back at him and seeing he was still angry.

“That’s assuming that I wanted to succeed at this kind of thing, when in reality I couldn’t give two fucks. I know she’s my daughter and I’m supposed to love her an’ all that.. But it’s hard when I didn’t even want any of this to happen in the first place,” he rebutted, though I don’t even know why this was turning into an argument instead of a simple conversation.. I guess there was no such thing as ‘simple’ when it came to us.

“Well, it did happen and there’s nothing you can do about it now, so man-up and get used to it, because Kat’s already born and waiting every second of her life for you to notice her without her needing to beg for you to.. Don’t you find it comforting at all that she loves you so unconditionally that no matter what you do, she still keeps coming back, trying to make you happy? She has as big of a heart as Nina does for you and you completely ignore it.. Why? Why do you hate to be loved so much?” I asked, seeing him look to me with a disheveled face, but before he could answer, Kat came running back towards us.

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“Daddy! Look, look! Isn’t it beautiful?” She called out, running over towards us with the flower crown she had made Gareth and I smiled towards her, “Let me put it on you,” she said excitedly and I looked to Gareth, seeing him look at me for a few long seconds and he let out a heavy sigh, leaning forward and Kat placed the flowers on his head. He pulled back and Kat clapped her hands together happily, “You look so pretty, Daddy!” She said with joy and I watched as he rolled his eyes.

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“Don’t call me pretty or else I’ll take it off,” he replied blandly, reaching forward and picking her up to place on his lap. “There, now we match.. Happy?” He asked with an angered tone and she nodded with pure joy.

“Wow, Kat.. You made that all by yourself?” I asked and she nodded with a wide smile.

“Mommy showed me how,” she replied.

“Well, you did an amazing job. You’re so artistic,” I complimented and she continued to smile at me. 

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I got up and took my phone out, “What are you doing..?” Gareth asked and I didn’t answer him, going to my camera, turning the flash on and smiling as I positioned it towards them, “No, no no, no pictures!” Gareth contested and I snapped the photo with Kat smiling as best she could and Gareth putting his hand up to hide his face. I let out a soft laugh at the photo I had gotten, wanting to send it to Nina so she had at least one picture of Gareth and Kat together, making history by getting this good of a photo with them since it was the first one I had known that had been taken of them together.. Or, well.. The best photo that I could get of them together..

“You’re officially dead to me,” Gareth said with a sigh, laughing softly as I put my phone away. 

“Oh, shut up.. It’s a good picture. It’ll be nice for Kat to have as a memory when she gets older,” I replied and it was obvious that he could care less.

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“Kat! Oh, thank goodness, I thought I had lost her!” Nina’s gentle voice came from a little ways away from us and we all looked towards her, seeing Hannah following her holding Oliver. Nina went to Kat and took her from Gareth, hugging her tightly and I felt bad a little for not remembering to tell her I was taking her.

“Sorry, Nina.. I took her and we walked around the festival together, I should’ve told you,” I said to her and she shook her head.

“It’s okay, Gibson, I was just worried.. I should’ve known you had her because both of you were gone.. I’m just glad she was with you and not on her own,” she replied and I smirked, glad that she wasn’t upset.

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“I like your flowers, Gareth,” we heard Hannah say with a soft chuckle following her words and I smiled, looking to Gareth and I saw him smirk towards her.

“Thanks, Han.. Kat made it for me,” he replied, noticing him not breaking eye contact anytime soon from Hannah and I cleared my throat, standing up and walking over to her holding Oliver.

“Don’t you think we should give them some time alone?”

“Don’t need any time, because I’m leaving..” Gareth said before Hannah could answer me and we watched as he stood from the bench, walking away from us without even saying goodbye.

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“Wait, Daddy! The fireworks!” Kat called out, trying to get him to stay a little longer, but he didn’t listen, continuing to walk away from us all and I sighed, feeling bad for Kat.. I guess he really couldn’t stand spending an hour with Kat, even for her sake.. 

“Gareth, wait!” Nina called out, handing Kat to me in a hurry and I took her, Hannah and I watching as she went after Gareth.

I looked to Kat, getting her attention to take her mind off of her dysfunctional parents, “Hey, they’ll be right back.. Let’s go find a spot where we can watch the fireworks while they talk, okay?” I asked and she eventually nodded in agreement with a blank expression, though I knew she was sad and even without her being old enough to understand, I felt that even she knew that Gareth wasn’t going to be coming back with Nina whenever they’d be done talking..

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We all found a spot in an open area where we could be seen by Nina whenever she came back, and also far away enough from the crowd where we could enjoy the fireworks alone as a family. We sat and waited, Hannah and I sitting next to one another and we watched as Oliver and Kat played in the grass together, waiting for the fireworks to start. I looked towards Hannah and she had a soft smile on her lips as she watched the kids, smirking to myself as I watched her enjoying them and I scooted a little closer, “It’s nice to be together and out of the house, isn’t it? I look forward to Holiday events a lot, as much as I still look forward to Sunday’s with you two,” I said quietly, leaning towards her and kissing her cheek for a few long seconds.

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I pulled away and looked to the side of her face, seeing her look at me briefly with what I believed to be a fake smile and my expression went troubled, “Are you okay..? I feel like you’ve been trying to avoid me tonight,” I say with a nervous chuckle and she faced the kids playing in front of us.

“Yeah, I’m fine.. I haven’t been avoiding you, I’ve just been with Oliver and Nina.. We needed to clean up the booth before we could enjoy the festival so I wanted to get that out of the way quickly. After we did that, you were gone with Kat, so I thought it would be nice if you spent some time with her since Gareth wasn’t here.. She needs a man in her life a lot more now that Gareth has been so absent, just like every child their age does,” she replied and I couldn’t help but wonder if that was a stab towards not only Gareth, but me as well.. But, I agreed with her, in times like these without Gareth, I needed to be the one to help Kat get through this better, and as much as I didn’t mind spending time with her, I still wished that Gareth would at least be with her more than he was while him and Nina were going through this rough patch. 

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As I looked at Hannah, I began to feel guilty about how absent I myself have been from them. I didn’t want Hannah or Oliver to ever think that I would do the things that Gareth is doing, I never wanted to be in his position and I never would not care about my family as much as he doesn’t.. I leaned towards Hannah again and brought my hand to the side of her face, turning her head towards me to get her attention, “I love you.. I’ll never be like Gareth and I’ll never ruin what we have, I promise,” I said softly, pulling her into a soft kiss for a few moments and pulling away with a smirk on my lips.

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The fireworks started and I looked away from Hannah, looking up to the sky as I watched the bursts of light explode in the night with a loud bang echoing across the town, “Kids, come here, come watch the fireworks,” I said to Kat and Oliver, watching as they ran back to us and Oliver climbed in Hannah’s lap as Kat crawled into mine. The fireworks continued and I smiled as I watched them, Kat and Oliver getting excited whenever they saw one they loved, but when I looked towards Hannah from the corner of my eye to see if she was having as good of a time as we were, I noticed that her gaze wasn’t even looking up. Her eyes looked off into the distance longingly and there wasn’t a smile on her face, worrying me a little and I knew that something was wrong with her even when she had said she was fine. Was it something I said? I thought that what I told her would make her happy and I thought spending this kind of time together would, too, but I couldn’t help but feel that there was more to what met the eye. The lack of happiness in her eyes made me worry and the lack of her involvement with me today still bothered me, like there was something she wasn’t telling me..

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Was I lying to her again..? To myself? Had I already ruined what I thought was still a good thing..? I couldn’t be imagining things, she obviously wasn’t happy with either what I said or it had to be something else completely.. She and I were on the best terms we could be on I had thought, and I knew it would get better once the debt was paid off and I could be home more often, but was that kinda of patience asking for too much? Had I been working myself to death to provide for them, only to get a cold shoulder when we finally had the chance to be with one another? Gareth’s words were on repeat in my head, “you’re really bad at being there for people”.. When he had told me that, at first I thought he was only talking about himself, but as I thought about it more, it seemed that he might’ve been talking more in a generality. But, no.. That didn’t make sense.. He wouldn’t know how Hannah or anyone else was feeling because he never sees anyone anymore.. He segregates himself and there isn’t much anyone can say to change that. ..Yet, why do I feel like him referring to his words in a general sense could be true? Was I a bad father? A poor husband? A shoddy brother..? I couldn’t tell if I was ever doing the right thing anymore, and I was beginning to worry that I had failed to see the lives I had tarnished and brought down with me the last few years when I had thought things would get better.. But, I was naive to think that; if anything, things were getting worse.. What was supposed to be a fun-filled, beautiful night with my family, it had left me feeling nothing but a slight sense of loneliness and a large amount of regret for reasons I wasn’t even sure of.

Generation 3, Chapter 17

Attention: NSFW chapter, mature content.

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     Gareth’s POV     

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It’s been five days since Gibson’s housewarming party and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Hannah. Every time she came into my mind and I’d think about kissing her, my body would tense up a little, my heart would beat faster and my face would get warm.. Something I’ve never felt before when thinking of a particular woman. It’s been happening a lot whenever I think about her, even before we kissed by the pool, but I didn’t know what it was, I only assumed there was something wrong with me and I’d try to forget about her. Forgetting about Hannah, however, was something that I found extremely hard to do, especially when I’ve been coming to her bakery every day since Sunday, debating whether or not to go inside and talk to her about what had happened between us. 

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I’ve been trying to work up the courage to go and talk to her all week, but every day that I stand up from this bench and think about going there, I end up just turning around and going home. I don’t know why I couldn’t just walk in there and talk about what happened, I felt like a child for how immature and cowardly I was being and I’ve given up every day of the week so far to go in there, but when Friday finally came, I decided that today would be the day I’d have enough balls to do it. I had an even better reason to go talk to her today, too, I had brought the money we had talked about on Sunday that I said I would give to her to help her get out of debt quicker.. If I left today like I had the other days, I’d be disappointed in myself for how pathetically scared I was being, and I was tired of being a coward when it came to her. It was time for me to man-up and go see what her thoughts were concerning the money, and I also wouldn’t mind another chance at kissing her. I’ve been dying to do that all week, too.

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Monday she closed at five, Tuesday through Thursday were slower and she closed at three, but today she was a little busier, and with it being around four thirty already, I assumed she was closing at five today and I had about a half hour to talk myself into going there and facing the future elephant in the room now instead of later should we both continue to ignore what had happened between us. My hands grew a little sweaty and I began tapping my foot as I sat there, starring at the bakery and counting down the minutes I had left until I’d see her beginning to close.. That’s when I would go and talk to her, when all the customers had gone.

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As I sat there, my mind eventually went to my brother and although I didn’t feel a shred of guilt for kissing his wife, I wondered if he would even care if I had for how absent he’s been to her.. And me.. My brother abandoned me, it’s obvious that he wants nothing to do with me anymore and he lied when he said he’d always be there for me. He never is anymore, and I think it’s safe to say that he never intended on keeping any of his promises anyways once he was finally rid of me. Now, he’s abandoning Hannah and their son and she realizes that, which is why I assumed she was so okay with kissing me. I’ve been aching to go further with her, I wanted to show her that I was paying attention to what she needed, I was trying to help, and all I wanted to do was help more.. If only I had met her before Gibson had, I wondered if she would’ve been able to change the things about me that Gibson seems to hate so much.. She seems like the type of person who’d make me want to change for her.. It was weird to feel, but for some reason she made me want to try, try for something that was out of my realm of comfort. She made me feel like I could get anything I wanted, and I’ve been wanting her since we met. 

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When it was nearly five, I watched from afar as the last few customers left her bakery and Hannah came outside on the deck, clearing off the tables and bringing used plates and glasses inside to wash. My heart went faster as I continued to watch her and I didn’t make my move just yet, waiting until I saw her come back outside and grab the standing menu by the door, then I watched as she flipped the green ‘open’ sign to the red ‘closed’, letting out a deep, slow breath as I rose from the bench I was sitting on and I walked towards the bakery with determination.

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I walked up onto the deck and looked over my shoulder, scanning the area a little just for safe measure before looking back to the door and my hand touched the doorknob, turning it slowly and walking in. The door hit a small bell to let Hannah know that someone had come in and I saw her standing by the counter against the wall, wiping down the surfaces and cleaning up a little, “Sorry, I’m closed for the day,” she said sweetly, continuing to wipe down the counter tops as I stood by the entrance.

“Then I’ll lock the door for you,” I spoke with a smile and Hannah looked over her shoulder towards me, knowing she recognized my voice and I reached back to the door, locking it for her.

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I kept my smile and slowly approached the counter, watching as she faced away from me again and continued cleaning and fixing the place up a little more exaggeratedly than she was just a second ago. Was me being there making her nervous, or angry? I began to lose my smile the more I noticed her trying to ignore me, “Can I sit down, Han?” I asked, seeing her slow down her cleaning and I watched as she nodded, still facing away from me. I took a seat at the counter in one of the bar stools and sat there in silence, watching as she continued cleaning the counters and I didn’t really know what to say first, looking around the bakery then and smirking, Jeez.. I forgot how much this place gives me a headache.. The colors are a little too much sometimes, and it always smells so powerfully sweet,” I joked, chuckling softly. 

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“Then why are you even here? You could’ve did yourself a favor and avoided the headache, and I could’ve avoided mine,” she replied somewhat coldly and I lost my smirk, watching her continuing to clean, and continuing to ignore me. I guess she didn’t like the joke.. 

“Sorry.. I didn’t mean to offend you, just looking for a laugh, or, uhm.. Never mind,” I replied, still watching her as she kept her back towards me and I couldn’t talk to her about why I really came here when it was obvious she didn’t want me here. I knew then that she had no intention of ever coming to me first to talk about what happened between us, and I was curious if she had even thought about it at all.. But, she had to of been thinking about it, why else would she be acting this way and trying to ignore me? “Where’s Ollie?” I asked.

“In my office, napping..” She answered, though she still didn’t face me as I watched her beginning to put her mixer and a few ingredients away.

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“Why are you here..?” Hannah asked softly, seeing her stop what she was doing and she continued to stand there with her back facing me.

“..I came by to drop off this,” I began, taking a few stacks of money out of my pant pocket and placing them on the counter, seeing Hannah then looking over her shoulder towards me and her eyes went to the money, “I know we kinda ended things abruptly on Sunday, but I wanna keep to my word about helping you, so I brought you the money we talked about.. I told you I’d stop by the bakery to give it to you, so here it is,” I finished, seeing Hannah look up to me from the money and hesitating a moment. 

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I watched as she slowly walked over to me, looking down at the bills once more and back up to my eyes, “I don’t want it anymore,” she said with a straight face. I knew she was just putting up a front, trying to act stronger than she was around me and trying to play off like she wanted nothing to do with me, but her eyes told me completely different.

“Even if you don’t want it, it still doesn’t mean that you don’t need it.. Just take it, I’ll feel better about myself knowing it went to a better cause than the dumb shit I would blow it on,” I replied, enjoying the amount of time she was spending looking at me, but she soon shut her eyes and shook her head.

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“No, I can’t..” She replied, opening her eyes and pushing the money back towards me, but I stopped her, placing my hand over hers and her expression went slightly surprised.

“Please, take it.. I want you to be happy and keep you less stressed about the debt.. I don’t want you to have to live paycheck by paycheck, and I never want you to worry whether or not you have enough money to take care of Oliver.. I want you to be able to get him whatever he needs.. Just use it,” I confirm, not taking ‘no’ for an answer.

“I can’t pay you back, Gareth.. At least not anytime soon,” she replied quietly, as if ashamed of herself, but I rubbed my thumb against the back of her hand with a smirk on my lips.

“I never asked you to pay it back, I wouldn’t want you to anyways,” I replied with a reassuring smile, seeing a tiny smirk on her lips as she nods and pulls the money towards her, opening her register and tucking it under the money drawer to hide it.

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“Thank you.. This is going to help out immensely..” She said softly and I smiled, “Now.. I hate to be rude after you being so generous, but I think it’s best if you left now,” she continued, avoiding eye contact with me and she turned around to go back to cleaning the bakery, but I stopped her by grabbing her hand.

“Wait.. I don’t want to leave just yet.. There’s still something I wanna talk to you about,” I encouraged, though when I saw her expression grow a little saddened, I let her hand slip out of mine when she went to walk away once more. Are we.. Are we not even going to talk about what happened Sunday?” I asked, seeing her stop in the middle of the kitchen and she turned to face me.

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“There’s nothing to discuss.. Seeing as I made myself perfectly clear before I went inside that night. You never let me finish my sentence that night, either, because it.. It was a mistake,” she replied, seeing the frustration in her eyes, but I didn’t believe her words.

Are you really going to stand there and tell me you haven’t thought about me once since Sunday? If it really was a mistake, then why have you been thinking about it ever since I came in through those doors? Hell, it’s all that I’ve been thinking about..” I replied, seeing her avoid eye contact with me and I knew she couldn’t deny it, “Come on, Hannah, I know you’re a bad liar. I can’t be the only one here that doesn’t regret what happened,” I continued and she still couldn’t look at me.

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“I never wanted to do that..” Hannah replied and I stood from the bar stool, getting slightly angered by how she kept trying to deny me when I knew she didn’t want to. 

You kissed me, remember? I gave you the chance to either take or leave it and you took it without hesitating even five seconds. Don’t even fucking use the word never in that sentence again,” I replied and she still looked away from me, unable to challenge my words.

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“..It wasn’t until after that I realized it was a mistake, I can admit that much at least.. I’ve been feeling empty a lot lately, but that still doesn’t mean I need you to be the one that swoops in and fills that void,” she replied, looking back up to me and her expression held remorse.

“And I think that I’m exactly what you need,” I state with a straight face, seeing the glint of conflict in her eyes that I remembered seeing Sunday night, “At least I’m confident enough to acknowledge what I’m feeling.. And I feel like you’re what I need, too,” I continued, smirking softly as I watched her turn around and try to ignore my words by cleaning things that were already spotless and putting things away that could’ve been left out.

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I crawled under the counter and walked slowly through the kitchen towards her, “I don’t regret kissing you and I don’t regret letting myself feel this way about you when I know I shouldn’t.. But, I can’t help what I like, and I can’t help wanting to kiss you a lot more because I don’t think I could ever have enough of you,” I continued, surprised at myself by how easily all of those words came out once I started them, yet Hannah still didn’t face me. “Hannah, say something..” I let out a nervous chuckle, “I’m starting to feel like an idiot here..” I finished, standing there a moment as I watched her. The silence was deafening, but I still waited what seemed like minutes but was only a few seconds, finally seeing her set aside the sponge she was cleaning with.

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“I.. I’m not proud of what I did, and I feel like I’m failing at everything I do or want to achieve.. But, I hate how I can’t stop thinking about it, either, when I know it’s wrong.. Nothing’s changed at home, things are still rocky and I’m still the bad guy for wanting a little more time with someone I thought would do anything for me, but it’s still too much to ask for,” she answered quietly and I stepped closer to her, putting my hands on her shoulders and dropping them down her arms slowly in a comforting manner.

“You’re not failing at anything, and I don’t think you should regret it.. You’re only human, Hannah, you just acted on it because it’s what you wanted.. You succeeded at getting me hooked on you, in my book that’s a success, not a failure.. Haven’t you wanted it more all week? ..Don’t you want it now, too?” I asked softly, feeling her begin to relax a little. “Have you ever thought that maybe it’s not too much to ask for, since I’m the one who wants to do anything for you..? And I’m right here, trying to prove it,” I continued.

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I pressed the front of myself against her back and my hands slowly left her arms, sliding over her waist and to the front of her stomach, holding her from behind and I nuzzled into her neck gently, “I’ll give you one chance.. One chance to tell me to stop.. Tell me you don’t want me. Tell me you want nothing to do with me and I’ll leave you alone.. I’ll let you go back to the boring, lonely life you have now where the only loving relationship you have is with your son.. No more fun, or excitement.. I won’t touch you anymore, or kiss you,” I paused, brushing her hair out of my way with my nose and I kissed her neck softly.

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I felt her begin to lean back into me more and the back of her head met my shoulder, continuing to kiss her neck and I knew she wasn’t going to take the chance I had given her, not with how I was treating her. I knew it was a gamble to give her the option to tell me to stop, but when I realized she wasn’t going to take that chance as long as I kept making her feel like this, I made it my new goal to keep making her happy so she wouldn’t have to say it.. I knew she wouldn’t mean it if she said it now, anyways, and the only reason that she would tell me to stop is if she couldn’t handle the pleasure I was about to cause her to feel, “Let me make you feel good.. Let me take you away from all of this, if only for a little while,” I whispered against her skin. I continued to hear no complaints from her and I decided that I’d try again at what I had attempted Sunday night, unable to hold back as I looked down the front of her and noticing her body was begging to be touched.

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My hand slid up her stomach slowly and I gripped one of her breasts as I continued kissing her neck, the fabric of her shirt keeping me from touching her skin, though it wasn’t hard for my thumb to find her taught nipple and I could hear her breathing beginning to get heavier as I played with it. I was beyond turned on and my heart was still beating quick around her, I couldn’t calm myself down ever since I stepped foot in here and all I did now was hope that I wouldn’t find a way to ruin this for us. I’d make damn sure not to ruin it.

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I pressed myself against her in a gentle thrusting motion, causing her to be pressed up flush against the counter and I stopped kissing her neck, my own breathing getting heavy like hers. I looked to the side of her face as my other hand that was unoccupied slid down her stomach, my finger tips finding their way down over the fabric of her shorts and I rubbed over the fabric gently between her legs. I smiled slightly as I continued to breath heavily against her jaw and the more I played with her, the more her body responded, pressing her bottom against my pelvis and even arching her back whenever I hit a sweet spot that she seemed to greatly enjoy. 

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As much fun as this was and for how long I’ve been waiting to do this, I couldn’t help but feel less connected to her as she faced away from me. I don’t know why kissing mattered to me right now, usually I’d be fine with this lack of intimacy and usually I’d prefer to do things like this from behind, but I wanted to look at her, I wanted to see the pleasure in her expression and I wanted to see the enjoyment in her eyes as a result of what I was doing to her.

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I let go of her breast and removed my hand from over her shorts, turning her around quickly and we looked at one another for a split second, both having the same idea and she brought her hands to the sides of my face to pull me into a deep kiss. It grew rough within seconds as my tongue played with hers and the way she panted against my upper lip caused one of my hands to slip behind her, gripping her bottom and pulling her pelvis into mine to show her my growing excitement for her.

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I continued our rough kiss as my hands went all over her, unable to pick just one spot on her to touch and I could hear her letting out faint moans as the kiss only grew better and better. When there was no where else to go but forward, I slowly slid my hands from behind her to the front, undoing her button and zipper and trying to pull down her shorts, but before I could, she stopped my hands and pulled away from my lips just barely, “Not out here,” she said quietly against my lips and I smiled as I kissed her again.

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“Then where?” I asked, feeling her kiss me a few more times before she pushed me off of her gently and took my hand, pulling me away from the kitchen and we climbed under the counter, Hannah guiding me towards the back of the bakery. I noticed her glance towards the thin glass door that led to her office, knowing she was checking on Oliver and I did as well, noticing he was still sound asleep in his bed. She continued to pull me towards the back and she brought me into a small room where she kept all of her extra supplies, quickly reaching behind myself and shutting the door behind us. I searched frantically for the light, turning it on when I had finally found it and going to her within seconds, my lips crashing back into hers. Everything seemed to be moving pretty fast as we then began removing one another’s clothes, but in no way was I going to pull back and suggest we slow down, in fear that she might cave in again like Sunday and make me leave, and there was no way in hell I was leaving now.

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Hannah began undoing the rest of the buttons on my over shirt as I then pulled her shorts down and they fell to her feet, removing my flannel and going to her shirt next, breaking the kiss as I removed it. I stood there in slight awe as I looked at her body, feeling her hands then gripping the bottom of my other shirt and pulling it over my head. I pushed my lips back into hers and put my hands to the back of her thighs, lifting her up and setting her on the counter top, positioning myself in between her legs and roughly pulling her panties off to get them out of the way. I undid my pants and pulled them down slightly, revealing myself and wanting to ploy into her, though I hesitated and pulled away from the kiss for a moment..

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The look in her eyes was priceless and I smirked softly as her expression begged me to keep going, “W-What- What is it?” She asked quickly through her panting excitement, wrapping her legs around me and almost pulling me into her herself.

“I wanna hear you say it.. Tell me you want me.. Say it..” I demanded, and without hesitation, I got a response.

“I want you, Gareth, I want-” She whispered, but I didn’t need to hear it twice, taking her that instant and she let out a moan but covered her mouth, trying to keep quiet in a small room that shared a wall with her office that Oliver slept in. I couldn’t even begin to describe how great this felt, it was hard for me not to smile as I looked into her eyes and could tell that I was doing everything just right. Her cheeks were turning a soft pink the more I looked at her and I could feel mine warming up as they did the same, reaching up to pull her hand away from her mouth and I kissed her hard as I continued my pace.

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I was beyond satisfied with how well talking to her went and I wished that I had came to the bakery sooner to talk to her if I knew this was going to be the result. Each kiss we shared was powerful and she made me feel like I was the only one that mattered to her every time I looked in her eyes. We were impossible to avoid, from the moment I laid eyes on her, I knew we’d wind up like this down the road sometime. It was all inevitable, even Gibson shouldn’t be surprised if he should ever find out, but I was aiming at him never knowing and I wanted to keep it that way so Hannah and I could continue this. As much as I actually kind of did want to be with her and wanted them to break up so I could have her to myself, the sensation I got out of knowing that he had no clue this was happening was overwhelming and the thought of it only made this more exciting.

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I tried to hold back a little, wanting to make this last as long as I could, but the moment I heard her tell me she was close, the sudden sensation of pleasure hit me like a brick wall and we finished simultaneously, Hannah about to let out a loud moan but I stopped her from doing so with another hard kiss. Even after we were done, I remained there with her, not wanting to end the now passionate kiss we were sharing and I surely didn’t want to leave just yet, but I knew I had to so she could get home and we both could avoid any suspicion. I pulled away slowly from the kiss and listened to Hannah’s quick breathing for a moment, “That was.. Wow,” Hannah said quietly, trying to catch her breath as I laughed softly. I looked at her for a few more moments, admiring the look she was giving me and I leaned in, kissing her gently for a few long seconds before pulling away and helping her off the counter so we could get dressed.

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Hannah and I finished getting dressed and I looked to her, motioning with my head for her to come over by me and I watched as she smirked and did as I requested. I leaned against the counter and wrapped my arms around her waist, pulling her into me, “I can come back soon with more money whenever you need it.. Or if you just want more of me, whichever comes to mind first..” I say with a grin and she smiled shyly, “ Would you like that?” I asked, staring at her lips and pushing some of the hair away from her face.

“We’ll see what happens.. I might be calling you sooner than you think,” she teased and I chuckled.

“I’ll be looking forward to it,” I reply, brushing my hand back behind her head and pulling her into a long kiss. Her lips were the one thing about her that were impossible to hold back from, I found myself constantly wanting to kiss her every time I found a good opportunity and I loved that she let me whenever I wanted it.

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I didn’t want to leave and I didn’t want to stop touching her or kissing her, Hannah seeming like she felt the same the longer she remained in the storage room with me, but our kiss came to a quiet halt when we both heard Oliver in Hannah’s office waking up and looking for her, “Mommaaa?” He called for her, able to hear his loud plea through the thin wall and Hannah pulled away from me, wanting to rush to the door to go to her child like the good mother I knew her to be, but I followed her and grabbed her wrist, pulling her back to me for one last kiss before I knew I’d have to leave.

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Hannah pulled away from me and began walking backwards towards the door, “I’m going to him in my office and I’ll make sure he’s not facing the doorway so he can see you, but.. Count to ten or something, then leave, okay?” She instructed and I smirked, nodding in understanding and she smiled softly towards me before leaving the room and going to Oliver. I let out a soft sigh, keeping my smirk as I stood there and I began counting up to ten like she had asked before leaving.

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After my ten seconds were up, I turned the light off within the room and left it, walking slowly towards the front door while looking back at Hannah’s office until I could see Hannah. She soon came into my view and I noticed she was holding Oliver where he wasn’t facing towards me, taking that as my leave and I quickly unlocked the door and left the bakery. I walked off the deck and back towards my car where I had parked about a block away, unable to wipe the smirk off my face as I relived every moment of what had just happened in my head.

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I drove home and pulled into the parking lot, getting out and walking down the long dock to the house I now share with Nina and our daughter, Kat. I hated living with Nina, I knew I would when I had asked her to move in with me, but I never thought it would be this bad. We fought a lot, but that’s just because she doesn’t think I’m a good father and she claims I’m absent all the time, too, but how could I not be when I live with two girls that do nothing but drive me crazy? Occasionally, and I do mean only occasionally, I’m able to tolerate Kat, but Nina..? Hardly ever anymore do I even care what she says or thinks. I’ve been meaning to make her move out because I now realize what a huge mistake this was moving in with her, and I don’t really care if she takes Kat with her and I never see them again, but I just want more space and I’d much rather go back to living alone like I was without Gibson rather than have these two living with me. They’d probably be better without me anyways..

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I walked into the house and towards the living room, seeing Nina in the kitchen getting food ready for her and Kat and she looked up to me briefly, “I didn’t think you’d make it in time for dinner.. Where have you been?” She asked, continuing whatever she was making.

“I’m not hungry,” I reply, hardly answering her question and I continued into the living room, seeing Kat on the floor playing with her dollhouse, but she stopped to look at me and smile.

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“Kat, show Daddy your new dress,” Nina said sweetly from the kitchen, ignoring my response and I watched as Kat popped up from off the floor and stood there, putting her arms out and showing off her dress, but I didn’t really know what to say.

“Ohh.. Wow..” I said softly, unamused, yet she still continued to stand in one place, “..You just going to stand there or are you going to twirl or something?” I asked and she made an excited expression as if I had given her a great idea. I watched as she twirled for a few seconds, getting dizzy quickly and she soon lost her balance and toppled over, but I knew she didn’t hurt herself. I laughed softly as I walked over to the couch and she didn’t cry from her fall when she looked up and saw my smile; I’ve already learned that if you make a big deal about them potentially getting hurt, they only cry if they see you freak out, so I tried my best never to do it, but it’s not like it was hard to do.. I didn’t exactly care enough, either, to freak out like Nina did.. Kat surprisingly always wants to impress me for some weird reason, and she does anything to make me happy, just like her mother used to.

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“Daddy, Daddy! Come play!” She called out and I fell down onto the couch face down, letting out a groan and I turned my head towards her and watched her run over to me. Kat stopped by my head and I looked to her, shutting my eyes when I felt her hands on my face, trying to wake me up and get me to play with her, but I was a little exhausted by everything that happened today and wanted to be left alone so I could whisk myself away in my thoughts where Hannah was and my family wasn’t.

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“Not now, Daddy’s tired and wants to just lay here.. Go ask Mommy to play,” I replied, reaching up to get her annoying hands away from my face.

“But.. She’s busy!” She answered, hearing the sad tone in her voice and I opened my eyes to look at her again, seeing her expression growing angry and she began to pout but it still didn’t sway my answer.

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“I said no. Now either go play with Jess or go play by yourself, ’cause I’m not going to,” I stressed and she got even angrier at my answer.

“Fine!” She said loudly, hitting my face as she said it and she went to run away, but I didn’t let her get far.

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“Ow! You little-” I voiced angrily, sitting up quickly to grab the back of her dress and pulling her back to where she just was and making her face me.

“Let gooo! My dress!” She complained, but I ignored it completely.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, you brat? You don’t hit me.. Ever.. You got that?” I said sternly with anger and just my tone I used with her made her eyes water and she began sobbing softly, but seeing her cry never made me weak, “What do you say now?” I asked in a demanding voice, seeing tears falling down her cheeks, “Huh? Are you deaf now? ..Can’t talk anymore? Say you’re fucking sorry or go to the corner and face the wall until I tell you you don’t have to anymore.. Now,” I continued, letting go of her dress and she ran off and away from me crying, not apologizing and not going into the corner like I had told her to, but running towards the kitchen to go to Nina.

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Fuckin’ brat..” I voiced angrily under my breath. I looked towards the kitchen and I could see Nina giving me a judgmental stare whenever she looked up from the food she was making which only made me more mad, “What? Don’t give me that fuckin’ look.. I’m teaching her discipline, but she doesn’t listen, and when she doesn’t listen, you don’t even help, you just stand there and let her do whatever the fuck she wants.. So don’t give me that stupid fuckin’ stare of yours like I’m the asshole right now,”  I encouraged harshly, wanting her to quit while she was behind.

“Gareth, she’s just a baby still.. She’s almost two and a half and all she wanted to do was play with her father..” She tried to reason, but her logic was irrelevant and idiotic.

“And when I didn’t want to, she hits me.. You’re just going to leave that part out? Whenever I say no, she’s allowed to hit me in the face now? Is that it?” I wondered sarcastically.

“That’s not what I’m saying..” She said with a sigh, looking away from me and I only grew angrier.

“Then get to the damn point, Nina, ’cause whatever you were trying to say doesn’t make any fuckin’ sense,” I spat back.

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“I’m.. I’m just trying to say that maybe you should just play with her sometimes, you hardly ever do.. Maybe she does that because she’s angry with you saying no all the time,” Nina answered, soon looking up to me from the counter and I looked back at her, a sarcastic smirk slowly forming on my lips and she knew what was about to happen; the inevitable daily, if not hourly, fight. “Please, Gareth.. Let’s discuss this later after Kat is in bed, okay..?” She continued, seeing her trying to focus on something else that wasn’t me, but I chuckled softly at how pathetic I thought it was for her to think that this was over just because she said so. That’s never how anything worked in this house, and I never knew why she even tried to ever reason with me or try to come out ahead.. It never worked.

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“You know what? Her punishment can be going to bed without dinner. That way she’s getting punished and we can talk about this stupid bullshit sooner because I’d rather get it out of the way right now so I don’t have to bore myself to literal death before bed,” I replied, standing from the couch and walking over towards the kitchen.

“Gareth, no, that’s not an option.. She needs to eat,” she said as if I was stupid and I scoffed while rolling my eyes.

“Jesus, don’t be so fucking dramatic, Nina.. She’d be crying in an hour anyways and you’d feed her then. It’s called ‘holding out’ so she’s taught a lesson.. I feel like I’m a better parent without even fucking trying..” I said angrily and her expression went offended.

“Wow, this again? You are definitely not the better parent..” She tried to challenge me and I chuckled.

Anyways.. Let’s try to stick to one subject this time.. If you just put her to bed now, like I had fuckin’ said, it would give us plenty of time for us to talk about this bullshit and get it out of the way.. Hell, it might even help me fall asleep faster, so let’s talk about it soon, okay? I’m getting tired already,” I said humorously, yet she wasn’t amused.

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“..And, it’s not bullshit, it’s a way to work through a fight if we just take the time to talk to one another instead of yell in front of her.. It’s better if she’s asleep so she doesn’t hear it like she does all the time already, which is why I wanted to wait until later to discuss it,” Nina answered, beginning to get angry herself and I chuckled again.

“What’s there to fight about exactly, Nina? I was trying to make my daughter see that it’s not okay to hit me if she doesn’t get her way and you’re mad at me for that? Who gives a fuck if I don’t spend time with her? It’s no excuse to let her treat her Dad that way,” I pointed out, seeing Nina shake her head in aggravation.

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“So now you want to act like her father..” She mumbled under her breath, but I heard every word.

“..Act like? ..What’s that supposed to mean? It’s obvious that I am, I’ve never tried to disprove that and I’ve never doubted that she was..” I said back with rage, yet as I stood there, my slight smirk returned as I thought of what to say next.. “You wanna know how I know I’m her father, even without you ever needing to tell me outright? ..It’s because you were a pitiful, naive nineteen-year-old who was obsessed with the older twenty-three-year-me who only wanted to hit it and quit it and you would literally do anything I fucking said.. It was so pathetic, there’s no way you could stray from me because you hung onto me like a fucking plague and you knew if you ever slept with anyone else, I’d leave your ass quicker than you could say groveling bitch and you could never bare losing me.. That’s how I know..” I finished with a cocky grin.

“But it’s perfectly fine for you to do that, isn’t it!? Just because you never felt that way about me like I did for you!” She snapped, hardly ever hearing her raise her voice and I was a little surprised by her and her words.

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“..What..?” I asked, wanting her to explain, still hearing Kat shedding slight tears and I wasn’t sure how much longer I could stand either of them.

“Don’t even play dumb.. You left the house earlier looking fine, but you came back with your undershirt inside-out.. So, yeah.. I guess you actually are the asshole in all of this..” She said quietly, watching as she picked up Katalina in a hurry and left behind the food she had made. I looked down at my shirt and noticed she was right, seeing the seems of the shirt on the outside like they weren’t supposed to be. I guess neither me or Hannah noticed because we were so engulfed in the moment.. But, even still, I couldn’t let her have the last word, it’s not like I even cared that she knew I was cheating on her now, but I thought she was stupid for not realizing it sooner after all these years of being with her.. I haven’t exactly been trying to hide it, she must’ve just been in denial this whole time until now.. Either that, or she really was that dense like I had known her to be.

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“Is this seriously the first time you’ve ever noticed?” I asked with a sarcastic chuckle, watching her walking out of the kitchen, but my words slowed her down.

Nina looked back to me and her expression was hurt, but in no sense of the word did I feel any remorse, “I honestly don’t know what I saw in you when I was younger, but clearly you saw yourself in everyone else but me,” she insulted and I laughed.

“That’s probably the cleverest thing that’s ever come out of your mouth,” I replied with another soft laugh and she only grew angrier, “Weren’t you in the middle of leaving? Please, don’t let me hold you up any longer,” I continued with a sarcastic grin, watching her get fed up with me.

“You have no heart or soul! You’re just.. Dead inside,” she said with a sense of sadness, turning around to leave with Kat in her arms and I only laughed more. This was turning out to be more amusing than frustrating now.

“It’s what you fell in love with, baby!” I called back with a sense of pride, hearing her leave and slamming the door behind her. Finally, some peace and quiet..

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I let out a relieved sigh as I walked over to the living room and took a seat in one of the chairs, glad that I could finally have some time to myself without being nagged at to eat dinner or pestered to play with dolls. My mind instantly went to Hannah and even with how hard my heart was beating from getting so mad at Nina, Hannah still had the ability to make it beat faster. I couldn’t forget the smell of her hair or the taste of her skin.. Her neck was slender, long, and a great spot to kiss so I could weaken her worries and be given the chance to show her a side of me that I didn’t even know existed. She made my insides twist but they didn’t hurt, she made my head light but I never felt faint, and her lips made me weak but I’ve never felt stronger.. I guess I kinda liked how it all felt.

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I got up from the chair and went back over to the couch where I was earlier, falling down onto my back and I ran my hand through my hair as I continued to think about Hannah. It wasn’t hard to believe why Gibson had fallen for her, she was perfect in so many ways and it was hard to pick just one thing about her to call a favorite. It bothered me a little that I couldn’t call her and tell her to come over, knowing full well that it wouldn’t be okay to do that, and I hated how I had to wait for her to make contact first.. It’s only been an hour since I’ve seen her and already I could feel myself getting pent up, wanting her for release. Although I finally had gone all the way with her, it ended too fast and I wanted to spend hours more exploring her to the best of my ability. Hannah was most certainly my greatest infatuation, and I wasn’t quite sure when or if it would ever stop.. I kinda hoped it never would.

Generation 3, Chapter 16

Gibson’s POV

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Sunday’s were the one day I had off of work from the bookstore, so I took the opportunity every Sunday morning to sleep in as long as I could. I looked up at the clock on the wall and it read a little past nine, taking a deep breath in and letting it out heavily as I continued to relax. Every occasional Sunday, however, the owner of the store needed me to come in to receive shipments or let in an electrician to work on broken or worn out lights, I just hoped today wasn’t one of those Sunday’s. 

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Hannah and I had saved up just enough money to invest in my idea for her to open her own bakery and to put a down-payment on a vacant lot, and within a year the business had begun to finally pick up. There wasn’t a single other place within Lucky Palms that sold homemade sweets and baked goods, so she had no competition, everyone loved what she made. With her bakery running well, and with how much time I had put into working at the bookstore, we made enough money to pay for our wedding. Hannah and I were doing as well as we could, though I wish I could be home more often. I open the store around six in the morning and we don’t close until seven, so by the time I get home every day, all I want to do is eat and sleep. After a while of being good at my job, the owner was open to my idea of closing the store on Sunday’s so people like me who work thirteen hours a day, six days a week, could spend time with their family. But, we still weren’t close to being perfect.

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I wish it was pure hard work and dedication that got us to where we are now, but it wasn’t, nor was it luck. It’s been a little over two years since the baby shower and with the hospital bills we had from having a baby, along with a few loans we had taken out to remodel the bakery, buy our new house and a new, safer car, we were up to our hips in debt. With how much we owed, it would be a long time before we could pay everything off and be able to get onto the positive side. This was usually the first thing that came to my mind every day when I woke up. In a way, it fueled me to keep working hard to make sure I could provide for my family, yet at the same time I regret the decisions we’d made in the past. As much as I wanted to marry Hannah, we should’ve spent that money we saved up on our bills to pay them off rather than spend what we had saved on the wedding.. It was all too much, too soon. I laid in my bed, eyes half open and I spaced out through the window, worrying about money on my day off. But, I tried not to think about it anymore, I had more on my mind than I’d care to admit, and today was not the type of day where I had the luxury to dwell on it by myself at work and away from my family.

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I had dozed back off for another hour and I was woken up by the sound of a gentle, sweet voice by the door to my bedroom. I was able to hear Hannah through the silence of the morning, whispering, “Go to Daddy, go wake him up..” I couldn’t help but smile. Without turning over to face the door, I shut my eyes again and tried to straighten out my expression, pretending to be asleep as I heard a tiny pair of footsteps running around on the floor and I moved closer to the edge of the bed without being noticed.

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I could hear them getting closer and I tried to not let my smile come back, hearing those tiny footsteps a little better now and the sound soon stopped at the side of my bed. I heard gentle pleas and noises coming from in front of me, then feeling tiny hands tapping against my arm and pulling at my hand, then fingers gripped the blanket and began to tug with minuscule force, trying to get my attention. 

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I began to hear gentle whimpering and the tugs began to get a little harder, deciding that my pretending had reached it’s end and I leaned over the bed, smiling instantly when my sight met my son’s and he smiled excitedly back. His hands went from open palms to closed fists repetitively as a means to tell me to lift him up and I couldn’t deny his plea, reaching down quickly and holding him above me as he giggled.

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I gently laid him down next to me on the bed, holding up his arms and I began doing soft raspberries on his stomach and he let out high pitched squeals of laughter while trying to break free from my grip by flailing his arms and legs. I could hear Hannah laughing softly by the door and I pulled away when I knew he had had enough, laughing softly as I looked down at him and I couldn’t describe the feeling I had whenever he looked back at me with eyes that gleamed a soft sapphire. I had been waiting so long to start a family, to have a child, and finally I could be proud enough so say that I had one.

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Our son, Oliver Theodor Dubois, was born a little over two years ago and I couldn’t have asked for anything better than him. His eyes reminded me of my father and he had the same hair as Hannah; a deep, dark brown with lighter brown spread throughout randomly, but he looked a lot like me despite the color differences of his eyes and hair.

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I looked towards the door where I saw Hannah approaching us, seeing her still in her nightgown and she crawled onto the bed with us with a smile on her face. I laid on my side with my hand around Oliver’s small torso, seeing his eyes going back and forth between Hannah and I. She laid down facing both of us and took Oliver’s hand within her own, bringing it to her lips and kissing the back of his hand a few times before looking to me then and keeping her smile, “Do you want any breakfast?” She asked.

“Yeah, tha’d be great,” I replied, keeping my smile as I looked to her, then back to our son lying between us.

“I’ll feed Oliver and make something, why don’t you shower and get ready for the party?” She suggested and I nodded in agreement. 

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Hannah rose back up and off the bed, picking up Oliver into her arms and kissing his cheek, “Let’s get you changed and then we can go make food for Daddy,” she told Oliver, walking towards the door and he didn’t take his eyes off me as he looked over Hannah’s shoulder, I smiling back at him as Hannah left the room with Oliver and then shut the door behind her.

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I let out a rush of air as I laid back down and took my time getting up to get ready, deciding to relax just a little bit longer. We hadn’t owned the house long, we moved in about a month ago and today we were finally moved in enough to throw a housewarming party and have my family come over to celebrate us finally getting settled in. Bennu and Bahiti were coming, along with Gareth and Nina and their daughter, my niece, Katalina. As much as I wished it was going to be a relaxing day at home so I could spend time with Oliver,  I hadn’t seen my family in a few months, it’ll be good to spend some time with them as well.

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I finally worked up the strength to get out of bed and I went to the bathroom within our room, starting the shower and stepping in when it was hot enough. I showered for about fifteen minutes, then went to my room again and tried to pick out a casual outfit, something comfortable. I walked out of the room and down the hallway, coming into the large, open living area and I could see Hannah making food and Oliver was in his high chair, eating whatever Hannah had given him.

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I walked up to Oliver and he smiled, reaching for me to lift him up and I did, tickling him gently on his side.

Did he eat everything?” Hannah wondered as she finished cooking, putting plates down on the counter with pancakes, eggs and bacon and I nodded.

“Yeah, just about,” I replied, kissing Oliver’s cheek before passing him off to Hannah.

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“I’m going to put him in the playpen and then go change and get ready, will you watch him while you eat?” She asked.

“Yeah, I can do that,” I replied, watching her take him over to the play area and I took my seat at the counter, beginning to eat the meal in front of me. Although I couldn’t see Oliver from where I was, I was constantly keeping my ears open as I ate, listening to him playing and waiting for him to request to be let out like I knew he would soon. 

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Thankfully, today he let me finish breakfast and even clean the dishes before he began seeking attention, wiping off my wet hands on a towel and walking over to the playpen he was in. His expression was desperate and you’d think we’d left him alone for hours by how torn up he was without someone to play with or be by, chuckling softly to myself when I lifted him up and he hugged me tightly as I brought him back over towards the living room. I turned the television on and placed him in my lap, putting on a kids show and he leaned back into me, the show able to grab his attention enough that I could just sit here and relax as I tried not to get too bored with the show. Even though I had woken up only an hour ago, I still felt tired and my head bobbed as my body threatened to fall asleep again, but I was woken up by Oliver every time with him yelling something out or him hitting my leg to get my attention, “Daddy, look, bunny! Bunny!”

“Yeah, Ollie, it’s a bunny,” I replied with a happy tone, giving him reinforcement that he did good at guessing the animal correctly.

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Hannah eventually came back from getting ready and by that time, Oliver was already napping in my lap and I had turned on a different show as I laid my hand over him to keep him in place and not fall off the couch. I smiled towards her as she walked over to us and she sat next to me on the couch, looking down at Oliver and brushing her fingers over his cheek. “I’m going to the store to get food and stuff for the party, do you want me to take him or can you watch him?” She asked in a whisper, still looking down at Oliver.

“I’ll watch him.. We can nap together,” I replied back just as quietly.

“Oh, you’re still tired?” She wondered, looking up to me with concern.

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“Just a little, I’ll be awake and ready before anyone even gets here though, don’t worry,” I answered, giving her a brief yet reassuring smirk.

“I’m glad you’re home, it’s going to be nice seeing you here for more than just a few hours,” she said with her own smile and I nodded in agreement.

“Believe me, so I am.. I always look forward to Sunday’s,” I reply, seeing her smile wider and she nods.

“Me too,” she said quietly, reaching up to touch my face and she pulled me into a soft kiss, then she leaned over to kiss Oliver’s forehead and stood up to leave, “I’ll be back soon,” she continued and I nodded, watching her walk to the door, grab her purse and leave. 

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I looked down to Oliver, brushing his hair with my hand and I contemplated how to position myself so I could lie down and nap with him without waking him up. He was such a light sleeper that sometimes even the tiniest of sounds woke him up and I was surprised that he didn’t wake up while Hannah and I were just talking.. I lifted my hands, but stopped, then again, and stopped, trying to figure out the best way to go about this.. I wanted to sleep with him so I was good for the party and if I woke him up, he’d be up for the rest of the day, I only had one chance at this to relax a little more on my much needed day off and I needed to get it right the first time. I finally figured out my approach, sliding my left hand under his back and I pushed it up until his head was in my palm, pulling him up slowly and then sliding my right hand under his bottom, leaning over so he met my chest.

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I pulled back slowly and turned slightly, laying down just as steadily until my back met the couch and my head touched the armrest, looking down towards Oliver and he was still asleep, though now laying on my chest instead of in my lap. I let out a relieved sigh, glad that I had pulled it off and that I could get about another hour of much needed sleep, and the one thing that made it better was I could enjoy it with my son.

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I was woken up by the sound of Hannah making food in the kitchen, looking down to my chest and seeing Oliver wasn’t there anymore. I sat up quickly and looked behind me towards the kitchen, “Where’s Ollie?” I asked Hannah in a slight panic and she looked over her shoulder towards me.

“In his playpen,” she replied casually.

“Was he asleep when you got here? He wasn’t awake and running around when you got home was he? I’m sorry, I was supposed to watch him,” I answered, seeing her smile and she stepped away from the oven to fully face me.

“Relax, he was fine.. He woke up when I walked through the door with the groceries,” she replied and I let out a sigh of relief.

“Good.. When is everyone supposed to be here?” I asked next.

“About fifteen minutes?” She guessed and I was glad I had a little time to wake up some more before everyone got here. “I told everyone to bring their swimsuits, too, if anyone wanted to swim in the pool,” she continued and I nodded.

“Yeah, good idea.”

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“Do you want any help in there?” I asked and she shook her head.

“No, it’s alright.. I’m almost done anyways, just relax a little longer,” she replied with a smile and I nodded, both of us hearing a timer go off and Hannah went to the oven to remove whatever she was cooking. I looked towards the playpen and saw Oliver, occupying himself with the sliding blocks and I smirked softly, turning my attention then to the television and watching the end of some random show while we waited for everyone to arrive.

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At one o’clock on the nose, I looked towards the front door and could see Bennu and Bahiti walking up, seeing me through the glass door and they both smiled, letting themselves in and I walked over to greet them. “Hey, you found the place,” I began with a smile.

“Gibson, this house is crazy! It looks so nice from the outside,” Bahiti began, then taking a moment to look around, “The inside is really nice, too,” she added and I nodded in thanks.

“It’s great to see you, Gibson, you bought a very beautiful home,” Bennu said with a smile, coming up to me for a hug and I hugged her in return.

“Thank you, we fell in love with it the moment we saw it,” I replied, “Hannah’s in the kitchen making food, why don’t you help her, Bahiti?” I suggested and she smiled and nodded, walking passed me and towards the kitchen.

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I watched as Bennu waited until Bahiti was far enough away before she looked back at me and I watched as she removed a small envelope from her purse and put it into my front left pant pocket before I could even look at it, already knowing then that it was a check and I tried to stop her, “Bennu, you don’t have to do that, really..” I tried to convince her, but she refused to hear my words, batting my hands away and continuing to put the envelope into my pocket, then pulling me in for another hug.

“Consider it a housewarming gift from your father and I,” she said softly as she held me and I sighed.

“Thank you..” I said quietly and she released me from the hug.

“You’re very welcome. Now.. Where’s my grandson?” Bennu asked excitedly and I chuckled, pointing over towards his playpen and she didn’t waste any more time with me, rushing over to him and giving him unconditional love the moment she picked him up.

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I watched as Bennu brought Oliver into the kitchen with Hannah and Bahiti and I took that time to adjourn to my room for a quick minute. I shut the door behind me and took out the envelope from my pocket, sighing softly as I opened it and looked at the amount, my eyes widening when I read that she had given us five grand.

Jesus, Bennu..” I said quietly to myself, opening the top drawer to my dresser and putting it underneath a stack of my folded shirts. I stood there a moment, putting one of my hands into my pocket and the other rubbed the side of my head in annoyance, hating that Bennu could see right through me. ..Actually, did she even know we were in debt..? How could she? Maybe it was just the overabundance of generosity that surprised me, maybe it is just a gift.. Whatever the reason there was behind it, I didn’t care that much the more I thought about it.. This money is one more step closer to being out of debt, and I was thankful for it.

“Where the hell’s Gibson?” I heard the question coming from the living room, knowing my brother had finally gotten here and I rid myself of any remaining negative feelings before leaving my room. 

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I walked out of my room and went towards the front of the house, seeing Gareth as I walked down the hallway and he looked towards me, seeing him smile and throw his arms up, “There you are, what the hell is all this? This place is huge,” he continued, pulling me into a quick hug.

“Glad you like it, watch the swearing, too, will you?” I asked and he chuckled.

“Your parental suggestions still fall on deaf ears, little bro,” he replied, patting me on the shoulder and I rolled my eyes.

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I looked past Gareth and saw Nina holding Kat, smiling as I walked over to them, “Hey, Nina,” I said warmly and she smiled.

“Hi, Gibson.. You’re new place is really nice,” she complimented.

“Thanks,” I replied, looking to Katalina and my expression went excited, “There’s my beautiful niece,” I said happily and Nina gave her to me, tossing her in the air and she laughed. I pulled her into my arms and kissed her cheek, then looked to her with adoration, “Are you going to go swimming today in the pool?” I asked and she smiled.

“Yeah, yeah!” She replied excitedly and I chuckled.

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“Hey, come on.. I want to talk to you still,” Gareth said, coming up to me and taking Kat from my arms and handing her back off to Nina, “Give us a minute,” Gareth said towards Nina and she nodded, walking away from us and towards the kitchen with everyone else. I didn’t like that he had taken her from me, I adored his daughter and her and Oliver got along extremely well already, I wanted just a few more minutes to talk to her, but I guess that was too much to ask from Gareth.

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“You can’t give me one minute to talk to my niece?” I asked with little patience and he scoffed.

“There’s time for that later, got anywhere we can talk in this huge place?” He wondered somewhat mockingly and I sighed heavily, nodding and motioning with my head for him to follow me and I walked down the hallway with him so we could talk more privately in the study.

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We got to the study and Gareth began instantly, “Hey, so, again, same question as before.. What the hell is all this?” He asked with a serious tone and I looked to him.

“What are you talking about exactly?” I asked in return.

“This place, Gibs, how the hell did you afford this house? Last time I talked to you, you and Hannah weren’t doing that well in the financial department.. Then the next thing I know, you buy a house..?” He questioned as if I was stupid, sitting on a couch within the room and I sat on the opposite one.

“We’re doing better now, don’t worry about it. It’s not any of your business anyways,” I replied shortly and he chuckled with attitude.

“So, when you weren’t doing well, you made it my business by venting to me about it and still not taking the fucking money I offered to you years ago, and now that you’re supposedly doing well, you’re an ass about it as if you don’t want to talk about it and you expect it not to be my business anymore?” He replied sarcastically and I looked to him, “You’re the one that let me in on what was going on.. Stop acting like you’re okay, I can see right through you better than anyone,” he continued to insist and I looked away from him.

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“Gareth, I don’t mind talking about it, but it’s not that.. I just don’t want to do it now. I haven’t seen you all in a while, and this is the one day I get to stay home with my family, I’d like to spend it with them rather than dwelling on shit that bothers me every day regardless,” I replied and he sighed.

“Just.. I want to know why you won’t take the damn money. If you guys aren’t doing okay then I’d be happy to help out, you kno-”

“Well, I don’t need your help,” I cut him off and he gave me a stern expression, “I don’t need you taking care of my family for me, it’s why both Hannah and I have jobs,” I continued.

“I’m not trying to take care of you, I’m looking out for you. It’s okay to ask for help sometimes, you know?” He replied, “Why the hell haven’t you taken the money, too, if you’re in such deep shit? You seem to have no problem taking money that Bennu gives you,” he continued and I looked to him in surprise.

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I furrowed my brow, “First of all, I never said we were in deep shit, and second, Bennu didn’t give us any money,” I lied, though I was mostly just trying to avoid answering his question and I heard him chuckle sarcastically to my response.

“Bullshit.. You threw a housewarming party, what the fuck do parents and other people give you for moving in? Money,” he replied, answering his own question for me.

“They give you new things like a microwave or, I don’t know, a goddamn toaster..”

And sometimes money, which if I know Bennu well enough, which I do, that’s exactly what she gave you.. So, how much did she give you? I could probably double it if you want..?” He asked and I kept my stern expression.

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“Now that, is none of your business, and I don’t want your money,” I replied.

“See? I knew she did..”

“Fine, she did, now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to spend time with my son by the pool on my one day that I have off from work,” I reply, beginning to walk away from the couch.

“Gibs, come on, don’t be like that.. Just talk to me,” Gareth said as he watched me walk away, but I continued out of the study and left him there.

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I began walking down the hallway and saw Bennu and Bahiti approaching me, having Oliver and Katalina in their arms and they stopped me, “Where’s the bathroom in this place? We wanna change into our bathing suits,” Bahiti wondered and I looked behind me.

“First door on your right, Oliver’s room is the second door if you want to go in there and find his suit in his dresser,” I replied and they nodded in return, walking passed me and following my directions.

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I continued towards the living room where I saw Hannah walking out of the kitchen, “Where are you off to?” I asked.

“Changing into my bathing suit, too, I haven’t swam with Ollie in a while and I’d like to on a nice day like this, you should swim with us, too,” she replied with a smile.

“Do me a favor and wear something not that revealing,” I requested and she gave me a bored expression.

“Gibson, don’t start this again.. I only have one bathing suit, anyways.. What else am I going to wear..?” She tried to contest but I stopped her.

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I don’t know.. But you know how my brother can be, I just don’t want him to have any more reason to gawk at you.. He does it enough already right in front of my face,” I continued.

“Doesn’t matter what she wears, bro, she looks good wearing anything,” Gareth answered before Hannah, hitting my back playfully yet it was harder than it needed to be, watching him walk passed us but he looked back at me and gave me a serious glare behind Hannah, in whom which didn’t mind the compliment, getting into my head and I grew a little angry as he walked towards the kitchen and out the back towards the pool.

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“See? He knows it pisses me off, yet he still does it,” I continue with an angered tone and Hannah looked to me with a blank expression.

“I don’t care about how he looks at me, I care about spending time with my son and the ones I love.. Stop worrying about things that don’t matter and come out back by the pool with the rest of us,” she replied, not giving me a chance to say anything else as she walked past me and towards our bedroom. I wanted to follow her, I wanted to say so much more, but it would only result in an argument and I didn’t want to fight when everyone just arrived, taking a deep breath and walking towards the back of the house to go outside.

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I walked out to the back and saw Gareth sitting under the shade in a lounge chair, sighing softly to myself when realizing those were the only seats we had put out here and I wanted to sit, but not by him. I guess it wasn’t that bad, though I didn’t know what to say to him when I got there, and I wasn’t going to apologize for what I had said and he overheard. He knew it was the truth, and he didn’t give a shit. He never did, or would. But, I knew that it still bothered me and it was hard to talk to him when I was angry. I suppose I didn’t have any other choice though, and there was no use at trying to avoid him when at my own house. I finally continued walking around the pool and towards the lounge area and I could feel his eyes on me as I passed him, choosing to sit on the chair next to his and complete silence fell over both of us, my gaze falling to the water.

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I didn’t like this silence, and knowing the girls, they’ll take a little longer with changing since they had Oliver and Kat to change as well, guessing that either Nina or Hannah would be the first to come out. I tried to think about other things, trying to keep my mind occupied through this grueling silence, but it was harder than I thought when I knew he was looking at me. “So.. How are you and Nina doing?” I wondered, though I knew it was a pointless question to ask.

“..Fine.. Whatever,” he replied blandly, hearing him letting out a heavy sigh. After his reply, I grew even more discouraged at where this conversation was going, now hoping that someone, anyone, would come outside soon so I had someone else to watch or talk to.

“What about Kat?” I asked next.

“What, do you need new glasses? You saw her.. She’s fine, too,” he continued his blandness.

“I’m sorry,” I began sarcastically, “I barely got the time to ask her anything before she was ripped from my hands..”

“Oookay, bro,” he replied with annoyance and I sighed softly.

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I decided not to say anything after that, it was clear he didn’t want to talk just as much as I didn’t, so I decided not to waste any more words on him in trying to fake both of our underlining vexation. This was already turning out to be not such a great day and somehow I had the feeling it was only going to get worse.. I couldn’t quite decipher why, but I always had this off feeling in the pit of my stomach that made me worry, once a bad day starts, it doesn’t stop for me. Had my family not come over, Hannah wouldn’t be making me worried about what she’s going to wear in front of Gareth, I wouldn’t be a little angry with her at how much she doesn’t care that I don’t want her to flaunt herself like she sometimes tends to do in the presence of company, and I wouldn’t be mad at Gareth for disrespecting me by constantly eye-fucking my wife. I’d just be at home, without any of them but Hannah and Oliver, and soon I remembered why I hated family parties. However, Bennu and Bahiti were the only exceptions, so I suppose Gareth is the only factor that I didn’t care much for.

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Everyone had eventually came outside, Bennu getting into the water right away with Oliver and I was glad that I had other people to occupy my mind with rather than sitting in the awkwardly annoying silence I had with my brother. Oliver seemed to be having a lot of fun with Bennu, which made me a lot happier, then I looked over by Nina and Bahiti, seeing them talking by the edge of the pool and Kat was crawling around behind them. Hannah walked past Gareth and I and I noticed she didn’t look towards me, sitting on the far seat and beginning to put sunblock on her arms and legs. I sighed as I faced the pool again and continued to watch Bennu and Oliver, though I saw out of my peripherals Gareth sitting up and stretching, then laying forward over his legs.

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I knew it, I knew he was staring at Hannah and of course he didn’t care that he was doing it right in front of me. Around the time when he had first met her, I noticed he tended to look at her occasionally, but it’s been more and more obvious over the years and I still hated it every time it happened. “Do you mind?” I said quietly, though with anger.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he replied casually.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about,” I answered, still anger in my undertone and he chuckled.

“Stop freaking out, I’m looking at Kat,” he spat back, though it made me angrier knowing he was lying.

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When Hannah was done putting sunblock on, I looked to her as she rose from her seat and walked towards the poolside closer to where Oliver and Bennu were swimming, looking at her body as she stood there, yet I wished that I was the only one admiring it. Gareth sat up and I knew he was still looking at her, still angering me since he hasn’t taken his eyes off of her the moment she came outside. I wished she hadn’t worn that suit, even if it was her only one.. What surprised me slightly though was she didn’t so much as flaunt herself, but more so acted as if we weren’t even there and she acted normal, noticing that she wasn’t blatantly seeking the attention made me feel a little better, but I still wasn’t comfortable with this whole situation when I knew Gareth was watching her more than I was watching him, and I was watching him like a hawk.

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I tried to shake off my worries as I watched her sit on the edge of the pool and I looked to Bennu who was helping Oliver swim towards Hannah. “Mommy!” Oliver called out as he paddled his hands and feet, trying to swim to her with the help of Bennu and I smirked softly, beginning to relax a little as I watched my family playing together.

“Come on, Ollie, come to Momma! Swim, swim!” Hannah encouraged and my slight smirk grew into a smile as he tried harder for her to get to her quicker. Although I was still a little angry and a little on the agitated side, seeing Oliver smile was something that warmed my heart to the point where nothing else could reach.

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I looked down at the ground when I noticed Katalina crawling towards Gareth and I, “What the hell are you doing? You know how to walk, you’re going to scrape up your knees if you crawl too long on this stuff.. Get up and come over here,” he scolded her lightly.

“B-But.. Turtle!” She replied in contest, though she stood to her feet like he had told her to and went to him.

“I know, you’re pretending to be a turtle, but don’t do it on this.. You do that shit in the grass or on carpet,” he replied to her, picking her up off the ground and placing her on his right knee. I was a little surprised.. Though I hated how he used curse words around the toddlers, his logic and teachings weren’t wrong and I didn’t disagree with him on how he scolded her, yet I just wish he worded it differently or else she’s going to have the same foul mouth that he does when she grows up, and that’s no way for my beautiful little niece to be taught how to speak at such a young age..

“Didn’t I ask to cut back on the swearing?” I said softly and he scoffed angrily at me.

“Didn’t you also tell me to mind my own fucking business? Now mind your own.. Oliver can’t even hear me from over here, anyways,” he replied sternly and I didn’t reply, sighing softly as I continued to mind my business, though it was hard to with him right next to me.

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I looked over to them out of the corner of my eye and I could hear Gareth whispering to Kat, “See Mommy over there?” He questioned and she nodded, “Remember what I taught you at the beach the other day?” He questioned and she nodded again with an accompanied giggle that she couldn’t contain, “Go on, I’ll watch you.. Make Daddy proud,” he continued and I was curious as to what he was up to, nothing good, I’m sure.. Gareth placed Kat back onto the ground and we both watched patiently as she walked passed Hannah towards Nina and Bahiti. 

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When Kat reached Nina, I wasn’t expecting her to put all of her tiny toddler strength against Nina’s leg and we watched as Kat pushed Nina and she lost her footing, Nina letting out a gentle cry before falling into the pool and Gareth busted out laughing. My expression went surprised and I wanted to laugh, though the fact that I didn’t approve of what he told her to do kept me from doing so. “Gareth, that’s an awful thing to teach her,” I said in a disapproving tone and he ignored me, continuing to laugh and Kat looked back at him, smiling when she saw her father’s joy out of what she had just done.

“Good job, baby girl!” He called out to her, continuing to laugh and she laughed with him. 

Nina soon popped up from under the water and she didn’t look too happy, “Gareth! I know you taught her that!” She said angrily, but he still continued to laugh.

“What?! You’re wearing a bathing suit, what’s the big deal?” He replied through his laughter and she didn’t merit him with a response, climbing out of the pool with a sour look on her face. I was sure that she wasn’t mad at the fact that she had gotten wet, but by how Gareth was pretty much teaching Kat how to be a bully and his asshole personality was already rubbing off on her.. She was only two, what was she going to be like when she was seven? Thirteen? Our age? I worried a little for her, but it wasn’t my place to be her parent or to tell Gareth how to raise his child. I’d like to think that he’ll find out the hard way down the roads a ways when she hits puberty and he won’t be able to stand her because she’s just like him.

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Eventually, Oliver and Hannah were able to convince me to come swimming with them, going inside to change into my bathing suit and Gareth came inside to change as well when Katalina had convinced him to come and swim, too. We all spent a lot of time in the sun and in the water, enjoying one another’s company as the family day that I was beginning to hate was starting to get a little better now to my surprise. Hannah didn’t seem too irritated with me anymore and she let me hold her as she played with Oliver and I made faces behind her to make him laugh. 

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After the sun began to sink behind the large, desert orange mountains, one by one we vacated the pool to relax and dry off until Hannah and I were the only ones left swimming. I held her close to me and I could feel the slight guilt I felt from earlier coming back, “I’m sorry for before.. It’s just that you know how I get around him when he’s around you. I don’t like it,” I said softly so only she could hear my words.

“I know.. But you just have to try and not let it bother you.. We can’t invite everyone but Gareth, that would look terrible to everyone else. They’d all think there’s something going on between you two, or worse, the three of us, when there isn’t..” She replied and I soon nodded in agreement.

“You’re right, it’s just.. Very hard to ignore,” I replied and she sighed softly as she looked to me.

“Look, I can’t control what he looks at and I can’t change how I look, and even if I could, I wouldn’t, because it’s what got you to notice me,” she replied sweetly and I smiled.

“Well.. I guess I can understand that. ..You do look super hot in this bathing suit, too, I don’t know what was wrong with me when I told you not to wear it,” I answered and she giggled softly.

“If no one else was here, I wouldn’t be wearing it,” she hinted flirtatiously and I let out an intriguing ‘mmm’ with a soft chuckle following it, pulling her into a long kiss before soon helping her out of the pool and joining the rest of my family in the lounge area to dry off before heading back inside.

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After everyone was dried off and ready to come back inside, we all changed back into our regular clothes and sat in the living room together, deciding that a movie was a good idea for everyone. I sat by Hannah with Oliver in her lap, Bennu on the other side of the couch and Bahiti and Katalina were on the love seat together. I could hear Nina and Gareth talking in the kitchen behind us, though I couldn’t make out any of the words they were saying while the movie was playing.

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Gareth soon came into the room and Bennu grabbed his attention, requesting him to sit by her since she hadn’t spent as much time with him as she had with Hannah, Oliver and I, though I wasn’t pleased when he didn’t contest and he happily sat down between Hannah and Bennu. Nina then came into the room as well and went to Kat, taking her from Bahiti and announcing that she was heading home because she was tired and wanted Kat to get to bed on time. Everyone said goodbye to her and Kat and they left, though I was curious as to why Gareth was staying. Maybe he wanted to spend a little more time here with all of us and would get a ride home with Bennu and Bahiti, but him wanting to spend time with his family seemed a little too genuine for Gareth’s taste. I wanted to know what he was really up to and why he was staying.

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About half way through the movie, my cell phone began to ring and my heart dropped, seeing Hannah look to me instantly and I sighed, getting up from the couch and walking away from the living room as I pulled out my phone to see that the owner of the bookstore was calling me, “Shit..” I said under my breath angrily, answering the phone as I walked towards my bedroom for privacy. “Hello?”

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“Gibson, good.. Am I interrupting anything? I hope not.. Listen, I need you to come in for an hour or so, there’s a shipment of books coming in that I specifically ordered for a buyer who’s picking them up tomorrow morning when you open the store. This guy is holding them for me but he can only deliver them tonight and I need those books and that buyer to be happy. Do you think you could go to the store and get the books from him?” He asked and I sighed heavily.. As much as I appreciated the man letting me have Sunday’s off, there hasn’t been many Sunday’s where I didn’t go into work for at least an hour because of some bullshit he wanted me to do because he couldn’t or wouldn’t do it himself.

“Why can’t you, sir?”

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“I’m out of town at the moment and I won’t be back until tomorrow afternoon.. I need you to get those books tonight, hold them, then sell them to the buyer first thing in the morning.. I need this sale, Gibson, I’ll give you overtime for however long you’re there waiting for him. Can you do it?” He asked, his tone sounding somewhat pleading. I wanted to say no, I truly did, but when I had heard him offer me overtime, it was hard to resist when we needed the money.. “Gibson?” He asked and I sighed heavily once more.

“..Yeah, I’ll come in..” I replied with a defeated attitude, already knowing that Hannah was going to be furious.

“Great! Thank you. You’ve saved my ass a few times now, I owe you. I know you’ll do everything right, Mr. Perfectionist, that’s why I can always count on you. Thanks again!” He replied, hanging up before I could answer him and I put my phone away in my pocket.

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I turned to face the door and leave the room so I could tell Hannah I was leaving, but I stopped when I noticed her already in the room and she slowly shut the door, “Going somewhere?” She asked, though I know she already knew the answer.

“Hannah, I need to go to the store, it’s only for a short time, maybe an hour or so,” I tried to reason with her before this blew up into an argument, which is what I wanted to avoid at all costs, but who knew with us.. She and I were so opinionated that sometimes we tend to say mean things just to take jabs at one another the more we didn’t understand each other’s logic behind the reasons. 

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“An hour or so? Why do you even need to go at all? I swear, sometimes I feel like that damn bookstore is more important to you than we are,” she replied angrily and those words hit me hard.

“Do you even hear yourself? I work my ass off so we can have money to pay for debt that we got ourselves into, forgive me for wanting to take care of my family,” I said sarcastically and I knew it only made her more angry, but I continued, “He’s giving me overtime, and you know we need to money. I do this only for you and Oliver, nothing else. Not my own pleasure and not to get away from you guys.. Do you really think that I like being there? I admit that I used to love working there, I used to go there even when I didn’t have work, but when I met you, and especially after we had Oliver, I’ve hated this job from those moments on. There isn’t a day that passes that I hate myself for working so much that I barely see you two, but I do it for you two,” I tried to make her see my reasoning behind it, but she still seemed incredibly angry.

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I stepped closer to her and she avoided looking at me, watching her turn around to leave the room but I grabbed her arm and kept her from leaving, “Hannah, please don’t be mad at me for this.. I’ll make it up to you,” I tried to compromise, but she pulled her arm out of my grip.

“When? When are you going to have time to do that? You know, this doesn’t only upset me, it upsets Oliver, too. You and I aren’t the only ones who look forward to Sunday’s.. He gets excited all during the week that whenever Sunday comes, Daddy’s going to be home to play with him, and he’ll even be home to put him to bed and wish him goodnight.. He’s not a baby anymore, Gibson, he remembers things a lot better now and things stick with him. Do you want his first memory of you to be one where you’re never there?” She asked, her voice cracking a little and I knew she was getting more upset to the point where she wanted to cry, though her strong demeanor kicked in and she refused to do so in front of me.

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“Hannah, you know I don’t want that, but-”

But you’re going anyways..” She answered for me and I didn’t have anything else to say. She was right, I was still going to go, I needed to, I just wish she was willing to see my point of view before sweeping me under the rug, “Well, don’t be late for work,” she added sadly, turning around and leaving the room before I could say anything else or stop her. Even though I knew I was doing the right thing by going so I could make more money, I couldn’t help but wonder if I actually was doing the right thing by leaving them. I was hardly ever home, she was right, but for as much time I got to spend with Oliver today, I didn’t think anything of him wanting me to put him to bed or telling him goodnight. Was he really going to remember me as the Dad that was never there? Or would he eventually realize I wasn’t there physically, but in all other aspects, I was? If I quit my job to be home more often, we wouldn’t make enough money only on Hannah’s income and we’d go bankrupt in no time, but that option was completely out of the question.. Honestly, I’d rather keep my job, our house, her business and my family and never see them than live on the streets, struggling even more to get by and but seeing them all the time. I couldn’t do that to myself, I’d feel like a failure. I had too much pride to admit defeat, and I was even more determined now to go and do my job so we could keep everything and eventually pay off the debt that had now become the reason for most of our arguments. In the underlining of it all, that’s what it came down to every time.

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Hannah’s POV

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I walked out of the bedroom after arguing with Gibson, anger and angst consuming me as I walked towards the living room. I didn’t know what to do when I got there, my face cried ‘help me’ but I had to get rid of that demeanor before I walked in there and faced his family. I couldn’t let Oliver see me, and I knew that the moment he’d look at me, I’d start crying and wouldn’t know what to do. I couldn’t go back in the living room and act like everything was okay either, because whenever Gibson came out of the room and was going to leave, I’d cry then, too, and I’d be in the same situation. At this point, it’s safe to say that if anyone looks at me, I won’t be able to hold it back anymore. I tried to focus, keeping my eyes straight forward and taking a deep breath, trying to calm myself down before I entered the living room with Gibson’s family.

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I held my breath as I walked through the living room, trying to keep my eyes off of everyone. It worked for the most part, but when I noticed a head turn towards me out of my peripherals, I subconsciously looked up and Gareth was looking at me, his expression going from bored to slightly concerned when he noticed sadness in my eyes. I turned my head away and continued towards the kitchen, reaching the counters against the wall and I put my hands down on top of them, taking a few deep breaths as I felt my eyes begin to water. 

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I heard the movie end while I stood there after a few long minutes, hearing the television being turned off as well, “Hannah, sweety, are you alright?” I heard Bennu ask from the sofa and I cleared my throat quietly, trying my best to calm down and I hoped that my voice wouldn’t crack when I answered her.

“Yeah, I’m fine, thanks,” I replied, and although my voice didn’t crack, how I said it came off as the exact opposite of what I was hoping for.

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After a few more minutes of standing there, I finally had stopped crying, but the moment I heard Gibson coming out of the bedroom and into the living room, my tears began again and I walked over to the opening of the kitchen to the sun room. “Hey.. Sorry, but I have to go to work for about an hour.. You guys are welcome to stay if you want, I’ll be back soon, but if you leave, thanks for coming and I hope we can do this again really soon,” Gibson said to the room and I tried to wipe my cheek to get rid of a few falling tears as I then listened to everyone say goodbye to him. I could feel his eyes on me, standing there in my own aura of silence as it seemed to take so long for him to leave, but in reality was only a few seconds. The moment I heard his footsteps again and the sound the front door being opened and closed filled my ears, I realized I wasn’t okay enough to even face his family and I began to panic a little, knowing I’d be unable to say goodbye to them all while I was crying and I most definitely didn’t want to discuss what happened between Gibson and I like I knew Bennu and Bahiti would ask..

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I walked out the back towards the pool, I needed to get some air and the nights here in Lucky Palms had become my favorite ever since I moved here. I often came out here on a nightly bases, but of course Gibson would be sound asleep when it’s only about nine at night, tired from working all day. I admired him for working so hard, but it isn’t fair that I barely ever see him, and neither does Oliver, which worries me more. I understand that he’s working hard to pay off the debt that we’d managed to fall into, but I’d rather work to pay off this debt for fifty years slowly than be working to pay it off in only a few like Gibson insists on doing. “The sooner it’s gone, the better,” he sometimes says and as much as I agree with it, I still have my doubts since it’s done nothing but keep us apart. My bakery wasn’t open that long during the day, only because I can’t be away from Oliver as long as Gibson can and I’m a better babysitter than anyone we interviewed to watch Oliver, so I take him with me to work. I open around eleven and I close it around three or five, depending how busy I am on any certain day and depending on if Oliver is in the mood to stay or go home. I made sacrifices to earn less money to spend more time with my family, so why couldn’t he?

I soon heard the back door open behind me and I looked over my shoulder when I heard Oliver, “Mommaaaa,” he whined with a tired tone.

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I was a little surprised when I saw Gareth holding Oliver, “Hey.. Uhm, I got rid of Bennu and Bahiti for you, they said they had fun today.. I figured I’d stay and wait for Gibson to get back, if you’re okay with it?” He said quietly and I nodded softly, reaching for Oliver and Gareth handed him to me. “I could put him to bed if you want, give you some alone time out here if you need it.. Or, whatever you need,” he suggested with the same concern he had showed me when I had first walked into the living room earlier. I kissed Oliver’s cheek for a few long seconds then looked to Gareth, nodding softly.

“Sure, thanks..” I replied with a small smirk, looking to Oliver then, “Your Uncle Gareth is gunna put you to bed, okay? I love you, Ollie,” I said warmly, kissing his cheek once more.

“Love you,” he replied with a tired, soft voice, handing him back to Gareth and I watched as Oliver’s eyelids grew heavy and he rested his head on Gareth’s shoulder as they went back inside.

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I walked around to the other side of the pool, heading under the lounge area and taking a seat on one of the chairs, removing my high heels and setting them aside. I began rubbing my feet, working out any kinks I may have and trying to relax a little more now that I had some time to myself. I didn’t want to think about Gibson anymore, because no matter how hard I tried to make him see that this job isn’t worth being away from his family and barely spending time with his child, he still insisted that the money was more important.. Almost as if we’d hate him or think less of him if he took a few more hours off of work a week and made less money. I sighed softly, standing up and walking to the edge of the water, sitting down slowly and slipping my warm feet from the hot ground into the cool, still water of the pool. This helped me relax a lot more and I was able to soon find a slight sense of peace, my mind empty now and all I did was sit there in the silence of the night, wondering when all of this would be over and we could go back to living our lives like a normal, stable and healthy family.

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After about ten minutes to myself outside, I saw Gareth walking back through the house, walking to the back where I was and he came outside, seeing him searching for something and I had guessed it was me by how his searching came to end when he looked towards me, “Do you want any company..?” He asked from across the pool, thinking to myself for a moment.. Although I didn’t think I’d be very entertaining because of how I felt about what happened tonight, I didn’t want to turn him down when all I wanted to be was not alone like I always was every day of the week. I thought today would be different, but even though Gibson said he’d be back in an hour, I knew his boss would give him something else to do, and I couldn’t even guess when he would actually be home..

“Sure, why not..” I replied casually, watching as he then came around the pool like I had and he walked behind me towards the lounge area.

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I leaned back and looked behind me, seeing Gareth sitting on the same chair that I had, “Do you want to talk about it?” He asked softly and I shrugged.

“There’s not much to talk about, you know how he can be when it comes to work,” I replied, seeing Gareth nod with remorse.

“You’re right about that.. It sucks that he chooses to be away from you guys so much, it must get lonely around here a lot,” he continued and I watched as he began untying his shoes and taking them off, along with his socks as well and he tossed everything aside.

“Yeah, it really does.. I just care about what this is all doing to Oliver, or will do to him if Gibson continues working such ridiculous hours.. I feel like Oliver barely even knows him,” I replied, watching as Gareth then rolled up his pants to just under his knees and he rose from the chair, walking up to the edge of the pool and sitting down next to me. 

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“How are you dealing with all of this?” He wondered, dipping his feet in the pool with me and I looked to the water.

“I’m dealing with it as best as I can.. With an absent husband and a child I feel like I’m raising alone, there isn’t much else I’ve been thinking about lately..” I replied with a sense of longing. I didn’t want to appear weak or sad in front of Gareth, or act like I need any sort of saving from the situation I was in, though it was nice to talk about it with someone other than Gibson.. I enjoyed not arguing about all of this for once with someone who was willing to listen.

“I’m sorry.. For how much he used to talk about having a family, I’d never expect him to be so absent all the time when he finally has one..” He answered again with remorse, yet there was an underlining layer of disappointment in his tone.

“It’s okay.. It’s not your fault this is happening. He’s just.. A very driven person and it’s hard to make him see the downside to what he believes is an upside. He looks at extra work as a blessing or something, but he doesn’t see what it’s doing to Oliver.. Or me for that matter,” I retorted, my words trailing off a little as I reached the end of my response.

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“Well.. If it counts for anything, I like spending time with you..” Gareth replied, smirking softly to myself at his attempt to cheer me up and he continued, “I don’t know why he’s so okay with just leaving you home alone all the time.. It’s like he doesn’t even care how it makes you feel, just so long as he gets to work on time,” Gareth said with more disappointment and I began to get a little irritated, hearing him pretty much taking the words out of my mouth and I sighed heavily.

“How did you do it all those years living with him? I mean, you guys are twins.. You’ve been together since birth up until a couple years ago, how did you used to talk to him when he was fighting with you?” I wondered, trying to figure out if there was something else that drove him to feel this way and I needed Gareth to help me understand him better. I knew him as well as a wife should, but people act differently around certain other people.. I only assumed Gareth still knew him better than I ever would, and I was curious to know if he had always been this stubborn and constantly seeking approval or to feel accomplished by his own choice in actions, regardless of my opinion against or for his logic..

“He’s always been a straight A student and adamant about doing good at any job he got, he was always looking to be the best.. And I never won any fight against him. Ever. Even if I got the last word in on an argument about the fight, it never ended until he was ready for it to.. He’s really hard to persuade, and he’s even worse at seeing the reasons behind why someone is angry with him if he thinks they’re wrong,” he replied. I sighed softly to myself, looking up at the stars as I thought about Gareth’s words. I knew his words to be true, yet I suppose I just wish they weren’t.. Now hearing it from someone else besides thinking it myself, I wasn’t sure how much longer I could hold out like this, knowing now that my words were going completely unheard by Gibson and he was more so doing this for himself, if anything.. 

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“You know..” He began softly, looking down from the stars and I watched as he kicked his feet slowly through the water, “He told me about your guys’ money problems..”

“He did?” I asked with surprise, watching Gareth nod and I grew angrier with Gibson that he had told his brother the trouble that we were in. I was hoping to keep it between the two of us..

“Yeah.. I’ve been trying to help you guys out for years actually, but you know Gibson.. Too damn prideful to borrow or even take a generous gift like that, no matter how many different ways I phrase it for him.. My line of work makes me a shit ton of money, and it’s only about one job every couple of months.. If you really need help, I’m happy to do it, I figure it’s better to talk to you about this than Gibson since he’s refused to let me help him every time I’ve offered,” Gareth continued and I was in slight shock. Never once had Gibson mentioned Gareth offering him money to help us out and I was a little angry that he never even thought to talk to me about it. I admit, I didn’t feel good about borrowing money, let alone taking some without feeling I need to pay it back, but that’s what we were doing when we took out those loans, so why was Gareth’s generous offer of giving us the money to pay off those loans turned down? 

“I.. Don’t think I ever knew what you did for a living.. What is it?” I wondered and he gave me a smooth grin.

“If I told you I’d have to kill ya,” he replied with a chuckle and I laughed softly at his joke.

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“I.. I don’t really know what to say.. I want to thank you for how kind that offer is, but I don’t know if I can accept it either.. Not without talking to him first,” I replied.

“He didn’t talk to you about my offer ever,” he answered, making a good point and I grew slightly conflicted..

“If I took it and used it towards the debt, he’d definitely notice and want to know where the money was coming from..” I replied, wanting to take his generous offer that Gibson had apparently been turning down for years, but it still didn’t feel right..

“What if whenever you bring in money from the bakery, you can take a small chunk of the money I give you and just add it in, maybe a few hundred at a time or whatever? I’m sure he wouldn’t notice if you just tell him you’ve been getting more business..?” He suggested, and to me, it didn’t seem like that bad of an idea anymore.

“But, well.. How would you get the money to me? Gibson would get suspicious if you came over when he wasn’t home,” I replied.

“I’ll come visit you at the bakery.. I’m home all the time, it’ll give me a reason to get out of the house and see my nephew more, too, instead of just sitting on my ass all day,” he answered with a chuckle and I smiled, “Plus, seeing you more is a whole other reason in itself for me to want to drop by,” he answered with a charming grin and I could feel my cheeks getting warm. I was glad it was late at night so he couldn’t see me blushing. 

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I moved my hand across my waist and turned my gaze away from him, smiling softly and I heard him let out a soft laugh, “What? Don’t act like me saying that is at all a surprise to you,” he teased slightly and I could see him lean closer from the corner of my eye.

I laughed softly as well, “It’s just surprising to hear it out loud. Usually you just tip-toe around it, but that was pretty blunt of you,” I replied with a slightly impressed tone.

Shit, you must be used to it by now.. Despite how much you try to fight it, I always have a way of making you smile, don’t I?” He questioned and I laughed softly once more.

“And why do you even try?” I asked, curious as to why he bothered trying in the first place and also why he’s kept up his infatuation with me for this long already.

“Is that a serious question..?” He implied, his tone turning serious and my smile began to fade slightly.

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I turned my attention towards Gareth when he leaned closer and slid over towards me more, his knee touching mine and I could feel my heart beating hastily. I was frozen in place as he looked at me, seeing his gaze fall to my lips and back up to my eyes, “If I were to guess, money isn’t the only issue you two are having behind closed doors,” he said quietly, “I can fix everything for you, if you’d let me..” I was ashamed to admit it, but by how I dropped my gaze from his, it was a clear sign that he was right. Despite the everyday kisses Gibson and I shared, our life in the bedroom had dwindled since Oliver was born and on top of him not fulfilling our son’s needs as a father, he hasn’t been fulfilling my needs as a husband nearly as much as I wanted him to either. In only two years, I was baffled when I realized just how far apart we’ve grown from one another in such a short amount of time.. 

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“Look at me,” he requested softly, hesitating a moment before slowly turning my head and my eyes met his. I then watched as Gareth leaned towards me more, slowly closing the gap between us, but he stopped when our noses touched, “I came ninety percent of the way, are you gunna come the last ten?” He questioned lustfully and my heart raced even faster. Without bothering myself with the ‘what if’s’ or ‘why not’s’, I leaned in slowly and shut my eyes, meeting his lips with my own and we finally kissed for the first time. Our ongoing, pent-up sexual tension for one another had finally come to an end. 

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Was something like this meant to happen? Were we meant to go down this road? I believed in fate and destiny, and I was convinced that Gibson was and is who I was meant to find, though now, seeing what he’s become, I felt like I might’ve made a mistake on jumping into all of this with him. Was I thinking straight when I made all of those decisions to be so serious with him? I was grateful that I had met him and got Oliver out of it, I’d be a complete wreck without my little boy, but the price I was paying now for the decision I made to stay with Gibson was getting harder and harder on me each day. If we had never had Oliver, would I have stayed with him after we moved in together? Did things only work because we felt obligated to make it work for Oliver?

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It didn’t take long for us to realize that a simple kiss just wasn’t enough, feeling him leaning into me more and I followed his lead, letting him lay me down on the ground. I reached behind his head and my fingers ran through his long blonde hair, pulling him into me more and the kiss only got better as we both relaxed and soon our tongues came in to play, the kiss then growing rougher with lust. I haven’t been kissed this good in a long time and the sheer amount of love I felt coming from him compelled me to hope this would never stop. I missed this feeling, the feeling of being needed, wanted, sought after, fought for.. It made me feel like myself again, yet, something was eating at me in the back of my mind, the feeling of guilt beginning to crack the surface and I didn’t realize what I had gotten myself into until it was too late, something I’ve been doing a lot in the past few years.

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I felt Gareth’s hand that was behind my back begin to move slowly down my side, feeling him sliding it back up over my stomach and he soon slid it high enough to grip my right breast in his hand, messaging it gently and it was then that I snapped back into reality. I took my hand out of his hair and it met his shoulder, pushing at him suddenly and Gareth pulled away from me quickly and held his hand up and away from me, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.. Got a little ahead of myself,” he spoke first, responding the best he could by the reaction I had given him and he put his hand on my hip instead, leaning down to continue to kiss me, but I kept my hand on his shoulder and kept him from continuing.

“No..” I said in a whisper, “No, I can’t do this.. We shouldn’t be-”

“What? Shouldn’t be acting on how we feel about each other?” He cut me off, trying to save whatever he had thought he had ruined, but it was me that ruined everything. Oh my God.. What the hell was wrong with me? 

“Yes, exactly that,” I agreed strongly with his rhetorical question, pushing him gently off of me more and I sat up.

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Gareth kept his hand on my hip and he made it difficult for me to stand up, “Wait, wait, wait..” He tried to stop me, but I couldn’t be out here anymore, I needed to get away from him before anything else happened between us that I knew I’d regret later, not wanting to add adultery to my long list of fuck-up’s.

“No, Gareth.. I-I can’t, this is wrong.. So, so wrong..” I replied, trying to stand once more but his hand remained on my hip and he slid closer than I thought he could.

“You do realize I’ve been waiting for that ever since I first met you, and I know you have, too, right? Who’s to say it wasn’t supposed to happen like this?” He questioned.

“My marriage license, the ring I wear, the bed I share, the child I have, you’re child, your girlfriend.. Pick one!?” I answered his question frantically, grabbing his wrist and pushing his hand off of my hip and removing my feet from the pool quickly, standing up by myself yet Gareth followed right after me.

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“Wait Hannah! Just calm down for a second..” He said as he stood, stopping myself from walking away and I turned to face him. 

“I’m married, Gareth! To your brother no less! This was all just a bi-”

“Don’t call it a mistake.” He cut me off, his tone serious and I could tell he was already hurt by the words he didn’t let me say.

“..I-I’m sorry, Gareth.. But that cannot happen again..” I said firmly.

“Hannah..”

“I’m sorry..” I said in a whisper.

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I turned around and left my shoes behind, along with a man that seemed to good to be true and I began walking away from him quickly, “Hannah, wait! ..Please..” He tried to stop me, but I tried to ignore him as I continued walking around the pool to go back inside. I wanted to forget tonight, I wanted to black it out and act like it never happened, but it was too late for that now. All I could think about was him when I knew it to be wrong. I should be with my son, I should be with my husband, but instead I was with someone that I realized I cared for almost just as much as them and I grew so confused and distraught. I brought my hand up to my mouth and tried to hide the pain I felt behind my now quiet sobbing from not only walking away, but also knowing I did the one thing that I had tried so hard to avoid. Why did I let it happen in the first place? What was going to become of Gareth and I now? ..Of Gibson and I? So far every decision I’ve made in the past two years has always made me wonder if I was doing the right thing, but what was the case for this situation..? I couldn’t help but wonder now if I had made a mistake by choosing Gibson, or if the mistake was choosing Gareth over him when it was too late to go back now.


 

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Downloaded: Gibson and Hannah’s House

Toddler Stats:

Oliver “Ollie” Theodor Dubois

Traits:

  • Insane
  • Light Sleeper

Favorites:

  • Color: Spiceberry
  • Music: Beach Party
  • Food: Sushi

Sign: Aquarius

Katalina “Kat” Rose Dubois

Traits:

  • Artistic
  • Grumpy

Favorites:

  • Color: Grey
  • Music: Indie
  • Food: Fish and Chips

Sign: Capricorn