Generation 3, Chapter 20, Finale Pt 2 of 2

Attention: NSFW, blood, violence.

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    Gibson’s POV     

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The looks on their faces, the way that their arms dropped from holding one another, the sense of a slight fear creeping up their spines, I loved it all. The rain from the storm outside tapped heavily against the roof of the bakery, but the silence within it was deafening as I continued to sit in my chair, staring at them. A small grin sprung to my lips as I watched their discomfort, assuming they were still in shock from seeing me and I decided to repeat my question, “I suppose I’ll ask again.. I wasn’t interrupting anything important, was I? I’d hate to intrude on your alone time together. I would be so embarrassed..” I began with a little humor, though I’m sure they had no idea I was only amusing only myself.

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“N-No, of course not.. He was just.. Helping me move around some heavy boxes..” She lied and I chuckled, though not loud enough for either of them to hear, “W-What are you doing here..? Where are the kids?” Hannah wondered about first and I kept my smirk, finding it rather amusing that she continued to deny what I already knew had happened behind that storage room door. She must’ve thought that I had just gotten here.

“They’re fine, they’re at Nina’s.. They’re having a sleepover because I don’t think either of us will be coming home tonight,” I replied. 

“W-What..?” She asked, confused by my words, but before I could answer her, even though I didn’t even plan to, Gareth took a step forward.

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“Gibson, this isn’t what it looks like..” Gareth spoke and I laughed.

“It isn’t? Then what’s your excuse for all of this? Do you honestly think I’m that stupid? Oh, wait, that’s right.. Silly me, I always get the sound of you helping my wife move around ‘heavy boxes’ and the sound of her orgasm confused,” I replied angrily with sarcasm and I stood from the chair offensively, Gareth taking a step forward in front of Hannah and I knew that from what I had said, they could assume that I knew the truth now. “Really? You of all people are protecting my wife? From what, Gareth? You’re worse than I am and you know it..” I threatened through my clenched teeth.

“Sounds like to me you’re looking to take that torch and I don’t want that to happen right now. Let’s just calm down, okay..? Let’s go somewhere and talk about this, you and me,” he offered as a compromise and I scoffed lightly.

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“Nah, right here is just fine. I’d like to ask just a few simple questions to help speed up this process and to help me understand all of this,” I spoke with a sense of calmness and Gareth lowered his guard just slightly. “Oh, and I’d like the truth the first time, if I have to ask again, well.. Let’s just say you really don’t want me to..” I continued, seeing that I had both of their full attention now. “How long?” I asked in a demanding tone, seeing both of them grow reluctant to answer and they were silent for a few long seconds, though Hannah spoke up first to my surprise.

“Three years,” she replied and just by the look in her eyes, I knew she was telling the truth. My lips parted slightly and I exhaled heavily at the amount of time I had been oblivious until today. I had my suspicious, but I didn’t actually act on them until this past week when I got Ezra involved, and I didn’t get the truth until about half an hour ago from him. But, three years..? Then that meant..

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“Camilla’s not mine, is she?” I more stated than asked and Gareth looked over his shoulder towards Hannah, both of us watching as she shook her head ‘no’ and confirmed my assumption. “Is she Gareth’s?” I continued and I watched as Gareth looked to me in confusion and shock, then back towards Hannah. She hesitated a moment, looking between Gareth and I a few times and finally she nodded ‘yes’.

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“W-What..?” Gareth asked her, taking a step back and away from her and she began to panic a little.

“I-I.. I’m sorry..” Hannah said in a desperate manner and I looked to Gareth.

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“Don’t act like you didn’t know..” I threatened him and he turned towards me.

“I didn’t know!” Gareth replied angrily, staring me down for a moment and his response was actually a little believable. 

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Put two and two together, dumbass.. Camilla’s less than three years old and from what I can assume, you’ve been with Hannah a lot more than I have in those years.. You know, while I was working thirteen hour days, babysitting Oliver and Camilla while at my job, the job I was sacrificing my time with them so I could provide for them, all while you two were having the time of your lives,” I replied. I looked down at the money on the table top next to me and ran my fingertips over one of the stacks, “Gareth just comes along and flashes a few stacks of money in front of your nose and you take the easy way, without me.. You take the money, this.. Dirty money, without telling me.. And then, on top of that-” I looked back up to Hannah, “As a thank you for his generosity, you fuck him, leaving me in the dark..” I continued, seeing Hannah break her gaze from me and she hung her head as she cried softly. 

I didn’t know what was wrong with me right now, it still felt as if I was calm when I knew I should be feeling so much more than this.. A nuke had just landed in my lap, yet it seemed as if I was impervious to it.

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“Gibson, I’m sorry.. I truly am,” Hannah spoke with a genuine yet shaky tone and I changed my demeanor, my expression growing softer.

“I loved you, Hannah.. I thought you were the one and I thought you felt the same about me. We’d been hurt in the past, we were sick of not being treated the way we felt like we should be, and then.. You threw it away, like it was nothing..” I replied, watching her look up to me again and she stepped a little closer towards me.

“I still love you, I’m just.. I was so confused, I was so lonely without you, but you weren’t there for me! For us! I tried to tell you, I tried to make you see what it was doing to me, but you just kept insisting that that’s what was best for us.. All you did was care about your job..”

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“I cared about my job so much because it’s what helped me take care of my family!” I spat back angrily, “I sacrificed so much so that you and the kids could have everything you needed or wanted.. I know I wasn’t there a lot, you made sure to rub that in my face every chance that you could get.. But.. What, you think I liked being away from my family? You think I preferred work? Don’t be so fucking stupid, Hannah.. You’ve known from the very beginning that I wanted children, why the hell would you think I liked being away from them!? From you?!” I continued to yell and she only grew more upset, her expression beginning to show regret and it’s as if my words had finally sunk in after all these years and she realized how unfair she’s been for the first time, ever since these arguments had started.

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“..I’m so sorry I’ve been so weak, for everything that I’ve done.. Nothing like this will ever happen again.. I’ll stick it out with you, I want this to work, Gibson,” she replied and I looked in her eyes, noticing the genuine glint they held and I lifted my hand towards her.

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“Come here..” I requested and Hannah let out a relieved sigh, he expression matching the same relief and she walked towards me.

“Hannah, wait..” Gareth pleaded, as if sad that she hadn’t chose him over me, but she ignored him completely and continued, stopping in front of me.

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I lifted my hand and I gently caressed her face, feeling her warm skin and I watched her shut her eyes, pressing her cheek against my hand a little more and enjoying my touch. I missed touching her like this, in such a sensual and loving way. I couldn’t remember the last time we’d done this.. I studied her face, noticing she was somewhat happy and I watched her open her eyes again, looking up to me with tears still running down her cheeks and I smirked towards her, running my thumb under her eye and wiping the evidence of sorrow away even though her tears kept coming.

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“D-Does.. Does this mean you forgive me?” Hannah wondered, hope in her glistening blue eyes and I chuckled warmly with a smirk on my lips.

“Aw.. No, sweetheart,” I replied with sincerity, removing my hand from her face and I reached back into my waistband.

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I pulled out the pistol, pulling the hammer back quickly and I put the end of the barrel against the underneath of her jaw, hearing her gasp suddenly when the cold metal touched her warm, delicate skin, “You can ask for forgiveness when you’re in hell,” I replied with a stern, confident tone and her eyes widened in shock, but before she could answer me, a loud, deafening crack of thunder simultaneously roared over the sky as I pulled the trigger. Blood spat upward and decorated the ceiling and I watched as her body went limp and fell to the ground.

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HANNAH!” Gareth called out in horror, beginning to run towards her and I pulled the hammer back once more within a split second, shooting Gareth in the left knee and he let out a cry in pain, falling face first to the ground. “Ahhh! Fuuuck, fuck, fuck, fuck..!” He called out in agony, his hands going to his knee and holding it gingerly as I listened to his suffering moans.

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I lowered the gun, watching as blood began showing through the fabric of his jeans by his knee and his hands grew shaky as he wished desperately that he could hold his knee to dull the pain, but he couldn’t. I took in a deep breath, letting it out slowly and I tilted my head as I looked down at him, seeing him rocking gently back and forth as he continued to express the amount of pain he was in. 

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“Y-You.. You fucking killed her! H-How could you do that?!” He called out, watching him look towards Hannah and his expression began to twist into a gentle sorrow. Gareth began to crawl slowly and he reached out towards her, but before he could touch her, I pulled back the hammer once more and lifted the gun, shooting his hand dead center.

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I heard him let out another cry in pain and he pulled it back and coddled his hand against his chest, “I think you’ve touched her enough today..” I said with a stern tone as I watched him lying on the ground in pain, then using his uninjured left hand and his unscathed right leg to quickly push himself away from her body and also away from me.

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I looked to Hannah, lying there motionless on the ground as wet, crimson blood quickly pooled around her head. I looked to her legs, admiring them one last time and remembering how much I loved them, but I still felt it was strange that I didn’t feel any guilt for what I had done, I felt more accomplished than anything else..

Just like old times..

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I bent down next to her body, reaching out and my fingertips caressed down from her thigh to her mid calf, enjoying her smooth skin that was already beginning to turn cold. “Did you really have to take her from me? Do you even know what love is..? Have you ever felt that before?” I wondered, looking up and over towards Gareth and he was leaning up against the half wall not too far from me, holding his injured hand.

“I-I.. I can’t be sure..” Gareth replied with a struggle through his pain, his voice shaky and uneven.

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“You didn’t at least feel it with her? ..With Hannah?” I asked and I noticed him hesitate a moment, though still unable to give me a straight answer.

“I.. I don’t know, okay..?”

“If you don’t know, then you never did.. So.. Why did you? If you didn’t love her, then why? How could you do that to me, even after knowing how much it had hurt me the first time..?”

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“I-I.. I don’t kn-“

“Stop telling me you don’t fucking know!” I yelled angrily, standing straight up again and I lifted the gun, pointing it at Gareth.

“Gibs, no! Please! Please, don’t!” He pleaded, holding up his uninjured hand and he turned his head away from me, unable to watch his own brother end his life. “Please, Gibs..”

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“I knew.. I knew she was the one and you see one little opportunity to plant yourself in her life that you had no business being a part of! You took advantage of me, of her, of our situation.. You couldn’t just leave me the hell alone, could you!?” I continued yelling, stepping around Hannah and walking closer to Gareth. “So, why? Why did you do it!”

Gareth’s head turned towards me slightly, lowering his hand only a little and looking up to me with a pathetic expression, “..N-Now that I think about it, I-I might’ve been jealous.. I never wanted a normal life like you, I never wanted a wife, or kids, or anything serious at all.. All I wanted was to live with you and do what we do best,” he replied, letting out another tone of despair and adjusting his injured leg just slightly through his pain, “I was jealous of the ones that were able to take you away, so I took them from you in hopes you’d see that I’m the only one you can rely on..”

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“Well.. You didn’t realize that it caused you more harm than good, case in point, how you’re lying on the ground now, how my wife, your lover, is dead, and how I’m never going to speak to you ever again after this,” I answered, seeing him look to me and his eyes showed panic.

“What..? Wait.. No, Gibs..” He replied, his tone a little desperate and I pulled back the hammer of the gun, “Gibs, don’t!” He begged as he lie there. 

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I heard a roar of thunder crash outside and I shot Gareth in the right shoulder at the same time, hearing him call out in agony after the thunder had passed and he gripped his shoulder in pain. “P-Please, Gibson! Stop this!” He continued to beg and he let out more signs of suffering as he held his shoulder. The lightning following the thunder illuminated the bakery momentarily, watching as the blood already spilled on the floor glistened quickly from the sudden light. Though I still felt bits of anger and resentment, I continued to feel calm, collected, and at ease.. Like this was meant to happen.. Like I was meant to leave it all behind in order to have the normal life I craved so much. I had to leave everything, and everyone.

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I quickly walked towards Gareth and bent down in front of him, grabbing the top of his head by his long hair and I forced him to look at me, hearing him continuing to breath heavily and he let out a gentle groan of pain every so often, “We will never be the same again.. I don’t ever want to know that you’re looking for me, and I never want to see your face again,” I exclaimed, putting the gun to his cheek threateningly, “Are we at an understanding?” I asked angrily. 

“Gibs.. Please..” Gareth pleaded once again and I pressed the barrel more into his cheek.

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“Do I have to put this in your mouth and pull the trigger for you to understand?” I threatened, seeing him look down towards the gun, then back up to my eyes. He stared at me for a long moment, “You know I’ll do it,” I threatened again.

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“..If you meant it, you would’ve killed me already,” he replied, still staring me dead in the eyes and I swallowed hard, unable to comprehend how he was still able to have this hold over me, to still be able to control me even though I was the one with the weapon, the one with the upper hand, the one running this show.

“I hate you,” I replied angrily, seeing his expression change from a slight confidence to a gentle sorrow and his eyes read as if he wished I regretted my words, but.. I didn’t. I put my thumb against the back of the hammer and pushed it forward, clicking the safety on after and tucking the gun back within the waistline of my pants against my spine.

So, this is how it ends. Me being forced to abandon everything that I am, abandoning everyone I know and love and skipping town. I was too much of a coward to turn myself in or risk getting caught, it was in my blood not to, it was the one thing Gareth and I had promised we’d never let happen, and every time we killed together, we only got better and better at avoiding the consequences behind our actions. Why would I let myself get caught now? I was sloppy this time around, my prints are everywhere and I’m even leaving behind an eye witness, but I just couldn’t bring myself to kill Gareth.. Even after all he’s done..

I thought of Oliver, the one thing in this life that I never once regretted and I hated myself for leaving him behind, but I couldn’t face him.. I just hoped he was old enough to understand why all of this had happened, and that I, in the end, wasn’t the one to blame.

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I watched as his regretful expression turned into a calmed one from me putting the gun away, though as he watched me, standing up from my crouched position, there, in this silence with him, I knew he could finally tell I was serious. “You r-really mean it.. You’re leaving me, for good this time.. I-I’m never going to see you again.. Am I..?” He asked, seeing him staring up at me and his eyes were filled with regret, despair, and even anger.

“No.. You won’t..” I confirmed for him.

“..I.. I’m sorry, Gibson.. I deserve all of this.. But, I-I’ll do anything.. W-What can I do to m-make it up to you..?” Gareth asked, his voice getting more uneven than before and I knew he was losing a lot of blood. 

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“You get to explain to my son why he doesn’t have any parents anymore, you get to tell him why all of this happened and how you are the worst person that anyone could have in their life, you need to make sure that he knows I love him.. And.. And you need to give me a head start,” I replied sternly, seeing Gareth wincing in both pain and the meaning behind my words, “Do you have your phone on you?” I ask and he nods, “If you’re still alive, call an ambulance in ten minutes.. I need to get a few things from house before I leave for good,” I requested and Gareth stared at me for a long moment, as if taking one last look at me, then nodding in agreement to my request.

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I turned around and made my way towards the door, but stopped when I heard Gareth, “Gibs, wait..” He said desperately, turning my head slightly to let him know he had my attention, though I didn’t look over my shoulder to see him.

“What..” I asked sternly.

“D-Do you.. Do you really hate me?” Gareth asked softly, letting out another groan in pain as he waited for my answer.

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My insides were twisting as I stood there, feeling his eyes on me and I honestly didn’t know what to say. When I had said it earlier, I was saying it out of anger, though now that everything has finally sunk in, looking at everything laid out before me, I didn’t know how to answer him. I hated him for ruining my life, for taking the woman I loved, for causing me to go to such extreme lengths so I could let out this much needed frustration and urge to spill blood, but.. As stupid as I was for thinking this, we’ve been together since the moment we took our first breaths of air and I could never hate what we used to have. His excuse for ruining everything wasn’t just, nor did it make sense, it just made him look even more pathetic than he already was. I pitied him. He’s lost just as much as I have, and he’s about to say goodbye to the one person he’s been so scared of losing this whole time..

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I looked back at Gareth and we stared at one another for a few seconds, me not bothering to answer Gareth’s question and I then broke the eye contact we held and looked towards Hannah. I took one last look at her, seeing what I had done and it didn’t take me long to get sick of the sight and I turned towards the door. 

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I unlocked the door and opened it, the sound of the heavy rain and thunder greeting me as I walked out onto the deck and I went to the parking lot, getting into my car and driving home as fast as I could. I could barely breathe, my lungs felt constricted the more I drove and my entire body began to shake. I had killed my wife, shot my brother three times and left him to die, and now I was about to pack everything that I could think of that I would need in order to leave my current life behind and I was going to leave my son with no excuse and without seeing him one last time. I felt like I had a huge weight lifted from my shoulders, glad that I had dealt with everything accordingly, or at least the best outcome I could think of, yet I still couldn’t get passed the fact that I was abandoning my child because I was too much of a coward to face what I had done and to accept the consequences. If anything, I should be setting a good example by confessing, turning myself in, letting Oliver hate me for killing his Mother, but I just couldn’t bare seeing him again. He was the last person that I wanted to hate me, and although I knew he was going to as soon as he found out what happened tonight, I was too much of a coward to face him and to accept the hate I knew he’d have for me. I couldn’t see it in his eyes, I can’t..

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I pulled into the driveway and bolted out of my car, rushing inside of the house and seeing that the inside was completely dark. It felt so weird being here and not being greeted by Hannah, or Oliver, or Camilla, the house was as dead as my life and it was a good representation of what I had lying before me.. Emptiness.. Darkness.. Everything I never wanted..

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I sighed heavily and continued to my bedroom, getting out an ‘overnight’ bag from under the bed and I began filling it with my clothes from the dresser, going as quickly as I could. I went to my desk next but stopped, looking at the photo upon it and staring at the family I had created here, letting everything sink in more and I couldn’t stop looking at it. My heart felt heavy and my body needed to rest, pulling the chair out from the desk and I sat down for a moment, my gaze never leaving the picture and I could feel my eyes beginning to water and soon tears clouded my vision.

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I hung my head, letting my tears fall into the insides of my glasses and soon falling to the ground when the tears had pooled enough within the lenses. Bringing my hand to my face, I removed my glasses quickly and chucked them angrily with a quick burst of force across the room, rubbing my eyes then with my other hand and clearing the tears away. I ran my fingers through my hair, struggling to calm down and regain my composure, but how could I at a time like this..?

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I took a few slow, deep breaths, trying to regain what little composure I had left in me and I stood up, taking the photo from the desk and tossing it into my bag before closing it up. I looked around the room once more, my vision only slightly blurred, but I could still at least guess what every object was and what significance it once held.. I knew I was going to miss this life, I was going to miss everything about it. Despite all the bad that had happened recently, I couldn’t deny that there were some key points within this life that I’d never forget, the happy points.. The days that my brother and I would sit back and relax with a few beers together, telling stories, playing games, or just remembering the past before everything went to shit.. The days I’d spent with Hannah where if she would give me a certain look that only I knew, I swear my heart was going to burst.. The day my son was born and the first squeal of happiness he projected when he saw me for the first time with an accompanied toothless smile.. Those are the little things I’d never forget.

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I went to my desk again, grabbing a pen and staring down at a notepad. I needed to say something, anything, I couldn’t just leave without a single word to Oliver.. He didn’t deserve that. The more I stared at the notepad, the less time I had to make my getaway, so I quickly wrote down the first thing that came to mind when I thought of Oliver and I dropped the pen quickly, rushing to my bag and picking it up, then leaving my bedroom and walking back through the house to leave.

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One last look, one last smell, and a few last memories came to me as I stopped and looked back at the dark, empty home..

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This was it.. Once I walk out this door, there’s no coming back. This was the end of the line for me. I am no longer the same man I was before, I am no longer a part of this life, I no longer have a brother, or a wife, or children, and I am no longer Gibson Aries Dubois.

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End of Generation Three

Generation 3, Chapter 20, Finale Pt 1 of 2

    Ezra’s POV     

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This was the part of my job that I hated the most; waiting.. Waiting for anything to happen at all. I started earlier this week watching Hannah, Gibson’s wife, like he had asked, and just by how uneventful this week of watching her has been, it made me regret not charging him because I was actually really bored. But, I guess my pay was good enough since I was helping out a friend and I got to stare at a fox like her all day. The best part of some of my jobs was watching hot housewives, or making them disappear..

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I got coffee and went to Gibson’s house around six this morning, seeing him leave with Oliver and Camilla and I assumed he was off to take his son to school and go to work with his daughter. About half an hour later, I saw Hannah leave and I followed her to her bakery, watching her open and getting the place ready. As I sat in my car, drinking the coffee I had, I let out a relaxed sigh and I was actually glad it was Friday, but for more than one reason.

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Gibson was a good, old friend of mine, and as much as I enjoyed helping him out when he needed me and I was seemingly the only one he could turn to, I really wished that today would be the last of it, and that Hannah would prove that she wasn’t messing around with anyone else. He didn’t deserve something like this.. I had heard from Gareth that Gibson had found out about his last girlfriend cheating on Gibson with him, which was actually surprising considering how close they were to one another.. I would’ve never thought Gareth would do something like that.. But, then again, I don’t know the whole story, only the general sense of it from Gareth telling me.. Since it’s already happened once to Gibson, I’d hate to report back to him with the same information, that she was cheating. “Alright, Hannah.. Today’s your last day, beautiful.. Don’t disappoint me,” I said to myself quietly as I sat in the car, continuing to watch her from afar.

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Gareth and I have been seeing a lot of each other compared to Gibson and I. I used to be the boss, the head honcho in town to call for ‘exterminations’, the kind of jobs I used to give to Gareth a few years ago, but he’s proved to be rather resourceful and he’s gotten a lot better at this type of thing than I have. He surpassed me about a year ago, taking over the jobs I’d usually assign him and he would assign them for himself now and give me all the shit jobs, kinda like the one I was doing now for Gibson. I guess Gareth’s the boss now of this area, and to be quite honest, the guy scares me. A lot. 

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A few months back, Gareth needed help with a job and he needed me to be a lookout so he could get it done without any screw up’s. I only helped because he promised me a cut of the money and it seemed easy enough to make some quick cash just by keeping an eye out for him while he worked the job. This case was different, though.. While Gareth was carrying out the job, I took a look at the piece of paper with the strict instructions on it that he had left in the car, reading it with wide eyes the whole time and I was nervous to even check on him.. The things that the customer requested for him to do was a job only Gareth could carry out and it was very specific. The customer wasn’t getting anything out of this, no dead-spouse money, no property, nothing, all he was getting was the satisfaction of knowing his wife was tortured before she was killed and he didn’t even put a limit on what Gareth could do.. Just as long as she suffered.

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I checked on Gareth after about an hour of keeping a lookout, we had caught her and brought her to an abandoned warehouse just outside of town.. When I went into the warehouse, I kept my presence unknown to Gareth and I could hear pain, suffering, the torture he was instructed to do being carried out and echoing through the warehouse.. I was nervous to even lay my eyes among what he had done to her already.. I came around a corner and I’ll never forget what I saw. Blood, everywhere. I knew the woman was still alive, but even if I went into all of this not knowing it was a woman, I wouldn’t know the gender either way when looking at the body that was on his table, there was too much blood and too many parts missing or mutilated that there was no way to tell for sure.

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I got chills as I sat in the car, my stomach feeling a little queezy after remembering that job with Gareth and I tried to not focus on it anymore, putting my attention back on the bakery and I continued to watched Hannah, who was a breath of fresh air to look at compared to what I just had in my mind. As I sat there, I wondered to myself what kind of person Gibson was.. I knew him to be a lot like his brother, though of course they were entirely different at the same time. I wondered why Gareth made it a point for me to never ask Gibson to do what we do, to never breath a word to him about what it is that we do exactly, and to not even mention that we worked together.. I was surprised when Gibson had called me last week asking for these kinds of services, but I don’t think he knew that our jobs went way passed the point of just simply tailing people.

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I sat in the car for hours, taking one or two quick bathroom breaks in the surrounding shops and continuing to sit in my car as I watched Hannah’s business, trying to keep myself occupied by either thinking of inappropriate things regarding Hannah, or just spacing out in general and thinking of absolutely nothing as I starred at the bakery. The clock inside my car read four-thirty-two and I assumed she was closing at five tonight like she did on Monday. “Nothin’ to report, Gibson.. Day ain’t over yet, though..” I said softly to myself, getting a little more attentive now that it was getting close to the time when she would close up the shop and head home. 

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I removed my shades, watching as the last customer left just before five and I watched as Hannah brought in her standing menu from outside, watching her lock the doors as well and flipping her green ‘open’ sign to the red ‘closed’. I let out a relaxed sigh, glad that this all had turned out to be one big chase with no result and also happy that Hannah wasn’t doing anything behind Gibson’s back. “Alright, sweetheart.. Just turn the lights off and head home, then my work is done,” I said quietly to myself again.

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The sun finally hid over the horizon and I continued to watch her walking throughout the bakery, shutting almost all of the lights off, but she left the ones closest to the doors within the kitchen on and I began to wonder why. “Why are you leavin’ those lights on? Just leave, Hannah.. Please, just leave..” I somewhat pleaded as I continued to watch her. 

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I sat there for fifteen minutes, watching Hannah cleaning the counters slowly, counting the register slowly, even pushing in all the chairs more than they needed to be, slowly.. Like as if she.. “Fuck.. Are you waiting for someone..? Come on, Hannah, just go home.. Why aren’t you leaving?” I asked myself. About a minute later, I watched as a car pulled into the same parking lot I was in, though on the other side of the lot. Naturally, I ducked down, peaking up only a little and I looked to the car that had pulled in using my side-view mirror, “Wait.. I know that car..”

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I continued to watch the car and eventually the driver got out, my heart instantly beginning to race when I saw Gareth and I watched him with my eyes growing wider in shock. He looked around the area a little, checking his surroundings and I was glad that I was far away enough for him to not notice me watching him in my car. He walked slowly through the parking lot, smoking a cigarette and taking his time with it and I watched as he stood in the rain for a few moments. As he smoked, assuming he was finishing his cigarette before going anywhere, I noticed he was starring in the same direction that the bakery was, as if watching Hannah, just like I was.

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Gareth tossed his cigarette when he was finished with it, bringing his hands up to the collar of his jacket and popping it up a little more to hide his neck from the rain and I watched as he began his venture towards the bakery, “No.. No, no, no.. Don’t go, Gareth.. If you’re headed where I think you are..” I spoke softly to myself, continuing to watch him and the moment he reached Hannah’s bakery parking lot and began walking up onto the deck, my heart started beating faster and it was actually a little hard for me to believe all of it at first.

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“You stupid son of a bitch, Gareth..” I said, watching as he knocked on the bakery’s locked door and I noticed Hannah’s face light up with excitement when she had seen Gareth. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.. Don’t Hannah, don’t do anything fuckin’ stupid,” I continued, watching as she unlocked the door and let him in, Gareth then walking in and locking the door again behind himself. “Wait.. He is her brother-in-law.. M-Maybe he’s just there to talk..?” I tried to convince myself.

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I watched through the open windows as Gareth manhandled her a little, gripping her ass and pulling her into him and my insides sank as I watched them kiss. “Ohh, fuck.. I can’t deal with this shit! What the hell am I going to tell Gibson? He’s going to freak the fuck out! Shit, shit, shit!” I panicked, “Oh God, the fact that I haven’t called him already, he must be thinking that something’s up.. What do I even say?!” I asked myself quickly, “God dammit, Gareth!”

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I looked back to the bakery after having a mini freak out and I watched as Gareth and Hannah talked for a moment, then Gareth pulled out a few stacks of cash from his pockets and held them within his hands.. I recognized those stacks, they looked a lot like the stacks we got for the jobs we carried out.. Hannah took the stacks and put them within the register, “Shit.. So that’s where she’s getting the money Gibson mentioned.. He’s been giving her the money he makes from his jobs.. He wouldn’t tell her where or how he got it, she probably wouldn’t take it if she knew where it came from,” I continued, still watching them and it didn’t take much time at all before they were in each other’s arms again and kissing once more. 

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I sat in my car, starring at the bakery and watching this unfold before my eyes, “If they’re about to fuck, do I call Gibson? ..Do I tell him after Gareth leaves? Fuck! I.. I gotta get out of here!” I told myself, quickly starting my car and pulling out of the parking lot to go home. I pulled my phone out of my pocket, driving as quick as I could and I dialed Gibson, but not before I was far away enough from the bakery just in case he wanted to go there and confront them.. I didn’t need that kind of drama and I didn’t want to be anywhere near that. Being in the middle of Gareth and Gibson fighting? I didn’t want to be within the same town as that..

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“Hey, Ezra.. Calling a little later than I expected. Everything go okay today?” Gibson asked and my heart was pounding out of my chest. I really hated to have to do this to him, but I guess it’s what he wanted, so here goes..

“Ehh.. Uhh.. Listen, Gibs.. I can’t do this shit anymore, I know this is my last day anyways, but I can’t watch her anymore. I can’t risk your brother seeing me. He scares the fuck out of me, dude, and if he knew I was spying on him, he’d kill me, literally.. I’m not even fucking joking. He would physically make me sorry and I can’t let that happen.. Okay? I.. I just can’t do it anymore, alright?” I said with more panic than I intended.

“..Wait, wait.. Ezra, what the hell’s going on?” Gibson asked, and I noticed then that his voice got a lot quieter, “Why are you talking about Gareth? I didn’t ask you to follow him at all, I wanted you to only follow Hannah.. I thought I was pretty clear on that..?” He replied, confused a little and I hated that I had to explain it even more.. Or.. Maybe he was in so much doubt that he didn’t want it to be true..?

“Look.. I was just at the bakery, man, and I’m not following Gareth, but.. But, he’s.. He’s the one that showed up! Gareth showed up there and I-I saw..” I paused, taking a few deeps breaths, but before I could continue, Gibson replied with a tone that sounded more collected than I thought he’d be, though the underlining anger is what made me feel a gentle sense of fear..

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“What did you see..” He more demanded than asked and I swallowed hard, still driving quickly towards my house and I pulled into the dock parking lot, getting out of my car and walking towards my house hastily.

“You know what, I-I don’t even know what the fuck I saw, I just.. I can’t watch her anymore, alright? I can’t get seen by Gareth.. I’m calling it quits right now..”

“Are you still watching them?” He demanded next and my hand shook as I removed the keys from my pocket and unlocked my door, walking inside my house.

“No.. I.. I went home.. I just got here..” I replied, shutting the door behind me and standing there, frozen in my tracks.

“I’m coming over.” He announced abruptly and I grew even more nervous than I already was.

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“W-Wait, what? No, don’t come here, Gibs!” I replied, but he had already hung up and I dropped my arm slowly, putting my phone back into my pocket. “I’m fucked.. I am so fucked..” I said softly in a depressed manner, leaning back on a wall near the front door and sliding down it until I sat on the ground, my knees to my chest and my hands ran over the sides of my face.

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A door opened within the house, assuming it was my bedroom door and I heard soft footsteps approaching me, “Hey.. Are you alright?” My girlfriend wondered, kneeling down next to me and I looked up to her, removing my hands from my face.

“No, no I’m not alright.. Listen, do me a favor.. This guy is going to stop by, but don’t come out of the bedroom, okay? Not until he leaves, do you understand?” I requested and I watched as she nodded with worried eyes.

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“Okay, I won’t..” She replied and I could still feel my heart racing, “Are.. Are you in any danger..?” She asked and I chuckled with a pathetic grin, though it faded almost as fast as it had formed.

“I might be.”

    Gibson’s POV     

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W-What..? Had I.. Had I heard him correctly? Gareth..? Gareth was the one seeing Hannah..? Of course.. How could I be so stupid? Of course it was Gareth! Why the fuck was I so naive this whole time?! Everything just suddenly clicked when I had hung up on Ezra.. The money she had been receiving, it must be the money that Gareth had showed me that he wanted me to take before I moved in with her, the money he’s been letting her take to take care of my family.. The distance she’s been having, she’s been with Gareth physically and he’s been giving her the intimate time that I had wished Hannah and I still shared.. She’s been distant for so long, though.. Have they been together since we first started fighting about me not being home enough when Oliver was born and as he grew up..?

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Oliver was sitting on the floor, playing with Camilla within my office at work, but he’s been looking at me ever since I got off the phone with Ezra. He got to the bookstore after walking home from school around three thirty and he’s been here playing with Camilla until now, which was roughly five twenty in the evening. “Dad, who’s Ezra? ..Who is he watching..?” He asked, but I didn’t know what to tell him, I didn’t think he’d overhear some of the things I had said..

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“..Dad..?” Oliver said softly to get my attention, but I couldn’t bring myself to answer him. I was fuming with rage, what the hell hadn’t Ezra told me? He didn’t tell me any detail at all other than he saw Gareth show up at the bakery. I was still blind, even after all this time and even after hiring Ezra to find out what I couldn’t.. I was still blind..

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“Gather your things, we’re going to Aunt Nina’s..” I demanded, seeing his expression turn worried as I stood from my chair, though he didn’t question my demand and he grabbed his backpack. I went to Camilla and grabbed her from the floor, walking downstairs in a hurry and Oliver shuffled his feet quickly behind me to keep up.

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I noticed Jaime by the registers, but I looked towards Oliver before going to him, “Take your sister to the car and put her in her seat, buckle up, too.. I’ll be out in a minute,” I said calmly as I set down Camilla, though I held no expression other than slight anger, seeing Oliver stare at me for a long moment before nodding and taking Camilla’s hand and he walked her towards the door, “Come on, Millie..” He said with a sad tone.

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“Mr. Dubois, are you leaving early?” Jaime wondered and I walked over to him quickly, pulling him into the corner of the room where no one else could hear our words.

I spoke quietly, “I’m leaving.. I’m dropping off my kids at their Aunt’s place, and.. And I don’t think I’m coming back..” I replied quietly and I watched as his expression fluctuated quickly from happy to a little confused.

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“Oh.. Uhm, Okay..” He replied with a nod, “I can close for you. I’ll take care of everything and I’ll see you on-”

“No, no..” I cut him off, “I’m not coming back.. As in at all. Ever.. I’m quitting. Don’t ask me anything.. Please. Take this however you want it, but.. You’re taking over, okay? I’m giving you my job. Take good care of this place.. Take care of yourself and your family, too, got it?” I questioned and he nodded quickly in understanding, but he still gave me a worried and confused expression and before he could say anything else back to me, I walked away from him and left the bookstore in a rush. I wish I could say I was going to miss this place, but then again, it’s the one place that took over my life and kept me from my family. It’s the reason all of this was happening right now. So, no.. I guess I won’t miss it.. I’d much rather burn this place to the ground, but I didn’t have time.

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“Dad, why are we going to Aunt Nina’s?” Oliver questioned, having already put his sister in the car and I quickly walked around to the driver’s side.

“Just get in the damn car, Ollie,” I demanded and his expression showed fear and slight shock, but he got into the car without another question and I got in as well, driving away from the bookstore quickly and towards Nina and Gareth’s place.

“..Dad.. What’s happening..? Why can’t you tell me anything?” Oliver questioned and I couldn’t hold the rage I held within me.

“Oliver, please.. Just stop asking questions! Okay? I’m dropping you two off and then..” I stopped, gripping the steering wheel tightly in anger before continuing, “Just.. Please, Ollie..” I continued, seeing him give me the same worried expression through the rear-view mirror and still seeing the confusion in his eyes as I continued to drive to Nina’s.

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We got to the parking lot on the dock and I noticed Ezra’s car, knowing he was still home and I got out of the car quickly, rushing to the back-side door and opening it to let Camilla out of her car-seat as Oliver got out of the car on his own. He walked around the car and watched as I rushed to get Camilla out, “Dad.. What’s going on? ..Dad?” He asked and I stopped after shutting Camilla’s passenger door.

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“Oliver.. Stop it, right this second! I’ll explain everything later, I promise,” I confirmed, but I could tell in his expression that he wasn’t okay with just a simple promise of mine, not by how I was acting right now, “Come on,” I encouraged, grabbing his hand and dragging him towards Nina’s place while holding Camilla, trying to block her from the rain as we walked down the dock that I hadn’t walked down in a long, long time..

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I walked into Nina’s house without knocking, something I assumed she would be okay with and once we walked in, I heard her rushing towards the door and she saw us coming inside, “Gibson..? W-What are you doing here..?” She questioned at first and I watched as Camilla ran towards her happily after I had set her down. Nina picked her up and cuddled her for a moment, but looked back to me with worried eyes. “What’s going on?” She asked.

“He won’t tell anyone,” Oliver said angrily and I looked to him and sighed, then looking back up to Nina.

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Katalina came into the room with a smile, “Hey, Ollie! Hi, Uncle Gibs,” she began, but once she noticed all of our troubled expressions, she lost her smile, “What’s going on..?” She asked, but I ignored her. I didn’t have time for this..

“I need to deal with something, I need you to watch Oliver and Camilla, just for a little while.. Please,” I stressed, seeing her expression continue to remain worried, though she nodded to my request.

“Of course, anything you need.. But, why? Is something wrong? Is there anything else I can do?” She asked next.

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I knelt down to Oliver’s height and he continued to give me a troubled and angered face, his eyes tearing up a little due to all of his confusion and worry that he couldn’t contain.. I knew I was scaring him, but I couldn’t bare to see him like this and I needed to leave. “Listen to me, bud.. Don’t worry, okay? Everything is fine.. I just need you to watch over Camilla and your Aunt and cousin for a while, alright? You can do that, can’t you?” I asked, watching as he lowered his eyes to the ground and nodded in response.

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“Y-Yeah.. I can do it..” He replied, though I could barely hear him for how soft he was talking.

“I know you can, because you’re a strong boy. You’ve got Dubois blood in you,” I replied with a smile, but he didn’t return the same smile I gave..

“Where are you going?” He asked next, looking up to me and I sat there a moment, trying to figure out how to answer him, but I couldn’t come up with anything that would do him justice.

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“Stop worrying.. I love you guys. Always remember that, okay?” I asked and I watched his eyes widen, but I quickly stood back up and went for the door.

“But, Dad!” Oliver tried to contest, but I didn’t stop, walking out the front door and walking back down the dock towards Ezra’s house.

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I walked quickly down the dock with heavy steps and when I reached Ezra’s house, I tried to open the door but it was locked. I banged on the glass, “Ezra!” I called out, continuing to bang on the glass and I even wondered if I’d break it for how hard I was hitting it. “Open the damn door, Ezra!” I continued and I noticed him come out of one of the rooms in his house with an uneasy expression and I knew he didn’t like seeing me there, watching him come and unlock the door with shaky hands and I opened it roughly.

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I barged in and he stepped backwards quickly, almost stumbling over his own feet, “You tell me everything that you saw down to the last fucking detail or I swear to God, Ezra, if I think for any reason that you’re keeping something from me-” I threatened and he put his hands up in defense.

“L-Listen, Gibs, you need to just take a few deep breaths and calm down a little, man.. Y-You’re kind of scaring the shit outta me,” he replied but I didn’t care.

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I put my arm to the front of his chest close to his neck and pushed him against the wall roughly, sliding my forearm under his chin and I pressed hard into his throat, “I don’t have time to calm down! Tell me everything you saw this second and if you hesitate, or tell me to calm down again, I’ll paint these bland walls with a new shade of red, do you understand me?” I implied and he nodded quickly with scared eyes, “Now talk!” 

“O-Okay, okay!” He struggled to reply, his voice sounding muffled a little from my arm against his throat, “I was sitting in my car, watching her close up the shop and at about five fifteen, he pulled into the parking lot I was in across the street and he went to her bakery. She unlocked the door for him, they kissed, he gave her a few stacks of money and she put it into the register, they kissed again, and then I got the fuck out of there and called you.. That’s everything, I swear..” He answered with a raspy voice.

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I slowly let go of his throat with my arm and he brought his hand to the front of his neck, coughing softly and taking in more air than he’d normally need so he could catch his breath. I stepped back and away from him a little, my breathing getting heavier, my anger rising, my confusion and denial no longer existing and I could feel my chest constricting. My blood, my own brother, doing this to me for a second time, with my wife.. How could he do this to me..? He knows how much it ruined me the first time, why would he do it again? How could she do this to me, to our children? How could either of them do this to me!?

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“Gibson..? You okay, man? You’re getting all sweaty..” Ezra wondered with caution and I looked up to him.

“Give me a gun,” I demanded.

“G-Gibson, I-I don’t have any g-”

“Don’t even finish that fucking sentence if you want to keep your life, Ezra.. This is literally the one time you cannot lie to me,” I walked back up to him slowly and he stepped back, “I don’t have time for this shit!” I yelled and he stumbled back against the wall. “Do you have one with no serial number? A clean one?” I asked and I watched as he eventually nodded. “Go and get it now, or I’ll drop you right here and find it myself,” I threatened and he nodded quickly again, walking away from me and he went into the room closest to us.

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I began pacing around the room impatiently, “Hurry the fuck up, Ezra,” I warned, hearing him rustling around in his room through his things and he rushed back out within half a minute, handing me an object wrapped in cloth. I ripped the fabric away and a beautiful, black and silver 9mm pistol starred back at me, “No serial number? Your prints aren’t on it? No ones are on it?” I asked sternly and he nodded, confirming to me that it was, indeed, clean, “Loaded?” I asked next and he nodded again.

“Just gotta turn the safety off,” he replied, “There’s one in the chamber and the magazine holds eight, so you got nine all together..” He continued with his tone still sounding worried.

I was never here, got that? You don’t even know my name,” I threatened sternly and he nodded quickly, lifting my shirt in the back and tucking the pistol in my waistband, “Say it back to me, Ezra.”

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Y-You were never here and I don’t know you..” He replied without hesitation and it was good enough for me, but before I could leave, he grabbed my attention again, “Gibs.. Before you go.. I really don’t want you to use it on either of them or even use it at all, and I guess it’s none of my business what you do after you leave and where you and your brother stand in all of this, but.. Just be careful, okay? Gareth is, well.. It might not be easy to do whatever it is you plan on doing with that thing when it comes to him.. Hell, I’d be worried..” He hinted slightly and something told me that he knew just about how dirty Gareth was willing to get his hands.

“Well, I’m not you, Ezra. He’s my brother.. I know exactly who he is..” I replied harshly and Ezra seemed to believe my words, “It’s him that should be worried about me,” I continued, walking away from Ezra and leaving his house to go to the bakery.

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I walked quickly to my car, determination, rage and the feeling of betrayal coursing through my veins and at this time, even though I was weapon ready accompanied with the murderous rage I needed and used as fuel, I was still unsure of what I might do. I was going to confront the woman I loved as well as my brother, the two people that I’ve grown the closest to throughout my entire life, and here they were getting close with each other.. Would I freeze up when I saw them? Cry? Yell? I.. I didn’t know anything.

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I stumbled a little when I reached the driver’s side door, but I caught myself by putting my hands on the car. I starred at my reflection in the window, my head getting light and foggy and my legs shook as they struggled to carry my own weight. My brows began to furrow against my will and my bottom lip began to quiver, leaning into the car more and I hid my face in my arms.. Why? Why did I have to know the truth so badly? The truth hurt so much more than I thought it would and I swear that if the raindrops weren’t so loud as they danced with the thunder, I could hear my own heart beginning to crack. 

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I soon regained whatever composure that was better than sobbing and got into my car, pulling out of the dock parking lot and driving as fast as I could without catching any eyes of the law as I rushed to the bakery. I couldn’t afford to get pulled over and I needed to get there now, looking at my clock in the car and seeing it read five thirty, ten minutes after Ezra had called me. I was surprised by how all of this seemed to take no time, but that’s exactly what I needed and I rushed on purpose. I wanted to catch them in the act. I wanted to see the look on their faces when they saw me waiting for them. Part of me wanted them to suffer. Part of me even wanted to have hope that Ezra was completely wrong and nothing that he had told me had happened, but I was smarter than that.. Than them. I knew to believe it because that’s just who my brother was, he loved to hurt me. He loved being selfish and having no regard for anyone else. Him and I were done, through, finished.. I was just surprised that it took me this long to finally realize it.. This long to finally accept it for what it was, and maybe even always had been.

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I reached the parking lot of the bakery and pulled in, seeing Hannah’s car at the end and I got out, walking towards to deck, but I stopped for a moment, looking to the parking lot that Ezra had said he parked in across the street and I noticed Gareth’s car still parked there, knowing that he was still here as well. Everything was going to work out as I had hoped.. I continued towards the deck and walked up onto it, slowly reaching the bakery door and I checked the knob, feeling that it was locked and I pulled my keys out, finding the spare to the shop and I unlocked the door quietly. I placed the keys back within my pocket and entered the bakery, closing the door silently behind me and locking it once again.

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I was greeted by the overwhelming smell of frosting, sugar, flour, everything that I could imagine that was sweet to the taste and I walked towards the counter, bending down and walking under it to get to the other side and I opened the register, gripping the inside of it and looking under the drawer to see a few neatly laid out, crisp stacks of money, right where Ezra said it’d be. “Hmph..” I let out softly, taking the money from the drawer and stacking them next to the register.

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A loud moan behind a closed door caught my attention and I looked up, standing still as I continued to listen for a few silent seconds for another noise so I could pin point exactly where it was coming from. I could tell from here that they weren’t in her office, her glass door helped prove that, so all that was left was the bathrooms or the back storage room. Assuming they didn’t want to fuck somewhere that could potentially be dirty, I looked towards the storage room door and once I heard one, two, three more moans from my beloved, I knew then that I had assumed correctly. There it was, all the proof I needed either laid out on the counter in front of me or the voice I knew behind the door. 

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I grabbed the stacks of money and I carried them with me towards a table within the dining area, setting them down nicely stacked and I pulled out a chair from the same table, taking a seat and letting out a heavy sigh. I continued to listen to my wife, my eyes locked on the storage room door and I could tell just by the pitch of her voice and the way she moaned that she was enjoying every second of what she was getting from my brother. I knew every inch of her, heard every tone she used, every cry she let out, whether good or bad.. I knew her down to the very last detail, and I began to wonder if Gareth did now, too. But, I waited for them.. I couldn’t bare walking in and seeing it happening..

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A crack of thunder roared over the sky outside and a flash of lightning illuminated the dark bakery for a split second, my ears then being filled with both a calm, soothing rain hitting the roof, as well as my wife’s sensual, pleasured voice and ultimately I would be happy to hear both, reminding myself of a few times we had made love during storms like this and they were times that were nothing short of blissful. But, those days were long gone now.. The days I actually felt the happiness radiating off of her, the days when she would look into my eyes and tell me she loved me, the days we spent together simply enjoying one another’s presence without needing to use any words.. All of that was over now. 

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I waited for roughly ten agonizing minutes, my expression, blank.. My mind.. Blank.. When finally, I noticed I hadn’t heard anything coming from the storage room for about half a minute and I assumed they were done. Getting dressed, perhaps. For as an intense moment such as this, I was a lot calmer than I thought I’d be. There was a.. A sense of euphoria filling me and the corner of my mouth twitched into a slight smirk. I was.. I was excited.. The build up to this very moment ever since Ezra had called me was killing me inside, and yet, as I sat here, waiting to see the face of my wife, of my brother, I couldn’t help but feel eager. 

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I heard the doorknob being touched from the inside of the storage room and the door finally opened, my eyes looking up to see Hannah smiling in Gareth’s arms and they were looking at one another with a sense of happiness. I was a little jealous of that.

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The first to make eye contact with me was Hannah, watching as her happiness drained quickly from her face and she gasped softly, stopping in her tracks and Gareth looked to her with slight confusion, but once he looked and noticed what had startled her, or rather, who, his face quickly drained of any bliss, just as quickly as hers had. They stood there frozen for a few moments, not saying a word as they both stared at me, and I stared at them.

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I’m sorry..” I began blandly, “Did I interrupt something?”

Generation 3, Chapter 19

Attention: NSFW, violence.

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    Gibson’s POV     

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There’s this twisting in my gut that hurts whenever I think about it. I know it now.. It’s a fact in my mind that I can’t escape, it had to be.. Hannah had to be cheating on me, or else none of what’s been happening would’ve occurred. I’ve realized that her income from the bakery doesn’t add up to what is usually is, or should be.. When it would normally add up to a cent amount, lately it would come out to a perfect flat sum and it made me think she was getting paid but not giving change..? It even seemed as if she was being given money outright instead of earning it from the bakery.. It’s been a few years since the Easter Festival and I’ve been watching our money flow a lot more than I had. When I had noticed that we were getting more money than I thought we were supposed to be getting, I did my own investigating and the money she had been getting goes back even since before the Easter festival.. How could I have not noticed back then?

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But.. What does this all mean? Was she really cheating on me..? For how much she seemed to be bringing in, it almost made me think she was doing something for this money and she didn’t want me to know, going behind my back and trying to add it into her monthly deposit in hopes of me never finding out.. And there was no evidence of this money disappearing from our account to pay it back, it never balanced out and we were always in the positive now, so she hadn’t taken out a loan without me knowing.. What was she doing to get this money? Who was giving it to her?

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I sat at my desk in the bedroom before work, looking at our bank account and my mind was going crazy trying to figure out any other explanation I could think of for where this money was coming from.. Is this why she’s been so distant with me? We’ve been intimate like any other married couple, but when I thought about it more, the times that I would get her into the mood was changing, and I’d be left with Hannah trying to sleep afterward instead of cuddling or talking to me like we usually once did. She was distant, too distant. I was convinced that she was getting something from someone else and it’s been bothering me to the point where I’d get mad about nothing in front of her and it would explode into this huge ordeal that never needed to happen and I would never come out with what I was truly thinking.. She was hiding something and trying to make me feel like the bad guy in those situations, diverting the attention from herself onto either me or the kids.

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Hannah had gotten pregnant a little after the spring festival and she had given birth to our little girl, Camilla.. But, as bad as I felt for thinking this, I couldn’t help but feel that she wasn’t mine. No matter how many times I looked into her eyes, it still didn’t sit right with me.. None of it. Camilla was so innocent and I hated the way I looked at her, I know I should show her unconditional love like I do for Oliver, but.. I.. I just couldn’t.. Yet another reason for Hannah and I to grow apart because she felt as if I preferred Oliver over Camilla.. But, that’s exactly how I felt.. Hannah wasn’t wrong in that one aspect. I still played with her, let her sleep in my arms, fed her and made silly faces to make her laugh, but my heart just wasn’t there.

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Camilla reminded me of my grandfather that I remembered seeing in pictures, her hair and eyes just as brown as his, but then again, they also might not be my genes at all if she truly isn’t mine like I thought she wasn’t.. She was a very friendly little girl, though she hated being outside because it was so hot here in this climate.. She much more preferred the cold. She was beautiful and I had always dreamed of having a little girl now that Hannah and I had a boy, but every time Camilla looked at me and smiled, it was hard to return the same expression..

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Oliver loved Camilla and I liked how inseparable they were, he was already great at being an older brother and I could already tell that Camilla idolized him. I remember imagining to myself that if I had a little girl, I would adore her and she’d adore me.. She’d be sad to see me leave and excited to see me when I got home, and that’s exactly what Camilla did, yet I was less excited than I thought I’d be whenever I got home and she was waiting for me. 

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Before I left for work, I left my bedroom and got Camilla dressed and ready for the day, seeing Oliver still in his bed, though he was sitting up and awake, watching me dress Camilla, “Come on, bud.. Time to go to school, get dressed,” I said softly, smiling his way before looking to Camilla and adjusting the outfit I chose for her so it would fit nicely. Oliver finally got up and went out of the room, going to brush his teeth and fix his hair and he came back into the room minutes later.

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“Why doesn’t Millie have to go?” He complained quietly and I chuckled.

“Because, she’s still too young.. Her vocabulary still consists of about ten words.. She’ll be going in a few years though,” I replied.

“Is she going to go to an all-girls school like I’m going to an all-boys?” He wondered, getting out his uniform from the dresser for school.

“Yeah, making sure you two go to good schools and get good educations are our top priority. The private schools you go to are the best to be in around here, you’ll get used to it,” I preached, fixing Camilla’s hair after putting her dress on.

“I don’t like my school, it’s really small,” he complained, getting dressed into his uniform as I continued to fix Camilla’s hair and waiting for Oliver to be ready.

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“Well, have you made any friends yet?” I asked, not hearing Ollie answer me and I looked towards him, “Oliver?”

“..No,” he replied quietly, “I get made fun of a lot,” he replied even quieter and I let go of his sister so she could go and play, seeing him look up to me with sad eyes.

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I walked over to him and knelt down to his level, putting my hands on his arms and turning him towards me, “What do they say to you?” I asked sternly, getting a little angered at how anyone could find even one flaw about him.

“They make fun of my backpack because of the color, they think it’s for girls and they call me princess a lot,” he replied softly, averting his eyes elsewhere and I sighed as I looked to his backpack, then back to him.

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“Why don’t you get a different one then?”

“But it’s my favorite color! Mom and I searched for backpacks for a long time and I finally found this one that I liked,” he answered.

“Well, then just ignore them, they only do that because they’re jealous of it. I bet they didn’t get the ones they chose and they’re jealous that you got exactly what you wanted,” I replied, putting my hand to the side of his face and making him look at me, “It’s just who you are.. Don’t let them get to you, getting upset by it only fuels those little monsters to keep doing it. If you don’t let it bother you and you ignore them, they’ll stop.. Trust me,” I replied with a smirk, seeing him nod to my words and I stood up, walking back over to Camilla and picking her up, “Come on, let’s get you two some breakfast.”

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I walked out of the kids room holding Camilla and Oliver walked next to me, “Did you ever go through stuff like this when you were in school?” He wondered and I smiled while chuckling.

“Of course, no one goes through their school career without getting made fun of at least once. People are always going to find something they don’t like and exploit it.. I used to get made fun of for getting excellent grades, but I got over it by realizing that I was just better than everyone else, and since I was, they took the best thing about me and made fun of it.. The word nerd was said a lot I recall,” I replied and Oliver laughed softly.

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“Well, I don’t think you’re a nerd, Dad. I’m gunna be as smart as you one day,” he said happily and I looked down to him with a smirk.

“No, you’ll be way smarter. You probably already are since you got to go to such a good school at your age. I would’ve done anything to convince my Dad to let me go to a school like you are had I ever known about them,” I replied, stopping by the door and watching Oliver set his backpack down by the door and he then walked with me towards the kitchen where Hannah was.

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“Wait, did you ever go to college?” He asked and I shook my head.

“No, even though I very well could’ve. Some family issues happened around my Senior year of High School and I got distracted, way too distracted by it and I ended up almost failing my last year, which resulted in me losing all the scholarships I thought I was going to get,” I replied, seeing him show remorse in his eyes as if he felt bad for me but I chuckled softly as I put Camilla into her high chair, “Don’t worry about it.. Had I went to college, I would’ve never met your mother, and you wouldn’t be here. I’m very glad I never went just for that one reason,” I added, seeing him smile and he laughed as I tousled the hair on his head.

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“What do you want for breakfast, sweetheart?” Hannah wondered towards Oliver as he climbed into a bar stool to watch her cook for him.

“Hmm.. An omelet? With.. Bacon, cheese, mushrooms, annndddd.. Green peppers?” He wondered and she smiled with an accompanied giggle.

“Omelet it is,” she replied happily.

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Hannah looked over to me with a blank expression as I sat in the stool next to Ollie, “I thought you would’ve left for work by now..?” She wondered, looking away from me then and preparing Ollie’s breakfast. I scowled just slightly towards her without Oliver noticing and I then let out a sarcastic chuckle, though I was the only one who knew it was sarcastic.

“I know you’re eager to get rid of me, but I let Jaime open this morning because Ollie wanted me to drive him to school,” I replied, looking to Ollie and patting his back as he smiled towards me. 

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“Gibson, don’t imply such things, it’s ridiculous.”

Is it?” I asked and she looked to me for a few long seconds, then went back to making Oliver’s breakfast, ignoring me and I chuckled softly. She hated spending even a few minutes with me and she made me feel unproductive since I wasn’t already at work, but I tried to ignore my urge to be at my job as I looked at Ollie, glad that he had wanted me to drive him to school.

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“Can you take Millie today?” Hannah wondered as she finished up Oliver’s breakfast and placed it before him. 

“Why can’t you take her?” I asked in return.

“It’s Friday, Gibson, you know I get swamped at the bakery at the end of the week,” she pointed out and I sighed, looking over to Camilla in her high chair then back to Hannah, nodding softly.

“Yeah.. I can take her,” I reluctantly agreed and she walked away from me without so much as a smile to my response and she began cleaning up the kitchen.

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“Can I come with? Pleaaasseee?” Oliver whined and I shook my head.

“Nope, you gotta go to school and face those guys, and you’re not missing any school unless you’re sick, you know that,” I replied and he sighed heavily.

“Fiiiiiine..” Oliver reluctantly replied.

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“What do you mean ‘face those guys’? Are you being bullied, Ollie?” Hannah wondered with concern and we both got off the bar stools to get ready to leave.

“No, he’s doing just fine. I’ve got it covered already,” I reply, watching as Hannah looked to me as if she was offended that she wasn’t involved in this situation.

“Is that right? Because I thought I asked Oliver a question,” she replied with slight attitude and I scoffed quietly.

“Well, Ollie? Your mother asked you something.. Answer her.”

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“It’s okay, Mom.. I can handle it, don’t worry,” he replied with a smile her way and Hannah crossed her arms over her chest. “I’ll be outside by the car, Dad.. Bye, Mom! Love you!” He called out as he grabbed his backpack by the door.

“Love you, baby,” she called back to him and he went outside to wait for me.

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I went to Camilla and picked her up out of her high chair, about to walk towards the door to go outside with Oliver, but I caught Hannah staring at me with her arms still crossed over her chest, still waiting for an explanation, “What..? He probably didn’t want to tell you because no boy wants to look weak in front of a girl. He was just getting made fun of because the kids don’t like the color of his backpack, that’s all.. Like he said already, he can handle it, so stop worrying so much.. It’s not like he’s getting beat up,” I said with little patience.

“And what happens when he does get beat up? What did you say to him when he told you all of this?” She asked as if anything I said to him was going to be the wrong teachings, as if I couldn’t handle my son having bullies.

“You say that as if it’s a sure thing that’s going to happen.. I just said he’s fine the way he is, those kids are just jealous of him and he needs to ignore them because it doesn’t matter what they say,” I replied sternly, “Was that not the right thing to say? Should I have told him to beat the hell out of them? Make them eat dirt?” I asked sarcastically.

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“No, of course not, Gibson..” She replied angrily, shaking her head towards me as if I was the only one being difficult right now.

“Oh, well then it does look like I had it under control, huh?” I asked and she turned away from me, not replying and I scoffed, “See you at dinner..” I ended the conversation abruptly with anger and I left, bringing Millie with me and getting in the car with Oliver to take him to school.

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“Is Mom mad?” Oliver asked in the car as I drove him to school and I looked to him through the rear-view mirror.

“No, not at you.. You did nothing wrong, okay?” I said, seeing him look to me through the mirror and he nodded.

“Then was she mad at you?”

“No..” I lied, not wanting him to ever figure out that Hannah and I weren’t doing well lately, “She’s just worried about you and she doesn’t want her son being bullied, that’s all.. No parent wants their child to be tormented for being themselves,” I replied, seeing him nod in understanding and I smirked. “It’ll be okay, bud.. If you can get through today when dealing with those guys, you can get through anything,” I continued, then my voice got a little quieter.. “Don’t tell your mother I told you this, but if those guys ever want to hurt you, or beat you up or anything like that.. Don’t be afraid to defend yourself. Don’t by any means throw the first punch, but if they do, don’t run away, you hear me? Always stand up for yourself,” I finished, seeing him smirk and nod in acknowledgment towards me in the mirror and I smiled as well.

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“Did you ever get beat up?” He wondered and I thought for a moment, though it wasn’t that pleasant of a memory and I didn’t want to share it with him, but I decided to anyways.. He needed more information, and it was a little obvious he was nervous about the subject of violence.

“Yeah, I was maybe a little older than you are now.. It was winter and you’re Uncle Gareth was out sick one day, but I still had to go to school. My brother and I always stood by one another and watched out for each other, so no one would usually mess with us if we were together.. But separated? That’s usually when we got picked on a lot more. The day he was sick and I still came to school, there was one kid in particular that hated our family for whatever reason, pushing me up against a locker and he even took my glasses and threw them down the hallway.. Shoved me down to the floor, told me to lick the bottom of his shoes but I refused, so he kicked me in the stomach a few times for not doing it.. Then told me some nasty things and left,” I replied, seeing the worry in Oliver’s eyes through the rear-view mirror. “It was the same boy, too, that beat up your Aunt Bahiti a day later, shoving her face in the snow and giving her a bloody nose.”

“..What happened later, when Uncle Gareth came back to school? Did he defend you guys, or did you two get him back?” He wondered and I shook my head.

“Nah.. I can’t tell you what we did.. I don’t want to give you any ideas.. Let’s just say he never bothered us again,” I replied, watching the road and unable to forget how that day had ended..

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I.. I remember.. I remember the sky being dark that day after school, as if the world knew what my brother and I were planning and it set the perfect ambiance. After our target had beat me up in the hallway, and about two weeks after he white washed Bahiti in the snow, resulting in her coming home with a bloody nose, Gareth and I scoped out our bully for a few days..

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We watched, waited, planned.. He usually walked home by himself, he took the route that was behind the school passed the baseball diamond, alone, the perfect time to strike. It was our duty, our right, our will to take him down, especially for what he had done to our little sister.. He only brought this upon himself.

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Gareth and I took that route home one day, waiting within the dugout of the baseball field, waiting to see him walking home alone like he usually did, and eventually, we saw him. We waited until about four thirty, the time around when the ones that were stupid enough to get caught got out of detention and he walked through the baseball diamond as both of us watched him carefully. “That’s him, right?” Gareth wondered, wanting me to make confirmation before we made any moves and I nodded even though Gareth wasn’t looking at me.

“Yeah.. That’s definitely him..” I confirmed.

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Without any more words, I watched as Gareth rose from the bench and grabbed a baseball bat, holding it up and inspecting it carefully, blissfully.. “I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time.. You ready?” He asked, seeing him look to me and I nodded.

“More than ready,” I answered, seeing him smile and he looked towards the boy, still venturing through the baseball diamond.

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I stood up slowly, following Gareth out of the dugout and we walked to the pitchers mound, stopping behind Gareth and I watched as he lifted his arms, smelling the air loudly and letting out a loud, pleasureful sigh. “Well, it sure is a lovely day out, isn’t it, Gibs?” He announced loudly, both of us watching as the boy stopped and looked back at us.

I took in the same breath of winter air that Gareth had and smiled, looking towards the boy and I nodded, “Beautiful..” I confirmed towards Gareth. “What do you think?” I asked towards our bully, seeing his expression unwavering as we both starred at him.

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“What are you two idiots doing here? You two just can’t get enough of my fist in your face, can ya?” He taunted and I looked towards Gareth, seeing him tap the end of the bat against the white snow in a calm manner.

“Come on, Henry.. You know why we’re here, don’t tell me you’re that stupid,” he taunted back, seeing Henry grow angered and he began walking back across the baseball diamond towards us.

“I don’t care that you two are together, it just makes it easier to beat the shit out of you two at the same time rather than apart,” he replied and I heard Gareth laugh.

“Funny.. Because I don’t care that you’re alone. I actually love that you are, because unlike you, I’ll never be that pathetic.. No one to have your back.. No one to help you win fights.. Well, this is going to be one fight that you don’t walk away from. You’re going to pay for what you did to us.. To our sister.. Right now, actually. I know from beating up others, you might’ve gotten some blow-back, some of their blood on your face or in your mouth.. But, have you ever tasted your own?” He asked and I grew a little nervous, looking towards Henry and I watched as he smiled, still approaching us.

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“You two think you’re soooo tough..” He replied and Gareth laughed again.

“No, we just know that you’re weak right now. Vulnerable. ..Deserving. In need of a little wake up call. Don’t you agree?” I heard Gareth ask with a voice I was beginning to become unfamiliar with. He was turning into such a collected, calm person as he stood there and taunted Henry, and even though he was standing right in front of me, it was hard to tell if it was the Gareth I knew. I always knew us to be different, and so did he, but he embraced the side of us that we couldn’t control, whereas I questioned it, though I enjoyed watching it unravel through Gareth. 

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“Wanna play baseball, Henry?” I heard Gareth question and my heart began to beat a little faster, knowing that Gareth was growing impatient and his need to let everything out was growing. There was no stopping this now. I needed to regain my composure and be Gareth’s backup, taking a deep breath in and letting it out slowly.

“No, I don’t want to play, Gareth.. What are you, stupid? There’s snow on the ground, plus, why the hell would I wanna play with you idiots?” Henry asked angrily in return and I began to get irritated by his constant insults. 

“Does anyone else want to play, Gibson?” Gareth asked and I knew what he was implying, turning my head all around and not seeing anyone in sight.

“Not a soul,” I confirmed for him.

“Well, looks like it’s just the three of us then..” Gareth continued and it was silent for a few long seconds. I could hear my heart beating hard under my winter coat with the anticipation of when the fight would start, watching Gareth’s every move and waiting for this to begin..

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Henry got mad and came at Gareth suddenly, but Gareth was more than ready.. He gripped the bat tightly within a split second and swung it upward as hard as he could and I flinched at the sound of the bat connecting with Henry’s nose, knowing instantly he had shattered it and I stood there stunned, unable to move as I watched everything finally begin to unveil.. Henry fell back into the snow and I watched as he rolled back and forth slightly, physically unable to call for help, or even cry, though he managed to let out some eerie moans of pain. Blood poured out of his nose, falling down his face, his neck, into his mouth.. I could even hear him beginning to gurgle from the blood filling his throat as he struggled to breath and I thought he was going to die from drowning, but before we gave him that luxury, Gareth gripped the handle of the bat again, “How does it taste, Henry?” He asked, then swinging the bat down as hard as he could on Henry’s head and his body jerked a little at the sudden force.

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I watched as Henry’s fingers began to twitch inside his gloves and I knew he wasn’t dead yet, looking to Gareth then and I noticed him breathing heavily as if he had just ran around the track to do The Mile in gym class, his expression filled with nothing but delight and he looked over towards me with droplets of blood speckling his face. “He’s not dead yet, is he?” Gareth asked and I slowly shook my head ‘no’, hearing Gareth chuckle softly then and he looked back to Henry, “Good..” He continued, watching Gareth then grip the bat again and he began swinging it down onto Henry’s head, over and over and I watched as more and more blood sprayed across the surface of the snow as well as on Gareth with every swing of his bat, painting the white backdrop with nothing but red.

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I couldn’t describe the amount of excitement as well as fear that I felt coursing through me, the smell of the blood alone gave me a slight thrill and I watched as Gareth continued his barrage of hits among Henry’s head. I continued to stare, unable to blink in fear that I would miss something exciting and every hit made a blunt sound on impact, though when it continued more and more, the sound seemed to dissipate and I knew he wasn’t quite hitting only the hard surface of his skull anymore.

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I flinched at Gareth’s last hit, a droplet of blood hitting my cheek and I snapped out of my trance. I reached up slowly, wiping it off with my middle fingertip and I looked at my hand,  seeing a tiny, smeared trace of blood on my skin and I bent down to grab some snow, heating it up in my hands and I wiped away the red trace on my fingertip. This was it, this was our first time, our first victim, our first kill. Even though I had done nothing and Gareth did all the work, it just seemed like the right thing to do, to let him unleash his anger as I got solace from simply watching everything being taken care of right before my eyes. 

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I looked up towards Gareth, seeing him already looking at me, still breathing heavily and he let out a soft laugh, “The look on your face is priceless,” he said with a grin, then I watched as he looked up towards the sky, “How do you feel? Do you feel better now?” He asked, watching as he looked back to me and I starred at him for a few long moments before answering.

“..I don’t know exactly.. H-How do you feel?” I asked in return, looking down at the still body of Henry, then back up to Gareth. 

“I feel..” Gareth began, taking in a large breath of air and letting out, as if he was alive for the first time, “I feel excited.. New.. Like something’s been lifted from me that I’ve needed to get rid of my whole life. Do you feel that, too?” He asked, looking back to me and I slowly nodded, unable to disagree with him. 

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“What do we do about him?” Gareth asked, thinking to myself for a moment and I looked around, noticing an area just outside of the field with trees and bushes. 

“Over there, we’ll just drag him over there, mess up the snow, bury him and all of this left behind.. No one will find it until the snow melts,” I replied, seeing Gareth look to the area I mentioned and then back to me, seeing him keep his grin, “We should get home soon, too, before Dad does.. You need to clean up and wipe off all of the blood.. We should throw out that hoodie, too,” I continued and he looked down at himself, seeing the blood sprayed over his hoodie and he nodded in agreement as he looked back up to me.

“Damn.. I really liked this hoodie.. Next time, I’ll let you have all the fun, how’s that sound?” He asked. Next time? There’s going to be a next time..? 

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Sounds excellent,” I replied with a grin of my own.

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I dropped off Oliver at school and wished him luck, driving to work afterwards and I walked in the store with Camilla in my arms. Jaime noticed us as he was stocking the bookshelves, smiling towards us and I was pleased that the store was doing well without me. I had made Jaime the Assistant Manager like I had planned and he was proving to be quite a good worker when it came to running the store whenever I couldn’t. “Hey, would you mind?” I asked, offering him Camilla and he smiled.

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“Not at all! Hey, Millie,” he said happily, taking her from me and I walked upstairs to my office as Jaime followed.

“Did Belle have the baby yet?” I asked, unlocking my office door and going in to get settled.

“Nope, not yet.. It should be any day now, though,” he replied happily and I smirked.

“It’s going to be difficult running the place without you for a few months,” I said with a chuckle and he smiled, setting down Camilla so she could play with her toys.

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“Oh, I’m sure you’ll manage.. You did it well even before I became assistant manager, you don’t need me to keep this place afloat,” he replied and I nodded appreciatively, “I wanted to thank you for giving me maternity leave, too, whenever Belle has the baby.. It means a lot,” he continued and I brushed him off.

“No need for thanks, you should be with your wife and newborn whenever that day arrives.. I feel like my wife is still punishing me for not being there for Oliver every second of the damn day when he was born, I’d hate for that to happen to you,” I said with a chuckle as I sat at my desk and he snickered softly.

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“Is that why you’ve been bringing them to work with you more? Well, not anymore for Oliver because he’s in school, but you’ve been bringing Camilla here ever since she was born. Is this your way of kinda ‘making up for lost time’ or something? Trying harder the second time around?” He questioned and I looked to him for a moment. I couldn’t tell him the real reason, that I believe the only reason the kids have been coming to my work with me was so that my wife could stay later at the bakery to get money and get fucked by someone other than myself and I had no idea who it was. The very thought of it twisted my stomach and I cleared my throat before answering him.

“Yeah.. Exactly,” I lied, giving a fake smile, “Well, I need to get some work done, let me know if anything goes wrong downstairs, otherwise I’d like to be left alone,” I continued and I watched as he lost his smile.

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“Sure thing.. Want me to take Millie for a little while? Give you some time to yourself?” He asked, thinking to myself for a moment before finally nodding.

“Actually.. Yeah, if you don’t mind.. Millie, you wanna go with Jaime for a little while?” I asked and she smiled shyly, something she did all the time around Jaime and I chuckled, “Thanks,” I said towards Jaime and he nodded.

“Not a problem at all,” he replied, excited to spend time with Camilla and I watched as he took her, leaving my office and shutting the door behind them.

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I sat at my desk in silence, starring at the keyboard as I spaced out, letting my thoughts take over and dwelling within my own mind. I began wishing that I was back at Jaime’s age once more, wanting to relive the past six years of my life and wishing I had done things so much more different. I couldn’t help but feel responsible for the debt, for the lack of luster in Hannah and I’s marriage, for the reason she could be sleeping with someone else.. Part of me didn’t want to know, it wanted nothing to do with the thought of Hannah being unfaithful, but a large part of me, the one that I couldn’t ignore, wanted to know so badly to the point I wanted to rip it out of her and figure out the truth. 

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I wanted to find out everything, I wanted to know if she was cheating, and I especially wanted to know for how long. If it turns out to be true, I had no idea what I was going to do.. Why does this keep happening to me? It’s as if no matter how hard I try, I can’t keep someone all to myself, I always find a way to screw things up or I find someone I think is the one and they turn out to be someone completely different in the end and I realize it far too late.

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I couldn’t help it, I needed to call someone.. But not just anyone. I wasn’t going to call my brother, he wouldn’t even bother to listen to my drama and I couldn’t call Nina because the conversation would just end up on her involving Gareth.. I couldn’t call Bennu because I was too prideful to let someone within the family know that something like this was happening and I couldn’t call Bahiti, either, for the same reason.. Was I alone in this predicament like almost every other aspect of my life?

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Wait.. There was one person.. One person I could call for this type of thing, and it wasn’t to vent.. I stood up, pacing around the room as I looked through my phone and I came across the name ‘Ezra’, an old friend of Gareth and I. I knew he dealt with personal affairs, but I wondered if he did any investigatory work as far as tailing people..? His name echoed in my ears as I looked at his name in my contacts. I knew Gareth, him and I used to be close friends when we had first moved to Lucky Palms, but I wondered if he was still in that line of work, and I wondered if he could help me..

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I pressed the send button and the phone rang on the other line about five times before he answered, “Gibson, holy shit.. I haven’t heard from you in so long! How have you been, man?” He answered wholeheartedly and I smirked, liking that he had actually made it a point to keep my number just in case I ever called.

“I’m doing alright.. How about yourself?” I asked.

“Good, good.. Wow, it’s good to hear your voice, even if you sound just like your brother.. Ha ha! There’s still subtle differences that I always notice, though.. Oh, hey! I heard you got married a few years ago! Congrats!” He replied and I lost my smirk, though he couldn’t tell obviously.

“Yeah.. I did, thanks.. I had two kids, too.. A boy and a girl,” I replied and he laughed joyfully.

“Ahhhh the married life.. Such a beautiful thing,” he replied, though I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic.

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“Hey, so.. I know you used to deal with personal matters and I actually called to see if you still did that kind of thing?” I wondered.

“Oh, well.. I, uhh, don’t really like to discuss that kind of thing over the phone.. Is there anywhere we could meet?” He asked and I thought for a moment.

“Well, I’d like to talk about it soon, but I’m at work until about seven or eight..”

“Can I stop by there or is that out of the question?” He wondered and I thought for another moment..

“..I guess you could come by here, but you can’t stay long, my daughter is here.. We can talk alone in my office,” I replied.

“Great, where do you work?” He asked and I told him the I still worked at the same bookstore that I had been since we moved here.

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Within the hour, Ezra got to my work and he knocked on my glass door, smirking when I saw him and he came in when I had stood up from my desk to go greet him. “Hey, man! Long time, no see,” he began and I chuckled as we hugged briefly. “Saw your little girl downstairs with someone who worked here, she’s a real beauty.”

“Thank you.. It’s good seeing you again, Ezra. Please, take a seat,” I offered and he accepted, sitting down comfortably on the sofa and I pulled the chair out from my desk to sit in and face him.

“So, what kind of services do you require exactly, my friend?” He began right away.

“Well, I was wondering if you, uhm.. I just need you to find out some information for me,” I replied, my expression turning serious.

“Oh? That’s not like you, Gibs.. Usually you’re smarter than me when it comes to this sort of thing,” he said with another laugh.

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“Yeah, well.. I think I need some help, if you’re willing..? I can’t do it myself because I got work to worry about and I don’t have the time.. I’ll pay you, of course,” I replied.

“No, don’t even bother.. I’d be happy to do a favor for an old friend.. What do you need, my man?” He asked, giving me his full attention.

“Well.. Uhm..” I struggled, my heart beating faster and I was even a little ashamed that I was seeking help for this kind of thing. It was demeaning and I couldn’t help but feel like I’d be looked at differently, like Hannah possibly being unfaithful was my fault and I didn’t want to be looked at as if I was the screw up with all of this..

“Come on, I’ve heard the most ridiculous shit for me to do, so anything you say I’m sure I can handle,” he replied with a laugh and I sighed heavily.

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“..I, uhm.. I kind of want you to- To Keep an eye on my wife, I think she’s been.. Seeing someone,” I finally spat out and I could feel his demeanor changing.

Oooohh.. Uhhh.. Well, I guess my congratulations earlier was a little.. Pre-mature?” He said reluctantly and I sighed once more, “But, since you’re calling for those kinds of services, I’m sorry to hear that, man.. It always sucks to be forced to think that someone is doing that kind of shit with someone else,” he said sadly.

“Yeah, whatever.. Just, I need you to follow my wife.. Let’s say.. One week. Even though you said it’s free, I’m still willing to pay for you to do this for a whole week.. It’s just.. Something that I need to know and get passed.. I want to know if she’s seeing someone else or if there’s some other reason she’s been so distant,” I reply.

“I’d be glad to do it for an old friend. Still, no charge” he added and I smirked.

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“Thanks, man.. I really appreciate it..”

“Not a problem.. So what’s the details? Tell me everything. Where she works, for how long, who she works with, when she’s supposed to be home.. Tell me everything, if you can.. Every little bit helps when I’m looking for results,” he replied, “Wait, lemme get a pen and paper,” he requested and I gave him what he needed, “Alright, go ahead.”

“Well..” I began, telling him the days she works, what her normal hours were, when she was usually home, everything.. Everything that I could possibly think of, even if it seemed like useless information. “I want you to follow her for a week, 24/7 if you can.. Or, at least from when she wakes up and leaves for work to when she gets home, that’s all..”

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“Yeah, I can do that, no problem. It’s Friday now, should I start Monday then?” He asked and I nodded.

“Yeah, that sounds good. And, if you can, please call me after you’re done watching her every day.. Just call me whenever she leaves her bakery to come home and tell me if you notice anything weird that I haven’t told you in this conversation,” I requested.

“Again, not a problem, my man.. Whatever you want, goes,” he replied, smiling towards me and I smirked as well, glad that I had someone like him I could count on and get an outside opinion on all of this. I needed to know if I was just being crazy or if all of this was my gut telling me my assumptions about my wife were right.

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“Thanks.. I hate to get in contact with you for such things since I haven’t seen you in a while, I wish I had called you for better reasons, but.. I guess I’m desperate, I’m just glad you can help,” I answered.

“My pleasure to help out an old friend. Well, I guess it’s not really a ‘pleasure’ given the situation, but.. Uhh..” He answered unsteadily and I chuckled with remorse.

“I get it, Ezra.. But, anyways.. Thanks,” I answered, beginning to lose my patience.

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“Sorry,” he said with a nervous chuckle, ripping out the piece of paper from the notepad he had used and tucking it into his front pocket, then standing up to leave and I rose from my chair as well. I shook his hand, “I’ll call you Monday when my first day is over,” he continued and I nodded.

“Sounds good, talk to you soon,” I replied and he nodded in return, walking towards the door and out of my office. 

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Was it wrong, spying on my wife like this? Sending someone to follow her, watch her? The thought of me not doing it myself irked me a little.. I knew I could trust Ezra, he’s good at whatever he does even though I’m still unaware of where he draws the line when it comes to certain jobs. I had always wondered if he did more than just follow people, find missing persons.. I wondered if he’s ever spilled blood before and what he felt if he had. Would he have felt as exhilarated as Gareth and I did when we had dealt with Henry? Did he get a rush out of it, or was it just for the money?  Either way I chose to look at it, I was glad that he was where I couldn’t be to find out the truth, I knew I could trust him to get all the information I needed to see if this relationship I had with Hannah was about to take a turn for the better, or a turn for the worse.