Memory Lane Challenge

Thanks so much to blamsart for nominating me to do this! This seems really fun! (btw, sorry it took so long to get this done T_T )

Rules:

Congratulations! You’ve been nominated for a totally legit award.
1. Get a gold star and stick it on your forehead like a boss.

2. Share FIVE of your favourite moments from your legacy/challenge/story so far.
3. Nominate 3-5 blogs to do the same.

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BTW.. IF YOU’RE STILL CATCHING UP, THIS UPDATE HAS SPOILERS!!!!

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Memory One: Generation 1, Chapter 13

When Marrick kills Archer.

Marrick killing Archer was a huge thing showing that Marrick was losing his mind. The first HUGE implication, at least, despite the writing subtly hinting at it. The fact that he was able to kill his one, true companion, before he met Sadie, meant that it was a huge hint that he was starting to lose his mind, and couldn’t separate the truth from his own thoughts in his head.

Memory Two: Generation 2, Chapter 15

Faline’s POV.

I felt like this chapter meant a LOT to the readers. Faline was innocent, for the most part, and this is the first time I showed her being vulnerable to Jason, and the readers seeing Jason and how he acts from an outside point of view. I think this chapter is important, also, because it lets the readers see something else in Jason. Every chapter I do, I do from the heirs POV, so, when there’s been nothing but Jason chapters, there’s sympathy, but from Faline’s POV, there’s empathy. It’s a very important chapter. Not the most memorable, but, in my mind, it does mean a lot to Jason’s story, still. Faline played a huge part in Jason’s “turning”.

Memory Three: Generation 3, Chapter 16

When Gareth made his “official” move on Hannah.

The second that Gareth thought that he had been abandoned, like both him and Gibson felt when Jason went AWOL, Gibson went a different direction with it, while Gareth took it more personally. He was jealous that Gibson was able to move on, so he felt the need to remind Gibson every day of his life, since they were kids, that their lives were never meant to be normal. The time when Gibson showed signs of that, found of potential wife and (later) had kids, Gareth tried to ruin it from the very start. After Oliver was born, Gareth felt him slipping away even futher from (his) reality, Gibson still ignoring Gareth, and that’s when he made his final move to take everything away from his brother like their father had did for them. Remind him, in a way, that they can never have the “normal” life they always wanted. He made every conscious effort to show him that, even if it came to betraying him.

Memory Four: Generation 4, Chapter 13

When Isaiah got Ambushed

Oliver has been lying to Isaiah for so, SO long, that even by this chapter, he still had never told him the truth. Isaiah has been in the dark with Oliver from the very start. Gibson, showing up to defend the man that he found worthy of loving his son, was a HUGE chapter that I’m sure everyone can remember. Most thought it was Gareth, at first, and with good reason, since Gareth is the “natural” one to come for those who need.. “Exterminating”.. But, however, Gibson showed up, and he protected his son, by protecting what his son loved most. Gibson had been watching Oliver for a while, keeping an eye on him, just in case Oliver would ever get into trouble that Oliver couldn’t handle, which proved to be so, since Oliver would never be capable of killing another human being (which we later on learn is not true). We have this thought of him being a perfect, innocent soul, and so many people helping him “try” to achieve a normal life, but Gibson coming into the picture did help.

Memory Five: Generation 4, Chapter 20, Finale Part 1 of 2

Oliver Gets an Unsuspected Surprise

When Oliver gets stabbed in the first part of a two part Finale, everyone went crazy! LOL It was unexpected and that’s what I love about story telling. I honestly think that Oliver’s generation was the most impacting of a generation that I’ve ever written yet, and I’m so proud of it. Maybe that’s why I feel like I can’t do better than this, so that’s why Generation Five is so, so hard for me to write, but.. I honestly believe that this was, by far, my best end to a generation I’ve done so far and I’m so, so happy and proud of it. Everyone didn’t expect Jody’s Father to come back eventually, so that’s awesome, but.. Maybe this is just my subconscious talking or not, but.. I think I ended that generation perfectly. 

Again, which is why I find it so hard to continue Gen 5.. It’s taken me this long to update chapters on a “regular” basis like I used to, so, maybe me taking this long to update it again is why I feel this way, too. I don’t know where to go. I’m almost convinced that Generation 4 was my, by far, greatest accomplishment. 

Maybe that’s why I don’t feel like updating Generation Five as much as I used to update my other generations.. I feel like I’ve met my match. I feel like I’ve met my “writing capacity” match when it comes to this legacy, but.. There’s still part of me that wants to continue it so, so badly, but, yet, it’s still a very SMALL part of me.. 

All of you that are continuing to read and don’t un-subscribe from the email updates of my legacy, thank you, so, so, so, so much.. I love each and every one of you. However, honestly, I’m struggling to get pics and continue even writing this story for Luca. (life and what-not aint what it used to be when I was posting sooooo much).

I don’t want to give up on this story, or myself, either, so, please, if you’re subscribed to this, please stay subscribed, but, I honestly don’t know when there will be another update.. I just wanted to add that.

I love you all, truly. The lurkers, the readers, the commenters, my friends, my everything.. You know who you are. I might be taking a break, until I can find my love for this story again. Believe me, the next chapter, as well as the next, is completely written.. The next chapter? Half done with pics! So, there’s still hope. Don’t unfollow. It’s still a thing, I just.. Don’t know when I’ll be able to complete the chapter. Or the next, for that matter. I’m just at a hard time in my life right now where I can’t update as often, aka life stuff, so.. Anyways.. Life stuff.. But please, have faith in me to continue this story like I do for myself, eventually. I haven’t given up yet on this, and I hope my readers haven’t either. I hope to get my inspiration back for this story, which I will, but I don’t know when. That’s all. 

I love you all to death <33

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.

Generation 3, Chapter 18

     Gibson’s POV     

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

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

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

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

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

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“Yes, Jaime..?” I questioned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No one..”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mommy showed me how,” she replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Generation 3, Chapter 17

Attention: NSFW chapter, mature content.

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     Gareth’s POV     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Generation 3, Chapter 16

Gibson’s POV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“In his playpen,” she replied casually.

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

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

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

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

“Yeah, good idea.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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