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 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 15

    Gareth’s POV     

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These passed six months have been awful without Gibson living with me.. Nina was almost to her due date and Hannah was roughly six and a half months pregnant and I hadn’t seen Gibson in about two months.. He probably wasn’t too busy for me, but I hated not seeing him. Nina was literally driving me insane and I couldn’t take this. Ever since Gibson moved out, Nina has been pressuring me to let her live with me since there was so much room now but I couldn’t take living with her, let alone even being around her when she was like this.

Nina has been so goddamn emotional, needy, and temperamental that she was even more impossible to handle now than she was before. I.. I hated to admit it, but I was a little lost without Gibson.. I was lost without his guidence and lately I’ve been having that nagging urge again to feel warm blood on the very tips of my fingers, yet somehow.. Somehow I’ve still stayed strong and haven’t touched anyone in a violent manner since Katherine on the beach..

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I’ve been sitting at the bar at the venue for about an hour now that Bennu had rented for Nina and Hannah to have their baby showers.. Bennu went a little nuts and bought both Nina and Hannah so many gifts that the entire gift table was mostly her doing, but some of the presents were from friends of both the ladies. I knew that Hannah wasn’t here long enough in the Palms to meet new people to have a lot of friends, most of them being friends of Nina’s, but at the same time, most of Nina’s friends were girls I’ve slept with, so I hid my face at the bar ever since I got here to avoid confrontation of any sort. I noticed Hannah and Nina conversing by the opening to the ‘man cave’, the area for men to go to so we could avoid all the mushy bullshit of pinks and blues.. Bennu talked to me for a few seconds to let me know that Gibson was coming later, and that he was still working. Bennu wasn’t too happy about that.. I felt bad that he had to work the afternoon shift during his baby shower with Hannah, yet ever since I showed him the money I made from my occasional jobs, he’s been avoiding asking me for any of it and he’s been working more, even more than when he used to when he lived with me. 

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I felt like he was avoiding me, but I didn’t want to believe it. I’ve called him a few times, even to come over and have a few beers with me, but he’s been so involved in his shitty ass job at the bookstore that he hated and wanted to quit that he could never come over, and if I were to put a tally on it, I’ve seen him about ten times throughout Hannah’s whole pregnancy. I was on my fourth beer already since I got here and it hadn’t even been that long since I had arrived, but I needed something to distract me from all of this pregnancy shit. If Gibson thought it was hard for me to be around Nina when she was less than two months pregnant, he hasn’t seen me yet when she was close to her due date.. 

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“I should’ve known you’d be hiding in here,” a voice rang softly and I looked towards the entrance, seeing Hannah approaching me and I couldn’t help but smirk.

“Who said anything about hiding? I’m just.. Patiently waiting for another guy to show up before I feel like blowing my brains out around all you hormonal women,” I replied, still holding my smirk and I looked in front of me instead of at her.

“Ouch, have you been rehearsing that for whenever I’d come in? I don’t think that would go over well with anyone else that’s attending,” she answered and I chuckled.

“Nope, I’ve just got a quick sense of humor. But, in no way am I implying that I’m at all quick with, other things,” I hinted with a wink her way and she shook her head lightly.

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“Still hitting on me, huh? After all this time?”

“What else is there to do around here? I only take the opportunities that people give me, babe,” I imply and she chuckles.

“I have something you could do, how about you feel your brother’s baby kicking? You know, the one I’m carrying right now?” She replied with attitude to put me in my place and I scoffed with a grin. Hannah and I have continued to be flirty around one another, though it was almost an unspoken agreement not to get involved with one another, especially after we all found out she was pregnant. Although I still wanted her just as much now as I did when I had first met her, there’s no way I’d try anything with a baby in her. The very thought of pregnancy for me was ruined thanks to Nina, and although I didn’t like looking at pregnant women, Hannah was the only one I could tolerate, just as long as I didn’t look any lower than her tits. Things were kind of awkward between Hannah and I ever since the night I met her, but she’s been slowly getting used to me more and more and I actually do think that she likes me now and is able to put up with my sometimes vulgar humor. Even if she isn’t in the mood for my advances, it’s still fun to do and I’ve noticed that my words can sometimes make her smile if she’s feeling down, though I think that if anyone made it as obvious as I was that I wanted to sleep with her, they’d be flattered and flustered as well.

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“You won’t be able to use that belly of yours as an excuse for me to not hit on you much longer. Once it’s born and you get that perfect body of yours back, I’ll be coming onto you harder than ever,” I hint once more and look towards her, seeing her shaking her head disapprovingly once again, yet she still held that intrigued smirk of hers that I seemed to love so much. “I’m not making you too hot, am I? Do you want some water? A bed that we can lie on for a little while?” I continued and she rolled her eyes as I laughed.

“You’re unbelievable, Gareth..”

“Unbelievably handsome..? Funny? Irresistible?” I egged on, turning towards her and giving her a flirtatious grin. 

“All the opposite, actually,” she replied with a grin of her own and I chuckled.

“Now we both know that that isn’t true.. There you go lying again, acting as if you don’t enjoy a single second of this.. Yet here you are, still standing in my, how you would say, unbelievable presence,” I continued and she rolled her eyes yet again, though didn’t deny my words.

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“Hannah?” A voice we recognized said by the entrance of the bar area and we both looked, seeing Gibson smiling at her as he walked in.

“You’re finally here!” She said excitedly, going to Gibson and I watched them hug for a few long moments, then their embrace turned into a long kiss and I averted my eyes briefly. I wasn’t mad that the first person he greeted was her, though I was surprised with how long it took him to notice me sitting at the bar, especially after not seeing him for two months. He didn’t even glance towards me after he had pulled away from their kiss and then began paying attention to Hannah’s growing belly, sighing softly to myself. I’d never be one to be so excited about a baby, whether it was mine or anyone else’s. It was surprising to me to see just how genuinely happy Gibson looked when he paid any sort of attention to Hannah and their unborn, even if they weren’t talking, just being in the same room with her I could see his enjoyment. 

I tried to avoid looking at them and chugged the rest of my remaining beer, then ordered another as they continued to talk, but I tried to ignore their conversation as well. I didn’t much like not being acknowledged, I even started to feel a bit ignored, but before I started resenting him a little, I felt a hard pat on my shoulder.

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Hey, it’s been a while, bro,” Gibson said and I looked to him, seeing him smiling as he took the seat next to me. 

“Sure has..” I reply, chuckling lightly then when I noticed a subtle change about him, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you with facial hair.. You look.. Weird,” I said with a laugh and he joined me.

“Shut up.. It’s not weird, you’re just not used to it..” He replied, attempting to defend himself as he rubbed his own chin.

I took a sip of my beer and the bartender came over to us, talking to Gibson, “Hostess said that Father’s to be drink free, so what’ll you have?”

“It’s the one good perk about this whole fucking thing,” I added and the bartender tried to refrain from laughing.

Gibson gave me a disapproving expression and looked back to the bartender, “I’ll just have whatever he is,” he answered and the bartender nodded, grabbing him a beer and placing it down in front of him.

“So what’s been keeping you so busy? Can’t take an hour out of your hectic life to come visit me for two months?” I teased.

“Sorry, but you’re right.. Things have been a little hectic. Hannah and I are trying to buy a house.. I got promoted to Manager, too, so now I run the place. I’ve been working a lot more hours ever since I got that job, too. Plus, with Hannah being pregnant, it’s hard for her to get around and do normal things sometimes, so when I’m not at work I try to help her out in the daycare with the kids she watches, that’s pretty exhausting, as well..”

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“Well, I guess it’s good practice for when your own is born, huh?” I reply and he nods with a smirk.

“Yeah, great practice.. Those kids are pretty much an example of everything I’m not going to do with mine. They’re monsters sometimes.. If my kid ever yells at me because he isn’t getting his way like this one kid does at the daycare, there will be zero tolerance from me.. I can’t stand when kids screams just to scream.. I don’t get it,” he replied with a chuckle and I laugh.

“So, what were you and Hannah talking about?” He wondered next, taking a sip of his beer.

“When?” I asked, confused.

“Just now, before I got here,” he replied and I nodded.

“Oh, uhm.. Nothing really, I’ve just been in here since I arrived about two hours ago and she felt like I needed company I guess,” I replied with a shrug.

“Isn’t that what Nina is for?” He replied with a sly grin and I chuckled. 

“Hey, Hannah came to me, okay? And besides.. Nina’s mad at me. I told her I didn’t want to come to this and I’d just be doing the same thing at home as I am here, but nooooo, I had to come, even though I’m doing exactly that.. Well, and.. I might’ve slept with a few of her friends that are here..”

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Gibson looked to me, his expression surprised as mine remained unwavered, “..Does Nina know?” He asked and I smirked.

“Hell no. I actually don’t even know why they’re here if not for me,” I replied.

“Try to keep things civilized, please..” He requested with a stern tone and I chuckled, “You don’t think that they’d cause a scene or anything, do you?” He wondered and I shrugged, unsure of how to answer him.

“Uhh.. Well, one of them is like Nina but less clingy.. The other, uhm.. She holds grudges sometimes, she didn’t like being broken up with. But don’t worry, I can deal with her if she tries anything. Nothing’s going to get ruined if that’s what you’re worried about,” I answered and he gave me an uneasy expression.

“Are you sure, Gareth? I really don’t want anything to ruin this for Hannah or Nina,” he replied and I sighed softly.

“Look, don’t even worry about it. It’s not like she’d say anything in front of the whole damn party. She’d wait until I was alone and she’d come to me at a reasonable time, I just won’t give her that chance,” I reassured him and he soon nodded, seeing some of the worry begin to leave his eyes.

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“Boys, come out here!” Both Gibson and I looked towards the entrance and saw Bennu, smiling and motioning with her hand for us to come to her then placing her hands on her hips, “The girls are opening their gifts now,” she exclaimed and I sighed heavily, watching her leave and I looked back to Gibson who had a smirk on his face.

“This stuff really does make you happy, huh?” I asked and he chuckled lightly.

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“I don’t expect you to understand because you don’t want any of this. But, I do. I guess I’m just really excited to be a Dad.. Only two and a half more months and I will be,” he replied with a wider smile and I simply shrugged, unable to understand his very apparent excitement.

We should go out there, be there for them.. Even if you don’t want to do any of this or be part of bringing life into the world, you should still try and show Nina some support. She needs it from you the most and I know you haven’t supported her once through this whole thing. She must feel really alone in all of this,” he said with a somewhat remorseful tone, though I knew he still didn’t care as much as he was trying to portray.

“Whatever, she has her friends..” I answered, taking another sip of my beer.

“The friends that betrayed her and slept with you?” He points out with slight attitude and a grin as I frowned, “Hey, I’m just trying to talk at least a little bit of sense into you to help you see this more of a good thing than a bad one. You know, this isn’t all her fault, if you think of it like it is.. You didn’t protect yourself, this is just as much on you as it is her.. If you truly didn’t want it, you would’ve been more careful,” he continued, finishing his beer and I finished mine as well. Gibson was right, though I despised admitting it to myself.. I still didn’t want the kid, but I was foolish to think for a second that I did everything I could to prevent Nina getting pregnant.. “Come on, let’s go people watch at least, will that make you feel better? We haven’t done that in a while,” he suggested as he rose to his feet and I smirked, looking up to him and I nodded, joining him in the other room with the rest of the party.

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Gibson and I took our seats, furthest away from everyone so we could still talk amongst ourselves without disturbing anyone else. I tried to space out a little as we waited for them to begin, though seeing all of the baby stuff on the table and surrounding the two ladies, it was hard to focus on anything else when all of that shit was staring back at me. It was almost like a slap in the face of the realization that I wasn’t lucky enough for all of this to be just a simple, stupid dream. It was real, we both were having babies, and the very thought of it made me cringe.

I looked over to Gibson and he held a slight smirk as he looked up at Hannah and she held a smile of her own as she looked back at him, wondering to myself if that’s what love looked like. I only assumed it was because I had only seen that look one other time in my life and that was from my Dad and Bennu. My eyes then went to Nina who was already looking at me, though she wasn’t smiling, nor was she showing any sort of excitement, but I figured I was the reason why. I didn’t know how to make it better for her, I wasn’t in the mood at all to try and make her feel more at ease by complimenting her or even giving her some kind of smile, afraid I would give her a false sense of hope as if I loved her, so she continued to hold her submissive yet blank expression. ..It was going to be a long day, and all I wanted was for it to be over.

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After all of the gifts were opened and my boredom had reached an all time high, I decided to excuse myself from the party for a few minutes and have a cigarette outside. I was in desperate need of one anyways. I wasn’t sure if the day would ever come to where I’d be okay about having a kid, but I suppose I should start keeping more of an open mind about it. There was no avoiding it now. I know that Nina wanted to keep it from the very beginning, but I never quite understood why..? Did she just want to have something of mine, going as far as to get pregnant, to keep me around? Was this her way of thinking, resorting to having a baby with me so I’d stick by her side no matter what happened? Our lives were never going to be the same again, and I can still wholeheartedly blame her for it. The first night we finally had sex, I was done with her the moment I came, but for her it was entirely different, as if us having sex was a bond that she would never let be broken and she almost came off as if this baby was a good way to change me and to make me realize I love her or something equally ridiculous.. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how girls think or even why they tend to act certain ways.. All I know is that I’m in too deep of shit to get myself out now.

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I was on my third cigarette now, chain smoking seemed to be the only thing keeping me from losing my mind here. I sat on the railing of the deck in back of the venue and continued to sulk by myself, no one had even bothered to join me out here either, not even Gibson. Every time I looked inside, all I saw was everyone talking and laughing, obviously having a much better time than I was. Gibson would follow Hannah around like a good dog, Nina would talk to Bennu and her own friends, Bahiti mingled with everyone, and all I did was sit here. Alone. My insides tingled a little and I couldn’t quite hone in on what I was feeling at the moment, but I sure as hell wasn’t feeling myself. When I still lived with Gibson, I knew that if and whenever I decided to come home, he’d be there waiting for me. He was always someone that I knew would be around that I could talk to, even if we did argue a lot, arguing was better than sitting at the house with no one for the passed six months. He had someone else to care for now, and he was going to be a father, just like me, but how was he able to pay attention to just one girl for the rest of his life? Hannah was special, I suppose.. Different. Hell, even I’ve never met anyone like her before, either.. I could see why he likes her so much. Maybe that’s why she was so hard to shake from your thoughts, her personality was hard to forget just as much as her looks were. I sighed heavily when I found myself thinking of Hannah again, but that seemed to be what always happened when she was around me. I wasn’t jealous, was I? 

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I hopped down from the railing and tossed the rest of my smoke over the edge, leaning over the wood and unsure of what to do with myself now. I continued to think of Hannah, the only woman I wanted more than a hundred year old bottle of whiskey, and even the satisfaction I got from smelling the iron in blood on my hands wouldn’t suffice my need to feel her at least once before I die, whenever that may be. I didn’t understand why I would constantly think about her when nothing else could occupy my mind. Maybe it was the way she carried herself or how she walked, maybe it was the way she laughed at my jokes and the fact that I didn’t repulse her with some of the more vulgar ones. Or, maybe it was the way she flirted with me.. I did most of the work and she would always come off as if she didn’t like it, constantly dismissing my advances or rolling her pretty blue-green eyes, but the smile that she couldn’t wipe off her face during it all told me that she enjoyed everything I had to say to her. I understand that she doesn’t flirt back as obvious as I do when Gibson could show up at any moment, but just once I’d like to get another chance to be alone with her like the chance I had when we first met. I wondered what she would do if we were ever alone again; would she still turn me down? Now that we’ve become friends over the passed months, I could see a night with her alone ending with more positive results than last time.

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“Gareth?” A quiet voice I recognized instantly came from behind me and I stood up slowly, turning around to see Nina standing there, acting apprehensive as she looked to me.

“I thought you were too mad at me to talk,” I replied, seeing her look to the deck floor momentarily and soon back up to me.

“I-I guess not anymore.. I’m sorry you don’t want to be here, but I wanted to thank you for coming anyways. It means a lot to me,” she admitted with a shy tone and I sighed lightly. I realize I’ve been an asshole, and for the most part of it, I didn’t care that I was acting this way, but my selfishness and need to not be alone the rest of my life began to change my view a little. As much as she was a nuisance, I realized that with Gibson gone and the rest of my family unable to provide what I needed, it made me feel pathetic that I still wanted Nina despite what I thought of her or how I acted around her. She was all I had left now I guess, and I knew that I could always use her to fall back on should I ever need anything. She and my baby will always be there.

“Come here,” I requested, seeing her smirk a little and she walked over to me.

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Nina stepped up to the railing and I pulled her in front of me, wrapping my arms around her slowly and Nina let out a quiet moan as well as a relaxed sigh when my hands went over her growing stomach, “I think this is the first time you’ve actually felt it,” Nina said quietly. She was right, this was the first time that I willingly touched her baby bump, but I more so intended just to touch her in general rather than show that I was admiring the baby growing. I felt the immense need for human contact after getting the chance to stew in my mind out here alone, and since I couldn’t do this with Hannah or anyone else right now, Nina was my best choice. “What are you thinking about?” She asked, my lips pecking her neck a few times and her head relaxed back onto my shoulder.

“Nothing..” I replied, thinking of Gibson’s words earlier from one of his life lessons he would give to me whenever we saw one another. He always had something to say that made me believe he still worried for me, and I was wondering if I should take his advice on this one in order to confirm to myself that I’d never wind up alone, “I’m sorry if I’ve been hard to deal with during all of this.. It still hasn’t fully sunk in yet..”

“It’s alright.. I’m not really ready for this, either.. I’m just trying to stay positive. I want to believe everything will work out the way it needs to,” she replied and I kissed her neck once more before turning her around to face me.

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I pulled her closer to me and smirked, “What if we turned Gibson’s old room into our room, and my room in the basement can be for the baby?” I suggested and I watched as her face lit up with excitement.

“Wha- Yes.. Yes, that would be amazing, Gareth! A-Are you.. You are asking me to move in with you, right?” She wondered, wanting to confirm exactly what I was implying and I thought for a quick moment, trying to figure out for myself what the hell I had just said, but I guess I knew what I wanted to the point where I’d blurt out such nonsense.

“Yeah.. I suppose I am,” I replied and she smiled wide, throwing her arms around me and pulling me into an abrupt kiss to express her excitement, nearly knocking me down when her stomach had hit me before her lips did. I guess I took more advice and guidance from Gibson than I realized, taking my life into my own hands like he had and I was already beginning to regret my decision, but like I’ve thought before, there was no going back now, might as well see where this road takes me.

Generation 3, Chapter 14

    Gibson’s POV     

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Hannah’s bed was so much more comfortable than mine, or maybe it wasn’t, maybe it was just better because it was hers. I felt like a creep whenever I’d take deep breaths through my nose within her pillow to fully savor her scent, but during troubled times, I just couldn’t help myself.. This was one of those instances. I’ve been feeling a little insecure the past two weeks ever since we drank with my brother and I want to believe nothing happened, but whenever I pass out like that, knowing full well that they were still awake.. Something about it shook me to my core and it worried me that maybe something actually did happen, she just wasn’t telling me, and neither was Gareth. She’s been acting different. I tried to invite her over a few times since then since she told me how much fun it was, but she’s declined every invitation and I’ve ended up coming over to her place instead. I’ve asked her on a few different occasions if Gareth had said anything that made her upset and she continuously replied that nothing happened, but if nothing happened, then why was she acting this way? Gareth has been acting normal and when I had asked him if anything happened, he didn’t show any sign as if he was lying when he told me that nothing went wrong, he even got a little defensive and called me asshole for even thinking such a thing. I couldn’t tell if I was acting on a hunch or if I was just being paranoid..

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I could hear the shower running from the bathroom in her room, trying my best to not think about the negative and I even tried to think of her naked, picturing the water falling down all over her to even spark a flame of excitement within me so I could feel something other than this insecurity.. But, my mind wouldn’t let me focus, I constantly fell back into a gloomy state and all I could think of was Hannah showering, but Gareth would then join her instead of me and have his way with her as if he could walk willingly into my thoughts on his own and rubbing it in that he was taking what was mine. The moment he’d enter my thoughts to take over the role I was supposed to be playing, I’d get angry and take another deep breath into her pillow. His past actions with my ex clouded my mind and he haunted every thought that I wish I could have with Hannah, but thinking about it wasn’t good enough. In order to suppress these thoughts, in order to replace these troubling notions with pleasant memories, I’d need to act it all out to decipher between what was real and fiction and I looked to the bathroom door, wondering if I should go in and join her in the shower or if I should let her be and learn how to deal with this another way.. But, what other way?

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Before I even could think about getting the strength to get off the bed to join her, I heard the shower stop and I sat up quickly, scooting to the edge of the bed and sitting there, waiting for her to come out like a puppy waited at the front door for its master to get home. I tapped my foot on the floor, restless leg syndrome getting the best of me and my longing to see her open the door was making me more and more impatient when I’ve only been sitting here for about twenty seconds. Anyone looking at me right now would assume I’m just a slightly impatient man, though on the inside I felt like the tail of a rattlesnake. Without physically doing what I wanted, these false and extremely inappropriate and infuriating thoughts were going to drive me up a damn wall. These thoughts seemed so real, though.. Not only did the mere realization that I was thinking about my own brother naked as he took my girlfriend right out from under me was nauseating, but the fact that he was able to mess with my mind this much was a little infuriating and every time I’d try to purposely think of something else, the same motion picture played in my mind over and over. The more I thought of it, the more I saw him as an enemy even though I wanted to believe that my own mind was just playing tricks on me due to my inhibition.

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The sound of the door to the bathroom opening was like music to my ears and I looked up to Hannah who stood in a bath towel wrapped around her, her hair all pulled back into a bun and still wet from the shower and even with the morning sun barely showing it’s face through the windows, the light from the day coming in made her look radiant. I quickly looked passed her for a moment to make sure my brother wasn’t in the bathroom as well and I realized then that the thoughts of him taking her in the shower were false; there’s one thing proved wrong, though how many more did I need to go before I could feel right again?

Oh.. You’re awake,” she said sweetly with a warm smile and my heart skipped a beat when I looked at how beautiful she was. My eyes wouldn’t leave hers and I didn’t know what kind of expression I held, but based on her reaction, I assumed it wasn’t good, “Are you alright..?” She questioned, adjusting her towel to secure it better as she continued to look at me and I watched her hands as she fixed it, still unable to shake my troubling thoughts and finally I was able to act.

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I stood up and before she even knew what hit her, I stepped forward and my lips crashed into hers, my hands on either side of her face and I pulled her into my lips as hard as I could. My breathing was already heavy through my nose and I heard her letting out soft moans that soon turned into slightly troubled ones the harder I seemed to go. She stepped back, but I followed her and pressed up against her when her back hit the wall and my hands dropped down to her towel to quickly pull it from her body and throw it to the ground. She let out a moan that seemed to contest to what I was doing, but I didn’t want to believe it, I refused to stop and I needed to make her mine even when I was proving it to no one but myself.

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I broke from the kiss and picked her up, turning around to throw her on the bed and she fell onto the sheets with an expression I wasn’t familiar with, yet it didn’t stop me from climbing over her and my lips pushed back into hers. I wanted her this very moment and as I kissed her, I reached back to the rim of my underwear and began pulling them down as I laid between her legs, still panting heavily and every time I breathed in I could smell her freshly washed hair that only compelled me more to continue. Hannah turned her head away from me and broke the kiss and my lips instantly went to her neck, biting and kissing her harshly, “Gi.. Gibson,” she voiced with a soft yet strained tone, but I kept going when I heard her say my name beneath what I wanted to believe was her ecstasy. “G-Gibson.. St.. Stop,” she continued, but I didn’t hear anything she said after my name. 

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I continued to try to pull my underwear off as I sucked on her neck harshly and I felt her hands then upon my chest, pushing at me softly, “Stop it..” She continued, but the determination within me pushed back and I kissed her once more, finally pulling my bottoms down enough to touch myself and get myself ready to take her.

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Suddenly, the force of a push as my chest caused me to unwillingly break the kiss and before I could open my eyes to question her reluctance, I felt a hand slap across my face and my head jerked to the right, “I said stop!” She voiced in a pleading, angered manner and I looked to her in confusion despite the pain in my cheek, finally noticing the discrepancy in her expression as well as the resilience she portrayed and I stood up, fixing my underwear and losing my balance slightly until I fell back onto the wall.

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What the hell is wrong with you? Did you not hear me?” She questioned and I watched her get off of the bed in a hurry and grab the towel I had taken from her, wrapping it back around her body and she stood away from me on the other side of her tiny room.

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“I..”  I continued to let out a harsh panting pace as I tried to regain composure. “I-I’m sorry.. I’m so sorry..” I let out in a whisper and my back slid down the wall, collapsing within myself and I sat on the ground as a defeated man. Why had I let such minuscule thoughts overwhelm me to the point where my own girlfriend had to fend for herself? She hit me.. That’s never, ever happened before, and the persona I had suddenly been consumed with never had happened before, either.. Why were all of these false thoughts making me so paranoid? “Forgive me, please..” I pleaded, hanging my head and bringing my knees to my chest as I sat there in despair. I rubbed my entire face with both of my hands, trying to wash away my distraught, but her reaction and my remembering my own movement hit me pretty hard.

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I dropped my hands from my face and looked towards Hannah, seeing her still in a defensive manner and I hated myself for causing her so much discrepancy over the likes of my pathetic intuition that I knew was false.. I wronged her, greatly, and I was ashamed to even look at her now, so I dropped my gaze to the bed in front of me. I couldn’t get passed the fact that she felt she needed to put up a struggle in order to get me to stop what I was doing.. I was nothing like Gareth, nothing, yet my actions just now reminded me of him and yet again he was in my thoughts. There was seemingly nothing I could do that would result in me not thinking about him, even with my attempt at using Hannah to cure this that only made things worse.

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“What was that, Gibson..?” I heard Hannah ask and I looked up to her, seeing her approach the bed and I could see the hesitation her body portrayed, but she slowly sat on the bed anyways, concern written all over her face.

“I’m sorry, I just.. I don’t know what came over me,” I replied, turning my attention away from her in slight shame.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for rough sex every now and then, but that was something else entirely,” she attempted to play off as if it wasn’t a big deal, but I could still sense the worry in her tone. “I’m sorry for hitting you, but..”

“No, don’t be sorry. All of this is my fault, you have nothing to apologize for,” I replied sternly and she lowered her view to her lap, the room falling silent for a few moments before she talked again.

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“What’s wrong? It’s not like you to be so.. Forceful.. Tell me,” she requested with concern and I looked back to her, “Come here,” she continued, motioning with her hand for me to join her on the bed and I took a few deep breaths before standing up slowly and joining her, though sitting as far away from her as I could so I could still give her space. “Please, tell me what’s wrong so I can fix it,” she encouraged, crawling over to me to get closer and I turned my head away from her. I was a little uncomfortable with her being so close after what I had done, I didn’t want to act on anything else that seemed forceful as she had labeled it, but luckily the insecurities I was feeling earlier weren’t showing their cruel faces as much anymore in my head from being in her presence.

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It’s stupid, really.. And I’m stupid for even worrying about it,” I reply, still facing away from her and I felt her fingers upon my chin, pulling my head to face her and I watched as her lips formed the tiniest of smiles, her hand then running over my cheek.

“Tell me,” she continued to persist.

“I’ve just.. I’ve lost a lot of my trust in Gareth. It makes me think terrible things and makes me think the worst out of some situations. My, uhm.. My last girlfriend cheated on me with him, so ever since then I can’t trust him like I used to be able to, and ever since that night where we all hung out, I can’t help but think he tried something with you since I passed out and wasn’t there to keep him in line.. And even though both of you told me that nothing happened, it’s still all I can think of because he’s wronged me before and I guess I’m just worried it’s going to happen again.. I’m worried I’ll lose you.. I don’t know, it’s just like.. Some kind of sixth sense I have when it comes to him, I can’t help but worry now.. I want him to be on good terms with who I’m seeing since he’s a big part of my life, but I’m always worried now that he might want to get too familiar with you just because of what he’s done in the past,” I replied, lowering my head once more.

Hannah turned me towards her again with her hand, “I’m not your ex, Gibson, and I would never choose your brother over you.. Even though you don’t trust him, trust me, okay?” She strongly suggested, “Nothing happened between us. We had a few beers and talked, stood outside on the dock because it was nice out, and then I went to bed around two, like I told you before. Stop worrying about this and let it go, alright?” She encouraged, gently smiling and I eventually nodded.

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“But, then.. Why have you been acting so weird? You won’t come over ever since that night, what else was I supposed to think this whole time? I do trust you, Hannah, but these past two weeks have just been.. Well, difficult for me, to say the least,” I reply, watching as she turned her view then to the bed.

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Hannah’s POV

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Gibson surprised me by how in tune he was with Gareth.. Even though nothing happened between Gareth and I, Gibson could somehow still tell that something was off about that night. Gareth was hard to turn down, I admit that I was pretty attracted to him because he looked and sounded like Gibson, naturally that’s what attracted me at first the moment we introduced ourselves, but the way he acted wasn’t anything that could wow me enough to the point where I’d jeopardize Gibson and I’s relationship. Gareth wasn’t anything like the man in front of me. For being twins, they were absolutely nothing alike. I was really buzzed that night I had stayed up with Gareth and I shouldn’t have flirted, I shouldn’t have let him get as close as he did, but I was glad that I didn’t let anything happen, especially now knowing that Gibson’s last girlfriend fell victim to Gareth, I didn’t want to put Gibson through that again and I was glad that I wouldn’t have to. 

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But, Gibson’s concern as to why I’ve been acting weird lately made me nervous and I could feel my heart beginning to race as I avoided eye contact. “Hannah, I told you what was bothering me, now it’s your turn,” he said with a nervous chuckle.

“How about you go make us some coffee?” I suggested, trying to buy myself some time so I could at least get dressed and dry my hair before talking to him about what was bothering me. 

“No.. I can’t take that, the wait would kill me.. Just tell me now.. Please,” he persisted and I could tell he needed complete closure before he’d stop worrying about me.

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“I don’t want you to be mad, and I don’t think you will be, but.. I asked Gareth what your view on children was, and I know I should’ve just asked you and talked to you about it, and I know that it’s something that we should’ve discussed, so I’m sorry for going behind your back and asking him.. I know I should’ve just came out and said it to you instead but I was nervous. I didn’t want to scare you away if I brought something like that up so early into us dating,” I answered, looking up to him and he was listening wholeheartedly to my every word.

“Wha’d he say..?” He asked and I smirked.

“Well, he said that you wanted them, and that you’d be a really good dad.”

“He did?” He questioned as if it was hard to believe and I nodded happily, “Well.. What does this have to do with anything? Why was something like that bothering you?”

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Even though I hadn’t taken a pregnancy test yet, I knew that my body was prepping for it when I’ve been sick to my stomach the past few weeks, I knew I had to be, but I didn’t realize it until only a few days after that night we had all drank together. “Well, I forgot to take one of my pills a few weeks ago. I wasn’t hungover the day after we all drank together, but I was getting sick anyways. I thought it was the stomach flu or something, but I.. Think I.. Might be pregnant..?” I replied and looked to his face, seeing his jaw begin to drop slightly and his eyes widened a little, “Don’t get too excited just yet.. I’m not a hundred percent, but.. If I am, what are we going to do?” I asked with worry, “Even though I want children, I didn’t expect it so soon.. I still have my job to worry about and I’m trying so hard to save money so I can open my own business, but I can’t if I’m expecting.. I didn’t want this to happen until a few years from now and I was more stable and prepared, but.. I need to spend all of what I’ve been saving on the baby now if I’m pregnant and what if I never get to fulfill my dream? What.. What are we going to do? What do you think?” I asked with worry. I felt like I was talking a mile a minute.

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“Marry me,” he replied and now I was the one with wide eyes and mouth dropped open.

“W-What..?”

“Marry me, Hannah.. If you aren’t pregnant, then down the road a ways, I wouldn’t mind if it happened.. And if you are already, then all the more reason. I know it’s really soon and it might seem like we’re moving fast, but I can’t explain how much I’ve fallen for you over the past months we’ve been together. I don’t want to imagine my life without you. I’ll take care of everything, I’ll make sure that we can provide for ourselves as well as the baby and as well as whatever you want to do with your career. I don’t want you to have to worry about anything because whatever you want, I’ll make it happen,” he replied and I could feel my pulse in my neck and chest. He couldn’t be serious, could he?

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“Please don’t joke like that.. I don’t find it very funny,” I retorted, unable to believe everything he said and I was skeptical about how committed he was trying to come off as. Never have I ever felt this strong for someone and have them feel the same way. I’ve been in love before, a few times actually, but never once have I ever heard a confession such as the one he had just given me.

Gibson reached for my face and I felt his hand slide through my hair gently to the back of my head, “I’m not joking. I want this to work and I want to be with you, I want to wake up next to you every morning, I want to call you my wife and I want you to be pregnant.. I.. I do love you.. Even if you don’t believe it now, I’ll spend the rest of my life proving it to you if I have to,” he added and I was in slight shock. He loved me? I swallowed hard and I was at a loss for words, my eyes beginning to water a little and I looked down to my lap, “Do you.. Not love me..?” He continued and I looked back up to him with hesitation. 

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I’ve said those three words before, but every time I’ve said them, I’ve heard them in return yet it never panned out, it was never the truth, ever. I was skeptical to his words, but no man had ever said such a thing like Gibson had to me. It actually seemed like he meant it. “I mean.. I.. I’ve been through this so many times.. I’ve.. I’ve said those words before, but nothing ever became of it. I’m just hesitant, I guess.. I just don’t want it to be too good to be true again..” I replied, still trying to avoid his eyes.

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“I don’t care what others have said and didn’t mean.. I mean it, I need you to see that,” he replied with a slight sense of pleading. Gibson rolled his fingers around softly within my hair on the back of my head, hesitantly pulling me towards him and our lips met with such genuine softness that I almost let my watering eyes cave with tears down my cheeks, yet as I felt the sincerity within the kiss, my heart was telling me once again to be weak and to give in to his words and his proposal. Throughout the relationships that I thought would come to this point, none of them did, yet Gibson showed me first how he felt and it was no longer me waiting to be loved. We had switched rolls. 

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Gibson pulled away from the kiss slowly and we looked at one another, silence falling over us as I continued to ponder his words. Before I could reply to him again, he felt the need to try and convince me more, “Hannah, I’ve felt the same way you have about past relationships, but never has anyone impacted me so much to the point where I’ve asked them to marry me. You’re different, no one can or ever will compare to you. If you say no then I’ll continue to ask until you say yes,” he added a nervously quiet chuckle after his words and I still looked at him with hesitation, “If you want, I’ll take it back. Forget I asked you that and I’ll ask again when it’s more appropriate, when we’re both more serious and sure about it.. Well, I am serious, but I want you to say yes when you’re serious, too.. What if, well.. What if we went back a step from that, let’s move in together instead and we’ll see how it goes from there..?”

Even though I’ve had all this time to think about what he’s been saying, I was still in shock as to how serious he was with all of this. Maybe taking this next step will help me figure out just how much I love him and see if it actually is the real thing. A subconscious smile spread over my lips and I nodded, “Okay,” I replied and I watched him smile as well.

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“Yeah?” He asked excitedly and I nodded.

“Yeah. But, would you move here, or..? I mean, I only ask ’cause I have the daycare downstairs, where would I work if I moved in with you?” I added and I watched as he thought for a moment, but an idea ran through my head, “There’s space downstairs for all of your books and things, I barely have anything down there. You could make the basement into a study or something if you wanted?” I suggested and I watched as he smirked slightly.

“That actually doesn’t sound half bad.. Alright, I guess I’ll.. Move here then?” He asked and I nodded, still keeping my smile and he let out an excited laugh, leaning in and kissing me.

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Gibson looked to me after our short kiss and I was unable to describe what I felt, my heart was racing and I could tell by the look in his eyes that he wanted me. I smirked softly and looked to his lips, placing my hands on the sides of his face and pulling him into a rather deep kiss. I pulled Gibson over me and continued the kiss as I thought about what great news this was. So this was it. I was finally taking the next step with someone and even within all of the excitement I felt, there was a part of me that even kind of wished I was pregnant now. I wanted this, and I wanted him, I hoped things would only get better to hopefully prove one day to myself that this was, indeed, actually the real thing.

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Gibson’s POV

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After getting ready for the day and enjoying a lot of the rest of it with Hannah, we decided that the sooner I tell Gareth about me moving out, the better. It’d be bad if we kept it from him and if he found out we were hiding something, it would only blow up in my face into something bigger than it needed to be. Hannah drove me back to my house and after she’d drop me off, she was going to drive to the corner store and pick up a pregnancy test to see if we needed to start preparing for a baby while we had the chance. I hoped she was pregnant, I hoped I wouldn’t have to go through the next six and a half months staring at Nina and wishing I was going through what Gareth was.. I can’t really stand that girl, but I humor her so Gareth doesn’t take out his anger on her if she’s being too difficult for him. I almost felt sorry for her in a way, knowing that she was stuck with someone like Gareth, yet I never let it bother me too much, she does it to herself and she’s a little slow at realizing that Gareth could care less about her and the baby.

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I was more than ecstatic about moving in with Hannah and her possibly even being pregnant, I couldn’t describe how happy I was that I had finally found someone that’s committed as I am, or, well.. Maybe she’s not willing to marry me yet, but moving in together was a pretty big step, right? I just hoped most of all that it lasted, and that I’d be happy with Hannah for the rest of my life. For the things I used to do, it was all over now, this was a new start and beginning a family could help even more in distracting me with the urges that hardly show their head anymore in the first place, but this was a concrete way to keep my mind occupied and to keep other people safe from the likes of my sick mind.

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I stepped closer to the living room and I could see Gareth laying down on the sofa, seemingly sleeping as he ‘watched’ television. I stopped when I walked in and stood there, waiting a few moments and I chuckled softly, “Gareth?” I said softly, not seeing him stir or even show a sign of waking up. “Gareth!” I let out next, seeing him pop up suddenly but then go back to laying down in a relaxing manner.

“Jesus, you scared the shit outta me.. What are you doing home? ..I thought you were spending the weekend with Hannah,” he replied, shutting his eyes.

“Actually, uh.. Something came up, and I came here to talk to you about something,” I said with a soft tone, getting a little nervous, though I don’t know why. I would think he’d be happy for me, but there’s always room for Gareth to twist it into something huge and irrational, not to mention cause more drama than ever needed.

“Uh-huh.. What about?” He asked with an uninterested and tired tone, sighing softly to myself as I walked over more into the living room and took a seat on one of the chairs.

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“Could you maybe sit up at least and listen to me? This is.. Kind of important.. And I’d like to get your, well.. I’m hoping you’ll be supportive of it,” I continue and Gareth finally opens one of his eyes and looks to me. He sighs and sits up, opening both his eyes now and he tries to show me that he’s awake and ready, but he still looked dull and tired. 

“Okay, what is it,” he asked, though I could tell he still wasn’t paying attention as he looked to the television.

“Gareth..” I said in annoyance, standing and turning the television off and coming back to sit down, “Can you please pay attention?”

“Alright, alright.. What?” He asked, seemingly paying attention now and it took me a moment to gather my thoughts and try to figure out how to tell him my news.

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“Look, uhm.. Hannah and I have decided that we’re.. Going to move in together, so.. I’m going to be taking my stuff and moving in with her soon,” I said bluntly yet with hesitance, trying my hardest not to come off as if I want to leave because of him. I watched as Gareth woke up more and he looked to me, his expression blank and I decided to continue, “There’s, uhm.. Also a chance that she might be pregnant, so.. Another reason why I’m moving in with her.. She’s getting a test right now and she’ll be back and we’ll see for sure, but.. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” I finished, looking down to the ground momentary, wondering how he was taking this without looking at him, but I soon looked back up, seeing him making a somewhat confused, yet blank face. “What, what is it?”

He continued to hold his expression and he eventually shook his head, “Nothing.. It’s just.. Wow, I don’t really know what to say.. I guess I uh.. Wish you guys the best.”

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I was astonished. I thought he would take this much worse and I wasn’t prepared for any response such as the one I had received, from Gareth, no less. I sat there in slight shock and he kept giving me this ‘what the fuck are you doing?’ expression, “What’s up with you? Don’t look so fuckin’ surprised. This is what you’ve always wanted, right? Start a family and all that? Stop acting like you don’t deserve it..” He continued, and eventually my shock wore off and I sat there for a moment.

“You’re not mad?” I questioned.

“Why the hell would I be?”

“I don’t know.. Maybe cause you’ll be here alone? I don’t want you think I’m abandoning you after all these years or anything, it’s just-“

“Cut the shit.. Jesus.. Who the fuck ever said you were abandoning me? I’m barely ever here in the first place, right? This way I can have more girls over without worrying about waking you up,” he hinted and I scoffed.

“Yeah, maybe it is better that I’m leaving,” I joked in return and he chuckled. 

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Before either of us could say anything else, both of our attention turned towards the front when we heard the front door being slid open. I stood up and met Hannah by the entrence of the living room, seeing her holding a bag and my heart starting racing, “So, you got it?”

“Yeah.. Should I just, uhm-” She motions towards the bathroom and I nodded, smirking when I saw she was just as nervous as I was.

“Yeah, yeah.. Go,” I encouraged and she smiled softly.

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Hannah stopped momentarily and smiled towards the living room, “Nice seeing you, Gareth..” She said somewhat nervously and I looked to Gareth as well.

“Hi, Hannah,” he replied blandly and he looked towards the television again, turning it back on and watching it as I stood there, Hannah then leaving the room and I walked a little more into the living room, deciding to watch TV with him until Hannah was done using the bathroom.

I began tapping my foot again like earlier and I couldn’t even pay attention to whatever Gareth was watching, but apparently I was annoying him, “Will you sit down or something? You’re starting to make me get nervous, too.. Just sit,” he recommended strongly and I nodded, taking my seat from before and trying to watch the screen, though still continuing to struggle in focusing. Soon enough, my leg began bouncing lightly again and I could hear Gareth then let out a heavy sigh, still annoyed by my behavior, but it was definitely something I couldn’t help.

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Gareth was right, I did deserve this, and I have been waiting for this for a while now. But, something was still strange about Gareth. Why was he so okay with it all?  This is literally the last way I expected him to react and as much as it rubbed me the wrong way, I couldn’t help but also feel slightly relieved that it was this easy. I looked over towards Gareth without him noticing and he seemed rather content with a calm mind, but it only made me want to know what he was thinking that much more. Why was he acting so.. Supporting? Even if he was happy for me, I at least expected a few jokes at my expense, but all being told with a smile on his face. But, when he was supposedly happy for me just now, it was so.. Genuine. I couldn’t help but feel that something wasn’t right.

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“Okay, seriously, though.. Are you sure you’re okay with this? You’re way too damn calm,” I continued, seeing him roll his eyes and looked over to me.

“Why can’t you just accept that I’m happy for you? Maybe I don’t even want you here, anyways. Maybe it would be better if we were apart for a little while. Maybe I don’t even fuckin’ like you anymore. Which reason do you want to believe? Because I mean a little bit of all of them, so take your pick,” he replied shortly and I smirked. I knew it. He was pissed. He was mad that I was leaving and he’s trying his best to try and hide it from me.

I sighed softly, looking to the ground and thinking for a moment before answering him. “You know.. It’s not like I’m leaving for good, I’ll still be living here in the Palms. I’m not even that far away. I’ll still help you with Nina and the baby and whatever else you need help with, like I said I would. I won’t go back on that. I’ll still always be here for you, I just won’t be physically here in this house anymore, that’s all.. Why are you so upset about this?”

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“I’m not upset.. I don’t want your delusions to make you feel like you should stay here because, alright.. I don’t want you here anyways. I wasn’t going to tell you this, but I’ve been counting down the days until you left. I’ll probably throw a party on the day that you take your last possession and leave the house with it,” he continued and I chuckled. He was such a bad liar right now, it was actually kind of nice and sad at the same time.

“Look.. I want this, okay? I’ve been wanting this and now that I actually have a chance at it with someone, I’m going to take that chance.. You said before after one of our fights that I should go out and find what I want and embrace it, and this is it.. You were encouraging me to do this a long time ago and now that I’ve finally found it, you’re pissed at me.. What changed since then? I’d love to know,” I replied and he looked away from me.

Gareth didn’t seem too enthused to talk about this right now, though it seemed like he had a lot to say but there wasn’t enough time to say it all. I watched as his mouth opened a little to begin talking, but he stopped when the bathroom door opened and we both looked towards the sound, seeing Hannah emerging from the bathroom.

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“Hold that thought,” I replied to Gareth quickly and I sprung up to go to Hannah. I looked to her standing by the bathroom door and she looked up to me as I approached her, soon her cheeks turned a light red and a smile spread across her lips, “Are you..?” I asked and she nodded with an excited laugh. A wide smile took over my mouth and when I had gotten to her, I wrapped my arms around her and picked her up within my grasp, holding her tightly as she did the same in return. I set her down and I couldn’t relax my lips from my grin as I pulled her into a long kiss, too excited to express my happiness into words and when the kiss ended, I looked to her with the same smile that refused to stop. 

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“We’re still ready for this, right?” She asked, wanting reassurance and I kept my smile, nodding softly.

“Definitely. Even if we’re not, we will be whenever the baby gets here. Everything’s going to be fine,” I replied and she let out a soft sigh as she smiled in return, pushing herself up gently to kiss me once more.

“Well? Is there more news than you just moving out or what?” Gareth said from the living room and Hannah and I parted from our kiss. I looked back and kept my smile, taking Hannah’s hand and walking towards the living room with her.

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“Yeah, it seems that we’re having a baby, too,” I said with joy and looked to Hannah briefly, then looked back to Gareth.

I watched as he gave the best smile he could pretend to muster and he stood up, coming over to me first and I let go of Hannah’s hand so I could hug my brother, “That’s awesome news.. Good job, bro,” he said as he hugged me, pulling back then and I nodded towards him.

“Thanks..” I replied, somewhat losing my smile as I swore I could almost feel his insincerity and being around him right now was kind of taking the fun out of realizing I was going to be a father.

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I watched as he then went to Hannah and he hugged her as well, congratulating her and I watched the happiness drain from her face as I could’ve swore to myself that he had whispered something to her, but I couldn’t be too sure. Them hugging made me feel a little uncomfortable and when they were done, I took it upon myself to reach for Hannah’s hand again and hold it.

“I’m going to talk to Hannah for a little bit, I’ll be right back,” I say softly and Gareth nods, walking back over to the couch and continuing to watch television as I take Hannah upstairs to my room for more privacy.

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“What is it?” Hannah asks when we get to my room and I pause for a moment, taking her hands within mine and looking to her face.

“I just want you to know that I’m going to figure out everything. I’ll get a new job, we can save the money I make and use yours for whatever we need now if you want. I’ll even get two jobs if I need to. I never want you to worry and I never want to be strapped for cash, it’ll never happen and we’ll always be well off, I promise,” I say as a fact and I watch her smile, nodding in acknowledgement to my words.

“I’m not worried, I know things are going to work out perfectly. Do you want to come over tonight? I know I have work in the morning with the kids, but you’re welcome to get a feel for it before you move any stuff in, that way you can decide if living with me is going to be at all tolerable before you make the commitment,” she said with a chuckle and I smirked.

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“I’m sure I’ll love every second of it,” I replied, “I’m going to grab some clothes, you can wait in the car if you want.. I kind of wanted to talk to Gareth a little more, anyways..” I add and she nods in understanding. I pulled her in for a kiss before she stepped away and she walked towards the stairs, but stopped when I grabbed her attention again, “Oh, uhm.. When he congratulated you, what else did he say to you?” I asked, watching as her face went blank and she shrugged.

“Nothing, why?” She replied and I shook my head.

“No, reason.. I’ll see you outside,” I answered with a smirk and she continued going downstairs to wait for me in the car. I walked around my room and picked out a few things, pulling a small suitcase out from under my bed and packing it with a couple of essential things as well as some clothes to change into for the week, or however long I was planning on staying there.

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I walked downstairs and I set down the suitcase by the steps, walking down the hall and seeing Gareth standing in the living room, watching the TV without sitting and I raised my brow, “Why are you standing?”

“I was saying goodbye to Hannah, just haven’t sat back down yet,” he replied, still watching television and I didn’t much care for his answer, yet I chose not to make a deal about it. “Why are you still here?” He asked in return and I put my hands into my pockets, walking closer to him and sighing softly.

“Well, I didn’t think we were done talking yet.. Hannah’s in the car waiting for me, but I don’t want to leave without you getting everything off your chest now. I don’t want you to stew in this until the next time we see one another and then have you blow up in my face or something, I just want to clear the air while we still can and while we’re still living together, because once I leave tonight, every time I come back I’ll be taking a little bit more of my stuff with me. Tonight is the start of my life with Hannah.. I want us to be okay when I leave here,” I voiced genuinely and he was looking at me with a sense of slight grief, but he soon smirked to my surprise.

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“You know, we’ve been living together for almost a quarter of our lives already.. I’m not proud of how I feel about you leaving, but we gotta start our new lives somewhere, right? You’re moving in with your girl, having a baby.. Pretty soon it’ll be born and you guys will get married and you’ll move away or something and you’ll be too busy for your big brother,” he replied and I lowered my gaze to the floor.

“Gareth, that’s not tru-“

“Shut up, yes it is true, and let me finish.. Don’t be pissed, I couldn’t help but overhear you guys talking by the bathroom.. Come here, I wanna show you something,” he continued and I grew puzzled, watching him walk towards his stairs and he walked down them to his room, me following shortly behind him.

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I followed Gareth downstairs and into his room, “Shut the door,” he requested and I nodded, though I didn’t know why he was worried about someone walking in.. “Come here,” he continued and I stepped towards his dresser where he was standing, seeing him open his second drawer down and he reached deep underneath his clothes and my eyes widened when he pulled out stacks and stacks of money, placing them on top of the dresser and I swallowed hard as I felt my heart begin to race.

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“Uhm.. Gareth.. Where the hell did all of that come from?” I asked with worry, “How much is that, even!?” I stressed quietly and I heard him chuckle.

“It’s about twenty grand, and don’t worry about where I got it.. My point is that if you and Hannah ever need help with anything, don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t go getting two jobs or whatever just to support you two, well, soon to be three of you..” He replied and I was still in shock.

“Holy shit.. Gareth, you must be stupid to think I won’t ask again where the hell this came from,” I stressed a little more and Gareth chuckled again.

“Chill out.. I get a job every few months maybe and it usually pays this well, if not more. So don’t ask me to stop, don’t even ask any more questions about it..” he replied, grabbing the money and stashing it back into his dresser drawer.

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“Is it.. Clean money?” I wondered.

“Of course it is. I could spend all of it right now if I wanted..”

“That’s not exactly what I’m asking,” I added and Gareth looked to me, “Gareth.. Wha’d you do in order to get it?”

“That’s for me to know and for you to never worry about.. So, let’s just leave it at that. But, since you don’t know, keep it in mind for whenever your in a pinch, alright?” He asked and I sighed, hating myself a little for nodding in agreement and I watched as he shut his drawer.

“Why are you doing this? Why are you being, so.. Nice?” I asked and I watched as he laughed.

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“Jesus, I’d think you’d be a little appreciative instead of skeptical.. Since when did I become the nice guy and you’re the asshole, huh?” He mocked and I looked to him, still in somewhat shock at how much money he had placed before me. I knew Dad was pretty wealthy and he left most of everything he had with Bennu to take care of us while he stayed at the mental hospital, yet she never gave us a ton of money when we moved out. She bought the house for us, but she didn’t give us much to live on since she wanted us to learn how to live on our own and make our own money like my Father had.. Most of the furniture and things inside we had gotten ourselves, but it only made me that much more curious as to what kind of ‘job’ Gareth had found where he would make that much money doing one thing every few months.. Nothing added up and nothing made sense.

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“Promise me that this job is not something you can go to jail for..” I requested and Gareth rolled his eyes.

“Honestly, we’re going to do this right now? Just go to Hannah’s already, you’ve kept her waiting this long..” He replied and he tried to push me out of his room, but I stopped him from doing so, putting my hands to his shoulders and he looked at me with stern eyes.

“Gareth, tell me that this ‘job’ you have will never land you in jail, or worse,” I pressured again and I watched as he eventually nodded.

“Okay, it never will.. I’m good at what I do. I’m not going to end up in prison or anything, so stop worrying. Once you leave here, like you said, it’s a new life for you. Don’t spend the beginning of it worrying about me.. You have nothing to worry about, anyways.. Now go.. I’ll see you whenever I see you. And you better take care of yourself, alright?” He replied and I sighed heavily..

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I pulled at his shoulders then and hugged him momentarily, “Thanks, Gareth..” I didn’t believe a word he said, but I wasn’t about to get into a fight with him at a time like this. I was supposed to be happy, I’m moving in with the woman I love and we’re also having a baby, so why is the only thing I can think about right now is Gareth getting into trouble? This worry will never not be part of my life, he’ll never not be my brother and I’ll never stop feeling like I need to be there for him, but it was my turn to be selfish for a little while. It was my turn to experience happiness after all the ups and downs we’ve had and I felt that achieving that happiness was finding it with Hannah. There was a part of me that wished I could stay here with him and keep him out of trouble like our Father had told me to, but at the same time my selfishness outweighed the worry and I couldn’t stay here another minute. 

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Gareth and I let go of one another and I turned around quickly, hiding my face before it showed any sign of emotion and I went upstairs to grab my luggage and leave. I didn’t understand, I tried to wrap my head around everything that Gareth had said tonight and it was obvious to me that he didn’t want me to leave, yet everything he said seemed as if he could care less, and that he just wanted me to live my life. But, why? Did he want me out of his hair so he can do whatever he wants without me there to nag? Did he really want the house to himself so he could bring more girls over? Or, did he actually hate the idea of me leaving and he really did want me to stay? I was confused, yet content.. Worried, yet happy. My insides twisted with so many polar opposite feelings that I began to feel a little nauseous from it all, but it began to go away a little when I saw Hannah waiting in her car for me.

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I tossed my luggage in the back and I opened the door for the passengers side, getting in and taking my seat. “Is everything okay?” Hannah asked when I sat there in silence.

“Yeah, just.. Drive,” I replied and it took her a moment to start the car, but eventually she did and as the engine came to life, I looked in the side mirror and looked to the house, Hannah then driving further and further away until it was finally out of view and all I had now to look at was the long road ahead of me.

Generation 3, Chapter 13

     Gareth’s POV     

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It’s been about two months since Nina had told me she was pregnant and so far it’s been a grueling experience. I still haven’t come to terms with having a kid, and I still hate the entire idea of it, but Gibson has been supportive and he makes it easier to handle. If ever he notices that Nina’s beginning to be a little too much for me, he distracts her so I don’t make an ass of myself, and today especially I need to be on my best behavior, according to him. He finally talked to his girlfriend about me a few weeks ago and he was pretty depressed for a little while because she was mad that he had both lied to her this whole time, and she didn’t like how he had treated me as if I didn’t exist. I appreciated her sticking up for me and telling him off, it seemed like she really cared about him and knowing his family, so she’s coming over to meet me today. She’s already met Bennu and Bahiti and they love her, so I think I’ll like her as well, but I hope not too much. When I had first seen her a few months ago in Gibson’s bed, I didn’t pay attention much to her face as much as her body, but Gibson will never know how much of her I’ve already seen. He’d flip his shit if he knew I saw her half naked already before even meeting her face to face; he’d think I was snooping on them in order to get a glimpse at his catch, even if that’s exactly what I was doing..

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Nina was helping Gibson in the kitchen and whenever her whole body came into view from behind the counter, my eyes always went to her small baby bump forming and it made me uncomfortable, it made he hate her even more and I even felt less attracted to her the more I saw it. Whenever she caught me looking at it, I’d notice her give me an expression that always made her look ashamed for what she had done to me and what she was putting me through knowing full well I didn’t want the damn thing.. But, I took lessons from Gibson and I tried to not make it so obvious all the time as to not stress her out. Apparently it’s bad or something if the woman is depressed or stressed out while she’s pregnant, but sometimes I just couldn’t help it. It was hard to hide how I felt about the whole situation, but I was trying my best. At least she wouldn’t look like this forever, and even though she’s just going to get worse looking the next seven months, hopefully that baby won’t ruin her too much to the point where it’s revolting to have sex with her.. But, I still haven’t decided yet if I want to keep seeing her or not in general after the kid’s born. 

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“Gareth, can you not smoke so much around Nina? It’s stinking up the whole house anyways, just go outside from now on,” Gibson said from the kitchen and I sighed, reaching forward and putting my cigarette out in the ashtray on the coffee table. 

“When’s your girl gunna get here? I wanna start drinking already,” I say with little patience.

“She’s supposed to be here any minute now.. And settle down, we’re eating dinner first, then it’s drinks. Don’t get super wasted, either, this is just a simple get together so we can all just- Hang out, have fun and chill together, alright?” Gibson preached and I rolled my eyes, slumping back down into the couch and watching television by myself. “Did you invite Bahiti?” He asked.

“Fuck.. No, not yet.. I’ll do it now,” I replied, pulling my phone out of my pocket and texting her and I could tell without even looking at Gibson that he was giving me a face that said ‘how could you forget’.

“You were supposed to invite her a few days ago, Gareth,” he voiced with annoyance.

“I know, I know.. I told you I’m on it,” I replied, hearing the door bell ring then and I assumed Hannah was here.

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“Keep going, Nina, I’ll be right back,” Gibson told her and he walked away from the kitchen to go and greet her. I heard her come in and they talked by the door, though nothing I could make out. I had an assumption that they were talking about me, but I didn’t give it much thought as I continued to text Bahiti. I heard Hannah’s heels clicking on the floor and I looked up from my phone but did a double take when she had come in, my phone slowly slipping from my hands and I dropped it to the carpet, but picked it up quick enough before anyone noticed and tucked it into my pocket without finishing whatever I was doing. Nina came out from the kitchen and introduced herself first, watching as they conversed and I noticed Hannah congratulating Nina on her pregnancy.. I scoffed when I noticed Nina’s excited expression, putting her hand to her slightly prominent stomach and I turned my attention away from them. 

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I could hear her heals then walking towards me and I looked back up, my eyes connecting with hers and I stood up as I kept my eyes on her, “Wow, you weren’t kidding when you said you had a twin,” she acknowledged and I heard Gibson chuckle nervously, “Hi, I’m Hannah, it’s great meeting you.”

I couldn’t help that my gaze traveled over her body briefly before returning to her eyes and I looked to Gibson, noticing he was watching my every move and I cleared my throat as I looked back to her, “Gareth.. Nice to meet you, too,” I replied, introducing myself and I shook her hand when she offered it to me. Her skin was soft and she was very clean and well manicured, enjoying the feel of her silky skin as it escaped mine after introducing ourselves and I began wondering if the rest of her body was as smooth as her hand.

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“Wow, you guys kinda have the same voice, too, how weird,” she said with a laugh and I smirked as I averted my eyes from her and sat back down. I tried to respect Gibson as to try and not stare at her obviously, though I wanted to. I was surprised by how hot of a girl he got and when I looked to Nina, he obviously topped me when it came to which girlfriend was more attractive. 

“Where can I put this?” Hannah asked, referring to her purse and Nina spoke up.

“Oh, you can put it here next to mine,” she replied, Hannah then nodding and walking over towards her to place it on the floor next to Nina’s.

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“So, when’s drinks?” Hannah brought up and it caught my attention, looking to her with a somewhat impressed expression and then looking to Gibs.

“Yeah, when is it time to drink, Gibson?” I asked mockingly, taking his own girlfriend’s logic and rubbing it in his face a little.

I noticed him give me an irritated look but it completely changed when he had then looked to Hannah, “I thought we could eat dinner first and then have a few drinks after?” He mentioned and to my dismay, she agreed.

“Yeah, that sounds good. What are you guys making? It smells amazing,” Hannah replied and then Gibson was the one to give me a cocky look instead as I gave him a light grimace. I was glad that Hannah wanted to get down to business as much as I did, but then feeling disappointed when she had agreed with Gibson. She seemed a little high-maintenance based on her appearance, yet her personality was sweet and a little bubbly but with an edge, and I admit that I liked it.

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“It’ll be ready soon.. Nina made Gareth’s favorite, Porcini Risotto, and I made your favorite,” Gibson replied to Hannah and I watched her swoon over his nice gesture.

“Aww.. You made me Salmon?” She questioned romantically and I averted my attention elsewhere as she kissed him lovingly, rolling my eyes to myself as I waited for their moment to end.

“It’s just about ready, come and get it,” Nina voiced softly from the kitchen and I sighed to myself, seeing Hannah and Gibson going to the kitchen first as I sat there still, not really wanting to move just yet. To be honest, even though I hadn’t ate all day, I wasn’t all that hungry, even for my favorite meal.. This whole baby business has taken a toll on me and it wasn’t a good one, it’s made me less excited to do anything really and with Nina around on top of what was on my mind regarding the whole situation, she just made things worse. I could tell by how Gibson acted around Hannah that he was flaunting her a bit in front of me, yet of course not enough on purpose as to make me want her for myself, yet whatever little he was doing was working, unbeknownst to him. You could obviously tell that he liked her a lot and that he was proud of himself to have found someone so beautiful and so much like him.

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I sat at the couch a little longer than any of them would’ve liked, yet Hannah was the first to acknowledge my lack of involvement, “Gareth, aren’t you eating?” She questioned and I looked over to the three of them, but specifically at Hannah.

“No, I’m.. Not that hungry right now,” I replied, turning my attention away again and spending time with myself on the couch once more.

“Come on, you gotta eat.. Gibson doesn’t drink as much as I’ve heard you do, I need someone that can keep up with me,” she replied and I looked back, noticing her giving Gibson a humorous expression, coming off as her only wanting to get to know the brother she never knew he had, yet I could tell in his face that he wasn’t okay with the idea at all despite him trying to play it off with a fake smile. I knew he was worried, I knew he hated the idea of her being like me and wanting to get a little drunk to have fun, but she didn’t know our history and why he was acting this way right now. I didn’t know how they were together behind closed doors, I’m sure Gibson got drunk with her all the time to have fun, but when it involved me, I could understand his hesitation.. But, I couldn’t deny her obvious plea to have fun tonight, and especially when wanting to get to know me more; what better than to have a few drinks and loosen up?

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“She’s right, though.. You should eat something,” Nina chimed in and I scoffed but no one else heard me, Nina ruining another small moment that I would’ve liked to enjoy. 

“Just eat my portion, you’re eating for two now, aren’t you?” I said in a less parental tone than anyone would’ve taken as such and the room grew silent when Nina lowered her eyes to the ground and excused herself from the room, going to the restroom just passed the kitchen.

I noticed Gibson give Hannah a certain look as if saying ‘this is what I was talking about’ when it came to me and I grew bothered by it a little.. My temper got the best of me when Nina interrupted and I didn’t want to come off that way in front of Hannah, “I’m just not hungry, really.. She should eat more to make sure that baby comes out healthy, right?” I played off with a smile and I saw Hannah smile in return, yet Gibson looked at me with a judgmental expression.

“Come on.. Just a few bites. It’s better to drink when you have something in you beforehand, right?” Hannah persisted and I smirked.

“Can say that again, sweetheart,” I mumbled under my breath flirtatiously and I finally got up, “Okay, okay..” I openly agree and walked to the kitchen to join them.

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Awkward wasn’t really the word I’d use to describe dinner, but tense? Fuck yeah.. At least between Gibson and I that the ladies didn’t seem to notice.. It wasn’t my doing though, it was all Gibson. He’s so fucking worried that I’ll ruin anything that happens tonight to the point where if I said literally anything to Hannah, he’d already be looking at me as if I was on fire. 

I cleared the plate that Nina had made for me and I ignored her pretty much the whole time, but not obvious enough to show that I was deliberately doing it.. To my surprise, I actually was trying to impress Hannah for Gibson’s sake.. Well, and also for my own to clear up any shit that he’s told her about me, which I knew he had without even hearing it for myself.

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When dinner was done though, I grabbed up everyone’s plates and I took them to the sink, and seeing as Nina was the only one not drinking tonight, I expected her to clean up the mess we made, “Nina, you got this, babe?” I asked, looking to her with a calm expression and I watched her smile, able to tell that she was smitten by me even taking the time to acknowledge her with a smirk of my own.

“Of course,” she said with a loving tone, coming up to me and wrapping her arms around me and I hugged her back with one arm to keep the tense environment down, acting as if everything was fine, but in reality I couldn’t stand her touching me the moment I felt her slightly protruding stomach brush against my side.

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I let go of Nina within a few quick seconds, looking to Hannah and Gibson then with a smirk, “Hannah, what’s your poison? Beer, rum, vodka, scotch? We have wine, too, but I don’t know if Gibson wants to crack any of his prized bottles out for a simple night like this,” I offered and I looked to Gibson with a smirk, yet he didn’t return one what-so-ever. I was just teasing him, I wasn’t trying to be deliberately mean, but it was beginning to piss me off on how he couldn’t take a fuckin’ joke.

“Hmm.. What kind of beer do you have?” Hannah wondered and I walked to the fridge to look inside.

“Well, I got some cheap shit.. Or I have a six pack of an IPA that might knock you on your ass if you have more than three,” I said with a chuckle and I looked to her.

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I noticed she didn’t take her eyes off of Gibson much, growing a little uncomfortable when I saw her ignoring me and touching Gibson’s leg and kissing him, but she then looked to me with a daring expression and smiled. “Gimme one of the IPA’s, but I just want one so I can try it..” She replied and I nodded, seeing as she then looked to Gibson again, “Maybe we can switch to wine a little later like our first date together, hmm?” She continued towards him in a flirtatious manner and I saw Gibson smile genuinely for the first time since Hannah had gotten here and they kissed once more. I sighed as I watched them, yet I still grabbed her and myself a beer and uncapped them both, pouring them into glasses before finally clearing my throat to interrupt them.

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“Here,” I said with little emotion and handed her the beer. 

“Oh, thanks!” She replied happily and took it from my hand. 

“What do you want bro?” I asked and he didn’t really even bother looking at me, paying more attention to Hannah.

“Scotch, on the rocks,” he replied, both of us watching as Hannah left his side to join Nina in the living room after she had finished the dishes. It was silent for a few moments, both of us watching Hannah walk away and the next thing I knew my shoulder was being hit.

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“Hey, watch it! You’re going to spill my beer.. What was that for?” I asked quietly towards Gibson and he held an angered expression.

“Are you going to get my drink, since you offered so kindly? Or are you going to stare at her ass all day?” He asked with a glare and scoffed.

“What are you talking about? I wasn’t looking at her ass.. Jesus,” I replied as I rubbed my arm.

“Then what were you looking at?”

“Nothing, just.. The carpet.. How many ice cubes do you want?” I asked, walking away from him and getting his glass ready and hopefully changing the subject, but I sighed when he stood up and walked over to stand next to me.

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“I’m only going to ask you this once..” Gibson began and I sighed as I uncapped the scotch and poured it into a small glass, “Please, just.. Don’t be you tonight, okay? Don’t compliment her, don’t flirt with her, don’t touch her, just.. Don’t.. Act like she’s Nina, I don’t care what you have to do, just don’t do anything that will make me hate you, alright? I’m giving you a second chance at letting you get to know someone that I’ve taken a liking to in hopes that you won’t sleep with her behind my back, and I want you to be friends with her.. I wanna be able to bring her around without always needing to keep an eye on you, okay? That isn’t too much to ask, is it?” He asked genuinely and I stood there for a moment, thinking. I could tell he wasn’t trying to be an ass and he was only being honest, but he could’ve worded a few things differently at least to make me not feel like such shit about the whole thing. “Gareth?”

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“Okay, okay.. Fine. Just, stop watching me like a fuckin’ hawk, alright? I can’t concentrate when you do shit like that. And give me a little more credit than that, huh? It’s not like the last time, I didn’t do that shit on purpose, it just kinda happened,” I lied, but it was for the best, “And come on.. Stop thinking about the past so much, look at her- she’s way better than your last girlfriend, she wouldn’t go for someone like me anyways, she likes you. She obviously likes men who have a good head on their shoulders and a tough spine.. And I’m nothing like you,” I somewhat complimented and gave him a smirk. 

Gibson looked at me for a few seconds, seemingly a little shocked by my words, him looking to Hannah then sitting in the living room and I watched them lock eyes and Gibson grinned. He looked back to me as he held his grin and nodded softly, “Thanks man,” he finally replied and I nodded back, handing him his drink and he took it before joining the girls in the living room.

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I stood at the counter a little longer by myself, screwing the cap back onto the bottle of scotch slowly as I listened to them talking within the living room, but I didn’t bother enough to pay attention to the words. I wish Gibson hadn’t said any of those things, granted he had every right to, but the fact that he felt like he needed to kind of bothered me. He didn’t need to be so worried, I wasn’t going to try anything on her with him around, why would I? I’m not that stupid.. Another thing that pissed me off a little is that I’d have to pay more attention to Nina now than I wanted to, just so I could control myself and how much I might wanna look at Hannah. I still hadn’t taken all of her in yet, I still felt I needed to wrap my mind around her more so I could take in every inch of her, but that’s going to be difficult without coming off as if I’m staring.. I’ll just have to do it in doses, I guess.

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After a few moments to myself, I came back into the living room and sat on the sofa next to Nina, looking to her as she scooted closer after I had gotten comfortable and sighing softly to myself. For some reason I felt like Nina was a little more affectionate today than most other days, I wondered if it had anything to do with Hannah being around. She had every right to be worried about me when other girls were around, I felt as if she knew at times when I was flirting with someone or blatantly ignoring her to talk to someone else, yet she’s never once complained about it or brought it up to me. Though, even without hitting on Hannah once so far, Nina was beginning to act as if she needed to stake her claim for me for whatever reason and it only made me more disinterested and annoyed by how touchy she was being. 

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We all ended up talking for a little while and I was getting slightly buzzed as well as Hannah and Gibson, yet of course Nina was sober since she wasn’t drinking. I couldn’t imagine being in her shoes and not drinking for a while nine months, I actually felt a little sorry for her in that one aspect, though she didn’t seem to mind too much as she watched us all having fun with a smile on her face. But, I was happy when it was about seven at night and Nina decided that it was time for her to leave, she got tired a lot sooner ever since she’s been pregnant, “I’m going to get going I think..” She voiced softly and stood up. I sighed when I knew I’d have to walk her to the door and I didn’t even want to get up, but as she went around the room and said goodbye to Hannah and Gibson, I reluctantly rose to my feet and followed her towards the door.

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Nina turned towards me when we reached the door and there was a subtle smile on her lips, yet it was obvious that she was avoiding making eye contact with me and I waited impatiently for her to leave. “So.. I guess I’ll see you soon..?” I asked, trying to break this weird silence that surrounded us and she looked up to me with a nod. “Is there anything else?” I asked, seeing her look away from me and eventually shaking her head ‘no’. I knew she was lying, I knew she wanted me to kiss her goodbye and I knew she didn’t want to leave until it happened, but I wasn’t in the mood to even humor her.

“We never really, uhm.. Talked about what happened.. The night I told you about..” She stopped as she averted her eyes once more and I knew she was referring to when I had hit her. I was in no mood to talk about this now, it was just bad timing and I wanted to continue hanging out with Gibson and Hannah and have fun instead of discussing pointless shit that she determined as a serious matter. She looked back up to me and by how she tried to correct herself, she must’ve noticed the anger and annoyance building up in my expression, “I-I mean.. I know you didn’t mean to do it, I was being pushy and I was practically at your heels when you turned around so harshly, but..”

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“If you know all that stuff already then why even bring it up?” I asked blandly and her expression went slightly embarrassed.

“I guess.. I don’t know, even if you didn’t mean it, an apology would be nice..” She asked shyly and I let out a heave of air, not wanting to drag this on any longer.

“Jesus.. Okay, I’m sorry. I’ll see you soon then,” I replied, letting my irritation show a little too much and I watched her eyes begin to water and she turned away. I shut my eyes in more annoyance and took a deep breath in, letting it out slowly and trying to calm down a little. Since my first reaction didn’t work at getting her to leave sooner, I hoped that being affectionate in return would help her get over this shit so she would just leave finally.

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I stepped up closer to her and put on a softer demeanor, pulling her close to me and I began kissing her cheek and neck softly in between whispers, “I’m sorry, okay? Don’t cry.. I’m just not in the mood to talk about this when there’s company over and I’ve been drinking.. It’s just not the best time, alright?” I said softly and I could feel her head nodding against my hand in agreement. “Now, go home and get some rest, okay?” I said as I pulled away from her and she continued to nod as she wiped a few tears away. I smirked a little and leaned in once more, connecting my lips with hers for a few long seconds and pulling away to then see her smiling in return. 

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“I love you,” she replied and I lost my smile briefly, unsure of what to say back as I looked to her. There’s no way in hell I was going to say it back.. It isn’t the kind of thing that if I don’t feel it, I don’t say it, but even if I did which I doubt I ever would, it’s just not something that I feel I’ll ever be comfortable saying to anyone. The only time I remember saying it was to Mom and Dad when I was super little and that was only when they’d say it first, but I grew out of that after about my sixth birthday.

“I know you do,” I replied, smirking once more and leaning in quickly to kiss her and not let her get any more words in as I then somewhat guided her towards the door and opened it for her to let her out. “I’ll see you soon, babe,” I continued and she gave me a weary smile as she nodded softly and walked out of the house. I closed the door and sighed heavily as I walked back towards the living room, trying to think about how I’m going to do this for seven more months and knowing already it was going to be nothing but torture.

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I came back into the living room and I noticed that Hannah had taken a seat on the couch I was on close to Gibson and she perked up when she saw me walking towards them, “Hey, we should play ‘never have I ever’ for drinks, you up for it?” She asked and I laughed as I took my seat back on the couch. I hadn’t played that game since before we moved here when we’d drink under-aged at parties.

“Remember when we used to always play that back in Bridgeport with our friends?” Gibson added with a smile and I nodded.

“Oh hell yeah, I remember those days.. You and me are always the first ones out cause we always got so trashed,” I add with a chuckle and Gibson does as well. I can tell that he’s finally getting a little drunk when I notice his cheeks beginning to flush more, he’s been drinking scotch on the rocks the whole night so far, so I wasn’t all that surprised that he was a little further than Hannah and I. 

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“I kinda forgot the rules though, how did you two used to play?” Hannah wondered and I let Gibson take the lead on explaining.

“Well, just think of something that you haven’t done before and say never have I ever blah blah blah, and then whoever has done it has to drink. If no one has done whatever you say, then the person who says it has to drink.. I think those rules are pretty basic and the easiest to follow,” he says and Hannah nods, “That sounds right.. Right?” He asked towards me and I nodded in agreement.

“Yeah, that’s how I remember playing.”

“You go first, Han,” Gibson added and Hannah thought to herself for a moment as we waited.

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“Never have I ever.. Flown on a plane,” she said first and both Gibson and I drank.

“Wait, how’d you get here then?” Gibson asked.

“I drove all that way, I don’t like planes,” she said with a chuckle, “Now you go,” she addressed Gibson and he thought for a moment.

“Never have I ever, uhm..” He tried to think and he took a long time to think of something.

“Come on, you could never think of anything, even when we used to play, too,” I mocked slightly and we all laughed.

“Well, I’m sorry that I’ve done a shit ton of stuff in my life, it’s hard to think of things..” Gibson replied, “Hannah, just go again, Gareth and I have done too much,” he encouraged and she sighed teasingly.

“Oh whatever, uhh.. Never have I ever.. Had sex on the beach,” she questioned and I chuckled as I drank and so did Gibson, “Really?! Both of you have?” She questioned in disbelief and we both laughed a little more.

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“Okay, okay, my turn..” I stated and thought to myself, “Ahh man.. Um.. Never have I ever gone skinny dipping in the daytime,” I said and only Gibson drank, “No way! When did you do that?” I questioned in disbelief.

“Remember when Bennu and Bahiti went to Egypt about two years ago and we were house sitting? Well you went out somewhere and I had a girl over and we did that in their pool,” he admitted and laughed.

“I never would’ve thought,” I admitted with another chuckle, “Alright, since you’ve done so much, now you have to think of something,” I egged him on and so did Hannah.

“Yeah, come on.. Think of something good,” she encouraged with me and Gibson thought for a moment.

“Well, hmm.. Never have I ever.. I don’t know, um.. Smoked weed,” he stated and I drank as well as Hannah. “I know when you used to do it, Gareth, but really, Han? When did you do that?” He wondered with a somewhat intrigued grin.

“Oh, I was young, like.. Fifteen or sixteen or something, I only did it a few times.. My turn now,” she said happily and thought for a moment, “Never have I ever done stuff in front of my parents without them knowing,” she questioned and both Gibson and I drank with wide grins that we tried to hide, “Jeez, you two really have done a lot, huh?” She asked teasingly with a laugh.

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The game lasted longer than I thought it would, but we ended up thinking of plenty of questions that got all of us to a decent drunk and I switched to the floor so Gibson could pass out on the couch, laying his head in Hannah’s lap. What made the game take longer was we ended up telling a few stories along with our confessions and it was a really great way to get to know one another; even Gibson and I had a few stories to share that neither of us knew about. Hannah and I kept talking and drinking slowly as the time just passed the two in the morning mark, though I didn’t want to go to sleep as long as she was still willing to stay up. I’ve never talked to a girl this long without eventually getting them in bed, and I admit it was a little weird for me, but I actually didn’t mind the time we’d spent together already. She was pretty fun.

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Hannah brushed Gibson’s hair out of his face and ran her fingers through it gently over and over as he lay there and I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous at the treatment he was getting without him even knowing it was happening. Hannah caught my attention and I looked away from her hand within Gibson’s hair and up to her face when she talked, “So, are you excited to be a Dad?” She asked and I gave a smile that wasn’t very convincing.

“I guess, yeah,” I replied, turning my attention away for a moment and taking a sip of my beer.

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“You don’t have to lie, I don’t care.. It’s not for everyone,” she replied and I looked back to her.

“Well, then no, I’m not. I never wanted kids to be honest.. Do you want any?” I asked in return.

“Yeah, I really do, I don’t know when though,” she replied and I watched as she looked down to Gibson as she continued to run her fingers through his hair, “Do you know if, uhm.. Never mind,” she stopped but she caught my attention.

“No, please.. Go ahead, I’m an open book,” I encourage and she chuckles softly.

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“Well.. It’s just.. I know it’s too early to tell, and I know it’s too early to be talking about this kind of thing with Gibson seeing as we’ve only been together about three months, so we never have discussed it.. I almost don’t feel right asking you if he wants kids without even talking to him myself, first, but I can’t lie, I am curious..” She continued and looked up to me with slight concern.

“If it makes you feel better, he does. Really badly, actually.. I didn’t want my baby, and honestly I still don’t, but Nina wants to keep it and Gibson even convinced me a little, too, saying he’d help out and he’d love to be an Uncle and all that.. He likes kids, he’d be a good Dad..” I reply and my vision drops to the bottle I’m holding.

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“I’m sorry.. Did I strike a nerve? I didn’t mean to,” she adds and I looked up to her.

“Oh, no.. Course not. I was just thinking how badly I need a cigarette,” I reply with a chuckle and she smiles with a nod.

“Do you need another beer?” She asks and I watched as she finishes hers.

“Yeah, tha’d be great.. I’ll be back in a minute,” I reply, standing up and I watch as she gently picks up Gibson’s head to place it on her seat as she stood up, taking her empty bottle as well as mine to the kitchen as I pulled my pack of smokes from my pocket and went out the back door.

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I stood outside for a few moments and took a long, deep breath in and the smell of water within the warm night breeze filled my nose, savoring it for a moment before I tainted my lungs with a cigarette. I don’t know what I was thinking, my mind was racing a little too much for me on top of being slightly drunk and all I could think about since Gibson fell asleep was that I was finally glad I could be alone with Hannah. But why? I mean, obviously I wanted to do stuff with her, but I was still trying to fight the urge for the sake of what Gibson said earlier. I just wanted to run my fingers over her delicate neck, maybe even taste the sweet perfume she had on her skin, but as I took a long drag of my cigarette, I tried to push those thoughts out of my head. Sure, I didn’t promise him anything, but he did say no flirting and no touching, two of my favorite things to do when with someone like her. 

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The back door opened and I looked over my shoulder, seeing Hannah joining me on the back of the dock and I smirked softly as she closed it behind her. She walked over to me and the sound of her heels clicking on the wood was even more soothing to me than the sound of the water, “Here,” she said softly, handing me my beer and I took it. I watched as she leaned over the edge and looked at the view behind the house, my eyes secretly wandering down her back, over her ass and all the way down to her feet before returning my gaze to the side of her face. “I’m really glad I moved here,” she stated with a calm voice and I took one last drag of my smoke before tossing it over the edge to my left into the water.

“Why’s that?” I asked, though I was pretty sure I already knew the answer.

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“It’s just really beautiful here. The weather is always great and relaxing.. I have a good job, I’ve met a lot of great people,” she replied and looked over to me, “Everything just feels.. Right.. You know?” She continued and I smirked, nodding as well. “Don’t you like it here, too?” She asked.

“Well, sure.. Most of my family is here, I get employment occasionally, but the pay is still good for how little I do.. I pretty much get to do whatever the fuck I want,” I reply with a chuckle and she smiles, “Got Gibson and my dog, Jess.. I got everything I need..” I replied, looking out to the water.

“Wait, Jess is your dog? I thought she was Gibson’s?” She questioned and I shook my head.

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“No, not even close..” I replied with a chuckle, “Gibson hates dogs.. Jess is my baby, not his,” I add and I watched as her expression twists into confusion.

“Well, that.. Kind of explains a few things,” she replies with a gentle laugh, “When we first hung out, we went to the dog park together because, well.. I didn’t know you existed at that time so he brought Jess to the dog park when I brought my dog and I just assumed Jess was his.. But, it all kinda makes more sense now. When he told me he had a dog, I assumed he liked them, but then I started noticing his apprehension when it came to dogs in general more and more,” she said in a somewhat disapproving manner.

“I think in that instance he was just trying to impress you and have the same interests. I love dogs and Jess is mine, but seeing as he never mentioned me, what else was he supposed to say when wanting to rouse you?” I replied and her expression went softer and more appreciative.

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“Do you mind me asking about you and Nina?” She wondered randomly and I looked back to her, my shoulders shrugging slightly.

“There’s not much to tell really.. What do you want to know?” I asked curiously, taking a sip of my beer. 

“Well, I don’t mean to pry or judge.. But the whole night it seemed like you could barely stand that she was touching you. You made this funny face every time she’d even smile at you,” she said with a chuckle and I snickered as well, surprised that he had caught on to all of what I was doing earlier, “I don’t know, I guess I’m just wondering if you hate her or something.”

“I don’t know.. To be honest, I don’t hate her, otherwise she wouldn’t have been here today. It’s just sometimes she can be a little overwhelmingly clingy. It’s extremely complicated.. One minute we could be okay and the next we won’t see one another for weeks,” I reply and Hannah nods with a smile.

“Who’s fault is that usually?” She asked and I raised my brow with a grin.

“Are you implying something, Miss Hannah?” I asked and she laughs.

“No, no.. It’s just from what I’ve seen today, everything seems very one sided, that’s all. I mean, I guess what I’m trying to get at is are you guys even together? Or do you even want to be?” She continued questioning and I thought for a moment. 

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I turned around and leaned back against the side, a little closer to her than I was before, “Well, I guess the easiest way to put it is that I’m going to try to be there for my kid, but when it comes to a relationship, I’m keeping my options very open,” I imply softly and take a sip of my beer, looking to her as she stood up from leaning over and I smirked, “Does that answer your question?”

“Yeah, I guess it does,” she replies with a soft smile in return and looks back towards the water, drinking her beer a little. “So, by relationship, do you actually mean fling?” She questioned and I laughed.

“Jesus, Gibson really filled you in on me before you came here, didn’t he? If you know so much already, then why ask?” I wonder.

“He didn’t say anything bad, I guess I just want to know for myself instead of hearing it from someone else. I like to give people a chance on my own terms,” she replied and I nodded, appreciating that she was willing to give me the benefit of the doubt.

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“So, why all the questions on whether I’m in a relationship officially or not?” I ask and she shrugs.

“Just curious is all, just wanted to know what all that tension was today. You didn’t really open up that much until she was gone. If it’s worth anything, I felt like Gibson may have mistook a lot of your charm for inappropriateness,” she replied, continuing to look out at the water and I raised my brow intriguingly. So she thinks I’m charming? I don’t think anyone’s used that word before to describe me.

“Well, how often do I get the chance to impress someone new? I needed to be on my best behavior in front of beautiful company,” I imply once more as I continued to look at the side of her face.

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“Are you flirting with me, Gareth?” She asked with a chuckle, looking back to me and I shrugged.

“Only if you want me to be,” I reply with a sly grin as my sight bounced between her eyes and lips.

“And if I say no?” She challenged.

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“Then I might just call you a liar,” I point out with the same grin and we stare at one another for a moment before she looks back to the water. I don’t know what this was or what was happening exactly, but I was willing to bet all of the money I had stashed in my room that she was flirting with me as hard as I was with her. It all made me wonder if she was just another girl that might betray Gibson, or was this girl driving me to be the betrayer? Either way, if anything happened, we’d both be accountable, not just me. I know I shouldn’t do this, or anything at all, but Hannah was just oozing irresistible and if this back and forth flirting continued, we just might make a huge mistake tonight. The more I thought about her and looked at her, the less I thought about the repercussions.

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“Why are you staring at me?” She asked, looking back to me and I turned towards her more.

“How can I not?”

“You know what I think?” She asked with a smile.

“What’s that?”

“I think that because Nina isn’t here now, you feel it’s okay to hit on me because there’s no one to stop you. I think you’re actually a pretty lonely guy,” she pointed out with attitude, yet she still held a smile on her plump lips.

“Damn, babe.. That’s harsh,” I teased, “Don’t be so hard on yourself, even if she was still here I’d have no problem doing the same thing I am now. Even if a hundred other girls were here, I’d still be right here.. Drinking a beer with you,” I reply, finishing my beer and setting it down on a table near me, coming right back to where I was but this time a little closer.

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“So, even if there were tons of other girls here, you’d still pick your brother’s girlfriend to hit on?” She replied with a cocky smile and my grin began to fall.

“Is this some kind of elaborate ruse or something that you and Gibson concocted to see if I’d hit on you if he passes out?” I ask with a bland tone and she smiles.

“No, of course not. I just figured I could talk some sense into you before you do anything you might regret,” she pointed out and I smirked once more.

“Well, why not do something we’ll both regret? It’s not like I can’t tell what you want to do just as badly, you’re pretty easy to read,” I state and she stares at me a moment before looking back out to the water again.

“Oh, am I? ..And what exactly do you think I want to do?” She asked, taking another sip of her beer.

“You act like you’re doing nothing at all when in actuality, you’re doing so much to the point where it’s almost impossible not to touch you. You can’t deny it, either.. You’re working the same charm you claim that I use myself,” I state and she finishes her beer, walking to the table to set her empty bottle down where I had earlier and she stood in front of me then.

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“That doesn’t answer the question still.. I’ll admit, I can get a little flirty when I’m drinking, but that doesn’t mean I’ll act on anything like you so easily will,” she replied with a serious tone and I smiled.

“So you’re waiting for me to do it first, is that it?” I asked and she didn’t respond, giving me an expression as if I was way off, but I knew what she was doing, or rather, trying her hardest not to do. She didn’t know that she was failing at whatever front she was trying to put on. “You know, just because you say you won’t act on it, it doesn’t mean you don’t want it,” I add before stepping closer.

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I stood before her and she looked up to me with a certain look in her eyes that I couldn’t quite decode, it was either lust or overwrought, but whatever the case, it was still inviting. I stepped up even closer and she took a step back, but she bumped into the table behind her and there was nowhere else for her to go. “Gareth..” She said softly in a weary tone and I smirked.

I leaned forward and she leaned back, reaching behind her to hold herself up using the table and I used it as well to support myself, leaning in closer towards her ear and the tip of my nose grazed against her cheek, “I would say I’ll stop if you want me to, but I don’t think you do,” I said quietly in a smooth tone, my eyes looking to the side of her face and she turned her head away from me slightly.

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I brought one of my hands off of the table and I looked down to her legs, letting my fingertips graze over the skin of her thigh, “Maybe you just need some more-” I stopped, hearing her let out a gentle gasp when I grabbed her leg and pulled it up against me, “Persuading?” I suggested into her ear and I could feel the goosebumps racing over her leg I was holding. I was so close, I could feel the heat radiating off of her and even her breathing was a little stifled within my grasp. My curiosity from before when I wondered if the rest of her skin was as smooth as her hand when we had first met made me grin slightly, knowing now that the skin of her legs was so much smoother and I could feel my heart racing at how dangerously close we were to making this a very memorable night.

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To my surprise, I was mistaken, “We’ve been drinking too much.. Nothing about this is a good idea,” she contested and I pulled back to look at her eyes, “Please, let go of me,” she added and I slowly dropped her leg back down and put my hand back onto the table for support.

“What a strange turn of events after such a huge, painfully hot buildup,” I replied, confused a little as I looked to her lips, “You’re not at all even curious about what could happen if I were to move just a few inches closer?” I continued to try to tease and still salvage what was about to happen.

“Anyone would be.. But I don’t want you to,” she replied and my expression went defeated.

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I slowly slipped away from her and stood back up straight, finding myself a little surprised that I had so easily backed off like she had implied and I watched her stand up straight as well, avoiding my eyes on purpose, “I.. Need some sleep. You should get some, too,” she suggested and I took a few steps back and I leaned against the wooden railing, putting my hands into my front pockets as I looked to her.

“You won’t mention this to anyone, right?” I asked and she looked up to me.

“Nothing happened, so there’s nothing to tell.” She said bluntly and I gave her a slight grimace.

“Don’t say that all of that was nothing,” I said sternly and I watched as her face flooded with regret and she turned towards the house.

“Goodnight, Gareth,” she replied, walking to the back door and sliding it open to go inside, avoiding looking at me as she shut it behind her and she was soon out of sight.

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I sighed heavily as I leaned against the wood railing, thinking about what could’ve happened and I was both mad that I didn’t get to taste her lips and mad that I had been played so hard. I hadn’t been turned down in so long when I was so close to indulging and it bothered me greatly that I failed. I had to admit that there was a certain sense of higher accomplishment when it came to obtaining the unobtainable, and the fact that she turned me down but admitted she felt the same only made me want to try harder. At first I was a little mad at the whole situation that quickly flipped upside down right in front of my eyes, but my perspective soon changed when I thought about it and it only made me think of it as a challenge. I’ll convince her one of these days, she’ll eventually be in a position that I’ll make myself as irresistible as she was just now and then we’ll see if she’s able to hold back the urges that I know she wants to act out with me. Even if it takes me forever, I’ll eventually make her scream my name, and if I’m daring enough, none of what I was planning would ever be obvious enough to get caught this time around.

Generation 3, Chapter 11

    Gareth’s POV     

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“Ahhh, fuck..” I let out softly when I had finally woken up, my eyes opening slowly and I needed to blink a few times before I could see straight. I was more groggy than normal, a slight pain in my skull and a headache helped wake me up more. As I looked up at the ceiling, I could tell I wasn’t in my room, nor was I at Nina’s, but I didn’t care much anyways.. I had woken up in stranger places than this before, at least there was a roof over my head this time. 

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I went to reach for my pack of smokes but I couldn’t move my arm, looking to my right and saw blonde hair, my eyes following down a female frame sleeping next to me and all she wore was a pair of panties. “Damn,” I complimented. I let out another groan and shut my eyes, debating on whether or not to fall back asleep but something else kept me from doing so. The bed moved on my left and I opened my eyes once more, seeing a second girl with strawberry blonde hair adjusting herself to get comfortable and her hand ran over my torso as well as putting one of her legs around mine. I chuckled under my breath and grinned devilishly, “Looks like I had fun last night,” I said quietly.

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My arm was already around the strawberry blonde and my other arm pulled at the normal blonde, watching as she still kept her eyes shut as she rolled to her other side to do the same as the girl to my left. I let out a relaxed sigh, both girls now holding me and I shut my eyes, attempting to try and remember last night as best I could. There were only a few things I could remember; going to the bar, finding these girls and drinking a shit ton with them, then coming back to their place, but after that it’s pretty fuzzy.. Of course, I just had to black out all of the stuff that I actually did want to remember.. I gave my mind a break on trying to think too hard and I decided I needed a little more sleep before I could even think about doing anything else.

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I slept for about two more hours, the sound of my ringtone filled my ears and my eyes opened, looking down at my chest and I was still being held tightly by each of the girls’ sleeping grip. I still didn’t want to get up, contemplating whether or not I should see who’s calling me, but I finally decided I should probably get up anyways and get the hell outta here. I slowly pulled my arms out from underneath their necks and sat up, scooting to the foot of the bed and sitting at the edge. I leaned over to my pants that were lying on the floor and removed my phone from my pocket, looking to the ID and Nina was calling me. “Great..” I said sarcastically, wondering now why the hell I got up.. 

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“Hello..?” I answered my phone, wanting to get this over with.

“Hey, it’s me..” Nina began and I rolled my eyes, no shit it’s you, I thought with frustration.

“What do you want, baby?” I asked with little interest, rubbing the bridge of my nose as I felt my headache coming back.

“Are you at home right now?” She wondered.

“Yeah, just lying in my bed,” I lied, looking over my shoulder and smirking to myself when I saw the sleeping eye candy that laid in the bed.

“I was, uhm.. Just wondering if you were going to come over later?” She asked and I let out a deep sigh, not caring that she could hear it as well.

“I don’t know, babe, I got a terrible headache right now and I’m not in the mood to really do anything tonight,” I reply.

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I could feel the bed moving behind me as I talked to Nina, soon feeling a hand caressing my back in a messaging manner and I shut my eyes as I indulged at the comforting touch. Nina kept talking, which kept me from fully enjoying a calming back rub from one of the girls, “Well, actually.. I was going to see if you want to take it easy tonight and watch a movie or something?” She wondered and I almost forgot to answer her when I felt parted knees on either side of my hips, a pair of hands messaging my shoulders.

“I don’t know if I’m in a mood for a movie, either..” I replied and I could almost feel her disappointment through the phone.

“Well, I just.. I want to talk to you, it’s been a few days.. I’ll make you dinner, too, if you’d like? Whatever you want,” She continued to persist and this was getting a little pathetic at this point. A thought ran through my head and I completely ignored Nina as I thought of Gibson, how long have I not been at the house? A whole week now?

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“I don’t know, I got some stuff I need to do,” I replied.

Then come by when your done..?” She asked with her sweet, mousy voice and I forgot to reply to her again as I felt a pair of soft lips beginning to kiss the back of my neck and the set of hands that were massaging my shoulders slid over my waist to the front of my torso. “..Gareth..?”

“I’ll call you back,” I dismissed her and hung up, tossing my phone onto my pants and I turned around to see the arousal in both of the their eyes as they were both awake now.

“Come back to beddd,” the blonde coaxed and I smirked, turning around completely and crawling back into bed with them.

“Alright.. One more time, then I gotta get going,” I reply and they both giggle in excitement.

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After getting to relive and remind myself what had happened last night, the girls were sad to see me go, but I got the blonde’s cell number first and only acted like I had added the strawberry blonde into my contacts, though of course I didn’t. I usually always picked the hotter of the two whenever this rarely happened, knowing that they are willing to do threesomes and then I’m able to mix and match the hot ones whenever I’m in the mood for this kind of thing again. As I drove home, I wondered what Gibson might say when I get there, poor bastard has probably been lonely as shit this entire time and I felt a little bad for abandoning him for two weeks. But, hopefully he’s kept busy, what with his job and his books and him doing other stuff.. What else does he do for fun when he isn’t at work or reading? I shrug to myself as I can’t seem to remember what else he does and I pull into the parking lot, seeing all the regular cars there, but I parked next to a purple jeep that I’d never seen before.

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I walked down the large dock and reached the house, unlocking the door and coming in slowly and quietly. The house was dead silent which seemed a little odd to me, usually whenever I came home I’d always hear Gibson in the kitchen making food, Jess making noises, Gibson’s music, or even at least the laundry machines running downstairs, but there was nothing. I came into the living room and realized something had changed, “Where the hell are my smokes?” I asked myself, also noticing my ashtray was gone as well and they were replaced with a bottle of wine and two glasses with still remnants of the alcohol left behind inside each one. “Two glasses..?” I asked myself, but it took me only a second to figure out that Gibson must’ve had someone over last night..

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I walked away from the living room and went to the bottom of Gibson’s stairs, stopping myself from going up and I thought for a moment. He couldn’t already have a girl over, could he? Even though he’s been saying he’s over his ex, he always still seems a little bothered whenever any talk of girls comes up, it always made me think he still wasn’t over her. But now, it makes me wonder if he was just being a dick that whole time and was playing games with me, bringing up his ex only to make me feel bad.. That asshole.. I sighed softly to myself, “I gotta check it out..” I finally decided.

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I slowly made my way up his stairs as quietly as I could, being grateful to whoever had built this place right before we moved here and how the stairs didn’t even creak once when I was walking up. I came up to his half wall and finally to the last step, looking around his room and I came to a sudden halt when I saw Gibson lying in his bed with a bombshell, Gibson wearing athletic shorts and the woman wore her panties and a sweater I recognized was Gibs’, my brow rising in surprise. Sadly, Gibson’s sweater just barely covered her breasts and I couldn’t even have a nice show as I was snooping. I should’ve popped my head in and left already, but my eyes stayed glued on the woman he was with and they traveled from her face down every curve of her body and all the way down to her feet, letting out a quiet “phew” of a whistle subconsciously. Gibson began to show some signs of life as he moved himself a little and I took that as my cue to leave, heading back downstairs just as quietly as I had came up and I went back into the living room. 

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I felt my headache coming back and I decided to give myself some ‘hair of the dog’, picking up one of their glasses they had left behind and drinking the warm wine that had been sitting out all night. The taste was terrible, picking up the bottle and looking at the label where I then saw the price tag still stuck on it, “$400 for shitty wine? You’re a fuckin’ idiot, Gibs,” I insulted, putting the bottle back on the coffee table and still continuing to drink it.. It was kind of working, though I wished we had beer somewhere in the house since that’s all I drank last night and it would make me feel a lot better rather than this crappy wine. But, the bottle gave me clues; for how expensive it was, it told me that Gibson would only open it on a special occasion, and he’d never waste what he thinks is ‘good wine’ on a hooker, so the girl in his bed is obviously a date, or even his girlfriend. “Hmm..” I let out softly, beginning to wonder how long he had been seeing her as I sat there alone in silence.

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I heard movement upstairs about ten minutes after I had first sat down in the living room, putting down the wine glass and trying to listen to what was happening upstairs. I could hear Gibson’s low voice but couldn’t make out any words, the woman laughing softly every now and then to whatever he was saying. I eventually heard her heals and his heavy footsteps coming down the staircase and I could hear more of their conversation when I got up and moved stealthily closer.

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“I had fun, we gotta do this again really soon,” the woman suggested with a joyful tone.

“I couldn’t agree more,” Gibson replied, escorting her to the front door and she turned around to face him, wrapping her arms around his waist, “Call me when you’re free again,” Gibson suggested and she smiled.

“I will, hopefully someone will cancel during the week so I don’t have to wait until next Saturday to see you again,” she replied and I heard Gibson chuckle, putting an arm around her to pull her closer and bringing his other hand up to her face. He pulled her into a kiss and it lasted only a few seconds, but after a moment of standing there after it, they both obviously wanted more, kissing again and this time it lasted longer and was a bit more passionate than the last. I didn’t feel right staring at my brother making out with his girlfriend so I averted my eyes until they were done, looking back to them when I heard the sliding door open and close and I knew she had left then.

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Gibson walked away from the door and stopped at his staircase with wide eyes as he looked to me, “Gareth!” He said softly in surprise, “When did you get here?” He asked as if he was nervous about something and I raised one of my brows.

“Jesus, calm the hell down.. I still live here you know, it shouldn’t be that surprising to see me,” I replied and I could tell by the way his expression fluctuated that he was still nervous about something.

“Where have you been the last week?” He asked, and judging by his tone I could tell he didn’t care, he was probably still thinking about the woman that just left.

“Oh, here and there.. Sometimes at Nina’s, sometimes elsewhere.. I woke up today in a random house with two girls in the bed, so I honestly don’t really care, it was a good morning..” I reply and I watch as he rolled his eyes from hearing my whereabouts.

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“Soooo.. Got yourself a new girlfriend, huh?” I asked, watching his expression grow somewhat stiff yet his eyes held suspicion and a hint of anger.

“And what if I do?” He replied with a short tone, noticing I was right and he still got this certain defensive demeanor about him whenever I mentioned his romantic interests.

“Why are you always so confrontational about this? It’s just a simple observation,” I replied.

“Stop talking like that, you just sound like a moron when you try to sound smart,” he retorted and I chuckled at how angry he was getting without me really needing to do anything.

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“What’s your deal? I’m just asking questions.. Just curious is all,” Gibson walked passed me and towards the living room, taking his bottle of wine and placing it back within the rack he had hanging by the kitchen.

“About what, exactly?” He asked, though his tone sounded bored.

“That little fox that just left our house, how’d you meet her?” I questioned, seeing him then walking to the wine glasses and bringing them into the kitchen and beginning to wash them.

“Gareth, please don’t start this..” Gibson pleaded and I gave him a confused expression, “Don’t even look at me like that, it’s what you do.. You get to know a girl without even getting to know her yourself so it’s an easy in. But no, I’m not going to let you do that with this one, I’d rather she just continue to believe that you don’t exist,” he replied with an irritated tone.

“Wait.. You haven’t told her about me?” I asked, wondering if I had heard him correctly.

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“..No, I haven’t,” he replied with a bland voice, seemingly unwavered by his own words as I looked to him, somewhat in shock.

“What the fuck?! Why not? You’d be in more deep shit if she had seen me here, wondering who the fuck I was when she’s under the impression that you live alone! What would you have said then?” I retorted with anger, waiting a few long moments for a response.

“Maybe I’m a little embarrassed of you, ever thought about that? Maybe even a little intimidated, though I can’t stand admitting it. I don’t want to have to relive you stealing a girlfriend right out from under me.. This one’s different,” he replied.

“And what the hell makes you think I’d do it again?  I already feel bad enough about all that..” I replied with a somewhat defensive tone.

“Gareth, spare me! It’s something I can forgive you for, but I’ll be damned if I forget it.. You have a reputation about you that isn’t something to parade around with and be proud of, you woke up in a bed with two girls that I’m sure you can’t remember the names of and you’re cheating on Nina constantly! You killed off our mother, but Bennu still isn’t good enough for you to take over the role, so you look for solace in every possible girl you can find to fill the hole you have that you made yourself.. I don’t want her to become another one of your victims, whether it’s flirting or worse, and I don’t want her to know I’m related to someone so deranged and unstable,” he replied and I stood there in disbelief.