Generation 4, Chapter 20, Finale Pt 2 of 2

Isaiah’s POV

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As I drove home, I was as high as I could possibly be. I had just made up with, as well as made love to, my one and only and I was completely floored by the fact that he was mine again. All mine. I was so damn lucky and even just the sight of his car driving a couple hundred feet in front of me caused my lips to curl into different variations of smirks and smiles as I replayed what had happened between Oliver and I in my office at the bar. James was right, I was being completely stupid and leaving Oliver wouldn’t do anyone any good, not me or our boys or the rest of our family, and making up with Oliver made me the happiest I had ever been.. He even wanted more children and he was the first one to bring it up.. How much luckier could I get when the one that was always so concerned about the choices we made was the first one to bring up the subject of having more children? I was almost excited enough to call Cybal right now at ten thirty at night to tell her the good news, but of course, I knew it wasn’t the right time to do such a thing and I held that thought on the back burner of my mind as I drove behind Oliver.

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A street light we came up on turned yellow right after Oliver had drove through it and I caught the red, slowly coming to a stop and I watched as his car pulled off into the distance until I couldn’t see his break lights any longer. I sat there for a good minute, waiting for the car that had triggered the light to make their move and they ended up turning right, something that slightly annoyed me since the light technically didn’t have to change for a bullshit turn like that and I could still be right behind Oliver, but I sat at the red light anyhow as I waited for no one else this late at night. With my window open, the only sounds of the night that I could hear were the chirping of crickets and the waves splashing against the shore in the patch of water to my right and it was all so soothing, something that only enhanced how relaxed I felt after such a perfect night. When the light finally turned green, I gently pressed on the gas and kept going towards our house, excited to get home and I didn’t doubt that I might even catch Oliver getting out of his car and going inside as I pulled into our driveway so I could catch him and kiss him at the front door as we made our way inside the house together.. I couldn’t wait to be in his arms again.

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As I pulled up to our driveway, I noticed Oliver’s car already parked, but I saw a figure that had blonde hair instead of the brunette that I adored.. I grew worried, pulling slowly into the driveway and when I saw a strange man about ten years older than me standing in shock from my headlights, raising his hand to block the blinding lights from his eyes, I then noticed a shine coming from his hand.. It was a knife and it was soaked in blood.. But, wait, what? What’s going on?! My eyes then caught sight of Oliver on the ground just outside of our front door, blood on the ground and all over his white button-up and I swear I could feel my heart stop and my entire world suddenly went silent.

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Before I could even think about what to do, my foot was already on the gas peddle all the way to the floor and my car skid at first, trying hard to get traction and when it did, the man ran, but he was no match against a speeding car. He got about twenty feet down the driveway before my Mercedes slammed into him, the back of his head and his spine hitting the hood of my car first with a loud crash and he tumbled over my windshield as well as the roof and I could hear his body hit the ground before my car then slammed into the garage.  

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I was dazed for only about ten seconds from my airbag deploying, but I quickly pushed it out of my way and popped it to get it out of my line of sight and my eyes opened wide when I saw blood smeared all over the cracked windshield, but it didn’t phase me in the slightest as I had more important things to worry about.

“Ol-Oliver,” I said with strain as I pushed my door open hard and crawled out, my knees hurting momentarily when I had landed on them, but I quickly stumbled to my feet and ran around my car to go to where he was, jumping over the man that I assumed I had killed.. At least I hoped the fucker was dead.

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I almost fell when I saw him, stumbling more as I ran as quick as I could and tears had already formed in my eyes before I reached him, my hands shaking as I touched his face. 

“Oh my God.. Oliver? ..B-Baby?” My voice trembled as I looked at him and the tears in my eyes made it almost impossible to see. A few seconds went by where I had no idea what the hell to even do, but when I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, I calmed myself for him even despite seeing his white shirt thickening in blood with every second that I wasted.

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I knew an ambulance wouldn’t get here in time, but thank goodness he was still breathing and I turned him over carefully so I could I scoop him up in my arms, my one arm under his back and the other under the bend of his knees and with all the strength I could muster, I picked him up and brought him to his Nissan. I put him into the passengers seat and I shut the door, running as fast as I could to the drivers side and I backed out of the driveway faster than my tears could fall from my eyes.

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As I drove to the hospital at about eighty miles per hour on a street that you aren’t supposed to exceed roughly forty, I didn’t give a flying fuck as I could barely even keep my eyes on the road since I was looking over at Oliver almost every second that I drove. I still made sure to get there as safely as I possibly could to avoid any other grievances along the way, and I knew driving this fast wouldn’t help in avoiding any of that, but I couldn’t risk losing him and if driving this fast to get him help meant he’d be okay, then by all that is holy, I’d drive even faster if I knew absolutely nothing was in my way.

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A large gasp suddenly came from Oliver and it scared the hell out of me, looking over at him and I watched as he clenched his abdomen while letting out a pain-filled groan. He then suddenly started waving his unoccupied hand in front of him and I thought that maybe he still thought the man that had stabbed him was in front of him and I reached over to get him to stop.

Hey! Hey! Oliver! It’s okay, it’s okay!” I tried to calm him and he looked over, surprised to see me.

“Wha- I-Isaiah?” He questioned through his pain and his panting and I couldn’t help but smile as tears still filled my eyes.

“Yeah, baby, it’s me, it’s me! I’m right here,” I comforted.

“Wh-what.. What happe-? Ahhh, f-fuck!” He struggled to ask through his pain as he clenched his abdomen more and just as he was about to look down, I reached to catch his chin and I hold his head up.

“No no no, don’t look, just- Just stay awake, okay? You’re going to be fine, you hear me?”

“Wh-where.. Who..” I assumed he wanted to know about his assailant and I continued to look frantically between him and the road.

“Shut up, Oliver. Don’t talk, okay? Just.. Just don’t talk,” I instructed, but when I felt the weight of his head increase in my hand, I knew he was slipping out of consciousness again.

“Hey, Oliver! Stay awake, dammit!” I yelled, but he had slipped into it, anyways, “Fuck!” I yelled angrily, letting go of his chin as I continued to drive as fast as I could.

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To make matters worse, or possibly better, I wasn’t sure, I pulled out my phone. I called nine-one-one and told them my situation before I got to the hospital and even through the panic that was coursing through me, I somehow managed to tell them everything that happened.. How I had pulled into the driveway and saw Oliver bleeding on the ground, how I had run over the one who had stabbed him, and now, how I was driving him to the hospital. Luckily, by the time I ended the call, a few minutes later I was pulling up to the hospital and a gurney was being wheeled out, putting my hand sternly to Oliver’s chest to hold him against his seat as I slammed on the breaks.

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“Where you the one that called about the stabbing?” A nurse quickly asked me as I got out of the car and made my way to the passengers side.

Yes! Yes, I am!” I replied, opening the door and I picked up Oliver myself, not wanting the small nurses to even bother trying to do it themselves and they cared for his head and his limbs as I placed him on the gurney. I shut the passengers door as they wheeled him into the hospital and I followed close behind them.

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“What’s his name?” One of them asked as I followed close behind.

“Oliver! His name’s Oliver!” 

“Oliver? Can you hear me?” The nurse asked, but his eyelids remained shut and I could see the color leaving his normally rosy cheeks, “Prep O.R. four quickly and page Dr. Avery,” the nurse told another nurse that we approached and they ran ahead of us to do as she had said.

“You’ll be okay, Oliver!” I said in a panic as I continued to follow them, but once they reached a certain set of doors, one of the nurses continued wheeling him on while the other stopped me.

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“Please, sir! I know this is hard, but you can’t go any further,” she explained and I instantly grew enraged.

“That’s my fucking husband! Let me go with him right now!” I yelled, but she pressed harder against my chest to stop me and I watched as Oliver was wheeled off down a random hallway and then take a quick turn into a room.

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“Sir! Sir! Please.. I know you’re immediate family, but you have to stay here! He’s in good hands now, trust me,” she expressed and I stood on the tips of my toes to see him one last time before he disappeared into the room the nurse took him to.

“You people better take care of him!” I almost threatened and she nodded strongly.

“We will! But you need to stay here!” She continued and although I wanted to argue to no world’s end, my heart sank and I gave up, letting her do her damned job.

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I pulled myself away from her and she ran to where Oliver had been brought through the doors that I wasn’t allowed, seeing a bench next to where I was and I sat down heavily onto it. I brought my hands in front of my face, trying to hold my hands steady as my legs bounced restlessly from my adrenaline refusing to go away. Why.. Why the hell did something like this have to happen? It’s as if every time we were close to being perfect or even currently perfect in general, something had to go wrong and I don’t know how much more of this I could take. When would this end? When could we finally live out our lives without something like this happening? 

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“Doctor Avery to O.R. Four. Doctor Avery, O.R. Four.” I heard announced over the intercom.

A minute later, I heard running down a hallway and looked towards the doors that I wasn’t allowed to pass, a doctor then coming around a corner and he ran to where they had brought Oliver. I assumed it was Dr. Avery, the one nurse had paged, and I felt the slightest bit of hope calm my heart. He better be a damn good doctor.

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Roughly ten agonizingly quiet minutes later as my hands continued to shake and my legs couldn’t stop bouncing, I looked left to see another gurney being wheeled in by a paramedic accompanied by two police officers and when I looked to the person lying down it in, I recognized the mans clothes instantly.

“You gotta be fucking kidding me,” I said softly, rage lifting me from my seat and I ran at the gurney, unsure of what I was going to do exactly to the man that stabbed Oliver, but by God was I going to do as much as I fucking could.

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Sadly, right before I reached him, the two officers noticed and stopped me and held me back using all of their strength.

“Hey! Calm down!” One of the officers demanded, but I didn’t give a shit about what he wanted.

“You son of a bitch!” I yelled as he was wheeled passed me, “Doesn’t feel good to get impaled by things, now does it!? My husband doesn’t like it, either, you piece of shit! I hope you fucking suffer!” I continued to yell, unsure if he could even hear me, but I didn’t care as I watched as the man was wheeled into a different room through the doors I couldn’t go passed.

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“Get the fuck off me!” I jerked violently and the officers seemed surprised by the strength I had put behind getting out of their grip.

“Please, try to calm down.. Are you Isaiah? The one that called nine-one-one for the stabbed victim?” He asked and I was in awe by how stupid he was.

“Wow, what gave it away?” I asked sarcastically and the officer didn’t seem to like my tone, “And stop fucking saying that! His name’s Oliver, you fucking prick. I don’t need to be reminded every goddamn minute that he’s been stabbed, all right?!”

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“If you don’t calm down, sir, I’m going to have to restrain you,” he warned and I laughed.

“Calm down? You can’t be serious.. The man that just attacked my husband for whatever-the-fuck reason was just wheeled passed me to an emergency room.. An emergency room adjacent to the one Oliver’s in in the hope’s of saving his pathetic ass! Why didn’t you just let the fucker die in my fucking driveway!?” I yelled.

“Sir, if it means that I have to take you down to the station in order for you to calm down, then I will,” he threatened, but his threat hit deep when I quickly realized that if I don’t try to settle myself, and fast, I won’t be here for Oliver when he needs me the most.

I let out a heavy sigh, “Fine. I’m calm, see?” I demonstrated sarcastically and he scowled at me, though luckily he didn’t act on his threat.

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The officers stood with me for a moment as I took a seat in a chair that was close, my leg bouncing uncontrollably again, my hands still shaking, my heart dancing wildly, and then like a train hitting me, tears suddenly engulfed my eyes and I broke. I removed my glasses and tucked them away as I sat there hunched over and sobbing quietly into my lap, consumed with worrying about Oliver and I was completely overwhelmed by everything that had just transpired and I couldn’t hold back how helpless I felt.. All I could think about was the night we just had together and how beautiful it had been.. How no more than twenty minutes ago, I was having a drink with him like old times, how he was telling me how much he wanted another child, how he was in my arms giving me everything he is, and it was just.. Too perfect.. Even without him here now, I could still feel the warmth from his fingertips on my cheek, I could still smell the cologne he dabs on his wrists and his neck, I could even still taste him on my lips. It was all still so fresh in my mind that it was still hard to believe I was even here.. No more than twenty minutes ago, I was the furthest away from the risk of losing him that I could possibly be.. It’s just as amazing as it is terrifying how quickly things can change.

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I wasn’t sure how long I had been sitting here, I wasn’t sure when exactly the two officers had walked away from me, I hadn’t even cared enough to notice when my tears had stopped, either.. All that I knew was that I was numb and cold and I felt so alone and helpless as I sat there staring down at my knees that were soaked in tears. I reached up to wipe my cheeks and my eyes dry from crying and when I put my glasses back on, I then caught sight of my vest and jacket.. I touched the fabric then looked to the tips of my fingers, seeing Oliver’s blood stained on both of them and I was mortified at how I hadn’t noticed it sooner. I quickly stood to my feet, desperate to find a bathroom and when I found one, I stepped in, locked the door behind me and went straight to a sink.

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I scrubbed my vest and my jacket as hard as I could, watching the dried blood being re-hydrated as it mixed with the water and swirled down the drain, the color slowly going from a deep red to a light pink, then finally to clear. When I had done my best to get it off, there was still a slight hue of a dark pink that stained the fabrics and I turned the faucet off, sighing heavily to myself when I realized the effort I put into getting the blood out proved to be pointless.. All that it really did was give me something to let my frustration out on and I had even scrubbed to hard that I was causing the fabric to fray.. I decided then that tossing them out in the trash was my best option at this point, not wanting anything in my possession that had Oliver’s blood on it, anyhow.. After washing my hands clean of any remaining blood, I leaned against the counter as I continued to try and calm myself down, but it was so difficult to do alone..

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Will the owner of a red Nissan please move your car from the emergency zone? Owner of a red Nissan, please move your car out of the emergency zone immediately. Thank you.”

I heard over the intercom and I knew that they were talking about Oliver’s car. After taking a long, long moment to try and compose myself, I looked back into the mirror and I gave myself a final once-over to make sure I was rid of everything the color crimson before going out into the hallway. I sighed heavily, drying my eyes as best as I could before leaving the bathroom and I unlocked the door and stepped out, making my way to the emergency entrance so I could move the car as requested.

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The automatic doors opened and I stepped out into the night, a gentle breeze kissing my skin as I approached Oliver’s car and I slowly came to a stop when I caught site of the small droplets of blood on the ground.. However, before I let more tears fill my eyes, I quickly went around to the drivers side to get in and I refused to look at the seat next to me that I knew was soaked in blood as I pulled his car into a parking spot not too far off from the entrance. There was so much blood that stained the seat that I could even smell it and it made me sick all over again, quickly getting out of the car and slamming the door behind me in frustration. I wished as hard as I could that I’d soon be able to find the strength to pull myself together and be strong for Oliver, but honestly, the only thing in the entire world that could truly break me was if anything bad happened to him, and since something had, it was so, so hard to find that strength I so desperately needed.

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When I made my way back into the hospital, I checked the clock on the wall and it read a little after midnight, knowing now it had been over an hour since I had brought Oliver here and there was still no word from a nurse or a doctor or anyone at all. I continued down a long hallway and eventually, I came across a large window to a room that had tiny beds spread throughout it and I stopped to take a look. A few of the beds were occupied by newborns and I focused on one that was closest to the window, a baby girl that was sleeping peacefully and I felt the edge of my lips curling into a faint smirk at the sight of her. I loved our boys, but I’ve always adored the thought of having a little girl with Oliver and I could already see us spoiling the hell out of her. Oliver seemed like the type to enjoy gender-neutral colors given the nursery he had painted and furnished for me at our old condo, but I adored the thought of giving her a pink or purple room filled with stuffed animals and a doll house and wall art that reminded her of being a princess every time she were to wake up in the mornings. She didn’t even exist yet and I already wanted to give her the world.

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“Cute, huh?” I heard a feminine voice and I looked over, seeing a young blonde woman standing a few feet away from me looking at the newborns like I was.

“Yeah,” I agreed, looking back to the little girl in front of me.

“Do you have any?” She asked.

“Yeah.. Three boys,” I replied.

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“How exciting. What are their ages?” She asked next and I looked over to her again, seeing her do the same with a smile on her lips and our eyes met.

“Six, three, and almost two,” I answered and she made a face as if she were already smitten.

“Aww, they’re all so young. Must be a handful, right?” She joked and I smirked.

“Sometimes, yeah, but they’re all pretty good for the most part, especially my youngest. He’s an angel,” I replied and I actually enjoyed making small talk with the stranger.. It got my mind off of stressing about Oliver.

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“I’m Anastasia, but everyone calls me Ana,” she introduced herself and I looked back over to her.

“I’m Isaiah.. It’s nice meeting you,” I replied and she agreed with a nod, “Do you have any children?” I asked in return.

“No, not yet. My sister was pregnant, but she left before I ever got to meet my niece or nephew,” she answered.

“You don’t talk to her or see her?”

“Nah.. Haven’t for over six years.”

My expression grew remorseful as well as my tone, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” I replied.

“It’s all right. We were never really close or even got along, but it still would’ve been nice to know the child,” she pointed out and I felt sorry for her, but in an attempt to change the subject, I brought up something else.

“Tonight, my husband and I talked about having another one soon,” I said and she looked back over to me, another smile running across her lips.

“That’s so sweet. Do you want a girl this time, since you already have three boys?” She asked and I nodded.

“Yeah.. Our boys are amazing and I wouldn’t mind having another, but, a girl would be a nice change,” I replied and she nodded with her sweet smile.

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“Where is your husband? Is he here with you?” She asked and my lips dropped the smirk I held, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-”

“It’s all right.. He’s in surgery,” I answered, looking back to the newborn and away from the stranger.

“Oh.. May I ask what happened..?” She wondered and it took me a moment to answer her.

“He, uh.. He was stabbed.. Right outside our front door,” I answered and I head her gasp softly.

“Oh my God.. Where was he, uhm.. Where was the puncture?” She asked next while carefully choosing her words, genuinely interested and I looked at my own abdomen.

“Around here,” I pointed and she observed where I had gestured.

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“Well, from what I’ve learned and have seen, it could’ve punctured his stomach or his intestines, which actually can be an easy fix if the organs were only grazed.. But, there’s also a chance that no organs were hit, either,” she advised and I looked over to her, “Probably not very reassuring, but that spot on the lower abdomen is actually a popular spot for something like a knife to penetrate from a mugger or whoever it was that did that.. I’ve witnessed a lot of people living from being hit there, though,” she continued, knowing she was trying her best to cheer me up and a slight hope filled my heart.

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“Really?” I asked and she nodded, “Do you work here?” I asked.

“Oh, uh, no. I’m attending college about twenty minutes from here. I’m trying to become a nurse, though,” she replied.

Thank you for telling me that.. You’ve been more informative in the past minute than anyone else has been in the past hour I’ve been here,” I replied and she smiled sweetly, knowing she was happy that she could help in any way.

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“So,” I began, “What brings you here so late? Do you attend a nursing program here or something?” I wondered and she lost her smile.

“No, uh.. I got a call about an hour ago.. My dad was hit by a car,” she answered and I found it rather oddly coincidental.

“Wow, I’m.. I’m sorry to hear that,” I replied, but she shook her head with an amused smirk.

“Don’t be.. I hope he doesn’t make it through,” she said bluntly and I was surprised to hear that come from her mouth. She seemed so sweet at first, but hearing her say something so cruel caught me off guard.

She noticed my reaction, “I.. I’m sorry.. That probably sounded awful..”

“A little, yeah..” I agreed, “If I ever heard one of my sons say that about me or my husband, I’d be heart broken,” I continued and she looked away from me.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to come off like that.. You have someone in here dear to you that you want to live and here I am hoping that my father dies from his injuries,” she said with slight shame in herself, “Well, he’s not exactly father-of-the-year, he never was, so.. I could care less, honestly.. I know it’s harsh, but.. So was he,” she continued and her words still surprised me, but I decided to not delve any deeper into her reasoning unless she were to continue it, herself.

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But, to my surprise, she did, “I feel like I need to explain myself so you don’t think I’m some heartless witch,” she added and I shrugged.

“Well, it is none of my business, but I can understand where you’re coming from, I suppose. I mean, I don’t wish mine dead, but.. I haven’t spoken to my parents in a very long time and it’s because they don’t want to know me, so I don’t want to know them. They’re workaholics and don’t have time to even remember me. I don’t even think they know I’m married and have three children,” I tried to make her feel less guilty by explaining my own situation with my parents and she seemed rather bothered by my words.

“I’m sorry, that’s just awful.. I guess our situations are kind of similar, though, what with having crappy parents,” she said with a light chuckle, “My mom died about ten years ago and I was the closest with her out of everyone in my family. When she was gone, my dad went a little crazy.. All he cared about was our schooling and he pushed us all really hard to get good grades so we could have good lives and all that, but I don’t think it ever worked.. It was all for nothing, anyways..”

“What do you mean? You seem like you’re doing pretty good for yourself,” I added.

“Well, my dad favored my brother and my sister way more than me.. He wasn’t impressed with my career choice like he was with my brother that wanted to be a lawyer and my sister who didn’t even care to pick anything. I don’t even know why she went to college.. My sister could shit on a pedestal and my dad would think it’s gold,” she exaggerated and I cracked a slight smile at her joke, “My brother was an asshole and him and my sister always picked on me. My brother was convinced that everyone was beneath him and that everyone he met had to kiss his feet or he hated them,” she said with a slight annoyance to her tone.

Was..? What happened to him?”

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“I think his bullying caught back up to him because he wound up dead.. Got two of his stupid friends killed, too.. They still don’t know who was responsible, but I’d probably want to shake their hand if I ever met them,” she answered and it seemed that she was sweet to strangers, but when it came to talking about her family, there was an obvious hatred there that was hard to ignore. Oddly enough, too, that sounded rather similar to what had happened to Thomas, the boy who hated Oliver and attempted to beat me to death.. Remembering that time gave me slight chills.

“What about your sister?” I asked, almost needing to know so I could put this suspicion to rest.

“Well, as you know, she left, but she was worse than my brother.. Disgustingly manipulative and completely obsessive.. I felt sorry for anyone that got involved with her.”

“It’s a was for her, too? ..Did she just leave, or did she pass on?”

“Who knows.. She got knocked up and probably ran away with the guy that did it, or she could be dead, too, for all I know.. It was around the same time my brother died. My dad completely lost it after she left and he was even convinced that some guy killed her.. Wouldn’t surprise me, either, with the type of person she was.. I guess my siblings got my father’s unhealthy obsessive behavior and look what happened to them.. Thank God I take after my mom,” she added and I could feel my hands beginning to shake again. This couldn’t be happening.. What were the chances?

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I grew a little nervous as I looked at her, “Do you mind if I ask their names?” I wondered and she looked to me.

“Thomas and Jody,” she answered and my eyes widened, “Why? Did you know them?” She asked, though she soon took notice of the look in my eyes, “What’s wrong..?”

“Why is it so hard for our families to stay out of each other’s lives?” I asked rhetorically and she grew confused.

“I.. I don’t understand,” she said innocently.

“Your brother and his friends tried to kill me. Your sister tried to ruin my husband’s life, and tonight, your father tried to kill him. I was the one that ran your father over with a car trying to save my husband,” I admitted and her eyes widened from shock.

“Wh.. What-”

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“Miss Zepeda?” A man’s voice caught our attention and we both looked to see a detective standing with the same doctor I had seen running to the emergency room earlier, but that detective.. I remembered her instantly.

May we speak with you for a moment?” The detective added towards the young blonde and we looked at one another with both of us still holding shock in our expressions and her eyes remained locked on mine, no doubt still wanting to talk to me about what I had just said, but she walked over towards them, instead.

I then looked to the detective, “What are you doing here?” I asked with a sense of frustration, knowing she was told to stay away from Oliver and our family, yet here she was.

“I’ll speak with you in a moment, Mr. Yamato,” she expressed in a parental tone and I held my tongue.

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The doctor began, “Your father has experienced a lot of damage to his head and his spine. His skull was cracked and his brain hemorrhaged, and by the time we got in to take a look, I’m afraid there’s nothing we could do for him,” the doctor said, “I’m sorry, but, we lost him,” he continued with remorse and I watched the side of the young woman’s face, searching for any sign as to how she felt about the news, but she didn’t show any inkling of grief in the slightest.. She was telling the truth.. She really didn’t care what happened to him..

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“What about Oliver? Is he all right?” I asked the doctor and he looked to me.

“He’s still in surgery, which I need to get back to. We’ll know more soon, I just wanted to come to Miss Zepeda and let her know about her father personally,” he replied and I nodded as my gaze then met the floor, disappointed that there was no word about Oliver yet, “I’m sorry for your loss, Miss Zepeda, but.. If you’ll please excuse me,” he continued politely, stepping away from the group of us to quickly go back to Oliver.

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After the young blonde didn’t say anything in return, standing there rather lifeless, she looked over and her eyes met mine again, but before either of us could say anything to one another, the detective caught my attention.

“Mr. Yamato, I’m going to need you to come with me,” she requested and I nodded, knowing she was going to ask that and I briefly looked at the ground before looking back up to the blonde woman again. As I began to follow the detective into a common area, the blonde woman stopped me by grabbing my arm gently and I waited for the detective to continue walking so she wouldn’t hear her words.

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Ana looked up at me with a smirk on her lips, “Looks like I got what I wished for, and I have you to thank for that.. I hope your husband pulls through,” she expressed quietly and I still didn’t know how to respond to her.. She was so sweet, but her words held such coldness that I didn’t understand.. Is this what Jody was like? Was she manipulating, yet sweet? Did she look like her? Was she even anything like Jody..? She then let my hand go and I ignored her words, continuing on to follow the detective as I still tried my hardest to fathom the encounter I had just had.. I hit that young woman’s father with my car and killed him for what he had done to Oliver and she was grateful..

She was grateful.

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I sat in an empty lounge with the detective I had met with six years ago, the silence heavy in the air around us and I could honestly say that I had never thought I’d see her again, but when it came to something with Oliver and that dreaded family we just couldn’t seem to get away from, I don’t know why I was surprised in the end.

“I bet you didn’t expect to see me for a while, huh?” She wondered with a small smirk.

“You can bet that I didn’t expect to see you ever again, actually,” I replied and she didn’t contest my words.

“Fair enough.. However, I need to hear your side of the story, so.. What happened?” She asked.

“How did you even know Oliver was here?” I asked in return and she smirked again.

“I’ve been following anything that involves the Dubois name for quite a while now, even before we first met years ago, so it was only a matter of time before I found out. But, please, feel free to answer my question whenever you’re ready,” she replied and I decided to tell her what I had witnessed and done for myself so I could get this over with..

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“I had just spoke to Oliver at my bar and we drove home separately, but together, in a way.. He drove ahead of me and I caught a red light, causing me to be behind him about a minute or so.. When I finally caught up and pulled into our driveway, I saw a blonde man about ten years older than myself holding a bloody knife and when I looked around the driveway more, I noticed Oliver lying on the ground and-” I stopped for a moment, but continued shortly after composing myself, “He was lying in the driveway covered in blood and I put two and two together.. Instead of getting out of my car to check on my husband and potentially getting attacked, myself, I floored it and hit the man that was holding the knife with my car.. After that, I got out of my car and went straight to Oliver.. I knew an ambulance wouldn’t get there in the time I could get him here myself, so I picked him up, put him into his car and I drove as fast as I possibly could to get him here.. I called nine-one-one on the way and told them everything that had happened,” I hesitated yet again for a entirely too long of a moment, but I couldn’t help it, “It was honestly the single most terrifying moment of my life, but.. I didn’t want him to hurt me and I didn’t want him to hurt Oliver anymore than he already had, so.. I hit him,” I explained and the detective nodded.

“I see.. Sounds like self defense to me,” she added and I nodded.

“Yes, exactly.”

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“It makes me wonder, though, why this man even came after Oliver in the first place. What were the reasons behind it?” She asked herself.

“It’s because he was crazy,” the voice of the young blonde came back out of nowhere and I looked to my right, seeing her approaching us, “Can I say something? ..Please?”

“Mr. Yamato?” She detective then asked me and I nodded.

“It’s okay,” I told the detective, seeing her nod and she waved Ana to come over to us.

“All right.. What do you have to say?” She asked the young woman and she stepped closer to our table, taking an empty seat and joining us.

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“As I was telling Isaiah when we were talking by the nursery, when my mother died ten years ago, I noticed a change in my father and my siblings.. Everything unraveled after her death.. My dad became obsessed with our educations and making sure we went to good colleges, my brother developed this god-complex, and my sister grew manipulative and cruel.. When my brother died six years ago, my dad was at a complete loss, and then when my sister disappeared after our brother’s death, my dad got worse and there wasn’t any shred of the father I knew in him anymore.. My father went nuts after they were all gone and he became obsessed with the thought that this one man was responsible for it all.. As crazy as it sounds, he even eventually convinced himself that that man was responsible for my mother’s death, too, but it’s impossible because she had cancer.. He got worse and worse as the years went on, but he never did anything that worried me too much, until now.. He just.. He wasn’t right in the head, neither were my brother or sister, and sadly, I just learned that Isaiah’s husband has dealt with them, too.. I don’t even want to begin to imagine what they all have put him through.. None of them were good people, but, I’m glad that none of them are around anymore to where they can cause more harm to him or anyone else,” she added.

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She then looked to me, “I never knew the name of the one he was constantly mumbling about, but now I know.. Honestly, I thought they were all empty words with no backbone. Had I ever known that he would’ve acted out on his stupid ramblings, I would’ve done something about it.. Had I ever known that he would take his anger out on someone who was innocent, I would’ve reported him as soon as I could.. I truly would have,” she said with a serious tone and expression and I wanted to believe her, but with this families reputation, even after already talking to her for a while, I still didn’t trust her completely.. With what this family has done to Oliver and I, it was almost impossible for me to get passed.

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“So.. Now what? Is that all you needed, my side of the story?” I asked, my gaze now towards the detective.

“Well, it was obviously self defense, and with this young woman’s testimony, you’re free to go. I still need to talk to Oliver whenever he gets out of surgery and is awake enough to tell me what happened, but for now, there’s nothing more I need,” she continued, “I wish you the best, Mr. Yamato, and my condolences, Miss Zepeda. I wish we didn’t have to meet under such circumstances and hopefully we’ll never have to do it again.. Get some rest, you two, it’s been a long night,” she added and we watched her stand from her seat, leaving the lounge area and leaving Ana and I alone together.

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“I’m truly sorry for what my father did.. Since he’s not here to apologize, I-”

“Don’t,” I added, stopping her from talking, “He would never have been apologetic for this, so you taking the responsibility of something that was never intended in the first place is just.. Pointless..” I added, though her expression still remained serious as well as apologetic.

“Either way, no matter how you feel, I do hope your husband pulls through and I truly am sorry for everything my family has done.. I wish you and your family the best of luck,” she added, my eyes looking over to her and I watched as she stood from her seat and walked off down a hallway that led towards the entrance.

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I didn’t feel right saying ‘thank you’ or ‘I accept your apology’, I didn’t feel right saying anything to her at all other than ‘go away’ and I’m glad she had done it without me telling her to do so. She seemed genuine, she seemed nice and a really lovely girl, but I still could never get passed the thought of how Oliver had described Jody to me.. Even by how Anastasia acted, I still refused to ever believe her words. I followed Oliver’s warnings completely as well as all of his opinions of that ‘Zepeda’ name and I wasn’t about to let myself fall under any manipulative words she could’ve potentially spoken. In my mind, no matter how many times Anastasia could say she was sorry for her family’s actions or felt bad for what had happened to us due to her many relatives mental instabilities, I wasn’t going to give her even a slight taste of my gratitude. None of them deserved it.. Not a single damn member of that family.

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I sat there by myself for a long while, staring at the table top and when I looked up and read the clock on the wall, it read a little after two in the morning. My body was growing tired, but my mind was still intensely active and I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep even if I tried.. Maybe some coffee would wake me up a little.. I looked around the common area, finding a coffee machine and I stood from the chair sluggishly, making my way over to it and I made a cup for myself with plenty of sugar-packets already opened and ready to be poured into my finished cup. As it brewed, I starred at the steamy stream of coffee going into the cup, spacing out and losing myself in thought and I couldn’t help but wonder if I should contact anyone.. I was Oliver’s spouse, it was my responsibility to tell our family what had happened to him and I knew I should call Katalina and James as well as call Cybal, too, but I wasn’t sure if I should call them before he got out of surgery or if I should call them afterward so I could begin each call with ‘he’s doing okay, but he’s in the hospital’.. I didn’t know what to do.

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When my coffee was done, I added in the many sugar packets I had on the ready and stirred it lazily before stepping away and bringing my cup with me. I tried to take a sip too early and wound up burning the very tip of my tongue, so I set it down on a table to let it cool off and I took out my phone, going through my contacts and when I came to James’ name first, I called him. I came to the conclusion that even if I didn’t want to tell anyone yet about what happened to Oliver, I still needed someone to talk to about it.. I couldn’t stand being the only one knowing anymore and I needed help in getting through this.

James answered after roughly four rings, “Hey, I didn’t expect to get a call from you this late. What’s up? Everything okay?” He asked, always enjoying his welcoming and loving attitude. Hearing a familiar voice helped bring my spirits up a lot, too.

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“You don’t sound tired at all and it’s after two in the morning,” I pointed out.

“Ah, well.. I work about three to four days at a time. I’m in an on-call room, just got up from a nap,” he answered and it made sense now, “So, what’s going on? Did you end up working late, too? I thought you usually close the bar at nine on the weekdays?” He guessed and he wasn’t wrong, though of course, that wasn’t the case.

“Yeah, I usually do, but, uh..” I tried to tell him, but it was difficult to even think about let alone tell him the whole story. It was completely different talking to the detective about what happened, but telling Oliver’s best friend was ten times harder.

“Isaiah? What’s wrong? Is one of the boys sick or something, keeping you up? Making them drink flat soda, like ginger ale, helps calm the stomach a lot and keeps them from throwing up too much.. Saltine crackers help a lot, too,” he continued, giving advice that wasn’t needed, though I couldn’t blame him for already rambling.. Him being a pediatrician helped a lot and I called him quite often whenever one of the boys was sick.

“No, the boys are fine, they’re sleeping over at Cybal’s.. Oliver and I talked tonight,” I replied.

“Oh, that’s great! How’d it go? You two finally back to normal or do I have to come over again?” He joked and I wanted to laugh, but it was difficult to find humor at the moment.

“No, no, uh.. Things went well, really well, actually, but.. That’s not exactly why I’m calling you,” I continued and I could tell that very instant that James knew it was something bad by the silence that lingered between us.

“..Is it Oliver? Where is he? What happened?” He asked and I could tell that there was a slight panic to his voice, knowing now that something far worse had happened..

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After trying my hardest to fight back tears while telling James everything that had happened, I finally got it all out without too much of a struggle and I could tell James was completely blindsided.

“Jesus, Isaiah.. You haven’t heard anything yet, too? What the hell is taking them so damn long to give you a update?” He asked with annoyance in his tone.

“I-I don’t know.. A little over an hour ago, the doctor came out to tell the girl about her dad dying and when I asked about Oliver, all he said was that he was still in surgery, then he went back to it and that’s the last thing I’ve heard.. I don’t know what to do. I’m starting to get more worried the longer it takes.. Shouldn’t he be in recovery by now?” I asked.

“Well, without knowing the extent of his injuries, I can’t answer that.. But, you should go up to someone and demand answers, it’s the only way to get any information out of these people. They’re updating their charts constantly, they just don’t update the family until there is a stable enough answer to give them. They know exactly what’s going on, you just have to keep asking to find out. Be completely annoying if you have to,” he replied.

“All right, I will-”

“And I’m coming down there,” he added.

“No, James, you don’t have to.. You’re at work and-”

“With all due respect, man, save it. Can’t talk me out of this. I’m leaving now and I should be there within the hour. I’ll start calling the hospital and see if I can get any information out of them, but you should do the same so you know what the hell’s going on. I’ll call you if I’m able to get any answers before you, too.”

“All right.. Are you going to tell Katalina?” I asked and he sighed.

“No, I don’t think so, not yet. The baby is so close to it’s due date that she doesn’t need any stress like this, it would only cause harm to her or the baby and worrying about Oliver is plenty enough on my plate already.. She’s gunna hate the hell out of us for keeping it from her, but, I’ll handle it, okay? You just worry about Oliver and getting answers,” he encouraged.

“Okay.. I’ll see you soon,” I replied and we said our goodbye’s. 

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The first thing I did was go to the reception desk by the entrance, completely forgetting my coffee that was probably cool enough to drink by now, but the adrenaline that had returned and coursed through my veins again was enough to keep my body awake for at least a few more hours. I stood there at the desk arguing with the receptionist for at least half an hour, seeing now what James was talking about by how she was trying her hardest to avoid the subject and she told me over and over again that there was no news about Oliver yet and that I should have a seat and wait, but I was done with waiting.. I had been waiting for close to three hours now and I was sick of it. During our arguing, the phone rang a few different times and I could tell it was James calling like he said he would, but even as I stood there, she was telling him the exact same things she was telling me. No matter how hard I pressed, there was no getting through to these people and I was right back where I started.. Not knowing a goddamn thing.

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I sat in the lobby alone, the time getting close to three in the morning and when the doors came flying open, I looked to see James rushing in. I stood to greet him and the moment he saw me, he rushed to my side and gave me a warm hug, something that I didn’t even know I needed until I had wrapped my arms around him, as well, and didn’t let go for a long moment.

“It’s okay, Isaiah. I’m not leaving until we hear about Oliver, I promise,” he said as we hugged and we then let go of one another, sitting back down and he sat next to me.

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“So, they’re still not telling you anything?” He asked and I nodded, “Damn.. Have you told Cybal yet?”

“No, I was going to call her tomorrow sometime.. I don’t want to tell her now because if I did, I feel like she’d rush to down here to be with me and she’d bring the boys with and I don’t want them to be here.. Not yet,” I replied and he nodded in understanding. 

“Well, I agree that right now isn’t the best time to call, but you really do need to call her first thing in the morning. Your boys should know their dad’s in the hospital. I know you don’t want them here, hospitals can be pretty scary for kids, but having the boys here might even help his recovery.. And yours.”

“You’re right, I’ll do it in the morning, but I don’t even want to think about it right now.. They are going to be scared and I honestly don’t think I have it in me to calm them down when I can’t even do that for myself,” I answered and I felt his hand on my shoulder, attempting to give comfort.

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“I know it’s hard, man, but Oliver is a strong guy when he needs to be. After everything you two have been through and especially after finally making up and getting things back to normal, I doubt he’d let himself give up. The kids could be that extra push he needs, too, and so are you. I’m not saying Oliver doesn’t have a chance, but you’d be amazed at how many times I’ve seen people who are in bad shape come back during their recovery because their loved ones talk to them while they’re unconscious or whatever the case. It’s kind of like a miracle, in a way. Nothing medicine can even come close to,” he added and I looked over to him, seeing a smirk on his lips.

“Thank you for coming, James. I don’t know how much longer I could’ve gone without anyone with me..”

“It’s okay. This is a pretty huge deal to keep to yourself, I’m surprised you lasted as long as you did, but I’m glad you called. Sometimes it’s hard to carry the weight of something like this all by yourself and it’s a lot easier to keep yourself from going crazy if that weight is distributed,” he answered and I nodded in agreement. 

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James and I sat there for roughly twenty minutes together, not saying much at all and I knew James wasn’t talking on purpose because it was a little obvious that I didn’t want to talk, but just his presence and knowing I wasn’t alone helped keep me the calmest I’ve been ever since the night took a cruel turn. Every time the emergency doors opened down the hallway, both of our heads jerked quickly towards them, but every time I didn’t see doctor Avery, I let out a heavy sigh and went back to staring at the floor. 

“Why is it taking so goddamn long? I feel like we’ve been sitting here for hours,” I said under my breath in annoyance and James looked over to me.

“It’s gunna be all right, Isaiah. Sometimes when they take a long time like this, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. They’re probably making sure everything is okay before they close him up, or they could be all done, but waiting for him to wake up so they can see if he remembers who he is and how he got here.. You never know. Just because it’s taking a long time doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad,” he encouraged, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly as I thought about his words and they made me feel better, but only a little.

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“Mr. Yamato?” I heard my name being called and I looked immediately to my right, seeing doctor Avery standing outside of the doors that I wasn’t allowed passed and he looked around a little before finally making eye contact with me down the hallway. I was frozen where I sat, completely stuck and even though this entire time I’ve been dying to know what’s happened to my love, now that it was time to find out, I wasn’t ready.. What if he isn’t doing well? ..What if he’s gone..? I never got a chance to speak to him again and now I never will..

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“Isaiah.. Isaiah?” James caught my lack of attention, seeing him standing in front of me with a worried yet comforting smirk on his lips, “Come on, you can do this.. Let’s go see if he’s all right,” he encouraged and I nodded, slowly standing to my feet and I could feel every inch of my insides rattling with nerves and fright and worry and everything in between.. James patted my shoulder, trying to loosen me up a little and to get me to not worry so much, but this was something that couldn’t be helped.. The way the doctor looked at me made things worse because he didn’t have a smile, nor did he have a frown, his expression was, well.. Expressionless.. It made everything that much more nerve-wrecking and terrifying. I wasn’t ready for this, I wasn’t ready for any of this and all I wanted was for Oliver to be okay and for this nightmare to be over with. 

____________________________________

Eight Months Later . . .

____________________________________

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“You guys excited for the beach?” I asked, Luca running and jumping around his room in excitement as I fastened Niko’s waterproof diaper. 

“Yeah! Yeah! Let’s goooo!” Luca exclaimed and I chuckled.

“All right, we’ll leave in just a minute. I still need to grab a few things and make coffee, little man,” I replied and he groaned.

“Hurrryyyyy,” he whined as I slipped on Niko’s swim suit onesie and fastened it.

“The ocean’s not going anywhere, Luca. Be patient, okay? Just a little longer,” I answered and he sat down on the ground next to his building block table with a impatient frown on his face.

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Once I was done dressing Niko, I held his hands so he wouldn’t lose his balance as he stood there. He knew how to walk now, but he was still trying to get the hang of it.

Why don’t you go pick out a toy to bring with?” I asked him and his eyes lit up with excitement, watching him race over to the toy box and he began picking something out. Nikolai started talking, finally, a few months ago and his first word was ‘boo’, though I think he means ‘blue’, because whenever he says it, he always points to the walls in his room or the color of some of his toys. It didn’t take long for him to start trying to say other colors and things, then he started saying ‘da’ and ‘pa’ for Oliver and I.. He now knows a pretty good mixture of words and although he’s still not as talkative as Luca and he still struggles with pronunciation, he’s getting better at it every day.

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When Nikolai found what he wanted, which where a few different things, he brought them over to me and made a pile in front of me and I couldn’t help but find it amusing as well as completely adorable. 

No, no, just pick one or twoYou don’t want to bring a lot and then lose any, right?” I asked and he stared at his choices for a while, trying to decide which were the best ones.

Niko never spent nearly as much time in the water as his brothers did, he more so enjoyed lying on the towels with me under the beach umbrella, so I always let him bring a toy or a stuffed animal that he adored in order to make sure he was happy. He wasn’t afraid of the water by any means, I think he just really enjoyed being outside and relaxing with his toys under the shade. Besides walking and talking, another thing we’ve been able to accomplish, like we had to do for August and Luca, was to get Nikolai to ease off of the pacifier.. He still refuses to sleep without it, but at least he doesn’t cry for it like he used to every second he was awake. 

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Once Niko had picked out his favorites, he handed them to me and I took them, “These two? Are you sure?” I asked and he nodded, “All right. Let’s go to the kitchen and pack snacks, then we can go to the beach,” I added, putting the toy and the stuffed animal into the beach bag.

“Yay! Let’s go, let’s go!” Luca replied and he stood immediately and was already running out of their bedroom and down the hallway.

“Luca, stop!” I called out sternly and I heard his footsteps come to a halt in the hallway, picking up Nikolai in my arms as well as the bag and leaving their bedroom.

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I came out of their room to see Luca standing in the hallway with an expression that showed guilt, “What have I always told you?”

“..No running around or on the stairs,” he replied.

“And?”

“Always hold the railing when walking down,” he continued and I nodded.

“Good. Stop running and go slowly,” I instructed and he walked instead of ran towards the stairs, doing as I said and taking each step carefully. Luca always had so much energy and we always had to be on alert with him more than we needed to be with Niko and August. It was a little stressful at times, especially when his energy put him in situations where he could get hurt.

That boy is going to give me a heart attack one day, I just know it..

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After coming downstairs and into the kitchen, August, Luca and Nikolai ate breakfast as I made coffee and packed the beach bag with snacks, water and beach towels, as well as a bottle for Nikolai and I looked over at August as I made coffee, too, before we left.

“Ready to go, big guy?” I asked and he nodded as he finished his cereal.

“Yup,” he replied, hopping off of his stool and going to the dishwasher with his empty bowl.

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“I’m all done, can we go now?” Luca expressed with more impatience and he bounced in his high chair to show his eagerness. 

“When Niko is done eating, we’ll go. Be patient, Luca, I’m not going to tell you again,” I disciplined and he frowned again, unhappy with how long this was taking, but I wasn’t about to rush everyone when Luca seemed to be the only one who wanted to get to the beach as if his life depended on it. 

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When Niko was done eating and the bag was all packed, the boys and I walked out the back door passed our pool and I watched as August and Luca went ahead of Niko and I. We owned our own little part of the beach down the hill behind the house and we all loved going down there on Sundays when no one had work or school.

“Be careful, you two. Help Luca down the hill, Augie, I don’t want either of you tumbling down and getting hurt,” I instructed towards August and he took Luca’s hand, guiding him down the hill and I held Nikolai close so I had a good grip on him.

“Are you excited to go in the water today?” I asked Niko, watching him smile and he shook his head.

“No!” He replied, though I knew he didn’t mean it.

No?! I don’t believe yooouuuu,” I dragged out, then quickly gave him raspberries on his cheek and neck and he laughed when I had called his bluff.

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When we got to the beach and before letting the boys play, I set down Niko and laid out the beach towels under the shade of the umbrella. After getting everything situated, I put plenty of sunscreen on all of the boy’s skin and once I was done with Luca, he ran off towards the ocean to play. August tended to himself as I then rubbed the sunscreen on Nikolai’s tiny arms and legs and there were some spots where he’d smile and wiggle while giggling from me tickling him on accident.. Which, in turn, made me unbelievably happy, so I then began to do it on purpose just to make him laugh more and how he laughed and kicked his legs made me smile from ear to ear.

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“You ready to play in the water, little bug? Let’s go play,” I tell Niko after he was fully sun-protected, taking him into my arms before standing up. I walked over to August, seeing him playing in the sand with his toys, shovel and pale and I couldn’t help but smile.

“What are you going to make, big guy?” I asked, stopping by him for a moment as I continued to hold Nikolai.

“I wanna build a sand castle.. Maybe even dig out a moat or something all the way to the water so alligators can swim in and protect it,” he replied as he continued playing and I chuckled softly, knowing there weren’t any alligators in the ocean, but I wasn’t about to ruin his fun.

“Elaborate, I like it. I want to see it, so be sure to show me when you’re all done, okay?” I asked and he nodded.

“All right,” he replied, still focused on his building and I continued on towards the shoreline to play with Niko.

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When we reached the shore, I held up Niko before lowering him down into the water, “You ready?” I asked with excitement and he was already kicking his feet in anticipation while starring down at the ocean. The moment I brought him down lower and the lukewarm water touched his toes, he started laughing as he continued to kick his legs and throw around his arms and it brought me pure happiness every second that he enjoyed himself.. I wished Oliver was here to see this, it melts his heart just as easily as it does mine whenever we hear the laughter of any of our boys.

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Whoooaaa! Papa, come look! Come see!” Luca suddenly exclaimed and I looked over to see him waving for me to come over to him as fast as I could.

“What’d you find, little man?” I asked, pulling up Niko from the water and I held him.

“Come looooook!” He continued and I made my way over to him with Nikolai.

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“Look, look!” He said with excitement when we reached him and I smiled as I looked down, seeing a big blue starfish under the shallow water.

“Oh, wow.. It’s really neat looking, isn’t it?” I asked and Luca smiled wide with an enthusiastic laugh.

“Can I touch it?” He wondered, already reaching for it, but I stopped him before he could.

“No, no, don’t touch it. Some are poisonous, that’s why you need to watch where you’re stepping in the water, too,” I replied and Luca seemed upset that he couldn’t touch it, but continued to enjoy watching it move at a snail-like pace, anyways.

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The moment that Nikolai caught sight of the starfish and began reaching for it, as well as humming soft sounds to signal that he wanted it, that’s when I stood back up and took him away from it because he wouldn’t give up unless I distracted him with something else. He was in the ‘I want everything’ phase and didn’t like hearing ‘no’, but I wasn’t about to let my youngest touch a potentially poisonous sea creature without knowing if it was safe or not.

“No, you can’t touch it either, cuddle bug. Sorry,” I expressed as I carried him away, yet he seemed adamant about having it and his soft ‘wanting’ hums turned more into gentle whining and I watched as his eyes teared up, “Aw, come on, don’t look at me like that. It breaks my heart,” I cooed sweetly, trying to cheer him up from this difficult phase he was in by kissing his forehead softly.

“Let’s go get your duck, okay? Will that make you happy?” I asked, walking back towards where we had laid out our blankets and I set him down, looking through the bag I had brought with us as his eyes still held tears.

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When I found it and pulled it out, his watery eyes lit up, “Ah! Here we are,” I said happily and he began reaching for it immediately, chuckling softly as I handed it to him and his mood seemed to change instantly the moment he hugged it. I then pulled out the other toy he had chosen to bring with and set it next to him, knowing that he was done with the water for now and I could relax with him under the shade. He then adjusted his stuffed animal duck so he could use it as a pillow and he laid down as he played with the toy I had given him, bouncing it up and down on the ground to make it ‘walk’ and he was finally content without the need to touch the starfish lingering on his mind. 

“Are you happy now, bug?” I asked and he smiled for his response as he played with his toy, “Good.”

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As I sat there with my youngest, I looked out towards the calm ocean behind August and the sound of the waves and the seagulls that occasionally flew overhead made me relaxed and tranquil, though I couldn’t keep my mind from going to dark places and dark memories that I knew I’d always have to carry with me. I was weak when anything at all threatened my love and my life and I was weak to the memories of that terrifying night eight months ago. I’ll never forget it, no matter how much I try.

I knew it was idiotic to admit, but I missed Oliver.. I missed him so much every second I was without him every since that night and I wished that he was here with us.. It just isn’t the same without him.. It never would’ve been, either, had we all lost him.

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Suddenly, my view went black as I felt hands cupping gently over my glasses and a warm, enticing breath touched my ear.

“Guess who,” the voice behind me whispered and I felt chills up my spine, a smile slowly spreading across my lips.

“The sexiest brunette in the world?” I wondered and I heard him chuckle behind me.

“Mmm, guess again,” he encouraged.

“Hmm.. The sexiest brunette in the world that I’m lucky enough to spend the rest of my life with?” I guessed again and I heard him sigh. 

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“That’s cheating,” he expressed, removing his hands from over my eyes and I chuckled as he draped himself over me.

“What? How is that cheating?” I asked with a grin as I reached up to run my fingers through his hair.

“Because, I wanted you to guess more and I couldn’t say no to that one,” he added.

“I’m glad it’s true, though,” I implied, turning my head towards him and he lifted his forehead from my shoulder to do the same.

“Me, too,” he answered and he leaned in to kiss me. Without him, I truly believed that I never would’ve been able to find such bliss like this ever again.

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Before I could get any time with him, our boys demanded his attention first and I could feel Niko crawling into my lap to get to Oliver as he kissed me.

“Dah! Dah-dah!” He expressed and Oliver and I couldn’t help but smile during our kiss and we pulled away from one another to acknowledge Nikolai.

“Hey, Niko,” Oliver said as he picked up Niko from my lap and held him up, “Are you having fun at the beach?” He asked, though Niko didn’t respond and instead, he pointed towards August.

“You wanna go by Augie?” Oliver asked and Niko nodded, “Okay, let’s go see what he’s up to,” he answered, but I caught his attention before he left my side.

“Come back to me,” I expressed and he smiled warmly.

“I will,” he replied, leaning in to kiss me once more before standing up and taking Nikolai with him. 

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As Oliver spent time with August and Niko, helping him build the sand castle that August had been working on since we had gotten here, I simply sat and watched the photographic scene I had before me. My husband, my children, my life, everything was perfect and just how I wanted it to turn out. If I had any more than I did now, I would truly be the most spoiled man in the world.. I might even already be.

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Luca then noticed that Oliver had made it down to the beach and he ran over to him, “Daddy, come here! Come here!” I heard him exclaim as he tapped on Oliver’s side and Luca then took his hand, pulling him away from the sand castle and towards the starfish that he had found that no doubt had barely moved from where Luca had spotted it. My lips curled into a smile as I watched Oliver be the center of attention, August and Niko watching as Luca dragged him off.

“Daaaad! Come back! I need help with the moat!” August called out.

“I’ll be right back, Augie! Luca wants to show me something,” he replied and I watched him and Luca investigate the blue sea star with a smile on my lips.. This family couldn’t function without Oliver, it’d never be the same without him, and if the world were truly against him like he tended to believe with what he’s been through in his past, he wouldn’t be here today, but.. Thank goodness he was wrong.

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After watching them for a while, Oliver bringing Luca back to the sand castle and all four of them helping in building it, I couldn’t imagine a better scene than the one I had in front of me. The night at the hospital eight months ago was the scariest moment of my life and I wasn’t prepared for the worst, but the second the doctor told me that he was in recovery, I felt my world coming back to life and I thanked whatever or whoever was giving him this second chance. I’ve been with him through everything, the thick and thin, the best and the absolute worst, but it was all for a reason and that reason was right there in front of me.

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Oliver’s recovery took a few months, but once he was back to normal, everything changed for the better and our days together after that were never taken for grated, nor did we ever spend more than an entire day without talking to one another after a stupid fight we might get into.. Then again, we hardly ever fought after that day, anyhow. We focused more on our family and each other and we still upheld to what he had talked about at my bar eight months ago. Cybal was five months pregnant with our fourth child and Oliver and I couldn’t be more excited to have another addition to our family. Oliver didn’t want to let such a potentially devastating bump in the road keep us from continuing our life together after his recovery and neither did I, so we did just that, and we continued to live out our lives.. So many people have tried to ruin such a good thing, but nothing could come between us, just like I always knew nothing could the moment I realized I was in love with him.

It was so hard to picture life without him, but, I was overwhelmingly joyous that I didn’t have to.

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End of Generation 4.

 


 

Thank you to everyone that lurks, reads, likes and comments on this story! You’re continued, unconditionally amazing support for this legacy makes me so happy and I really love you all. Thank you for sticking with me this far and I hope you’ll stick around for many more generations to come!

Generation 4, Chapter 19

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“Okay! Okay, I- I lied about what happened with Jody and August.. And my uncle.. I lied about all of it,” I admitted, my heart racing as I looked at him and I could tell just by looking in his eyes how quickly his anger was rising.

“So, this is why you’ve been so tired.. It’s exhausting work keeping track of so many lies, isn’t it? ..You just can’t stop, can you?” He asked after a long silence.

“W-What..?”

“You’re just a chronic liar, aren’t you? You can’t go a single day without lying,” he pointed out.

“No, I’m not! I just-”

“Just, what?! It’s the truth and you know it! You lied about everything and you’ve been going behind my back for years!”

“I-I just.. I kept the truth from you,” I tried to broaden my reasoning to something just, but he wasn’t having any of it.

“And that makes it better? You can’t be fucking serious,” he asked, somewhat baffled.

“N-No, you’re right, it doesn’t.. I’m sorry.. ”

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“So, what really happened?” He asked and I froze, knowing he was going to ask eventually and I had no idea why I had convinced myself that he wouldn’t.

“What..?”

“I know you can hear me, so stop playing dumb, Oliver! It’s not fucking cute and I’m sick and tired of waiting to hear the truth, which apparently I’ve been waiting, what? Six years to hear it?! Everything that I’m going to ask, I want a truthful answer, and if you lie to me even once, I am going straight upstairs and we’re gone, you hear me?” He threatened again to take the kids and leave and I only felt more tears falling from my eyes, but I nodded in agreement.

“I’ll tell you the truth! I’m sorry.. I promise I will, just please don’t do that,” I replied with a weak voice, acting like a dog with its tail between its legs, but if fully submitting to him kept him and the kids here with me, I didn’t care how weak I looked. Isaiah stared at me with disappointment and anger in his eyes, though I noticed he was trying to calm himself down before speaking with me, something I appreciated him taking the time to do so he could talk to me with as open of a mind as he could.

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“Were you really going to your Uncle Gareth’s house?”

“Yes..”

“Did he really bust his knee and need your help?” He asked and I hesitated a moment.

“..No..” I answered and he shook his head gently in disbelief before continuing.

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“I knew it,” he voiced under his breath, “Was it just you and your uncle there?”

“No.. My uncle was never really there, he just let me borrow his place..”

“And who else was with you? Was Jody there?” He asked next and my bottom lip trembled more, knowing that if he didn’t hate me yet, he probably would after this answer.

“Yes..” I replied and I watched as his expression fluctuated completely, turning away from me before I could read exactly what it meant and I stood from the bed to step closer towards him in a slight panic.

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I wiped my face clean of tears, “I’m sorry, Isaiah, I-”

“You told me you weren’t seeing her behind my back. At the hospital, when I asked, you told me you weren’t,” he spoke as if I had already broken his heart and I turned him around, making him look at me.

“And I wasn’t! You asked if I was seeing her romantically and I said no! That was the truth! I would never cheat on you and I could never look at her like that, not after what she did to me,” I answered.

“Then what did you do with her up there at your uncle’s? You never touched her? You never thought about it?”

“No, I never thought about it.. Not once.. She- She did make me touch her one time, but I didn’t want anything to do with it!” I made known and his eyebrows furrowed.

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“..Was she wearing clothes?” He asked next and I didn’t know what to tell him, Isaiah seeing the answer in my eyes and he reached up to remove my hands from him and he pushed me away.

“Don’t even touch me.. I don’t want you anywhere near me right now,” he continued and I watched him sit down, turning his attention away from me, but I could still see how upset he was.

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I quickly bent down in front of him, persistent in making him see that I didn’t do it on my own free will, “Isaiah, she took my hand and placed it on her all by herself.. When she noticed that it didn’t do anything for me, she made a terrible attempt to kiss me to get me to like it and I didn’t want anything to do with that, either..”

“So now you touched her and kissed her? What’s next? Did she make you have sex with her again?” He assumed angrily and I couldn’t help but wonder if he was calling me a liar for saying she had forced me before..

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My own brow furrowed in slight anger, “Look.. I know you’re angry with me, Isaiah, and you have every right to be, but are you seriously implying that I lied about her forcing me the first time? You really think I’d lie about something like that?” I asked and his eyes seemed to have as much guilt in them as mine did.

“No.. I’m sorry, I take it back, I’m just-”

“Good,” I cut him off, then continued explaining myself, “And no, I didn’t have sex with her and you’re completely missing the point, anyways.. You told me to tell you the truth and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m not making up excuses just so you’re not mad at me, I’m telling you that I pulled away from her instantly and wanted nothing to do with it.. After that, I made sure to not ever be close enough to her to where she could pull something like that again,” I continued to explain and he sighed heavily.. He seemed relieved and so was I, however, his expression went angered again and it seemed as if he found something else to be mad at me for.

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“You still played me for a fool,” he added and my eyes questioned his words, waiting for him to explain, “Back then when you told me you loved me for the first time, that was after you told me you had to go help out your uncle, which was a lie.. You just- You took something as important as that phrase, knowing how important it was for me to hear it from you, and you used it to help me believe your lie that much more.. I knew you were lying to me, too, I knew it all along, yet- You told me you loved me just so I’d get distracted from you lying to me,” he stood to his feet and I did, as well, taking a few steps back and away from him, “That’s it, isn’t it?” He assumed angrily and I shook my head.

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“No, I meant it when I said it-”

“But, even if you did mean it, you still used it! How can I even believe what you’re telling me right now?” He asked.

“Because I told you I’d tell you the truth to anything you asked and I am! I truly did mean it, but you’re right, I’m so sorry for choosing that time in particular to say it because I said it after lies, so it makes it look like a lie, too, but.. It wasn’t, it wasn’t in the slightest, so please believe that,” I nearly begged, though he still held worry in his eyes.

“So, you did love me? You do love me?” He needed confirmation and I nodded indefinitely.

“Yes! Yes, I do.. More than anything..” I replied and he seemed relieved again, though I could tell he was still furious with me.

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“Isaiah-” I tried to reason more, taking a leap of faith and I reached out, caressing his hand with my own, but he quickly ripped it away from me.

Stop trying to touch me at a time like this! Don’t use yourself to an advantage because you know how I feel about you.. It just feels like you’re trying to distract me all over again,” he warned and I hung my head in shame, knowing that it was a bad idea, though I couldn’t help but try, anyways.

“I’m sorry..” I said in a whisper.

“Explain to me what the hell all of this was for, then.. Why did you even bring her up there? Why did your uncle get involved? Why did you do everything behind my back and what was the whole purpose of lying about it? I have so many questions, Oliver, and I don’t even know where to start,” he spoke at a loss and I felt terrible again. He seemed so helpless and confused and still so hurt by what I had done and I was utterly disappointed in myself.

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I felt as if I could barely stand anymore and I stepped backwards, heavily sitting down on the mattress and taking that time to try to calm myself down, “Will you sit down with me..?” I asked, looking back up to him.

No,” he answered sternly, disappointed in his answer, but I took whatever I could get at this point, happy that he was still at least in the same room with me.

“Okay.. Uhm.. I guess it kind of all started back at the condo..”

Mine? Or ours?”

“Ours.. The night you were at work and came home to the condo empty, I was at my uncle’s after luring Jody there. After James and Kat left, I went out to the balcony to get some air and I noticed a blonde woman that had been sitting at the same table in the courtyard ever since I had went out to the balcony in the early morning.. It was Jody, but I didn’t realize that until later that night.. She saw you, she knew I lived with you, she knew your name and-”

“I’m sorry.. Luring? That sounds really awful, Oliver, and a little weird,” he pointed out and I shook my head.. Shit, I didn’t meant say that..

“N-No, that’s not the right word.. I don’t know why I said that, I just- I was trying to get her away from our condo and away from you, that’s all..”

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“Okay, so.. Why did she leave you alone for so long and then randomly show up at our place? What stopped her from harassing you? You told me and the detective that you hadn’t seen her or talked to her in months..”

“She made a deal with me to leave me alone for a while, to stop calling me and texting me and coming up to me at school, and-”

“And this deal you made with her, what did you give her in return?” He asked and my eyes darted to the floor, “Oliver.. When did you two make that deal?” He continued to question and my entire body was shaking.

“Uhm..” My voice cracked, “When I had called you when I was upset, when you came and picked me up from school,” I replied and I heard him chuckle.

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“So, there’s another lie.. It did go all the way back to my condo, not ours.. Wow.. Our entire relationship has been one big lie, hasn’t it?” He asked rhetorically, “And what did you give her in return? You never answered that one and I have to say that I’m very, very curious,” he made known.

“I-I just..” I bit my bottom lip to try to keep it from quivering, “She wanted me to kiss her, so.. I kissed her,” I spoke quietly, but even for how soft I had spoken it, I knew he had heard me. My eyes looked up slowly, seeing a smile on his lips as his brows still dipped low, but I knew he wasn’t happy.. He was covering his rage with anything but sadness and a fake smile for how laughable our relationship was was spread over his lips.

Another lie.. You said you’d never cheat on me, yet you did..”

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I told you to stop fucking lying Oliver and you’re seriously incapable,” he added, no more smile on his lips and my stomach was turning more and more each second this fight went on.. The guilt I felt was almost too much to bare.

“I’m so sorry..”

Isaiah then continued after a long silence, Just a kiss, like a peck? Or more?”

“..Does it really matter?”

“I guess it doesn’t, since you still kissed someone that wasn’t me,” he rubbed in.

“I-I’m so, so sorry, Isaiah.. If it helps in any way, I did that for us.. So she would leave us alo-”

“Save it,” he spat and I stopped talking immediately, “So, let me get this straight.. The night I told you I loved you, you willingly kissed the girl that took advantage of you and didn’t tell me about it when you had the chance to the same day. Then, you let me pour my heart out to you and still don’t have the decency to tell me that you kissed her, even though you were already in the process of apologizing for something else you kept from me that pissed me off in the first place?” He asked with another laugh, “Wow.. Fucking wow, Oliver.. Please, continue- You were about to tell me more about what happened the night she showed up outside of our condo, like the fucking stalker that she is, which you lied about, or, I’m sorry, according to you, it isn’t lying, it’s just ‘keeping the truth from me’.. But, please.. Continue,” he added and I feared that more tears would soon fall from my eyes.

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“It sounds so much worse when you say it out loud like that-”

“Because it is, Oliver! What in the fuck compelled you to think that any of that shit that you did was just? That it was to protect me, or us?! How can you fucking live with yourself after just those few lies, let alone the possible other hundreds that I still don’t know about!?” He continued with a raised voice, worrying that he might wake the boys upstairs.

“Please, Isaiah.. You’re going to wake them up and-”

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“Honestly, I couldn’t give two shits, Oliver. What, are you scared they’ll overhear how much of a fucking liar you are? How you’ve been betraying their father, your fucking husband, for this long? Are you worried they’ll overhear this and think less of you? ..I barely even know who the hell you are anymore, and from what you’ve told me so far, how can they even be sure who the hell you are? How can any of us believe a single thing you say?” He asked and my eyes started to water as he continued.

“I know we agreed to never tell August about Jody because you wanted to spare him ever knowing how horrible his mother was, but from how I see things now, you’re no fucking different than her.. You’re just a bad person for different reasons, but with a more lovable face that you used to your advantage against the one person that loves you the most,” he replied and my eyes widened in disbelief.. I stood from the bed again, the match of anger striking and the irate flame running through my veins at what he had just said to me.

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“Don’t call me that! Do not call me a bad person because everything, every lie that I have ever told you was to help you! To help us! It’s the truth, the complete and absolute truth and if you don’t believe me, then so be it, but it is the truth! I lied to you to protect you from her! You saw first hand what she was capable of, what her brother was capable of and yeah, that was my fault, too, because I had told her that I stopped seeing you to be with her just so that she would leave you alone and she found out that I was lying to her, too! I was trying my absolute hardest to keep you safe from her because even I didn’t know what the hell she could do to you and I didn’t know of any other way to protect you than to keep her as far away from you as possible! She was fucking obsessed with me, Isaiah! She would do anything, and did do everything to make sure that I remained hers, but I was never hers to begin with! I was yours, I am only yours and don’t you ever doubt that!” I fought back.

“And don’t ever compare me to someone so heartless again! I’m nowhere near being that conniving and manipulative and downright disgusting and I would die for our boys and I’d especially die for you.. I’d do anything, Isaiah,” I finished and his eyes were glossy, but he refused to ever let a tear drop down his cheeks.

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“I don’t even think you can fathom how much trust you lost from me,” he answered and I broke, sitting back down on the mattress and I buried my face into my hands, “Six years, Oliver.. Six years of lies and secrets and deceit.. Un-fucking-believable..”

“I-I am so, so, so sorry, Isaiah.. I will literally do anything in the entire world for you to forgive me.. Anything and everything,” I replied and there was a long, painful silence that hung in the air.

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“You can give me time.. A lot of it.. Please, get out,” he requested and I looked up to him quickly, unsure if he wanted me to leave the bedroom or the house.

“W-Where.. Where do you want me t-”

“I don’t care, I don’t want to look at you right now. Just find somewhere else to sleep besides in bed with me,” he answered and I let out a deep, wobbly breath from between my lips.

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I slowly stood from our bed and stepped towards the door, sniffing hard to keep my nose from running as fresh tears still fell from my eyes. Isaiah followed me to the door and I opened it, Isaiah then holding it open for me and before I let him close it behind me, I turned around and made one last attempt at apologizing.

“Isaiah.. I love you so much and I can’t even express how sorry I am..”

“..Happy Birthday, Oliver,” is all he replied with as he began to shut the door.

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He didn’t say it with resentment or anger or to rub it in my face that I had ruined my own birthday, but more so with disappointment that the evening had gone the way it did. I desperately reached out to touch him one last time before he did shut the door all the way, but my hand met wood instead of the warm flesh I wanted and it fully closed in my face before I could say another word.

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..One Month Later..

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Isaiah hasn’t spoken more than a couple words to me in the past month, ever since we had our fight. When we’re alone, he barely says a word, though around the kids, he’ll act like nothing is wrong, or try to.. I know he’s only doing it to avoid telling them that we’re going through a rough patch in our marriage, knowing they wouldn’t fully understand even if we did try to tell them, but faking all of this happiness was grueling and tiresome work.. Then again, I guess that’s why I’ve been so worn out and tired, which Isaiah gladly pointed out to me during our fight.. Apparently to him, I’ve been faking being happy for a long, long time since I had the weight of lies on my shoulders, and although I wanted to challenge those words, the more I thought about it over this painful month, the more it made sense.. It’s been so hard to keep all of these lies behind the bars in my mind, but I just couldn’t take it anymore.. I couldn’t stand being such a fuck up when Isaiah has done nothing but treat me like someone that needed to be worshiped.. I couldn’t let him do that anymore without telling him the truth. It ended up eating me alive in the end and my guilt completely consumed me.

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Isaiah didn’t move out, nor did he take the kids away from me, he just simply- well.. Stopped talking to me. He didn’t kick me out, either, I kicked myself out and I’ve been sleeping in the guest house to give him that much more space.. Before the kids would wake up, I’d sneak back into the house to make it seem like I wasn’t sleeping anywhere else but in Isaiah and I’s bedroom like I should be so the boys wouldn’t get suspicious. I knew he wanted to keep the kids in the dark about what happened between us and I thought we were doing a pretty good job of it, however, lately I’ve been noticing that August has been watching Isaiah and I a lot more, as if studying how we move and how we talk to one another.. It made me wonder if he overheard anything we had discussed loudly the night of my birthday disaster, or if he could just sense that something wasn’t right between Isaiah and I.. Plus, the fact that he knew Isaiah and I always talked and laughed and made physical contact with one another almost on a constant basis probably made him worry since Isaiah and I haven’t been doing those things really at all anymore..

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Every morning, I woke up more lonely than the day before and more lonely than I’ve been in my entire life.. I could get over being without my dad for as much as he worked, I could get over being without both my parents after the fallout, I could get over being without Kat and James after moving out of the townhouse to be with Isaiah, but getting over being alone after everything Isaiah and I have been through? Absolutely impossible. If I thought I was tired and exhausted before Isaiah and I’s fight, I truly had no fucking idea just how tired and exhausted and starved for love I could be, and was.. I missed him more than I could ever express and most mornings I already woke up with tears in my eyes, or I didn’t even sleep at all, sitting up in bed alone all night long and crying as I thought about what I had done to him.. My heart was literally in pain every single time I thought about it and even on some rare occasions, once a week or so, I’d get so upset thinking about it to the point where I’d need to rush to the bathroom to vomit.. I was at an all-time-low, that was for certain.

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Everything was so mundane, so pointless, so depressing without him. As I got dressed, I’d space out the entire time, removing my pajama pants slowly with barely any effort at all and if I dropped them from losing my grip, I wouldn’t waste my time bending down to pick them up.. I didn’t care, I didn’t care about anything.. All that I cared about was Isaiah. Before I’d get out of bed, I’d sometimes manage to be able to stop my crying, but as I changed and even before I could put a new shirt on after securing my jeans, my eyes would be filling with tears again and I’d completely soak the shirt I was going to wear that day from using it as a rag to wipe my face dry. Some days it might even take me a whole hour just to get dressed.

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It was another lonely Saturday by myself.. Waking up alone, getting ready alone, making the bed alone, though it was still all in the guest house inside of the main house where I wanted to be so badly, like it used to be.. I thought it was actually a little funny, as well as pathetic, to think back on when Isaiah and I were first looking at this house and deciding on if we wanted it or not, and how I had thought to myself- what was the point of having a guest house? What was the point to all of this extra space? ..Never did I ever think that I’d have this much use for it down the road.. 

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After washing my face and trying to look less dead than I’ve been looking lately, I left the guesthouse and walked passed the pool and came inside of the main house through the back door, glancing over towards Isaiah and I’s bedroom and I saw the door open, knowing he was either already in the kitchen with the boys or he was upstairs still in the process of getting them ready for breakfast. I stepped up to the doorway, looking into the dark, unlit room with the shades drawn almost shut to keep the sun out.. Was it normal, or was he trying to keep the world out, living in a dark and lonely state like I was in the guesthouse? For as selfish as it sounded, I hoped he was living like I was, missing me as much as I missed him.. I looked to the bed next and all I wanted to do was lie in it, to wrap myself in the blankets and bury my face into the pillows, but I held back, my gaze meeting the floor and I stepped away from our bedroom to go to the kitchen.

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I began making coffee, always making more than I could drink by myself in case Isaiah wanted any and by the time it was done, I could hear Isaiah and the boys coming downstairs. My lips couldn’t help but curl into a smile just from the sound of all of them and August walked in with Luca first with smiles on their faces, then Isaiah followed holding Niko in his arms with a smile on his face, too, though when he saw me in the kitchen, his smile seemed to slowly drop and I quickly looked away from him back towards the coffee I had made.. I didn’t want him to see the fresh tears that threatened to form in my eyes just by witnessing how much I hated how he looked at me with such disappointment.. It made me hate myself so much more every single time and I could never tell whether he enjoyed it, knew he was doing it and didn’t care, or if it hurt him to make me feel like this.. He wasn’t that vindictive, though, so I liked to assume he had no idea he was making me feel like complete shit whenever he looked at me like that.

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“Dad!” August got my attention and he came over to me, taking a quick, deep breath and shaking off how I felt so I could talk to him without him noticing how terrible I was feeling.

“Hey, big guy. Did you sleep well?” I asked, wrapping my arm around him and pulling him against me for a side hug and he hugged me back.

“Yeah. Did you?” He asked in return and a frog formed in my throat, but I cleared it with a swift cough and I nodded towards him.

“Uhm.. Yeah, bud.. You excited to spend the night at Aunt Kat and Uncle James’ place tonight?” I asked, changing the subject as quick as I could.

“Yup. Aunt Kat says we’re going to eat popcorn and watch movies and make Rice Crispy Treats,” he said with a smile.

“Whoa, I’m jealous.. You’ll have to bring some home for me tomorrow, huh?” I implied and he nodded again.

“I will,” he answered and I smirked, hugging him tighter against me, not really wanting to let go of him and he seemed to not want to let go of me, either, something I didn’t mind in the slightest.. It was nice to have this much-needed contact with someone I loved and who loved me back.. August, even without knowing what happened between Isaiah and I, seemed to notice how terrible I’ve looked lately and I’m sure without meaning to, I’ve seemed sad and lonely, and I think he’s caught on to that and has felt the need to put forth an effort to show me love and attention.

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“What are you eating for breakfast?” He asked.

“I was thinking cereal, what do you want?”

“I’ll have that, too.. Are you eating in the dining room again?” He asked next, wondering if he’s also been picking up on how I’ve been trying to give Isaiah some space and how we didn’t eat breakfast together as often as we used to..

I sighed softly, “Yeah, I am..” I replied reluctantly.

“I’ll eat with you, too, then,” he said with a smile and I tousled his hair with a smirk still on my lips.

“Sounds good, bud..”

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“So will we,” I heard Isaiah say to August and I and we both looked back at him.

“You will? Awesome!” August said with a smile and I looked at Isaiah for a long moment, seeing him look at me for a few long seconds, as well, then slowly look away and I was so happy that he wanted to have breakfast with me that I was brought to tears again, facing the coffee maker to hide my expression, though sadly, August noticed.

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“Dad, are you okay? Are you crying?” He wondered and I shook my head.

“No, no, I’m fine, there’s just, uhm.. Something in my eye,” I said with a smile, wiping underneath my eyes to hide any tears that threatened to fall, then looking down at August and a soft smile came over his lips, too.

“Papa and I will get breakfast, go sit down,” he told me and I didn’t bother to fight it, brushing my hand down his hair in appreciation for understanding me and I excused myself from the kitchen with my cup of hot coffee.

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When I got to the dining room, I quickly set down my cup of coffee, almost tipping it over for how desperately I needed to set it down and I put my hand to the table for support as the other came up and covered my mouth. Tears fell from my eyes and I tried my hardest to keep myself from letting out any sobs or whimpers. I hated how just three simple, plain words from Isaiah could make my entire core crumble to pieces after stacking it up so carefully this morning just to have the strength to face him, but I just couldn’t help it.. I was so glad. Happy tears are better than depressed ones, though.

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Thankfully, I had enough time to get out all the crying I needed to, wipe my face clean of tears, and regain some of my elusive composure before they all came into the dining room to eat with me.. Luca ran into the room straight for me and I picked him up instantly, bringing him into my arms and I kissed his cheek repetitively until he started getting ticklish from it, then setting him in my lap. August helped Isaiah bring in food for us, setting it on the table and he took the seat next to me as Isaiah then came in, holding Niko in one hand and food in the other and he set down the food first before placing Niko into a high chair between him and I and Isaiah took the seat across from mine. 

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I couldn’t help but glance at Isaiah constantly as he sat there eating, or feeding Niko, or talking to Luca and August.. There were multiple times where Isaiah would catch me looking at him, not bothering to focus at all on my breakfast, and although I noticed that he tried to ignore me, I knew he couldn’t, just as much as I couldn’t ignore him. I wanted to respect him and be aware of the wall that I knew was still very much there between us, but it was something that I just couldn’t help if my life depended on it.. I loved looking at him, I loved knowing he wanted to be in the dining room with me, and I loved knowing he was slowly, but surely, warming back up to me, and I even dared to believe that I saw forgiveness in my future from him.. What made me the happiest was he still wore his wedding ring every day after our fight.. Never once did I see him without it, never once did I ever take mine off, either, and I adored that he never even wanted to do something as hurtful as to not wear it just to prove something to me.. I knew he was still angry with me, that much was still obvious, but he didn’t do childish things like that just to rub it into my face more.. He was still considerate and so sweet to me, even when he was ignoring me.

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When we were all done eating together, Isaiah stood to clear the table and I picked up Luca from my lap to put him down onto the ground and to quickly detour Isaiah from doing all the work.

D-Don’t, uhm.. Don’t worry about it, I got it..” I expressed and he looked at me for a moment, not replying to me and he let me take care of cleaning up, Isaiah then picking up Niko from his high chair.

“Come on, Luca, let’s go play upstairs,” he spoke sweetly to him, glancing at me briefly one last time before looking to August, “You coming?” He asked.

August shook his head with a smile, “No, I’ll help dad clean up,” he replied and I appreciated that he wanted to stay with me.

“All right.. We’ll be upstairs,” he answered, then left the room holding Niko in one hand and holding Luca’s hand in the other.

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August helped me clear the table and he stacked the dishes next to the sink for me. The rain still poured hard outside as I washed the dishes and August and I didn’t really say anything to one another, just enjoying one another’s company.. Whenever I glanced over towards him, I noticed him smile and it caused me to smile, too, but I was still trying to decipher whether or not he just wanted to spend time with me, or if he thought I needed to spend time with someone.. I loved having him as company, and whatever he was trying to do, I appreciated it more than he knew, but what came out of his mouth as I turned the sink off after finishing the dishes threw me for a loop. 

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“Are you and Papa getting a divorce?” He asked and I froze where I stood.

I then slowly looked over towards August, looking up at me with the same blue puppy-dog-eyes that I had and I swallowed roughly, knowing right then and there how Isaiah felt whenever I gave him that same look, too.. How the hell could you ever ignore those eyes?

Where did you learn that word from?”

“My teacher. She’s getting one. I heard the other teachers talking about her and they said her husband is a bad person and all he does it make her cry, she even cries at school sometimes during recess. She doesn’t think anyone notices, but I saw her doing it a few times.. All that Papa does it make you cry, so are you getting a divorce?” He asked again and I knelt down to his level quickly.

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“Papa isn’t a bad person.. You don’t think that, do you?” I asked, somewhat alarmed at his words since he had compared his teachers husband to Isaiah and he shrugged.

“All he does is ignore you and make you sad and make you cry, so how is he not?” He asked in return and I sighed heavily. 

“Because.. When have you ever known him to be a bad person? You don’t know the details behind your teachers divorce, either.. The guy could call her nasty names, which Papa doesn’t do to me.. Or he could be hurting her, which Papa doesn’t do to me, ether.. Or she could be the one at true fault, but the reason behind tears lies way, way deeper within that person and you have no idea what’s really going on, so you should never assume such things. Papa isn’t the bad one, am,” I admitted and he grew confused.

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“But.. How? Papa doesn’t cry nearly as much as you do,” he pointed out and I grew surprised.

“..He does cry?” I asked and August nodded, noticing his demeanor was slowly getting sadder. 

“Sometimes.. When I come downstairs to get water late at night, I can hear him in your bedroom,” he hesitated a moment, “And I know you’re not in there.. You’re in the other house that’s littler,” he admitted and I sat there in silence for a short moment, unable to think of what to say back.. I never wanted any of the boys to find out about that, but I was worried about something more important.. Isaiah cries, too? Well, I guess it was a no-brainer, of course he would, look at what I did to him.. He’s just such a strong person that it surprised me, I guess.. 

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“So?” He asked.

“So, what?”

“What did you do? You said you were the bad one, so tell me why.”

“..You don’t need to trouble yourself with the details, big guy, just don’t be mad at Papa because he did absolutely nothing wrong, okay?”

“Then why do you cry so much?” He asked next and I reached up to rub the bridge of my nose briefly, trying to hold back more tears, but I was sad for other reasons besides Isaiah now.. I was sad that August concerned himself so much with grownup stuff and I was sad that he was struggling so hard to figure out what was happening between Isaiah and I.. I hated how he felt the need to ask if we were getting a divorce, too, but what scared me the most was not knowing the answer to that question, myself.

“Because I hurt him, I did something very bad and I cry because I regret what I did so, so much because it’s caused him so much pain.. That’s why I cry.. Now, promise me you won’t blame him for any of this, okay? I’m the only one to blame.. Understand?” I asked and he eventually nodded.

“Okay..”

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“August,” Isaiah’s voice called from the kitchen doorway and I quickly stood up, both August and I looking to him and I wondered how long he had been standing there.

“Go upstairs and get ready to go to your aunt and uncle’s place,” he instructed, August looking to me with concern in his eyes, but he did as Isaiah said and left the kitchen to go upstairs. 

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When August was gone, Isaiah looked at me for a long moment and I didn’t know how to read his stare, dropping my gaze away from his and I turned back towards the sink, pulling the plates and glasses from it and setting them out to dry. I could feel his eyes on the back of my head, but I didn’t know what he could possibly want from me.. Should I face him? Should I ask him if he wanted to talk to me about everything that happened between us? I wanted to be able to touch him again, to casually speak with him like we used to, I wanted to fix things so badly with him that it hurt, but not until he was ready to.

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“How are you?” I heard him ask and my bottom lip instantly quivered, chuckling softly as how stupid of a question that was.

“I-I’m, uh..” I started, but stopped, feeling my words catch in my throat and I knew if I talked more, my voice would break, so.. I didn’t continue, and he noticed.. I was just honestly surprised that he finally cared enough today to finally ask how I was doing, and as much as I had rehearsed so many things to tell him whenever he would finally talk to me, I didn’t know what to say to him now.

“..Oliver?” I heard him say my name and tears filled my eyes, but I didn’t let them fall.. It felt amazing hearing him say my name after a month long wait.

“Yeah?” My voice broke and there was a long silence between us, but he didn’t continue with something I knew he wanted to acknowledge, diverting himself from what he originally wanted to say to me..

“..I’m.. I’m just gunna get the boys ready to go..” He replied, giving up on a conversation between the two of us.

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But, I wanted to keep him talking to me, I wanted to keep him close to me and without even thinking about what I was doing, I picked up a knife I had just washed in the sink and slid it quickly across my palm.

“Ahh! Fuck..” I let out, dropping the knife back into the sink and hearing Isaiah stopping himself from walking out of the kitchen.

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“..You okay?” He asked and I took a deep breath, letting it out slowly and already I felt myself getting lightheaded knowing I was about to look at my hand bleeding.

“Y-Yeah, I’m fine.. I just..” I looked down and my vision grew blurry, “I c-cu.. Cut..” I tried to continue, but I was losing my balance and my limbs felt weightless.

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“Oliver!” I heard Isaiah call out in worry and I could faintly hear his quick footsteps coming up behind me. I tried to fight for consciousness, but the battle was harder than I thought, feeling Isaiah catching me and slowly lowering me down to the ground and my back rest against the wall.. I guess what I did worked.

“My God, Oliver.. Your hand. What did you do?” Isaiah continued, still unable to see for a few long seconds since everything was still white and my head was spinning, but feeling him touching me and knowing he was there by my side regardless of our situation made me happier than I’ve been in a while.. Happier than I was at breakfast this morning.

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“Just stay right there and don’t look at your hand, I’ll be right back,” he instructed and before I could attempt to nod in acknowledgement, Isaiah was already gone and rushing to get something, most likely some sort of bandage. I felt a little bad for forcing him to interact with me like this, but anything else I could’ve tried just wouldn’t have worked.. Cutting myself was the only way I could get him closer to me before he was ready to.

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Before I could count to ten, Isaiah was already coming back into the kitchen and kneeling down next to me, feeling him grabbing my injured hand and he applied pressure to the cut to get it to stop bleeding. My vision started to return slowly and although I was surprised I hadn’t fainted completely, I was glad I didn’t so I could spend this time so close to Isaiah, which was really my plan from the beginning..

“How did this happen, anyways?” He asked.

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“I.. I don’t know.. I was holding the sponge and I guess I wiped the knife blade-to-palm instead of the other way around,” I lied, though if Isaiah knew I had done it on purpose, he wouldn’t have helped me and he’d only be more angry with me.. Maybe even disappointed at such a pathetic attempt to get his attention.

“Still so clumsy,” he answered and I could’ve sworn I saw the edge of his lips smirk, though my mind could’ve been playing tricks on me.

“I-I just.. I should’ve been paying more attention and shouldn’t have been washing dishes as I talked to you.. I’m sorry..”

“Don’t be sorry, just be more careful,” he replied and I was warmed by his caring words.

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“..How long had you been standing there when August was talking to me?” I wondered and I felt him releasing the pressure on my hand, checking if it was still bleeding and even without looking at it myself, I could feel that it was and he applied pressure again.

“Since he asked why you’ve been crying so much,” he answered, thinking that I was glad he had heard me tell August not to be mad at him for something that I, myself, was responsible for, but I still wished he didn’t hear any of it.. It was a little embarrassing, him knowing that even our son had noticed how much I had been crying lately.

“Oh..”

“Thank you for saying that.. I noticed he hasn’t been the same around me since we fought,” he answered.

“It was the truth..” I replied.

“..Right.. I know it was..” An awkward silence fell around us, knowing he believed what I had told August since I really was the catalyst in all of this, “Well, you gotta start somewhere,” he continued and I knew he wasn’t rubbing it in, though I appreciated he knew I was telling the truth with it and he acknowledged it as such.. At least he saw that I was trying my best to speak nothing but the truth lately instead of all the lies I had built up over the years.. Well, except for the lie I had just told about ‘accidentally’ cutting my hand.

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After a short silence, Isaiah took away some of the pressure from my hand and I could see in his face that it was ready to be wrapped, watching him then grabbing the rolled gauze he had brought with him and he began wrapping my hand. The silence between us wasn’t awkward for me, simply because I loved looking at him and my mind was racing with so many things that I wanted to do to him or talk to him about, while Isaiah sat there rather uncomfortably, fidgeting and trying to avoid eye contact with me since I was sure he was fully aware of how much I was staring at him. I wanted – no – needed to touch him while I had the chance to..

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With my right hand, I reached up and the moment my fingertips touched his jawline, he hesitated in continuing to wrap my hand. 

“What are you doing?” He asked, feeling him then continue to wrap my hand after his brief pause, though more slowly than before, and my fingertips continued to touch his face until my hand cupped his jaw and my thumb caressed his cheek.

“Touching my husband whom I love,” I replied and he sighed softly, “Sorry.. Can’t help myself when you’re this close,” I answered quietly and I could feel the tiniest of goosebumps forming on his skin under my palm.

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“..Please, stop-”

“Why?” I challenged, able to tell by his eyes and his expression that he loved the feeling of me touching him, but he was trying so hard to make it seem like he didn’t.

“Oliver-”

“I miss you,” I continued to cut him off, my voice beginning to shake a little. I never wanted to hear him tell me to stop touching him and I watched as he shut his eyes to my words, as if it both comforted as well as hurt him to hear them.

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I felt him finish wrapping my hand, “Are you all right now?” He wondered, ignoring my words, so I ignored his, “I need to check on the boys,” he continued, reaching up to remove my hand from his face and he stood up and stepped away from me.

“Isaiah,” I tried to stop him, but he continued to leave the kitchen and he was then out of my sight.

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My bottom lip quivered and I felt my eyes watering again, bringing my knees into my chest and I sat there asking myself why the hell I thought any of that would work.. Like he would suddenly just bounce back to his normal, flirty, kind self and completely forget why he was angry with me.. I couldn’t tell if he hated me, I couldn’t tell if he wanted to make things better, I couldn’t tell if he even wanted to have a future with me and all I wanted to do was talk to him about all of this. I wanted to get passed this already, but how much more time did he need? How much longer am I going to have to wait to have a decent conversation with him? How much longer am I going to have to wait to touch my own husband? ..Am I ever going to get to again, or was just now the last time I’d ever be able to?

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I knew Isaiah was with the boys all morning and afternoon and after our conversation earlier, I tried to steer clear of him again.. I wanted to be with my sons, but I couldn’t be in the same room with him, I’d just cry more and I didn’t want any of them to see me like that. I sat alone in the foyer pretty much all day, listening to the heavy rain outside come to a stop as the morning passed and the afternoon began, the sun coming in through the windows and warming the back of my neck. I spaced out thinking of Isaiah all day, like I tended to do lately, until there was a knock on the door and I got up to answer it, letting in Kat and James.

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“Hey, Ollie! How’ve you been?” Kat wondered and my face remained the same, depressed and uncaring.

“Fine..” I answered, going back over to the couch I was sitting on and dropping myself back down on it.

“Ollie, we know your depressed, but you need to work passed it,” she advised and I ignored her, “You don’t act like this around the boys, do you?” Kat continued.

“I stay away from them so they don’t see me like this,” I answered simply.

“What the hell?! You just ignore your sons because you’re a mopey little fuck? Suck it up and be a damn father!” She yelled, “Parker is at home with my mom and I’m grabbing the boys and leaving so I can get back quick, so you better at least say goodbye to them with a fucking smile on your face!” She instructed angrily and James and I watched her leave to go upstairs. James and Kat knew what was going on with Isaiah and I, they just didn’t know all the details.

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“Sorry man, she’s, uh.. Well, the baby’s coming soon, so she’s been a little on edge..”

“She’s right, though..” I answered James, “I haven’t been a father really for a whole month.. I’ve just been depressed and sad and no fun and trying so hard to avoid Isaiah to give him space, but it’s cost me to lose my connection with my children, as well, and it’s not them that I’m sad about or feel like I need to avoid, but.. I’m just.. I’m a bad husband and an even worse father,” I continued and James sighed.

“No, you’re not, Oliver. Don’t talk like that. Anyone would grieve like this if the one they loved was angry and disappointed in them,” he tried to console me.

“I deserve all of this.. And don’t try to convince me that I don’t,” I answered and his expression was consumed with pity for me.

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James and I heard Isaiah, Kat and the boys coming downstairs and I put a fake smile on my lips for their sake, Kat bringing me Luca and Niko and I held Luca in my arms first, for a moment.

“I love you. Have fun, okay? I’ll miss you,” I said as I hugged him.

“Miss you, too, Daddy,” he replied as he hugged me back and my fake smile turned genuine from his response, giving him back to Kat and then taking Nikolai from her to hug and say goodbye to.

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“Love you, little bug. Can you say bye-bye to Daddy?” I asked as I held him up, though all that he did was reach for my face and I brought him closer to me so he could kiss my cheek, or at least try to, since he was oblivious he still had his pacifier in his mouth and I chuckled.

Aww, thank you, my sweet baby boy,” I continued, kissing his cheek in return and Isaiah took him from me so Kat didn’t have her hands full.

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August came down the stairs with his backpack ready and after saying his goodbyes to Isaiah, he came up to me and I picked him up within my arms, hugging him tightly before lecturing him.

“Help your aunt take care of your brothers and your little cousin, understand?” I asked and he nodded.

“I will,” he replied as he hugged me back.

Okay.. Be good, we’ll see you tomorrow.. Love you, big guy,” I continued and he nodded again.

“Love you, too,” he answered and I set him down, August then grabbing his backpack and going outside to wait in the car.

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“I’m putting them in the car now. See you, guys,” Kat said her goodbyes, then went to James and kissed his lips, “See you tomorrow.”

“Bye, baby,” he answered and I grew confused.

“You’re staying?” I asked.

“Uh, yeah.. If you don’t mind some company,” he replied, seeing him look to Isaiah with a smirk, then back to me.. Was Isaiah behind this?

“..No.. I don’t mind..” I replied as if I hadn’t noticed James and Isaiah’s true intent.

“I’m going to work, I’ll walk you out,” Isaiah said to Kat, walking with her and the boys outside.

“All right, see ya, man!” James said happily and I didn’t say anything, Isaiah shutting the front door behind him.

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James then faced me abruptly and grabbed my shoulders, shaking me a little, “Okay, now that I can say this.. Freakin’ snap out of it! You look terrible and you smell! When was the last time you showered, or shaved?” He asked and I was completely blindsided by his behavior.

“Uhm, I-I don’t know.. A few days ago?”

“Well, come on, go take a damn shower so I can actually stand being around you. Come on, come on!” He insisted, pushing me in front of him, then pushing at my back all the way down the hall to Isaiah and I’s bedroom. I knew James would always care for me, he was my best friend, after all, and although I knew he was trying to do the best he could for me, he was quite pushy lately.. Maybe having a kid made him more aware of disobedience and instability, especially with him being a doctor now, too.. He just cared a lot more.

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“Okay, I get it! I can get to the bathroom from here by myself!” I called out and he smiled.

“Good. I’d rather see anger from you than this mopey, depressing shit. Start acting like you still care about yourself and stop being gross.. You ever thought that maybe your hygiene is one of the reasons Isaiah doesn’t want to come near you?” He asked and I furrowed my brow.

“Isaiah likes the way I smell..” I tried to defend and he laughed.

“Well, I like the smell of pickles but you don’t see me wearing it as a cologne, now do you? Because the smell just isn’t for everyone!

“..Do smell like pickles..?”

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“No, just-!” He paused in frustration and I must’ve not understood his point, “Just get in the damn shower already! Start taking better care of yourself! You look terrible. You’re pale and you look skinny, you haven’t been eating, have you?” He asked and I sighed, choosing not to answer him, though he knew that I hadn’t been, “I’m going to the store to get some steaks and some beer, need to fatten you up again.. Doctor’s orders,” he continued.

“Isaiah took the Nissan..”

James threw his hands up, giving himself no choice, “Then I’m taking the Mercedes!”

“No! Don’t take that! He wants it in the garage and-”

“Oliver, I’m sure he won’t mind me borrowing it if he knew the reason for taking it was to get his husband some decent food and some freakin’ calories so you don’t look like a corpse! Get in the shower and stop arguing with me,” he continued, watching him leave and he shut the bedroom door quickly behind him so I couldn’t contest any longer.

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I stayed there for a moment, feeling a little awkward as I stood there in the silence of the room, feeling as if I didn’t belong in here and feeling as if I was invading Isaiah’s space.. Of course, I knew it was still my room, too, but I haven’t been in here for a month since I had grabbed some clothes of mine and brought them to the guesthouse.. It just felt like I had moved out of it and this space was all his now.. 

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After standing there for a few minutes, I finally felt comfortable enough to invade his space more, stepping over to the bathroom and walking in. I noticed it was still just the same as I knew it to be, all of his stuff as well as mine still sitting on the counter top by the two sinks and a smile spread across my lips.. Everything was the exact same and although I knew he wasn’t going to erase my existence from the house, I had to admit that it did cross my mind and it made me nervous to think that he would pack up my stuff just so he didn’t have to look at it and think about me.. But, I was glad that wasn’t the case as I stripped down and got into the shower, liking this shower so much better than the one in the guest house. Even if they were the exact same one, this shower still felt different.. Warmer, more comforting, more like home.

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When I finished my shower, I got out and wrapped a towel around my waist and I stepped up to the sink, removing the bandage on my hand and the cut I had given my palm was already healed since it wasn’t all that deep.. What a pathetic attempt at getting Isaiah’s attention, it wasn’t even worth making myself faint nor was it worth the paper-cut-like pain..

After doing my hair and shaving my chest and torso of the unkempt hair, I looked at my body. James was right, I really was skinny and it seemed as if I had withered away in such a short amount of time.. We only fought a month ago and I already looked so different, I barely even recognized myself.. I haven’t been eating at all really, I haven’t been swimming or going on jogs, I haven’t been running around at the park with the boys, I’ve just been lying in bed all day or sitting in the boys’ room as I watched them play by themselves.. I can’t believe how crappy of a father I’ve been just because Isaiah was angry with me.. I deserved to be ignored by Isaiah for what I did to him, but the boys did nothing to deserve me ignoring them.. I needed to do something about that and whenever they would get home tomorrow is when I would immediately start being there for them more.

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I stepped out of the bathroom and went over to the dresser, looking inside one of the drawers and I noticed he still kept my clothes neatly stacked to one side next to his, the clothes I had left behind and didn’t bring to the guesthouse with me. I still don’t know why I continued the thought of him erasing my existence from the house, but every little thing that proved otherwise helped me that much more and made me a lot happier than I had been in a long time. I tossed the towel in the hamper and put on some new clothes, unable to help my eyes were they wandered and I caught site of our bed, contemplating whether or not I should lie in it like I wanted to earlier..

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As if I knew people would be around, for whatever reason, I checked my surroundings subconsciously just to make sure and once the coast was clear, my stride brought me over to the bed and I crawled onto it. I lie on my side of the bed first, taking a large breath in and as I let it out slowly, I smelled something familiar.. My own cologne. Surely by now my scent wouldn’t be on the bed and I know Isaiah likes to wash the sheets often to keep them fresh, so why was I smelling myself? My heart fluttered and a smile spread across my lips when I then realized that Isaiah must’ve been spritzing a little of my cologne onto my pillows and the sheets, making it feel as if I was still sleeping in bed with him and I couldn’t express how happy that made me. I then scooted over to his side of the bed, burying my face into his pillow and for the first time in the past month, I was able to remind myself what he smelled like since I’ve been deprived of being able to get as close to him as I truly wanted.. I was so happy at this very moment.

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I thought I had shut my eyes for only a second, but when I opened them, I noticed James sitting on our bed, “Hey, you dozed off while I was out, so I let you sleep for a couple hours. When was the last time you got a decent nights sleep?” He asked and I scoffed softly.

“No idea, man..” I replied and I sat up, covering my mouth as I yawned.

“How did sleeping in here feel?” He wondered next and I smirked.

“Pretty good, actually, for only sleeping a couple hours..”

“I figured.. Didn’t feel like shaving?” James pointed out and I chuckled.

“Not really.. I kind of like it like this for the time being..”

“Now that I took a better look at it, you don’t look half bad with a thicker beard. Reminds me of how you wore it in college,” he replied and I smiled, “Well, come on, let’s go put the steaks on the grill and have some beers,” he said with a grin and I nodded, joining him in standing and we went to the kitchen to grab everything and to bring it outside.

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After eating a well seasoned and hardy meal, we sat on the edge of the pool with our beers and once we got talking, it became more serious as it went on and I ended up filling James in on everything that had happened between Isaiah and I, even telling him exactly what I told Isaiah that I had lied about. When I was done explaining it all, he took the information a lot less harshly than Isaiah had, but then again, James wasn’t my husband whom I had lied to for six straight years.. He was my best friend that only wanted to see Isaiah and I happy again and talking about it with someone, especially James, was helping me greatly.

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“Ahh, man.. I don’t really consider a kiss anything to get so hyped up about, especially since you only did it to get that crazy bitch away from you guys so you two could actually start a decent relationship. I mean, I can see why he’d be mad about it, ’cause you could’ve told him the day it happened, but I think he’s just missing the big picture of it all and why you did everything that you did.. He’s too caught up on the lies and stuff that he can’t see past them when he really should be trying to,” he brought up after I was finished explaining myself.

“You think so?”

“Yeah. And, I don’t know about you, but a month of this ignoring bullshit? That just seems mean to me, at this point..”

“Well, I don’t know.. I wouldn’t say it’s mean, he just needs his space to figure stuff out, you know? He still wears his ring, I still see love in his eyes when he looks at me, I even noticed before I fell asleep in our bed today that he puts my cologne on the sheets.. I know he misses me..” I said with a smirk and James smirked too, then he shrugged.

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“Yeah, I guess that’s something.. I understand him wanting space, but this space between you guys isn’t only effecting you two, but your boys, as well. You feel like you can’t be around them if he is and that’s not okay,” he continued.

“..August asked me today if we’re going to get a divorce..” I expressed and James looked to me with surprise in his eyes.

“No shit?” He questioned and I nodded, hearing James then sigh heavily, “Damn.. They’re too young to be wondering if anything’s up with you two, but what’s been going on right in front of them makes it so damn obvious that it makes sense that August knows something’s wrong, but he shouldn’t have to worry about stuff like that.. He should be worrying about school and stuff, not if his dad’s are going to get a divorce. I don’t think it’s healthy for them and I’m actually surprised that Luca hasn’t noticed it yet. But, if it keeps up, he definitely will,” he added and I sighed, not wanting two of the boys, let alone one, worrying about what’s going on with Isaiah and I, but James was right.. It was only a matter of time before they’d start noticing.

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“I don’t know what to do, Jimmy..” I expressed at a loss, my eyes tearing up, “I didn’t even know what answer to give August when he asked,” I continued and I shut my eyes, the tears falling down my cheeks and I reached up to wipe them off my face.

James put his hand on my shoulder, “Hey, hey.. It’s going to be all right, you hear me? You two aren’t going to get divorced, not after everything you two have been through. You guys have been to hell and back, you’ve been to hell and back and something like this isn’t going to make it all count for nothing. I can honestly say I have never in my life seen a couple that love one another as much as you two do. It’s nauseating, actually,” he joked and I couldn’t help but laugh through my tears.

“I like how nauseating we are..” I replied and he laughed in return.

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“You really think everything’s going to be okay?” I asked after drying my face, looking over at James and he smiled with a confident nod.

“Yeah, man, most definitely. You guys got kids together and it’s so obvious that you two are still crazy about one another, it’d be stupid not to stay together,” he advised and although he had no way of knowing the outcome in all of this, it still felt amazing being reassured. 

“Thank you so much, Jimmy.. You always help me out and I really should’ve talked to you sooner about all of this.. It’s making me feel a lot better..”

“No problem. We’re brothers, man, I’ll always help you out with anything,” he replied and I smiled with an accompanied, appreciative nod. 

“Same goes for you,” I replied.

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“Can I ask you something?” He wondered and I nodded again, “So, what happened after all that stuff? Did Jody really have August and then bail, like you said? Or was that a lie, too? And I don’t mean that in an asshole way, I’m just genuinely curious,” he tread lightly on the subject and although I was trying my best lately to get into the habit of telling the truth, this was something I had to keep lying about. I had no choice.

“She bailed.. I don’t know where she is.. I really do believe that her brother’s death hit her pretty hard.. Flipped some kind of switch in her head, I don’t know, because when I went to the hospital to pick up her and August, she wasn’t there and August was left in the nursery. Still haven’t heard from her, but I hope I don’t ever hear from her again,” I replied.

“Yeah, I hope you don’t, either.. It’s just so weird to me, though, because she seemed completely obsessed with you, enough so to try and trap you with her by having a baby, but then she just bails? I dunno, it’s just weird..”

“Yeah, well.. You never know what’s going on in the mind of a psychopath,” I answered and he chuckled.

“Yeah, guess not,” he agreed.

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“Oh, uhm.. I was meaning to ask, but I didn’t remember until now.. Did, uh.. Did Isaiah set this up?” I asked and James chuckled.

“Ahh, you caught us. Of course, not that I don’t like spending time with you, and I’d wish you call me more often-” He playfully punched my arm and I smiled, “But, yeah.. He did. When I told you that you looked terrible before, you really did, and still do. You needed that glow back, though, the healthy glow, and I think you just really needed someone to help you out, someone to be there for you during hard times.. Isaiah thought so, too. He worries about you and he doesn’t like seeing you not taking care of yourself. He understands that your upset and sad and depressed and what-not, but you shouldn’t be neglecting yourself like this and withering away to nothing,” he replied and I knew what he meant.

“You’re right.. I need to stop focusing so hard on being depressed and I should start focusing on the boys more, and working out or something..”

“And actually eating three meals a day,” he added and I rolled my eyes with a smile, feeling a little more like his patient today rather than his friend.

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“All right, I’ll start first thing in the morning.. I think I’m going to try and just get some much needed rest tonight, too. That nap helped earlier, but I think I need a good twelve hours or so,” I spoke and he seemed surprised.

“Already? It’s only eight. Back in college, you usually went to bed at, like, two in the morning every night,” he said with a chuckle.

“Yeah, well.. With how my terrible sleep schedule’s been, I should get as much as I can.. Plus, when you have three kids, a husband ignoring you and some time to actually get some rest, you jump on those opportunities.. Sleeping is being able to temporarily forget what’s happening, too, I guess,” I replied with a smirk and he nodded.

“Touche. Sleep well, man.”

“You, too.. Thanks again for everything, Jimmy, I’ll see you in the morning,” I said with a smile as I removed my feet from within the pool and stood up.

“Don’t mention it,” he added and I picked up my empty beer bottle, bringing it with me on my way towards the guesthouse to throw it out and to get some sleep.

______________________________

Isaiah’s POV

______________________________

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Tonight, which isn’t all that uncommon for a Saturday, I closed the bar around one in the morning and as I wiped down the counter tops, I couldn’t stop thinking about Oliver and James and how things might’ve gone tonight. I wondered why James had stayed over, but I hoped he could help Oliver out of this funk he was in, as well as convince Oliver to start taking care of himself more because he looked unhealthy, malnourished, too skinny and pale, and I felt terrible for being the one to make him feel like that. Was he suffering from depression because of me?  I knew I had every right to be angry with him after what he had done, but over the past month, he’s just gotten worse and worse and I couldn’t help but feel responsible for him fading away like this. I didn’t want to be responsible for it any longer and I was glad that James stayed to talk to him because I wasn’t sure if I could talk to Oliver yet, myself.. Not particularly about our fight on his birthday, but I don’t think I could look at him in his condition and stand there confidently and waiting for an apology from him while knowing that I had caused him almost just as much pain by simply ignoring him as he had caused me by lying.. 

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When he had accidentally cut his hand in the morning and I had helped him clean his wound and wrap it, I couldn’t even look him in the eye.. I feared that if I did, a wave of guilt I knew I shouldn’t feel would’ve washed over me and I might’ve just forgiven him right then and there. I wanted to talk about what had happened between us before I would give him any sort of forgiveness, but I still believed I wasn’t ready to forgive him and I felt he was trying to speed up that process this morning.. So, I refused to look at him, I forced myself to pull away from him when he was touching my face and it was when he had told me he missed me that I knew I had to get away from him before I could let him convince me to stay behind and talk to him. I knew he loved me more than anything and he loved me enough to wait for me, but I feared that he loved me too much to the point where he was killing himself slowly without me.. And I was ashamed of myself for standing here and letting him. 

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I grew enraged with myself, hating that I was responsible for this and I clenched the sponge within my fist, then whipped it down onto the counter top angrily. I put my fingers to my temple to relax myself and I shut my eyes tightly, refusing to let myself cry, but for what I’m doing to him, I deserved to feel this weak and sad. Tears built up in my eyes, but before I let them fall down my cheeks, I wiped my eyes dry and took a deep breath.

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I exhaled slowly from between my lips and I tried to stop thinking about it, stepping out from behind the bar and to the dining deck. I looked towards the starry night and the water that reflected it, taking a few more slow breathes to lose the rest of the irritation and anger I felt. The past month I’ve been without Oliver has been tough, but the view outside the bar always helped in calming me down before facing him and the boys whenever I came home from work. I’ve been taking more care of them lately than Oliver has, but I didn’t hold it against him. I knew he was probably trying to stay away from them to avoid making them sad and to keep them from asking what’s wrong with us, but I missed seeing him play with our sons and I loved watching all of them in the same room. It was better than any movie or television show or any other form of entertainment because it was all mine to look at, so I cherished and loved every second of it. But, I now miss those ‘all-mine’ moments because they simply don’t happen anymore. I wanted them back, but I didn’t know how to do it.

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After I shut off the lights to the bar, I decided to go home before I could bring myself down further than I was. Oliver seemed to have not been using his Nissan lately, neither has he really been going to work and seeing his clients on account of his depression, so I’ve been borrowing his car instead of using mine. I guess I liked the smell of it better since mine still had that ‘new car’ scent and I didn’t much care for it. Then again, I could just be using that as an excuse to hide the fact that I’m still completely infatuated with the man. Hell, I’ve even been wasting his cologne on the bed sheets just to trick myself into thinking that he’s there sleeping next to me.. I suppose I’m really lovesick for him.

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When I got home, the whole house was dark except for the dimly lit foyer and into the kitchen, seeing James sitting at the island counter reading a book and I wondered why he was still awake. I stepped over to the kitchen and stood in the doorway, James then looking over and a smile spread across his lips.

“Hey. How was work?” He asked and I couldn’t help but think about what I had done after closing when I was alone.

“A little rough,” I replied and I could tell he knew what I meant by it given the circumstances, so he didn’t question it, only keeping his smile, “Why aren’t you in bed?” I asked as I stepped closer towards him.

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“Eh, can’t sleep. I’m usually at the hospital around this time of night, so it’s pretty much in-bedded into my brain to be up,” he replied.

“Is Oliver still awake..?”

“Nah, went to bed around eight or so,” he answered and I was surprised he had gone to bed so early.

What are you reading?”

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“Oh, this?” He asked, looking back down at the book in front of him, “Pregnancy book. Kat doesn’t think I read enough about it before Parker was born, so I’m trying to read more before we have our next little girl. Try to help her out as much as I can, ya’know?” He replied and I smirked, stepping over to the island and sitting down next to him.

“Have you two thought of a name for her yet?” I questioned and he shook his head.

“No. Kat’s been thinking of some but none of them have really stuck, or we can’t really come to an agreement on one,” he said with a light chuckle, “I like Adelise. Call her Addy for short, or something..”

“That’s a really pretty name,” I replied with a genuine tone.

“I know, right? Something about it doesn’t sit right with Kat, though, I dunno why,” he replied, shrugging hopelessly, “Maybe I can convince her on it, eventually..”

“Hmm.. I like the name Umiko for a girl,” I replied.

“Umiko..? Yeah, I like that, too. Maybe when you and Oliver have a girl, you can name her that,” he replied and I smiled, enjoying how he used the word ‘when’ instead of ‘if’.

“Yeah, maybe,” I agreed, leaning on the counter and I stared blankly at the book in front of him.

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James seemed to notice how quiet and deep in thought I had become, “So? When are you going to ask instead of make small talk?” James wondered, looking at me with a grin, “I know you wanna know what we talked about, so go ahead and ask already,” he continued and I gave a guilty smirk, James knowing exactly what I was curious about and have been ever since I had left for work.

“Well, just start from the beginning with what happened,” I suggested and he nodded.

“I made him take a shower ’cause he said he hadn’t in a few days. He took a nap in your guys’ bed for a few hours, too, which helped lift his spirits a lot,” he explained and I grew nervous.

“Oh, uh.. Did he, uhm-“

“Yeah, he noticed,” James said with the same grin on his lips, already knowing I was going to ask about his cologne I spray on the sheets on occasion.

“Well, that’s embarrassing,” I replied and James laughed softly.

“Nah, man. He seemed to really enjoy it, actually,” he assured me and I was a little surprised.

“Really?”

“Mm-hmm. He’s also noticed that you still look at him the same, like you still love him, and he’s noticed you still wear your ring. I can see why you do, since you’re still married an’all, but are you meaning to do that, to give him hope or something? Or do you just forget you’re wearing it?” He asked and I looked down at my finger with the silver ring still hugging it securely.

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“I guess I’ve just gotten so used to wearing it that it’s hard to get out of the habit, even if I did want to. Maybe I’m even trying to give myself hope by still wearing it, I don’t know,” I said with a sigh.

“Hope for what? Why do you say it like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like you’re not in control, like someone else is making these decisions for you guys to either be, or not to be, together? Sure, Oliver fucked up, but you’re the one that’s kept you two separated for this long, so why do you make it seem like there’s more than just the two of you involved in this? You’re acting as if you’re being kept apart and as if someone’s preventing you from marching right over to the guesthouse and taking what you want.. As if there’s consequences for wanting to be happy with the one you love,” he replied, having a good point, but I couldn’t do it so easily like that.

I shook my head, “It’s not that simple.”

“It is, actually,” he disagreed with me, “Unless you plan on continuing to punish him by keeping this up, which seems a bit malicious, to me,” he added and I grew a little defensive.

“He lied to me and kept secrets from me for six years and you don’t think he deserves to be punished?” I challenged.

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“No, I do, lying is a shitty thing, but, come on.. Give the guy a break. His dad was barely there when he was a kid, he lost both of his parents at a young age, he was raised by his uncle, the guy that was pretty much responsible for why his parents aren’t here now.. And he was defiled by an evil, conniving psychopath against his own will with the intent to trap him in a toxic relationship that he didn’t want to be in.. Ollie’s been through some real shit. I mean, the guy has been trying to fit in somewhere all of this life and has been trying to be happy, but he didn’t really start trying and pushing for it his hardest until he met you. Going behind your back and lying to you and all that junk wasn’t the right way to go about things, but if you think about it, it’s probably all that he knew or could even think to do because he was barely guided at all as a kid and he doesn’t understand that lying is a really bad thing because no one taught him otherwise. His mom and his uncle, the two people he was raised by the most, are good examples of people who lied a lot. Look, I know being lied to sucks, especially by the one you’re with, but think about it, everything he did was for you. It’s not like he lied because he liked it and I’m not excusing his behavior, but how can you blame the guy when that’s all he’s ever known and that’s all he’s ever been shown growing up? Do you even have any idea how much courage he had to muster up to tell you the truth? He had to have known that you leaving him was a possibility, but to be fair to you, he told you the truth anyways because it was probably killing him inside,” he explained and it did make a lot of sense, though it still all wasn’t sitting right with me.

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“I suppose that makes sense.. However, I still can’t get over the fact that he kissed Jody when he was with me.”

“It doesn’t matter, Isaiah. Look passed it and see that he did it for you.”

“But.. How do you excuse that? I can’t just look passed it,” I stated.

“Yes, you can, if you actually tried..”

“But he kept it from me and lied about it and I don’t know if I should forgive him for that,” I replied and James instantly grew frustrated.

“Oh, for God’s sake-“

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James suddenly stood from his chair and grabbed my face, pulling my lips into his abruptly and I had no idea what to do I was in such shock at what he was doing. James then quickly released me and sat back down and I was completely mortified, wiping my lips off after I had fully realized what he had done.

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“James, what the hell!? Are you trying to piss me off?!”

“No, I’m trying to prove a point!”

What fucking point?!”

“Did you like that?”

“No!”

“Did you want to do that?”

No!

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“Well, neither did Oliver! Oliver did it so you two could start your relationship on the right track without Jody making things worse than she already had! I did it to get a point across and to get results, and so did he! Even though I was the one who initiated it, even though it isn’t your fault at all, do you still feel guilty for letting it happen because you’re with someone else? Because you’re with Oliver?” He asked next and I kept silent for a long moment before answering him, beginning to see his point now.

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“Yeah..”

“Oliver felt the same way when he kissed her.. Is the first thing you’re going to do is run and tell Oliver about it? Or are you uncomfortable with the thought of that and how he might react?” He continued and of course I didn’t want to tell Oliver..

Okay, I get it, James..”

“Good. Point proven, so get over it!” He demanded and my gaze went back towards the counter top, a little ashamed of myself now. I suppose he was right, it was a kiss I knew Oliver didn’t want to do and he did do it for us. I didn’t even want to think about what our lives would’ve been like if he hadn’t done it and Jody had been trying to pry her way into our relationship that whole time. Things might’ve turned out worse than they had, or maybe we wouldn’t have gotten this far together in the first place.. Either way, I didn’t like thinking about it and in the end, I was glad that he had done what he did to get us to where we are now. I don’t know what I would do without Oliver and our boys.

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“I’m sorry I did that,” James added about the kiss and I grew a little embarrassed over the slight awkward silence.

“It’s fine.. You clearly will go above and beyond to help Oliver, just don’t do it again,” I replied and he chuckled.

“I won’t, but.. Had to get the point across somehow, right?” He joked and I gave a quick, fake smirk on my lips for a brief moment before looking away from him again.

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James was right, maybe I should be a little more lenient on Oliver. Although I’ve been in the right this whole time to be mad at him, maybe it was time I finally forgave him and try to move passed all of this. If James was telling the truth, which I knew he was, I guess I really am the only thing that Oliver’s wanted so badly in order to go through all of these great lengths to keep me at his side. He’d do anything for me and I knew that, and he knew that I’d do the same for him. 

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There’s something else you should know, too,” James continued and I grew curious, as well as a little nervous.

“Yeah..?”

“I’m not telling you this so you feel guilty or to speed up your ‘forgiving process’, I just think you should know.. Today, August asked Oliver if you two were getting a divorce,” he said with remorse and I shut my eyes, sighing heavily as I dreaded when something like this would happen and it was my fault that it had.. That must’ve been what they were talking about in the kitchen this morning after breakfast before I walked in.

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“What did Oliver say?” I asked, looking back over to James.

“He didn’t know what to tell him, so he avoided giving him a straight answer,” he replied and I grew worried.

“Does Oliver think we’re going to?” I asked in a slight panic.

“I don’t know. He didn’t know the answer to that question, so I’m sure it’s crossed his mind that it might happen. I tried to help by saying everything was going to be okay and all that, but I had no idea, either, I was just trying to make him happy. We’re all waitin’ on you, because you do realize that you’re the only one that knows the answer to that question, right?” He asked and I stared at him for a moment in silence.

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“Do you want to? ..Would you ever really leave him?” He asked and I felt my heart drop with worry that Oliver thought I ever would. However, I suppose it was normal for him to think that since I’ve been ignoring him like this for so long, “You know what? Don’t answer that, ’cause I don’t even want to know,” James jumped in before I could respond, “Whatever decision you make, tell Oliver yourself, ’cause if it’s the bad answer, I don’t know if I can hide something like that from h-”

“I don’t want to leave him, James,” I told him anyways and he let out a huge sigh.

“Oh, thank God.. I seriously don’t even want to think about what state he’d be in if you did.”

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“Neither do I.. I still don’t really know how to talk to him again, though. He tried to talk to me this morning and I completely blew him off because I had no idea what to say. He cut his hand doing the dishes and when I helped him bandage it up, he tried talking to me, telling me he missed me and I couldn’t even make eye contact. I just feel like such a jackass. The last time we talked for more than a few minutes was during the fight that caused all of this and I was just horrible to him. I told him to keep his hands off me, that I didn’t even want to look at him, and-” I stopped, realizing the worst thing I had done, “Jesus.. I told him that he was no different than Jody. I called him a bad person and he’s not, he’s not at all. Why did I say that?” I asked more towards myself than James.

“You were just mad, no one blames you for that. Whenever you two make up, though, you should tell him how you feel and what you really think of him, give him the reassurance that he isn’t what you said he was. He values your opinion the most out of anyone’s, so he needs to hear it from you, no one else,” James replied and I nodded.

“You’re right, I will, but.. How do I even start talking to him again? I don’t know what to do, James,” I answered at a loss and I heard James chuckle, “What?”

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“I’ve now heard the same thing from both of you, that neither of you know what to do.. Okay, I confess. I told Oliver that you were worried about him and that you were the one that set up him and I hanging out today.”

“But, I didn’t-”

“Yeah, I know, but it made him really happy to hear it. I think a third party needed to step in and help you two, so I volunteered without either of you knowing,” he said with a sly grin and I smirked.

“Maybe you should’ve been a psychiatrist instead of a doctor,” I added and he laughed, “So, you tell Oliver that I did all of this to make him feel better and to get him to take care of himself again, and then, what? What advice are you going to give me?” I somewhat joked, even though I was genuinely curious about what he thought I should do.

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“Well, since I got Oliver to start being healthy again, wait and see the improvement for yourself. See that he’s doing it for himself and for you. It gives you some time, too, to think about what you might want to say to him whenever you think you’re ready. He can handle a few more days, or a week or two more without you. But, not much more than that.. Maybe even smile at him some more every now and then so he can start believing that you still want to be with him instead of him just relying on what told him. He needs to see it for himself,” he said with a soft smile and I nodded.

“All right, the sounds fair.”

“And of course, if all else fails and you still can’t think of how to begin talking to him, just kiss him.. You’d be surprised how much something as simple as a kiss can say,” he added and just the thought of kissing Oliver after not having done so for a month made me smile without realizing. I missed the affection we used to constantly give one another.

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“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you blush before,” James added and I turned away from him.

“I’m not.. Definitely not blushing,” I denied and James chuckled.

“Whatever you wanna tell yourself, man. I’m heading to bed,” he said with a light pat on my back and he stood from his chair, taking the pregnancy book Katalina had given him with him.

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“Hey, James,” I stopped him from walking away and he looked back at me, “Thanks for all of this. I know you have a crazy schedule and a daughter to take care of, and I’m sure Katalina could’ve used your help today with taking care of our boys, but.. You’ve gone above and beyond for us. I don’t even know how to thank you,” I said genuinely and his smile lessened to a slight smirk.

“You can thank me by not leaving Oliver. It’d kill him, and that wouldn’t be good for anyone,” he answered and I didn’t respond as I watched him leave the kitchen to go to the guest house and sleep.

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As I looked at my wedding ring, I was positive now that James was right, he was right about everything. I didn’t want to leave Oliver, but if I did, I couldn’t imagine what he would do. I wasn’t staying with him out of guilt or pity or anything of the sort, I genuinely still wanted to be with him, but thinking about what could happen if I did leave him made my heart race with worry. I didn’t even want to fathom what he might do. I think it’s been long enough of me ignoring him, I think he’s learned his lesson, but I’m still going to take James’ advice and let Oliver show me that he’s changing for the better. I want to witness it for myself and know that he’s capable of self-improvement and that he can still be strong without me. I’ll be watching him closely the next week or two, not that I haven’t been already, but I will a lot more now knowing he’s doing all of this for me. Everything he’s ever done ever since we met has been for me and I wasn’t going to keep punishing him for something like that.

Generation 4, Chapter 18

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I’ve been getting up early the past few days, waiting for the mail to come so I could get it before Isaiah could. My Uncle Gareth told me he was sending me the paperwork that finalized the adoption of August and I needed to get it and hide it somewhere so Isaiah would never find it and question it, knowing then that I had lied about everything I told him. My uncle and I planned on waiting a long while before doing this, August being under his and Aunt Nina’s name to avoid suspicion from the detective that I had anything to do with Jody’s disappearance, or her being pregnant, and now with that time passed, six years after August was born, August was finally under my name and I was now officially his guardian. 

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As I stood anxiously outside, waiting impatiently for the postal worker, I was trying to think of a good spot where I could hide this paper trail of lies. I needed to put it somewhere where Isaiah would never randomly come across it.. I didn’t even want the damn thing in the house so I could avoid that risk completely.. Maybe I could put it in the guesthouse somewhere? We hardly ever go in there.. No, never mind.. With my luck, or lack thereof, he’d go in there for a random, stupid reason and come across it.. I don’t want it in there, either, but.. Where could I put it?

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“Waiting outside again, huh?” The postal carrier spoke and I gave a fake smile.

“Yeah, I’m waiting for something important to come,” I replied and she nodded, looking through her bag and she collected everything that belonged to us.

“Well, here’s your stuff,” she said with a smile, handing me the mail and I took it quickly, looking through the stack immediately, “I hope whatever you’re looking for came in today. Have a good one, Mr. Dubois.”

“Yeah.. Thanks,”  I answered, not bothering to really pay attention to her anymore as I continued through the stack and finally, the last letter in the pile was the one I was looking for.. The one from my Uncle.

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Isaiah was always used to getting the mail in the morning, so I put everything else back into the mailbox for him to get later and so that he wouldn’t question why I had purposely woken up so early to get it myself, wanting to avoid talking about this letter as much as I could. I shut the mailbox door and with a shaky hand, I folded up the letter quickly and shoved it into my front sweat pant pocket, not wanting to risk walking inside with it in my hand just in case Isaiah had gotten up already.

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As I made my way back into the house, I continued to try and come up with a good hiding spot, still not wanting to hide it in the house at all, so I walked down the hallway that led to our room, stepping in slowly and trying to be as quiet as possible so I wouldn’t wake Isaiah. I noticed a decorative box in the corner of the room, something unimportant and I grabbed it, removing the contents within it and leaving the room just as quietly as I had come in.

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After grabbing the box, I went outside to the backyard, finally deciding that burying it was my best option. I walked over to the corner of the house, kneeling down and I opened the envelope after taking it out of my pocket, seeing August’s real birth certificate with my Aunt and Uncle’s name on it, as well as the finalized paperwork that proved August was in my care now and I was his adoptive father. I quickly put the papers back into the envelope, then into the box I had grabbed and dug a hole roughly a foot deep next to the flower bush, putting it into the hole and hastily putting the dirt back over it, making it look as if there had never been a hole there, nor that anyone tampered with the yard.

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I stood to my feet and went back inside the house, going into our bedroom and seeing that Isaiah was still sleeping, then walking to our bathroom and shutting the door quietly behind me. I went straight for the sink and washed all the evidence of dirt off my hands and from under my fingernails, making sure to clean the sink, as well, of any specs of dirt I could’ve left behind. I let out a relived sigh as I shut the faucet off, finally able to forget about all of this and able to go about my mornings like normal again without needing to wake up purposefully just to hide the truth from Isaiah.. But, I still couldn’t rest as easily as I thought I could after successfully hiding the paper trail..

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After I dried my hands, my nerves were still acting up and when I looked at my hands, I noticed they were trembling and I clenched them into fists to try and get them to stop. I’ve been so anxious waiting for that letter from my uncle that even after I had safely hid it and could forget about it, something still stuck with me.. Well, truthfully, I’ve been restless a lot ever since Cybal gave birth to Isaiah and I’s second baby, which was roughly a year and a half ago, and it’s been a little stressful keeping up with August and his little brothers.. That, and I’ve been barely getting any sleep, anyhow, but it wasn’t all the kids’ fault, there were just some nights that I couldn’t sleep and anxiety kept me awake, or I’d have a bad dream where when I woke up, I wouldn’t be able to close my eyes again.. Maybe on my next day off I can finally sleep in and try to rest my guilty conscience so I didn’t look and feel so bad.

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Isaiah’s POV

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I was actually pretty excited to get up today because it’s Sunday, my day off of work, plus, I get to spend it with my whole family because it was Oliver’s birthday. He’s twenty seven today and I’ve arranged for Kat, James, and their daughter Parker to come over and spend the day with us. Oliver has a physical therapy appointment today which meant he’d be gone for a couple hours with his patient, but by the time he’d get home, everyone would be here waiting for him. I wish he didn’t have to work on his birthday, but I suppose it was a good thing since it allowed me to plan some things for him without him knowing.. I’ve noticed he’s been acting a little distant and restless lately, but I hoped today he’d be able to take it easy and be able to relax a little after his work was all done.

“Happy-” I started when I awoke, though I hesitated when I noticed his spot on the bed was empty, “..Birthday..” I continued with a sigh, hating that more and more lately I’ve been seeing his side of the bed absent of life and warmth when I’d wake up.

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I listened to the baby monitor for a moment, though when I didn’t hear anything, I knew he wasn’t in the baby’s room and I got out of bed, ready to go looking for him, but once I was about to leave the bedroom, I heard the bathroom door open and I saw Oliver coming out. 

A smile came to my lips, “Hey, there you are,” I expressed happily.

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I walked over to him and as I looked to his face, my smile slowly dropped and without my glasses, I hadn’t noticed how bad he looked from across the room, but when I got close enough to him, I noticed right away.

Oliver, you don’t look so good.. Are you okay?” I asked, reaching up to caress my thumb over his cheek and his body seemed to be there, but his soul seemed drained.

“Yeah, I’m okay.. Just tired,” he replied, giving me a weak smirk and I pulled him into a hug, wrapping my arms around his neck.

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Oliver returned the hug wholeheartedly, wrapping his arms around my waist and pulling me close to him, though I could really tell how tired he was when he let his body slouch and it seemed as if it was a little difficult to carry his own weight.

“Maybe you should sleep more..? I want you to be well rested for today,” I said with a slight worry to my tone.

“Why..? What’s special today?” He asked with little interest and I pulled away from him a little to look at his face, feeling him pull his sleepy chin off my shoulder and he looked back at me.

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“Are you serious?” I asked and he made a face as if he still had no idea what I was talking about, “It’s your birthday, Oliver,” I said with a soft chuckle and he didn’t seem to believe me.

“No it’s not, it’s not until next week,” he argued and I smiled.

“Uhm, noooo.. It’s today,” I confirmed and he still seemed confused.

“..Really?” He needed more confirmation and I nodded.

“Yup. Happy Birthday, babe,” I said with another soft laugh and he shook his head in, what I assumed, was disappointment in himself for being so careless.

“Wow.. I’m sorry, I’ve just been completely out of it lately and so tired.. I must’ve lost track of my days,” he answered.

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“It’s all right, you’re with the kids more than I am and I know three of them can be exhausting, you just need more sleep. Why don’t you go back to bed? I’ll turn the baby monitor off, maybe go to the park with the kids or something, allow you to get some proper rest without any distractions. Your appointment with your patient isn’t until one in the afternoon, so that gives you about six more hours of sleep,” I expressed.

“Are you sure? I know August can get ready by himself now, but I should at least help you with Luca and Niko,” he offered.

“No, don’t worry about it, I got it. Just get back into bed and sleep as long as you’d like, you deserve a little time off from always having to keep up with them,” I encouraged and he smiled, letting me take his hand and I brought him back over to our bed.

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I watched as Oliver lie back down and I sat down next to him, “Before you go back to sleep, do you want breakfast in bed or anything? I can put a candle in a muffin for now until I get you a cake,” I asked and he chuckled.

“No, I’m okay.. Thank you..”

“Of course, anything for you,” I answered, “Get some rest, okay? Let me know if you need anything at all and I’ll get it for you. Or, if you need anything else from meI can definitely do it for you,” I implied, moving my hand down his side towards his hip and he raised his eyebrow in intrigue, though before he could answer, we both heard Niko start whining through the baby monitor and he was beginning to wake up.

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“Perfect timing,” Oliver joked and I chuckled.

“I’ll wake you up before your appointment,” I acknowledged and he nodded with a weak, tried smile. I bent down to kiss his lips before standing up and I shut off the baby monitor for him so he could sleep without any distractions, leaving the side of the bed and before I left to go get the boys ready for the day, I changed out of my pajamas and into a comfortable Sunday outfit.

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Compared to living in Oregon, down here in Cali, Oliver has less patients, therefore less appointments, however, he made a lot more money from them rather than from the ones he had up north. It was mostly because of the area that we lived in, it being much nicer than where we used to live, so without busying himself with tons of different appointments to make what he used to, he makes a little more doing a lot less now.. It also gave him a lot more time with the kids and I knew that it was exhausting work, but I also knew that he loved being home with them. I wished that I could be home a lot more, but, I still had the same schedule I did from when we lived up north. However, today was a Sunday and that’s the one day I never worked at the bar, giving me plenty of time to spend with my husband and my children.. I always, always looked forward to Sunday’s.

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When I came upstairs, I went to August’s room first, knocking on the door and he replied without me needing to say anything, “I’m awake!” He called out and I smiled.

“All right, big guy,” I answered, leaving him be and going to Luca and Niko’s room next. 

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I stepped in and noticed Luca sitting up in his crib and he smiled when he saw me.

Hey, good morning, bud. Did Niko wake you up?” I asked and he nodded, letting Niko whine for just a moment longer without me tending to him while I let Luca out of his crib. His full name was Luca Sukai Dubois, his middle name meaning ‘sky’ in Japanese for his bright and clear blue eyes that matched the color of mine.

“Hows my little man, huh?” I asked.

“Good,” he answered, bringing his cheek to my lips and I pecked him for a long moment before setting him on the ground.

I’ll get you dressed in a second, okay? Play with your toys while I get your baby brother.”

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I watched as Luca went straight for his block set, smiling towards him, then making my way over to Nikolai’s crib, seeing him crying with tightly shut eyes and I picked him up into my arms.

“My goodness, calm down, little bug,” I spoke softly, bouncing him gently on my shoulder and just from the contact I gave him, his crying started to subside and after I gave him his pacifier, he cooed soft, quiet baby mumbles and it warmed my heart in indescribable ways.

Niko’s full name was Nikolai Mizu Dubois, and much like Luca’s middle name being Japanese, so was Niko’s, Mizu meaning ‘water’ and it was for his deep blue eyes that were more that obviously from Oliver. Every day I spent with my little boys were the best days of my life and finally, after waiting what seemed like forever, I had the family I always wanted with Oliver. It truly was a dream come true for me.

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After changing Niko into a clean diaper and clothes, I then got Luca dressed, all while still holding Niko in my arms, which was always quite the difficult task since Luca was so active and always loved running around and away from me. I was finally successful at getting him to stay still so I could dress him after about five tries and as we left their room, holding Niko with my one hand and holding Luca’s hand with the other, August came out of his room by himself, already dressed and ready and I smiled at the sight of him. He was such a smart, well behaved little boy and I enjoyed how independent he was already at his young age of six.

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“You look sharp, Augie. Did you want to look good for Daddy’s birthday?” I asked and he nodded.

“Yeah. Did I do good?” He asked and I nodded.

“You did, don’t worry. I’m sure Daddy will appreciate it, too. He’s really tired this morning, though, so we won’t see him much until a little later. You’ll need to help me keep these two quiet so he can rest, think you can do that?” I asked and he smiled.

“Yup, I can help!”

“Good. Thanks, buddy,” I replied, all of us walking to the stairs and August went first, telling him to be careful and to hold the railing and I helped Luca down the stairs by holding tightly to his hand, taking one step at a time with both feet on each step just like he did, and eventually, we made it downstairs together.

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I brought them all to the kitchen for breakfast and put Luca into his high chair, giving him his food first and as a bottle warmed for Niko, I made eggs and bacon for August and myself. Getting them all dressed and ready for the day was always the hardest part, but it got easier as the morning went on with a little help from the morning kid shows on the kitchen television to help distract them. I contemplated making an extra plate for Oliver, but seeing as he had said ‘no’ to breakfast earlier, as well as not wanting to wake him if he was already asleep, I decided against it and I went about the morning trying to focus on the kids instead of the exhausted, overwhelmed birthday boy.

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After breakfast with the boys, I spent the rest of the morning outside with them in the backyard, August and Luca playing in the sandbox, or playing hide and seek, or playing tag together while I spent the whole time sitting in a lounge chair under the shade with Nikolai in my arms. I loved sitting out here now more than ever since I had something to watch and occupy myself with rather than just sitting out here alone and only being able to wish for what I had now.. Even sitting out here with Oliver was a little, well, I don’t want to say boring, but a little uneventful, or maybe just a little too relaxing without the boys to watch.. Oliver relaxed and let the songs of the birds and the sound of the ocean be his muse while I sat out here and longingly waited to fill the yard with noise and laughter from more kids. Now, every day I needed to convince myself that this wasn’t a dream, that this all was actually real and that this all was really happening. Everything that I wanted was right in front of me, and what made me happier was that we still weren’t done making more additions to the family.

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Niko was only a year and a half old and the best choice between each pregnancy was to wait between eighteen to twenty-four months, so we had a few more months to go until Cybal could get pregnant again, but I was still completely ready for her to be. I wanted all of this, and still so, so much more.. I just couldn’t get enough of it as I watched August and Luca playing together while also staring adoringly at Niko looking right back up at me with freckled cheeks and these big, beautiful blue eyes that reminded me of the love of my life.. What’s better than looking into your child’s eyes and seeing everything you fell in love with in the first place inside of them? I was so proud of how far we had come, especially for how much Oliver, himself, had come, and I was excited for so much more with him.

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Around noon, an hour before Oliver’s appointment with his patient, I brought the boys inside and opened our bedroom door, letting Luca and August run in and August helped Luca onto the bed with Oliver, then climbed up himself, which Oliver then wake up and he smiled instantly at the sight of our boys.

“Happy Birthday!” August expressed happily as he sat on the bed.

“Happy Bertday, Daddy,” Luca then followed August’s lead.

“Aw, thanks, you two,” he answered, tousling Luca’s hair and his eyes then met mine, his expression softening as he then looked to our littlest in my arms.

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I approached the bed on Oliver’s side and he welcomed Niko into his arms as I handed him off.

“How’s the little bug doing?” He asked, both of us having the same nickname for him, just like how August was ‘big guy’, since he was the oldest, and Luca was ‘little man’, since he was right in the middle.

“Perfect,” I replied, sitting next to Oliver and joining them all on the bed.

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“Cake, cake!” Luca chanted, hitting Oliver’s leg gently and Oliver and I laughed.

“Not now, Luca,” August said with a smile, disciplining Luca before Oliver or I could.

“August’s right.. Not until I get back from work, little man.. You, especially, don’t need any sugar right now..” Oliver replied and I chuckled.

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“Did you sleep good?” I asked, noticing that the bags under his eyes were gone and the whites of his eyes weren’t as bloodshot as they were before.

“Yeah, actually.. I really needed that, thank you..” He answered and I smiled, glad to have been able to give him some much needed time alone to sleep and he leaned in to kiss me for his thanks.

“You’re welcome. We’ll wait here, go shower or whatever you need to do before your appointment,” I encouraged and he smiled and nodded, handing me back Niko and I held him as Oliver got up and went to the bathroom to shower and get ready.

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When I heard the shower start and I knew Oliver couldn’t hear us talking, I went to the boys for advice, “So, what should we get for Daddy on his birthday?” I asked August and Luca, watching them think for a moment with wildly cocked eyebrows and open mouths, their eyes going around the room as they thought long and hard.

“A puppy!” Luca said excitedly and I laughed.

“Not what you want as a present, what does Daddy want?” I asked again and he seemed displeased by me not saying yes to a puppy.

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“Pool toys!” Luca then suggested, “Daddy likes swimming,” he continued.

“True, he does, but he doesn’t need pool stuff, he’s already a really, really great swimmer.. Good idea, though, Luca.”

“What about sushi?” August then suggested.

“What a great idea, Daddy’s favorite food! We can definitely do that,” I replied and he smiled, proud of himself for thinking of a good idea and I was happy to have figured out dinner.

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When Oliver was done showering and getting ready, he left for his appointment and I brought all the boys back upstairs, laying down Luca and Niko both for naps and August wanted to play in his room, so I took that time, while I had my hands free, to call James and ask him and Katalina to buy dinner on their way here and telling them I’d pay them back when they got here. I was extremely excited for Katalina to get here, especially, because she was bringing my present for Oliver that I was going to give him after the kids were in bed and we could be alone. I really, really hoped that he would like it. 

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Around three in the afternoon, an hour before Oliver was supposed to get home, James, Katalina and their daughter, Parker, who was around Luca’s age, arrived and I took the to-go bag full of sushi from James. I paid them back for grabbing dinner and we brought everything into the dining room, setting the bags down and Katalina set down a cake, something I had completely forgotten about to get Oliver, but even if I had remembered, there wasn’t any way for me to get to the store.. Taking three boys under the age of six, anywhere really, can be quite the nightmare.

“Oh, thank you so much for getting a cake, it completely slipped my mind,” I told Katalina and she smiled.

“You’re welcome. I figured something would get forgotten, you have three boys to worry about and we can’t have a birthday without a cake,” she replied and I nodded.

“Very true,” I answered, coming up to her and giving her a warm hug, then shaking James’ hand after, “How are you two? How’s the baby doing?” I asked, watching as both of their expressions softened and warmed and James wrapped his arm around Kat.

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“She’s doing just fine, actually,” Kat said with confidence as she placed her hand over her growing tummy.

She? You two wanted to know the sex?”

“Yup, another little girl,” James confirmed and I smiled adoringly.

“That’s great. How’s Parker taking it?”

“She’s not too thrilled with the idea of a little sister,” Katalina answered, then lowering her voice, “Which is why she’s being such a little brat lately,” she said quietly as Parker slept on James’ shoulder.

“Oh, I see. Well, that’s too bad,” I replied.

“Eh, what can you do?” James asked rhetorically, “Where are the little monsters of yours?” He asked with a playful grin and I laughed.

“August is upstairs playing in his room, Luca and Niko are napping,” I replied.

“I’m gunna go say ‘hey’ to the little dude,” James said and Katalina and I watched as he brought Parker with him upstairs to go see Augie.

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I grabbed the cake from the table and looked to Katalina, motioning with my head for her to follow me and I set down the cake on the counter in the kitchen, then turning to face Katalina.

“Did you bring it?” I asked her with an eager tone and she smiled.

“Of course I did,” she replied, running to go look through her bag and she came back with a picture frame with a photo in it, handing it to me and I looked at it with an adoring smile on my lips.

“Thank you for doing this, he doesn’t have any pictures like this from when he was young so I thought it might be something he’d like to have,” I said as I admired the photo of Oliver’s mother holding him when he was a little boy.

“You’re welcome. My mom has a lot of my Aunt Hannah’s things in her attic, seeing as my dad doesn’t want to get rid of any of it, but has no room to put it anywhere. I went over to my mom’s and she found a couple photos, but I thought this one was the best,” she answered, stepping up next to me and admiring the photo with me.

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“It really is a nice one. This is my first time seeing Oliver’s mother,” I pointed out and she seemed surprised.

“Really? I would’ve thought you’d have seen a picture of her a long time ago or something,” she pointed out and I shook my head.

“Nope, this is a first. He never really ever talks about her, I don’t know anything about her at all. She’s completely gorgeous, though, you can really tell that he’s her son,” I complimented.

“Yeah, she was really pretty, ’til she was murdered an all,” she spoke casually and I felt my heart drop.

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My eyes widened and I looked to Katalina, “I’m sorry.. What..?” I asked and Katalina made a face as if she was in trouble.

“Shit.. Oliver never told you, did he?”  She asked and I shook my head, “Fuck.. Well, just act like I didn’t say anything. I’m sure there’s a reason why Oliver never told you. He hates when people look down on him, he probably never told you because he didn’t want you to feel sorry for him,” she continued and I sighed heavily, looking at the picture again and now completely regretting this present.

“..Is this a terrible idea now? I don’t want to make him sad on his birthday, nor do I want him to be reminded of what happened..”

“No, it’s a good idea. He’ll like to have it,” she answered.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, positive. He’ll appreciate it and the trouble you went through to get it for him,” she replied and I was only slightly relieved.

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“..What did happen?” I asked, curious now what had happened to his mother. The first time I ever met Oliver, one of the first things he told me was that his mother was dead and he hadn’t seen his father in fourteen years, but after that, even as our relationship progressed and even to this day, he never talked about his mother again.

I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but I just can’t believe he never did tell you, by now at least.. It kind of sucks for me to talk about, too, but.. Oliver’s dad was always working, like, always working, and I guess Oliver’s mom eventually grew tired of it and started seeing someone else behind his back,” Katalina hesitated, but then continued, “She was seeing my dad, actually..” She continued and my eyes widened again.

“Her own husband’s brother?” I asked and she nodded, “Wow.. Talk about how to start a sibling rivalry,” I said in disappointment, “So, Camilla is..?”

“My Aunt Hannah’s and my dad’s daughter, Oliver’s and my half sister,” she answered and I sighed.

“Jesus..”

“Yeah, pretty fucked up.. Apparently Oliver’s dad caught them in the act at his moms bakery that she owned, and for some reason he already had a gun with him. He shot her right here,” Katalina pointed upwards underneath her chin, “Then he shot his brother three times. Once in the right hand, once in the right shoulder, then once in the left knee.. Luckily, he let my dad live, but not without giving him some things to help him remember what ruined their bond,” she finished and the more she explained, the more heartbroken I was for Oliver.

“..Wait, Oliver’s Dad killed her?” I asked with more shock and she rolled her eyes, but only at herself, not me.

“Fuuuck, I just keep spilling more and more, don’t I?” She asked rhetorically, “Yeah.. Oliver’s dad did it.. That’s why he left the family, I don’t think he could face Oliver after what he had done, taking away his and Camilla’s mom like that,” she continued and just thinking about all of this was causing me to get a little depressed, but I was also a little confused.. Oliver said that he had reunited with his father a couple of years ago and he said everything worked out, but I just couldn’t understand how he could forgive his father for doing something as serious as killing his mother. I didn’t believe anyone deserved to die like that, but then again, my opinion didn’t matter in this situation. However Oliver and his father figured things out between them was exactly that, between them.

“Poor Oliver,” I said with remorse oozing out of every pore, but Katalina hit my arm and I looked at her in confusion, “What?

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“Hey, drop that shit right now. He can’t know that you know, and he especially can’t know that I told you.. He’d be so upset with me if he knew I said anything and he’d never talk to me again,” she said with worry.

“I know, I know. Of course, I won’t say anything, but how the hell am I going to give this to him without worry written all over my face as I anticipate a reaction? We can read one another pretty damn well and he’ll know somethings wrong the moment I let my face change,” I said, worry already beginning to build up even though I still had a ton of time before I would give this picture to him.

“Then don’t you dare let it,” she threatened and I grew intimidated by her.

“You’re right, I can’t.. I won’t..”

“Good. Listen, stop thinking about it and go about your day completely normal, just like you always do. Nothing has changed. Just give him the picture with a pretty little smile on your face and let him react however he wants to, understand?” She made clear and I nodded in agreement. 

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“Shit, I think he’s here.. I heard a car door in the driveway,” Katalina announced and we both looked, confirming that Oliver was here when we both saw him walking up to the front door.

“Just stall him or something, I’m gunna go hide this in the bedroom really quick,” I replied and she nodded, walking towards the door as I left the kitchen and went to our bedroom. I shut the door behind me and looked around the room quickly, trying to pick out a spot where he wouldn’t have any reason to look there until I was able to give this to him and I ultimately picked to hide it under my pillow. 

Hey, Ollie! Happy Birthday!” Katalina called out louder than she needed to and I assumed she was trying to let me know that he was in the house now. After shoving the frame under my pillow, I heard footsteps outside in the hallway, then the doorknob turn and I looked up, seeing Oliver open the door and I tried to make it look like I was making the bed.

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“Hey, uh.. How was you appointment?” I asked, finishing fixing up the blanket and I turned to face him. 

“It was okay.. You’re choosing now to make the bed when we have guests?” He questioned and I was frozen for a moment.

“Uh.. Yes?” I said more as a question than I intended and he chuckled.

“Okay.. Well, I promise not to go snooping around for my present, even though I know exactly where it is now,” he called my obvious bluff with a grin and I laughed softly.

“You got me. I’ll give it to you later when everyone’s gone and the kids are asleep,” I answered and by the expression he had given me, as well as his cheeks turning a light shade of pink, he took my words in a different way, “It’s an actual object, not just me being a pervert,” I added and he chuckled again.

“Well, I guess I wouldn’t mind both, if both were an option,” he implied and I raised a rather aroused brow, stepping up to him and wrapping my arms around his neck.

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I spoke quietly near his lips, my gaze bouncing between them and his eyes, “Mmm.. Let’s close the door real quick. I wouldn’t mind giving you a little present now,” I suggested, catching the door with the tip of my foot and I shut it before I leaned in to kiss him. I felt his arms slowly wrapping around my waist, pulling me against him more and I deepened the kiss as I push back against him, pushing him gently up against one of the walls in our room and he let out a soft moan when his back connected with it.

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“Hey, guys! Are we eating dinner, or what?” Katalina called out from the dining area and Oliver and I both reluctantly ended our kiss, though to keep him wanting me, I lifted my leg between his knees and grazed his excitement, hearing a soft hiss of an inhale through his teeth and I grinned as he looked at me.

“So unfair..” He pointed out and I snickered.

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“Think you can wait until tonight?”

“It’ll be extremely difficult,” he answered.

“It’ll be well worth it, I promise,” I replied, leaning in to kiss him briefly before pulling away, “Come on, help me get the boys. The dinner we got for you was their idea,” I continued, taking his hand and I led him out of the room and towards the dining room back where Katalina was.

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James had brought Parker back downstairs and August and her helped Katalina get dinner all set up at the dining table, then Oliver and I each grabbed Luca and Niko and brought them downstairs, as well. August got his own chair next to Parker who sat on Katalina’s lap, James then next to her while Luca sat in his high chair between him and Oliver, and I held Nikolai as he still continued to try and wake up a little more from his nap. The room was buzzing with conversations and laughter and although I didn’t contribute all that much, which wasn’t really like me at all, I simply enjoyed sitting back and admiring everything that I had. How far we had all come still amazed me and we all finally had little families of our own. I was proud of James for finally confessing his love to Katalina and even though she was playing hard to get, or whatever it was she was doing, I was happy that she had finally come around and saw what an amazing guy James was. Now they were married and had a little girl of their own with a second on the way. I was so excited and happy for them.

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I then glanced towards Oliver, each bright smile he gave being contagious and I always felt my lips curling up to a smirk whenever I saw him so happy or every time he laughed with his smile stretching from ear to ear. I couldn’t help it. We had been through so much together and the fact that he was happy now after everything that this poor man has been through made my heart soar and the only thing I wanted in life was to give him more and more of that happiness. He deserved nothing less than that.

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However, when I started to think about what he had been through, especially after what Katalina had told me, I couldn’t help but let my expression fall and the more I looked at him, the more I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.. But, when I felt a sharp kick in my shin from Katalina kicking me under the table, those thoughts were replaced by pain.

“Ow,” I let out softly and I looked up to Katalina, her eyes screaming ‘stop fucking thinking about it!’ and I made a face as if to apologize to her without using words.

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“You okay?” Oliver asked and I looked to him, a smile instantly on my lips and I nodded.

“Yeah, I’m great,” I replied and he smiled back.

“You’ve barely eaten anything, are you not hungry?” He then asked and I hadn’t even really payed attention to the food at all.

“No, no, I just wanted everyone else to eat first, that’s all.”

“Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I am completely full,” James added.

“Same here,” Katalina tossed in.

“Yeah, me too.. The rest is yours,” Oliver offered and I nodded in thanks with a smile on my lips.

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After everyone was done eating, including myself, August hopped down carefully from his chair and came over to Oliver and I, “Can I go upstairs and play?” He asked, though I looked towards Oliver to give August an answer, seeing as it was his birthday and whatever he wanted today, that’s how it went.

“Sure, big guy.. Take Parker and Luca with you, okay?”

“Okay,” he answered, Katalina letting Parker down from her lap and Oliver picked up Luca from his high chair, setting him down on the ground.

“Help them up the stairs, and be careful,” I instructed towards August and he nodded, walking behind Luca and Parker and escorting them upstairs with him to play.

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Katalina, James, Oliver and I sat in the dining room for a long while talking, but once it reached around eight at night, we called the birthday celebration quits since Katalina was a little tired and wanted to take Parker to bed soon. James ran upstairs really quick to grab Parker so they could leave and we wished them goodnight, Oliver giving me Niko to hold as I let him say goodbye to his cousin that was practically his sister, as well as his ‘brother-in-law’, and they left after both giving Oliver long, strong hugs and telling me goodbye, too, and Kat couldn’t resist showering our little bug Nikolai with kisses before finally leaving, as well.

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After they left, Oliver looked to me and stepped up to me, too, looking at Niko and he smiled, “I’ll get the boys to bed, I want to.. I’ll be back downstairs soon.. Then I’m all yours,” he said with a warm smile and I gave an excited expression, nodded happily and I kissed Niko’s cheek before handing him to Oliver and I watched as he left the foyer to head upstairs to wish our boys goodnight. Although I wanted to come along and do the same, I looked at the dining table and knew I needed to clean up before going to the bedroom, so I cleaned while I waited for Oliver.

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I cleared off the dining area and brought everything to the sink in the kitchen to wash, putting away any leftovers, as well. After washing everything and putting the plates and what-not away, I looked to the island counter top and noticed we never filled his cake with candles and he never made a wish.. We never came back into the kitchen.

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Instead of putting it away in the fridge for tomorrow or for leftovers, I left it out, beginning to stack it with candles and I lit them just in time to hear him coming back downstairs and I looked towards the doorway to the kitchen, seeing him standing there with the most beautiful smile.

“They all in bed?” I implied towards our three boys and he nodded, “Good.. Come make a wish, cute-stuff,” I implied and he chuckled with a wide smile, coming into the kitchen and he stepped up to his birthday cake full of candles.

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“I wish that-”

“No, no, you can’t say it out loud without blowing them out first, or it won’t come true. Don’t you know that?” I stopped him and he smiled more, letting him have a short, silent moment to himself and he then blew them all out with one gentle gust of exhaled air and without spoiling me on what he had wished for, “Think it’ll come true?” I asked.

“I hope so..” He implied, watching as his eyes traveled over me and my heart started to race a little. I absolutely adored when he was openly flirty, or openly wanting me and it made me shake with excitement when I knew that was the only one he wanted, even wished for. However, before I gave him the love that I more than obviously knew he wanted, I wanted to give my present to him that I hid under my pillow.

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“Come with me,” I invited, extending my hand to him for him to take and he took it without hesitation, letting me guide him to our bedroom and I shut the door behind us.

Sit down,” I instructed next, locking our bedroom door, for whatever reason, and stepping over to the bed he sat on. I joined him on it, reaching under my pillow and I looked at the picture again before handing it to him, not bothering to hide the fact that it was a photo in a frame, but I knew the real surprise would be the picture, itself.

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God dammit, I was so nervous as I stared at the picture, knowing he still couldn’t see it, but just staring at it made me rethink if I should give it to him or not, even though I was holding it no more than a foot away from him.

“Are you.. Going to give me my gift, or not..?” He joked somewhat and I finally just decided to do what Katalina said.. Just give it to him and let him react to it however he felt he needed to. 

“Uh, yeah, sorry.. Here,” I expressed, finally handing it off towards Oliver and he took it from my hands with an appreciative smile on his lips, though when he looked down at it, his cute smile disappeared almost instantly. I couldn’t look at him anymore, letting my gaze meet the floor and I waited for any sign from him telling me that he liked it or loved it or hated it.

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Shit.. It’s been about fifteen seconds of complete silence so far and I still had no idea what he was thinking..

Thirty more seconds passed, and yes, I was counting.. It was literally painful to sit here in the silence with him as my stomach turned into knots.

“I, uhm.. I just thought you’d like a picture like that. Forgive me if you hate it, I just knew nothing about your mother besides the fact that you miss her, so, I thought giving you a picture of her and yourself would be a nice thing to have, that’s all,” I explained myself after the grueling and painful silence that filled the room for far, far too long. He hasn’t said anything for an entire minute now and I still hadn’t even looked up at him, still a little ashamed of myself for giving it to him because of what Katalina had told me about his mother earlier, but once I finally looked up at Oliver, his expression was exactly what I had feared.

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Oliver’s cheeks were completely wet and glistening with tears, his lips parted just slightly, his eyes refusing to break away from the framed image and immediately, my heart fell into my stomach and I reached for him, rubbing the back of his neck with my thumb.

I’m sorry, I-” I stopped, hating to see him crying on his birthday, but even more-so hating that I was the one that made him do it. It was all my fault.

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Oliver set down the picture frame on the floor and his hands came up to his face, hiding his expression as he sobbed softly within the palms of his hands and I moved as close as I could to him, wrapping my arms around him and holding him tightly.

I’m sorry, Oliver.. I wanted to make you happy, not make you sad,” I didn’t think I could apologize enough in this situation. 

I’m so sorry, babe.. It’s your birthday and I made you cry, I’m such a piece of shit. I’m so sorry,” I continued to apologize, hearing his sobbing breaking my heart more and more as he continued without saying anything back to me, but I was at least glad that he hadn’t pushed me away from him.. That meant something good, right?

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“I-I..” He tried to speak, though he then suddenly wrapped his arms around me tightly and I could feel his tears drenching my shoulder, “T-Thank you,” he forced through his tears and those words made me instantly come out of my rather remorseful and depressing state. For a second there, I thought he hated me, I thought I had given him the worst possible gift that I could and I even hated myself, but I was so, so happy to have been wrong. It still broke my heart that I had made him cry, but at least they were happy tears.

“You’re more than welcome, my love,” I replied, feeling him hold me tighter, “I was so worried you wouldn’t like it, or that you’d hate me for it, but I’m so glad that that wasn’t the case,” I continued and he pulled away from me, watching as he looked up at me as I wiped his face with my thumb to try and clear away his tears.

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“I could never hate you.. Not ever.. Could you?” He asked and I gave a warm smile, his tears and his words making me want to cry, too, but I managed to keep myself from doing so.

“Never. I love you far too much, Oliver, no one could ever make me as happy as you do,” I replied, seeing him smile through his emotional state and I pulled him gently towards me, connecting our lips and his were slick and salty from the tears he had shed. As much as I loved and adored seeing him so happy to the point where I could bring him to tears, I felt his bottom lip beginning to tremble again and I knew he wasn’t done crying yet, but why? 

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I pulled my lips away from his and he pulled away from me completely and abruptly, watching as he faced forward and I grew concerned, “Oliver? Are you okay?” I asked with worry, watching as he hung his head as his tears continued and I touched his back in comfort.

“I-I, uhm.. I can’t do this anymore.. I don’t feel right about this..” He replied and I grew confused and nervous.

“..What’s that mean?”

“You’re so, so good to me and I’m such a terrible person.. I don’t feel right about this anymore, because I can’t keep pretending to be something I’m not.. I can’t live with it, you don’t deserve this.. I don’t deserve you,” he continued and I removed my hand from his back, my brows furrowing in both suspicion as well as concern.

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I could feel my heart constricting in my chest, “Where is this coming from? ..Do you.. Not love me anymore?” I asked and he looked to me immediately, grabbing my hand.

“No, of course I do.. I love you so much that every time I think about you, my heart still beats out of my chest and my stomach turns into knots and I just.. I love you too much to keep lying to you,” he replied and I snatched my hand out from his, “Isaiah, please, let me explain before you get mad at me-”

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“What is it this time? Seeing someone else? Get someone else pregnant and not tell me?” I brought up the past, a shitty thing to do, but I couldn’t help it.

“No, of course not!”

“Did you even go to your appointment today? Or were you with someone else?”

“N-No.. No, I would never cheat on you!”

“Then just spit it out! Because I don’t want to waste any time dancing around the entire subject like you like to do,” I warned, “I fucking hate liars, you know this. I’ve told you to never lie to me again and yet, after all of this, you tell me that you’ve been lying to me about something, and from what I’m guessing, you’ve been keeping it a secret for a while, right? So just say it!” I continued and tears still fell down his cheeks as he looked at me.

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“God dammit, Oliver, that puppy dog face won’t work right now,” I expressed angrily after the cat seemed to have caught his tongue, standing to my feet and I paced around the room a little before facing him again, trying my best to keep calm so I could hear him out, though it was proving to be quite difficult.

You’d better tell me or I swear to God, I’ll go straight upstairs, grab the three of them and leave right now,” I threatened to grab the kids and leave and he threw his hands up, alarmed at the fact.

“No! No.. Please, don’t..” He begged and I could feel my body heating up with anger.

“You have ten seconds, Oliver, and don’t take that time to just think of more lies,” I warned.

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“Okay! Okay, I- I lied about what happened with Jody and August.. And my uncle.. I lied about all of it,” he admitted, tears still steadily falling down his cheeks and I stood there stunned and without any words to give back. He’s been holding this in for over six years.. Six long, difficult, faking-happy years and I felt myself at a complete loss. I thought he was doing good, I thought we were over him keeping things from me and I thought there was nothing in the entire world he felt like he needed to hide anymore, but apparently I was still wrong about him.

 

Next Chapter |

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Author’s Note:

I don’t think I’ve posted August’s stats yet, so I’ll post them here with Luca and Niko’s.

August Bryce Dubois

Current Age: Child (6)
Traits: Insane, Disciplined, No Sense of Humor
Sign: Gemini

Favorites:
Food: Potato and Truffle Torte
Music: Beach Party
Color: Lime

Luca Sukai Dubois

Current Age: Toddler (3 1/4)
Traits: Insane, Athletic
Sign: Gemini

Favorites:
Food: Ceviche
Music: Island Life
Color: Orange

Nikolai Mizu Dubois

Current Age: Toddler (Almost 2)
Traits: Insane, Good
Sign: Aquarius

Favorites:
Food: Grilled Salmon
Music: Latin
Color: Green

Generation 4, Chapter 11, Pt 1/3

Attention: Briefly NSFW.

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Springtime.. The first week of May, to be more accurate. Yesterday was the last day of class for everyone at the campus and summer break had officially started today. Jody had surprisingly kept to her word about keeping her distance from me until the end of the school year, but today I woke up nervous, knowing that she’d call me today since our time apart had came to an end and it was only a matter of time before she’d try to contact me. Lucky for me, I remembered to turn off my phone last night before going to bed so any of her calls or texts this morning wouldn’t wake either Isaiah or I. I felt a little bad about still trying to keep Jody a secret from him even though he knew about her, but I just didn’t want to burden him.

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Isaiah and I have been doing amazing. His bar was doing well, bringing in more and more money each month and we bought our own condo together a few weeks ago. Well, more like he bought the condo, I just kind of tagged along.. He asked if I wanted to live together and I agreed, even offering to move into his old place with him so he could save his money, but he insisted that we get something together, something new and a little bigger than what he had. I felt guilty that he had spent so much money for us, but I guess it wasn’t too bad since he’d make the money back whenever he sold the old condo. He told me he’s been wanting a bigger place, anyways, but I think he was just saying that so I’d feel better about him paying for it.

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We chose a two-level condo closer to the center of town that resided over a coffee shop and every morning I would get up before Isaiah, throw on some clothes and go downstairs to get coffee for the both of us. I had become such a regular customer that the barista’s knew exactly who I was and what two kinds of coffee I always got, making the brews fresh without me even needing to tell them my order and just seeing my face walk through the doors told them exactly what I wanted.

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I wasn’t much of a decorator, I mostly let Isaiah do what he wanted with the whole place, but he coaxed me into doing the hallway when you first enter, as well as the living room to the left of that hallway. Every other room I let him do whatever he wanted, I was just happy to be living with him and getting the chance to see him whenever I got home from school or whenever he got home from work. It took some getting used to, but moving in together really gave us a chance to get a lot closer to one another and I was happy where I was at with my life. Well, I guess it wasn’t too hard to get used to, seeing as I slept over at his old place a lot before officially moving in together.. I was still deciding what to do about my Residency, too, starting in late August, but I wasn’t going to think about that too much today.

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After putting Isaiah’s coffee down onto the nightstand next to his side of the bed, I went to the balcony outside of our bedroom, basking in the perfect weather to drink coffee to in the morning. The sun was bright, but it hadn’t hit the balcony yet, my eyes going from the clear sky to the small courtyard below where people drank coffee and ate their breakfast pastries before going to class or going to work, or even just enjoying the morning on a day off. A blonde woman in a sundress and sunhat sat at one of the tables I could see best, watching her read to herself with her coffee and pastry sitting upon her table and I’m sure she was enjoying today just as much as I was.

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I shut my eyes as I enjoyed the outside, smelling the air that came up from below me and the scent of fresh pastries and ground coffee beans filled my nose and it all made me feel a little euphoric every time I inhaled. I had never mentioned this to Isaiah when we were first looking at the condo with the Realtor, but once I could smell the scent of sweet pastries hit me when I opened the door to the balcony, I was sold on it. The smell brought me back to when I was a little boy, always smelling the sweet delights within my mother’s bakery and I never got tired of the wholesome, sugary scent. Maybe that was the reason for my new fixation with coffee and loving to stand on the balcony every morning drinking it, as well as drinking in the smell of cinnamon buns, croissants and fresh pies being baked directly below me. 

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I heard the door to the balcony being opened and I knew Isaiah was coming out to join me, hearing his footsteps and feeling his hands gently wrapping around my waist from behind, “Good morning,” he spoke softly against my neck and I could feel the hair at my nape standing on end. 

“Morning..” I replied.

I’ll never get tired of waking up to the smell of coffee and seeing you out here on the balcony every morning,” he continued with the same soft tone and a smile ran across my lips as he held me, “Though one of these mornings I’d like to wake up with you still in bed,” he somewhat joked.

“I’m a light sleeper.. Once the sun starts coming out, it lights up the room and wakes me up, so I can’t sleep anymore,” I pointed out.

“Then we should get thicker curtains,” he added and I chuckled softly, turning around within his grasp and facing him.

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Isaiah slowly leaned in, kissing my lips for a long moment before pulling away and I knew the look in his eyes, squinting mine suspiciously towards him.

“..What?” I asked and he grinned.

“Nothing.. I’m just wondering if it’s wrong of me to ask for morning sex on the balcony..?” He questioned innocently and I felt my face get warm. 

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“It’s broad daylight and there’s people outside down there,” I pointed out in a shy manner, but that only seemed to get him to retract half of his statement and I watched as he reached for my cup, taking it out of my hand.

“Fine, then come back to bed.. Let your coffee get cold,” he implied, setting down my coffee on the railing and I couldn’t help but smile more, feeling him then pulling me eagerly back inside to our bedroom.

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We kissed passionately as he undressed me and soon fell onto our bed, Isaiah climbing over me and I adored every length he went to to make me feel comfortable with him every single time. Our first time was when we had first moved in together and as much as that took some getting used to as well as getting used to living together, it soon became an almost-every-day activity, or whenever we had time. But, with it now being summer break for me with classes, we had all morning and all afternoon together before he would leave to open the bar and we practically jumped at each chance we got to spend time together in bed.

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I knew this wasn’t like me, I knew I had moved fast with Isaiah, but I was okay with it.. I wasn’t forced into anything, I chose to do everything that I’ve done with him and he still has never pressured me in any of my decisions. I knew I was different and had changed, but I also knew it was a good thing and I never ignored an opportunity that I felt would only make things better for me.. For us.. In the short morning I had been awake, it had only gotten gradually better with the help of my coffee, the smell of the cafe, the pleasure from Isaiah.. I grew less anxious, less worried and way less tense as I basked in what I had and I learned to let myself get lost in moments like this.. To enjoy them to the fullest extent and Isaiah always helped clear my head whenever I felt like that without him ever even needing to know I was troubled. It felt a little less like lying, at least I didn’t think I was, it felt more like just withholding information that I didn’t want him to worry about.

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After we had forgotten the world around us for a long while, we stayed in bed for a good portion of the morning, relaxing together and we talked about what the day ahead of us held.

“When are James and Katalina coming over?” Isaiah wondered.

“Around two.”

“I have someone coming to see my old place around two-thirty, so I have at least fifteen minutes to hang out before I need to leave, show them the condo, and be on time to open the bar by three,” he answered and I smiled.

“Great, hopefully you can get an offer today,” I hesitated a moment before continuing, “I hope you and Kat get along, too.. She’s hard to deal with at first and I’m sure she’s going to ask you a million questions before you leave, but just bare with it.. If it’s too much and you want to leave earlier than you need to, I’ll understand.. I can cover for you,” I somewhat joked and he laughed softly.

“No need.. I’ll just put on my charm and answer every question she has,” he replied simply and I liked the attitude he had towards meeting someone as difficult as Kat.. He was right though, his charm alone is what drew me to him in the first place, I didn’t see how anyone wouldn’t be able to like him.