Generation 4, Chapter 3

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It’s been a little more than a week since I had gotten beat up by Thomas and his minions.. My bruises were gone and so were the cuts on my face, though my nose still hurt every now and then when I’d sniff too hard or touch it a little too roughly on accident. James has been walking with me everywhere ever since, too, watching my back for me and making sure no one messed with me while my face healed and I appreciated the gesture, but I admit that it was sometimes a little irritating.. I felt like a kid that needed to have a parent with him at all times and I didn’t like the idea of being ‘protected’ or whatever it was that James felt he needed to do, but I didn’t complain.. He’ll back off soon enough, I hope, since I do tend to like my privacy more than he does.

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Today, James and I didn’t have class and he knew that I’ve been dying to go to the pool, so he put his plans aside for me today like he has been and he came with me. I’ve been floating here next to the edge for about twenty minutes, just minding myself and relaxing as I felt the water around me, each ripple or small wave causing my body to sway a little back and forth and it made me even more relaxed, just enough to feel good about closing my eyes for a few moments. I got lost in my own mind, my very calm, almost unconscious mind, even forgetting that I was in the pool for a split second from how loose and unknotted I was and I could stay like this forever, especially when we had the pool to ourselves..

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I heard James swimming behind me and I kept my eyes shut, him joining me at the edge of the pool, “How’s it goin’ over here?” He asked.

“Fine..” I replied, letting out a calm sigh.

“You look really tired, did we get up too early to come here?”

“No.. I got up at noon, that’s not exactly ‘early’.. I’m just really relaxed, that’s all.. I probably could fall asleep, though,” I replied and he laughed lightly.

“Why do you like swimming so much? I mean, sure, it’s fun as hell sometimes, but doing it almost every day? I’d get bored,” he wondered.

“I don’t know why I like it.. It’s just pretty tranquil, and it helps me think less if I have a lot on my mind.. It’s the only thing that can make me feel at peace, if only for a little while,” I replied with a gentle sigh to follow.

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“Oh, hey- So I checked that dating thing I signed you up for, you got quite a few responses,” he brought up and I raised my brow as I slowly opened my eyes, though still too relaxed to show any sign of real interest.

“And?”

“And there’s actually a few girls here at the college that I’ve never seen before, but are interested. Some of them are pretty cute.. I looked into some of their backgrounds and a lot of them come from the more physical educations, like some girls were on the soccer team, the swim team, stuff like that, so, I bet all of them have killer bodies,” he pointed out.

“Did you read the messages?” I asked, though nothing was jumping out at me that could spark my interest so far.

“Yeah. Pretty much all of them know you as the one guy who loves swimming in the college but isn’t a part of the boy’s swim team. A lot of them seem to like that. One of them even invited you to midnight skinny dipping when the weather gets warmer,” he replied, nudging me with his elbow and I chuckled softly just to humor him. “I don’t know what you were so worried about, there’s girls here that go to the college and also just regular girls in town that are interested in you. I guess they like the quiet, mysterious type,” he continued with a soft laugh. I should probably tell you this, too.. Uhm.. When we go to walk Kat home from her class, she’s going to introduce you to someone from there that she thinks you’d like and get along with.. I told her to not worry about it, but, you know Kat.. She insisted. We might go out for drinks later, and she’s bringing her. She’ll probably force you to come, so..” He admitted and I sighed.

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“Did you tell her about the online profile?” I asked and he shook his head.

“No, which is why I’m sure she’s trying to set you up with this random girl instead of letting you do this at your own pace.. Honestly, if I were you, I’d go just to make Kat happy, that way if it doesn’t work out, she can see for herself and she might stop hounding you so much about finding a girlfriend. She just thinks you’re lonely and I can understand her trying to look out for you, but.. She just wants to see you happy..” He tried to make me understand.

“Lonely? When have I ever said that..?” I asked.

“You haven’t, I think it’s just hard for her to understand how you can be so okay with no contact with someone in an intimate manner for so long..” He hesitated a moment, his demeanor changing, “She’s just used to it, I guess..”

“Well, first of all, my sex life is none of her business.. And second, I keep telling you if you don’t want to see her with so many other guys right in front of your face, then say something to her.. She’s just interested in guys that show interest in her, and apparently there’s more than just you that wants that attention, so try harder,” I replied, knowing exactly what he was trying to get at. 

“I can’t, you know that.. She could never just be with one guy, let alone that one guy being me of all people..” He replied, his tone at a loss.

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“Why do you have such a hard time following your own advice? You keep telling me to be confident and go the extra distance or believe in myself more, and look at you.. You’re doing the same thing that I was doing at the cafe last week..” I sighed heavily, unable to believe that I was going to do this, even when I didn’t want to, “Listen.. I’ll go out tonight with you guys, even if that girl comes.. I’ll be there for you for moral support when it comes to Kat, but you gotta do the same for me.. You just have to make sure Kat notices how hard you’re trying to get her to pay attention to you instead of everyone else, make her feel special tonight and I guarantee she won’t look at any other guy in the place. But, you gotta be confident, or you’ll lose her interest if you’re not. That’s one thing I’ve noticed that she can’t resist, when someone pays all of their attention to her. Treat her like a queen and she’ll be yours.”

“I already do that..” He replied with a short tone.

“Well, obviously not.. You’re not trying hard enough. You’re her best friend and she’s not going to stop seeing you as such until you show her more,” I pointed out.

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“Fine, I’ll try.. But, you gotta promise me then that if you end up having a good time with this girl, don’t just do it for Kat anymore, do it for yourself. Just have a few drinks, have fun.. Put yourself out there like you want me to do tonight. If you don’t want to fuck her, then don’t, it doesn’t matter either way, but when was the last time you even kissed someone?” He asked and I could feel my cheeks beginning to blush.

“I.. I guess it’s been the same amount of time with both..” I reluctantly admitted.

“Do you even remember how to anymore?” He asked with a grin and I scoffed.

“Of course I do! I’m not stupid..” I answered and James laughed.

“I didn’t say that you were, I’m just messin’ with you, no need to get so worked up,” he replied and I turned my head away, “We’ve been here for about two hours, we should get ready to leave so we’re not late to walking Kat home,” he suggested and I nodded with a sigh, watching him hoist himself out of the pool and he gave me his hand, pulling me out as well and we went to the locker room.

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James and I went to the showers, rinsing off all of the chlorine and I couldn’t help but think about what was going to happen tonight.. Knowing Kat, she’d want to go somewhere nice so she could dress up, resulting in us needing to dress up nicely as well and I didn’t know what I should even wear. I didn’t have much to look through, all I could remember having was one black suit that I was forced into buying when my grandfather died before we had moved to Dronningslund. I never met him before, my father rarely spoke of him in front of me and whenever I’d ask about him, he’d assure me that one day I’d get to meet him because he really wanted to meet me, but everything changed before I ever got the chance and even my uncle avoided the subject. I heard all about him from my grandmother after he had died, telling me that he had been in the loony bin since my father was eighteen cause he’d killed two people in his lifetime, and it was weird and unsettling to think about, seeing as my father’s taken someone else’s life, too.. 

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I shut my eyes as I stood in the shower, trying to forget about all the different things that flooded into my head the moment I got out of the pool, but I turned outward towards the shower across from me anyways.. “Hey, James,” I got his attention.

“Yeah?”

“Do you think I could borrow something to wear tonight?” I asked, not wanting to wear a funeral suit to go out in.

“Yeah, no problem. We’ll find something for ya,” he replied and I was glad that I had my clothing situation figured out at least, now if I could only figure out how to avoid being myself tonight since that’s been getting me nowhere..

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We got out of the showers and I spaced out as I changed into my clothes, going pretty slow as I got lost in thought and James knocked me out of my trance, “Ollie!”

“W-What?”

“I said your name three times, what’s the matter?” He asked.

“Nothing, I’m just nervous about tonight, I guess.. What if we don’t get along? What if we have nothing to talk about? Please don’t leave me alone with her if it’s obvious that it’s just going to turn into an awkward silence.. I know how you like to follow Kat wherever she goes, but please stay if it’s that obvious.. Will you?” I asked, pleading almost.

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“Ollie, it’s going to be fine, trust me. From what I’ve heard from Kat, this girl is a lot like you. She’s shy, she’ll probably be even more nervous about this whole thing than you are. Like you told me, just be confident. I bet everything that you say, even if it is boring, she’s not going to ignore you or call you stupid or anything.. You’re worried about nothing. Just go there with an open mind and I’m sure there will be a happy ending,” he replied with a grin.

“Wait, what’s that supposed to mean?” I asked with a nervous tone.

“Anything you want it to. I’m just sayin’.. If she wants to do anything to you, like kiss or whatever at the end of the night, you’ll know then that it was a success, and.. Maybe you should let her, that’s all.. If you guys have fun, why not have more fun at the end of the night?” He answered suggestively and I sighed. “Come on, it’s been a long time. Live a little,” he continued and I eventually nodded.

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“I-I mean.. I guess I could.. But only if she wants to.. I don’t even know if I want to drink that much..”

“Well, you should at least have a few beers to get rid of those nerves, help you loosen up a little, you know? If you don’t want to drink that much, then just stop drinking when you feel like you’re comfortable enough to be left alone with her, then just coast it out from there,” he suggested, but that only made me more nervous.

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James and I left the pool and we waited in the courtyard in front of the main building for Kat and her friend to join us. The snow finally decided to show itself this week, big flakes falling from the sky and I watched as James held out hands and his his tongue in hopes of catching some of them. I didn’t care much for the colder season, it meant that I couldn’t be in the ocean or my favorite pond as much as I wanted to be, but I could at least look forward to one thing and that was the yearly ocean dive I did for the Polar Bear Club. It wasn’t until a week before Christmas and I still had some time before then, but I was still excited about it. 

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“No way,” James began and I looked to him curiously.

“What is it?”

“Isn’t that the same girl that I pushed you into last week?” He asked and I looked to where his eyes were set, seeing Kat and I recognized the girl as well.

“Damn.. Yeah, it is..”

“What do you mean damn? She’s cute, I distinctly remember saying that before, too,” he pointed out.

“Yeah, I know, she is, but I still feel bad about doing that. Now I feel like I have to apologize to her again,” I replied and James laughed, “What?”

“Nothing, it’s just that obviously she knows who you are, she probably knew who you were when you bumped into her, too, since she’s in Kat’s class. She probably wants you to bump into her again, if you know what I mean,” he said with a nudge and I rolled my eyes.

“You’re such a pervert,” I replied and he laughed again.

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Kat’s face was glowing with excitement as she dragged her friend over to us, obviously excited to introduce us and I tried to put on a believable smile. “Did you tell him already?” Kat asked James and he nodded, “Soooo, this is Jody. Jody, Oliver,” Kat introduced us and I could already see in Jody’s expression that she recognized me from the week earlier, she even looked a little star-struck, but I didn’t know why.. I wasn’t that special.

“Nice to meet you, even though we’ve already met, but.. Informally,” I said with a soft chuckle and I watched her smile shyly.

“What?” Kat asked and Jody looked to her briefly, then back to me.

“Oh, well, uhm.. I was leaving class last week, I believe Monday, and they were on their way to class. Oliver bumped into me on accident, though we didn’t introduce ourselves then,” she replied to Kat and she instantly looked to James.

“What? Don’t give me that look.. I didn’t do anything,” James replied with a grin and I continued to hold my smile that I hoped was believable. 

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“Well, get more acquainted, you two,” Kat said before she walked up to James and took him by the arm and I watched her force him to walk with her, “You pushed him into her, didn’t you?” She questioned with a smile on her face as they walked off ahead of us and I knew then that they had schemed with one another on this to bring Jody and I together.. 

I looked to Jody and I let out a soft, nervous chuckle, “Uhm.. Are you, uhh.. Coming back to our place with us, or are you going home?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m going to your place. Kat and I wanted to get ready together.. You’re coming out with us tonight, aren’t you?” She wondered, hopefulness in her tone and I nodded.

“Yeah, I’m coming.. So, should we, uhh..” I gestured with my hand to follow James and Kat and she smiled.

“Oh! Yeah, let’s catch up to them,” she suggested and we began walking with one another.

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This was a little awkward, I didn’t know what to talk to her about and I’d rather us walk in a group than separately like this. If this silence, this awkward silence, lasted much longer on this walk, I seriously wanted to reconsider going out tonight, knowing then that it would just be more and more silence between the two of us.. I looked to her periodically out of the corner of my eye, noticing her facing forward the whole time, her eyes to the ground ahead of her, as if watching every step she made in fear that she would trip and make a fool out of herself in front of me. I couldn’t deny that I was doing the same thing, trying not to slip up in front of her and not wanting to bump into her a second time.. I noticed that Kat kept looking back at us, too, probably telling James how cute we looked or something equally annoying..

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Luckily, we caught up to Kat and James before there was too much silence between us and the girls walked ahead of us, giggling amongst themselves every now and then as we walked home and I was curious as to what they were talking about. “Don’t worry about it,” James said and it was as if he had read my mind.

“I’ll never understand what that means.. The giggling.. It’s like they want us to want to know what they’re talking about, but they’ll never tell, so why make it so obvious in the first place?” I asked, getting a little anxious at the fact.

“That’s exactly what it is, though,” James replied with a snicker, “Which is why I say not to worry about it, because you’ll never know. Well, unless you get her drunk enough, then she might spill it.”

“My goal isn’t to get her wasted, so I guess I’ll just never know.. Unless you know and you’re not telling me, which I then advise you to tell me this second,” I said sternly and I heard James laugh. 

“Yeah, yeah, you caught me.. She just likes you a lot, that’s all.. Kat says that wasn’t the first time she’s ever seen you, when you bumped into one another, I mean.. She’s had a little crush on you for a while now and she knew Kat was your cousin. You must’ve just never noticed her when you’d come to walk Kat home, but she’s noticed you, apparently.. Plus, Kat talks about you a lot in her dance class because you’re single and they know that and she’s always looking to set you up with someone. Why she picked Jody, I don’t know, but there has to be a reason, right? She wouldn’t just pair you up with some random girl that you have nothing in common with,” he answered.

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“I guess so.. She doesn’t even know me, though.. Hearing stuff about me from Kat is one thing, but actually being around me is entirely different.. I don’t like girls who only rely on looks,” I said with a displeased tone.

“Well, at least we know she doesn’t think you’re ugly,” he replied with a laugh, nudging me and trying to cheer me up since my demeanor had turned a little sour, but I wasn’t that amused. “Lighten up, will you? I know you said you’re not just going to hit it and quit it, but at this point, why not? You pretty much have a sure-fire way of getting it, she’s obviously already crazy about you.. Just humor her tonight. ..Remember me telling you to live a little? Get to know her, don’t get to know her, fuck her or don’t, I don’t care.. Just think about it, though.. Kat and I are only trying to help, in our own ways.. Whichever way you want to go is fine with me, just make sure you’re doing whatever it is that you choose because you want to,” he continued and I nodded.

“The more you tell me to make it my decision, the more you seem to talk about sleeping with her. Why do you care about this more than I do? How many times already have I asked you two to back off?”

“I.. I don’t know, really.. I just want you to be able to find something to focus on a little more than your usual shit.. You’ve been through a lot.. I got curious a little about what Thomas had said.. I know it’s a sensitive subject, and I know people have caught on that you lost your Mom and all that, but I talked to Kat about it a little.. She told me some stuff about her and-“

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I stopped, putting my hand on James’ torso and he stopped his footsteps as well. I looked to him with a serious face and I could see the glint of worry in his eyes, “I don’t know what she told you, but I don’t talk about my mother for a reason.. Don’t bring her up to me again,” I said quietly, watching him nod and I removed my hand from him.

“I’m sorry, man.. I didn’t mean anything by it..” He said truthfully.

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“I know you didn’t.. But if I ever want to talk about it, I’ll come to you, alright?” I asked and he nodded once more, seeing the remorse in his eyes and I continued walking again, James walking with me and I felt like I was walking with Jody again for how quiet James was being. I felt bad for confronting him like that, but I was’t ready to talk to James about what happened exactly.. Granted, he could go online and do some digging and he’d eventually be able to find out what had happened to my family when I was just a boy, so I didn’t know why he felt the need to talk to Kat and I about it when he could just do that, but I suppose he maybe was just trying to help out.. He didn’t mean any harm by it, and I knew that, but if there was one thing I never talked about with anyone, it was my parents. Or rather, my entire past.. That was between Kat, Camilla and I, and no one else.

          Katalina’s POV          

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Jody was so adorable and I was so happy that I had made this happen for her. She’s been talking to me about Oliver for months now and I finally managed to get Oliver to agree to a date. Well, it couldn’t really be called an official date, but James did a good job of talking Oliver into it and I knew that they were going to hit it off. I was so excited for tonight. I was already ready to leave, it only took me an hour to get ready, but Jody was having problems with her outfit, and I knew she was extremely nervous about going out tonight. “Does this look okay?” She asked with a hint of worry in her voice, “I’m glad we’re the same size with clothing, but I still feel like this looks better on you than me.. What do you think?” She asked, turning to face me away from the mirror and I looked her up and down.

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“I think you look great, but if you want to change, be my guest. The boys have to wait anyways and I’m sure they’re ready by now, but you gotta make a big entrance if you really want to impress Oliver, so.. Do you feel impressive wearing that?” I asked, watching as she quickly turned to face the mirror once more and she ran her hands down the dress, her face giving hundreds of different expressions as she looked to herself.

“No.. I don’t feel impressive..” She admitted with a sad face and I laughed.

“Well, take it off. Try this on instead,” I offered, handing her another dress and she slipped out of the one she was wearing.

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“What if nothing looks good on me..? What if I just make a huge fool of myself? He doesn’t seem like the judgmental type.. But.. What if I can’t find the right thing to wear to make his jaw drop, you know?” She asked, slipping on the other dress up her legs and she looked in the mirror again. She was so nervous and I loved knowing that Oliver was most likely nervous, too.. They’re already so cute together!

“Believe me, Oliver is not the judgmental type. I’m sure anything you wear, you’ll look amazing in, and his jaw’s going to drop no matter what you put on. Just look at you, Jody! Gorgeous blonde hair, pretty blue eyes, your lips are perfect, which I’m jealous of, and your body is way more curvy and sexy compared to mine. How could you not impress him, really?” I asked.

“Stop it, Kat..” She said with a smile as her cheeks blushed, “Thank you.. But, you’re way prettier.. Your legs are so long and you’re so tall, like a model or something.. I’m so short.. I feel like I need a chair to stand on just so my eyes meet his chin, for goodness sake’s,” she said with a bothered tone as she continued to check herself out in the mirror.

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“Who cares if you’re short? Short is cute. And you don’t need a chair, he’ll bend down for you to get at those lips,” I hinted with a smile and she looked to me, her expression and her body reeking of nerves.

“You really think he’ll kiss me?” She asked, her eyes staring at me and I couldn’t help but laugh at her.

“You’re even cuter when you’re nervous! How could he not kiss you?” I asked, continuing to giggle as she grew more anxious and she faced the mirror again. “Stop worrying about it so much! He’s going to love anything you wear, he’s going to love everything you say or do or whatever.. Just stop worrying about it. The more you do, the more you’ll screw up.”

“Great.. Really encouraging, Kat..” She said sarcastically and I couldn’t help but giggle to myself again.

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“What about you and James?” Jody asked.

“What about me and James?” I asked back and I watched as she smiled and looked to me.

“You know that he likes you, right?”

“Well, I’d hope so.. He’s our best friend, so..” I said with slight attitude.

“That’s not what I mean..” She emphasized and I watched as she slipped out of the dress she was wearing and tried on another one.

“Then get to the point, you’re starting to bore me,” I said attitude once more and she laughed.

“Stop putting up such a high wall.. Open your eyes more. He like likes you,” she hinted again and I rolled my eyes.

“No, he doesn’t..” I ignored the subject, “Did you find a dress yet? I’m so ready for a drink that I might just do a few shots right when we get there..” I continued, walking over to her.

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I looked at her in the mirror, watching her eyes light up when she slipped on the next dress and I saw her smile, “This.. This is the one. I love it!” She exclaimed happily and I smiled at her through the mirror.

“Awesome, you look so good in that! Now let’s get going, I need to get my party on, especially since we don’t have classes tomorrow,” I replied, walking towards the door and opening it.

“Wait, wait.. Is my makeup okay? And my hair?” She asked, seeing her nervousness reaching it’s max and I smiled.

“You look beautiful, really.. Let’s go make some jaws drop,” I said with a sly grin, seeing her face turn excited and she followed me out of the room. 

         Oliver’s POV          

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James and I managed to find clothes to wear for going out tonight and I thought that I looked okay, though I wasn’t really the most stylish when it came to looking nice.. Kat, Camilla or my grandmother would usually dress me when it came to special occasions, I just hoped that I looked okay enough for wherever we were going. I stared off at the wall, James sitting at the dining table next to me and he caught my attention, “Nervous?” He asked and nodded.

“Yeah, kind of.. Is this a double date? Is it even a date? I don’t know what kind of mindset I’m even supposed to be in right now..” I replied, scratching the back of my neck.

“Well, I don’t think it’s a double date, considering Kat isn’t going with her arm around mine, you know? So, I guess we’re just going for support. To make sure you two get the right amount of alone time and whatnot, or make sure you guys don’t get into a fight for whatever reason or anything unpredictable,” he replied with a soft laugh.

“Yeah.. I doubt we’d fight.. But, is it still a date if I don’t kiss her at the end of the night?” I asked and I felt James hit my arm. “Ow! What?!”

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“Stop being such a fuckin’ pussy.. I know you’re a shy guy, but come on.. You’re not this shy, are you? It’s just a fuckin’ kiss, maybe more if you want it to be, but none of this shit is new to you. Stop asking questions and just feel the situation out when we’re there and settled.. Stop thinking it’s a disaster before we even leave the house, got it?” He asked sternly and I nodded, though I felt as if I was being disciplined and I didn’t much care for that. But, since I didn’t like it, I decided to do as he said and I tried to stop thinking about it so much. He was right, going into it with a bad attitude would ensure that it would only end bad, too..

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James and I perked up a little when we heard the girls’ heels clicking on the stairs and the floor above us, James standing from the chair and we both looked towards the stairs and the first thing we both saw were Kat’s legs and James let out a quiet whistle that only I heard. I rolled my eyes at his reaction, obviously not as impressed as he was since she was my cousin, though she did look nice for the occasion. Jody then followed right behind Kat and my eyes widened a little as I stared at her, watching her legs as she walked down each step and my eyes traveled up her whole body until our eyes met when she finally had reached the floor. Her cheeks were a flush and pretty pink and she held her arm to help cope with the nerves I knew she felt. 

“Damn.. You look beautiful,” James complimented Kat and she smiled properly, as if she knew she looked good and didn’t need him to tell her. 

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“See? What did I say? He’s blown away,” Kat said to Jody and I snapped out of my trance, hearing Jody laugh bashfully.

“O-Oh.. Yeah.. You look really nice,” I complimented, taking a lesson from James when he had complimented Kat and Jody couldn’t seem to wipe the smile off her lips.

“Thank you,” she said quietly and I smirked.

“Well, let’s get some drinks and have some fun,” Kat said with a grin and we followed her lead, the girl’s putting their coats on and we left our place and took a cab to wherever Kat had decided to go.

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We all sat at the same booth at the bar after hanging up the girl’s coats, chatting for a while as we had a drink together, but about an hour into the night, Kat grabbed James’ hand and pulled him out from the booth, “Let’s go take a shot,” she told him and he didn’t object, “We’ll be right back,” she told Jody with an enthused wink and I wanted to roll my eyes at this situation she was forcing me in, but I didn’t just in case Jody would notice and I didn’t want to give her the impression that I was bored. I just wished that Kat knew how much this situation sucked for the both of us, and I’m sure since Jody was just as shy as me, if not more, then she must be feeling a lot worse about this as she sat next to me, quiet and playing with her fingers nervously.

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This was my chance, I suppose, to get to know her a little.. James and Kat had already taken their shot, but they still stood at the bar, giving us way more time than we needed and I knew Kat was stalling. I tried my hardest to think of something to say to Jody, but nothing was coming to mind.. I only somewhat wanted to get back into dating, so being forced into it was a huge turn off to the entire idea. What didn’t help even more was that I didn’t even really want to know anything about her.. She didn’t seem intriguing or mysterious, she didn’t seem fun or exciting, she just seemed so concave and boxed into her own little world.. But, I guess so did I in this instance..

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So, uhm.. H-How long have you known Kat?” I asked, needing to break this awkward silence and Jody looked to me.

“Since I joined the dance class when the new semester started in August.. So, only for a few months,” she replied and I nodded, “Have you and her always been close?” She asked in return.

“Oh, uh, yeah, ever since we were born..” I answered and already these questions were so painfully bored to answer. They seemed so cliche and typical talk to people that had no idea what to say to one another..

“Do you have any siblings? Kat doesn’t talk about anyone else in her family except for you and her dad, so..” She pointed out and I nodded again.

“Yeah, a little sister.. She’s studying abroad, I think she’s in France somewhere close to Switzerland right now. She’ll be visiting soon, actually, maybe before or after Christmas sometime..” I replied with a smirk and she nodded in understanding. “What about you? Any siblings?” I asked.

“Yeah, uhm.. A little sister, like you, and an older brother. He actually attends the college, too.. He’s in his third year, like you are,” she answered and I grew a little curious.

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“What year are you in?”

“This is my first.. I’m nineteen, so..” She replied and my eyes widened a little.

“W-Wait.. How’d you get in, then? I thought you were twenty one..?”

“I have a fake ID,” she answered with a nervous smile and I chuckled.

“Let me guess, Kat talked you into it, didn’t she?”

“Well, yeah,” she said with a soft laugh, “Who else do you think would’ve?” She asked sarcastically and I smiled. I wasn’t really expecting her to be this young, and I would’ve never guessed that she’d risk getting caught with something such as a fake. She seemed more like the ‘southern belle’ type, a do-gooder, not that there was anything wrong with that, I just wasn’t expecting it.

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I watched as Jody took a sip of the wine she had got every now and then as we talked casually.. I didn’t expect to get to know her all that much, but I made sure to at least remember a few of the things she had said. The thing I liked most about her was her modesty and how humble she was as she talked, she was also very diffident at times, yet not too shy to the point where it was all that awkward anymore. She was trying to pursue something in dance or theater, just like Kat was, trying to get credits and get a diploma with something to fall back on just in case her dancing didn’t work out. She seemed like she had a lot planned, like she knew where she was going and how to get there, and I admired that about her. 

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I noticed James and Kat hadn’t come back in a while, but I guess it was alright.. I didn’t need him to save me from her or save me from a lack of conversation, I didn’t mind the simple things that we shared and it was actually kind of nice talking to someone else that wasn’t James or Kat. I’ve come to believe that it’s a little hard to make me laugh, but she managed to be able to a few times as we sat there, finishing our drinks and a waitress came by to give us fresh ones. “So, were you nervous about tonight?” I asked with a smirk and Jody smiled softly as she let out a quiet giggle.

“Yeah, really nervous, actually.. I think the wine’s helping, though,” she replied and I chuckled. Even though she has a fake ID and has been drinking before she’s legally able to, it made me wonder how much she could actually handle. If she drank any more, I believed it to be too much to the point where it would make me feel like I was taking advantage of her and that was never my intention, so what should we do now? “What about you? Were you nervous at all?” She asked and I sigh with a smirk on my lips.

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“Yeah, I’m actually still a little nervous now.. Would you maybe, uhm.. Wanna grab some air?” I asked and she smiled as she looked to me.

“Isn’t it a little cold outside?” She wondered in return and I didn’t think before my next words.

“I can keep you warm,” I said softly and I watched as her smile began to fade, “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-“

“Okay..” She agreed, to my surprise, “Let’s go,” she continued and I watched her stand from the booth, walking to go get her coat where she hung it and I looked over to where James and Kat were by the bar.

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They were still drinking with one another and I smirked as I watched them together, proud of James with how he’d managed to keep Kat’s attention on himself instead of anyone else in the bar. When Kat went to order something for them, James glanced over towards us and he made a curious yet excited expression at me and I chuckled to myself. “Where are you going?” He mouthed to me and I read his lips.

“Outside for air,” I mouthed back and he nodded in understanding, cocking his eyebrows at me suggestively then and I rolled my eyes with a smirk still on my lips. I stepped over towards Jody and I placed my hand on the small of her back, leading her out of the bar and outside in the cool air.

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It was still snowing out, but there was no wind and it was completely silent outside with the only noises being the occasional passing car or whenever someone would use the door to the bar and the music would flood out into the streets, but only momentarily. Jody and I walked a few good feet away from the door down the sidewalk and she began a conversation first, “It’s really beautiful out.. What made you move to a place like this, besides going to college? Anything?” She asked.

“Well.. If I wasn’t attending the college, I think I’d still eventually end up here. I’ve grown to have a love-hate relationship with this place, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.. I can find myself in trouble sometimes, but I still really love it here. There’s just something about it that I can’t put my finger on,” I replied.

“I feel the same way, actually.. I really love how peaceful it is, especially at night,” she answered, “I’m really, really glad that I moved here.. And I might have a little confession that I’m just confident enough to say out loud from the wine I had,” she continued with a soft giggle and I looked to her curiously.

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“What’s that?” I asked, watching her stop walking and I slowly came to a stop as well, looking back at her and I could see her blushing cheeks from where I stood. 

“I-I’ve.. I’ve had a crush on you ever since the first time I saw you my first day attending the college.. When I had joined the dance class, I noticed you and James outside waiting for Kat like you did for us today in the courtyard. To be quite honest, it was all a little too surreal. The cherry blossom trees were still in bloom and it was the beginning of August, it was perfect out and it was even like the a scene in a movie for how beautiful everything looked. And then, there you were, standing by the fountain,” she confessed and I grew a little bashful from her words, I had no idea that she’s liked me for this long. I was a little flustered, too, unsure of how to respond to her and I heard her let out a soft chuckle, “Wow, I sound like such an idiot,” she continued, turning her head away from me.

“N-No, you don’t.. I guess I just wasn’t expecting this tonight. I admire that you were able to tell me, it must’ve been hard.. You’re a lot braver than me,” I replied, seeing her look up to me.

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“I had fun tonight.. Would you be open to, uhm.. Doing this again? Maybe without James and Kat..? I know the nights not even over yet, but..” She offered, thinking to myself for a moment and I contemplated what James and I had talked about earlier. Jody already liked me and has had a thing for me for a few months now, she obviously wouldn’t ask if she didn’t enjoy talking to me tonight and being with me.. I guess the question was whether or not I liked it. She was a really nice, sweet girl, and although I didn’t know much about her, I guess I could admit that getting to know her a little better couldn’t hurt. The more I thought about it, the more okay with it I became, and I decided to give it a try. If it didn’t work out, then I’d just have to start over again..

“Yeah.. Yeah, we can do this again,” I agreed with a smirk and I saw her face light up with joy. I felt pretty good about myself at this moment, never did I imagine someone would be so crazy for me, especially when we barely even knew one another, but I liked the feeling of my ego getting stroked after such a long time of nothing but disappointments. I didn’t expect to see myself with one of the blonde Barbie’s that reigned over the college, but at least it was someone, and someone who liked me.

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“Are you getting cold at all?” I asked, still able to see her blushing cheeks and she nodded softly, “Would you want to go back inside, or..?” I wondered next, but she answered my question by approaching me and I looked down to her in slight surprise.

“I like it out here.. Besides, you offered to keep me warm earlier..” She reminded me and I had forgotten that I had even offered that.. I grew a little nervous as she waited for me to take initiative, but I finally reached forward and put my arms around her, Jody then closing the gap between us and she hesitantly put her head against my chest. I enjoyed the extra warmth she gave off and her hair smelled wonderful, I even enjoyed feeling her chest rise and descend against mine when she took each of her long breaths and it didn’t take me long to notice that she was taking rather large inhales, as if purposely trying to savor my scent. She seemed relaxed, the most relaxed I’ve seen her all night and I wondered how being in my arms helped her.. I don’t think anyone’s been as content as she was when being around me, but it made me feel wanted, it made me feel even better about myself.

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I could feel her fingertips playing with the fabric of my coat, getting anxious about something and I wondered if she was waiting for me to kiss her. Did I even want to, though? I liked her enough, sure, but I guess I wasn’t all that attracted to her physically. But, tonight has been somewhat fun and a little easier than I thought it was going to go, so why not take that last step? But, wait.. Aren’t you supposed to kiss at the end of the night, when you take the girl home? What if she didn’t want to go home after this, or even she did want to leave, would she want to come back to our place..? I was starting to get nervous again, the thought of the kiss possibly not being the last thing we did together tonight was making my heart beat faster and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to go as far as she might want to.. 

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“Oliver..” She caught my attention, “You’re heart.. It’s going crazy,” she said quietly with a gentle laugh, “What are you thinking about?” She asked, pulling her head from my chest and she looked up to me. I noticed her quickly glance at my lips before coming right back to my eyes and I knew then that I had guessed right, she wanted me to kiss her and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to do so in fear that she might want to do more than that and I didn’t know if I was ready.. 

“I-I’m, uh… Not really thinking about anything, in particular..” I replied, my first lie to her already and it was only our first date. 

“I find that hard to believe,” she replied with a cute smile, “Tell me the truth,” she requested and I decided to oblige. 

“Well.. I-I was just, uhm.. Trying to figure out if I should kiss you or not,” I replied and I noticed her smile a little more.

“And what’s keeping you from doing it?” She asked next, though I found it hard to answer her, “I understand.. Kat, uhm.. Might’ve mentioned something about you.. And, well.. How long it’s been,” she admitted and I sighed, letting go of Jody.

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I stepped away from her a few feet, angered and embarrassed by how Kat likes to blab so much about my personal life lately, “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to strike a nerve or anything.. I was just trying to say that it’s okay, and that you have nothing to be nervous about.. It’s been about a year for me, so I’m kind of in the same boat as you.. I’m nervous, too, but.. I really enjoy being with you.. Do you enjoy being with me? Because if you do, then.. We could do this together, we can be nervous wrecks together,” she replied with a soft, awkward laugh. I was still a little angry, I really didn’t enjoy that she knew how long it had been since I’ve been with someone, considering that was none of her business and it was none of Kat’s business, either.. “I’m sorry, Oliver.. I ruined everything, didn’t I..? I’m just going to grab a cab home.. I’m really sorry..” She continued and I turned around, watching her walk to the edge of the street to try and hail a cab, but I didn’t want her to leave yet, I didn’t want this date to turn out bad and I didn’t want someone as understanding as her to be put through a situation like this just because I was being a coward.

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“W-Wait, Jody..” I got her attention, seeing her look over her shoulder towards me and I stepped up to her, slowly bringing my hand up to her face and I could feel how warm her cheek was in the palm of my hand. “May I..?” I asked quietly, seeing her cheeks blush a bright red and she nodded with a smile.

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“You may,” she answered happily and I smirked, lowering my head and we both shut our eyes just before our lips touched and we kissed on the sidewalk under the falling snow. She was right, moments like this seemed surreal and I felt as she did now when she had first saw me. It really was just like a scene from a movie.. Standing together at night under the moon that hid behind clouds in which a gentle and calm snow fell from. It was weird to think that just a little over a week ago, I bumped into Jody and never thought anything of it, never thought that I’d end up going out with her, and never thought I’d end up kissing her like I was now. It was also weird to think that this might’ve happened for a reason, but I thought that might’ve been a stretch. 

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I eventually pulled away from Jody and she looked up to me with nervous eyes, shying them away from me then and I heard her let out a quiet giggle that expressed the happiness she felt. “Would it be wrong of me to ask if you’d mind taking me home?” She wondered and I shook my head.

“No, not at all.. I’ll get a cab for you,” I replied with a smirk, about to walk more to the edge of the sidewalk but she caught my attention and I looked back to her before getting a cab.

“Well, what I mean is.. You can come home with me, if you want,” she corrected herself and my heart beat picked up its pace again. She wanted me to come home with her already? “Sorry, it’s just.. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about it, and I’d really like to, uhm.. I-If you do, too, that is.. And I really don’t want you to think that I’m like this on every first date that I go on, it’s just-“

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“N-No, no.. I don’t think that.. I guess I just wasn’t expecting it, that’s all..” I replied with a nervous smirk.

“So, do you.. Wanna get out of here?” She asked with a smile on her lips and I thought about it for another moment.. I know that James told me to live a little and that if the opportunity presented itself, I shouldn’t turn it down.. But, was it too soon? Now knowing that I could have her tonight even without needing to work to get her in the mood, I found it rather flattering that she actually liked me this much to the point where she was comfortable enough to do something so intimate with me on our first time out.. I enjoyed the feeling of being wanted, it had been a long time since I’ve felt this way, this good about myself, but I still thought I wasn’t ready to jump right into things.. 

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“A-Actually, uhm.. I’d like to wait, if that’s okay.. Since you know already how long it’s been, thanks to Kat..” I ended reluctantly, “You understand, right..?” I asked, watching her expression lose a little bit of its luster, which made me think she didn’t care for my answer, but soon her expression went happy once again.

“Yeah, you’re right.. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to come on so strong..” She said with remorse and I stepped closer to her.

“No, it’s fine.. It’s just.. If we’re trying this out, then I think going slow is the best way.. I’m not looking for anything ‘on the whim’ or a one-night kind of thing, so..” I tried to explain.

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“I understand, believe me.. And I agree, I’m not looking for that, either, so.. Slow, then?” She wanted to reconfirm. 

“Yeah,” I replied with a smirk, watching her then reach up with her hand and she brought it to my neck, sliding it to my nape and she pulled me in for another kiss. I couldn’t say that I was overall happy just yet, but starting things out slow with Jody and knowing she understood what I wanted from the beginning so the wrong impression never came about was a good thing, and I was happy with how the night was going. 

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When our long kiss had stopped, she smiled as she looked up to me and I grew a little nervous again. The term ‘girlfriend’ didn’t really come to mind at first, though now that we were dating, I guess she could be labeled as such. “So, do you want to go back inside, or..?” I wondered.

“Actually, I think I’m going to head home..” She answered and my expression shifted to a slight surprise, though I guess she did want to go home earlier with me, but now that I wasn’t, she could still very well have the desire to leave.. I thought she’d want to stay a little bit longer just to hang out with me more, but maybe she was just tired, after all. 

“Oh, uhm.. Alright.. I’ll get a cab for you,” I offered and she smiled appreciatively. 

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I opened the door to the cab for Jody and we said our ‘goodnights’, watching the cab pull away and I stood there in the silence of the snowfall, pondering to myself if I had done something wrong already.. Maybe I was thinking too much into this, but if she liked me as much as James had made it seem, as well as Kat, I assumed she would’ve wanted to stay at least a little longer.. Did I lose her interest when I told her I didn’t want to go home with her? Should I have accepted the offer, even when I didn’t feel right about it? Now I felt bad, I felt that I did something wrong and I felt as if I ruined the night even when I was just convinced that it was going to end well.. I sighed softly to myself as I stood there alone, finally deciding that I didn’t want to go back in and I waited on the sidewalk for a cab of my own, ready to go home by myself. I ruined the evening, just like I knew I would.. I think I’ll hold off on labeling her my girlfriend now..

Next Chapter |

Generation 3, Chapter 18

     Gibson’s POV     

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

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

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

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

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

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“Yes, Jaime..?” I questioned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No one..”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mommy showed me how,” she replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Generation 3, Chapter 16

Gibson’s POV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“In his playpen,” she replied casually.

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

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

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

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

“Yeah, good idea.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“See? I knew she did..”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What about Kat?” I asked next.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why can’t you, sir?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hannah’s POV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hannah..”

“I’m sorry..” I said in a whisper.

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


 

heir poll

Downloaded: Gibson and Hannah’s House

Toddler Stats:

Oliver “Ollie” Theodor Dubois

Traits:

  • Insane
  • Light Sleeper

Favorites:

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

Sign: Aquarius

Katalina “Kat” Rose Dubois

Traits:

  • Artistic
  • Grumpy

Favorites:

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

Sign: Capricorn

Generation 3, Chapter 15

    Gareth’s POV     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re unbelievable, Gareth..”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“When?” I asked, confused.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Generation 3, Chapter 14

    Gibson’s POV     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Tell me,” she continued to persist.

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

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

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

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Hannah’s POV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“W-What..?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Yeah?” He asked excitedly and I nodded.

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

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

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

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Gibson’s POV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re not mad?” I questioned.

“Why the hell would I be?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Gareth, that’s not tru-“

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Is it.. Clean money?” I wondered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Generation 3, Chapter 12

Attention: This chapter picks up where the twins separated at their house from last chapter. Chapter 11 described what Gareth did after leaving, and this one describes what Gibson did after Gareth stormed out. Just wanted to clear that up as to not cause any potential confusion.

This chapter is also pretty long, so heads up. Enjoy <3

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    Gibson’s POV     

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Gareth left about half an hour ago and I’ve been sulking on the couch within the living room since. I had never spoken so harshly to him before and I regretted everything I said, but there was no going back now.. I don’t know what came over me, I just couldn’t get over the fact that he’s betrayed me before when it’s come to a relationship of mine and Hannah means more to me already than my ex did throughout our whole dating period.. Maybe that’s why I blew up at him. But there’s still no excuse for the other things I said, about Mom and Bennu and all the girls he sleeps with.. It’s none of my business what he does between the sheets, like I would even want to know in the first place anyways, but I went overboard bringing up Mom. Why did that even come out? 

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I didn’t hate her as much as Gareth did, she wasn’t mean to me or do anything to me in order for me to feel any sort of resentment towards her, but I can feel a sense of resentment within me that is held in regards to Gareth.. He still never admitted to killing Mom, but he never denied it either, or even felt the slightest bit bad about it if it were just an accident. Knowing him now, growing up with him and seeing what he’s turned into, there’s no doubt in my mind that Gareth did it on purpose. I remembered that night to the T, how Gareth and Sherri were arguing and he was being rather cruel to her, but Mom stepped in and sent Gareth to our room without dinner and he was up there all night. That was the first time he had ever conspired against someone without me. Maybe he knew I wouldn’t approve, so he was forced to keep me out of it. Though, would I have wanted to if he had asked me..? Or was he protecting me by leaving me out of it? I remembered the detective that eventually caught Dad came over to ask him some questions.. If he had involved me with Mom’s murder, we’d both be asked questions and interrogated, and at my age back then, I didn’t know how to talk to the cops.. I probably would’ve given us up without realizing it had I killed her with him. He knew I was weak back then and he was the strong one, but I wondered when in our lives had our rolls been switched..?

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For as cruel as Gareth can be, he doesn’t deserve the cruelty that I gave him. I lashed out because I’m insecure, I’m worried that I won’t be able to keep Hannah now that I have her, and I’m worried I’ll end up not being good enough. All of my rude words earlier to him were not a result of anything he said, but they were a result of my insecurities and lack of confidence in myself. I couldn’t just simply share with him little things that made me like Hannah so much, I didn’t have it in me to be forgiving and kind when I had these feelings of inhibition within me and the moment he asked about her, those doubts and diffident thoughts came rushing back and I felt as I was having an out of body experience.. I could hear what I was saying, I could feel the anger, yet I felt as if I wasn’t the one saying it.. I felt as if I was standing invisible within the living room, watching us fight and there was nothing I could say to stop it.. When I came back into my body, I realized what was just said and what I had said, and I tried to make it better by telling him about Hannah, but it was too late. I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything like that before.

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I let out a heavy sigh, not wanting to sulk anymore, yet I couldn’t figure out a way I could help myself. I needed help from someone else, but without Gareth here and him being the one I needed help with, I contemplated what I should do. Should I go looking for him and make sure he understands how truly sorry I was, or do I sit here and wait for him to return? No, I couldn’t wait here, he left for a week when we were on good terms, how long would he be gone on bad ones? I felt even worse now knowing he got back today and we talked for less than fifteen minutes and already he was back out the door. I wondered where he had gone to, what he might do when I know sometimes his anger gets the best of him, but how would I be able to stop it now since I had no idea where to find him? After all that’s been said, I wasn’t sure if he was going to continue to try and keep our promise or if he might break it again.. 

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I rose to my feet, unable to sit here any longer knowing he might do something irrational and I felt I might need help if I was going to find him. Normally I could do it myself, but when too frazzled like this, it was actually a little tiresome and difficult to think straight. I went upstairs and changed, then ran downstairs to check on Jess and she was sleeping on Gareth’s bed, still having food and water and I knew I could leave her alone for a little while. I locked up the house behind me and walked off the dock, in search for a cab and luckily one pulled around the corner after I had taken a short walk to it. 

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I told the cabby where I was headed and we arrived quicker than I imagined, I must’ve been too deep in thought to notice the drive. I decided to go to Bennu’s, wondering if I could maybe get her opinion on a few things.. I rang the doorbell and Bennu answered eventually, smiling warmly at the sight of me, “Gibson, vhat a good surprise this is, come in, come!” She said joyfully and I smiled and I came inside, shutting the door behind me and hugging her tightly.

“You changed your hair, it looks nice,” I noticed and she gave an appreciative smile. She looked a lot younger with this hairstyle, I even noticed she still wore the necklace I had given her on her birthday which proved to me she truly did like it.

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“Thank you, Gibson,” she replied, bringing one of her hands up and taking some of the hair out of my eye and touching my face with a proud look in her eyes, “You boys get more handsome every time I zee you.. You both look so much like your father,” she continued and I smiled more, seeing her then look around me in question, “Speaking of, is Gareth not with you?” She asked as her hand draped down my chin still in an observing manner.

“No, he’s.. Out somewhere. I came by to see how you were, and to see if I could talk to you about something,” I replied and I watched her nod and her warming hand finally dropped.

“Oh, of course. Please, come to the kitchen, I’ll make us some tea,” she gestured and I nodded in acceptance, following her into the kitchen.

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I sat at the small dining table between the kitchen and living room, waiting for her as she made us tea and sitting there in silence. I didn’t know where to begin, I thought maybe I could talk to Bahiti instead, but I felt Bennu might be a better person to talk to about this, seeing as she raised us with Dad and she sometimes knew how we worked. Mother’s intuition, I suppose. “So, tell me.. What brings you here? Vhat is troubling you?” She asked and I smirked softly at how her English was getting better, yet every now and then she still let her accent peak out in her words.

“Well, uhm.. Ahh man..” I said softly, still not knowing how to start and trying to watch my words as well so I didn’t give away too much of anything. “Gareth and I are.. Well-”

“Fighting?” She guessed and I sighed.

“Yeah, I guess.. To say the least.. How’d you know?” I wondered.

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“You show up without him, the first sign,” she said with a soft chuckle and I smirked, yet it faded quickly, “And you do not come here without him unless there iz something you do not want him to hear, or maybe he’s not here because you do not know where he is, yes?” She suggested and I looked to her with a slight sense of amazement, seeing now that she did know us better than I thought.

Bennu brought over the tea and set the cups down, taking a seat at the table with me as I answered her, “..Yeah.. I don’t know where he is.. We fought over something that happened between us in the past and I said some things that hit him pretty hard. I want to find him so I can apologize and fix things,” I replied, watching her nod in understanding.

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“Vhat did you fight about exactly?” She asked and it took me a moment to answer.. I didn’t want to rat on him, let alone coming to our Mom and it felt like taddling on him like we were children at this point. Bennu noticed my hesitation, “Gibson, I know that this is not your nature to go to others for help, you always seem to make the right choices and you are a strong man, but everyone needs help every once is a while, do not be ashamed that you are here to ask for it.. I am more than happy to help you two,” she continued and I was warmed by her sincerity. 

“Well, it’s a very, very long story with a long history, but I guess I could tell you the recent things that have been building up,” I began and she nodded, giving me her full attention and I explained, delicately, about Gareth and my ex and my relationship now with Hannah and how I felt about everything. It felt good talking to someone about this rather than keeping it to myself or attempting to discuss it with Gareth. 

“I always knew Gareth to be a little deviant at times, but he was still such a good boy. It surprises and troubles me to hear that he would do something like that to you. For being twins, you two are the most opposite ones I’ve come to know,” she replied with a gentle smile and I shrugged.

“I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing anymore,” I add and I hear her sigh softly.

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“Have you ever considered that maybe he did it on purpose?” She suggested and my eyes widened a little.

“No, no I’ve never considered that..” I replied with a somewhat stern tone, “Why would you imply that?”

“Forgive me, maybe I am out of my bounds and I do not mean to make you upset or cause you to hold any more ill will towards Gareth.. But, knowing you two and how you’re always together, and you always have been, is it not something to consider because he is worried about losing you after 23 years?” She continued and my expression grew softer, somewhat understanding a little better now, though it still seemed hard to believe. Or at least, I didn’t want to believe it. “You two have a bond like I’ve never seen, you two are one and to him, losing you is like losing a half of himself,” she continued and the more she went on the more it started to make sense. “Maybe he did it so you’d break up with her and so that he could have you to himself again. Of course, I could be wrong, and I do not mean to sound like I do not love him, but he can be selfish at times. This may or may not be one of those occasions.” 

“I’ve never thought about that before,” I admitted, lowering my head and thinking to myself a moment.

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“I feel like that’s not your only reason in being here though, is there something else on your mind?” She asked and I looked back up to her, knowing she was right and she knew she was right, too. But, it was something I wasn’t going to even begin talking to her about. I couldn’t, and can’t.

“Yes, there is.. But, I don’t believe it’s something you can do anything about,” I replied with a defeated tone.

“Well, who could help you with it?” She asked and I shrugged.

“Maybe Gareth, if I could find him and if he actually talked to me without it resulting in a fight,” I add and she chuckles.

“I think I know what you might need. If it is about Gareth, you can’t talk to him about it. You’re right, he would get angry and your troubles would never end,” I looked to her with a raised brow, curious as to what she was thinking, “You should go and see your father,” she finished and my eyes widened a little.

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“No, I couldn’t do that.. Not without Gareth. We’ve never went to see him without one another,” I contested and she smiled, chuckling slightly once more.

“Your father has a lot to say, believe it or not. You two together makes him feel like he can’t discover who you two have become as separate people. He wants to experience you both now that you are grown men, but he cannot do it properly if both of you are always together, feeding off one another,” she replied and I was shocked.

“Is that why he hasn’t said a word to us this whole time?” I asked.

“He has his reasons, you should go and talk to him.. Now is a good time since Gareth isn’t with you,” she gave another suggestion and my heart started beating faster. Seeing my father was like seeing someone that wasn’t there. Whenever Gareth and I went to see him, he never talked, let alone look at us together and I began to wonder if what Bennu said was true. She’s been the only one he’s spoken to this whole time, so it doesn’t seem too unbelievable that he would tell her something like that, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to see him on my own.  

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“Will you come with me?” I asked, looking to her with worried eyes and she gave me a welcoming expression.

“I would love to go see your father with you,” she replied and I let out a relieved sigh, glad that I was going with at least one person instead of risking this on my own. I had to admit, I was a little worried and nervous to see my father, it had been seven months since Gareth and I saw him last, but this was the first time I was going to see him alone. I hope Bennu was right, I hoped that Dad would talk to me after all this time, but I still could never be too sure. I was nervous and a little hesitant still, but maybe talking to him would help me a little.

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I stood up and Bennu joined me, uncertainty filling me as we walked out of the house and to Bennu’s car and she was still driving my Dad’s old black coupe, similar to Gareth and I’s car now yet ours was a dark red instead of black. The smell inside of it still reminded me of Dad, even though Bennu’s had it this whole time and he had even lent it to Lucy when she went to college.. It still smelled like him, even after all this time.. I didn’t know what to do as Bennu drove us to the hospital, trying to think of things to get my mind off worrying about seeing me father, “So, where’s Bahiti? Was she home? I forgot to ask,” I brought up.

“No, she’s out, I think at a movie with her friend and then grabbing dinner with her,” she replied pleasantly.

“Oh, do I know her?”

“No, she met her recently, and don’t worry, nothing that Gareth would be interested in,” she replied with a light laugh and I looked to her with concern.

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“I.. I didn’t know you’d notice something like that.. I’m sorry for the way he acted on your birthday,” I replied.

“It doesn’t bother me, I know how he is.. Just the fact that you both showed up kept me very happy.. I know I am not your boys’ biological mother, and I do not mean to make me sound better than her in any vay, simply because she never was lucky to live long enough to see you two wonderful boys grown up, but you are my sons.. I know more about you two than you realize,” she replied with a smile and I smirked as well. I loved my mother, yet I had never felt a connection with her like I had with Bennu.. Maybe that was my fathers doing for driving her away to be with Bennu, but I didn’t blame him. Bennu was an amazing woman, and I had to acknowledge the fact that I did see her more as my mother than my own mom, even for the short time I had been raised by her. Bennu just seemed to care more.

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We arrived at the mental hospital and my heart was pounding as we got out of the car and approached the doors, trying to keep my whits about me and trying to stay as calm and collected as I could. We went in and approached the front desk, the clerk seeing Bennu and smiling, “Here to see Mr. Dubois, ma’am?” She guessed correctly and Bennu nodded happily, “Please sign in like you usually do,” she requested and I saw her look to me, “It’s been a while, Mr. Dubois, your father will be pleased to see you, I’m sure,” she comforted and I didn’t know how to react, so I said nothing as I signed in as well after Bennu. 

Bennu looked to me and smiled, “Don’t be nervous, he’s still the same man he was before all of this,” she comforted and I nodded softly.

“Okay, follow me please,” the woman behind the counter said, Bennu walking ahead of me and I reluctantly followed.

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We walked up a flight of stairs and came through a door that we needed to be buzzed in first before we entered, just like I remembered, but it still felt different when I looked behind me and didn’t see Gareth following. Bennu stepped through another door and I slowly followed, coming into the open room where most of the patients spent their ‘fun time’, seeing a person playing chess and arguing with themselves, a woman painting in the corner and a few others that didn’t fit Dad’s description. 

I stopped when Bennu did and she turned to me, “Wait here, sweetheart,” she cooed softly and I nodded, standing by the door as I watched Bennu with a keen eye. I knew these people were more unstable than my father, causing me to put my protective mannerism on and I watched Bennu closely while also watching the rest of the room and making sure no one approached her that I knew she didn’t know. 

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I watched her approach a man sitting in a chair watching television by himself in the corner of the room and she placed a hand on his shoulder, me taking a few steps closer towards her but when I saw the side of my fathers face when his head turned towards her, I let down my guard on her and I watched them casually instead. I watched him quickly get up and he pulled her as close as he could, hugging her tightly and I knew he was surprised and thrilled to see her, seeing as I brought her here with me unexpectedly. They pulled away from one another and they kissed passionately, though I didn’t look away as I watched their love. It never grew old to me, I loved seeing Bennu and my father together, I loved seeing him still so excited to see her, and I loved seeing their love fill the entire room with just a simple welcoming kiss. I was jealous of their love, I wondered if I could ever have the same thing as them with Hannah. They were my inspiration. I had never seen that kind of love involving my father and my mother, but it made me that more acknowledged to what love truly was, and I knew my father never loved my mother like he did Bennu. Maybe my Dad did make the right choice when choosing who he wanted to be with and who he wanted to help raise us. I smirked softly to myself when I even thought back on how we had found out he murdered two people, yet Bennu still stuck by his side.. But, so did Gareth and I.

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When they had finally parted from their kiss, I saw her speaking to my father and the expressions he made were troubled, yet he didn’t react negatively. I saw him then look towards me when Bennu pointed me out and I thought my heart stopped when his eyes met mine. He didn’t talk to Gareth and I when we were together, and that also went with the fact than he never bothered to look us in the eye, either. Him looking at me now made me feel like I was eighteen again and I could see his disheveled, sapphire eyes from where I stood as if I had just been caught getting in trouble. I didn’t know what to do while he looked at me, so I did nothing but stand there, helpless in his presence as I had known I would be before I even got here.

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His hair had grown out so much since I had last seen him, yet he still held the same clean but stubbly look to his facial hair. He looked to Bennu and I watched him smile, something I hadn’t seen in a long, long time and soon Bennu was walking towards me with a smile on her lips as well. I stood there still distraught and a little frozen, watching her approach me and she gave me a warm, welcoming grin, “Go to him, he’s waiting to talk to you. I’ll be over here if you need anything at all, sweetheart,” she said in a motherly tone, causing me to unconsciously smile towards her, but it disappeared a moment after.

“Are you sure he’s ready to talk to me?” I asked her before she left, looking to her with a nervous expression.

“Of course.. He’s been waiting to see you alone for a long time. Please believe me when I say that he can help you and your brother out more than you think. He knows you boys. You are his son, he will be able to help you through anything,” she continued, placing her hand on my bicep momentarily in a comforting manner and she walked off to sit in a chair, away from my father so him and I could talk. I watched as she sat in a single chair, occupying herself and I looked back to my father, sitting and facing the television in front of him and my stomach was turning into small knots. I was nervous to approach him, but I heard Bennu clear her throat obviously and she egged me on, motioning with her eyes for me to go to him and I finally did.

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