Strong language used in this post. Nothing really serious though. 13 and up.
“Aren’t you looking beautiful today!” Alex wolf-whisted. I did a little twirl for him and he grinned at me. His hands lightly touched my back and I pulled him in for a kiss. His lips were dry and the kiss was unpleasant though I wrapped my arms tighter around his muscular waist. Closing my eyes, I began to sway. I began to re-create the moment when Jones and I danced under the moonlight.
“Enjoying the dance?” Alex asked me as he nuzzled my ear.
“Funny, we hardly dance anymore.”
“I know,” I muttered, letting my head rest on his chest.
“You don’t seem to want to anymore.”
I pulled away from him disgustedly and stormed off, across our bedroom, back in Appaloosa Plains.
“Natalie, stop it!”
“Stop what?” I turned my head around and glared at him.
“Stop storming off and leaving me standing here and letting me know fuck-all what I did wrong!”
“You know what you did wrong!” I cried, sitting on the bed and turning away from him. Tears began to stream down my face. “Y-You bloody well know what you did wrong,” I mumbled to myself, my speech jerky with tears.
“Natalie, face me, dammit!” Alex roared and I whipped my head around to see his face was purple. I stared at him, tying to be calm, but I couldn’t be calm, I won’t. “I’m sick of you blaming me for something I don’t even know I did! You don’t love me,” His voice lowered. “You know who you love.”
“I do love you!” I cried in desperation.
“Oh Natalie,” Alex laughed humorlessly. “No you don’t. You’re in love with Jones.”
“Oh Alex that’s completely wrong!” I cried and jumped into his arms. “I love you, Alex, I love you.”
“Oh all right,” Alex laughed. I knew he didn’t believe me. We shared another kiss and he placed me down on the bed. He began to unbutton his shirt and I looked away. If I closed my eyes I’d imagine the night of my wedding again.
“Erm, mom, dad?” I turned around to see Callie in the doorway with an apron on. “We’re having a formal dinner-a dinner that we made- in the dining room so if you’d get dressed and ready we’d begin as soon as you come down.”
“Thanks Callie,” I grinned warmly and stood up and winked at Alex. “We’ll be down soon.”
“I have a letter, I see,” Alex flipped through the mail that the domestic worker had put next to our bed. “From the army.”
“Oh?” I queried, hopping into some clean underwear.
“I’ll read it out to you.
“Sargent Alexander Anders,
Your trial in Afghanistan is approaching shortly. If you haven’t received my previous letter, my deepest apologies. As a reminder, your trial will begin on the 15th of January 2013. If all goes well, you should be back on the 17th of March. There will be a time when you come home, from the 13th to the 15th of February. These two days are our thanks to you for serving our country for the past 10 years.
Details will arrive shortly.”
“Finally, those bastards have given me what I had always wanted.” He laughed shortly. “Not the best timing, with my pregnant wife and my oldest son getting married. My oldest child, Britney, pregnant. My other 3 kids all heading to college. I’m a fucking grandpa. I have 6 grandkids! And now they decided to call me.”
“You’re thirty and thriving, honey!” I smiled and kissed him on the cheek.
“And you’re 21 and pregnant.” He smiled weakly and kissed me lightly back.
Not with your child.
“Barely pregnant. You can hardly see it. By the way, did Robin get one too?”
“Nope, he’s already served his time.”
I was getting into my dress when suddenly Clayden screamed. “Mom! Dad! There’s a fire! CARL!”
“Carl!” I ran down the stairs with Alex on my heels. “CARL!”
I was suddenly blinded by extreme heat and I immediately protected my face. Only for a moment. A mother’s love is not stopped by heat. Nothing can stop it, to be honest.
“Clayden, Callie, get the hell out of there!” Alex yelled. Callie fell out the furnace of a kitchen and choked for a moment. I rushed to her and gave her a kiss before I rushed off to tend to the boys and she went to call the Fire Brigade.
“Carl!” I screamed as I saw his body briefly through the flames. I watched the flames lick all across his small 10 year old body. I reached in for him and I screamed with agony as the fire devoured my arm, leaving angry red marks as I pulled my arm away.
“Mommy, don’t worry about me,” Carl’s voice said softly to me. “I love you, mommy. I don’t want you to die because of me.”
“No, Carl! No Carl, don’t think that way!” I sobbed as I attempted to battle through the flames again.
“Carl I love you so much! I-I-I love you!” Suddenly I was pushed aside by a firefighter who attempted to put out the fire. Once the fire was out I searched for my boy. But all I saw was a charred body. My son.
I let out an agonizing yell, a yell brought on by not the agony of the pain, but the grief of loosing a child.
“Clayden!” Alex sobbed. “Clayden!”
I looked and saw Clayden’s body, limp and lifeless, in Alex’s arms. he only had light burns on his legs.
“Asthma attack.” The words hit me like a ton of bricks. I let out a strangled sob.
“He’s in a better place.” The firefighter patted me reassuringly on my shoulder and I stiffened. I suddenly embraced Alex, and we cried together and comforted each other.
I think that’s the moment when I knew I loved him.
“I’m so sorry, Natalie…” Ashby said sympathetically. I stared at my cellphone with tears lining the lids of my eyes.
“I-I know you are.” I choked out. “And I thank you, so much ,though I’d rather like it if we didn’t talk about that.”
“Of course! Let’s talk about Jones then. Well, I met his new girlfriend. Latrica Richter. Beautiful girl.”
“Oh.” I sat down on the bed and tears streamed down my face.
“Yeah, she’s really beautiful, they are so in-”
“Ash, I-I need to go.”
“Ok, bye Nata-”
I switched off my phone and chucked it across the room and began to sob.
“Latricia.” I opened my door to see her half dressed at 9 pm at night.
She suddenly kissed me, lifting her legs so I was forced to carry her. She began to kiss me so passionately that I couldn’t help but think of her lips as Natalie’s on mine that night. I closed my eyes, forcing out the memories of my married best friend.
The radio was blasting in the kitchen and the song that was playing suddenly made me think how true it was for Latricia.
You’re perfect on the outside, but nothing at the core
It’s easy to forget when you show up at my door
Stop messing with my mind, cause you’ll never have my heart
But your perfect little body makes me fall apart,
Your perfect little body makes me fall apart
I closed my eyes and let her kiss me. What the hell, having her kiss me allowed me to finally imagine Natalie was there. That Natalie was mine.
But she wouldn’t ever be.
I packed the final shirt in my suitcase. That was all my stuff. I was ready for my trip to Riverview.
As I closed the door of my house I felt a rear trickle down my cheek. It was final, I was leaving. I wasn’t leaving him, though I was leaving this stage in my life. It was hard for me, albeit best for me.
By the time I was in Riverview with a pregnant belly so huge guilt had overridden me. But contractions had the upperhand.
“Ok, calm down ma’am, your baby will be coming soon.” The midwife tried to comfort me, though I couldn’t be calm, I won’t be calm. Alex always stayed with me through the births. This is the first time since we were going out that I was all alone.
As the final contraction arrived I put my hand out urgently, searching for the usual reassuring squeeze of warmth from Alex. Nothing.
I let out another strangled plea. The midwife took this as a cry of pain. “It’s going to be over soon Honey,” She grinned at me. “A couple more pushes and this baby’s here!”
Ok. I can do this.
Baby 50. I can’t wait to meet you.
“Ok, one more push Natalie!”
Baby 50. Let’s do this.
I know you check your email every day so I’m emailing this to you. I know you are wondering where I am, and to be honest with you, I’m with your son Damon in Riverview. He’s beautiful. I’ve never came across such a stunning child. He looks mostly like me though.
I love you Alex. But I have to battle these demons of my past. This is a past you’ll never understand. Hell, I’ll never understand half of what happened to me. Though as Jones, Cassy and Electra said, I’m sinking into depression. And if I don’t sort this out on my own, you’ll never get me back. I’m on the edge of a black hole and I’m trying desperately not to be sucked in.
I know you feel that I’m in love with Jones and don’t know it. You’re wrong. I don’t love him, though I do love him as my best friend. I love him , but not in the way I love you.
I know you want to come and get me, and I know I am missing the funerals, and I bloody well DO know I’m missing saying goodbye to you as you serve your time in the military. I never could say goodbye. Whether it’s goodbye to you for a short time or goodbye to Clayden and Carl forever.
I’m sure you want me to come back, but I can’t. I can’t yet.
Because to solve the problems of the present, I need to first solve the problems of the past.