Sunday, 12 October 2014

Epilogue: The Lighthouse

Kaci looked at the man before her and the nervous flutterings in her stomach immediately stopped. It had been two years ago to the day that they had begun the journey that led them here and while they had faced some difficult times in between, they had stuck together and they always pulled through. She'd awoken that morning to sounds of her two best friends screaming as they ran into her hotel suite and jumped on her bed screaming excitedly. For a few hazy seconds she'd thought she was a student again, in the house they had shared for the last five years, but reality soon came back and realising where she was, she jumped for joy with them. Now as she stood on the beach, about to take the biggest step of the next chapter in her life, she couldn't have been happier.
"Does the best man have the rings?", Malcolm looked around, frantically feeling his pockets, but then his face broke into a sly grin, "Just kidding", he said, holding the box up and winking at the guests. Kaci laughed and shook her head, forever the joker but she loved him for it.


Malcolm threw the box to Mortimer and yelled "Touchdown!" when he caught it. Taking a bow, he smoothly lowered himself on to his seat. Mortimer shook his head and laughed "Wait until your wedding day, just wait", making the guests laugh again. He turned to face Kaci, his own nerves non existent. He was too happy to be nervous. Sliding the ring on her finger, he watched as her eyes filled with tears and fought the knee jerk reaction of his own starting to form.



"Don't make me cry, it will ruin my make up", he joked. Kaci laughed, dabbed the tears from his eyes and then slowly slid Mortimers ring on to his finger.


Her tears were mostly happy but there were a few tinged with sadness. She wished more than anything that her Mom could have been there to witness her big day, to see her take such a big step. She felt as though she was, Kaci had asked her as soon as she'd gotten engaged if she could wear her wedding dress and Claire had tearfully obliged. Now, as she stood under the wedding arch, wearing the beautiful dress, she glanced up at the cloudless sky and knew her mom was there in spirit.
"You may now kiss your beautiful bride", the Vicar said, Mortimer wasted no time, as cheers and confetti erupted all around them.  Sandi looked across at Troy as happy tears streamed down her face, "Troy, are you. . . crying?" she teased, nudging him playfully. "What?! No!", he exclaimed, "Sand in my eye", he sniffed. "Whatever Tellmer", she laughed.


Kaci looked around at all the people there and her heart swelled to know that there were so many people who genuinely wished them well. They had even invited Sam, after a long discussion with Mortimer they'd both agreed to lock away the last chapter and start afresh. He couldn't make it, he was away, working in Shang Simla but he sent them his best and thanked them for their kindness. They hadn't invited Bella for obvious reasons, the last they heard, her dad had somehow found out the truth about what really happened with Troy and had disowned her, offering a personal apology to Troy himself. Since then she'd left the Valley but no one knew exactly where she was, rumour had it she'd moved into the city. As Kaci scanned the crowd, her face focused on someone in particular and her breath caught in her chest as a fresh set of tears began to fall.



_____________________________________________________


"Can I have the bride, groom, best man and maid of honor please?" The photographer asked, they assembled themselves and he took the picture.


"You guys are next", Mortimer teased Sandi and Malcolm. "Will you stop putting idea's in her head, I'm not there yet!" Malcolm joked, truth was he'd have married her in a heartbeat, he was just waiting until she was ready. "Ok, can I have one of you guys and your bridesmaid?", the photographer asked. "Sure", Kaci called Darlene over, interrupting her conversation with her date. It hadn't looked like a happy one to be honest. He looked slightly uncomfortable and Kaci felt he was way too old for Darlene but she'd kept her opinions to herself. Darlene would have to find out for herself if he was worth it, she reasoned. The five of them lined up, "Okay. . . one, two, three, Cheese!" *FLASH*, the camera clicked capturing the five of them, frozen in time.


"Guys, I can't believe you did it! I'm so proud of you!" Sandi exclaimed, hugging them both tightly. "Okay, I have to go before I start crying again, damn you!" she laughed, wandering across to the dancefloor. Darlene, for once, was at a loss for words. It was all she could do to smile. She turned and followed Sandi, wiping tears as she went. "Women", Malcolm scoffed, but Kaci and Mortimer heard the crack in his voice, they laughed as he pointed after the girls and followed them, unable to speak any more. "What would we do without them?" Kaci asked, smiling as she watched the three dancing wildly on the dance floor. Mortimer sighed happily, "I honestly don't know".


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"OK, Guys? Can I have your attention?" The photographer called again, "I'd like a picture of the entire wedding party, so if you could just position yourselves around Kaci and Mortimer that would be great", he smiled. The couldn't fault the guy, they'd told him they wanted him to capture their entire day and that was exactly what he'd done. It was dark now, bellies were full and everybody was happy so he'd taken the moment before their first dance to get a few group shots.




The group laughed as Darlene made him wait until her hair was perfect, even though it hadn't moved all day, then they laughed harder as she protested when he caught her 'fixing' it. Bessie looked across at Kaci and her friends and her heart swelled with pride and little nostalgia, "Remember our wedding day?", she whispered to Buster. "Like it was yesterday", he whispered back, smiling as he squeezed her hand gently. 




"And I'd do this all over again if I knew for certain it would be with you", he said, kissing her cheek as a tear formed in his eye. She wiped it away and leaned further into him. Everyone aw'ed at their rare display of affection as Bessie shushed them away, a smile on her face.



Things hadn't been easy for them in recent years, seeing Claire's health decline had taken it's toll on them and they felt as though they had lost another daughter all over again. That coupled with their son being arrested and sentenced to 25 years for drug smuggling had nearly finished Buster off. After he'd continued to blindly defend him when he'd been sentenced, she'd told him about the role Xander had played in their daughter's death. At first he was in complete and utter denial, but when the shock wore off and the depression sunk in, Bessie had been worried. She felt that deep down, a part of him had always known, but that he'd chosen to ignore it because he didn't want to believe the worst. When Buster had stopped visiting, Xander would call and hurl abuse at her down the phone, now he didn't call at all and Buster never mentioned him. It was as though he'd never existed. But now, as he stood looking at his adopted Granddaughter, his heart swelled with pride and he hoped they'd both be around long enough to see Kaci's own children grow up if she had any. For now, they just looked forward to enjoying the rest of their lives together. 



Connor smiled at the beautiful woman standing next to him. It hadn't gone amiss on Mortimer and Kaci that they'd been almost inseparable all day. With her bright purple hair and sky high heels she wasn't his typical type but they were just glad to see him smiling again. When Ayesha had died during the line of duty, Connors world had been shattered, twice. A post mortem revealed she'd been pregnant at the time. He'd tortured himself over and over again but the words of wisdom he needed came from the most unlikely place. His brother. Jared had really redeemed himself in terms of their relationship, he'd let Connor grieve in his own time, at his own pace and when he felt he needed advice, he'd given it. It was a shame that it was too late to fix his relationship with Kaci. Connor had warned Jared years ago that if he didn't do something then, it would would be irreparable but Jared had been too young and arrogant to listen. He was paying the price now, Connor had seen it in his face that morning when he'd left for Kaci's wedding. Too little too late. Cornelia smiled at him and he felt her relax slightly as they smiled for another picture. He didn't read too much into it until she hugged him a little tighter to her, both of them smiling at the prospect of new beginnings.  



"Are you okay sweetie?" Cyran asked, hands wrapped around her delicate body. "Fine", she nodded, fighting back tears and grateful to the big man upstairs for allowing her to be there. She'd come late, waking up in the morning with every intention of going but her body said otherwise. She'd made Cyran go without her, promising she would come when she felt well enough. She'd got there just as they began saying their vows and slipped into the seat behind Cyran and next to Nancy and Christopher. Her friend's eyes had filled with tears when she'd realised Claire had made it and they'd both watched the rest of the service wiping their eyes and trying to quiet their sniffles. She wouldn't have missed this for anything. Seeing Kaci get married meant the world to her and the look on her daughter's face when she spotted her had been more than enough to get her through the day. She'd tell her everything later, but not here, not yet, today was her day.



Troy looked at over and Malcolm and winked, relishing the fact that Malcolm couldn't do anything while they were posing for pictures. He pretended to lower his hand on Nancy's back and mouthed the word "Cougar", keeping a straight face as Malcolm eye's bulged out of his head, shooting daggers in his direction. Mortimer wasn't helping the situation as he clearly whispered inflammatory remarks in Malcolm's ear. He shook his head and laughed as Malcolm and Mortimer did the same.


Troy loved how whenever they saw each other, which wasn't very often these days, it was like they were back at college. Somethings just didn't change. As he watched two of his best friends beginning the rest of their lives together, he couldn't have been happier. When they'd graduated he'd moved back to New Simgland and rented a house with Tia when he'd been signed by the Simgland Steelers. After one season he had been head hunted and offered a new place on the St. Claire Stallions, he couldn't say no, he'd be playing in the major basketball league and it was the city that took him in when no one else would. He went and took Tia with him. She'd been by his side ever since, he didn't know how he'd managed before her. He remembered when he'd been so low, he contemplated giving up on life completely, now he was grateful he hadn't. He'd been given a second chance in life and he was grabbing it with both hands. 

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"How cute are they", Sandi sighed, looking over at her best friends as they slow danced together. Malcolm didn't answer her, when she looked back at him, he was staring at her. "What's up?" she laughed, "Have I told you how beautiful you look today?", he asked. She blushed and shook her head. It made her smile to think that he was still able to turn her into jelly with a single look..



"Well you do", he said, kissing her softly on the lips. They were quiet for a while as they swayed to the music. "D'you remember when I thought I was pregnant?", she asked, breaking the comfortable silence. "Mhmm", Malcolm nodded. "And how you said you wouldn't mind having a couple of mini you's running around the place in the future", she continued. Malcolm laughed and nodded again. "Well how about a mini you. . . and a mini me. . .", she said, peering into his puzzled eyes. She laughed as the light switched on.



 "Wait, you're not? You are? You are!" he shouted happily, picking her up and whirling her around as he repeatedly showered her with kisses. "Mngh! wait! Shh,calm down, we'll tell people but not here, it's Kaci and Mortimers big day", she whispered, smiling. Grinning, her pulled her close,  "I'm going to be a dad", he said quietly in happy disbelief. Sandi closed her eyes and leaned into him, savouring the moment and wishing for a future filled with many more like it.


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"I'm going to go now sweetie", Claire said, "Okay mom, are you tired?", Kaci asked. "Yes honey, it's been a long day but its been worth every second", Claire smiled as she gently touched Kaci's cheek. "I'm so proud of you, of both you", she smiled. Life meant so much more to her now that she was faced with prospect of losing it. The treatments were no longer working and her doctors had explained to her that it was up to her whether she wanted to continue with them. She hadn't told Kaci, and she wasn't about to tell her anytime soon. She wanted her to bask in the newly-wed glory for as long as she could. Cyran had taken it hard, he wasn't showing it but Claire saw the pain in his eyes every time he looked at her. She was glad he wouldn't have to go through it alone. She knew Kaci would be there for him, just like she knew Mortimer would be there for her. She wanted to enjoy whatever time she had left for as long as she could. She hugged her daughter and held her tightly, savouring the moment, not knowing how many more moments like that she would get.



Claire wasn't giving up, far from it, she was going to do everything in her power to stay alive as long as she could. She wanted to see her daughter have children, and her children have children. She knew it might not happen but she refused to let go of hope. But, if it was her time to go, she was thankful for the life she had lived, the places she'd seen and the people she'd loved and lost. She was glad Kaci had finally met her uncle. They'd clicked as soon as they met like she knew they would. For years Claire hadn't known if he was dead or alive. When Cyran had confessed to contacting her mother, she'd been angry to say the least but she understood his reasons. When he'd told her that her mother had said she was going to visit, she hadn't held her breath. But she'd been surprised, she did turn up. If only to see what she could get from Claire, she hadn't changed. A few weeks later her brother had turned up, looking dishevelled but he was there and that was all that mattered. They'd cried, laughed, and cried some more. He'd settled in Riverview and had been clean for the last six months. It was early days but Claire was so proud of him. When he told her that he'd been in contact with their mother all that time and that she'd told him that she didn't know where Claire was, it hadn't been a shock. She hadn't changed and probably never would. Claire was at peace with that. She squeezed her daughter again, kissed her on the cheek and told her she'd see her soon. Kaci smiled back and unable to speak, nodded. She watched her mom leaning slightly on Cyran as they headed up to the car, the beam of light from the lighthouse washing gently over them like a beacon in the midst of a dark sea. 

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It was beginning to get light, the party had gone on into the early hours of the morning. Sandi and Malcolm were the last to leave, leaving the two lovebirds alone. Kaci's day couldn't have been more perfect, being able to get married on the spot where they'd shared their first kiss had meant alot to her, so when he'd explained that they were able to do that because they owned the beach and the house above it she'd been overwhelmed to say the least. Adding to it that they would be spending their first night as a married couple in their new home left her speechless. He'd hired her favourite interior designer to decorate their new home they way she'd always described her dream dwelling. Hearing this she'd burst into happy tears. She told him that she would have loved to live there but she never thought he would have done something like that. It was, he explained, his wedding gift to her.
 Kaci came up behind him and tiptoed up to kiss him on the back of his neck. He smiled and pulled her round in front him, enveloping her in a tender embrace. She felt him sigh slightly. "What are you thinking?", she asked. "I'm wondering how I was lucky enough to marry you", he replied, eyes closed as he held her tightly.



 Kaci laughed, "I'm the lucky one" she said, staring out at the calm sea. "Can you believe we did it babe, we're married", Mortimer said, sounding mesmerised. Kaci just smiled, deep down she knew she would  never have married anyone else. Mortimer was her everything. He kissed the top of her head softly, savouring the scent of her shampoo. "Are you ready to go home Mrs Goth?", Mortimer asked, arms still wrapped around her. Kaci smiled as the beam from the lighthouse washed over them. It felt like a metaphor for her relationship with Mortimer as she watched it, standing tall, a little bruised in places but mostly unchanged, after all these years, it's light still as bright as ever. "Yes Mr Goth", she smiled up at him, "Lets go home."




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Saturday, 4 October 2014

The Lighthouse; End of Part 7, Chapter 8: Tears in Heaven

It had been years since he'd been home, literally. Mortimer had stayed away since he'd gone to college. He didn't know why, but the thought of going back there made him feel strange. He talked to Cornelia all the time but even she didn't ask him why he didn't come home. It was as if she knew and she was just waiting for him to figure it out himself. Today however, was different. He stood outside of the oversized mansion he'd called home for all of his childhood observing it as though it was living breathing being. It looked different somehow, but he couldn't pinpoint what had changed. He guessed not seeing it for years meant that his memory of it was a little off.


Pressing the security code on the electric gate and let himself in and walked slowly up to the house. He saw that Cornelia had added a little vegetable patch to the garden, he was glad. He had always thought she felt she couldn't change anything in the house because his mother had lived there first. It was nice to see her adding her own little stamp on the place. Smiling he walked up the steps to the front door, as he moved forward to ring the doorbell the sounds of a voice singing stopped him in his tracks.



Beyond the door
There's peace, I'm sure
And I know there'll be no more
Tears in heaven

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?


He knew that song, word for word, yet he was certain he'd never heard it before. Following the sound of the voice to the family cemetery in a private area of the grounds, eventually he saw where it was coming from. As he got closer to his mother's grave he realised his dad had been crying. His eyes were bloodshot and his eyelashes glistened in the fading sun. Mortimer didn't really want to disturb him but it was too late. "Come, sit down", his dad said wiping his face and letting out a deep breath. 


Mortimer hesitated for a moment and was about to decline the invitation, but something made him change his mind. He sat down and crossed his legs. A few seconds later he read the epitaph on his mothers grave. The last time he'd done that had been on his sixteenth birthday, just after his father had called him. 

"An angel that has finally earned her wings. Be free." 

Mortimer smiled inwardly, the description fit her perfectly. He had few memories of his mother but the ones he did have he cherished. Neither of them spoke for a while, both were swimming in their own separate sea of memories of the woman they had once cherished so dearly. "Why did you leave?" Mortimer asked, breaking the semi-comfortable silence.


"I was afraid", Gunther answered simply. "Your mother. . . she was a special woman and I truly felt that I could never be half the parent to you she had or would have been, that and you looked like her, so much it was too painful to hold you", he said honestly. Mortimer mulled this over for a few minutes. "Didn't you feel bad leaving me with a stranger?" he asked. "In all honesty no. Your mothers family didn't want to know, they disowned her when we got married. Said I was nothing but trouble, I can't say they were wrong. My own family were a mess. I had been dating Cornelia for a while and you guys clicked. The moment you met, you were just meant to be. It was frightening for me to see how well you bonded with a stranger over me. She was, and still is, so much like your mother it's uncanny. I used to wonder if she'd come back in Cornelia in some way", Gunther explained, brow furrowed. 


Mortimer pulled at the grass in front of him and watched as it fell through his fingers. "You're just like her too, she used to do that", Gunther said, gesturing towards Mortimer. Mortimer nodded slowly, "I recognised the song you were singing, but I don't know why, I'm sure I've never heard it before", he said, changing the subject. As many years as his mother had been gone, sometimes it was still too painful to talk about her directly. Gunther smiled sadly, "She used to sing it to you when she found out she was. . . she didn't want you to forget her", he continued, his voice breaking. Mortimer guessed his Mother's death had affected Gunther more deeply than he let on. "I was on tour you know, when she. . . We'd been divorced for a year but we stayed friends, not just for your sake, but because as much of an idiot as I was, your mother didn't have a bad bone in her body. She couldn't hate me, even if she tried. I spoke to her on the phone and she said everything was fine and not to worry, I didn't need to come and see her. But then she made me promise to. . . to take care of you and I knew then that she knew more than she was letting on. I should have just come home, she needed me and I let her down, and then after she was gone I let her down again because I broke my promise to her. I promised to look after you and I didn't, and the worst thing is, I can hear her voice telling me it's ok, we all make mistakes", his voice broke and he cleared it abruptly as the tears fell down his cheeks.


"I was still in love with her. That's why Cornelia and I didn't work out, she knew it long before I did,, and by the time I realised, well, it was way too late", he sighed. "I'm sorry M, I didn't mean to unload on you, this is probably the last thing you need right now", he apologised genuinely. Mortimer was surprised to hear his dad use his nickname like that, and while he didn't let on, he couldn't have disagreed more. This was exactly what he needed, to know that his dad wasn't just some untouchable entity he saw on tv every so often, but to know that he was human. "It's fine", Mortimer said standing up, ready to go. He'd actually come to see Cornelia but he'd definitely got more than he bargained for. He needed to go home and process everything, alone. He'd call Cornelia later. Gunther quickly stood up too, noticing for the first time how tall his handsome son was as the evening sun began to cast shadows across his face.


Mortimer looked at his mothers grave, "Bye mom, love you forever", he said, fighting to keep his composure. He cleared his throat before he spoke to Gunther, "Well,  I, um, I guess...", Mortimer trailed off backing away slowly, even after his dad had shown his vulnerable side Mortimer was still unsure of what to say, they were still strangers to each other. "Son, wait", Gunther said, enveloping Mortimer in a hug before he could move any further.


"I'm sorry I've been such a shitty dad, and I know I can't go back and change the past but I'd like to try to change the future", Gunther said. Mortimer heard a whirl of emotions in his voice, the main one being regret, and decided right then and there that he didn't want to feel the same emotions in twenty years time when it would be too late to salvage anything. He took a step back from his dad and looked him squarely in the eyes.


"Okay, but no rushing things. We take it slow and see what happens", Mortimer stipulated firmly, making it obvious that his terms were not up for negotiation. Gunther nodded, grateful for his son giving him any sort of chance. Mortimer turned to go but then stopped and looked back at his dad. "Are you staying in town?" he called. "Yea, indefinitely", his dad said. Mortimer nodded, "I'll see you around?", he asked. "Definitely", Gunther smiled. Mortimer gave him a half wave and then turned and headed towards the entrance to the gardens. Gunther watched him go and then looked up to sky, knowing that wherever Maria was, she was definitely smiling down on them now.





Monday, 29 September 2014

The Lighthouse; Part 7, Chapter 7: No Going Back

Darlene sat on the bed, legs pulled up to her chest, kicking herself for making such a juvenile mistake. Thirty seconds earlier she'd had him eating out of the palm of her hand, now he was up, pants already on, about to button up his shirt. She knew exactly what she'd done, or rather said, but she decided to play dumb and ask him anyway. "Baby, what's wrong?", she asked innocently, eyes wide, mouth formed into a perfect pout.


Dalton ignored her as he continued to button up his sleeves and began looking around for his cufflinks. "Baby. . . talk to me. . ." she pleaded. His shoulders drooped as he came and sat on the bed, head in hands. ". . . What did I do?", she asked,  trailing her fingers slowly over his muscular shoulder.


He sighed, "I think you're getting the wrong idea about this, us. . ." he trailed off. "Look, I know what I said, but it just came out, I didn't mean it, I was lost in the moment-", she began but he cut her off. "I know- that's the problem, you don't just throw that word around Darlene, you need to keep a level head if we're going to keep doing this", he said. "I am keeping a level head Dalton but there's only so much a girl can take", she grumbled under her breath. "That's exactly what I'm talking about!" Dalton snapped, standing up quickly and continuing to button up his shirt.


"Oh come on D, you can't expect me not to feel anything!" Darlene reasoned, tugging him back towards her but he brushed her off, annoyed at the way things were going.


"I never said that Darlene, don't put words into my mouth. I just expect you to stick to your side of the bargain, no strings attached, remember?" he asked, clearly still annoyed. Darlene huffed and got up off of the bed. She wasn't even in the mood anymore. "So what do you expect me to do? Be your dirty little secret forever? What if I'm bored of that already?" she asked, crossing her arms and rolling her eyes.


"Then you know where the door is Darlene,  I can always find someone else to keep me company, without the hassle", Dalton replied, not missing a beat. His words sobered Darlene up immediately. She thought quickly and changed her approach. "Dalton, I'm sorry baby, I know I should probably relax a little more but its hard, I just miss you sometimes, I only get to see you on weekends and I know we said we'd keep it fun but when I see you. . . oh this sounds silly I know, but I just like to pretend that we're an item. . ." she trailed off, curling her hair around her fingers and luring him in with her signature pout as she trailed a finger over her breast seductively.


 She saw his body soften at the same time his pants grew tight over his groin. Slipping her hand inside his shirt, she leaned forward and kissed his neck, her fingers tracing his muscles and remembering why she loved his body so much. At 41, he was much older than her, but his body didn't show it and his age certainly helped his experience in the bedroom.


While she may have been his dirty little secret, he was also keeping her, her wardrobe and her bank balance happy so who was she to complain, besides she didn't want to lose the monthly allowance coming from his never ending wallet.  She couldn't afford to, she was living off of it. She'd quit her job because he was giving her triple the amount of her paycheck. She didn't like to think of it as him paying for her services, that really wasn't what it was but she knew other people wouldn't see it that way. They'd call him her sugar daddy and say she was a homewrecker and label her a gold digger. She herself saw him as a very rich, very handsome 'benefactor' putting her through college. She knew she probably wasn't the only girl he was seeing, but she made damn sure she was the only one he spent money on. No way was she about to let some other girl come and take her place. She also knew that once college was over it would probably come to an end, so she was trying to make them official, despite the huge obstacle in her way.  "Baby, lets forget this, let me make it up to you. . .",she purred, kissing her way down his body. He groaned loudly, hands tangled in her hair, making no move to stop her as she pushed him towards the bed.

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An few hours later, Darlene adjusted her skirt one last time, a sly smile on her face. She had him right where she wanted him.  "So, I was thinking, this weekend, maybe we could spend sometime together, maybe go away? I've always wanted to visit Champ Les Sims. . .", she said, adjusting her breasts, pretending she didn't know he was watching. "I don't know about that Darlene, what would I tell my wife?"  he said. 


"Tell her you're working baby, wouldn't it be fun? To know we could spend the whole weekend together, I mean, we might not get much sightseeing done but I'm sure we could keep ourselves, occupied. . .", she trailed off, licking her lips, knowing he couldn't resist her as she pulled him into a hug. Truth was that as much as she loved the lifestyle he gave her, she was tired of having to drive an hour away to his secret mountain lodge to get it. She wanted him for herself. He didn't talk about his wife, just said they they never slept together any more and a man like him had needs. 




Apparently they kept up appearances for the children's sake, even though they were all adults, the same age as Darlene to be exact. She'd done some things she wasn't proud of but she wasn't about to feel guilty about seeing a married man. She knew she could make him leave his wife if she tried hard enough. Didn't work with Malcolm though did it? an unwelcome voice reminded her.  He's never going to leave his wife and you know it, he's using you Darlene and you're letting him. Wake up! She pushed the thought away, annoyed. Dalton was different and if she had her way, he'd be hers before he knew it. At least that's what she told herself. She hadn't planned to be anyone's mistress but now she was, and there was no going back. 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Lighthouse; Part 7, Chapter 6: Everything For A Reason

Sandi sat in the make-up chair, listening to the sounds of the hustle and bustle around her. She could hear the photographer, Emmanuel, cursing about something or other in his native tongue. Even though her eyes were closed, she smiled at the familiar image in her head of him throwing papers up into the air and gesturing wildly with his hands. "Stop moving your face missy!", Adeera, the make up artist huffed. 








"Sorry Dee", Sandi apologised. "Will you be quiet, you know I've got limited time to make you beautiful and its hard enough already!" she teased playfully. "But, seriously, is everything okay? You seem a little distracted. . .", Dee trailed off. "I'm fine", Sandi said with conviction. Truth was she was anything but, but she wasn't about to tell Dee that, not there anyway.




 She trusted Dee to keep her secrets, they had become firm friends over the years, but people on fashion sets had a way of silently tuning into any sort of gossip and she could do without all of that. "Okay. . . You know I don't believe you but whatever. We'll talk later", Sandi smiled again and stuck her tongue out. "Do that one more time French!", she threatened but the smile on her face could be heard in voice. "Ok, last touches. . . Done", she said matter of factly.



"Am I gorgeous?" Sandi asked, crossing her eyes and sticking her tongue out. "Always", Adeera replied, doing the same back. "Get outta here", she laughed, shooing Sandi towards the set. As she walked onto the set, she realised what Emmanuel had been cursing about, he'd wanted a white back drop but it had been green. As usual he'd gotten what he wanted. He air kissed both of her cheeks, exclaiming in French how beautiful she was. "QUIET ON SET!", Tom, the assistant director bellowed. Sandi took her place, posed, and Emmanuel snapped the picture from behind his computer. Technology was such that the photographers didn't even have to look into the camera any more. Just press a button and the image was uploaded straight from the camera to the computer screen.


"Non, Non. NON!" Emmanuel exclaimed. "What? What is it?!" Tom asked, incredulously. "The white background, it is too much!! Change it, immediately! Green, we must have green!! Maintenant! Se hâter!!" Emmanuel shouted, his strong accent clear.



Sandi bit back a laugh as the lighting guy helped her up. Emmanuel was a fantastic photographer, one of, if not the best, but he was as indecisive as a child in a toy store on Christmas day. She walked over the mirror and gently dabbed at her face with a sponge, not wanting her make up to smudge, it was hot under all of the lights.


Before she knew it, Tom was calling her back to set. The murderous expression on his face was clear for all to see except Emmanuel, he was oblivious, as usual, and as usual, oblivious to the fact that he was the cause of it. "Ah perfectionner! Nous pouvons commencer dès maintenant. . . What is wrong with you Tom? Come on, we have work to do!", He ordered, snapping his fingers twice. If looks could kill, Sandi was sure Emmanuel would have been at least six feet deep by now. She pushed back a smile and walked back on to set as Tom called for quiet a second time. "TAKE TWO. . . ACTION!".



She saw the other models on set whispering about her and Emmanuel using her as the face of his Simarni Campaign but she blocked them out and did what she did best, worked it. In the modelling world, she should have been classed a curvy model but outside of it, she was an average build and size. Not that she cared, she preferred a little extra cushion to skin and bone any day of the week, and so did Emmanuel, he loved the fact that she had a pin up curves, endless legs and a carefree attitude to match but she guessed that her 'take me as I am' attitude drew people to her and her curvaceous body didn't stop her landing jobs. A number of times designers had altered their clothes to fit her because they just had to have her in their shows.



She changed poses a few more times, and had her make up touched up but it wasn't long before Emmanuel was proclaiming that they had the shots they needed. Sandi didn't bother to change her clothes, she threw a sweater over the catsuit, swapped her heels for some jordan's, pulled a cap low on on and headed out of the door. She had a stop to make before she went home and the last thing she wanted was anyone seeing her do it.


____________________________________________________________



As soon as she got home she headed for the shower. Letting the water wash over her face she tried let it silence her racing mind and failed miserably. Eventually, she accepted that she couldn't avoid the inevitable forever, turned off the water and stepped out of the shower.



 As she dried off, her mind wandered back to the shoot she'd done earlier and then to where she was right at that second. Her life at the cramped house was a long way away from the high fashion world she worked in but she liked it. She wasn't a student but she'd still gotten to experience it with her friends somewhat. It wasn't hard to find her name in celebrity magazines these days but she'd always tried to keep her friends clear of them and so far, so good. Mortimer had given her some really good advice on that, he would know better than anyone with his dad being who he was.
She squeezed some lotion onto her hand and moisturized, taking care not to irritate her already sore skin any further. Pulling on her favourite sweater and knee high socks she looked at her new purchase one more time. Taking a deep breath, she bit the bullet and did it.  A few seconds later she sat on the floor, knees up to her chest, waiting.





When the press had got wind of her dating Malcolm it had been front page news for a while, he was a celebrity in his own right as he stood to inherit millions from his father's medical practice but that wasn't why she was with him. No one saw him the way she did. Like when he was up at four am, stressing out as he finished an assignment, or when she'd give him pop quizzes on the effects of antihistamines on someone in anaphylactic shock, or when he'd say the silliest things just to make her laugh. The sound of his bedroom door closing drew her back to the present and her current situation. She squeezed her eyes shut, nerves threatening to bring up the contents of her stomach. She guessed it had been long enough now. Biting the bullet, she opened her eyes and looked.




When she walked into Malcolm's bedroom  a few minutes later, her head was all over the place. She opened her mouth but one glance at Malcolm stopped her. He was sitting on the edge of his bed, head in his hands, looking like a lost little puppy.



"Malc what's up?", she asked, concern seeping into her voice as she walked over to him. He didn't answer her for a few seconds and she didn't push him as she sat down slowly next to him, putting her arm around him as he let his head rest on her shoulder. He spoke eventually. "I went home, to see mom. Only she wasn't there. Dad was, absolutely wasted", he spat in disgust. Sandi sensed this wasn't all so she stayed quiet. "She left him. She actually left him. For someone else", Malcolm laughed. Sandi heard the disbelief in it. "How do you feel about that?" she asked cautiously. "Elated. Seriously, I couldn't be happier for her", he smiled genuinely but Sandi heard the tint of sadness to his voice. "... What happened Malc?" she asked tenderly.  He sighed and pulled her backwards onto the bed wrapping her in his arms. "If I ever turn into a heartless bastard promise you'll tell me?", she was about to protest that it would never happened but she knew this wasn't the time. "Promise", she replied. She felt his body relax.




"She called me when I was there, and I answered the phone, he must have heard her voice. . . next thing I know he's snatched the phone off of me, and he's calling her all the names under the sun, I mean some really vile stuff I don't even want to repeat. . . anyway, I had enough, I snatched the phone off of him, he started yelling at me, so I told mom I'd call her back and hung up. We get into screaming match, he. .  . he shoved me and I fell". It took every ounce of willpower Sandi had not to jump off the bed and go and find Geoffrey Landgraab herself. Malcolm must have sensed it as he held her a little tighter.




"It's ok I'm fine, I got up and shoved him back, hard. Told him he was a sorry excuse for a husband and a lousy ass father. He punched me at the same time Mom and her boyfriend broke into the house. Her boyfriend was all over him in a second. Next thing I know, there are squad cars outside, lights flashing, sirens blazing and he's being put into the back of one. Turns out mom's knew beau is pretty high up in the police force. I thought I'd hung up but I hadn't and they'd heard the whole thing, he called for back up and they raced over to dad's". Sandi thought he'd have been happy about his dad being locked up but he clearly wasn't.
"What's bothering you?" she asked. Malcolm took a deep breath before answering her. "It's just, in the back of the car, he looked so frail and well, lost, but I couldn't bring myself to feel bad for him. I couldn't bring myself to feel. . .anything, but, he's still my dad, does that make me a bad person?", he asked. The vulnerability in his voice along with the evident hurt and confusion had Sandi close to tears. She held it together for Malcolm's sake, but God help Geoffrey Landgraab if she ever saw him.


"No, it makes you human", she didn't hesitate to respond. "Anyways, what's on your mind?" Malcolm asked, catching her off guard. He knew her too well, she knew better than to deny it. "I thought I was pregnant, but I'm not", she said. "And you're disappointed, I can hear it in your voice", Malcolm said, linking his fingers with hers. She couldn't lie if she wanted to. "Yes. . .I am", she answered thoughtfully. "I thought you were too, but I didn't want to say anything until you were ready", Malcolm said. "What? How?", Sandi asked. Malcolm laughed and looked into her eyes.



 "I had my suspicions, but when Kaci made her famous pumpkin pie and you said you couldn't eat it, they were confirmed". Sandi nodded slowly. "Are you disappointed?" she asked. "Very. There's nothing I'd like more than some mini me's running around, but in a way, I'm relieved. I'd like a few more years after college is finished, alone with you. So I can really enjoy it. I'm not ready to share you just yet, besides, when it's meant to happen, it will. Everything for a reason", he smiled, kissing her forehead.



She nodded and smiled back, snuggling up closer to him. He was right as always, Malcolm was always able to see the bigger picture where as she just saw the here and now. They complemented each other perfectly. Yes, she thought to herself, still smiling, Everything for a reason.