1.9 Lost and Found: Part 5 Healing

A/N: Hey Guys! So I know it’s been a long time since I posted anything on this blog, but I finally finished chapter 9! Hooray! *waits for fans to echo hooray back* *Only hears crickets*

This is the second to last post of this whole ’Lost And Found’ arc. So close to the end of Conrad’s MAIN story, and then there may be one or two more posts of ‘in-between-ish’ chapters, and then we get to GENERATION TWO!!! Such excite!

Anyway! Most of this chapter is in Odine’s point-of-view. It was unavoidable, and I figured it was easier to just do it in first person, so the chapter will start out in Conrad’s POV, then it’ll switch over to Odine’s for the rest of the chapter And some of next chapter.

Enjoy!

——————–

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I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. Today was a very important day in my career. A-list celebrity Kirby Wise had called and made an appointment for a makeover for the Emmy’s, and Marcel had directed her over to me. She was going to be here in about a half of an hour, and the pressure was definitely on. It is common knowledge in the world of fashion that if you give a celebrity a good makeover, you would be considered THE stylist to go to. But if you failed to give them a makeover worth raving about, people would avoid you like the plague. Having worked at Barney’s for over five years, I knew I was more than capable, but I also knew that celebrities have a tendency to be exceptionally picky when it comes to how they look.

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“You’ll do fine, Mr. Lee.” My assistant Lala said from behind me. I had been wiping the sweat off of my glasses, completely oblivious to what was going on around me. I turned to face her, and couldn’t help but chuckle. Lala had been my assistant ever since I first started at Barney’s, but despite the many times I told her to call me Conrad, she would always refer to me by my last name.

I felt guilty as I looked at her overly enthusiastic face. She had been working here twice as long as I have, and had been hoping since the beginning to be moved up from an assistant to a regular stylist. Unfortunately, Marcel had told her that she wasn’t qualified enough. He also mentioned to me privately that he didn’t think clients would appreciate Lala’s “eccentric” style. While it was a bit harsh, he did have a point. I had let Lala take the reins a couple of times, and I would have to spend the next couple of hours repairing the damage.

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“Yeah, dad!” My six year old son said from the chair that he was sitting on. Lance had gotten out of school about an hour ago, and he and Sebastian walked the short distance from the school so that they could wait for Stella to come pick them up and take them to an audition. A couple of months back Lance stated he had an interest in acting, and when I was talking to Stella about it, she immediately offered to use her husband’s celebrity connections to get Lance into auditions. Odine and I had agreed, and Lance turned out to be a surprisingly good actor. He began having small roles in the occasional commercial, but as time passed, he slowly became more well-known.

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I laughed at my son’s enthusiasm as I heard the bell above the door ring. My stomach flew up to my throat, until I saw Stella walk in. Breathing a sigh of relief, I gave her a wave.

“I am so sorry that I’m late.” She said as she walked over, and pulled me into a hug. “How are you doing?”

“Not too bad, I guess.” I answered despite the butterflies in my stomach.

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“And how is Odine?” She asked. My stomach flipped even more, and I felt my mood plummet.

“She’s… she’s hanging in there. She has some good days, and some bad.” I answered sheepishly. After she had been released from the hospital, it had taken a bit for her to warm up to me again, which I understood. Learning that your husband had been almost been convicted of murder wasn’t the easiest thing to accept; especially considering the fact that she had just had to endure being a victim of kidnapping, all the while being pregnant.

But after a while, it was almost as if the whole Reuben ordeal never even happened.

Until…

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“Well, you tell her I say hi, and that I hope that she feels better.” Stella said. She then put one of her hands on my shoulder. “You guys will get through this. Odine is a strong young woman, and I know that she’ll come around.”

I thanked her as she turned towards our sons. Lance came over to me and gave me a hug.

“Good luck dad. I know you’ll do great!” I ruffled his hair as I stood up. As they left, I couldn’t help but wonder which version of my wife I would encounter when I arrive home.

——————–

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I entered my house cautiously, hoping to hear the sounds of my children or Odine. All I heard was silence. I quickly checked the nursery, and saw that Bryan and Vissa were sleeping soundly. Being careful to shut the door quietly, I tiptoed over to my bedroom.

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When I entered, I saw my wife lying on the bed, facing towards the wall. On any normal occasion, it would be safe to assume that she was napping. But I knew better.

“Hey.” I said as I approached my side of the bed. She turned around to face me.

“Hey.” Her voice was flat. She looked towards me, but not quite at me. It was evident that she had been crying, and I wanted to pull her into an embrace. But I knew that she probably wouldn’t have accepted it.

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We stared at each other for a bit, neither of us knowing what to say. I began to kick off my shoes so that I can lie on the bed, when she finally spoke.

“Why are you still with me..?” I did a double take at her question.

“What do you mean?” I asked. She sat up, and brought her knees to her chest, hugging them tightly.

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“Why are you still with me?” She asked again. “I’m more trouble than I’m worth. I’ve pushed you away too many times; abandoned you; and done other things that I can’t even describe.” She wiped a stray tear from her cheek. “If I was you, I wouldn’t want to stick around with someone like me.”

“I guess it’s good that you aren’t me then.” I said, putting my hands on my hips. “Because I love you. I don’t care what happens, or what I might have to go through, I’m sticking around. You’re worth it to me.”

She dropped her head until it rested on her knees. She said something, but I couldn’t hear what it was because she spoke softly.

“Baby, I can’t hear you.” I said. I sat on the bed and placed my hand on the back of her head. “What did you say?”

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“You could have died!” She shouted as she jerked her head up. Her reaction surprised me, making me jump slightly. “You could have died, and it would all have been my fault. I-I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if something happened to you.”

“It wouldn’t have been your fault.” I countered. “It was my choice to barge in to save you, and I would do it a thousand times over. It was Reuben’s choice to point the gun and pull the trigger, not yours. Even if I were to try to think of the smallest reason to blame you, I wouldn’t be able to because none of it was your fault.” I wanted her to realize that she doesn’t need to blame herself for anything, but I could tell that she had already shut me out.

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I grabbed her hand, and gently kissed the back of it. “But baby, it’s over. He can’t hurt any of us anymore.” While her eyes were looking in my direction, I could tell that she wasn’t looking at me. She began to fiddle with her wedding ring, and I could tell that she was debating whether she shouldn’t say what she was thinking.

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“Then how is he still able to destroy one of the things that matter the most to me? How, Conrad?” She pulled at a loose thread on the bottom of her dress. “I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m so frustrated and angry all of the time. I can’t have one second of peace, and it’s all because of him!”

“Honey,” I said gently.” You keep focusing on the negatives. Think about how blessed we are.” I pulled her into a hug. Her body tensed up at first, but then she relaxed into my arms. “We’ve both gone through so much, but we came out on top. We both stared death in the face, but thank God that we’re alive, and together. Doesn’t that make you happy?” She nodded slowly, her eyes downcast. I wasn’t even sure if what I was saying was even helping anymore. I just wanted my wife to be genuinely happy.

“But it isn’t fair.” She said, her voice laced with fury. I tilted my head, and furrowed my eyebrows, feeling slightly confused as to what she meant. After a bit, I finally understood. I took a deep breath, and let all of the air out in a sigh.

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“Honey, I know it isn’t fair, but there isn’t much we can do about it. Lance, Brian, Valyssa and I. We all need you. Lance has noticed how different you’ve been acting, and even though Brian and Vissa are only just learning to talk, even they can tell that something is wrong. They just need their mom back.” I took one final deep breath. “I need my wife back.” Was it selfish to say? Probably, but I just really missed her. It seemed that every day that would pass, the gap between us would continue to get bigger and bigger.

“I… I don’t know if I can do that.” She admitted. My insides flipped, and I felt bile begin to rise in my throat.

“Wh-Why not?” I risked asking.

“Because it’s not fair!” She yelled. She stood up, and faced me, the torment evident on her face. “I’ve had to deal with that… that… monster for years! He’s finally behind bars; he isn’t even in my life anymore! Yet he still finds a way to ruin it! What did I ever do to anyone to have what I want most in the world to be snatched out from under me?”

“Baby, you’re life isn’t ruined!” I pleaded with her. “We’re together; we have three awesome children; we aren’t doing too badly financially. We may not be rich, but what we have is good enough for me!”

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She hugged herself then, and looked at the ground. “But I don’t know if it’s good enough for me.” Her voice was barely above a whisper, her words so soft that I almost couldn’t make out what she’d said. But I felt like someone had punched me hard in the stomach.

“What are you saying?” I asked. Before she could answer, the sound of Brian’s crying reached my ears. Odine turned toward the door to our bedroom, but before she could take a step, I put my hand up to stop her. “Don’t worry about it. I got it this time.” I then marched out of the room, eyes misting over, feeling completely defeated.

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——————–

ODINE’S POV

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As I watched Conrad leave the room, our conversation began to replay itself in my mind. I couldn’t get his hurt look out of my head. As the tears began to resurface, I started to berate myself.

Why did I have to say that? What the heck is wrong with me? I hadn’t really meant what I said. I was just so caught up in my moment of grief and sadness. I am thankful for the life I have. I just can’t handle the fact that I’m… Broken.

“I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Lee.” The doctor had said. As if an apology could fix what was wrong with me; or change the fact that I… I probably won’t be able to have any more children. After those words were said, I stopped listening. His voice faded in and out of my hearing. Something about where I was shot messing with my body, and that the chances of me carrying a baby would be almost impossible.

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I didn’t want to relive that moment in my mind again, so I launched myself onto my bed, and forced myself to think of good things.
I have a loving, supportive husband.
I have a nice house.
I have three beautiful children.
I’m still alive.
I want for nothing.
Except…
I shot back up into a sitting position, and put my hands over my ears in an effort to block all of the depressing thoughts from my mind. I almost didn’t hear my cell phone ring.

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“Hello?” I asked, trying to keep my voice level. I heard sniffling on the other line, as if someone had been crying. After a bit, the person on the other end of the phone spoke.

“Odine?”

“Mom?” I asked back. I was more than a bit surprised. Not that my mother didn’t call me, but the timing of the phone call, and the way she said my name, seemed off. I tried to think of why she would sound so full of grief over the phone, and my mind could only come up with one conclusion. I swallowed. “Is he..?”

“No.” My mom answered. I breathed a sigh of relief. “But the doctors aren’t giving him much time. He’s been asking for you.”

I nodded. “Okay. I’ll… I’ll see what I can do.” After a couple minutes more of talking, I finally got off the phone. I tossed it on the bed just as Conrad came back in.

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“Who was that?” He asked me. I turned to face him.

“That was my mom.” I said. “She said that the doctors aren’t giving my dad much time. He wants to see me before… Before he…” I couldn’t finish my sentence. It was as if every time I tried to say the word, my throat would close up. I wiped the stray tears from my eyes. Conrad walked over to me, and pulled me into a hug.

“I’m so sorry baby.” He said. “We’ll figure something out.” He then let me go, and placed his hands on my shoulders. “I think I have enough money in the bank for two plane tickets. We could talk to Stella about maybe taking care of the kids while we’re gone. We could probably leave next week.”

I picked at a loose thread on my dress. “Thank you… But I-I want to go alone.” He tensed up after I finished speaking. He moved one hand to fiddle with the hair in front of his face, and fiddled with his glasses, his other hand placed on his hip. 

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He sighed. “Look, I’m tired of arguing about this stuff.” He then looked me straight in the eyes. “I know you’re going through a lot, and I’ll back off and give you your space. But please, I’m begging you, don’t shut me out.”

I couldn’t hold his gaze for long. “I know that.” I said as I stared at the floor.

“I’ll order your ticket tomorrow.” He said, sounding defeated. “And Odine? You can always talk to me. I’m here for you. That’s what husbands are supposed to do.”

I didn’t want to break down in tears. So instead of saying anything, I just nodded.

——————–

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As the taxi pulled up outside of the hospital, I swallowed. I struggled to keep the bile from rising in my throat as I grabbed my bags from the trunk. I quickly paid the driver, before I walked towards the entrance.

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“Odie!” I heard my being called the moment I walked through the front doors, and I knew only one person called me by that name.

“Malik!” I pulled my older half-brother into a hug as he came close. Under different circumstances, I would have swatted him, reminding him how much I hated my childhood nickname. However, we both knew that it wasn’t the right moment. As we finally let go of each other, I looked at my brother’s face. His eyes were red and puffy, and his cheeks were still wet from the tears that he had allowed to fall.

“How’s he doing?” I asked. I was a bit surprised that my 26 year old brother had been crying. As long as I had known him, he had hardly ever shed a tear, even when we were children.

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The corners of his mouth pulled down into a frown, and he shook his head slightly. “He’s not doing too well. There are times when he seems to be okay, and then there are other times when he’s delirious.” He took a deep breath, and slowly let it out through his teeth. “We weren’t sure if you were going to make it in time.” He took my bags from me, and jerked his head in the direction of a long hallway, indicating that I should follow.

“I’ll take you to his room.” He said. He turned away from me, and began to walk.

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As I began to follow him, I took a good look at my surroundings. Starlight Shores Regional Hospital looked so much like Sacred Spleen in Bridgeport. I found it hard to fight off the bad memories that my brain had begun to associate with hospitals.

“Odie?” Malik called. He stood in front of a door, the one that I would assume lead to my dad’s room. He had one eyebrow slightly arched in confusion. I then realized that I had stopped walking in the middle of the hall. Tears had begun to form, so I wiped them away, and walked quickly to catch up with him.

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As he cracked open the door, I saw my mother sitting on a chair next to a hospital bed. Her usual curly, vibrant graying hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail. As I entered the room, she turned her gaze towards me. For being 56, my mother normally looked pretty good for her age. Now, she just looked tired; the bags under her eyes showing that she hadn’t gotten much sleep. She came over to me, and gave me a big hug.

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“Odine!” She exclaimed. As we separated, she began to fuss over me. She began to smooth over my hair, and look me over; all the while asking me how I’ve been, and how my trip was. Once she was certain that I was okay, she gave me one final hug. “We’ve missed you so much!”

“I’ve missed you guys, too.” I said.

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As I let go of her, I finally noticed the person lying on the bed. Had I not known that it was my father, I would not have recognized him. His normally pudgy cheeks, where I got mine from, were now sunken in. His cocoa colored skin was pale, and he was sweating profusely. The heart monitor beeped in the background, and there was a strange feeling in the air; as if the air itself could sense that death was coming soon. I went to the side of the bed, and reached over to feel his hand. His fingers felt bony within mine, and I almost pulled my hand back in fear.

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“He goes in and out of consciousness.” My mom informed me. “The doctors told us to just let him rest.” I continued to stare at my dad as he slept.

We sat in silence for what felt like a couple of hours, but I’m sure it was only a few minutes. The only sound being the heart monitor that beeped often, indicating that my dad was still alive. Finally, Malik broke the silence.

“Well, I’m going to the cafeteria to get something to eat. Mom, are you coming?” He gave her a look that indicated that he wasn’t going to take no for an answer. She didn’t get the message.

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“I… I wanted to wait for your father to wake up.” She said, hesitantly. Crossing his arms in front of his chest, Malik spoke again.

“Mom, you haven’t eaten anything since yesterday.” He pointed out in concern. “You need to eat, especially if you want to be awake when dad wakes up! Odine can wait here, and if anything changes, she’ll let us know, right?” I nodded.

“Yeah,” I told them, “If he wakes up, I could give Malik a quick call, and you guys would be here in time.” I tried my hardest to sound as cheerful as possible, but I felt dead inside. “Besides, you look like you could use a walk.” I grabbed my mom’s soft hand in mine, and gave it a slight squeeze, letting her know that everything would be fine. She slowly nodded, and let Malik lead her out of the room.

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Even though no one was talking when my mom and brother were in the room, just their presence seemed to quell my negative thoughts. Being left alone, my brain was free to wander to places that I didn’t want it to go. I covered my ears with my hands, as if blocking them would prevent my brain from thinking them.

“Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.” I began to whisper over and over. I became so engrossed with distracting my mind, that I almost didn’t hear my name being called.

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“O-Odine?” A shaky voice called me. Their voice was barely above a whisper. I shot my head up in the direction of the person who spoke.

“Daddy?” I asked. Sure enough, he was lying in the bed, eyes open ever so slightly, looking right at me. I shot up from my seat. “I have to get mom!” Turning towards the door, I was about to pull out my phone when he called for me to wait.

“Could we just talk for a bit? Just the two of us?” I placed my phone back in my purse, and sat back on the chair. I placed my hands on my lap, and waited.

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“So how have you been?” He asked me casually. I was a bit stunned at how he asked me. As if we were sitting at the table in my childhood home, instead of waiting in the hospital for him to die.

“I’m okay.” I answered. I didn’t feel like delving into the emotional struggles going on in my head. I hoped that he would just let it be, but I knew that I was never really able to lie to my dad.

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“Honey,” he said softly. “I know you well enough to be able to tell when you aren’t okay. Tell me what’s going on? Is Conrad treating you alright?”

“Of course!” I answered, unable to hide the slight defensiveness that found its way into my voice. “He’s a perfect gentleman.” He treats me better than I deserve, anyway. I thought. I wasn’t going to voice my opinion to my dad, though.

“And how are you recovering with everything that… happened?” He asked hesitantly. When I was missing, Conrad had called my parents and told them everything. While he had never met my parents face-to-face, they became close while I was gone. They were his support group, in a sense. Always encouraging him, and telling him not to give up, though I know it was hard on them.

When I was found, and my entire story was displayed in the papers, I knew my parents blamed themselves for everything that I’d had to go through. Even when I repeatedly told them that it wasn’t their fault, I knew that there was still going to be a part that wished that they could have been there to protect me.

“I’m doing fine.” I told him. I forced a smile on my face, but I knew he wasn’t buying it.

“Well then, what is it? We haven’t been able to talk in such a long time.” He then smiled, as if he had thought of the funniest joke. “Grant a dying man his last wish?”

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My jaw dropped, and I felt my stomach rise to my throat. “That’s not funny.” I spat out. I felt close to tears.

“No, I guess it isn’t.” My dad said sadly. We sat there in silence for a bit, neither of us entirely sure what to say. He continued to stare at me, and in a weird way, it almost seemed like he felt sympathetic towards me. I finally decided to break the silence.

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“I don’t want you to go.” I admitted. “It isn’t fair.”

“No it isn’t fair.” He said. “But what are you going to do about it?” I stared back at him, not entirely sure what he meant.

“Sometimes there are things that happen in life that we can’t control; terrible things that may affect us for a long time. But your perspective can change a lot of things. For instance, my time is running out. But am I going to sit here, wallowing in depression and self-pity? Or am I going to spend some of my time with my beautiful daughter? Am I going to become a victim of my situation? Or am I going spend my time with the people who matter most to me?” He sighed, the discomfort evident on his face. “Too many people spend their days living in the past, or stuck under the circumstances. Then they wake up one morning wondering where all of their time went. All of the hours they could have spent actually living were wasted.” He paused for a while, staring in the direction of the window. I still wasn’t able to find my words, and I didn’t want to interrupt his train of thought, so I waited in silence for him to continue.

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“I never wanted to live my life that way.” He smiled at me, a sense of pride in his weathered face. “And I didn’t. I married an amazing woman; helped raise her son, whom I love like my own; had a daughter, who grew up into a beautiful young woman. She married a caring young man, and gave me grandchildren before I died, so I know that she’s loved and taken care of. I don’t have any regrets.”

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“You are immensely blessed, you know that?” He asked. My eyes had begun to well up with tears, but this time, I didn’t feel like trying to hide them, or keep them at bay. As they began to fall down my face, I bit my lip, and nodded. “Don’t let life pass you by. The people around you love you. I could just tell from the conversations over the phone that Conrad adores you. Not everyone is as lucky as we are.”

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At that moment, the door to the room opened, and mom and Malik walked in. I knew at that point that our heart-to-heart was over. But my father had said enough. The rest of that day was spent remembering the good times when we were younger, and appreciating being in each other’s company. I knew that this would be the last time all four of us could be together, so I made sure that I didn’t miss a single moment.

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We knew it was coming, the inevitability of it all. But it still didn’t prepare us for the moment that he passed away later that evening. None of us had expected how painful it would be to hear the nurse record the time of his death, or the ringing of his flat lined heart monitor. Neither Malik nor I expected to see just how much light went out of my mother’s eyes, as if a part of her died with him.

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She collapsed onto the floor, the sobs racking her entire body. Every sob felt like a stab to the heart, and I fought the urge to crawl into a little ball of self-pity on the floor. Instead, I sat next to my mother and pulled her into a hug. I let her cry into my shoulder, telling her that it would be okay and that we’d get through this. But I knew it wouldn’t really be okay. Things probably wouldn’t be okay for my mom for a long while. But I knew that with time, she’d make it. She’d learn to cope with the loss of my dad.

Because even though he was gone, there was still a piece of him left behind in all of us. The part that wouldn’t let circumstances control us; the part that knew that in order to properly remember him, we’d have to keep moving forward and live life to its fullest.

——————–

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As I sat on my old bed, my father’s words replayed over and over in my head. He had no idea of the list of experiences I had lived through; and yet, his words had really struck a chord with me. Malik and I had agreed to help our mother with the funeral preparations. But even though I had my mom and brother around me, I don’t think I had ever felt more alone. Normally, solitude is what I want. But I really didn’t want to be by myself.

I picked up the phone, and punched in the number from memory.

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“Hello?” He answered after the second ring. Just hearing his voice made me feel comforted, and I began to cry. “Baby, Is that you?”

It was a few minutes before I could speak.

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“Hi baby.” I said.

“Odine?” He asked.

“Yeah, it’s me.” I paused for a second as I tried to swallow. “I’m going to be staying here for a week or two. Mom and Malik need my help with the funeral.”

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“So, your dad, he’s…” He hesitated. “He’s gone?” I nodded, forgetting the fact that he couldn’t see me. I simply answered yes, knowing that if I tried to speak too much, I would begin crying again.

“Take all the time you need, okay?” He reassured me. “If there’s anything I can do, please let me know.”

“Actually,” I managed to say. “I-I was h-hoping that you could come down.”

He was silent for a minute, and my stomach began to twist and turn in worry. I felt as if sand was in my mouth, and I had to keep swallowing to relieve the dryness in my throat.

“Let me make a couple of calls, and then I’ll get back to you, okay?” He asked. I agreed, and with a quick goodbye, we hung up.

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I flopped back down on my old bed, and tried to take deep breaths. As I waited, my mind began to go at one thousand miles an hour.

What if he doesn’t want to come? I wouldn’t blame him. All I’ve brought to this marriage was one big headache. I haven’t been the person that he needs, or the mom that the kids need. They’d be better off without me. I shot up from the bed, and walked to my mirror. It was painful to look at my reflection, and I had to force myself not to turn away.

“You are a good person.” I told myself shakily. “You aren’t perfect, but you are trying. You’re a good mother, and a good-.” I had to swallow, as my throat began to tighten. “A good wife. You will get better, and you will be the best wife that you can be.” If Conrad forgives me.

I jumped slightly, as my phone rang. Rushing over to my bed, I saw Conrad’s name in the caller ID. I pressed the green button on the screen, and slowly brought the phone to my ear.

“He-hello?”

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“Hey, hon.” His deep voice filtered through the speaker. “So, I made a couple of calls, and I can be there in less than a week.” My heart leapt in my chest.

“Really?” I asked. I couldn’t help but smile as tears began to form in my eyes once again.

“Yes, really.” He said. “I hadn’t used my vacation days for this quarter, so Marcel gave me time off so I can go; and Stella said she can watch the kids, so I’m all set.” I wiped the tears as they fell down my cheeks.

“Th-thank you. This means… So much to me.” I took a deep breath, and let it out. I knew that the hardest part of this whole thing wasn’t over yet; but just knowing that he’d be here, and hopefully give me a chance to fix everything, was comforting.

“Of course babe.” He said. “I’ll buy a plane ticket as soon as I can.” A small voice piped up through the phone. “Hey hon, Lance wants to talk to you before he has to go to his audition.” As he passed the phone to Lance, I could hear incoherent baby babbling in the background.

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“Hi, mommy!” Lance said excitedly.

We talked for a little bit; mainly him sharing details of what’s been happening while I’ve been gone.

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“There’s a new girl in my class, mommy. Her name is Belle Hemlock. She was a little weird, but Sebbie and I invited her to play with us at recess. She was really nice. She even shared her skittles!” He stated matter of factly. “Daddy told me he was proud of me for being nice to her, and that he was going to take me out for ice cream after my audition!” I laughed at that, and shook my head ever so slightly. Oh, to be a child again.

“That’s great honey!” We continued to talk for a couple minutes more, and then Lance gave the phone back to Conrad.

“Hey, so I have to take Lance out, but I’ll catch the soonest flight to Starlight Shores that I possibly can, okay?”

“Okay. I love you.”

“I love you too. Bye!”

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——————–

It was the day that Conrad was supposed to arrive, and I was pacing back and forth in the entryway in front of the stairs. Malik had been teasing me, saying that I was going to create a ditch in the hardwood floor with all of the pacing I was doing. I ignored him, and kept walking back and forth.

I was trying to figure out the best way to put my feelings into words. I had been stuck inside my own head for so long; too busy pushing others away and I wanted to tell him that I was going to change that. No matter how long it takes. I just wasn’t exactly sure how to word it.

Screenshot-38

I was in the middle of making my hundredth round across the carpet, when the doorbell rang. My stomach flipped, as I froze in fear. I glanced at Malik, as he stood up from the couch and made his way to the door.

As Malik let Conrad into the house, I stared at him; my body frozen. He set his bag down on the ground, and stared at me with his piercing lavender eyes. His mouth turned up into a shy smile; one that reached his eyes.

Screenshot-39

“Hey.”

With that one word, the dam that held back my tears was broken. Every second of planning what to say was all for nothing, as the only thought that remained in my mind was that I needed to hold my best friend. I threw myself into his arms; and with tears staining my cheeks, I repeated one thing over and over again.

Screenshot-40

“I’m so sorry! I’m so, so sorry!”

——————–

Hope you enjoyed chapter 9! I hope to get chapter 10 out soon, because I have it all written out already. But honestly, who really know with me. XD As always, likes; comments; etc. are always welcome! Thanks for reading guys! And for being so awesim!!! 😀

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9 Comments

  1. I was really concerned at the beginning that Odine was going to just walk away from her husband and kids. I understand her feelings and after what happened who wouldn’t be locked inside their own heads and pushing everyone away. Conrad handled it as well as could be expected. That talk with her dad was exactly what she needed to hear and I’m glad she took it to heart and called Conrad. I could almost feel her nervous energy as she paced the carpet waiting for Conrad to arrive. Aw so many feels!!! Can’t wait for the next chapter. By the way they had really adorable babies.

    Reply
    • I don’t think I could ever break Conrad and Odine up. I’ve put them through waaaaaaay too much together to just have them end it. But Odine has definitely been through the ringer, so it’s kinda understandable why she shuts down… the problem is that she also shuts everyone out (kinda her normal reaction when hit with negative emotions). That was the part that frustrated Conrad, because he wants to help her get through it, but you can only go so far in helping someone when all they do is slam the metaphorical door in your face.

      I might have to rewrite some things for the next chapter, and add a scene, but aside from that, it’s all written, so hopefully I can add pictures soon.

      Ikr? Brian and Vissa are adorable!!! Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  2. Yea, that brought tears to my eyes. It’s so easy to get caught up living in the past and feeling sad. I think everyone goes through times that they have to remind themselves that they are not perfect but they are good people and they will do better and learn from their mistakes. You did a really good job portraying her feelings. Deep stuff.

    Conrad is such a great husband, being so patient and kind. The fact that he can love her, forgive her and see the great in her makes me feel that she will be able to forgive herself and see the good in herself. I can’t wait to see how their journey will turn into a hopefully happy ending.

    Reply
    • Aw, really? I’m alway surprised when someone says that my writing made them tear up/cry… Because while I try my hardest to translate the emotions that I end up feeling because I’m so emotionally connected to my characters that I feel some emotions that they do, I don’t normally expect it to affect others that way… Granted, I’ve been told that I’m too hard on myself and underestimate my so called skills.

      It really is easy to get caught up in the negatives going on around you that we miss the positives. I’ve been told by my wife that I can be a Debbie downer, and no one is perfect. We just have to try our hardest to be the best people that we can be.

      He’s definitely trying his hardest. It’s certainly not the easiest when someone shuts you out. And I’ve put them through enough crap that maybe I’ll be nice to them for once. 😉

      No promises. XD

      Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  3. First off, LOL Nate! Those must have been some mighty loud crickets, because I can assure you that this fan was definitely hooray-ing back!

    Now, onto the chapter:

    Jeez, I felt so much for both Conrad and Odine in this situation.

    On Conrad’s end, I could tell that he was trying so hard to help his wife and was so desperate to pull her out of her dark thoughts and away from her demons, but it doesn’t work like that, and so it left him feeling defeated. He wanted to fix it…but it’s not something that can be “fixed”….not in the typical sense of the word anyway, and so Conrad felt helpless to save the woman that he loves, and that was both incredibly frustrating and painful.

    Then on Odine’s side she’s been through so much, and no matter how hard Conrad tries, he will never truly understand what she went through, where she’s coming from, and the guilt that she feels for not being the wife that Conrad so wants her to be. So when he says things like “I need my wife back” it just makes her feel even worse because in her head, she can never live up to her husband’s expectations, and that too makes her feel defeated—as if nothing she does will ever be enough, and so why should he even put up with her anymore? And then when Conrad continuously reminds her that he’s there for her? It’s a kind gesture to be sure, but of course Odine will shrink away from it….she already feels like such a burden….why in the world would she want to place even more on him? Not to mention whenever she does confide in him, Conrad’s reaction is to point out the good in her life, which might be helpful in shifting her perspective for a time, but it doesn’t ultimately allow her to deal with the issues causing her pain in the first place.

    And then on top of it all, to have to come to grips with and grieve the death of her father? Jeez. As if there already weren’t enough on her plate. I am glad though that Odine got to have that conversation with her father and enjoy their last moments together. Life is limited, and we need to make peace with ours pasts so that they don’t interfere with the present and keep us from living fully engaged and meaningful lives.

    I’m glad too that this message stuck with Odine and helped give her the extra dose of strength she needed to bring Conrad back into her life. It breaks my heart that she still feels the need to apologize though. No apologies are needed….even the strongest amongst us would be taken down a notch after having gone through what she did. I think her reaction was perfectly normal. When Odine learns that, and accepts all facets of herself, both the ones she perceives as good and the one she perceives as bad, I think she’ll be able to truly feel healed. In the meantime though, allowing back those in her lives that she loves is a big step in the right direction.

    Wonderful chapter, Nate! I’m looking forward to seeing what’s to come!

    Reply
    • Bahaha! It’s crickets with megaphones… XD Thanks for the hooray! *happy dances*

      It was a sticky situation for all parties involved. Ultimately, Conrad doesn’t want her to be this super forced-happy person, he just wants to be able to be let in when she’s going through stuff, to be able to be the pillar or support for her, but it’s hard when you try to help, and you’re just shut out. He’s only human, so it’s understandable for him to get frustrated.

      Granted, him getting frustrated isn’t helping Odine in the slightest. There really is not way for him to understand everything she’s been through, just like there is no way for her to fully understand the pain he went through during his upbringing. It’s interesting how the things that we think will help often tend to push people away more.

      She didn’t really apologize for being sad/upset, because emotions are a natural thing, and she knows that Conrad understands that. She was more so apologizing for ostracizing him when all he wanted to do was help. Which, he never expected an apology, or anything like that, she just felt it was needed.

      The death of her father definitely stinks, and it’s sad that it took a situation like this to “wake her up”, but their final conversation was just the thing that she needed to open her eyes. Life really is short (though, my dad always says “It’s the longest thing you’ll ever do”), and being stuck on what happened makes us miss what’s currently happening. Granted, sometimes we do need to revisit though hinge past so that we can properly heal, but if we stay there, it could negatively affect our future. One person that Odine needs to apologize to/forgive is herself, because she’s been blaming herself/putting pressure on herself for far too long.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! You’ve definitely made me rethink some things for chapter 10! 🙂

      Reply
  4. meg

     /  October 23, 2015

    Oh poor Odine… It’s hard to snap out of that way of thinking once your in it… But I’m glad her dad helped her to do it, and that Conrad was so patient with her. These two really have been through so much, I hope things quiet down for them and they can learn to relax again. Then again, they also have a child and two toddlers.

    This chapter was definitely worth the wait and I was so excited to see it has been posted! I love it! And I can’t wait to read more 🙂

    Reply
    • I agree that it is definitely hard to snap out of the rut of self loathing, and pity once you’re there. Fortunately for her, she was able to talk to her dad, and he helped her wake herself up. Unfortunately, it had to happen right before he passed away. And even I have to admit that I’ve put them through the a ton of crap. But that just makes the (hopefully good? Maybe? I won’t say.) ending all worth it. They have a bit more ‘stuff’ to get through before it’s all fine and dandy. Bahaha! That’s an interesting way to put it. Children do have a tendency to make life all the more interesting.

      Aw, thanks Meg! I have most of the next chapter written, so hopefully I can get it out before I’m 30 (which is in 8 years)! XD

      Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  5. Oh Odie… I feel really bad for her and all the things she’s going through mentally and emotionally. Depression can really eat you up inside and make it’s way around to every person you love, spreading like a virus. When you’re depressed, you just always feel miserable and your words, although probably not true, come out rather harsh and heart breaking. It’s so very sad to witness.

    It’s also like she can’t catch a break. She wants to be a good mom and wife and do her civil duty. But at the same time she’s fighting off this demons in her mind, has gone through hell and back, and now, her dad died! It’s like, when does she win? But, I guess she just needed to go through this things to get her to the place she is right now. I really hope that after all of this, it finally gets through to her that Conrad loves her and that he’s there for her. Or even if she needs to also speak to someone else to help her with all she’s went through. I mean, jeeze, she’s strong with how well she IS holding up. Even with all the feelings, thoughts and actions, she’s still standing stronger than most people would if they were in her shoes.

    Oh Conrad… you’re such a good, loyal and devoted husband. Reminds me of my own 😉 I wonder why? But he does everything for her and it’s amazing. The world could be ending and he’d still go to the end of THAT world to make sure she was happy and safe; her AND his kids.

    But oh my gosh her dad. Like, his last words to her were so amazing. If you had to pick something that somebody could say to you before they die, that’s got to be it right there. Kind of reminds me of How I met your mother when Marshall’s dad died. It’s like, you never know what last little words someone is going to say to you, and when it happens, you just hope they’re good ones. So glad she got to be with her dad and hear his thoughts before he died.

    The kids are adorable by the way! Lance is a little cutie with his kindness and sharing inviting that girl to play. And she’s even nicer! You gotta be a kind soul to share your skittles. It’s just law. Hehe.

    Great chapter baby! I think, that while Odine was at the hospital, she should have requested a tall man with blue and black hair to talk to the family; help them through a little bit. I heard he’s really awesome and really knows his stuff 😉 I believe he goes by Val or something. 😛

    Love you!

    Reply

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