What's new
  • This section is for roleplays only.
    ALL interest checks/recruiting threads must go in the Recruit Here section.

    Please remember to credit artists when using works not your own.

Realistic or Modern Anchored for Love

isax

Ten Thousand Club
Reading what Amelia had to confess, Isabel sighed softly before she looked away from her phone. "You didn't come between Dawson and I. He's the one coming between us but I understand. I get nothing I say now will make you change your mind. I love you, Amelia. I always will. I hope that we can keep in touch over the years." Sighing softly, Isabel pulled herself away from her best friend before she stood up and patted down her pantsuit. Giving Amelia one last tight hug, the photojournalist walked out of the Acciolli house, and with every step to her car, her heart continued to break. This was it. After sixteen years of having Amelia by her side, Amelia was no longer going to be there every moment she needed her. With the distance that continued to increase as Isabel drove away from her best friend, her tears intensified and so did her tears. When she arrived home, Isabel was grateful Malinda decided to take care of Asher. Isabel wasn't in the best mood to properly care for her son and when her husband walked in, Isabel felt the rage warm her entire body.

Playing with her wedding band, she didn't try to hide the fact that she was crying. Hearing Dawson inch closer to the dinning room table, Isabel looked up and met his gaze that seemed to have a look of concern. Don't look like you actually care, Dawson. She thought to herself before releasing a heavy sigh when he asked her what they needed to talk about. "We need to talk about us and where we're going from here. You got what you wanted. Amelia and I will no longer be seeing each other because sixteen years of friendship went down the drain. She resigned today and I know it's because you must have talked to her. I'm not saying you told her to resign but she distancing herself from me for you. You got what you wanted." She said in bitterness towards her husband before she began to cry. "Because of this, I no longer will run the company. I'm giving it up but I bet that's what you wanted to hear anyways. I'm no longer going to be a photojournalist. I'll find a much safer career to have instead of chasing foolish assignments, as you call them, in another country or our own. Everything I ever worked hard for is something I no longer want. Journalism was my passion, but why have passion when you have a family, right?" Finally meeting Dawson's eyes once more, Isabel released another deep sigh. "I'll return to the office tomorrow only to give it up. I'll find another job to work and I'll be around more for Asher, but let's get one thing straight, Dawson Nicholas. Don't ever say I never put you first because I have. Multiple times on multiple occasions, some even before I was your wife. I'll be spending the night at the ranch. Don't follow me there, just leave me alone. I want to see Asher and I already spoke to your mom about me spending the night there. You got everything you wanted, Dawson. I just don't think you realize what an asshole you're being right now. It's because of your insecurities that I am completely broken once more. A stronger woman would've left you, but I am incapable of doing so. I guess Savannah was wrong about Josie and I being two different type of women."
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
"Isabel, you're being irrational right now. You're angry and you need to calm down before you can go anywhere. You're not going to throw your whole livelyhood away over this. Breathe, please. Amelia made her decesion and you need time to come to terms with it but it's not worth throwing an entire company away in the heat of your anger. No one said you had to give up your entire career to be a part of this family. It was just time for a chapter of it to end. Don't you understand? Everything has to be black or white with you; you can make the best of both your professional and personal life but as long as Amelia is around, you're never going to want to find that balance because she pushes you to be "the best" not everyone needs to be the best, Isabel. You don't need to follow in her footsteps. You're your own person. I don't understand why you're making such a big deal out of this. The company is finally yours. You can take it wherever you want it to go without permission why is that such a bad thing? Can't you see the good in this?" Dawson shouted, his hands gripping the kitchen counter. Pulling away he cupped his hand over his mouth in attempt to keep his own frustration at bay. "Can you just stop for one second? Stop and think just what this means for us. How much more time we could spend together? All the things we could do? Is that so miserable for you? It was Amelia's choice to push herself away, no one forced her to do anything, Isabel. If she knew how badly this was going to hurt you in the end than she should have stayed if you meant that much to her. Did you ever think that maybe you don't mean as much to her as you thought you did? Maybe this is best for the both of you."
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
Anger continued to build within Isabel as she listened to everything her husband had to say. With each word he said, he only angered her even more, and now she wasn't going to be able to hold back. Before she even uttered a word, a loud slap echoed through the house as flesh met with flesh. Isabel slapped the man standing at the kitchen counter. Her rage had finally seeped out and she didn't regret what she did. "Don't you think I know how much time I would have to spend with you and Asher? How much time we could spend together? I know we can do a lot more things together but you just don't understand where I'm coming from, Dawson! Don't you fucking dare say Amelia doesn't care about me, because she does! She cares so much about me that she's willing to throw away our friendship! And you know why she's doing it, Dawson? She decided this because she thinks this is the best way to care for me. She doesn't want me to lose you, my husband, because she cares so fucking much about my happiness and how happy you make me. She doesn't want to break apart my family, so she's pulling herself away because she believes it's the best way. You don't get that, though! You don't understand just how much Amelia really cares about me!" Sighing, Isabel walked to the living room where she grabbed her iPad and put it in her bag. "And don't you dare say I'm being the irrational one. If you can't understand why I am choosing to give up the company, than you never really knew what it meant to me. I don't care that I get to own the company myself now. I don't care that I won't have to ask anyone permission when it comes to making decisions. That company meant so much more than being a successful woman. It had a much deeper meaning that you can't seem to wrap your head around! The only good in this whole situation, is that I can spend more time with our son. At the moment, being in the same house as you isn't something I desire. I'm not leaving you, I just need time to myself. Time to figure out where my life is going from here. I told you if you made me choose between you and Amelia, you wouldn't like it. Amelia pushed me to be the best because nobody else would, because she knew what I was capable and not capable of doing. I was going to change the world, Dawson. I thought you loved how passionate I was? I guess you really didn't." Walking to their room, she packed some of her clothes before walking back to the living room. "Don't try to stop me from leaving. Don't follow me to the ranch and please don't show up one day to see me. I need time to breathe and I'll come back home in a week. You can go to the ranch to see Asher and spend time with him, but please don't try to talk me into coming back home." With that, Isabel grabbed her purse and the duffle bag she packed with clothes and walked out to her car, loading her things into it. "Be safe at work. I'll see ya in a week."
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Like this post if it left you shook, please.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Looking back on it, I realize how much of a jerk I made myself appear to be to the world. I tore my wife away from the one person that only ever loved her unconditionally before she selflessly handed her to me to love and protect for the rest of her natural life in the moments Amelia could not. But as much as I hated being labeled as the enemy, I would carry that stigma for as long as it took before the truth would be revealed. During the spring of the fifth year I finally got the call.

When the call came through, I was standing in the grocery line with Asher, who was now six, buying things to make a pizza. A recipe Isabel memorized during her close years with Melia. She was still in our lives more than our son realized. He never saw his mother break down into tears at every birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and wedding anniversary that she missed in Amelia life. Those were the hardest day for me to bite by tongue and keep from exploiting the truth. I hated seeing Isabel so broken, so lost and for her to think it was all my fault.

All Nick had to say were two words: “It’s Done.” Two word’s I waited years to hear, and by now, never thought would come. The relief washed over me like the humidity on a summer day in Texas, bringing tears to my eyes that I would tell my son was just sweat when they fell down my scruffy cheeks. I didn’t want him to question my rare moment of vulnerability to his mother, who was now working at HEB, as a senior design specialist.

I ended the call with two equally as adequate words. “Thank you.”

In the five years since the split, Amelia and Jayden sold their house in Texas and made the move back to Florida where Amelia had family to help raise their kids. From Jayden I learned Amelia went back to school yet again and became a criminal profiler, leaving her career in journalism behind as we hoped she would but resented. It wasn’t fair a woman as talented and compassionate as her had to go into hiding against her knowledge, for the sake of her life. She possessed a passion and a purpose I had never seen before. But it wasn’t worth losing her, at least not to Jayden I didn’t blame him though, that woman was world, just as much as Isabel was mine. He had spent nearly a million dollars of his own money to keep her out of harm’s way. Amelia’s mortality was worth every dime to Jayden’s name and the terrorists who wanted her dead knew that.

The rest of the afternoon was a blur to me, I didn’t remember much of it. I took Asher home, waited for him to change, took him to baseball practice, by the time it was over and I picked up his younger brother, Noah from my mother on ranch, I drove home anxiously waiting for my wife’s return. When she walked through the door after her long day at work, I couldn’t contain myself any longer. She needed to know the truth. “I need to tell you something,” I said in a heavy breath, the ingredients to make the pizzas now sprawled out on the kitchen counter. When she asked in the usual bland soft tone “What is it?” I confessed to her the truth that I thought died with part of her soul the day her and Amelia walked out of each other’s lives. “I don’t hate Amelia, I never did. It was all a scheme. I wanted to protect her and this was the only way. It’s over now. She’s safe.”

I told Isabel everything that night. I told her about how I used my naval privileges to rush Jayden and I over to France after they’d been attacked. I told her how even in their lucid medical states they were being held prisoner. I told her how many ransoms Jayden had paid over the years to keep Amelia safe. I told her how Amelia had a target on her back for exposing International corruption. I told her how Amelia was under governmental protection until the terrorists were terminated. I told her Nick was the one to do it. I even told her it took until today to do it. Everything I worked so strenuously to hide, was now all out in the open and all I could hope was that Isabel took the news well. After all, it changed her entire life for the past five years. “I’m sorry, Isabel. I hope you can accept it was all for the best for Amelia. I figured you would rather her be living without you in her life than having to watch her casket being lowered into the ground. We only wanted what was best for both of you.”
 
Last edited:

isax

Ten Thousand Club
The past five years haven’t been easy, let me tell you, but I like to think I’ve been able to compose myself rather well. For the sake of my sons, I never want them to see me so broken, and the only times I ever broke were on the important days like holidays, birthdays, wedding anniversary’s, I even broke down when I won an award with my new career at HEB for my designs. That day, I wasn’t able to look into the crowd and see Amelia smiling such a vibrant smile that lit the entire room. That day all I saw was Dawson, my husband, and as much as I love the man, he will always remind me that I lost my best friend. He was the reason, after all, and with every look at him I feel a sharp pain in my chest.

The day was like any normal day. Nothing seemed to hold any excitement for me anymore. I simply went through the motions everyday with no ounce of passion. Just a need to work and distract myself from the harsh reality I have been living. Work, mother duties, wife duties, sleep and repeat. That is what my daily routines became. My feet were killing me from wearing my heels all day. I had to run around the office a lot today in order to get the designs how I needed them to be by the end of the week. I went from department to department, meeting to meeting, going through the motions until I was in the security of my Audi and finally had the chance to breathe.

The drive home was something I always looked forward to. I could listen to my controlled chaos playlist back from college and let’s the lyrics engulf me. I was happy in life, I just simply wished it was different. The drive was my time to focus on myself and what my life was. I was either thinking about everything I possibly could, or completely numb and not thinking about a single thing. The days varied but thanks to the light rain that patterned against my window shield and How Long Will I Love You playing faintly in the background, I was consumed in my thoughts but today I smiled the entire ride home. Every good memory I shared with Amelia replayed on the drive home and soon after those memories finished, memories with Dawson and my sons filled my subconscious.

Walking into the house, I immediately kicked off my heels by the front door, dropping my purse by the table which held our keys. As I strolled into the house further, I heard my husband say he needed to tell me something. What could he possibly need to tell me that was so urgent? Responding in a bland manner, asking what it was, I walked to the kitchen and smiled at the ingredients he bought to make pizza. Pizza was always something that reminded of Amelia because we made it with her recipe. It was turning out to be a good day after all. I was puzzled, however, by what it was Dawson had to tell me. He didn’t hate Amelia. Everything he said jumbled together in my mind but one thing was clear. All of this, the past five years, was all a lie. She resented her husband for nothing, slapped him that day five years ago when Amelia resigned for nothing. No, not nothing. It was all for Amelia’s safety and knowing Dawson was completely right in his decision, I couldn’t stop the tears that streamed down my face as I hugged him close. Amelia was being targeted and every day the past five years was meant to keep her alive and well. How could I be upset with the man of my life for doing this? I couldn’t.

“Dawson, thank you. I’m sorry for how the past five years have been but I’m truly grateful you made the decision you did, despite you seeming like the bad guy.” Leaning forward, I gave my pilot a kiss. One that held such passion. One I hadn’t shared with him in five years. He saved my best friend. He and Jayden kept her alive and I couldn’t be anymore thankful than what I was. “What does this mean now that she isn’t being targeted? Do you think I can have my best friend back?” I asked in a hopeful whisper before I heard my wonderful six-year-old call out to me.

“Momma, you’re home! Daddy said we get to make pizza tonight! Do you want the usual?” My sweet innocent little boy asked. With every year he got older, the more he began to look like a carbon copy of his father. Not only in looks but in his hobbies as well. It was in his blood to be a rider and having Noah around meant I would have two future cowboys.

“I would love the usual, my love. In fact, I’ll help you and daddy make ‘em,” and I did. That night, I opened myself up to everything again. My family, my husband, my sons and soon my best friend. I was happy once more and I didn’t want the day to end. That night, I sat in Dawson’s lap after the boys went to bed, leaning against his broad chest as we sat on our bed. “When can I see her again?” I asked him gently, hopeful I could see Amelia sometime soon.
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
With the truth being set free, so was Isabel from the metaphorical cage I watched her place herself in in the years without her best friend. Since Amelia vanished from her life, I noticed Isabel was almost afraid to be completely happy with her life. I knew she thought she didn’t deserve it, because Amelia was missing out. If I ever doubted how much Amelia impacted my wife’s happiness, there was no doubt now. There was something about those two that kept each other afloat.

The minute Isabel knew the truth, she unlocked the cage she put herself in. For the first time in five years I recognized the woman I slept beside every night, and since then had another son with to be the same woman I married. Her smile was genuine, it finally spread from both corners of her dark painted lips. Her brown eyes sparkled with excitement I hadn’t seen since Amelia got married. If Asher wasn’t oblivious to the tragedy his mother endured, the tears I felt steam my face would have fell. Isabel was back.

With the boys in bed and Isabel curled in my arms, I was overwhelmed with a satisfied feeling of contentment. It was peaceful. With our hands clasped together, I brought hers to my lips, kissing it gently, chucking at her giddish excitement.

“I don’t know when you can see her, Amor. This is going to be harder for her to accept than you, I imagine. She has to cope with the fact that she was a terrorist target. I don’t know when Jayden’s going to tell her the truth. She’s content now with the life they have together. She’s successful and climbing. Jayden had to break her slowly. But you’ll see her, I promise. I don’t know if she’ll be someone you recognize, Bel. She’s changed a lot.”

Though it was April, the Florida heat was still as unbearable as it was in August. Growing up here, I always joked that there were two seasons: Summer and hurricane season. Hopping into the Lexus, I was reminded of the scorching heat when the steering wheel nearly burned my hand. “Shit,” I muttered throwing my purse in the backseat. Turning the air on full blast, I rested my hands on my dress pants, noticing how badly I neglected my nails. Sighing, I turned on the radio, waiting for the car to cool down before I pulled out of my parking space at the headquarters where I worked. Mummering the song on the radio I looked at myself in the mirror. My once blonde hair had been kept a dark brunette color and it was fully grown out again and not at my shoulders anymore. When I first did it three years ago, I could tell Jayden hated it but he was too polite to admit it. He knew I needed the change to cope with how drastically my life had changed. In an attempt to try to bring happiness back to my life, Jayden and I agreed to have another child, but that needed in tragedy too. Her name was Brenna, she had a heart condition and was too weak to make it through the surgery. We only had her for two days but Jayden made sure they were two days she knew she was loved. In her memory Jayden tattooed her footprints over his chest and I added her angel wings to the anchor I had tattooed on my ankle. It was a devastating loss, and the whole time I grieved, I wished Isabel was there. Brenna consumed my thoughts a lot this week, considering her third birthday just passed on Wednesday.

Despite the setbacks we faced, we still were managing to push through. Pulling myself from my thoughts, I picked up my phone from the cup holder to see a text from my husband. My mom had the kids and he was requesting for me to meet him at our favorite restaurant on the beach. It was only a twenty minute drive from here so I was quick to reply. After all, I hadn’t seen him all day.

“I can do that but I won’t look as dashing as you. I just got out of work. Can you order me the usual sangria? It was a long day.” Little did I know, it was about to get a lot longer.
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
The five years haven’t been easy. I knew having my wife give up her career in journalism was the only way to keep her safe but no one said I enjoyed it. Journalism was what she was meant to do and because of people like those targeting her, she no longer could do what she was destined to do. The years have been challenging and all I wanted within the five years was so Amelia to find happiness once more. We tried by having another child, but Brenna didn’t make it through. She wasn’t strong enough for her surgery and knowing I was losing her moments after I held her in my hands killed me. I know it was hard for Amelia to go through that without Isabel. The two were glued to the hip for sixteen years before they both fave one another to Dawson and I. All I wanted was for everything to go back to how they were before, but I know the chances of that are slim. Both Amelia and Isabel have changed so much through the years.

As a Northerner, I’ve never enjoyed this southern heat. The sun never seemed to stop beaming and warming up the ground beneath it. What’s even worse is in the south, humidity will always be around. This made it hard for me to wear suits to work because by the time I walked out of the office to my Range Rover, I was drenched in sweat. You would think I was used to this weather by now, but I’m not.

After work, I sat in my car, looking at my phone which was showing mine and Amelia’s text thread. When Nick called me yesterday, I was at home with the kids, making dinner for my family. The call from Nick was all I needed to hear. I was losing faith anything would happen. I felt like things would never go back to how they once were. Even when I tell my wife what happened, I know there’s a chance she won’t take what I tell her well. Her entire life has changed and now she’s doing well for herself and providing for our family. Dawson told me he informed Isabel of everything that happened. He had every right to tell Isabel everything. He always said she wasn’t the same when we had the chance to talk and he knew Amelia wasn’t herself either. Both women were so broken and if anyone ever doubted what the friendship between the two meant, they would never doubt it again.

After sending the text asking Amelia to meet me at our favorite restaurant, I drove straight there, chuckling at her response. Before going into the restaurant, I sent a reply back. “I’m sure you look just as stunning as you always do. I’ll order the sangria and be waiting for your arrival. I love you.” Sitting at our usual table, I ordered Amelia her usual sangria and a water just for me. I needed to tell her what really happened, but I couldn’t tel her everything. I don’t know how she will handle all of it so I’ve decided to tell her little by little.

Watching my stunning wife walk inside, I was quick to stand up and take her into an embrace, kissing her gently before we both sat back down. I took in every feature of her face as she sat across from her. The stunning vibrant color of her eyes, her smile that never seemed to be genuine anymore. I know she tried to be happy, and I think she finally is. That’s why telling her this now, after she’s adjusted is going to be difficult. “How was work, love? Anything worth sharing?” He asked her gently, smiling at her as she spoke about work. I don’t know when the right time to tell her is but I’ve decided to tell her after we eat. I know all too well she would lose her appetite if I told her before we ate our food.

When the time finally came to Let most of the truth out, I sighed gently, looking into my beautiful wife’s eyes before I spoke gently. “Amelia, there’s something I need to tell you. I know these past five years have been hard on you, and I know you’re finally comfortable with the life you have again but you need to know this. Dawson never hated you. Pushing you and Isabel away was something he and I had to do to keep you safe. You were wanted dead, Amelia, and Dawson and I agreed to keep the two of you from publishing the story. When the two of you were in the hospital, Dawson was able to get us there quickly, but you were still being held prisoner. Nick helped ensure you stayed safe, and the threat behind all of this has finally been taken out. This lie can finally be out in the open for you and Bel to know.”
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Rolling my eyes playfully at Jayden’s usual flattery, I set my phone back in the cup holder and headed in his direction. During the drive I found myself lost in thought again, this time in work. As much as Jayden complained about the summer heat. He didn’t know the worst of it. I spent the day in the blazing summer heat analyzing a crime scene with a body that had been decomposing for close to two days. The smell was revolting. The victim, like the last two, were strangled with cheap rope and bonded at the hands with zip ties. Classic signs of an amateur suspect, coming from a lower class income. Most likely a male given the strength it took to overpower his victims. The victims were all males, meaning the suspect more than likely lacked his father. It wasn’t the most difficult case, but it needed to be solved at a quicker pace before a fourth life was lost. Becoming a profiler was an easy decision. The position was a natural fit because of my attention to detail and ability to read people. I did enjoy my work, but it didn’t fill the nagging void I felt now that my journalism career was behind me. Of course, the change overjoyed my family, from their perspective I finally accepted my full potential and reaped the benefits.

Pulling into a parking space at the restaurant, I texted Jayden to let him know I would be in shortly. Unclipping the Glock from my belt I placed it into the glove compartment. Whenever I was with Jayden I left it behind because I knew, even though he hates to admit it, me carrying with him next to me hurt his masculinity and natural instinct to protect.

Lastly, I took my hair down from its high pony tail and let my freshly dyed brunette hair fall past my shoulders and down my back, the natural curls in my hair taking their frizzy shape in no time. After a long day of sweating my eyeliner was slightly smudged at the both corners of my eyes but I didn’t bother to fix it because to the normal eye no one cared to notice and I was too exhausted to care what I looked like to go have a drink and eat the crab cakes I was craving since Jayden invited me here.

Walking inside, I was slightly disappointed Jayden didn’t request a table on the deck outside but I knew he preferred the air conditioned indoors because he was too proud of his professional look to switch to short sleeve dress shirts and go without the jacket. He complained that it was an unfinished look. I never remembered him being that picky when all he wore was a uniform.

“Hi,” I replied in a content breath. The way Jayden looked at me always had a way of melting away all my stressors and becoming at ease. No matter how much stress I took on, his look of admiration towards me always reminded me that stress was only temporary but he would love me despite it all.

Taking my seat, I folded the napkin neatly in my lap out of habit. I came from a southern family with a grandmother who never wasted an opportunity to lecture me when learning manners. It was all muscle memory now, but I always had to catch myself when I went to put my elbows on the table. Taking a sip of the sangria Jayden obediently ordered for me, I grinned in satisfaction. “Today was busy, but definitely too hot to be in a sweltering crime scene. I hope I don’t smell like a rotting corpse, I only had time to change my top,”I replied in a whisper, not wanting to ruin the meals of those around me with such an unsettling detail but my husband had a past in law endowment so he was equally as unphased by it. “How was yours?”I asked continuing the conversation through dinner.

By the time our plates were cleared I thought our evening alone together was coming to a peaceful end until I saw the distress creep through Jayden’s expression. He was nervous, tapping his wedding band out of rhythm against his water glass. He was hiding something and wanted to come clean.

“What is it?” I asked suspiciously, feeling my own hands become clammy. The news was abrupt. “Dawson doesn’t hate you.” I hadn’t heard that name and years and the sound of it rolling off Jayden’s lips, though it was familiar tore my stomach to shreds and the want to break into tears was just as bad as it was five years ago. Losing Isabel was something I was never going to get over, it would always be an open wound, there was no healing it, but I had to move on from it. Jayden just ripped the metaphorical bandaid I spent years perfecting. I didn’t know if I wanted to hear the rest of what he had to say. But I heard it anyway.

None of it was coherent, Jayden just said it all in one unskillful stream of consciousness and I didn’t know what to make of it. I was confused. It didn’t make sense. “What are you talking about?” I asked a little more sternly than I intended. “I don’t understand what you’re trying to say, but before you try to make sense of it, I need another drink.”
 
Last edited:

isax

Ten Thousand Club
How does one tell the light of their life everything she was doing and had to go through for five years was all a lie meant to keep her safe? How was I going to explain it to my wife, who finally came to terms with Isabel no longer being apart of her life? I'm not sure how I can tell her, but I do know she deserves to know. I can't keep letting her live her life the way she has been. There is nothing wrong with the career she chose or how she continuously dyes her hair a deep brown color, which I might add I've never liked. Everything about the woman I love changed that day five years ago when she resigned and left her best friend. Dawson was lucky Isabel was back to who she used to be, but I knew better than to think Amelia would do the same. She was hurt and broken, and being hurt like this really changed a person. It changed my wife completely and some days I had no idea what to do with her, but I vowed to stay through thick and thin and I am never leaving her because she is my Isabel. She completes my life and if I ever lost her, I would be just as broken as she is now.

I knew what I said was not coherent the moment it rolled off my lips, but I couldn't stop myself from letting it out and jumble together. I was impatient now that I knew the two former best friends didn't have to continue living in hell. Sighing softly, I ordered Amelia another drink, ordering myself a glass of red wine while I was at it. Telling Amelia everything she needed to know wasn't going to be easy, and I still couldn't tell her everything all at once. Forming the words to say before I let them out of my mouth, I released a sigh and took Amelia's hands in my own.

"Amelia, my love, everything I am about to say is going to be intense and I'm nervous for how you are going to handle it. Dawson never hated you. He doesn't hate you. Him taking on the stigma of being an asshole was the only thing he and I could think of to protect you. Amelia, you know why your captors captured you and Isabel five years ago. You know it was because you're vital to our government because of how well you exposed corruption. They wanted you dead, and were planning on killing you before Dawson and I intervened. When you were in the hospital, you were still being held as their prisoner. You and Isabel. Dawson and I were only allowed to be with you because we cut a deal with those who wanted to kill you. We were to ensure you and Isabel never released the story you worked on regarding the terrorists. We thought you and Isabel dropped it once we were able to bring you back to America but the two of you still sent it to an editor to be polished for publishing. I couldn't let them kill you, Amelia. I was in touch with them because they knew I would do anything when it came to your life. I paid ransoms for you, several of them, but every dollar spent was worth your life." Taking a deep breath, I looked at Amelia for some form of reaction, but I wasn't getting one. Ever since she was broken, she got skilled at hiding her true emotions from me and her doing so hurt me deeply. "To stop the two of you from publishing the story, Dawson and I intervened, making you and Isabel believe Dawson resented you. We didn't want to tear the two of you apart from each other, but it was the only effective way we knew would work. So we did it. Dawson made you believe he wanted you as far away as possible from his wife, when in reality we both wanted the opposite. We knew the break between the two of you would change your lives, and we needed them to change while we worked to eliminate the people who wanted you dead. I asked Nick for help and with it he was finally able to kill your killers. He killed them yesterday, Amelia. It took him and the government this long to ensure you were safe. Everything that has happened since that horrible day was to make sure you were safe. I'm sorry I couldn't tell you sooner and telling you now is probably too late." Squeezing her hands, I felt them shaking. This was too much for my wife to handle but it needed to be said. She deserved to know. I let go of her hands and sipped on my wine while she sipped on her sangria, and when I saw the tears fall, I acted quick by taking her face in my hands and wiping them away. "Shh, Amelia. I'm so sorry, my love."
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
For any normal person, what my husband had to confess should have sent them into a panic. But we all know by now in my narrative, I’m far from normal. Throughout the entirety of his regretful confession I felt nothing. No resentment. No sorrow. No denial. No pain. No doubt. I expected it. As insane as the situation was, in that moment of I felt anything, it was hatred at myself for ever believing any part of my life for the past five years was truthful. After all, most of my life felt like a lie until I was old enough to control it. From a young age the truth of my circumstances and the people I was brought up by was kept from me in a cloak of secrecy. No one wanted me to know my father was addicted. No one wanted me to know my mother could never afford to raise me. No one wanted me to know that they hated who I wanted to become when I was old enough to decide, because they all wanted to protect me. They said they never wanted me to feel inferior or obsolete to the world, but by keeping the truth of who I was and where I came from from me, I developed a permanent insecurity and and shadow of doubt between what was the truth and what was secret. When people said they loved me, did they really? I had a difficult time believing that after constant neglect of commitment and people walking out of my life. What was love? For awhile I didn’t know really, until I taught myself to shower my own kindness on people to remind myself. Was I actually worth every sacrifice made for me to be great? Or did people just feel indebted to say and do nice things for me because they pitied my past? This is why I chose journalism. Because unlike most professions, it is founded upon the truth I was starving from. It deciphered for me the certainty of what was true and what wasn’t. I decided I was going to seek the truth for people who needed it because no one sought the truth for me. I found no comfort in secrecy, only insecurity. When I chose journalism, I chose to always be truthful with myself and with others, because secrecy doesn’t protect anyone, it only hurts them, because the truth will inevitably come out. It cannot be ignored. It only makes sense that when I stopped fighting for truth, truth stopped coming to me.


Looking up at Jayden, I unclenched my jaw, letting the few tears fall that sweltered my eyes out of self inflicted anger, making myself shake. When he pulled himself towards me to offer comfort I gently pulled away. “Don’t,” I said desperately. I should have known better than to believe this life I was living was any part of my own doing. Jayden planned this, he knew what I would turn into, he just wanted me to think I was the genius of this whole plan. He wanted to protect me, just like everyone else.


The truth, even though not many people stick by it, was that I would rather lived my life genuinely, without secrecy and died on that day five years ago in France than be here right now. That was part of the oath I took as a journalist, that I would seek truth even if it meant my life, but the moment Jayden decided my life wasn’t worth the truth he took the one moral I grounded myself in independently and completely destroyed the one thing about me I thought was genuine. Once again, I felt betrayed and lost, but I didn’t give Jayden a dramatic reaction like the one he was hoping for because it wasn’t worth it. I should have known none of this was real. The only real thing in my life that had always been genuine from the start, walked out of my house in a white pant suit and didn’t look back. Like everyone else, she found my kindness empowering and uplifting until someone else gave her a reason to walk away. She found someone else she thought wasn’t worth giving up and she didn’t even try to see through my stubbornness to stay. She left without a fight. But I forgave Isabel, because Dawson was her husband and he was right, I never should have been put before him, but I hated him for taking her from me. After everything I helped her through, encouraged her to do, promised her and watched her transform into the greatest version of herself, only to be taken when someone else thought she was finally worthy of his love. She was always worth mine and I wasn’t sure she knew how much she hurt me. Isabel was never supposed to leave. But I learned the only person you can trust and understand fully is yourself. I was numb. Jayden’s confession didn’t change anything, it only reminded me I was right to question everything in my life to be real.


Finishing the drink, I wiped the remainder of my tears with the napkin used as a coaster for my wine glass. “Can we go home now?”


Despite being a little out of it, I made it home safely before Jayden and when I did I ran to the kitchen for the bottle of tequila I kept for when I felt this numb. Tequila burned and made me feel something. I needed to feel something right now.


By the time Jayden found me ten minutes later I already did four shots. I was still coherent, just warm. Perhaps he thought I was drunk because I sat in front of the fridge clutching the empty shot glass, the bottle to my right but I held my tequila down well. I hadn’t cried it wasn’t worth it. “I’m fine,” I said breaking the silence. “I still smell like a decomposing body on a summer day but I’m fine. You can go. I’m not upset with you so please don’t throw yourself into a self inflicted pity. You did the right thing.” My voice held no anger, it held nothing really, I knew he didn’t expect it to either but I wondered what Jayden was going to do with me now.
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
I shouldn't have told Amelia everything, but I did. When I started telling her the truth behind these five years of hell, I couldn't stop myself from spilling every single thing she needed to know. By the time I realized what I had done, it was too late. The damage was done, although Amelia gave me no reaction. I had a feeling she wouldn't but what scared me the most is not being able to tell what she's thinking or what she is feeling, if she even feels something at that. I designed this entire plan to ensure the safety of my wife but I knew how she felt about others controlling her life. I knew once the truth was out in the open, she would be upset, despite her reassuring me she wasn't angry.

When I arrived home and found her sitting against the fridge with her tequila bottle in hand, I knew she was completely numb. Ever since Isabel left her that day without a fight and Amelia went numb, she only ever drank tequila when she wanted to feel something, and that something was the burning sensation the alcohol provided. Sighing gently, I nodded in acknowledgment to what she said. "I'll be in the room, love. Now that you know everything, Amelia, what happens from here is in your hands." I whispered softly to my wife before squatting down in front of her and giving her a gentle kiss against the top of her head. After that, I walked to our room where I took off my jacket and eventually walked into the master bath to shower. With the hot water beating against my skin, I washed my hair and wondered if telling Amelia the truth was worth it. At the moment, it felt like I only broke her once again but I promise I will help her move past this once more. I am not leaving my wife anytime soon because I just want to see her genuinely happy once more. As much as I wanted to invite Isabel to Florida so she and Amelia could see each other once more, I knew that wasn't the wise choice. Amelia wasn't herself and I know Isabel isn't capable of facing that so soon. I would let time heal the wounds without any intervention. That's what I decided and with that, I stepped out of the shower, dressed myself and laid in bed, waiting for my wife to join me as long as I could before the exhaustion of the day took over, making me fall into a deep sleep. I didn't know where our lives were going now, but I could only hope my wife allowed herself to be happy.
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
I really shouldn’t have wondered what was going to happen next. I knew he would leave. Jayden didn’t know how to handle me when I shielded myself from him. He assumed because of how stubborn I am that I would want to be left alone. That’s the last thing I wanted. I didn’t understand how he could tell me my whole life was a lie to protect me and then in a different breathe tell me it all was up to me now. It was never up to me. It’s never going to be. Every decision I made for the rest of my life would be in the shadow of the family I needed to provide for, nothing in my life was ever going to be just for me anymore and I had to accept that for everything it was worth. You can only depend on yourself, Amelia. I reminded myself as I poured another shot, hearing the latter of Chloe’s nails I laughed half drunkenly when she cocked her head curiously in my direction. The old girl’s face was turning gray with age but she was still as spunky as ever. It shocked me. “Hey, baby girl. Did you come to save me? Or are you just intrigued by the disgusting smell radiating off of me?” Downing the fourth shot I finally stood knowing I only had a short window before I became too impaired to move. Leaving the half empty bottle on the counter, I made my way to the downstairs shower, stripping away my dirty work clothes and stepped into the steamy shower, where I sat for only God knows how long, not trusting myself to stand while I bathed myself as well as I could in my current condition. At thirty-seven this is not how I pictured my life. But it could have been a lot worse. Today was supposed to sound like a new beginning and instead I just looked at it as another hurdle to overcome.

Eventually, I peeled myself away from the shower floor and found a clean pair of sweats and a t-shirt to change into. As I dried my long hair and braided it I looked at myself in the mirror, realizing for only a second I didn’t recognize myself. Who are you, Amelia? I asked but turned away cowardly at my reflection not wanting to face her. Truth really was absent from my life.

Hearing Jayden snore, I rolled my eyes, grabbing my favorite pillow I left the room but not before I thought about how the least he could have done was to try and come onto me after the night he ruined. But I knew I wasn’t the same woman to him. I looked nothing like the woman he married as he hardly ever tried to get intimate with me anymore, not like he used to. We lacked passion. Whenever we made love, it was for the same reason I drank tequila. To fill a void and provide a temporary feeling to my numbness. I thought maybe he didn’t try anymore because we lost Brenna and he was afraid to get that close to me because he blamed himself for thinking a child could fix this and I didn’t even have her. Just a pair of wings on my ankle and a folded up hospital blanket to remind me she existed, even for a short while. I never visited her grave. It was too much for me to handle.

Finding a quilt in the hall closet, I curled into it on the couch and let the exhaustion brought on by my alcohol consumption consume me. I didn’t know what my life was going to be like tomorrow when I woke and right now, I didn’t care, I just wanted to sleep and forget about life for a little while.
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
The following morning was like any other morning except no screaming from the boys. It was mornings in silence I cherished because having two boys was a hand full. Slowly sitting up, I groaned as I looked at the time, realizing I missed my morning workout and now had to get ready for a day of work. I always dreaded going to work at HEB but it paid enough money to continue providing for my family while having somewhat stable hours. That’s all I could ask for after giving up the company when Amelia left. Technically I left her. I didn’t even try to stay and make her continue being in my life. Maybe I wasn’t that great of a best friend after all. Shaking my head at the thought, I smiled when I saw my husband laying next to me, snoring lightly. I gave him a gentle kiss before I got out of bed, going to our closet where I dressed myself for work. Black was all I ever seemed to wear since the day I lost Amelia, and as much as I wanted to go back to being myself, there was no guarantee Amelia and I would ever speak again. Just because the truth was out in the open didn’t mean everything would go back to normal. It wouldn’t. My time with journalism is over and if I know my best friend, she wouldn’t go back to who she was before in an instant. It was foolish of me to think everything was right in the world again. That day, I spent like I did almost every day, except I did it with a little more enthusiasm. I spent the day at work, came home to a home cooked meal by my wonderful boys and slept next to the man who held my heart and gave me two beautiful sons.

Two weeks had passed since the truth was revealed but nothing really changed. Other than having a little more enthusiasm and passion through the day, everything stayed the same. Today I decided to visit the ranch with Asher and Noah. I surprisingly didn’t have work on the weekend and Dawson had to ensure the base was ready for their show next week. I promised the boys I would take them to see their daddy perform. It had been five years since I went to one of his shows because it was too painful. It was a reminder of how I got my husband. How Amelia helped me in my scheme to impress the pilot I got to call my husband. Sitting outside on the porch while the boys spent their time with their grandfather at the barn, I stared up into the sky, sighing gently as I began to think about my life and who I became. I wasn’t Isabel the photojournalist anymore. I was Isabel Anes-Covington, design specialist at HEB, a company I always said I would never work at. I smiled remembering I told my mother when I was little I would rather die than work at HEB. Oh how foolish and naive I was as a child. Ever since I changed my career, Miranda never let me live it down. If anyone enjoyed my downfall these last five years, it was her. She enjoyed knowing I was at my lowest point in life because before this everything was “perfect”.

I enjoyed the evening out on the ranch, and after dinner I took Noah upstairs to bathe him then lay him in bed. The day almost ended peacefully until my oldest son ran into Dawson’s old room, the room we always slept in when at the ranch, with a photo album in hand. I knew what photos were in there and I had to stop myself from falling apart at the quick glance I stole of it. My sons knew nothing of my pain and I was working to keep it that way. Taking the album from him, I didn’t tell him anything about it, but he showered me with compliments, telling me how his grandmother told him all about the times I used to take photos.

“They’re so pretty, momma! I don’t know why you ever stopped.”

Oh how innocent my little cowboy was. I sometimes envied him and wished I could be just as sheltered from the truth but that would do and solve nothing. All I wanted after I laid my boys to sleep, was for Amelia to FaceTime me. For us to talk like we used to, but that was just hopeful wishing. There was no way my phone would ring and it would be her. I thought I made progress when Dawson told me the truth, but it just felt like I was digging a deep hole of misery. With the photo album in my lap, I sat in the bed while the boys slept next door in the guest room, flipping through picture by picture, smiling and grazing them with my fingers. I always had an eye for the right things, but that wasn’t something I did anymore. The tears fell from my eyes and onto the protected photos. I couldn’t stop the tears anymore, and when my husband arrived, I felt him take the album then soon felt his warm embrace. Taking in his scent, I continued to cry. Nothing would ever be the same. “She still hasn’t called. You were right. Just because the truth is now out in the open doesn’t mean anything will change. It’s just hopeful wishing at this point. I just wish she’d call, Dawson.” I whispered desperately to my husband, clinging to him despite the sweat that transferred from his clothes to mine. Letting him get up to shower, I laid in the bed, my phone in my hand. I was going to message her. I was going to message the only person who ever fully understood me and pushed me to be the best version of myself. The person I walked out on without even fighting to stay in her life.

“Hi Amelia, I heard from a little birdie you’re living in Florida. I hope everything is going well for you. Sorry if I overstepped my boundaries. I just can’t stay away anymore. I miss you too much but I understand if nothing changes. I’ll always regret leaving you without fighting to stay. I’m so sorry, Amelia.”

There it was. Two apologies in one text. I thought I broke the habit of constantly apologize but I never really did. It was a nasty habit that would always plague me in my life, no matter how much I worked to get rid of it.
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
In the two weeks since the confession I didn’t think about it much. I didn’t want to. I entered denial because I found it comforting. I told myself this is the way my life was supposed to end up and that everything that happened, happened for a reason. If I was meant to be a journalist it would have stayed that way God doesn’t make mistakes.

On our wedding anniversary Jayden tried to be intimate, but I could tell it was only because he felt obligated to. When there was passion, his body would tremble against mine as he planted sweet kisses all the way down my body that had been stretched and worn from motherhood. While he looked at me with a fire in his eyes, like I lit his world ablaze. It wasn’t like that now. There was no trembling, no kisses and no look of fire. The whole time we made love, it felt like he was trying to convince himself he wanted it and I was hurt. Instead of a fiery gaze of passion when he looked at me, for a moment, I recognized an expression I wished I hadn’t. He looked at me in disgust. He thought I didn’t notice because he was quick to change it, but I read people for a living, I saw it. When it was over, I waited awhile before I let myself cry over it. I didn’t want him to know he was the reason I was crying. He didn’t deserve to feel like he failed me, it was all my fault. I let what happen five years ago consume me so much that I didn’t even recognize myself. No one did. On the day I lost my best friend, Jayden lost his wife. Sure, he had succeeded in saving my body from being tormented and killed, he still laid next to that every night, but he traded my soul, the things that made me the woman he married for my physical embodiment and he was slowly beginning to realize it wasn’t worth it. But I couldn’t hate hm for it, because unlike everyone else, he stayed. Never once did he leave me and as I cried myself to sleep that night, I realized Jayden was the person I never thought I deserved. He was the one who loved me as hard and as fast as I loved everyone else and he never once gave up on me; even when I completely transformed myself to look like a stranger who helped raised his children who resembled their mother when she was genuine and laid next to him every night. Even when I didn’t feel like Amelia, Jayden still loved me and I knew it was because he was waiting, hoping, Amelia was just lost within the body he worked so hard to save, waiting for the right moment to come out and not dead, only to be found in his memories.

When I got the text, I was in the car circle waiting to pick Bel and Lincoln up from school. It was Jayden’s day but he got stuck in a business meeting and all I was doing was reading a report for a new case. Taking it with me I was reading it while the cars in front of me were at a stand still. The kids didn’t get out of after school care for another fifteen minutes but I was early to everything. I was reading the eye witness statements of how a victim was found when I heard the vibrate. It made me jump slightly because of how focused I was.

Reading the message from an unsaved number I didn’t have to know the sender’s name. It made my stomach drop, sending me into a fight or flight response. Isabel. I read what she said ten times, my hands trembling before I attempted a response. It wasn’t the best, but I was in a shock that left me incapable to sound however I was supposed to sound.

“Hello, There’s no need to apologize now, it’s been in the past for awhile. I hope everything is well for you too.”
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
When I finally got a response from Amelia, I had already picked up Asher from school and I was now sitting with my boys at their favorite restaurant. Noah loved the pancakes from this mom and pop diner and Asher adored their mac and cheese. What I didn’t adore was when my oldest put ketchup in his mac and cheese. He got the idea from one of his friends at school and has enjoyed it ever since. My little cowboy was growing up and he was very adventurous for his age. I watched both Asher and Noah shared a coloring page, both with a crayon in hand as they colored together. Asher was so gentle with his little brother and it warmed my heart. I always feared he would hate Noah in the end but I should have known Asher would adapt well. He was a gentle soul who reminded me so much of myself as a child. I watched my boys happily and when I heard my phone vibrate, I grabbed it with shaking hands, not knowing what to expect.

I read what Amelia said five times. I could tell by her response she was different. There was type of emotion in it, no feeling, and that broke my heart entirely. We were both so different from when we were friends. I didn’t know what to say respond. I was more than sure she knew who texted her. There was no way she forgot my number but releasing a sigh, I put my phone down to think about an appropriate response. I went back to watching my boys, smiling gently as they continued to color. What brought me out of my daze was hearing Noah call out to his father. Dawson arrived but I didn’t remember telling him I was bringing the boys here. He must’ve looked at my location and decided to join us. Smiling at the pilot, I moved over further in the booth, closer to the wall before I accepted his kiss gently. “Hi there, handsome.” I whispered softly, watching him interact with our sons. As he kept them occupied, I decided on what to say in return to Amelia’s text. I only hoped it wasn’t the wrong thing to say.

“Everything is going as well as it can be. Tell the kids I said hello. Happy Anniversary by the way. Talk to you another time.”
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
I hated after school care. It was loud with a bunch of kids everywhere. It was also a horrible place for me to try and read a book that was way past my second grade level. My teacher, Mr. Alen, said I read at a sixth grade level but I wasn’t sure how far ahead that was because I had never seen a sixth grader. Dad says I’m smart like my mom so I guess he’s right.

I would have liked to be cuddled up in my own room at home but both Mom and Dad worked a lot and at least I had my little brother Lincoln. He’s a kindergartner, second graders stay as far away from them as we can but Lincoln is my brother and I want to make sure he’s okay. He can get picked pin sometimes. Once a first grader pushed him over at recess and he scraped his knee but he begged me not to tell Mom and dad what really happened, so I didn’t, but I wanted to. Maybe then Mom and Dad would go back to normal.

Linc was used to staying late after school but I wish he knew how fun it was when Aunt Bel used to pick me up when Mom and Dad didn’t. She would always take me for ice cream and make sure I got my favorite kind, mint chocolate chip with chocolate sprinkles! It was yummy but not my favorite part. Afterward, she would take me to this place, I didn’t remember much of it, but they always had horses and really good sweet tea. I liked it there. It was a lot better than this.

I missed Aunt Bel. I wasn’t allowed to talk about her though. Whenever I tried Dad would yell at me for it whenever Mom wasn’t around. He said Aunt Bel hurt Mom and that’s why I couldn’t ask about her. Mom would get upset and cry if I did and dad hated to see Mom cry. She wasn’t the same. She used to be so much fun. She would spend her days when she wasn’t working with me, she always took me everywhere but now I don’t even try to go anywhere. I just stay in my room and read, write or paint. Those are my favorite things to do, besides volleyball.

“Come on, Linc! It’s time to go home!”

Placing my bookmark neatly into Into The Dust, I zipped up my red backpack and took Lincoln’s sweaty hand as he ran over to me. I always held his hand when we walked to the car together. Today we were supposed to be looking for Dad, but when Lincoln spotted Mom’s blue car, I sighed in dissatisfaction but reluctantly followed. I was looking forward to seeing Dad to tell him I made Class President like he hoped, but it looked like it would have to wait.

Getting into the car, I helped Lincoln buckle his seatbelt out of habit before I buckled my own. “Hi, mommy,” I said gently, careful not to sound too cheerful. I didn’t know what kind of mood she was in since it was dad’s day to pick us up and she was here. She got easily angry over those things. seeing her digit with her phone, I thought I saw her cry. I was concerned for her. Unbuckling, I took the chance and lifted myself towards her seat. “Are you okay?”

She told me she was fine and it was concerning to me because of how sweetly she said it. Her soft voice was familiar but I almost didn’t recognize it, it was the sweet voice she used whenever she talked to Aunt Bel. I hoped Dad could fix this, it scared me.
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
I know the loss of Isabel is hard on my wife, but I also know if anyone else is affected by it it was my daughter as well. Little Bel was glued to her aunts hip. The two were inseparable and Isabel loved spending as much time with her niece as she could. I only thought about this today because Lincoln and Isabel were now used to after care. I know all my daughter wished for was her aunt to pick her up instead of sitting in after care waiting for her mother or I to pick them up. Days like today, when work became hectic, Isabel would come to the rescue, picking up my daughter right after school and spent the remainder of the day together whether it be taking her niece out for ice cream or to a movie. The two were inseparable and I missed seeing them together but now because I wanted nothing more than to protect my wife, I tore my daughter away from her first best friend. Whenever she asked about Isabel, I usually yell at her when Amelia isn’t around. When I look at my daughter, I think about how smart she is, about how mature she is. She grew up too fast and it saddens me knowing my little girl might’ve been a child a bit longer had I not torn her away from her aunt.

After the meeting that prevented me from picking up my children, I walked into my office, sighing softly and sat in the couch. I stared out onto the city view my office provided before calling my wife. I missed my family in the short span we were away and I wanted to treat them to a dinner date they deserved. Maybe, if the kids were good at school today, I would suggest going to see a movie. Make the day a good one for the kids. Spending the remainder of a day together was rare for our family and I wanted to change that. I wanted to make everything better but I knew the only one who could make Amelia go back to being herself was Isabel.

Picking up my phone, I called Amelia. Asking her if she was up for spending the evening together as a family but I noticed the tone in her voice was different. Softer than usual and I remembered in that moment when I had heard her speak so softly before. She only did it when she spoke to Isabel and remembering that made me wonder if the two had spoken today. Meeting Amelia and the kids at their favorite restaurant, I got out of my Range Rover, walked inside and chuckled softly when Lincoln called out to me. Sitting next to Amelia after kissing both the head of our children, I gave my wife a gentle kiss. “How was your day?” I asked her softly, listening to what she said about work with a nod. “A new case huh? Do I get to help with this one?” He asked with a chuckle before he looked to his daughter who got our attention.

“How was school, lovebug?” I asked her as gently as I possibly could.

“School was school. Nothing too exciting but I checked out another book from our library. There’s something I need to tell you though, Daddy.” My daughter said all too fast. Any person who didn’t spend every day with her would’ve been confused.

“What is it?”

“I made Class President just like you hoped! I start tomorrow.”

“My love, I’m so proud of you! I knew you were going to make it! You’re not nervous, are you? You have no reason to be.”

I was so proud of my little girl. She was doing so well in school and now she was Class President. I had no doubt she wouldn’t make it. She’s a bright little girl who reminds me so much of her mother. She definitely got her brain from her mother. After dinner, I promised we would go to a movie. Little Bel deserves that much because of her great accomplishment. I noticed my wife, however, was being so gentle. I was curious as to why her sudden tone in voice and actions changed, but I had a feeling why. Isabel must have finally talked to her. With our children too occupied on food, I looked down at Amelia and admired her. Despite her physical features being so different, I knew my wife was in there somewhere. “You're rather chipper right now. Is everything okay?”
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
The fact that Jayden asked me if I was okay because I was content saddened me. I had gotten to the low point where being happy was an abnormal behavior. As much as I had to disagree that I was far from being chipper, I could easily see why the slightest change was chipper to him. For five years, my emotions were completely closed off to him and rarely made an appearance, and even when they did it wasn’t long enough to mean anything. “Everything’s fine,” I whispered gently, picking up my fork I ate my grilled asparagus with a smile, watching the kids continue to chat with their father. I hadn’t been the best mother to them. In fact, I became my worst fear. I was a sub par mother, who didn’t do everything she could for her kids but most days, after working for over twelve hours I just didn’t have the same contagious energy I used to. I knew my kids loved me, but I wanted them to know how much I loved them and I knew, looking into my daughter’s eyes, she longed for me to be the mother she had the first four years of her life. If my heart hurt for anyone in the last five years, it was Little Bel. She remembered what life used to be like before all this drastic change. She missed the woman I was so close to I let myself call her my children’s aunt. I gave her that title because I thought it would be permanent and on the nights where I had to hold my daughter while she confessed to me how much she missed her Aunt Bel, I really wished I hadn’t given Isabel that title; not because I didn’t love her enough to be that involved in my daughter’s life, but because my daughter didn’t deserve that disappointment. Isabel wasn’t going to be someone my daughter forgot with time. How could I expect her to? I named her after her.


Looking over to my daughter while I thought about her, I gave her a wide grin. “I’m just proud of our brilliant daughter, that’s all.”


After dinner, I let Bel pick a dessert so we could celebrate her accomplishment. When the servers brought her chocolate lava cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, I took a video of her beaming with a giddy excitement I hadn’t seen in awhile. It warmed my heart to its numbest part and in that split second of overwhelming emotion, I sent the video in response to Isabel’s text. Attached to the video I made sure to include a meaningful caption.


“She’s always reminded me of you with her want to be a leader in everything she does.”


Before I sent it, I also attacked a picture of little Bel in her volleyball uniform, which coincidentally had the same number Isabel used to wear in her years as an athlete.
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
I continued to watch the men in my life interact with one another. I have come to terms that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t meant to have a daughter. It’s not that my two sons didn’t make me happy, because they did, but a littl girl running around the house would’ve been nice. In reality, I already had a little girl who reminded me so much of myself. I had my niece, the best gift ever given to me by my best friend. Little Bel was such an intelligent little girl that I missed dearly. I wished what happened these past five years didn’t happen because maybe then Bel would still be around and all mine and Amelia’s children would’ve grown up together. Shaking myself out of my negative thoughts, I tried my hardest to enjoy my time with my boys.

When I got the reply from Amelia, I was in the park walking hand in hand with my husband while our sons stood in line for ice cream. Letting go of Dawson’s hand, I pulled out my phone from my purse, becoming curious when I noticed Amelia sent attachments with her response. When I opened the text thread, I smiled so brightly at the sight of the video of my niece, well of Little Bel. I’m not sure I had the right to call her my niece considering I left them. I watched the video ten times, my heart skipping a beat every time I did. My mini me was so precious and I missed her so much. I couldn’t stop the tears that rolled down my face after I closed the video and looked at her volleyball picture. She was number 13, just like I was back when I used to play. She was growing up so fast and I missed so much of her life. After finally being able to compose myself, I managed to respond with shaking hands.

“She’s beautiful, Amelia. I really miss her but I’m proud of her for pushing herself to be the leader I know she can be. She’s starting to look so much like you.”

After responding to Amelia, I couldn’t help but show my husband the video of my mini me. “She grew up so fast, babe! Just look at her.” I said softly with such love and admiration. Smiling at the light of my life, I took his hand in my own once again before our sons ran over to us with their ice cream cones in hand. They looked so adorable, I couldn’t help but capture the moment and post about it on my social media.
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
While Bel and Lincoln enjoyed the celebratory dessert, I watched in amusement as Jayden tried to sneak a bite and being too quick for his own good, dropped chocolate fudge on his salmon colored shirt which erupted both kids into a fit of sugar high giggles. “That’s what you get, daddy!” Bel exclaimed, sticking out her tongue while her brother chimed in. “Yeah, this is ours!” Looking over to Jayden and seeing the panic in his face over a simple stain amused me. It reminded me he changed too. In the beginning of our relationship, he used to come home in a uniform covered in mud, slush, body fluids, you name it, he wore it and without a complaint and now, in his new prim and proper appearance, he lost his breath over a chocolate stain. Silence fell between us as we both shared a look before I erupted into laugher. It felt good. “Stop being so sensitive, you cringed less when you were covered in my own blood.”

That’s when I felt the phone vibrate again. I decided not to pick it up for now, not wanting to ruin the moment, but when I did, the message was worth seeing.

After a brief discussion with Jayden while we laid in bed together while the kids finished getting ready for bed. I told him why I was in what appeared to be a better mood today and showed him the messages. After little debate, we agreed on the next move. Calling our daughter into our room, we made room for her inbetween us and I patted the spot. “Come here, smarty pants we have a surprise for you.” When she made her way to the corner of the bed, I picked her up and kissed her forehead, taking in the scent of her freshly washed hair that was still wet and put in elegant braids after Jayden helped her. Laying her between me and Jayden, I smiled when she asked what she was getting. “You’ll see,” I replied sweetly before going into the text thread and requesting the FaceTime call. After Isabel’s response, I texted her and asked her if she wanted to talk to my daughter and I wasn’t surprised when she agreed, so I told her about little Bel becoming class president and starting volleyball last summer, just to give them something to talk about and I was excited to see the look on my daughter’s face when she realized who she was about to talk to. But secretly, I was excited to see my best friend too.
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
I was looking forward to the FaceTime call with my niece since Amelia asked me. Knowing she made it as Class President and was also playing volleyball made me so proud of her. She was growing up to be such a strong child but I noticed she was growing up too fast in the post I saw Amelia put online. I knew why my mini me was doing it and I hoped I could help her realize she was meant to be a child just a little longer. When we arrived back to the house, I helped my husband get the boys into the shower. Asher never gave us much trouble when it came to his nightly routine. He enjoyed showers and was quick to grab his clothes and run to the bathroom he shared with his little brother. I, of course, decorated the bathroom in planes so the boys always got reminded of their father when he was away for a show.


Letting Dawson do his fatherly role, I sat in our room, on the bed staring at my phone as I waited for Amelia to FaceTime. I was nervous, not so much because I was FaceTiminging my niece, but because I got to see my best friend once again. I missed her so much and being able to see her again made me happy. When the call finally went through and my phone was vibrating, I was quick to answer it, smiling brightly at my niece who’s face seemed to light up. She looked so happy to see me despite my absence and that alone warmed my heart. She sat between her father and her mother, but Amelia was someone I no longer recognized. I stayed silent for a couple of seconds as I took her in. We both had changed our hair but hers was a major difference from her normal blonde hair. It was now such a dark color I couldn’t really tell which color it was through the phone. She also wore an intense amount of makeup, something she never did before. I knew then the woman I was looking at wasn’t my best friend. Amelia was lost within this body that seemed to brighten up st the sight of me as well. She was completely different and it left me confused, but I went back to look at my niece who was waiting for me to say something.


“Hi, Lovebug. It’s been awhile, huh. I’m so proud of you princess. I heard you made it as Class President and you’re playing volleyball! What position are you playing? Maybe I can show you some tricks sometime.”
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
When Isabel answered the FaceTime call in only a few seconds, i sucked up a sharp breath, feeling my own nerves rush through my bloodstream in the next few short seconds it took to connect and deliver the video of her. I remained silent. My daughter, however, did not. She knew who was on the other end right away, a beaming smile grew across her face. Giggling excitedly, she didn’t notice Isabel got distracted by me, but even after five years without her I still knew how to read her. The look she gave me, most people would have described as blank, perplexed even, but it translated to. Amelia, what happened to you? It was awkward but luckily, Isabel found her voice and began chatting with Little Bel. That’s who this call was for. What happened next was enough to bring both Jayden and I a chilling set of goosebumps at our daughter’s reaction.

The second little Bel heard Isabel’s voice and realized it was her, that Isabel was talking to her, she broke down into tears before she rested her head on my shoulder and cried. She was in shock. Handing the phone off to Jayden to hold I wrapped an arm around her while she whispered the faintest question. “Is she real?” I couldn’t help but laugh while Jayden kept the camera turned on us while I helped Bel work through her shock.

“Yes, my love, she’s real and she wants to talk to you. You have to stop crying or you’ll make her feel bad.” Wiping away my daughter’s tears, I kissed her cheeks. “C’mon, tell her daddy talked you into being a hitter.”
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
“I should’ve known you were a hitter! You got your daddy’s height and it’s the perfect position for you.”

Seeing my mini me cry and as if I was real broke my heart. I know I shouldn’t have let mine and Amelia’s fall out affect the kids but it did. Little Bel was in shock that I was actually talking to her. She was in shock her aunt finally decided to FaceTime in five years. She was my entire world at one point before Dawson and I decided to have a family of our own. Yes, I had two other nieces but Angel was all grown up now and doing well for herself. Nova, on the other hand, was still growing but Miranda kept her away from me. Something about her not wanting my influence in Novas life being bigger than her own like with Rene and Angel. Little Bel held a special place in my heart though, and as I watched my best friend comfort her daughter, my heart began sinking. Maybe it was best if I didn’t agree to FaceTime. Maybe this was too much for my niece to handle but when I watched her wipe away her tears and her face beaming with excitement once more, I knew this call was worth it. Isabel deserved this time to speak with me.

“Hey princess, talk to me. I’ve missed you. I’m really here love. I’m here to stay this time. How’s school going? Is Lincoln being an obnoxious little brother or is he doing well?”
 

Lexus

Ten Thousand Club
Moving my head from mom’s chest, I looked back on the face I was scared I would never see again. This was the best surprise ever! Smiling, I couldn’t help but giggle at Lincoln’s name. He didn’t remember Aunt Bel and that made me sad. “He’s crazy! Today he tried to eat a grasshopper because someone said they would give him a Nutter Butter! Those are his favorite. But mommy doesn’t give us a lot of sugar because she said it’s bad for us but daddy found her chocolates in the back of the freezer and he steals them when she’s not home!” Giving dad a guilty grin I laughed again when Mom reached over to smack him out of love as she says and declared that those chocolates were hers. “Can I show you something?” I asked Aunt Bel, hopeful she would agree. I hoped she hadn’t forgotten about what I wanted to show her. When she agreed I ran off to my room and to the jewelry box Grandma Emily bought me last year that had a spinning ballerina in a green tutu and payed pretty music whenever you opened it. Finding what I was looking for I ran back to Mom and Dad’s room where I help up the bracelet in excited pride. “I still have this,” I said showing her the bracelet with the single anchor charm to match her and Mom’s. When I was littler, I always told them how pretty their anchor’s were and I wanted one too so Aunt Bel got me one and promised her and Mom would always be my anchors just like they were each other’s. After showing it to her, I played with charm in my hands. “Does this mean you and mommy get to be anchors again? I miss you, Aunt Bel.”
 

isax

Ten Thousand Club
My niece was a precious soul. She was so innocent and sheltered from the hard realities of the world, despite her growing up too soon. I could hear it through the way she spoke to me. I knew by her diction, my niece had to be reading way above her level. She was so young yet so mature and reminded me of myself. I was the same way. Grew up too fast all because of my babies. I don’t regret doing it, but I do wish I would’ve had more of a childhood. I wanted my niece to have what I didn’t. “Of course your brother would agree to eating a grasshopper! He’s only in kindergarten after all.” I told her with a laugh, watching Amelia hit her husband playfully because he found her chocolate stash. My best friend seemed to be doing well with her family, despite her major change in her physical appearance. It was drastic to me but I understood why she did it. My change wasn’t as drastic but I did dye my hair red and cut it short. What was even worse is I have been straightening it for the past five years. There’s no way my curls would come back even if I wished they could sometimes. Letting my niece run off to get what she wanted to show me, I smiled gently at Jayden at Amelia, talking with Jayden when he asked about work. “It’s going as well as it can be. Nothing too exciting.” I didn’t reveal too much about what I did know for a living. I remember Amelia saying she didn’t want to know a single thing so, I opted to spare her the details. Watching Bel reappear on the screen, my heart skipped a beat when I saw what she was showing me. I could never forget the day I gave that to her. That sterling silver charm bracelet with her anchor charm right in the middle. It was to remind her Amelia and I would always be her anchors but what hurt me from seeing the bracelet was how empty it was. I had promised my mini me it would be full of charms from over the years yet the only charm was the anchor. I had to suppress my tears as best as I could when I heard what my innocent niece asked. I knew she wanted nothing more than for Amelia and I to make up, but the truth is I didn’t know where this left Amelia and I. I didn’t know if she wanted to try again and I wouldn’t be upset if she didn’t. I lost all the words I could form to reply to the little girl staring at me through the camera if mother’s phone. I was frozen, stuck in my own thoughts until I felt a hand touch my shoulder. It was my husband. He didn’t bother to show his face in the screen but I needed his support now more than ever and his presence was more than enough. Despite how much I changed over the years, there’s not a day I didn’t need him. “I miss you too, Lovebug. More than you could possibly know. I promise I’ll see you soon.” I chose to ignore her question. I didn’t know if Amelia and I would ever go back to being anchors again. “I love you, Bel. It’s getting late and you should get some rest.” I suggested but when Bel began to cry and protest, my heart continued breaking. She didn’t want to hang up and I didn’t blame her, because knowing my niece she probably felt like she would never see me again. “Bel, I’m not leaving you. Not again. We can FaceTime more often and maybe your parents will let you fly over here for a well. I promise you’ll see me, though. I’m not leaving you again.”
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top