|Late Night Phone Call
Author: GermanSam PM
One-shot. A man makes one phone call and is consumed with memories and guilt. He looks back on how his life has reached the point it has. She, who answers the phone, is also filled with longing and new determination to live a better life. Each are left wanting more than they have.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort - Words: 4,341 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 3 - Published: 07-06-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3039446
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: This is a random one chapter story. It is not connected with any of my other works. I got some random inspiration to write and that's what I did. So... enjoy! :)
He closes the balcony door quietly behind him. It's clearly late at night as the moon shines brightly over the city of Paris. He takes in a deep breath as the cool air bites at his skin. He didn't bother to put on a shirt knowing that this would only last a few moments, but he is thankful for the decision to throw on some sweatpants.
His cell phone is in his hand but he is hesitant to dial the number he knows so well. Will she answer? Will she even tolerate him? Will her voice sound strong? He shakes his head at his last question. Of course she will sound strong. She was always strong through even the toughest of things.
He puts his thoughts aside and quickly dialed. He brings the phone up to his ear and leans on the balcony's fence. With every ring, his heart pounds louder and louder. He can almost believe that all of Paris could hear his thundering heart by the time someone answers.
The voice is so melodically sweet that his heart melts and a smile appears on his face. God, he misses her.
The voice seems unsure as she asks again. He clears his throat and replies smartly with, "Hey, Em."
"Oh," she suddenly mumbles to herself as she recognizes the familiar silky voice.
On her end, she sinks into a chair in her dining room. Hearing his voice again makes her knees feel a little weak. She hasn't spoken to him in weeks so this is surely a surprise. She isn't even sure what to say to him.
"Emma?" he tries again afraid he's lost her. He tries to keep the panic away from his voice.
"I'm here, Vince," she says quickly. "My, it must be late there."
He smiles as he accurately pictures her working out the math in her head. "It's only two AM in Paris."
"Two AM?" she asks surprised at his casual tone. "It's eight PM here."
He gives her a little chuckle as he thinks of what will always be his New York home.
"I was awake," he explained shortly. "I wanted to give you a call."
"I bet Paris is beautiful," she whispers to herself. "I always wanted to go there."
His heart breaks at her words. She's reminding him of what no longer can be anymore and it hurts more than he would've imagined. A squeal heard in the background on her end reminds him of his true reason for calling. He clears his throat once again and tries to remain serious.
"Can I speak to them?"
He doesn't have to clarify. She knows who he is referring to and her heart slumps slightly at the thought of letting him go. He called to talk to them as he rightfully should but it hurts her that she is no longer important.
"Of course," she replies softly. "They are all finished getting ready for bed. Let me go hand them the phone."
She stands from the table and makes her way through the house. He can easily imagine the path she takes to get to the designated room. She feels as if it could almost be like old times if the circumstances would just be slightly different. She holds the phone away from her ear unable to allow him to hear her sharp intakes of breath. She is doing so much to keep the tears at bay.
He imagines her handing over the phone with ease. She does seem strong to him. Nothing ever breaks her down.
"Alana," she says quietly as she reaches her destination in the house. "Daddy is on the phone."
The little girl sits in her bed holding a small stuffed rabbit close to her. Her big green eyes are magnified by her glasses. Her blonde hair is pulled back in pig tails giving this eight year old the most adorable appearance. Her attention snaps up at her mother's words and she rushes over to grab the device.
"Daddy?" she asks quickly into the phone.
His heart melts even more at the little girl's voice. "Hey, Lana."
"Hi, Daddy!" the little girl greets excitedly. She rushes back over to her bed and hugs her rabbit close to her. "I have Misses Snuggles right here with me."
He laughs lightly. "Is she helping you sleep better?"
"Yes," she replies easily. "I was reading her a bedtime story!"
"Really?" he asks genuinely interested. "Can you read some of it to me?"
"Yes!" She has so much excitement in her voice that it is almost as if she would burst from it. She begins to read the tale in front of her. It's a story about her favorite Winnie the Pooh adventure and he leans against the balcony railing as she tries her best to sound out the tough words.
He can clearly see her in his mind with the book in front of her and the pink stuffed rabbit in her lap. She looks so much like her mother that it almost hurts to picture her, but he refuses to let the image disappear from his brain. He remembers purchasing that rabbit. His daughter had begun to have difficulties in school and making friends. She began to have heart wrenching nightmares and nothing her mother would do would work. He brought Misses Snuggles the next day after being told the news. He told his daughter that Misses Snuggles would always be there for her no matter what. Her mommy might've made her daddy go away but she would never take Misses Snuggles away.
The night terrors have begun to stop. There were still nights where all she can do is scream out but she is getting better. That's what matters.
Her mother watches her read her story from her bedroom doorway. This poor little girl has been through so much in the past year but she has stayed strong. She has grown up far more than any little girl her age should have to. Sure, she has her problems but what child doesn't. She watches her daughter with a huge smile on her face. At least her father wanted to have her in his life. She wholeheartedly encourages that from him and is glad that he did so. She's doing well on her own but sometimes, she still needs the help.
Suddenly, she feels a tug on her pant leg. She looks down into the deep brown eyes on her five year old son. He rubs his eyes and yawns before saying anything.
"My teeth are brushed! I want to talk to Daddy," he declares suddenly. His mother smiles down at him and picks him up to quickly give him a kiss on the cheek.
"Let Lana talk to him first, Zach."
The little boy crosses his arms in protest. He doesn't enjoy the fact that his sister gets to talk before him.
"You can tell Daddy what happened to you today," his mother says excitedly.
"I know!" The little boy huffs. "I was going to!"
"Excuse me," his mother mutters with a smile on her face. She brushes the dirty blonde hair out of his face and kisses one of his chubby cheeks again. She hears the end of the story and knows that her daughter is just about finished with the phone.
"You need a haircut," she tells the little boy in her arms. He shakes his head and squirms away.
"Can I have the phone?"
She sets him down and he races over to his sister's bed. "I wanna talk! I wanna talk!"
He can hear his son's impatient tone over his daughter's words. He chuckles to himself picturing the two squabbling.
"I loved the story, Lana," he says to his daughter. This earns him an unseen grin. "Can I talk to Zachary now, though?"
His daughter sounds sad but she agrees to it. "Love you, Daddy."
"Love you too, Lana," he replies just as quickly as the phone is shifted over to the little boy.
"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!"
He has to take the phone away from his ear to protect his hearing. His grin somehow becomes bigger though at his son's words.
"What? What? What?" he asks in reply.
"Guess what! Guess what! Guess what!"
He shakes his head at his son's excitement. "I don't know! What?"
His son glances at his mother with a devilish grin on his face. He loves the fact that he knows something that someone else does not. His mother gives him the sign to go on and tell his father his news.
"I got my first loose tooth!"
"No way!" His father is clearly enthused. "Do you know what that means?"
"The Tooth Fairy can visit me soon!"
"That's right," his father confirms. "Are you going to pull that tooth out?"
At this, his son becomes suddenly bashful. "No…"
"It will hurt!"
"But how can the Tooth Fairy visit if it's not out yet?"
"Well… she just can't come yet then."
He laughs at his son's innocence. Everything in his children's world is so simple. He is jealous of such a world.
She continues to tuck her daughter in for bed as her son talks on the phone.
She smiles sweetly down at her daughter. "Yes, Lana?"
"Will Daddy ever come live with us again?"
At this, she frowns. It was not so simple to explain. "Daddy is going to have his own house. You get to have two rooms!"
"I don't want two rooms," she decides simply. "I want Daddy to be with you and me and Zach!"
She kisses her daughter's forehead unable to give her a reply. She kisses Misses Snuggles as well and makes sure her daughter is comfortably tucked in for the night. She assures that the nightlight is on and working before she makes her son wrap up the conversation.
"Daddy doesn't have all night," she says.
He hears this and wants to disagree. He could spend hours listening to his son and daughter and talking to her. Still, he wraps up the conversation simply because she wants their son to.
She takes the phone back and holds it up.
"Say goodnight to Daddy," she tells their children. They ring out in a chorus of 'goodnight' to which he replies back just as eagerly as they did. She holds the phone by her ear and requests just a moment to put their youngest child to bed. He allows for it eager to speak with her and her alone.
Their son is practically half asleep as it is. His excitement drained after getting out his news to his father. Putting him to bed takes all of three minutes. Then, she works her way back out to the living room and takes a comfortable seat on her couch.
"So, how are you?" she asks. She's unsure of the answer she wants to hear. Knowing that he is doing well with his new life is what she expects but hearing it could cause a whole new round of pain and tears.
"Alright," he replies simply. I miss you. That's what he wants to say but he finds it inappropriate.
After all, he agreed with her when she called for a divorce. He told the press that it was his fault. He kept the blame away from her when they asked him about it. He was Vince Wells, CEO of a well-established computer company. He had more money than he knew what to do with and a perfect life that he took advantage of.
He couldn't tell anyone why he didn't. The press thinks it's because "he got bored", but in all honesty, he is unsure himself.
"Plenty of people have meaningless affairs," his lawyer had told him. "It'll work out in the end."
Only, it didn't. The fact that he had the lawyer to tell him that was the first clue. His wife was devastated when she had been told. What made it worse was that she found out by the tabloids. She had been looked down on with pity ever since.
"Poor woman," people would whisper. "She looks so happy while her husband is cheating on her."
And he tried to explain himself but… he couldn't. He didn't understand it himself.
"A moment of weakness," he tried to say. "I couldn't say no."
It was useless. Even he didn't believe his own excuses. What hurt her the most was the fact that she was no longer good enough for him. He had picked a girl that was half their age and could be considered 'new meat'. That girl was closer to their daughter's age than to his own. Was she no longer an attractive woman? Did she no longer have anything to offer a successful man like him? Did she have to look like the bimbo he was with to get his attention? Did ten years of marriage mean nothing to him?
He knew he would come to regret his decision the moment that he had made it. He hated himself for it. He hated the way his wife looked at him with disgust and sadness. The disappointment in her eyes was too much to bear and he slept at the office the night she confronted him about it.
She didn't want to give up though. She attempted to work it out with him and all she wanted was an answer. Why?
He couldn't give her that and the divorce papers were drawn up within the week. He found that even now, he couldn't find an acceptable answer for her.
She couldn't take it. That was her excuse for the papers. The tabloids dissected every moment of their lives. Everywhere she would go, she would see the bimbo's face claiming proudly that she did have an affair with the high ranking CEO. She didn't realize what she had done to their family.
Telling their children was difficult. They did it together as they both figured that they should. Their daughter understood it more than their son but it was still hard on them both. Their daughter began having troubles after that. Their son didn't fully understand the situation and accepted the change more willingly.
He took things into his own hands with the press. He explained the affair. He made sure that she was not blamed for anything. He announced the divorce as her idea as her idea to show that she should not be pitied. She was taking charge of her own life as she should have. He did not blame her one bit for the divorce papers though he was saddened by them. He didn't want to give her up but he accepted her wishes.
He would've given the world to her should she have asked. A divorce was the least he could do. He did not fight for the kids. He would've loved to have them but she would've fought hard to keep them. He accepted her wishes to raise them on her own and easily agreed to still being part of their lives. He wasn't going to give that up and luckily she didn't ask him to.
The following year was hard. He moved out and let her keep the house. He didn't want to burden the kids as well as her. He got an apartment near his work place and tried to keep his family out of the praying eyes of the paparazzi.
He continued to be seen with the 'bimbo' that had ruined everything. He wanted his reputation to be tarnished, not his family's. But it was the many nights alone or with the young girl that he realized, he still loved his wife… well, ex-wife.
It hurt her. He never realized. He was trying to keep the cameras away from the kids and from her but it hurt her. Every time a new picture of him and her would graze the cover of the magazines, it hurt. It was a punch in her stomach. She knew what he was doing. He was keeping the spotlight on him so it wouldn't swivel over to her. Yet, he didn't realize what he was doing to her.
The looks of pity increased with everywhere she went. Instead of "Emma Wells: the CEO's wife", she became "Emma Wells: the ex-wife of that CEO douche-bag". The looks people would give her in the grocery store were worse than before she found out the truth. She almost preferred to go back to the time when it was all a secret from the world and from her.
It would never be that simple again.
Six months after their divorce was final and the situation had just begun to calm down was when he made the announcement. He was getting remarried… and to the bimbo too.
"How was the wedding?" she asks softly. She hadn't been present and neither had their kids. He thought it would've been too traumatizing for them and too awkward for her. They had all met the bimbo and the kids seemed to like her well enough. After all, she was basically a kid herself.
She was nice enough to the bimbo but what else could she be? She could've been nasty to her but that wasn't something she wanted her kids to be. So she was all smiles in front of the girl and all tears behind the scenes.
"It was nice," he replies shortly. It was a nice event though short and rushed. But it meant nothing to him, not like his first wedding. The most important people in his life weren't even present, not that he wanted them to be. He couldn't stand looking into his ex-wife's beautiful emerald eyes and yet say 'I do' to someone half her worth.
Why did he marry her? "It was good for the public," claimed his new publicist. That way it would seem like he didn't just cheat on his wife, but he fell in love with someone else. So it wasn't a complete waste… except he felt that it was. He didn't want a life with this other women but he had to save his reputation somewhat. He would give this woman two years and then divorce her too. Hopefully they wouldn't spawn any children. He already had perfect kids and he didn't think any others could live up to the two he already had.
"And the honeymoon?" she asks trying to keep from choking up.
Nothing like ours, he thinks but doesn't dare say. Things are different. He believes that she's moved on. She believes that he dropped her for some twenty year old bimbo. Neither know the truth that the other still cares.
"Paris is fun," he mumbles instead. He thinks back to their honeymoon in Hawaii. It was filled with so much love and passion that neither of them remembers much of Hawaii besides their hotel room. Now, he has to go out as much as possible with his new bride to be seen.
"Well I should let you get back," she says suddenly. "I'm sure your new wife isn't happy that you're not with her."
"She's asleep," he assures quickly unable to let her go. Who knows when he'll get the chance to talk to her? When he sees the kids next? He doesn't have as much time to call them as he would like to and he knows that he'll be busy with his vacation.
He would love the chance to see her and talk with her. She looks great for her age. Sure, she'd attempt to hide her increasing wrinkles and the pounds she had un-admittedly put on, but she did it well. Again, he can never say why he ever thought of cheating on her. She never once appeared unattractive to him and yet, he let her go. She slipped right through his fingers. There was nothing he could do about it anymore. Someone would surely snap her up and make her feel as beautiful as she was. The thought made him feel angry but mostly hurt for the fact that he never did that to her.
She didn't want the chance to see him. He always appeared so happy and carefree as if nothing had ever happened between them. It hurt to see him act that way. He wasn't unattractive for his age too. True, his chestnut hair was beginning to grey and he had more of a gut than he'd like to admit but he was still the same man she'd met so many years ago.
Things had certainly changed. Neither of them would've guessed this would've been their lives when they met. And yet, here they were.
He glances back at the door that leads to his honeymoon suite. On the other side of the door, rests his beautiful young bride and yet he wishes more than anything to be with her, on the other side of the phone.
"I miss you," he finds himself admitting before he can stop himself.
Her breath catches in her throat but he doesn't hear the sound on the other line. She can't go through this though. She can't give herself hope.
Instead she says, "You should get back to her now."
His heart breaks at her tone. She's moved on. She doesn't love him anymore like he loves her.
"I suppose," he mumbles clearly deflated. She refuses to hear his tone. She cannot go through anymore drama. Her heart has had enough. This was her life now and it was time to accept it. She would move on as he already had. She just wouldn't move on quite as fast as he had.
"Have fun," she says politely. "I wish you two the best."
The way she says it makes it sound like a final goodbye. He doesn't want that. He wants to keep her on the line forever. He wants to make her wait for him to return. He wants too much but hasn't he already asked for so much? He asked for her to understand his actions when he himself didn't. He wanted so much and yet couldn't find the words to ask.
"Goodbye, Emma. Hug Alana and Zach for me."
She smiles at his care for his children. That was one quality she would forever be thankful for.
"I will," she whispers.
It's the moment for one of them to hang up the phone yet neither of them does. Neither wants to let go and yet…
She takes the phone away from her ear and pushes the disconnecting button before throwing her phone as far away from her as possible. She sighs and lets all of her pent up frustration release.
He listens to the beeping tone with a heavy heart. Each beep only saddens him more and finally he puts his phone away. He looks out over the streets of Paris. The Eiffel Tower can be seen way off in the distance and the moon shines beautifully over the city. Why did he never take her here to the city of love?
She slowly moves back into her master bedroom. She sits on the bed. It's the bed they once shared. Now it's empty, just like her heart. She sinks into her blanket and sighs before closing her eyes. There's no use focusing on the past. Her children are her future and that will be her main focus from now on.
He quietly sneaks back into his honeymoon suite. His bride lays naked underneath the sheets. She is any man's dream but not his. This could be any man's Heaven but it would forever be his Hell, reminding him of what he had lost. He sighs as he rejoins his new wife in the bed. She snuggles closer to him by instinct and he is sadly repulsed by this action.
"What was that about?" she asks sleepily.
"Nothing," he dismisses quickly as he turns away from her in the bed. She looks at him confused but then rolls over so their backs face each other. He has enough money to sustain her happiness for a long time. Here he was in the city of love and all he felt was loneliness.
She has her kids.
He has his new wife.
They both still want one another. Neither one will ever know.
It was one phone call with so few words. To anyone else, it was nothing, but to them it is everything.
Author's 2nd Note: So, this was a random update and a random story. I had this little story in my mind and decided to write it down. I think it turned out pretty good. It's not my typical happy ending. It's a bit bittersweet and I like it. It's more realistic too as if this type of thing can happen which I'm sure it does.
This is a one-shot meaning a one chapter story so this is over now. It was just something I got inspired to write and then wrote.
I hope you enjoyed the random update and the random break from all my other stories!