A/n: I can't really tell what you guys are thinking but I hope you're still with me on this one.

Some of you guessed what is coming. Some of you haven't.

Chapter 43

Flight BA 2159 from Gatwick was scheduled to land in Port of Spain at 5:00 pm that day. There had been a slight delay during a stop in St. Lucia due to bad weather, and the bad weather seemed to stretch further down the Caribbean archipelago, bringing an uncharacteristic thunderstorm during the dry season. By the time Joseph arrived at the apartment to take Rose to the airport, the roads were already flooded. Rose sat silently in the back seat of the vehicle and looked out the window at the swamp gnawing at the highway's edge, ready to reclaim its territory. The sight of it made her think of Reagan and what he might have said if he saw it. He wouldn't have been worried for drivers on the highway and the perilous situation the sudden appearance of murky waters of unknown depts could cause, instead, he would think about the swamp and every creature that lived in it and the fact that we were driving through what used to be their home. He would always offer his opinion on this like that, things that Rose never even considered to be things worth commenting on. But Reagan always saw things, always small things. Perhaps they were more apparent to him than the big things. And Rose wondered if that was the reason Reagan always had a habit of making big things seem rather small. He would ask her to commit herself to him forever over breakfast and marry her on a Tuesday with no pomp and ceremony. Like those huge, life-altering moments were just small items on some checklist he had.

Reagan would not make a big show of his returning. And although Rose felt like she could throw him a parade, for him, his return was probably another small thing. She was not totally surprised that he had not been in touch to tell her when he left DRC. Before he left he cozied up to her one night and showed her how to track his flights. He didn't want her waiting at the airport longer than necessary, to him his return should be a small thing, not an occasion.

But the wait was unavoidable. The thirty-minute delay had starched and stretched until a full two hours passed with her sitting in the lobby looking at the arrivals area, listening to muffled announcements echoing from a speaker overhead.

She could feel her butt get numb and her legs falling asleep. She shifted her weight a little and looked at her phone once again. According to the phone the flight had landed about 40 minutes ago. She didn't know how long it would take to disembark a plane but she didn't think it should be that long.

She looked at her messaging app again, hoping that Reagan had turned on his phone, but knowing Reagan he likely forgot to charge it before he left London.

She sat patiently and she looked on as families and friends were reunited. There was a little girl, hardly even a teenager, who came out smiling, all by herself. Rose was amazed at the bravery. She couldn't imagine traveling so far all on her own, scared and unsure of what to do, and she was happy she would never have to. Reagan would be there with her. He promised her, once the baby came and it was safer to travel he would take her wherever she wanted to go. They had all the time in the world now.

She smiled at the thought and comfort his words provided and looked down at her phone again.

The week without Reagan, despite his efforts, had been a hard one. Unbeknownst to her, she had come to rely on him for so much that his absence made her feel very unsettled. Initially, when their relationship was still quite new, she thought living with a man as his partner was unsettling. She had only ever lived with her grandmother and there wasn't much her grandmother expected from her in return. But with a man, who was her partner she felt like she had to give as much as she was getting. But quickly she came to see, unlike their professional relationship, where he could be demanding, Reagan was easy to please in personal life. He appreciated the small things most. All he wanted to was take care of her, like she was something precious to him, like her consenting to being with him as his confidant and lover were enough for him. Adjusting to him and his ways was effortless and her worries had been in vain. In almost no time at all, they had eased into a comfortable routine as husband and wife and everything worked perfectly, like a song with two verses, a bridge, and three choruses.

Reagan was perfect.

And they were perfect together.

And without each other, it felt like a little chaos had entered her life. He deserved a parade on his return. He was not a small thing to her.

She looked at her phone once more sent him a message just in case there was some kind of bad connection.

Just then her phone vibrated in her hand and her heart jumped at the anticipation. But it was just Joseph.

"Hello," she said.

"I'm seeing the flight came in 40 minutes ago…" he said, leaving the words hanging in the air.

"How long does it usually take," Rose asked.

Joseph sighed on the phone. "I guess we can give it an hour or so. Then you can check at the British Airways counter."

Rose agreed and hung up her phone to check her messages again. There was just one tick.

An hour came

An hour went

She made her way to the counter and gave them her information, told them who she was, and inquired after her husband.

The blonde woman with a thick Scottish accent looked at her and smiled as she pulled the information up.

There was no Reagan Carpenter on that flight.


When Richard came up the stairs he could immediately see that the door to their apartment had been left slightly ajar. The thing, the constant feeling of unease in his gut he had been ignoring for weeks began to roar with life now. He pushed the door softly and peaked into the room. He could see her laying on the sofa, her head resting on a throw pillow and another tucked just below her knees. It was not immediately apparent that anything could be wrong. She looked so perfectly peaceful.

He closed the door behind him and looked at her. " You left the door open." He said

If Rose knew he was there, she gave no indication, she just continued to lay there, staring at her hand on her swollen belly.

Richard approached her slowly, placing one foot in front of the other very deliberately. He stood behind the sofa and looked down at her. "Rose," he said carefully.

"I need to go to the supermarket," she said in a quiet and uneven voice.

He stared at her. Her lips were bearly apart but he could see they were trembling like the words were fighting to get out. "Okay," he replied and his brows met together. When he asked her if she was okay and she replied that she wasn't he didn't think the problem was that she needed to go to the supermarket. " You said… you made it seem..."

Her eyes looked up from her belly slowly and up at him as he hovered over a sofa. Something about her seemed so fragile, like if a feather were to land on her shoulder the weight of it would crush her. " I ran out of food," she mumbled and swallowed hard. "I ran out of pasta, I don't know how to make anything else and I would like a piece of cake if that's okay."

As she looked up at him he could see now how red her eyes were. She had been crying and even then he could see some tears welling up in her eyes. "Rose," he whispered, as he moved his way around the sofa so he was standing in front of her. The tears in her eyes traveled down her cheek freely now and he felt a new sensation in his stomach.

She inhaled deeply. " I actually don't have any money right now. So you'll have to pay for it. I used my money to pay the office staff and I used our driver a couple more times so I had to pay him too. I don't have any more money to pay him to take me anywhere and I can't walk for more than thirty minutes without my feet getting swollen." She said all this very rapidly and whipped the tears from her face very quickly, almost like she hoped he wouldn't notice.

He kneeled on the carpeted floor just in front of her and looked down at her hand on her belly. He touched the back of her hand gently. He could still feel the moisture from the tears on her skin. " Rose, where is Reagan?"

She inhaled deeply again and the exhale that came out was so shaky and feeble. " I don't know," she said and she pushed herself up to sit as quickly as she could manage. " And I don't know what to do. I tried calling…people…in London.. in the DRC… I don't know what to do," she whispered in secret.

Richard continued to kneel. He was listening but everything she said sounded like it was clouded over by a ringing in his head. " He never came back from Africa?"

She bit her lower lip and shook her head and covered her face with her hand, tears flowing freely now.

Richard inhaled deeply and nodded slowly. " Okay Rose," he said calmly. " Your doctor's office called me. He needs you to do a checkup and you need to finalize the birth plan."

She sighed again. " I still owe them the final payment."

Richard shook his head. " That's okay, don't worry about any of that stuff. Get ready I'll take you to your doctor's appointment and we'll get your stuff at the supermarket."

" I'm sorry," said whipping away the tears that kept falling freely from her eyes.

He got up from his knees slowly and stood up and took her hands and helped her stand. " It's okay. Go get ready." He said nodding his head in the direction of their bedroom.

He looked at her as she shuffled through the apartment and to the bedroom and closed the door.

He walked over to the kitchen, which was spotless, opened the faucet by the sink, and let cold water wet his hands before he used it to pat his face.

The thing in the pit of his stomach that had been holding had finally fallen. He knew what it was and he finally understood what it all meant. He could remember the first time that feeling came to him and how he felt like needed to throw up, and just like that time, it came out very suddenly. He coughed it out, holding his head over the sink.

He couldn't breathe, he needed to breathe. The more they tried to take a deep breath the shorter and more shallow they became, stopping before his lungs could get full of air. His mind was racing. There were flashes, flashes of things that happened, things that were yet to come but they all melded together in his head to create some perplexing nightmare. Like his life was flashing before his eyes. The only thing it was not his life that flashed, it was Reagan's and what he imagined his life with Rose was like and what it would look like in the future. It all assaulted him, all at once. Very suddenly everything turned to black and the only thing he could imagine was the static and infinite humming of nothingness.

And he was there. Breathless, unable to get air in, and hardly anything out.

He was now dying, he was sure of it.

That night when he had his first panic attack it also felt like death, like he would keel over in front of the sink and air would just never come.

But it did come. It came because of Rose.


Who would take her to the supermarket?

He needed to breathe. He couldn't let himself fall apart now, not when Rose was already so out of it.

She needed him.

Reagan would want him to be there for her.

His father would want him to be there for her.

He took several deep calming breaths, slowly feeling the oxygen fill his lungs. He stood up straight slowly, like a robot being wound up and inhaled again. He looked at the contents of his stomach in the sink and washed it out quickly until every trace of it was gone.

He looked down at himself. On the lapel of his jacket, there was just a little bit of a stain. He pulled it off quickly and draped it over his arm and looked around for a bathroom. There was one just to the right of the kitchen in Rose's apartment and the same was true for Reagan's. He walked into the small water closet and looked at himself in the mirror. He opened the tap quickly and splashed some cold water on his face again and dried it quickly on the hand towel. He took some mouth wash from the cabinet and rinsed out his mouth quickly.

He looked at himself one more. His once crips shirt looked more wrinkled than he would have liked and his eyes still looked like someone who was still startled by some really bad news. But he couldn't help that.

" You're the strong one Richard, take care of them," He whispered to himself in an echo of what his father would always say to him.

He took out his phone and sent a message to Savitri

"Please find out if we have an embassy in the DRC or where is the nearest one. Also, find a contact from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who can help me liaise with someone concerning a missing national in the region."

Reliable as always she responded immediately. " Sure thing, who is this about?"

" It's my brother Reagan,"

"Oh my God! He's missing? How Long? I'll get on it right away."

" Please do," he replied.

He sighed and looked at himself again. Everything was about to change and he had to put on a brave face through it all.

The truth is, he never felt close to Reagan and he would always wonder why they didn't share that twin magic people always talked about. Theirs was a relationship of disequilibrium from day one. They were never on the same page and for years they spent most of their time together hardly able to see eye to eye. They were hardly even as close as regular brothers, far less two people who shared a womb.

Yet, that night he felt him. He felt him so clear and present that he called out to him the dark, feeling his presence, yet not seeing him.

Richard wondered, why, in those last moments, did his brother choose to come to him of all people.

"Richard!" he heard Rose's voice outside the door. He closed his eyes for a moment before he pulled the door open.

She was now dressed in a baby blue maternity dress and almost swept the floor and a pink cardigan. Her eyes were still red and she looked so fragile to him at that moment, so unlike herself. He knew whatever she had been going through the past few weeks was her way of dealing with what was probably as apparent to her as it was to him." Ready," he asked.

She nodded. "Ready"


A/n: It breaks my heart but it was always going to happen. I feel like I left sufficient clues that this is where the story was going. I've sat on this for years and years. I've been struggling to find a way to write this. I have to balance what Rose feels with what is realistic for Richard. I don't want to write Richard out of character and I also don't want you all to hate him.

Feels bittersweet to finally have it out there.

I don't know how you guys are feeling. Angry, sad, disappointed, excited? I don't know. Let me know.

Also, this story has a second part.

UPDATE: I have decided to post the second part in a new story. I'm going to rework the chapters I have written to make it easier for new readers to follow. I don't know how many people use fictionpress these days but I want to finish the story here.

I'm hoping this second part will take ten chapters, but I also thought this story would be about 10 chapters and here we are 43 chapters after. So don't hold me to it. I'm really hoping that I can finish this. Fingers crossed.