&. ) MADCLAN
“Are you going to run away from me again?” The words wash over
her, trapping her down with more weight than his body pressed on top of hers.
Maddie finds herself shaking her head as no words come out because part of her
wants to tell him that the third time is the charm and she’s only left twice.
Maybe it’s the way that his hips carve into her, the way that he moves like
something ancient and purposeful as if he’d spent years working up to being
able to do with her. She hates that her body fits so well with his and he knows
the right questions to make her feel guilty no matter what they’re doing, even
something as intimate as sex. Though he asked, she gave no real, committed
answer and tells herself that she very well could run once more if he does
something that challenges her fight or flight instinct.
“You cannot leave like this.” His voice is hard, but her body is
soft and her mind is alcohol muddled. Liquor gives her courage though she’d
promised long ago to stop drinking for him because she became so cruel with the
touch of whiskey on her tongue and she was far too much like his father when
she was too far gone. “Madeline Wyona Stonem.” There was that warning and
she challenged him with her teammates behind her, just as drunk and dazed as she
was, but Maddie ignored them and his glare as she reached for her broom and
taunted him with every backwards step. She’d never asked to have three children
that watched warily from the top of the banister or marry her bastard of a best
friend that made her hate herself more than she could explain to him. “If
you walk out that door, we are done.” He lied because two weeks later she was
crawling into bed next to him and his arms were caging her, effectively
“I love you.” She whispers.” I’m sorry, I love you.” And he’s
saying he knows, but Maddie repeats it over and over with apologies following
quickly after as her fingers, frantic and rushed, messily removed his clothing.
There was comfort in his skin on hers and she was choking on her own tears as
she felt stupid and desperate to just be near him. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
I’m sor-” And her apologies are cut off because he forgives her and he loves
her and, though it did hurt, he knows that he deserves it for how he treated
her in school; he knows that he made it so that she can’t trust him. It took
her only a few days to collect her thoughts and trudge back home to him.
“We have four children. We’re married. Everyone knows we’re
together, Mads. What are people going to think if you’re always off on your
own?” She sucked in her cheeks because eh couldn’t understand that she just
needed her space sometimes. She wasn’t fourteen or sixteen or eighteen and
desperate to be around him. This wasn’t Hogwarts and they weren’t the only
friend that each other had. She’d found herself in being away from him, they’d
both grown over the years, and yes she loved him, but it was hard to do this
still. Her children were a gift and this marriage,a s rocky as it is, was
undeniably a blessing. Without hesitation or doubt, though, she couldn’t always
stick around and he didn’t understand that. It was a month before she returned.
“You’ll be back right?” She sighed at the question, happy that he
wasn’t trying to trap her, but still so distrusting to have to ask that at all.
His hands cupped her jaw as watched him pensively. There were no words
exchanged, just a kiss that held a promise. Even if she left for months at a
time, she came back.
“Try not to be gone too long.” He laughed and it only made her
shake her head. He looked ridiculous holding out a bag to her as if he was
sending her off for the week. “Maybe bring me something nice now that all
the kiss are out and have kids of their own to keep them occupied.” It may have
taken the better part of the entirely of their lives, but he finally
understood. Smiling, Maddie took her bag and nodded because she always came
&. ) VANSON
When you were thirty-six, she was twenty-four and you fixate on the fact that at twelve years old you were in school and she was in a hospital bed seeing the world for the first time. Your eyes are trained on the expanse of her back as she slides silk over her shoulders and calls you over to zip the dress she’d bought for the special night of getting her first book published under your company and getting her first ten thousand printed. Somehow, though you aren’t sure, you manage to drag your eyes from between her shoulder blades and pull yourself from the sick inner guilt because she’s so young and your life is half over. She’s looking at your with that knowing gaze and takes hold of your face to reassure you that this is consensual and she’s attracted to more than you an offer her career. “And besides,” she laughs and you think it sounds like every church hymns that was so hauntingly beautiful to you, “how would you survive without me?”
When you’re forty-two, she’s thirty and having your first child. Looking down at the compilation of skin and bones and muscle and that terrifying cry that brings you crashing to reality that something is now going to rely on you to live, you freeze as she tries to hand you the infant. No make up to elongate her lashes or emphasis her cheek bones, you take in her sweaty forehead and how her bangs stick to the perspiration and how she’s never been less put together since you met her. Minutes ago, she’d been screaming “I hate you. This is all your fault. I hate you. Never again. I hate you.” like a mantra to the world, but when you’re forty-six, you’re holding another tiny child and wondering how never again turned into four years later.
It’s a series of mile stones at fifty and then sixty-one and then seventy-five, and somehow you’re eighty-six and thinking of how she was seventy. How being twelve years older than her turned into being sixteen is a loss on you because it wasn’t her that was supposed to go first. Even with that old age, she was vivacious and spiritedly alive and your roles had somehow reversed. Always a child at heart, you became more cynical with age and she became more free, so why was she taken from you before you were ready?
&. ) IVIAN
“Sir, I believe that this belongs to you.” The officer looked pointedly over at Fabian ( who currently was wishing the world would open beneath his feet and swallow him whole ) as he deposited the girl so unceremoniously in front of him. “Keep her out of trouble.”
Forty years ago, he fully would have expected to see Ivy Spencer before him looking smug and self-satisfied with her shenanigans. Despite the fact that the girl held the same long brown locks and a similar smile and a familiar mirth to her eyes, she was not the woman he’d grown to tolerate. No, this, unfortunately, was their daughter. Fabian could hear his wife cackling in the background, deep set laugh lines aging her face and strands of silver mixing with at brown that matched their daughter’s, and Fabian wondered how he got stuck with two pranksters and how he was outnumbered.
Forty some odd years ago, he’d decided that no one else wold be able to handle a woman like Iv Spencer and he didn’t want to give them the option to try. He’d wasted too many years trying to hate her and the backwater town they grew up in, and he’d spent far too long worrying about her when they weren’t together to just give that up because they fought more than they spent cuddling. What was life without a bit of a challenge? It was what she’d asked him when she so rudely asked him to marry her because she thought he was taking too long despite having a ring hidden in their apartment at the time.
“Dad, you don’t understand. I didn’t do anything wrong!”
Fixing his daughter with a less than impressed look, Fabian shook his head and held up a hand for her to stop. “I am too old for this shit. If you get charges pressed against you, I am not going to be your lawyer or bail you out.” He’d gone from hating Ivy to loving Ivy to being proposed to by the fascinating and maddening girl. One day, he would have never looked twice at her, and somehow he went from that to backpacking through Europe with her because she felt like it and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef and having the scariest adventure of parenthood together. He could pinpoint the days that her smile shocked him over the years and made him pause to think of how shocking this all was and how he wouldn’t change it for the world.