The Closer I Get To You: Chapter 36 Oct 17, 2006 23:54:40 GMT -5
Post by Mimi on Oct 17, 2006 23:54:40 GMT -5
4.5 When I Woke to Find You Gone
“The journey of a thousand
miles begins with one step.”
-- Miyamoto Musashi
“The journey of a thousand
miles begins with one step.”
-- Miyamoto Musashi
“You’re still the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known.” Roman said entering Marlena’s office with an unshakeable confidence. He walked with his shoulders even and his head high looking remarkably charming in jeans and a crisp button shirt. He was the shadow of his former self in the unpretentious atmosphere of her office. “I’m probably the last person you want to see but I’m here on family business.” He offered peacefully lingering cautiously near the entrance with his hands jammed into the pocket of his jeans.
She didn’t respond immediately, instead, she eyed him meticulously in the way that she did her patients, unnerving them with the professionalism that hides a multitude of either pain or disgust. She wasn’t thoroughly repulsed by his presence. It would be equivalent to hating some part of herself. She had loved him a long time before now; his misguided actions were entirely based on the thinnest distinction between equally passionate emotions: love and hate. The male ego is blinded by pain with the consideration of love and hate. Roman was as human as any male could be, his actions were as closely matched to any other male in his situation. He was fighting for her in the only way he knew how.
“I’m not sure why you’re here,” Marlena said recovering quickly. “And I’m not sure if we have anything to discuss.”
He looked wounded by the distance of her words. A shadow of unshaved hair darkened his olive skin. He didn’t look as youthful as he’d always seemed. “Our children,” he said with tempered exaggeration.
She sighed and folded her arms. “Isabella is John’s daughter Roman.” She said studying his reaction closely.
“I’m not here to argue about Belle. Let the courts decide. I’m here about Sami. She needs you.”
Marlena softened. “Has something happened to her?” She realized how far Sami had pushed her from her life since her exodus from their house. Sami was the missing piece in the intricate puzzle of her family; she rebuffed every attempt of Marlena’s to communicate.
“No…can I?” He asked gesturing toward the couch.
She nodded and sat down with him, securing a pillow in her lap. “I’ve tried to reach Sami.”
“She’s hurt,” he reminded her quietly. “We’re both hurt by this.”
“Roman … I know this hurts you. I expect this to hurt you but Sami is my little girl. She just seems to hate me so.” She explained painfully. She flipped her hair nervously over her shoulder and leaned forward to rest her elbows on her knees.
“Doc what do you want her to do? You abandoned her.”
“I left you,” she said carefully. “That is not the same thing as abandoning her.”
“They don’t know that … she’s unreachable. I’m worried about her. She doesn’t eat. She won’t talk. It’s like getting to know an entirely different person.”
“Roman, it’s you. You have to make it all right for her. She’s following your lead. I’m not trying to place blame but in my professional opinion, I think she can’t stand the idea of hurting you. I hurt you so she has to reject me. Sami’s always been a sensitive person. Anger is her defense mechanism.”
“Marlena, I can’t make this right for her. Hell, I can’t even make sense of it for myself. I don’t understand this. I want you to come back home…you and the children.”
“I can’t. It doesn’t work,” she said softly. “I can’t perform anymore Roman.”
“Perform…I love you. That is as real as it gets.”
“I loved you too. I’ll always love you Roman but I am in love with John. Nothing is going to change those feelings. I’m sorry but John is who I want to live my life with.”
“And what about me?”
“You deserve someone who will love you fully Roman. I’m not that person anymore. We’ve been pretending for too many years, it hasn’t helped. I know now that it’s him, it’s John that I love.”
“You can’t love him.”
“Tell my heart that…I’ve tried not to. I really wanted to love you in the way you deserved but it’s not possible. I’m not willing to live under false pretenses any longer. And all the stunts that you pull will never change that. Belle is still going to be his daughter, test, or no test.” She said running her hands across her forehead. “If you loved her as much as you claim then you wouldn’t put her through this.”
“Doc I don’t believe that you could have ever been unfaithful to me. How could you have been intimate with John and I never knew? I just don’t believe that.”
“It happened. We conceived Belle. I didn’t know she was his until I saw her…until I actually laid eyes on her. It was confirmed while I was in Colorado.” She was exhausted with her own repetitive rhetoric. How many ways could she confess to being an adulterer? Her actions spoke louder than any words ever could.
“I’m sorry I hit you Doc.” He changed the subject swiftly. His tone and face were deeply remorseful. “I didn’t know that I could be so angry with you. I don’t ever want to be that angry again.” His hand rose robotically to touch her cheek.
“Physical wounds heal quicker than soul wounds. I forgive you Roman. I know I’ve hurt you. It’s not an invitation to strike me.” She said pushing his hand away. “I don’t want Eric or Sami to be raised with that man Roman.”
“They won’t. Come back to me… us. Please Doc.”
“Roman please don’t make me do this, don’t make me deny you. I can’t come back.” She whispered flatly.
“I can love you enough for both of us.”
“It doesn’t matter about John.” He told her desperately. “I can forgive that. It won’t be easy but I’ll try.”
“It matters to me.”
“This isn’t over for me Doc. I still love you.”
She bit heavily into her bottom lip. “Please don’t make me say this to you.”
“What?” He said inching nearer to her. The roughness of the cotton fabric of his jeans rubbed her leg.
“Roman, it’s time to let go.”
“No. I will not give up on you.”
“Roman,” her voice dipped timidly atonal. She lifted her warm, gracious honey hued gaze to his face. The words built monstrously up through her throat. “I’m pregnant.”
He grew silent, emptied of all argument. He heard what she hadn’t said. He knew the conviction in her ambiguous declaration; he interpreted contriteness in her tone. “It’s John’s?” he questioned, knowingly.
“It is.” She affirmed backing from the connection between them.
“You’re having that bastard’s baby?”
“I didn’t want to tell you about the baby like this. But don’t you see now why it’s impossible for us to be together?”
“Because of a baby?”
“It’s more than a baby. I’m going to marry John.”
He reacted swiftly to her words, standing up to pace across a short distance in front of Marlena. “You’re still married to me.” He said stopping his stride. He ran his fingers through his dark hair and brought his hands to rest on his hips.
“I’m sorry Roman but it’s over. I’m filing for divorce,” she said bravely. “I’m hopeful that this will change everything – Belle’s paternity suit. I want to end our marriage as painlessly as possible.”
“What do you know about pain?” Roman challenged her.
“We should talk about this but not now. I have a patient,” she said checking her wrist. She stood and took a deep breath. She felt raw. Opened and picked apart but she didn’t allow those emotions to win. She held them in.
“You’re pregnant.” Roman said again in disbelief.
“How do I know it’s not my baby?”
“Roman it’s not.”
“I don’t believe anything you say anymore.” He told her shaking his head incredulously. “It’ll kill me if Belle’s not mine.” He told her with a haunted look in his eyes.
“Call Sami…she needs to hear from you.” He said before walking out of her office.
She allowed him to retreat without stopping him. Her first instinct led her to the phone. When John answered, the floodgates opened and her tears rolled freely, leaving a glistening trail in their path.
“I love you John.”
“I love you too baby. What’s wrong? Are you crying?”
She wiped her tears with the back of her hand. “I’m okay. I just wanted to hear your voice.”
“Doc, what is it?”
“Roman. I’ve told him about the baby and my intention to get a divorce.” She couldn’t hold back anymore. John’s voice gave her the permission to be vulnerable. She sobbed uncontrollably into the phone. “He’s heartbroken.”
“Baby, do you need me to come and get you?”
“No. I’m okay…I will be. I just wanted to hear your voice honey. I’ll be home after my last session.”
“Baby are you really okay?”
“Will you tell me that I’m not a horrible person?”
“And promise to hold me when I get home.”
“I promise to do that for the rest of your life. I love you.”
“Thank you,” she said hanging the phone up abruptly. Her tears continued. An unrestrained sob poured unexpectedly from her body and she covered her mouth to control further sobbing. She closed her eyes. A warm embrace encased her shoulders in a dreamlike motion. She was breathing and fully aware but the touch settled her ragged sobbing. The smell of fresh jasmine enveloped her nose.
“Cry honey. You have to loosen your pain.” Miranda purred hypnotically into Marlena’s ear. She laid her head on Miranda’s shoulder. “Strong women need strength also.”
Marlena quivered uncontrollably in the safety of Miranda’s arms. She couldn’t pull herself together enough to reverse their roles. She needed to be held and it was Miranda’s touch that felt true enough to heel that need. Miranda’s natural maternal energy allowed Marlena to linger there unabashedly. She stayed until her body settled and the tears ceased. She finally opened her eyes and looked directly into Miranda’s eyes. The connection frightened her. “I apologize.”
“Don’t apologize.” Miranda said taking Marlena’s hand. “You feel it don’t you?”
Marlena studied Marlena’s enigmatic countenance, focusing on her mouth, as she spoke magically to the wounds in her heart. Her touch expiated the sins that wound Marlena into a crying mess of emotions; her grace eased the anxiety in Marlena’s face.
“What is it?” Marlena asked.
“It’s you. When you’re ready. It’ll be time when you are absolutely ready.”
“Ready for what?”
“The truth. Everything matters even if you can’t remember why.” She said in an excessively regal voice, one destined for the courts of royal regard. In some disjointed place, Marlena felt so and hearing Miranda elucidated the familiarity she felt toward Miranda.
“Don’t look so frightened,” Miranda said after Marlena ceased to speak. “I think you know it.”
“What?” She prodded eagerly. “Have we crossed paths before?”
“In another place and in another time,” she answered in her most charismatic tone.
Marlena took full possession of her body, her emotions and pulled herself from Miranda’s grasp. She moved clumsily to her desk where she fell heavily into the swivel chair behind her desk. “I’m sorry,” she said lowering her eyes from the daunting sparkle of Miranda’s eyes.
“Don’t apologize Dr. Evans. In fact, I should apologize. I saw that you were having a moment of crisis and I couldn’t allow you to go through that alone.”
“I appreciate you help…but I am a little confused by your statements. You speak as if we are more than patient and Doctor.”
“Don’t be confused. I’m an old woman who spent my childhood devouring 18th century literature. Everything has meaning for me, even these tiny moments now.” She said pulling her shawl around her body. Miranda Christopher did seem as if she’d walked from some Keats poem. She was draped in her shawl, scarves, and an ankle length skirt, all shades of pearl tones that cast an ethereal glow around her. Her dark hair contrasted warmly with the virginal markings of her outfit, as well as the European and American roots of her heritage. Her face bore no makeup; she was beautiful without cheeks powdered in rouge or lips shining with color. “You study me so closely. Do I fascinate you?” She queried Marlena politely.
“Yes. I’ve never met a patient who intrigues me as much as you.”
A light laugh escaped Miranda. “I’m sure you’ve been intrigued by many and also intrigue many yourself.”
“Whenever you speak, it’s as if you speak with some semblance of knowing. Omnipotent is the word that springs to mind.”
“We’re all connected Dr. Evans. We’ve all crossed paths before. The Earth is not so big; humanity is not this great mystery. We all have commonalities that bind us. I speak as if I know you because in some way I do. And you’re aware of me also. When time or fate collides, we’ll remember how and why. But all things are revealed in necessary time.”
Tears welled, emanating from the depth of Marlena’s soulful thirst of understanding and compassion. She laughed as she wiped her tears apologetically. “I’m such a mess. It’s hormones I guess…I’m pregnant.”
Miranda’s eyes flashed cheerfully. She smiled extending her arms across the desk to squeeze Marlena’s hands. “I sensed as much from my first visit.”
“Yes. You often bring your hands to rest protectively across your lap or over your stomach.” She noticed Marlena’s flushed cheeks. “It suits you,” she allowed kindly. “How far are you along?”
“Nearly three months.”
“Thank you. You’re one of the first people I think I’ve actually told. My children aren’t even aware.”
“I think we should reschedule this appointment. You look like you could use the company of the people who love and appreciate you the most.”
“I think you’re right.” Marlena agreed. “You can reschedule with Chloe.”
“I shall. Please enjoy this time Dr. Evans.” Miranda advised finally loosening their hands. “If you’ll take advise from an old woman?” She posed gently, continuing only after Marlena nodded acceptingly, “Tell your children. You deserve happiness. It’s a woman’s birthright to be happy.” She said pivoting on her heel to head toward the door.
Marlena watched Miranda’s steps falter as she slowed her pace toward the doorway, toward John. Her hand rose to her throat, the shawl tightened as she threaded it between her fingers shifting the color from her knuckles.
“I’m sorry for intruding,” John said stepping aside.
Miranda stood motionlessly, staring unapologetically at John.
John stepped closer to Miranda. “I’m so sorry. I can come back.” He said looking from Miranda to Marlena.
Miranda clutched her heart, turning to Marlena with glistening eyes. “He’s beautiful.”
Marlena hurried to Miranda’s side. “This is John.”
“You’re in love,” she said steadying her trembling hand. She leaned against Marlena who had thrown her hand over her shoulders. “I’m sorry. You’re just a beautiful couple. I’m Miranda Christopher.” She said slowly as she took the hand that John offered her. “You have a wonderful woman here. Cherish her.” She closed her hands over his and tugged lightly. Without another word she headed hastily out of the doorway.
“She’s an intriguing patient,” Marlena said resting her chin into John’s broad shoulders. He pulled her immediately into his arms and she found the folds of his body comfortably.
“How are you? I didn’t like the way you sounded on the phone. I wanted to make sure you were safe.”
“With you I’m always safe. Thank you for making sure of that.”
“Don’t thank me…now tell me what happened?” He said gripping her shoulders between his hands. He pulled her from his arms in order to see her face.
She took him by the hand and went to the couch. “Roman came to talk about Sami.” She said putting her hands in her lap. “I told him all of it. I told him that I wanted to marry you.”
“How did he react?” John asked turning his body toward her.
“Fine. He was upset but…”
“No,” she said quickly. “He didn’t touch me.”
“So why were you crying?”
“Hormones,” she said shrugging. “See, I can’t seem to help myself.” Tears were already filling her eyes again.
“Are you sure it’s not something deeper?” John inquired covering her leg with his hand.
“Sadness over ending it with Roman.”
“Well there is a sense of loss John. I can’t deny that but it’s everything…the baby. Roman’s paternity suit over Belle. He’s not going to drop it.”
“Honey, we know the truth.”
“That’s not really the point. I don’t want to subject or any of them to this. Our affair will be on the cover of every trashy headline.” She told him wearily. “The children don’t deserve that.”
“Don’t worry. You take care of yourself and my boy…or girl and the kids and I’ll worry about Roman.”
“John, I can’t do that.”
“You will do that,” he said forcefully, his lips pressed in a tight line. “Avery will handle it.”
“Oh John, that really puts my mind at ease,” she remarked sardonically.
“John don’t patronize me. Please do not do that. I’m not going to pretend that I enjoy the idea of your ex girlfriend handling such a personal matter.”
“Doc, I understand. Look at me honey.” He said physically taking her chin into his grip. “It’s over…it was one night.”
“I can live without details John. I can’t live without you. I hate to admit this but you make me a very jealous woman. I was never good with sharing – I refuse to do it. Avery can do her job as long as it’s all she’s doing. We should head home. I need to see my babies’ faces. I want to tell them about the baby.”