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 Post subject: To Breathe Again (Chapter 7)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:19 pm 
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Location: On a good day, planet Earth in NE Alabama.
(Chapter Seven)

As confusing as it was, Dee Dee made her decision.

Not more than fifteen minutes earlier, she was kissing the man she’s in love with and contemplating breaking her wedding vows even further by going to bed with him. She’d never thought she could cheat on her husband, but considering the condition of her marriage, she momentarily felt she wouldn’t be cheating. But she came to her senses and realized that as long as there were no signed divorce papers, she’d be committing adultery. How could she live with herself after adding such a thing to her life? She couldn’t. She felt lucky to have found the strength to leave Rick’s house when she did. As she slipped her nightgown over her head, she felt her baby moving inside of her. She placed her hand on her belly and wondered what Lil Bit would look like, and she quickly scolded herself for wondering what he or she would look like if Rick had been the father. More frustrating and guilt-filled thoughts entered her head, and the tears began to roll again. She went into the bathroom to splash cool water on her face and to brush her teeth for the night, which proved to be quite the task in between shedding tears. As soon as she lay in bed and pulled the covers to her waist, she broke down and began to sob uncontrollably.

Anna heard thought she heard crying, and walked toward the sound. “Dee Dee?” She quickly flipped the light switch on the wall. “Honey, what’s wrong?” She sat on the bed next to her daughter.

Dee Dee quickly sat up and wrapped her arms around her mother. “Oh, mom. I…I…”

“Are you sick? Is it the baby…do you need a doctor?” Anna’s heart rate increased with nerves. “Tell me. What is it?”

“I’m…not…not…sick.” Dee Dee tried to explain through her sobs. “The baby’s okay. I…I…made a fool…of….myself…with Rick.”

“It can’t be that bad, can it?” Anna stroked her daughter’s hair while trying to console her. “I’m sure you didn’t make a fool of yourself. What happened?”

“I told….Rick….I’m in love….with….him. He’s…in love…with me, too. I kissed…him. I wanted to…to…oh, mom; I almost slept with….him. I wanted to so badly.”

With the last word filled with shame, Dee Dee sobbed even harder and her body quaked in her mother’s arms. She and her mother were never ones to discuss such personal issues, but at this moment, Dee Dee hoped her mother would be understanding and supportive. “I love him…so much. But, I can’t…be with…him.”

“Shh-shh. It’s going to be okay, sweetie.” Anna said. “You already knew that you were still in love with Rick and that you and Alex are having a hard time. You’re human, and you needed comfort and your emotions got the better of you. You didn’t sleep with him. It’s okay. You talked and had no idea of what would come of it. You and Rick couldn’t help yourselves, but you only went as far as a kiss. It’s okay.”

“I…still…shouldn’t…have kissed…him.” Dee Dee kept her arms around her mother and buried her head even further into her shoulder. “Mom, I’m still married. I’m about to…to…have Alex’s baby in…a few months. I almost…slept with another…man.”

“But you didn’t. You stopped before things went any further. I’m proud of you, Dee Dee.”

Dee Dee raised her head in surprise to look at her mother. “Really?”

“Yes, of course.”

“But…but I still want to be with him. I love him so much.” Dee Dee awaited her mother’s look of disappointment.

“And you will for a long time.” Anna answered simply. “You can’t get over Rick within minutes. You’ve loved that man for nearly eight years, Dee Dee. He’s been your only source of male support since Steven died. You’ll never be able to just brush him off like crumbs on a table.” Anna grabbed a tissue from the box on the bedside table and dabbed her daughter’s tears. “You two have built a strong bond that can’t easily be broken by anyone. Not even by Alex. If it were so, you and Alex wouldn’t have an issues over Rick and you’d be happily married. His jealously and lack of attention toward you made it all that much worse.”

Dee Dee listened to her mother and knew she was right. Alex had brought in his part of shaking up the marriage, too.

Before either of them could say another word, the telephone rang.

“It’s Rick!” Dee Dee exclaimed in a panic. “He wanted me to call when I got home! I don’t want to talk to him!”

“It’s okay. I’ll answer it.” Anna picked up the phone. “Hello?”

“Anna, it’s Rick. Did Dee Dee make it home?” He nervously ran his hand over his head. “She hasn’t called me.”

“Yes, she’s here, Rick.”

“Oh, that’s good.” Rick sighed in relief. “May I speak with her?”

Anna looked at Dee Dee and saw the pain her eyes. “Maybe tomorrow would be better. She’s tired.”

Rick had already figured she wouldn’t talk to him, and he’d promised her earlier that she wouldn’t have to talk to him again that night, but he had to try. “Are you sure she’s okay? We…uh….we sort of had a disagreement. She was pretty upset when she left.”

Anna didn’t want to lie, but also didn’t want to upset her daughter by going into any details with Rick. “To be honest, Rick, she’s still very upset about what happened and isn’t up to talking to you now. Just give her a little time, okay?” Anna looked to her daughter who had new tears trailing her cheeks. “I’ll ask her to call you tomorrow.”

“Anna?” Rick began with a pang of guilt. “You do know that I wouldn’t hurt Dee Dee for the world, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do know that. And I’m glad you care so deeply for her.”

“Then, I hope you know that I’ll do what I can to make things right for her…for us.”

Anna allowed a gentle smile to appear on her face. “I believe you.”

Rick sighed again with relief. “Please tell her that I’m sorry, and that I want to talk to her when she’s up to it.”

“I will. Goodnight, Rick.”

“Goodnight, Anna.”

“What did he say?” Dee Dee sniffled and wiped her tears.

“He wanted me to know that he’d never want to hurt you, and that he’d try and make things right between you two again. He wants to talk to you again, soon.”

Dee Dee sighed nervously at the thought of talking to Rick again. She’d come thousands of miles to specifically talk to him about her love for him, and now she felt like packing up and running thousands of miles to get away from him. “How can I ever face him again?”

“You’ll have to at some point.”

“I can’t. I just can’t!” Dee Dee lay down and sobbed into her pillows. “I wish I’d never come here! I’m making things worse by being here!”

“D’Andrea. Listen to me.” Anna spoke sternly, with a gentle hand on Dee Dee’s back. “You can’t expect situations to magically repair themselves when you can’t handle them on your own. You need your family and friends to help you, and sometimes they won’t have all the answers. The best you can do is to try.”

“I am trying.” Dee Dee said through her tears. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”

“Then you have to try harder to find out.” Anna’s voice was firm. “You came here expecting Rick to still be in love with you. Well, he is. Now that you have your answer, you have to decide on how you’ll deal with it. You can’t quit on the hopes and dreams you’ve had for yourself. Now, if it’s meant for you and Alex to be together, you will be. The same rule applies for you and Rick.”

Dee Dee felt her mother was right, but she also felt that she was becoming a little less understanding and harsher with her. “You think I’m a quitter?”

“I know you’ve never been one, but you sound like you’re ready to become one.”

Dee Dee sat up and looked at her mother. “But it’s so hard. I’m so confused about everything, and it doesn’t seem like I’ll find the right answers.”

“You haven’t searched for them hard enough or long enough.” Anna replied. “Stop trying to rush everything. If this were one of your police cases, you’d spend every waking hour trying to solve it. It’s going to take some time, effort, patience and commitment, but you can do this, Dee Dee. You can figure out what’s right for yourself in your life. I believe in you. You have to believe in yourself.”

Dee Dee’s eyes watered even more at her mother’s supportive words. “I guess I can try.” She whispered.

“That’s all I ask.” Anna pulled her daughter into her arms as her own eyes watered. “You’re going to be alright. No matter how things turn out, you’ll be alright.”

The two sat and talked for several more minutes, and Dee Dee finally felt her eyes beginning to weigh down from a combination of tears and exhaustion. When Anna stood to leave the room, Dee Dee began to slip beneath the covers.

“Thank you, mom.”

“You’re welcome.” Anna kissed her daughter’s forehead, turned out the light and returned to her own room.
– - -

With a massive amount of frustration, Rick Hunter sent his second pillow sailing across the room and into the wall. For two hours, he tossed and turned in bed for what seemed like an eternity. His sleep was held at bay by the replaying of the scenes he’d shared with Dee Dee. He’d wished the kiss had lasted longer and had only been the beginning of an unforgettable night of passionate lovemaking. He also hated himself for wishing such a thing. He was torn. He couldn’t rid himself of the expressions of guilt and confusion on her face when he pulled away, and when she raced out to leave him. He couldn’t believe he’d contributed to causing her to suffer even more. How he wanted to rush to Anna’s home and pull Dee Dee into his arms; to apologize and tell her he’d never hurt again…that if she’d only stay with him, he’d make her forget anything and everything about Alex. (How can I tell her that? How can I make her forget? She’s carrying his child, for God’s sake. That child is the most precious thing to her, and a bond she’ll have with Alex forever. If she left Alex for me, would he give her a hard time in a custody battle? What about visitation rights…London to LA and back? Maybe Alex would give up his rights? Who am I kidding?) Rick exhaled a great sigh; trying to rid himself of distress and irrational thinking. Unable to find any peace of mind or the ability to sleep, he impatiently awaited the hours to pass while lying in the center of the bed and staring into darkness until sunrise.
--- --

“Hey, Hunter. You look like crap today.” Charlie noted with a worried expression. “What’s going on?”

Attempting to rub the weariness from his eyes, Rick looked up to greet his superior. “Just a rough night.”

“No kidding. Anything you want to talk about?”

Rick shook his head. “No. But thanks. I’ll be okay as soon as get some coffee.”

Charlie wasn’t sure of what it was, but he knew Rick was dealing with something much more serious than his caseload. “Alright, if you say so. You know where to find me if you need me.” Charlie continued on to his office.

Barely keeping his eyes open long enough to pour the coffee; Rick was suddenly startled by the ringing of his desk phone. Nearly spilling the coffee from his cup, he sprinted to his desk. To his disappointment, it wasn’t Dee Dee. When he’d finished the call, he sat down and took a sip of the hot liquid; hoping it’d send much needed energy through his system. After a second cup, he felt enough of a push to get him started on looking through files on his most recent case, but his mind drifted back and forth from the contents of the folder, and to the events of last night. He was getting very little work done, and his frustration grew to be more than a nuisance. He tossed the folder aside.

“Charlie?” Rick poked his head into the office. “I need a couple of hours to take care of some personal business. Can I take off for a while?”

Charlie figured that this personal problem must be why Rick was so haggard. He knew he’d be no good to the force, the safety of others or that of his own. “Two hours?”

“Yeah, two hours.” Rick answered anxiously.

“Go ahead.”

== ==


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