A story about relationships, family, loss ,decisions and its consequences and true love.
The heavy feeling in his heart was replaced with a mix of fury and exhilaration. Dennis Gray Sullivan recognized that distinct high-pitched female voice. How could he not as it was her trademark. His eyes grew larger, his dark pupils ever became more dilated, he couldn’t come to terms with the fact but it couldn’t be her, could it? He became conscious that this was no trick from his mind when he turned around and came face to face with Bethany Temple again after almost twelve years without contact.
The solemnity of the moment suddenly evaporated and what once bereavement in his heart turned into rage as all the grievances that he had been nursing for years turned up from the moment he saw her. Detaching the dark tinted shades, she gave him a wide, vixenish grin that radiated an air of charisma that even the walls that Dennis built around her over the years weren’t enough as after everything that happened between them, he still found himself somewhat still allured by it. His heartbeat became more erratic when she unveiled herself from the dark cloth that covered her face. True enough, she was too beautiful that he had to fight himself to hate her.
Bethany Temple took a few steps forward, making their distance ever closer. The air became frigid as a cold gust of wind brushed upon the two figures both clad in black. Eric Sullivan, Dennis’ estranged paternal half-brother, had passed away due to complications from a risky heart surgery. The doctors had warned him that he only had the slimmest chance of making it out alive outside the operating room but nevertheless he tried his luck. Today was the day he would rest eternally in the dark brown earth where many of his forgotten ancestors had lain ceaselessly. The crowd, all dressed in black mourning clothes, all bowed down as his coffin was lowered to his perpetual resting place. Most of them were tossing the freshly picked white roses on the unfathomable gaping hole beside them, but not Bethany and Dennis.
“How have you been?” she asked, brushing off her wavy, dark red hair against the back of her ear. “Eleven years has been quite a long time.
His fists were clenched hardly that his nails made marks on his palms as Dennis was on the fit of rage. What the hell was she doing at his brother’s funeral after eleven years without their knowledge if she was still alive or what? The line between his thick brows deepened at her question. The nerve of her to ask how have he been after she abandoned him, never even looking back. The temptation to slap the face in front of him and tell her that she had a lot of nerve to show her face after she recklessly abandoned them when she was needed the most was irresistible but Dennis held the urge as both of them were not in the right place to fight.
“What brings you here?” Dennis inquired with a noticeable trace of sarcasm and wrath, not caring to lower his voice.
Her lips twitched in what seemed like the ghost of a seductive smile. “You never answered my question.”
“You don’t have to know the answer” he paused for a moment. “Besides, you also didn’t answer my question”.
Bethany’s long lashes fluttered, her blue eyes resembled sapphire as they gleamed in amusement while she stared at him. A secret smile formed on her lips. During the past eleven years, she had imagined what it would be like to meet Dennis again. During those times that she had allowed her mind wander, she could vividly recall herself standing in front of a grey-haired, almost bald, man. His face, full of lines reflecting the countless years of his existence. Of course that man, being old, would have to be less lean and plumper. She was astounded and elated to a certain extent to know that her expectation had failed her for the man in front of her was the same man she walked out on eleven years ago only, the traces of boyishness was replaced with masculinity.
Her lips jerked at the knowledge that she found this new Dennis attractive. The past years had barely taken its effect on Dennis. His dark hair was still as suave as before with only the slightest tinge of grey. His body was not round, in fact, his formerly scrawny and angular body that looked like it belonged to a twelve year old had transformed into that of a man, much leaner and more muscular.
She reached for the cigarette inside her bag and lit it. After releasing a trickling cloud of smoke, a smile pulled up on the corners of Bethany’s lips. “You don’t have to answer my question, Denny” she paused as her face went crimson with embarrassment. It seemed like old habits were to die for. She shoved the cigarette in her mouth and let out a white filthy smoke in the air.
“C-can I call you Denny?”
‘Denny’, he thought. It had been such a long time since he got called Denny and as far as he knows, the last time somebody called him that was more than a decade ago and by the person standing before him. Although he didn’t want to admit it, he missed her calling him Denny. Slowly, he realized that again for the second time, he was falling for her charms. No, he mustn’t. He thought, as he’d been through that road before. Desperate to escape her charm, he reflected on all her misdeeds, how she just left without ever looking back, living him the only one to pick up the shattered remnants of what was once his life. As he looked back through the years, his almost forgotten rage resurfaced. Wrath was quickly circulating in his veins. He clenched both fists harder until his palms ached.
Again, she thrust the cigarette in her lips for the last time before finally tossing it to the ground. Noticing that the gap between Dennis’ brows creased even more, she smiled. How she missed seeing him like that. “It always marveled me how you’ve, but now that we’ve met again, I can see that you’ve been very well without me”
By now, Dennis was hot with rage that he couldn’t keep it all inside him anymore. As if by impulse, with his firm hands he grabbed Bethany’s arm with a force so strong and dragged her away from the ongoing funeral.
“Let go of me” Bethany screamed in agony, her voice almost breaking. She could feel her arms breaking as Dennis grip became tighter and more violent.
As they reached a secluded area, Dennis released her arms from his brutal grasp. She was a mix of emotions by the time they were both alone. Her arm was throbbing so hard that she felt like crying. His grip was full of force that she thought it almost broke. Hot tears ignominiously streamed down her color-drained face. Throughout their whole relationship she had seen who Dennis was and what he was capable of. But never had she encountered this darker side of him, one who was completely blinded by fury and capable of malevolence and violent acts, frightened her.
It seemed that the quickly approaching winter was making itself evident as an unwelcomed breeze blew past both of them. The chilly air alongside the silence that slowly enveloped them made her shiver.
Dennis’ throat felt dry. What he did to her overwhelmed him. Never in his life had he hurt a person, more or less a woman. Culpable was what he felt as he stared at his former wife, her whole body shaking with an unfamiliar fear. He didn’t know what drove him to do such things nor the ability to do so. But then again, she deserved some it, he thought.
Dennis took a deep breath before he asked her again. “What do you want?” His voice though calmer and more civil was still cold and indifferent.
Bethany swallowed hard before she answered. “I want to see the girls.”
Tears trickled into Bethany’s face as she watched Dennis punch a hollow, eerie looking oak tree. A lump had started to form in her throat making it harder for her to breathe. Her knees trembled hysterically from fear as both eyes met. Her legs felt weak, almost unable to support her weight. She needed to hold on to something or surely she would collapse. She needed to get away from him.
Bethany took a few steps back, her arms flailed like that of a blind man as she searched for something to hold on to. Her body took its refuge at a lone gravestone.
His savagely cold stare along with the eerie stillness was slowly killing her. She felt more and more scared as he slowly neared her. Scenarios about him twisting neck her flashed through her mind.
“Denny…I—I” she felt her throat clogged, no voice would come out no matter how she tried to speak.
Dennis stopped in his tracks. A wry smile emerged in his lips at the sight of her trembling. “You look beautiful when you’re scared” His grin widened, showing his perfect teeth. A new light in his eyes formed as he watched her with amusement. “Has anyone told you that?”
Knowing that she was being humiliated, Bethany tried to compose herself by wiping the cascading tears in her cheeks with the back of her palm. Again, she swallowed hard and summoned all of her courage before speaking. With all her strength, she forced her knees to stop quivering but her effort was met with little success.
“No”. It was a weak murmur but a stern one.
“You know, I’ve always wanted to do that to you that was if I ever saw you again. I never for one second thought of us meeting again after you walked out on us just like that” Dennis’ voice was tranquil but it was obvious that he was restraining himself from his anger.
“Right now I’m not sure what to do with you. You have a lot of nerve to show your face at a time like this. You got what you have always wanted Bethany. All the money you wanted, fame, fortune, all those that stars like you deserved. Weren’t enough to satisfy you?”
By now, Bethany had fully composed herself. The lone gravestone that she had leaned on for quite sometime was of no need to her as her footing was now steady. “W-why of course that was enough” she answered with a proud air, tilting her chin upwards. “But still, I have a right to come here. I’m still the girls’ mother and I demand to see them”
“Their mother?” he questioned sardonically. Hearing this statement, Dennis roared in mocking laughter. “When did you ever become their mother? And since when did you start to care about them? You didn’t act like their mother when they were born. In fact, if I remember correctly, you vanished after their birth? Am I right, Ms. Temple?”
Bethany lowered her gaze so that it won’t meet his. She swallowed hard upon hearing his statement. Deep inside, she knew she was right. She was guilty beyond reasonable doubt, but still, she had to defend herself.
“I told you I wasn’t ready to be a mother at that time. I still you and I didn’t know what to do.” She replied indignantly but without looking at his face.
Dennis smirked. His brow lifted, doubting everything that she said, as his head shook. “Selfish reason you have there. Yes you were young but that is not a valid reason for you to leave those defenseless little girls, whose names you don’t even know and didn’t even bother to know, when they needed you the most. And now you’ve come back because you’re ready for them? Thank god they didn’t live to see this shame”
Didn’t live? Her eyes grew with confusion at what she had just heard. Her heart leaped rapidly in her chest. Sweat began to make its presence in her palms. What could he possibly mean? Bethany looked at his face as if the answer she was looking for could be found there. True enough and much to her horror, she found it in Dennis’ expressionless gaze.
“Yes, Bethany. The twins were born too early for them to be able to survive.”
Hot tears streamed through her face when she heard Dennis’ last words before he turned around and left her leaning on the gravestone for support.
“They didn’t make it…”