“Growth is a process. You gain, you lose, you cry, you grow, you learn, you try, you fail, but you keep trying.”
Windenburg New Downtown Cameron Enterprises
The door to Abigail’s office burst open, she turned around to see Jay storm in, slamming the door shut behind him without paying attention on his way over to her.
“On my way into work I ran into Elliott and he told me you went out with him last night! Is that true?! Why would you do that?!”
“Wow. The Kool-Aid man would be so proud of you. Good morning to you too, Jay.”
“You went on a DATE with my BROTHER?! Your ex?! Why, Abby?!”
“Okay, first of all – RUDE MUCH?! Second, excuse you! Third – I don’t need your approval OR authorization. And lastly, it wasn’t a date, it was a meal together. Look, Elliott asked me to go have a friendly dinner with him, so we could talk in peace. He wanted to tell me things he didn’t want to say in front of everyone.”
“I bet he had a lot to say that he didn’t want anyone to hear, especially me! You’re MY girlfriend! You shouldn’t go to dinners with other men, especially not your ex, and most especially not if it’s Elliott. He’s not as harmless as you think. He will try to take you from me!”
“I am not some mindless, impressionable idiot, who can be taken and given like a toy, thank you very much. Look Jay, Elliott and I never actually broke up. We never got closure and there was too much left unspoken between us. That was an unfixable problem when he was presumed dead, but now that he evidently is not, the air needed to be cleared. He and I are both in an awkward position, through no fault of our own, it’s rough for both of us. I owed him this, and he owed me some more answers. You’re right, he did say he wants me back, but I told him I am your girl now. Too much has happened, too much time has passed and I have moved on. He understood that. He didn’t like it, but understood. For him time basically stood still in a way, so he had no chance to move on yet, which is also understandable. He was stuck on that mission and to him, I was stil his girlfriend all that time, so he needs to adjust to that, which he said he’s trying. He sounded sincere. Maybe it’s YOU who doesn’t know him as well as you think.”
“Abby … trust me. If Elliott even told you he still wants you, he will try and try to get you back. I was the one who messed up out loud growing up, but Elliott was no saint either. He just didn’t do illegal shit, like I had and didn’t get caught doing all the things he did. And he most certainly isn’t one to give up a girl he says he still loves.”
“Come on now Jay. My family trusted you so much. I trusted you. You need to trust me now. He is not your typical ex, whom I can break up with and never see again. He and I have kids together and he will be around to see them, now that they all got to know each other. Not an ideal situation for any of us, but you have to admit, he is a good dad.”
“So am I! Abs, you have to gimme that. I have been a great father to those kids since they were born! You can’t just take that from me!”
“I am not trying to take anything from you! You were a great daddy and you still are. So they have two daddies. Or a really awesome uncle. Nobody is taking that from you. And nobody can take me from you. You were so awesome when I needed time, there is no way I’d just let someone like you go. And more importantly, I love you, Jay Randalls.”
“Really? I mean, Elliott does look better than me, especially now with those scars. He’s more muscular and a little taller. And doesn’t have a criminal record. And is just more composed and sophisticated …”
“Well, now that you say it … ” Abby tried hard to hide a grin, Jay’s worried look slowly melted into a smirk when he realized she was teasing him.
“Abby, I am serious, I want to marry you one day. And have a kid with you. One that is ours. I didn’t know I’d like being a dad. But I do.”
“Marriage? ANOTHER kid?! Slow your horses, babe. I love you, Jay. I want you, and I want to be with you, but honestly, having kids was never in my plans. ANY kids. Now I already have three. I love being a mom, but I am going to need several years before I even consider having another. And just think I had multiples before. My dad is a twin. The chances are high I could have another set of multiples. Oh man, Jay …”
“Hey, we need at least three to match my brother. Better would be quads, just to up-one him … ” this time it was Jay messing with Abby.
“I say this with all the love in the world: FUCK YOU, Jay Randalls!”
“If that is an offer, I am on board with that! Right here, right now.”
“First of all – did you not notice the all GLASS door when you burst in here?! I am all for trying out raunchy office nookie, but I can already see my dad staring at us in the midst of it all. He finally came around to liking you. And seriously, I have to work. Coming back after so long is hard. I feel like I forgot everything.” she said, which Jay acquitted with a kiss.
“If I were to ask you to marry me, some time down the line a few years, would I have a chance?”
“Only if Elliott doesn’t steal me first, you know, since he is better and all …” she giggled.
“You are evil!”
“I know, right?! Despicable – OMG, me!”
“Lucky for you, I am into that. Big time. Hurt me, baby, hurt me so good.”
“Have you been hanging around my uncle Blaine too much? You sound just like him.” giggled Abby, while kissing him.
“I sure hope your uncle Blaine doesn’t kiss you like I do – and all the other stuff we do. Abs, can I take you to dinner tonight. Just us. A date.”
“Jaaaaaay …” Abby mumbled into another kiss.
“No really, I want to. Not because of Elliott. Because I am a lucky dude with a gorgeous girl who needs to be spoiled. Please? Or we could go clubbing. When is the last time you went dancing? Or a movie? We have never been to the movies together. A real nice dinner and then a movie.”
“You are only trying to take me to dinner so I have to keep going to the gym with you to work off the calories, where you can order me around! Speaking of ordering around, I really have to get to work and so do you, ‘Mr. Janitor’, and since my dad owns this place and I therefore outrank you: chop chop, back to work you slacker! You have lightbulbs to fix and toilets to unplug. We’ll continue this later. I promise you delights aplenty.”
Jay smiled defeated, one more kiss and a slap on her butt later he left her office.
Sitting in the café downstairs of Cameron Enterprises a few hours later for a quick coffee break, Abigail watched Elliott enter the building, his head turned towards the glass door to the café, recognition flared up on his face for a moment as he entered, heading straight for her table. “Oh crap, here we go again! More Elliott-drama with an extra side of ‘baby come back’.” she thought sarcastically. ‘Hopefully Jay doesn’t see him here, or he’ll have another tantrum. Joy to the world.’
“Mind if I join you?” he asked, pointing at the chair opposite her.
Abigail shook her head and he sat down.
“Abby, have you thought about our talk last night?”
“Not really. I feel like I said everything I had to say. I didn’t notice any facts changing overnight.”
“So, I really lost you for good?” Elliott sighed, it was more a rhetorical statement for himself, rather than a question.
“Just like I told you last night, you lost me almost two years and change ago. Look Elliott, I don’t want to hurt you, you are a great guy, really, I am not just saying that, and I appreciate that you saw the light and want a different life now, I am sure you’ll be a great partner to some lucky lady, but it can’t be me. Too much has happened. Even if it weren’t for Jay, I couldn’t just go back and try to mend all that is broken between us. It’s just too much. A faked death, whether it was your idea or orders from above you couldn’t refuse and whether you had a choice or not, seriously, just no. I am the wrong type of girl to just shake that off.”
Elliott took in the words, nodded and looked off into the distance, silence fell between them for a few moments, before Elliott spoke again.
“A small part of me was hoping you would change your mind. If you had, I would try. Really try hard and relentlessly until I made you happy this time. But I can’t blame you, I am a realist, not a dreamer and I know I made too many mistakes. Mostly because I didn’t want a relationship, my parents didn’t live out a good marriage for Jay and me, they were awful parents, probably because they had so many relationship issues that we kids just fell by the wayside, either ignored or used as pawns. The only reason Jay even exists is because my mother cheated on my father with his father, and when mine kicked her out, she married him and took me with her for no other reason than to stick it to my father. His father hated kids, now he had two and one not even his. It was a recipe for disaster, where all the adults eventually ended up drinking themselves into the hospital and ultimately an early grave. I swore I never wanted a wife or kids. Now I feel different. I am glad I met you, and I am glad we have the triplets together. And I am glad you and Jay are both happy together. You both deserve it. My brother really has changed for the better. I didn’t believe it at first, but now that I had more time, after we both were invited to spend the holidays with you and your family, I admit I hardly recognize him, but this time in a good way. You have no idea how much he has changed. You really are magical, Abigail.”
“I am sorry Elliott. I wish things were different. I do. I really loved you, so much. My whole world fell apart when you … What about the … you know … the … grave?”
“From what I was told, the military will have that removed, if they haven’t already. Same old story, I only get the info they deem I really need, not privy to the rest. I doubt that will ever change. And no ten horses could get me to go stand before my own ‘grave’. No thanks. That’s a bit too macabre, even by my standards.”
“I don’t blame you. To think for two years I have gone to an empty grave, mourning someone who isn’t even dead. Jay too. You should have seen him. That wasn’t played. It was real. He was falling apart just as I was. I wish you two would get along. He clearly cares about you. And you about him. Not sure why you two are such red rags to each other.”
“I wished that for many years, that he and I could bury the hatchet and I agree with you, I think Jay does too, but somehow, he and I just don’t mix. I wish it were different. It does not take much for him to bring out the worst in me, and evidently, the same is true vice versa. I am not sure that can ever be fixed.”
Abby looked up and saw Jay, who saw her – and Elliott – at the same time. His face darkened and he instantly rushed into the café. ‘Oh shit!’ she thought.
“You again?! Circling our heads like a vulture. Get a fucking grip, dude, Abby is off the market, she is mine, so go back to being dead or something! We all were better off with you 6 feet under, at least in theory!” he opened, aimed at his brother, when he reached them.
“Jay … come on. This is our workplace, please don’t make a scene. Elliott and I were just talking.” Abby said, she and Elliott standing now too.
Jay’s eyes flicked from her to Elliott and back a few times, but then he relaxed.
“Well, bye Abby. I’ll see you around. Bye Jay.” Elliott turned to walk off when Jay’s voice stopped him in his tracks.
“Yeah, run, big brother, run. It’s what you’re best at. Coward!”
Elliott froze, his face was hardened as he turned around.
“What did you just say?”
“You heard me! COWARD! Needed to be in the military to finally have a spine!”
“I never ran, Jay. I left whenever I thought it was the better choice, and the military was my one chance to get out. How many more times do I have to explain that to you? What else do you want, Jay? Me to congratulate you? Fine. Congratulations on turning your life around. Congratulations on finding a girl like Abby. Congrats on taking your chance and making something of yourself. But since you want to be a prick about it, just like you always were, I’ll stoop down to your level and will tell you this: you best make sure you don’t slip up, cos I will be there, waiting in the wings. If you don’t treat Abby right, I will be there to take her from you. And that next time, I will make sure she will never be left wanting again. If you lose her, you will never win her back. I will see to that.”
Jay said nothing, instead swung at Elliott, they fell to the ground, Abby screamed, as the men were throwing hard punches at her feet and it all ended with security guards appearing to separate them, Elliott was accompanied outside, Jay brought up to Jamie’s office for a serious tongue-lashing about proper behavior in the workplace.