Romancing the Apocalypse - Chapter 13


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Romancing the Apocalypse - Chapter 13

  1. 1. Romancing the Apocalypse Chapter 13 – Last Resort (Jake and Mel go to Twikkii Island for a break from the Apocalypse and try to save their marriage.)Welcome back to Romancing the Apocalypse! Episode 12 saw Jake and Melissa leaving for their vacation on Twikkii Island. Will timealone together and a break from Apocalypse life help breathe new life into their marriage, or will being away from their childrenprove that their marriage is over for good?The Apocalypse Challenge can be found at (03/02/2009)
  2. 2. Mark had found the largest vacation home available on the island and had the decor changed to fit in with the tropical surroundings.
  3. 3. Hearing about the house and seeing it for the first time were two entirely different things. I stood aghast, taking in gulps of thewarm, humid tropical air."Jake, its such a shock. Im going to get lost in a place this big, I just know it.""He did buy it with the whole family in mind. *shrug* I dont plan on spending much time inside anyway. Wanna go take a look atthe beach?""I think Ill try to get my bearings inside first. Oh, and check out the kitchen."
  4. 4. The inside seemed cavernous compared to what we were used to. The bar was a welcome sight, and I wasted no time trying it out. Icouldnt help thinking the bar and I were probably going to become very close over the next week.
  5. 5. With everything so new and different here, and with Sara on the verge of adulthood, I realized I didnt have to do anything the sameanymore. This could be a new chapter for us, of a happier life together, if we could sort things out... or the final chapter of a marriagewe couldnt make work.
  6. 6. I had recreated myself once for him and it didnt work out so well. At this point I didnt care, though. I was tired of the old miserableMel. This time I did it for me.I was a little apprehensive of him seeing me like this for the first time, and I was also getting hungry. What to make for my firstlunch? Something simple but good.
  8. 8. A little liquid courage couldnt hurt...
  9. 9. I heard the door open and felt a draft of warm air."Oh cool, a bar... Mel?"Just get it over with... one, two, three!
  10. 10. "Hi Jake.""Mel!""Well?""I...whoa.""Oookaaay...I guess Ill start lunch."
  11. 11. Mel, what are you up to? *shrug* Oh well, just go with the flow...
  12. 12. "Hm-hmhm-hmhm... Methinks his first grilled cheese will knock his socks off..."
  13. 13. "Lunch is ready.""The smell has been driving me nuts, but I cant just yet.""But you have to, its our first real cooked meal together!"
  14. 14. "What I mean is I just had to tell you first that look beautiful, Mel.""Oh. Um...can we eat now?"
  15. 15. "My first grilled cheese sandwich, prepared by no less than a Celeb... I mean... ah, this is really excellent, Mel."".......""Sorry."".......""Cmon, say something?"*sigh*"Come on, I couldnt help it... your intoxicating grilled cheese went to my head, surely you cant hold that against me?"*sigh**sigh*
  16. 16. Even with his teasing, I could here the sincerety in his voice. I didnt want our vacation to end before it ever got the chance to begin."Do you mind if we skip sightseeing today? Im really in the mood to just hang around and sunbathe.""That sounds good. I can swim some more, and Id like to try catching some fish in that pond."
  17. 17. "Dang, I knew I missed something... mustve forgot to pack my new bikini."
  18. 18. Just relax, Melissa. No use fretting over a stupid bikini... ugh, the Celebrity Chef thing almost derailed us.... you have to get over itsometime... took him long enough, but still, give him a little credit, he knows now... oh wow, does that sun feel good....
  19. 19. Jake seemed as determined to get a fishing badge as he was getting his styling ones.
  20. 20. "Hey Shannon, howre things going? Oh, were doing fine, its lovely here. By the way, did I leave my bikini there?"....."No, dont bother, I was just wondering. Any news on your job? I hope they had sense enough to promote you again."....."A day off, huh? Hang in there, I know youll make it."....."No, we havent gone out to see anything yet, we pretty much just got settled in."....."Yeah, well do some tomorrow. Any news from Mark or Sara?"
  21. 21. "Fishing! What a coincidence, your dad is fishing as we speak... hey wait, the water there is in no condition for them to fish... Shan,are you still there?"....."Shan?"....."Oh good, you had me worried for a second. I see... Well, as long as theyre only practicing their casting..."
  22. 22. ....."No, Id feel too guilty telling you what were eating. I sure wish you guys were here with us."....."Oh, Im glad I came, no need for you guys to worry about that. Bye, call if you need us."
  23. 23. It was all too easy to fall into our habit of occupying ourselves apart from each other. However, actually being here, buoyant in thesea, felt too wonderful to worry about such things. For our first day alone together since before Mark was born, I was happy and yes,very relieved, at how well it was going so far.
  24. 24. The sun, the swim...The tropical breeze, the sound of the ocean, waves lapping... I couldnt get enough of it, I wanted to spend my first night thereoutside surrounded by it..."Mel?""Mmm.""You wanna go inside?""Mmm-nah."".....*sigh* Sweet dreams, Mel."
  25. 25. "Beautiful morning isnt it, Jake?""It is. You wanna do some sightseeing today?""Oh yeah, taking it easy yesterday was just what I needed. Im raring to go today."
  26. 26. "Hehe, Im glad Im not the only one who likes the bar.""It is pretty tough to resist.""Ill just get cleaned up and we can go."
  27. 27. "Ahhhh... I havent felt this clean in years."
  28. 28. Annnd one for the road...
  29. 29. "Hehe, Im just a wee bit tipsy.""Haha, Mel is tips*hic*y oop.""Hehe, tipsy and still in your PJs. Whatever will the *hic* neighbors think?"
  30. 30. "You could get in your PJs too...I promise I wont tell the neighbors.""I dont think we really have any neighbors...""I know.""I...its already getting late. I dont want to miss making my wish."".....Okay. Give me a minute to get ready."
  31. 31. We went to the Majestic Ruins of Jumbok to make my wish. By now the island had me in a constant state of sensory overload. I wasawestruck, and then I thought I would never look at our smaller gold version of Jumbok the same way again, which made me think ofthe kids.
  32. 32. "Will you consider me greedy for wanting three wishes? No, I better not take any chances."I wish...for Shannon to become Chief of Staff.*plunk*I noticed Jake was waiting patiently behind me. I went to sit at the side of the pool, and wondered what Jake would wish for...
  33. 33. Next thing I knew, there was a loud roar and the water turned to fire."Jake, whatd you do? If you ruined my wish, so help me...""Heheh, it was the soap.""You chose a prank over a wish?""Free will, Mel.""Dont just stand there, wish for it to stop!"*plunk*"I dont think it did any good. Uh-oh, gotta pee."
  34. 34. By the time Jumbok had calmed down and Jake returned, it was getting dark."Heheh. See, Mel? No harm done. Ahhh, that water feels sooooo good."
  35. 35. "AHHHH!!! What didya do that for?!""It was free will, honest. Youre right, the soap was too good to pass up. Uh-oh. Be back in a sec, gotta pee.""Forget that, Ill meet you out at the entrance."
  36. 36. We walked over to the Whitesand Hot Springs, where for some reason we started dancing."Hows your hand?""All better. Er...theres no music. Why are we dancing?""Free will. Just go with it."
  37. 37. The next morning I woke up with plans for breakfast. It was a welcome reprieve from the constant worry that one misstep couldcause the family to go hungry all day.
  38. 38. "Light and fluffy coming up."
  39. 39. "Awesome pancakes, Mel. I wouldve done the dishes though.""Dont be silly, youre the one who keeps the counters and stovetop spotless."
  40. 40. "So what do you want to do today?""Mel?""What?""I dont think Ive ever seen you look so happy before. You should smile like that more often, you are really beautiful.""Aw thanks, I am really happy right now.""The way you look reminds me of when I first saw you, and how you really lit up my dingy little place with your smile.""Only f... *cough* Say, I was thinking we should try some of the island tours."
  41. 41. Our first tour was on a glass-bottom boat, and though I didnt remember much about it when we returned, we came back from ourlittle jaunt with logic points we didnt need.
  42. 42. We decided to be a little more adventurous for the next tour. Jake normally wasnt much of a socializer in public, so I was surprised tosee him take a local up on a game of catch."Jake, why are you playing with that island girl?""Aww, its just a little harmless free will, Mel. If you want Ill play with you instead."".......""I mean, I wouldnt want you to get...jealous or anything. Not that you would.""Dont be silly! Of course Im not..." I couldnt bring myself to say the "j" word.
  43. 43. A helicopter tour over a volcano sounds like fun, right? Wrong." *urp* I dont feel so good."
  44. 44. "Thats it, Jake, the tours are a rip-off. I mean really, why did we bother?""Mementos? *hurl* "
  45. 45. We hoped a little lunch would settle our stomachs, and I made plenty to share."Hey lady, these are like the best burgers I ever ate.""Hehe, thanks guys."
  46. 46. "That little excursion was a bit of a bust, dont you think? I have an idea... how about a trip on Mels mystical magical hammock ride?""Are you serious? Anyone could walk by.""Phooey, do you want to or not?""Want to!"
  47. 47. "Wow, by far the top ride of the day, Mel. Do you see stars?""Oh yeah. Do you?""Oh yeah."
  48. 48. "Oh yeah. Definitely getting one of these when we get back."
  49. 49. And now, for the coup de grace...
  50. 50. It was funny, or rather not funny at all, how my first disaster of a meal could come so close to ruining what had been one of the bestdays I had ever spent with Jake.*sniff* Oh, Im nothing but a wretched old has-been...
  51. 51. I knew one ruined dinner wasnt the end of the world. I could say the word and we could be eating some of the island cuisine I was soeager to try. But it still hurt, and as much as I wanted to, I couldnt wish painful memories away. And most painful of all, Jake was thelast person I could talk to about it.I took refuge in the bar." *sigh* Thats a little better."
  52. 52. "Even betterer. *hic* *giggle* "
  53. 53. "Jake, Im going for a little walk. You wanna come with?""Nah, Im going to catch a fish here if it kills me.""I shouldnt be too long.""Uh-huh."
  54. 54. Thankfully the drinks and tropical evening air mellowed me out some by the time I wandered over to Fruitville Village. I decided toget some fresh ingredients for another go tomorrow."Those lobsters cant outsmart me.""Hehe, if you say so, lady.""Hehe."
  55. 55. I hadnt played pinball in more years than I cared to remember. Feeling eyes upon me, I turned and sized up the onlookers,immediately dismissing the two closest to me. By the time my eyes landed on the blond guy, he was already on his way out. I wasready to leave myself...
  56. 56. "All that fishings got me in the mood Hope she gets home before it gets cold..."
  57. 57. I thought the Twikkii Beach Boardwalk would be fun to see at night, but it was practically deserted. I was about to call it a night whenI heard a torch being ignited and saw a glow down on the beach...
  58. 58. "This is wacked...a bronze fishing badge and only one fish to show for it. It must be getting pretty late, I wonder where she is?"
  59. 59. The Fire Dance looked rather difficult but also fun, and I did want another memento from our trip.“Excuse me, can you teach me that?”
  60. 60. "This place is huge. Maybe she did come home and I just didnt notice.”
  61. 61. "Mel?"
  62. 62. "Mel?"
  63. 63. "Mel?"
  64. 64. "MEL! Crap, cell phone, dummy."
  65. 65. "Answer, dammit! It was your idea to get the phones in the first place."
  66. 66. "Hey lady, is that you? You gonna get that?""Not now, Im just getting the hang of much longer do you think?""The rate youre going? A few more hours at least..."
  67. 67. "Surely I could see her if shes down there. MELIIIIISSAAAAAAA..."
  68. 68. A few hours later..."Hah! Oops, better call Jake."
  69. 69. "Jake, was that you earlier? Youll never guess what I just..."
  70. 70. "WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?!"
  71. 71. "How dare you yell at me like that! I told you I was going out."
  72. 72. "Look, I was getting worried. You said for a little while, not all freaking NIGHT!"*click*"Mel? Mel! Dammit!"
  73. 73. I thought a swim would cool my temper and it did, but nothing could prevent that familiar knot in my stomach from returning. Ittook all of two days, two deceptively idyllic days, before we were back to normal. No, not normal, this was not what I wanted normalto be.I thought about the past two days. Did they foretell the possibility of a better life together or were they a just fluke in what wasdestined to be a life of misery with each other? I honestly didnt know, but there were five days left, and I didnt want to give up afteronly two.
  74. 74. "Good going, dummy. *sigh* Mel. Why must it always be so difficult?"
  75. 75. Having already pulled an all-nighter at the Boardwalk, I had nothing to lose by staying a few extra minutes to watch the sunrise.Aside from my children, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
  76. 76. Exhaustion finally caught up with me, and I desperately wanted to go to bed.
  77. 77. "Hey Mark, howre things going?"....."Yeah, were good. Your mom, uh, stepped out for a while, so I thought Id give you a call."....."So whats new?"
  78. 78. "Fired?! Geez, Mark, what happened?"....."Well, I say theyre idiots, I wouldve kept singing too. Sorry to hear that, buddy. Whatre you gonna do now?"....."Ahhh, so not quite fired. They put you back in the record store, huh?"....."Yeah, I know youll make it back in no time. So...where are the girls?"
  79. 79. "Hot tubbing with Ciel?!"
  80. 80. "Oh, riiiight, theyre just watching. Sounds like a blast."..."Well, tell Sara were looking forward to seeing her on her birthday. Oh, and tell Jane hi."....."See ya, bud."That sneaky little... Just watching, my foot.
  81. 81. I had no concept of time as I meandered my way back home in a haze, but knew I was getting close as I reached Fruitville Villageagain. I perked up when I saw the blond guy again, and I couldnt resist a quick introduction."You know, youre a pretty elusive guy. Ive been trying to catch up with you all night.""I dont remember seeing you.""You were here last night, and at the Boardwalk, right?""Right. Wanna join me now?""Hmm, I dont normally eat with strangers. By the way, Im Melissa.""Im Zeeshan.""What an interesting name. I would love to join you, Zeeshan..."
  82. 82. "Mel, wake up.""zzzzzz""Wake up, Mel.""Uuuhhhh""Are you all right?"" *groan* Help me up?"
  83. 83. "You look thrashed.""Thank you very much.""Look, Im not angry with you... okay, maybe I still am a bit, but only because I was so worried.""I was fine, the island is perfectly safe. You didnt have to yell at me like that. I...I cant take yelling.""I was upset. When you didnt answer your phone, I started imagining all sorts of horrible things.""Sorry you were worried. I was right in the middle of... something when you called. And no, its not what you think.""I wasnt thinking..."
  84. 84. "Im not up to this, Im going to bed."
  85. 85. "Not yet. I wasnt thinking until you brought it up. What exactly were you doing that couldnt be interrupted? Where did you go?""Its silly really.""I hope to God its silly. Come on, the suspense is killing me.""I was learning the Fire Dance.""It took you all night to learn the Fire Dance?""I told you it was silly. Go ahead, keep blocking the door, Im sleeping in the other room."
  86. 86. I crashed in the spare bedroom, none too pleased that my little walk had eaten up most of the third day. I didnt know time keptrunning on vacation lots unlike community lots at home.
  87. 87. I found that bubble baths were every bit as relaxing as a couple of drinks from the bar, and after admitting to myself I hadnt used mybest judgment yesterday, I needed all the help I could get.
  88. 88. And more reinforcements didnt hurt.
  89. 89. I wasnt consciously trying to avoid him, but I had become very good at it over the years. Jake seemed determined to break that littlepattern of ours."Youre back to looking worried again.""Im not worried, Im just mad at myself for throwing away a day of our vacation. I cant believe its already half over.""Weve had more than our fair share of regrets, Mel. Maybe we can give ourselves a pass this time? I mean, I will if you will."
  90. 90. "Because I think were doing really good so far, dont you?"To a stranger it may not have seemed like much, but those words and the look of hope and uncertainty in his eyes meant to world tome. For the first time ever, I felt like we were in sync. I felt a lump form in my throat. I felt a warm glow start to spread inside of me. Ifelt...
  91. 91. ...something heavy crawl across my foot."Whos your buddy, Mel?"" *gasp!* Get him off me!"I hopped and kicked frantically about, sand flying."Look at her go, first the Fire Dance, now the Crabby Dance." He doubled over, laughing."Shut up!" I snapped, unable to keep the laughter out of my own voice. My buddy had scurried his way out of the vicinity, andbreathing a sigh of relief, I kicked a nice heavy swath of sand right at Jake.
  92. 92. With an evil laugh, he grabbed me and jerked me close.
  93. 93. He gave me a tight squeeze.“Hey, your heart is pounding.”“Well, between the crab and your heartless amusement at my expense...” I teased with a little smile.He smiled back, and I was shocked to realize we hadnt smiled at each other since before Mark was born. Our eyes locked, and myheart started thumping for an entirely different reason. At that moment I knew I could fall for him again. I was happy and excitedand relieved and...scared. I took my second leap of faith since agreeing to come to the island alone with him.“I love it here, Jake. And I think...were doing really good so far, too.”His eyes became dead serious and he said, “I love you, Mel.”I had sensed it over the past few weeks, knew he had been making an effort to be closer to me. I also knew it wasnt easy for him, aseven I hadnt known what I wanted...until now. I closed my eyes, savoring the moment.“I know you wont believe me, Mel, but Ive always loved you."
  94. 94. And at those words, something terrible boiled over inside of me.“No, you cant say that. I wont let you say that to me! We are not some cheap, sappy romance novel, Jake!”“Sappy? Did you just call me sappy?! And dont pretend, Miss High-and-Mighty, youre above all that. Ive seen you read thosemushy-gushy romances, plenty of them in fact...”“Exactly! And I know what drives me crazy about them.”“Wha...?!”“Dont tell me youve always loved me when you never tried to understand me. You jumped to conclusions and made me feel like adirty, promiscuous Romance sim when all I wanted was to be a Celebrity Chef. *sniff* ”“Mel...”“And no matter how much I want to, I cant change the color of my ring *sniff*, but youve always held that against me.”“Im sor...”“Tell me, Jake, did I collapse in aspiration failure when we got engaged? Ever think of that?”“Mel...”“It wouldve happened right at your feet, you couldnt have missed it.”
  95. 95. “Where is this coming from? I thought...”“Just answer me!”“Mel, Im an insensitive jerk, of course I didnt think of that. Why didnt you say something?”“I shouldnt have to tell you!”“Mel. Were talking me here. Of course you have to tell me. Youve gotta believe me, I dont want to be inconsiderate of yourfeelings. If it takes giving me a proverbial smack upside the head to get your point across, please have at it. Just because Im blinddoesnt mean Im unreasonable.”
  96. 96. “You were very unreasonable once...”“Ah, here we go...”“Thats how I know you didnt love me.”
  97. 97. “Mel, I did...I do love you.”“You dont even know the meaning...”
  98. 98. “Look, you want to call me a bad husband? Go ahead. I hope Ive been a better one lately, but I know I was horrible to you at thebeginning. I know I managed in one day to kill your dream and any chance we might have had for a happy life together. I know allthat, Mel, I have to live with knowing that every day. But dont tell me I didnt love you.”“Hah, you had a funny way of showing it.”“Mel, I did fall in love with you, when I was in college, but really, that was a joke. I had no idea what real love was. I was unprepared, Inever thought that I would be the heir. I...didnt know what I was doing, I didnt even know what to think.”
  99. 99. "You had your family, Jake. Why didnt you just ask them if you needed help sorting things out? You know they wouldve wanted tohelp."
  100. 100. "I didnt want them to think I couldnt hack it, okay?! Ciel was the chosen one, Ciel was better than me in every possible way. Anyproblems she had just rolled like water off a ducks back.""You know thats not entirely true...""Skilling? Better. Making friends? Better. Juggling instead of kicking the trashcan? Better!""But you reached your Lifetime Want first, and she upset your dad royally...""It doesnt matter. Ciel was supposed to be the one, Mel. Haley was lucky, Ciel made it easy for her to weasel her way out of all thisresponsibility. I was going to top my career in a few days and be out of there. I wasnt cut out to handle all this turmoil! I suck at beinga husband! I failed you, I am a selfish, no-good lout who crushed your spirit just so I could tell myself ‘I won!. I will hate myself foreverfor that...""Stop it!"
  101. 101. I sank to the ground. My heart ached for him.I never expected to hear such a blistering tirade of self-condemnation. I thought I had been miserable... I had no idea he was harboring suchfeelings of self-loathing. Over the years I had become immune to the idea he was capable of any real feelings, except for the kids." *sniff* I...I cant take anymore. Youre being much too hard on yourself.""Heh, well now you know what goes on in my head everyday.""I think I need to be alone for a while.""Im sorry, Mel, I didnt mean to upset you.""Dont be sorry. It was obviously something you needed to get out and... *sniff* something I needed to hear. Ill be all right in a while. *sniff* "" *sigh* Maybe we can go out later tonight? If youre up to it.""Maybe..."
  102. 102. I lost track of time as I crouched there, absent-mindedly combing my fingers through the sand as thoughts of my self-revelation and Jakesshocking one reeled inside my head.“Its getting late, but we could still go out if you want.”I jumped, startled out of my reverie.“Sorry, didnt mean to startle you. Having any luck?”“Oh, lots. I had to buy a display shelf for all my little treasures. I hung it up in our room, did you notice?”“I couldnt go up there.”He sounded every bit as weary as I felt. We had come a long way, but the more layers we peeled back, the more lie underneath, and I beganto feel a sense of urgency to get everything out in the open, because if we didnt do it here, I was afraid I wouldnt be able to there. And if wedidnt finish it, well, we probably wouldnt make it.No more peeling tonight though.“Come on, Ill show it to you.”
  103. 103. I couldnt say the words yet, so that night I gave him my comfort and love in the only way I was capable of.
  104. 104. The next morning marked only two days left of our vacation, and I suggested a whirlwind sight-seeing jaunt.That is, before the time I planned to reveal the final skeleton in my closet.
  105. 105. Jake did his best hang loose for me at the Ancient Ruins of Numchuk.
  106. 106. As Jake wandered around the ruins, I decided to go for a soak in the hot springs. When Zeeshan, the elusive blond guy, showed upand got in next to me, my heart pounded guiltily, and flustered, I beat a hasty retreat.
  107. 107. I was so unnerved by Zeeshans unexpected appearance at the Ruins, I ran into the Temple of Jumbok to make a fervent last-minutewish.
  108. 108. I had to stop at the little girls room at Fruitville Village, and when I found Jake again, to my utter horror, this was the sight thatgreeted me."Hey, Melissa, I thought that was you. Funny meeting up twice in the same day, huh? Cant really call me elusive now, hehe.""Mel? Who is this guy?""Melissa, who is this guy?"
  109. 109. "Hes my husband.""Yeah, Im her husband.""Whoa. Hey dude, sorry, I didnt even notice her ring. But no harm done, nothing happened.""Mel, be honest. Did anything happen?""I swear nothing happened. I swear I was going to tell you all about him tonight. *sniff* Please can we go home?"
  110. 110. "You better hope nothing happened, cuz if I find out different...""Dude! It was one lunch!""JAKE!"
  111. 111. "Stop it! Nothing happened. If you want to blame someone, blame me. But we didnt do anything!""I need to get out of here."
  112. 112. This wasnt the way I wanted to tell him, but at least I couldnt chicken out now.Way to go Jumbok, fat lot of good you did.
  113. 113. I didnt know if I should go to him or let him come to me. I hoped he would come to me, at least then there was a chance he wasmaybe willing to listen.It was the only thing I had left to reveal to him, then all my cards would be on the table. He would know everything about me, wartsand all. Now I was eager to get it over with. I would give him an hour, then I would seek him out.
  114. 114. He did come to me.Nervous but determined, I cleared my throat and took a deep breath. "First, nothing that happened this afternoon changes what Iplanned on telling you tonight."".......""I thought I fell in love with you too when you were in college, but it turns out we were like oil and water, and in the end it wasntenough.""You never told me that. You said the reason you moved in was to get your dream job.""That was true, but it wasnt the whole truth, okay? I wanted you to love me, I wanted to love you. But after the bloody engagement,haha red ring, bloody, get it?, you assumed I wanted to sleep with every guy in the neighborhood. You have no idea how much thathurt me... what did you expect me to say after that?"
  115. 115. "Mel, I was hurt and I took it out on you. It didnt take me long to figure out you would never do that to me. I cant imagine a bettermother to her kids. I know youre not that kind of Romance sim.""Jake, dont put me on a pedestal. Im not as wonderful as youre making me out to be...""You are, you...""Jake, Im not! You know what I wanted after I became a Celebrity Chef? To have twenty lovers a the same time, but I was so happywith my job it was easy to ignore. The day I had to quit, I snapped. I was so messed up, your words WooHoo every guy in theneighborhood and getting back at you were all I could think about. I even found someone to do it with. If he hadnt turned medown... it was humiliating. I couldve become pregnant, and I could not have lived with myself if that had happened. I was never eventempted after that...""Mel, that was all in the distant past, I know how upset you were...""I havent finished yet."
  116. 116. "Now comes the bad part. The night you called when I was learning the Fire Dance? I got so upset after you yelled at me, I thought offinding someone else. My want for 20 lovers was my little secret, easy to ignore if I wanted, but a useful tool to...get even with you.It had been so long since I had even tried to get someone new, I just...needed to see if I still had what it took to get one."
  117. 117. "One the way home, I found someone, the guy you saw this afternoon, and we did have lunch. I admit in the past I would have goneafter him in a heartbeat..."
  118. 118. "Okay, Mel, thats enough. I get the point.""But you didnt let me finish...""You found someone else, someone you like. I cant stand to hear anymore."
  119. 119. "Youre right, Jake. I went too far. No husband should have to hear a confession like that from his wife. So what if I hadnt seen thatguy again until today? So what if you dont hear the most important part? Im just so tired of feeling isolated, of keeping everythinginside... but its really just more of the same with us. *sniff* Im not cut out to be a good wife either.""Of course youve been a good wife. Im the lousy husband here."There we were, knocking ourselves down again. Well, we had got this far, and I wasnt going to give up without a fight!
  120. 120. "Jake, you are not a lousy husband. You were a lousy fiancé! And Im really getting tired of being so down on myself, and I dont likehearing you talk that way about yourself either. Did you really mean what you said know...the smack upside the head?""Uh-oh, do I need one?""You didnt let me finish what I was trying to tell you! You didnt hear the most important part!""Okay, its gonna kill me, but...go ahead, finish it.""Even though I would have gone after him in the past, I found out..."".......""I found out..."".......This is torture, Mel! What did you find out?!"
  121. 121. I almost chickened out. I was a mass of raw nerves. It was only four little words, but... okay, it was now or never. I threw myselfagainst him so I wouldnt have to meet his eyes.I said in barely a whisper, "I only want you."To my relief, he just held me tight and didnt say anything. I was all worded out.
  122. 122. And for the rest of the night, we didnt say one word.
  123. 123. Although I couldnt wait to see the kids again, I was sad that our vacation had finally reached the end. I was going to miss being inparadise. How good it was to no longer be in the grip of doubt...doubt for the future and doubt with myself. And how good it wasknowing both Jake and I had become better, stronger people from our time here together.
  124. 124. The last thing we did was get our romantic kiss on the beach.
  125. 125. "Its gonna be tough leaving here. Are ya ready to go back?""I am," I said with a nod, no doubts in my mind."Then so am I."
  126. 126. Lorin here: Thank you, dear readers, for your patience with me in getting out this update. It was a real bear for me to write, as I waswobbling on the fence with these two for a long time. But in the end, this picture and being a sap for happy endings (as I found many ofyou also are :) ), convinced me to write one for Jake and Mel.A quick reminder of the remaining restrictions to lift:Athletic, Law, Criminal, Artist, Journalism, Culinary, Law Enforcement, Politics, SlackerStay tuned as Gen 4 Mark and Jane take over, and thanks for reading!