HOME - LIVING ROOM
Callison and his wife Francis sat in silence on the sofa wrapped in each other's
arms. Their meeting with their attorney Douglas Davis had long ended and
their son Reginald had left to take his fiancée
Jillian Stokes home. Now
alone in the house that they'd once shared with their family, Charles and
Francis enjoyed the quiet reassurance that came from simply being together.
"Darling," Charles spoke
up softly as he cradled her in his arms.
"You don't know how much these
last few days have meant to me." He paused and kissed her tenderly on
the forehead. "Having you here, in our home, it's almost felt like
"Yes, it has, hasn't it?"
she nodded with a smile.
"I know...that things aren't
exactly like they were before." He paused and took a deep
breath. "You're only just staying here temporarily until things calm
down a bit, but I...well..."
"Yes?" She pulled
away from him and looked at him curiously.
"Well, it almost seems like
things have never changed." Charles rose from his seat and walked
across the room to pick up a framed photograph of their wedding that sat on the
mantle. "But things have changed, haven't they?"
"I don't know if we can ever
truly go back," Francis muttered solemnly as she hung her head.
"But we...could go forward, couldn't we?"
"Darling, I know that your
staying here has only been a temporary arrangement until things settle down a
bit." He returned the photograph to its appropriate spot amongst the
collection of other pictures of the Callison family.
"But...well...would you consider moving back in...permanently?"
"I...I don't know," she
replied softly with a shake of her head. "It may still be too soon
I thought you said that you wanted us to be together? I thought that you
said that you still wanted to be my wife?" He eyed her with confusion
as he felt his hopes start to crumble. "Darling, I want you here in
this house with me. I want you by my side every day and every night.
I don't want...this to be a temporary arrangement."
"Charles, I...don't know,"
she muttered and hung her head before going to join him across the room.
Once she was by his side, she gently ran her fingertips along his forehead and
then pressed her palms against his cheeks to feel the full expression of his
face. "Darling, I do still love you. I will always love you,
but...well...we can't change what's happened. I am still committed to
being your wife, but..."
"But what?" He
pulled away from her and shook his head in confusion. "We love one
another and we want to be married to one another. We both want things to
be just like they were before. Why...why are you so hesitant to come home
for good? Wouldn't that be the best first step to putting our lives back
"I...I..." she stammered
and looked away in pain. Finally, after a few moments, she took a deep
breath and turned to face him again. "I don't want to rush into
anything blindly. I have every belief that we can get back everything that
we've lost---or more accurately, given up---but all of the damage that's
happened to us didn't exactly happen over night. It can't be fixed in an
"I...don't understand what
you're trying to say."
"I'm trying to say that I just
need time." She slowly began to wring her hands as she tried to
choose her words carefully. She knew exactly how she felt, but was afraid
that she might vocalize them in such a way that could derail her plans before
they'd even had a chance to begin. "Being together with you and
having this family whole again are the two most important things in my
life. They are so important to me that I just don't want to jump blindly
into anything. I want to take things slowly. I just don't want our
eagerness to recapture what we've lost to result in more problems than it would
solve. I just need time."
"I...think I understand,"
he nodded and then rubbed his chin as he considered what she'd said before
looking deeply into her eyes. "Darling, I am committed to waiting for
however long it takes. If you need to take things slowly, then we'll take
things slowly. You and your well being are the most important things in my
life." He paused and reached out to take her into his arms.
"And it'll be easier because I'm certain, without a shadow of a doubt, that
you will come to terms with everything that's happened and you'll come home to
me. We will be a family again."
darling, you have to know that that's my fondest wish," she sighed and then
kissed him tenderly. "You and me and our children---just the way it
was always meant to be." Then, she pulled away from him and hung her
head before speaking again. "I...think that I need to go back to the
penthouse for a few days."
"Are...you sure?" He
looked at her with concern. "Don't you think that that place will be
swarming with reporters?"
"Well, with mother standing
watch, I don't really think that I have anything to worry about," Francis
laughed. "She'll definitely put them in their places."
"Okay," he nodded.
"You take as much time as you need to sort things out---however long it
takes. There's no time limit on my love for you. I'll wait until
the end of time if I have to."
"Darling, the next time I set
foot into this house, I want it to be because I've got all my things with
me," she smiled sweetly. "I want it to be because I'm coming
home for good and we're going to have a fresh start."
With a soft smile, Francis kissed
her fingertips and then tenderly pressed them against Charles' lips before
turning to walk out of the room. Moments later, as he heard the soft click
of the front door closing, he realized that she was gone. However, he
wasn't sad. He knew that the next time he saw her walk through the door,
it would be forever.
As he slowly began to pace around
the living room, Francis' voice began to echo inside of his head. "We're going to have a fresh start." A fresh start? He
furrowed his brow slightly as the gears inside of his head began to turn.
A fresh start. He smiled broadly as an idea popped into his head and he
walked back to the mantle to pick up a photograph of his late father.
Reginald Roderick Callison had built
the family home just before Landon's birth. He'd intended for the home
to be passed down from generation to generation---the Callison family
home. In fact, it had been the only house that Charles had ever lived
in. Now, however, as the idea of a real fresh start began to churn inside
his mind, he began to think about how fulfilling his father's wish could also
signify the fresh start that both he and Francis deeply desired.