Chapter tune: Meat Loaf – For crying out loud
Bitter. Angry. Resentful. …Broken.
This would be him from now on. This would be life without her.
The only person who could possibly understand, would now be sinking into his own dark pit of insanity; the one she had rescued him from. But this time there would be no turning back.
And him… without her, it wouldn’t be long until he turned into his own shell of a man, finding comfort in nobody and nothing; except for completely surrendering himself to his eternal demons.
After all, there could be no escaping his father’s curse.
The memories of her would haunt him forever, the happiest ones being the most painful of all.
He remembered the first time he ever laid his eyes on her. He wouldn’t admit it, but even then, he knew there was something different about her.
He remembered the taste of her lips when they almost kissed that very first time he came into her house – their house. The day he began falling for her.
The way she looked at him, like he was the most important man in the world; even though most of the times he had been a selfish bastard.
Every time they made love; that no matter how tired he was at the end of each day, his whole body would wake up as soon as his skin touched hers.
How beautiful and happy she looked at their wedding, when he swore he would always love, cherish and protect her, a promise now broken.
How beautiful she was throughout all their years together.
But, apart from her beauty and kindness, he loved her for so much more. For so many little things, most of which he ended up taking for granted.
He loved the way she still got excited whenever her dad shared a story from his past with them.
He loved how she was humming old french songs whenever she made dessert.
The fact that she always treated his daughter Emily like she was her own.
The way she smiled every time she was in their kitchen, baking their kids’ favorite cookies.
The sound she made when she got into bed and closed her eyes, and the way she would curl up against him – even when she was asleep.
He loved that, even now, after all these years of marriage, the smell of her hair was still able to drive him over the edge.
Even now… except for there wouldn’t be anymore now.
I’m sorry baby… sorry for everything.
Those seconds felt like his life was ending together with hers. Every little moment flashed before his eyes, along with the hell he would be forced to live in if she didn’t exist in this world anymore.
He tilted his head backwards. The phone kept ringing. Time for the truth.
“Hello?” he whispered, short of breath.
“Rose…? Is that you?”
“Yes… I’m so sorry, did I wake you up?”
“Baby, I heard the news! I tried calling you! Are you ok?”
“I’m fine, but I crashed my car… I couldn’t see much, and I drove it outside the road. Oh Jared, I was so scared… I’m still shaking. Thankfully it stopped at the edge of an empty lot . And my phone’s battery died… I’m calling you from a gas station that was nearby”
“Fuck, I thought… it doesn’t matter. Are you sure you’re not hurt? Where are you? I’m coming to pick you up!”
“Yes, I’m fine. I don’t know where it is exactly… there is a bar or pub on the other side of the road. There’s something like a rooster on the sign”
“I know where it is. Just stay there, ok? I’m coming to get you baby”
Jared drove as fast as he could, although the weather did not exactly help. But it was time for that car he bought to prove useful for once.
About half an hour later, he arrived at the gas station.
There she was, the love of his life.
She was wet, sleepless and worn out, but to him she looked more beautiful than ever.
It had been one hellish day, but just the thought of losing her forever, of walking this world without her was able to crush him. The relief that came from realizing that there could still be time for them – if she would have him – only made the lump in his throat stronger. He broke down in tears right then and there.
It was the very first time since they met that Rose ever saw him cry.
“Please forgive me baby…” he sobbed “I don’t know what I’d do if you… I love you, I’m nothing without you…”
Rose looked down at him. She already knew he never cheated on her. She knew he loved her more than anything. She knew him like that. Still, this breakdown had managed to amaze her.
She rushed towards him, not minding that her clothes would get all wet and filthy. It pained her to see him like this. He was her everything too, even if sometimes he was far from perfect. But in the long term, he had been more than good to her. He had his demons, she knew that from the start. But it was nothing she couldn’t handle by now.
“Shhh…” she comforted him “it’s ok… I’m here.”
“Baby, I thought I lost you forever” he said as soon as he calmed down “I was a jackass, I know that… You were right about Mia, about everything. But nothing happened, I swear. Please forgive me Rose… I love you, you’re my whole life”
“I believe you” she said softly “and I still believe in you. I don’t want to break up, I love you so much, you know I do… But I needed you, the kids needed you too. And you weren’t there… I need you to be present. If for any reason you can’t do that, I want to know it now.”
“Baby, I’m never going to risk losing you again. You’re everything I need, nothing compares…” he replied.
They didn’t need to say anything more.
At home, everything went back to normal fairly quickly. It took some time for Rose to completely trust him again, but they got there. Calla was happy to have her dad regularly at home again.
Jesse was the difficult one, not even expressing his feelings. He just shrugged everytime Jared attempted to make conversation. But both he and Rose were certain he’d come around sooner or later.
Jared stopped his press appearances – although journalists were still calling – but he made his last one together with Rose. That was the only image he wanted to share with the world.
The restaurant was doing great at last, so he was able to cut down his work hours.
His relationship with Rose couldn’t get any better. He kept his promise and never gave her any reason to be unhappy. Quite the opposite.
It was like those first years of their marriage. They were madly in love again, spending as much time as possible together. They were even suprising each other at work during their breaks.
“Baby” he said one day while visiting her at the bakery “you’ve never asked me what I did with all that money I made during that whole celebrity chef period”
They had finally reached a point where they could almost joke about it.
“Apart from buying that ridiculously expensive car?” she smiled “But you sold it so I guess it doesn’t count. I don’t know, I thought you threw everything into the business”
“No, babe, it was a lot more than what the business needed. I kept a part of it of course, but I used the rest to get you a present… It wasn’t an impulse buy, I thought about it a lot. Well, I bought us a vacation house at Champs Les Sims… we can go there whenever you like.”
This was like a dream come true for Rose. Jared had managed to amaze her once more.
However, she realized that her life was pretty much great as it was at this point. Not that a little extra something wouldn’t be well received, but still.
She had an amazing family with the only man she ever loved who, although not perfect, was trying his best to be. A man who loved her just as much, maybe even more. A man who still, after all these years, gave her butterflies in the stomach.
And to think how it all began…
There was a point in her life when family was nothing but wishful thinking. However, he made it happen. They made it together. Eventually, in all its ups and downs, life had been generous to her.
Now she only wished it would be equally generous to her children as well.
But, that’s another story.
PS: So… that’s it..! “Smoke ‘n’ Roses” aka Generation 1 has finally reached its final chapter! 😄🎉 And I realized that I’m posting this exactly six months after I made that blog and posted the first chapter! How time flies lol! I really hope you liked this story, and the ending! ❤ Now it’s time for Generation 2 and I’m pretty psyched about it! Thank you all so much for every lovely comment you’ve ever given me, I really appreciate each and every one of them! Writing this wouldn’t be half as fun without them! Thank you so much for reading! 🙂 ❤