***This update contains very adult material. I mean, all our chapters have, but especially this one.***
I pulled my arms from around Reaver as if he’d suddenly turned scalding hot, and sat silently for a few minutes, digesting what he’d told me. To his credit, he didn’t offer excuses or plead for forgiveness…he just waited for me to speak.
Finally, I asked him the question that I couldn’t get out of my mind. “Do you even love me anymore?”
“Yes. I still love you–only you.”
I nodded, lips pursed, and went off to put River to bed. Reaver remained staring straight ahead on the couch.
“There there, Riv,” I said soothingly. “Time for night-night. Daddy loves you.” I felt like I should be crying, but I was more angry than sad.
I watched our two beautiful girls for a while as they slept, and some of that anger began to melt away.
I checked on Gallifrey, and he was sleepy, but awake. Just cooing in his crib. I thought about what it would be like to break up with Reaver. I’d have to move out–leave the kids. This was Reave’s house, not mine. I had nowhere to go–at least, nowhere I could bring the kids with me. The thought made me suddenly and violently nauseated.
I dashed to the kids’ bathroom and emptied my stomach. I started to wash my mouth out with mouthwash, but then I heard Rey getting fussy and went to him.
I looked into his tiny face, and that’s when the tears finally came. I held my son close and cried and cried. Reaver had hurt me, badly, but I knew he’d only done it because I’d hurt him first. Actually, we’d been taking turns hurting each other for years. It was time to put an end to all that.
The next morning was Gallifrey’s birthday, and I asked Rosie if she’d mind waking up her papa, who was still asleep.
He came out in his PJs and put on a happy show for the kids. Why is it that all the birthdays lately have been times of emotional upheaval?
Still, seeing our beautiful boy grow into a happy toddler solidified a plan that had begun to take place in my mind.
Reave took Rey to the play room, so I took the opportunity to make a little phone call.
First, though, I swore Rose to secrecy. She grinned and gave me a wink, and promised she wouldn’t tell.
“Yes, SimStar Travel? Two tickets to France, please.”
Since the kids were all older now, I felt comfortable leaving them in the hands of a sitter while Reaver and I got some “us time.” I figured a romantic getaway was just what we needed to fix our problems, once and for all.
As soon as we arrived at our bed and breakfast, Reave turned to me with his eyes wide. I hadn’t told him where we were going. “What’s going on, Bo? Aren’t you mad at me?” He looked like he felt so guilty. I put my forehead to his and closed my eyes.
“Reave, we’ve got to start treating each other better. No matter what, we’re a family. Our kids need us. Remember how distressed Rose was when you were gone from the house? We can’t allow them to grow up in a broken home. We have a responsibility to them to be a happy family.”
I moved my mouth against his in a slow kiss, and he moaned softly. “Besides,” I whispered seductively, “I feel like I have to prove to you that no one can set off fireworks for you like I can…”
Before I knew it, we were checked in and up in our room, and Reave was half-naked.
“I love you very much, Reaver, and I intend to show you just how much. That’s what this trip is about.”
We kissed like we hadn’t kissed in months. It was like our relationship had started over again.
Things quickly started getting frantic, and my pants suddenly felt very tight. I eagerly pushed myself on top of Reave and struggled to unzip my fly as my other hand played around inside his boxer-briefs. Reave’s eyes rolled back into his head as he whispered my name.
Needless to say, we didn’t spend much of our first night in France sleeping. In the morning, I said, “Now what was the name of the other guy you kissed?”
Reaver just grinned at me as my hand caressed him under the covers. “What other guy?”
“Damn right,” I smirked back at him. Then I tagged him playfully on the arm, jumped up, and started to run out the door. “You’re it!”
He called after me: “Tag? But we’re not dressed! We could get in trouble with the B&B!”
“Chicken!” I yelled back.
That did it. I heard his feet pounding behind me as I giggled and took off outside.
We chased each other around for a while, until I ran out of breath and Reave caught up to me and slapped me on the butt. “Gotcha!” I was doubled over, trying to catch my breath, and all of a sudden I felt something else stroking against me back there, and that something was very hard. I could hear Reave’s harsh breathing as he pulled down our underwear just enough to enter me for a few enjoyable thrusts, made all the more exhilarating by the fact that someone could walk out into the court yard at any moment. Sure it was still early, probably about 5am, but still.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed him right now. I turned around and kissed him forcefully, nibbling his bottom lip as he groaned with need.
We didn’t leave our room at the B&B until dusk.
We did take some time later in the evening to actually see some of France. We at at a quaint little café…
…And visited the nectary, where we sampled all kinds of delicious beverages which made our bellies feel warm. We even bought a few to take home with us.
That night, we were pretty exhausted, so we caught up on some much-needed sleep. It seems like I never get a full night’s sleep at home, with the little ones always clamoring for attention.
Not that I mind, too much. In fact, we’d only been away for a day, and already I was missing them. Reave said he was, too, and we both had dreams about them as we slept.
Reaver also had a nightmare in the middle of the night. I awoke about 3am to him whimpering, “No, Shower, I sold you! No, no!” I snorted a quiet laugh and wrapped my arms around him. “Shhh, Babe, it’s okay. Shower’s long gone. Rest easy.” After that, he slept peacefully, and I drifted back to sleep without any trouble.
The next morning, it was time to implement Part 2 of my Plan. I took Reave to what was supposed to be the most magical and romantic locale in Champs le Sims. Why an old Celtic burial ground was considered romantic was beyond me, until we got there.
The place was up on a hill, and we could see for miles–all the beautiful French countryside. The stones around us stood as a testament to an older, more mystical time. The effect was intoxicating.
Reave held my hands in his own, and as I turned back to him after staring at the view, I caught him gazing at me wistfully.
The sight caused me to choke up a little, and a very special moment passed between us, until Reave turned away as a tear fell down his cheek.
“Reave? What’s wrong?”
“God, Bo, I’m so sorry I cheated on you like that. I really feel like the scum of the Earth, especially since you’re being so nice to me.”
“Hey, I thought we were over that? What, would you rather I yell and scream and break up with you?”
“No…I just…half expected you to.”
“Well, I have a better idea.”
Reave looked at me questioningly.
I dropped to one knee and pulled out the ring I’d bought especially for him. “Let’s put away all the hurt we’ve caused each other in the past, and start fresh.
“Reaver Pierce, please, will you marry me? For the love of God, don’t say no!”
My stomach clenched as his eyes widened in shock, and I anxiously awaited his answer.
“Yes, Bowen, yes, yes! Yes I’ll marry you!”
Sliding the ring on his finger was one of the best moments of my life to date.
Reave just looked at me and started crying. I think he could hardly believe we were finally engaged.
We held onto each other for I don’t know how many minutes, just basking in the glow of our renewed love.
“Reaver, I don’t think we should wait. What better place to make it official than right here, in the middle of a Fairy Ring?”
“Well, it just so happens,” Reaver said as he pulled something out of his pocket, “that I’ve been carrying this around with me since you turned me down the last time.”
I laughed. “I can’t believe you brought my ring!”
And so, we exchanged vows and rings with only the stones and a distant hot-air balloon as witnesses. And we were finally one.
We celebrated our union back at the B&B that night, and the next day I tried to convince Reave to come exploring with me, but he decided he’d rather play some music.
So, I went exploring by myself, and I even found some old ruins with all kinds of coins, gems, and relics inside! No one seemed to know it was all there, so I didn’t think twice.
I took it all.
France was amazing, but there’s nothing like coming home. I was anxious to see how the kids had fared while we were away. Luckily, when we walked in the door, the place was filled with the happy sounds of River tapping away at the xylophone.
I ran to her and tossed her in the air, saying, “Hi baby girl! Daddy’s home! Oh, we missed you so much!” She giggled and giggled.
Rey and Rose were happy to see us, as well. Rose could tell something had changed between her Papa and me, and she shrewdly noticed the new rings on our fingers. She squealed with happiness and hugged us both. When she got to me, she whispered “I knew it would work!” into my ear.
Life slowly returned to the usual grind of potty training, and work for Reave, but it was definitely different. Reave’s depression had lifted, and he helped with the kids a lot more, which made teaching them their life skills a hell of a lot easier.
The kids could all sense the new calm which had taken over our household, and even they got along better. River Song and Gallifrey often played with their toys together, and only conked each other on the head with them about once a week, instead of every day.
Rose enjoyed being the big sister. She was very responsible about getting her homework done, and she loved to tell the littler kids what was what.
“Papa gone?” River would ask.
“Yes, sweetie, Papa’s at work,” Rose would respond in the most adult-like voice she could muster. They were all growing up too quickly, but I think Rose wished it would happen even faster.
Reave and I made a habit of eating at least one meal a day together at the table. We used that time to talk and tell each other about our day.
I continued my strength training, and I could definitely tell it was bringing some changes. My legs and arms felt stronger every day.
Still, I felt like something was missing from my life. I wanted a job–a way to contribute to our family finances. I didn’t want the normal 9-5, so I decided I would become a self-employed photographer. Reave was very supportive of my idea, and I couldn’t wait to get started trying to sell my work.
Before we knew it, it was River’s birthday. We through an honest-to-God party for her, with guests and everything.
For the first time in a long time, we had a birthday free of any background heartache, other than the bittersweet feeling of watching our daughter grow up.
River had a very interesting sense of fashion, and she looks exactly like her papa.
But as I watched her work out to the “Feel the Burn” station on the TV that evening, I knew that she had at least a little of her daddy in her, too.
Note to OPB: OMG, they’re finally MARRIED! Can you believe it?? I was ready to wipe Reave from existence if he refused Bo this time..lol. Also, when you get the save back from me, check the family inventory–Bo’s been busy! Haha.