|Enough For Now
Author: Permanent Rose PM
Alternate ending: Maxim is convicted at the trial and put to death. Mrs de Winter, distraught and hurting, attempts to move on with her life and raise the son Maxim never knew.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Hurt/Comfort/Romance - Words: 1,194 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 1 - Published: 05-27-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4283222
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: As I said in the summary, an alternate ending to Rebecca where Maxim is convicted at the trial and put to death. It was an idea that's been bugging me for awhile
Enough For Now
It has been three years since I left Manderely; three years since Maxim's death.
I can still remember the day at the gallows. My eyes were red and swollen from sobbing and my entire body was shaking uncontrollably. I watched as they hung him, watched him die. Why did I come? Why did I come? I kept asking myself over and over again. The sight of Maxim's limp body hanging there was too much for me to bear. I vomited violently on the ground in front me, and began to sob even harder. I fell to the ground and rolled up in a ball, rocking miserably. Maxim was gone.
The house rightfully belonged to Beatrice and Giles.
"Manderely is quite large enough to accommodate all of us," said Beatrice. "Giles and I would not mind a bit if you stayed."
But I said I could not. Not after all the memories it would bring back everyday. I could not bear to be reminded of Maxim and what had happened.
I moved to a small apartment in London, trying to erase any memories of Maxim.
And it is still where I reside today, making a small pot of tea for only myself, merely existing.
And then I hear the knock on the door. No one ever calls on me. I cannot fathom who it may be.
I get up to answer the door and a middle aged man stands there. At first I do not recognise him.
"Come in. How may I help you?"
He steps over the threshold and removes his hat. Oh my God. I gasp, staring at the man with wide eyes, for I now recognize him as Frank Crawley.
"Frank? Is that really you?" I gape.
"Indeed, Mrs. de Winter," he replies.
I wince at the name de Winter. It feels like a lifetime ago when I last heard that name.
"Please, Frank, call me by my first name," I say.
He nods. Neither of us knows what to say for a moment.
"So you've been well, I take?" Frank asks.
"Yes, quite," I reply, for it is mostly true. "And you?"
"Mostly," he says. "It feels as though it all happened centuries ago."
"Yes," I say.
"I've thought of you often," he says. I feel my cheeks grow warm.
Suddenly, I hear a small voice, "Mama."
My little boy tugs at the hem of my skirt. He has just awoken from his nap. I take him in my arms and kiss his hair.
Frank stares for a moment before he fully realizes the situation.
"He has his father's eyes," Frank states, still looking slightly bewildered.
"What have you called him?" Frank asks.
"Max, after his father. When I found I was with child, I though it would be particularly painful to be reminded of Maxim, but in actuality, I'm quite glad I do have a small bit of him."
Frank nods. "So I suppose he is the rightful owner of Manderely?"
"I have never thought of that, but I suppose you are correct. But I cannot bear the thought of ever returning to Manderly…"
Once again Frank nods. We both turn to look at Max, who still has that wide-eyed bewildered expression that one gets just after they wake.
"Does Beatrice know about your child?" Frank asks.
"No," I reply. "I haven't spoken with her for over three years now…"
Neither of us speaks. Max intently sucks on his finger.
"Frank, would you like to stay for tea?" I break the silence.
"That would be lovely," says Frank.
I place Max on the floor so I can go to the kitchen to boil some more water. As soon as he's out of my arms, though, he begins to cry.
"Oh dear," I say, turning around to pick him up.
But Frank beats me to it. "I can watch him while you finish the tea, if you'd like."
Max's tears have already ceased and he places his chubby little arms around Frank's neck. We both smile, neither knowing what to say.
The tea is soon ready and I carry it over to the table where Frank is sitting, bouncing little Max on his knee while singing a ditty.
"He really likes you," I say. "Even I can't placate him that easily."
He smiles and ruffles Max's hair, making my little boy giggle.
I pour the tea and place a small plate of scones on the table. Frank places Max in his chair. Max coos softly and I give him a biscuit to suck on. Frank I sip our tea silently, the steam making our faces damp with a thin mist.
Being with Frank brings back so many memories. No, I tell myself. I mustn't think of the past. But the memories invade me like plague. My hand quivers slightly, causing tea to slosh over the side of my cup.
Frank reaches out to steady my hand. His touch is so gentle, so comforting. My gaze catches his, and suddenly I can bear it not longer. I burst into tears.
Before I know what is happening, I am in Frank's arms, his soft lips in my hair. I can feel his hot breath in my ear as he whispers words of comfort and reassurance.
"Oh, Frank!" I sob. "I'm so—"
He silences me with a kiss. His lips are firm, but gentle against my own. I can taste his breath, bitter and sweet from the tea. I never want to let go. Never want this moment to end…
But within a moment, we break apart. He smoothes my hair away from my face, placing it behind my ears. He stares at me a moment before speaking.
"All these years I've wanted to come visit you, come and see how you have been," he stumbles over his words. "But I could never make myself. I know how much you loved Maxim…"
"Oh, Frank!" I sob. "I have thought of you everyday since I left. I hoped so much that I would get to see you again. Maxim is gone now, and though I shall always have a place in my heart for him, I know that I must move on."
I take his hand in mine. He leans forward to kiss me again.
Little Max pushes between us, climbing onto my lap, breaking the kiss. I pull him into my arms. Frank wraps his arms around both of us, and I smile through my tears. I hear Max laugh softly.
My painful memories begin to melt away. My bleak future now seems to hold a bit of hope, and for now, that is enough.