|Every End Has A Beginning
Author: samiam004 PM
Face it, darling, whatever sins you think I've committed, you probably have a list that's just as long. You and I, we're the same, Scarlett, cut out of the same cloth. A one-shot exploring Rhett and Scarlett's journey through the five stages of grief.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Family - Words: 3,391 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Published: 02-13-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5743783
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Glancing down at their intertwined fingers, Scarlett couldn't help but notice. In a peculiar way, she mused, this simple gesture spoke more volumes of intimacy than any form of verbal communication.
But that didn't stop her from saying the three big little words that unshackled their hearts from the binding restraints of fear and uncertainty.
"I love you."
She was met with silence.
"Well, aren't you going to say it back?"
He smiled and pointed to the horizon, "I'm waiting for the perfect moment."
She followed the motion of his arm and was awed by the sight of the setting sun whose light diffused and painted the northern sky with the palest hues of purples and oranges.
He caught her attention by placing a soft kiss at her upturned palm.
"I love you, Scarlett O'Hara," he said as he gazed into her eyes.
"Haven't you heard? It's Scarlett Butler now."
Their soft laughter carried into the wind as the last rays of the sun disappeared behind the red earth of Tara.
It led to that.
But it began with this…
The time Scarlett didn't spend in solitude was spent with her only daughter. There were always toys and games and tea parties, which up until recently, Rhett was allowed to join.
On one fateful day, while awaiting a package from a business associate, Rhett noticed a large crate delivered with his parcel. It was addressed to Mrs. Butler. Upon closer inspection, he discovered that it was a baby's crib, made by one of the finest craftsmen in all of Georgia. When Scarlett was informed of its arrival, it was promptly sent to storage. Scarlett spent the rest of the day within the confines of her bedroom.
Rhett wasn't blind to the deteriorating condition of his wife's health nor was he deaf to the heart wrenching sobs that emanated from her bedroom when she thought that no one was there to listen. When today's lunch tray returned untouched to the kitchen, Rhett decided that he could no longer bear to see her carry on like this.
The grief over the loss of a child shouldn't be a burden to be carried alone, he reflected, it should be shared by both parents for it affects them equally.
He cornered her in the drawing room where she was currently taking her afternoon tea.
"Scarlett, we need to talk."
"Talk? Talk about what?"
"When you…had your accident –" he began slowly.
"Rhett, stop. Please. There is nothing to talk about!" She seethed with restrained fury.
"Scarlett, we have to move past this. We can't continue acting as if nothing happened. We barely exchange words with each other. I cannot go on living as if we were merely strangers passing each other on the street!" Rhett was exasperated.
"Don't you understand? When you lost the baby, I lost the baby as well." His tone grew softer.
"I don't want to talk about this! You didn't even want it, or don't you remember? I believe your exact words were "Well, cheer up. Maybe you'll have an accident!"
"That was a mistake and I have deeply regretted those words as soon as they tumbled from my lips. I would take it all back if I could, but what would it change? My dear, you have to believe me. I understand what you are going through. Let me help you."
"Two whole months I waited for you to come back with my daughter so I could tell you the news. How could I have informed you if I didn't know which port in which city you decided to dock your boat into?"
Scarlett began to fight against the urge to cry.
"The first thing I told you upon your return was that I was going to have a baby. You knew about it for two whole minutes and already you decided that you didn't want it!"
The first white hot tear burned its path down her cheek.
"And how could you possibly help me? You tell me you know how I'm feeling? Wanting something so badly only to have it taken from you?"
"Don't I, Scarlett? I've waited for you longer than I've waited for any other woman. First your marriage to Charles and then to Frank, luckily neither of those lasted long enough to have any permanent effects," he paused wryly.
"But when you took that horrible tumble down those steps, I realized that there was a real possibility that I could lose you. And maybe that's selfish, but it's the truth. Those weeks you spent in recovery? I nearly went out of my mind with worry. But they wouldn't let me see you unless you called for me. We all know that you didn't. Not that I blame you. I was told that you were beside yourself with delirium," he said with great disappointment.
Scarlett remembered calling out in a brief moment of lucidity, but somehow, she couldn't bring herself to admit that to him.
Instead she spoke, "Rhett, I'm tired. I shall think about this tomorrow."
"Tomorrow? Tomorrow? It's always tomorrow with you! When will you ever realize that this, the present, right now? It might be just a tad more important than your tomorrow. How can you deal with tomorrow if you refuse to face today, my pet?" Rhett's dark eyes blazed with incredulity.
Scarlett truly hated that moniker. And the blaze in her green eyes was comparable with Rhett's own.
"My pet!" She cried harshly, "Whenever I acted like a lady, I was always Ellen Robillard's daughter. When I acted like a heathen, they were quick to call me Gerald O'Hara's girl. When I first came to Atlanta, I was introduced as Charlie's wife. When I married Frank, I was the girl who stole her sister's beau. I'd almost forgotten what it felt like to just be Scarlett. Foolishly, I thought that I could just be myself with you. How wrong I was. For the only thing I'll ever amount to in your eyes is "my pet." And frankly, I'm not even certain that counts."
"I've always called you, "my pet," would you prefer instead the endearment that your beloved Mr. Wilkes had bestowed upon you, sweetheart?" He spat out spitefully.
"Always Ashley!" Scarlett nearly screamed. "You knew how I felt about Ashley when you asked me to marry you. The way you always bring him up, one would think that I've been keeping a horrible secret that I refuse to own up to this entire time!"
"Speaking of secrets, sweetheart, are you ever going to confess the events that took place during that particular episode at the mills with your dear Mr. Wilkes?" He said with the same sickly sweet tone.
"If you had let me explain before you left me alone to face the old cats that night, you would've known that nothing happened. That adulterous scene, as India Wilkes had reported, was nothing more than a comforting hug between old friends. Ashley would never betray Melly and I have never been unfaithful to any of my husbands. That is definitely more than I could say for you and your indiscretions!"
"You knew about my association with Belle's establishment before you married me too, honey. I'm sure the whole town would agree – that my indiscretions, as you so lightly put it, is no big secret of mine," he said with a condescending smirk.
She wanted to wipe that grin off his face. Why, it's as if he's actually proud of the fact that he's been cheating on me!
"Face it, darling, whatever sins you think I've committed, you probably have a list that's just as long. You and I, we're the same, Scarlett, cut out of the same cloth."
"Pa always said that I would never be happy with Ashley," she said evenly, "he said I would be better off with someone who thinks like me."
Her ire rising, she continued, "If what you say is true, then I'd say that I've met my match in you. God's nightgown, Rhett! If I was like you, even just half like you," she paused.
With a heavy sigh she said, "Then I'd feel terribly sorry for you because you'd know just how much you've broken my heart."
Rhett was taken aback. "Your heart? How could I have broken your heart when you've never even given it to me!"
"Oh, but I've tried. Only, it seems that it was too late. Between Bonnie and Belle, there's no more place in your life for me."
She loves me. By God, she loves me! And I've been too busy denying the possibility that she returned just and inkling of my affections to notice.
While Rhett was ruminating over this revelation, Scarlett continued speaking, in fear that at another time, she would lose her courage.
"I love you, I do, Rhett. You once said that all you wanted to hear from me were those three words. Now I've said them, but I see they have no effect on you whatsoever."
Rhett wasn't sure how to start, after all, he hadn't prayed in such a long time. Even when Scarlett was sick, he didn't think that praying would bring the baby back. This time, he would use every advantage he could take to ensure his second chance at a happy life with his family.
God, he repeated in his head, if what she is saying is true, then I promise to do right by my wife and daughter for as long as I live. I will no longer sleep with other women, I will keep the Sabbath holy, I shall not take Your name in vain, I shall not steal, I shall not bear false witness against my neighbor, I shall do whatever you told Moses in the Ten Commandments!
Scarlett grew tense at every second that ticked by.
In his contemplative shocked silence, Rhett did not notice Scarlett as she left for her own room.
Lying face down on the bed, Scarlett could not believe that she had just handed Rhett her biggest bargaining chip.
How do they say it in gambling terms? She wondered. Oh, yes, now I've laid all my cards on the table. And he didn't even bother to dignify me with a response!
She was incensed and embarrassed yet she felt strangely lighter as if a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
As her tears dried, she tried to compose herself. She had promised herself not to give in to his taunts so quickly.
But the ugly truths of what he had said! Rhett always did bring out the worst in me.
She was startled by a soft knock on her door. Fearing it was Rhett, she hesitated to answer.
The knob began to turn, "Mother?"
Bonnie peek her head through the opening, "May I come in?"
"Of course, darling."
Bonnie slowly made her way towards the bed.
"Mother, what's wrong? Why are you crying? Have you had a bad dream?"
Turning around quickly, she called over her shoulder, "Don't worry, Mother, I'll just call Daddy. He'll make everything better!"
But it was too late. She was out the door and screaming for her Daddy by the time Scarlett got to her feet.
A few moments later, Bonnie came rushing in, her father in tow.
"…crying, Daddy. I think Mommy had a nightmare! You'll make it better won't you?" she asked.
Scarlett's cheeks flushed with discomfort.
"I have to speak with your mother alone, princess. Why don't you run along?" Rhett answered.
Bonnie was torn between following her father's request and wanting to stay and comfort her mother.
Seeing the uncertainty in her eyes, Rhett offered, "Please Bonnie? I'll make sure you have extra desserts tonight!"
She seemed to think about it, "Tiny cakes with blue frosting?"
"If that's what you want."
She walked to her Mother and gave her a big hug, "Feel better, Mommy? I promise to share my desserts later."
As she left her parents, Rhett couldn't help but chuckle, "Definitely her mother's daughter."
Scarlett didn't know what to say. After all, he was the one who left her hanging after she made the biggest declaration of her life.
"Scarlett, you said that you love me."
She nodded meekly.
"I don't believe it."
She opened her mouth to reply.
But he beat her to it.
"No, my dear, I did not come in here to fight. We've had enough fighting for one day, don't you think?"
He sank down on a plush chair facing her.
"What I'm trying to say is this: while I trust that your change of heart is, indeed genuine, I can't help but feel an accompanying sense of mistrust along with it."
"Mistrust. In the sense of a readiness for danger and an anticipation of discomfort."
Her heart sank. "So you don't love me, is that it? Why don't you just say it outright?"
Her mind began to slow down as a numbing feeling washed over her body.
"That's not what I mean. I don't not love you, Scarlett. The opposite, in fact."
"So you do love me, you just don't care to admit it."
"You could say that."
"Rhett," she demanded, "stop playing with my words and stop beating around the bush."
"Then let me put it simply: the antithetical relationship between this trust and mistrust has given me hope that we, you and I, can have a chance to change things between us. For the better."
He smiled at her confusion.
"While I cannot say at this moment that which you long to hear, I'm here to tell you that given a little more time to wrap my mind around your sudden revelation, I definitely could. Surely, given our history, you can see where I'm coming from."
Scarlett did not know what to say to that. So instead, she barked at him, "Get out."
She controlled herself enough not to hurl the figurine on her nightstand as he shut the door behind him.
What insane game was he playing at? I finally gave him what he's wanted all this time yet he wouldn't give me the same courtesy!
She lay back down on her bed and tried to understand the throbbing ache in her chest. She thought that she had already cried all the tears that she could. She was mistaken.
Love is for fools. And falling in love with Rhett Butler is the most foolish thing that I have ever done
Meanwhile, Rhett hurriedly ran down to his study and unlocked his desk drawer. Taking out a velvet box, he steadied his breathing.
What a perfect opportunity to give Scarlett this necklace.
He turned up the lid and inspected the myriad of precious green stones set intricately upon a delicate gold chain. The purchase had cost him a small fortune but at that time he couldn't think of anyone else's neck being adorned by such a creation.
What better way to say I love you than with gifts.
Closing the lid, he hoped that he hadn't riled her up too much with his perplexing earlier sentiments.
He stopped to take in his reflection on the way back to Scarlett's room. Fixing his cravat and taming down his hair, he felt like a schoolboy courting his first crush. Satisfied with his appearance, he carried out his task.
Entering her bedroom, he found her sobbing quietly on her pillow.
"Stop your crying now, darling. Your loving husband has come back with a surprise."
Sitting up, she eyed him warily.
"What do you want, Rhett? I've had enough of your mind games."
He sat down beside her and presented her with the box.
"I love you, Scarlett," he whispered to her.
Turning to him, she questioned, "And when did you realize that you could finally say that?"
"I couldn't say it without giving this," gesturing to the box, "to you. You see, I've had it for a while now, and it just felt like the perfect opportunity to give it to you. You'll love it, I promise."
The result of all of her pent up emotions bursting forth landed her directly into his arms as she leaned in to kiss him. She surprised herself along with him by this forwardness. In that kiss was everything they longed to say to each other.
When they broke apart, she reminded him again, "I love you, Rhett Butler."
"I love you, Scarlett O'Hara."
She leaned against him and smiled contentedly.
"Aren't you going to open my gift then? He said.
"In a while. For right now, I'm just glad that we're finally here."
"My dear, I'm not saying this to get you angry, but it has to be said."
She nodded against him, "Go ahead."
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry about your fall. I'm sorry about the baby. I wanted it as well, you must know that. I'm sorry about a lot of things, but those two are at the top of my list."
He felt her shaking in his arms, "You're crying again," and held her tighter.
"I love you and I'm sorry," he whispered against her hair.
She clung on to him like a lifeline as they finally shared and accepted the meaning of their grief.
If that night happened a century later, then Scarlett and Rhett would've been a prime example of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' five stages of grief. And Rhett's musings about trust and mistrust would have fuelled Erik Erikson's Psychosocial Stages of Development. But as it was, they were simply content with just finally finding peace and quiet within their marriage.
A few weeks after Scarlett's full recovery, she sat restlessly at home while waiting for her husband to return from the bank. When he finally announced his presence to her, she didn't hesitate to run into his arms.
"Did you miss me, my dear?"
"You know I did! I've been bored silly cooped up in this house and I could only endure so much tea parties and games of hide and go seek," she joked good-naturedly.
"Speaking of tea parties and childhood games, where is my little Scarlett?"
"I don't understand why you insist on calling her that Rhett, Bonnie has a perfectly good name."
"Yes, but it's much more endearing because I'm reminded of how much she's just like you."
He led her to the couch.
"Bonnie!" He called out.
No one answered.
"Bonnie, I've got candies!" He tried again.
The door swung open and he was attacked by a blur of blue velvet.
"See, my dear Mrs. Butler, our daughter is very much a mini-you."
"Where's the candy, Daddy?" Bonnie asked.
"Bonnie, where are your manners?" Her mother asked.
Correcting herself, Bonnie repeated, "I'm sorry, Daddy. Where's the candy? Please give them to me now."
Rhett laughed at his daughter's request.
Turning to his wife, he said, "Scarlett, I think you need to work on that a little bit more."
Scarlett slapped him lightly on the arm.
"And regarding your earlier protests against boredom, might I suggest a little vacation?"
"Vacation, Daddy? Go where?" Bonnie was almost vibrating with excitement.
"I think we'll let your mother choose our destination. London, perhaps? How about Paris or Rome?"
"No, Rhett," Scarlett shook her head, "I want to go to Tara."
"Then to Tara we shall go."
A/N: This used to be part of my other story, What a Rainy Ending, but Anenihan had made me see the light so I decided to separate this chapter. Thank you.