Sorry for the long long wait but here's the next chapter! It picks up from Rhett's POV when he returns with Bonnie and describes what he's thinking leading up to and during Scarlett's fall. Hope you like the update :)
Rhett smiled ruefully as his daughter wriggled her hand out of his grasp and barreled past the front door of their house. A part of him wished that he could forget past grievances as easily as Bonnie and be certain of a warm reception. He paused at the entrance of their home, watching Bonnie and her mother reunite joyfully.
He stepped inside and swept a sardonic bow at Scarlett to mask his uncertainty. Did she still resent him for the way they had parted? He had been horrified by his actions but couldn't summon up the courage to apologize. It was clear that both of them needed space so he had left while she slept but now he questioned that hasty decision.
Rhett looked up at his wife and his heart clenched at how beautiful and unattainable she was, standing at the top of their majestic staircase. They were married and even had a child together but by God it was never enough. He had no delusions about why Scarlett accepted his proposal – he scoffed to himself at how she delighted at his gifts and wealth, and rejected anything more.
Her eyes were bright but her fingers betrayed her nerves as she clutched the bannister. The sight of her apprehension stirred up a swirl of emotions, and the hurtful words about her pale appearance came out reflexively. He immediately regretted the taunt but the callous side of him marveled at Scarlett's reaction. Her cheeks turned red and her eyes narrowed into an icy glare as she became speechless with ire.
Even Rhett realized that he had gone too far. His hopes for a pleasant homecoming were obliterated as he braced himself for yet another prolonged fight.
"If I'm pale it's your fault and not because I've missed you!" Scarlett cried. "It's because…I'm going to have a baby!" She flung the words at him like arrows.
Rhett felt his lungs constrict as her words sunk in and he reached for her involuntarily. His momentary flash of joy withered into helpless fury as he saw the unforgiving venom in Scarlett's eyes and felt her flinch away from him. She didn't want the baby. Not his – never his.
He had foolishly hoped that he could take Ashley's place but he could see the truth now.
"Indeed! He said coolly. "Well, who's the happy father? Ashley?"
Instead of the indignant response Rhett had anticipated, Scarlett blanched as her fingers clenched around the bannister. He watched with a mixture of scorn and concern as she froze at his sardonic question.
Her next words tore at him with a hatred he should have been expecting, yet their vileness still overwhelmed him. He thought he had hardened his heart against her vicious claws yet they pierced through every time.
Of course she hadn't wanted the baby – not when it was with him, a man she despised and resented. He thought she would outgrow her childish obsession with Ashley and love him instead but he was a damned fool. The one constant about Scarlett is her stubbornness and resolve to cling onto anything and anyone she wants. Never mind if her precious Ashley couldn't even begin to understand her relentless drive and will to survive. Never mind if she destroys everything around her in her pointless quest to capture his empty affection. His attempt to stand between her ignorant obstinacy and her foolish fantasy had led to this hell of resentment.
Rhett scoffed at how he was an even greater fool for expecting a different outcome. He thought of the bitter months ahead as her resentment toward him would undoubtedly increase as her body would swell with his child. When she was carrying Bonnie, he wanted to tell her how alluring and radiant she was but he bit back the words when he saw how she resented any more attachment to him. It would be worse this time and this realization made him nauseous. She would blame him for her ordeal, and this time it really was his fault. He had known she hadn't wanted another child and now she was pregnant with another baby she resented. Perhaps it would be better for both of them if it was never born and she could go back to pining over her precious Ashley.
Before Rhett knew what he was saying, he had told his wife to cheer up since she might have a miscarriage. The vile words lingered in the air and part of him was horrified at how cruel they were, stunned at how callous he could be to the woman he has loved for so many years. The meaner part of him watched for Scarlett's reaction, craving some kind of indication that he could still hurt her as much as she hurt him.
Scarlett's face distorted in pain and fury as she buckled under his hateful words. She launched herself at him in blindless rage, and shocked at the sheer emotion of her outburst, Rhett sidestepped on the stairs to avoid her attack. The motion caught her off-guard and her foot slipped on the step. Scarlett locked eyes with him for a second in terror as her momentum sent her tumbling down the steep staircase. Rhett was frozen in horror as he watched her futilely reach for the staircase rails to stop her fall only to narrowly miss.
Her desperate scream pulled him out of his shock and he raced down the stairs to catch her but he knew that it was too late. The crack of her body hitting the bottom of the stairs echoed grotesquely in the cavernous house. She lay motionless on the floor and Rhett reached her a split second later, wild with horror and fear and the certainty that he had killed her. He keened her name as he cradled Scarlett in his arms, careful not to jostle her any further. Her eyes were closed and her heartbeat was faint but still beating. If he got a doctor quickly enough maybe she could still make it. "Mammy! Find Dr. Meade!"
But Rhett knew that it was too late. He had killed Scarlett with his vicious words and cruelty. He had callously told her to have a miscarriage and now he was going to lose Scarlett and the baby. He had wanted to hurt her for not wanting him and now she was going to die, silenced by horrible evil words that he didn't mean. He gasped for breath as his lungs constricted his air, choking him in excruciating fear and guilt. All he had wanted was for Scarlett to love him and now he had killed her with his greed and selfishness and pride. Oh he had wanted this baby so much and he knew that it was his and instead of being ecstatic he was blinded by jealousy.
If there was a God he should take Rhett instead and have him pay for his sins and all the times he had wronged Scarlett for his damned pride. As Rhett cradled his wife in his arms waiting for the doctor to arrive, the past few minutes replayed in his mind on a sick loop. The hate and terror in her green eyes. The gut-wrenching scream as she fell down the stairs. The grotesque crack when she hit the ground. That horrifying sound still echoed in his head and Rhett knew it would haunt him to the grave.