Felicitations, my darling readers! I am so thrilled by the intelligent dialogue between my commentators. I enjoy them immensely ! Before I begin this chapter, let me first explain my thoughts on my adaptations of the characters (which sadly do not belong to me …. If only, though…) in this story. The Rhett Butler portrayed in the film by Clark Gable was a far cry from the megalomaniac that is featured in the book. In the novel, he toys with Scarlett. He confuses her and when she acts out in frustration, he laughs at her. Several times in the book, he threatens her with physical violence and insults her in the deepest ways possible by flaunting his mistress in her face. And for all the times he calls her a child, saying she was crying for the moon, the moment she tells him that she loves him, he leaves her. NoT so dashing and romantic if you ask me.

My modern adaptation of the story takes us father down the road; several years after their last literary conversation. Scarlett and Rhett are older and have been together over two decades. They have three more kids together and face the daily struggles that come from raising a blended family. As she was for MM, Scarlett is the heroine in this story. For a character written almost one hundred years ago, Scarlett O' Hara is as much as a female icon as she was back then, and this is her story. Please read on and leave copious comments for me! I love them!

So, without future adieu …...

Her husband was many things, but a rapist he was not. This much she knew.

She watched these women, looked at their pained faces, screwed up with emotion, and felt nothing. Not a flicker of anger. Not a surge of trepidation. Not a single empathic reaction. She felt nothing. "Scarlett. Scarlett, can you hear me?" Rhett was next to her. She could hear him, smell him even. But even his voice could not pull her from the abyss her mind had retreated to.

"I never raped those women. Please tell me you believe me. Honey look at me. You don't think I did that, do you? Scarlett, please."

Her voice was shallow when she spoke, even-toned and almost robotic. "Melly"

"Melly?"

"I wish I could talk to Melly."

STWSTWTW

"I have something to tell you." Melanie told her as she picked the olives from the greasy slice of pizza before her. She and Scarlett were spending their Saturday morning attending a birthday party at Chuck- E – Cheese. A place labeled by Scarlett to be the seventh circle of hell. "I hope it's that you've finally agreed to be my accomplice in setting this place on fire." Scarlett looked around her in disgust. The screaming children, the over-eager employees, the loud ringing of the games. She hated this place. She FUCKING hated this place.

Melly held out a pepperoni to Ella. She grabbed it with her pudgy little hands and sucked on it greedily. "I think India is seeing Frank. I think…. they're dating."

Scarlett laughed. "Good riddance! I don't know who I should feel sorry for, him or her?" Ella threw down her sippy cup. This was a new game Ella had invented. She seemed to enjoy watching her mother repeatedly bend down to pick up her discarded items.

"You're taking this a lot better than I thought you would. I was all set to have to corral you back from murdering my sister-in-law."

Wiping the lip of Ella's sippy cup with a baby wipe, she placed it back in front of her daughter. "No throwing this on the floor, Ella. You're making mommy very angry!" Melanie picked off two more pepperonis and set them on Ella's tray. "Stop giving her the pepperonis, Melly. She's getting it all in her hair. And I know she probably won't be getting a bath this weekend with Frank. Then again, who knows? She might get one regularly now that India is in the picture."

Down went the cup again. "Okay, time to go play." Scarlett lifted her toddler out of the sticky high chair and allowed her walk around the play area on her wobbly little legs. She followed closely behind her daughter in case Ella located any small object and sought to place in her mouth. It was another fun game Ella had created called let's see how much mommy will freak out when I start choking.

"Why are you so mellow?" Melanie stood behind Ella as she climbed up the slide. She was as determined as her mother when she encountered something of interest. Scarlett and Melanie lovingly called it determination, others called it stubbornness. Her little auburn brows were furrowed in concentration as she tried relentlessly to master climbing up the sloping yellow plastic slide from the wrong side. She would make a grunting sound each time she slipped back down; her frilly white socks would not create the needed friction. "Are you seeing someone too?"

Silence.

"You are, aren't you!?"

More silence.

"It's the Captain, isn't it ?!"

"I have no idea what you're talking about." Scarlett's cheeks flushed pink at Melanie's pet name for Rhett. She was the queen of bestowing nicknames. Frank had loathed it when she would call him Francis. Scarlett could have told Melanie this and she would have stopped immediately. She could… if she didn't love watching Frank suffer. It was one of the greatest joys in her life.

"I knew it! I knew there was something going on between the two of you! I could see it in the way you look at each other. Why didn't you tell me?! We do NOT keep secrets like this from each other, Scarlett O' Bitch Face!" The queen of nicknames….

Why had she not told Melly? They shared everything. Even the same man for a time. This was hard for Scarlett to explain to her. It was hard to explain it to herself. It was complicated; this thing between her and Rhett. She wouldn't call them a "couple". They weren't in a relationship. She hadn't been in one of those since Ashley threw her over for Melanie years ago. But they were a something. She certainly liked Rhett. Well, maybe "like" was too strong of a word. Maybe it wasn't strong enough. She certainly didn't love the man. She'd know if she loved him, wouldn't she? Rhett was fun and handsome and a welcome distraction from her nasty divorce from Frank. That was all. If only she could convince herself that it was true.

Just because her divorce was planned in detail even before the "I do's", it did not mean that it was any less complicated. Frank had decided at the last minute to fight her over custody of Ella. The stupid man. Scarlett was livid at his reneging of their agreement. Rhett listened to her complaints and worries. What if he were awarded shared custody!? She couldn't conceive it. He sat though countless tirades where she would curse and scream and wish a slow, painful death on her ex-husband. She even had talked about hiring a hit-man or using the Irish mafia to kill him. Throughout it all, he didn't patronize her or say some of the ignorant things some people told her after her split with Frank. Her friend Cathleen had even told her that she would find love again. Find love again. As if she had ever found it with Frank in the first place. Rhett didn't do any of those things. He just sat there until she was finished, retiring her protestations with exhaustion, and say," Do you feel better now?".

Yes, she liked having Rhett around. He was an ever-present fixture in her life. He had been for a while now, even before the divorce. She felt a little empty when she hadn't had contact with him daily. Her days just went much better if he was around- if she could simply touch him. Sometimes his busy schedule only allowed for a quick conversation over the phone or a text that said: thinking about you. She hated it. It wasn't enough. She would pout and whine over the phone to him, "when am I going to see you again? I miss you." But it wasn't love. Or was it?

Last weekend, with Wade spending the night with Beau and Ella with Mammy, they spent the weekend making love over and over again in an overpriced hotel room that overlooked downtown Atlanta. He was so gentle with her that it almost brought tears to her eyes. For one thing, she hadn't had sex like this in years. Come to mention it, she hadn't had sex that wasn't like this in years either – unless you count the unconscious coupling with Frank that created Ella. Rhett had awoken her body in ways she had never dreamed were possible. He knew exactly what to do, where to touch her, how to bring her to the peaks of pleasure. But this time, he was different than the times beofre. It was something more. It was in the way he touched her face, the way he gently placed kisses on her shoulder as he slipped the silk straps of her negligee down, the way he held her gaze as he moved on top of her. It was more than lust or friendship. But they were just having fun. Casual sex. Harmless. It wasn't going to lead to anything serious or long term, right?

"It's nothing serious Melly. We're just friends."

"You don't have friends. You hate everyone."

"What are you then- my prisoner? My long-suffering vassal?"

"I'm the one exception. You hate everyone else. So, don't try to tell me that you're just friends."

Ella had reached the middle of the slide before slipping down and hitting her lip on the rounded edges at the bottom. She flung herself back in despair. Possibly in pain, possibly in defeat, but more than likely in frustration. Scarlett quickly scooped up her daughter to check for any real damage. Since cutting her front two incisors she was always biting into her bottom lip. She made a mental note to tell Frank this when she dropped her off to him this afternoon. Not as if he would remember. Ella instantly grabbed at the collar of her mother's shirt, seeking out her favorite source of comfort. Unabashedly, Scarlett brought her baby to her breast. Her cries ended immediately. "What?!", she taunted back at the group of older women who looked at her with shock and revulsion.

"How good of "friends" are you with this guy?"

Scarlett shrugged. "I don't know. I guess I just don't want to put some sort of label on it. He's not exactly Mr. monogamy. Sometimes I think he sees me as a sort of flavor of the week thing. One more notch on the bedpost, so to say."

Melanie moved the diaper bag from the top of the booth table and took a seat across from Scarlett. Ella was almost asleep. Her sweet little pink lips sucked at her mother's nipple in lazy movements. Scarlett looked down serenely at her content little girl and brushed a red curl from her forehead. She brought the small dimpled hand, tightly coiled around her index finger, up to her mouth and kissed it. She began unconsciously rocking back and forth, lulling her baby into a deep sleep and herself into a state of relaxation. It was in these moments that Melanie felt the familiar pang of jealousy. If only Ella was hers. She longed for another baby.

"What kind of relationship do you want with him?"

Scarlett kept her head down, her eyes fixed on Ella's puckered lips. "I'm scared, Mel. I'm not exactly known for my good judgement when it comes to men. You of all people should know that. I'm afraid he'll hurt me. This one, Melly. This one … could really hurt me."

"He won't."

"How do you know that?"

"I just do. I'm a very good judge of character."

"Really? Is that why you employ an ex-con to do odd jobs around your house? Do you know he told me last week that 'some women just need killing'?"

"Archie is harmless. And don't overthink this thing with Rhett. It's not complicated at all. It's really very simple, actually. He loves you, Scarlett. He has for years. And I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you're in love with him too."

STWSTWSTW

"Scarlett, please. I need to know you believe me. I would never do something like that."

She thought back to the night Ella had deemed as her rape. That forceful and passionate night so long ago. What Ella had witnessed was the combination of the combustible elements of ecstasy, not rape. She thought of how she had thrilled at their explosive need to feel each other; the desperate removal of their clothes. The frantic fumbling of mouths and hands. She thought about Melly and the way she had trusted Rhett. The way she was so sure of his love for her. No, she didn't for one moment think he raped those women.

"Of course I believe you, Rhett."

STWSTWSTW

Anne gripped her steering wheel at ten and two. She could feel the clamminess gathering beneath her palms. She was nervous. She had barely sat down at her desk this morning when Ross Butler thrust a flash drive in her face and told her to bring it to his brother at his house. "His house?", she had questioned. "Yes. And tell the queen that she can shove it up her ass."

She was shaking as she drove down Peachtree street and down the back roads and secluded alcoves that led to the wealthier part of Atlanta. The closer she came to her destination, the more austere and imposing her surroundings became. A guard came out to check her ID as she entered the private gated community that housed the Butler estate. He smelled of stale cigarettes and sweat. He curled his upper lip as he closely inspected her driver's license and the condition of her old beat-up Acura. He waved her through without a word.

The houses. The houses were huge. But these weren't just houses, though. No, these were mansions. She began to feel contempt for these people and their ostentatious surroundings. How was it fair that these people, probably comprised of the biggest crooks in the county, lived in the lap of luxury while the rest of the world basically existed in squalor. She imagined them all, sitting in their grand dining rooms, gracefully picking at their lobster bisques and foie gras; all the while ignoring the fact that the Mrs. was a massive alcoholic who snorted Jr's inheritance up her nose and that the Mr. was screwing the Puerto Rican nanny every chance he got. The people living below the poverty line weren't Atlanta's depraved. These people were. And Rhett and Scarlett Butler were ones as well.

There was no mistaking which entryway led to the Butler Mansion. It was the largest property in the gated community. Another set of gates separated the street traffic from the estate. The massive ornate gates were framed on both sides by high privacy walls and security cameras. She reached through her window and pushed the red button on the intercom device and said her name. The gates opened to her, revealing the majesty of the house. "This is a house?" It was colossal. She ran her eyes over the marbled exterior; outfitted with turrets and blue slated points. It reminded her a bit of Cinderella's castle in Disney World. She thought that any minute now, the staff from Downtown Abby would be coming out to greet her, with Mickey and Pluto right behind them. Yet, for all its grandeur, there was something about the house that was a bit vulgar. A little too showy. Tacky even. It was a beautiful home, no doubt. But it was cold and imposing.

Leaving her car parked directly in front of the house, she walked up to the front door and rang the bell. She could feel the beads of sweat running down her spine. She looked down at her shoes and began to wish she had chosen a different attire. Suddenly, she felt messy and unkempt.

"Miss Hampton, we've been expecting you. Right this way." The older man ushered her into the grand foyer. It unnerved her that he already seemed to know her name. As if this whole excursion was some sort of ruse to disguise aa more nefarious plan. "Please wait here, miss."

Anne glanced around at her surroundings. The room was large, with high vaulted ceilings that led up to a massive skylight. A grand staircase, framed in rich mahogany and iron, led to the upper levels of the home. At the landing of the stairs was a great mosaic of stained glass depicting a gallant knight, sword drawn high in the air, on his faithful steed.

"Good morning. You'll be Miss Hampton." A sweet-faced lady with kind eyes and her almost white hair pulled tight in a chignon, smiled at her. "I'm Mrs. Fitz, the housekeeper. Follow me please, miss. Mrs. Butler is in the upstairs office." Anne panicked. She didn't want to correct the old matron, but she had to interrupt her, no matter how rude it made her seem. She did not want to converse with Mrs. Butler. "Excuse me, but, I work for Mr. Butler."

"I'm aware of that, Miss. However, you were summoned here by the big boss herself."

Mrs. Fitz guided her to a set of doors and motioned for Anne to enter before her. The room was a hot-bed of activity. People were everywhere; filling the room with body heat and an odor of cigarettes, cologne, and sweat. They were talking on cell phones, sitting at lap tops, talking loudly to each other over the volume of the three television sets that displayed the major news channels. The room itself was very masculine and done in deep reds and purples with brushed brass and leather furniture. The walls were lined wall to wall with hard-backed books and taxidermized animals in various menacing positions. A bar was in the right-hand corner of the room. Expensive bottles of liquor and crystal glassware were artfully placed behind it. This is a man-cave, she thought. A tastefully done man cave. The type that appeared on the pages of GQ and Maxim. She'd expect nothing less from Rhett's home office.

The undeniable centerpiece of the room was a gigantic portrait of Mrs. Butler that covered the expanse between the two picture windows on the back wall. Painted in lush oils, she was encased in an ornate golden frame that glistened in the light. A vison of beauty in her deep green velvet. Her expression was that of disinterest; the same look she often gave Anne. Her chin was slightly lifted in an air of superiority with her perfect aristocratic nose turned up in the air. Her cat-like green eyes were cast downward at an angle that forced whomever would be viewing the portrait to succumb to her majesty. One eyebrow was slightly raised. A closer look of the portrait reveled something more. There was something sensual about her pose. Seductive. Erotic almost. In was in her eyes, the position of her arms, the way she stood, the slight parting of her full lips, the tasteful display of cleavage. There was a reason why this portrait was hidden away in his office. Even though she donned a full-length evening gown, she might as well have been naked. This was private. For his eyes only.

"Anne. Thank you for coming so quickly. Do you have the thumb drive?" Scarlett rushed over to her surrounded by a wave of expensive perfume. She was dressed in a navy-blue boat necked cotton top and wide-legged tan linen pants. Her hair fell in soft, black waves and was tucked behind her porcelain pearl studded ear on one side. Anne was beginning to believe that Scarlett O' Hara was a manifestation of her imagination. She was perfection.

"Rhett is over there on the phone. You may want to ask him if he needs anything from you before I put you to work."

Rhett sat with his shoulders hunched as he whispered into the phone. His usual debonair swagger was replaced by tiredness and angst. His face was puffy and showed a three-day growth of a beard. He looked older somehow. She waited at a respectable distance for him to finish his phone call. The call wasn't about anything pleasant, that she knew for sure. His face was tense as he spoke, forcefully pointing at the air with his forefinger. He tossed the phone on the table in front of him and pinched the skin between his eyes before placing his head in his hands.

"Excuse me, Mr. Butler, but do you need me to do anything for you?".

He ran his hand through his hair, smoothing the greasy grey strands into place. "No, go help Scarlett." She noticed that his voice trembled a little as he spoke. "I'm beyond help."

Anne returned to Scarlett and stood in silence as she waited for her orders. She fingered the knob on the thumb drive, pushing it open and closed. Suddenly, Anne understood what the housekeeper was talking about when she said that Scarlett was the 'big boss '. It was obvious that she was the one in charge here. She gave the orders; clear and concise orders that she expected to be followed. No excuses. She had a cell phone pressed up to her ear by her shoulder while she typed up elaborate formulas on a lap top that she had precariously placed on her knee, the gigantic diamond on her left hand twinkling in the sunlight. A man walked up to her with a document and a pen. He pointed to the signature line without saying a word.

"One second, Uncle Henry. No. Fix these terms and then I'll sign it. Wait, come back. Call the office and get me Beau on the phone." The frazzled man punched in the numbers and held the phone to her other ear.

"I thought you said it wouldn't come to this and that we could settle? I don't want to go to court. I don't know why he's being so relentless, Uncle Henry. Isn't that your job to fund out ?!", she said into one phone.

"Beau, you'll need to get three proposals ready for the state. I'll try and get to the office tomorrow to finalize them before the meeting", she said to the other.

Anne was in awe.

"All set?" Scarlett asked as she handed the lap top to the man beside her. "Follow me. "

She led Anne through a side door that opened into another office, this one feminine in décor. Clearly hers. She took the drive from Anne and shoved it into the MacBook sitting on the pale white Louis XVI desk. This office was less imposing than Mr. Butler's. The impeccable nature of his office made it seem unreal, almost as if it were a film set or photo backdrop. This office, on the other hand, was clearly used- a working office. Toys and papers were strewn across her desk with bank statements shoved between toy cars and action figures. A long-forgotten cup of coffee sat amid the spreadsheets and documents. The artwork that lined the walls were not priceless masterpieces or erotic portraits but were snapshots of her loved ones. She recognized Beau's mother in a few of them. There was no bar in here, but there was a trainset. You wouldn't be able to locate any hard-covered books on philosophy or ancient history on her shelves but would find numerous Madeline picture books as well as books on autism and dyslexia. There were no leather sofas in here, no brushed brass or velvet rugs. But, there was a dog bed, covered in dog hair and filled with a massive St. Bernard, under her desk and a little chair painted with a clock face that said time- out on the seat positioned in the corner.

Scarlett Butler was human after all. She was a busy, hard-working mom, juggling a busy career with a hectic family life. Anne was liking her more and more. "I want to be you when I grow up", she thought.

"What was that?" Anne panicked. Did she say that out loud?

"Mom, I looked through all of the files from '02 to today. Nothing." A pretty, red- headed young woman, not much younger than Anne, walked in the room.

"Anne, this is my daughter, Ella." Anne smiled an offered her hand for pleasantries to be exchanged with the red-haired beauty with the same piercing green eyes as her mother.

"I didn't think you would. I have the files from '99 to '02 here. I had to get them from Ross because they were mysteriously erased from Rhett's hard drive."

"I wonder how that happened?"

Scarlett raised her eyebrow at her daughter's sarcastic comment. "Damn-it, Forest! Go lie down. Ugh, this dog!" She pushed the massive dog that was drooling in her lap out of her way.

"Ever since the two of you became drinking buddies, he loves you the most, mom."

Anne watched as Ella moved to her mother's side of the desk. Both sets of green eyes were hyper-focused on whatever was appearing on the screen. "There." Scarlett turned the laptop toward Anne. "I need you to locate any type of contact that Butler enterprises had with either Sandra Orset or Mary-Faith Castellion during this time frame. Any contact at all. Comb through this for anything. I don't care if it is a chain letter. Nothing is too small to not be recorded."

Rhett swirled the whiskey in glass, purposely avoiding the piercing gaze of his wife's grand portrait. He had to tell her. She would find out for sure. He was stupid to hope that the files would be gone forever. That he could hide this from her. He should have known that Scarlett would have found them. She was like a dog with a bone when she wanted something. She wanted those files and she would get them. She would read them all. All those emails. All the terrible things he had said, all the awful things he had said about her. He had to tell her. He had to accept whatever consequences there would be. Even if it cost him everything. Even if it cost him … her.

He solemnly walked through the door into her office like a lamb to the slaughter. Or maybe not a lamb. Lambs were innocent. He was guilty. There was nothing innocent about him. There never was. For an instant, he wished he had never laid eyes on her. That he had never been mesmerized by her furious temper and jade-hued eyes. They both could have had much simpler and pain-free lives if they had never met. She probably would be married to Ashley by now, raising a brood of blonde haired babies. Maybe Melanie would even still be alive. One thing was for sure. Without her, he would have drank himself to death long ago.

"Pet, can I talk to you for a minute?" Anne saw how Scarlett's daughter closed her eyes in revolution at the nickname Rhett had for her mother.

"Run along, little pet. Be a good kitty now."

Scarlett stood from her chair. "That's enough, Ella. I can't handle your attitude right now. Please. Give it a rest. "

STWSTWSTW

Rhett closed the door behind her as they entered the master suite. She laid the papers she was holding on their bed and sat on the plush chaise near the fireplace. "What's wrong?"

"Those women. I never raped them, I swear on the kids' lives."

"I know. I believe you. I've already told you this, Rhett."

He took a deep breath and sat on the edge of the bed facing her. "I did have a relationship with them, though.

STWTSWTSW

Bonnie burst in her mother's office wearing riding breeches and holding her crop under her arm. "Where's the tyrant? I need to ask her something."

Anne smiled up at her. "Bonnie! It's so nice to see you again."

Bonnie smiled back in a nervous smile. Her pulse was racing. She wondered if Anne knew about her and Beau, about all the kissing and fondling they had done in the past week. How he met her almost everyday at the stables, watching her ride and then devouring her mouth in delicious savagery afterwards.

"You two know each other?"

"Yes. Anne is a friend of Beau." A friend. That's all he called her. Nothing more.

Anne laughed a little before clarifying Bonnie's description of her relationship with Beau. "Beau is actually my boyfriend"

Even though Ella was filled with anger at her step—father and frustration at the way her mother jumped at his command, she couldn't help but notice the pallor in her little sister's face in that very moment.

STWSTWSTW

Tingling numbness shot through her body. 'Not again', she thought. "What kind of relationship, Rhett? Sexual?"

"Scarlett."

"When? During our marriage?"

He said nothing, letting his silence speak for him.

"So, you lied to me. For years, you lied to me. You said it was only Belle you cheated with. How many more women did you fuck throughout our marriage, Rhett? Five? Ten? Twenty?" There was a ringing sound filling her ears. Images of her husbands screwing numerous faceless women flashed before her eyes leaving her feeling dizzy. She wondered how many times he had went directly from her bed to the bed of some whore. Did he screw them in her house? In her bed? She felt sick. How many people knew about this? Isn't it always the wife who was the last to know? Had they all known about Rhett's adulterous liaisons , whispering amongst themselves about poor Mrs. butler? Scarlett Butler: the stupid, little wife who had no clue about what her husband was doing on those long business trips and late nights at the office. How many more women would come forward identifying him as being their once lover?

"Scarlett, please. This was before Cat was born. Before things between us changed. I'm so sorry. I love you so much. I'd die before ever even thinking about doing something like that again. Baby, please look at me."

Scarlett eyed the glass orb that sat on the table beside her. It was supposed to be an anniversary present for Rhett fourteen years ago. Their marriage was in deep trouble. Scarlett wanted to get him something special for Rhett this year, something that showed him that she still loved him and was committed to their marriage. But what to get the man who has everything? She thought about things that Rhett liked and decided on a piece of art. He certainly cherished that portrait of her hanging in his office. She was very apprehensive about selecting the perfect piece for him. He had always mocked her taste. He called their home an architectural monstrosity and her beloved Tara a white elephant. She would have to select something with care if she wanted him to like it. As she searched for inspiration and ideas, she remembered his excitement once at a gallery opening for blown glass artwork. He was amazed at the intricacies and the details that went into making each piece. She had been bored to tears and wished she were home watching Who wants to be a millionaire.

She commissioned the leading artist in glass blowing, Dale Chihuly, to create a custom- made piece that matched the color of her eyes. Rhett loved her eyes and always commented on how beautiful they were. She went to an ophthalmologist to have him scan her irises to isolate the individual stands of green and then sent the colors to Chihuly. The finished work was a perfect masterpiece. The precise orb contained ribbons of glass in numerous shades of green. It was worth every penny. She was thrilled with the result and overflowed with child-like anticipation at giving it to Rhett.

On the morning of their anniversary, she couldn't wait to give it to him. As soon as the sun shone through the windows of her bedroom, she ran through the halls of their home to find him; the orb wrapped delicately in expensive paper. He was eating breakfast alone in the formal dining room, so absorbed in the newspaper, that he did not even notice she had entered the room.

"Happy anniversary, honey" she said cheerfully as she held the present behind her back.

He folder the paper and looked at her with blood-shot eyes. "It is our anniversary, isn't it? You'll forgive me for not remembering. Our haste union isn't exactly something to be celebrated."

Rhett could see that she was disappointed, maybe even hurt. But this little act of hers no longer fooled him. He knew that her crestfallen appearance wasn't because he "forgot" their anniversary, she lacked the emotion to feel that. No, she was upset because she wasn't presented with an expensive Anniversary present. Scarlett was a woman who could be bought with diamonds, shoes, and furs. She didn't feel anything. She didn't love. Anniversaries were like Christmas and birthdays to her: another day to get presents from her husband that she had only married for his money.

"Here", he said reaching into his pocket and pulling out his wallet. He grabbed a fistful of money, well over a grand, and laid it on the table. As he walked away from her, he dolefully called out: "Happy anniversary, darling."

Scarlett held the glass orb in her hand. She felt the weight and cool texture of the blown ribbons of green. She had never given it to him. She couldn't bring herself to do it. It was too beautiful to destroy, so she kept it as a reminder of all they had overcome. Overcome. They overcame nothing. He was still the same. Only she had changed. She was the one who stupidly allowed herself to be manipulated by him. She thought of all the times Rhett had disappointed her throughout their relationship, the times he told her she was stupid and classless, that he knew and had been with prettier women than her, the times he said he didn't love her, that he had never loved her, that he'd married her to keep as a pet, the times he called her a whore and the times he treated her like one. She remembered how she had been left to grieve their baby boy's death on her own; how he had ran away and told her he wanted a divorce right as Melly was dying. She'd never forget the smirk he gave her when she found out about Belle, about who she really was to him. Or the things he said about their unborn baby right before his brief little life began and ended.

"Scarlett, please. Please, say something. I love you, Pet. Believe me."

Pet. A fucking pet. "I married you to keep as a pet."

"You were wrong, Melly", she thought. "He did hurt me. He still hurts me. He's hurt me more than all the others combined. He isn't the person you thought him to be." She looked at him and then back at the Chihuly masterpiece. "It's all been a lie".

With all the strength she could muster, she hurled the heavy glass right into his groin.