I was so lost as to where I was going with this story...but I forced myself to sit down and write some so I could get a new chapter out in a decent amount of time and then all of a sudden the chapter was flowing and then bam it's over...So anyway thanks to everyone so so so much for sticking with my through everything, including my move across the country...I've got ideas floating in my head for a prequel and a sequel to this story so if anyone's interested in either/or let me know and emailing ideas would help me get a new story out fast! Thanks a ton! And stay tuned at the end of the story/chapter to see what I would have in mind for the pre/sequel.
Seth yawns closing the journal that he had spent the last couple hours reading, Summer's pain and trials and joys of being a mother were written across every page. But another thing that completely stood out on the pages was Summer's mental battle over whether or not to tell Seth, and the guilt she felt for keeping Brynn from him. Setting the book on the bedside table of the guest room Seth had been sleeping in he slides his legs over the edge of the bed and stretches, he wouldn't be able to sleep now, he had to much to think about.
Walking into the living room Seth's gaze immediately falls on the low bookshelf that has several books that look like photo albums, and curiously Seth pulls a couple of them off the shelf and settles onto the couch with them. The cover of the first one is inscribed with For Two Very Special Grandparents and opening the first page Seth is faced with a picture of an exhausted and tearful Summer who has Brynn cradled to her closely. The follow pages are all pictures of everyone in the family's first time holding Brynn, the little girl who from pictures of himself as a newborn looks just like her father.
Flipping through those pictures Seth finally settles on a collage of professional pictures with the top heading of One Month Old and all the pictures show a smiling, slightly chubby, curly haired baby in bright spring colors. After that there are pictures at three month intervals some professional and some just candids that captures what Seth had to imagine Brynn must have been like as a baby.
"You're up late," Cherie remarks walking into the living room.
"I was reading and I couldn't sleep, I hope the light didn't wake you."
Cherie shakes her head, "I couldn't sleep either. I thought I'd make myself some tea, would you like some."
Seth thinks for a moment and then nods, "tea would be great, thank you."
Once they are both settles around the table Cherie states, "so Summer told me that you have an adoptive brother."
Seth nods, "the adoptive thing rarely comes up anymore."
Cherie laughs, "she says he was raised in Chino. I bet that through those Newport snobs for a loop."
Seth laughs as well, "yeah, but not as much as when he came back from Chino with a son."
Cherie nods, "that's right, his son. He's about Brynn's age isn't he?"
"A couple months older." Seth sighs and then confesses, "I was going to forgive Summer."
Cherie sets her tea cup back in it's saucer, "but?"
"I read the diary she had me read, and after getting that insight into what her life was like I was ready to forgive her." He sighs again, "but then I was looking at your photo album of Brynn and I realized exactly what I had missed in her life. And now I'm not so sure anymore."
"I know exactly how you feel."
Seth looks surprised, "you do?"
Cherie nods, "of course. I resented Neil so much for keeping Summer away from me for most of her life and I still resented him, even when he let her move in with my while she was pregnant."
"Do you still resent him?" Seth questions.
Cherie shakes her head, "no. That selfish feeling nearly cost me my daughter, because when it came down to it Summer's father had raised her, even if I didn't have a choice in the matter, and she loved him for it. And no matter how thankful she was to me for letting me live with her while she was pregnant Neil was still her Daddy, who had been there to teach her to ride a bike and to kiss her cuts and be there for her first days of school and all those memorable times in a child's life that I had missed."
"So you're saying I should forgive Summer for Brynn's sake?" Seth questions.
Cherie shakes her head, "no. Not just for Brynn's sake, for your sake too because I know my granddaughter and Summer is her entire world and has been in it her entire life. You just walked in one day and told her that you're her Daddy and you've only been that figure to her for a couple milliseconds of her life. If she sees you not getting along with her mother then I can promise you that she's not going to get along with you either."
"I still don't know if I can just forget that I've missed five years of my daughters life...just like you said Summer got to be there to kiss her boo-boos and take her to her first day of school and take her to her first movie."
Cherie nods, "you did miss all of that. And a million other things." If it's at all possible Seth's expression falls even more. "But there are so many things that she's never done, like Brynn has never picked up a comic book, Summer won't let her which I think has something to do with you, and she's never been to California and she's never met your parents. Or on her first date, her first kiss, her first heartache...all these milestones a girl should have an overprotective father for.
"And if you can't make peace with missing the first five years of her life you're never going to be able to forgive yourself for not jumping at the chance to get to know you're daughter. Because, unless your lucky like I was, when she's older she'll want nothing to do with you, Devin's kids don't have anything to do with their mother. You don't want to take that chance, do you?"
Seth sighs deeply, "no, I don't."
Cherie pats Seth's arm, "you're a good guy Seth, you just needed some perspective. I'm going to bed, I'll see you in the morning."
Once Cherie has left Seth pulls out his cell phone, the phone on the other end rings four times before a very groggy sounding Marissa answers, "Seth is everything okay?"
Marissa groans, "then Seth you do know it's 2:30 in the morning right?"
"Yeah...well I didn't know the exactly time...Listen can I talk to Ryan?"
"Yeah," Marissa sighs and hands the phone over.
"What do you need Seth?" Ryan asks.
"I need to talk to you," Seth responds.
"Yeah, kinda got that." Ryan remarks. "Hang on." There's some shuffling and phone switching and a door opening and shutting before Ryan states, "okay, what's going on?"
"Can I ask you something?"
"Yes, what?" Ryan snaps, it's obvious that he's upset about being drug out of bed.
"If you could make things right with your dad or your mom again, would you? Like I mean for not being you let the past be the past?"
"Seth," Ryan's tone softens. "She's only five-years-old."
"I know, I know." Seth states, "call me paranoid but I'm afraid I'll mess up things with Summer when we talk next and that'll mess things up with me and Brynn..so could you answer the question?"
"So what you're asking is if my dad got out of jail today, a free man having proven that he was innocent, could I forgive him for not being in my life?"
Ryan always seemed to shock Seth by being able to figure out the exact conditions of the question he was asking, "yeah."
"No." Ryan responds simply. "A father is someone who is in their child's life no matter what the circumstances are. He doesn't have to be married to the kids mother but he needs to be there to be a good example, that's what I've tried to be for Timothy and that's what you need to be for Brynn."
"So basically what you're saying is don't screw up with Summer tomorrow?" Seth asks.
"Yeah," Ryan audibly yawns on the other end.
"Alright, thanks man, get some sleep." As Seth flips his phone closed he turns around the face Summer, "eavesdropping is rude."
Summer shrugs, "you were talking about me. Besides, it's no eavesdropping if you know the person is standing there." Sitting at the table Summer comments, "so Mom made you tea."
Seth nods, "she's a nice woman."
Summer agrees, "yeah, she's pretty great. Seth I am sorry I kept her from you..."
Seth nods, "I know you are."
"I wish that could be enough, but I know it isn't..." Summer lets out a long breath, "but I have no way to make it up to you."
"Yeah you do," Seth states, "just let me spend time with her and get to know her."
Summer shakes her head, "you can't take her away from me Seth."
"Wasn't planning on it," Seth responds. "I just want to be in her life..."
Summer nods, "of course you can be in her life, I'm not going to stop you from it."
"Are you ready to go home?" Seth asks Brynn, as they, Summer and OJ all sit on the private plane Summer and Seth had flown into Pennsylvania.
Brynn shakes her head, "no I like staying at Grandma and Grandpas."
"I bet you do," Seth agrees, "their house is a lot of fun. So your Mom and I were talking about another vacation for you this summer."
"Really to Grandma and Grandpas?" Brynn asks excitement written across her face.
"No to Grandma Cherie and Grandpa Devin's." Summer explains, "we thought maybe you dad could take you to California to meet your other grandparents, his Mom and Dad."
Brynn turns to stare at Seth in the eyes, "so you're my Dad...for keeps?"
Seth takes Brynn's hand and gently kisses it, "I'm yours, for the rest of your life."
Okay well thanks again for sticking with me...so I was thinking for a prequel it would basically be what Summer's life was when she was pregnant with Brynn and/or after Brynn was born. And the sequel would be everday life (because I must say I agree with Rebecca Franco's review) and/or their trip to California to meet Sandy and Kirsten.