This is an extra epilogue I did to complete Cal's story. It's rather dark and tells the sad ending of Cal's life. I felt it was something I needed to do and so, I did. For those who don't want any sadness to marr the 'feel good feeling' of the last epilogue, you can stop here, otherwise, read on. Thanks for all the reviews, thanks for all the encouragement and most of all thanks for taking the time to read my little story. You are all the greatest... much love,
It was raining…
The dark sky crackled with ferocity as a bolt of lightening split the air. Caledon Hockley hardly noticed it as he stood in front of the fireplace, staring absently down into the flames, which popped and hissed around the logs in an almost hypnotizing way.
Years of drinking had taken their toll on him. A few silver hairs were woven through the dark hair around his temples and deep lines creased his once handsome face. He was no longer the suave, charming young man he had been, but he was a broken and empty man… a shell of his former self.
In his hand he held what was most likely the end of his fortune, the one thing he had left. It was gone now, or it may as well have been. He had lost it all in a matter of days. His bloodshot eyes moved down to stare at the thin slip of paper that he had received from his investment firm. The lump in his throat was so huge he could hardly find enough energy to swallow. With a defeated sigh, he let go of it, letting it float down onto the floor with a small flutter where it landed quietly.
Stiffly and slowly he walked over to his desk and sat down behind it. He stared down at the desk. It had been his grandfather's and his father's before him. Great men, all of them. He was ashamed to place himself in their category now. They had done great things and what had he done? What had he done besides ruin everything he had ever touched?
Bitterness, like sour gall, rose in his throat when he thought of all the disasters in his life. One by one they came before him, haunting him like so many ghosts. Once, he had everything a man could ever desire, now he had nothing… and no one. He was alone. His father had died two years before and his mother had moved to Europe to live out the remainder of her days, citing that Philadelphia held too many memories.
He rarely saw his children, Catherine and Nathaniel. They were fifteen now and were too busy to visit with him. He supposed he could place that blame on his shoulders as well. He could have made time for them, but had not. When they were younger he had tried to find time for them, but months would pass before he would see them and it had sometimes stretched into a year at a time. He was ashamed of that, yes, but that was neither here nor there now. What was done was done.
Olivia… pain he had tried to keep buried deep within him surfaced when he thought of her name. Time had a way of healing some wounds, but not always. She had been married to his former valet (he still couldn't bring himself to utter his name) for some years now after their messy and nasty divorce was final. She had ultimately won custody of their children and her freedom. He would have never thought it possible, but in the end, Olivia had been the one to truly find happiness while he had never attained it. Not since Rose…
He released a long, deep breath and closed his eyes. He was tired. He was so tired of his life, of everything in his life being wrong. It had been wrong for a long time and now he had nothing worth living for. He felt defeated and useless.
Cal sat for a moment and then he slid a creamy, thick piece of paper from the stack on his desk. It was boldly emblazoned with his name across the top in gold lettering. He lifted the pen from its holder and began to write.
When you hear the news of this, I'm sure you will have many questions and will wonder what to tell our children. I wish I could give you the answers, but I have none to give. I am a man who has many regrets, but life does repeat itself and so I must live with the consequences of my actions. I have nothing now and perhaps that is fitting… perhaps I never deserved happiness at all. I am truthfully remorseful for all that I have done, but it somehow it is not enough. I must atone for my sins in the only way I know how.
What I have left that is of any monetary value, I give to my children. It is all I have to offer them. Tell my son to carry his name proudly and honorably. I am truly sorry for everything.
When he finished the letter, he folded it neatly and slid it into a matching envelope. In bold script, he wrote Olivia's name across the front. Then, he opened the drawer in front of him and peered down into it, looking at the small, black handgun he kept there. He lifted it, feeling the weight of it in his hand. He knew what he must do now. The empty, barren feeling that he had carried around with him would soon be gone. He blinked the tears away, it was too late for that anyway. He lifted the revolver to his mouth, pulled back on the trigger with slow, agonizing momentum. Closing his eyes, he swallowed once. It would soon be over…