Victoria loved Carlton. Communication, common interests, dreams for the future-all of these had been a problem, but love had never been. The first time they'd met, she'd thought he was stiff and boring, but then he'd smiled and his entire face and those gorgeous blue eyes had just lit up and a little voice in her head had whispered, 'This one. This is the one we've been looking for.'
It had been nearly five years since their divorce when she happened to see him from a distance on the beach. He was in civvies-not a suit with slightly more casual shoes, but honest to God casual clothes-and looked more relaxed than she'd seen him since the early days of their marriage. He was talking to two other men, and as she edged a bit closer, she recognized them as the 'psychic duo' that worked for the SBPD. She was too far away to catch their words, but she could see the corners of Carlton's mouth twitching in a barely suppressed smile.
It took a couple of minutes before she saw the little girl approaching them. She was two, maybe three years old, and she was toddling toward the men as quickly as she could without falling on her face. A young woman with the same coloring as the child was a few feet behind her. The woman looked about the same age as the psychics. Victoria assumed one of them must have been the father.
But instead of heading for the younger men, the little girl ran straight to Carlton and threw her short arms around one of his legs. He broke into an actual smile as he lifted the toddler onto his hip and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. And then the woman was on his other side and his free arm was around her waist, and as the two of them leaned into each other, Victoria suddenly couldn't swallow because of the lump in her throat.
The woman was clearly younger and prettier than her, which might have stung her ego a bit more if her entire world hadn't narrowed to her ex-husband and the little girl he was doting on.
He hadn't wanted children. Victoria was certain that he hadn't.
Only, now that she thought about it, she couldn't remember him ever saying or doing anything that would make her think that he didn't.
Only, now that she thought about it, it seemed like by the end most of their fights had really been one person events with her screaming both sides and putting words in his mouth while Carlton just stood there with that angry, confused look on his face until he couldn't take it any more and escaped to the SBPD.
Only, now that she thought about it, excepting their divorce dinner, she couldn't remember the last time Carlton had actually made any sort of effort to tell her what he was feeling or wanted.
He'd wanted to try again, to start over. And while intellectually she knew that no amount of promises to change or second chances would have made them work out in the end, she couldn't help but wonder. What if she had taken him back? What if he had actually been capable of making all those changes he'd promised that night? If she'd just taken the chance, could she have been the one down there with him now? The one making him happy?
Intellectually, she knew. Children weren't a quick fix for a marriage, especially for one as broken as theirs had been. They'd had love, but no real friendship, camaraderie, or even real interest in each other as people. They wouldn't have worked out. If they'd kept trying, it only would have hurt them more.
But still, as she looked at him, with a smile lighting up his face and those eyes, she could hear that little voice again.
'We might have made a mistake.'
Kristin: I haven't done much writing lately and I churned this out in about half an hour, so I know it isn't exactly good. Please be gentle if you review. Constructive criticism would be very appreciated.