Author's Note – Hey everybody! Thank you for all your views, comments, and for most of all, your patience in getting this story written. I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the chapter will be up before the end of February. (Not really good news for some of you but it's currently the best I can do. I'll tell you why). The bad news is that I am out of chapters to post (after the next chapter). I still have plenty of ideas and notes written down. This past holiday season, I've spent some time trying to complete at least one more major storyline. Don't worry, I'm having fun writing. I do plan on keeping my schedule intact! But I just wanted to alert you guys of my situation.
Chapter 42 - Don't mind me; I'm Just Here to Help
Kelly is sitting in bed working on her laptop. Papers are scattered all over her bed.
Her cellphone rings.
Not seeing who is calling, she takes the phone and answers it.
"Hello?" asked Kelly who continues working.
"Kelly? Hi, it's Brenda," replied Brenda, which catches Kelly's attention.
Kelly looks hesitant as she does not know what to say.
"Hey Brenda. How are you?" asked Kelly with a worried look on her face.
"I'm doing great. How are you?" asked Brenda.
"I'm ok. What's up?" asked Kelly.
"Well, I've tried calling both you and Brandon for over a week now. And I haven't heard anything back from you guys," replied Brenda.
"I'm sorry; I've just been busy," explained Kelly.
"And what is Brandon's excuse?" asked Brenda as a joke.
"I dunno; why don't you ask him?" replied Kelly with a sad look on her face.
"Don't mind if I do. Is he there?" asked Brenda.
"No, he's working late," lied Kelly.
Brenda doesn't answer right away.
"Kel, I know that he quit his job," said Brenda.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I meant to say that he's still out looking for work," said Kelly.
"Is he close to finding something?" asked Brenda.
"No, he's doing his best to look for something he wants to do," replied Kelly.
"Well, it doesn't matter. He's found you again and that's all that matters, right?" asked Brenda.
"I guess so," replied Kelly.
"You don't sound too happy. Are you ok?" asked Brenda.
"I'm fine. I'm just tired. It's getting late," replied Kelly.
"Well, ok...so when are you guys free so I can come and visit?" asked Brenda.
"I don't know. I'm swamped and I know that Brandon is trying nonstop to find a job," replied Kelly.
"Oh ok. How's the wedding preparations coming along?" asked Brenda.
"It's going good," replied Kelly.
"Have you guys set a date?" asked Brenda.
Kelly gets a little teary.
"No, we're thinking sometime next year," replied Kelly closing her eyes.
"Kelly, are you ok?" asked Brenda who senses something is wrong with Kelly.
"I'm fine," replied Kelly.
"Kel, seriously...what's wrong?" asked Brenda.
"You can tell me," added Brenda.
Kelly had not planned on telling Brenda anything. She didn't want Brenda to feel sorry for her. She didn't want Brenda to think the wrong way and assumed that that she was having an affair with Dylan. But most of all, she didn't want Brandon to know that she told Brenda. However, a part of her wanted to pour her heart out to someone. She wanted closure. She wanted someone to sympathize how much pain she is going through. More importantly, she wanted Brandon back. As much as she didn't want to involve more people into this, especially Brenda, she knew that she would be a big help in getting Brandon to come home to his family.
"If it's too personal, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to, Kel. I didn't mean to pressure you," apologized Brenda.
Kelly is quiet for a few moments.
"I didn't mean to hurt him. I was only trying to help," said Kelly.
"What happened?" asked Brenda.
"It all started after Brandon left his job. He became very depressed and difficult. He didn't want to spend any time with me or Sammy or anybody. Things got worse when Dylan told him that he couldn't be his best man and that he was going to be busy to come to the wedding," replied Kelly.
"Wow, I had no idea. But why would he be mad at you?" asked Brenda.
"Shortly afterwards, Dylan called and wanted to come and take us out for dinner...to make things better. Brandon was too angry to want to see him so he said no. I tried to get him to change his mind but he refused to. I couldn't bear to see Brandon so miserable so I decided to meet with Dylan at his hotel room to try to get him to come to the wedding. Of course, I didn't tell Brandon. After much persuasion, Dylan agreed to come to the wedding. Dylan was supposed to call Brandon afterwards and tell him the good news. But when I got home that night, Brandon told me that he saw us at the hotel. I tried to explain but he was too hurt to listen. That night, he left and went to Steve and Janet's," replied Kelly.
"I see...," said Brenda sinking in the whole story.
"Brenda, please know that Dylan and I just talked. We didn't do anything else," explained Kelly.
"It's ok. Dylan and I aren't together. He's free to be with whoever he wants," said Brenda sadly.
"Bren, it's not like that. I was there as a friend. We just talked. I love Brandon too much to hurt him," said Kelly.
Brenda is quiet for a few moments.
"Brenda?" asked Kelly seeing if Brenda is still there.
"Yeah, I got that. I know you love him," replied Brenda finally replying to Kelly.
"I do," said Kelly.
"Well, when was the last time you two spoke?" asked Brenda.
"The day that Sammy ran away," replied Kelly.
"What?" asked Brenda surprised.
"Don't worry. He's back safe and sound. Thank god. But he thought he had something to do with the breakup and ran away. Brandon and I talked to him and he seems to be ok now," replied Kelly.
"Even after this, Brandon left again?" asked Brenda.
"Yeah. I guess this is just really tough on him," replied Kelly.
"No, that's no excuse. He's abandoning his family," said Brenda.
"Brenda, it's not like that. He still calls every night to speak with Sammy," said Kelly.
"But not to you?" asked Brenda.
"Not really. He doesn't seem like he wants to talk to me anymore," replied Kelly.
"Have you tried calling him?" asked Brenda.
"No, I think it's best to just give him his space. He'll come back when he's ready," replied Kelly.
"You know it's not my place to say but you use to say the same thing about Dylan," said Brenda.
"This is different," said Kelly.
"How so?" asked Brenda.
"Because...because Brandon is only in Santa Cruz. It's not too far away," replied Kelly.
"What's stopping him from leaving the state? Or the country?" asked Brenda.
"Brenda, he just needs time. I have faith in him that he'll be back," replied Kelly.
"Do you want me to talk to him?" asked Brenda.
"No, thanks but I would rather have him not know about me telling you," replied Kelly.
"You sure? I could really help you," asked Brenda.
"No, this is between me and Brandon. I think it's best for us to solve it ourselves," replied Kelly.
"I hope you're right, Kel," said Brenda.
"Me too," said Kelly.
"Let me know if you change your mind," said Brenda.
"I will," said Kelly.
"Good night, Kel," said Brenda.
"Good night," said Kelly.
They hang up the phone.
Still holding the phone, Kelly thinks for a moment. She looks down and at the phone and starts to dial a number. Before letting it ring, she turns off the phone.
She gathers her papers from her work and put it on her nightstand.
She gets out of her bed and pulls out a box from under the bed. She puts the box onto the bed and gets back on the bed.
She takes the cover of the box off. We see a bunch of photos inside. She takes a stack of photos out and starts to go through them. We see post-it notes on some of the photos. One of the photos shows Brandon and Kelly in a deep kiss with the note saying "Reunited at last." We also see a photo of them holding each other with a note saying "True love never ends." She continues to flips through some of them and continues to smile.
When she finished her first stack of photos, she reached in the box and grabbed another stack of photos. The photo on top of the stack caught her attention as her smile starts to disappear. The photo shows Brandon, Kelly, Lauren, and Michael. Kelly has a sad look on her face as she recalls what had happened to Lauren. She had remembered how Lauren was a single mother just like herself trying to make a living and survive and how she died tragically before getting to start her new life. Even though it's not under the best circumstances, it made her situation with Brandon not so tragic compared to Lauren and Michael's relationship.
She starts to going through the photos but stops when she sees a photo of Brandon and Lauren together. On the photo, Lauren is holding a framed copy of her first newspaper article. Kelly remembered how Brandon was fond of her and how he couldn't stop talking about her. While she didn't think of much of it at the time but now that she's alone, she can't help but wonder what would've happened if Lauren had stayed and survived. Even though she had no doubt that Brandon loved her, she can't help but feel somewhat jealous of Lauren. Kelly recalled how depressed and sad Brandon was after Lauren died. She also remembered how Brandon wondered if there was anything he could've done to save her, even if it meant be unfaithful to Kelly. This feeling brought shivers down Kelly's spine. She quickly dismissed the stack of photos without going through all of them. She puts closes the box of photos and placed the box back on the floor.
She turns off the lights, closes her eyes, and tries to go to sleep.
Steve is walking to his driveway holding a cordless phone with him. He sees Brandon washing his corvette and walks towards him.
"Hey Brandon, why don't you take a break? You got a phone call," said Steve.
"Who is it?" asked Brandon.
Steve hands him the phone and doesn't reply.
"Steve, who is it?" asked Brandon who looks impatient.
"Don't worry, it's not Kelly," replied Steve walking away.
"This is Brandon," said Brandon as he answers the call.
"Why if isn't my long lost brother who finally has time to answer the phone," said a familiar voice.
"Hey Bren," said Brandon who looks a little relieved.
"Hey Brandon, enjoying your time away from home?" asked Brenda.
"Well, it's not so much as enjoying the home as looking for one," replied Brandon.
"Why don't you trying going back to the home where your family lives?" asked Brenda.
"Been talking to Kelly, haven't you?" asked Brandon.
"Yeah, only because I was trying to find you," replied Brenda.
"I've just been busy," said Brandon.
"Yeah, apparently so is Kelly because that's the same lame excuse she gave me," said Brenda.
"Bren, do us a favor and just stay out of this, ok? We're just going through some stuff," said Brandon.
"Again, that's exactly what she said," said Brenda.
"So we agree that you stay out of it," said Brandon.
"Brandon, I care about you both," said Brenda.
"I know you do...so how is Kelly doing?" asked Brandon.
"You left her...how do you think she feels?" asked Brenda.
Brandon stays quiet.
"She's heartbroken, Brandon," said Brenda.
"Did she say that?" asked Brandon.
"No, but she might as well," replied Brenda.
"Good because that's exactly how I felt when I saw her with Dylan," said Brandon.
"Brandon, it was only a hug. They just talked," said Brenda.
"How do you know that, Bren? You weren't there," said Brandon.
"No, I wasn't. But I believe her. And if you love her, you would too," said Brenda.
"I do believe her, Bren," said Brandon.
"Then, what's the problem?" asked Brenda.
"The problem is that I'll always assume the worse when it comes to those two. And is that a relationship worth being in?" asked Brandon.
"Wow, I didn't know you thought that way," replied Brenda.
"Well, I do. Dylan is one of my best friends. Even after this, he still is. And I love Kelly with all my heart. But for right now, it's just too difficult for me to go back and pretend that everything is ok when it's really not," said Brandon who looks a little angry.
"But you have to go back eventually," said Brenda softly.
"Not yet, I don't," said Brandon.
"You didn't tell mom and dad, did you?" asked Brandon.
"No," replied Brenda.
"Thanks...look Bren, I gotta go," said Brandon.
"Ok...but just tell me that you're gonna think about going home," said Brenda.
"There's not a minute that goes by that I don't...but ok, I will," said Brandon.
"Bye Brandon," said Brenda.
"Bye Bren," said Brandon.
They hang up the phone.
Brandon stood still as he thinks about her conversation with Brenda.
Brandon looks at the time. It reads 11am. He walks over to the couch and sits down. He takes out his cellphone and starts to dial.
The phone starts to ring. It rings three times without an answer. Brandon opens his mouth and is about to speak when he gets interrupted.
"Hello?" asked Kelly.
"Hey, it's me," replied Brandon surprised that Kelly's home at this time of day.
"Hi," said Kelly.
"I didn't expect you to be home. I was just gonna leave a message on the machine," said Brandon.
"I'm sorry to disappoint you. You can leave a message on the machine if you like," said Kelly.
Realizing that Kelly is mad at him, he decides to back off.
"No, that's fine. I just wanted to check on Sammy, Silver...and you," said Brandon.
"We're fine. Thanks for calling," said Kelly.
"Yeah, no problem," said Brandon.
They stay quiet for a moment.
"Look Kel, I know you're mad and hurt right now. But I think that you should give our arrangement some time and you'll know that this is for the best," said Brandon.
"How is this best arrangement for us? You being away from your home," asked Kelly.
"It just is," replied Brandon not knowing what to say.
"What kind of answer is that? I only loved you and wanted what's best for you," said Kelly.
"It's hard to explain. I wish you know how I'm feeling," said Brandon.
"Brandon, I'm not physic. Why don't you just tell me what you're feeling," said Kelly.
"I just don't want to assume the worst whenever I see you and Dylan together," said Brandon.
"Oh, again with the assuming...Brandon, can you tell me exactly why you left? Because this assuming crap isn't cutting it. Your son is here. Your family is here. I'm here. If someone should be assuming, it should be me," said Kelly who is getting teary.
"What are you assuming?" asked Brandon confused.
"How did you think I felt when I saw how close you were with Lauren?" asked Kelly.
"Nothing happened between me and Lauren," defended Brandon.
"I know...but since you were constantly talking about her, it was hard at first for me not to picture the two of you together. But after the accident, I had to look past it," said Kelly.
"I never knew you felt that way," said Brandon.
"I did. A part of me always wished that I can be a writer too so that we could've worked together," said Kelly.
"You don't have to do that. I still love you the way you are right now," said Brandon.
"Brandon, don't say that," said Kelly.
"What? That I love you?" asked Brandon.
"Yes," replied Kelly.
"Why?" asked Brandon.
"Because if you do, you'll be here with me...and with Sammy...and with Silver. But you're not," replied Kelly.
"I just need my space; that's all. Everybody's entitled to that," explained Brandon.
"I know. But did you have to leave your family to have your space?" asked Kelly.
"I was just afraid that if I stayed, then we'll be fighting all the time," replied Brandon.
"But then why are we fighting now when we're so far apart from each other?" asked Kelly.
"I dunno," replied Brandon.
"Brandon, it also hurts when you don't believe me when I told you that nothing happened between me and Dylan. It hurts...," said Kelly who suddenly gets interrupted by Brandon.
"Whoa...wait a minute," said Brandon cutting Kelly off midsentence.
"No, you wait a minute...Please let me finish," said Kelly.
"Ok, I'm sorry. Go ahead," said Brandon who looks scared.
"Thank you. It hurts that you're telling me that you love me but you're holding onto the assumption that's keeping us apart. Instead of trusting me when I tell you that you're the only man for me, you would rather believe this ill conception that I'd rather be with Dylan than you," said Kelly.
"What you thought I did may have hurt you but what you're doing to me right now is even worse," added Kelly.
"Kel, I didn't mean to blame you...that just happened. I'm sorry," said Brandon.
"I'm sorry too. I'm sorry that we can't work this out," said Kelly.
"Me too," said Brandon.
"I don't think you should call here anymore," replied Kelly.
"C'mon Kel, you don't mean that," said Brandon.
"Yes, I do. This is not good for Sammy," said Kelly.
"Regardless of what we're going through, I'm still his father. He seems fine," said Brandon.
"Really? How do you know he's fine? Did you based that on the 20 minutes that you speak to him a day? Because I have hours of data that tells me that he's not fine. He's hurt, Brandon. He keeps asking why his dad is there and not with your family. What am I supposed to tell him?" asked Kelly.
"I've told him that he's visiting Steve and Janet," replied Brandon.
"That may work for you but I don't have the heart to lie to him anymore. He deserves to know the truth that his you do not want to be a part of this family anymore," said Kelly.
"Don't you get it, Brandon. There's only so much I can say to him. I can't keep telling him that you're eventually going to come back when you're not. And you can't either. I remember telling him the same thing about Dylan. But Sammy's older now. He's not a baby anymore," added Kelly.
"I still love him...and you too. You believe me, right?" asked Brandon.
Kelly doesn't answer right away.
"No," replied Kelly who gets really teary.
Brandon starts to get teary too.
"Brandon, I'm sorry. I've been thinking about this and maybe you should just start over. Maybe we both should. Maybe the past is just too much for us to forget," said Kelly.
"What do you mean by start over?" asked Brandon.
"It means we should explore our options and hope for the best," replied Kelly.
"Is this something that you want?" asked Brandon.
Kelly doesn't answer right away.
"I don't know. But I guess we won't know unless we try," replied Kelly.
"For how long?" asked Brandon.
"For as long as it takes," replied Kelly.
"Brandon, I gotta go...bye," said Kelly.
"Bye," said Brandon who slowly hangs up the phone.
Kelly hangs up the phone. She wipes the tears off his eyes and takes a moment to calm herself.
Later that afternoon we see that Brandon is on the couch. The lights are turned off and the house is silent. He looked distracted and disturbed as he keeps replaying his conversation with Kelly in his mind. He went through several emotional changes. First, he was still getting over the fact that Kelly agreed to break up. Second, he didn't think he would take it so hard. Third, he's wondering if this is really over. Was Kelly serious about breaking up? Did she say we were broken up? What kind of options did she want me to explore? Does she expect me to go out with somebody else? Is she really going to go out with somebody else? The truth is that he never meant for this to go this far. He never meant this as a punishment for Kelly. Of course, he never told her that. Instead he just felt caught up in his anger. Now, it looks like his anger has gotten the best of him. For the first time in this situation, he's scared. He's scared of losing Kelly and Sammy, and everything that has meant so dear and sacred to him.
To be continued…