DEALING WITH THE PAST
A/N: A short story I wrote in one sitting. Sad but sweet at the same time. Enjoy
The icy wind pulled at his coat but he ignored it as he strode across the dead leaves and snow for this strange rendezvous.
As he passed the last patch of trees, he halted and stared. She stood there bundled up, arms wrapped around her slim body, trying to keep warm. Her back was to him.
He felt a leaded feeling weigh down his stomach. He dreaded this meeting but knew he couldn't avoid it. How long ago had it been? Too long and time had marched on uncaring of feelings, broken dreams, and a life that was no more.
She seemed to sense him there and turned around slowly. Her dark eyes peered through her bangs of black hair and the hood of her coat that kept the falling snow off her head.
Neither said anything for what seemed like a long time. Finally, he walked slowly forward and stood at her side. Both stared down at the stone at their feet.
A BROKEN HEART TOOK YOU AWAY EARLY
MAY PEACE FINALLY BE YOURS
MAY 19, 2009 - NOVEMBER 4, 2050
"She never stopped loving you even after all that time, despite the breakup. She never dated...just lived to raise me then left me when she thought I could care for myself."
He swallowed the painful lump that had suddenly appeared in his throat. What could he say to that. She had never told him just said goodbye and left him. Choosing his job over her love, he tried to forget what they had but that was impossible now despite her death.
"I didn't know," he said, finally.
Silence. Each in their own thoughts.
"Do you want to ...uh...try to..." he floundered helplessly.
"Maybe...I don't know. I was angry at you...at her...then I just didn't care anymore and went on with my life but...this was her last wish and I couldn't ignore that."
"So...perhaps we could..."
She turned to stare into his tired and distressed eyes, his face so much older now as the weight of his responsibilities weighed heavily on him.
"You still have your career. I don't see you giving that up to spend time with me so why bother."
Her flat, cold statement slammed into his heart and lodged there. So much bitterness. He couldn't blame her though. He had never been there for her so how would being there now make any difference but then he remembered the letter he'd received just days ago. It had been from his love, explaining, begging he forgive her and make the time to get to know the daughter he never knew he had. She had named her Laren.
Staring at that kitten now adult, he could see much of his beloved in that pretty face. How could he deny Hally that last wish.
"It matters to me and it was very important to her..." he began to say.
"Please don't! I don't want your pity nor your feeling of obligation to my mother's memory to make you do something you feel uncomfortable about. It's pointless." Her voice, so like her mother's, bitter and disillusioned.
That struck him hard. He reached out and took her arms in his and made her look into his eyes.
"It's not pity...but it is regret. I loved your mother but she couldn't handle the dangers my job put me in. She never told me about you so I had no idea. However, with the omegas defeated and peace finally come to the city, I thought to retire and just take consulting work, allowing me to have time to pursue things I never had time for. The only reason I hadn't made that decision yet was I had no idea what I wanted to do with my spare time. Puttering around a garden just isn't my thing."
She blinked at him in surprise then laughed suddenly. An image of her stern father messing around in a garden wearing a straw hat and hoe in paw was just too hilarious. She realized at that moment, she really didn't know her father except for what everyone saw on the news.
Glancing down at her mother's grave, she sighed. Perhaps she had been wrong to be so angry. She could feel he was sincere...he really hadn't known so it wasn't his fault. Maybe two lonely people could pick up the pieces and go on.
She looked into his waiting eyes. "Okay, I guess we could try to see if we could make it as father and daughter...if you retire."
He smiled, relief making him feel rather giddy. He had a daughter and she wanted to know him. Hell yes he would retire. "First thing in the morning, I'll serve my retirement papers to the Mayor. How about we go traveling a bit. There's so much I haven't seen."
"Hmm, well since I am presently out of a job that sounds like a wonderful idea. I hate the cold so let's make it somewhere warm."
"I like that idea." He hugged her to his side for the first time and was ridiculously pleased to feel her return the hug.
They gave the grave a final farewell look then walked off together, arm in arm, out of the lonely cemetery.
Behind them a ghostly voice sang with joy. "Good luck, my loves...be happy!"