A/N: Song Title: Help Me Remember /Artist: Rascal Flatts Hope you enjoy this story. It'll more than likely stay as a one-shot.
Brock Hart stretched a clear piece of packing tape across a small brown box before setting it next to him on the floor. He sighed as he stood up from the couch. He smiled sadly when his ex-wife walked into the room with a box of her own. She returned his smile before handing him the box. Silently, he turned around to set it on top of the one at his feet. The woman rubbed her hands together nervously, tears filling her eyes. Brock tried to ignore them, but he could smell the salty water from where he stood in arms distance. "Is that the last of my stuff?" She nodded her head, and darted back into the kitchen before any goodbyes could be made. He released a heavy sigh before running his hands through his hair. He was so tired of making everyone cry, and he prayed by moving to San Antonio he would be putting a stop to it. His family would only see him on occasion, and he believed completely that it would be a good thing.
He shook away his thoughts before heading to the front door with both boxes in his arms. When he reached his vehicle, his middle child was standing by the driver's door. He tensed as he walked past her to set the boxes in the bed of his dark blue truck. "I can't believe you're actually going to leave us like this." Brock rested his forearms on his truck and looked between them at the ground. He sighed again, holding back the pain he felt from seeing his daughter cry.
"Kyra." She shook her head before slamming her hand on the door and turning around to face him. He stood up at the sudden noise, and stared back at her in shock.
"Do you even know what you're doing?" Kyra's glare didn't falter any as she looked at Brock, awaiting an answer. She was angry with his decision, and he wanted to make her feel better about it. He couldn't find a way to do so, though, and he felt his heart breaking a little more.
"We don't love each other anymore. We're divorced now, Kyra, and it wouldn't be right for me to live here. I know what I'm doing, and I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't talk to me like that." Kyra rolled her eyes, her arms crossing over her chest. Her lips pressed tightly together before she shook her head and stormed off. Brock watched as she marched into the house, the front door slamming behind her. He took a deep breath before making his way into the house to find Barbra Jean.
When he found her at the kitchen table, he knocked softly on the door frame. She jumped slightly, and wiped away her tears when she saw him walking towards her. "Is it time?" Her voice was a whisper, and he couldn't find it in himself to answer her with a louder sound so he nodded his head slightly. She nodded her head in response before standing up. "Don't forget to stop by Reba's house. She might be mad at you, but it would kill her if you don't say goodbye." Brock looked away from her, his fights with Reba from the past two weeks running through his mind.
"It'll kill her either way, Barbra Jean. You know how she hates goodbyes…"
"And losing her family." Barbra Jean finished for him, sneaking in a reminder that he would always be a part of this family. "You know, Brock, you don't have to go so far away." Brock took a step away from her, his hands instantly rising into the air.
"Please, don't start, Barbra Jean." She sighed, blowing her bangs out of her face and nodding her head. "Do you mind picking Henry up from his play date and then bringing him and Kyra to Reba's house? I want to say goodbye to everyone at once." Barbra Jean nodded her head, leaving the kitchen quickly. Brock listened as the old living room stairs creaked under her weight, and took one last look around his old kitchen. He would definitely miss this place, and he knew he would miss Reba's place as well. They had both been his home for the past five years, and he knew it would take a long time for his new condo to feel like home, if it ever would.
Brock grabbed the folded electric blue tarp off the kitchen counter, walking back to his truck to cover his moving boxes in case it rained on his trip to San Antonio. As he silently moved around the tail end of his truck, he thought back on all the fights he'd had with Reba.
Two weeks before, the whole family sat in Reba's living room, awaiting the return of their favorite blonde. She had been living in Little Rock, Arkansas for a little over a year now since she'd divorced Brock. They had spent the whole afternoon decorating the house with all kinds of party supplies, and had finally gotten the chance to sit down. Reba and Brock were in the kitchen, finishing the last touches on the party food.
"I'm so excited she's coming home, Brock!" Reba's smile was the biggest he'd seen it in a long time and he couldn't help but smile back at her excitement. "All of my family will back together again. I'm so happy." Brock's smile faltered a bit, knowing he was making plans that would take away this current happiness. He chuckled when Reba took off for the living room at the front door swinging open and Barbra Jean's loud voice echoing throughout the house. He made it into the living room just in time to see Reba attack Barbra Jean with a death hug of her own. "You are not allowed to ever leave me again!"
The family was quiet for a minute before Barbra Jean opened her mouth. "I TOLD you, you would miss me." Reba chuckled as her cheeks shaded with a bright pink. "And I promise to never leave again. I missed you, too, Red." Reba smiled again before rushing into the kitchen, throwing incoherent words over her shoulder. Barbra Jean raised her eyebrows glancing at the other people in the room. "What is she on?" Brock shook his head before greeting his ex-wife and son. Henry happily wrapped his arms around Brock's neck, beginning to tell him everything he could remember about his very long trip.
Later that night, after the party had started and ended, Barbra Jean, Brock, and Reba sat in the kitchen playing one last game of poker. Brock groaned as Reba tossed down her hand, out-doing his three of a kind. He tossed his cards towards Barbra Jean who was laughing at his lost. Reba giggled victoriously as she pulled her winnings to her pile. Brock shook his head as he finished his last beer.
"I had fun tonight, Reba." Barbra Jean said as she shuffled the cards. Reba smiled appreciatively before cleaning their drinks off the table. "I really am glad to be home. I've missed it here." She yawned before stating she'd meet Reba upstairs for their slumber party bedtime routine. She laughed as Reba squealed with excitement before darting back to the table to finish cleaning. It had been awhile since they brushed each other's hair, painted their nails, and gossiped. Brock stared at Reba with a smirk on his face, and tried to hold it when she looked back at him.
"What?" He shook his head, continuing to wrap up the remaining snacks. Reba moved to the island, demanding he tell her what his look had been about. Brock sighed, stopping his actions and looking back at her.
"I never thought you and Barbra Jean would be this close of friends." He shrugged his shoulders before continuing. "I NEVER thought you'd be this happy to have her around either." Reba smiled shyly, shrugging her shoulders as well.
"She's a good person, and well, she's always been there for me since you brought her into our lives. I've grown to love her friendship." Brock nodded his head, leaning against the stove to get a better look at Reba. He crossed his arms, realizing he needed to tell her his news now. He couldn't wait any longer.
"You know, Barbra Jean's gonna be moving back into the house." Reba nodded her head, her gut giving her an uncomfortable feeling about what he would say next. "I'm moving out. It would be weird if we both lived there, and she always has loved that house. It's the least I could do for her…you know…giving her back the house." Reba nodded her head again, slowly her mind was wrapping around what he was telling her. "I found a nice little condo already." He paused, unsure how she was going to take this information. He watched as she smiled, and felt his heart break just a bit.
"Oh, well, that's great, Brock. Where's it at?" She continued to stare at him with her bright blue eyes, her smile growing as she waited. How could he tell her that he was moving four hours away? How could he let that smile fall from her face? He sighed, looking away from her.
"San Antonio…" His voice was distant and quiet, and Reba had to strain her ears to hear him. Brock glanced up at the silence in the room, and frowned when he noticed the frozen smile on her face and the panic rising in her eyes. "Reba…" She held up her hand, her head shaking as her breathing picked up.
"I don't want to hear this…not right now…not tonight…not when I just got everyone back." Reba turned around quickly, practically running from the room. Brock let out the breath his was holding, staring at the floor as he mentally slapped himself for not finding a better way to tell her. He had been drinking way too much. He sighed before he left the kitchen to sleep in Cheyenne's old room.
Brock took a deep breath, holding onto it as he tightened the rope he was using to hold the tarp in place. The next morning she had refused to talk to him, and it had taken him another two days to finally talk to her about it. He had left angry, slamming the door behind him. The next day Barbra Jean had forced them to attempt working it out, but it had only resulted in Reba giving him the silent treatment before yelling how stupid he was and storming out of the house. They had never been good at communicating. Brock stopped what he was doing, shaking his head in argument to his own thought. They had been very good at talking in the beginning of their relationship, but as they got older and their family grew they had found less and less time for each other. He sighed, looking over his shoulder at the house.
Barbra Jean was shutting the front door behind Kyra, rolling her eyes as the teen said a sarcastic comment. Brock tried to make eye contact with Kyra, hoping he could try to comfort her again before he said goodbye, but she refused to even glance in his direction. Instead she climbed into the passenger side door, making a point to slam it as hard as she could. Brock shook his head as Barbra Jean glared at her before practically doing the same thing. He sighed, walking back to his house. He had a few minutes before going to Reba's house, and he wanted to spend it thinking over his goodbyes one last time. As he sat down on the couch though, he found his thoughts replaying another fight with the redhead.
"Reba, we need to talk about this." Brock stormed into the kitchen, finding Reba at the kitchen table with an empty photo album and a box of old pictures. She had always loved making photo albums. She slowly moved her eyes onto his, and let loose a half smirk. "I'm not leaving until we talk about this." He watched as her smirk grew, and rolled his eyes as he figured she was pulling another silent treatment.
"I'm not talking so I guess that means you aren't leaving…unless of course you're leaving my house." Reba sat back in her chair and folded her arms across her chest for a moment. She stared back at him, her eyes daring him to challenge her. He sighed, shaking his head at her. He opened his mouth to say something when it finally hit him why she was refusing to talk to him. His mouth closed, growing into a frown.
"Reba, I'm leaving in a week whether you've talked to me or not. Now, Barbra Jean and the kids have all talked with me about this move, and even though they'll miss me they are letting me go." Brock was going to say more when Reba suddenly stood up.
"You expect me to just let you go? You want me to accept that you are leaving…just as I thought my family was together again? You think I can just sit back, say I'll miss you, and then wave goodbye as you drive away? You want me to…I just can't do that, Brock! So if you want to move to San Antonio then you go right on ahead, but you'll do it without my blessing." She started to exit the kitchen, but Brock quickly grabbed a hold of her arm, gently tugging her to a stop. She turned around to face him.
"Why, Reba?" His voice was calm, and she could hear how important it was to him for her to say he could go. She shook her head, realizing she could never give him the answer he wanted.
"Because, Brock, the kids need you close by, and Henry just moved back to Houston. He hasn't seen you since they visited for Elizabeth's birthday. Now, you're just gonna move four hours away from him, see him every other weekend and holidays? What about you're weekly guy days with Van and Jake? They'll have to give that up. You'll miss out on seeing your kids and grandchild grow up. What about the little moments that happen in this family? You do understand that you'll only hear about them as stories, and you'll start to feel left out?" Brock listened as Reba continued, her list of reasons for him to stay seemed much longer than his list for going, but he had an extremely good reason for leaving. It out did all of hers. He sighed.
"Reba, I can handle all of that." He was once again cut off, and he felt Reba move away from him before he saw her take a step back.
"That's just it, Brock! It's not just about what YOU can handle! What if your children can't handle having their father that far away? What if they want you hear for all those silly and important moments in their lives?" Reba was yelling now and he knew he wouldn't be able to get her to understand at this rate. "For once in your life, I wish you wouldn't be so selfish and stupid! I don't want to have to watch my…your…OUR children suffer because you decided moving to San Antonio was the best option!" She was quiet for a second, her mouth closing tightly together. He could tell she was holding something back, but before he could ask her what it was she was yelling at him again. "You need to get out of my house. I've said all I'm gonna say to you right now." Brock took a deep breath, walking towards the back door.
Could he really argue with her when he would be leaving soon? He didn't want the last thing he did with Reba to be fighting, but she was making it awfully hard for that to happen. Just as he opened the door, she was calling out to him again. He paused, turning his head slightly so she would know he was listening. "I pray you make the right choice with this." Brock slammed the door behind him as he left, hoping she would understand how serious this was to him.
Brock was brought back to reality when his cell phone alarm went off. He quickly dismissed it, hating how soon the time for his goodbye had come. He locked the house behind him, climbed into his truck, and drove slowly to Reba's house. Their fights had only escalated from that day, the past week being one disaster after another. Each time, he left Reba feeling more like a selfish jerk than the time before. She had made plenty of valid points, but if he stayed, he was certain he would hurt them all a lot worse than his leaving would ever do. It was what he was so good at after all. He came to a stop in Reba's driveway, noticing everyone was already inside and waiting on him to arrive.
Brock took his time walking to the house, pausing to glance through the window. He frowned at all their sad faces, and took a deep breath as he walked into the living room. As he looked from one face to another, he noticed Reba wasn't in the room. Cheyenne was the first one to stand up, greeting him with a fake happiness. "Where's your mother?" He asked after giving her a long hug.
"She refuses to come downstairs, but I can tell her you're here if you'd like." Brock nodded his head, watching as Cheyenne disappeared up the stairs, and was caught off guard when Elizabeth wrapped her small body around his legs, begging that he not go bye-bye. He held back his tears before reaching down to pick her up. She cried into his neck, her body wrapping around his as tightly as she could. Van looked away from his little girl, unable to watch her world darken so quickly. Henry sat in Barbra Jean's lap, too scared to tell his father goodbye again. She stood up, holding Henry close to her as she walked closer to Brock.
He smiled at her again, hoping to bring her a little comfort, but this time she didn't return it with a smile of her own. She simply turned her eyes to Henry, and told him to give Brock a hug goodbye. Henry, reluctantly, did as his mother said, and Brock stood with both the little children wrapped around him for a few minutes, whispering into their ears. Cheyenne came back down the stairs, her hands rubbing together. She looked at her father and then at the other members of the family. "She will be down in a minute." Brock nodded his head, bending to put Henry and Elizabeth back on their feet. Henry let go slowly, moving to his mother's side even slower. Barbra Jean wiped at her tears, knowing how badly her son was hurting right now.
Elizabeth refused to let go, her grip tightening as Brock tried to gently pull her away from him. She screamed into his ear, her tear streaked face briefly pressing against his cheek. Van jumped to his feet, unable to take such a heart-wrenching sound coming from his daughter. He quickly walked to Brock side, tossing a goodbye in his direction, and then prying Elizabeth away from her grandfather. He carried her outside, where her screams eventually were lost within the distance from the house to Van's car. Cheyenne closed her eyes, holding her breath until she couldn't hear Elizabeth anymore. When she opened her eyes, she quickly moved to Brock's side. "I better go, Daddy. I'll miss you, and don't forget you promised to come back for my birthday and Van's birthday and Elizabeth's birthday and school events, and also the holidays…every year. No exceptions." Cheyenne pointed a shaking finger in Brock's direction, and smiled sadly when he nodded his head. She wrapped her arms around him, and took in a long deep breath of his scent, trying to remember everything about him that she could.
"I'll miss you, too, Cheyenne, and I'll be hom-here for every birthday and school event. I love you so much, Sweetie. You take care of Van and Elizabeth for me, okay?" Cheyenne nodded her head as it rested against his chest. She was just as scared as Elizabeth to let him go, but she pulled away before it became too hard for her to do so. Brock kissed her forehead, staring at her for a minute before he let her leave. He sighed, trying to hold it together long enough to tell the rest of the family goodbye. He glanced to each of the faces, waiting for the next person to step up. Jake sighed as he walked to his father.
"I'll miss you, Dad, but I know we'll do all kinds of fun stuff in San Antonio this summer." Brock nodded his head, promising that if Jake made a list of all the places he wanted to go then they'd make this next summer the best one ever. Jake nodded his head, pulling his father into a hug. "I love you, Dad, and don't worry. I think I can handle being the man around the house. Besides, Mom can always help me out if I need it. She's pretty good at that kind of stuff." Brock chuckled at his son, and quickly agreed.
"Oh, Jake, I'm gonna miss you and that great sense of humor. You better have a ton of great jokes and stories to tell me the next time I see you." Jake smiled at his dad before telling him he would have a whole notebook full, and it would take them several weeks to get through it. Brock chuckled again before giving Jake one last hug, and watched as Jake grab his sleeping bag and headed outside. He was going camping with his friends this weekend, and Brock wished with everything he had that he could be here when he got back just to hear all the stories that Jake was sure to build up over the next few days.
Barbra Jean caught Kyra's eyes and gently jerked her head in Brock's direction. Kyra stood up, her feet stopping at quite a distance from her father. She glanced at Barbra Jean, her mask falling for a second. The blonde got her point, and led Henry into the kitchen. Kyra and Brock waited until they were out of the room before looking at each other. "Kyra…" He was cut off by an eye roll and a demanding attitude.
"Don't, Dad. I'm only doing this because Barbra Jean asked me to so don't start thinking I'm gonna get all mushy on you like everyone else did. I hate that you're leaving, but there isn't anything I can say to make you stay." Kyra started to turn away, but she stopped when Brock called out to her.
"I know you can't see it right now, but it is better that I do this." Kyra scoffed, her head shaking much like Reba's had done the night he told her he was moving. She unfolded her arms, her hands falling to her hips.
"No, you're the one that can't see anything right now!" She pointed a finger towards him, but it held more confidence and anger than Cheyenne's had earlier. "You are hurting her again! You're breaking her heart…AGAIN!" Kyra felt tears brimming her eyes, and when Brock took a step towards her she took three steps backwards. She liked the distance between them because it didn't hurt as badly to let him leave if she could pretend they were never close to begin with.
"What are you talking about, Kyra?" Brock stared at her with concern and inquiry. Kyra shook her head, not wanting to talk anymore. She just wanted him to stay here, and make everything better again; but it wasn't going to happen. He was going to leave, and she would have to watch as everyone hurt again. She couldn't deal with her family being torn apart, or having one of them so far away. She had grown to count on the closeness they'd had after her parents' divorce. Everything was changing, and she didn't like it. First, her step-mother divorced her father, then Cheyenne and Van moved into their own house, then Barbra Jean took the job offer in Little Rock, and now when it all seemed to be falling back into place her father was moving four hours away. He had promised to come for every important event in their lives, but unlike her sister and brother, she knew he couldn't possibly be here that much.
"Kyra, talk to me, please. I want to make this easier for you. I really do, Honey." Kyra let her tears fall, and ran into her father's embrace. She cried for the first time in the past two weeks, holding onto her father for dear life. Brock wrapped his arms protectively around her, trying his best to comfort her with whispered words and kisses to the top of her head. A few minutes had passed before Kyra was able to stop crying, and when she looked up, she found tears falling down her father's cheeks as well. They shared a quick smile, each one thinking the same thing. They were the two members of this family that avoided any form of emotion besides anger the most, and here they were crying their eyes out. Brock took a deep breath, slowly letting his daughter slip out of his reach. "Kyra…"
"I really will miss you, Dad, but hey, I get my driver's license soon, and I'm sure I could convince Barbra Jean to let me drive her car to San Antonio some weekends…and I say Barbra Jean because we both know Mom would never say yes to that…unless she was riding along with me." Brock nodded his head as they both chuckled softly. "And Dad?" Brock looked up at her, giving her his full attention. "I love you." He returned the sentiment, wanting so badly to ask her whose heart he was breaking, but he knew his chance had passed. Kyra gave him one last hug before walking into the kitchen. She was replaced a second later by Barbra Jean.
The blonde stood nervously behind the couch, and she kept her eyes away from Brock. "We already said goodbye earlier. Do we have to do again?" Barbra Jean glanced in his direction, and was glad to see him shake his head. "I guess I'm gonna take Kyra and Henry home. Did you want to talk to him again before we left?" Brock nodded his head, following her into the kitchen.
Reba forced herself to walk downstairs, her heart begging her not to do it from the moment she opened her bedroom door, but she had promised Cheyenne she would at least be there for him to say his goodbye. She stopped at the bottom of the stairs, glancing around the empty living room. Had she waited too long? Was he already gone? Did he really leave without saying goodbye to her? She felt tears building up, and closed her eyes to keep them at bay. He wasn't kidding when he said he was leaving whether she was okay with it or not. Her hand flew to her chest when she felt a pain shoot through her heart. She was losing him for real this time, and the last thing they ever did together was fight. She took a deep, shaky breath as she wished she could take it all back and handle it better than she had.
"Reba, are you all right?" Brock was at her side before her eyes could even open fully. She swallowed the lump in her throat, shocked to see he hadn't left already. She glanced away from him, taking a step to the side to put a little space between them.
"What do you think, Brock? My family is hurting, and there's nothing I can do to make it better. Of course I'm not all right!" She stormed to the couch, sitting down promptly. Brock sighed, noticing how her anger had slipped away for a minute there, and he wished there was a way he could make it disappear again without having to say he'd stay in Houston.
"Are we really going to fight? This is the last time we're gonna see each other for a while, and you want today to be a fight?" Reba jumped to her feet again, stomping towards him. Brock stood straight, and stared her down the whole time. He was tired of fighting with her. He just wanted to tell her goodbye and be on his way, but he knew with Reba it was never a simple 'see-ya-later' kind of goodbye. After all, she hated goodbyes more than anything else in the world.
"Yeah, because you're being stupid!" She paused, and when Brock rolled his eyes, she rushed to the front door and yanked it opened. "Get out, Brock. You might as well go now. I have nothing else to say to you." She stood by the door with her eyes glaring at the floor. Brock headed for the door, but stopped right in front of her. He placed his hand on the door, pushing it close and causing Reba to stumble with it.
"I'm not leaving this way, Reba. I have something to say to you, and if you can't let me say…" He was interrupted by the redhead for the hundredth time that week. He let out a frustrated sigh, wanting so badly to scream at her for it, but what she said stopped him from doing or saying anything for a minute.
"That's the point, Brock, I can't let you say goodbye. I won't let this happen." Reba turned away from him, grabbing her purse off the coat rack. She quickly opened it, and pulled out an envelope and CD. "Take this." Brock did as he was told. Reba's tone of voice left no room for him to say or do anything. She looked up at him, taking a moment to glance over his features and hesitated before continuing. "Read it before you get to the first stop light, please." Reba once again opened her front door, but this time, instead of standing next to it, she walked back upstairs. Brock watched her, and just before she disappeared he got her attention.
As he stared at her back, Brock's steady voice spoke softly. "Bye." He closed his eyes, unable to say 'good' in front of his 'bye'. This wasn't a goodbye at all, and if it were up to him, this would be considered the worse goodbye in history. How he was able to walk away from her after all the years they been together, whether they were just friends, dating, married, or divorce, he didn't know. Brock slowly walked out of the house, closing the door behind him, and tried to keep his composure as he realized what it meant. He wouldn't be able to have his friendship with Reba ever again. They would finally be real exes, and they would only have small talk from now on. He had just shut the door on the best friend he had ever had and would ever have again.
Brock shook away his thoughts, walking to his truck and climbing in immediately. He had to get out of here before the redhead got to him. She had always been able to find a way to change his mind. Before he had always admired that, especially if his choice had been a stupid one, but he didn't want that to happen this time. He pulled out of the driveway and drove to the stop sign two streets over before he dared to look at the letter she had given him. He took a deep breath before reading it quickly.
How were you able to tell me bye, Brock? After all these years… Brock closed his eyes, but still her cursive penmanship etched its way across his mind, burning the words into his brain and subconscious. He looked back at the letter, his eyes darting past the huge blank space between the first set of words to the second set. I can't even begin to imagine telling you goodbye. It's just too hard. Another blank area separated her words. He felt a lump build up in his throat as realized who Kyra was talking about earlier. He was breaking Reba's heart again. He shook his head, returning his focus to her letter. Play the CD, track number 5. Hopefully, you'll know what to do next. Brock quickly did as she told him to, and rolled his eyes at the honking car behind him. He found the right song, letting the music fill his truck as he continued to drive.
I know that you're leaving as soon as the sun comes through the window. There's no talking this over. The damage is done. There's just too much hurt, too much to forgive. Oh, but we both know we weren't always like this. Help me remember the way that we used to be. When nothing else matter 'cause you were loving me. Just for the night, one last time, one more good memory. When I look back that's what I wanna see. Oh, help me remember. Those days that were so good. Those nights that we held, held on forever. When we weren't pretenders. We were as real as we felt. Oh, I don't want to fight anymore. I don't want the last thing I hear tonight to be a slamming door. Baby let it be like before. Help me remember the way that we used to be. When nothing else mattered 'cause you were loving me. Oh, just for the night, one last time, one more good memory. When I look back that's what I wanna see. This could be the last time I look in your eyes. Help me remember the way that it used to be. When nothing else mattered 'cause you were loving me. Oh, help me remember. Oh, help me, help me, help me.
By the time the song was finished, Brock had made it to the first stoplight. He quickly changed lanes, no longer interested in making it to San Antonio by tonight. He had one very important woman to save tonight. She needed him, and that song was the only way she could find to tell him. He mentally slapped the back of his head, much like Reba would have done to him, for not seeing it before. As he looked back at all their fights, he realized just how scared she was, and that her anger had only been a mask to hide how much he was hurting her by leaving. He sighed, knowing that when tomorrow came he would have to make a decision, but tonight he had only one thing on his mind. He pressed his foot on the gas pedal a little harder, skidding with each turn he took. He didn't know what would happen when he got back to her house, but he had to let her know how important she was to him. He had to tell her that telling her bye was the hardest thing he had ever done, and quite possibly the most stupid one as well. She had to know he never wanted to hear her tell him goodbye because it would be too much for him to handle.
Brock took a deep breath, literally slapping the back of his head this time as he realized just what he was putting her through now. What had he been thinking? Brock slammed on his breaks as he reached her house, and jumped out of his truck as soon as he was able to open his door. He darted into the house, leaving his driver's door and the front door wide open. He ran upstairs, and came to a sudden stop outside her bedroom door where he could hear the faint sound of music. He knocked softly before pushing the door roughly with his fingertips, watching as the room and Reba slowly came into view. His heart stopped momentarily as he stared at Reba. She was sitting on the end of her bed, her head down and her feet hanging just above the floor.
Reba slowly lifted her head, her bloodshot eyes landing instantly on his scared, worried ones. Brock frowned when he saw her red cheeks and nose, the tears pouring down her face, and her lips trembling slightly. The words of the song suddenly filled his ears, and he realized it was the same song that she had demanded he listen to in her letter.
Help me remember the way that we used to be. When nothing else mattered 'cause you were loving me. Oh, just for the night, one last time, one more good memory. When I look back that's what I wanna see. This could be the last time I look in your eyes. Help me remember the way that it used to be. When nothing else mattered 'cause you were loving me. Oh, help me remember. Oh, help me, help me, help me.
He quickly rushed to her, sliding onto his knees just before he reached her. Reba's eyes followed his, and they closed once she felt his smooth hands gently cup her heated cheeks. Brock used his thumbs to wipe away her tears and their tracks, whispering his apologizes. He wanted to tell her all the realizations he'd made on the way back to her, but the words wouldn't escape his lips. He was too focused on trying to mend her breaking heart. She sighed, biting her bottom lip when she finally opened her eyes to gaze into his blue ones.
Brock grinned at her as he tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. "You're beautiful…in every single way." Reba smiled at his familiar words, remembering them from so long ago. Brock hesitated for only a second before he leaned towards her, his lips barely touching hers. He felt her sigh blow across his lips, and he pulled away slightly. Reba smiled at him, her cold, trembling hands finding his cheeks and outlining them perfectly.
"You're still going to leave, aren't you? I've managed to fail at changing your mind…for the first time." Brock looked away from her for a moment, but was forced to look back at her when her hands guided his face to her direction. "It's okay, Brock." She paused, and he felt his heart skip a beat at the look of sorrow and defeat on her face. "Just for tonight…help me remember." Her eyes danced across his face as he thought about her request. He slowly stood up, moving with her as she scooted backwards on her bed. His lips found hers again just as her head landed on the mattress. This time there was no hesitation or light kiss. Their lips crashing together over and over was the start of their long night, and for once neither one thought about yesterday or tomorrow. It was just about that moment, and loving each other like they had done many years ago. They were the only two in the world; their being together was the only thing that mattered.
Hours before dawn could show its ugly light, Reba laid next to a sleeping Brock, staring out her bedroom window. Even though she was exhausted, she hadn't slept at all. She was afraid to wake up to find he had left her again. If she stayed awake then at least she would be able to see him one last time before he left. She wiped away the single tear that had managed to slip down her cheek before it landed on Brock's bare chest. She scooted closer to him, her arm returning to his place wrapped around his waist. Last night had been bittersweet, and she couldn't tell just yet which taste would remain when she thought back on this night. She prayed it would remain so much sweeter than bitter. She sighed, watching as the sky changed to a lighter shade. Her heart was pleading that she'd go to sleep before he awoke, but she was too stubborn to prevent the slow breaking that staying up was causing. She was too swept up in having Brock in her arms for one last time to let a single second go by wasted with sleep.
Reba glanced over her shoulder at her alarm clock, reading the time and determining how much she had left with him. It was half an hour before her alarm clock would go off, awaking Brock for his departure. She felt her throat fill with a lump of tears, and swallowed before resting her head back on Brock's chest. She pressed her naked body as close to his as she possible could, and smiled when his arms tightened around her. She gently kissed his chest, wishing he didn't have to leave. Reba bit her bottom lip as she watched the sunlight slither its way through her window and across her room, reaching her alarm clock just as it started blaring its awful sound. She held her breath when Brock rolled on top of her to turn the alarm clock off, and before he could roll back over, Reba wrapped her arms around his neck, forcing him to stay where he was. Brock opened his eyes, finding hers as soon as he did. "Stay a little longer, please. I can't say goodbye just yet. It hurts me too much."
Brock sighed, closing his eyes and trying to ignore the tears in hers. She had understood the night before, but he should have known this was going to happen. He still hadn't made a final decision, and he was hoping she would let him go without a word. He had hoped he could have left uncertain of his decision because she hadn't of said anything, but now that she had, what did he do? Reba placed one of her shaking hands on his cheek, begging him to look at her. "Reba…"
"I'm scared, Brock. What do I do without you?" He was quiet for a moment as he tried not to look into her eyes, but with their close proximity he really had nowhere else to look.
"You've been without me for six years now, Reba. You've managed to do just fine, and you'll continue to do great no matter if I'm in San Antonio or the next block over." Reba closed her eyes, her body shaking slightly with her silent sobs. Brock took a deep breath, fighting back his own tears. He hated to hurt her like this. Would it really keep his family safe and hurt-free if he moved to San Antonio? If yesterday wasn't a clue to his answer then the crying redhead underneath him definitely was. He needed to make up his mind and quick. Watching Reba cry as she desperately held him close to her was killing him.
"It's not the same, Brock. You always came over. You were always here, but if you move to San Antonio…who will protect me? Who's gonna be able to force me into telling them what's wrong when I'm upset? What do I do if I don't have you, Brock? You've been my friend for twenty six years. I can't just let you leave. I don't know how to move on. I don't even think I could if I wanted to…" Reba was forced to stop talking as her throat was blocked by a huge lump and her chest ached from the continuous body heaving sobs. She didn't know how else to explain to Brock how much she needed and wanted him to stay. If he couldn't get it through his thick skull by now, then she wasn't sure he ever would.
Brock laid his head in the crook of her neck, giving her a chance to wrap her arms under his armpits and around his shoulders. He sighed, his body relaxing against hers. "I'm sorry, Reba." His voice was muffled by her shoulder, but she knew what he had said. Her eyes closed tightly and her crying increased tenfold. He pulled away from her, but found her body lifting with his. He wrapped his arms around her back and rolled over, her body now on top of his. "I never should have done this to you." He kissed her shoulder, rubbing her back gently. Reba lifted her head from his shoulder, staring through the still falling tears at his face. She was confused. What was he saying?
"What?" Her voice was hoarse and layered with an emotion Brock couldn't quite place. He took a deep breath, and used his free hand to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. He could feel her breathing quicken as she panicked over what he was telling her.
"Do you still love me…as much as I still love you?" Reba's eyebrows furrowed together and she wiped quickly at her cheeks, blinking away the tears in her eyes. Brock smiled at her, waiting for her answer. Reba let out a heavy breath, the air rushing against Brock's chest and bringing goose bumps to his skin.
"You haven't figured that out, yet?" Reba relaxed her body, her head falling lightly to his chest. She could feel her sleepless night catching up to her, and yawned as she fought to keep her eyes opened. She could feel Brock moving his head, and tilted hers to see what his answer was. Brock started rubbing her back again as he shook his head in response to her question. Reba chuckled softly at him. "I always have, Brock. I always will." She smiled when his arms wrapped around her and he squeezed protectively trapping her on top of him.
"You wanna move to San Antonio with me?" Reba jerked her head up, her mouth falling open in shock. He chuckled softly at her face, his lips falling victim to a smile. "I'm joking. If I'd known you loved me, Reba, I'd have never bought that condo. I'd have moved in right next door." Reba rolled her eyes, her cheek finding his place on his chest again. "I'm serious, Reba. The whole reason I moved so far away was because I was so tired of hurting you and the kids…and Barbra Jean." He paused, taking a deep breath. "I just kept remembering how you said it hurt to see me every day, and then when I divorce Barbra Jean and I found out she was moving back here, I couldn't help but think I'd do the same thing to her…especially if we lived in the same house. I figured the kids were old enough to not need me around so much, but yesterday…when I was saying bye it hit me how young they really are. Do you know what I'm getting at, Reba?"
Brock continued, not really waiting for an answer from the redhead in his arms. "You were right about everything these past two weeks. I'm very much needed here, and I would have missed out on so much. You know…like getting to be here with you again…getting to tell you that I love you." Brock was quiet for a second, knowing his last three words would have gotten some form of a reaction out of her, but when she didn't even move a finger he moved his head slightly to the side to look at her. He chuckled softly with a small eye roll when he noticed she was sound asleep, her arms tightly pressed into the sides of his body and a smile stretched across her lips. He sighed, rubbing her shoulder and hip with his thumbs as sleep threatened to over take him as well. Whenever they woke up, he knew would require one big breakfast and one very long discussion, and he could only pray they could make it through that without any yelling. Brock took a deep, long breath, falling asleep as his nose filled with his favorite scent of roses and strawberries.