Welllll...I don't like to toot my own horn. But BEEP BEEP. Methinks this is the best thing I've ever written. And this chapter is probably my favorite angsty one that I've written.
Hope you all enjoyed the rollercoaster ride that was "Duality." Be sure to drop your thoughts as you bid this one farewell :-). It was a pleasure reading all of the reviews and answering all the PMs. Thanks for sticking with it! Smooches to all of you guys!
With that said...ENJOY!
Two weeks later
Stephanie stood on the balcony of she and Hunter's penthouse apartment, leaning against the railing. Call her crazy...but following the confrontation with Vince, she had zero desire to stay in Greenwich. Too many bad things had happened to her here. She felt like jumping out of her own skin anytime she was in her very own home. Probably due to its proximity to her parent's home.
Hunter had completely understood. Given what she'd been through and the memories she had to deal with, his priority was to make her feel safe and comfortable. They both adored their house but he wasn't going to force her to live in a city that would hinder her progress.
He'd simply asked her where she wanted to go. And she picked New York City; he'd jumped on the hunt and had them moved into their new place before the weekend was up. Being rich and well-connected certainly had its benefits.
The wind blew her hair to the side and she sighed at the sensation.
Hunter had intended to milk his injury and pretend he was progressing slowly. But now that Stephanie owned the biggest piece of the pie, he didn't even have to worry about that. He would return when she was well enough to come on the road with him and not one minute before.
At Stephanie's request he refrained from ripping Vince a new asshole. There was no way Vince would take it lying down. And Stephanie was very concerned Hunter would end up in jail. She'd teased that she might develop another personality from the stress. She was kidding about a new personality. But she was serious about the stress and pain it would cause her. So, contrary to his instincts he hadn't laid a hand on Vince. Neither of them even contacted the guy after the transfer of ownership was official.
Tomorrow Stephanie would begin her new course of treatment. She'd taken a short break from therapy to sort through her own feelings and to come to a place of acceptance with what happened to her.
They'd returned to Austin, Texas after getting settled in New York. They needed to collect their things and meet with the therapist one last time. Stephanie was tired of living out of a hotel and just wanted some stability. A base, if you will. So she'd asked Dr. Morgan to find her an awesome therapist in New York and he'd done exactly that.
They had yet to meet the new therapist in person, but she did have a phone consultation. Now that every aspect of the past was completely out in the open it was time to begin integrating Selene's personality with hers. No longer would they be two separate people. They'd be one, just as nature had originally intended.
In a way, Stephanie was kind of sad. After knowing what Selene had been through - what she had taken and dealt with on her behalf...well, she was kind of like her guardian angel. An angel who has a halo and a serpent's tail at the same time, Stephanie thought with a smirk.
Honestly, she wasn't even upset at the questionable things Selene had done over the years. She understood it perfectly now. She appreciated it, even though messes had definitely been made. The effort and motive behind it mattered most to her in this case.
A solitary tear trickled down her cheek and finally fell from her chin, down to the city streets below. Her throat felt hot and she swallowed, trying to keep her emotions at bay. Hunter was just beyond the balcony door, sleeping in their master bedroom.
She looked upwards, at the full moon. The name Selene meant "Goddess of the moon." Stephanie liked to think that that's where Selene would be; up on the moon watching over her.
"Thank you, Selene," she whispered out into the night.
Her vision began to blur and blacken but instead of it inciting panic, she allowed her mind to be freely taken over. She knew Selene meant no harm.
Selene blinked rapidly, getting used to the switch. It had been two weeks since she'd done that. She accepted that Stephanie could handle her own life now. Accepted that she would always be with her in some way. But instead of Selene's strength being separate from Stephanie, she'd be a part of her.
She pressed her lips together as she turned around and walked away from the balcony, silently entering the master bedroom. Her long legs - covered only by a pair of boyshorts - carried her over to the desk. She grabbed a pen and a piece of paper and tiptoed her way back outside.
Selene sniffled quietly, ignoring the tears that fell from her face and onto the table that was situated on the balcony.
After scribbling the short note, she left it where it was on the table. She exhaled deeply and let Stephanie come back.
Stephanie looked around, confused as to why she was standing by the table. A gust of wind blew and she saw the movement of the paper out of the corner of her eye.
Her forehead crinkled in confusion, but she picked up the note. She concentrated on the six words over and over again.
You're welcome. Goodbye, Stephanie.
Stephanie drew her bottom lip in tightly, blinking her eyes rapidly. She walked to the edge of the balcony, grabbing the railing with her left hand.
With her right hand, she held the note to her heart tightly. Selene loved her. That made sense and was a conclusion that she'd already reached, but it was so powerful for her to admit it like this.
Contemplative blue eyes looked out at the skyscrapers, buildings, towers and bright lights of New York City. She looked at the people scrambling on the streets. Heard the sounds of the taxicabs, buses and train stations. The noise coming from the city that never slept.
It was so busy out here; so fast.
But somehow she'd never felt more at peace in her entire life.
Stephanie nodded solemnly, a tiny smile forming on her lips even as the warm tears traveled down her face. She loosened her grip on the note, allowing the wind to take it from her.
Her eyes stayed trained on it, watching the paper as it gracefully floated at various speeds and heights; sometimes simply swirling around in circles.
"You okay?" Came Hunter's deep, husky voice from right behind her.
Stephanie used her left hand to wipe at her eyes before she glanced over her shoulder at him. His hazel eyes were soft from tiredness and from concern about her. She smiled reassuringly and nodded to ease his worry before looking out over the balcony again.
"It's kinda cold out here," Hunter observed as the air hit his bare torso. "Come back to bed, baby." He suggested gently. He reached his hand out to her, beckoning her closer to him even though she wasn't looking yet.
Not responding at first, Stephanie squinted as the paper disappeared into the chaos of the city. With a low sigh, she turned around to face her husband again, placing her left hand inside of Hunter's outstretched one.
She walked with him slowly and comfortably until they reached the door leading into their bedroom. She released Hunter's hand, to let him go through first. He came to a stop next to the bed, waiting for her to join him.
Stephanie turned back, scanning the stars, sky and night for the note. For any signs of her angel. Her right hand was still touching her heart as she gripped the door with the other. Her eyes came to rest on the moon again.
"Goodbye, Selene," was the reply she finally whispered before she slid the door shut.