AN:: So sorry for the wait everyone - I've been working so hard on the musical I was in, but now it's coming to an end so I will have more time again. Thank you to everyone who's still reading and following.

I'd say we have about two more chapters to go until I'm finished with this one. We're so close! I hope you guys like it.

R&R - Love to you all, and happy Holiday Season!

Sometimes I feel like my life is just a continuation of steps.








Get up again.

I feel like that's all I do. I just get from point A to point B making as little noise as possible, or making as much noise as possible - whichever one will make people, and maybe even myself, think that I'm alright. That everything is alright. That the world as I know it is fine and sunshine and daisies and all of that crap. And nothing means anything anymore. Anything that means anything to me stays locked up inside my head where no one can see because of things that don't matter to me. Other than her feelings if anyone found out, I honestly don't care.

I don't care about anything anymore.

Maddie's Corner - Yes. I love that. Helping little lives that can't help themselves is always something that I will feel a passion for.

But I've been speaking less and less for myself over the years. Lost any motivation to care.

The only exceptions are my family and those who I feel as close to as family.. those who I wish I could call my family.

I left my parents house as soon as I could pack my things, which was right around the time my Dad got home, and I told him how sorry I was for having to leave on such short notice, but that I would be back soon. And I will be. I need to spend more time there. I need more healing time at the only place that I can really call home. I need the two of them, because they are my rocks more than anyone else. My mother, now more than anyone, because she knows everything, or now I can tell her everything.

I didn't tell her this, though. Not yet. She's the kind of woman who refuses to stand for that in the slightest. She would call the cops in the first inclination of any kind of abuse.

God. Abuse... That word makes me shiver. That word in correlation with Idina makes me want to throw up. I knew I didn't like that man. Sure - I thought it was just because we were with the same woman, or the fact that he didn't know her. He doesn't know her. I know her - everything about her. And I want all of her.

And then the baby. I can't believe he would hit the mother of his child.

...I can't believe any of this is happening.

Everything is different now. Everything changed within me and within the whole situation that I've been battling against and for, for far too many years. The variables that held us back, held the dreams we'd created together, all of it has flipped on it's head with no sense of direction, and there's no way for me to try and regain balance. What do you do when there is nothing more to do? Where is there to go when all roads seem to be exhausted?

My heart stayed in my throat all the way to the airport, and it wasn't more than three seconds after I had all my things checked in that I B-lined for the nearest bathroom and emptied the contents of my stomach. The thought didn't cross my mind of how dirty the toilets actually were until I'd already puked once, and then that made me even more sick.

Sick is a perfect word for how I felt. How I feel. I am sick to my stomach that anything like this was allowed to happen. She was hurt, and is hurting, by the hands of a man that's won over me more times than I can count. I'm sick to the very core, and there's little to nothing I can do about it.

The baby pops into mind so often thinking of them. I don't care if Idina thinks it's better for him to have both his mother and his father with him, it can't happen like this. This isn't a healthy environment for any child to grow up in. She's a wonderful actress - better than the majority, but even she can't act happy for that little boy all the time. And even if she is the best actress known to man, acting all the time will kill her. It will put a torch to everything about her that I fell in love with, and she'll shrivel up and die in what she's letting herself live with.

Now more than ever she needs to get out. I don't even care if it's with me anymore - of course I'd like it to be with me, but she needs to be away from that man if for no other reason then to protect her and that baby.

But I want them. I want them both. That life that we talked about all of those years ago is so close to us now I can taste it, and I don't think she can.

All of it just makes me sad and tired and sick.

But I'm almost there. I texted her as soon as I got off the plain and he's not there. He won't be because he's out shooting all day. His damn show - all of them he'd put before her. All of the things he's done, he shouldn't have anything that he has anymore. I could take care of them far better than he's ever tried to.

I wasn't smart enough to call a cab before I got off the plain, so I had to wait an extra half hour before I was able to get on the road. But getting closer and closer to her home just makes my stomach form knots again. I don't know how bad things are, or how she looks. I don't know anything. All I know is that he hit her and that makes me want to find the nearest brick and beat him over the head with it.

That, and I feel as though I'm backtracking through my life. I told her I didn't want to see her again, and not only am I putting forth the effort, I just flew to where she is so I can see her.

And what happens after I see her? What happens if nothing changes again? What happens if Taye comes home and gets angry?

Nothing is certain anymore. Nothing makes any kind of sense. There were already so few things in this world I was sure of, and now there are even less.
The fact that I love her will always be there. The fact that I would give all of myself to her is always going to be there. And I already have. The difference was that before I knew that she could be somewhat happy in the 'perfect' little home she'd built with a man she'd become comfortable with. I don't think I'll ever know if she really loves him or if he was just safe, but I knew that she could be content before now. But that idea came crumbling down along with anything that let me breathe easily anymore.

"This it?" The driver turned around and barked at me.

I just nodded and gave him the money allotted before I took my one carry-on bag with me and started up the drive way. It was the same as I remembered it the one time I'd seen it before. I stayed in the car while she went in and grabbed things she needed to stay the night with me in the hotel. It didn't seem that long ago. I guess it wasn't that long ago.

My hand came up to ring the doorbell, but I thought against it - what if walker was sleeping? Instead I got out my phone and started dialing. I got two numbers in before the door opened by itself.

"Hi..." she says quietly.

All I can bring myself to do is smile back - not a real smile, but one she knows the reasoning behind. When there are hardly any words to describe a situation, and a greeting can't even begin to cover the range of emotions you feel.

She looks quickly at the ground before stepping aside to let me into her home.

Immediately it feel cold, and wrong. Home is a place that's supposed to be warm and comfortable, that you want to come back to at the end of the day and relax. This place is not like that. This place is scary and uninviting. There isn't the love here that is supposed to be present when you step foot into a house that's been taken by a family.

When the door closes I look back at her with calm, unasuming eyes. I have to let her do this in her own time - pushing would be wrong. She's strong, but not that strong. Anything like this needs to be delt with carefully. She still doesn't look up at me; not until I take a small step forward.

Suddenly she's right there, her arms wrapped around my shoulders like I'm the only thing that can keep her tethered to the Earth. Not even two seconds later she's crying. Not crying calmly, but the kind when you can't control yourself and you feel like your world is falling apart. I feel the sobs wrack her body over and over again, sending a tremor through my own body every time she chokes out another tear or two. And all I can do is hold her. She's put me through so much and still all I can do is try and comfort her and give her all the love she should have been provided with in the first place. I've never stopped wanting her, but I've stopped wanting to want her more times than I can count. But the fact that I'm so in love with her that nothing could sway me from that notion will always remain, and I'll always hold her like this when she needs me to. That makes me understand that even if I were to leave, I wouldn't really be leaving. Whenever she really needed me I would be there... therefore 'leaving' isn't really an option.

She pulls back, but only enough to hide her face in her hands. I can't bring myself to say anything back. All my body is willing to provide is ushering her over to the sofa and sitting her down, placing myself right next to her in case she needs me.

And sure enough her head is on my shoulder in a matter of moments crying like hell again.

I can't imagine what this is like for her. I think she thought she was doing the right thing by staying with him once she found out she was pregnant, and that she would do right by the baby and things would be alright. I think she depended on that, even when I left, she held onto the fact that she was doing what was best for her child. And I think that's why she's like this now. She's hurt, not only by herself for making the decisions she did, but also by a man she put all of her trust in to provide her with a happy life she wanted so badly. The normalcy she never thought she experienced as a child.

"I don't understand..." she sobed some more.

I shook my head "There's nothing to understand - what you're going through is aweful. That's all there is to it." I just ran my hand along her back and retraced the paths until her breathing went back to normal... or close to normal. But even then her head remained tucked into my shoulder.

Time passes slowly. All I am aware of is that she's holding on to me like I would leave her if she let go - like she depended on me. After a while I just lay back and let her rest her heat on my chest, right above where my heart sounds it's slow rhythmic thumping the loudest. I've missed having her there.. or having her close to me at all, yet this time I just feel like there's nothing I can do that would be enough to make her feel any better. I don't like feeling helpless.

I've told her over and over again, but this time it's more than any other. This time, it's not for me - it's for herself and her baby.

"Dee, you have to get out."

She just takes a shaky breath, nodding and snuggling closer to me. "I know... I don't know where to start."

"Start by telling more people than only me. If he does this again you need more than the woman you've been having an affair with to stand behind you. You need someone who doesn't have the motive to lie for you."

She just nods again.

"Have you told anyone else?"

She shakes her head.

I couldn't stand it anymore. I took her face between my hands and made her look at me. "He does not own you. You are in control of your life, and you can do whatever you want to with it."

"But Walker needs his father and I can't-"

"Taye can still be his father without you two being together, but you can't be his mother if you aren't healthy and happy and there to show him how life is supposed to be lived. And you're not living! You're just sitting here breathing and pretending your life is what you want." I shook my head, wishing she saw what she was doing to herself. "You don't want this, do you? To be trapped here like this letting someone - anyone - dictate your life like this? Are you happy?"

Her lips start to quiver and she shakes her head again. "No."

"Then stop telling yourself that you're alright, and that you'll live with it for your son, and let yourself be happy."

There is a moment I can't read her. Her eyes go from mine to her hands to anything else like she's searching for something to say. Or trying to decide if she wants to say something she's already found. My hands find their way to soothing hair back from her face, and I watch as she lets tears slide down her face, calming down but she's not okay. No one would be okay in her position.

"Will you help me?" she asked.

All I could do was give her a small smile. "Of course, I'll help you.. whatever you need, baby - I'm right here. I always will be. You know that, don't you?"

"I know." She smiled through her tears. "I love you.. I want you to stay."

"I can't stay, honey.. you know that. This isn't where I belong. It's not where you belong either. We have to get you and Walker out."

"I meant, I want you to stay in California with me."

I stared at her a little blankly.

"I still want Walker to see Taye... Taye's going to want to stay in California... and I want you to stay with me."

She sounds so honest, so insecure, like she isn't sure I would want to stay - and of course I want to. It's what I've told her I wanted for as long as I could remember us being together seriously.

My breath was taken from me. She was serious, she was talking about me staying after she leaves him. My heart feels like it's swelling and flying at the same time.

"So you're really doing this?"

She sat up straight, looking right into my eyes and nodded soundly. "I am."

All at once I can't stop laughing and I feel like I could cry - I don't actually cry, but I feel like I could... and I jumped forward and wrapped my arms around her neck and held her tight.

I feel her laugh too, and hold me back. So much feels as though it's lifted off of my shoulders and like I can breathe again for the first time in years. I feel like she's actually in my arms rather than half there and half with her husband. She's with me - right here and now she's just with me.

"I love you so much..." she whispers, kissing my cheek and rubbing my back.

I pull back to look at her. "I love you, too... I'm so proud of you. You're so strong-"

With that she doesn't waste any more time and she bounds forward, kissing me like she means it - like I've been waiting for her to kiss me for years, and I melt into it. Our world feels like it's finally right, and I can breathe without feeling that terrible aching in my chest. I feel like she's finally mine, and I don't have to go crazy wondering how long she's going to stay anymore.

Suddenly she stops, and turns her head with the strangest look on her face.

Then I hear it too - the faintest little cry that only a mother would notice right away.

She takes my hand, "Come on.."

We walk down a hallway that's dimly lit, with only one light shining on the wall from one of the rooms. As we get closer to that room, the little whimpers get louder. Before we enter, she turns and gives me the warmest smile I think I've ever received from her, and then she lets go of my hand, slowly making her way to the crib on the opposite side of the room.

"Hey, there handsome.." she coos, making small sh-ing noises to calm him.

I wait in the door frame just watching her be a mother. I never thought I'd be able to do this - to get to see this side of her, or share this with her. Maybe at the very beginning when the promises were still new, and I didn't have so many doubts because of other promises being broken so frequently.

"Do you want to hold him?" She asks, looking over her shoulder absolutely beaming.

I laugh, feeling little tears bubbling up in my vision. "Yeah, of course I do."

She expertly places the little bundle in my arms, and he looks up at me for the first time. His eyes are so big and expressive. He just studies my face, probably wondering who I am. But this little person is a part of her. He is something she made, and someone who will always be connected to her no matter what. I fall in love with him all over again. Just seeing him makes my heart melt and my chest squeeze, because I've missed months of his life already.

I have to actively blink tears away. "Well, hi little man... how are you?" I smile. He looks so much like his father, but also like his mother. His hand reaches up and squeezes my sweater gently, just getting a feel of it's texture.

I hear a sniffle and look up, finding that beautiful brunette wiping the tears off of her face.

"What's going on, honey?"

She shakes her head. "I'm just happy... happier than I can remember myself being for a long time." She closes the gap between us and wraps her arms around my waist, leaning back enough to give Walker a little bit of space between us. I close my eyes as she kisses my forehead softly.

"Is it terrible to say I can't believe this is happening?" I smile, looking into those greenish-brownish, crazy eyes that stole my heart far too long ago.

She laughs. "No. It's still a little strange to wrap my head around too."

"I've waited for this for so long... I'm just - just relieved. And happy!" I feel a smile on my face that almost hurts.

One of her hands rests on my cheek as she just looks at me. I look back, all too aware of the baby between us, and how wonderful it is to be in this position with her.

"I love you." She whispers.

And that was it - tears start to calmly roll down my face. "I love you too, Dee."

"You ready to be a family?" a grin takes up her entire face.

All I can do is nod and rest my head on her shoulder as she gently rests her arms around me and her son. Our son. Our little family just starting. I feel more like myself than I have since before the affair started, or when things got better, or any of that.

This time it's really happening. We finally have our turn at the happy ending.