A/N: So you guys and I need to have a little chat. I think I'm in love with you... I'm not even joking that your reviews made me cry. Especially Silver's. Oh and I also appreciate the PM's I've been getting with ideas and suggestions- they really do help a lot. Especially the one's suggesting words and lines I should put it. Alright, you've got me crying all over my keyboard again- Stop making me an emotional sot and enjoy!
He pulled up to his dad's house around 4 in the afternoon. Rachael got out of the car without waiting for him. He let Martha out and trailed his way to the front door.
He got inside and heard William talking,
"Mum we played in the snow!" He heard Rachael laughing- he knew it was an act. He went to the direction of the voices,
"'Lo!" He called out, William ran into his legs and he scooped the boy up,
"How're you?" He asked with a smile on his face, the little boy just smiled back hugging him around the neck. He glanced up to see Mike with 'the look' on his face, and Rachael… still avoiding eye contact with him. Lily was in Mike's arms holding on tightly to him with her arms wrapped around his neck, and her face buried into the side of it.
She used to cling to him like that.
"Hi, Lil." He said. The little girl didn't budge an inch; she made no acknowledgement of either him or Rachael. She just hung onto Mike tightly. Mike noticed the tense few moments and whispered something to the little girl.
She didn't want to see daddy or mummy because if she did, they would go away again. She hung tightly onto Uncle Mike, when she heard daddy come in,
"Hi, Lil." She didn't move, she froze. She missed him, but she didn't want him to leave again. Uncle Mike leaned down into her ear,
"Come 'ead, pretty. Your daddy's 'ere." She didn't move a muscle.
Within the few tense moments his Da walked in with a smiling Holly.
"'Lo." Da said walking over to Rachael where he pecked her on the cheek as welcoming. Paul watched as she mustered up a half-assed smile,
"How was she?" He saw his dad chuckle,
"Sweet as can be, didn't fuss once." Mike looked up at Paul sharing a knowing look.
"Da, why don't you go help Rach put Will and Holly in the car?" Their father nodded, Rachael walked out the front door holding Holly without so much as glance to either of the brothers. His father came up to him reaching for William, Paul was reluctant but ultimately handed the child over. Lily was still tucked into the side of Mikes' neck. As soon as Da, Rachael, Holly and William were out of the house, Paul walked over to Mike.
"So?" Mike said rocking Lily slightly.
"I told her." Paul replied looking at Lillian,
"And?" The younger brother queried.
"You saw." It was quiet for a minute. Finally he reached out for Lily and Mike looked up, the little girl wouldn't let go.
"Your daddy wants t' hold you, Pretty." Mike said, the little girl shook her head, burying it farther into his neck. Paul was upset- his own daughter wouldn't even look at him, Paul reached out putting a hand on the girls' back. She felt like stone.
Eventually with enough coaxing and prying Mike put the little girl on the floor. Paul reached down to pick her up and she swiftly enough avoided his grasp continuing to stare down at the floor. Mike excused himself,
"I'll go put their bags in the boot." He exempted lamely on his way out. Paul just looked down at the little girl before kneeling down to her level.
"Hi, Lil." He tried again quietly. She didn't say anything, she didn't acknowledge his presence, and she just stared down at the floor. He couldn't get a good look at her face. "I missed you bunches, you know?" He tried reached for her pushing the hair out of her face. Still didn't look up. Paul put a finger under her chin tilting it up to look her straight in the face. He was shocked to say the least. The little girl had bags under her eyes and her face was wholly ashen. He tried pulling her into his arms, she merely stepped back. Paul raised an eyebrow,
"What's th' matter, love?" He asked calmly- he knew perfectly well what the matter was. She simply shook her head. He reached out a hand to offer to her. She basically shoved her hands into her into her little pockets. He sighed, "Where is yer coat, love?" She didn't utter a single word; she calmly stepped over to the bench near the front door and grabbed it pulling it on herself. Paul watched for a moment trying to button it up by herself. He walked over to lend a hand, when he knelt down and reached out; she took a step back refusing to let him even come near her. Once again his heart broke, how could he have made such a mess of things? He tried talking to her again, "Did you 'ave fun with yer Uncle Mike?" She shrugged again still working at the buttons. She couldn't quite figure out how to fasten them; "Lemme help you-" He offered, reaching out again. But once more she shook her head, still not looking into his eyes and took a small step away trying to further distance herself. He sighed watching her before asking again, "Come 'ead darling, what's the matter?" He waited calmly for a response. She stopped trying to fasten the buttons and she shoved her hands into the pockets,
"You lefted." Paul frowned feeling overwhelmingly upset,
"I didn't leave, I'm right here! Me 'nd mummy just went on a little holiday!"It took a few moments but the girl slightly looked up evaluating him with such an innocent, candid stare Paul was mesmerized. "See, I promise I didn't go anywhere, I'm here right now!" She was still analyzing him before he slowly reached out again, this time she didn't back away. Paul quickly did up the buttons of her coat before standing up, picking her up with him. He kissed her on the cheek and bounced her with a little smile,
"There's me girl." She was still examining him,
"You're not going to leave again, are you?" Paul was surprised by the question, and the innocent. harsh truth it held,
"O' course not, love. I'm going t' stay with you." She wrinkled her eyebrows just a bit; Paul wondered if that was how he looked when he made the expression,
"You said that last time." He gulped a little, how much pain had he caused?
"I know, but I didn't leave did I?" She shrugged, still thoroughly unconvinced. He gave her a half-smile and brought her over to the couch where he sat cuddling her on his lap,
"Don't even worry about it, love." He combed his fingers through her hair, "You can see me whenever you want." She looked confused for a moment,
"Aren't you coming home with me and my Willy?" Paul gulped back the sudden realization that no; in fact she was legally only Rachael's' and no; he didn't have a claim on her yet.
"Well you see, love…" Paul hadn't a clue how to explain this to a five year old, what was he going to say 'Your mummy hates me and I only can see you when she allows me to', or 'Mummy won't even look me in the eye, I'm a cheap heartless bastard for lying to her?' Obviously he couldn't say that so he tried to patch it up, "You're going home with mummy 'nd then you can come t' my house sometimes to stay with me." He couldn't believe how rightly screwed up that sounded. She shook her head,
"You could come stay with us though, right?" He sighed shaking his head slightly,
"No…" The little girl looked up at him in disbelief as if he had just told her Santa Claus wasn't real,
"You said you wouldn't leave." She said trying to explain it to him he shook his head,
"Awh no, love. It doesn't mean I'm leavin'. It's just that you'll spend half yer time with mummy, 'nd half the time with me." She shook her head,
"Then just come live with mummy and Willy and Holly and me then for all the time." He sighed,
"I wish I could, love." She shrugged,
"Then do it." Paul would've given her the bloody world in the palm of his hand, he only wished it was that simple. He put on a happy face, trying to patch it up again,
"Hey, don't even worry about it, love. I'll figure somethin' out." She nodded a little accepting it as an answer. He was amazed how children trusted so easily- it also scared him too.
He took the little girl outside where Mike was talking to Rachael and his father was talking to William. Holly was back in Rachael's arms. Paul walked over to where Mike and Rachael were discussing something in whispers. Before he was even in a five foot radius of them Mike shot him a look that clearly meant not to come over to them, instead Paul abruptly changed directions and instead headed for the car to buckle Lily in, he placed the little girl in the seat next to William whilst the boy was talking to his father, he pecked her on the cheek and ruffled the little boys hair,
"I'll go get yer mummy 'nd we'll be out of here in a minute." They both nodded and Paul shut the door. His father shut the other side of the car and looked at him over the hood shaking his head slowly as if he was disappointed,
"Be good to those kids, Paul. Lillian missed you like crazy, you should be thankful William was around to help take care of her." Paul nodded still feeling like a child himself after being scolded by his father. The two men glanced over back near the house where Mike and Rachael were still discussing something.
"And be good to her too, she shouldn't have to deal with this." Paul nodded again in understanding feeling embarrassed- something he didn't feel all that often. He walked back over to the house in hopes of getting to say hello to Holly instead Rachael went past him with Holly in tow and he was left standing in front of Mike.
"You've really done, haven't you?" Mike said quietly, "You know what she told me?" He didn't even wait for him to give an answer, "She said she's thinking about moving back t' the states. Chicago er whatever." Paul suddenly felt extremely dizzy, "But I managed t' convince her not to." Paul suddenly felt relief, "But believe me lad, it's definitely not for your sake. You know this week was the first time Da's ever talked about mum since she died? I was walking past his room 'nd he had Holly, and I heard him telling her about mum." Paul had common grounds within that, he had little talks with Holly all the time, "He said that mum would've loved t' have met them all." Both brothers were quiet for a while, before Mike continued, "Listen, son. You've fucked up royally. Do good by them. And don't let her go, she's the best thing that's ever happened to you it's pretty bleedin' obvious." Paul nodded accepting the fact that his younger brother knew a lot more than he was getting on about.
"Thanks then for taking care of me kids." Mike nodded giving Paul a pat on the back before returning to the house. Paul turned back to back to the car, looking through the window counting heads; Lily, Will, and Martha were in the backseat. Rachael was holding Holly in the front, and his spot was empty… he definitely didn't like that at all. He strode over to his side getting in and shutting the door against the cold. Holly was asleep against Rachael with her little body curled up, he wanted to get a chance to hold her and to say hello. Rachael on the other hand caught his look, avoided eye contact shaking her head, and switched Holly to her other shoulder farther away from him. It was a real kick in the stomach. He calmly started the engine and was about to pull out when he saw Mike jogging through the snow to his car window, Paul rolled it down and his younger brother handed him the doll,
"Mary, I almost forgotted her!" Lily said from the back seat, Paul stopped for a moment, looking at the doll, taking account of her name and letting Mike reach past him to hand it to the little girl. Before Mike left he gave Paul a look and quietly said,
"She named her. The doll's name is Mary. Think about that, son." And with that he left jogging up through the snow back to the house. Paul rolled the window back up deciding to let that one go and pulled away from the curb.
Around an hour into the drive not a word was spoken from either him or Rachael. William and Lillian chatted quietly amongst themselves for a while before passing out. Rachael was still holding Holly and the baby was playing with the stud in Rachael's ear. He couldn't focus on driving thought, too many thoughts were going through his head, what in the world had he just done?
The closer and closer they got to London, the more Paul wanted to turn the car around and get the hell out of dodge. Before he knew it they were pulling near St. Johns Wood and closer to their houses. He decided to go to his first to drop off Martha. Rachael obviously knew where he was heading and turned her complete attention outside the window to further ignore him. As he pulled up to the gates a swift rush of reporters and gatebirds met them. They knocked at the cars windows, shouted questions, and above all else held up the magazines with Dot's picture to the window. They finally got through the gate and Paul pulled up to the door. Neither William, Lily, nor Holly woke up. He finally turned to Rachael,
"Love, why don't we bring the kids-" She instantly shook her head.
"No. They're staying at mine." He closed his eyes taking a deep breath,
"Why don't—" She cut him off again,
"This isn't even a discussion. They're staying at mine. Final." He nodded slowly,
"I'll just let the dog in." She shrugged turning her attention back to the baby. He got out of the car getting Martha out from the back, grabbed his suitcase and went into the house to drop them off. Just as he was about to walk back out the phone rang, he was about to let it go but decided to prolong this as much as possible so he wouldn't have to say goodbye to the kids.
"It's Alistair. You need to come into the studio tomorrow at 8:00 so we can get this story out of the papers." He nodded,
"Alright then. I'll bring Rachael." And with that he hung up. He went back out to the car and got in.
"Alistair called. He wants us to go to the studio tomorrow at 8." She glanced over at him for only a second with an eyebrow raised and he continued, "It's to get the story outta of th' papers." She closed her eyes and didn't utter a word. He took the long way to her house, driving slower than he needed to, and hitting every extra street that he could. Rachael knew what he was doing and just shook her head in disappointment.
There wasn't any avoiding it any longer when he finally pulled into her drive. They were met with reporters here too. When they got through the gate Rachael got out of the car first. She opened up the back door, Paul was about to open the door to carry them out when he clearly caught Rachael's look that said 'no'. He decided to ignore it and pulled the two older kids out, and carried them to the front door. She stood there for a moment with her eyes closed as if she was trying not to shout at him. When she opened her eyes again she turned around heading to the front door. Paul followed her into the house, it was deathly silent. She pointed over to the couch in the living room.
He went over with the older kids and laid them down. He pulled off their coats and shoes then wrapped a blanket around both of them whilst they held onto each other. He had no intentions of waking them up to say goodbye because there wasn't a chance in hell that he was leaving. He went in search of Rachael, she wasn't in the kitchen, she wasn't in the hall, not in either one of the sitting rooms, or the bathroom. He heard a door being opened upstairs and decided to go and find her. He went towards the light in Holly's room. She had just finished changing the baby and was putting her into the crib. She hadn't a clue that he was in the room, he watched for a minute as she put the baby down and pulled a little blanket over her. There wasn't a chance he was going to leave and let her do it alone. Paul walked up behind her putting a hand on her shoulder. She tensed up and stepped to the side,
"Rach, I—" She quickly shook her head and looked back down at the sleeping baby, as did he. "Rach, we need t' talk." He got out quickly. She didn't utter a word, she leaned over the rail of the crib and kissed Holly, then pushed past him. Paul took a deep breath, he too looking down at the sleeping child. He gave her a kiss, pulled the blanket up a little higher and turned off the lamp.
When he arrived in the hallway, she was standing leaning against the wall with her arms crossed. He shut the door behind him, and studied her. Her eyes shone lifeless and uncaring, she looked like she was absolutely defeated.
"Rachael, I'm not going t' leave th' kids. I'm not going t' leave you." She rolled her eyes,
And with that a pair of very tired five year olds appeared at the top of the staircase. Both he and Rachael stopped in their tracks turning to them.
"Willy and I hearded people yelling outside." Lily stated simply. Immediately both he and Rachael walked over to them,
"Who was yelling?" Rachael asked calmly. She shrugged and wobbled a bit, William was leaning against the doorframe. She shot him a look and he went over to the window. He was shocked nonetheless about a mob of reporters outside.
Paul was staring out the window. I took a deep breath, turning my attention back to the kids, I couldn't believe this was happening. I held out hands for both of them and they latched on as I led them down the hall to William's room where they both slept. I put them in the bed together and gave them a kiss. Paul came up from behind me and gave them a kiss as well. Within the second their heads touched the pillow, they were out. I left the room, wanting now more than ever for Paul to leave.
I went over to the window and in fact I saw a horde of reporters waiting outside the gate. I watched them snap pictures and ring the bell whilst shouting over one and other in effort to be heard.
He came out a few minutes later,
"Rach, I'm not goin' to leave you 'nd the kids 'ere with the bloody press outside the door." I crossed my arms looking still looking outside the window,
"Paul. I have a gate. They'll be fine. Just leave." I could hear him sigh behind me. And with that I fell apart. The breath caught in my throat and the instant burning sensation of crying came over me. Tears spilled down my cheeks as I watched the press below.
"Love, don't be upset—" I immediately shook my head,
"Please just go." I said quietly, "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Rach—" I ignored Paul, and walked past him down the stairs, he followed closely. When I got to the bottom I went over to the living room to pick up the kids discarded jackets and shoes.
He didn't know what to do, he didn't know what to say. One of the best things that had ever happened to him was conclusively heart broken, and wanted nothing to do with him. He watched as she picked up the kids outerwear from the floor, how silent was the house? How silent was the pain? He watched as the pretty slip of bird, who he had just hours ago made love to, ignored him. He thought about the two tiny children and the baby upstairs, one of which he had help make. The other two that belonged to him undeniably by nature. He felt a knot in his chest, a sickly feeling, and his head pounded steadily. It was like he was watching this fall apart in slow motion. He didn't want this to fall apart. He couldn't let this fall apart.
The pretty slip of bird he once had was facing away from him looking out the windows while keeping herself half-hidden behind a curtain. He watched the pretty forms' shoulders shaking with a sob, an inaudible sob. She was good at keeping the pain to herself. He didn't like that. She should've been there yelling at him, calling him out on his mistake. But she didn't. She stood there alone. He longed to walk up to her and pull her into him from behind, he didn't remember how to work his legs. He longed to pull her tight and promise this would never happen again, he didn't remember how to speak. He longed for the chance to look into those dark eyes- the ones that seemed to sparkle at the hint of a joke, the ones that had a nearly golden ring that distinguished the black of color from the pupil, the ones that made him go wild, the ones that he had fallen in crazy; stupid; and insane; love with- but she wouldn't look at him.
Paul finally snapped half-way out of it, he remembered how to speak finally;
"Love, why don't we—" The pretty slip of bird turned around. He was shocked at how the ashen white of her skin contrasted with the dark of her eyes, and the dark-brown of her hair.
"Go away." She looked back towards the window, "Please." His heart shattered, how could one person had made him fall this hard?
"Sweetheart, we have t' talk." He said gently. She shook her head,
"Talking has gotten us nowhere. See you then." She said quietly in almost a whisper. Paul ran a hand through his hair in a frantic way.
"The kids will be fine. Go." This time it came out as more of a command rather than a request.
"No, love, I meant what about you?" She scoffed slightly still hiding behind the curtain and watching the mess before her,
"Like I said. My name's Rachael. And I'm not your love, or your sweetheart, or any of those other lies. Don't worry about me. If you did, this wouldn't have happened." Paul was absolutely withdrawn. She weakly pointed to the door. He couldn't stand to see the pretty thing cry anymore, it was like a stab to the heart.
He backed away slowly to the door; how in the world had he gotten here?
He looked up the staircase, the door to the baby's room was closed, the door to the other two tiny children's was opened the slightest crack.
What happened to the promise he made? He promised the little girl he wouldn't leave.
What was he doing?
His legs seemed to be doing the work for him. As soon as he opened the door, a hells' wrath of voices lurched out calling to him, each one as urgent and demanding as the next. Automatically he got to his car and pulled out staring straight ahead, it took nearly twenty minutes but he'd managed to get out of the gate and out onto the road. When he got back to his home he repeated the scene- this time the fuel of the reporters being added to the incoherent shrieks of the gatebirds. He entered the house. The empty house. Only to be greeted by a dog- who still thought she was a puppy- looking for the kids that came over and played with her. There were none. She looked rather disappointed if a dog could look that way. Her ears went down, and her stub of a tail stopped shaking. She sniffed him. Looked back up at him. Then walked away. Paul listened for a moment, not a sound in the world could be heard, he could hear his heart beating wildly, and that was all. The clock read 9 o'clock, in the evening.
He was all alone.
Without another living soul in the residence (excluding the disappointed dog).
Without those 3 kids that didn't understand why mummy and daddy weren't together like the other kids' were.
Without that girl who he was pretty damn sure was an angel sent in prayer at a time when his band was in the midst of their downfall.
A/N: Review it people! :)