And it's a wrap! I wanna thank all of you for your comments, it's nice to know you enjoyed this Sharmen fic.
If you feel like it, you can check my Brittana fics too and let me know what you think.
Without further ado here's the final chapter of Tomorrow.
"…and this one is at Alice's birthday party last year, we threw her a huge party. We were trying to make up for previous one… we were totally involved in our own things that we forgot" Shane admits embarrassed "…but the last one, she loved it! It was wild," she said lost in the memory of that night.
Her mother smiles weakly through the big tube now covering her face, "You've got a great family, hon." she mumbles.
"Yeah I know. They're great. They took me into their circle, I really don't know why. They didn't care about my past; they just accepted me for who I was. They love me and I love them, too. We are more than family now." Shane says with sparkling eyes.
"I know now that you are going to be ok. They'll be there to help you. You won't be alone... ever, sweetie" her mother says softly as she takes Shane's hand.
"Hey, that's enough slide shows for today. You need some rest. I'll continue with more pictures tomorrow."
The woman's eyes begin to water at the sound of that last word. She then slowly removes her oxygen mask.
"What are you doing?" Shane protests and tries to stop her mother.
"Honey," the woman gently takes Shane's hand from the mask and kisses it, and places the oxygen mask on the side again. "I just want to tell you that I'm so happy I had the chance to see the wonderful person you've become. I…" she stops to take a breath, "I know you are a human being full of flaws and you made lots of mistakes but .." she breathes again "I also know you've got a big heart, a big heart that can't overflow completely because of your fears." She now coughs.
"Mom, really you don't need to say all these things. What you need now is your mask, please just let me…"
"Wait," she puts her hand across her own face. "Do you know what the only thing that's stopping you from being happy? You know what you need?
Shane looks at her questioningly.
"You need to forgive yourself, honey… forgive yourself as you were able to forgive me." She holds both hands of her daughter, "If a person like me had the opportunity to be forgiven, don't you think you can be forgiven, too?"
Shane looks at her and smiles.
The woman strokes Shane's face "I love you baby" she says letting her tears flow.
"I love you, too." Shane leans in to kiss her mother's forehead and hugs her.
Thirty minutes later, the woman is sleeping with Shane by her side looking at her, taking care of her. Suddenly the heart monitor starts beeping.
Shane jumps from her seat and runs to the door.
"HELP, WE NEED A DOCTOR PLEASE."
In seconds the room that moments ago was peaceful and quiet, now is full of doctors and nurses trying to revive her mother. She watches helplessly through the glass door as her mother is receiving injections, and the doctors charge the paddles and shock her heart again and again.
"No, please I can't lose you again." She whispers among tears.
Finally her worst fear comes true when the doctors stop their actions.
She pushes the door open "WHAT'S GOING ON? WHY DID YOU STOP?"
"I'm sorry Miss McCutcheon, there's nothing else we can do… She's gone."
"NO, DON'T SAY THAT!" She kneels next to her mother and takes her by the arms "MOM, PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME AGAIN. I NEED YOU MOM, MOOOOM!" She hugs the body of her now dead mother.
"Oh my God, Shane," Alice enters the room. Her eyes immediately fill with tears as she feels a horrible deja vu develop in front of her. She slowly kneels next to her friend.
"I lost her, Alice. I lost her forever." Shane hugs her.
Both friends cry out loud in each other's shoulders.
Shane cries silently in her bed, holding her pillow; she can't help the bad memories from invading her mind right now.
It's been a week since she last talked to Carmen in her office. That same day she packed her bag and returned to Los Angeles. She didn't say a word to her friends. She didn't need to because it was pretty obvious what had happened. Since that day, she's barely left her room. She stays there all the time thinking and crying.
"Shane?" Alice slowly opens the door and enters the room. She has a bowl of hot soup in her hands. "Jenny told me you haven't eaten today."
"I'm not hungry."
"I know you're not, but you need to eat to be okay Shane. I don't want anything bad to happen to you. We need you here Shane… I need you… please?" Alice begs.
Shane looks at her with compassion. "Ok, I'm gonna eat it. Just leave it there. Thank you."
"You're welcome… Now I leave you alone. I trust you. See ya later." She closes the door.
Shane sits up and takes the bowl from the nightstand.
She takes the spoon and stirs her soup as softly one name escapes her lips. "Carmen…"
The Planet – 11 p.m.
"I don't know what else to do. This is not fair you know? First her mother now Carmen, shit! This is so fucked up!" Alice complains.
"We know baby girl, but this is something Shane has to overcome by herself. We can only be there to support her," offers Kit.
"She needs some time alone to absorb her pain. We all do at some point," Jenny adds.
"But she's been in her room all this week! She needs to go out or something."
"Or…" Bette adds, "We can all go and have a gathering with her in her room."
"That's a wonderful idea, Bette!" Helena smiles.
"So what are we waiting for?! Let's go!" Tina stands up and signals the girls to follow her. "You coming, Kit?"
"Yeah, but let me fix some things here first. I'll be there in a sec."
"Damn! Why didn't it occur to me before? I'm the smart one here you know?" Alice pouts.
All the girls laugh as they head to Shane's.
Shane finally decides to at least get out of her room.
Those conversations she had with Alice and Jenny made her realize that she has to move on. Now that everything seems to be so wrong, she needs to be outside, hang out with her friends and distract herself with good thoughts.
She also remembered the time Bette came and told her that she must honor her mother's memory by remembering all her words, all the conversations and keep them in her heart with all her love and happiness. A valuable thing as that doesn't deserve to be tainted by sadness.
She is grateful she has a group of friends that really care about her.
Shane slowly walks to the living room and sits on the couch; she then takes the remote and turns on the TV. A show calls her attention and she watches it quietly.
Suddenly a knock on the door startles her.
She then smiles to herself knowing that maybe her friends decided to keep her company.
"I knew you guys…." She stops abruptly.
"Hey…um… I guess we have a conversation to finish, huh?"
Carmen is sitting next to Alonso's cradle; she caresses his head as she looks at him tenderly. She enjoys the boy's sweetness while she takes in what just happened some hours ago.
She's reflecting on Shane's words, especially everything concerning her mother. But what really caught her attention was Shane's behavior.
Was Shane running after her? Was she crying for her? Was she begging for her to come back?
Those are things that Carmen never thought Shane would do, at least not for the love of a woman.
At that moment she realizes that the unexpected return of her mother and her sudden death has affected Shane's life forever.
She has changed Carmen concludes.
"Do you still love her?" asks Nicole with the tranquility that has always identified her. She's leaning against the door frame.
Carmen turns to face her. "I don't know."
"I think you do." Nicole gets closer to Carmen, "but I also think that there's too much pain which is making it hard for you to see." She takes a chair and sits opposite to Carmen. "Sometimes the person we love hurts us so much that all the love we have disappears into the deep recesses of our hearts that we think that it doesn't exist anymore, but we know that we still love that person."
"I'm scared," Carmen admits.
"I know you are, but sometimes we need to take some risks. It's what makes us feel alive, you know? Sometimes we just want to stay in a situation because it's safe or comfortable. It may seem like a good idea, but is that what you really want? Are you sure you can be completely happy in this situation? Forever?"
Carmen looks at Nicole really understanding what she's saying but some other things come to her mind. "But I don't want to lose you Nicole. I don't want to lose Alonso." She takes Nicole's hand.
"And you won't. We shared so many good things that it would be illogical to forget them just like that, but I also know that I want you to be happy. I can see that your happiness is next to that woman. You don't have to sacrifice your own happiness for us cause we'll always be part of your life, we'll always be here. You'll be very welcome at any time if you decide to come see us."
"I don't know if I can… I don't know if I can forgive her."
"Everybody deserves a second chance. Everybody."
The high intonation on the last word didn't go unnoticed by Carmen. She looks deeply into Nicole's eyes and suddenly smiles.
Nicole nods returning the smile and Carmen understands.
She now hugs Nicole really tight. "Thank you"
"You're welcome" Nicole returns the embrace lovingly.
After some seconds Carmen moves back a little to look at her face "You are an amazing woman, and someone will be so lucky to have you," she winks.
"Hope so," Nicole smiles.
Carmen then leans in to kiss Alonso's forehead. "Bye, my baby… Don't forget me ok? Cause I'll be coming to see you anytime soon." She looks at him and she can't help the tears from escaping her eyes.
Nicole hugs her again and both cry.
"Carmen," Shane whispers as she feels a nod in her throat. "I thought you…"
"Yes, I know what I said and I meant every single word, but…there's always a new beginning right?" She shrugs, "The old Shane and Carmen surrounded by the magical cloud of love are gone. We both changed and… we can see what we can do from now on…"
Carmen sighs as she continues. "Look Shane, I can't promise you that this is going to work. Nothing has been said related to us, but we have to fucking try, don't we?"
Shane looks at her with a big grin on her face. "Yes…we have to fucking try."
"First things first… we have to talk. And we have a loooot to talk about."
Shane nods and opens the door wide so Carmen could step inside.
Once they are face to face, Shane is unable to take it anymore and bursts into tears and hugs Carmen. "Thank you… thank you so much."
Carmen returns the hug and immediately cries, too at the feeling of Shane's body. "I've missed you so much."
Only a few feet away Bette, Tina, Alice, Jenny and Helena watch in tears the scene before them.
They had just turned to face the house when they saw Carmen knocking on the door.
At first they froze in shock at the presence of the Latina. The urge to run and hug her and tell her how much they had missed her was strong, but they decided to stay away to give Shane and her some privacy.
The gang now exchange smiles with each other and start moving away. There'll be time later for welcomes and hugs. Now it's time for the two of them to fix what they have to fix, it's time for them to talk.
They march feeling content to Bette's house to celebrate friendship, to celebrate love.
Shane pulls away slightly. "What about Nicole and the baby?" She asks really concerned.
Nicole returns to her room after she waved goodbye to Carmen from the front door. She looks visibly sad and sits at the edge of her bed.
She looks at a picture on the wall where she and Carmen are holding Alonso the very first day he came home from the hospital. She smiles and takes the picture sweetly and puts it away in her drawer.
She then opens her laptop and looks at the long list of emails she had received from the same sender.
The last email reads: "I know you must be tired of my emails already. I know it's been six months. If I haven't come to see you in person, it's not for cowardice. It's because I don't want to bother you. I know you have a girl now and that's ok. I deserve all your rejection, but if you just let me explain, please give me a chance to talk to you. Please call me soon, I'll be waiting. Remember, I won't give up on you. I won't give up on Alonso. With love, Lucia."
"Everybody deserves a second chance," she repeats the words she told Carmen before.
Following her own advice, she takes her cell phone and types a message, "I'll be waiting for you tomorrow. Nicole." She presses send and smiles.
"….They'll be ok. I know they are going to be ok." Carmen says confidently.
They sit comfortably on the couch.
"So when did you come?" Shane asks
"Oh 3 days ago, but I went to see my family first. I needed to relax and think about all this you know?"
"Oh, I understand… And what did you….?"
They stay like that talking and catching up on every detail of their lives they had missed.
They laugh, they cry. Opening for the first time their hearts to one another, trying to find in each other's eyes the pieces they need to gather to complete that complicated puzzle. The most complicated of all; the puzzle of love.