I'll Love You Better Now
'Truth is Stranger than Fiction'
The interviewer tapped her pen on the notebook paper she had on her lap, eyeing Daniel with a look between sympathy and accusation. Forty-eight hours ago, he had been sitting in Rikers prison, the heavy weight of a first degree murder charge on his shoulders—Daniel couldn't be too surprised at Michelle Laney's… discomfort with sitting across from him. He supplied her with a pleasant smile before continuing to answer her question of if he'd killed Tyler Barrel. He couldn't ignore the slight pang that radiated through his chest. Had he killed Tyler or not? Wringing his hands together, he shooed away the eerie uncertainty.
"Listen, if anyone commits a crime, no matter who they are, he or she should pay for it," he said, giving a dark glance in his father's direction, before setting his eyes on Emily. Her golden hair was illuminated by the sun pouring in from the window, her curls bouncing the light this way and that with uncanny perfection. Emily gave him a supportive smile, careful not to make it too noticeable—Victoria was staring at her like a hawk about to swoop down to catch dinner.
"Speaking of which," Michelle Laney responded, Daniel returning his attention to her, "the SCC has issued an order of investigation on your family's company, Grayson Global; a company you stand to inherit. Would you like to comment on the allegations of corruption and fraud?" A slight little smirk found its way on to Michelle's face, and Daniel licked his lips. The moment of truth was here. He would either take the side of righteousness, or the side of loyalty. Whichever path he chose, he'd lose something important. Daniel breathed heavily, knowing his decision had already been made. His father, mother, and Grayson Global would not define him; too much of his life had been spent in this tug of war between expectations and true identity.
"Whatever the SCC finds, I'm sure Grayson Global had it coming to them." Daniel's face was stone, as he drummed his fingers on the white chair's armrest. Michelle Laney's face was shocked to put it lightly, her blue eyes clouding with confusion. Victoria Grayson was unnervingly unmoved by the answer, and Conrad looked about ready to faint. Betrayal, guilt, apprehension—it was all there, a sprawled mess on the usually cool tempered Conrad Grayson's features. But to Daniel's own shock, he didn't really care about his parents' reactions; his eyes lingered firmly on Emily, who bit her lip smiling, twisting her engagement ring approvingly on her finger. That was all the support he needed to know he'd made the right choice.
"Being heir apparent, aren't you all the least bit concerned about what the SCC's investigation uncovers?" Now Michelle was moving the pen in between her fingers, the black body of it standing out against her pale skin. Daniel stared at the movement for a moment or two, his entire mind empty. The walls around him didn't feel like home, and the family that circled the interview seemed forged. Had his entire life been one huge lie hidden behind fancy parties, luxurious vacations, and the illusions of a happy family? Hatred began to boil inside him. Any remorse lingering within the depths of his conscience was burnt to ashes.
"I would be more concerned if I'd inherited the company with crimes left unpunished. I don't think money and power can be put before justice and the truth," Daniel told her, his muscles growing tenser. All he wanted was for this interview to end, so he could run from this godforsaken house with Emily by his side, and never look back. Maybe the company would one day land in his hands, and he'd be able to build an empire based on trust and loyalty, rather than deals behind closed doors, and the bastardizing of all genuineness—but he wasn't about to count on it. He was done with the Graysons, and tired of lugging the weight of the name.
"Well," Michelle said clasping her hands together, "thank you so much for your time, Daniel." The camera was turned off then, and the plastered smile was finally gone from Michelle Laney's face. Daniel leaned his head on the back of his chair, his body buzzing with all the adrenaline. In less than five minutes, he'd successfully taken a stand against his parents, possibly shattered all hopes of Grayson Global lasting the year, and set the record straight. Sitting up straighter, he made eye contact with Emily. She mouthed an 'I love you' and he replied with his signature hybrid between a smirk and a smile, and raised his eyebrow slightly.
He stood up then, hoping the overly active nerves would calm a bit. Michelle walked over to him, and whispered, "It was refreshing to hear money isn't everything," and then went back to the cameraman and exited the room. Daniel stared at her, still numb by everything. Breathing shallowly, he could sense his father's presence behind him. Straightening his posture, and feeling the tendons in his shoulders stiffen, he turned to face him.
"I suppose I can't say I blame you for the side you chose," Conrad said rather stiffly, his blue eyes ice cold and unforgiving. Daniel didn't even flinch. His father had had his run of condescending remarks and obvious looks of disappointment.
"It's not about sides. There was only one right thing to do, and I did it. David Clarke was innocent, and you sent him to jail for life; and Amanda was so young, and you left her alone without a father—you ruined a perfectly good family's life, dad."
"And now you've just ruined ours," Conrad returned bitterly. His face was full of hatred, and Daniel knew he had just made an enemy out of his father. Yet for once, the look was not enough to send him crawling back to the Grayson way of life. Daniel might have the name, and the same DNA, but he was not one of them.
"No, you did. You can't blame this on me; it's obvious you haven't learned your lesson from David Clarke. You and mom can't just go around pinning your mistakes on other people. Somehow, the truth will come out, and when it does, all I'll have to say is good riddance." Disgust filled Daniel's face, and he turned away from his father, making his way towards Emily. Conrad grabbed his son's wrist.
"We are not finished here, Daniel."
Daniel tugged his wrist free from Conrad's grasp, and eyed him bitterly. Never in his life would he have guessed he'd actually loathe his father—but then again, life was always full of surprises. "Yeah, we are."
Emily stood there, finding it hard to suppress her happiness. Daniel was officially on her side now, which meant her feelings weren't barriers anymore. In her eyes, Daniel was simply Daniel: not a Grayson, not a part of her plan; just the man she loved. It had taken her a while to fully realize and accept that truth, but after the interview, Emily was sure: Daniel was the one she loved, and where her future lied. The issue of how she'd stay close to the Graysons now wasn't even on her mind as Daniel approached her.
Placing his hand on her lower back, he curled her in to face him. "I'm sorry about all of this," he said, shaking his head. A sad little smile found its home on his lips, and she ran her pointer finger over the tips of his dark hair.
"Daniel, there's nothing to apologize for; you did the right thing." She knew that this was not the place to start this conversation. "We should go," she told him firmly, looking around at the people still standing in the room. All of them looked about ready to pounce. When she and Daniel talked about all of what had just transpired, she wanted to do it in the beach house; not in this hell in the form of a manor. There was no forgiveness here.
"Yes, you should," Conrad said darkly, walking up to the two of them. "You're no longer welcome." His eyes set like a deadly grenade on his son.
"Fine by me," Daniel returned coldly, and slipped his hand from Emily's back and laced their fingers together, guiding her to the door.
"Daniel, wait," Charlotte said desperately, running swiftly over to her brother, Victoria following closely behind. "Please don't go," she begged him, "I need you here." Charlotte ran her tongue over her teeth, trying to hold back her tears. She knew if Daniel walked out that door, he'd never come back. She wasn't losing him to Harvard or to the quaint house next door—she was losing her big brother forever. The thought was terrifying.
"Char," Daniel said quietly, taking his hand from Emily's, and running it over his sister's shoulder, "I can't be here anymore." The sadness was apparent in his voice, and he shook his head slowly. By now, Charlotte couldn't hold back the tears any longer and wrapped her arms tightly around Daniel's torso.
"Conrad, let's talk about this," Victoria said, turning to her soon to be ex-husband. Her dark eyes were pleading. Seeing both of her children in pain was more than she could take. She watched as Charlotte let go of Daniel, her body shaking and he, desperate to calm her. It was because of her and Conrad that her family was destructing from the center out; and Victoria knew it very well. For too many years she'd sat on the sidelines as Conrad made the ruling decisions; but this time, she would not stand down. There was nowhere left for Victoria Grayson to fall.
"He betrayed us; all of us." Conrad's voice was rising, and his face was growing redder with anger.
"He's your son, Conrad!" Victoria couldn't even bear to look at him right now. Not only had he thrown away her love, but he'd technically disowned his only son, and banished his daughter. The man was a monster. Whomever she'd fallen in love with all those years ago was gone; replaced with a demonic lookalike. When had everything gotten bad? Victoria felt herself crumbling on the inside, just how the powerful empire of Rome had.
"Some decisions cannot be forgiven," he replied coldly. Eyebrow slightly raised, and eyes haughtily filled with pride, he silently dared Victoria to try something. Conrad was in the mood to fight, and somehow someway, he'd get his battle.
"He's right, mom," Daniel told Victoria. "Both of you have done things that can never be forgiven, even with all the forgiveness in the world." He wanted to shake his parents, and ask what had compelled them to commit the horrors they did. But right now, the mere sight of Conrad and Victoria Grayson sickened him. He then turned his attention to Charlotte, empathy and love immersed completely into his caramel-chocolate eyes. Conrad followed his son's stare and breathed heavily.
"Go with them if you want, Charlotte," he told her darkly. Charlotte knew there was a silent 'and if you do, never come back', tagged on the end. Daniel was the only person who hadn't turned against her in some way though, and she felt safe with him… and most of all, happy. Emily and Daniel were more of a family to her than Conrad and Victoria could ever be. If she was completely honest with herself, it didn't even break her heart in this moment to think about never coming back—in fact, it was a relief. She knew her parents were her parents and she should love them, but it was the hardest task she'd ever been given.
"Okay then," Charlotte said dryly, her eyes hardening, "I'll go," she continued as she walked over with Daniel to Emily. "I'll be back to get my stuff," she finished in the aloofness her mother had mastered so expertly. Her shimmering lips were pursed in disappointment while she looked at her parents, and she leaned into Daniel just to make her choice even more apparent.
Emily looked at the two siblings, and it hit her how many times they must have imagined running away from Conrad and Victoria. She was sure they couldn't have been all bad; they had raised two perfectly wonderful children. But, that still did not even come close to salvaging all the wrong they had done over the years. Wrapping her fingers around Daniel's forearm softly, she bit her cheek and turned to him. He was staring at his mother, whose eyes were glistening with tears to the point they overflowed her tear ducts. It was not often that one saw a crying Victoria Grayson, but in the rare occasion, it couldn't help but be noticed that a tinge of humanity truly lied within her.
"Please, Daniel, Charlotte" she whispered weakly, "don't go. We are a family; we can worth this out. Just stay and we can talk everything out civilly." Her social suaveness was a dying an epic and fiery death as her world unraveled around her.
"It's too late for that," Daniel replied, finally reaching the door, and turning the knob. It felt to Victoria like a knife being twisted in her stomach as she watched her son, daughter, and soon to be daughter-in-law walk out of the house. She was paralyzed, and fragile, and broken—her eyes went to the floor, and her reflection appeared shattered in the shiny tiles.
"Charlotte," Daniel said softly once they had cleared Grayson property and entered onto the sandy beach, "you didn't have to leave." The second they'd crossed the threshold, he'd noticed the look of pain on his sister's face. It was obvious she'd wanted to leave, but Charlotte was still just a girl—her eighteenth birthday hadn't even come yet.
"I did, Danny," she replied, lifting her eyes to face him. "I haven't been able to stand mom for a long time, and dad, turns out to be just as bad as she is. I couldn't stay with them; all I want is to be with you and Emily." Looking past her brother she smiled in Emily's direction. The sun was swiftly going down, but she could still see Emily's glistening smile in return.
"You can stay with us for as long as you'd like," Emily told her, as she squeezed Daniel's hand. He ran his thumb over the back of her hand, and leaned in closer to her. With him and Charlotte on her side, Emily felt not only invincible, but somehow complete. If someone had told her last year that she'd find compassion and contentment with the Grayson children, she would have scoffed, and maybe even punched the person. But she supposed the truth had an odd way of clarifying everything; and the things she thought were clear, were now tossed up in the air.
So I've recently started Revenge, and I absolutely adore it. After watching 1x19 though, I knew I had to create an alternate outcome. I get Daniel wanted to protect his family and keep his loyalty, and I still love him, but I just couldn't stomach the way he stood up for his father. So, this is my way of venting my feelings about it. I'm still trying to get a handle on all of the characters, so please don't kill me if some are OOC; I'll try to get better at it, haha. I hope you all enjoyed it though, and that you review. If you all want me to, I'd love to continue this—and also, please oh please give me ideas! I'm not too positive of where I want to go from here.
Reviews are love!