Chapter Seventy-Eight

Lucas was completely exhausted at work that morning. Not only had he literally had no sleep the night before, but his mind was full of so many thoughts that he simply could not focus. At first, it was mostly thoughts of Evelyn, and how overjoyed he felt to have been reunited with her at last. But his joy was quickly overtaken by uncertainty and dread as he thought of his wife, and how he could even begin to explain all the things he’d been withholding from her for so many years…

When he finally arrived home late in the afternoon, Lucas felt more nervous and more exhausted than he could remember feeling in a long time. I can’t put this off for much longer… But where to start?

10-08-15_6-08-53 PM

He crossed through the entryway and into the living room where Melanie sat on the couch, reading. Just looking at her made the uneasy feeling in his stomach slowly rise. With a deep breath he headed around the side of the sofa and sat beside her.

10-08-15_6-10-20 PM

“Hey, sweetie.” Mel smiled, glancing up from her book.

“Hey.” He replied weakly.

Her face fell when she looked at him. “Long day?” She asked, concerned.

Her husband nodded. “Yeah, you could say that…” He tried to smile. “Would you mind if… Maybe we order a pizza or something tonight? I’m just feeling pretty beat…”

10-08-15_6-12-15 PM

Melanie’s eyes widened, and Lucas knew why – they almost never ordered takeout or delivery. Lucas had always loved cooking every meal in their household, and was usually quite picky of other restaurants’ food – especially chain restaurants or takeout places.

She knows something’s up… He realized nervously.

To his relief, however, she did not question him. “Sure.” She said, a hint of uncertainty in her tone. “I don’t mind.”

10-08-15_6-11-52 PM

“Thanks, honey.” Lucas replied, sighing softly and closing his eyes. He was just so tired. Maybe he’d feel better after a little rest.

How the heck did I ever manage to get by after all those nights I spent with Ev? He wondered. Of course, he was about 35 years younger at the time. I guess that had something to do with it… Lucas thought with a yawn.

——————————————————————

10-08-15_6-44-49 PM

A couple of hours later, after a quick nap and a somewhat dissatisfying dinner, Lucas did not feel much better. Mel continued to eye him curiously throughout their meal, and stole a few sideways glances at him as they sat on the couch together after supper to watch some TV.

10-08-15_6-47-48 PM

They’d been hoping to catch a rerun of one of Sam’s routines on the comedy channel – it was still so exciting to catch a glimpse of their friend on the big screen – but they seemed to have missed it. Lucas only half-paid attention as the young, unfamiliar comedian went through a somewhat predictable routine. Beside him, Mel did not seem very focused on the show either.

Don’t put it off any longer. He told himself firmly. You just have to do it.

10-08-15_6-48-06 PM

Lucas picked up the controller and turned off the TV, saying nothing as he did so. His wife turned to face him uneasily. “Is everything okay?” She asked him softly.

10-08-15_6-48-39 PM

“No.” Lucas replied honestly. “Mel… I… I really need to talk to you about something.” He took a deep breath. “It’s a really long story, and I… I don’t exactly… Well, I’m not sure where to begin…” The man stumbled awkwardly over his words. Goddamn it, how am I ever gonna spit this out?

“Just try.” His wife urged him gently, though there was a strange expression on her face as she spoke that Lucas could not quite describe. It did nothing to help his unease.

“Okay… Um… Do you remember my friend Evelyn?” He choked out nervously.

10-08-15_6-50-30 PM

Melanie nodded. “Of course. The one who passed away, right?”

“Y-yeah… Well…” Lucas took a deep breath. “What if I told you… That… She didn’t… Didn’t really… Pass away, exactly?”

“So… She’s still alive?”

“No. Yes. Kind of… Ugh.” Lucas shook his head. “This is really hard to explain…” He paused. “She did die… But not when I told you she did…” He looked at Mel uncertainly.

Melanie said nothing for a few moments. “So… She died earlier, then?” She asked softly.

Lucas was surprised. He expected that she’d assume it was later. He nodded. “Y-yeah…”

10-08-15_6-49-22 PM

“And… how much earlier, exactly?” Mel’s tone was suddenly much less sympathetic than before.

“Uh, well –”

“Months? No wait, years, I bet…”

“Honey, what’re you –”

“Like maybe… I dunno, before you were even born?”

For a moment, he was confused. But then it hit him.

Holy shit. She knows.

10-08-15_6-55-51 PM

All the color drained from Lucas’ face.

Mel was just staring at him now, wearing a scowl. Lucas didn’t know what to say. How did she figure it out?! Did Krysti tell her?!

“Mel…” He paused nervously. “How long have you known? How did you find out?”

His wife took a deep breath. “A few days after I got back from Bridgeport, I had coffee with your mom, and I mentioned that Caroline’s friend Evelyn used to live in your house… She showed me the grave in the backyard, and told me all about your old ‘imaginary friend’…” Melanie explained. “And then the night I saw Cam and Laura, I tried asking them about it, and they told me about some camping trip? When you told them your girlfriend was dead?”

Oh god… Lucas held his face in his hands. He couldn’t believe that a drunken slip-up from more than 40 years ago had somehow come back to bite him now.

10-08-15_7-01-26 PM

“And then I talked to Krysti.” She finished at last. “She’d told me once about her ‘imaginary friend’ named Evelyn too… And it finally all seemed to make sense.” Mel shrugged.

Lucas sighed. “Can’t keep anything from my girls…” He tried to smile. “Too clever.”

Mel was not amused. “Lucas, exactly how many more decades of marriage were you planning on letting slip by before you told me the truth?” She asked. Her hurt and anger were apparent in her voice as she spoke.

10-08-15_7-03-48 PM

It was a few moments before Lucas replied. “I don’t know.” He confessed. “I… I thought she was gone… I never thought I’d really have to…” He looked at his wife nervously as he spoke.

“Why weren’t you just honest with me from the beginning?” She asked.

“Because I was scared.” Lucas answered honestly. “Do you realize how insane this whole thing sounds?”

10-08-15_6-51-50 PM

“I do.” Mel agreed. “But… Do you realize that you can tell me anything? I’ll always listen, no matter what.” She said seriously.

“I know.” Lucas sighed. “I’m sorry, Mel. I never should have kept this from you.” He paused. “So please, will you let me try to make it up to you?”

“How?”

“By telling you everything.”

Mel bit her lip. “You promise?” She asked. “Everything?”

“Everything.” He agreed, pausing for a slow, deep breath. Here goes…

“Okay. I guess I should start at the beginning.” Lucas began. “It all started back when I was a kid. When my parents and I first moved here, things were pretty rough, y’know? I felt like such an outcast, and all the other kids were so mean… So one night, I decided to run away…”

10-08-15_7-03-22 PM

——————————————————————

“So… that’s everything?” Mel asked, speaking at last.

“That’s everything.”

He eyed her nervously, waiting for her response to the whole unbelievable tale. What could she be thinking? He wondered.

10-08-15_6-52-56 PM

She had only interrupted him twice as he shared the whole story with her– Once to express her shock and confusion at Lucas’ mention of meeting Death, and once to express her dismay that Lucas and Evelyn had still been together back when they first met.

“All you told me that night was that you ‘weren’t looking for anything’!” She’d cried. “Lucas, ‘I’m not looking’ and ‘I have a girlfriend’ are two completely different things!”

10-08-15_7-07-51 PM

“I know.” Lucas agreed, biting his lip. “But… You were so beautiful and sweet and funny…” There was an almost wistful look in his eye for a moment. “I really liked you, Mel. From the first moment we met.” He confessed. “And ‘I’m not looking’ is a lot less final than ‘I have a girlfriend’, don’t you think?” He asked guiltily.

10-08-15_7-10-24 PM

Mel simply sighed in reply and let him continue.

“So… what happens now?” Melanie said finally, bringing Lucas’ attention back to the present. There was a strange sort of sadness in her voice.

“What do you mean?” He asked uncertainly.

“It sounds like you two are friends again.” Mel replied with a shrug. “Does this mean… You’re still gonna try to bring her back?” Her voice was almost a whisper.

10-08-15_7-13-38 PM

“Of course. I have to.”

The look on his wife’s face told him instantly that she did not agree.

“You don’t want me to.” Lucas said softly. It wasn’t a question.

A look of guilt slowly crept onto Mel’s face. “I know it’s what you’ve always wanted… And I guess… it is the right thing, but…” She bit her lip. “What happens when you do?”

10-08-15_6-52-09 PM

“What are you saying?” Lucas asked, fearing he already knew the answer.

His wife hesitated. “She still loves you, doesn’t she?” She asked softly. “And you loved her, right? M-maybe part of you still does…” Mel added sadly. “And, once she’s alive again…” She shook her head and did not finish.

Her husband’s face fell. “Mel, how can you even talk like that?” Lucas tried his best to hide just how deeply her words had hurt him.

“I know, I know.” She hung her head for a moment. “It’s awful of me to say… But… I can’t help feeling kind of…” She did not finish the sentence, but Lucas knew exactly what she was thinking – jealous.

10-08-15_6-55-24 PM

Lucas considered his next words for a moment. “Well… What if it was Christian?”

“What?!”

“What if you could bring him back? Give him a second chance to live the life he never got to live?”

Melanie didn’t even hesitate. “Of course I would! I’d do anything.” She said seriously.

“See?”

10-08-15_7-13-16 PM

Mel said nothing, though she appeared suddenly thoughtful.

“And… I’ve gotta admit… I’d be pretty jealous if you did, too.” He confessed. “But…” Lucas continued, a bit more nervously this time. “If you did manage to bring him back… What would you do?” He asked. “Would you leave me? Go back to him?”

Mel shook her head. “Never.” She said softly. Lucas could tell by her face that she understood exactly what he was getting at.

10-08-15_7-16-43 PM

“And why not?”

His wife sighed. “Because… I’m a different person now than I was with him. When we were together, I was just a kid… I’ve grown so much since then… With you.” She smiled slightly. “And I’d never throw what we have away. Not for anything.”

Lucas simply smiled at her.

“Okay.” She said softly. “I get it.”

Her husband placed a large, warm hand over hers. “Evelyn means a lot to me.” He explained. “But I love you, Mel. You’re the person I chose to spend my life with. And if I could go back in time a thousand times, I would always choose you. Nothing will ever change that, okay?”

10-08-15_7-20-51 PM

Melanie placed her hand over his. “Okay.” She replied gently. “This will take a lot of getting used to…” She confessed. “And… I think I’d appreciate it if you maybe warned me before you go to see her again? But I trust you.” Mel paused. “Just… No more secrets. From either one of us. Deal?”

It was amazing how after all these years, her smile still gave him butterflies…

“Deal.”

10-08-15_7-21-27 PM

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28 Responses to Chapter Seventy-Eight

  1. O'jenn says:

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! I am flipping in tears right now! This was the chapter, the resolution my little heart needed. To see Lucas say those words, that he would always choose Mel. Oh my god I can’t even begin to describe how freaking over the moon I am!

    #TeamMel forever

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Yay! I knew you’d like this one! 🙂 Part of Lucas will always love Ev, but he is so happy and so in love with his wife, he’d never leave her. And I think Mel really needed to hear him confirm that to help get over her worry a little bit and feel more at-ease about them renewing their friendship. And I think Lucas needed it too. Things are definitely going to be a little awkward from here on out, but it was so nice to give Lucas and Mel THEIR closure (since Lucas and Ev got theirs in the last chapter). 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. theplumbob says:

    Aww that was sweet. Of course he’d always choose Mel, he DID choose her when Ev was still around (even though the circumstances were different). I liked how Lucas explained it through the Christian analogy, that was a clever way of making her understand his point of view.

    I’m not surprised Mel felt jealous though, it would be the only natural reaction, no matter how big of a person she is (which we have seen in the previous few chapters).

    So lovely they no longer have secrets. Now, lets hope Lucas can succeed with getting that fish so that Evelyn can finally move on too (and not not move on beyond kind of move on :D)

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Thanks! I figured the Christian analogy would be the best way to get through to Mel. Even though obviously the situations are different, the basic idea is still the same 🙂 There will definitely be a little awkwardness for a while, but everyone feels pretty at ease right now, so yay!

      It felt so good to wrap up some loose ends! Now we can focus on that cure 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ninjapigsims says:

    *ninjapig snuggles Lucas and Mel* Yay for a happy resolution! And I’m glad that Mel didn’t let Lucas off the hook easily! I like how he managed to reassure her too.

    #TeamBringEvelynBackToLife!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Derubelle says:

    Yes yes yes! Of course he’d always her! I love Mel too much to just hop back onto the Evelyn wagon I mean come on, they’re so darn cute together! This chapter was sooo soo good, almost brought a tear to my eye, it was so nice for them to just reconnect like this! ❤ And finally everyone is on the same boat I meant this makes me so excited! What if they all have a picnic under the moon-light ? haha So excited for next ch x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jes2G says:

    Woo! All right! NOW can we go downhill?? lol

    I think Lucas should bring Mel to meet Evelyn one night lol. Seriously though! They’re all adults…this isn’t middle school 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      But I teach Middle School, so it’s what comes naturally to me 😉 I don’t think Mel is “ready” to meet Ev quite yet, but we’ll see what happens! 😉 And yes, now we can go somewhat downhill 😉 Hehehe

      Liked by 1 person

  6. And my dreams crushed…kidding! Mostly…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. raerei says:

    Well done. The writing and dialog in this felt perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Thank you so much! That means a lot. To me, this chapter was just as important as the reunion, so I’m glad you feel that I got it right! It felt SO good to give everyone a little closure for once haha. But it’s a definite sign that the end is in sight 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Virtualee says:

    Woot and Yaass!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. cathytea says:

    So… weepy. Sweet and sad simultaneously.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. RipuAncestor says:

    Whoo, the secrecy can finally stop! And I’m glad this didn’t turn into some really bad drama where Lucas would be cast out for keeping a secret or something, because that happens quite a lot in fiction, and it’s annoying.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Simslover163 says:

    It’s about time the secrecy stopped! I was wondering before the past few chapters, “When will they ever stop keeping the secret hidden from each other?”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. lovesstorms says:

    Finally! Geez, it’s about time, seriously. I think his analogy of Christian was perfect. I was actually annoyed with Mel for a bit. I mean, he promised to help her. But, at the same time, he still had feelings for Ev while there. So, I’d be worried, too. We still have many chapters left, so something is going to go wrong soon. I feel it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. ARoseInBloom says:

    Another chapter and I can still breathe. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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