“Toni, you’re a god damn liar!” Seymour shouted, “Brandt, don’t believe her, she’s making that up!”
While he was so busy demanding Brandt to not believe her, he didn’t even bother looking at me, to see that I was falling apart. I did my best to hold my tears in, but I was failing miserably.
I ran towards the door, catching Seymour’s attention as he followed behind.
“Kirsten, wait!” he shouted.
“You gonna get back here and tell me why she’d make this shit up?” Brandt yelled.
Seymour ignored Brandt as he grabbed my arm.
“She’s lying…” He whispered.
I let my mind drift back to college, when Seymour cheated on Toni with Dorothy. Then I remembered the feelings he still harbored for Toni when we were just getting together. I’m sure those feelings don’t just go away.
“I need some time…” I croaked, yanking my arm away.
Taking my broom, I arrived home much faster than Seymour would in his crappy old car.
I ran to my room as quickly as possible, with tears streaming down my face, I quickly rummaged through the pile of dirty clothes on the floor, trying to find something comfortable enough for horse-riding.
After throwing on some yoga pants and a sweater, along with my purple boots, I quickly made a leap onto Aurora’s back.
Just as Seymour pulled into the driveway, I made a kissing sound, paired with a gentle tap on Aurora’s back with my foot, signaling her to go.
Seymour ran up to me, and dropped to his knees.
“Kirsten I swear to god I didn’t touch her!”
I began to sob, imagining all the ways he could have cheated without touching her. I could feel my trust slipping through my fingers, I was positive he was attempting to trick me with his words, as if he’s trying to find a loophole to telling the truth.
I turned my head, not wanting to look him in the eye, as Aurora Skies gained enough speed to gallop away.
I could hear him start up his car when I left, so I made sure to take a route he couldn’t follow.
Anger filled every ounce of my body, as I had Aurora running full speed through the mountains.
The adrenaline pumping through my body served as the perfect ailment for the unbearable pain caused by the ‘what ifs‘ and doubts that were replaying over and over in my head.
I finally reached my destination, a large water treatment facility, at the end of the valley between the mountains. I know there would be no way for Seymour to find me here.
I tied Aurora up to the water trough right before I fell to the ground sobbing hysterically.
Seymour was the foundation to my entire life. His family is the reason I was here, he is the reason my family is here, and he was my life partner. How could I handle him doing this to me, after everything we’ve been through together? What if he was telling the truth, and Toni lied? Even then, the possibility that he cheated on me would always be in the back of my mind, it would never truly go away. I really didn’t know what to do, but one thing I know for certain was, I could definitely see him doing what he was accused of. I know how much he loved Toni when we started dating, and it’s always been my biggest insecurity. After all, he does have a history of cheating in the past, and you know what they say, ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater.’
“Found you.” Seymour shouted from the distance. I didn’t even bother looking up or running away, I felt like all my energy was drained.
He bent down and grabbed my arm. “Get up, we need to talk…” He said sternly.
Angered by his non-apologetic tone, I stood up angrily.
“Gladly.” I hissed, pushing him away.
He stepped in front of me, grabbing my arms as I attempted to untie Aurora Skies.
“Don’t touch me!” I shouted.
“Why won’t you believe me honey?” He cried.
“Why should I? After all, you wanted her back soooo badly in college, remember?” I shouted.
“Kirsten, my feelings have changed. I’m not even attracted to her..”
“You’ve cheated before right? With Dorothy? Who’s to say you wouldn’t do that to me, with Toni?”
“Kirsten, you can’t actually believe that some stupid college mistakes even compare to the woman I married!” He yelled, as tears ran down my face.
“I can believe it, and I do. When the kids get back, we’re leaving.”
“No Kirsten please, you can’t punish me for something that never happened. When have I ever had time to see her or text her or anything? Please think about it, it never happened. She means nothing, in fact, you know I hate her.” He begged.
“Just look at her though! She’s perfect, you’ve said it so many times when we were younger!” I cried.
“When we were younger, keyword. I’ve always liked you Kirsten, and I’ve always wanted to be with you. Stop being so unconfident baby, you’re beautiful.”
I broke down after Seymour spoke the words that I’ve been needing to hear for so long.
“I just don’t know if I should believe you or not… There’s so much at stake.” I sobbed.
Seymour then pushed my arm out of the way, and forcefully pulled me closer, grabbing my face.
I wanted to yell at him and tell him to get away, but something about his grasp was comforting.
He firmly held my face, as he began to cry. I completely melted into his arms.
“Look in my eyes Kirsten. I didn’t do it. I’d never do it. I was meant to be with you, and after everything we’ve gone through together, I swear to god I’d never do anything to screw all of that up. I’ll be damned if I ever lose you and my children because of a lie.” He protested.
I was overcome with emotions, and I gave up the fight. Throwing my body into his,we kissed deeply and passionately.
“I’m sorry.” I whimpered, as we both began to cry.
I gently pulled away after his tears touched my lips.
“I need you to always trust me from now on.” He said comfortingly. “I can’t come that close to losing you ever again.”
Just then, my phone rang, and I pulled away to see who it was.
I took a deep breath. “It’s Toni.”
“Give me the phone, I’m throwing it into the water!” Seymour sneered.
“The hell you are! My parents paid a lot of money for this thing!” I snapped.
“I’m just going to see what she has to say, don’t say anything Seymour.”
“What.” I answered rudely.
“Look Kirsten, I think we need to talk.”
“I don’t think I have anything to say to you.”
“Tell her to go sit on and egg and spin!” Seymour interjected.
“Shh!” I hushed, “I told you not to say anything.”
“Please?” She pleaded. “I just need to explain myself, that’s all.”
“I don’t know…”
“Well I’m at your house, just please meet me here.”
“What? Why are you at my house?! Who invited you in?”
“What? You better not touch my dad!” Seymour shouted.
“Okay whatever, I’ll be there soon.”
Seymour and I both jumped on the back of Aurora and rushed home.
We bursted through the door, and I was relieved to see Erik safe and sound on the couch.
“Get the hell out of my house!” Seymour yelled.
Toni stood up and shot Seymour a dirty look.
“If you don’t mind, I only came here to speak with Kirsten.” She said calmly.
“Why, so you can fill her head with more bullshit? You’re a lying bitch and nobody wants you here.” Seymour shouted once more.
“Alright Seymour, you’re not going to talk like that in my house.” Erik demanded. “Now sit your ass down and let her speak.”
“Sorry dad.” Seymour mumbled.
I was a bit annoyed with the fact that Erik allowed her in, and gave her coffee, and now he’s standing up for her! But Erik’s a good guy, so it’s to be expected.
I took a deep breath to calm myself down. “Okay, I’ll listen to what she has to say.” I said, plopping myself down onto the loveseat, where Seymour took a seat next to me.
“First of all, I just want to say that I’m so, so sorry for what I did…” She began.
“… And for the record, I did lie. Seymour and I didn’t really have an affair.”
Seymour chuckled, “Ha, you got that right…”
“Stop it, Seymour.” I said. “If it never happened, then why did you lie?”
Toni sighed. “I don’t know really. It was a heat of the moment thing really. I wasn’t ready to marry him or accept his proposal, so I just spit out the worst possible excuse I could. Trust me, I wasn’t trying to ruin your relationship in the process, I just didn’t want to marry him, and I couldn’t take it any more.” She explained.
“Ha. You find a man who not only risked everything for you, but is actually willing to put up with your shit, and you act life your life is terrible. Poor you.” Seymour said.
Toni just glared blankly at Seymour before she said something. “You wouldn’t understand until you walked a mile in my shoes.” She said softly.
“Bottom line is, I’m really sorry, I never intended to ruin your relationship. I’m not asking for another chance, just that you forgive me, Kirsten.”
“Hell no!” Seymour shouted.
After taking a second to think about it, I stood up, crossing my arms.
“Sorry Toni, but Seymour’s right, I don’t think I can. The thought of you with him will always be in the back of my mind, so I can’t really forgive you for that.”
“That fine, I understand.. I guess. One question though… The thought of Seymour and I being in the back of your mind…did that just start tonight, or has it always been there? Don’t answer, it’s just something to think about.” She said.
“Thank you for the coffee Erik.” She added, calmly walking away.
“Well glad that’s over with. I better get to bed, I’m supposed to get up early and do some work on the shop.” Seymour said, hugging me tightly. “Don’t let her get to you, she’s overrated.” He added.
“Yeah I think I’ll get myself to bed too, night kiddos.” Erik said.
“Are you coming, Kirs?” Seymour asked, stopping at the stairs.
“Yeah, I’ll be down in a little bit, honey.” I smiled.
“I’ll be waiting…” He said, trying to be seductive.
We both laughed as he made his way downstairs.
I flopped down on the couch, stretching my hand down towards the cat, as he rubbed his face on my finger.
“Oh Moon…” I sighed, “If I made the right choice, then why do I feel so crummy right now?”
I let my mind wander for about a good half hour, getting lost in thought.
I sat up as I heard Erik’s bedroom door open, and watched as he wobbled his way into the livingroom on his cane.
“Your thinking was keep me up!” He laughed.
“That loud, huh?” I sighed.
He took a seat next to me as he placed his cane against the armrest.
“You know, my son is a great kid.” Erik began.
“And he has every right to be angry with Toni, as do you. But she was asking you to forgive her, not Seymour. Guilt will eat away at you if you don’t make decisions based on what your heart tells you. Seymour loves you more than anything, he’ll understand if you change your mind.”
“How do you always know the right things to say, Erik?” I asked.
Erik laughed heartily. “Oh my dear, I’m wise and old ya know. That oughta count for something!”
I let out a breathy laugh. “Yeah, I don’t feel so good about not forgiving her. I can always go the forgive but don’t forget route, right?”
“Oh of course, dear.”
“I think I’ll walk over there tomorrow and talk it out with her.” I smiled.
“That’s the spirit! Now you go get some sleep!”
“Thanks Erik, you really helped me out a lot.” I said, hugging him gently.
“That’s what I’m here for!” He said.
The next morning, after getting dressed, I jumped on Seymour, waking him up.
“Bye I love you wish me luck!” I said all at once.
“Are you sure you want to do this? I can come with you?”
“I’m positive, even if you’re quiet, this is something I need to do on my own.” I smiled, smooching him on the lips.
I hesitated once I reached her doorway, but finally shook the nerves and carried on.
Brandt answered the door in his typical robe and and boxers, as did my best to avoid his perfectly chiseled body.
“Can you put some clothes on please?”
“You know it’s not cheating just to look.” He said, with is usual cocky grin.
“Ugh, whatever Brandt, I need to talk to Toni.” I uttered.
His cocky grin slowly faded, as he pursed his lips.
“Nah, she ain’t here. Come in.” He said, closing the door behind me.
“Where is she?”
“She’s gone. We had a little spat last night when she came home, then when I woke up this morning, I found a note in Clem’s room.”
“You mean, she left for like, ever?” I worried.
“I dunno, you tell me. Here’s the note she left.”
Brandt handed me a small piece of ripped paper, written in bright lavender marker.
“Clementine June Clinton-
I’ll always be in your heart, every step of the way. I love you and I always will. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
-Love forever and always, Mommy. (-Toni Clinton)”
Judging from the doodled pink heart, the hearts dotting the i’s in Clementine’s name, and the perfect handwriting, this had to be her.
“Oh shit, what have I done?” I panicked. “So she didn’t take Clementine with her? Where is she?”
I called her mom to tell her about the note, and they came and got Clementine. ” Brandt sighed.
My mind began to race. I was hoping that I wasn’t the reason for this. I was scared that she hurt herself or something like that, because of me.
Brandt let himself fall onto the sofa, as he ran his fingers through his hair, visibly upset.
I wasn’t sure what to say, I’ve never seen Brandt this shaken.
“I- I’m sorry, Brandt. I knew you loved her and stuff, she’ll probably be back.” I suggested.
“Nah, I’m not worried about Toni, only thing I’ll miss about her is the head.”
My eyes widened, as I made a mental note to myself to limit the time my kids spend around Brandt.
“It’s true.” He said. “She decided to lie just to get away from marrying me? It would have been less embarrassing if she’d have just said no and spit in my face. Screw her.”
“No, I’m more worried about my daughter. Brooke seemed real pissed, she said she wants custody of her.”
Brandt began rubbing his face stressfully. He looked around the room, avoiding eye contact.
“I… I just don’t know what I’d do without her…” His voice cracked, as his eyes began to water.
Brandt stood to his feet, with tears in his eyes.
I stood up along with him, pretty shocked by seeing this side of Brandt. I knew he loved his daughter, but I guess I never realized how much.
“When are they bringing her back?”
“Tomorrow around noon, they said. But what if they don’t?” He whimpered.
“That’s not going to happen okay? We won’t let that happen. You’re a great dad, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t have her.” I encouraged.
“But the Clinton’s attorney… well, you know. You’ve been there…” He reminded.
I sighed heavily and bit my lip. “Shit…”