Sunday, February 14, 2021

Some Things Never Change The End

 I wake up nestled against Erick the next morning. I open my eyes sluggishly to a ray of sunlight, feeling utterly content. We stayed up pretty late last night, talking, kissing, laughing. We got up in the middle of the night and had a late dinner. We were both starving. Then, we settled back in bed to sleep, wrapped in each other’s embrace like we couldn’t bear the tiniest distance between us. I tilt my face slowly now, afraid to wake him, and look up at him. He’s awake. He’s staring at me with the pure adoration in his eyes.  He pulls me closer to him and kisses my hair.

“Morning,” he whispers. 

“Morning, handsome,” I say my usual line, feeling it gain new meaning in this chilly morning. We awoke together. We are together. 

“Did Sean come home?” I sit up abruptly. I’m naked next to Erick. I left my shirt in the living room, I remember embarrassed. 

“He did,” Erick nods, blushing. “Very quietly, almost at dawn.”

I laugh, at him, at us, feeling like a teenager. 

“Jesus, where do you think he spent the night? Oh shit, I’m a bad mother,” I bury my face in my hands. 

“You’re not,” he pulls himself up on his elbows. I drop my hands to look at him. “You’re the best mother in the world,” he smiles. “But…,” he cautions, “you can’t say anything to him for staying out so late, since he did it for our sake,” he says sheepishly, the crimson in his cheeks brightening. 

I chuckle again and fall back on the bed with a thud. 

“I left my shirt out there,” I hide my face beneath my hands once more. 

“Oh,” he says. “Well, he’s probably asleep now. Wear one of mine?” The phrase curls up into a question at the end. 

I uncover my face and giggle, craving to obbey. I want to wear his shirt, wrap myself in his scent, keep it on the entire morning. His blue eyes are shining on me, his mouth curved into a perfect smile. 

“You have the most beautiful eyes,” I lean in to kiss him. 

He snorts. 

“You just think that because you love me,” he teases. “You love me,” he throws his head back and snickers. “I could die right now, I feel so happy.”

“I do,” I kiss his collarbone. “I really do.”

He lifts his face up again and I see the same expression he had yesterday, his brows curled up like he’s about to cry, but a ginger smile tucking his lips. 

“I love you, too, Jules. You’ve no idea how much,” he’s serious now. He lowers himself to lie on the pillow again and puts his arm around me. “Thank you,” he whispers after a while, his tone solemn. 

“What for?” I search for his eyes. 

He shakes his head at me but doesn’t answer. He presses me to him and kisses my hair again. 

We shower together, not caring if Sean wakes up, although we’re pretty sure he won’t. We joke and kiss under the water, touching each other again. His body is not strange to me, I already know it so well, but I touch him today under a new light, rediscovering every part; every brush a new meaning, each graze more significant. My body is new to him. I feel him relish the process of getting to know me in this new way. He’s tender, thorough, like a dedicated student, placing all of his attention in learning every tiny detail, every curve, every dent. Then, at times, he’s also passionate, giving away the urge with which he’s wanted me all this time. 

We dry each other, still giggling at the slightest provocation, like stupid teenagers. I help him dress, not because he needs me to, but because I’m eager to seize every opportunity to touch him again. 

Once we are both dressed, he transfers back into his chair and looks up at me with a wry smile. 

“I should call Tony,” he announces. I nod in agreement. He should. “And then, I’ll probably head down to the hospital.”

“We should both go,” I mirror his expression. This is one aspect that we are not happy about. Neither of us wants to hurt Tony. “I should probably tell him about us.”

I’ll tell him,” he counters. “I promised,” he sighs.

“You did?”

“He asked me to, and I promised, in case we…”

I nod. 

“Do you think you’ll still be friends?” A sting of pain stabs me at the idea that Tony and Erick might stop being friends on my account. 

“We are friends. We’re brothers. I…” he takes a deep breath. “I betrayed him in the worst possible way, but he’s already forgiven me for it. I’m the worst kind of traitor for hurting him, but I love you too much to let you go.”

I nod again. 

He grabs his phone and makes the call. I sit back on the bed to watch him. 

“Hey, man,” I hear him say to the phone. “How are you?” I wish I could hear Tony’s reply. “How’s… your mother?” He hesitates before calling her that. A whole minute passes while Tony speaks. “Are you going to the hospital today?” Erick nods as he listens. “I’ll come with you.” Only a short pause then. “You are? Uhh… No, yeah… Ok… See you in a few.”

“He’s coming here?” I ask in panic when he hangs up. 

“He’s already on his way,” he announces. 

“Oh,” is all I manage to say. 

We walk out into the hallway and find Sean coming out of his room. He’s wearing his pajamas, his hair is tossed. His sleepy eyes seem to wake up as he sees us coming out of Erick’s room together. A wide smile breaks loose in his face. 

“Morning,” he says in a suggestive tone. I blush, at least I had time to pick up my shirt. He laughs out loud and reaches me in two long strides. Then, he hugs me with one arm while he kisses my cheek. “You chose right,” he whispers in my ear, just loud enough for me to hear. A second later, he turns to look at Erick and smiles even wider. He snickers and then bends down and wraps him in a bear hug. He lifts him an inch from his chair and Erick and I both gasp at the same time. He drops him back down laughing. 

“I’m not gonna call you uncle anymore,” he jokes. 

Erick shakes his head at him, but he’s laughing, too. 

“What’s for breakfast?” Sean turns to me. “You know what, scratch that. I’m cooking breakfast for you guys.”

“You what?” I raise an eyebrow.

“I’m very happy to see you together,” he says earnestly. 

“Thank you, Sean,” Erick’s voice is filled with sentiment. 

Sean smiles once more and starts walking towards the kitchen. 

“Sean,” Erick calls out to him. My son turns around. “Uhh…,” Erick clears his throat and sighs. “Your dad is on his way.”

“I won’t say anything,” Sean cuts him off.

“We’re not keeping this from him,” Erick frowns. “I’m telling him as soon as he comes in.” 

“Ok,” Sean’s smile disappears.  

“Sean,” Erick continues his former trail of thought. “I’m touched that you feel happy for us, but…” he looks intently into Sean’s eyes, “let’s not hurt your father anymore than necessary. Please,” he adds.

“Of course,” Sean nods, pressing his lips together. 

We wait for Tony in silence. Sean is in the kitchen, actually making breakfast for us. A few minutes later, we hear the doorbell. I sigh and stand up. Sean walks out of the kitchen. 

“Uhh…,” Erick starts. “Give us a minute?”

Sean and I both nod and leave. I go into my bedroom but leave the door ajar. I know I shouldn’t eavesdrop but I can’t help myself. I think Sean might be doing the same. I hear as Erick presses the intercom and wheels to the door to wait for him. 

“Hey, man,” Tony sounds tired. 

“Hey,” Erick’s voice is weak. 

“Are Jules and Sean still sleeping?” Tony asks.

“Tony,” Erick pauses. I can only imagine them looking at each other. I’m sure Tony knows what he’s about to say. Erick’s tone gives him away. “You asked me to tell you if…”


A long time passes. Everything is quiet. My heart is pounding so hard I think it might burst out of my chest. I can’t take it anymore. I’m about to walk out to meet them, when I finally hear movement in the living room. Footsteps, Tony’s of course. Then a chair scrapes the floor.  

“Can I stay?” Tony speaks.

“Of course!” I hear the whoosh of Erick’s wheels as he moves too. 

A few more minutes go by. The apartment is dead quiet again. 

“I’m truly sorry I’ve hurt you,” Erick breathes. 

“I’ve hurt myself,” Tony’s voice is so low I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to listen were I not straining my ears so hard. 

Someone sighs. 

“I’ll make coffee,” Tony says and the chair rasps against the floor again. 

I hear Sean come out of his bedroom then, and I follow him. We walk into the dining room and find Tony standing there, his back turned to us. For the first time ever, he’s not standing straight but rather hunching down, his shoulders slumped, defeated. I watch him tense up as he hears me approach. I circle around to face him. 

“Tony,” I meet his eyes. They’re like a well, deep, dark. The devastation in them is palpable. His eyebrows curl down, a v appears in his brow. He parts his lips and breathes through his mouth, every intake hard. 

“Jules,” my name is a plea. 

“I’m so sorry, Tony,” a tear escapes my eye. 

He shakes his head at me. “Don’t apologize,” he murmurs. “I told you, you never have to apologize.”

Erick wheels away and Sean follows him. They’re giving us a moment now. When they disappear, Tony takes a step towards me. He encompasses my face inside his large hands. His thumbs wipe my tears away. Then he bows his head and rests his forehead against mine. 

“I love you, Jules,” he whispers. “Always. I never stopped.” He takes a deep breath. “I love you enough to let you be happy. I want you to be happy.” 

He lifts his face and locks his eyes to mine. His hands break into a tremor. He separates them from my skin, leaving them suspended less than an inch away. I can still feel the heat that emanates from them. After a second, he seems to get them under control, and he places them back over my cheeks. He then leans in, very slowly, and places his mouth over mine. I let him. His lips press against me, closed, a short, deep peck, that conveys his goodbye. I feel the warm breath he lets out as he parts, and watch him straighten his head leisurely. His eyes remain closed. They’re moist when he opens them. He lets go of me then and takes a step back. 

I cross the step he backed down and throw my arms around him. I press my head to his chest and hear his heart beating. I sob quietly against him. 

“Hush now,” he mumbles, his face buried in my hair. “It’ll be alright.”

I let go and lift my face to meet his eyes. He dries his tears with both palms and smiles weekly at me. 

“What’s for breakfast?” He asks. 

I grin back as I wipe my own tears. 

“Sean was cooking,” I say, steading my voice. 

“Was he?” His tone is still sullied with sorrow. “Go get them?” He asks. He needs a minute, I guess. 

I walk away from him and go into Erick’s room. Sean is there too, standing tensely, facing the door. I touch his cheek as I pass him and continue my way to Erick. I lower myself to his lap and hug him. 

It’s done. Happiness and sadness thread inside me in an intricate braid. My heart aches for the hurt I’ve inflicted on a man I still love deeply. And I mourn the loss of a side of that love. At the same time, coexisting in the most unsuspected way, joy engulfs my body at the promise of a new life next to Erick.  

I weep on his shoulder like I’ve done many times before, but it’s a different cry this time. We are together now. Everything will be alright. The pain will pass, I know. He caresses my hair and sofly shushes me with tender whispers. 

Low music coming out from the living room pulls me out of my thoughts. I stand up from Erick and dry my tears.

When we come back out, Tony is sitting in front of the keyboard he gave me for Christmas. His fingers trace the keys in a tender cadence. He croons in a low voice. 

“I am not the only traveler

who has not repaid his debt.

I’ve been searching for a trail to follow again.

Take me back to the night we met.

And then I can tell myself

what the hell I’m supposed to do.

And then I can tell myself

not to ride along with you. 

I had all and then most of you,

some and now none of you.

Take me back to the night we met.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do 

haunted by the ghost of you.

Oh, take me back to the night we met.”

Sean walks forward and stands behind his father. He places a hand on his shoulder and Tony covers it with his own. He returns the hand to the keys and plays. We all listen to his melancholic voice, singing softly, so differently from the way he usually does, conveying all his pain. 

At the end of the song, he slowly sets his hands down on his lap. He looks up at Sean, who’s still holding his shoulder. 

“Would you teach me to play the piano, dad?”

Tony smiles, sweetly, earnestly. His eyes are still sad, but I know, out of all the things in the world, this will make him feel better. He nods. 

“I’d like that.”

Sean pulls up a chair and sits next to him. Erick and I leave them to it. I return to the kitchen to finish cooking breakfast. 

I set the table as Sean is playing John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy”. He’s almost got the melody. Like his father, he’s a natural. Playing comes effortlessly to him. I call them to the table and the four of us sit together.

“How’s your mother?” I ask Tony as I hand him a plate, fried eggs, and bacon, what he likes to have every morning. 

He takes a sip of his coffee before answering.

“She’s agreed to start an inpatient program,” he explains. “I’ll have to check in on her to see how that goes,” he speaks calmly, not a trace of resentment in his voice. “I…,” he sighs. “I’ve made my peace with her.”

Sean snorts. “She doesn’t deserve your forgiveness,” he says coldly.

“May be so,” Tony sets his eyes on our son intently. “Sean,” something about the tone he takes now reminds me of his father. “I’ve wasted years being angry at her. It has cost me more than I was willing to pay. I’m letting go of the past now, not for her sake but for mine and yours. It would be easier for me to continue to blame her for all that I’ve lost,” his eyes dart to me for a second before returning to Sean. “But the truth is it’s no one’s fault but my own. This… resentment I felt for her has poisoned me. It has poisoned you. And I don’t want that for you, son. All the mistakes I’ve made came from this anger. I’m ready to let go of it now because I want you to be happy. I want all of you to be happy.” It doesn’t escape me that he doesn’t include himself in that statement of intent. “Please, son, forgive her too.”

Sean stares at him mesmerized. He’s looking at his father in a different way, the way Tony used to look at his, with admiration. After a few seconds, he nods. 

“Ok,” he concedes. 

Tony takes a bite of his eggs. He closes his eyes briefly while he tastes the food. 

“I’ve missed my breakfast,” he says, opening them back up. “I’m looking forward to the opening of the new Valhalla. Erick and I will still have breakfast there every day. Right, brother?” He fixes his eyes on Erick, a caring look on them. 

“Yes, brother,” Erick returns the look, and I know they will be ok. 

I smile at him nostalgically. And we all eat, making small talk at times, staying quiet at others, letting our wounds be soothed by each other’s company. We may not be your typical family, but we are a family nonetheless. 



  1. What a beautiful story! There are so many things I’ve appreciated about this story: the ages of the characters, the problems, the characters get arcs, and more. I’m at the age where older characters with more life experience is beginning to be more appealing than young twenty-somethings. Heehee. The complicated relationships, both platonic and romantic, between Jules, Tony, and Erick felt real. I found myself so invested in the characters and parts of the story really resonated with me. Dealing with familial (and parental) drama and complicated friendships is something so many of us have experienced, I’m sure. And it culminating on the bittersweet realization of realizing a a former lover still loves you enough to let you be loved by someone else is striking and real and a story worth telling.

    Also, I’m a sucker for a sexy quad. ;)

    So happy that that these characters got the happy endings and closure they all deserved! Thanks for sharing your story with us!


    1. Knowing that it made you feel that much is a great gift to me. I got involved with this characters as if they were real people. Because of this, I suffered terribly in the end. But to read this comment from you makes it all worthwhile. Thank you!

  2. Tony just beeaks my heart but what a wonderful, complex ending. It’s been a tremendous ride and I thank you for your beautiful words. Hope many more

    1. I know, mine too. Seeing Tony hurt was almost more than I could bear. But now it’s done, and it had to be this way. Thank you for staying with me till the end.

  3. I've been following along with the story the whole time. Thank you for all the time and effort and the beautiful outcome! It's a great story!

    1. Thank you Lisa for accompanying me in this story. And thank you for your kind words.

  4. Thank you for this beautiful story! I totally agree with everything that's been said in the previous comments!
    Wishing you the best of luck,

    1. Thank you A. I feel a little sad to let it go, but happy that you read to the end.

  5. I am so sad to see this story end but what a perfect ending. I truly fell in love with all three of them and glad that they all still had each other. I really enjoy your writing hope to see more from you in the future. This is something I certainly would buy if you published it.


    1. I’m so happy to hear that K because I do have plans to publish. I will let you know. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It means the world!

  6. Thank you so much for this story, and for always posting in time. I really liked your writing style and how you portrayed the characters. Great job, thank you!

    1. Thank you for reading it and accompanying me through it. Your comment is a warm hug for me! Thanks!

  7. As a reader, I was intrigued by your unique way of telling this tale in a very unique way. As long as humans have had loving friendships between three people, that has made for conflict and great storytelling. You have a unique voice. Really good work.
    You just need some minor grammatical and spelling editing- not major, but fingernails on a blackboard to someone like me.

  8. Sorry about all the “uniques”. Obviously, I didn’t edit.