‘Paige look at me’ Cheyenne demanded keeping her voice light ‘did you just say that Uncle Frank said that to your mom?’
‘Yes’ Paige nodded turning back to her picture.
‘Are you sure?’ Cheyenne pressed.
‘Yeeees-er’ Paige huffed as she coloured slightly out of the line due to Cheyenne's talking.
Cheyenne scowled. This kid certainly looked like Gerard but she definitely had her mother’s attitude. Cheyenne headed back into the kitchen grabbing the freshly washed cutlery off the side trying to calm herself down. What Paige said couldn’t be right, it just couldn’t. Frank and Lyn? No way the little one had to be wrong she was only five after all, children always got things wrong. Didn’t they?
All done!' Paige said when Cheyenne reentered the room, she held up the book for Cheyenne to see.
'It's excellent' Cheyenne said praised.
'I'm going to give it to Uncle Mikey right now' Paige said scrambling off the dining chair and scampering out of the room.
As Cheyenne carried on laying the table at an unnatural snails pace her mind was whirring with thoughts on what she had just learned. Frank and Lyn together? It wasn't possible. No they wouldn’t. Frank wouldn’t do that to Gerard. Then why did Paige say it? She could be wrong. Cheyenne cast her mind back five years to the night she slept with Frank for the first time. He had been so upset that Jamia had left, she’d given him his ring back, which to this day Cheyenne thought was a bit strong but with this new information it seemed just. She remembered that Frank said he couldn’t tell her what happened but that he would. He never did. Maybe this was what he couldn’t tell her. Cheyenne suddenly felt sick. It couldn't be! Frank wasn't supposed to let her down he was the only guy who never had and now he was teetering on the edge of the pedestal that Cheyenne held him on and she hoped Paige was wrong so he wouldn't fall.
'Hey beautiful' Frank's voice sounded from behind her. He was having fun in the living room with the others laughing and joking but he wanted her to join
them too. He missed her presence 'You want some help?'
Cheyenne cursed the sound of his voice, she wanted to tell him to get out before she had the chance to ask him the question that plagued her mind.
'Chey?' Frank said coming up behind her, she hadn't acknowledge his presence and he wondered if she had even heard him.
'Did you sleep with Lyn?' The question shot from Cheyenne's lips as Frank's hand rested on her shoulder. She felt his warm hand grip her sharply before it slipped from her body completely. The silence was deafening as she waited for his answer. She couldn't turn to face him, she wouldn't, she didn't want to see his eyes in case they told her the truth before his lips could.
'Yes' Frank answered eventually his voice coming out in a whisper. He wanted to lie to her, he wanted to lie so badly but he knew that it would be all too easy for her to find out the truth.
'When?' Cheyenne choked her hands clutching tightly to the back of the dining chair in front of her, the polished wood holding her up.
'Forever ago' Frank replied 'but it isn't what you think'
'That's original' Cheyenne retorted. She was finding it impossible not to picture Frank and Lyn having sex, she could see them now withering against each other, she could hear Frank moaning Lyn's name and a few tears escaped her burning eyes. Her mind suddenly transported her back to New Years Eve 2006 and she was in her old living room, listening to Lyn spill her guts about the affair she was having with Gerard and all those horrible cold feelings she felt that night suddenly came rushing back. They were clear and strong and Cheyenne sobbed as she felt them all again.
'No, don't cry' Frank said reaching for her but she shrugged off his touch. Frank felt the sting of her rejection and his comforting hand fell to his side.
'How could you?' she asked turning to face him 'and with her of all people'
'I didn't want to' he said his face full of regret as his memory too conjured feelings from the past 'you have to believe me Chey the whole thing was a mistake, I was drunk, I wasn't thinking straight. I didn't have a choice. She forced me to' Frank's mind was racing and he was scrambling for the right things to say, he knew the right explanation would clear everything up but he couldn't seem to get it out. He was panicking and in doing he was was rendering himself incapable.
Cheyenne shook her head at his words she didn't want to listen to him anymore. She could see him caressing Lyn the way he caressed her, kissing her lips the way he kissed hers and the tears fell more.
'Please don't cry honey' Frank said wanting so much to hold her but knowing she wouldn't allow him too 'I can explain' he said again failing to find a start to the story
'I don't want to listen' Cheyenne said barging past him 'you were supposed to be different.' she spat
'I am different' Frank exclaimed after her 'I never wanted to sleep with her. You think I’d willingly cheat on Jamia?’
Cheyenne turned and shot him a look that shook him to his core.
‘Ok that didn’t come out right’ he recovered his hands held up in defense ‘when I slept with Lyn I was madly in love with Jamia I wouldn’t have cheated on her then.’
‘But you did!' Cheyenne cried
‘By force’ Frank retorted 'Cheyenne there's so much you don't know.'
'And I don't want to know anymore' she told him.
Frank grabbed her preventing her from leaving which was all she wanted to do, She wanted to get away from him and his ugly truths 'you have to listen Chey' he said gripping her arms tightly 'you need to understand.'
'I do understand' she hissed 'you slept with Lyn, God knows how many times, but I don't need to hear why I don't want your explanation it won't make the slightest difference, I've already made my decision.'
Frank's hands slipped from her arms 'what are you talking about?' he breathed his heart pounding against his chest.
'Earlier you asked me to make a decision' Cheyenne whispered swallowing back the sob that wanted to escape from her lips 'I've made it'
'Chey where do you keep your scissors?' Ray voice sounded from behind them and Cheyenne was grateful for the interruption.
'No' Frank whispered to her his voice low and desperate. 'This isn't over'
'It is' Cheyenne said just as quietly as she wiped her eyes 'the scissors are in the draw beside the sink Ray' she said. Frank clenched his fists tightly to stop himself from grabbing her again. 'I'll show you' Cheyenne offered. She kept her head down and her eyes averted as she led Ray from the room leaving a shaking Frank behind them.
'Alight dinner's served' Gerard announced happily. He was having a great day, too many funny things had happened and his stomach was hurting slightly from laughing so much. He was glad dinner was ready it would be formal but relaxed and his stomach muscles could get a break from his laughter.
'As usual you've excelled yourself Cheyenne' Lyn praised looking at the wonderful spread the younger woman had provided. She and Marcus had arrived half an hour before and had joined the others in the living room while Cheyenne finished getting their meal ready.
'Thank you' Cheyenne said she tried to smile but her mouth wouldn't comply. She felt a renewed hatred for the woman sat at her table.
Bob looked over at his cousin, her tone was way off but no one else seemed to notice and he wondered if he was just being sensitive to her. He knew she hated this day ,she had always hated this it and he wondered if she was suffering.
'Chey bear' He called her nickname and she caught his eyes over the arms that crisscrossed across the table passing dishes of delicious food in all directions. He winked at her and she smiled back putting him at ease.
Frank piled the food high on his plate as usual but instead of eating he just picked at it. He had no appetite at all which was a shame because the food looked and always was delicious, but he wanted none of it. He stole frequent glances at Cheyenne and he noted when she wasn't interacting with the family she looked just as miserable as he did. He hated that she felt that way because of him but if she had just listened, if she had just given him a chance to explain they'd be all smiles again. He dug his nails into his hands at the frustration from the trapped situation they were in, he needed to talk to her but this wasn't the place or the time and deep down he knew she didn't want to hear him, she was upset and she'd make it impossible for them to be alone. Frank suddenly felt like screaming at Lyn to tell Cheyenne the truth, he looked over at her laughing with Bob and he wanted to rip her head off, if it wasn't for her none of this would've happened and Cheyenne wouldn't be mad at him now, he wanted to spill his guts to the room just to let Cheyenne hear the truth and know how sorry he was and that he loved her.
'You alright man?' Ray asked clapping Frank on the back. Frank sat up straighter having been hunched over his plate he must have looked such a sorry sight.
'Fine' he lied
'You ain't eating much' Christa observed from opposite them.
'Just not hungry I guess' he shrugged 'Maybe I'm saving all my room for dessert.' he joked
'No dessert until you eat you dinner' Jasmine piped in 'isn't that right?' she asked no one in particular.
'Right you are Mini' Donna answered her 'eat up Frank or no afters.'
Cheyenne watched the interaction and her heart tore in two . On one hand she felt hurt by what Frank had told her but on the other hand her heart ached. He looked so sad. She wasn't even sure if she meant what she had said to him earlier, she had said it in anger but a part of her thought that maybe it was for the best. She needed to make decision and now she had, no matter how much it was hurting her.
'So, on a scale of one to ten how mad at me are you?' Amber asked. Dessert had just been served and she had been seated next to Bob since dinner both of them dancing around the issue of their date that didn't happen.
'I was a 10' he admitted with a nod of his head 'but now I'm a zero. I don't even care now.'
'Oh' Amber said taken aback by his words. Why didn't he care? 'I am sorry'
'Doesn't matter' Bob said forking some apple pie into his mouth.
'Well it matters to me' Amber said 'I'd like to make it up to you.'
'What does it matter? You'll be married soon and then you'll be moving to England so you don't have to. Best to leave things as they are'
'I want us to be friends' Amber spoke quietly
'And we are' Bob assured her 'forget about it'
The way he spoke let Amber know the conversation was closed. She didn't want to forget about it, she wanted them to be ok. She felt guilty at standing him up and she didn't want to marry and move having this hanging over them.
Bob felt bad about brushing her off like that and as bad as it sounds he needed her guilt, he needed it bad because her guilt was what was going to help him get her home and into his bed tonight.
Gerard waited for Cheyenne to return with the wine that his mother requested before he stood up. He accepted the bottle Cheyenne was carrying and kissed her lips gently.
'Sit down sugar I'm going to make toast.' he told her.
Cheyenne smiled and nodded sitting herself on her seat her knees over the side of the chair, she'd wait for his speech to end before she bought in the fresh fruit and cheese board to finish off their meal.
'Ok gimmie your glasses' Gerard said and he filled his family's glasses high before setting the bottle down on the table.
'I just wanted to take a second to toast each and everyone of you' he started 'it's Thanksgiving and I couldn't be more thankful for the lot of you.'
'Hear hear' Ray agreed
'To my brothers' Gerard toasted 'And my sisters. To my Mother and to old friends' he said raising his glass in Lyn and Marcus direction 'and to my daughters' he smiled 'There are times when I can't live with ya' he said and they laughed 'but God knows I couldn't live a day without you either but more importantly that I wouldn't want to. To our health and happiness, may we have many more years of both.'
'To our health and happiness' they all repeated drinking down the contents of their glasses.
'And to you' Gerard said turning his smile on Cheyenne 'you get the biggest thanks of all for being my girl, for raising our child, for understanding all the complicated sides of me and for giving me a chance to be better when I wasn't sure I deserved it.'
'You deserved it' Cheyenne said smiling up at him.
'And you deserve a better title then girlfriend' Gerard said reaching into his pocket. He sank down on one knee and opened the small box in his hand. The entire room gasped as realisation set in. Amber grabbed Bob's arm just like Alicia grabbed Mikey's hand. Frank's tattooed fingers gripped the table edge tightly his knuckles tuning white from the pressure. This couldn't be happening.
'Cheyenne I love you.' Gerard spoke loud and clear wanting his family to hear his declaration 'More then I have ever dared to love anyone else' he continued. He suddenly lost himself in her blue eyes and then it was just the two of them in the room. In that moment no one else existed. 'You became my everything when I deserved to have nothing and over the years you have made me happier then I ever thought I could be. And I'm kicking myself because this feels so right and I should've asked you this a long time ago but I'm asking you now' he grinned taking her hand 'Cheyenne Bryar will you marry me?'
A/N OMG!!! Ok so I realise that this chapter is shorter than normal but I wanted to spread this out instead of putting all the drama in one chapter and crippling you all emotionally lol. Thank you for all the r&rs you know how I feel about those. :D See you all soon xo