COULD THIS BE AN UPDATE?!
Pete exhaled slowly, and ran his hand through his hair.
"Can I see you?"
There was a long silence on the end of the phone, and Pete's heart thumped so hard in his chest it hurt.
Pete woke up with a jolt, sweat lining his forehead and his breathing rapid. He lifted his head and gingerly touched his cheek where the imprint of the banister was etched across his face. He closed his eyes and leant his head in his hands.
"You okay?" A voice behind him said. He looked up to see Patrick watching him, his hair tousled and his eyes squinting to adjust to the light. He stood shivering in his boxers and T-Shirt, but ignored the cold nipping around him.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm alright. Just had a bad dream is all." Pete assured him as he stood up.
"What happened to your face?" Patrick turned him sideways and examined his face. It was such a typical dad like thing to do that Pete grinned.
"It's the banister, dad."
Patrick rolled his eyes and shook his head.
"You should try sleeping in a proper bed one night. You'd like it." He said.
"I know, I know."
"Look, there isn't a spare bed just sitting in that room to not be used." Patrick said, pointing towards the spare room. "Use it. It's nice."
"I will." Pete promised him.
"Alright. Am I gonna have to put you to bed myself or are you gonna go?" Patrick replied.
"I'll go." Pete said, holding his hands up.
"Shame." Patrick admitted. "I'm good at the whole bed time story thing."
He grinned at Pete before shuffling back to his own bedroom, stumbling slightly when he lost his footing in the dark.
Pete shook his head and pulled his pants off, along with his shirt. He threw them on the armchair by the bed and climbed in, the sheets oddly cold against his skin. He lay his head down and closed his eyes in the darkness, when a streak of light falling across the room caused him to open his eyes.
"What was your dream about?" Patrick asked. Pete put his hand up to shield his eyes and shook his head.
"I don't remember." He said.
Patrick studied him for a second, and understood.
"Alright. Night, Pete." He said, before closing the door.
"Night." Pete said into the silence that followed.
The next few weeks passed slowly for both Pete and Patrick. Patrick longed for the dull aching pains to go away, so he could at least sit up without pains shooting through his back. Pete just wanted the pain to go away, period. He regularly called Rachel, but the calls barely lasted five minutes now.
"I'm so glad you're better." Addison told Patrick, when the day finally came that he was free of pain.
"You and me." Patrick agreed, kissing her on the lips softly.
"Hey, the kids are upstairs playing in their tent... they won't come down for a while." Patrick whispered as he gently tugged at her lip.
"Are you sure? I mean, your pain's just gone away."
"And it's because of you." Patrick told her.
"Are you sure?" Addison asked again.
"I'm sure. Come on, you know I'm sure." Patrick chuckled as he grazed her knee with his body as he kissed her.
"It's okay, Patrick."
"No, it's not." Patrick said, not meeting her eyes. He turned his head away and closed his eyes.
"I'm so sorry." He whispered. "I thought I was ready."
"I think you should go to a therapist." Addison said, rubbing his back a few more weeks later.
"What? Why?" Patrick asked, pulling away and turning towards her.
"Because," Addison explained, "I know you're still hurting that you're with me. You feel guilty."
"Making love to a woman. Come on, admit it. Every time we've tried you can't face it."
"I don't, I'm fine." Patrick said, edging further away and turning back to the TV.
"Look, you've been asking me to go to a therapist for weeks now. I don't want to. I'm fine."
"Okay, then let's make love."
"If you're fine and don't feel guilty about being with another woman, let's make love."
"I... I have a headache."
Addison rolled her eyes.
"I'm not saying this so I can get laid. I'm saying this because it's plainly obvious how hurt you are."
"I'm fine." Patrick said, through gritted teeth.
"You're not! I can see it."
"Okay, you want me to say it? I have doubts. Because every woman I've fallen in love with either leaves me or passes away." He said, his voice raised a pitch higher.
"I guess I'm just scared." He admitted, after a long silence. He stood up and sighed, but caught Addison's eye and held her gaze.
"Why are you staring at me like that?"
"You said every woman you've fallen in love with."
"I didn't know that."
"Oh, come on. I wouldn't have kept asking you out for eight months if I wasn't falling in love with you." Patrick smiled.
"I am, Addy."
"I am too." Addison said. She watched the smile appear on his face as he took in the news.
"I'm scared." He said, throwing his hands in the air. He shoved them in his pockets and shrugged, in thought.
"Because I'm falling in love with you and we still haven't made love. It's not you, you know it's not. And it's not that I have a problem..." Patrick's ears flushed bright red as his cheeks became rosier. He lowered his voice as he looked around to make sure the kids weren't around. "It's not like I have a problem, you know, getting it up."
"I know that!" Addison laughed. She watched Patrick bite his lip as his eyes darted around the room, the way they did when he was thinking deeply.
"Kay. I'll do it. I'll get some help." He said, smiling at her slightly before shuffling out of the room. Addison listened as he padded up the stairs and heard the floorboards creaking as he walked above her, over to his bed.
"How long were you with Amanda for?" Ray, Patrick's new found therapist asked. He was a thirty eight year old grievance counsellor, who had moved to LA after the death of his own daughter. For a change, he and his wife decided. To get away from the ghost of the daughter they'd never see grow up. A friendly looking guy with a nose that was a little too long for his facial figure, he had a polite smile and his brows furrowed softly as he listened to his clients.
He listened carefully as Patrick talked, occasionally glancing down to jot down what Patrick was saying. Otherwise, he kept his eyes fixated on Patrick's own as he listened, gently nodding as Patrick spoke.
"About half a year." Patrick said, quietly. He was finding it insanely hard to talk about Amanda to a complete stranger. Although, he had to admit it was harder talking to someone he knew about her.
"And you fell in love with her?"
He opened his mouth, but shut it again and just nodded.
"Yeah. Yeah, I did."
"And you're here today, why?"
Patrick sighed and looked around the room, fidgeting.
"I guess... I want to stop feeling guilty about the fact I might fall in love with Addison."
"So how do you think you're coping with the guilt?"
"I dunno." Patrick shrugged. He took a deep breath, realizing that sitting and wasting the therapist's time wasn't going to help him in the long run.
"I'm terrified. Alright? I'm scared. I keep thinking if I avoid the whole thing, it'll go away. But it doesn't."
"Okay, sure. But the question is, do you want it to go away?"
"The guilt, or the love?"
"Well, I guess, both."
"I want the guilt to go away. But I'm scared if it does, I won't love Amanda anymore."
"Patrick," Ray leaned forward in his chair and kept his eye contact. "Just because you're with someone else, doesn't mean you have to stop loving Amanda. And you shouldn't feel guilty. Amanda's gone - you're not cheating on her. You're simply moving on in your life, and that's normal. But moving on doesn't mean you have to forget about her."
"Okay." Patrick nodded.
"You don't need to feel guilty. You're doing nothing wrong."
Before he knew it, Patrick's session was over, and as he bid his goodbyes to Ray, he stopped at the door when Ray spoke.
"Right, Patrick. I want you to bring in a photo of Amanda for our next session."
"Why?" Patrick asked, turning around, his hand on the handle.
"You'll see." Ray smiled.
Patrick shuffled into his next session with Ray, clutching a photo he had taken of Amanda years ago, when she was putting Josh to bed. She was leaning over the crib, holding Josh in her arms protectively, but looking up at the camera when Patrick had entered and told her to smile. Her smile sparkled in the light and it made Patrick's stomach lurch just looking at it.
"So look at the picture. Look long and hard into it, as if you were looking into Amanda's own eyes."
Patrick flushed as he looked down, he had talked to thin air many times hoping Amanda was listening, and he'd spent four months talking to Danielle and Josh's sonogram printout. So why was this so hard?
"Talk to her. Tell her what you want to say. Tell her what you would say to her if you sat down and told her this in person. She doesn't have the chance to argue. She's listening. She's all yours."
She's always listening. Patrick thought.
He opened his mouth and cleared it for the words to come out.
"I want to be in love again." He started, slowly, the embarrassment eventually ebbing away slower and slower.
"I want to be a boyfriend. Or a husband." He said with a sigh, "I want my kids to have the home life we were gonna give them. They need a family. I need a family. A proper one. And although I'm terrified I'll forget you, there's a part of me that knows I never will. Because I love you. And I feel like I'm in love with two women. One I can't be with and one I can. I'm just worn out feeling like I'm betraying you. And I know you'd want what's best for me. But I can't do this anymore. I can't do the crying in the night anymore. I can't think of you and feel like I'm cheating on you. Because I'm not. I just want to be happy."
He stopped, realizing his voice was becoming louder, his face reddening.
"Patrick, are there times you feel angry with Amanda?" Ray asked, as Patrick looked up. He paused and nodded shamefully.
"That's okay. It's natural to feel angry with someone when they pass over. We begin to blame them for leaving us on our own, with no path to guide us."
Patrick nodded, understanding, while Ray watched him.
"It's okay to be angry with them. Just because they're gone, doesn't mean you can't hold back your anger. Tell Amanda."
Patrick nodded again, and looked down at the photo once more.
"I feel like you left me alone. And I know you didn't do it on purpose, but I can't help feeling a little angry... 'cause we were gonna have an amazing life. And when you passed away, it just... disappeared."
"That's great, Patrick. It's healthy to let your emotions out. Sometimes bottling it up is the worst thing you can do - even if it seems like the best thing to do at the time."
"It is." Patrick argued, but paused. "Sometimes."
"Why did you bottle it all up?" Ray asked.
"Because..." Patrick took another breath and looked at his lap, subconsciously tracing his finger along the frame of the photo.
"Because I was alone again. It was like, every time time I put my trust in someone, they left me alone. And I didn't want to talk to the guys about how I felt because, if I trusted them with this huge thing that was tearing me apart, I think it would have hurt even more if they'd gotten bored of listening to me, or didn't understand."
"Why do you think they wouldn't understand?"
"Well, they didn't have kids. They didn't understand how hard it was for me to have to pull myself together and stay healthy for my kids. They needed me."
"But you didn't stay healthy, did you?" Ray asked him. Patrick looked at him, from one eye to another.
"No." He confessed.
"I dunno. I just... I lost a load of weight, I hardly slept, and I stayed up all night drinking coffee and taking sedatives so I didn't have to think about what had happened."
"Do you think that was a sensible thing to do?"
"No. No, I don't. But at the time, I wanted to think it was. And at the time, I wanted to black out and forget. I'm not proud of it."
"Well, you seem to have accepted the fact it was wrong."
"But I still can't accept the fact she's gone!" Patrick exclaimed. "I keep expecting her to walk in a room or call me."
"She won't, Patrick. She's gone, and she's not coming back." Ray told him, firmly but gently.
"I want her to, though." Patrick said. "I want everything to go back to the way it was, but I want to be happy with Addison."
"I know you do, I know." Ray said, sympathetically.
"You have no idea how I feel!" Patrick shouted, suddenly, clutching the photo to his chest.
"I do have an idea. I have a very good idea, actually." Ray replied, calmly. "I lost my daughter."
Patrick froze and swallowed.
"Oh. I'm sorry." He said, feeling awful. "I didn't..."
"That's okay." Ray said, with a small smile.
"Was it recent?" Patrick asked, quietly.
"Two years ago." Ray said, with a little nod. "She was four."
Patrick felt sick, that was the age his kids were now.
"My kids are four." He whispered to himself.
"I'm so sorry." He said, again.
"That's okay. We're here to talk about you, not me."
Patrick nodded and swallowed, feeling sick. He made no mention of Ray's daughter for the rest of the sessions.
Although it was painstakingly hard to dig the past up again, after so many years of trying to push it to the back of his mind, Patrick focused hard on the sessions. And, over time, he became less guilty whenever he kissed Addison or thought about what his life could be like in the future.
"How are you feeling now?" Ray asked him, a few months later. It had been nearly a year since Patrick had met Addison, and the time seemed to have flown by. The nine months had gone by quicker than any ever had before, and it almost scared Patrick to realise that Danielle and Josh were now four years old and very much a handful.
"I feel good." Patrick told him, honestly. "I feel really good."
He knew now that there was no point in him feeling guilty for falling in love with Addison. He had accepted that all things happened for a reason, and he was certain that Addison had happened to make him happy again. He still loved Amanda, of course he did. But he no longer felt guilty when he was intimate with Addison.
"You are kidding." Addison whispered in awe as Patrick parked the car and turned to her.
"Best view in all of LA." He said with a grin, nodding backwards out of the rear window, where the city lay beneath them, the lights of thousands of buildings glittering and twinkling in the darkness.
"It's amazing." Addison said, quietly, getting out of the car. Patrick did the same and watched the expressions on her face as she took in the view, shaking her head in wonder. She walked around to him and leant against the car.
"This is perfect, Patrick. Thank you." She said to him, with a smile.
"You're welcome." Patrick said, returning the smile. They both watched the lights sparkle, and the distant, faraway sounds of the city as the breeze ruffled their hair and blew around their faces. Patrick shyly reached for Addison's hand in the dark, thanking the fact it was night to hide his blushing face. Addison smiled in the dark as she felt Patrick interlock his fingers with her. It was plainly obvious he was terrified, and not very experienced, his hands shook and they were clammy as he edged closer towards her.
"Thank you for coming, tonight." Patrick said, quietly, trying to read her face in the dark.
"Well, it was worth it." Addison replied. Before Patrick could open his mouth to reply, Addison's lips connected with his and absorbed him in a kiss that, even if he wanted to, he couldn't let go. He didn't let go as they stumbld their way to the back door of the car and opened it, he kept the kiss as they both lowered themselves in the car, and laid down on the back seat.
This was beyond anything he'd ever felt before. He'd only been with two women before, three now, the first time with Christina he was nervous, he'd lost his virginity to her, and the first time with Amanda was certainly exciting, he'd never been a spur of the moment guy apart from that time. But this, this was far more amorous than anything he'd experienced. His breath came in short pants as they kissed and fumbled with each other nervously, but knowing where to place their hands as they came to rest on each other's bodies. Patrick laid one hand on her leg and another intertwined his fingers with hers as they paused. Addison's arms were around his neck as they took deep breaths while watching each other, wondering who was going to speak first.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" Addison asked. Patrick nodded.
"Yeah, I am." He said, breathlessly, becoming nervous again. "Just... take it slow, please." He said. He replayed his words as she rested her lips on his. He sounded so lame, why did he always say the things the woman should say? Wasn't he the one that had the power whether to take it slow or not?
Jesus, now you sound like a perverted maniac. Shut the hell up.
He let the moment take him, he allowed Addison to unzip his pants and she, in return, permitted him to run his hands over her chest and then unzip her own pants. They moved around during the kiss as Patrick undid Addison's shirt while locking his lips on her own. The only sound was the wind whistling around the car, and their short breaths as their lips broke apart and connected over and over.
And as Patrick became free of all the tension from the past four years, and all the passion he'd craved for so long filled his body, the brightest star in the sky sparkled harder than it ever had.
And Patrick knew Amanda acknowledged he'd moved on.
"Thank you." He whispered into the night, as he began to climax.