Never really said too much
Afraid it wouldn’t be enough
Just try to keep my spirits up
When there’s no point in grieving
So many moons have come and gone all alone
I heard this song inside me to wait
I was told but now I found a different sound
I hear when you’re around me
It’s something new because of you
I hope I hear it forever
As will I.
*sings Michael Jackson’s “You Are Not Alone”*
She felt the tears pooling in her eyes and smoothed them away with her sleeve. “Sam.” Brendan tried again. “Are ye sure you’re alright?” She laughed, holding her palm to her face. “Weddings make me emotional. I’m fine, Bren. Don’t worry.” That was only a half-lie. Not too bad.
A wail echoed from downstairs then, startling her. “Aunt Sam!” Kyrie came running into her room, holding her arm close to herself. Sam switched Brendan to speaker, catching her niece in her arms, the impact making her gasp. “Shh, Kyrie. What happened, baby?” Kyrie babbled into her Aunt’s neck. Something about the rug and a scrape on her arm.
Sam soothed her tears away, gently patting her back. “Who are you talking to?” Kyrie whispered. Sam smiled. “Brendan. Would you like to say ‘hello?’” Kyrie nodded and Sam picked up the phone, letting her hold it. “Hi, Brendan. Congrats on your wedding.” Brendan laughed. “Hello, Kyrie, and thank ye very much. Congrats on your new brother.”
Sam shifted Kyrie on her hip. “Brendan? I’m going to go ahead and let you go. Congratulations, truly. I couldn’t be more happy for you.” He hummed in response. “Thanks, Sam. We’ll have ye out at the house soon, okay?” “Alright.” She murmured, somewhat distracted. Evan had long-since gotten completely quiet and she wondered if he was still in the room. She thought back to the voicemail he left her. He was seeing a therapist, working hard to get better. For himself and for his son. Her heart ached. She was so proud of him.
She had the urge to say something.
"You boys take care of yourselves." She breathed. Finally putting more strength into her voice.
"All of you."
Remy stretched out and lifted his ass a bit higher. “It IS our wedding night, baby. I’d be remiss if I didn’t make some effort at seduction. I spent a fortune on candles alone.”
Brendan finally managed to find a voice. “I…you look fuckin’ gorgeous, love. Ye didn’t have to go to all this trouble…”
"Hush. Of course I did. Wedding night, remember? Now stop standing there with that moronic look on your face and let’s make the most of it." He knelt back up and held out his arms. Brendan recalled how to walk and joined Remy on the bed. “You’re my husband,” he whispered, reaching out to stroke Remy’s tawny skin.
"I am," was the simple reply as their lips came closer to collision, “Forever.”
She opened and closed her mouth in surprise. “I…” How would she get away? There’s no chance that Atlas would…she closed her eyes. Before she’d had a chance to fully think it through, she had found her voice. “Sure. I’d love to. Just tell me when you’re free for a weekend, okay?” She could hear the smile in her friend’s voice. “Great. Remy has really been wanting to meet ye so this will be perfect.”
Sam nodded silently, biting her bottom lip. She cleared her throat. “So where is your hubby, hmm? He and I need to have a chat. If he ever hurts you, Brendan, I’ll-” Sam trailed off, noticing the slight echo to her own voice. She was on speaker. “You have nothing to worry about there. I would never purposely hurt Brendan, Sam. That is a promise.” The corners of her lips gently tugged upwards as she heard what she assumed was Remy place a soft kiss to Brendan’s skin. “Good. I’ll hold you to that.” She retorted, her mind at ease.
Then she heard it. There was another voice just beyond Brendan and Remy’s. One she knew all to well. She felt the color drain out of her face. She couldn’t quite make out what he was saying but it was definitely him. No mistaking it. And she was on speaker. Meaning he could hear her, too.
"Sam?" Brendan’s voice broke through her thoughts. Concern laced in her name. Her throat finally worked and she only hoped her voice didn’t betray her. "Sorry. I’m here." She was drowning. It hurt. Oh, how much it hurt. When was it suppose to stop hurting?
Think of something, Sam. Say something.
"Brendan told me today is your birthday, Remy. You share that with my nephew." Evan’s voice stopped. Brendan jumped in. "Really? That’s wonderful, Sam. Congratulations." She nodded rapidly. ‘Stop doing that, Perkins. They can’t see you.’
"He’s beautiful. Looks so much like Heath. I’m taking Kyrie back by the hospital this evening. I’ll send you guys a picture."
Brendan graciously let her gush about his wedding for the next ten minutes, adding his own comments along the way. It didn’t go without her notice that he asked her how she was doing more than once. Each time worded a different way. It worried her. Brendan was a very smart man and she had began to wonder if she’d let something slip without realizing.
The reason she couldn’t tell Brendan what was going on, what was happening with Atlas, was because she knew he wouldn’t keep it to himself. She knew that if she breathed a word, he’d tell Evan and all her attempts to keep him safe would be in vain.
She didn’t want that.
So she did her best to redirect the conversation away from herself. “Have you guys moved into your new place yet?” She remembered Brendan telling her awhile back that he had been offered a job at the North Shore Animal League on Long Island. It had been a great opportunity for him and he had been eager to take it. So he and Remy were planning on moving into a nice place near the Long Island Sound.
"We just got settled in right before the wedding. Ye should come see it, Sam. We’d love for ye to break in the guest bedroom again."
Oh Sammie… T____T you’re killing me here…
Ohhh, bb. It gets worse.
Today was a special day. Late last night, Sam had gotten a call from Heath asking to bring Kyrie over to her. Scarlet was in labor. The baby was coming. She’d waited up late into the night just pacing the room clutching her phone tightly in one hand, the other clenching the material of her nightgown between her fingers.
Just shortly after 2am, he was born. Zachary Adam Perkins. 7 pounds, 9 ounces. Her nephew. Zach. Someone else to protect.
"You’ve been so busy protecting everyone else. Sam. Who’s going to protect you?" Odara had once asked. Her answer was clear and without hesitation. "Me. I’m going to protect myself." And she meant it.
But it wasn’t just Zach’s birth that made today special. Today was Brendan’s wedding day. Her best friend was in Hawaii getting the happiness he so deserved. She had spent most of the morning going back and forth, debating on how long she should wait before giving him a congratulatory call. It was mid-afternoon now. He said it was a morning wedding, didn’t he?
Her fingers quickly found his number, smiling as his voice filled her ear. “So tell me, Bren, am I talking to a married man or do I need to come beat somebody up?”
It had taken Sam two months to save up enough money to buy herself a new phone. When questioned about what happened to her old one, she told everyone that she had simply dropped it.Or rather, “Knocked it off the dresser. Accidentally. Whoops.”
Lies. She was getting good at them.
It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be truthful. It was the fear of what people would think if she told them what she’d been going through. She had her brother, Heath, convinced that she was happy. Deliriously so. Once Heath was on board, the rest fell into place. But fooling her friends was another monster altogether.
She met Odara for lunch every Saturday. The older woman had become a sort of therapist to Sam. Someone she could spill her emotions to. She listened well, only adding advice when asked for it and didn’t seem to judge otherwise.
She kept in regular contact with Brendan, as well. She found talking with him about work or her family to be a much-needed distraction. Those small conversations kept her sane. He didn’t judge, like Odara, but Brendan knew her better than Odara did and would often ask questions that made her wonder if he knew what was going on. Of course, he didn’t know the whole story. How could he? She hadn’t told him.
She wanted to tell him. How she was ‘dating’ a man she hated. How she was still very much in love with a man that she’d likely never see again. How unhappy she was. She really wanted to tell.
She just couldn’t.
I believe the world is burning to the ground
Oh well I guess we’re gonna find out
Let’s see how far we’ve come