A Cradle of Wolves

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Epilogue: Au revoir!

The days that followed were decisive for everyone. The Clearwater family was reeling from Constance’s final attack while the Edmunds had to decide what they would do to the will that they bequeathed and the funerals they had to organize.

Things were settled soon after.

Cristina and Richard Clearwater decided to embark on a world tour from New York to Tokyo. They wanted to mend their marriage and a yearlong trip across the globe was exactly what they needed to remedy their marital issues.

The Edmunds didn’t proceed with a funeral for their deceased mother and uncle. Booker, Jennifer, and Richard Jr. all agreed that Constance and Julian had done too much damage to everyone. They had no pity but only the contrary for the wicked dearly departed. They thought it would be senseless to have two tombs that would never be visited or even thought of, much less spend money on. Easily the land could go to those who deserved it more, those who lived their life free of the malice that Constance and Julian used for their gain. The bodies of Constance and Julian were cremated instead, and their ashes thrown away since Booker and his siblings didn’t care in keeping them.

After that, the Edmunds separated. They got their fair share of Marie Edmunds’ will and all went their ways. Jennifer decided to leave for California while Richard Jr. finished his education at a boarding school. Only Booker stayed in Old Willow, but he had a good reason in doing so.

Benjamin finished with fixing his tie in a hurry. He was going to be late to Helen’s dinner and he couldn’t possibly be late to his friend’s dinner. It would be blasphemous to be late!

Booker walked behind Benjamin, wrapping his arms over his waist, enclosing him in a passionate embrace. “Aren’t you looking handsome?” he began to say as he softly kissed Benjamin’s neck.

Benjamin enjoyed the kissing and the tight grasp, but he had more pressing matters at hand. “Well not quite. Can you help me with my tie? Apparently, I did something wrong.”

Booker smiled and began to fix his boyfriend’s tie. “Did I mention that your butt looks really good in those pants? It looks thicker than usual, I love it.”

“Did I mention that you’re choking me,” retorted Benjamin, jokingly.

Booker fell for the joke, undoing the tie almost immediately.

“I was just kidding!” Benjamin turned to gaze at Booker with a smile of amusement. His eyes brimmed with affection.

Booker lifted Benjamin up and sat back on a nearby seat in their bedroom. Benjamin sat on top of Booker, his thighs on either side of Booker’s legs as they gazed into each other’s eyes.

“I’m giving up with this tie,” said Benjamin as he threw it across the room and proceeded in buttoning up the buttons, leaving the collar without a tie or a bowtie around it. “Plus, without it it’ll be easier for you to rip my shirt off later,” he added coquettishly.

Booker bit his lower lip as he dug his hands into Benjamin’s pants and over his buttocks. “Sex aside, I’ve been loving all of this.”

“All of what?” Benjamin asked. Their room was completely alit by the dusky light of the early evening. Together they were silhouettes against the brightened arched window.

“This. Us being together. I love leaving to work in the morning, kissing you on our way out. I love thinking about you wherever I am throughout the day. I love watching television or playing videogames with you every day. For the first time, I felt flavor in food the second we started cooking dinner together. I love showering with you, holding your wet body against mine under the water. I love sleeping at your side with my arms wrapped around you or in most cases, your leg around me,” he traced his thumb across Benjamin’s rosy lips. “And lastly I love waking up next to you, knowing that I’m going to spend another day with you.” Booker held Benjamin closer to him as their lips met in a kiss. Their shadows on the walls merged together just as their fates had done the second they laid eyes on one another the day they first fell in love. Booker couldn’t live without Benjamin just as much as Benjamin couldn’t live without Booker. They were inseparable, forever intertwined like their destinies.

“Please don’t forget to bring the two bottles of wine that I asked for,” reminded Helen over the phone. Helen wanted to showcase her culinary talent that she had picked up in her travels and invited Booker and Benjamin, and Tobias and his current girlfriend to dinner. On the phone, food was heard sizzling behind her.

“I won’t forget, promise. I’ll be home at the usual time.” Theo said his farewells before putting his cellphone back into its pocket. The Cathedral’s bells tolled melodically as Theo walked towards the bridge on the far side of a particular plaza. Pigeons unfurled their wings and took off to the sky when Theo cut through the herd that had settled on the grounds of the square. A short walk later, he stood facing a familiar wall at the underneath of the bridge.

In a war, victory is only achieved by making amends from the bottom of the victor’s heart for all the slaughter that has been done. If the victor fails to do so they are no different than the enemy they sought to destroy. Theo realized that truth and ultimately achieved victory. However, the start of this war was scarring literally and figuratively as is any war. He stood in the spot where part of his heart had died with Hunter and Patsy in the winter snow, the first casualties of his war. Who walked away with life under that dark December night long ago was Theo von Draken.

Theo returned to the underneath of the bridge, the place of his death and rebirth. The streaming water on the river bank glittered under the dark orange light of dusk. In the distance, the cathedral’s bells distantly rang, echoing across Old Willow. A slight breeze brushed Theo’s scar while his eyes shone dark green in the dying light. He crouched to the ground and laid a rose in a small vase on the ground. The underneath of the bridge and the wall he stood in front of had seen him in many stages throughout his life. It had seen him in his innocence of childhood; It had seen him in his foolishness of adolescence; It had seen him in his moment of tragedy; finally, it had seen him as a man that had prospered and would continue doing so. Theo parted his lips to quickly say what would seem like a prayer from afar.

It wasn’t a prayer, but a farewell. The wall and the underneath of the bridge were a huge part of his life, but they are just physical constructions that would remain after his death. What Theo would always take with him beyond this life were the memories, good and bad, that defined him in front of this wall. Theo rose and walked away from the underneath of the bridge. The sun soon shrank under the horizon, the same horizon where Theo’s future was awaiting.


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