Chapter 1: What They Always Wanted
4 years later...
It was a blissful Sunday afternoon. The kind where they were birds perched together on branches, squirrels scurrying along with the emerald-jeweled grass, and the kind where Mariana and Micah decided to spend time with their two kids, peacefully seated down with the family that they always dreamed about.
Their oldest was their two-year-old daughter, Elisa, who kicked a ball around. She wore a black shirt, blue jeans and was a replica of Micah’s face, with her light-skinned complexion, brown eyes that glowed like fiery embers when the sun touched them, and her matching hair was in two space buns, two plaits, decorated with gold cuffs.
Mariana gave sandwiches to their one-year-old son, Axel, who was strapped in his little chair on a blanket. He was fair skin, with freckles dotted around his nose and rosy cheeks. Dark chocolate eyes roamed around, and a head full of springy, toffee coils that ruled freely around his head. He ate his food, but he was making a mess all over his shirt.
Elisa suddenly came running back, waving her hand in front of her. Her feet trotted around the blades in her sneakers.
“Daddy look, I found a wadybug,” she said breathlessly.
“Aw, it’s so pretty. Where did you find it?” He held her petite hand inside his, listening to her carefully.
“There!” With her free arm, she pointed towards a great tree that stood tall and ancient. The leaves were like a ball of hair that made it look majestic and stood out from the smaller trees.
“Are there more ladybugs, or is that the only one?”
“Um... I don’t know,” Her little shoulders shrugged. “Only this one.”
“Ah, I see. Why don’t you go show Mommy?”
Mariana’s eyes sparkled at his words as her eyes fell at the pair. He was seated opposite her on the blanket and looked roughly the same, with that handsome full beard, his hair trimmed down and shorter than it was.
Whereas her face was more defined and sharper. Her cheeks were rosing with happiness; she had gained some weight in certain areas which also made her chest puff out more.
Elisa then came towards her. She stumbled along and watched her tiny hands that held the little insect inside, her eyes full of glee like it was a precious little egg.
“What is it my baby? What do you want to show me?” Mariana gently pulled her in as her face lit up with an inviting smile.
“This mama.” She snuggled up next to her, resting against her chest. Mariana could feel the heat that radiated off her hair, making it shine in the light.
“It looks nice, sweetie.”
“I think... I’m gonna name her... Dot.” Elisa smiled brightly as if she just discovered something amazing. “Yeah, Dot!”
“I think that’s a good name, honey.” Mariana said as she caressed her daughter’s laid edges that were like graceful sea waves.
“What would you name her, Mommy?” Elisa looked up. Her glossy eyes, innocently searching for an answer, either from her or in the empty, blue sky above.
Mariana’s heart melted. She sniffed and couldn’t resist pulling up a smile. Sometimes the cuteness overwhelmed her, and she couldn’t believe that this girl was hers.
“I don’t know. Maybe something to do with its color. Do you remember what color that is?” she asked, pointing to the tiny creature that slept in the palm of Elisa’s hand.
“Um...” Elisa sat up and pointed a finger to her mouth as she started to think. Mariana and Micah eagerly leaned in while Axel sucked some food remains off his hand.
“Red!” Her arm shot up like she was trying to give the clouds a high five as she confidently gave her answer.
“Clever girl, that’s right.” Mariana brought her in and tickled her a little while kissing her cheek. Elisa started laughed and rolled over where her brother was.
“Do you want some pineapple slices?”
“Yeah.” Elisa managed to get herself back up and stood close to Mariana, who dug into their bag. She pulled out a packet of pineapple cubes that had a small fork.
“Here you go.” Mariana gave her the food, and she sat down next to her and her brother. She started eating it and her eyes squeezed like lemons from the taste. Axel watched her and wanted some too, so he leaned in and tried to grab at the edge. He started pulling it towards him while Elisa cried out and pulled it back.
“No, Axel! It’s mine!” she wailed. She tried to eat her fruit, but Axel kept tugging it to his side. His grip was strong, and he intended to use it to annoy his sister at this moment.
“But I want...” Axel mumbled.
“Stop it!” She whacked his hand away and moved onto Mariana’s lap. Axel rocked towards her, but fortunately, she was now out of his reach. Elisa resumed eating in peace, and because Axel couldn’t get a bite, he started crying a little and pointed at her accusingly.
His mouth watered, and his eyes were like two pendulums moving towards the pineapple within their watery prison. His mouth overflowed with saliva that ran off the side like a waterfall. He moaned while Elisa ignored him.
The duo looked so funny to Mariana and Micah as they started laughing.
“Did we pack some peanuts in that bag?” Micah asked. He thought that they could give it to him instead.
“Um, I think we did, but I’m not sure. Let me check.” Mariana started searching through the bag, and food rattled within the folds of plastic. She felt through the various packets and brought one out, which crumbled with cashew nuts.
“Here they are.” She ripped them open and then poured them into an empty container which became satiated. She shook it around and gave it to Axel, who happily grabbed it within his chubby hands. He became content as he leaned back and grasped the nuts.
Mariana sighed with relief as the tears slowly dissolved into the past. She started eating one of her own sandwiches and had a can of coke. But when she looked up, she saw Micah’s gaze completely on her, like they were in an art gallery and she was the only art in the room.
“What? What was it?” She asked as she felt a blush coming on.
“Nothing, I just love looking at you,” he said, with his eyes that got lost into the infinite space of beauty inside hers.
“Aw.” She looked down as she didn’t want to make eye contact, so he wouldn’t see the flush that overcame her cheeks. Even after these years, he still managed to make her feel special.
These past years they have been married were one of the best and most peaceful years of her life. Not once did she regret saying yes to Micah, and not once did she think her life would turn out like this. She remembered the week they spent their honeymoon in The Bahamas. The sights they saw, the food they ate, and all the things they did with one another.
It was amazing what could happen in a couple of years. How low she was, was now a distant memory, like a thunderstorm that rolled past, clearing away the skyline that was like a bright light at the end of a long tunnel.
Elisa finished her pineapples out and let a little burp before giggling loudly. She put the fork down and swiped away the plaits that obstructed her view.
“Mommy, let play hide-n-see!”
“Hide-and-seek? Okay.” Mariana unbuckled Axel as she prepared to get up.
“I wanna hide from daddy!” Elisa exclaimed and jumped around, clapping her hands slightly.
“So you want me to come find you?” Micah chuckled as he bent down and lightly pinched her cheek.
Elisa squealed and ran away. She went behind Mariana and started clinging onto her leg. Micah chuckled as Mariana tried waddling around with a toddler attached.
“Okay, I will start counting.”
“Okay, come on, my babies!” Mariana said and started running away when Micah covered his eyes.
“We gotta hide from Daddy!” Elisa said and ran ahead. Mariana followed her behind a tree when they crouched down, hidden from sight.
Mariana started giggling as Axel blew bubbles in her lap, and Elisa wandered around on the spot.
They heard Micah quietly walking around, the grass and twigs crunching under his shoes, calling out their names. His voice was like a monster, trying to find his next meal.
“Where are you little ones? Come out, come out, wherever you are.” He gave a little roar which made Mariana put a hand over her mouth, muffling her laughter while Elisa started giggling.
Mariana quickly put a finger to her lips for her to keep quiet, “shh.”
“Shhh!” Elisa mimicked her actions and giggled into her palms.
Mariana giggled as they heard Micah’s steps just behind the tree they were hiding. She motioned for Elisa to come, and she buried both of them under her armpits. Elisa and Axel started shaking a little until she giggled like she was being tickled.
Mariana covered her mouth, but the steps came closer and closer...
“Boo!” Micah popped out from the side, making them all shriek in surprise. Elisa tried running away, so Micah wrapped his arms around all of them, making them tumble to the ground, as they shared their laughter.
Micah gave all of them a kiss as they chuckled and rested, looking up into the deep blue sky that encompassed them in its awe, in the center of nature.
When they went home and had a bite to eat, Mariana undid Elisa’s buns and twisted her hair for when it was time to go to bed. But before that, they had a little fun in the living room to wear out the kids.
Nursery rhymes swirled around the ceiling lights, exciting everyone like they were sprinkled with fairy dust. Elisa jumped on the red flower on their vintage rug, and Axel walked around, exploring the jungle of toys that laid around on the carpet.
Five little skeletons jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head.
Elisa purposely fell to the ground, like she was making a snow angel. A laugh was pushed up from her tummy, and her mouth let it out. She loved dancing; as she kicked her legs wildly in the air. Meanwhile, her brother stared at the screen like he was in a trance.
She then turned to Micah, who had a glow like a halo illuminating his body. It crept between the crack of the scarlet curtains behind, hiding the outside world.
“Daddy!” She got up and went over to him. She then grabbed him out of his chair and pulled him along like she was the boss.
“Do you want daddy to dance with you sweetie?” He let himself be guided to the middle of the room. She turned him around and made him jump just like her.
They bent down and bobbed to the music while Mariana was peacefully seated on the couch. She was sipping on some lemonade. She would’ve joined in, but having to listen to nursery rhymes for the past several hours made her ears ring and get a headache.
But it was fun to watch Micah and Elisa dancing together. They were a cute little duo, especially when Elisa got him to have tea parties with her, and then Micah would be stuck sitting in a dress that belonged to her.
One little skeleton jumping on the bed.
He fell off and bumped his head.
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said:
“Put those skeletons right to bed!”
Micah picked his special little girl up and spun her in the air. He ticked her tummy and kissed her cheeks. He lifted her into the air, making her feel like on top of the world, as she put her arms out like an airplane, laughing heartily.
After the song died down, he put her down, feeling worn out as his arms ached and his back hurt.
“Whew that was fun! But I think it’s time for bed now,” he panted out.
“But I wanna dance some more!” Elisa pleaded.
“Come on, you’ve had enough fun now. It’s time for bed.” Mariana got up and picked up Axel, whose eyes were already drooping.
“But I don’t wanna go bed!” She waved her arms about and stomped her foot in annoyance.
Mariana sighed in frustration and rubbed her eyes.
“I literally have no time for this...” she muttered out slowly in her rising anger. She handed Axel to Micah and then grabbed hold of Elisa’s hand. She snatched the remote out of Elisa’s hands, who tried breaking through.
“Micah, can you go put Axel to bed while I try and calm her down?”
“Alright, are you sure you’ll be okay?”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine,” she smiled weakly.
Micah then left the room and Mariana waited for Elisa to stop crying uncontrollably so she could talk it out. She was so tempted to scream out of frustration but knew that would probably make the situation worse.
Elisa started coughing between cries as she fell on the floor while trying to reach for the remote in Mariana’s hands.
“Are you ready to talk now?” Mariana said rather impatiently.
“Yeah,” she wailed and then sat up.
“Okay, first of all, take a deep breath,” Mariana said and faced her directly. Elisa wiped her tears and breathed in hard while her eyes were still overflowing with water.
“I know you want to continue playing, I wish we could, but it’s time to go to bed,” Mariana said while she was breathing along with her.
“But I want music,” Elisa mumbled more calmly.
“I know, I understand that you were having fun and you want to play. You will get another chance if you go to bed right now.” Mariana then stretched out her hand for her to take. “I will let you play again if you go to bed.”
Elisa let out the last set of tears before taking it and getting up. “Okay,” she mumbled.
Mariana took her upstairs and then got her ready for bed. She tucked Elisa in and kissed her goodnight and went downstairs, breathing out a sigh of relief that she could now rest. She got a wine bottle out and poured both of her and Micah a glass so they could relax.
She gave it to him, who was now laid on the couch, and she dived right into his arms. He snuggled her in, breathing in her intoxicating scent that he would never get tired of.
They started drinking their wine as the house was finally quiet. Only the breeze that blew outside could be heard.
“You know what,” Micah said, “Elisa reminds me of you.”
“What? I don’t behave like that!”
“Yeah, the stubbornness...” Micah started chuckling as he loved teasing her, “and the anger.”
“Nope, not true,” she said innocently, even though it was in a way. She finished her glass quickly and filled it again. Having the cold, bitter liquid run down her throat was like a stress reliever. It always kept her sane after the day.
She sighed dreamily, and she looked onto the dark ceiling, thinking about nothing. She liked these moments when it was just themselves, and they weren’t disturbed. It was a time where they could really catch up.
“I think today was really good, don’t you think?” He said.
“Yeah, it was the perfect day to plan a picnic,” she murmured and softly rubbed his beard. She was so excited about the picnic when the day was still fresh, but now it was over, they could now settle down with the day.
“Are you ready for tomorrow?” He asked while looking down at her bright face, tenderly stroking her cheeks a little.
“Me neither, but I’m sure we can get through it.” He held out his fist for her to bump, which she did.
“I agree.” She then turned around and sent dozens of kisses across his face.
“Mm, I love you so much!” She exclaimed and hugged him tightly. She loved that they were going through life together, facing each challenge that each day brought, and coming out like champions.
Just like they always wanted.
A/N: HEY GUYS MISSED ME? Hahah I hope u enjoyed reading this as I enjoyed writing it☺️.
I almost shed tears of happiness cuz Mariana and Micah really do deserve this after all they’ve been through ❤️❤️❤️.