Once In A Lifetime (Lifetime Love)

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The Ring and Seagull

Emma's P.O.V.

Emma knew Darren was listening that morning. She had heard him come down the stairs. There was, since they were younger, one or two stairs that made a noise when you stepped on it.

She wasn't sure if she really wanted to go back to the city. Her mom needed her, especially now. She also wasn't sure if staying was what she wanted either.

Everything she was starting with Darren all seemed to good to be true. Emma felt as if she was waiting for it to all just crumble right in front of her. Darren was everything she wanted. She wanted to live right here in this house with him and start their own little family, just like they had talked about for hours on end as teenagers. She knew now, the past was the past. Shit happens. And now they have a chance, a real chance to literally pick back up and start over.

Emma smiled and kissed Darren as he walked out of the door to open his shop. She could see herself do this every morning.

Walking to her parents house, she smiled a sad smile. She wished she had never left. She could have been this close to them the whole time instead of over a 1,000 miles away.

Emma's nose was instantly hit with the scent of fresh coffee and bacon. Two of her favorite scents.

Emma crept past the kitchen and into her old room where she quickly changed and brushed her long, thick curly hair.

"It smells great." Emma said cheerfully to her mother. Her mother turned and looked at her, with a very happy, yet sad smile. One of those smiles that just didn't seem to make it to her eyes.

"Thank you sweetie, you hungry?" Her mother asked as she flipped some bacon and eggs.

"Nah, me and Darren just had breakfast not too long ago, thank you though," Emma walked by her mother and placed a gentle kiss on her soft cheek. "I will nab some of your coffee though." She said with a giggle.

"You're awfully chipper this morning aren't you?" Her mother asked with questions blazing in her bright blue eyes.

"You think?" Emma asked quietly. "I had a good morning with Darren, I guess i just forgot how much i missed just being around him you know?" Emma tilted her head and watched as her mother carried her plate to table and sat across from her. As her mother began to eat, Emma stood and fixed her a cup of coffee.

As Emma watched her mother go between her food and coffee, she realized just how frail she had really gotten. Her mother wasn't old, but she wasn't young either.

Where her hair, once a vibrant auburn color, now seemed dull and streaked with grays. Wrinkles finding their way around her eyes and mouth. Her hands shaking ever so slightly as she ate. Emma knew the worst part of all of it was the new sadness that now occupied her mothers bright blue eyes.

"I miss him." Was all her mother said and was all she needed to say. Emma reached across the table and grabbed her hand.

"Me too mom. It all feels unreal as hell." Emma shook her head, trying to shake the tears away. She had to be strong for her. She had to hold herself together.

"He was so proud of you." Her mother squeezed her hand before getting up to load her dishes into the dishwasher.

"I know, and he loved you more than the world itself." Emma's mother smiled slowly at her.

"I know honey. He wouldn't want us sitting here sulking about him." Her mother chuckled. Her mother was absolutely right. Her father wouldn't want anyone sad over losing him. He would come back just to tell us to suck it up and live for him.

"I know, so let's not. Let's try our damnedest to live for him, just like he would want." Emma grabbed her mothers hand and pulled her towards the door.

"Where are we going?" She asked as Emma giggled and led her mother to her car opening the door for her.

"I don't know yet, but we are." As Emma climbed into the car and backed out of the driveway, she thought back to all the summer days she would pout when her father would do this exact thing to them. Taking them somewhere new and undiscovered by them, and she drove.

Emma kept driving as they sang along to the radio and giggled and shared their favorite stories of her father until she parked the car in front of a beautiful beach.

This was the same beach her parents talked of so much, in Emma's mind it was their beach.

"You know, this is where your father purposed to me?" Emma smiled over at her mother and nodded her head, waiting for her mother to continue the story. It was one of her favorite's. "He tried to be slick, hid the ring inside of a cinnamon roll," A from the belly chuckle escaped from her mother before she continued. "Right when i was about to pick it up and take a bite, that's when a seagull decided he wanted it more. You're father chased it around the beach and fought that poor bird until he got it back in pieces only to discover, it got away with the thing he wanted back most." Giggles escaped from both of them as they sat on the sand and pictured her father fighting a seagull. "As stubborn as your father was, he looked defeated. As i asked him what was wrong he dropped to one knee in front of me and purposed, with the broken cinnamon roll in his hand." Her mother wiped a stray tear from her cheek and she gazed out to the ocean.

"I hope i find a love as true as your love was." Emma said on a sigh.

"You already have my sweet girl. You just need to decide if you're ready for it." Her mother hugged her, long and hard before they returned to the car and made their way back to town.

Emma thought long and hard about what her mother had said. Was she ready? Could she leave everything she had built for herself, just like that? She had worked so hard during her time gone to get to where she was. Could she just give it up?

As they pulled into town some time later, Emma's heart leapt at the sight of Darren's shop. She honestly didn't know what to do. She wanted to stay and be here, not just for her mother, but for herself. She couldn't deny she was head over heels in love with Darren still.

Nothing has changed. Her own words to Darren echoed across her mind. Would he forgive her? Would he still want her here? Or would he turn her away the same way she was so ready to after they had slept together that first night?

Emma pulled into the driveway and turned to her mother.

"You don't even have to say it, go see him," Her mother gently caressed her face and Emma leaned into it. "Thank you, for this morning. I love you my sweet girl." Emma kissed her mothers hand and smiled as she watched her go inside the house.

Emma's heart raced as she drove to Darren's shop. Her mind made up. She would stay, stay and be with him, if he would have her that is. With a smile on her face, she started to turn into the parking lot and immediately spotted Darren on the side by a big open doorway.

As Emma parked her car she watched him load two beautifully crafted cabinets into the back of a pick up truck. That's when Emma saw her. A woman sauntered over to Darren and smiled as she placed a small hand on her arm. Darren returned the smile with his own dazzling one. The woman leaned in towards him and on her tip toes, kissed him. As she wrapped her arms around his neck, she watched as Darren placed his hands on her waist.

That was all Emma could take before she slammed her car into reverse and sped from the parking lot.

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