HM Alternative Endings

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Alternative Ending 2

REMEMBER, this was written before I wrote the sequel and so does not affect it in anyway!

December 23rd 2022

The light shower of snow descended from the skies, landing softly on the top of his suit clad shoulders before they melted into minute droplets of water, leaving behind spot of dark residue against the dark, almost black, navy blue.

His driver was supposed to pick him up after his meeting more than twenty minutes ago, but the man was late. It was his third day he was in the city for business, and it was also the third time that he had been waiting around for his driver.

Calvin needed to remain in the city past New Years, with the exception of a few days for Christmas. He had the option of leaving to spend the holiday with his friends and family, and with his girlfriend Claire, but he had used the excuse that he was needed for some urgent business and so couldn’t return home. Little did they know that he had purposely scheduled these meetings for this specific week so that he would be able to get away from them.

His family was used to it. They hadn’t spent a single holiday with him for past 5 years, ever since the divorce, but that didn’t stop it from hurting them any less. They could only imagine the pain and grief that he was going through, but they couldn’t help him if he wasn’t ready to help himself.

His girlfriend, on the other hand, was still trying to persuade him to push business back a few days so that he would be able to spend Christmas with her and perhaps meet her family, arguing that it would be their first Christmas together, but he couldn’t bring himself to it.

Calvin had lied to her and said that he urgently needed to meet a client about wanting to expand his chain of hotels – well, meeting the client, that part was true, but the urgent part was not.

Claire already knew everything that had happened with him, everything that he had done.

It was only three weeks ago when she had come over to visit him in his house – the same old house from before the divorce – and she had found him drunk.

It was the day that his wife, ex-wife, had left. For him, it was an anniversary of sorts.

Calvin should have been happy that he finally got what he had always wanted; his freedom. He had always wanted to be rid of her, to get a divorce so that he would be able to move on and start a family of his own with a person that he actually loved; or believed to love, but how wrong he had been.

It had absolutely killed him when Audrey had left.

And it was like she had taken his heart with her, but he had no one to blame for that but himself.

The saying was true, you don’t know what you have until you lose it.

And he had lost Audrey, the best thing that had ever happened to him, and it was all his fault. He kicked himself now, now that she was gone, but it was too late. No matter what he did or how bad he felt, he couldn’t bring Audrey back.

No matter how much he missed her, now matter how much he loved her.

Anyway, Claire had walked in on him getting drunk off his face. He had not gone into work that day, not even calling in to inform them, and had just spent the day at home, drinking away his sorrows, reminiscing of all the good times that he had left to hold on to.

He had been drunk and vulnerable at the time, and Claire had walked in on him. She was a good listener, and she also seemed to care a lot about him, but he didn’t deserve it. Calvin didn’t deserve someone like Claire to care for him and look out for him, and he most certainly didn’t deserve Audrey.

But he was a selfish man.

Just like how he had taken Audrey for granted and made a mockery of her love for him, he seemed to be doing the same with Claire.

But this time, he had been open about it from the very beginning.

Claire knew from the very start that he was a broken man and that he wouldn’t be able to love anyone else. But it was only on the anniversary of Calvin and Audrey’s divorce did she learn why.

That night, Claire learnt all about Audrey, his first wife which she knew nothing about before. Calvin had told her everything that he had done to Audrey, how badly he had treated her and how he had cheated on her repeatedly. He told her about all the other women that he had tortured Audrey with, and then he told her about Jane.

Calvin was absolutely smashed. Tears dripped down his face, getting to the point where the salty water mixed in with his expensive scotch. And by the end of the night, Claire had grabbed a blanket from upstairs, draped it over Calvin who slept on the couch before she let herself out.

Since then, Claire had been even more persistent than before. Calvin didn’t deserve her, but how badly he needed it.

But this time, he didn’t take her for granted because he had made everything clear from the beginning. It seemed that Claire was setting herself up for heartbreak, and Calvin was too weak to do anything about it.

And it seemed that Claire had some skeletons in her closet of her own. That night when she had experienced Calvin at his absolute worst, she had opened up and mentioned that she was married once before, but her husband had died three months into their marriage; a sudden heart attack the doctors had ruled it. She had wiped away her tears when she had told him, finishing with saying that after two years, she was finally ready to move on.

Calvin felt sorry for her, he truly did, but he felt sorry for himself so much more.

His phone pinged in his pocket.

I’ll be there in 10.

Sorry.

I overslept.

Don’t fire me.

Calvin frowned and placed his phone back into his pocket without replying.

It seemed that he would be stuck out in the light snow, standing on the side of the sidewalk for a few more minutes, waiting for his temporary driver whom he really should replace.

Calvin hated the snow. Audrey used to love it.

He had come to hate a lot of things over the years. He hated everything that Audrey used to love; anything that reminded him of what he had missed out on.

Sighing, he stuffed his hands in his pockets in order to save them from the cold and turned his head left and right, looking out for any cars before he crossed the road.

Calvin welcomed the cold as he pushed open the glass door and stepped into the small yet cosy restaurant. Knowing his driver, ten minutes was equivalent to at least half an hour, and if Calvin was forced to wait, then he would spend the time eating food.

Darcy’s Diner.

The name sounded familiar, but Calvin couldn’t put his finger on it. And he didn’t have time to either.

The diner wasn’t particularly large, but it wasn’t small either. A gentle colour scheme of white and a soft, warm brown ran through the interior design of the building. The tables and chairs were arraigned in lines both on the left and right of the building with what seemed to be an open bar at the very end. Behind the bar was a door to which Calvin presumed lead to the kitchen.

And amongst all of it stood Joe. Joseph Darcy. The man from the diner.

Calvin hadn’t seen Joe since the day after Audrey had finally signed the divorce papers. Joe had come around to their house, Calvin and Audrey’s, looking for her because she hadn’t been replying to any of his texts. Joe had walked in on Calvin sat on the floor in the middle of the kitchen, clutching the letter that Audrey had left him with tears streaming down his face.

He couldn’t even bring himself to get angry at Joe for trying to pursue his wife.

Calvin hadn’t been able to get any words out that time having just had the shock of his life despite the two months build up, and Joe had taken one look at him before he turned around and left.

That was the last Calvin had seen Joe.

Until now.

Joe looked good. Healthy. Happy. That probably had a lot to do with the baby in his arms. A little girl, from what Calvin could tell judging by the pale pink blanket that the baby was swaddled in.

Calvin’s heart clenched at the sight of Joe with a baby.

It seemed that everyone had moved on except him.

Calvin couldn’t tear his eyes away from the man. From where he was standing, he was too far away to see the baby but with the way that Joe stared at her, with love in his eyes and a gentle smile on his face, Calvin was sure that she was his.

He wasn’t sure how long he was stood at the entrance of the diner, staring at Joe who was making silly faces to his baby, but Calvin muttered a “sorry,” to a man who had been trying to move past him and into the restaurant for a few moments.

Once the man had managed to walk past – while cursing Calvin under his breath – Calvin looked towards Joe again, but this time his heart stopped.

Audrey.

She must have come out from the kitchen or something because now, she was stood next to Calvin with a little boy in her arms. He didn’t look any older than three years of age.

The boy hard dark hair and tanned skin, just like Joe, just like his father. He was sleepy and holding on his to mum, his arms wound tightly around her neck.

Audrey was rubbing his back soothingly as she spoke to Joe behind the bar. It seemed that she had come from the kitchen to give Joe a bottle of milk for the baby.

Calvin watched in despair as she leaned against him, resting her head against her shoulder all the while still holding her son so she could get a look at her daughter. The little baby accepted the milk and he watched as Audrey pouted, a finger reaching out to stroke the soft skin of her cheek.

Audrey had moved on from him.

All these years he had wanted to get rid of her, for her to leave him and to move on so that she would forget about him. That would’ve meant that he wouldn’t have had to see her again and now that his greatest desires from years ago had finally become reality, Calvin couldn’t bare to watch any longer.

She was happy without him.

Her fiery red locks were tied up into a messy bun at the top of her head, yet a few strands escaped and framed her beautiful, heart-faced shape perfectly. How he longed to brush them away, but that wasn’t his job nor did he have the privilege to do that anymore.

Calvin watched as Joe balanced the baby carefully before he reached out a hand and brushed the hair away from her face. He watched painfully as she smiled up at her husband, her lover, as he leant down and his lips against her forehead, his lips lingering there.

Calvin’s heart twisted as she smiled at him before resting her head against his shoulder once again. The couple shared a few words between them before Joe leaned down and placed a kiss against their son’s head. He then proceeded to kiss his wife.

Calvin used to be able to do that, kiss Audrey, smile at Audrey...hold Audrey.

But she was no longer his, he had made sure of that. And now, she was married to Joe with a beautiful family and Calvin couldn’t help but close his eyes, forcing them shut, praying that he had been hallucinating the whole time.

Sadly, that was not the case.

“Sir, is there anything I can get you?”

Calvin looked away from the happy family – the family he could have had – and turned to the waiter who was stood next to him. Allowing himself one more glance towards Audrey; the love of his life, he forced his lips to curve up into a smile, though the action was strained. Allowing the lone tear to fall, he turned away and walked out of the restaurant.

He never saw Audrey again.

-

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Layla Knight

25.04.18

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