HM Alternative Endings

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Alternative Ending 3

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

Calvin knew who the man was as soon as he stepped into his office three years ago.

He looked just like his father, but with his mother’s eyes.

The last time he had seen him, he had been just a boy, holding onto his mother for dear life. And now, he was a fine, young man with a stable job at a highly-reputable company.

His mother must be so proud of him.

Calvin had known that he would hire the young man as soon as he had seen his name before the interview. It also helped that Jaden Darcy was highly qualified, having completed three separate internships during his time at college, as well as graduating the top of his class from Princeton.

It was an honour that he had chosen to work for his company and not his many rivals.

Though it did help that he had offered Jaden an analyst’s position instead of a graduate. Three years on, and Jaden was the youngest Vice President the company had ever seen.

He spent many a night wondering about Audrey. But recently, he had found himself wondering how she had allowed her son work at Paynter’s, his company. Perhaps she was bigger than him and had finally healed from their toxic marriage. Maybe she didn’t care.

What he was afraid of the most was that maybe, just maybe, she didn’t remember him anymore. Perhaps, he was just a distant, horrid memory of the past.

The last one hurt the most.

It had been really strange at first; having a young Jaden Darcy prance around his office. He had believed it to be a mistake at first, hiring the man. Calvin had thought it would have been too difficult to have him around, that he would remind him too much of his mother.

His dear mother whom he had let go of. The worst mistake of his life.

Only one of those statements had turned out to be true.

He had soon found that having Jaden around had brought a strange peace to his office. It was almost like having Audrey with him.

Noah, his personal assistant, had recognised the young man immediately and after the interview, had come into the office to talk to Calvin about it.

Neither of them was surprised that Jaden had received the job. Even without Calvin’s natural inclination towards him, the man would a great asset to any company. They would have been blind and stupid to have over-looked that for what had happened in the past.

That was what he had told Noah, anyway.

But the truth was, even at the mature age of 53, Calvin had never had a family. And having to look at Jaden five days a week reminded him of that.

He thought he would have found his salvation with Claire, but not even a year after that winter where he had discovered Audrey and her perfect little family, the woman had left him.

It seemed that no woman could stay with him for too long.

That was his first of many lonely Christmases.

He should have never offered him the job, or fired him sooner. He should have hated him. But he could never hate any child of Audrey’s.

Jaden was a part of her and a huge part of her life.

Calvin could never bring himself to hate him.

Instead, he found himself gravitating towards the boy, earning to check on him even though he knew the man wasn’t his child.

He sure wished he was though.

Perhaps if he had been a better man, if he had worked on their marriage instead of cheating on her whenever he felt like it, Jaden would have been their son. His and Audrey’s. Perhaps they would have had more children and still been together today.

He had spent his entire life thinking about Audrey and the way he had destroyed their marriage.

Joseph Darcy was a lucky man to have her. She was far better than both of them.

He used to think that Audrey was weak and pathetic for staying with him despite him treating her worse than garbage. He used to flaunt his many conquests in her face, including that long-term girlfriend he had at the time, which he now completely regretted. Even though he hurt her immensely, she had always been there for him when he came home, or when he needed her. He had hated it.

Then, he used to think he was flaky and disloyal for leaving him. At first, he had absolutely despised her for leaving him despite vowing that she would love and stay with him forever.

But as time passed, he knew it was his fault.

He had always known that it was him, that he had destroyed their marriage and driven away the woman of his dreams. He had just refused to accept it.

If he had treated her better, then perhaps she would have never left him.

Audrey Paynter –Audrey Darcy now– was the strongest woman, human, he had ever had the pleasure of knowing, and no one would have been able to persuade him otherwise.

She was able to love him when no one else ever could.

A knock sounded on the door, bringing him out of his reverie.

“Come in,” he called, sitting up straighter in his chair and grabbing a pen, pretending that he was busy and not just day dreaming about his ex-wife. That would be difficult to explain.

The man in question peeked his head through the door, a friendly smile on his face. “I’ve got those contracts you wanted, sir.”

“Jaden, perfect!” He exclaimed, putting down the pen. “Come take a seat while I look over these.” He ordered, holding out his hand for the documents.

“Sure.” Jaden smiled and did as he was told.

Calvin reached out for his reading glasses and placed them on the bridge of his nose, already rifling through the documents.

They needed to be checked before being sent off to their latest client. Any small mistakes could lose them this deal so Calvin ensured that he checked them personally at the end.

This client was a big deal and the whole office knew it.

Especially, Jaden, it seemed. “I wanted to thank you, sir. For putting me on this project even though there were others who have far more experience than me.”

“Nonsense,” Calvin exclaimed, his eyes trained on the paper in front of him. “You’ve worked hard these past three years. You’ve earned it.” He commended him.

“Thank you,” Jaden smiled. His eyes didn’t waver from his boss, not for one second. He was afraid that he had messed something up even though he had checked the files himself three times that very same morning.

He worried about the little things, like his mother said. Just like her.

“If anything needs changing, I can get that done as soon as possible.” He offered, wanting to impress his boss.

He merely nodded in response, still looking through the file.

“How’s the family?” Calvin asked casually, hoping that it seemed like he was making small talk. In reality, he just wanted to hear about Audrey. He hoped she was doing well. He hoped she was happy.

“Good, thank you.”

“Your sister is graduating college this year, right?”

“Yes.” He beamed, a proud big brother.

Calvin paused for a while, thinking about how to direct the conversation. It seemed that Audrey had failed to mention him even once over the years, so he didn’t want to bring anything up. “Has she got any plans after graduation?”

“She wants to work in interior design, so has a few interviews lined up.”

“We could do with someone like her in the company.”

His eyes brightened. “Really?”

Calvin nodded. “You mentioned last time she attends Harvard?”

“Yes.”

“I’m a Harvard man, myself.” He sat back in his chair. There were only a few papers left now. “Set up an interview with Noah when it suits her best. Let’s see if she can match up to her big brother.” He joked.

“Thank you, sir!” Noah exclaimed, extremely grateful. He knew for sure that his little sister, Aurora would be interested in the job. It would be too good an opportunity to pass up.

“What’s her name?”

“Aurora Audrey Darcy.”

Calvin hummed. He wasn’t surprised. Audrey had always mentioned that if they were to ever have a daughter, she would name her Aurora.

He had just assumed that she would be having children with him.

Perhaps she would have if she had treated him better.

“And Audrey is?” he trailed off into a question, even though he fully well knew who Audrey was.

“My mother’s name.” Jaden clarified, a sweet smile on his face as he thought about his mother. He couldn’t ask for a better woman to raise him and was proud to call her his mother,

“Ah!” He sounded aloud. “She must be awful proud of you kids!”

“She is!” He nodded, a gleam in his eyes as he spoke fondly about his family. “My little brother got a full ride to Princeton on a football scholarship.”

“That’s very impressive! Just how many siblings do you have?” He asked, surprised to hear that there were more of them. But it wasn’t completely infeasible. He had only come across Darcy’s Diner once, and forced himself to never go back there.

It was just too painful.

At the time, Audrey only had two children. But she had a man who loved her and had her whole life ahead of her. There was no saying that she stopped at just two kids.

“There’s six of us.” He laughed quietly. Everyone was always surprised to hear that his parents had six children. “I have another sister who is a Junior in high school and then a pair of twin brothers who are both still in middle school.”

“I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for you Darcy children.” Calvin joked.

Jaden laughed too, not realising how true his boss’ words truly were.

A few minutes of silence passed between them as Calvin finished looking at the documents. Grabbing his pen again, he signed the papers before placing them back in the folder.

“Impeccable, as always.” He handed them over to Jaden.

“Thank you, sir. I’ll make sure I get these documents to the client.”

Calvin nodded and watched the man leave. He couldn’t fault him, even if he wanted to.

Six children. Four boys and two girls, he thought to himself, reclining back in his desk chair.

Calvin had always wanted a large family with Audrey.

It seemed only half of that dream had come true.

-

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Layla Knight

12.09.19

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