As Dale regained consciousness, he realized that someone was close to him. He forced his eyes to open and saw Alissa beside the hospital bed. Moving his head was a huge mistake because he felt a throbbing pain burst inside it.
He remembered the first time that he had seen Alissa. It had been at the hospital in Bridgeport when she was still a teenager.
“But wait!”, he thought to himself. “Is it a memory or is it because Alissa told him that he had first seen her at the hospital.”
He said aloud, “You were wearing a red blouse and your hair was off to the side.”
“What were you talking about?”
“I was remembering the first time that I saw you. You were wearing a deep red blouse and you had your hair off to the side in a ponytail.”
“Yes, I really remember it.”
Alissa went and got the doctor. He said that this was a good sign. Dale might fully regain his lost memories. “However, I caution you Mr. Stallworth. Don’t force the memories. Let them come at their own pace.”
Dale gradually regained his memories. It really hurt to remember how close he had been to his family and the way that the relationship had deteriorated. He realized just how much Alissa had been caught in the middle and he appreciated her even more. She wasn’t bitter or vindictive. She never tried to prevent Dale or the children from seeing his parents.
He had tried to reason with his mother about her attitude toward Alissa but she hadn’t budged in her insistence that Alissa had cheated on him with Alex. Dale found out that part of the reason his mother believed that was because Alex had told her that Alissa had carried on an affair with him for years even before they had thought that Dale was dead. Alex had told her that after Dale’s return.
After talking with his father and Leslie, Dale saw that Alex had changed over the years. It had begun after he joined the vice squad and he had completely changed after becoming a government agent. Alex never talked about what he did as a part of his job. Knowing that Alex had changed did not lessen Dale’s anger or disgust over the things that Alex had done in his pursuit of Alissa.
Alissa entered the great room interrupting Dale’s thoughts.
“I’m thinking about how lucky I am to have you!”
“I’m the lucky one.”
Alissa slid onto the sofa and nuzzled in close to him. Dale rubbed his hand across her belly. She finally had a baby bump. He was determined to make sure that this baby was just as happy as their other children despite the fact that Alex was her father.
“Oh, that’s right. I guess I’d better get ready.”
Leslie and George had moved to Mesa Valley. The drier climate was better for Kaylee’s asthma. Robert and Valerie had decided that they no longer needed their big house in Riverview and they had sold it. They had moved to a senior retirement village in Florida.
Leslie got together with some of Alissa’s friends, and they were throwing her a surprise baby shower. Alissa had thought that she was just having lunch with Leslie. She walked through the entrance at the restaurant and heard, “Surprise!”
Leslie led her to a chair that they had set up like a throne, and they presented her with gifts.
Sharlee helped her mother with the gifts.
They all laughed.
“What’s wrong, Aunt Leslie?”
“Okay. Are you going to be alright?”
“Yes, Sweetie. You go back out and enjoy the party. Let’s keep it special for your mother. Your Dad said it’s the first shower that she’s had.”
Leslie got herself together and then returned to the party. She plastered a smile on her face for Alissa’s sake. She and Dale had agreed not to give her the bad news until the following day. They wanted this day to be a good memory for her.
“What’s wrong, Dale.”
“I’m okay, Honey. You go back to sleep. I think I’ll just do some work in my office for a while.”
Alissa drifted back off to sleep.
“Alissa, I’ve received some bad news from my parents. It’s about Alex.”
“What about him?”
Alissa felt numb. She remembered her last words to Alex. She had told him that she hated him and never wanted to see him again. She had pretty much told him that she was sorry that she was carrying his baby. At the time, she had meant every word. Even now she had mixed feelings. She was relieved and at the same time sad. Her baby would never know her father. She had hoped that somehow the old Alex would return and that would be the person who her daughter would get to know. Now there was no chance of that!
“I’m sorry that you lost your brother.”
Despite his words, Alissa could still sense his sadness.
The day of Alex’s funeral was dreary and sad. After they arrived, Alissa had tried to offer her condolences to Valerie, but Valerie had completely ignored her. She didn’t even acknowledge Alissa’s presence.
Now Alissa stood beside Valerie at Alex’s graveside. She was determined to try to remember only her good times with Alex and forget the bad. When her daughter was old enough, she wanted to tell her about the good man that Alissa believed her father used to be. Alissa suddenly became aware that Valerie was staring at her. Maybe glaring would be a better word.
“It’s your fault that my baby is dead.” Valerie’s voice was flat and her eyes were full of hatred as she spoke to Alissa.
Alissa was confused and asked her, “What are you talking about?”
“Alex wasn’t wearing his bulletproof vest when he was shot. Agents of his caliber do not make mistakes like that. He wanted to die because of you!”
Dale climbed onto the bed and pulled her into his arms. Alissa closed her eyes tightly in deep sadness, trying to hold back her tears. “If there is one thing that I know about Alex, it’s that he would not have intentionally allowed himself to be killed. Your mother is right though. He was too good of an agent to forget his vest. I don’t know what to think Dale. What hurts the most is that your mother hates me so completely!”
“My mother isn’t herself right now.” Even as he was saying the words, Dale realized that there would never again be a good relationship between Alissa and his mother. This time his mother had crossed a line and he could no longer excuse it.
Alissa began to sob. Dale didn’t know what to say to console her, and so he just held her as she cried. He hugged her to him tightly.
Before they flew home the next morning, they stopped at the hospital to see his mother. The children didn’t want to see Valerie after witnessing her attack on their mother. Dale went into her room alone. Robert was sitting with her.
The doctors had done tests and determined that his mother was not suffering from any mental defect. That meant that she had a choice in the way in which she behaved. She had chosen to act on her negative feelings for Alissa.
Dale took Valerie’s hand. “Mom, I know that you are hurting over Alex’s loss. We are too! Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, Alissa loved him and was married to him. Her relationship with him has nothing to do with my relationship with her. If I accepted it, then you should have too! Now it’s too late. I can’t allow you to keep hurting her, Mom.”
Valerie didn’t respond, but there were tears in her eyes.
“I know that Alex told you that he and Alissa were carrying on an affair for years. You know me too! You know in your heart that I would not have allowed that. There is no way that Alissa and I would be together now if that had been true. You chose to believe him because it was easier to blame Alissa rather than accept the fact that Alex had changed. I know how much you are hurting, but Alissa is pregnant and hurting too. Alex isn’t the only one who changed. So have you! You hurt your own daughter-in-law and your grandchildren. This is a difficult time for us all. So for now, Mom, we will have to keep our distance.”
Dale left the hospital room and took his family back home.
Thanks again to all of the CC creators who share their work with us. I so enjoy using it in my game and stories. Also thank you to all of the pose creators. I love finding new poses and finding different ways to use them in my story!