Disclaimer: Nothing is mine except for the plot.
"NO!" Chris screamed as Kim's body goes limp. Ellen just clutched Tam; unsure whether it was to protect the little, fragile boy from seeing his mother's limp body, or to protect herself from the heartbreak from realising that Chris has never stopped loving Kim.
The engineer rushed to Chris' side, wanting to check on Kim, but Chris roared, "STAY AWAY FROM HER!"
"But sir! We should check if she's still breathing! There may be a slim chance of her to be saved!"
That statement gave him a little glimmer of hope and he rushed to see if she's still breathing. "She is! It's very weak but she is still alive!", Chris gathered Kim's body and shouted, "We must take her to the hospital now! John!" He motioned for his friend to get the car and rushed out, as if he even forgot about the rest that are there.
Three months had passed. Three long, turbulent months. Miraculously, Kim came back to life and survived her gunshot incident. Chris insisted on taking both Kim and Tam back home the moment Kim is healthy enough to travel to America.
*3 Weeks after the Incident*
Chris glanced at Kim and turned to Ellen, "After what just happened, Ellen… please. I cannot leave her here. I can't even forgive myself for what happened. If this happens again, I don't know how I can go on living, having her death in my conscience."
"So we shall take them with us," Ellen said reluctantly, surprising Chris, "Even right now I can't stop blaming myself on this."
"Thank you. Thank you, Ellen," Chris hugged Ellen tightly, but before she can hug him back, he let go and went to Tam.
Squatting down to his level, Chris looked at Tam in his eyes, and spoke softly, "Tam, should we ask mẹ (mother in Vietnamese) to come with us to America? Get her to be all better there?"
The little boy's eyes glimmered with happiness and Tam hugged his father. Chris hugged his son fiercely and relished in the fact that he has a son, for the first time since he found out about Tam.
Watching these all unfolded before her eyes, Ellen tried her best to ignore her heart breaking even more, wondering whether Chris' happiness is not with her after all. Shaking her head, she walked away from the scene.
It has now been two months since Tam and Kim arrived in America. As Tam is still very young, he remained happy, though preferring to be with his mother most of the time. Kim herself remained very happy in front of Tam to put him at ease, though in reality she shut herself most of the time. Ellen and her has, somehow, silently reached an understanding between them. Though they barely talked to each other, in the rare occasion that they do, they are very polite to one another and both ignored the fact that they are both in love with Chris. Oh, there are always those moments when her heart beats faster when she saw him. How her heart ache to be held by him again. But she has to accept that he is now married to another.
Chris himself struggles with his feelings; he now realises that he has always loved Kim. Holding her while her body went limp was his biggest nightmare. He still finds himself waking up some nights from that nightmare. On the other hand, he felt guilty towards Ellen too. But he cannot turn back to the man that Ellen fell in love with. However, he also cannot ignore those fleeting moments that happened when he sees Kim, or when their eyes accidentally meet. How much his heart bursts from looking at Kim, and how it hurts from not being able to hold her like he did before.
Though everything seemed at peace, Ellen deep down recognises that Chris and Kim still love each other deeply. More often than not, she can see Chris' longing glance at Kim when he thought no one is looking, and vice versa. Even her relationship with Chris is not the same anymore. It is as if the Chris she knew is gone, and the man he was before he met her has come back. He is more lively, and he seems… happier, even, when he's with Tam.
Chris did not realise that in his dreams, he still screams Kim's name, just like before when he did not know whether she survived. With each passing night, Ellen felt more and more that she is holding his happiness back. No, she's holding everyone's happiness back. The longer she stays, the more painful it is for her to face the fact that he doesn't love her anymore.
"Tam, shall we go and have a picnic at our backyard?"
Tam nodded and looked at both of his parents, as if asking them to come too.
Chris smiled and took his hand, "Let's go, little man."
With that, Tam looked again and asked his mom, "Mẹ, come!"
Kim gave a small smile and shook her head, "No Tam, go and have fun with Aunt Ellen and your father."
Ellen, recognising that Kim is respecting her feelings, took her hand and asked her gently, "Let's go, it will be good for you to have some fresh air and enjoy some sun."
Kim, too surprised to say anything, smiled at Ellen and followed her out. Chris gave Ellen a small thankful smile.
While Chris and Tam are playing catch, Ellen and Kim busied themselves by setting up their picnic mat and getting the food from the kitchen to the backyard.
"Goodness me, I forgot to bring some cups here. Let me just go and get them," Ellen said while getting up.
"No, let me do it," Kim said, "Just tell me where they are."
"No it's ok, I'll just be a minute-"
"I insist. This way you can finish setting up here," Kim gestured to the picnic mat.
"Alright, thank you. It's in the cupboard next to the sink, you should be able to find them easily. Thanks Kim."
Kim nodded and head back to the house.
Grabbing the four cups out, Kim turned around and bumped into Chris who is at the door. Chris caught her.
"Oh my, sorry-"
"Sorry, I did not see you."
The two mumbled their apology and stared at each other. Somehow, the two leaned closely to each other. Chris unconsciously came closer to close the gap but Kim turned her face away, "No. You're married."
Chris rested his forehead to her shoulder and sighed, not knowing what to say, but he hugged her even harder, unable to restrain his feelings for her anymore, "I'm sorry, I should have looked for you harder."
"You looked for me?" Kim asked tearfully.
"I did. I tried my hardest Kim, please believe me, but- when news come that you might not have survived, I just- I stopped functioning. I shouldn't have been so foolish to quickly believe it, but.." Chris couldn't even continue, silent tears flowing down his face.
"Maybe we are not fated to be together. Chris, just let me go back to Bangkok… No, please, hear me out.." Kim begged, holding his face in both of her hands, "You have Ellen now, and one day, you two will have your own family. And Tam…" Kim choked and continued, "If I leave now, he can eventually forget me still."
"No. I can't lose you again!"
"Please, Chris! I promise, I'll even make a vow before God, that I will not try to take my own life again!"
"No! I'm not going to let you go again!"
"Can't you see that I'm holding you back? We may all look fine, but this is not, not… living! Please, Chris-"
"That's right, Kim, this is not living," Ellen's voice startled the two.
She calmly walked to the two of them, "and this is why I think I should be the one leaving."
Kim took her hand and said, "No, Ellen, I-"
Ellen shook her head and hold Kim's hand in both her hands, "Kim, I see how you two look at each other. He loved you before, he loves you now, he might even loved you when he was with me, and I can definitely see that…" Ellen turned her gaze to Chris, his face unreadable, "He will always love you, no matter whether you are living or dead. So please, Kim.." turning her eyes back to Kim, "Don't go. I should have done this sooner, but now is a good time as any. You belong with him. This is your family. As much as it would have hurt me before, I've accepted this and I want to move on. Will you let me do that?"
Kim couldn't stop crying and buried her face in her hands.
Ellen then turned to Chris, "I was planning to talk to you tonight about this, but… Chris, you are a good man, and I should let you be happy. From that moment when you hold her limp body tightly, no… even when you'd scream her name out in your nightmares, even now, and seeing how you two looked at each other… I already knew that my place is not with you. Would you set me free? And will you be happy with Kim and Tam?"
Chris hugged Ellen, "Ellen… thank you."
Ellen hugged both Chris and Kim, "Be happy. God knows how much you are owed of happiness."
And with that, Chris and Ellen finalised their divorce, with Ellen moving back to her hometown, released from her burden and feeling happier for them… and for herself.
Chris and Kim married in a small ceremony. Seeking to protect his family, Chris moved them to another city. And while the pair had to make their sacrifices, they wouldn't trade their life with anything in the world, as their lives are now brimming with laughter, joy, and happiness.
Some nights, when the two are just enjoying the presence of the other, Chris would hold Kim in his arms, and she would ask him, "How in the light of one night did we come so far?"