I was gonna hang on a bit longer
Try to get as much as I could out of Chapter Twenty-Three
But I really don't like that chapter as much as I like this one
So it's ending now
And maybe there'll be a sequel
And maybe there won't be
Don't get too excited if I put another chapter on the end of this
It will just be thank-yous and general chat
Not vital reading
Oh yeah and any questions will be answered then
If you have any
But I doubt that
Wow - I just don't shut up, do I?
So thanks to the following:
starbright, striker20, CC , britgirl2003, gotluka'scookies, Carby-Always, Sampa-girl, maura, Angel Dust, Shadow Spade and hyperpiper91
Thanks, as always, thanks
And also, for the last time (?) –
Enjoy! Love LJ xXx
Beyond All Of Everything. Chapter Twenty-Four. Look At You Now
o SUMMARY OF CHAPTER 23: Everything is pretty much over – Carter and Abby sleep together.
"I won't hurt you," he whispers into her ear. He runs a hand through her hair, down her back and promises again: "I won't hurt you, Abby."
- o -
TWO YEARS LATER
"Would she like this one?" Eric nudges Carter and points into another display case at the jeweller's. Carter squints at it through the glass and shrugs.
"No, y'know I think the one before was nicer," he says, shaking his head. "And Abby said she'd like that one anyway."
"Okay," Eric nods. "Okay…" Carter glances at him.
Eric rubs his forehead with the palm of his hand and sighs.
"I just keep thinking that if she says 'no' I'm going to kill myself or something," he grins uncertainly.
"She won't," Carter lays a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "She won't turn you down; how could she take away my opportunity to tease her for being Mrs Susan Wyczenski?"
"I really hope she doesn't," Eric replies, grimacing at his own surname. "So I'll get this one, right?" He points at one of many diamond encrusted rings of various designs.
"Yeah, yeah go for it," Carter looks again at his watch. "But hurry up, cos I've really got to go."
Richard Lockhart got just eight months in prison. Abby's divorce was cleared within the first three months since there was nothing she really wanted but her son – she barely had to see him.
After the eight months were up, however, he went out looking for her and for Ollie. Everywhere Abby went she was convinced she saw him: in every stranger's face, every shop and on every corner. She lost her appetite and couldn't sleep at night; pale and wracked with anxiety, she stayed up instead, watching over Ollie as he slept. It was true, he was looking for her and knowing this did not make life any easier for her.
However, after Abby had suffered many days without eating and several sleepless nights, word got around that, in actual fact, her ex-husband had moved out of Chicago for good. This, unlike so many rumours that float around in everyday life, was actually true.
John Carter watched with increasing relief as Abby began a quiet recovery that went unnoticed by most. It was only little things that he picked up on, things that eased the aching worry he always carried – it had grown heavier as he helplessly witnessed her paranoia-induced insomnia and rapid weight loss. But now things were looking up. He loved the way that she didn't jump at the slightest noise anymore; how her head didn't jerk up in a suspicious terror everytime somebody entered the room; how she didn't unconsciously flinch whenever somebody raised their arm in the air. Carter saw it all and slowly, steadily, old wounds healed over, aided by news of Richard's migration.
The truth is, Richard Lockhart found that, once out of prison, he could not go anywhere in Chicago without being attacked by random members of the general public, even those he had never seen before in his life. He gave up his futile search for a pointless revenge and was forced to move, not only out of Chicago, but out of Illinois altogether. The last anybody heard about him, he was living in a quiet town, for some reason, in South Dakota.
Now he sits on a bed whose springs creak in the most cliché way possibly – the sound to suit a lonely man. It got out of hand, his life, his everything. He had been angry, he had been tired, he had been drunk. Excuses were worth nothing. There was nobody to listen to them, anyway. It was a vicious circle. He had liked the power, when you get right down to the sick and rotten core of things, he had loved the power as he stood above her cowering figure in the semi-dark and decided whether he would leave her alone or keep going. Hands rub his older face; hands that are still peppered with various scars from – well – from when he beat his wife.
For God's sakes – he has a son. It was almost unreal. He had not been a bad person, not before, however he certainly was now. Everybody has a balance of good and bad in them, it's just how it is. Everyone is capable of doing things so hideously dark and twisted; we just tend to keep our balances in check, that's all. It got out of hand. It became easier to keep on, even when turning back was the better thing to do.
He is alone now with nothing left except fading memories. But even with that, for the life of him, he can't remember the last time he slept with someone whose bruised body didn't convulse with violent sobs. It does not matter. He is alone now.
The thing with Richard Lockhart is that, apparently, though he could happily abuse his wife for six dark years, he just could not take the constant violence from these people.
A few really stuck in his mind: one particularly furious lady who battered him with her own crutch, a woman who attacked him several times over whilst yelling Chinese profanities at him and some dark-haired foreign guy of a daunting height who really knew how to throw a punch.
It turned out that Abby had more friends than she thought.
Dr. John Carter is running as fast as he can. Stupid indecisive Eric, he thinks as he sprints across a gridlocked street and through the black wire gate of the ball park. He takes off his jacket in the June heat and scans the stands; one hand shielding his eyes from the afternoon sun and the other trailing the jacket across the dusty floor. The City of Chicago's Junior Baseball team have just finished their match and Carter is kicking himself for missing it. Still, he spots his favourite face in a crowd of people and politely pushes his way through.
"I hope you have a good excuse," she chides him with a grin.
"Yeah," Carter replies. "Stupid Eric couldn't pick a ring for Susan." She laughs a laugh that holds a newfound carefree quality.
"Oh well, it's sweet that they're going to get married," she comments.
"He's convinced she's going to say no, though," he answers as Ollie rushes up to greet them both. He's just had his eighth birthday which only just made him old enough to join the team.
"Hey, how was the game?" Carter kneels down to greet the little boy who removes his helmet to beam at him.
"We won and I hit a home run!" he delightedly chatters, eyes widened with the disbelief of his own success.
"Oh wow, I can't believe I missed it!" Carter enthuses. "Well I'll make it up to you, let's all go out to dinner- anywhere you want."
"Cool!" Ollie squeaks and takes Carter's hand. He holds his baseball helmet up to his mother. "Can you carry this for me?"
"John, will you get that? I kinda got my hands full here," she says as she cradles a brand-new, one-month old baby girl, Karrie, who giggles as Carter greets her with a kiss.
Carter takes the helmet off Ollie and hoists the boy up onto his shoulders.
"So where do you want to go, little guy?" he asks as he slips his arm around Abby's waist and they all walk out together. As Ollie decides, Carter looks down into Ollie's helmet and he can't help but smile slightly at the bold, black-marker letters that have been carefully written on the inside in a vain attempt to stop the eight-year old from losing it.
It now proudly states that it is the property of Oliver Elliot Carter.
- o -