Sometimes writers write the hell out of a story at the beginning and have a clear idea about where to go and then lose the way. I am one of those writers. When I started this story, I wrote the hell out of it. And then I lost it and started not having any idea about how to get it back to the strong beginning. I don't know if this is going to cut it. What I do know is that the beginning deserves an ending and it is more than time to finish this tale. I'm sorry for taking so long. I'm sorry that this isn't what it should be. I thank you all for reading and sticking with it. And a special thanks to the characters of Sean and Emma, who inspired this story. You guys are still a couple in my world.
"Why are you up so late?"
Emma looked up from her phone to see her father back lit in the doorway of his bedroom.
"I just got back," she replied.
"Don't you have a curfew with your mother?" Shane questioned, stepping over the dog that was blocking the hallway.
"I'm not at Mom's house," Emma reminded him, "and I waited for you but you never came home."
"I know, I'm sorry, I had to work late."
"You always did," Emma said with clenched teeth. "I don't know why I even came here. You never made time for me anyway."
Shane opened his mouth to make an excuse but none came out. Emma was right; he never had made time for his only child. "I know, you're right."
"I just never understood why work was more important than me and mom." Emma sat down. She was a little drunk and it was making her way more verbal than usual.
"Work has always been something I can control, something I'm good at and that I can do well. I look at a computer and I know how to fix it."
"But you could never fix me."
"What? No! That's not what I said!" Shane protested loudly.
"You didn't have to. I got it, I've always gotten it. I'm your broken child, the one you couldn't fix, so you've avoided as much as possible," Emma sobbed out the last words. It hurt to feel like less.
"You're not the broken one!" Shane took a deep breath to control the tears that threatened. He'd never wanted his child to feel that way. "You have a genetic disease, a disease that's passed down through the parents. No one ever told you that I'm the carrier of that disease. It's my fault that you have hearing problems. I'm the broken one, not you."
"Then why have you always been so distant?" Emma was freely crying right now. There was a certain relief in knowing the truth but there was anger that it had been kept from her.
"You were so perfect when you were born. I never wanted anything to harm you. And then as you got older and your hearing problems manifested, I knew it was my fault. You were perfect and I ruined that for you because of some crappy genetics. I had a hard time living with myself. I felt that I wasn't worthy of being your parent."
"And in the process you made me feel that I wasn't worthy of being your child, that I wasn't worthy of having friends, or a boyfriend, or living a normal life because of my hearing problem. I just broke up with a guy in Toronto because I wasn't sure if he liked me for me or if I was just his charity case. Had you ever given me one shred of evidence that I was okay despite my disability, things would have been different! I would have been different!"
"There's no manual on how to raise a child, Emma. I thought I was doing right by you."
Emma laughed. "Go to any public library and ask if there are manuals on how to raise children and they could lead you to shelves full. You didn't want to be father, to a perfect child or to a child like me. It was never about your genetics. You were weak, you are weak."
"That's enough," Shane said sharply. "We're done with this conversation."
"Walk away; it's what you're good at."
"I don't owe you anything."
"I know you don't. I thought I came here for the truth, but I knew the truth all along. It stared me in my face my entire life and I didn't see it. Hmm, maybe I need to get my eyes checked, "Emma said with a giggle. She was relieved. Things had become much clearer for her and now she was ready to move on with her life.
"Go to bed," Shane told her.
"I don't have a bed; you made sure I wouldn't have a place of my own here. Don't worry, I'm leaving soon anyway."
"You don't have to."
"I'm not staying here anymore. You never wanted a kid. That had nothing to do with me or my hearing problem or anything else. I wasted so much time thinking there was something wrong with me but I'm done with it. You're the one with the problem and you're going to have to deal with it." Emma quickly gathered her things and walked out the door. She was going back to Toronto. She was going back home.
Emma found Sean under his mother's car. Jay was also there, impatiently waiting for Sean to finish whatever he was doing.
"I told you to change the oil this morning," Jay said.
"I was too hung-over," Sean replied from under the car, "and that was your fault. I still feel a little sick."
Jay spotted Emma coming towards them. "Well, I think that there's something here that might make you feel better."
Jay gave Emma a wink before heading into the house. He knew the second he'd picked up Sean's phone last night his chances with Emma were over. Sean loved her and he wasn't going to be the guy to mess with that.
"What are you talking about? Jay? Jay!" Sean slid out from under the car, alarmed when Jay didn't answer. "Emma?" Sean took in the tall blond. She was beautiful as always but there was something different about her. There wasn't any fear in her eyes. For the first time since he'd met her, Emma wasn't guarded.
"Hi. I didn't think you'd be back so soon." He stood by the car. He was sure if etiquette demanded space or a hug. He erred on the side of caution and kept his distance until he knew what Emma came to say.
"I finished things in Vancouver."
"And they went well." It wasn't a question. He knew that Emma was okay.
"Yeah, I missed you."
"I have the memory of the phone call to prove it."
"About the phone call…"
"I meant what I said. I do love you and I understand if you don't love me back or if you never want to see me again. I want to have a future with you and I need you to know that."
"I love you, too." Emma took a step closer to Sean. She needed to be close to him right now. "I didn't know a lot of things before I went to Vancouver. I still don't know a lot of things. But I do know that I'm fine the way I am. And I know that I love you. I figure the rest will work itself out."
Sean smiled. Emma loved him. He grabbed her and kissed her. They barely heard Jay when he barked a hasty goodbye and then zoomed off in his car. They didn't hear anything until several minutes later when Sean's mother came out and politely reminded them that everyone on the street could see them and that there were better places for that behavior. Emma blushed and hid her face in Sean's neck but he just grinned at his mom. There was nothing wrong with being happy.
"So you're back for good?" Manny asked for the third time since they'd all met up at The Dot.
"Yeah, well at least until I go off to college." Emma glanced at the slight frown on Sean's face. "But that's a bridge that we'll cross later. Right now I'm just really happy to be here with all of you."
"We could still use you on the Spirit Squad," Paige said. "I mean, if Darcy can do it then you can too."
"Spin still back with her?" Jay asked. "You know, I'm single."
"Whatever, I've got to go home. I'm behind in English and my parents will throw a fit if I'm not home early." Paige gave Jay a look and then left with a swish of hair.
Jay stood up quickly. "And I'm going to go see if she needs some help," he said, following Paige out the door.
"How long have those two been…?" Emma was at a loss for words. What was that?
"Those two have been circling each other for months, "Manny informed them. "They were both just too stubborn to realize it."
"I'm just going to be honest and say that Sean and I are going out to his house to make out before his parents get back. We'll see you in school." Sean and Emma left hand in hand.
Manny stared longingly and then got out her phone and message Craig. They weren't in love like Sean and Emma, but sometimes being in lust was enough.
"You look so happy, Em," Sean remarked as he slid the shirt over his head. His parents would be home soon and he didn't think they'd be happy to find him and Emma on the couch half-dressed.
"I am. It took me so long to just figure everything out. Now that I have, I just feel like a new person. Well, that and what we just did on the couch."
"That was fun," Sean agreed.
"I'm okay Sean. I'm finally okay."
"You're more than okay," he said, pulling her into his arms, "you're perfect just the way you are."
So that's the ending. It ended up being a lot different than I thought. Shane was going to end up being a good father who just made some mistakes. But then I felt that Emma needed to find her own strength away from her father's affirmation. And she did. I'm relieved that I could finally give you all an ending to this story. I hope you enjoyed it.