Category: FF; K/T
Summary: Suppose for a second that Alex never died. And then think. lol
Rating: R; for language
**This fic won a Roswell Sky Award! Click here to see it.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.
Yes, she was quite certain of that.
There was a time, some fifteen years ago, that she believed in destiny. When she imagined her future, she dreamed of bright stars, castles, royalty, and a dark-haired man.
She sighed and let out a sarcastic laugh as she picked up the dirty socks that he never could figure out how to get into the hamper. "Some queen I am."
She picked up the laundry basket and carried it down the stairs, nearly tripping over her son's toy truck. A loud "fuck" resonated throughout the house and she clapped one hand over her mouth hoping she hadn't woken up the sleeping infant above.
She waited a moment and then bent her knees to reach the guilty object. The stance was rather precarious and quite ridiculous but her back was killing her so much that her feet didn't protest.
She managed to stand back up and after walking down the stairs threw the truck into a bin in the living room. "Living room, ha!" she said to herself. More like clutter room. She hadn't meant it to be such a mess, but it was anyway. It was easier to let Brenden treat the living room as his playroom and clutter heap than it was to carry his toys up and down the stairs everyday picking up after him. "And I go up those fucking stairs at least fifty times a day."
When had the word "fuck" become correlated with those stairs?
She kicked the door open to the garage because the handle was broken. Her husband had been promising to fix it for weeks, but she knew if she wanted it fixed, she was going to have to do it herself. She threw the load into the washing machine along with some soap. She pressed the button, waited a moment, and kicked the "fucking machine" before it sputtered to a start. Apparently "fuck" was correlated with the washing machine too.
"Note to self: call the washing repair man." She knew it was going to blow one of these days and she knew her husband was just as good at fixing washing machines as he was with door handles.
She walked up the "fucking stairs" again to get the vacuum cleaner before realizing it was downstairs and making the trek again. By the time she finished vacuuming the upstairs and cursing everytime she bent over to plug the machine in, she had forgotten all about her note-to-self. Just like every other time, she wouldn't remember it until the next laundry day.
She fed Cindy, paid the bills, and talked to her friend on the phone who she really didn't want to talk to, but had to so that she wouldn't have to spend an extra hour explaining to her friend why she really couldn't talk to her because she was busy, had a life, and needed to go up the "fucking stairs" two more times to complete her usual round of thirty before lunch.
Lunch. "Darn." Note the direct correlation between language and infant's proximity. She had forgotten about it and it was too late now because Brenden had to be picked up from pre-school and she wasn't about to be late picking him up because while she would only end up with an empty stomach if she went to pick him up, she would get charged an hour of unnecessary day care services (even if she was only eight minutes late-she learned that the hard way when the bill showed up two weeks later) if she stopped to eat. And her husband was already mad at her for last month's shopping spree.
At a stop light she glanced in the rear view mirror to check on Cindy who was gurgling happily in her floral print baby seat. "Ugliest thing I've ever seen," she had told her husband when he had given it to her.
She looked to her left and with envy saw a girl driving a sports car. Why the hell did she need a mini-van? They only had two kids. "For now," her husband had said. "Forever," she had gritted through her teeth after twenty-five hours of labor and "over my dead body" after pulling consecutive all-nighters while her husband slept in bed.
The girl in the car gave her a strange look and she realized she had probably forgotten to brush her hair again. The girl sped off and a quick flick of the wrist soon ammended any damages.
She unbuckled Cindy, went into the building, picked up Brenden, buckled Cindy up, buckled Brenden up after arguing with him for fifteen minutes, and was in a pretty foul mood by the time she got home.
Writing it off as a hunger thing, she made herself a sandwich. After putting Cindy to bed, making Brenden a snack, and spending another fifteen minutes tracking down the video he just had to watch.
She realized to her dismay after she opened the refridgerator that she didn't have any onions for dinner. She ran next door to borrow some, all the while thinking that her children were going to get into some household accident and hurt themselves while it took Mrs. Jenkins thirty seconds to find the stupid vegetables. Brenden was still watching the video and Cindy was still asleep when she returned.
Maria came over half an hour later because she had some major crisis. She was half glad for the extra hands. Maria babbled on about something and held Cindy while she nodded in agreement and prepared dinner.
Hours later when Maria was gone, the toilets were cleaned, and dinner was burned, she phoned for pizza. Naturally, she was paying the guy when her husband got home. He gave her a look and she rolled her eyes. He and Brenden chatted about their day while Cindy threw a temper tantrum. String beans, apparently, weren't her favorite anymore.
He threw out the trash while she did the dishes and she knew he was cringing at the two other pizza boxes already sitting in the trash can. Like it was her fault she was too distracted to cook anymore. It wasn't like she was seventeen and had all the time in the world.
At eight o'clock the kids were in bed and he was watching 'Sports Center' while she tried to read the book she had bought two months ago. It wasn't working-the book was boring and she knew it would put her to sleep any second if she didn't put it down. So she did and turned to her husband to lean against his chest like she had done thousands of times before, but he chose at that very moment to stand up and take a shower (most likely because 'Sports Center' was over) so she ended up curling up with his pillow instead.
"Hello pillow. Hello Tess," she said to herself before sighing and rolling back over to her side and standing up. She checked on Cindy once more and then the monitor for good measure before finally getting under the covers and changing the channel. But nothing caught her attention so she ended up settling with ESPN; its sounds comforting her and reminding her of life with Sheriff Valenti and-
Her husband emerged from the bathroom, hair slicked back and a towel clad around his hips. She smiled, admiring the way he moved. Okay, so maybe she wasn't just watching the way he walked. She smiled again, only to herself, glad in a way that hadn't changed in fifteen years-that he wasn't a habit, wasn't a routine-that she was still attracted to him.
He slid into bed and picked up the remote, flipping channels until he ended up on some sitcom she couldn't remember the name to. She leaned over and he pulled her close, laughing. The last thing she remembered before falling asleep was him stroking her hair.
She rolled over to look at the clock, which flashed three a.m. at her, mocking her. She groaned when she heard Cindy's crying again, throwing back the sheets on her side of the bed to get up. Unexpectedly she felt his hand on her back, gently pushing her back down.
She smiled at the words and listened to him pad down the hall. She heard him pick her up and begin singing some stupid song his dad had written. She smiled again and sighed, remembering why she put up with all this shit, all his shit, and why she loved him. Why she didn't regret for one minute marrying Kyle Valenti. Why she was proud to be Mrs. Kyle Valenti.
Missing fucking tiara and all.