YES, surprise! I do actually have an outtake for you this week, haha. I know, you’ve been so patiently waiting for me to get back to doing these and I am working on that. Part of it also is just me wanting to write these sorts of things when so much of my creative energy is currently going into my work in progress releases. They take two different headspaces and lately it’s been harder for me to shut one off and turn the other one on.
If that makes sense.
BUT ANYWAY. Yes, we do have an outtake this week. I am not promising outtakes every Friday (and this week you’re getting an outtake on Thursday because tomorrow is a special day for Pretty
Lies) but I’m not saying that won’t happen sometimes, too. It’s just when I am in that sort of mood and I was. So here we are with Never Ends.
I have been waiting to write this for a while. Enjoy, loves.
A Cecelia & Antony Outtake
Cecelia lifted her head a bit at the sound of footsteps echoing from … somewhere. That was one of the only problems with having a home as large as their mansion. No matter how much stuff she used to fill the nooks, crannies, corners and walls, well, any noise still echoed. It sometimes made it hard to distinguish how close someone was to any one spot or where they were coming from.
And then again …
Cecelia knew her home.
That’s why when the footsteps came a little closer and began to thud a bit more with each one, the noise getting progressively higher and higher, she knew. It was Antony taking the staircase that led to their floor and master bedroom.
This wouldn’t be the first night she waited up far beyond a decent hour for her husband to return home from … work. Over the years, it had become slighter harder for her to call the mafia work, as though it was just another nine-to-five like everyone else’s. Because it wasn’t and she was unwilling to pretend like it, either.
They couldn’t play make-believe.
Nobody won in the mafia’s games.
At the edge of the bed she shared with her husband, Cecelia sat while tapping an envelope against the palm of her hand. Inside the envelope, waited a letter that she had already read, but that Antony didn’t yet know about. She had a feeling she knew what his response would be, and how he would deal with it because he always did.
Whenever their boys had issues—problems with school, people, or even the law … Antony dealt with it. When they were younger, it was always Cecelia handling out lessons to their boys whenever they stepped out of line.
Time in a chair. Extra chores. A hand-written letter to apologize for one thing or another. A hug and a handshake when things had gotten a bit too rough. She was the type of mother who parented with a tone and an expectation.
Her kids tended to get in line.
But then the boys got older. They
started following their father around more and more; or other men that stuck
close to Antony. Accordingly, their actions and behaviors started to mirror
their father’s and he stepped in where Cecelia could no longer manage with
three teenage boys who only wanted to walk the same path as their dad.
She decided a long time ago …
She loved her boys—they could be
whatever they wanted to be and she would support them, no matter what. It was
one thing her sons would never have to worry about.
“You’re still up?” Antony’s cheery
tone dipped a bit at the end, making Cecelia glance toward the bedroom doorway
where he stood. His gaze was locked on the envelope in her hand. “What’s that?”
“The boys’ Headmaster sent Dante—and
Lucian but they saved an envelope and paper by just combining it into one—home
with a disciplinary mark on his record, a one-week suspension that will end
when we go in for a conference, and a letter explaining why. Of course.”
Antony cleared his throat, the grunt
as dismissive as his expression when he headed further into the bedroom. Yeah, see she hadn’t expected him to be very
concerned. The boys were smart; their grades were great, at least two of out of
the three were considering college—Gio was still too young to care—and for the
most part, they toed the line in their private school.
It wasn’t often they stepped over
“Well, what’d they do?” Antony asked
before disappearing into the connected walk-in closet.
Cecelia sighed. “Running some scheme
… banned items or some … listen, it’s all in the letter if you want to read it.”
Maybe it was the distance in her
tone that caught Antony’s attention, but his figure quickly darkened the
doorway between the bedroom and closet. She glanced over her shoulder at him
but just as fast, put her attention back on the envelope in her hand.
“What’s wrong, Tesoro?”
“Nothing. You know how I am—I get
stuck in my head sometimes over silly things when they shouldn’t matter to me
“Since when do your boys not matter?”
“Not like that,
Antony. I meant …” Frustration washed through Cecelia, but like she had always
been taught to do by the women who came before her, she tampered it down.
Antony never demanded or expected her to, of course, but she didn’t like to be
irrational or angry. Her husband heard and understood a great deal more from
her when she wasn’t. “They’re fourteen and fifteen and already running a scheme at school. How quickly is it going to
jump from this to something else?”
Antony made another one of those
dark noises. “Well …”
Cecelia rolled her eyes, refusing to
face him. “See, silly.”
“Not silly. And quickly … if they’re
good at what they do, it happens rather quickly.”
She always appreciated that her
husband offered her blunt honesty with nothing held back. Even if the weight of
the truth took away her breath from the force of it slamming into her heart.
Cecelia didn’t bother to turn at the
soft approach of her husband’s footsteps. She felt his presence the moment he
was at her side, though. Leaning over her back, he pressed a soft, warm kiss to
the curve of her shoulder before plucking the envelope from her hand.
“And I will take care of this,” he
added. “Don’t even give it another thought.”
She did peer up at him then, forever
willing to drown in a happily ever after of their own making with him. Until
the end. “It doesn’t bother you a bit, does it? That they’ll be just like you.”
“I spoke my oath—I promised
everything for it. Even them.”
Cecelia blinked at that. “And then
they’ll do the same thing … make the same promise.”
“Because this never ends, does it?
This life of ours, there’s no way out.”
Antony smirked a bit, and despite
the weight in her heart, she couldn’t help but smile back at how content and pleased he seemed when he
replied, “But it’s a wonderful life, Cecelia.”