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The burning sensation going down her throat began to feel more therapeutic than ever right now.

 

Dean took her kids.

 

Every time the thought popped up in her mind, she’d just drink whatever was left in her glass and refill it. Her body did this on reflex at this point into the night, almost sensing that her glass was about to be empty, sending signals to her brain that it’s almost that time again.

 

Ruby and Annie had dragged her inside once the night breeze kicked in, and soon after they began to feel too chilly for the thin blankets they had brought with them. She’d told them both a “I’ll be Fine” with a mix of “Don't worry” and sent them both home. She didn’t want to worry them for whatever reason Dean had for taking her children away, leaving her to a hollow-feeling home.

 

The emptiness in her home made her feel empty on the inside and, shit, this whole thing wasn’t even her fault.

 

But, her brain didn’t register that at all.

 

She forced herself to stop drinking the bronze liquid, and slowly walked to her room. The feeling of emptiness soon gone. Now, she only felt lonely . She was too used to coming home to her four offspring that it almost felt as though she had no further purpose to move, or just do anything.

 

She picked up her phone. Not her normal phone, now gone because of those duds at the house, who decided to take not only her phone, but Annie and Ruby’s too.

 

She picked up her burner phone, and scrolled down to the name her heart would skip a beat on.

 

Rio.

 

Before she could even question why, she had already typed a text message to him.

 

I need to talk to you tomorrow

 

She wanted to see him now, to not feel so empty or lonely anymore, but her self control got to her first. Her self control knew how much she longed to see him again, but her brain refuses to acknowledge the reason why. The phone soon got a reply with the message ‘ Okay. ’ And suddenly, she couldn’t wait for morning to come.

 

He had come after all, and she scolded herself for doubting that he wouldn’t. He was leaning against the kitchen island, head against the cabinets to whatever god knows what. She was lost in his eyes, god his eyes, she was practically lost in them.

 

“What am I doin’ here, Elizabeth?” His words snapped her out of the trance she was in, it almost angered her how straightforward he was being.

 

“Not even a good morning? I’m wounded”, she says sarcastically — attempting to not sound like she was crying all night; until she fell asleep of course. She sees his jaw move out of annoyance, and says, “I don’t know.” She knew her voice probably squeaked or cracked because she notices his face go softer.

 

It’s all she says before she notices him looking around at the mess she left last night; an empty drinking glass, a half empty bottle of bourbon, and the blanket she had used to keep her warm last night was on the floor.

 

“What happened?”

 

“Long story.”

 

“Long enough that you were probably drunk texting me to come here last night? I never took you for the one to just get wasted on a weekday, sweetheart.”

 

He’s right. She never drank that much bourbon before in one night ever. She tried swallowing the emotions trying to burst from out her chest, before realizing that she was already on the verge of crying again. What the hell is wrong with her?

 

“Hey, what’s wrong?” He asks, soon walking towards her, proceeding to squeeze one of her hands. Her voice, now higher pitched, and now red nosed face, looked at him and said, “He took them.”

 

It was all she managed to say before she managed to break down and cry.

 

“Come on. Let’s sit you down.” His voice was gentle. It soothed her and for some reason made her forget about everything that had happened to her. She then realized that he was holding her hand this whole time — as she was guided to her bedroom, then soon told to sit on the bed. Tears still poured from her eyes once he finally sat next to her, still holding her hand. Or was he caressing it? She couldn’t tell and too emotional to figure it out.

 

“Who took what, Elizabeth?”

 

She slowly managed to answer him, “My husband took my kids..”

 

She continued, “ I just don’t get it. He’s never loved me when he decided to sleep with four other women. He’s never loved me when he spent all of my money and left me with three unpaid mortgages. And I know he was only thinking about himself when he lied about cancer. So why? Why take away my children if I’ve been the one keeping the house together, keeping us from going homeless and hell, starving to death?”

 

Her voice cracked and tears began to once again fall from her face, whispering, “I just don’t get it. What did I do wrong?”

 

“You did nothin’ wrong. Some people just don’t understand how good they have it until they begin to lose it.”

 

Looking up at him in tears, she continues to listen to him.

 

“That husband of yours..he’s some trip, I swear. He really doesn’t know how good he has it with you. How lucky he-” He abruptly stops, then sighs.

 

Butterflies run through them both, she can tell.

 

“Rio.. I-”

 

She felt his lips press against hers. They were kissing . The kiss was soft, comforting, and if she wasn’t going crazy, filled with love too. She melted into the kiss, taking it a step forward and giving him access to slip his tongue in. She felt warm. She felt almost whole again.

 

Stopping for air, she looks at him with question filled in her eyes. She cupped and caressed his cheek, as he put their foreheads together. She could almost practically hear him sigh contentedly, as if he’s wanted to do that for so long.

 

And god, he probably has, and she was probably too oblivious to realize it.

 

“Why did you-”

 

“Because baby, I’ve been thinkin’ of you all day, all night. I just can’t get you out of my mind. You fill my dreams like a plague, hell, I even fantasize about bein’ with you darlin’. It hurts me to see you stay with that man if he’s done nothin’ but hurt you.” His hand moves moves a lock of her hair behind her ear, as he moves his hand to cup her cheek.

 

“I love you, Elizabeth.” He manages to say. Her heart flutters listening to him. That’s right, she loved him too, but she was too focused on her ‘image’ to realize it. Too focused on how what she did would affect her kids, when what she did was for them. Too afraid to realize that the 20 years she was with her husband, was one giant sham and that she was never in love with him in the first place.

 

“I love you too, Rio.”



It was the first time she’s ever said his name to him. She liked the way it rolled on her tongue, wishing she could say it over and over again like a broken record.

 

“You’re worth much more than that idiot husband of yours, you know that?”

 

He wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her closer where their noses touched. She lifted her head and kissed him this time, wanting to melt into his arms and feel the safety that is him. He deepened the kiss, this time more roughly and hungrily, as if he was claiming her.

 

Not long after, they had stopped to look at one another.

 

“We’ll figure out a way to get them back, I promise. Together.” Interlocking her hand with his, her eyes began to get wet and glossy again. Tears fell as she rested her head on his chest. The emptiness she’s been feeling subsided after all this. She felt whole again, even if it was just for now. She cherished this moment close to her, never wishing for it to end. She knew something would ruin what she and Rio now has together, but for now, this was the reality she wanted to stay in.

 

“Yeah. We’ll get them back together.”