How could she not believe me? Why on earth would I make something like this up? I know it was him. It might be 30 years but I would never forget my brother. Paul smiled. My brother.
He walked back to the balcony and looked towards the play area.
Why did he run? Why turn up here only to leave. Or could Lucy be right. Was it someone that looked like him? Am I looking for something to fill an emptiness in my life? He looked down at his hand and turned his ring with his thumb. Something familiar to fill a void.
He walked back into the room.
And how could Lucy think this was a plan to win back Terese. He sighed. Then again, he couldn't blame her. Apart for Terese, she was the one person that knew him best. She knew how he operated. If he wanted something, then he would get it, regardless of anyone else’s wishes. But this was different. This was about their brother. Their lost brother. Paul scoffed. It did sound mad and in Lucy’s shoes he probably would've reacted the same. But he couldn't leave without knowing, and Lucy will just have to understand that. She just has too.
He turned to look out the window. The sea looked calm. All the fog that surrounded his mind, that view in front of him was the opposite, so calm and clear. I hope Terese is finding her peace out there, he thought. He sighed. How was he supposed to explain this too her? How was he supposed to tell her that he was now staying? That he was breaking his promise to her for the sake of his brother. How was he supposed to choose between the woman that he loves and his brother? How do you choose between family? He turned around, walked towards the bed and sat down. He looked down at his wedding ring. These past couple of weeks had been tough. It was all his fault, why they were in this situation. Why the woman that he loves couldn’t stand to be in the same room as him. Why she turned and walked the other way when she saw him. Everyday he saw her his heart broke a little bit more, as every passing day became a day they didn’t share together. His lies had cost him a lot in the past but none more so that this time. Right now, they should be enjoying this resort together. Walking hand in hand along the beach, sharing a suite together, watching the sunset on the balcony and staying up late talking about everything and nothing. This weekend could’ve been perfect, but just like everything good in his life he had to test it, push it to the point that broke it. He sighed. He missed a lot about Terese, but this past week he’d lost something important, her eyes. She had beautiful eyes, full of love and understanding. Her eyes made him feel safe, made him feel like they were the only two people in the room. When she looked at him, he knew he was home.
He raised his hands and ran them down his face. He promised he was going to leave after the presentation. He promised to give her the space she wanted. She was so happy this afternoon. Although it hurt the way she spoke to him, it was nice to see a tiny glimpse of happiness within her. The confidence in her as she headed to the beach was something he hadn’t seen in a while. And now, once again he was going to break her heart. Break another promise. All he wanted to do was make sure she was ok. That she was looking after herself, putting herself first. If that meant he couldn’t see her for a few days then it was a sacrifice he was willing to make. He sighed. But the circumstance had taken a turn. His love and respect for Terese would never change but she had to understand how much this meant to him. She knew the story, knew of his regret. If there was a chance he could make things, right then surely, she’d be happy for him. Happy to allow him this chance.
He stood on his feet and walked towards the table. He lifted the pamphlet off the table and smiled.
The presentation was just like the old days. They were a team, always had been. Right now, it felt impossible, but they will get back there again, he just had to be patient. With Terese, the long game was worth it. Always.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door. He placed the pamphlet down and walked towards the door. He opened the door and there stood Lucy.
‘So, have you changed your mind about this wild goose chance?’ Lucy asked as she walked in
‘Why can’t you just support me on this?’
‘Fine. But don’t expect Terese to. You staying will only make things worse. I trust you know that?
Paul nodded. But looking back at the past few weeks, everything he’d lost, could things get any worse?
Terese walked along the beach. Relaxed and feeling, for the first time in weeks, peace. She stopped and looked out to sea. There was calm and quiet here, something she desperately needed. She placed her bag down in the sand, placed her hat on top and sat down next to it. She sat there watching, just watching the world go by. She smiled, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Finally, it was just her and she couldn't be happier.
As she opened her eyes and her smile disappeared. She shouldn't be this happy though, should she? She was drinking again, fighting with her husband. Her feelings should be anything but happy. The situation she found herself in had been draining her for weeks. The constant fighting. Not with Paul, but with herself. Having to fight the urge to forgive him. Having to put up a wall every time he asked her a question or came near her. Fight to hide any feelings in case she gave him the wrong impression or an indication that his actions didn't matter. Even if he apologised would it make a difference now? She loved him, she was missing him but her anger and disappointment were taking over her heart. Terese sighed. There was one thing she missed more than anything this past few weeks though and those were his eyes. Paul had wonderful eyes. While everyone else saw a cold stare, she saw warmth and calm. When she looked at him she felt safe. That feeling like they were the only two people there and that nothing else mattered. When she looked at him she was home. His eyes were her weakness and for her sake as well as his this was one sacrifice she had to make.
She looked across the beach. This could've been their weekend. Together. But his lies had led them to where they were now. He knew what he was doing and he should’ve understood the consequences. He always gets caught out. She always found out about anything he was hiding so why did he think he could get away with it this time. She sighed. And there she goes again. Getting herself worked up. She had this gorgeous beach in front of her and a resort that was just waiting for her to take every advantage of. But relaxing only seemed to send her mind back to the one place she didn't want it to go, back to Paul.
She got up on her feet, grabbed her bag and started walking.
At least she had Lucy on her side. The one person that knew Paul's ways like she did. The one person he'd listen to. She smiled. It was always nice witnessing them reuniting. The happiness that surrounds him whenever Lucy is around is sweet. She is the boss of him, no question, but the relationship they have is stronger than anyone’s. But Lucy understands what she needs and thankfully agreed that he should leave after the presentation. Terese reached into her bag and pulled out her phone. She looked at the time. He should be gone by now, on his way back home. She smiled. Now she could relax, now he was finally out of reach.
She turned her phone towards the sea. Took a picture and smiled. She scrolled through her contacts, choose Susan and pressed send. Her phone pinged and she opened the message. 'Looks lovely' Susan answered. In reply, Terese simply wrote 'It's Paradise'