Looking for a Happy Ending Part Nine

August 2027

Rose Green is 37; Cory Green is 50; Melissa is 17; Corinne is 10; Noah is 7; Emily is 1
Georgia Newson is 16

Melissa reached under her bed and checked the bag she'd packed a few days before.

It was still there. Good. She was afraid that Rose might find it somehow, but she couldn't think of anywhere better to put it. She didn't need it yet, but you never know...

It had been two weeks since Cory left and, as far as she knew, he hadn't even called. All Rose would say was that he was staying at her father's place. She denied any problems between them, but even Noah and Corrine weren't fooled. They'd heard the arguments. They knew what it meant.

If only Melissa knew what it meant for her. Cory was her father, legally at least, and he had custody of her, but that was when he was living with his wife and his other kids. She supposed he could take her with him, but would he want to? Could she stay with Rose like his other kids? Would Rose even want her? Even if she did, would the social worker let her?

She was clear on one thing. She wasn't going to live with her real father. And she sure as hell wasn't going back to live with her mother, no matter who said that it was ok now that Joshua wasn't there.

She was three months short of 18, but even three months would be too much.

The bag was ready. She hated the idea of running away again, but she had a horrible feeling that she'd be left with no choice.

"She's waiting for Georgia to finish work," Kyle said.

"I know," Cory replied. "She's dyed her hair again."
"You don't like it?"
"She doesn't need to do it."

"She needs to be herself. Just like you not cutting your hair, even when your father wanted you to. You needed to be yourself, and so does she."

"That's what Rose said when... wait, have you been talking to Rose?"
"You wanted me to talk to Rose."

"Not about Melissa!"
"We talked about a lot of things. And now it's time for you to talk to her, too."

Kyle was right, of course. But in the first few days after he left Rose, Cory had wanted nothing more than to talk, although Kyle had wanted to speak to her first.  Now... time had somehow increased the distance between them, and two weeks later, even with Kyle's encouragement he dreaded the thought of even approaching her.

He knew he had to eventually. Until he did, they were just hanging in limbo.
Tomorrow, he thought. Tomorrow, I'll call her. Maybe.


"You should have gone in and talked to him," Georgia said.

"He would have just freaked out over my hair."

"Is that why you dyed it," Georgia said. "So you wouldn't have to talk to Cory?"

"Don't be stupid. I dyed it because he's not living with us now. He was the only who didn't like me doing it, and he's gone so why not?"

"If he doesn't go back to live with Rose, maybe you could come and live with us. You could share my room, it'd be fun. We'd be like sisters."

It might be fun sharing a room with Georgia, but Melissa wasn't sure she wanted another new family. She was just getting used to the one she had now, and she enjoyed being a kind-of big sister to Cory's younger kids.

She thought of the bag under her bed.

"What's wrong?" Georgia asked. "You look all worried all of a sudden."

"Nothing," Melissa said. "Nothing's wrong at all."


It was Saturday morning when Cory finally got the courage to talk to Rose.

He thought of calling first, but decided it was best just to go to the house. 

Unfortunately, this meant that when he arrived, no one was home.

It felt strange, walking into his own home and feeling like an intruder. He remembered feeling the same, going back to the house he and Sharla had shared.

He shook the thought out of his mind. This was nothing like when he'd left Sharla.

Really, it wasn't.

Finding himself in the bedroom he and Rose had shared, he went out onto the little balcony and waited.


It was almost lunchtime when they got back home. Rose sent the younger kids upstairs to put away their new school clothes, and was about to follow them when she saw Melissa heading for the door.

"Where are you going?"

"Not until you've cleaned the kitchen floor, you're not." 

"But - "

"No. I asked you to clean it this morning before we went out and you didn't," she said. "You're not leaving it now as well." She started up the stairs.

Melissa raced up behind her. "We were in a hurry this morning."
"Well, we're not in a hurry now. Clean it then you can go."
"But I don't - "

They both stopped and just stared.

"Um... hi," Cory said.

"Cory..." Rose's voice dropped almost to a whisper.
"I'm gone," Melissa said, and disappeared into her room.

"I think I - "
"We need to - "

They laughed a little as they both spoke at the same time. Cory beckoned Rose into the room and closed the door behind them. "It's time we talked.".


"Can you hear them?"

"Not if you're talking," Melissa said, pressing her ear harder against the wall.
"Are they arguing?"
"If they are, they're doing it quietly. Now stop talking!"

"But I want to know what they - "

"First of all," Cory said, "you've probably already heard this from your father, but I need to say it too - Nothing happened between me and Samantha. We're friends, nothing more. Ever since she's been back in town, all we've ever done is talked."

"I know," she said. "Dad tried to explain it to me, and Samantha said much the same thing."
"You spoke to Samantha?"

"Yes, I did. I needed to speak to someone who knew you... well... better than I do." she laughed weakly.
"I don't think - "

"It's true though, isn't it?"
Cory didn't answer.

"Dad tried to explain why, too," Rose said.
"Then you know why I needed someone else to talk to."

"I know that you thought you couldn't talk to me, because of something that happened over ten years ago, when - "
"It wasn't just when Corinne was born, though. Whenever I talked about Melissa, you'd shut me down - that was a lot more recent than ten years ago. Or when Dad was sick and - "

"Alright, ok, you win that one. But do you really think that you're the only one who changed two years ago?"

"I don't understand," he said.

"Two years ago, when you were in rehab... do you really think I'm that blind? Do you think I never talked to your father, to your brother... to the people at the clinic...? Do you really think I can go through all that, and still not get it?"

"Well, how am I supposed to know...? You never got it before..."

You're right.  For years, I didn't understand. I think maybe I didn't want to. " She stared at the ground between them. "I think if I'd understood all this from the beginning, I would never have even married you." 

"Ok, no way are we sticking around for this!" Melissa stepped away from the wall. Whatever came next, she was sure it was better the kids didn't hear it first hand.

"Come on, we're going to the park, " she said.

"Can we just do that?" Corrine asked.

"I dunno. Let's find out."

"But they'll wonder where we are."

"Don't worry, we'll leave a note."

Cory took a deep breath before replying.  "So, what are you saying? That now you understand, you don't want to be married to me any more?"

"No! That's not what I meant."
"Then what did you mean?"

"I meant I'm glad... No, I'm not... I just... This is all coming out wrong!" She turned away. "Look, I have things I have to do and I'm - " 

"You're just walking away?"
"No, I'm not walking away," she said. "I'm getting something."

She handed him an envelope. "I wrote this, I was going to get Dad to give it to you. You should read it."
"But I - "
"Take it," she said. "I need - I have things to do."

She turned and fled from the room.


Downstairs, biting back tears, Rose yelled for Melissa.

No reply. And the kitchen floor was still dirty.

In the laundry, she filled a bucket, reached for the mop, then pushed it aside and picked up a brush instead.

She got down on her knees, channeling all her frustration and anger into scrubbing the floor.

Anger at Melissa, at Cory.

At herself.

She never heard Cory behind her until he spoke. "The floor looks great," he said. "Your father would be proud."

She got up slowly, wiping her hands on her dress, looked at him questioningly.

He nodded, opening his arms.

As he pulled her closer, he set the letter down on the bench behind them.
... I thought we'd found the happy ending to your problems. I thought we could have this perfect marriage, this perfect family life that conquered everything, with your past and alcoholism and everything that came with it locked away in a box that we'd never open again.
I had this fairytale idea of what a marriage should be like, and I constantly compared us to that.  When things fell short I blamed them on your past and told myself that everything would be perfect if you'd just stop looking in that box.  When things went really wrong, I blamed them on Samantha, and on you drinking again.
But then Samantha was gone and you were sober, and things still weren't perfect. The truth is, they were never perfect. We were never perfect, either of us. Only you started sorting out your side of it. I was too busy finding things to blame to even look at myself.
I don't know, maybe I'm the one who needs a treatment program now. Maybe happy endings aren't all they're cracked up to be, and I need to learn how to live a life that isn't fairytale perfect, but I still think it can still be a happy life overall. Even with the flaws and faults and the unpleasant parts that we really can't, shouldn't, keep locked away, I think we can still be happy. Maybe more so than we ever really were before...

"I worked out what I was trying to say," Rose said. "I'm sorry I hurt you, but in a way I'm glad I didn't understand before. Because it's true that I probably wouldn't have married you, and that would have been the biggest mistake of my life..."


Cory walked over to Melissa and looked down at her. "What happened to your hair?"

"Um... I dyed it again."

"I can see that," he said. "But it's all growing out at the roots. You need to fix that."

-"If you’re still looking for a happy ending and can’t seem to find one...

 ...maybe it’s time to start looking for a new beginning..." 


Oh, wow, I finally finished it!!

I left this storyline hanging for far too long. Part of the problem was that I knew how I wanted it to end, but I couldn't properly put it into words. In particular I knew what I wanted Rose to say, but I couldn't write it as dialog without it sounding like something someone had thought about and written down. So, in the end, I decided to just make it something that she had, well, thought about and written down. Might be taking the easy route, but at least it gets the story done. 

This feels like a milestone for my blog because I've had it in my head for so long... When I wrote the first part, I already knew how it would end, but I never imagined it would take this long to get here (or that it would be in TS3)! 

I have much more planned for these guys (especially Melissa), but this had to be resolved first... feeling really excited about Richmond's future now.

Also, can we please just suspend disbelief with Cory's suddenly-changing hair length? :) Because I intended to frame it so you didn't see him from behind, at least not until I can find a shorter version of the hair... but I completely forgot! 

1 comment:

  1. finally caught up and wow, what a story! I can't wait to see their new beginning.


Thanks for reading and commenting!