Tomas Prentiss willed himself to concentrate on the numbers before him. He needed to finish this report today, he should have finished it earlier but it was so hard to have anything done with her so close, with her smell all around him, around his lab, with the way he would catch her looking at him… He had hoped she would leave, that is why he had stayed late but alas she was still here.
He tried his best not to turn, feeling her gaze on his back. Eventually however curiosity got the better of him. He saw her propped against one of the lab counters, despite all the lab regulations she had taken of her white coat and was showing off her long legs her short skirt barely covered. When she had seen him turn she threw him a smile that made him wish he had just continued writing the damn report.
“Why don’t you go home Irene?” He asked.
“Why don’t you Tommy?” His beautiful young assistant asked back. He frowned. He hated that she called him that. His wife called him Tommy. He felt as if a shard of ice was stuck in his chest, right where his heart used to be.
“I need to finish this report today.” He said firmly.
“Well I am your assistant, I am here to assist.” She said smiling that sweet smile of hers. Tomas sighed heavily.
“It is a pretty straightforward report, I won’t be needing any help. It is Friday, go enjoy the weekend, go out with your friends, have fun…”
“ Who is to say I am not having fun right now?” Irene asked taking a step closer to his chair. There was that look in her eyes again, it had been so long since anyone had looked that way, anyone who wasn’t his wife… She took another step and Thomas felt his heart beating stronger. He had to hold his walls up, he couldn’t let the feeling growing deep in his gut overwhelm him. She was so young, he remembered when her mother brought her to their house on a play date with his older daughters, he remember teaching her science in middle school… Worst of all she was Rita’s sister…
“You should go home.” He said putting as much defiance in his words as he possibly could.
“So should you.” She said not skipping a beat. There is nothing there for me… He thought that shard of ice going even deeper. It was a lie, he still had his girls… But it was so hard…All of it was hard…. He turned back to his screen.
“I really have work to do Irene.” A hard sigh escaped the young girl’s lips. She was next to him now and she placed her soft white hand over his.
“Burring yourself in your work, in this lab, it won’t help. You need to live again Tomas, it is not you who died.” She said warmly into his ear. Her voice was soft, yet sad, a strand of her pink hair touched his ear and Tomas felt his skin prickle all over. She left the lab without turning back and his eyes followed her long legs all the way to the end of the hallway.
It was very late when Tomas came in sights of his house. He thought about Irene a lot as he walked back from the lab. He had to admit he found it a little flattering, the obvious interest she had been showing in him ever since she started working at his lab but he just wouldn’t be ready for a relationship even if it weren’t for all those obvious cons to dating his assistant… He just wasn’t fit to date anybody not when he was so empty inside…
He stood across the street from his home and watched the orange house lit by moonlight thinking how much he had hated that place. Sure it was the only home he ever knew, having moved there when he was barely a toddler but not all of his childhood memories were happy ones and Tomas was ready to leave it behind him once before. But that time something magical happened, something that transformed the house in a home, and changed his life in ways he could have never imagined.
Right after the death of his father, his beloved bride Rita told him she was pregnant. If he closed his eyes now Tomas could vividly see the love of his life as the young woman she was, happy, excited a little scared but oh so beautiful. Tomas wondered if he would ever be that happy, if this house would ever again be a home? Or would it stay as nothing but a cold and brutal reminder of everything that had been so brutally taken away from him?
He had no answer as he walked on, tired and in pain. It had been hard for Tomas, not having answers, as a scientist and a former teacher answers were everything, he found comfort in facts, in numbers and math, in the reality of the world around him. And then the bad things started.
First his youngest got sick. When Dalma contracted meningitis he turned to medicine, to science, to math, to find her odds and when the odds beat him and his baby girl, and he watched her die in a cold and sterile hospital room Tomas felt if the world was about to rip him apart. His heart broke in a thousand pieces but he still had Rita, he still had the love of his life, the cure to all pains, and he had five daughters, all well and alive giving him strength to go on… He should have been thankful for that. He knew that now.
When a meteor hit their town and they told him his wife and oldest daughter were dead and another of his girls had been injured Tomas couldn’t believe it. He froze in place calculating the odds of such a thing happening to him and his family. And when he found himself yet again in one of those cold and sterile hospital rooms staring at his daughter covered in bandages and attached to beeping machines, hearing her ask: “Are mum and Lena okay?” That is when all answers abandoned him and his broken heart just exploded beyond any repair.
Tomas climbed up the stairs hating the house more with every step he took. He was about to walk to his bedroom, undoubtedly the worst place in the whole damned house when he heard a soft whimper from down the hall. He turned to the dark nursery and saw his little Tracy sitting up in her crib crying softly. It was unusual for Tracy to wake up in the middle of the night, she was always a heavy sleeper so he walked in turning on the light.
“Is everything alright doll?” He asked in a soft whisper, careful not to wake the others.
“I had a scary dream.” The little girl said.
“Oh no!” He said coming closer and picking her up gently. “It must have been the aliens, I hear them coming up over the house… Their terrible space ship is looming just above us.” Tracy’s big green eyes opened wide as she looked to the ceiling, such beautiful eyes, Rita’s eyes… “But there is nothing to worry.” He said firmly. “Daddy will just press this button here…” He tapped his watch with a free hand. “And now the shields are up and the aliens can never get any of us.” He said and smiled. “And they won’t send any more of those bad dreams.” Tracy relaxed in his arms. She even smiled.
“Thank you daddy!”
“You are welcome doll.” He kissed her gently and lowered in her bed. He stayed with her until she fell a sleep again and then a bit longer. It gave him peace, or something very close to it, just sitting and watching the raise and fall of his daughters small chest. He hoped she was dreaming well, he hoped she would never feel the pain he felt every day since the world had turned against him and took the things he loved away. He hoped that even though she was forced to grow up without a mother she would keep that sweetness and innocence she now had, because he needed that… He needed something nice in his life if he was ever to be sane again….
/* Well as you can guess the story for the Prentiss family this round will get a little dark…. My original plan for the story line was focused on Irene trying to split Rita and Tomas up but then the bad things started happening… First little Dalma Prentiss fell victim of my disappearing toddlers bug and so in story I had to kill her… I first mentioned her death in the bonus chapter: Wounds and that was to be a dark event for this story. But then when I was playing Tomas’ sister Alyssa a meteor fell right next to her house, killing her but surprisingly also Rita and Lena who I guess were just walking by… I was devastated by this and contemplated just loading an older save and doing this all over again. In the end after a few weeks of mourning I decided to leave it as is and thus this dark story was born… */