Pairing: Will/Skandar, Anna/OFC
Summary: For better or worse, they said.
Disclaimer: Not mine, not real! It's FICTION.
A/N: Breathe is the sequel series to 'Chronicles of Skandar'. Read that first! Read earlier chapters - Breathe. You might want to read up on earlier chapters as it's been a while since I added to this story. P.S. If you still haven't seen the new Skandar pics, check them out here!
A Chronicle of Skandar and William
Chapter 13 – .Still the Best
WHEN THE SUN RISES ON A NEW DAY
On one of the outdoor sofas under a covered deck, William was stretched out with Skandar nestled back against his chest. Skandar had agreed to try again and give their marriage a hope. Just a nod was all it took for William to finally feel as if he might have a second chance to live the life he knew he wanted.
Now the dawn beckoned, casting a faint light over William as he held Skandar. The night had been warm, and the warmth of each other was enough for them to remain out on the covered area of their upper deck. William kissed the top of Skandar’s head before he traced his hand down Skandar’s arm and then tentatively interlaced their fingers. His bare foot brushed Skandar’s before he squeezed his hand. Skandar reacted with a slight moan and turned to curl himself against William’s chest.
“It’s a new day, Teacup.” William whispered, “It’s a new day.”
Skandar barely responded, still deep in slumber. William smiled, watching as the morning sunlight grew stronger, casting an orange tinge across Skandar’s face. It was a slightly surreal, breathtaking experience for William. The simplicity of it all, the beauty he held in his arms, it all felt a little too good to be true. After wanting a chance to fix his marriage, his family, himself, was it truly here now? Was this angel in his arms truly his again?
Skandar did not wake for another hour, and when he did, William remained in the same position he had all night. He still held Skandar protectively, contently. It seemed a natural fit. It seemed as if all their years as friends, then as lovers, as husbands, still counted.
“I’ll never lose myself again. I promise.” William said softly as he ghosted a kiss across Skandar’s freckled cheek.
“Will?” Skandar groaned, shivering a little and curling into William’s embrace, “Do you always talk so fucking gay?”
William chuckled and nuzzled his nose against his husband’s, “I love you so much, Teacup. And umm ... I am gay?”
“Only when you’re with me apparently.” Skandar grumbled, eyes still closed.
William sighed a little frustrated, rubbing his temple and feeling a rush of anxiety fill him, “Teacup ... don’t start. Please. Let it be good a little while longer.”
Skandar opened his eyes and looked at William apologetically, “Sorry. It’s going to take a while for us to ... well ... be cool. And to forget you like fucking girls behind my back.”
“Teacup!” William gasped, hurt by Skandar’s bluntness, “Must we?”
Skandar sat up, taking a deep breath, “Alright, look. I nodded my head last night. I gave my fucking oath to try and fix shit between us. But now you have to be honest with me. You have to lay everything out there. What did you do, Will? What did you do? Do you just want to start again, pretending that none of the past happened?”
“So this is you nodding your head, is it?” William asked cynically, getting out of the bed, wrapping a sheet around his waist. “Way to go, Skandar.”
“God damn, I could punch your fucking head in right now.” Skandar said tightly, standing up and grabbing his things, “You’re a cunt, Will. You’ll never change. Once a cheat, always a cheat. Piece of shit, that’s what you are.”
William was doing his best not to cry. He was so frustrated and angry right now. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t expect any of this to be easy, but he also didn’t expect the onslaught against him to begin so soon.
“We were so good last night, Teacup.” William said, face contorting as tears threatened to spill, “Why do we have to do this? Please, Skan. I’ve tried so hard. Please.”
Skandar turned back to William after slipping his shoes on. He could see his husband was distraught. He could see his husband was upset. Despite his anger, it gave him no joy to see such emotion from William.
Skandar sat down next to William, taking his hand and kissing it gently. He interlaced their fingers, clasping their hands together tightly. It wouldn’t be easy to fix their marriage. It wouldn’t be easy at all. Skandar knew he had to somehow erase the mistrust that echoed between them, but was it even possible? Did they really stand a chance?
“I don’t trust you.” Skandar said softly, “But I do love you. Perhaps that is a start?”
“I will have your trust as well.” William said, smothering their clasped hands in fervent kisses, “In time, Teacup.”
“Is that why you’re here, Baby?” Sarah asked, brushing a strand of hair from Skandar’s face.
She sat on her couch, while he lay on his back, his head in her lap. It was a familiar position for the long time friends. Skandar had arrived a few hours earlier as the kids were in day care and school respectively, and he wasn’t quite up for spending time alone with William just yet. He needed time to think, and someone to just be with him. For that reason, he was here with Sarah.
“No … I just …” Skandar began to say, frowning and wondering how best to form his words, “It’s just … I’ve been … so set on divorce for so long, and now this?”
“You could have your family back. Our boys could be happy.” Sarah said, her voice soft and even, “Isn’t that what you want?”
“I guess so.” Skandar replied, “It’s just … I don’t know if I can ever trust him again. And isn’t that the basis for any relationship? I know our boys want both of us. But it would be wrong to be in a relationship purely for that reason.”
“You love him, don’t you?”
“I love him.” Skandar sighed, “I’ve always loved him. From the time I saw his macho, grinning face for the very first time. I’ve loved him, Sarah. But can I really do this? Can I really open myself to him again?”
“You told me you nodded last night.” Sarah pointed out, “You told me you’d agreed to give things one last chance.”
“I was drunk at the time.”
“That’s no excuse. You knew what you were doing.”
Skandar frowned and nodded his head, “I knew what I was doing. I just … when I woke up this morning, it was all still there, you know? All the resentment, the bitterness, the anger. It makes me feel … yucky, you know? Last night, it felt … it felt so good, Sarah. It felt like I could … love him again, trust him again, but I don’t. I just don’t. I’ll always love him, but I don’t know if I can trust him.”
“So what are you going to do then?” Sarah asked, kissing Skandar’s temple and holding him, “What comes next?”
Skandar looked up at her suddenly, sincerely, reaching up to pass his hand through her hair, “You’re the best friend I’ve ever had. I love you, Sarah.”
“Yeah, don’t change the subject.” She chuckled, “What comes next, Homo?”
“You’re a homo!”
“Yes, and I’m still asking you. What comes next?”
“Who’s a funky penguin?” Skandar asked himself.
Skandar adjusted his tie as he stood in front of his wardrobe mirror. Since relinquishing his house and custody of the boys to William, he’d moved most of his clothes and possessions into the penthouse he’d been staying in. Supposedly this was temporary until he bought a new house for himself. Yet even though he’d come close, this had never eventuated, and deep down Skandar knew why. He was hoping for a reunion as much as William was. Or he was hoping that William might give in, bugger off to his life of superstardom, and leave Skandar with the boys.
“I’m a funky penguin.” Skandar said to himself, looking himself over in the mirror in his hotel bedroom, “God, you look like sex tonight, Keynes.”
He continued dressing himself, making sure he would look his level best if he did decide to meet William for dinner tonight. While they had made plans for a date, Skandar was still reserving the right to change his mind. Even though he hadn’t told William that.
Skandar paced back and forth in his hotel room. He was due to meet William for dinner ten minutes ago. He was starting to get cold feet. He was starting to question the sense in giving William a hope of saving their marriage.
He wanted to call his lawyer and fast track the last stages of their divorce. He was afraid that if he did give William a chance, he would fall for him, he would let himself be open to being hurt all over again.
“To live is to risk.” Skandar sighed, “But do I really need to risk being hurt by him again? Do I?”
WHILE HE WAITS
“Would you like to see a menu, Sir?”
William looked up at the waitress, giving her a feigned smile and shaking his head, “Not yet, thanks. I’m … I’m still waiting for someone.”
“Oh, certainly.” She said, taking her leave of him.
He could see she had a look in her eyes as if to say ‘You poor fool, they aren’t showing’. He was inclined to believe her too. Skandar was half an hour late, with no message, no call to let William know he was running behind schedule.
For some reason, this situation reminded William of the moment Skandar first declared his intention to get a divorce. They were supposed to meet for dinner, but it was William who was late that evening. It was Skandar who had been kept waiting because William had been working late and fighting the attention of a whorish extra on set. Skandar had even smelled her perfume on him. He’d smelled the alcohol on William and put two and two together. Though William was certain he didn’t fuck the girl, he knew he should’ve pushed her off him a lot sooner than he had. His ego had been well out of control then.
“Guess I deserve this.” William whispered to himself, staring at his glass of wine.
“Sorry I’m late.” Skandar said, hurriedly trying to get his coat off.
“Teacup!” William gasped, jumping to his feet, “Here, let me.”
Skandar let William help take his coat off, before William pulled out Skandar’s chair for him. William’s mood immediately brightened and no one would suspect he’d been morose for the last half hour or so.
“I umm …” Skandar began to say awkwardly, “I’m sorry I’m late. I …”
“You were deciding whether or not to come.” William said, nodding his head, “I understand. But I’m glad you decided to come in the end.”
“Me too.” Skandar nodded.
“Here are your menus, Gentlemen.” The waitress said, offering one to both and giving William a warm smile and wink, happy his date had arrived, “Would you like to see the wine list?”
Once the wine was ordered and had arrived at their table, William poured them both a glass. Skandar felt a little nervous about tonight. He was desperately fighting the growing swell of butterflies in his stomach. How could William still have this effect on him after all these years?
“So …” Skandar said, breaking the awkward silence, “How was your day?”
“I was just about to ask you the same thing.” William smiled, “I had the best day I’ve ever had in a long time. But I’ll be honest, Teacup. I don’t think I’ve felt this nervous since the day we were married on that beach.”
Skandar smiled softly, appreciating William’s sentiment, “Well … I mean …”
“It’s okay, Teacup. You don’t have to say anything. I’m just … I’m happy you’re here.” William said, tentatively reaching across the table to cover Skandar’s hand.
Skandar looked down at the gesture, lips tightening as if to say ‘get the fuck away from me’, but he quickly stowed the thought away. A lot of his anger still flared up on instinct, but he sincerely wanted this to be a good night. William sensed Skandar’s sentiment though and drew his hand away, but Skandar quickly grabbed it back.
“Sorry.” Skandar said, squeezing William’s hand, “I’m happy I’m here too, Will.”
“I hope one day you don’t hate me the way you still do sometimes.” William said, thumbing Skandar’s pale hand, “I hope one day this is real again.”
“We’ve both … made mistakes, Will. We’ve both lost our way.”
“No.” William said, “I lost my way, and you got lost because of that. This is all on me, Teacup. And it’s all on me to try and make it better.”
“And you’re trying, and I appreciate that. Because I do … miss my … our boys, so very much. And I miss you, but I’ve … I’ve forgotten what it was like now when you were … you. When you were present. When you were with us.” Skandar smiled faintly, remembering days gone by, “Do you remember when Eddy was born?”
HERE COMES TROUBLE
“Push, Woman, push!” Skandar gasped, squeezing Sarah’s hand.
Sarah, covered in sweat and pushing as hard as she could, glared at Skandar and bit his hand hard, “You try pushing a watermelon out of your pussy! I will eat you, Keynes! Fuck off!”
“Come on, Teacup.” William smirked, pulling Skandar back lest Sarah tear his head off.
“But I want to see!” Skandar whined, “I want to be here!”
“I’m not having anymore kids for you two!” Sarah screamed as Anna dabbed her face to soothe her, “You saw last time, it’s Will’s turn!”
“Listen to her, she’s feral.” Skandar whispered to William, “But it’s okay, Anna’s here to tame her.”
Sarah chuckled painfully, wincing before she looked at Skandar, “You cheeky fucker, I’m gonna make you cry sometime very soon.”
“Can I please stay, please!?” Skandar begged, utterly elated at the knowledge his son was about to be born.
“Skandar!” Sarah screamed, biting his wrist rather painfully, before she let it go, “Fuck off!”
Skandar pouted miserably, sauntering back to Petey and slumping on the chair next to him. Petey, oblivious to the drama, moved himself into Skandar’s lap and cuddled. Immediately Skandar softened, hugging his son and closing his eyes.
“Does that mean it’s my turn!?” William asked in surprise as Sandra yanked him down to her side, clutching his hand fiercely.
“You weren’t here for Petey. You’re going to … ahh fuck … see … first hand …” Sarah suddenly let out a loud scream, “God damnit, you assholes! Why do I do this for you!?!”
William winced, her hand almost crushing his, “Umm … because you love us?”
Sarah let out another scream, clutching to William on one side of her, and Anna on the other. While Anna received whimpers and cries, William received curses and a crushed hand. Unlike Petey, whose birth was only witnessed by Skandar and without incident, this birth was far more difficult. It seemed the child did not wish to leave Sarah’s womb, no matter how much she coaxed it.
Two hours later, the child finally arrived. Two hours later, William was finally able to witness the birth of one of his children. Perhaps the last of his children, according to Sarah. Still, William could ask for no more from her. She’d given them so much.
“Oh my God.” William gasped, holding his newborn son in his arms.
Without realizing he was crying, he was. He couldn’t help it. He was overcome with emotion, feeling a sense of connection he hadn’t experienced in his life before. He loved Petey with all his heart, but he hadn’t held him in his arms the moment after he was born.
“Thank you.” William gushed, leaning over to kiss Sarah on the lips, sniffling as he did so, “I love you so much, Sarah. Thank you.”
Sarah was barely conscious, completely drained from the difficult birth. Anna soothed her with gentle strokes and a calming presence. This was the second time Sarah had endured for her beloved Skandar, and because of Anna’s insistence, it would also be the last.
“Teacup.” William beamed, rushing over to Skandar with their new child, “Look at him! Isn’t he perfect!?”
“With my genes, of course.” Skandar said sincerely, taking the small bundle from his husband.
“Your genes and your heart, Teacup.” William said softly, “Just like Petey with my genes and your heart. They’re both our babies. Both our boys.”
Petey looked up from between his two fathers, clutching to a leg of each. He was excited and yet felt a strange trepidation about where he might fit now that he didn’t have all of his parent’s attention. He tugged at Skandar’s leg, looking up at him with bright, curious eyes.
“It’s your little brother, Petey.” Skandar smiled, reaching down to scoop his now eldest son up with one arm, “Isn’t that wonderful?”
“He’s beautiful, Teacup. I can tell he’s going to look just like you when he gets older.”
“Oh he’ll be trouble.” Skandar grinned, “Just you wait and see.”
DINNER FOR TWO
“And you were right.” William chuckled, “He’s definitely trouble, that one.”
“But he’s our trouble.” Skandar said thoughtfully, “He’s our trouble. Remember? My genes, your heart. Our boy. Our boys.”
“I’m sorry, Skan.” William said suddenly, seizing this moment of shared emotion, “I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you. I’m sorry I was gone so much. I’m sorry I wasn’t a good husband, or friend, or father. I know my mistakes, and I’m doing what I can to make it right again. Please let me make it right again.”
“Maybe … we could all do something together next time.” Skandar suggested, “All of us. You, me, Petey, and Trouble.”
William smiled softly, yet still bittersweetly, “So I suppose taking you home tonight and keeping you there is out of the question, as opposed to there being a next time at a later date?”
Skandar shook his head, “Sorry, Will. I … I said I’d give it a chance, but … we’re this close to a divorce and … I don’t think it would be very smart of me to just … jump right back into a situation I’ve been otherwise trying to get out of.”
“But … that was before, Skan.” William said urgently, “I mean, that was … before I changed things. I’ve changed. I’m home. I got rid of Jimmy. I’ve cleared my work schedule. I’m doing everything I can to show you that where I am right now is where I need to be. I don’t just want to be with you and our boys, I need to be. And I don’t just need to be with you and our boys, I want to be. As far as I can see, either way you look at it, this is where I should be. All that’s missing now, is you.”
“That’s not fair, Will. You can’t drive me away from you and then … and then do this.”
“It’s not fair, Teacup. I know it’s not fair. But it’s how it is.” William said, holding Skandar’s hand in both of his own, “I want to keep wearing my ring, and I want to make sure I honour it, and you, and our boys. It’s not fair, but it’s how it is now. You made me see how selfish I’d become. You made me see what an asshole I’d become. You made me see me again. And me … the me you married, just can’t be without you.”
Skandar sniffled, his eyes glistening with emotion as he pondered William’s words, “And that’s why there’s going to be a next time, Will. And right now, that’s still all I’m prepared to guarantee. I’m sorry.”
William shook his head, blinking back his own tears as he squeezed Skandar’s hand, “Don’t be sorry. I’ll take that gladly, and just hope that there will be a next time after that, and after that. And every after that there ever is.”
“God, you two really do just … you know …” Sarah deadpanned, shaking her head as William paced in front of her, “Suck ass.”
William was wearing a hole in Sarah’s carpet, pacing while she sat on her sofa, staring blankly at him. Once more she was playing the role of a sounding board for the Keynes-Moseley couple.
“Sarah, come on.” William said, hands moving through his hair, “You have to help me.”
“Why aren’t you talking to Anna? She’s your girl. I’m Skandar’s. Remember?”
“Oh fuck off.” William said, throwing a cushion at her, “You’re the mother of my boys. I don’t give a fuck if you don’t like me. You know Skandar. Come on, help me. I’m trying to save my family here.”
“Shouldn’t you know him since you are married to him?” Sarah asked, rolling her eyes, “Geez, you know he was here the day you guys went out to dinner. He was kinda freaking out like you were.”
“What’d he say?” William asked eagerly, rushing to sit beside her, “What did he say to you?”
“Well, first of all, I do like you. Now, if you want me to be honest with you, Skandar was weighing up whether or not he should follow this through with you. He’s afraid it’s just prolonging the inevitable and that … you know … you’ll turn into Uber Ass again. I tried to tell him that you can’t help it, you were just born with that face.”
“Oi!” William gasped, smirking, “People love this face. Do you hear me? Love.”
Sarah chuckled and nodded her head, “Yes, including Skandar. Look, I don’t have the magic answer for you, Will. All I know is that if you both really love each other, and work at it, it’ll work out. And look, I know you must be sick of hearing this by now, but … I think what Skandar needs to feel most, is that having your family back together is what you really, really want. Deep down. And that you aren’t going to … drift away again when your career starts taking off. Because it will. You’ve had the independent run of recognition, and you’ve had the run of doing big budget. Your career is pretty safe. But your family isn’t. It’s all about priorities, Will. What are yours? What are they, really?”
THE NEXT TIME AFTER THAT
“Come on down, my beautiful boys!” Skandar yelled excitedly.
He’d just arrived back at the home he still technically owned, but which he was no longer a resident of. The ‘next time’ that he had promised William had arrived, just two days after their most recent date. The annual Keynes-Moseley family photo.
“Daddy?” Petey yelled, poking his head out of his bedroom door and looking down at Skandar, “Daddy!”
“Oooh oooh doh!” Eddy gasped, trying to waddle behind Petey and falling over himself in the process.
William laughed, rushing to scoop his youngest up before he carried him downstairs. He kissed Eddy’s chubby cheek and received a punch in the face for his troubles. He winced, holding his face and laughing.
“Meh punch ooh face!” Eddy cried out, punching William again.
“Ow!” William laughed, “You little shit! I’ll bloody beat you up!”
Eddy laughed, punching William again. He then cupped William’s face and kissed him messily, causing him to laugh out loud. Skandar couldn’t help but smile at the sight, wondering how many of these moments he’d missed since he’d lost custody of the boys to William.
“William, you shouldn’t swear in front of our son.” Skandar laughed, picking Petey up and giving him a kiss and a hug, “My beautiful Petey, Daddy’s so happy to see you. Even if he does have to hear Daddy using such foul language.”
“What!? Have you seen how he hits me!?” William asked, smiling and kissing Eddy’s fist adoringly, “Such a cutie pie.”
Eddy cooed, giggling and nuzzling his face into William’s neck. It was in that small moment of affection that Skandar could truly see that William had endeared himself into the life of his youngest. If he could win the Face Puncher they called Trouble over, then perhaps he truly had changed.
“Can Daddy have a kiss, Sweetheart?” Skandar asked with a hopeful smile.
Eddy leaned over, kissing Skandar’s cheek with a press of sloppy lips. Skandar smiled happily, turning to kiss Eddy on the lips. It felt so good to be with his boys again, but it only made him ache because he missed them so much. He didn’t just miss being with them, he missed the familiarity that came with being around them every day.
“Come on, Boys! Family photo time!” William called, heading for the front door.
Petey broke hold of Skandar’s hand, rushing to grab William’s as they headed out the door. Skandar jerked in surprise, standing still and looking at the sight of William leading their two boys out. There was a time not long ago when neither would give William the time of day, and now it was the other way around.
Skandar felt a rise of anguish inside, tinged with jealousy and regret. He couldn’t help feeling angry at William for taking his boys from him. And while William was doing his best to reconcile their marriage, it didn’t ease how resentful Skandar felt right now.
Petey popped his head back through the front door, smiling widely, “Daddy? Come?”
Petey held out his hand to Skandar, taking his Daddy by surprise. Skandar smiled softly, realizing his eldest son hadn’t lost his sensitive streak at all. He was still the same beautiful soul Skandar had raised.
“Daddy’s coming.” Skandar said, taking Petey’s hand in his own.
Eddy’s big brown eyes were next to peek around the door, “Oi. Tum.” He demanded.
William was last to peek around, his head just above Eddy’s, a grin plastered on his face, “Teacup? Is there a reason you’re slowing down the Keynes-Moseley express?”
“You just feel free to kiss my ass whenever you’re ready, Moseley.” Skandar smirked, leading Petey out and feeling immensely better.
“What happened to no swearing in front of our children? And did you mean it about kissing your ass? Because I’m free tonight, Teacup.” William grinned, staring at Skandar’s ass as he followed behind him, “All night.”
WE ARE FAMILY
“Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez!” Eddy gasped, flubbering his lips.
“Oh that’s disgusting, you little monkey.” Skandar laughed, covering Eddy’s mouth with his hand.
Eddy bit down on Skandar’s hand, just as the camera flashed. The photo was taken with Skandar’s face contorted in surprise agony. Petey and William were locked with gasped expressions, both staring at Skandar. Only Eddy had eyes twinkling with mirth as he bit into his Daddy’s hand.
“Skan-damnit!” Skandar gasped, causing William to cover his mouth and chuckle, “Will, your son!”
“Still having delusions of Godhood, Teacup?” William asked, gently taking Skandar’s hand from Eddy’s lips, “There there, Trouble, bite Daddy’s hand after we’ve taken a nice family photo, okay?”
“Otay.” Eddy grinned with squinty eyes, nodding.
“I’m the boss.” Skandar said to William, “We’re going to correct this imbalance in the whole time-space continuum where Eddy listens to you instead of me. As soon as we get home.”
“As soon as we get home.” William repeated, smiling and putting his arm around Skandar before he kissed his temple, “I promise.”
Skandar didn’t say anything, but snuggled into the one armed hug. Petey clutched to Skandar’s leg, while Eddy was held up between his parents by William. For one miraculous moment, all four members of the Keynes-Moseley clan smiled at the same time. For one miraculous moment, a camera photographed perfection.
ONE YEAR LATER
“And how did that work for you?” June asked, smiling as William held a photo out to her, “This is the photo?”
June Ames, one of the few reporters that both Skandar and William had a history of dealing with, sat opposite William as the two conducted an exclusive interview. William looked gaunt, having lost some weight in the last few months. He had rings under his eyes, and their deep blues held a melancholy that was tangible.
He stared at the photo June presently studied, with a look of longing. It was one palpable moment in his life that he could cling to. A moment he could look back upon and feel as if he was still there. As if he still had that perfect singular moment happiness with his beautiful family.
“Isn’t it perfect?” William asked, a bittersweet smile on his face, “That was … just before it all went wrong. I really … I really thought it was getting better.”
“That’s when … that’s when things started to go wrong?”
William took the photo back, staring fondly down at it, “That’s when the monster I made, came back to bite me. That’s when my mistakes finally caught up with me.”
William sniffled as a tear rolled down his cheek. He traced his fingers over the faces in the photo, shuddering and wondering how he could even look at it without falling apart.
“But it wasn’t your fault. You weren’t responsible for what happened.” June said, trying to comfort William, “You aren’t to blame.”
“I’m the only one to blame.” William said, closing his eyes, “I may not have don’t it with my own hands, but it was my choices in life, my path in life that brought it upon my loved ones. I really thought we had a chance to make a life together. And I truly believe we would have …”
“But Jimmy took that away from you, didn’t he?”
William opened his eyes and stared at the photo again, “Jimmy … Jimmy is the greatest mistake of my life. For as long as I live, he will have taken me to the heights of my career and to the end of my personal happiness. I will never forgive him for what he did to my family. And I don’t think I’ll be able to forgive myself either.”
-- To Be Continued --
A/N: I think this is the beginning of the final stretch of chapters that will conclude Breathe and my whole COS-verse.