tagBDSMSecret Smiles and Three Little Words Pt. 34

Secret Smiles and Three Little Words Pt. 34

byCJT©

Chapter 42

Livy followed Alex into her parent's house, they had been laughing all day. Alex in a good mood because her energy level had finally returned after a week of being home. Livy happy that Alex was there with all her positive energy. It helped her avoid the doldrums of her mother and older sisters with their holier than thou attitude and looking down their noses as they had been doing since she moved to Averin.

Leaving the church hadn't been the big deal that Livy thought it would be, then again, having Father Jack for spiritual advice sure made that transition a lot easier. Having a church that believed in God and His teaching of love and acceptance was also very helpful.

She did find the occasional person who seemed to grimace slightly when she told them about her and Nora but no husband. But Father Jack was always preaching about letting God do the judging so most of the congregation welcomed her with open arms.

It reminded Livy of what Alex said about throwing the first stone. Livy decided, maybe Alex was closer to God than all of them combined, even though she didn't go to church. Even though she lived in sin, as her mother claimed. If she lived in sin and was damned for it, why was she so fortunate to find a man to love her the way Gavin did? Father Jack had told her that love was God's domain. He dispersed it to those who earned it.

If that was the case, Alex was in God's good graces. The stories of the little things Gavin did for her. The spoiling, which always had Alex rolling her eyes, even when she talked about them, had Livy jealous. She saw the jealous looks from Krista and Brandy as well. No they didn't get the little things like Alex did. None of them did. Krista and Brandy doubted the stories, until Livy told them of the stunning choker she saw there at the condo.

"Ok," Alex asked as they peeled their coats off. "So what are you doing about church?"

"I have a church," Livy smiled.

"You do?"

"I do," Livy nodded. "I'm going to the Catholic Church in Averin. Father Jack has been counseling me about God, poker, and accepting who I am."

"Wait," Alex shook her head. "You are going to a Catholic Church?" She gasped in disbelief. According to their mother, the Catholics were actually worse off than non-believers! Livy nodded with a knowing smile.

"Does Mom know?" Alex asked her, taking full note of the little smile on her sister's face.

"Are you crazy?" Livy choked out in a soft laugh. "Like I don't have enough trouble right now!"

"Ok," Alex agreed. "So Father Jack?"

"Yeah," Livy nodded with a broad smile. "He has been quite the lifesaver!"

Alex looked to her suspiciously. The mischievous grin creeping across Alex's face had Livy shaking her head. Whatever was going through her little sister's head wasn't good! She had been around her long enough to know, that her little grin meant some sort of smart ass remark was coming.

"What?" Livy finally had to ask.

"You don't have some sort of Thorn Birds thing going, do you?" Alex asked in a half tease referencing the popular book and TV mini-series starring Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward.

"What?" Livy gasped and laughed at the same time. "NO!" she responded firmly. Her laughter had Alex raising her eyebrows at her.

"No," Livy said again getting her laughter under control. "Father Jack has been fixing the holes in my faith." She assured Alex.

"So, he's not a zealot?" Alex smiled.

"Oh, he's a zealot, but totally about God's love," Livy laughed.

"Poker?" Alex asked.

"Yeah," Livy nodded. "I'm getting pretty good at beating the holy men in my community."

"Explain," Alex demanded.

"All the preachers come to Father Jack's for poker night," Livy explained.

"No shit?" Alex scoffed in disbelief.

"No shit," Livy repeated with a smile. "They try and convince each other that they are better men of God than the others. All the while, I'm stealing pot after pot!" Livy mimicked pulling in a large pot of money with both arms.

"You will go to Hell for stealing from holy men, you know that right?" Alex giggled.

"Hey, I'm doing God's work," Livy defended. "Holy men shouldn't gamble, I'm trying to show them the error of their ways!"

"Hey Dad," Alex smiled as they found him at the table. "Are you ok?" She asked when he looked up at her. His face was a little ashen and he seemed to be having a bit of trouble breathing.

"Yeah," Al nodded. "I'm fine! How much damage did you ladies do?" He joked in reference to the shopping trip trying to divert the concern from him.

"We left a couple of stores still standing," Livy told him as she kissed his cheek. "You look a little tired." She warned him. "You coming down with something?"

"Yeah, it's spring, maybe my allergies are kicking up," Al shrugged.

"Never bothered you before," Alex pointed out sitting down feeling his head for a fever.

"I'm not as young as I used to be!" Al countered with a grunt.

"You are still my dad!" Alex said proudly. "Did you call Madelyn?"

"I did," he frowned.

"Another one bites the dust!" Alex teased in tempo with the popular song by Queen. "Told ya, she is one tough hombre!"

"That she is!" Al nodded with a twisted frown. "I would have thought she would have at least let me contribute! But nooooo, she was downright brutish!"

"I'm sorry Dad, you are a tough cookie, but nothing compares to Madelyn!" Alex sighed with a shake of her head thinking of all the arguments she had with the woman since they had met. Then the arguments Gavin had attempted.

"Any chance Gavin can help?" Al asked hopefully. He wasn't comfortable with this unknown woman footing the bill for his daughter's marriage.

"Gavin has less sway than I do!" Alex huffed. "I mean, she looks on him like he is her son...she treats him that way...she will not break! I gave up trying."

"I just don't like her paying for all of it!" Al groused.

"Dad," Alex shook her head. "Trust me, once you see her place...you will realize, she can afford it."

"It has nothing to do with whether or not she can afford it!" Al warned her.

"I know," Alex shook her head. "But she has no kids, no heir to leave her fortune...Gavin is it."

"I'm not done trying," Al said firmly.

"Like losing do you?" Alex teased. He glared at her as she kissed his cheek.

"When are you leaving again?" Al smiled.

***

Alex was washing the dishes after lunch that she and Livy had prepared for the three of them. Marylyn walking in had Alex tensing slightly. She had promised herself that she would not argue with her anymore around her father. She knew it bothered him.

"Still here?" Marylyn asked as she pulled groceries out of the bag and began to place them in the refrigerator.

"Am I not welcome here?" Alex asked, her voice tight with her effort to keep her emotions in check. Her heart began beating harder in her chest. To keep from letting her mother goad her into another argument.

"This is your home," Marylyn said. Which Alex found didn't really answer her question.

"Mom," Alex said resting her hands on the edge of the sink. "Do we always have to fight?"

"You seem to like it," Marylyn told her continuing to put the groceries up.

Alex turned to her with the edges of her eyes blurring with tears.

"Is that what you think?" Alex asked her. The tremor in her voice caused Marylyn to look at her. She nodded seeing the tears.

"Why would you ever think that?" Alex asked her.

"You do it so well," Marylyn pointed out.

"Because I had to learn how to," Alex told her wiping her single tear. "I don't know why you don't love me."

"I don't love you?" Marylyn gasped. "Why am I fighting so hard to save you?"

Alex dropped her head. She thought about that statement. Her mother was trying to save her? Alex left her head down as she thought about that statement.

"What if you are wrong?" Alex asked her softly.

"Wrong about what?" Marylyn asked her sharply.

"All of it," Alex asked lifting her head. "What if God doesn't want you to be the way your church says you have to be. What if, God only wants you to follow the one rule Jesus has set down? What if the rest of the Bible is just for guidance?"

"What is Jesus's one rule?" Marylyn asked.

Alex walked over and put her arms around her mother. Marylyn stood there a moment in shock that Alex had done so before wrapping her own arms around her daughter.

"John chapter 13 verse 34; 'A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.'" Alex whispered within the embrace.

"What if, we aren't supposed to argue with one another that their belief is wrong? What if, we are just supposed to accept the person in front of us just as they are, no exceptions or demands of them? What if, God sent His Son to set the world straight and that we are only supposed to love one another. The sinner and the Saint? The liar and the faithful? The lost and the righteous? Gay or straight?"

"Maybe the problems in the world can be solved by God's word...but we have to start with the one rule. The rule that Jesus lived day in and day out, from the prostitute He saved from stoning, to the thief He saved while they both were crucified? Even the love He showed for those who were murdering Him...He asked God to forgive them. Maybe that is all we are supposed to do?" Alex leaned back. "Love. Nothing else?"

"My church has a mission to spread the word of God, to teach those who don't believe that God is great!" Marylyn told her firmly pushing Alex's arms from her. "Beware the wolf who comes in sheep's clothing!" Alex dropped her head and nodded. Now she was being equated to the devil. The wolf. In her mind she thought of Gavin, the Wolf, but a wolf in every good sense.

"My Church will sing his praises on every street corner at the top of our lungs! We will rejoice at His coming and shed no tears for those we leave behind in the sewer of sinners in this world."

Alex forced her smile to break her lips. She nodded as the tear rolled down her nose.

"Matthew chapter six; 'Be careful that you don't practice your religion in front of people to draw their attention. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father who is in Heaven. Whenever you give to the poor, don't blow your trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may get praise from people. I assure you, that's the only reward they'll get."

"I memorized that verse, because I love you," Alex said to her mother as she moved to the door. "Your beloved Church is not of God, any church that purports the idea that they are above all...is not built on the foundation of Christ. A man who washed the feet of his disciples. A man who loved a woman he did not know and saved her from death. A man who forgave the very people who wished him dead." Alex turned to face her mother who stood there staring at the table in deep thought.

"Dad will walk me down the aisle at my wedding," Alex said firmly. "I want you to be a part of it. If you want to be. But know this, this is my day. This is the day I prove to you that love is given by God himself...and He gave me Gavin. The man I love. The man I will bear children with. The man who loves me for all that I am. Both sinner....and saint."

"If you cannot be kind to those I love," Alex said her voice gaining strength. "Do not come. I don't want you there. Mother...this is the end of me fighting with you. It is killing Dad inside to see us at each other's throat. So for my love for him, I will respect you and treat you the way he wants you treated. Not because you have earned it. But because he has."

When Marylyn had gathered her breath back she looked to the door where Alex once stood but she was gone.

***

"What did you say to Alex?" Al growled at her as she sat over her coffee.

"Nothing," Marylyn said turning her eyes to him.

"Why is she leaving a day early then?" Al barked as he rolled his head to relieve the stress building there. "She said she wasn't leaving until Thursday!"

"Your daughter doesn't want to be here," Marylyn said getting up and dumping her cold untouched coffee in the sink. "She hates me, she hates my beliefs."

"So," Al gasped with a shake of his head. "Is Livy next then? Going to push them both away?"

"They make their choices," she told him with her back to him.

"No," Al disagreed. "You are making those choices for them. In the end, you will lose it all."

"What?" she turned angrily.

"I don't know what happened to my wife," Al said slowly. "The woman I fell in love with, but it is obvious that she is gone. Am I next? If I disagree with your precious church, will you push me away?"

"No," Marylyn gasped. "I would never dream of such a thing!"

"Oh, but you have," Al told her. "The moment you pushed Alex away. Now it's Livy, next it will be me because I love them, and I will stand with them. Against your church. And now against you." Al grunted and pain washed through him and out his arm. "One last thing, if you do anything to hurt Alex on her wedding...all you will have is your church."

He turned and left his wife with her bewildered look in the kitchen alone. The last statement left no room for interpretation. It shocked Marylyn to her very core.

***

Alex left early the next morning from her hotel, she drove all the way home in anger mixed with sadness. Her mind relived the whole scene. The words, the way her mother pushed her loving embrace away. The coldness in her mother's eyes. Alex could tell, she was dead to her mother for all intents and purposes.

"Good evening, Ms. Lasko," Mike said from the counter as she walked in. Alex forced a smile but said nothing as she walked to the elevator and waited for it.

"Are you ok Alex?" Mike's voice came again. She looked to him and nodded, he watched her. She then thought of it, was this the first time he had called her by her first name? It was always the formal address before.

"Yes, Mike, thank you for asking," she said for her first words, but even the sound of her voice betrayed her true feelings.

She stepped on the elevator and pushed the button for her floor. The doors closed and Alex let her head drop and the tears came. She tried to stop them but they came anyway. With a shaking hand she struggled to open the locked door of the condo. After trying multiple tries she was able to open it.

Gavin was gone and that made her cry harder, she needed him now. She needed his arms around her. His voice to soothe her, to assure her that it was going to be alright. Then she remembered. She wasn't supposed to be back until Friday. He wasn't even expecting her today.

She walked into the spare room which was converted back into her studio. She saw the easel there and walked to it. Placing a blank canvass on it she stared at it for a few seconds. Pulling her paints out, she began working feverishly. She didn't even bother with putting on her protective clothes to keep the paint off her dress.

Colors of red and orange, splashes of black. Her brush ripped the colors on, bursting in her anger. The angry face of the one woman that shouldn't be so hateful towards her. The tears streaked down Alex's face. The outline of her mother appeared in the fire, Alex slowed to get the eyes right. The eyes she saw yesterday. The cold unloving eyes that cut her to the bone.

Alex stepped back after a couple of hours, the colors said it all. Her anger. Her pain. Her burgeoning hatred. The sadness, it all erupted within her like a volcano. She stared at the picture of her mother, wrapped in flames of red and orange. It looked like Marylyn was on fire, it wasn't conscious in Alex's mind, but there it was. What her heart was feeling.

Rage took control, she grabbed the newly painted inferno and smashed it violently across the easel breaking both. She continued to slam the portrait of her mother into bits on the floor, her hands gripping so tightly that the splinters from the wood dug into her skin causing her to throw the demolished face into a pile with the easel.

She collapsed onto the floor in a fit of tears, the paint she was using now all over. It was on the floor, which was covered in the heavy tarp, there was some on the walls but mostly it was on her. Mixing with her blood which oozed out of the wounds left when the wood ripped her flesh from her hands.

From the corner of her eye she saw him and closed her eyes while on the floor. Her tears streaming down her face. She looked to him, Gavin, as he sat in the chair by the door. His legs crossed comfortably over one another. His hand propping up his chin. His dark eyes watching her. His face blank.

She crawled on the floor to him and rested her weary mind in his lap. His hand coming to her hair and stroking it gently. She clutched his leg with her arms as she cried into his pant legs, drowning the fabric with her tears, her paint and her blood.

"I've lost my mother," Alex said when she could speak.

"Only if you give up on her," Gavin said softly.

"She doesn't love me," Alex countered.

"Hate cannot defeat love," Gavin whispered. "It never has...it never will. Love conquers all."

"Please be right," Alex sobbed as she buried his face into his leg.

Gavin slipped from the chair and sat with her on the floor. He put his arms around her and held her tightly. Letting her cry with no more words.

***

Chapter 43

Alex sat in the tub, her head down, the hot water warmly enveloping her. Soothing her. Gavin sat on the outside of the tub in a chair, his face scrunched up as he picked at the splinters in her hand that came from her symbolic destruction of her mother. She winced from time to time, as he pulled out a sliver.

"What do I do?" Alex finally asked him from her trance like state.

"What makes you think you have to do something?" he asked back never moving his eyes from the task at hand.

"She is poisoning everybody with her puritanical bullshit!" Alex told him firmly.

"Who are you to judge?" Gavin asked lifting his eyes.

"What?"

"Listen to yourself, you want her to accept your way of thinking, but not willing to follow your own advice," Gavin pointed out. "It is not your job to point out other people's flaws. Your job is to either accept them as they are...or cut them from your life. There is no middle ground, if you try to find that middle ground you get to the point where you are slamming yourself, twisting yourself into knots."

Alex thought about that. Holy shit. She couldn't believe her own hypocritical actions.

"Do you think I'm wrong?" Alex asked him.

"That is not important, who is right? Who is wrong? There is no right or wrong. There just is. What is right for you, isn't right for your mother. What is right for your mother isn't right for you. Finding someone to blame is what is driving you apart," Gavin said putting the tweezers down.

"How long were you sitting in the chair?" Alex asked him.

"I was home twenty minutes after Mike called me," Gavin sighed.

"Mike called you?" she asked him sorrowfully.

"He was worried about you," he pointed out. "He called and said he felt you were upset."

"I came home and saw you painting, the look on your face...the body language...the colors you were using. They all screamed the same thing, you were angry. I know your art is therapeutic, so I left you alone," Gavin stood and went to his bag and pulled out antibiotic ointment and gauze wrap. He sat down and continued taking care of her wounds.

"But let me make one thing perfectly clear," Gavin said with his jaw locked as he continued to tend to her medically. Alex swallowed hard, the tone he was using was enough. "You are never to injure yourself again, you...all of you...belong to me and I will not have what belongs to me damaged. If you need to throw a temper tantrum find an outlet that doesn't damage what I own."

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