Ewan & Cassandra
Ewan gently rocked Cassandra back and forth, she finally sobbed less and less. When she calmed down he released her from his embrace.
“Thank you for being there for me. So sorry I called you of all people.” she eventually sniffled.
“Sure.” his response sounded too plain to him as well, though unintentional.
“This is so painful. I never wanted to be pregnant, but now that I lost the babies, I feel awful and empty, hopeless and useless. Like I cannot even do the one thing every other woman can do. Sorry, probably the last thing you want to hear.”
“It’s okay. I understand this has to be rough, no matter the circumstances.”
“I don’t understand why. I am healthy. I didn’t do anything wrong. Does this mean I will never have a baby?”
“Of course you will. A dozen healthy kids if that how many you want. It was just the stress got to you. You just finished filming back to back and then of course .. uh … us.”
“Thank you for picking me up. I really didn’t know who else to call. It happened so sudden, I had no idea what was going on, had cramps and bled, I thought they’d just give me some meds at the hospital – when they told me I lost the babies … I felt so alone when all the other women had their husbands there. Sven and I agreed we don’t want each other like that, and he is so far away anyway. He wants to get Hannah back so if I had called him to tell him I lost the babies, he would just be happy I think. I couldn’t take it.”
“I am sure he’ll hurt too. This can’t be easy on any parent, intentional or not. Maybe you should lay down some. I’ll take you to your hotel.”
“I don’t want to be alone now. Please Ewan, don’t leave me alone.”
“Okay, but I need to get home. The studio is going to courier over a script later today and I need to be home. Why don’t you stay with me? Eric is in Brindleton Bay, so he won’t ask questions and you can rest up in Hannah’s old room.”
Cassandra stayed the afternoon, the evening and overnight. IN Hannah’s now vacant room.
The next morning they met in the kitchen and the atmosphere was just awkward. It felt like it used to be, but also very clearly wasn’t.
“Coffee?” Ewan offered.
“Still with just a spoonful of milk and no sugar?”
“It’s been three weeks, Ewan, not exactly long enough for me to become a whole new person. Yes, still like always, please.”
“Hey, a lot of things have changed that I didn’t see coming.” he sounded nonchalant, but there was a faintly detectable underlying pain of betrayal.
“Ewan?” Cassandra’s always slightly smoky, throaty voice still sent shivers down his spine.
“Is there any way you think you could ever forgive me?”
“Why?” Ewan physically felt his inner walls raise higher.
“Because I still love you.” her words only little more than a whisper, but all it did was sting inside his heart.
“You have a strange way of showing love.” he said, his tone slightly defensive.
“I messed up. Have you never messed up?”
‘Big time, but I’d rather cut out my tongue than admit the Hannah incident to anyone, especially you.’ Ewan thought, but instead said.
“Of course I have. Who hasn’t? My problem is not just that it happened, but for how long. You admitted to it being an affair over months. I could forgive a one night stand, but this?”
“It wasn’t a real affair. What I meant was that it has happened before. But we only really had intercourse once. The other time we … well, did other stuff.”
“Every shot a winner, huh?” Ewan felt disgusted at her revelation, intended to make him feel better, but achieved the opposite.
“Don’t be crude, please. I am trying here, laying my heart out for you to see.”
“So, are you asking me if I think we can get back together?” he asked her straight out.
“If you want to put it so bluntly, yes, that is what I was asking.”
“I .. uh … who the heck is that so early in the morning …”
Ewan was saved by the bell, literally. Someone was at the door, which got him out of answering a question he had no answer for. The next things happened almost all at once within seconds.
“Yeah?” Ewan wasn’t thrilled to find two middle-aged people outside his door, whom he didn’t know. If fans found his residence, he’d loose his shit for sure, especially today.
“Oh my goodness, you are adorable! Even more handsome than in the pictures!” the woman now cooed, while taking Ewan’s face in both hands and kissing his cheek, much to his horror.
“Lady, what the …” he pulled away, protesting, while helplessly watching her husband push his way inside carrying a mountain of luggage, which he piled up next to Ewan’s door.
“Mom, dad?!” he heard Cassandra’s voice behind him and thought a string of obscenities. Parents? Now?! Here?! This had to be a really bad joke! But it wasn’t. Evidently Cass had forgotten to update her status and new address with her folks. Oh, boy!
“There she is, our little beautiful darling! We have not heard from you in such a long time, so we decided to just drop by. Took the redeye out, we just landed. Boy, getting a cab in this town is a real gamble. Trevor, make sure that you did get all the suitcases inside. Don’t want a repeat of the last time when you left a bag in the cab.”
“Yes, Marilyn, they are all inside, Marilyn. It would have helped if you would have taken at least one …”
“Suitcases? Uh …” Ewan stared at said suitcases as if he had never seen one before in his life.
“Where can I put them, son? I mean, more permanently, so nobody ends up tripping over them.” the man addressed as Trevor asked him.
“Permanently?!” Ewan was too discombobulated to protest.
“Yeah, we thought maybe 5 days to a week, we’ll see how things go.” the father informed him several nuances too chipper for Ewan’s taste.
“Oh my God you are really here! In this town. In this apartment.” Cassandra mumbled, still shocked.
“Where is your guestroom, young man?”
“Guestroom?” Ewan parrotted.
“Yes. I must say, this apartment is a lot less – uh – splendid than we expected, but assume finding available real estate in this town must be hard. We came out on a whim, assumed you two big time movie stars surely have a guest room in your huge mansion for your soon to be parents-in-law. Had we known it was just an apartment, we would have booked a hotel room. But this is nice and cozy, easier to get acquainted, since we are quasi family. Can’t believe it took this long to finally meet!” Cassandra’s mother said.
‘Oh shit!’ Ewan thought, realizing now they had no idea about anything that happened. He looked at Cassandra who looked petrified, she had been through so much of late, he just couldn’t get himself to out her.
He played along through a dinner with them, where they got grilled about wedding plans and future children, making Ewan want to sink into a big hole forever.
Ewan sat through drinks and yet more uncomfortable talking back at the apartment with them and smiled politely as he and Cassandra disappeared into his room together, even though it was still light out. He just couldn’t take anymore of the fake happy lala land.
He insisted she’d take the bed, she insisted he should, and at that impass they ended up sitting on his bed together.
“Thank you. For what you did for me, yesterday and today. I really had no idea my parents were even thinking of visiting.”
“It’s okay, I get it. When it rains, it pours. Don’t worry about it.”
“Uh – Ewan?”
“I really would like a second chance. I promise you that I will never cheat on you again. I love you, and losing you made that painfully clear to me. It’s you I want, and only you.”
Next to her on the bed they used to share for nearly a year, trying to figure out his own feelings beneath the pain and insult as well as the guilt he still felt, Ewan felt an odd familiarity, but also a sudden certainty that it was wrong to let it continue any further.
It would be so very easy to just go back to the comfort and convenience of the good old known ways, the way things used to be, be it pretending or for real.
But the instant realization came to him that this would be repeating the exact mistake his father had made.
Once something so fragile as love and trust were broken, it was rarely possible to patch them, and expect it to work long term.
He shook his head and told her
“I am tired of the smoke and mirrors. That may be how I make a living, by acting, pretending, but I cannot let that bleed over into my real life too, cannot do that long term. Lying to your parents is wrong Cass, keeping something to traumatic as what you have just been through from them is wrong, and faking us still being together is wrong. I messed that up by playing along for a minute, but enough with the charades. There is no more us, and never will be again. I just don’t love you anymore, Cass.”
Ewan got up, recklessly threw a few things into a duffle bag, then turned to her and told her
“No. I wish I could tell you yes and mean it, but I can’t. We all have our baggage and this is mine. I know I am no prize most of the time, I have tons of room for improvement, but I know that I cannot become my parents. I am gonna pack my bag and grab the first flight that gets me out of here, I don’t even care where to. Feel free to stay until Eric gets back, just throw my key in the mailbox when you all leave.”
“Ewan, no wait! You can’t just leave. Please … just think about it, you do not have to decide right now. We are the power couple, the dream team.”
“Except we’re not. I wanna just give up and give in and hope for the best, but that would be doing both of us a disservice. We’re no couple, no team and certainly not a dream. More a nightmare.”
“You are still hurt, this is just the pain talking. Give me some time to prove myself, give us some time and we can get back to where we used to be.”
“Where we used to be? As in me oblivious and you whoring around right under my nose? You screwed around on me and were even dumb enough to get yourself knocked up, from – according to you ONE time, which you expect me to believe, but I don’t! Well, to let the cat out of the bag, after walking in on you in the act, I went tit for tat and screwed around on you with someone I really shouldn’t have, only to realize that with you – and her – I have been chasing my own tail for too long. Neither one of you is the one for me. Maybe there isn’t one for me at all, but I am still not going to settle.”
“Settle? You think you would be settling if you had ME? You would be lucky to have me! Any man would be lucky to have me!” Cassandra hissed, shooting eye daggers at Ewan.
“Yeah, I’ll pass on that kind of ‘luck’ and pity the next fool that falls for you. You almost had me there for a moment, I almost fell for the sweet, innocent girl routine again, but your true colors are showing now, Cass. Take your manipulative ass and be someone else’s problem! Bye … no, correction: farewell actually!”
With the packed bag at his feet he quickly got dressed and without another look at Cassandra he left, while all she could do was stand by and watch.
Staring mindlessly at the tiny lights of the cities passing by 35,000 feet below his plane with cars that looked like tiny ants, Ewan realized that he had instinctively done the right thing by getting away. He needed time alone to sit down in peace, just himself and his feelings, without all the outside noise and influences always raining down on him, and rethink his life. The whole course of it.
Somewhere he would go, to just think, collect all his thoughts and sort them out along with his feelings, knowing something had to give. He needed change. A new direction.