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This is the final chapter in this saga. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and are happy with the ending!
“You’re upset,” Dr. Condos asserts. I’ve just walked in and sat down- how can she tell? My brow furrows in confusion.
“Yes, how did you know?” I reply. I’ve been seeing Dr. Condos for two months, and it’s been good for me, I think. She’s helped me realize that my upbringing has been influencing my relationships, and I feel like I’ve been able to step back with Francesca. I can’t thank Cheryl enough for convincing me to do this. I didn’t know it, but since her uncle got sick, she has been seeing a therapist, too.
“Reggie, you wear your emotions on your face. What’s bothering you?” she asks, true concern in her voice.
“I’m angry- Francesca and I fought last night,” I explained, sighing and running my hands through my hair. She sits silently- she does that a lot- but it prompts me to continue. “It was so stupid. I bought her a new set of kitchen knives because she was complaining about her old ones, and she got mad for no reason!” Dr. Condos’ eyebrows raise but I ignore it. “So, I told her to chill out, and she bitched about how I shouldn’t butt in where I don’t belong. I tried to explain that I want the best things for her, and that I just want to make her happy, and she went off about how she didn’t want to owe me anything again. It’s the same thing over and over! And it drives me insane because I can’t even prove to her that we’re forever by asking her to marry me! It’s so stupid!” I cry, working myself up.
Dr. Condos looks like she is about to speak but I have the urge to continue and cut her off, “So, this morning I went around town trying to figure out how to lease this restaurant that my friend used to work at, the one I told you about, so that I could give it to Francesca- it sounds crazy, but it really would be the perfect place for her and I’m sick of watching her scrimp and save so that eventually she can live a dream that I can give her RIGHT NOW! I mean, why does she have to be so stubborn?!” I’m angry and I haven’t even gotten into the worst part.
Dr. Condos eyes me speculatively, “So, what happened?” she asks. How does she know how to get to the meat of it like this?
I sigh, near tears at my own frustration. “It’s been bought already. Not even leased- someone bought the building. I’ll never be able to give it to Francesca.” I hold back a sob.
She nods at me. “This restaurant- you felt like it was a way for you to tie Francesca to you, and you’re upset that it’s no longer an option,” she says.
I shake my head, my anger building back up. “No! No. That’s what Francesca says too, but it’s not true! It isn’t about tying her to me,” I try, but she interrupts me.
“What is it about?” she offers, her eyes studying me. Her question catches me off guard, and I don’t reply right away. She sits quietly for a moment before continuing, “You’ve told me that Francesca has spoken of your future, yet you are still unsure that she will stick around.” I nod slowly. What is she getting at?
We stare at each other, the silence building until I break. “I want to give it to her. To make her happy.”
She nods and contemplates what I’ve said. “Why don’t you find another restaurant to lease, then?”
She stumps me. I ponder her question before replying. “I guess I could, but Francesca wouldn’t like that.” I say carefully.
“But she would have been alright if you leased this specific restaurant?” Dr. Condos asks me.
“Not likely…” I offer slowly.
“I wonder why you are so upset that it has been bought, then? It sounds like it saved you from a fight,” She replies, crossing her legs and tilting her head to the side. I furrow my brows, not sure how to respond to that.
“I… It feels like it slipped away from me. I should have bought it earlier, given it to Francesca when she was ready,” I try to explain, to Dr. Condos and to myself.
“Ready for what?” She’s really digging her heels in here.
“To accept it.” I answer defiantly.
She raises an eyebrow. “What would be she be accepting, Reggie?” she asks delicately.
Out of nowhere, I feel tears welling up in my throat, and I let out a ridiculous sob. I can feel my walls breaking down, and it’s intense. “Me,” I finally let out, another sob following my confession.
She nods, genuine concern in her eyes. “You want her to accept you,” she whispers. I nod, but don’t say anything else. My emotions are taking over and I’m afraid to go here. “Reggie, you didn’t have unconditional love as a child. It makes sense that you would feel you have to earn Francesca’s love.”
I stay quiet for some time. “How can I… how do I keep her? Everything I do to try and keep her close seems to push her away. It terrifies me- I can’t lose her, Dr. Condos.”
“What would Francesca say if you asked her that?” Dr. Condos presses me. I just shake my head, frustrated. “You’ve told me that she tells you she wants to be with you. She’s moved in with batıkent escort you, met your family, talks about “the rest of your life”. She thinks of your future. What makes you think she will leave?”.
I bite my lip to try to stop myself from crying. “Why would she stay…” I manage meekly.
“Hasn’t she told you?” she asks quietly. I nod, but don’t reply. “You can’t hear it,” she says in a soft tone, but the realization in her voice is loud.
I nod sadly. “I want to,” I manage, but I know what she is going to say. She’ll say it’s my fault, that all I have to do is accept what Francesca says to me, just like Francesca says. But it’s just not that simple.
“It’s not so simple,” she says, and I am taken aback. She’s on my side. “You need to be patient with yourself, Reggie. How could you hear it when you’ve never heard it before?” I sob more deeply, absolutely shocked to hear this validation. “You can ask her to be patient with you, too. It’s alright to be vulnerable. But right now, you’re holding on too tight, and that’s a sure way to lose her.”
I smile softly. “You’re right,” I tell her, “Thank you.”
It’s her turn to shake her head no. “This work- it’s all you.”
I leave the session feeling lighter than I have in ages. Patience. I can try that. I drive home, eager to see Francesca and talk to her about my session. She’s been so willing to talk with me after my sessions, and it’s been very encouraging.
Patience. I use it as a mantra as I take the lift up to our flat. I’m smiling as I think of how close I am to wrapping my arms around my girl. I unlock the door and walk in, anxious to see her, and am shocked instead to see my brother Charlie sitting on my couch, way too close to Francesca, his hand on her shoulder. They both turn to look at me, and I panic because I see guilt in Francesca’s eyes. “What is going on?” I say darkly, the anger in my voice palpable. My emotions are still close to the surface.
“Reggie, hi!” Francesca says, but her voice is too high. Why is she nervous?
“Charlie, what are you doing here?” I ask, a snarl on my face.
“Bro, it’s not what you think…” he starts, but I know what that sentence means. I rapidly close the distance between us and grab his collar.
“You piece of shit,” I spit at him.
“Reggie, stop!” Francesca says sharply at my side, but I ignore her. Then, I see a small smile spread on Charlie’s face, and I lose it. My fist flies faster than my thoughts and in a moment, he’s on the ground, his lip bleeding. “Reggie!” Francesca cries, and she’s leaning over Charlie, helping him to his feet.
“He smiled at me like he’s taken what’s mine,” I snarl, rearing to punch him again.
“I smiled because I could see how much you care about her, you bloody git,” Charlie says angrily as he wipes a trail of blood from his lip. “Calm down! Nothing is going on here that you wouldn’t approve of.”
“Bullshit!” I snarl and lunge at him, knocking him to the ground again and wrestling my way on top of him.
“Reggie!” Francesca yells once more as she grabs at my arms, trying to stop me. “You trust me so little?” Her words slow my assault. I turn to her and she has tears in her eyes. “What is your problem?!” She storms off to the bedroom. I look back at Charlie and growl before releasing him and chasing after Francesca, slamming the bedroom door behind me.
“What is he doing here, Francesca?” I say, trying to remain calm but utterly failing.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” She spits at me, fury boiling in her eyes.
“There is clearly something going on, Francesca. Just admit it. You looked guilty, why would you look guilty if nothing was going on? Are you sleeping with him?” I explode on her.
She storms up to me and slaps me across the face. “I would never cheat on you, Reginald. Fuck you!” I balk at her, stunned. She starts crying and sits on the bed, covering her face with her hands and sobbing deeply. “Why are you such an ass?”
Her crying weakens my resolve, but I’m still reeling. “What’s going on, then?” I ask harshly.
She looks up at me, tears streaming down her cheeks. “How could you think I would do something like that?” Her voice is strong through her tears.
I shake my head and sit next to her. She doesn’t pull away, and I find hope in that. “I’m sorry. I saw you both and you looked guilty and upset that I’d arrived, and I just went right to this horrible place. I was…I am absolutely terrified.”
She looks at me, her brows furrowed in confusion. “Terrified?”
I swallow. Do I want to go there? I look at her and I know I have no choice. “To lose you. I… can’t lose you.”
Her face softens slightly, but her voice is still sharp, “That does not give you the right to act however you want. I can’t live in a bubble to make you feel more secure.”
I nod- she’s right, of course. “You’re right, I’m sorry. Honestly, so sorry. But I feel like I need beşevler escort some kind of reassurance. I know that might not be fair to you, and I’m trying. I need some patience from you, Francesca. I feel like I’m doing my best to let go, as quickly as I can. But I want you to be tied to me, even if it’s unnecessary or unfair. I know that’s not right, but it doesn’t change that I want to know for certain that you’ll never leave me.”
She sighs but takes my hand. I run my thumb over her knuckles and we sit together for several minutes. “What can I do?” she asks quietly.
I shake my head. “I don’t know. Be patient. Don’t let my stupid actions, like today, drive you away. Please.”
She rolls her eyes, and a small style plays on her lips. “You’re not going to drive me away. But you can’t force me to do anything either. You have to learn to trust me. But I get it. I’ll try and be patient.” I smile back at her gently.
“I love you,” I whisper, and kiss her knuckles.
“I love you, too,” she replies, and kisses my lips softly. I kiss her back deeply. My hands move to her face and I let my fingers slide into her hair. Her tongue parts my lips and she staddles me on the bed, pressing against my growing erection. I moan into her mouth.
She reaches between us to fiddle with my belt, but I pull away from our kiss, resting my forehead against hers. “Francesca, we don’t need to do this right now,” I tell her, trying to respect her, but even I don’t believe my words. Sex is our happy place, and right now I need to feel safe and secure with her. She ignores me and pulls at the hem of my shirt, tugging it off. I follow suit, removing her top, then flip her over, kissing her neck and fumbling with her jeans. I stand and slide them off her, then remove my own pants and knickers. She sits up and grabs my neck, kissing me hard and dragging me back on top of her. I kiss her gorgeous neck and let my hands run along her body, knowing that, in this moment at least, I have her. “Reggie, take me,” she breathes, and I growl against her throat. She reaches between us and wraps her delicate fingers around me, guiding me to her center. I slide into her and we both groan as I fill her up. I pull out and slam back in again, then she and I begin move together, moaning and gasping as we fuck desperately, our need for each other palpable. “Yes,” she murmurs in my ear, her teeth scraping along my shoulder.
I slam into her again and throw my head back, blown away by the feeling of being inside of this woman. I can feel her starting to quicken and I speed up. “I needed you,” I growl before kissing her again, our tongues interlocking as I speed up. Her vagina clinches around me, pulsing as her orgasm swiftly envelopes her.
She comes down from her pleasure and pants as her pussy pulses around me. I keep pumping. “You have me,” she whispers against my lips, and I lose myself within her, cumming hard and fast.
“Christ,” I whisper and kiss her again, my cock twitching. “Are we okay?” I ask, my nose running along her jaw as I kiss her neck.
She nods but looks at me questioningly, her hands grasping my face and eyeing me seriously. “You need to apologize to Charles. He didn’t do anything wrong.”
“You never told me why he is here,” I growl quietly, my poor mood returning.
“I was going to tell you today- that’s why Charlie is here. But then you freaked out and I didn’t get the chance,” she says, evading my real question.
I roll away and slide out of her. She covers herself to catch my spunk and I reach for a towel from the laundry bin and hand it to her. “What were you going to tell me?” I ask as I pull my knickers back on.
She does the same before replying, “He wanted to branch out from your father’s company, and I guess after speaking with me and with Rose on New Years Eve, he thought a restaurant would be a good investment.”
I scrutinize her as she dresses. “What are you talking about?” I slide my jeans back on, and pull a t-shirt over my head
She swallows, clearly nervous. “He and Rose talked about how Bar 23 was closing, and I guess Rose told him how great of an opportunity it was, so he reached out to me a few days later. We met up, and he said he was interested in becoming an investor in my restaurant…” she’s talking, but I’m seeing red again.
I storm from the bedroom and find Charlie sitting at the bar, frozen vegetables on his mouth. “You bought my girlfriend a restaurant!” I yell at him, and he quickly stands and backs away from me.
“Reggie, calm down!” I hear Francesca say behind me, and I turn to look at her.
“How could you? I’ve been offering to buy you a place for months! But you’ll take it from him?!” I feel hurt and ashamed.
“He didn’t buy me a restaurant! He bought the space, but he is just an investor! We are going to explain it all, if you would just calm down!” she tries to placate me.
“Francesca, can’t you see how this hurts me? You’re more connected to my brother than to me! Wait, is this why ankara escort Rose and Cheryl haven’t chosen a venue? Does everyone know about this but me?” I realize, angry and hurting, but trying to calm down.
Francesca grabs my face, forcing me to look at her. “Yes, the wedding is going to be there. I am so sorry, Reggie. I never wanted to hurt you. But I’m doing this for us. Please, just give me a chance to tell you about our plans,” She kisses me lightly, and I feel some of my anxiety melting away. She is here with me; mine for right now. It’s comforting.
I look over at Charlie, and he just shrugs at me. I glare at him but refocus on Francesca. “Fine. Tell me.” I say, and sit at the bar, listening to Francesca and Charlie tell me their plans.
After half an hour, I’m all caught up. Charles reached out to Francesca and they discussed the possibility of working together. He told her he would buy the space and would act as an investor for her restaurant, with the hopes of expanding to several around the city. He had been looking for a new business to get into and thought he would enjoy managing restaurants. They agreed to a partnership, where Francesca would run the kitchen and Charles would manage the financials and the business side of it. Francesca agreed because she knows that most new restaurants take years to make a profit, and with an investor like this she could afford to pay her employees a reasonable wage, pay down her loans, and have to work less hours and spend more time with me. They’d even included me in the plans- the restaurant concept included an additional 7% tax for each ticket. This money would be used to support free dinners to those in need every Wednesday night, which I would help organize.
“You want to create a restaurant that feeds the homeless once a week?” I ask, utterly shocked.
“Not only that, but we would focus on employing the homeless,” Charlie said, “And ideally, within a few years, we can expand to other restaurants with the same concept, providing free meals on different days. A restaurant/charity combo.”
“But… why?” I asked, still confused.
Francesca and Charles look at each other, then her gaze returns to me. “When Charles came to me as an investor, I realized that this process would be less financially straining than I expected, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to do some good. And Charlie agreed. You inspired us to be better,” she says, and Charles beams at me.
I was surprised and a bit embarrassed by their praise. I thank them and Charles excuses himself to go to the restaurant. But I still didn’t understand one thing. “But… How is this better than me funding your dream, Francesca? Why can Charlie provide financial support, but you wouldn’t take it from me? I wanted to give that to you,” I frown, feeling less than.
Francesca furrows her brow. “Reggie, I’ve told you 100 times. I don’t want you paying for my future, and you expecting me to accept that is not fair. I love you, but you’re trying to hold on to me, and I want to choose you, not be attached to you.”
It took me a moment to let that sink in. “You’re saying that I’m holding you too close?” I ask, processing. She nods at me. “I want you to choose me, too. But, what if one day you don’t want to choose me anymore?”
Francesca frowns. “Reggie, I just asked you to be a part of my business, my future. I’ve chosen you. Period.” Her hands lift to my face and she trails her thumb over my cheek. “Now, you have to let this go. I’m not your parents, I won’t leave you. Believe in me, please. And be happy for me,” she pleads.
I kiss her softly. “Thank you,” I say against her lips, “I’m enormously happy for you, my darling.”
Charlie comes back out from the bathroom. I stand and apologize for hitting him and thank him for what he’s doing for Francesca. “Don’t apologize, I would have done the same thing. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding today, and for keeping this from you. We wanted it to be a surprise. But you have to know I would never try to go after your girl. I love you, man.” We embrace, and then he laughs and says, “By the way, you are daft to think she’d stray, this girl is obsessed with you.” I laugh with him and Francesca blushes.
“So, we’re working together now, huh? How does dad feel about this?” I ask him, surprised to hear that he is trying to get out.
He runs his fingers through his hair and signs, “Not well at all. I quit a few months ago, and dad hasn’t spoken to me since. Neither has Henry. I think mum and dad are pissed that Henry is the only kid left to carry on the family business. But it’s good for me- I was drowning working there.”
He seemed somewhat sad, and I could understand the mixed feelings- I’ve been there before. “Well, I’m glad I’ll be seeing more of you, Charlie,” I offer an olive branch.
“So, do you want to come and see the space? We’ve redecorated quite a bit,” Francesca asks me nervously.
I grin, “Absolutely!” I tell her, hugging her close to me.
We arrive 15 minutes later, and I’m blown away watching Charlie and Francesca talk to passionately about their plans. The goal is to open the weekend after Cheryl and Rose’s wedding. After 45 minutes, Charlie announces that he has to go meet a friend, and I hug him goodbye. I’m glad to have him back in my life.
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