Serendipity Two: Destiny

By SimmerDownChick

Original link: https://www.storiesspace.com/stories/romance-/serendipity-two-destiny-1.aspx

Tags: pete and tara, love story, suspense

Added: 11 Feb 2016 Views: 764 Avg Score: 5

Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans

Twenty-four hours previously

ooOoo

“Good day, sunshine,” Pete sang the Beatles song to Tara in a slight whisper, gently waking her up in the late hours of the morning. The marine layer kept the beach city overcast, and the breeze of the cool September air felt good on her tired body.

“Hey beautiful,” he said softly, as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “Eggs, bacon, toast or yogurt?” he asked as he put the tray down on the nightstand and sat beside her on the bed.

“Coffee, with creamer, please,“ she said smiling up at him. Seeing him there, still nude and sitting next to her, warmed her from the inside and she put her sleepy hand on the side of his face. “You shaved your goatee.” Tara hid her disappointment because she really liked the way it looked on him.

Tilting his head as if he were looking for the deeper meaning in a priceless work of art, he smiled sheepishly. “If I’m gonna meet your kid, I want to look like a responsible adult,” he chuckled. “Is it unmanly of me that I’m nervous he won’t like me?” he asked with a silly smile.

“He already likes you and he hasn’t even met you yet,” she said, laughing and flashing her silly grin. She really didn’t want to talk about Shawn right now, though, her mind was on Pete. She was drawn to him like a moon in the gravitational pull of a celestial body.

“Don’t worry and come here.” She sat up, wrapped her arms loosely around his shoulders and kissed his moist lips. Snuggling in close, she put her hand on the back of his head and began kissing his neck. The athletic frame he sported in high school had been replaced by a little beer belly and slight love handles, but he still looked sexy as hell to her.

Pete climbed back into bed and folded her into his arms, calming her like nothing else could. She felt safe there. In his bed, nothing could hurt her. She had always kept him close to her heart, and never really could love any other man the way she loved Pete

Feeling the warmth of her body, he gently put his hand on the side of her face and stroked the soft skin underneath her chin. Pulling her close, he pressed his lips against hers as they shared the taste of sweet juices wrapped up in this kiss. 

Tara rolled him over and lay next to him, resting her head on his shoulder. “Do you realize, it was exactly sixteen years ago today that we broke up?”

“Was it? Oh, God. That’s an anniversary that I don’t want to remember.” This time, he didn’t laugh. “I’m always going to carry that shame with me. I was sure that you’d never speak to me again.”

Tara felt charmed by the sweet way Pete looked at her. He was a man with a truly sincere heart, and she felt no lingering anger for the old hurt.

“I wasn’t going to,” she finally admitted. “But, here we are. It's sort of a miracle, isn’t it?”

“It is,” he said, meaningfully. He was very grateful to God, or the Great Spirit or whoever that she stepped back into his life. This was their happy place, and during that moment in time, they were deeply in love and lost in the afterglow of their sexual rapture.

“I’m really happy you did because that would have been so awkward,” he said, smiling. He held her, hugging her tightly then softly rubbed her shoulder as he released her from the embrace. “Are you hungry?” he asked with a smile, touching her chin.

“Starving,” she replied.

ooOoo

After breakfast and their morning activities, Pete and Tara went to the beach and looked through the little boutiques just across the street. Hand in hand they walked as they ate ice cream and people watched while sitting on a bench. As they sat looking at the tide come in, a light wind blew over their sun-kissed skin.

It was the perfect day, and they had fallen in love all over again. An adult love; real and heartfelt. Nothing like when they were teenagers.

“Okay, milady,” Pete said in his best ‘Downton Abby’ impression. “Shall we pick up Lord Shawn?”

She laughed and threw her head back, giggling at this as he took her hand to help her up. They were picking Shawn up from Tony’s at seven o’clock and then having dinner together.

As Tara stood up and was ready to go, Pete kept a hold of her hand, got down on one knee, the sandy concrete scratching at his tan skin. She didn’t understand why at first; then as she realized what he was doing she let out a small cry of surprise and happiness.

“Tara,” he began, nervously. “I loved you in High School. When I ended it, I knew I’d made the biggest mistake of my life. I was miserable and the only person to blame was me,” he continued. “I did all right. I found success and made a decent living. I had just about everything I could want.” Pete paused, trying to compose himself, then went on.

“Everything, except for you.” He had a tear in his eye, and his voice was beginning to crack a bit.

“The last fifteen years of my life was a chapter that I am happy to close the book on. There is so much more of life left to live, and I still haven't had my ‘best day’ yet. I know if you agree to be my wife, every day after that will again be the best day of my life. Will you marry me?”

Tara stood, trembling and in tears. “Yes, of course, I will!” she laughed through her tears as he slid the princess cut diamond ring on her small delicate finger.

Standing up, he embraced her, lifting her in his strong arms bringing her lips close to his. The California sunset silhouetted them as the orange ball dipped deeper into the ocean.

On their way to the car, they were almost skipping. They’d only been back together for six weeks, but they were ready. “Oh shit!” Pete laughed, and then put his hand on his head, then his mouth.

“What?” she laughed and then smiled at the silly look on his face.

“I haven’t even met Shawn yet! Maybe I should have waited, but it was such the perfect moment, and I was so nervous...” he went on. He was laughing and looked pale as if he realized his parents were coming home, and he needed to clean up after a house party.

“Oh my gosh!” she laughed out loud. “Don’t worry about that, he wants me to get married, are you kidding?” She squeezed his hand and picked it up, kissing his knuckles. “But, maybe we’ll just wait in the car for him to come out. I don’t want him to figure it out while I’m at the door because he’d know something was up.”

“You never could keep a secret,” he laughed as he navigated the streets throughout the old neighborhood in this little beach town. The street Tony lived on was made up of old cottages. Some were in disrepair, while others were obvious flips, belonging to new generations of beach combing dwellers.

“That’s it, right there,” Tara pointed out an old white bungalow, with a chain-link fence around it and the porch light on. “I’ll text him we’re here,” she said, watching the door for Shawn. They were late, and she knew he might be restless to go home.

Pete leaned over to give her a kiss. Her eyes sparkled as she turned her head to see the screen door open. “See ya, Dad,” Shawn exclaimed, let it slam behind him as he ran down the sidewalk to the car.

The back door of Pete's Dodge Charger was unlocked, so Shawn opened it and threw his bag on the farthest seat and got in.

“Hi Shawn, I’m Pete,” he said and turned around to shake the boys hand. “It’s really good to finally meet you.”

“Hey Pete,” Shawn said, and awkwardly shook his hand. “Yeah, mom talks a lot about you,” The look on his face told Tara that she didn’t have to keep him away so long. “Are we getting dinner? Because all I’ve had are the hot dogs Tony made about three hours ago and I’m hungry.”

Pete and Tara decided not to tell Shawn about their happy secret yet. It could wait. For now, it was about having dinner and Pete spending some time getting to know Shawn.

ooOoo

After dinner at The Driftwood Kitchen, Pete decided to take his future family down the coast on Highway 1, then up through old Laguna and down the canyon to Tara’s house. They’d had a great time at dinner, and Pete and Shawn were instant friends, pleasing Tara immensely.

“Hey, you guys should go to that,” Shawn said, pointing at a sign. “The Pageant of The Masters, I heard that old people like it,” he teased.

“Hey, squirt, we’re not old,” Tara laughed and playfully swatted at him from the front seat.

“Oh, yeah, your mom is a lot older than me, didn’t she tell you?” Pete joked as he watched the road ahead of them.

“Oh, you’re super funny, Peter Gates!” Tara socked him on the arm.

“Ow!” flinching, he smiled and rubbed his arm. “Dang woman, that hurt!”

The mood in the car was one of mutual happiness as they turned the corner onto Tara’s street. Pete had been there before, just not while Shawn was home. She wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to leave again before she let them meet. She remembered the pain of losing him and didn’t want to put Shawn through any of that.

“Are you coming in with us?” Shawn asked, innocently as he grabbed for his backpack and opened the door.

“Uh, no man,” Pete smiled and glanced at Tara. “But I will be back tomorrow, so I’ll see you then.”

“Ok, cool,” the red-headed thirteen-year-old waved goodnight and went into the house. Tara leaned into the window on the drivers side, her face intimately close to his.

“Well, that went really well.” A smile widened his face as he looked at her. The light from the streetlight illuminated his face, and she could see the wrinkles on his forehead from too much sun.

She brushed back his hair with her fingers as the cold, moist air from the ocean breeze raised goose bumps on her bare arms and shoulders. “Yes, it really did. I wish you could stay. I don’t want to sleep without you tonight,” she pouted. “But, I don’t know how Shawn would really take it. He’d act like it was okay, but he’s a kid, and I’m not sure he’d really understand.”

“I know, babe,” Pete said. “You know what I see right now?” He asked as if it were a riddle.

“No, what?”

“I see my future, and it looks pretty good. I can wait. I love you, and that’s all that matters.”

Tara stood with her arms crossed trying to warm herself from the cold night air. The street she lived on was an older neighborhood, but it was clean and well manicured. The lights on the front porch flickered. “I think he’s trying to tell me something,” she laughed.

“Or he’s teasing us,” Pete looked over and saw Shawn in the living room window, laughing.

Tara leaned in the car, put her hands on each side of Pete’s face, and kissed him with passion. Pressing her tongue against his she knew if they continued she would not go in the house. “I love you.” She was glowing with happiness as she gazed into his eyes.

“I love you, too.” Pete smiled, caught in her gaze. “Maybe I could just sneak into the back door later, and we can just tell him I got there really early?”

Tara considered it, “Oh, how I’d love that!” she gave him that silly grin he loved.

“Seriously,” he said. “I’ll be very quiet, we can just cuddle.”

“Ok, but park over across the street and give me twenty minutes.”

“Oh, babe, I was kidding. Are you sure?”

She wasn’t, but she knew that she didn’t want to sleep alone tonight. “Hell yes, go park and come to the back door in twenty minutes.” They felt like teenagers sneaking around like this, and it was sort of exciting. Pete smiled and started the car.

ooOoo

With his car parked across the street, Pete hurriedly snuck around to the back door of her house, making as little sound as was humanly possible. Peeking through the glass window on the kitchen door, it occurred to him that if a neighbor saw him, they’d surely call the police and report him as a peeper.

“Get in here,” she said, smiling as she pulled him through the door. Like magnets, they wrapped themselves up together in a warm hug, as he kicked the door closed with his foot. Physical attraction had bound them together in a passionate embrace.

Grabbing him by the hand, she led him into her bedroom, with him stopping for a moment to flick off the light on the way out. The playful look in her eye betrayed her as she covered her mouth, stifling a laugh as he tip toed like a thief behind her. “Ow, shit!” he whispered, hopping and holding his foot, having kicked his toe into the coffee table in the dark living room.

“Shhh!” she laughed quietly. Tara turned the glass handle on the door, closing it so quietly she could barely hear it. She smiled up into Pete's, giving him a kiss as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

Pete grabbed her small shoulders firmly but gently and then wrapped his arms around her. This was a spiritual moment, a joining of two souls and they heard nothing but the beating of their own hearts.

Tara nuzzled her nose and mouth into the crook of his neck, then moved her mouth over to give him a passionate kiss. It seemed as though just cuddling was off the table.

ooOoo

In the wee hours of the morning as they lay fast asleep, the kitchen door opened quietly. The light footsteps of a man made the floor creak as he tracked mud in, being careful not to make a sound as he tip toed through the living room. He seemed to know his way in the dark, as he headed toward the door of Tara’s room.

Sleeping peacefully and wrapped in Pete’s arms, Tara was snuggled up in a deep slumber. Exhausted from their exciting day, and passionate lovemaking, neither of them heard Tony as he opened the bedroom door.

The unmistakable sound of a shotgun being racked woke them up in an instant and Tara cried out in panic. Tony pointed the nose of the weapon directly at her face.

“Fuck babe. I leave, and you immediately get with this fucking guy?” He said in an angry and hurt tone. “This the guy you always loved more that me?” Tony’s tone escalated with the sound of betrayal as he questioned her.

“Tony, please,” she said quietly, trying to remain calm. “You’ll wake up our son. Please don’t let him see this.” She stared into his eyes, trying to keep from focusing on the business end of his firearm.

Pete sat up in the most unthreatening way that he could. “This isn’t going to help man, put the gun down,” he pleaded. “Please.”

Tony turned the barrel towards Pete. “Get the fuck up and out of my bed or I’m gonna blow your fucking head off,” he said in a calm voice that sent chills down Tara’s spine, more than any amount of his shouting could have. She could, at least, tell where his head was at when he was shouting.

Pete got up slowly, making another attempt to reason with him. “Tony, look man, you don’t want to do this. You don’t want to leave a legacy like this for your son,” he offered, trying to reason with him. “Put down the gun and you can just leave. No one has to get hurt here.”

“If it weren't for you, I’d still have my family!” He raged, lifting the weapon up to his eye, aiming it at Pete. “She never loved me as much as you!” Tears began to roll down Tony’s cheeks.

Tara remained quiet, sitting on the bed and frozen with fear. She realized that they hadn’t locked the door when Pete arrived. She’d known Tony could be dangerous as he’d been abusive in the past and she had a restraining order against him since she’d filed for divorce.

“Get the fuck out of my house,” Tony ordered, his face contorted with so much rage that he was spitting as he spoke. He continued to point the barrel in Pete’s face and then waved it towards the door as if to say ‘get out.’

“I can’t do that, Tony,” he told him. “I think you are putting yourself and your family in jeopardy. I’m not going anywhere.”

Tony looked hurt, angry and confused. He wasn’t thinking logically and had no plans to leave now.

“Then you get my boy and leave,” he told Tara. “He’s really the one I want, anyway!” He wiggled the shotgun ever so slightly at Pete for emphasis.

Tara looked at him with disbelief, and it was if her feet were glued to the floor.

“NOW!” he spewed with venom, jarring her as he demanded she go and take Shawn out of there.

“I’m not leaving Pete!” she begged him. The reality of what may happen hit her hard and she began to cry. “I’m sorry, Tony,” she said through her tears. “I did love you.”

“Babe, go, please.” Pete implored, desperate for her safety. “Leave right now and take Shawn with you.”

“I can’t leave you, Pete. I won’t leave you alone with him,” she sobbed but was steadfast.

Tony looked at her and scoffed. “Suit yourself, slut.”

Pete remained next to the bed, totally nude with his hands open, palms up where Tony could see them.

“Mom, are you okay in there?” Shawn yelled through the door.

Tara cleared her throat and tried to answer as if nothing was wrong. “Yeah, I’m fine baby. Go to back to bed, you have school tomorrow.” She listened as Shawn went down the hallway and held her breath until she heard the door close.

“Put some pants on,” Tony yelled at Pete with disgust. “You might as well too,” he told Tara. “You’re nothing to me now.”

Tara and Pete both dressed while Tony waited. He was beginning to sweat, and the look on his face sent shivers down Tara’s spine. Moving closer to Pete, he took her in his arms and held her protectively.

Tony looked at them, his temper seething and getting more erratic. “Why didn't you love me as much as this guy? It was bad enough when he was just a memory, but now you’re with him?” Tony paced back and forth, with tears running down his face.

“Tara, go, take Shawn. I’ll stay here. We can work this out like men,” he said. “Right Tony?” Pete wanted to get them out of there, no matter what.

Tara was steadfast. She could see Tony wasn’t being rational, and it scared her more than ever now. She would not leave Pete alone with him.

“Give me your cell phone,” Tony said and held his hand out. Tara looked over at Pete, which made Tony angrier. “Give me your phone, too.” He annunciated each word ensuring they understood.

Tara got up and handed it to Tony. “Where’s yours?” he asked Pete. The look on Tony’s face was angry and quizzical. Pete reached into the pocket of his pants and didn’t speak as he handed it over to the crazy man with the firearm.

Tony’s entire body shook nervously as he took their phones, throwing them in the closet. His thoughts seemed to run rampant as he shifted his weight back and forth, holding the weapon on Pete and then Tara.

ooOoo

Sitting down on the bed, they watched Tony as he paced. “So, what’s your plan?” Pete asked. He realized he probably should keep his mouth shut, and always seemed to ask the wrong questions. After all, did he really want Tony to decide right now?

“Shut up!” Tony shouted. “What have you got that I don’t? Can you tell me that? Huh?” He kept pacing and then stopped to look at Pete. Pete was very good looking, and Tony felt as if there had never been any way he could ever have competed with him. “She only got with me because she was upset about you!”

“But she married you, Tony. She had your kid.” Pete didn’t have a degree in psychology and didn’t know what to say and what not to say. This guy had a shotgun and was crazy.

His rage boiled as he waved the gun at Pete. “I want to know what you got that I don’t!”

Pete remained quiet and understood that any reaction to this question could set Tony off.

“It was okay when you were just a fuckin’ ghost around here.” Tony’s eyes looked wild as corners of his mouth twisted into a cold smile.

Pete knew that he’d have to distract him if he was going to get the shotgun away from him. If he could do that, this would all be over. But how to do it, he didn't know.

Tony stared into Pete’s eyes with a snarl on his face. He wanted to hurt him. Make him a real ghost. But more than that, he wanted to take his power. “I should fucking kill you,” he said, chillingly. “Or maybe I’ll kill you first and then her!” 

Pete kept his eyes on Tony, frozen in place, slowly moving Tara behind him.

"Oh, you better hide," Tony had lost it by now. He seemed to have lost his grip on reality, his finger twitching on the trigger.

Sweat ran down Tony's forehead as he held the shotgun up against his shoulder. Pete had nowhere to go, and stood still, watching and waiting.

"Tony, your son is right in the next room!" Tara cried. "You'll go to jail, he won't have anyone!" She held onto Pete's hand, pleading to Tony with her eyes not to do what he obviously intended to do.

Holding the weapon tight, he pulled back the trigger. Pete grabbed Tara and dove down behind the bed, but, miraculously, it didn't fire. Pete knew he had to act now before Tony tried it again.

Tara remained on the ground, but Pete jumped to his feet and ran across the bed, pushing the mattress down with his heavy steps, and threw himself on Tony, taking the shotgun from him as he knocked him to the floor.

Holding the gun on Tony, Pete had him now. “It's over, Tony. You lose.”

The sound of police sirens was getting closer, and Tony’s erratic behavior increased.

“Motherfucker!” Tony yelled. “FUCK!” He went for the door, prompting Pete to block his way as held the barrel of the gun in Tony’s face.

“Step back, Tony,” Pete continued to hold the shotgun on him just in case, as he turned the door handle so Tara could leave the room. “Take Shawn and go outside, we’ll be out in a minute.” He didn’t take his eyes off Tony and stood in the doorway making sure he didn’t move, waiting until they were out of the house.

The reflection of the red and white lights outside filled the room, letting him know that there were several police cars rolling into her yard. “Pull your pants up, Tony. I don’t want Shawn to know what you were going to do.”

As he reached down to pull up his pants and zip up, Tony's body began to shake. “You won't shoot me, asshole." He was right, and he knew it. "You're not gonna shoot Shawn's dad and you know it. You're one of those 'nice guys', aren't you?" 

Angry and confused, Tony's shoulders began trembling uncontrollably, as he began to sob. Tony’s tears began falling like large droplets of rain as he let out a painful sob. “I just wanted my family back,” his spirit was broken as he put his hands over his face.

As Pete continued to hold the gun on him, uniformed officers began to file in.

“If you wouldn’t mind, sir, please leave the weapon and wait outside. This is a crime scene now.”

Pete nodded and set the weapon down, looking over at Tony. An officer read him his rights while another cuffed him. As he turned to leave, his calm demeanor faded as shock and relief took hold of his emotions.

ooOoo

Tony had broken the rules of his restraining order, and due to the violent nature of his crime, he would be tried for breaking and entering, kidnapping, criminal restraint, violation of a protective order, use of a weapon in commission of a felony, use of a weapon in violation of a restraining order, and assault with a deadly weapon. 

ooOoo

Tara had been ashamed to tell Pete about her dysfunctional marriage to Tony. She wasn’t a victim and didn’t want to be seen as one. Now that Pete knew, and had seen how bad it had been, he had a new respect for her.

He would never let anyone hurt her, or Shawn ever again.

ooOoo

They didn’t go to the trial and kept Shawn away from the situation as best they could. He knew his dad was going to jail and that he’d held them hostage, but that was all that he needed to know. Tara and Pete both testified reliving the details of that horrible night, but it was worth it. Tony lost his parental rights and was going to jail for a very long time.

ooOoo

Six months later

The early morning sky that March day might have been overcast, but it was clear and the sun was shining brightly over the blue ocean. The hotel they were staying at boasted a beautiful, park-like setting and the crash of waves added a pleasant soundtrack as chairs were arranged and the stage was being set for the big day.

In his suite, the Groom was just waking up. A bright smile had crossed Pete’s face before he opened his eyes. Looking at the clock on the bedside table, he stretched and sat up, giddy with excitement and ready to start his new life.

“I’m in love, and it’s a sunny day. Good day sunshine!” He was joyful as he sang the Beatles song in the shower as he washed his hair and body.

Shawn was already dressed and watching TV in living room of the suite he shared with Pete. “Hurry up Dad! We need to eat, and you don’t want to be late for your own wedding. I think that’s bad luck or something!”

“I’m almost ready, just, you know, chill man,” Pete joked as he trimmed his goatee. “Order up some room service and get anything you want! I’m starved, too,” he laughed. His emotional state was over the top.

The happiest day of his life was finally here. He loved Tara, and the miracle of it all wasn’t lost on him. It hadn’t been long ago that he believed this day would never come. He laughed at the thought of it and a tear ran down his face.

Wiping it away, he looked in the mirror. “You’re a lucky man, Peter Gates,” he said as he picked up his white jacket. He wasn't doing the tux thing. They wanted a beach wedding, and both felt it more appropriate to wear something less fancy, so his white pants and jacket were matched with a new blue Hawaiian shirt.

ooOoo

Tara’s mother, two sisters and her best friend, Kelly, all gathered around in her suite, laughing and helping her get ready. She’d had her hair and her make-up done, and looked stunningly beautiful as she modeled her simple gown with the spaghetti straps for her Bridesmaids and Matron of Honor, her mother.

Kelly added white hibiscus flowers to her hair, as something new.

But she really didn’t need it. She was beginning a new life, and this time, it was going to be forever.

ooOoo

The End