Interlude: Clear the Air

The house was completely silent, save the soft tapping of the keyboard beneath Jonas’ fingers. Normally he loved these sort of quiet mornings – when the rest of the family was off at work or school or running errands, and he was free to sit at home and get some work done in peace.

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But he could not shake the feeling that today would be anything but peaceful…

The man’s worried thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the chiming of the doorbell echoing throughout the empty house. The sound almost made him jump.

Jonas did his best to force a smile as he rose to his feet. He hadn’t expected Josh to arrive so early. Alright. He told himself. Don’t fuck this up.

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Jonas knew how risky it had been to invite Josh to come – especially without telling the boys. But he would be heading back to the U.S. in just two days, and Jonas couldn’t bear to let the other man go without speaking to him first – just the two of them.

“Good Morning.” Jonas widened his smile as he opened the door for the other man. “Thank you for coming.”

Josh stepped into the house, smiling but looking wary. “Morning. I’m glad you invited me over, actually.”
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Jonas nodded. “I had a feeling you would be. The boys told me you wanted to speak with my wife, and…” He shrugged. “Well, I hope you don’t mind if we speak instead.”

“That’s probably a good idea.” He paused for a moment. “Look, Jonas, I really want to apologize. I let my temper get the better of me.”

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One look at the other man’s face told Jonas he was sincere. It’s okay, he almost replied. Jonas had to bite back the knee-jerk reaction. No matter how difficult Mari had been or how sorry Josh was, it was certainly not ‘okay’.

“Thank you. I appreciate it.” He said at last. “And I understand. Let’s just say we know a thing or two about tempers in this family…” Despite everything, Jonas almost laughed. “Would you like to sit down?” He gestured toward the living room doorway in the distance.

Josh nodded, and followed Jonas down the hall.

Ah, here comes the fun part… Jonas was still not exactly sure what he intended to say, but one thing was certain – he had to say something.

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He took a seat beside the older man, clearing his throat softly. “I’m really glad I have this chance to talk to you. I know things haven’t exactly been easy for any of us and… It didn’t feel right for you to leave without having the chance to…” Jonas paused, furrowing his brow. Scheiße. How the Hell do you say it in English? “Ah… reinen Tisch machen… Clear the table?” He looked at Josh hopefully.

Josh laughed in a quiet burst. “Clear the air? Yeah, that sounds like a good plan.”

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Jonas could not suppress his own chuckle of amusement. “Yes, clear the air.” He nodded, smiling sheepishly. “Sorry. All those years learning English, and I guess some things still escape me…” The man gave a small shrug, then fell into silence for a few moments.

Verdammt. This was so much easier in my head… He thought helplessly. Especially when I didn’t have to translate…

Jonas took a deep breath. “By now, I’m sure you’ve probably figured out that… this really hasn’t been easy for my family.” He began uncertainly. “Especially my wife.”

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Josh smiled wryly. “I’ve gathered that, yes.”

“Look, I know what you probably think of her. You made that very clear the other night.” For a moment, Jonas’ tone hardened. Though he had forgiven Josh for the outburst, the memory still stung. He quickly chased the feeling away. “And I understand why you do. I promise you, I do. She’s being so damn difficult, and it’s not fair to you. I know it isn’t. And I’m sure you won’t believe me when I tell you this… But she knows it too.”

“Mari is…” Jonas paused, trying to collect his thoughts. “I guess you could say she… Damn. This is hard. I can’t really find the words… Not even in German.” For a fleeting moment, his lips curled into a small smile that was gone as quickly as it had come. “It was a long time ago, before I knew her. But… Back when you, um… ‘met’ her…” Jonas stumbled over the words a bit, trying to hide his discomfort.

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“I think that was when she was at her worst. Her lowest. I don’t know all the details, but… I know enough. She was depressed. She… hated herself.” Jonas shook his head. “From what I’ve heard, it was pretty damn scary. Her parents didn’t know what to do…” He paused, breathing deeply. Though he’d been fortunate enough to have never witnessed it for himself, the stories alone were enough to break his heart.

The man cleared his throat softly before continuing. “She was in therapy for almost ten years after the boys were born.” Jonas explained. “And she’s come so far, even from when I first met her. But she’s still… broken. I’ve tried so hard to fix her, but I don’t think anything will ever be enough take the pain away. Not completely. And having you come back into her life – into the boys’ lives – after all these years…” He shrugged helplessly.

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“Josh, please understand. Those boys were everything to her for so long. I think they were the only good thing in her life… Until she met me, of course.” He allowed himself a smile yet again. “She just… doesn’t know how to deal with this, I guess. And I know that’s no excuse for how horrible she’s been to you. But… I just wanted you to maybe understand why. She’s trying. And I’m trying too.” Jonas hoped the other man knew how sincere he really was. “Give her time, and she’ll come around. I promise. And, until then… I’m sorry. I really am.”

Josh remained silent for a long time, taking in everything Jonas had told him. Jonas felt his heart rate quicken as he waited for Josh to finally speak, terrified of what his response may be.

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“I do understand.” Josh said at last. “Like I said, I let my temper get the better of me before. It’s just been very frustrating because I want to explain to her that I don’t want to steal the boys from her – or you. I’ve actually been wanting an opportunity to speak to you since I got here. You’re their father. Stefan… I know he doesn’t seem to appreciate that, but I do.” He sighed softly. “But about Mari. I sympathize with her a lot. I’m not proud of the man I was when I ‘met’ her either.”

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“Thank you for understanding.” Jonas replied. “Seriously. And… for what it’s worth, I’ve never felt like you were trying to ‘steal’ them. I know that’s not why you’re here. But I won’t lie. Seeing them with you… It hurts a little.” He confessed, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. “Especially Stefan. Things with him have always been pretty complicated… I guess you picked up on that, huh?”

“Yeah. He’s tried not to be too obvious about it, I think, I just kind of got it from some things he’s said and the way he talks about you. The biggest clue was that he calls you by name.”

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Jonas nodded, and tried his best to hide the pain in his voice. “Yeah… I don’t think I’ll ever be anything but ‘Jonas’ to him.” He forced a smile. “And that’s okay. It’s his decision. It doesn’t change the way I feel about him. He’s my son.” His voice was suddenly thick as he spoke. Great, now you look fucking ridiculous. Jonas cursed himself as he fought back the wave of emotion that threatened to overtake him. “And I know he cares. He’s a good kid.”

Josh leaned forward, bracing his arms on his legs. “He is a good kid,” He agreed. “You’re a stronger man than me; it would drive me crazy if a kid I’d raised pretty much his whole life had the same attitude towards me as Stefan does you.”

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“Oh, it drives me pretty damn crazy.” Jonas laughed. “But there’s nothing I can do about it. I learned that a long time ago. I mean, I used to think that maybe he’d come around, but…” He stopped himself abruptly. “Hey, who am I to complain? I mean, think how many kids out there hate their step-parents. I got lucky with those boys. Even Stefan.” Jonas’ smile widened. “And… I guess I should be thanking you. Without you, I wouldn’t have my sons. Hell, I might not even have my wife and daughter either.”

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“Both the boys are pretty great. You and Mari did a damn good job.” Josh grinned. “And that Clara seems like a real firecracker. I wish you the best of luck with that one. My Cora is giving me all kinds of grey hairs.”

A loud burst of laughter escaped Jonas’ lips. “Yeah, ‘firecracker’ is certainly one way to put it… She’s her mother’s daughter, that’s for sure.” He shook his head slowly. “Sounds like you’ve got your hands full with yours too… You said she’s twelve, right? God, does that mean it doesn’t get any better from here?” His terror was only half-feigned.

Josh laughed and shook his head. “Oh, you poor bastard. It’s only going to get worse once she discovers boys.”

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“Fuck.” Jonas slumped back against the couch cushions, hiding his face in his hands for a moment. “Know of any good convents back in Willow Creek?”

The older man snorted. “Not off the top of my head. This is the land of castles. Maybe there’s a nice tower you can put her in somewhere?”

“Are you serious?” Jonas struggled to keep a straight face.  “A beautiful girl all alone in a tower? We know how that one ends…”

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“Jonas?” A deep voice called from the hallway. “Josh?!”

Stefan appeared in the doorway, raising an eyebrow curiously at both men as they continued laughing together on the couch.

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“Schön, dass du schon wieder da bist…” Jonas caught himself, his eyes flicking toward Josh with an apologetic shrug. “I’m glad to see you back so soon.” He repeated in English. “Josh decided to stop by a little early, so I was just keeping him entertained for you until you got back.”

Stefan looked uncertainly at his stepfather. “Entertained, huh?”

Then Jonas watched as his lips stretched into a warm smile.

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It was such a simple gesture, but so happy, so genuine, that Jonas felt his heart practically burst at the sight. It did not happen often, but Jonas lived for the moments when he caught Stefan looking at him the way he was now. It was the way Tobi looked at him every day – the way a child looks at his father.

The moment was gone all too quickly as Stefan turned his attention to Josh, his smile widening even more. For one fleeting moment, Jonas felt a burst of anger course through his veins. How many years had he been bending over backwards to get one lousy glimmer of that warmth, that affection? And what the Hell has this guy done to deserve it? He thought bitterly. Pass a fucking DNA test?!

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And just as quickly as it had come, the feeling was gone. Christ, I sound like Mari. Jonas almost laughed at the thought. This is what the boys have always wanted. I should be happy for them… I AM happy for them. Josh is a great guy. He reminded himself as he moved aside for his stepson to sit between them. He went through a lot to be here…

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And Stefan went through a lot to find him.

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Thank you to JoieWilder for writing all of Josh’s dialogue and actions in this chapter.


41 thoughts on “Interlude: Clear the Air

    1. Yes, Jonas is a great guy and he sees the bigger picture of the whole situation (whereas Mari is not right now haha)


  1. Want to clear the air? Light up some candles with lavender scent, clean linen scent, cherry blossom scent, apple cinnamon scent, lemon scent, or any scent that’s calming.

    ANYWAY, LONG CHAPTER, but I’m glad that Josh and Jonas had this chat despite Jonas brewing up some anger in himself near the end and trying to keep a normal expression during the chat with Josh. One bowl of anger soup with saltine crackers please.

    I know Stefan has gone long ways to find Josh, but I’m glad Jonas was happy for him at the end. Since Gen 2, I’ve been supporting Mari all the way. Hope the family will find a silver lining soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha yes this one was long! And poor Jonas definitely has a little pot of anger soup simmering… Hopefully it won’t grow into a boil! Haha

      And thank you for supporting Mari! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jonas is just too good to be true. I feel like, if anyone had the right to be a little annoyed at Stefan, it would be Jonas. I understand where Stefan is coming from, but I honestly think it wouldn’t hurt him to be a little more appreciative towards Jonas, even though they’ve come a long way with that. I hope nothings drastic has to happen for Stefan to appreciate his stepfather…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh trust me, Jonas is annoyed! That little burst of anger at the end was really more toward Stefan than Josh. Jonas has a hidden twinge of resentment toward Stefan (despite how much he loves him) that I’m not sure will ever go away, unfortunately 😦 But he tries his best to ignore those feelings as much as he can and focus on the good. He’s mostly successful haha

      I also hope that Stefan can learn to appreciate his stepfather… Guess we’ll see what happens! Thank you for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know! I just meant, instead of bottling it up, it might be good for him to open up to Stefan about how he makes him feel.. I feel bad for Jonas 😦

        Love the rest of the chapter though! Nice to see how the two dads are getting along

        Liked by 2 people

  3. This chapter really made Jonas seem even more great! But still…. human. He WAS angry, what makes Josh so great is that he can sincerely control this anger and at the same is happy for the boys.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My heart was breaking for Jonas when Stefan barely acknowledged him and went straight to Josh. :(. Jonas is such a stand up guy. He is always the peacemaker and tries to do what is right even to the point of hiding his own anger. <3. Love him. Good to hear things from his perspective. We don't get to hear his voice too often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jonas is the rock of the family for sure 🙂 I wonder if maybe Stefan doesn’t even realize how hurt Jonas is, since he “takes it” so well… Hmmm…

      Thank you for reading!


      1. For Jonas’ sake I only hope that at some point Stefan does realize how much he has hurt him and comes to terms with the fact that Jonas is his father not Josh. I like Josh and I think he likes Jonas so maybe with a not-so-gentle nudge from Josh, Stefan could have an “ah-ha” moment!

        Maybe part of the reason Stefan hasn’t found that special some one is because of his daddy issues. Now that they are sort of resolved and is Stefan thinks he is now “complete” he will be able to move on. It would love to see you make him fall madly I love with someone that had a young child and then he would be put into the step father role! Lol.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha he really is! I always fear that he comes across as too perfect — and maybe he does haha. But he’s just one of those people who genuinely does not have a mean or selfish bone in his body.He lives up to his “good” trait in every way!

      Mari knows how lucky she is, trust me. Stefan though? Now that’s another story entirely…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think everyone fell even more in love with Jonas after this chapter. He’s such a rock for this family. I love seeing his complicated layers just below the “Everything will be alright” surface.

    He was on a sage-burning mission with this one. Hopefully it worked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope they did fall more in love with him because I certainly do hahaha. He is an amazing person, though not without his share of sadness and pain underneath it all.

      I hope he was successful too! He and Josh do seem to get along pretty well, and Josh was quite understanding 🙂 Hope!

      Thanks for readinf

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jenn!!!! *hugs* I’m happy to see you catching up ^_^ I miss you. And yes, Jonas is just… The best. ❤ I'm so happy you're #TeamJonas 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Although I am very happy that they were able to clear the air. Thank You Jonas. but i’m not too keen on the idea of using Mari past as an excuse to her behavior. Josh deserved a little more respect than she gave him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally respect that, and I do agree that Mari’s behavior shouldn’t be completely excused.

      I think Jonas has a major bias as her husband haha so of course he’s going to try to defend her.

      Hopefully she’ll shape up soon… But we’ll have to wait and see.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jonas is by far my favorite spouse character that came into the legacy. I’m not caught up, but I’m not sure if it’ll change because I really love Jonas as a character. I just think he has great dialogue moments.

    Liked by 1 person

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