Interlude: Happy Birthday

Jocelyne smiled excitedly as the front door swung open and a trio of sweet little faces came into view. Right on time. She thought as they raced toward her, each one eager to give their mother a hug.

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It had been a pleasant surprise when Elliot told her he’d be swinging by with the kids that morning. He’d offered to give up his weekend so she could spend her birthday with them, but Jocelyne was scheduled to work that afternoon anyway – she simply couldn’t justify asking for the extra time off. Money had been extra-tight recently.

“Happy Birthday, Mommy!” Tony practically leapt into Jocelyne’s arms. “Guess what?! Alex drew you a picture and Charlie made you a teapot! And Daddy took me to the store and helped me pick out some really pretty perfume for you!”

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“Shhhhh!” Alex scolded angrily. “It’s ‘posed to be secret!”

Charlie just beamed. “Surprise!”

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“Alright, next stop, SuperKids 3!” Elliot smiled warmly at his children. “Go wait in the car and I’ll be right there, okay?”

“Okay, Daddy!”

“Bye, Mommy!”

“I love you, Mommy!”

“Happy Birthday!”

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The triplets’ cries of goodbye mingled together into a cacophony of sweet voices as they raced out the door.

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Jocelyne beamed as she watched them go. They’re growing up so fast… God, I feel old! Chuckling to herself, she turned her attention to Elliot.

Thank you.” She said sincerely. “Seriously, you didn’t have to do this.”

“It was nothing.” Elliot shrugged. “It seemed like the right thing to do… It just feels wrong for you to not get to see the kids on your birthday.” He explained. “And you know I would have let you have them this weekend, right?” For a moment, he looked almost guilty. “I’m sorry you couldn’t take the time off…”

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Jocelyne shook her head. “It’s fine. ‘No rest for the weary’, right?”

“Yeah… I guess.” Elliot’s smile seemed so forced. “Well, Happy Birthday, Jocelyne. I hope it’s a good one.”

“Thanks.” She replied softly. “Have fun at the movies.”

He raised an eyebrow at her. “Fun? Did you not hear the title? SuperKids3! Because two 90-minute long torture sessions were clearly not enough…”

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“See you Sunday, Elliot.” Jocelyne smiled at him as her laughter finally died away.

“See you.”

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Jocelyne glanced down at the clock on her phone. She still had another hour to kill before she had to leave for work.

She knew better than to pick up a book – she wouldn’t be able to pull herself away in time for her shift. Of that she was certain. Maybe there’s something good on… Jocelyne turned on the television and began flipping through the channels.

As predicted, there was nothing good. Long, droning news broadcasts. A baseball game she had no interest in. An old rerun of her favorite sitcom.

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Jocelyne felt her stomach drop as she flipped by an old familiar scene from Moonlight Massacre. Even after all these years, she couldn’t stand any mention of that film. With a small sigh of annoyance, she turned off the TV.

Well that was a bust. The woman thought bitterly. What now? How else was she supposed to kill time before she got ready for work?

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As though on cue, Jocelyne felt a gentle vibration in her right pocket. For a moment, she wondered who it might be. A telemarketer? Elliot? Her boss? Or maybe it was Gus or her parents, calling to wish her a happy birthday…

She pulled her phone from her pocket and glanced down at the caller ID.

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Luc.

Jocelyne felt a rush of emotions at the sight of her twin’s name – Curiosity. Anger. Guilt. Fear.

She couldn’t even remember the last time he’d called her. Definitely not since she’d first left home all those years ago. At first, he’d been relentless in his attempts to contact her. He wanted to explain himself, Clara had told her. He was trying to apologize. Make amends.

But she’d had to take her aunt’s word for it. Jocelyne never listened to a single voicemail, or read a single email. She’d deleted them all. It wouldn’t have changed anything, would it? The damage had already been done.

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Still, a part of her always wanted to know what he’d said. How had he tried to explain himself? What did he think he could say to make her forgive him? She’d never know. But she’d always wonder.

Against her better judgement, Jocelyne touched her finger to the screen and lifted the phone to her ear. “Hello?”

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“Hey, Joce.” Lucas said softly. “I hope this isn’t a bad time… This timezone thing still fucks with my head.” He laughed.

“It’s fine.” She replied uncomfortably. “W-what’s up?”

“You don’t know? Wow, I hope you haven’t forgotten what day it is…” His cheerfulness sounded so forced. “Happy Birthday!”

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Jocelyne almost laughed, despite herself. How could she not have guessed? Still… he’d never called her on their birthday before. “Thanks, you too.” She replied at last. “I guess I’m just a little surprised. I figured our generic ‘Happy Birthday!’ messages on Facebook were a tradition or something by now.”

“Well, we don’t turn thirty every day.” Her brother replied. She could hear the smile in his voice. “How the hell did we get so old?” Lucas wondered aloud.

“No clue.” Jocelyne said softly. She fell silent then.

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This was the part she hated – the uncomfortable, forced small talk. Exchanging pleasantries. Pretending everything was okay. At least during the holidays she had time to prepare herself for the awkwardness of speaking to her twin. Today, she didn’t have that luxury.

“So… Any big plans tonight?” Lucas finally broke the silence. “Florian and Clara are taking me and Hazel out for drinks while maman and Papa watch Zayne… Kind of celebrating for Clara, too.”

Jocelyne nodded. Their aunt’s own 30th birthday was in less than two weeks. “Sounds fun.” She replied uncomfortably. “Nothing special planned around here though… I’m actually leaving for work in a little bit. Elliot’s got the kiddos this weekend.”

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“Oh.” Lucas’ own discomfort was apparent in his tone. “I didn’t mean to bug you while you were trying to get ready or anything…”

“It’s okay.”

There was a beat of silence. “I guess I’d better let you go, then.”

“Yeah.” Jocelyne replied lamely. She said nothing for a few moments. God, this is so fucking awkward. “Um… Well… Thanks for calling. That was nice.”

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“Yeah.” Lucas agreed.

Neither one of them spoke for a long time.

“So… I kinda need to go.” Jocelyne mumbled. “Bye, Luc.”

“Wait!”

“What?”

“I… I just wanted you to know… That I love you, Joce.” Lucas’ voice was pained. “And I miss you. So much.”

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There were so many things Jocelyne longed to say in return. She wanted to tell him how much she missed him too. How sorry she was for shutting him out for all this time. How much guilt she still carried with her for ruining his wedding six years ago. How angry and hurt she still felt at him and Hazel, even after all these years.

And how much she still loved him, despite it all.

But she didn’t.

“…Happy Birthday, Luc.” Jocelyne whispered.

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She could hear him take a slow breath, as though bracing himself for something. “Joce, look. I –”

Jocelyne hung up before he could say another word.

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48 thoughts on “Interlude: Happy Birthday

  1. Joce! You’re pissing me off! Let the boy talk to you so you can see how ridiculous you have been acting for the last 6 years for no reason! She’s pissed off at Luc and Hazel now but wait until she finds out that they gave Mark their blessing all those years ago and it was him who was the one keeping them apart all along! She’s gonna feel so shitty for pushing her brother away. Before Luc called, I was hoping Mark would show up at her doorstep and sweep her off her feet but I shouldn’t expect something so easy should I? LOL.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahahaha you should have learned by now how I run things around here 😉 Hehehehe

      No but seriously, Joce is being ridiculous, I agree! She’s so stubborn and I think there’s also a certain amount of shame there too. She KNOWS she’s being ridiculous and doesn’t want to admit it haha and this grudge has essentially defined her life for so long that I think it’s just too hard to let go :-/

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Happy Birthday Jocelyne!!! I love your new look. She can be a cool soccer mom.

    I’m curious to know what Luc was about to say to Joce before she hung up on him. Joce watches ParaNormal Neighborhood?? COOL BEANS. 😀

    Here’s an update of the SS Nuggy. It’s now upgraded to the Royal Nuggy. Now customers can enjoy a nice cruise with hot tubs, spas, buffet style dining, comfy suites with comfy beds, game rooms, conference rooms, bars, and pools! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh, Joce…I really hope there is not such longer time jumps, because being bitter is like wine, it get’s “better” with the pass of time..and too because there is a lot of changes, and I want to be like: ” Okay, so that’s the current situation of the family”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fate is clearly going to have to force her hand. She got more sassy and able to defend herself in the heat of the moment, but she still hasn’t learned to deal with the settled in bad things. I know this isn’t the end of their relationship though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great point about how she knows how to defend herself in the short term but still can’t deal with the long term. Hopefully she can learn how with time? You may be right that fate will need to force her hand in this. She doesn’t seem to want to budge!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Baby steps? She answered the phone at least. I was actually hoping it was Mark. Although after 6 years it wouldn’t be even though he is probably still pining for her as well. I feel like they just wasted 5 years of being together and she may never get to have her happily ever after. 😥Something big is going to happen to get her back with her family, just not sure what. She is now just wallowing in self pity.

    On the kiddo front, they are of course adorable. 2 girls and a boy is still my guess. Lol. I also have a guess as to who will be the heir but you are sneaky so it’s probably wrong so I will keep it to myself!

    I also think Elliott still cares about her – a lot – and she knows it. It was so sweet of him to offer her time with the kids on his day and the pains he took to make sure they all had a gift for her is telling. She still seems to be carrying around a lot of guilt still over what she did to their relationship although I still don’t think she is in love with him, but does care about him very much. I just keep thinking something is going to happen to him. She can’t very well move halfway across the continent. He would never allow it and she wouldn’t leave the kids either.

    Now we have to wait until Saturday to maybe find out what else Luc wanted to tell her. I hope he isn’t going to tell her that Mark got married. Maybe he wanted to tell her that she needs to be with Mark because he is still hurting as much as she is. That would be much better! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha definitely baby steps!

      Glad you find the triplets so cute! If nothing else, Elliot gave some good genes hahahaha And I’m so glad you pointed out how lovely Elliot was to Joce in this chapter. You’re the first 🙂 I don’t know if he has any romantic feelings for her anymore, but I don’t think he holds a grudge (unlike Joce, the perpetual grudge-holder lmao) and I think she also cares about him very much too (just platonically). He’s an amazing father and Joce knows it and loves that about him 🙂 And yes, she’s so guilty for how she hurt him, even after all this time 😦

      We may find out what Luc was gonna say! Stay tuned 😛 And as for Joce getting home/how Elliot would deal with it, stay tuned for that too 😛

      Like

  6. Hahahaha I’m so glad you appreciated Elliot in this one. He is so kind and genuine. 🙂

    And yes, Joce is becoming Darth Vader over here hahaha. It’s truly sad. She’s so bitter and stubborn. It’s tragic! But she definitely took a step by answering Luc’s call. 🙂 It’s something!

    Like

  7. Ah, the triplets are adorable! 🙂 ❤

    Well, ya picked up the phone at least, Joce. However, you seriously need to let this grudge GO! Honey, it's been so many years now. You've wallowed in your self-pity for long enough. You need to make amends and put everything out there for a long-awaited talk.

    Nice to see that Elliot is still kind and caring towards Joce, even after what happened to their relationship.

    That hairstyle looks pretty good on Joce!

    Now I'm interested to hear what Luc was going to say… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, they’re so dang cute! 🙂 And yes! It’s been too long and Joce needs to figure out how to fix this and move on. 😦

      Glad you like Joce’s new hair! And we’ll have to wait and see if we get to hear Luc’s perspective 😉

      Like

  8. I feel so bad for Jocelyne. I don’t think she’s been truly happy since Mark broke up with her, which was what, seven or eight years ago? She’s been fighting with Lucas for all that time too…
    I can’t imagine what she’s going through, but it’s obvious at this point that the problem is on her end. I wish she would let herself say what she wants to say. Maybe she’s afraid that she’ll be rejected? Maybe it’s her stubbornness? Either way, I hope she can overcome it.
    On another, more positive note, the triplets are adorable! I don’t know if it’s me but I think they look very similar, almost identical, except for Tony’s lighter hair. Now, if only they had some cousins their age to play with… OH WAIT, THEY DO. Haha sorry for that, but I’m curious to see if Jocelyne will ever introduce the triplets to her family. Speaking of that, do they ever see Stefan or Josh?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true, besides her children, Joce doesn’t have a lot of happiness in her life right now. It’s so sad! :/ And she’s only make it worse by being so stubborn 😦

      You are right that they look super similar! But they actually aren’t identical 🙂 They look a bit more different from one another when they’re older!

      And the triplets have actually met her family before 🙂 It was a very brief mention, but it came up in this chapter that Joce goes home for Christmas. I imagine she takes her kiddos with her when she goes 🙂

      Like

    1. If only Joce wasn’t so stubborn! 😦 Yeah, I imagine Joce has taken the kids with her when she goes to visit at Christmastime, but seeing your nieces or nephews once a year isn’t exactly the best way to be close to them 😦 I love being an Auntie too!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha definitely a stubborn streak! Plus I think there’s a certain level of shame there on her part too. She KNOWS it’s been wayyyy too long, and it’s so much easier to stay bitter and shut away than admit her stubbornness 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  9. OMG the triplets are adorable!!! I guess there is all those good looking genes happening. Elliott is so sweet in this chapter. I feel bad for him. I guess there are still times Jocelyn must wish she had loved him, but we can’t tell our heart who we are in love with. She seems so unhappy though. I glad Luc rang her. I hope she finds it in her heart to forgive him and get past her grief. It has been 8 years in total. I almost think Luc has grown up more than Jocelyn at this point in time. However, I can envision a future where they’ll be close to each other once again. Jocelyn did make the first step at reconciliation by answering his call and that is something!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elliot definitely gave us some good genes to work with 😉 And yes, he is an amazing father and Joce recognizes and appreciates that very much. I think she’ll always fee guilty for what happened between them 😦

      Joce is having such a hard time letting go of the past. I think it’s really consuming her. 😦 It’s frustrating and definitely immature, but she’s definitely taking tiny baby steps (like bring civil to Luc at Christmas and answering the phone in today’s chapter. #TeamBabySteps is back hahahaha

      Like

  10. Wow, such dislike for Joce. And here I was all set to congratulate her. To me that sounded an awful lot like a #babystep! Next time he calls they’ll take a little longer. And then she’ll call him, and finally, finally, they can heal She just panicked at the end becuase she knows she being unreasonable and isn’t 100% ready to face it, but she will.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Let’s just hope Luc can bring her back from the dark side. I’m so ready for Return of the Jocelyn right now.
    Although I’m a little afraid she’s going to be late and she’ll live the rest of her life full of regrets.

    Liked by 1 person

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