Interlude: Regret

Zayne’s breaths were slow and even as Mark carefully rose from the bed, taking great care not to wake the little boy.

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He hesitated for just a moment as he reached the bedroom door. The moon’s soft glow crept in from the window, bathing the large portrait of Zayne and his parents in a dim light. Mark’s eyes traced his daughter’s figure, pressed so closely to her husband and looking down so lovingly at her son.

I love you, honey. I miss you so much. He closed his eyes for a moment. And I’m doing the best I can for Zayne. We all are. I promise.

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“Is he asleep?”

Mark was surprised to find Jocelyne pacing back and forth outside the bedroom door when he emerged. How long had she been out there?

He nodded. “It took a while, but he calmed down and let me put him to bed.”

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“And… how was he?” She asked nervously. “Once he’d calmed down?”

A soft sigh escaped Mark’s lips. “He feels terrible…. Wouldn’t stop apologizing… He thinks he ruined Christmas.”

Jocelyne dropped her face into one of her hands. “Jesus. The poor kid. This was all my fault. Every year Elliot and I tell the girls to ‘write’ to Santa… I just wanted Zayne to be included too.” She shrugged helplessly. “It was just a bunch of scribbles. If I’d known what he’d written, I would’ve –”

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“I know.” Mark interrupted gently. “Don’t beat yourself up over it, okay? Zayne’s been unpredictable these past few months. There was no way to know this would happen.”

It was still painful to remember Zayne’s meltdown from earlier that evening. It was probably one of the worst he’d ever had. Christmas had been painful for all of them, and they’d known Zayne would be no exception. But when the little boy discovered that Santa did not grant his Christmas wish of bringing his parents back, everything fell hopelessly apart. He cried, he screamed, he threw things, and finally sprinted up the stairs to hide in his bedroom.

“Thank God for you, Mark.” Jocelyne said seriously, breaking the silence. “I don’t know what we would have done without you. You’re the only one he’d listen to.”

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“Yes… And I haven’t the slightest idea why.” For a moment, he almost laughed.

Jocelyne, Mari and Jonas, Colette, Clara and Florian, Gus… They’d all tried so hard to get through to Zayne, but he simply would not listen. Not until Mark sat with him. He couldn’t help but wonder if he’d simply gotten lucky. Maybe by the time I got in there, he’d started calming down on his own. He wondered.

But no matter what the reason, Mark was just grateful it was over.

“Did everyone else clear out while I was in there?” Mark continued.

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Jocelyne nodded. “Oma and Opa helped Elliot tuck the girls in, then headed off to bed. Remi and River were getting tired, so Clara and Florian took them home. Noah has to work tomorrow so he went home with Gus a little while ago. Elliot left a few minutes ago…” She paused for a moment, sighing. “And maman’s helping put Papa to bed.”

Mark’s face fell at the mention of Jocelyne’s father. By the time Zayne had his meltdown, Tobi was in no state to help. He’d been throwing back drinks all day, from what Jocelyne had told him. And as the evening wore on, it became clear that she was not exaggerating. The thought both saddened and worried him… In all the years he’d known him, Mark had never seen Tobi have more than a beer or two at dinner.

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“Jocelyne… someone has to talk to him about this.” He replied softly. “I mean… This isn’t the first time, right?”

Jocelyne shook her head. “It’s only been a handful of times, but… yeah. There are bad days. And believe me, we’ve been trying to talk to him. But you know my Papa.” She sighed. “You know he won’t listen.”

Mark nodded. Unfortunately, she was right. “Well, I guess this won’t be topping any of our ‘best Christmas’ lists, huh?” He managed a small smile, trying to lighten the mood.

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To his relief, it seemed to work. “Yeah, definitely not.” Jocelyne returned his smile. “But I guess it could have been worse, all things considered… We knew this would be a hard one.”

“Yeah, we did…” Mark shook his head. “Y’know, all night, I just kept waiting for the doorbell to ring. Something in me just kept expecting them to show up at the door…”

Jocelyne’s smile faded. “Me too.”

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She reached forward with a small white hand, her fingers almost coming to rest on Mark’s shoulder. But before they could, she pulled away, clearing her throat softly.

“It’s getting pretty late.” She continued. “And we’ve all had a long day. You’ll probably want to head home soon…”

He nodded slowly. “You’re right… But… I did have something I wanted to give you first. I didn’t get a chance to before.” He beckoned for her to follow him, then headed back downstairs to the living room.

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“It’s nothing special.” He assured her as he watched her open the box. “Just some old books I thought you might like. Back when you were at school, I remember you mentioning a few classics you hadn’t had the chance to read…”

Jocelyne laughed softly as she examined the covers of the books in front of her. “I remember… And I also remember almost giving you a heart attack when I told you.”

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Mark’s smile widened. “Hey, there are some books it should be a CRIME not to read, Jocelyne.”

“Yeah, according to you.” She teased.

And countless scholars around the world.” Mark insisted.

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“Seriously though… This is very sweet. Thank you.” She smiled at him for a moment. “But I’m not sure if I can really accept…”

Mark’s brow furrowed. “What do you mean?”

She bit her lip before speaking again. “I just… I think you need to stop this.”

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“Stop what?”

“I know what you’re trying to do. You’ve been doing it ever since I moved back home…” Jocelyne shook her head slowly. “But it’s not that easy. We can’t do this, Mark. We can’t go back to how things used to be.”

There was a sudden heaviness in Mark’s chest. Had he truly been that obvious? Had he really managed to reveal his feelings so easily? There’s no point in denying it now, is there? Still, she had it all wrong. And he needed her to understand.

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“Jocelyne… I don’t want us to go back to how things were before.” He explained gently. “We shouldn’t. And we can’t. We’re not the same people we used to be. I know that, you know that…” Mark paused for a moment. “What I want is a chance to start over.” He said at last.

“Start over?”

He nodded. “Back to square one. No expectations. No rushing into anything. Just… a second chance. For both of us.” His voice shook nervously as he spoke.

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It felt like an eternity before she replied. Mark felt his heart racing in his chest as he waited for her to say something – anything.

At last, she opened her mouth to speak. “No.”

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“W-what?! But… Jocelyne, I –”

“It’s too late now. You know that.”

“Jocelyne, it’s never too late.” Mark replied almost desperately. “Just one chance. That’s all I’m asking for.”

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Jocelyne shook her head slowly, her expression suddenly darkening. “And what the hell do you think you’re doing anyway? What, now that Hazel and Luc are out of the way, I’m fair game again?”

“WHAT?!” Mark felt his neck burning as a rush of anger bubbled up inside of him. “How can you even SAY that?!”

“Well it’s true, isn’t it? Six fucking years you could have picked up the phone, Mark. But you never did. And now that Luc and Hazel aren’t standing in our way – now that it’s convenient for you – you come crawling back to me?!”

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“It’s not like that at all!” Mark cried. “I wanted you to move on, okay? I knew I hurt you. I knew I didn’t deserve you, so I tried to let you go. But when I saw you again at the memorial… That night we spent together…” He left the thought unfinished. “You can’t tell me you didn’t feel it too.”

“It doesn’t matter how I felt!” Jocelyne threw her hands up in frustration. “I don’t have time to play these games with you anymore, Mark. You’re right. I am a different person than I was. I’m not a little girl anymore.” She shook her head. “You’re Zayne’s grandfather. You’re going to be part of my life now. I’ve accepted that. But I won’t let you pull this shit with me. I won’t let us fall into the same mistakes all over again.”

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“B-but I –”

“Look, it’s been a long day for both of us. We’re tired. We’re stressed.” She interrupted him abruptly, her voice curt and cold. “You need to go before one of us says something we’re going to regret, okay?”

“Jocelyne…”

“Goodbye, Mark.” She rose to her feet, turning away from him. “Merry Christmas.”

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54 Responses to Interlude: Regret

  1. CitizenErased14 says:

    Hahaha well he’s still in love. He can’t help how he feels. But… yeah, it’s looking like he’s not going to get the second chance he wanted 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. fairlyvocal says:

    And I thought the Christmases at my house were drama filled! First: I am sending Zayne hugs for Christmas. That poor kid is going through so much, and his family (and Bruce) are trying so hard to be there for him.
    Second: I get what Joce is saying and her reasons to not want to try again with Mark. I’m not angry at him, but I think him never calling her is something to be considered. Also, don’t people act rashly when they’re grieving? I don’t think it’s a good idea for them to get back together at this point in time.

    Liked by 4 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Thanks 🙂 Zayne appreciates the hug!

      And you’re very right about people acting rash when they are grieving. It’s been a few months now, but things are still pretty fresh and emotions are definitely running high.

      Like

  3. Jenna222888 says:

    Love this story!
    Can everyone please move on!
    Mark find someone else
    Jocelyn needs to focus on getting her own life than sharing it with someone else

    Like

  4. Trip says:

    [Drifts by on wreckage] We can rebuild! We have time. Mark is only 50-something.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Spottydog714 says:

    I don’t understand. What IS her problem? Sure, everyone’s moved on, sure, everyone’s different, but Mark is trying to be nice! And Joce blew up in his face and started saying absurd things. Joce. Stop. And. Think. I know you’re grieving, but this: “And what the hell do you think you’re doing anyway? What, now that Hazel and Luc are out of the way, I’m fair game again?” is not okay. They are dead. Do not bring them into your problems.

    Gripping as ever, Citizen, and I can’t wait for the next update 🙂 I don’t care whether Joce and Mark get back together, I just want them to stop fighting.

    Hmm, all the times someone has extended an olive branch to Joce, even when it’s her fault just as much too, and is willing to take ALL the blame and move on, she throws back in their face. Why? Why can’t you let yourself be forgiven?

    Tobi’s an alcoholic now? What kind of example are you setting to the children? You know, if your parents are alcoholics, you are much more likely to become one yourself. AND you’ll get liver cancer. It’s a mirical Mari’s managed to avoid it XD

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      I think Joce is just very hurt and sad right now and is not feeling like letting Mark back in her heart. She’s still upset over how she was hurt by him in the past and I think she is annoyed that he’s trying to get back with her.

      She definitely likes to push people away. I think there’s definitely a bit of self-loathing at work in her character. She does not see herself as worthy of forgiveness or love right now. It’s sad.

      And you’re the only person so far to address Tobi’s drinking problem! It’s quite sad 😦 I wouldn’t put him completely in the “alcoholic” category right now, but his drinking is becoming problematic and it could definitely head that way!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Spottydog714 says:

        I’d have thought she’d be flattered that he still loves her after all the times she’s slept with him then run away. XD But you’re right, Joce needs to let herself be forgiven before she can forgive anyone else 🙂 And, heh, what can I say, I’m in the youth branch of a charity who does drugs and alcohol awareness. I like to talk about these things 🙂

        Like

  6. audreyfld says:

    Nooooo. Noooooo. Nooooo. If Zayne continues to bond more with Mark, then they will be pushed together more than she probably wants. Mark screwed up so bad. It will take a lot for them to fix that damn ship. I still think it will be Zayne that is the catalyst if they ever try to sail it again. Fingers crossed. Stupid lack of toddlers in TS4 is why Mark didn’t call her for 6 years! I blame EA.

    Also, I am curious to see how you throw Elliott into the mix. There was a lot of his pov not too long ago. Maybe Elliott will meet someone and get married. (I hope so.) Wonder how Jocelyn would feel about that. Happy for him? Maybe, but I think it would be a lot of other conflicting emotions; jealousy, feeling sorry for herself because he is now happy and she isn’t, resentment towards his wife and maybe a little depression would sneak in. Sorry, rambling….

    I get that she is different, but different in that she has shut down her feelings for everyone except her kids and Zayne. Very sad for a young woman with her whole life ahead of her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      I got a good chuckle from you blaming EA 😂 Love it. Joce definitely is not looking to help the Marklyne sail again right now. Too much pain there, and too much other stuff for her to worry about right now!

      Great questions about Elliot! We will have to wait and see. He’s definitely going to be a character from now on, and we will be hearing more from him later 🙂

      Nice assessment of Joce at the end too. She’s not in a good place emotionally and it’s definitely affecting her relationships with others!

      Like

  7. witchazard says:

    Aw man I kinda wanted to see that meltdown I’m sure it would have been hilarious from they way you described it! I just cant believe how much I love this kid!
    Is it wrong to think Jocelyn should just be single for the rest of this gen!
    I mean she clearly has her hands full already and since when is being in a relationship the only way someone can be happy? I mean maybe she’ll find someone in a decade or so but for right now I’m glad she’s shuttin it down!

    Like

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Haha well I think it would have been more sad than amusing. I’m glad you love him though 🙂

      I am shocked that the queen of shipping doesn’t ship Joce with anyone right now 😮 Hahaha but I get it, and you make great points. Jocelyne has a lot more to worry about right now than a relationship!

      Like

  8. NoaLyn says:

    Ugh. I feel like Joce makes the exact same mistake as with Luc… “start over” doesn’t necessarily mean to get back together, maybe just getting back to being friends would also be an option. I really loved her when she was a young woman, but no she’s become pretty hard, to herself and the ones close to her too… that really makes me sad 😦

    Like

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Yeah, you’d think she’d have learned a lesson about second chances!

      She’s definitely changed over the years 😦 I think the “real” Joce we all love is still in there. But she’s inside a hard shell…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. kaffepigen says:

    Oh wow. I can’t believe Jocelyne would be so cold. But again, so was Mark before they got together the first time back when she was in college. But still. They have all this history and Mark is practically begging Joce to give him another chance. Why can’t she see this is a good thing? For them to get back together? I don’t know what to make of this. Does this mean they will never be together again? Or will Jocelyne soften up after a while of thinking? I guess only time will tell…

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      It’s hard to say 100% what this means for the future. It might be the end, or maybe she will soften up. We’ll have to wait and see. This chapter was very painful for both of them 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Yogiwonks says:

    Agh I feel so sad for Zayne.
    Also that must of been very hard for Jocelyn.
    It’s clear she still loves Mark, but sometimes love isn’t enough.
    I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone’s characters develop as Zayne grows up.
    Poor Tobi chasing the nightmares with alcohol.
    That never works buddy, but for a second.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jes2G says:

    Phew! Dodged that bullet. Thank you for not showing Christmas! That would not have been fun AT ALL!

    At last, she opened her mouth to speak. “No.”
    *AIR FIST PUMP* 🙂 It’s about time she started thinking remotely rationally.

    “I’m not a little girl anymore!”
    Oh ho ho! Has someone been realizing certain accusations of old? LOL XD

    Toni…please don’t do this to yourself…not that you’ve ever listened to me before…or anyone. *snort*

    Liked by 3 people

  12. CitizenErased14 says:

    Yeah I think she’s making a great point. She’s feeling very hurt right now. I’m glad you get it! 🙂

    I like that you are still optimistic despite it all 🙂 Thank you for reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. CitizenErased14 says:

    Yeah I did not want to put anyone through the torture of having to read that XD And I’m glad you approve of Joce’s actions here… and don’t approve of Tobi’s. *sigh* If only he’d listen to you!

    Like

  14. Mumei No says:

    I think it’s okay for Joce not want a relationship right now, I eman, i get what she is saying, I’m actually suporting it! The previous times she has end up with Mark didn’t go very well, at least, and her life is confusing alredy, and to have to deal plus with people judying her and having to explaing everything to all childrem…it’s going to ad her more problems than any good, but, again, he is 5, and I don’t think he know what ”scandalist” is, or even care, he don’t know yet what is ”wrong” so they could totally date, and I don’t think Zayne would care pretty much…the other childrem, let’see, they could be erased to accept this more than their parents, at least…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mumei No says:

      Forgot two things: Tobi’s drinking problem will probrably be something in the future…if he continues to drink everytime this family has problems, than I don’t think he is ever going to be lucid! ( Just like in real life…) And is interresting to see Joce’s developement, and just like some say, memories change people, and this is what joce is now, it’s impossible to change her to her ”usual self” because this is now her usual self…

      Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      You do make a good point about Zayne’s age. He’s too young to understand it’s weird for his grandfather and aunt to date haha Though right now that’s not looking like a great possibility… Joce is pretty firm in her “no” right now.

      Like

      • fabtiffsim says:

        As she should be, she has no real reason to trust Mark at this point. Also there’s some pretty important things to take care of right now that is more important than whether they’re going to get a second chance or not right? Poor Zayne. Mark might be in love but he’s all head games. And she just moved her entire family to take care of her dead brother’s son that she doesn’t know. Big things.

        Liked by 1 person

        • CitizenErased14 says:

          This is so true. She has a lot going on. Definitely not the time to be thinking about any kind of relationship with ANYONE, let alone Mark, who’s hurt her before.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. DanaColourful says:

    Joce definetely did the right thing. Things are complicated enough as they are. But I really hope that Tobi doesn’t end up having serious issues with drinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. maladi777 says:

    Thinking of it, it is rather surprising that they didn’t add Christmas to their woohoo list. Let’s see, they woohooed on Luzel wedding, then after the memorial sevice. Christmas would be another logical step. No? Oh, well then. There’s still Easter…

    Like

  17. hammyskyblu123 says:

    This is completely off topic, but now that I think about it, almost all of the heirs have had different hair colors! 😮

    Like

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      LOL Except for Mari and Alex, yes 🙂 Though Alex’s mother and grandfather (from Dust to Dust) both had black hair too. So there was 4 gens of black hair before the changes happened 🙂

      Like

  18. SpurklyNinja says:

    Aww, Zayne… 😦

    Tobi, I do not approve.

    I mostly agree with Joce here. It’s good that she wants to focus on her children and not worry about a romantic relationship. And, yes, Mark made major booboos when he didn’t try once to contact Joce. But, I do think that she’s shut herself off here. Maybe it’d be nice to have a friend to talk to again, like how Mark was to her many, many, MANY years ago (someone other than Clara). 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  19. lisabeesims says:

    Hmm I wish I knew what to think .. she seems to still love him but …

    Liked by 1 person

  20. theceltygirly says:

    Damn 😦
    I mean, at this point I don’t want Mark and Jocelyne together. It’s just too much.
    I want Zayne to feel better 😦 He can’t understand. When kids can’t understand tragedy it kills me.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. You tell him, girl! I actually agree with Jocelyn. He had a lot of time to think and a lot of time to do the right thing and try to mend their relationship. And he didn’t.
    So even if she ends up changing her mind about the matter, I’m glad she stood her ground and let he know that he can’t just brush her aside anytime he feels like it and then make it right with one conversation.

    Also, I think it’s amazing how you can make you characters grow. When I think about what was Jocelyn like when she became the heir… she’s come a long way.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. skcaga6 says:

    The ship has sailed, Mark. Move on. Live with just being friends. Do you realize how weird it would be for Zayne if Mark and Joc got together? Talk about a confused little boy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      It definitely seems like it won’t be happening anytime soon… And it definitely could have the potential to be weird! Though I do think Zayne is young enough that he wouldn’t really be affected negatively at this point. But either way, Joce is having none of it!

      Like

  23. addbratlove225 says:

    I was casually reading through comments and wow. It seems that I’m the only person who still likes Jocelyne. And I just think she needs her children (including Zayne) and a nice flower garden or something.

    Liked by 1 person

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