Interlude: What’s Left?

“Are you sure you don’t need anything else, honey?” Clara asked her daughter softly. “There’s still time for one more run to the store before you head back.”

Rory shook her head, smiling warmly at her mother. “Mama, I’m fine. You’ve already got my car practically overflowing.” She laughed. “And I’ve gotta leave now if I wanna get back before it’s too dark.”

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Her mother nodded. The drive back to Hamburg would take at least six hours, and it was already almost noon. “I know. I just… Well, you know me.” Clara forced a small laugh, trying to ignore the hot stinging of tears in the corner of her eyes.

“I know, Mama.” Her youngest daughter shook her head slowly. “But I’ll be back to visit again before you know it.” Rory promised, pulling Clara into a tight hug.

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“Text us when you get there, okay?” Florian stepped forward then, wrapping his arms around the young woman. “Drive safe, Peanut.”

“Aw, darn. And I was planning on driving as recklessly as I could.” Rory rolled her eyes and laughed as she pulled away from his embrace. “Glad you said something, Papa.”

Florian just laughed. “It was great to see you, sweetie.”

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“You too.” Rory smiled, her tone a bit more serious this time. “Love you guys.”

“Love you too.”

“See you soon.”

With one last wave, she was gone.

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Clara sighed heavily as she watched Rory’s car pull out of the driveway and disappear down the road. “There she goes.” She whispered. “Our baby.”

Beside her, she watched as her husband’s happy mask slowly faded as well. “Yeah… God, it’s always so damn hard to say goodbye.”

“I know.”

Neither of them spoke for several long moments after that. The silence that surrounded them felt so cold. So absolute. It was overwhelming. Ever since Rory had left for school, Clara had quickly discovered just how much she hated the silence of the empty house. Would she ever get used to it? She certainly hoped so.

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“Hey, wanna have some lunch?” Florian offered, breaking the silence at last. His smile seemed so forced.

His wife shook her head. “Thanks, but… I’m not hungry.”

“What about a movie then? Or a video game or something?” He asked almost hopefully.

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Clara shrugged. “Whatever you want, babe.” She tried to smile.

Her husband’s face fell slightly as he turned and headed toward the couch. “How about a movie then? I think it’s one of those Harry Potter marathon weekends.” He suggested, taking a seat and grabbing the remote. “Let’s see… Yup! Half-Blood Prince. Your favorite.” Florian teased.

Despite her mood, Clara couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh my God, WORST film of the whole series.”

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“I know, baby. I was kidding.” Florian smiled gently at her. “Should we skip it then?”

“Nah, it’s been a while since I’ve sat through that shitshow. I could probably use the laugh right now.” She dropped down to sit beside him, her smile fading just as quickly as it had come. Though her eyes were fixed on the large television screen, her mind was already very far away.

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It just didn’t seem fair. Having Rory home for a few days had finally brought some light back to their household. And now that she was gone… Well, everything just felt so quiet and boring. Meaningless.

Sometimes she wondered whether it was simply because of how she’d been raised – maybe spending most of her life in a household with so many people had simply made her used to the company of her family. And even when she moved out of her parents’ home, she always had her children by her side, filling her and Florian’s lives with joy and laughter every day.

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It was hard enough adjusting back when the twins turned eighteen and left to live on their own. Clara still had no idea what she’d do with Rory gone. Back when she’d first discovered she was pregnant with Remi and River, Clara never would have dreamed she’d come to love being a mother so much. But she did. Her children had quickly become her whole life. Her world.

What did she have left without them?

“Clara? Baby, what’s wrong?” Florian’s voice quickly called her back to the present. He lifted the remote from the coffee table, shutting off the television with a soft click and turning to face her.

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She reached up, realizing that her cheeks were hot and wet with tears. How long had she been crying? Clara tried to wipe them away as quickly as she could.

“Is… Is it your Papa?” Her husband continued uncertainly.

Clara shook her head. Losing her father had been one of the most painful things she’d ever experienced, right beside losing Lucas and Hazel all those years ago. Even months later, she still found herself weeping for Jonas every now and then. But this time, that was not the case.

“I just miss the kids.” She admitted softly. “Saying goodbye to Rory again… God, it was almost as hard as when we first dropped her off at school. I hate it.”

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“Me too.” Florian agreed, sighing. “But she’s an adult now, honey. What can we do?”

“I know, I know… It’s just… It’s so easy to say that.” His wife replied. “I keep thinking about her, all alone on the other side of the country… What if she decides to stay there for good?” Clara asked, her voice rising slightly in fear. “How do I know she’ll be okay? And how can I handle not seeing her anymore?” The words spilled frantically from her lips. “I mean, we barely see River already. And Remi’s only two towns over and it still feels like he never visits as much as he used to…”

To her surprise, Florian chuckled softly. “He’s got a kid, Clara. He has his own family to take care of now. And River and Coleen are always off on tour, just like Lucas and I used to be. What kind of hypocrite would I be if I judged her for that?”

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Clara bit her lip. She suddenly felt so silly for voicing her fears aloud. “I know.”

“And as for Rory… Yeah, she might decide to stay away.” He admitted. “Hell, she may end up leaving the country altogether someday, like Alex and Tony did… But what can we do about it?” Florian sighed. “It hurts. Like hell. Trust me, I know that. But we’ve gotta let them live their lives. They’re adults.”

“I know, I know.” She repeated. “I just… I can’t help feeling this way.” Clara shook her head slowly. “Florian, we’ve spent over half our lives being parents to those kids. Maybe not always the best parents, but…” She shrugged helplessly. “They’re our whole world. I mean, don’t you feel it too? Everything’s just… empty now.”

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Her husband did not immediately reply. “I do feel it.” He broke the silence at last. “I feel it every day, you know that. I love being their Papa. I love having the kids at home with us…” Florian paused for a moment. “But just because they’re not here anymore doesn’t mean our lives have to be over.”

“But they are my life!” Clara insisted, feeling her tears threatening to return. “Being their Mama is my life!” She paused and took deep breath to calm herself. “I mean, without them… What the hell do I even have left?”

Florian’s face fell instantly. “What about me? Your husband?” He narrowed his eyes at her, rising to his feet. “Guess I’m nothing then, huh?”

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“Fuck… No. I didn’t mean it like that.” He only made it a few steps before Clara stopped him. “I love you. So fucking much. You know I do.”

Florian turned around at her words, his expression softening as a soft sigh escaped his lips. “I know.”

“I’m just so lost right now, Florian. I don’t know what to do.”

“Hey, I get it. You’re not the only one hurting.” He lifted a large hand and brushed it gently against his wife’s cheek. “This fucking sucks. But this is our life now. And we’ve just gotta figure out how to deal with it… Or try to, at least.”

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Clara nodded in agreement. “I guess that’s all we can do, huh?” She closed her eyes for a moment, trying to calm herself and focusing on the feeling of Florian’s warm hand against her cheek.

“And you know what?” Clara continued, a small smile coming to her lips. “There is one nice advantage to having this big house all to ourselves…”

Florian’s lips stretched into a smile. “You read my mind.”

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55 Responses to Interlude: What’s Left?

  1. azzywoods says:

    Rory actually does kind of look like Sleeping Beauty, lol. Looks like Clara has empty-nest syndrome.

    Liked by 2 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Haha I never noticed it, but she really does look a bit like princess Aurora doesn’t she? 😂 And yes 😦 Clara has it very badly haha (Florian too, but to a lesser degree). It’s hard! 😦

      Like

  2. audreyfld says:

    Rory is gorgeous! She definitely got the best of both parents. Oh my, you had me worried for a minute about Clarian. Thank goodness they turned to each other. This is the time for them to reconnect. But, I can totally relate to how Clara feels. When we dropped our son off at college, I cried all the way home. 4 1/2 hours of sniffling. My poor husband. He probably felt the same way Florian did. Hey, hello, I’m still here! Haha. Glad they are going to be okay. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Thanks! I was so happy about how gorgeous she turned out 😍

      As for Clarian, they definitely aren’t in danger of breaking up or anything, but I think they have to keep working on figuring out how to cope now. Being completely ok will take time, but hopefully they figure it out!

      And I’m glad you can relate, but I’m sorry you had to deal with the sadness of dropping your son off at school. I can’t imagine that’s easy!

      Like

  3. They make such pretty babies!! Awww poor mama missing her kids. I wonder if they will decide to adopt an older child? O.o

    Liked by 1 person

  4. witchazard says:

    You’re walking on thin ice Citizen! Half way through I was about to get those canons ready to blow Hozay sky high! Clarian is still my number 1 ships so far and I’m a proud crewman who won’t tolerate any unexpected icebergs! So I’ll hold back and let this slide for now😤

    Side note it appears Alex and Tony have joined team side characters whose fade out of the story because they have lost relevance😆

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Hahahaha you are jumping to crazy conclusions here! Empty nest syndrome isn’t going to destroy their marriage, it’s just putting stress and sadness on them 🙂

      And Alex and Tony are #teamsidecharacters yes haha

      Like

      • witchazard says:

        Oh I know my mother’s going through Something similar right now! My older brother moved out went to live in California we live in Louisiana and she’s acting like it’s the end of the world which hurts since me and my other siblings are still here it’s like really mom really.

        Like

        • CitizenErased14 says:

          Hahaha aww I’m sure your mother still loves all of you very much 🙂 I think it’s just hard for parents to let go. Hopefully she will feel better about it soon 🙂

          Like

  5. misfit913 says:

    Rory is so beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jes2G says:

    I enjoyed visiting this subject with them, even if just for a short time.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. shamanarza says:

    I think I missed the part where Alex and Tony moved overseas? Where did they end up?

    Like

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      If you go back to the first chapter of this arc (Mari’s letter to Jonas), Alex is in Champs Les Sims playing soccer and Tony is in the US for grad school 🙂

      Like

  8. raerei says:

    Now is the time to find a new purpose, Clara. Go see the world with Florian, run for office or something. Hopefully this is a momentary funk and she can restart her blog with a funky – post-mama-world title. 😀 Her fans would flock to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. maladi777 says:

    I have an idea. There’s a nice orphanage in ThePlumbob’s Newcrest… Maybe they should visit the place? 😉
    Cleverly smuggled pictures of toddlers in this chapter…

    Liked by 3 people

  10. theplumbob says:

    I’m sure they’re find themselves again. Clara just needs to remember how interesting she used to be back in the day before kids became her sole focus haha! This is an opportunity, not a reason for mourning, guys 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Hahaha that is true, but probably easier said than done for them right now 😛 They need time to figure out what to do with themselves and how to move forward from this… Clara was essentially a stay-at-home mother for more than half her life (since she ran her blog from home). This is a huge adjustment for her. But hopefully she can move past this with Florian 🙂

      Like

  11. Elizabeth says:

    This is the first time I’ve ever commented. I just really wanted to say I thought this chapter was really good. Sad, but good. I’m a first year college student, and I’m really close to my mom, and my being far from home had been hard on both of us.

    Liked by 3 people

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Thank you so much for commenting, Elizabeth! (And for taking the time to read my story. I appreciate it so much!). I’m glad you enjoyed this chapter and connected with it. 🙂 I’m out of college and working now, but I will always remember how sad my mom was when she dropped me off at school (I am the youngest in my family) so I know how hard it can be too 😦 But you and your mom will make it 🙂 ❤ Thank you again!

      Like

  12. Awww, the empty nest. It’s great to see how much Clara grew into motherhood. I love her to bits. Miss her blog posts. Tell me, she is still doing her blog, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      She’s actually retired from blogging 😮 That comes up in a chapter that we’ll see in a couple weeks — She and Florian both have retired from their jobs (and are millionaires haha)

      Like

  13. Yay for reconnecting as a couple! I remember when me and my brother left, my parents had the smiles on their face too, and they seem to have made the most of the empty nest while they could. Here’s hoping Clara and Florian turn their house into a naked house!

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Yeah this is hard for them! Though (despite how some people are interpreting the end of this one) everything isn’t 100% fixed yet. This is gonna take time and a lot of figuring out before they’re completely ok again. But hopefully they can do it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It wouldn’t be Clara unless she responded with strong emotions and in a way that was potentially destructive to her relationship. It’s been a while since we’ve had Clara drama, and I love the reason that it’s about. Florian should be an old pro at helping her through it by now. Make sure one of my favorite characters keeps it together Florian!

        Liked by 2 people

  14. sourocha1 says:

    .”..And than, Clara and Florian had kids until they could, and ended up with 5 children.” Perfect ending. Now, is nice too see Claramente and Florian..And, oh my, Rory! Girl got some genes!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. SpurklyNinja says:

    Sneaky toddler pics… 😉

    And, oh my gosh is Rory gorgeous! Dang, girl! 😍

    It will take time, but hopefully, they’ll figure it out. They’re still parents to some pretty fantastic kids,. They’re just a little farther away. *hugs hugs hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Thanks, ninja! I love the enthusiastic response beautiful Rory has gotten! 🙂 it feels like such a waste of good genes though 😦 Since she’s a background character haha.

      And so true — they are still parents, just from afar 🙂 Hopefully Clara and Florian can learn to appreciate that!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. MegiAre says:

    Has Clara not been focused on her blog for some time now? I wonder what could be in store for them next…I really can’t come up with anything!

    Just as everyone else is saying, though, Rory is gorgeous!! Hope should get her in touch with her people, stat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Clara actually doesn’t write her blog anymore 🙂 She’s been blogging for more than 30 years now, so she recently retired from it, though I’m sure she does occasional guest blogs for other sites when asked 😛 (Florian has retired from music too, actually. They’re millionaires who could afford to retire young 😂)

      And yes, Rory is so beautiful. Love the idea that she should be a model! ^_^

      Like

  17. Me(Who Else?) says:

    Rory: That sarcasm. Same.

    But really, I just finished reading this and I have to say, you are an amazing writer. I can’t wait for more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my story, and I’m so glad you are enjoying it! ^_^ (and I’m glad you liked the sarcasm too 😛 )

      Thank you again!

      Like

  18. CitizenErased14 says:

    Another Rory fan! 🙂 I like both of your thoughts on where Clara and Florian could go from here 🙂 we will see!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. lisabeesims says:

    Ohhhh 😥 the empty nest sucks … I am blessed my little birds didn’t slide very far so they come around quite often

    Liked by 1 person

  20. peaoorko says:

    So… this was a serious chapter concerning a very important matter but… Clara is such a MILF! Or maybe a GILF as Jonas would say if it wasn’t totally inappropriate and stuff.
    (sorry, had to do it)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. skcaga6 says:

    Rory is absolutely beautiful. I think she is the prettiest of all so far.

    And completely off topic but very great advice to follow, if you are going to sniff your socks to see if they are clean, make sure they did not just come off your feet first.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CitizenErased14 says:

      LMAO at that advice!

      And yes, Rory is gorgeous! Unfortunately this is literally the only time we ever see her as a YA… 😥 This gen, I’m making a conscious effort to bring the focus back in to the heir, since I was spreading out too much before. What a waste of those beautiful Clarian genetics! Haha

      Liked by 1 person

  22. theceltygirly says:

    Rory is so freaking beautiful. Also Clara and Florian are so old QAQ

    Liked by 1 person

  23. addbratlove225 says:

    Aww, I love this family. They should get a spinoff of a spinoff.

    That said, I agree with Clara. Half-Blood Prince is my least favorite Harry Potter movie. Best book, not my favorite movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Lisha says:

    Clara has good taste in films. HBP was a terrible film, omfg. I was a bit eh about the book too (mostly because I do not ship Harry/Ginny at ALL, lmao).

    I really enjoyed this chapter. It was sweet.

    Liked by 1 person

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