8.50: Nothing But a Lie

The seconds ticked by like hours. It was one of the few times in Emberlynn’s life where it literally felt like time was standing still. The last two minutes replayed themselves over and over again in her mind as she struggled to make sense of it all.

Emberlynn still had no idea what exactly was going on, but she’d heard enough to have a vague idea, at least. And that idea alone was enough to make her feel sick.

But there was no way it could be true. It couldn’t be.

She rose slowly to her feet, feeling like someone else was in control of her body. It was like she was on auto-pilot. 

“Hey, come here.” Xander was on his feet now as well, beckoning for Emberlynn to enter his embrace. “It’s gonna be okay.” The shakiness of his voice betrayed him. He knew just as well as she did that things were about as far from ‘okay’ as they could possibly be. 

She shook her head, still unable to find her voice, before turning to follow her parents upstairs.

“Emberlynn…” Lola addressed her soothingly. The sound of her voice was enough to make Emberlynn pause. “Maybe you should give them a minute.” She suggested. “I… I think there are some things they need to talk about.”

“Yeah… Maybe we should sit back down.” To her surprise, Xander seemed to be agreeing with his mother. “Or we can go back to your place for a while. Hang out with Gucci and let things calm down a little, then come back here?”

Once again, Emberlynn shook her head, turning back toward the entrance hall. There was no way she was walking out of that house without answers.

“Ember, wait…”

This time, she ignored Xander and Lola’s insistence that she stay. How could she just sit there and do nothing?! She needed to know what was going on.

As she reached the top of the stairs, the sound of her parents’ voices finally reached her ears. Though they were muffled by their bedroom door, Emberlynn could still make out most of what was being said. 

“This can’t be true!” Phoenix insisted. His voice was shaking and cracking horribly. Emberlynn could tell that he’d been crying. Maybe he still was. “She’s MY daughter! She has to be!”

“She is!” Gigi replied desperately. It was clear that she was still in tears as well. “She’s always been yours, Phoenix.”

“Don’t give me some stupid fucking metaphor, you know what I meant!”

“Fine. She’s NOT yours then. Is that what you wanna hear?!” Gigi’s sorrow now seemed to be mixed with frustration. “Lola was right. I was a scared, stupid kid who didn’t know what else to do… So I switched the real results with fake ones.”

Emberlynn had to strain to hear Phoenix’s next words. “So it’s true… I’m really…”

“You might be Xander’s father. I don’t know.” Gigi admitted. “But… you’re not Emberlynn’s.”

For a few moments, their voices came to a stop. All Emberlynn could hear was the sound of a loud and wailing sob. She realized with a jolt that it had been Phoenix making that terrible sound.

“Fuck you, Gigi!” His sobs were finally broken as he managed to choke out a few words. “You lying piece of… Fuck. I can’t. I can’t do this.”

Emberlynn heard footsteps then, growing louder.

And the next thing she knew, she was face-to-face with the man she’d been calling her father her entire life.

Phoenix completely broke down at the sight of her. As his sobs shook his entire body, he broke the distance between them, pulling Emberlynn to his chest.

“I love you so much, Emberlynn.” He managed to say in a hoarse whisper. “So much.”

She didn’t know what to do, or what to say. But seeing him in such a state was enough to finally push her over the edge.

“I love you too, Papa.” She replied as her own tears started to fall. “No matter what, okay?” It was so strange to be the one comforting him… But what else could she do?

It still felt like she was trapped in the middle of some kind of horrible nightmare — the worst one she’d had in her entire life.

How could any of this be real? How could this be happening? Was it all some kind of sick joke? It has to be…

Emberlynn did not pull away from Phoenix’s embrace until the creaking of the bedroom door reached her ears. She took a step back, staring into the tear-filled eyes of her mother.

The moment Emberlynn’s eyes fell on her, it was like the invisible wall that had been protecting her for the past several minutes suddenly came crashing down. All the terrible truths she’d been trying to avoid could be ignored no longer.

Her mother had been lying to all of them for years. Not only had she cheated too, but Emberlynn’s entire existence had been one enormous, terrible lie. 

It was the deepest betrayal she’d ever felt in her life. A million times worse than learning that her father had cheated.

Emberlynn’s heart sank as the realization sunk in. But he’s not even my father at all…

“Honey, I’m sorry for running out like that before.” Gigi said softly, her tearful voice calling Emberlynn back to the present. “That wasn’t right. Let’s go back downstairs, okay? We… we need to talk.”

Emberlynn shook her head. “I’m really not sure what more there is to say.” She felt her own tears falling even harder now as she spoke. Never in her life had she hated anyone more than she hated her mother in that moment. “And how the hell could I believe anything you’d tell me anyway, huh?! Papa’s right. You’re nothing but a lying piece of shit.” She spat, finishing Phoenix’s earlier sentence for him. “You make me sick.”

Though a small part of her could barely believe she’d just spoken to her mother that way, a much louder part couldn’t have cared less.

Gigi said nothing in reply. She simply began to cry even harder.

Emberlynn headed back downstairs without another word. She ignored the sound of her parents’ footsteps as they followed her. Why can’t they just leave me alone?!

She found Xander waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs, looking anxious. In any other circumstance, the sight of his face would have made her feel calmer. But instead, she felt nothing. Just numb. “Ember? Are you okay?” 

She shook her head, feeling like the entire room was spinning. “I need to get out of here.”

He nodded in agreement. “Me too. Let’s go.”

“Xander, wait.” Lola called out as she finally joined them from the living room. “Don’t go… Not yet.”

“No.” He turned to face her, his voice hard and cold. “Ember’s right. We’ve gotta get out of here. Because honestly? I can’t stand being in the same room as any of you anymore.”

“Please… won’t you give us a chance?” This time, it was Gigi who spoke. “We can explain.” 

Emberlynn shook her head, her eyes darting back and forth between both her mother and Lola in disgust as she spoke. “You’ve had our entire lives to explain. It’s too late now.” She turned her eyes away from the pair of liars, letting her gaze rest instead on Phoenix’s broken face. All of her previous anger toward him didn’t matter anymore. Emberlynn felt nothing but love and pity for him now.

She noticed then that Xander was staring at Phoenix too, gazing at him as though seeing him for the first time. The sight made her heart sink even deeper. The man she loved so much was never even her father at all. He was Xander’s. God, this is so fucked.

“Mr. Rosebrook, I…” Xander muttered uncomfortably to the man whose DNA he shared. “M-maybe we can talk later or something. I dunno. But… we’ve gotta go.”

Phoenix nodded slowly, still not speaking. 

“I’m sorry, Papa. I love you.” Emberlynn’s voice broke slightly as she spoke. She knew he needed to hear it right now, probably more than he ever had.

Phoenix simply nodded once more, saying nothing. Emberlynn wondered whether he even had the strength left to form words. 

It broke her heart to leave him alone in the house with the two women whose lies had destroyed him so deeply… But she couldn’t stay there anymore. She just couldn’t.

“I’m so sorry, Emberlynn.” Gigi spoke softly as her daughter turned once more toward the door. “I never meant to hurt you.”

Emberlynn did not even bother turning around to look at her. In that moment, she felt nothing but disgust and contempt toward the woman who had given birth to her. “Shut up.” She snapped as she and Xander made their way to the front door. “I never want to see you again.”

Emberlynn did not stop crying the entire way home. She even caught Xander wiping his eyes a few times as they walked in silence together down the chilly sidewalk.

It was all so fucked up. Beyond fucked up, really. How could their mothers treat them this way? 

They keep saying they love us, Emberlynn thought bitterly. But you don’t lie to the people you love. You don’t treat them like this…

Without even realizing it, Emberlynn had stopped walking. She heard Xander’s footsteps stop as well, and felt his eyes watching her as she looked out over the open, glistening water in front of her.

She reached up toward her ears then and, one right after the other, removed the sparkling diamond earrings that she had worn almost every day since she was nine years old. Emberlynn had always thought of them as the most precious and special gift her mother had ever given her — a gift, she now remembered, she’d been given the day before she and Xander first met as children.

Emberlynn held them tightly in her fist, her tears falling harder and faster as so many memories flooded her mind — memories of the mother she’d thought had loved her, of the man she’d always believed was her father… Memories of a life that was nothing but a lie.

Then she thrust out her fist, and opened it over the open water.

She watched as the earrings plummeted silently toward the water’s surface. For a brief moment, they caught the fading light of the sun, sparkling dazzlingly against the crystal water. 

Then they broke through the surface and sunk down into the dark depths below, vanishing from her sight.

38 thoughts on “8.50: Nothing But a Lie

  1. Holy Cow, man this sucks. My question is what else could there be to possibly explain. Like I feel bad for Phoenix all he wanted was a family unit unlike the one he had. He just wanted to be a good dad and that’s why he stayed with Gigi. But these women lied to the man they “loved.” From what I’ve heard nothing is more heart breaking for a man than finding out a child is not his. This is a messed up family, I hope this can somewhat be resolved.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it’s kinda like what Ember said… there really isn’t much more to explain here 😕 Nothing Gigi can say da make this right 😦

      And Phoenix… yeah, this is probably the worst pain he’s ever felt in his life 😭 Hopefully he and Ember (and Xander! Wow so many people lied to haha) can recover and move on with their lives 😦

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        1. We will hear about him next chapter, and more in a later chapter too! He’s gonna be going through a lot… 😬

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  2. Wow. That was so moving. I cried when Ember was comforting Phee. 😭😭😭

    This situation is so sad! I can’t blame Emberlynn for reacting like this. I do hope she still considers Phee her father. He raised her. That’s what fathers do. It would break his heart if he lost that relationship.

    I hope this is the final straw and Phee gets that divorce. How can he be with a manipulative bitch like Gigi? I understood that he stayed initially because of Emberlynn but now? What’s holding him? Their relationship has never been good.

    I hope Phee tosses her ass and he finds a sweet lady. He deserves that much! 😭

    And Emberlynn is so angry and hurt! I hope she allows Xander to comfort her. Ugh!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sorry for the tears 😭 This one was so emotional. Everyone is a mess right now!

      We’ll see in the upcoming chapters if things change for Phoenix and Emberlynn… but hopefully they won’t! 😦 I think she probably needs some time to process though :-/

      And yeah, there’s no way he’d ever stay with Gigi now. This was too much. I think, despite their issues, there were enough good/happy moments mixed in there, plus a feeling of familiarity that made staying with her easier than leaving… but after this??? 😬😬😬

      And yes, Emberlynn and Xander both need each other right now 😭😭😭

      Thanks, Pammie!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dang ninja onions…. I cried. 😭😭😭. That was heart wrenching sad. So sad for everyone. 💔

    Phoenix probably feels even more lost than anyone. 😭💔💔💔 He was manipulated and lied to by the people that he loved. Gigi and Lola deserve to be shunned by their kids and him too. His marriage is over. The life he worked so hard to build just came crumbling down. All he did was try to do the right thing.

    I’m glad at least that Ember was able to give Phoenix a little bit of peace that she didn’t blame him … too much. He DID have some pixel donation going on …. I realize it was probably mostly Gigi’s fault he strayed. But still.

    Very emotional chapter. 😭😭💔💔💔😭😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, it’s all so awful isn’t it 😭

      Poor Phoenix… these lies are destroying him 😭 As for Gigi and Lola… what they did was awful, but they were scared kids who both felt like they made the right choices, at the time… but now it’s all come back to bite them (and everyone around them!)

      Emberlynn definitely doesn’t hold much against Phoenix in all this… I think a small part of her will always be disgusted at the fact that he cheated too, but Gigi’s lies far overshadow that, in her eyes.

      I know this was a hard one 😭 But maybe things will get better now????

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I wouldn’t quite lump Gigi and Lola in the same pile. Gigi was only acting in her own self interest. Lola thought what she was doing was best for everyone involved. I hope Xander and Emberlynn realise the distinction when they cool down a little, it would be a shame for Xander to lose that relationship with his mother – you know, because unlike Gigi, Lola is a nice person.

    And let’s not forget that Lola never would have had a reason to lie if it wasn’t for Gigi’s original lie. If it wasn’t for Gigi’s lies Phoenix and Lola would have definitely ended up together, given his values and her pregnancy. So really, Lola got screwed over here just as much as the rest of them. #TeamLola

    Unrelated (no pun intended haha) – what did Ember’s father look like? I always thought Emberlynn did resemble Phoenix a lot, appearance-wise.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You bring up a very valid point here. Lola’s motivations were pretty much completely selfless, and the only reason she lied was because she thought Emberlynn was Phoenix’s. 😦 She really did do it out of love and compassion toward everybody involved. It was the least painful solution, at the time!

      As for Xander being able to see that… I think he needs time (maybe a lot of time 😂) before he’s willing to be more understanding. All of what you said is completely true. It’s just, that from his perspective, he’s been asking her since he was a very little kid who his birth father was. He’s always wanted to meet him and it meant so much to him. So, even though it was for his own good, knowing she lied for so long when he could have met Phoenix years ago like he’d always dreamed of is just totally devastating. In his eyes, she knowingly denied him of something he’s wanted his whole life. I think he needs time to process… and definitely needs to sit down and have a conversation with her to let her explain to him why she did what she did. Hopefully they’ll get there eventually! ❤️

      And Emberlynn’s bio-dad was an interesting CAS creation designed to look just enough like Phoenix so that Ember could pass for his daughter 😂 That was a fun day of experimenting (and so long ago now, woah! 😱)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, enough talking already. I’m with Ember here. From now on things would propably turn into circles that don’t help at all other than for starting more fights. They all need some time now to work through this mess and to cool down a bit. And I get Gigi here too – she wants her chance to explain things from her perspective too, she wants to tell how she also only lied for things to get better for Ember too. But Ember had to already endure so much, she’s at her limit and can’t take this at the moment. Maybe she will listen to her later. Mabye it may take her a year or several to be ready to talk to her again, like Joce. But she needs that time. And honestly, they are all grown up, old enough to take the backlash of their stupid actions. Maybe they were stupid scared kids back then. But they have been responsible adults for quite some years now and still chose to continue to not tell the truth. They need to take responsibility for all of their lies. And seriously, I am glad if Ember gets through this by being angry at Gigi instead of some self-harming or delusional behaviour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, none of them are in a good place to actually have any kind of real discussion about any of this. All five of them are all emotional wrecks right now, and they need time to process on their own.

      And that is another good point too — they might have been kids when they fucked hi, but they’re adults now who need to own up to their mistakes and accept the consequences for them :-/

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  6. I imagine this is much like my father felt when he found out his parents weren’t his parents. He was already married with kids when he found out. Destroyed everything he thought he knew about himself.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It sure does. The only good thing that came out of it for my father was us kids getting a third set of grandparents and new aunts and uncles and cousins that we didn’t have growing up. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Tbh, Gig and Lola desearv both their kid’s anger, but Phoenix doesn’t. Yeah, he cheated, but he’s also a victm of the lies. I hope they both try to keep the relationship with Phoenix, so Ember at least has a father.I hardly think she’ll be able to talk with her mother again, may be in the same room was her when she’s in her 50’s, but nothing more then that.

    They need some good time to heal. This really shook things up, but, hey, at least they have each other, and could go throught this, and maybe this will help their love strenghten.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah thankfully Emberlynn is able to see that Phoenix isn’t to blame here. As for talking to Gigi again… 😬 It will definitely take time 😦 Like you said, they need time to heal. They all do 😦 I feel so bad for doing this to them 😭

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  8. Well I have no clue what’s going to happen now.
    I don’t think they will ever reconnect. That’s too much man.
    I feel that everyone’s being too hard on Lola. Yes it was wrong for her to lie but she did what she thought was right. That would have just made everyone’s situation harder. And like I’ve said before there was no way she would know that her son would fall in love with his father’s sort of daughter.
    And what’s Emberlynn going to do now? Does she want to find her bio dad? What’s the rest of the fam gonna do? This is a huge bomb that just got dropped and Tristan is just gonna walk into the aftermath. How will this affect their relationship? How is the S.S. Xanberlynn going to sail now? The water is full of sharks with lasers, eels, and ghost ships.
    Was Gigi messsing around with multiple guys or just one besides Phoenix? Will she meet multiple potential dads? Will they sing ABBA songs?
    And I can’t help but think that Gigi’s lie isn’t all that bad. I mean don’t get me wrong she trapped Phoenix in an unhappy and loveless marriage. She just through some grenades into her daughter’s life. But like hey, Phoenix got two kids out of it? And like what Xander wasn’t talking about last chapter, his mothers lie made him who he is. And while this situation sucks you can’t change the past.
    Great chapter but incredibly depressing

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Will she meet multiple potential dads? Will they sing ABBA songs?” 😂😂😂😂😂 This part killed me LMAO

      I think you’re right about being too hard on Lola… Xander is just in a position where all he can really see is the lie. Her intentions were good, but meeting his real biological father is something that’s always meant so much to him, so it’s hard knowing that he always could have, if his mother was honest :-/

      And what you said about Phoenix getting some good out of this is true too! That will come up in an upcoming chapter actually… it’s a hard situation. The past is so full of lies, but without those lies, life as they know it wouldn’t be the same…

      Sorry it’s so depressing 😭 This is such a rough situation.

      Thank you for reading, as always!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That was a tad dramatic Emberlyn .. time will heal and those memories were real … it is alway funny that we often wink away lies as though they really can’t hurt but in the end someone always gets bit!

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    1. Yeah, she just needs some time to calm down from all this. She’s in such an emotional state right now. It was a lot for her to take 😦 And you’re right — lies always come back to bite us, dont’ they????

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Poor Emberlynn 😭 Poor Xander 😭 Poor PHOENIX 😭😭😭😭

    This chapter destroyed me! So sad for everyone involved. If I recall correctly, you said we’d hear from Phoenix soon; I can’t wait for that! His perspective on all this mess will be so interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh man likes always come back to bite one in the arse and this was a hell of a one! I feel for Phee but he is not totally innocent either the only innocent ones in this miss are Ember and X. I hope Phee leaves not out of spite or the lies but to be at peace and find happiness eventually. Everyone needs time now to sort it all out and come to terms with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, lies do always come back! And unfortunately the innocent are the ones really suffering now 😥 They really do all need time… This is such a mess!

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    1. I’m so sorry 😦 These next few chapters are rough. Their entire world has come crashing down around them, and it will take time to pick up the pieces 😥

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