Choose the dream or stick with reality? – Part One

A soft blue glow filtered through the blinds on the windows. Morning had come.
Marie stretched her arms out above her head, brushing past her soft and super springy curls and kicked the covers from the bed. There was a soft thud as they hit the floor and let out a sweet lavender aroma that filled the air.

“I’m back,” she said as she dropped her legs over the side of the bed and felt the warm glow of happiness filling her insides.

She hadn’t been sleeping well over the last few weeks. Jean, her eldest son had been preparing for his final exams which had caused a divide of her attention through his late-night study sessions and frustration filled mood swings in the day. Then there were her two daughters, Chloé and Coraline, close in age and both at the teen terrors stage which consisted of falling out with friends, spending days complaining about how terrible said friends were and of course making up with those same friends which all involved their own tiring rituals.

If that had been the worst of it then maybe she would have found some solace at the end of the nights, but of course, it wasn’t. Night times were filled with the endless hours of moaning and sobbing from Marcel, her teething baby and any breaks from that were filled with either of her husband, Alexandre’s, two moods – overly intimate or excessively grumpy, of which she was beginning to prefer the latter.

So she really couldn’t be blamed for the slight rejoicing when she found herself back in a hotel room whose sheer vibrancy could only mean one thing – she was having that dream again.

“You’re awake,” a voice spoke from behind her.

The voice was smooth, almost melodic, not as she had heard it before, but instantly recognisable.

“Alexandre?” she said as she turned to find him standing before her. “How did you get here?”

A soft chuckle left his throat as he tightened his towel around his waist and pulled the bathroom door shut behind him.

“Where did you expect me to be?” he asked.

She didn’t answer but watched as he strode to an open suitcase that was on a small sofa near the chest of drawers. He hadn’t walked with such ease and confidence since their college years. He hadn’t looked as good as he did then since those same years if he ever had in fact looked that good. His stomach was as flat and rippling as any fitness magazine cover’s model. His arms too, flexed as he rummaged through his suitcase. His black hair had grown out too, falling to just below his shoulders, a look she hadn’t seen on him since early in their marriage. It was the look that she thought suited him the most, it gave him a boyish charm but still accentuated that slightly dangerous look that he had that was what had caused her to fall for him in the first place. Alexandre hadn’t agreed, of course, he had said that as he was a father he should look mature and a lot more serious than he believed the look afforded him. She had wondered if having a huge beer belly, despite the fact that he didn’t drink, and hanging boobs was his definition of mature and serious as that was where he headed very quickly and despite her urges for the two of them to join a gym, even if only for their health’s sake, he had seemed content with his new look. But still, there he was in front of her, looking younger, fitter and so much more attractive than she ever remembered him looking.

“Is everything ok?” he asked as he pulled his t-shirt over his head. “Is there a reason you’re watching me in such a peculiar way?”

“No, I …” she started only to falter for a while as she pondered over what exactly she would say. “I’m just happy to see you,” she finally let out.

“It would be strange if you weren’t,” he said. He pulled a tracksuit bottoms out from the suitcase and walked over to where Marie had been stood, almost frozen for the last 5 minutes or so.

His brown eyes were brighter than usual, almost golden, and they sparkled as he stared down at her. “But then you often are a little strange, aren’t you?” he said before lowering his head to kiss her.

His lips were sweet, warm and soft as he kissed her, and his arms strong and firm as they wrapped around her body and pulled her close. It had been so long since she had received such a sweet and genuine kiss, void of any hunger or selfishness, that she found her own arms were tightly wrapped around his neck holding him in place incase he should pull away from her. He eventually did and looked back down at her, his eyebrows deeply set with concern as he searched her eyes.

“Are you worried about the dinner?”

“What dinner?” she replied.

“With my family.”

Oh, is that what we’re doing, she thought before replying. “Not at all. Your family are great.”
“Great?” he laughed. “I mean, they are, but thank you, I guess.”

Why would there be anything for me to be worried about? She wondered. She got on great with both of his parents, as well as his younger brother. If they were as amazing now as he was, that would only be a bonus.

“I guess I should get ready,” she said, more to herself than anyone else and she walked to the dresser to take a glance in the mirror and inspect the level of maintenance she would need to take on. As lovely as Alexandre’s family was, she had always done her best to keep herself in the best light possible whenever it came to dealing with them. She’d heard enough stories of fights and fallouts with in-laws and didn’t plan on being the cause if anything like that should ever happen.

Marie stopped short as her eyes took in the person that stared back at her from the mirror. Perfect golden ringlets fell around her face and below her shoulders, bright hazel eyes with visible green sparkling strands scattered throughout her irises, and the skin was flawless, complete with highlights and a perfect blush as though she had just finished a professional makeover.

“I thought I had just woken up,“ she whispered, again to herself, as she turned to take in her new body perfectly fitted in a blue cotton, freshly pressed summer dress. Curves in all the right places and no excess bulges, she marvelled, wondering how it was possible to have such thick legs and butt while still boasting a perfectly flat stomach. “Well, I guess I’m ready,” she said and turned back to watch Alexandre.

Alexandre had already finished dressing. He picked up a long black jacket by the collar and swung over his shoulder, pushing one arm through and then the other in what seemed like one smooth, successive motion.

“Shall we go?” he asked reaching his hand over to take hers.

Marie did all she could to keep herself from stumbling as her heart began a heavy, tumultuous pattern of beating that could have taken her down by itself, but was made worse by the fact that her legs felt like jelly.

Alexandre’s arm was around her, steadying her on her feet, in the same instant that she finally lost her footing. His movement causing hair to bounce gently above his shoulders before slowly drifting back down, giving such a quick response an almost slow-motion appearance.

When was my husband replaced by this miraculous being? She thought as his mouth turned up into a half-smile revealing the tip of his incisor that extended below the rest of his teeth.

“Are you feeling okay?” he asked.

“I …” she said, but no other words could follow as her lips froze and her voice box faltered, leaving her unable to perform the simple function that speaking was. It would have been easier to believe she was a schoolgirl with a crush than his wife of almost 20 years if all you had to go by was the shivering wreck she was becoming.

“I …” she repeated with no better resolution than the first time.

“I think you need some air,” Alexandre concluded and, with his arm still securely wrapped around Marie’s waist, grabbed the suitcase and headed out of the room and down to their car.

The car was nothing like the safe family car that Marie had been accustomed to driving in, it was sleek, shiny and had a convertible top which allowed the cool sea breeze to blow over them setting her curls off on a frenzy of twists and swirls around Marie’s head.

“Could have warned me,” Marie giggled, looping her arm over her head to secure the flurry of curls.

Alexandre reached into the glove compartment and took a small elastic and put it into his mouth, holding it in place between his teeth. “Grab the steering wheel for a moment,” he said and instantaneously let go of it.

“Hey,” she screamed and grabbed hold of it firmly.

A low rumble of laughter came from Alexandre’s chest as he scooped his hair up into a ponytail then took the elastic from his lips and tied it into his hair. Next, he turned to Marie, gently rounded up her curls, held them down against her back and retrieved a small chiffon scarf from the glove compartment and handed it to her.

“Perhaps I should have given this to you before I set off,” he laughed and placed his free hand onto the steering wheel.

Marie secured her hair and leaned back in the chair, “I wish you could be this cool all the time,” she said watching the horizon as she spoke.

The sun was shining brightly, with beautiful blue-purple rays spreading their glow throughout the clouds and over the water. “I wish everything could be.” The chalky sides of the cliff were a dull purple with bright streaks which reflected from the water below dancing along them.

“I’m not sure if I should take that as a compliment or not, but I assure you, my coolness has no boundaries.” Alexandre turned with a full smile, revealing his top row of dazzling white teeth. A smile made all the more beautiful as the glow of the sun glinted off of the tip of his fang-like incisors.

Marie grabbed at her chest as her heart swelled, causing a noticeable discomfort below her ribcage. She had always loved her husband since the beginning of their relationship, which had come about after years of crushing hard on him, and although they sometimes didn’t get on as well as they once had, her love for him had definitely grown. But her heart had never felt as overwhelmed as it did at that moment with love and desire and every positive emotion a woman could have for a man.

“We’ll be there in about ten minutes,” Alexandre finally said.

“Ten minutes?” she asked. “Did your parents move?”

“No, dad would never leave the city. Why do you ask?”

“Because you said we’ll be there in ten minutes.”

His eyes turned to her before his head moved, then he held her gaze for what seemed like a long moment before speaking again.

“You do remember where we’re going don’t you?” he asked.

“Dinner with your family?” she replied.

“With my children,” he corrected.

“Your children?”

“Jean, Chloé, Coraline and Marcel. We’ve spoken about them a number of times.”

“Your children?” she repeated. “You mean our children.”

Alexandre chuckled.

“I’m flattered you say that, but remember their mom can be a little sensitive.”

“Their mom?”

The car slowed slightly as Alexandre turned in his seat to face her.
“That’s why you’ve been acting strange today, isn’t it? You’re nervous about meeting my ex-wife.”

“Ex-wife?” she said, the words coming out more like a gasp.

“We can turn back if you’re not ready, but we talked about it, don’t you remember? It’s really important for me that you meet my family and Emma insists on being a part of the first meeting. It’ll be fine, and after today you shouldn’t need to see her again, she’ll be fine with us taking the kids whenever we want.”
His words echoed over and over in her mind as she stared back at him, once again unable to form the words she wanted to say.

His children. Their mom. Ex-wife.

Everything was perfect. She had finally fallen completely head over heels with her first and only love. He was cooler, sexier, and so much more gorgeous than he had ever been, and life seemed to have a carefree ease that any overworked mother of four would die for. Only she was no longer a mother of four, her four belonged to another woman, just as her husband had once.

“Hey,” he said and cupped her chin in his hand to draw her nearer before placing a soft kiss on her lips. “Everything will be fine, I promise.”

They’re simply names, she told herself. He chose the same names we had chosen for our children. Nothing more. We have plenty of time to begin our family again.
“Yes,” she whispered back to him. “Everything will be perfect.”