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Second Chance

Afternoon Interrupted

Despite the fact that a small round of grief delayed her a few extra minutes, Emily was still up, dressed, and out of the house by ten a.m. It had been quite a while since she had felt up to taking on both the singer and bassist's wife at the same time. She loved both dearly, but oh, the mischief the three of them could get into together- that is, as soon as they could get to their destination. Something as simple as going to pick up a cake at the bakery could take them upwards of four hours plus, once you factored in time for this, that, and the other to happen in between.

Today proved to be no different. Plans of a solitary yoga class at eleven and lunch afterward turned into class at one with coffee, brunch, facials, nails, and a quick trip to the beach beforehand. Between Lacey's antics, and Val's lack of filter between what is in her mind and what comes out of her mouth, the guitarist's wife had quite a few lengthy laughs. It was much needed.

"You look good today." the complimentary words took her from her thoughts and she glanced over to see the singer's wife beaming at her.

"Thanks. Brian saw this top on his way home the other day and said it reminded him of when we went on our Mediterranean cruise."

"It's not the shirt. You look happy today. I haven't seen that look in quite a while."

"I am happy," the response left her lips before she had a chance to think about it and a few tears of mixed emotion gathered in her eyes.

"Don't cry about it, girl. I'm just saying, it is nice to see you like this again." with a sigh, she stood from her seat and walked around the table to wrap her arms around the lightly weeping Avenged wife. "One step at a time, love."


Sheepish brown eyes stared down at his feet which seemed to autonomously move forward, though he wasn't sure he wanted them to. The mixture of shells and gravel crunched under the soles of his Nike's and the sound seemed to penetrate him more than it should.

"I don't think I can do this," he heard himself say, only to have a soft hand slip into his with a small tug to encourage him.

"Come on. It's okay," the petite brunette said with a slight upturn of delicately painted lips. "What's wrong?" she sighed as his heels finally synchronized with his thoughts and dug into the ground to stop. Warm rays of the early afternoon sun poured over the pair, and it now caused her to blow a few stray strands of hair from her face. "Is it the location, or the company?"

"It's everything," he blurted a bit harshly before he could bridle his tongue. "It's not you. I mean, it is you. I mean- you're great, but I should be here with my wife. Or not at all.... probably shouldn't be here at all. I just need to go."

"Hey, where are you going? Hey," a hand on his belt to tug him back to her instantly made him regret his choice to wear one today. "Look at me. It's okay to be here. Nothing is wrong with this. Nothing is wrong with you being here with me."

"Except it's you. It's us. It's here."

"Come on," without paying mind to his protests, she gripped his hand tighter and led him to the very top of their destination. Once they stopped, she released her grip and took a moment to remove the light jacket that hugged her body. Upon placing it on the ground, she lowered herself to sit on it. Smoothing out the edges, she looked up into darkened pools of chocolate that seemed to be searching for answers unlikely to be found. "Brian I know you feel lost, but that's exactly why we're here."

"You probably think I'm stupid." despite the fact she disagreed, he dropped to sit beside her and continued anyway. "This was Jimmy's place. Yeah, we had the spot that we all hung out at, but this was his spot. The five of us were only here together once, and it was by accident. Jimmy was here with Matt and Zack and I tracked them down. Johnny found us somehow. Anyway, that was the only time. This was just Jimmy's place. He brought one of us with him every so often but it wasn't a place we came without him."

"I know. It's a special place." exhaling quietly, she brought her knees up to her chest and lightly lined brown eyes looked out at the horizon and the vast amount of water in between. "Look B, there's something I have been wanting to talk to you about but I didn't know when the right time was."

His already anxiety filled stomach began knotting up even further as different possibilities began running through his mind. All quickly faded, and the one that stayed in the forefront caused a lump to form in his throat. The question came out almost breathless, "Are you pregnant?"

"What? No!" she nearly squeaked. "Dad would kill me!" a double take over at him led to her adding a rushed, "You would kill me."

"I wouldn't be upset with you. Life is just messed up right now. I just... nevermind. Sorry, go ahead."

"It's nothing like that. And honestly, you kind of threw me off with that question so I'm just going to put it out there." a steadying breath was drawn in and held for a moment before the younger woman began. "You have been through a lot, no one can deny that. My heart breaks over everything that's happened. When you guys lost Grey, it killed me. Not only because I was so excited to be an aunt, but because I had to watch you and Em go through it. It was like I was somehow in a nightmare, and I couldn't wake up."

"Imagine going through it," he mumbled.

"I can't. None of us can. No one can tell you what to do, or how to feel. Having said that, what I want to talk to you about is something I think is fitting to talk about here. This is where Jimmy came to think and take in a new view of life. " she paused a moment to gauge her words, and hoped they would be taken in the way she intended them. "I feel like we are somehow nine years back when he died. We were all so devastated and we just lived in such a fog. I was young, but I just remember thinking that Jimmy wouldn't have wanted that. He was such a lively, spirited guy. He was all about living life to the fullest all the time. You know?"

"This is different, Mac."

"Hear me out. When we lost Grey, your world crashed and you seemed to fall back into December of '09. The grief and suffering you felt with him seemed to merge with that for Jimmy."

"I can't explain it, but you're right. Everything I felt when we lost Jimmy came flooding back, and I guess that I just felt like if he were here, he would have the answers. He could have helped so much, and the fact that he isn't here kind of threw me back into grieving for him in a way. I will be okay, though."

"That's just it, Bri. When you asked Jimmy how he was, he was never just okay. He was flipping fantastic, absolutely awesome, or super stupendous."

"Yeah, he was. But that was just who he was."

"It was, and it was awesome. But life was awesome to him. Nothing was sacred to him."

"Wait, what? What do you mean?"

"Nothing was sacred to him," she repeated, but the look on his face told her she had lost him. "Let me explain. I know well that death is unimaginably painful and something you live through, not something you really get over, so don't misunderstand me. It's just like, since Grey left, you don't go into his room; that's sacred. Places you went with Jimmy, that's sacred. This place here, look at it. It is the highest point on this half of the coast, and it is probably the most beautiful spot within a 100 mile radius, and you feel like you can't come here because it was Jimmy's and it's sacred. Jimmy didn't live the sacred life. He enjoyed every place he went, everyone he hung out with, and lived life to the fullest every second of every day. I'm telling you Brian, if you were the one that died, he would celebrate your life everywhere he went. Your favorite places would be at the top of the list to go to. Sure, he would miss the heck out of you and might even cry at some point while he was there, but he would be having a drink in your honor. He would share memories of all the fun you had there, why you loved it, and he would practically campaign for everyone else to love the place because you did."

"Wow, Mac."


"You're right," he breathed. "He would have been torn up, but he would have made sure he went out that much more. He would probably throw me a birthday party every year and make the joke that it was just like me to miss my own party 9 years in a row."


"I get it. I need to be living life. I have spent too much time grieving."

"No one said anything about that. It's just a perspective I picked up from Jimmy. It's not disrespectful to live your life when you're dealing with things. Live life like nothing is off limits and enjoy yourself like you own the world. That's what he used to tell me when I was little, and every story he told me ended that way."

"I've been telling Emily it's okay to live while we grieve, but you're right. I have been holding back. I guess in a way I'm sort of... afraid."

"Afraid of living?" she wondered.

"Not afraid of living, necessarily."

"Of what, then?"

A rather long sigh escaped him and his left hand came to rub the back of his neck as he sorted through his thoughts. "How long are you planning on being out here, kid?"

"As long as you need."


The sound of an old school punk song interrupted the airy laughter of the Avenged women trio, and the guitarist's wife took a moment to finish what she was saying before she began rummaging through her purse to find her phone. Deeply shining seas of sapphire flicked down to check who was requesting her company and a smile spread across her face.

"Hey babe." the carefree look on her face immediately slipped off and was replace by confusion tipped concern. "What?"

"What? What's wrong?" Lacey echoed instantly.

"What happened? Did you say Cedars-Sinai?" quickly shoving things back into order in her purse, she pushed to her feet. "Yes! Definitely! I'll be right there!"
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For those of you who do not know, not long after I started writing this I became pregnant with my first child. Within a few months, I miscarried and it was hard to even think about this story. I am back now and have decided to continue on with it.

I have misplaced all my notebooks, which means I will have to rewrite the four or five chapters I had written ahead. But fresh eyes isn't a bad thing. My apologies for the delay.

Some of you will notice that Mibba alerted you for tons of updates on this story. My tablet ran amuck and deleted a chapter right in the middle of the story. Had to find where I had it saved, do a quick email save for the other chapters, take everything down, and put everything back up. It was a pain, but it is fixed!

Anyway, I hope you all still care about this story. Onward we go!