"Get out of my office!" Cameron snapped.
"Not until we talk." Simon was smiling. Cameron Lewis no longer had the power to intimidate him. "You really did a number on both of your sons. You know that? But what you've done to Zander is truly horrific. Not only because you're his father but because you're a psychiatrist. Talk about inflicting both emotional and verbal abuse. You take the cake, Cam."
Cameron sat back down and steepled his fingers on his desk. "I'm not discussing Zander with you."
Simon shrugged. "Fine. Then you can listen to me talk about him. He's a great kid, Cam. A tough kid. He had to be to survive the hell you put him through. And all because of your insecurities. All because you never had the courage to face your own flaws and accept your failures. And you've had alot of them, haven't you?"
"Is there a point to all of this, Simon? Because I have work to do." Cameron leaned back in his chair, conveying a calm contempt.
"The point is...you're an ass, a cruel and inhumane father and a waste of space," Simon replied. "How could you let Zander believe, for five years, that he killed Peter? How could you do that to him? What if a patient had come to you, suffering from the type of childhood abuse that you heaped upon both Zander and Peter? What the hell would you say to them, Cameron?"
Anger flared in Cameron's eyes. "I don't have to listen to this!" he spat.
Simon shrugged. "No…I don't suppose you do. And I'm certain that you don't want to hear it because the truth hurts. And here is a particularly painful truth for you. You drove one son to the grave, and one tried his damndest to follow. But Zander is still alive, Cameron. In spite of everything you did to him. He never stood a chance with you. He had failed before he even tried." Simon rose to his feet and leaned over the desk to lock eyes with Cameron. "You know the image I carry in my head? It was on Peter's tenth birthday. Zander was six. Peter always tried to make things better for Zander. To act as a buffer, so to speak. And I remember how you hugged Peter after the guests had gone and wished him a happy birthday. And Peter saw Zander watching the two of you. God...Zander looked so sad. So Peter called him over for a kind of group hug. Zander's face lit up and he ran over to the two of you, and you turned away from him. In fact you practically pushed him aside in your eagerness to get away from him, making it very clear what that you didn't want him near you. And that crushed him, Cam. He didn't cry though. He just watched you walk away. And when Peter tried to hug him, he wouldn't let him. He just ran off to his room. I followed him and he sat there on his bed. Still no tears, just holding the old baseball mitt that Peter had given him. He just sat there and looked at me with these huge eyes full of pain. And I know he wanted me to explain to him what he did wrong. To explain why you wouldn't love him. And I don't have to be a psychiatrist to know why Zander ended up acting out as a teenager. He had nothing to lose. You already hated him and considered him a failure and a loser and worthless. So why not be exactly that?"
"Are you done?" Cameron was white-faced with anger now.
"Almost." Simon sighed. "Your son grew up to be a man with a good heart, Cameron. A man who makes mistakes and takes responsibility for them. A man who understands what it means to love someone. A man willing to die for the people he cares about. You will never be as good a man as your son is. What you are, Cameron, is a pitiful excuse for a human being. And I hope you die in pain and misery and all alone. Because that is what you deserve. Oh...and one last thing. Do you ever wonder what Zander's life might have been like if only you had made the effort, just once, to be a father to him?" That said, Simon turned on his heel and left the room, quietly closing the door behind him.
* * * * *
Three weeks had passed since Zander and Emily returned to Port Charles. A whirlwind of changes had happened in that time. For one thing, Zander went back to work at ELQ. For another, Skye had offered to sell them her cottage and Emily and Zander had taken her up on it. In fact, they had just finished moving all their stuff in today. And Elizabeth, Lucky, Nikolas and Gia had thrown an impromptu housewarming party.
It was a good time for everyone. Alexis came with Kristina and Zander was now ensconced on the couch, holding a sleeping Kristina in his arms. Earlier she had been fussy and, strangely enough, only Zander had been able to calm her. When Alexis had tried to take her from him, Kristina had cried again. But now she was asleep and Alexis was getting ready to leave.
"You're going to make a wonderful father some day, Zander," Alexis commented, as she watched them.
"Why does everyone keep saying that?" Zander countered. And they had. Everyone from Alexis to Elizabeth and right on down the line. Even Alan Quartermaine had mentioned it.
Alexis smiled. "Because it's true," she quipped. "And someday you and Emily are going to have gorgeous children."
Emily was sitting beside Zander and she smiled. "I can't wait to have kids."
"Don't rush things," Zander countered, but he was smiling. It was nice to hear Emily talk about their future like it was a done deal. For him it was.
"Well...I have to take the kidlet back," Alexis stated. She carefully extracted Kristina from Zander's arms, then shouldered her diaper bag.
Zander stood up and kissed her cheek. "Thanks for coming."
Alexis kissed him back. "Thanks for the invite. I think you two are going to be happy here."
"I know we are," Zander replied, snaking his arm around Emily's waist as she stood up beside him. They walked Alexis to the door then closed it behind her.
"Almost alone at last," Emily stated, stealing a kiss.
Simon heard her words and chuckled. "Is that a hint?"
Emily shook her head at him. "Not at all. You can stay as long as you like."
"Actually...I'm heading back home tonight. I need to get back to work."
"So soon?" Zander was disappointed. He liked having family in town.
Simon smiled fondly at Zander. "I think it's time. You and Emily need time alone and I'm ready to go back down. I've faced my demons and I feel at peace...finally."
Zander could understand that. "Thanks for everything, Simon." He hugged his Uncle and found himself wrapped in a warm embrace. "I'm gonna miss you."
"Don't be a stranger," Emily interjected, getting a hug of her own.
"I won't be. I'll keep in touch," Simon promised. "Take care. I love you both."
"Love you too," Zander and Emily chorused in unison. They walked Simon out then finally closed the door behind him, to find themselves, finally, alone.
Zander lifted Emily into his arms and carried her to the couch, kissing away her protests that he was going to hurt himself. Zander had never felt stronger or better. He sat down, settling Emily on his lap, then he began nuzzling her neck. "I love you," Zander whispered in her ear, before nipping her lobe.
Emily moaned then tangled her fingers in Zander's hair. "I love you more," she replied, then she ravished his mouth.
They undressed each other almost frantically. Zander shifted Emily again, guiding them both down to the floor in front of the fireplace. They kissed and caressed one another as they removed the barrier of clothing between them. Then they were skin against skin and Zander couldn't think of anything more perfect in his life than this moment in time, with Emily.
"Make love to me, Zander," Emily whispered, as her hand glided down his flat stomach to curl around his aching hardness.
"Always," Zander replied. He moaned as Emily stroked him, then his own hand was between her legs, teasing her slick folds, one finger slipping inside her, feeling her readiness. But first he needed to taste her, so her laid her down on the soft rug and just looked at her for a moment. She was bathed in the firelight and more beautiful than any angel in heaven could ever hope to be. Then Zander moved between her long legs, lying on his stomach as he nuzzles his face in her womanly curls, inhaling her musky scent before flicking out his tongue to taste her. He didn't stop his sensual assault until Emily screamed his name as she came. Then Zander shifted position so that he could press his hardness into her wet sheath, his eyes locked on her face as he entered her. He loved the way her body enclosed him. A perfect fit. "I love you, Em," Zander whispered, as he leaned over her for a kiss.
Emily curled her fingers in his hair and held him into the kiss, as they moved together as one. She kissed him as they followed one another into ecstasy. Then she kissed him before they drifted off to sleep, safe in each other's arms.
* * * * *
Zander dozed off and on as he watched TV. Emily was out and about with Elizabeth, having a *Girls night out*, so Zander was hanging around the cottage. It felt kind of nice not having anything to do. Especially since it had been a long day at work and he had followed that up with a session with Dr. Baldwin. But on the up side, he and Emily had enjoyed a nice dinner at Kelly's before she had taken off with Elizabeth. But the quiet time didn't last. A knock on the door startled Zander out of his doze. He got up and opened the door, and was more than a little surprised by who was standing there. "Dad…what are you doing here?" Zander could hear the suspicion that colored his voice.
Cameron shrugged. "I'm not sure. I…um…I was hoping we could talk."
"You're not going to make this easy on me, are you?"
Zander snorted. "Why should I? When have you ever made anything easy on me, dad?"
Cameron nodded. "You're right. Look...may I come in?"
"Sure...come in." Zander stepped back to allow him to enter. He closed the door then said, "Say what you have to say then get out."
"All right." Cameron rubbed a hand over his face before continuing. "Look...Alexander...I've been doing some thinking and, I thought maybe we could try to start over."
Zander stared at his father in disbelief. "Start over? You mean as in father and son?" At his father's nod he snorted. "I think you've got a better chance of seeing god, dad...and we both know that ain't going to happen."
Cameron sighed. "Alexander...I know that I've treated you badly and I'm sorry."
"I don't believe you, dad. Not that it matters. I don't care anymore."
"I don't believe you."
Zander shrugged. "Believe what you want. Bottom line is this. I don't want you in my life."
Cameron nodded. "I understand that but...what if I want you in mine?"
"You're shit out of luck." Zander heard the coldness in his voice. He couldn't believe his father was here, saying these things. And he sure as hell didn't believe he was sincere. Striding over to the door, Zander yanked it open. "Get out!"
"All right." Cameron moved to the door. "I'm sorry to have bothered you." He walked out without another word.
Zander slammed the door closed behind him then leaned against it, feelings his knees buckle as anger and sadness and a million other emotions washed over him like a title wave. He sank down to the floor and buried his face in his hands.
* * * * *
Nikolas and Gia got married. Emily was a bridesmaid and Zander an usher and they both had a wonderful time. But it was good to be home. They walked up the stairs to their bedroom, hand in hand, pausing for kisses and to cuddle along the way. Once there Zander pulled Emily close against him and started to dance.
"I love dancing with you," Emily whispered.
"Funny...I love dancing with you to," Zander replied. He was feeling kind of giddy and it had nothing to do with the champagne they had been drinking. "I have something to tell you," he stated.
Emily drew back to look at him. "Something bad?"
Zander shrugged. "You tell me. Uh…two weeks ago my dad came over to see me."
"You never told me that," Emily interjected.
"I know." Zander kissed the tip of her nose, hoping to distract her from being angry at him. "I wasn't trying to hide it from you, I just needed time to think about it."
Emily nodded. "Okay. What did he want?"
Zander stopped dancing and pulled Emily over to the bed. They sat down, facing one another. "He said he wanted to start over between us."
"And what did you tell him?"
"That it was too late, I didn't want him in my life and to get out."
Emily winced. "Harsh."
Zander nodded. "Yeah...it was. But it was how I felt at the time."
"Do you still feel that way?"
"More or less...but I called him today, from work."
Emily let her surprise show. "You did? Why?"
Zander took Emily's hands in his own. "Because I kept thinking about what you said during our housewarming party. About us having kids someday. And...I don't want to be like my father."
"Zander...you're nothing like your father," Emily stated.
"But I could be, if I don't let go of my hate and anger towards him." Zander lifted one of Emily's hands to his lips. Then he continued. "I told him I want to talk so we're going to go to Kelly's next week and give it a try."
Emily pulled Zander into a hug. "I think that's wonderful. And, for the record, no matter what happens, you will be a wonderful father, Zander. Trust me."
He pulled back to smile at her, then whispered, "I do trust you, Em. With everything I am."
"Right back atcha," she replied. "Know what?"
Emily reached out and started to unbutton Zander's dress shirt. "I can't wait till we have kids."
Zander stilled her fingers. "Dontcha think we should get married first?"
"Well...yeah, we can do that," Emily allowed, teasingly. But the smile on her face faded as she watched Zander move off the bed and down on bended knee. Then he was digging in his pants pocket and a moment later he held up a beautiful ring. An engagement ring.
"Will you marry me, Emily?" Zander asked, as he took her left hand in his own.
Emily blinked back tears and nodded. "Of course I will," she replied. Then she watched as Zander slid the ring on her finger. "It's beautiful, Zander. It's so beautiful."
He stood up and gathered her into his arms. "I bought it the day before the accident. Believe it or not."
"I believe it." Emily kissed him then looked at her ring. "So...when do you want to get married?"
"You pick the day. I'm ready when you are."
Emily considered a moment then said," Tomorrow? Justice of the peace?"
Zander was stunned. "Okay by me but…are you sure? Don't you want a big wedding? And can we get the paper work done that fast and all?"
"We'll call Alexis first thing in the morning. I'm sure she can work her magic. And I don't care about a big wedding, Zander." As she spoke, Emily's fingers were busy on his shirt again. "All I care about is you. I just want to be your wife as soon as possible. Got a problem with that?"
"Not at all," Zander whispered, as he folded her into his arms and kissed her until they became one body and one breath.
© Shelly 2004