The world does not revolve around Mason Capwell!!
What is it, again? he drawled mockingly.
Julia thought grimly she would have to say it over and over again till her death. Or his, as the case might be: she felt very ready to strangle him right away. Mason had behaved like a jerk for a few days already, and the row over such a trifle as the new carpeting was the last straw.
The world. Does not. Revolve. Around. Mason Capwell, she cut out every word now.
Julia, you are a lawyer. Dont you know one must make one point at a time? he cocked up his brow. I am self-centered all right; but thank God Im neither deaf nor senile yet.
Not only are you self-centered, she snapped out. You are the most overbearing, manipulative the most repulsive man I have ever met! So you think Ill come running like a dog if you only beckon me..?
Well, wont you? he said in his nastiest smug tone.
The smirk alone was enough reason to give him a mighty slap!
Julia looked at him and choked on the words she was about to say. The smirk was still on his lips, but the eyes! Under the bravura Mason was watching for Julias reaction so intently, so tenaciously, as if his whole life depended on her reply.
I will, she said firmly. If you need me.
The mask fell. Mason collapsed on the couch, and she rushed to sit by him.
Julia he said in a muffled broken voice. I am sorry oh I am sorry. He hid his face in her hair as she held him.
Something turned over in her chest, then squeezed and got twisted. She knew exactly what it was. Love. Inescapable.
Whats it all about, Mason? she said softly.
He kept silent for a while. Eden, he mastered then.
At that time Eden was allegedly dead. Had got killed in an air crash. The body was never found again, and the whole situation bore a trace of psychotic dj vu, so the family went on hoping against all the hope that Eden could be found alive once again. The crash had taken place three months before, and Mason had taken it even harder than the previous times. Eden and he had been sharing the leading posts in the Capwell Enterprises, and that time she had volunteered to go to a conference instead of her brother. The jet plane had got caught in a storm, and Mason could not forgive himself for letting Eden take the trip.
Mason and Julia had been going over it again and again, she had been trying to convince him it was not his fault, and finally itd seemed to Julia Mason was more or less over it well, he wasnt. Would he ever be, she wondered, as she patted his hair. The man was his own worst enemy, creating a private hell for himself.
No, not exactly, Mason said suddenly, with bitter anguish in his voice. Its Dad this time. Blamed me for shifting my responsibilities onto Eden. So harsh and unforgiving. Eden the princess, and me, the eternal court jester. I know hed rather I were dead, not Eden.
Julia gasped. She hurt for Mason so much her eyes filled with tears, and she was mad at CC.
Did he say that? Did he say that?!
No, Mason admitted reluctantly. Not the words. But one has to be stone-blind not to see what he means, believe me.
Julia shook her head. No Mason, he does not mean it, he cant, she argued softly. He does not, honey. Most probably you outraged him again, so he went out of his way just to hurt you. She knew only too well it was a trait the father and the son both possessed.
Julia fought back the tears and stirred, so Mason broke the embrace and let her go. She stood up.
You know what, she said flippantly. Going through my things, I have found some old love letters. Will you help me sort them out?
Mason looked up suspiciously.
Old love letters? he echoed in disbelief. From who? Jack Lee? David Laurent? Dash Nichols? From Father Michael Donnelly, maybe? he spat out the names like curses.
Julia handed him a shabby cardboard box.
Oh you will have to see for yourself to sort them out, darling, she said nonchalantly. Will you be an angel and help me with this?
Yes I will, he said with determination as he stood up, walked up to the fireplace and threw the box into it. And will you help me make a fire?
Julia reached out and retrieved the box. Read them, she said softly but urgently.
Mason looked at her searchingly.
Julia he drew in a deep breath. Okay. I think I have deserved this cruel verdict, right? But couldnt you think of a more adequate penitence?
He sat down again, holding the box in a strange manner, as if it were full of poisonous snakes.
Thats my boy, Julia said approvingly. Ill go find a new teapot instead of the one you dropped or hurled this morning.
She left the room quietly. Mason sighed again and opened the box cautiously. A brief glance at the paper yellowed with time was all it took to recognize Julias hand. So, it was going to be still harder: her own letters to her lovers.
Mason shut his eyes, nerving himself for the forthcoming ordeal, and then unfolded the top letter.
Dear Mason
He stopped. The letter was definitely very old, and he could swear he had never read it, had never received it. He hastily dug into the box.
Dear Mason
Mason, my love
They all were addressed to him! He felt a lump in his throat.
A box of old love letters.
He picked up one at random.
Dear Mason,
I will never tell you this in person, but why not write this? Youre not going to read it, ever, either. So I can be as open as I want to.
Today you asked me how Im going on with my project; isnt it cruel of you? how can I go on with it without you? Ive cancelled it.
I do want a baby, but you know I want the whole picture now: I want a husband, I want a station wagon, I want a house in the country, and a dog you know, a little golden retriever. Id call him Barney Well I dont want a husband I want you in my life, I know I dont need anybody else.
Mason shut his eyes again.
He knew the letter belonged to the baby contract time, the time when he had ripped up the said contract, to be more exact. He had hurt terribly as he had had no idea Julia was in love with him then. And with a baby already, too.
A golden retriever. They never had a dog Mason was allergic to dogs. But suddenly it made him remember the ideal picture he had talked of once with Mary; she was still married to Mark then, and he had successfully cheated CC and felt rich. A big house, kids, a golden retriever. It was him who had mentioned the dog to Mary. Not just a dog the exact breed.
He had had no cognizance of the situation with Julia at the time; even now, after so many years, it struck him as incredible they were kindred spirits to such an extent. A golden retriever.
Mason put the letter back solicitously and took up some more yellowish leaves. The baby contract time; the baby contract; the time when he got married; the day Julia learnt that Victoria was pregnant. Some of the letters dated back to the time when he was considered dead; some of them to the time when the Indian was torturing him and all Julia got were his rare and unnatural calls. In every line love shone through in every line of each letter.
Mason? Julia appeared on the doorstep with a new teapot in her hands. He raised his head, tears sparkling in his eyes. He felt refreshed, revived, - for the first time in the last three months truly alive.
Julia he said, and his voice spoke volumes.
She smiled gently. Glad you didnt burn them? She took the box out of his hands and placed it on the mantelpiece. You can go back to them later. They are all yours, after all. And now Samanthall arrive in just a few minutes.
Oh yes, Steve and Samantha have their special day today, he recalled.
Right, dear.

Samantha and Steve dropped in just for a moment they were late, it appeared. So they just left little Pamela at the grandparents and hurried away.
Cookies? Julia said hugging her granddaughter affectionately. The tiny dark-haired tot cooed and pulled her to the kitchen the baby definitely knew her way around the house.
Watching the two females giggling together Mason felt something melt in his soul. He knew exactly what the feeling was. Happiness.

/Olga Lissenkova/
(Originally posted at Back to Avalon)

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