The End

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She and René met for the movie as planned, but thanks to teenager-level hormones that reared when they came together, Candace had no recollection of the movie whatsoever. They tried dinner afterwards, but then ended up simply ordering dessert to go. If her time with him this go-around was going to be limited, she figured she'd go ahead and indulge.

The next night and the weekend that followed barely allowed time for breathing, much less anything else outside of their naked bodies wrapped up in one another. Patricia threatened to stay with Bryan until Candace could promise her a quiet night for some decent sleep and deduct the days from her rent.

Respectfully, she and René decided to spend a few days at a hotel until they could get things out of their system. Slowly, however, a cloud began to loom over Candace's emotions. Instead of tiring of her time with René, she began finding it almost unbearable to be without him. She also noticed that he was happy to carry on the way they had been for as long as she was willing, despite his original intentions.

This was what she'd always wanted, and not being able to find it had been why she had a career. A lack of romantic distraction was the perfect setting for her to have excelled in her studies, but all things considered again, she now wondered if having this kind of distraction would affect other things she'd need her full attention on. Things like another romance that would give her what she really wanted – a family.

No, she finally decided after torturing herself with the reality of what she needed to do. It couldn't go on anymore. For her own sake. For everyone's sake. She confronted him after some contemplation while they'd been standing on their hotel room's balcony overlooking the city.

"I can't keep doing this, René."

He didn't turn to face her, as if he'd known this moment was coming.

"I am falling for you and, hell, I'm probably past that now. But if I let myself continue, my heart won't be open to my husband, or future husband rather. And how can I go into a marriage like that? I mean, I know now I am supposed to marry him – I will marry him no matter how I feel at the time because I have children depending on me to do it. God, now I'm really sounding crazy!"

Exasperated, she dropped onto the chair next to her.

"I'm sorry to have history repeat itself – is that what I should call something that hasn't happened yet? A repeat? Oh, never mind. It doesn't matter," she huffed.

René closed his eyes slowly, bracing himself for what he knew came next.

"I have to choose my family – again. Before? Dammit! Whatever. It's just how it has to be. What if I can't feel enough for my husband to convince him to marry me because I'm so consumed with you? Again, the children will be denied their lives!"

She looked at his stoic figure, eyes closed and breathing deeply while a tremor visibly took over his entire body. He spent several minutes that way before finally blinking his eyes open.

"This...must be why I couldn't pass through the gate before. The connection we shared was...much stronger for you than I thought. I assumed your ability to choose him over me when you did was because your love wasn't like mine, but I understand now." His voice was barely above a whisper.

"Thank you," she said quietly. "Thank you for giving me the choice."

"No, I should thank you for tolerating my interference. I've nearly written your children out of your life."

"How are we going to handle this when we meet at the wedding?"

"I'm not going to attend."

"Won't that interfere? You know, create a paradox? You only came here now because of where things led from there, right?"

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