Chapter 7: In the End

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“Lea… it’s really good to see you again. How are you?” the woman asked with a pleased smile adorning her face. At a loss, Lea turned to Cory for some sort of clue as to who the woman was and what she was doing at his apartment with a little boy. “You don’t remember me, do you?” she asked, having witnessed the silent exchanged between the two former lovers. 

“Um… no, actually” Lea admitted and was surprised when the woman laughed lightly in response. The action left her even more confused than before. 

“It’s Darcy… Darcy Reynolds” she stated, causing Lea to snap her mouth shut as she tried to place where she had heard that name before. It took a moment but when it hit, Lea was assaulted with an image of a much younger woman who had bleached blonde hair, blue eyes and an apron around her waist. 

“Oh my god!” Lea gasped in realization. Instantly, she returned her gaze to the woman who looked so different, so much more grown up. “Darcy, how have… have you been?” she questioned with audible tentativeness. Again she looked to Cory who was now lifting the small boy in his arms. Another wave of confusion washed over her as she wondered whether or not she had originally jumped to the right conclusion. 

“I’m okay” Darcy replied, smiling kindly. “This is my son, Tyler. Sweetie, meet Cory's friend, Lea” she coached though the little boy simply buried his face in Cory's shoulder with obvious shyness. “Cory… I have to get going but thank you for doing this today. I’ll be back in a few hours. It was great seeing you again, Lea” she added and offered one last parting smile before hurrying out through the opened door. 

“Tyler, why don’t you go into the guest bedroom and watch cartoons for a little while?” he suggested and lowered the boy to the floor. 

Nodding, Tyler ran off into what Lea presumed was the guestroom. The action only solidified the fact that the boy and his mother had obviously been to the apartment before. “So… you and Darcy?” she asked, all the while trying to push down the nagging feeling of jealousy that had cemented itself in her heart. After all, they had been apart for just over three years. Lea hadn’t expected him to just pine away, all the while never dating anyone. She also acknowledged that someone as attractive as Cory was bound to have women lining up to go out with him. 

“You couldn’t be more wrong if you tried” Cory surprised Lea by saying. She noticed the small smile he was trying to hide and felt a tinge of annoyance that he had picked up on her feelings. “Come on. I need coffee and you probably need to eat something” he proposed with the slightest hint of concern in his voice. Lea couldn’t help but agree and followed him through the living room into the kitchen. 

She watched as he scooped a healthy dose of coffee beans in the percolator before reaching for a pan to place down on a stove burner. Silently, he reached into the refrigerator and returned with several eggs, a package of bacon and a loaf of bread. “Do you still eat yours cooked with salt and pepper?” he asked, startling Lea out of her observations with the sudden sound of his voice. 

“It is the only way to eat them” Lea replied as though the answer should have been obvious. The grin Cory shot her had Lea smiling back as she leaned back against his nook. “So if I’m wrong… tell me what’s right?” she requested when her curiosity became too much to continue holding in. 

“Darcy found out she was pregnant two months before he died” Cory stated after a long, contemplative pause. “Sean kept the whole thing quiet because he didn’t want the media after her at work. I was the only one he told… even Dianna didn’t know” he quietly added. “I’m sure you remember that the two of them weren’t on the best of terms. Dianna always blamed Darcy for getting him into drugs in the first place so even after the funeral she wouldn’t say anything. Hell it never even rang in my mind until I was half way through rehab.” 

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