Quick Notes: This is the final chapter in a Choose Your Own Adventure style blog series. If you haven't read the previous chapters you won't fully understand this chapter. To catch up you can read the previous chapters with the links below:
For those of you caught up, welcome to the final chapter! I hope you enjoy the conclusion.
Chapter 6: Going Forward
James looked at the ring in his hand. He’d made his decision, but was still hesitant. But after a few more seconds, he sighed and held his hand out toward Minerva.
The two stood in silence for a moment. Minerva finally spoke up. “Um…what are you doing?” she asked perplexed.
James looked right into her eyes and said, “Giving it back.”
Minerva stared at him, unsure of what was happening. When it finally hit her her eyes bugged out of her head and she half-yelled, “What?!”
James took a step closer to Minerva. He put his hand directly over hers. In a calm voice he stated, “Look, I appreciate the opportunity you’ve given me. And I have to admit, I am tempted. Going back, fixing my past. I can’t say that I don’t want to. I do. But…”
“But?” Minerva repeated questioningly.
James took a moment to compose himself. To find the right words. When he did he said, “But I’m tired of worrying about my past. I’m tired of wondering what might have been. Yes, my life’s been hard. Yes, my mom stole my father from my life. Yes, I would probably be better off growing up with him, rather than her. But that doesn’t matter now. I have my father now. I have a stepsister. A hot stepsister that I have a crush on, but still. I have my chance to have a real family now. A loving family. I have a better future ahead of me. And I won’t throw that away. Even for a better past.”
The two stood there on the street, staring at each other. James mouth was dry and his eyes were watering a bit. Minerva stared at him, her face showing no clear emotions. Just when James was about to have doubts about his decision Minerva smirked and let out a small laugh. She then opened her hand. James dropped the ring into it. As soon as the ring hit Minerva’s palm, she quickly slipped it into her robe.
Minerva chuckled again and said, “Well I guess I can respect that.”
She then held out her dry, old clawed hand toward James. James extended his own hand and the two shook hands. And with that Minerva bid him adieu and began to walk away. James watched her walk away until she disappeared from his vision. He smiled to himself. He wasn’t completely sure he’d made the right decision. But he was sure that he’d made the more responsible one. It wasn’t his place to alter the past. What was done was done. All he could do now is move forward.
And with that thought James continued on home.
Six Months Later…
James, Arthur, and Rose began to head back to the car. It was a sunny day, with nice warm weather. A small breeze kept things from being to warm, which James was thankful for. They were almost at the car when Arthur stopped and said, “I almost forgot. I wanted to visit someone else. Do you mind?”
“Not at all,” James replied.
“Yeah, it’s fine,” Rose answered back.
“Thanks. Won’t be but a moment. You guys head back to the car. Meet you there in a bit,” Arthur said, before heading off in the opposite direction.
Rose and James watched him for a bit, and then began back to the car. They walked in silence for a bit before James spoke up.
“Nice day, huh?” he said awkwardly.
“Yeah,” Rose replied, “Sunny. Nice breeze. Great day to be out.”
“Yeah,” James said, not sure why he’d brought up the weather. He continued, “So what you got planned today? You know, like later?”
“Not much. Was probably just going to get some food,” Rose answered. “Why?”
James nervously replied, “Oh, no reason. I was just wondering, you know, if maybe you wanted to, like, I don’t know…do something with me? Like, together?”
Rose stopped and looked at James with an interested look, one eyebrow cocked. “Oh really? Like what?” she asked, feigning ignorance.
“Oh, I don’t know,” James sputtered, completely unaware of her tone, “Maybe dinner? Or a movie? Or something?”
Rose chuckled and asked, “Are you…asking me out?”
“Well,” James started before Rose cut him off.
“Are you asking me, your stepsister, out?” She asked teasingly.
James turned beet red and tried to suddenly change the subject, “What? No! Don’t be ridiculous. I mean really. Hey how about this weather right? Nice, didn’t we agree? I mean-“
“Relax,” Rose assured, “I was only teasing you. I’d love to go out with you.”
“Really?” James asked, in a way that was half shocked, half doubtful.
“Yeah,” Rose replied. “Look, your nice. And funny. And kind of, I don’t know…cute. In a way. And it’s not like we’re related at all, so it’s not weird….I think.”
James replied, “Yeah, I mean, that’s what I thought. Although I wonder what dad…”
As James trailed off, once again getting lost in thought, Rose spoke up and said, “He’ll be fine. He already knows you like me.”
“He does?!” James said, half shouting.
“Yes,” Rose chuckled, “He told me. When you moved in. He told me he was a little uncomfortable with you moving in because you had a crush on me, and we’d be living in the same house, and, well, you know?”
James blushed again and said, “Wow, I wish he’d give me a little credit. I wouldn’t-“
“Oh I know,” Rose interrupted. “You’re a good guy. Dad knows it too. He was just being a dad is all.”
“Yeah, I guess,” James replied wistfully. He continued, “Um, so, about tonight?”
Rose replied, “How about dinner, mini golf, and then a movie?”
James smiled and said, “That sounds great.”
The two agreed and then continued walking back to the car, hand in hand.
A few minutes later Arthur came running up to them. They all got into the car and Arthur asked what he missed. James said, “Oh not much,” but Rose immediately replied, “James and I are going out tonight. On a date.”
James blushed and stared at his father, expecting the worst. Instead Arthur just smiled and said to James, “Finally got the nerve, huh?” Then he gave him a tap on the shoulder that said everything that needed to be said. James just smiled back and nodded.
Arthur then started up the car and the three left the cemetery. Deeper in, from where the three had come stood a grave. Fresh flowers were left behind by the trio. The grave read:
Here Lies Victoria Darwin
Gone But Not Forgotten
I just want to thank everyone who participated in this story. It means a lot that you took the time to help shape this story with me. I was surprised to see how this story progressed. I somehow ended up writing a story with time traveling as a plot point that had no actual time traveling. Weird, but strangely cool. It makes this story seem very unique. It was a lot of fun to write, and I hope a lot of fun to read. Thank you again for reading and/or playing along. I hope to do something like this again, but not for a while. I have several other blog ideas in the future, so it’ll have to wait.