BGGM Entry 5: Tuesday, December 15, 2026, continued...
This is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, and happenings are solely products of the author’s imagination or fictitious retellings. Any likeness to actual events, locations, persons living or dead, is coincidental.
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I turn down #2’s offer to accompany me back to my world, and I decline for a couple of reasons. One reason is that I’m coming back earlier than anticipated which means my Valentine might have company. I’d rather face that on my own. Another reason is I’m about eighty percent sure that I plan to tell him what happened between me and the version of him on the other world. I know I said I didn’t want him to know but I’m not so sure anymore. On the one hand, I think he deserves to know but then I think it’s selfish of me to confess if it’s about me simply wanting to release my guilt.
I then consider that I’m about to tell him that I love him and want to be with him, but I also have to go back to Beau.
I shouldn’t bombard him with confessions. One thing at a time.
I shake my head at my dilemma as the portal closes behind me. I stand as still as possible, waiting for the nausea to come but there’s only a moment of dizziness and then I’m fine.
A moment later I hear a thud and behind the now-closed portal, noticing there is a small, prone body with sandy curls splayed around her head lying on the floor.
Oh no… Breanna.
If I weren’t so concerned, it would be comical to see her lying there in her glittery pajamas, her feet covered by a pair of stark white abominable snowman slippers that are now pointed at the ceiling. But I am concerned. I’m concerned about what she might’ve seen and how Valentine might react.
“Bree,” I hear Valentine’s voice call out before I hear his footsteps on the basement stairs. I’m already at Breanna’s side when he emerges into the basement and curses several times, already knowing what she witnessed. “This is my fault. I shouldn’t have assumed you’d be gone for a few days.”
“It’s my fault,” I say, feeling really bad about this. I’m sure she’ll be fine, but I have no idea how Valentine will explain this to her. “Do you want me to leave?” I ask when I see Breanna’s eyes flutter. “You can tell her -”
“No. I don’t lie to her,” Valentine insists, already knowing I’m going to suggest we lie to her. “We made a promise to always be honest with her after, at six years old, she came to us and said she knew that me and Brenna lied to her about why we didn’t sleep in the same bed. She said she knew we didn’t love each other and that we were staying together because of her. She said she didn’t want us to have to pretend just to make her feel better. Not long after that, I was making plans to move back to Anson Valley. So, no, I don’t want you to leave. I want to tell her the truth about us. I’ve been wanting to tell her the truth since we saw you at the cafe, Valentine sys. “We didn’t exactly lie to her, but we didn’t tell her we had a secret relationship for four years during high school, and the reason I could never marry her mother is because I married to you.”
“You didn’t marry mom because you two don’t love each other,” a small, feminine voice whispers on a groan. “Wait… you’re married,” Brenna screams and her body shoots upward. “You’re married?” She repeats. “You kept that from me?” She demands to know; her own tone making her cringe and lift her hand to rub a spot on the back of her head. Valentine slaps her hand out of the way so he can inspect the spot himself, and when she cringes, he smiles.
“You’ll have a small knot and a slight headache later, but you’ll be fine,” Valentine says, and I could melt right there into the floor. My womb flutters and my uterus contracts at seeing him with his daughter.
At that very moment, I think about #2 and his Brenna. I remember the conclusions Noble made about how similar the worlds are, how similar things tend to happen. I shake away the desire to compare Valentine’s features to Breanna’s. I don’t want to make those kinds of assumptions but in all honesty, I immediately noticed that father and daughter look nothing alike.
It’s not my business, I repeat in my head over and over before jumping to Valentine’s defense.
“He didn’t keep it from you on purpose,” I say. “It’s a long and complicated story that we probably should discuss at another -”
“I love Chris. I have loved her since I knew how to love someone other than my family,” Valentine says, cutting me off. “We got married in Vegas before I knew you were mine. When I found out I gave up everything to be with you,” Valentine explains to Breanna as he helps her from the floor.
I notice he didn’t tell her the entire truth even after insisting that’s what he always does. I notice he didn’t tell her that Brenna once claimed that Breanna wasn’t his.
If Valentine wants to know the truth, he’ll decide to get a test on his own. And who knows… maybe he already knows. Maybe he’s decided that Breanna is his daughter no matter what.
“So, you cheated on the girl you were in love with? With mom?” Breanna shakes her head like she can’t believe what she’s hearing.
“No. He didn’t. Your father and I were never a couple, not until we got married.”
Not even then, I think to myself.
I realize I’m doing a shitty job of explaining things. I also realize that I have no idea how to speak to a child.
“You know me better than that, Bree,” Valentine says. “But like Chris said, it’s a long and complicated story that I’ll get into another time. I just needed you to know what the truth is, but now is not the time for explanations.”
I sigh in relief and silently hope Breanna doesn’t remember what she saw. I’m hoping the news of her father being married is enough to distract her, but no such luck.
“You can’t send me away yet, Dad. I didn’t forget what I saw,” Breanna says and then crosses her arms over her chest and sets her jaw in a way that looks just like her mother, Brenna. “She wasn’t there and then she was. She appeared, and then she was just walking across the room like she’d been there the whole time. And don’t tell me I’m crazy. I’m ten, not two.”
I have to hold back a giggle at that. It’s sassy and cute, but so much like Brenna Oliver, I end up shivering instead.
I’m hoping he can figure out a way to stall her for now. I’m a little anxious to be back, to tell him what I know, and why I returned so soon. I want to know what he thinks, and then finally break it to him that I plan to give in to Beau’s ultimatum and go back to California to be with him. The problem with that is he might ask why Beau made a threat like that. And while I can lie and say it’s because of the kiss at Lana Lou’s, I know I won’t lie to him if he asks me about anything else, especially not after he just gave that speech about the very same thing.
“I know. And I won’t insult your intelligence by saying you’re crazy. However, I will pull the dad card, and the grown-up card, and ask that you allow me to speak with Chris about the grown-up stuff first. Then, I promise to tell you what’s going on… the truth. It’s just that Chris is back from where she was a lot earlier than I expected her to be and I have a feeling she needs to talk to me about what happened while she was there.”
I want to kiss him. He knows me so well, just like #2 does. However, where it kind of disturbed me and ignited feelings of lust with #2, with Valentine I feel like the inside of my belly is the butterfly enclosure at the botanical gardens and I want to jump him right here and right now for his intuitiveness and responsiveness and how he can still be so damn sexy while being a father to his daughter.
“Can I just ask one more thing?” Breanna asks but doesn’t wait for Valentine to say yes. “Is this like the old show you forced me to watch? Quantum Leap?”
Valentine chuckles. I’m going to need a net for all these damn butterflies caused by his fathering. “Surprisingly… yes. A lot less unpredictable though.”
“Is he messing with me?” She asks me and I’m shaking my head before she finishes her question.
“You saw the truth for yourself. Are you calling yourself crazy?”
“Oh my God, I need to tell -”
“No,” Valentine interrupts making the young girl’s mouth snap closed. “This is very serious, Bree. You can’t tell anyone about what you saw. You have to promise to keep this a secret or I’m not going to feel comfortable sharing the rest of the truth with you.”
“You just said -”
“This is Chris’ truth to tell. Not mine. She’s not ready for anyone to know.”
“When I am, I’ll be sure you’re the first to know. But your dad’s right. The situation is very, very serious,” I say, not going into any more detail than that with a ten-year-old. It’s way more than serious, it’s a fucking conspiracy theory come to life if it turns out to be true.
“Deal,” the girl says. “Can I ask one more question?” Breanna asks, making Valentine sigh in exasperation. “What? I like to know things. And this has nothing to do with you being a slider,” Breanna says to me.
I laugh at that. Loudly. “Sliders too?” I quip and Valentine shrugs.
“Last I checked we were both sci-fi fans,” he says which is true. I love sci-fi shows and books as much as I love ones about fashion.
But then she asks, “If you and my dad are married are you going to sleep here with us? Not that I mind or anything, but I need to know so I can set a place at the table for you. My dad made - “
“Meaty spaghetti and garlicky bread,” I finish as my disorientation from being back on my own world fades away. It’s then I sense all the changes. The air feels different, though I can’t really pinpoint how it’s different. I hadn’t noticed a smell in this room before but going to that other Valentine’s cabin, and then returning, makes my Valentine’s scent a lot more pungent in his space.
What’s also pungent is the smell of garlic in the air which makes my stomach growl at the same time nostalgia slaps me in the face. Valentine’s mother used to make the exact same dish which makes me sad that I wasn’t here for him when she passed away.
“You know about my dad’s famous spaghetti?”
“I do. But last I checked it was Jeanette Trudeau’s famous spaghetti recipe, not your dad’s.”
I love the look of surprise that encompasses Valentine’s features. It’s like he can’t believe I remember something so unremarkable as one of his mother’s meals. But they were memorable since I didn’t have a mother who cooked ‘famous recipes’ for me.
“You pretended to be his wife?” Valentine asks like that’s not what he heard, or like it’s the most important thing I told him.
“He was going to lose everything, V. If his Chris came here asking you for the same kind of help, you’d have done it too. I couldn’t let his Christmas return to her husband broke and homeless.”
He can’t argue with me, so he sighs. “I can’t believe your fiancé’s father is president and the laws are so… wrong.”
“Beau isn’t my fiancé,” I say. “Or at least he’s not right now. He gave me a week to ‘come to my senses’,” I say.
Valentine sits forward. Then he stands and begins to pace in front of the wall of sliding glass that leads out to a private pool area that can’t be seen from the back of the house. It’s surrounded by tall, manicured shrubs that act as a barrier from the outside world.
“You’re going back to him?”
It’s not an accusation. He sounds… hurt. He confessed so much, laid his feelings on the line, and I’ve responded in a way that suggested I feel the same. Now, here I am hinting at the fact that I’m going back to a man he knows I don’t love.
“I might need to go back,” I say and then go on to tell him about Noble’s appearance at the reaffirmation office, the cryptic conversation he had with Elise about her speculation that someone from the government might approach her, and how Noble thinks it all has something to do with Elise telling Juliette about the MV Generator. I tell him about Elise’s theory about other worlds and how we all encounter the same people and often experience the same things.
“It would explain why someone as narcissistic as Beau would give you an ultimatum like that,” Valentine says once I’m done. “If Noble’s right about the Lacoste men being obsessed with the Anson women, then it could give you an advantage even though you’ll never get me to agree that going back to Beau is a good idea. However, as out there as his theory is, I don’t think we should rule out the possibility that the Lacoste’s might know about the MV Generator. “
“Or… it could be that his mother told him that taking me back would look good for his reputation and his future in politics,” I say needing to hear a more logical reality spoken aloud, not the theory about an MV Generator conspiracy spanning several universes.
Though, as much as I want the words to ring true, they don’t.
“That makes sense too. But what does your gut tell you, Chris?” Valentine asks, kneeling in front of me.
“My gut tells me that Beau isn’t the kind of man to forgive a betrayal like mine under any circumstances. I honestly don’t think there’s a good enough reason for him to agree to endure that kind of embarrassment. Future political aspirations wouldn’t sway his decision in the least.”
“Then you have to find out the truth then,” Valentine says, surprising me. “But you won’t be doing it alone. I’m going with you.”
Before I can stop myself, I respond to Valentine’s eagerness and affection. He’s slid into the role of husband, of protector, like ten years hasn’t passed since we were close like this. I lean forward, pressing my lips against his and sliding my hands over the thick and taut muscles of his biceps with a comfort and familiarity that should give me pause. But I don’t hesitate to touch Valentine like he’s always been mine, sliding my small hands up over his broad shoulders and reveling in his eyes fluttering closed in reaction. My hands settle at Valentine’s nape and my manicured fingernails scrape against his scalp as our kiss deepens.
Even though I’m the one to initiate the kiss, I end up succumbing to the forceful domination of Valentine’s lips against mine. I melt inside when his nimble fingers and hot hands explore the hollows of my back and his lips skillfully make me want him in a way I’ve never wanted anyone.
At this moment I have no desire to back away from his embrace, so I don’t. I go willingly when in one forward motion of his hot, heavy hands, he draws my form into him.
“I won’t let you go back to him, Chris,” Valentine rasps, trailing kisses along my jawline and down the column of my neck between each word. He pulls back, his gaze meeting mine before he adds, “I want you, Chris. I want our marriage to be real. I don’t want to go another ten years without -”
“Okay,” I interrupt and his lips crash to mine before the word is out completely. I don’t get a chance to qualify the statement, tell him that I still need to go back to Beau for a little while, or at least go back to confront Juliette. If I try to assert myself now, Valentine will easily talk me out of such an action, and I can’t let him talk me out of finding out the truth.
The Lacoste’s might know what happened to my mother. I can’t let that go even if I’m putting myself in danger in doing so.
I still can’t believe this is happening. I can’t believe there’s a chance Beau and his father on #2’s world has something to do with Christmas and Elise’s disappearances - or at least that’s what Noble has concluded from the bits and pieces of information he’s gathered. I also can’t believe that Laurent Lacoste is president, and he’s the kind of president who supports marriage reaffirmation, or whatever the hell is going on with that.
Deciding any other admission can wait until morning, I enjoy the way Valentine’s lips move over mine with a passion I have never felt before. He caresses me with his tongue just as skillfully as he caresses me with his hands, and I never want to leave his embrace. We don’t come up for air, holding onto each other like I was gone for a year instead of a day.
I let myself let go, let myself believe there is nothing that can or will come between us again until a clattering from above reminds us that we have to stop.
We do have to stop, and it’s not just because Breanna is in the house. It’s also because it was in this room of #2’s cabin that he and I started our one-night stand. I won’t be that kind of woman; Valentine deserves better than that.
Pulling away, Valentine chuckles when my stomach makes an ungodly growling sound. “Did he not feed you while you were there?”
“Believe it or not, it was Kendall who fed me.”
“Oh, I bet that was strange. Kendall and your brother together and not dealing with Ripley drama.”
“It wasn’t as strange as the way people looked at me and #2 when we walked through the Anson Valley Municipal Building hand-in-hand,” I say and Valentine tenses within the embrace we still have on one another. I rake my fingernails over his neck reassuringly and his eyes flutter closed in response. I don’t say anything about his reaction, but it lets me know he doesn’t need to hear any other truths, at least not right now. “It was like they were relieved and scared and wanted to stare and look away all at the same time,” I continue.
“I’m surprised he didn’t cause a scene and kiss you or something. It seems like something he might do,” Valentine jokes and it’s my turn to tense. However, Valentine doesn’t ignore my reaction. He says, “Mother fucker! I told him not to touch you. I’m going to -”
“Do nothing,” I say, finishing his sentence and cutting him off. I don’t want to talk about the kiss with #2, or anything having to do with him. I realize there is one truth Valentine needs to hear so I say, “You’re the only Valentine I will ever love. Now, please… feed me.”