A year later, Rachel was completely lost. She still had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. She figured she'd probably want to go to college someday, but had no idea what she would study.
She worked on her food blog, got a job as a temp, and sometimes visited David on his movie set. Once, David suggested that she try acting. She thought it might be fun. She did a screen test and the director suggested her life-path probably lay in a different direction.
She got to go to a few movie event things. She saw lots of celebrities. She wore expensive clothes. She looked pretty even though she had gained eight pounds. She enjoyed herself, but it got old fast. She started making excuses not to go, and soon David was making excuses not to go too.
They liked staying home together...just the two of them.
Maybe one day things would fall apart.
But for now they were extremely happy.
One day, they left New York for a little road trip. They did some research (not hard in the age of Google and Wikipedia) and found Daphne Ta's house....well, her mansion actually.
It was in Deerfield Illinois.
They paid her a little visit.
The property had gates, and David rang the doorbell next to them.
A muffled voice said something they didn't understand, and David said. "We need to talk to you."
Rachel didn't expect the gates to open, but they did.
They drove in, parked, and then rang the doorbell.
A woman who looked like Daphne, but who could definitely not be Daphne, opened the door.
This woman looked too happy and way too friendly.
"Hi!" She said. "How can I help you?"
David and Rachel stood there. Bewildered. Helpless.
They looked at each other for help. What was supposed to happen next?
Daphne looked at David. "You look very familiar," she said and then her eyes widened. "You're not? Oh my God!"
Rachel thought she was remembering the dream now. But Daphne just said. "David Matthews! The actor!"
"Yeah," David said. “Well, Tirlson actually.”
I've seen some of your movies."
"Thanks," David said.
No one said anything.
"Well, this is a nice surprise." Daphne said. "But--" A child cried out in the background.
"I'll be there in a minute, Honey." She looked at Rachel. "Sorry."
"That's okay," Rachel said.
"You look familiar too."
Rachel didn't say anything
"What's your name again?"
"Rachel," she said.
And this must be when things became clear to Daphne. She gasped, let out a cry, and collapsed on the ground. She didn't faint like Rachel had. She held her head between her knees and breathed heavily.
Immediately three kids came to the room. One had Down Syndrome. All three were adorable; even though all their eyes shined with hatred.
"What did you do to my mommy?" the oldest one asked.
Later, the six of them sat outside at a table in Daphne's garden. It was beautiful. Perfect. It reminded Rachel of the Garden of Eden.
"You used your money well," David said.
Daphne's kids were quick to forgive David and Rachel. The youngest one now sat in Rachel's lap and fed Rachel blueberries.
“I adopted Gwen a few months before the dreams began," Daphne told them. "My Lord. I can't believe they really happened." Daphne was extremely apologetic.
"What happened Mommy?" the oldest, Wendy asked.
"Very crazy things," Daphne answered. "I'll tell you when you're older."
"Fine," Wendy said. "Next week."
Daphne laughed. "Yeah. Next week."
This Daphne was completely different from the Daphne they had met in the dreams.
Daphne looked at Rachel. "Oh Rachel. I'm so sorry. About everything. You must hate me. You both must."
"No," David said. "Well, maybe a little. You were kind of horrible."
She cringed, then said, "I need to explain something to you guys."
Then they listened.
"I'm not like the person you knew in the dream."
That was for sure.
"Do you know I never insult anyone on purpose?" She laughed. "At least not in the real world. When I'm awake. I don't yell at anyone. I never lie. I don't kill bugs. I don't--"
"You're perfect," David said.
"Well, I try to be," Daphne said. "I try to be good. I don't want to hurt anyone. I hate hurting people." She stopped and looked at her kids. "I don't want to be a saint. I just want to...Well, not add any more cruelty to the world. There's enough already."
Rachel and David waited for her to continue.
"But I learned, as much as I tried, it's impossible to be nice all the time. We all have aggressive feelings. And we can't suppress them." She looked at her oldest daughter. "Once I lost my temper with Wendy I had a bad day. She was cranky. And one thing led to another. I slapped her. She was only two years old. It was the worst day of my life. I don't think I'll ever forgive myself." She smiled. "But I do try."
Rachel got fed another handful of blueberries.
I knew then that although I acted happy, friendly, aggressive-free--that these negative feelings were a part of me, boiling under the surface. So I started my own little dream therapy.
"Brilliant," Rachel blurted out. "I love it."
"In real life I'm super nice. In my dreams, I'm mean to everyone."
"Wow," David said.
"And I've never hit any of my kids again. I don't even yell at them."
"You are a saint," David said.
"No," Daphne said modestly. And then a tiny speck of the Daphne they knew snuck out. She grinned wickedly. "Well, I might be pretty close."
Daphne invited them to spend some time in her mansion. They accepted the invitation. Rachel had a wonderful time. She never thought of herself as the type of person who liked kids, but she fell in love with Daphne’s daughters. She cried on the ride back to the airport. David comforted her and suggested maybe they would have kids of their own someday.
And they did.
One girl and a boy.
David was a great father and a husband. His career took off in exciting directions. He won an Oscar, two Emmys, a Golden Globe, and a Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards.
Rachel became a stay at home mom, cooked for her kids and husband, and wrote a children's book that never got published.
Then at a party, she met someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew someone else, and Rachel ended up with a show on the Food Network. She became famous.
David remained famous.
They were number twenty-five on the list of America's favorite couples. Eleven notches up from where what David and Cassandra had once been on the list. Not that Rachel was keeping score or anything.
They were happy.
They never got tired of each other.
Neither of them fell out of love.
Rachel didn't get cancer.
She didn't get murdered or kidnapped.
She did break her arm once.
And David got really bad food poisoning. It involved dehydration, and a week long hospitalization.
The kids got lice once, and none of the special shampoos would work on them. That was an awful time...probably their worst.
But all in all things went very well.
David and Rachel were the grand prize winners of the rarest gift of all: Happily ever after.
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