The Arizona sun is an angry, yellow circle in the sky as Chick gets out of his car at the gas station. He tugs at his clothes that are perfect for the weather in White Pine Bay but not for this area; he is dressed way too warmly.
Chick waits for the gas to fill the tank. After he had called 911 and reported the fire at the Bates Motel, he kept on driving, stopped only briefly to fetch his getaway bag that is always ready and his bird that has been his companion ever since his wife left. The original plan had been to extend his revenge to Norma and Dylan as Caleb's family but now that Rebecca ruined that, it will be a simple action, no more detours. Chick found out about Caleb's whereabouts a while ago. He lives in a town nearby. So he will drive there, shoot Caleb and drive on. Whereto he has no idea as yet, maybe he will let his bird decide.
He pays the bill and gets in his car, welcoming the pleasant temperature cooling his heated skin. His hand reaches out to touch the gun that is hidden under the bag on the passenger seat. Chick smiles. It's not a happy smile, but sometimes you have to take what you can get. Then he starts the engine and steers the car back on the road.
Norman swallows. This is it. Things will come to an end here and now.
"We need to get you help," Dylan says.
"That's what you want for me? To be shut up in some prison for the criminally insane and drugged out of my mind?"
Everything aside from Dylan's face is a blur although Norman is aware that he is in the house where he and his mother live together. They moved to White Pine Bay to start over and that's what they are doing.
Dylan and he are fighting, screaming at each other because Dylan wants to put him in an institution. What a silly idea. He is outraged. Out of the corner of his eye Norman sees his mother sitting in the living room, strangely still, her head slightly tilted. She is wearing the red dress he loves so much. Why doesn't she come to his defense?
"I just want to be with her, Dylan."
Their fight continues, turning into a physical struggle. He doesn't remember grabbing the knife, but suddenly it is in his hand. Then there is a gun shot, Dylan pressing the cold metal of the muzzle against his chest even though Norman doesn't feel any pain as his brother holds him in his arms and his mother continues to sit at the table right next to them eerily still.
It's like falling asleep save that his surroundings get sharper and sharper as the images of his brother and mother fade away, giving place to beige-colored walls and a table with some flowers on it. He is sitting on a couch, looking right into the friendly, yet concerned eyes of Dr. Edwards.
"Norman? Do you know where you are?"
Norman looks around. "At Pineview. You're Dr. Edwards, my doctor." Why the questions? He is not stupid.
Dr. Edwards visibly relaxes and nods. "That's good, Norman. Very good."
"Where are Dylan and my mother?" Even though Norman knows where he is, things don't make sense. He just was with them and something must have happened.
"You saw them in here?" Dr. Edwards asks.
"Yes. No. I was in our house with them. Dylan and I got into a fight and he..." Norman touches his chest right where the bullet hit him, but he doesn't feel any pain or scar underneath his shirt. How is that possible? He looks back at Dr. Edwards. "It didn't happen, right? I was having hallucinations."
"Yes, Norman. But you will be better from now on."
Doctors told him before that everything will be better if he only takes his medication or does this or that, but this is different. Norman can't explain it, but Dr. Edwards' words cling to something inside of him as if they only needed to find a basis to grow from there and... heal him.
"Thank you, Dr. Edwards," Norma ends the call.
"So?" Alex urges her gently when she just keeps standing there, staring into space.
They have been waiting for Dr. Edwards to call them. Four weeks ago he approached them, well, Norma to be exact, to ask for permission to include Norman in a clinical study for a new psychotropic drug. She was hesitant at first, but Dr. Edwards convinced her that this was no trial in the early stages of developing a new medication. The drug had already been tested extensively and now it was about refining the results with a few, specifically selected patients.
Norma is Norman's legal guardian. After Bradley Martin's body had been pulled out of the lake, his conviction was quick and unambiguous: Norman was found not criminally liable due to his mental illness and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in an institution unless his condition would improve drastically. There had been no medication or therapy that had worked in the past. But right now Dr. Edwards told Norma that Norman was back to life, so to speak, able to distinct hallucination from reality and therefore no longer a danger to himself or others anymore.
"Norma?" Alex touches her arm, reminding her of his presence.
She startles. "Alex. Yes, um..." Norma straightens herself, her eyes burning with unshed tears and a fierce hope. "It worked," she whispers, taking a deep breath, her legs turning to jelly, anyway, so that she has to sit down as the meaning of what she said out loud sinks in. "Oh my God! It worked. Norman knows where he is. He asked about me. Not this..." She makes a dismissive gesture. "...crude version of me he imagined living with. Me." A tear runs down her cheek. "Dr. Edwards thinks he will be fine. Not today or tomorrow, maybe not even in a year since there will be setbacks, but eventually."
Alex sits down next to Norma, taking her hand. "That is great news." He winces, hearing the doubt in his voice. Norma hears it too, judging from the way she darts a glance at him and twists her mouth, but she doesn't call him out on it. Alex squeezes her hand. It is great news for her; so it also has to be for him, no matter what he is thinking albeit it will take a long time before he will be able to not consider Norman a danger anymore, especially to his mother.
Then again, it's the last piece of the puzzle. They are happily married and survived the attack on their lives with only minor injuries which was a miracle as the paramedics that treated them on site kept pointing out. Dylan moved to Seattle and found a good job there. He did it for Emma although they are not together anymore. But Dylan and Emma have remained close friends and both come to visit them on a regular basis, sometimes even together. So it's all good save for the one empty chair at their dinner table. Alex is aware that Norma's happiness will only be complete once her youngest son's presence will fill that void.
Alex pulls Norma close, pressing a kiss into her hair tenderly.
"So, you want to stay in or go out for dinner?"
Norma is still wearing her bathing suit and the scarf she loosely wrapped around her hips. They had just come back from the beach when her cell rang.
She shrugs. "I don't know. I'm not that hungry. What do you want?"
Alex's fingers follow the strap of her bathing suit to her collarbone. What does he want? He is hungry but not for food.
"We could stay in. Order a bottle of wine and some snacks."
Norma snorts. "Snacks? That's no decent food for a man." But when his lips brush over her shoulder before they come to rest on her neck, she hums pleased. "Maybe just… order some more snacks so that you can eat your fill."
Their relationship has always been sensual. Ever since they decided to go on vacation, the way they enjoy this sensuality has peaked though.
Alex didn't share Norma's excitement when she told him about her plans to go on vacation together. Quite the opposite, actually. Alex Romero doesn't do vacations, let alone ones where swimwear is required. But Norma insisted, he caved, and as it turned out, wearing swim trunks comes in handy when your wife appreciates it as much as Norma does.
Among all the terrible things that happened to them, it was a surprise as unexpected as marvelous to find out that house and motel still had an old insurance from the Summers family that Norma had acquired as part of the foreclosure agreement without being aware of it. No one had known, not even her realtor. Well, that guy isn't the best in his field, anyway. Not long after house and motel had burned to ashes, there was a warm shower of money.
Norma was furious. If I had known this, I would have burned this crappy motel down years ago, she yelled and Alex knew her well enough to not argue that they wouldn't be married then. Once she had calmed down, however, they reflected on what do to with the money. In the end, the decision was easy. They considered leaving White Pine Bay but despite everything that had happened, living there had brought them together, their fate inextricably linked with this city. Let alone that the landscapes were beautiful and the rainy weather good for the complexion.
Alex's family owns land from where you can look out on the entire city and even spot the sea in the distance. Their new house is almost built there and they decided to spend the rest of the money on a vacation in the Caribbean. Well, Norma did, but here they are, relaxed and tanned.
"So let's stay in if you want." Norma stands up, eying Alex, pretending she was doing him a favor.
Her voice sounds as sweet as sugar; it's crystal clear what she is up to. Alex's eyes don't leave her body as she peels off the bathing suit gracefully and lies down on the bed naked, looking at him with this mesmerizing expression that has always been his fate. Her beauty takes his breath away, his swim trunks suddenly feeling too tight.
Norma raises an eyebrow appreciatively. But when he strips and joins her on the bed, she doesn't pull him on top of her as he expected. She flips them over instead so that she is straddling him and then slowly begins to roll her hips, causing friction in all the right places for him and herself.
The sun shines in through the open balcony door, bathing Norma's body in a warm light. Her hands rest on his chest and Alex grasps one of it, kissing her fingers, taking one in his mouth to suck at it. Norma tastes like the summer day they spent outside – heat, salt and a tinge of sweat.
They set a casual rhythm that fits the hot temperatures as well as their mood. They've come so far; there is no need to be in a rush. Not with their lives, not with this.
After a while, Norma raises her hips, taking him in torturously slow. Alex groans with pleasure, pressing his head back into the pillow as his hands reach out for her slender waist on their own accord and then drop down to her hips.
"God, you're killing me, Norma," he mumbles although he sounds like a man who appreciates to die this way.
Her soft giggle turns into a moan as he pushes up into her, one of Alex's hands cupping her breast now. Norma leans back to change the angle and they both moan in unison. How can something they have done so often by now still feel so unique and good?
The tension is building fast. It turns Alex on even more than usual to see Norma this way, to watch her set the pace and enjoy her own desire.
"Come here!" He grabs the back of her neck, pulling her down to kiss her.
Norma doesn't change the rhythm, simply lowers her upper body until her breasts are pressed against Alex's chest, their altered position increasing the friction between her legs right where she needs it. Her breathing changes as her movements get faster before she pulls herself up in a sitting position again, arching her back.
A trickle of sweat runs down between Norma's breasts as she closes her eyes and lets her head fall back, lost in the moment.
Their back and forth is exquisite, but Alex knows how to make it even better and lets one hand slip between Norma's thighs, applying the softest pressure. Her eyes are closed as Norma bites her lower lip, a little frown appearing on her face Alex only knows too well, accompanied by a quiet sigh.
He feels her inner walls twitch as a premonition, making it incredibly difficult to stave off his own release. There is nothing better than watching Norma's slow build-up, though, because he knows she will come even harder then.
She briefly opens her eyes to look at him, smiling dreamily as her moans are getting louder. Soon.
"Let go," Alex murmurs.
Norma doesn't scream or scratch him. She just lets out a whimper that pervades every fiber of his body and then goes rigid for a moment before she collapses on his chest, her inner muscles contracting wildly. Still her hips continue their rhythm, taking him with her.
Her lips find his, her tongue lazily saying thank you as they both come back down, listening to the surge of waves outside.
This. Them. It was always meant to be.