This Is Forever (third book in series)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 23 (v.1) - chapter twenty three

Submitted: July 27, 2017

Reads: 48

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Submitted: July 27, 2017

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I walk through the grocery store after deciding that getting filet mignon was a bad idea. Even though I kind of sorted things out with Tristan’s mom it doesn’t mean that Tristan and I need a reminder of that awful night. Plus Tristan doesn’t even know I met up with her and I don’t know that he would be happy about it. Instead, I decided on lamb chops. I’m on my way over to them when I hear my phone ringing from my purse. I expect to see that it is Tristan because I’m taking more time than I said I would but I’m very surprised when I see that it’s my dad. If it was anyone else I would ignore it but my dad hates using his phone unless he absolutely has to. I click answer and bring my phone to my ear.
“Hello?” I say as I grab a bag of potatoes because I plan to make mashed potatoes for a side.
“Kate.” His voice stops me and my heart drops. I don’t think I’ve ever heard my dad sound so haunted. Something is wrong.
“Dad, what is it?” I ask quietly as I balance the phone between my shoulder and cheek so I don’t drop the big bag of potatoes. 
“It’s Luke.” 
My whole body freezes and the bag of potatoes tumble from my suddenly useless arms. My dad is calling me to tell me that my little brother has died on the day that I married the love of my life. How is this happening? I hung up from my dad at least five minutes ago but I haven’t moved since. His words have broken my heart so bad that my whole body has suffered from the aftermath of it. It’s like an earthquake has crumbled my happiness to the ground and now a tsunami is here to sweep away all its remnants. How is this happening? 
A single tear, that’s the first emotion that I let loose. It slides down my face as I stand in the aisle of this food store and I can’t move. With shaky hands, I gently slide my finger against my cheek to catch my tear but another one comes down to takes its place. I clean away the new tear even though I know it’s useless. A stream is now flowing out of my eyes but I know I won’t feel any better after they are all shed if they ever run out. My whole body aches and a sob escapes my mouth when I think about how I just spoke to him four days ago. He was alive and telling me about how excited he was to come home in a year four days ago. He was going to come home because he misses being around us but now he never will. 
I cover my mouth to hide my whimpers as my body heaves over and I wrap an arm around my stomach, my phone falling from my hand as I do. I can feel people’s stares but I don’t think I could ever care any less than I do right now. They don’t know the news that I just found out. They are just shopping and they will leave here and go back to their lives. They might have their own problems but my little brother just died. I don’t care if it’s selfish to say that my life is worse than any of these other strangers right now. 
When my legs begin to give out I force myself to straighten out and face the world around me. I continue to ignore all the lucky people around me and leave my chart. I can’t even think about going back to my happy place with Tristan. I know deep down that he can help me through this but I don’t deserve to feel better right now. Luke won’t get to fall in love and get married like I am. He will never get to be a father or meet my baby. So why should I be able to go home to my husband and enjoy our wedding night? I just need to be alone right now so that is why I let my legs walk down the street and continue walking. 
I just walk and cry until I can’t walk anymore because my crying is causing my whole body to shake. I land on a bench under a street lamp. I curl up and weep into my hands. It’s impossible to know how long I sit here but my shivering and the heavy snow fall around me make me stand and continue on walking. I’m hoping if I keep walking it will warm me up because my coat isn’t doing much to warm me. I don’t think anything could warm me in this moment. 
It’s getting dark by the time I reach where I want to go. I was already here today and I’m hoping to find comfort in my destination. I walk through the park but avoid the tree where I stood under earlier in the day when I was getting married. I don’t want to sour that perfect memory with my sadness. I just want to listen to the sound of the tree and waterfalls, the crunch of the fresh snow under my feet. The tears have stopped falling from my eyes and now I just feel empty. My body drags along the sidewalks and my heavy arms feel like dead weight. The jeans that I am wearing are soaking and useless against the cold because I am walking into the snow. I even stopped shivering which is probably a bad sign. 
I stop walking when a see the familiar silhouette moving in front of me. It’s too dark to see anything other than the shape of him but I know it’s Tristan. He freezes, probably trying to figure out if it’s me then he begins running towards me. I stay frozen as a fresh set of tears fall from my eyes. A sob escapes my mouth and my legs crumble underneath me. The wet and cold snow doesn’t feel like anything under my body but the warmth of Tristan’s body does. It’s the first sense of tenderness that I have felt since I found out. His arms wrap tightly around me and his warm breath hits the side of my face. 
“Oh, Kate.” His arms slide through my frozen hair then down my body so he can lift me off the ground. He cradles me against his chest and says soothing words into my ear. My surroundings are muffled from my tears and my deep nuzzling into Tristan’s neck. The next time I look up I am in a cab, lying in Tristan’s lap. I find his concerned and pitiful eyes looking down on me. I stare at them through teary eyes then lay my head on his chest. He sighs then gently strokes my hair and kisses my head. 
I wake up in darkness. I don’t even remember coming home or falling asleep. I sit up and look around, jumping when I see Tristan sitting on a chair next to the bed. I hear his soft breathing and know that he is sleeping. I want to call for him but I can’t even speak. Instead, I climb out of bed and curl up on his lap. I feel him stir under me then his arms wrapping around me and pulling me against his chest. 
“I almost had a heart attack tonight, Kate. After a half, an hour passed I called you but you didn't answer.” I listen to his heart beating as he continues to speak. “I kept calling and when Rachel called me I knew something bad had happened. I almost called the cops. I was going to but I made myself go back to the park for the second time. I just knew I would find you there.” He kisses my head and I want to respond. I want to tell him that deep down I knew I would find him there too but my voice still won’t work. “I am so sorry, Kate.” His words cause silent tears to roll down my cheeks until he stands with me still in his arms and places me gently back on the bed. I watch in the darkness as he goes to sit back down in the chair but I grab his hand before he can. I didn’t want to be around him earlier but now that is all I want. He looks down at me for a moment then comes around behind me and pulls my back against his chest. I close my eyes and embrace his warmth as he soothes me back to sleep.
Ten seconds. That’s how long it takes for me to remember that my brother is gone after I have woken up. For ten seconds I was just a pregnant happy newlywed who woke to the smell of breakfast being made by her handsome husband. Then I was the newlywed whose brother died on her wedding day and now I have to go face my handsome husband and the rest of the world. Oh my God. The rest of the world, my family. I need to get to my family. I can’t even imagine how my parents and May, Lilly, and Jacks are. It must be awful over there and I’m laying in bed after spending hours wandering around the city last night. 
I jump out of bed and run into my closet. I begin pulling things off the hangers and shoving them into my travel bag. I’m not even looking at what I’m throwing in because I’m too focused on getting to my family. I stop when I get to the rack where my works clothes hang. I shuffle through the rack and pick out my black sheath dress then throw it in my bag. Just like that, I have the outfit that I’m going to wear to my brothers funeral. It should be stretchy enough to fit. 
I shake my head, forcing myself to stop thinking about the funeral and continue throwing outfits in my bag. I ignore the coming footsteps and my name being called, trying to figure out what I’m going to say to Tristan. He can’t come with me. My family doesn’t need that yet. 
“Kate.” His voice is urgent and coming from the door of the closet. I ignore him and throw the last pair of jeans and a few different pairs of shoes that I am going to bring in my bag. I realize that Tristan must have taken off my wet clothes from last night because now I’m just in my bra and underwear. I pull down another pair of jeans and grab my navy sweater. I quickly slip them on then grab my bag. I turn and avoid Tristan’s eyes. I know he is still blocking my way but I can’t speak to him right now.
“What are you doing?” he asks gently after many silent moments have gone by. 
“I need to go home and be with my family,” I mumble, my eyes still looking anywhere but at him. 
“I’m coming with you,” he says confidently and takes a step inside. My head shoots up to look at him.
“No, you can’t.” I shake my head and take the opportunity to walk out of the closet. I hear him following me but I ignore him and focus on packing my makeup and hair supplies.
“Why not?” he asks my back but I continue to not answer as I move into the bathroom to pack my contacts and toothbrush. Not surprisingly, he follows me again. 
“I’m your husband now, Kate.”
“Yes, I know,” I sigh and turn to leave but he blocks my path. I look down and shake my head. “You need to move,” I say quietly but he doesn’t even flinch. 
“No, Kate. I need to be there for you. I’m not just gonna let you do this alone.”
“I’m not alone, Tristan.” I look up and give him pleading eyes. “My brother died.” My voice cracks and tears fill my eyes as I speak. “And I need to be with my family.”
“I’m your family now too.”
“Please, Tristan. I need to go home.” I maneuver my way around him and start packing underwear and pajamas, feeling his eyes on me as I do. I can’t help but flinch when his hand comes to rest on my shoulder. I freeze as uncontrollable anger and frustration swarm my body. I try to take some calming breaths but the panic that I’m feeling about not being with my family is taking me over. 
“At least let me-” I cut him off by pulling away from him and turning to face him. 
“No, Tristan. I just need a break!” I shout and watch Tristan’s shocked face. 
“You can’t have a break. I’m your husband now. I’m not going to let you close me out because you’re hurting.” He steps closer to me and tries to grab me but I quickly turn away to hide my teary face. “I want to be there for you,” he says softly. 
I think about giving in and letting him do just what he says but I can’t. I take a deep breath in and wipe the tears off my cheeks. I turn and prepare myself for what I know I have to do. When I see his eyes I almost give in to my aching desire to let him help me with this but I can’t. 
“I don’t want your help, Tristan. I just want to go home to my family. I need space.” Every word I say burns like acid in my mouth but I keep going. “You need to let me go.” My voice sounds weak and not at all convincing but I can’t manage anything else right now. 
“But I’m your husband.” His soft and pleading voice makes a fresh set of tears fall from my eyes. 
“I can’t be your wife. Not right now. We shouldn’t have gotten married like that.” I ignore his head shaking and focus all my energy on getting to my family. “I regret it and I feel stupid for thinking it was a good idea.” I know how much Tristan hates when I regret anything about our relationship but I also know this is my only way to get the space I need. 
“Kate.” His voice is pleading and his eyes are full of pain. 
“No, I have to go.” I turn around and with shaky fingers, I slip my wedding ring off my finger and place it on the dresser in front of me. My fingers fight me when I try to take my engagement ring off but eventually it is laying next to my other ring. 
I stare down at them for a moment. I was never happier than I was when Tristan was giving me both of those rings and now I’m throwing it all away. I wipe more tears from my cheeks and turn to face Tristan again. He’s staring at me with the same eyes I saw when I left him the first time and I hoped with everything I had that I would never have to see such pain in his eyes ever again but here I am, bringing that pain back into his beautiful face. 
“Goodbye, Tristan,” I sob and before either of us can stop me, I grab my bag and leave the room. I leave Tristan frozen in our bedroom and hurry over to the elevator. I click the button and sigh with relief when it opens almost immediately. I step in and click the button for the lobby. I begin to panic when I hear Tristan’s rushed footsteps coming. He rounds the corner as the elevator doors begin shutting. 
“Kate wait! Please don’t do this.” 
He charges for the elevator and I half hope that he makes it in time but he doesn’t. The doors shut and I ride the same elevator I rode the first time I left him. I stand in the same shell shocked position as tears slowly fall from my eyes. 
Wow, deja vu is a bitch.

 


© Copyright 2017 Delaney Bentham. All rights reserved.

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