Meet Me Under The Lilac Tree

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

a short romance that i wrote about 2 years ago. enjoy :)
synopsis:
with a dead father, a drunk mother with a bruising secret and Two more than independant sisters, life is proving itself to be much harder than it led on for Ben Osmand. but that soon changes when he meets Autumn Moore, a sweet natured and beautiful young woman who might just have what it takes to turn his life around.

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Meet Me Under The Lilac Tree

Submitted: January 03, 2012

Reads: 232

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 03, 2012

A A A

A A A

Meet Me under the Lilac Tree heart

Epilogue

It was silent. The only thing that moved my conscience was the slow and steady breeze gently stirring the leaves above my head; nothing mattered now, not my shadowed past or my mother’s drunken rants.

I walk a little way along the path, slowly, letting the warm breeze settle my anxious mind. I inhaled relaxing my shoulders. I paused; the path had split two ways: one left and one right. I looked to my right; the pathway was narrow shrouded by trees. I looked to my left; it was much wider with patches of sunshine; I decided this would be the best way.

I started to walk steadily to my left. As I looked up I could see what looked like a small clearing coming into view so I walked faster curious to reach it. As the clearing grew closer the forest began to change; the trees grew broader, taller. The leaves were wider so that when the sunlight bounced off them it gave the forest a warm summer glow. The grass turned lush emerald and bluebells started to sprout. It was beautiful yet so calming.

When I reached the clearing I stopped, taking in the scenery. It was just as beautiful as the forest but so much brighter. I could see the sun smiling down at me. I looked up toward the centre of the clearing.

There perched on the top of a small hill was the biggest and most flawless lilac tree I have ever seen. It was in full bloom. Its long branches drooped down just touching the long grass. Its small purple flowers covered it completely like a large purple cloud.

I approached it, mesmerised. I gently pushed apart the long thin branches and peered inside; the light was slightly dim and the air was Luke warm. I sat down by the trunk cushioned by the thick grass. I closed my eyes and replayed the day’s events in my head.

* * *

Chapter 1 – bad memories

8:00, 9:00, 10:00.

Why does she do this to me?

This has been happening non-stop almost every week for the past two and a half years.

Looking back I new she had trouble coping, but I didn’t think that she would turn into a different person; a drunk, violent, unfamiliar person who I wish I never knew.

My father died three years ago of leukaemia, we never saw it coming, me and my two sisters April and dawn. We were never allowed to visit him in the hospital after he died. We had no idea why.

Our mum just denied it; she didn’t believe he was ill and she didn’t want to. She really loved him; they had been married for six years before we came along. Mum had always wanted three daughters so it was a big blow for her when I arrived, in a way she did always treat me differently from my sisters, now I understand, it’s because I was the son she never really wanted.

There was a loud thud and the sound of keys fumbling at the door.

“And the devil returns” I said to myself

I rose from the sofa were I had been waiting for her for the last three hours and opened the door, there was mum; half conscious, half standing with a beer bottle in one hand and feebly clutching the house keys in the other

“Your late again mother” I always called her mother when I was angry, she new this.

“No I’m not, now get out of my way I need to open the door…..” she slurred

Forgetting the fact it was already open.

“Come on, get inside” I said, heaving her in to the house.

Once inside she collapsed onto the sofa looking dazed and dopey like a confused puppy. I stood in front of her with my arms folded.

“Look at yourself mother, this has to stop”

She looked up at me with her blood shot eyes trying to look innocent, she was doing it again, denying there was anything wrong.

“What do you mean?.....”

“Look at yourself!” I yelled “look at what you’ve become!”

Now she looked upset, she looked down at her hands in shame

“What have I become Ben?” she started to sob

I turned away from her in frustration; it was no use she was never going to come through.

“This has been happening for too long…..ever since dad died--”

“Don’t say his name!....” now it was her turn to yell, she started to get up

“After all, your father was no better than I am….” I looked round at her

“What do you mean?” by this time she was up on her feet, trying to stumble her way across the room “leukaemia….” She laughed “why did I say that?...” she laughed again, leaning on the door way she took a swig from her bottle.

“Mother what--”

“He didn’t die of leukaemia! He was as drunk as me!” she was slurring her words again

“Dad was never drunk mum! How can you say something like that??”

Her eyes softened “you were all so young……you and the girls….” There was a pause

“He didn’t want to drink in front of you….or do anything else that might influence you at a young age….” I studied her face, what was she trying to tell me? She looked up and saw that I was still confused

“He was addicted!...”she tried to push herself from the doorframe but stumbled, I rushed out to grab her

“What are you talking about mum?”

“Your father didn’t die because he was ill…….he shot himself…”

I was taken aback, my arms went limp and I let go of her, she stumbled back to the doorframe

“Ben--”

“Your lying….you said it was leukaemia!”

“It’s the truth!......your father couldn’t bear another moment in this world alive so he took a bullet to his own head!.....”

I took a moment to rethink what I just heard

“I cant believe this mum…….after all this time how can you not tell us???

He’s been gone for three years and your bringing this up now!?”

“I had to tell you sometime…….” She stumbled her way towards the sofa and lay down, then she muttered something unintelligible and before I knew it she was asleep, snoring softly into the pillow. I stood there in the centre of the room, my mind buzzing with unanswered questions. I rubbed my eyes. I’d forgotten how tired I was. Leaving mum on the sofa I went upstairs to bed and fell asleep with the feeling of unease heavy on my mind.

I woke up the next morning; groggy eyed and sick with the memories of the night before. I made my way down the stairs toward the kitchen and found mum sitting in front of the TV with a cup of steaming coffee in her hands; she had changed and had a shower.

her hair was still hanging wet around her shoulders, it probably helped the hangover.

She looked up at me; her eyes swimming with unspoken apologies, neither of us said anything.

I walked past her into the kitchen, and made breakfast for both of us; I ate mine in the kitchen, chewing slowly still thinking about the previous night.

I swallowed my last mouthful and put my empty bowl in the sink.

Walking back into the living room mum spoke for the first time that morning;

“Ben…..”

I turned around to face her

“There’s nothing more to say mother”

And with that I walked out the door.

* * *

Back under the tree once more; I opened my eyes and breathed out a sigh of remorse, lately my life was becoming one big nightmare after another.

I looked at my watch; 4:25. I should get back before mum does something she will regret, it wouldn’t be the first time anyway.

I stood up and made my way out from under the tree.

Having taken a few steps into the clearing I was lost in my own thoughts, so I didn’t realise when I almost ran smack into a woman walking opposite to me;

“sorry” we both said as we stumbled backwards.

I looked up to Get a good look at her: she was beautiful, her long red hair fell past her shoulders in intricate sweeping curls, framing her face, and her deep green eyes were gentle yet full of spirit. When she smiled it revealed rows of perfect white teeth and perfect dimples in her cheeks. To me she was perfect.

“sorry, I’m so clumsy…” she said, with a voice like the most beautiful wind chimes I have ever heard.

“no, no don’t worry about it I wasn’t paying attention…” I rambled back

We both stood there apologising like fools for about ten seconds. There was an awkward pause.

“I’m Ben” I finally said

“Autumn” she said shaking my hand

“Autumn, what an unusual name”

“My mum chose it; she thought it was pretty but I hate it…”

“I like it” I said simply

She studied me for a second

“Thank you Ben” she said

There was another pause, and then I remembered everything that had happened and why I had to get back. It was weird, we had only just met yet I felt that Autumn’s presence took away and made me forget the pain of everyday life.

“I should get back….” I finally said

“Yeah me to…I mean I don’t have to get back I just…..it’s a very beautiful clearing, I’m just looking around…”

“Yeah me to, I was just unwinding” unwinding?? Ok, now I really have to leave.

“Uh, bye” I gave her a quick wave and started walking, she did the same. I walked all the way down to were the path split and stopped. It happened again, I’d forgotten. She made me forget.

Chapter 2: a new leaf

When I got home I decided to ring up my sisters and tell them about dad, it seemed right to tell them and I didn’t want anymore secrets to be kept in our family. So I did, I spoke to them and told them about everything. April took it well, she always did, she was the strongest out of all of us: so strong willed and independent Dawn always looked up to her and so did dad. When I told Dawn, our conversation didn’t last long, she never could handle grief very well; almost the opposite of April she was weak in many places.

I sat back on the sofa, relieved. Then something caught my attention, a gardening catalogue on the coffee table in front of me, it had a picture of a cherry blossom on the front and above it said the words in a large, bold, pink font; spring is in the air!

My mind immediately went back to the forest, the clearing, the lilac tree then Autumn. It was clear to me that I was becoming very fond of her having just met. I wanted to see her again badly; she made all the pain go away. But it was getting late; she would have left the clearing by now.

Suddenly the doorbell rang making me jump. I got up and opened it; it was April and Dawn.

“Hi” April said folding me in a tight hug

Dawn did the same.

“Come in” I said.

I made us all cups of tea and then we got to talking on the sofa.

“I can’t believe mum kept it from us for all these years” April said

“I’m just worried about why she kept it from us in the first place” I replied

“I never realised dad was that miserable, he was always so happy…” dawn said

“There was never a cloudy day for him” April said simply

I set down my cup and sat back “do you remember that time when dad said he had to work late, but really he was planning a family holiday for us?”

April smiled “I never forgot that weekend”

“He took us to Blackpool…we had the time of our lives” Dawn said

“Dawn nearly died of fright on that rollercoaster” we all laughed at that.

There was a long thoughtful silence for a moment.

“I’ll never forget it” I said

April took my hand and squeezed it gently, dawn did the same

“We’ll be ok guys” dawn said

“We have to be” April said

But there was just one problem. I wasn’t.

The next morning I woke up feeling just a little bit better than I had in a long time.

I looked at my clock; 8:30. It was way too early to have breakfast so I just lay in bed for a while. Mum was still sleeping; last night was the first time she didn’t get completely plastered in a while, maybe she is trying to change for us, maybe I was too harsh with her.

I looked at my clock again; 9:00

I decided to go back to the clearing and have breakfast there, rethink a few things

I was up and dressed in fifteen minutes, I couldn’t think about what I wanted for breakfast so I just grabbed some fruit salad from the fridge and went out the door.

When I arrived at the forest the sun was just peeking out of the clouds, it was still early morning so there were dew drops on the grass and on surface of the leaves. I made my way towards he clearing with little on my mind but Autumn, with what appeared like an eternity of walking I finally reached the clearing, I stopped when the tree came into sight.

There she was, sitting reading a book with her back to the tree trunk, the sunlight came down and bounced of her auburn curls lighting up her face and her long slim legs were stretched out in front of her, when the sunlight touched her pale skin it seemed to glow making it even more radiant. A flawless beauty, I thought. I approached her steadily.

“Autumn” I said

She looked up at me, her perfect pink lips turning up into a warm smile; the deep colour of the grass seemed to compliment her green eyes.

“Ben, I wasn’t sure if I would see you again” she said

There was something in her voice that caught my attention. Was she as eager to see me as I was her?

“Neither was I…” I replied

There was a slight pause. I went down to sit beside her.

“The truth is we’ve been having a few family troubles lately”

“What kind of troubles?” she asked

“Well my father died recently, and it’s been hard to let go for all of us…especially mum”

“Ben I’m so sorry. Do you have any siblings?”

I nodded “Two sisters”

“And how’s your mum handling it?” she asked

“Terrible. She didn’t know how to cope after he was gone so she decided to drink the pain away. She’s been addicted ever since”

She thought for a moment “Well, did you ever think that maybe this is your mother’s way of healing, because she has no better way?”

I looked at her for a moment, processing what she just said.

She glanced away for a split second then looked me straight and honest in the eye.

“Your mum needs help Ben; she’s not doing it on purpose. She’s still in mourning”

I looked away for a moment. She was right; of course she was right it was the only explanation for it. Except for one thing, it still didn’t explain why she kept the real reason for my father’s death a secret.

“What’s wrong?” she asked me curiously

“There’s still one more thing….” I said

“I’m listening” I felt at this point that I could tell Autumn anything

“She had always told us when we were young that he had died of leukaemia…….when the real reason was that he committed suicide”

“When did she tell you?” she asked

“Two days ago” I answered

“She was just protecting you Ben; it’s always in a mother’s nature to protect her children. Especially after their fathers gone.”

I sighed she was right again. I looked up at her; she was smiling.

Every time she smiled I got shivers, every time I was around her I got shivers. It was strange.

“Autumn I…..I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you since we met”

She looked at me; there was almost a look of realisation in her eyes.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about you as well” she turned to face me

“This may seem a bit out of the blue but, would you consider going to dinner with me tonight?”

She smiled her beautiful smile again “of course, I’d love to” she said yes, thank god.

“Great so….I’ll pick you up tonight?” I said

“Yeah. Oh, wait! Here’s my address.” She reached into her purse and pulled out a card, she scribbled something on the back and handed it to me; Dr Autumn Moore: Life Coach

“Wow, you’re a life coach?”

“I enjoy helping people” she said

“I can see that” I said with a smile

I turned over the card; like she promised, there was her address written in biro.

“so I’ll see you at 7:30?”

She nodded “that’s fine”

I smiled and started walking away. I had the shivers again, what was wrong with me? Why did I feel like this every time I was around Autumn?

It was so strange a thing, I didn’t understand it.

That evening seemed to pass in a blur, I picked Autumn up at 7:30 like I said, she looked so stunning when she stepped outside that door that it almost took my breath away; she wore a knee high floral prom dress and had her long hair tied back into a neat high pony tail.

“You look beautiful” I said as she got in the passenger seat

“Thank you. No one’s ever said that to me before”

“Don’t your family ever say it?”

“Well of course but they’re my family. It’s not the same as the guy I’m going on a date with saying it”

I put my hand on her shoulder “well I’m saying it now, and I mean it”

I got into bed that night feeling incredible, we had a great time at dinner; Autumn told me all about herself, about her family, her job and how she loved to help those in need. She’s amazing, so kind hearted and compassionate, I’m a very lucky man to have met her.

But I still couldn’t shake this warm fuzzy feeling that I kept getting when I was around her. It was like when our eyes met the whole world stood still, like everything else just disappeared…….

Suddenly very steadily my mind came into realisation of what I was really feeling, something snapped and the fuzziness became clear.

I was in love. I was in love with Autumn.

Chapter 3: Closure

I had to tell her. I wanted to, but I couldn’t. I needed to clear a few things up first; I needed to apologize to mum, after the way I acted I must have left her feeling terrible, after all I left myself feeling terrible.

I took one final breath and began walking down the stairs each step taking longer than the last. I made it to the living room were I assumed she would be, but she wasn’t there.

“That’s strange I could have sworn she was down here” I muttered to myself

I walked in to the kitchen, not there.

I tried the dining room, again not there.

I checked her room but she wasn’t there either.

I went back into the living room and sat down; I looked at the clock 8:45pm. I started to feel frustrated as I realised she had probably gone off on another binge, just when I thought she was getting better.

Suddenly the phone rang, making me jump. I got up and answered it

“Hello?”

“Ben? Ben is that you??”

It was dawn, she sounded upset judging by the shakiness of her voice she was in floods of tears.

“Dawn? What is it? What’s wrong??”

“Its mum!” she said sobbing down the phone

“What?? What’s happened? Is she ok??”

“There’s been an accident, come to the hospital quickly!”

Oh god what have I done?? I was panicking like crazy.

“Hang on I’ll be right there!”

I slammed the phone down and grabbing my jacket and car keys I ran out the door, slamming it behind me. It was pouring with rain outside and it really didn’t help the mood as panic was heavily rising in my throat. I hastily jumped into the car and cramming the keys into the ignition I slammed the foot pedal down and headed for the hospital.

I drove furiously, I had to, from here the hospital was a good few miles away. I got onto the motorway and drove straight into the fast lane. There were a million things buzzing through my mind at that moment; what had happened to mum? Is she ok? Are Dawn and April ok? Is she going to make it through? But the thing that lay heaviest on my mind was whether I would get there in time for me to apologize and put this all behind us. Everything. Dad, Me and her. Finally I pulled into the car park, found a space and jumped out of the car. April was waiting for me at the doors, she looked round at me and I saw how tear streaked her face was, there wasn’t much that could make April cry, so it must have been bad.

“Ben! You’re here!” she cried when I reached her

We hugged quickly and then she pulled me inside. We made our way up a few flights of stairs and then along a big white corridor, there was so much noise; babies crying, people talking, nurses and doctors discussing

Things and trolleys being wheeled from room to room. We arrived at mums hospital room, just as I was about to go in April stopped me.

“You’re not going to like what you see in there Ben”

I stood in front of her breathless and nearly in tears. I know I wasn’t going to like it but I had to go into that room.

“What happened to her?” I asked in a whisper

She paused for a moment and gave a tight blink letting more tears roll down her cheeks.

“April, I need to know. What happened to mum??” I said a little louder

“We don’t know, she was coming out of the pub and--”

“I should have known she would end up there…..” I said

“Ben listen to me” she said sternly

I looked at her.

“Witnesses say she just stopped and collapsed were she was…..”

“Is Dawn in there with her?” I asked

“Yes” she said in a strained whisper

I walked past her and pushed the door open, Dawn was in there sitting by the hospital bed holding mums hand, mumbling something to her. I walked over and put my hand on her shoulder. She looked up at me; her cheeks wet and her eyes filled to the brim with tears.

“Ben….” She got up and hugged me, I hugged her back tightly.

“Go and see April, she’s outside”

She gave a grim smile and left the room. I sat down by mum and got a good look at her. She had a lot of wires attached to her. She lay still her eyes shut, her face wasn’t pale but she didn’t look very good either.

“Mum….” I began

“I’m sorry. For everything, I shouldn’t have blamed you for dad’s death, it wasn’t your fault. I understand you only kept it from us to protect us and that the only reason you started drinking was because you thought it was the only way to ease your pain. Our pain”

Just then she gave a small groan and opened her eyes very slowly.

“Ben, I knew you would come….” She said

“Mum I--”

“No, sweet boy. I shouldn’t have lied to you….and I will never forgive myself for doing so” she said

I smiled down at her with my eyes streaming.

Just then Dawn and April burst into the room

“Mum your ok….”they sobbed

I got up to make room for them, they both hugged mum and slurred through thick tears to each other.

I walked back into the corridor and rang Autumn; I needed to see her after everything we had all been through.

So I did, I called her and told her what happened and she agreed to meet me here.

It didn’t take her long to reach the hospital. When I saw her walking along the corridor towards me, the whole world stopped and went into silence as it had many times before.

“Ben are you ok?” she ran up to me and hugged me round the waist. I held her tight; I never wanted to let her go. Never again.

“I’m fine thanks to you” I said

She pulled away and held me at arms length

“No Ben, it was you all along. I only gave you a little push in the right direction” she said, her eyes shining.

She was looking at me with adoration.

“Those were some of the best co-ordinates of my life…..”

And with that I did something I should have done a long time ago.

I kissed her.

It only lasted for a few seconds then I pulled away

“Autumn…..”

There was no time to finish my sentence, because she pulled me into her arms and kissed me back.

There are a lot of things worth remembering in my life, my father smiling and my mother happy, my sister’s first steps into starting a life of their own. And through the pain of losing things dear to me one person always stood out. Autumn. She helped me to forget my bruised past and embrace a shiny new future, she made me realise what it’s like to be loved and never restrained, and above it all; she has a heart bigger and warmer than most people I know.

But the thing that started it all was the place were we met.

A Tree.

A Lilac Tree.

THE END


© Copyright 2018 Florence St Leger. All rights reserved.

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