After a much needed break, I have returned to my office and have started getting ready for a whole new adventure 🙂 This week I’ll be posting a few bonus scenes, including a Grande Finale for both couples from The Line between, and Blurred Lines. Many people have asked me if I have more books planned for this series, and the answer is no – but if I get the urge to write some more I will post it here 🙂
Bonus Scene #2
The thunder rolled loudly above us, a strong enough rumble to shake the trees in the cemetery. Ironically, it was the perfect day for a funeral, and even after all the other guests had left, I’d stayed behind just a little longer. I could feel Dane lingering behind me, but loved him all the more for not rushing me, or telling me it was time to go. He gave me the space, and the time that I needed to say goodbye to the last part, the last person, that tethered me to my old life.
They’d lowered Lucy’s casket into the ground over an hour ago, the dirt covering it now muddy from the rain, and the wood dull. Saying goodbye to her had been the second hardest thing I’d ever done, saying goodbye to my brother and best friend being the first, but it still reopened old wounds that I thought had closed. Losing someone you love, someone who had been your family when you had none never got easier, but after being through it twice before made it somewhat easier to put into perspective. Lucy lived her life, and I would miss her dearly, but I felt a sense of peace knowing she was reunited with her husband, and maybe even with Charlie too.
The thought brought a tearful smile to my face, knowing they were both above watching over me. In that moment I vowed to make them proud, to live my life my way, and be happy. That’s what they would have wanted for me, and it was what I wanted for myself too.
A strong hand enveloped mine, and I looked up to see Dane watching me carefully, like I might break apart at any moment. Didn’t he realize it yet? That he was the one keeping me together?
I couldn’t imagine this was easy for him either, but he was here. For me. The man I loved so unconditionally and completely that it terrified me.
He thumbed my engagement ring, spinning it around and around, reminding me, reminding us, that we had so much life left to live. Together.
“You ready to go?” he asked, his voice quiet, and reverent.
I tightened my fingers around his, and wrapped my right hand around his bicep, resting my head on his shoulder.
“I love you, Luce,” I whispered, looking at the hole in the ground. Dane reached around, and with his free hand he wiped a stray tear that had slipped down my cheek. The first tear that I’d cried all day, and it wasn’t one of sadness, or despair.
“Let’s go,” I told Dane. “We have one more stop to make before you take me home.”
Dane’s brows furrowed as we walked towards his truck. “Are you sure you want to see you father?”
I shook my head. “No, but he said he has something to give me from Lucy. I’d like to know what it is.”
My father had stopped me after the service, much to my surprise, and told me to meet him at his house after we’d left the cemetery. At first I didn’t want to, but when he mentioned that Lucy had left me something I couldn’t refuse. I noticed that Shelly hadn’t been with him, but rather than focus on that, I turned my attention back to the service, and forgot about both her and my father.
“I don’t like it,” said Dane. He opened the passenger door for me, and helped me climb in. I watched him walk around the front, and then climb in beside me. I took his hand in mine, and kissed his knuckles.
“Thank you fro coming with me today,” I said. “I know it must’ve been hard for you, but I appreciate it.”
He lifted his hand, and cupped my cheek, leaning over the center consol. His blue eyes collided with my green, so brilliant, and so filled with fire.
“There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you, Kennedy. Nothing. I love you.”
My heart sighed, never tiring of those words.
“I love you too,” I replied, laying a kiss at the center of his palm. “Let’s get this last thing out the way, and then you can take me home.”
Dane leaned forward, and I met him half way, pressing our lips together in a kiss that promised forever. He was the hard to my soft, the rough to my gentle, the give to my take.
We broke apart, and with our hands threaded together, Dane drove out of the cemetery. When we stopped outside the palatial house that used to be nothing more than the prison in my nightmares. I expected some kind of overwhelming sadness to blanket me, make me feel cold, but instead I felt nothing. No sadness, no longing, no remorse. Nothing.
“I can come inside with you,” murmured Dane. The lines of his face were drawn tight, his brows marred with a scowl.
I kissed his cheek. “I need to do this alone. I won’t be long.”
He opened his mouth, a rebuttal most likely on the tip of his tongue, but simply nodded. He knew I needed to do this.
I climbed from his truck, and walked through the front door, not bothering with a knock. I looked around, and everything still looked the same. Except it wasn’t.
“Kennedy? Is that you?” My father’s voice came from the study, and I followed it down the long hallway all the way to the end. I pushed the heavy door open, and found him sitting behind his desk, his shirt undone at the top, and his hair a mess. He brought a whiskey tumbler to his mouth, and took a generous sip of the amber liquid.
He was facing the window overlooking the back garden, everything wet, and dreary. The roses were wilting, and the grass hadn’t been cut in weeks. When I looked at my father’s face I noticed that he hadn’t shaved in a while either, and he looked as unkempt as the garden outside. It was an odd site really; he was always the most well put-together man, whether it was at work, at home or even in public. Never a hair out of place.
How the might had fallen.
“Your mother loved this room,” he said, taking me by surprise. We never spoke about my mother, and the little bits I knew of her I learned from Charlie. Then he died, and took all the memories of our mother with him.
“She loved to come in here on Sunday mornings, and read. She said it was ‘her’ time.” My father shook his head. “I miss her.”
I swallowed the lump in my throat, and looked away. I didn’t come here to hear this, or whatever variation of the ‘you killed your mother’ speech he had planned.
“It wasn’t your fault,” my father said, his voice grave with a sharp undertone of what I assumed was regret. It tugged at something inside me, but I chose not to give in. It was too late to make amends, and I wasn’t going to allow him to derail the progress I’d made without him. “Your mother died giving birth to you, but it wasn’t your fault. I should have never put that on you, and I…” he trailed off, and took another healthy swig of his whiskey.
I cleared my throat, and looked up. “Where’s Shelly?”
My father snorted, and shook his head. “Bitch lied about being pregnant. Turns out she was just another gold-digging whore who wanted my money.” We remained quiet, and when he spoke again, I felt a sliver of sympathy crawl up my spine. “And now look at me. I’m alone, with nothing to show for my life. If I could do things differently….”
I bit back the urge to tell him he couldn’t change anything, and focused on the reason I’d come in the first place. “You said Lucy left something for me.”
My father’s head turned towards me, slowly, and when I saw the dull, lifelessness in his eyes I felt that pang in my chest. I could only surmise it had something to do with the fact that the man staring at me was still my father; we were still bound by blood and some kind of paternal link.
“It’s over there.” He motioned with his chin, and I looked to the right to where a large powder blue box sat atop a small table. I walked over, and picked it up, ready to leave. But something stopped me. Something I knew I had to do for myself in order to give myself the future I wholly deserved.
I turned and faced my father for what I thought would be the last time.
“I forgive you,” I said, feeling rather sure, and strong. I took a deep breath, allowing calmness to overtake me. “I don’t want to waste my life being angry with you, or wishing you misery. I want to move on and leave this,” – I looked around – “and you behind. I’m in love with a wonderful man, a man who loves me, cherishes me, challenges me, and one day when I have a family of my own, I will show them all the things you forgot to show me. I feel sorry for you, Anthony,” I added, “You will never know what it’s like to know me, to walk me down the isle, to know your grandchildren, and I wish you would have thought about all of that before you cast me aside like I meant nothing, because now you’re the one that’s left with nothing, except this big house, and your money. And you know the worst part? I actually hope you find your peace, and your happiness, because no one deserves to live this life alone, and without love. Charlie taught me that.”
My father regarded me with tearful eyes, but he didn’t cry, nor did he say anything.
I turned my back on my father, on my past, and all the things I thought I’d lost. It was finally time to just let it all go.
I stepped outside, feeling lighter than I had in years, and when the sun broke through the heavy clouds above, my steps faltered, and I smiled up at the sky.
The rays kissed my skin, like the brush of a fingertip, the caress of a loved one.
“Thank you, Charlie,” I whispered up to the sky. “Thank you.”
Tamsyn Bester © 2015