Authors: Michelle Lynn
Let Me Love
Copyright ©2014 by Michelle Lynn
All Rights Reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in whole or in part by any means.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events portrayed in this book are the product of the author’s imagination or are either fictitious or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Editor: Book Peddler’s Editing
Cover photo: Shutterstock
Cover Design: Sommer Stein with Perfect Pear Creative Covers
If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere.
~Frank A. Clark
72 Hours Later
stare down at my sister, dressed in her favorite red dress and matching lipstick. She’s beautiful. Her body hasn’t looked so vibrant since before the disease ate her alive. The ring on her finger, signifying the bond she held so sacred with her husband, shines under the lights, sparkling across the ceiling. Her brown hair styled in her signature bob, framing her face. Her hair was the only thing spared by the ravages of the disease. I cringe wondering if they had to fill her cheeks with some kind of filler to make her face appear full again. In those final days her skin turned almost transparent. A gaunt face with sunken cheeks had replaced the once lively and energetic sister I remembered. Seeing her like this now, I can pretend she’s sleeping and the past year has been one long nightmare. But, unfortunately, there’ll be no waking from this nightmare.
Another woman taps me on my shoulder, interrupting me from my thoughts, to offer her condolences. While she’s giving me a tight hug, I search my brain to remember if I know this person sniffling into my ear. When she pushes back, my memory kicks in; it’s my great-aunt, Marjory. I don’t think I’ve seen her since my parents’ funeral. She’s one of those family members you only reconnect with at significant family occasions, like weddings and funerals. Except this time, I can’t help but be angry that it’s
sister in the coffin, taken by a disease that could have plagued me just as easily. It should’ve claimed my life... I wish it had.
Three children scurry up to me, weaving in and out of my legs. The guilt hits me, like a hammer impacts a nail. What are these children going to do without their mother? Again, I ask God,
Why he didn’t take me instead?
I have no children who’ll struggle to continue their lives without me. Now these angelic kids rustle around an unfamiliar room, clueless that seventy-two hours ago their lives irrevocably changed, leaving them with hardly any family. Even though they’ve been left plenty of life insurance money, I’m not quite sure how what they’ve lost can be replaced. Twenty-three-years-old seems entirely too young to become an instant mom of three children under the age of six.
Finally, a lull happens with guests, and I take a seat on the couch that faces my sister. Just as I’m about to take a sip of my water bottle, Chloe, my five-year-old niece, hops up next to me. Being the oldest of the three she understands what’s happening the most. Although, I don’t think she can fully grasp what has really occurred. How altered her young life is, and how different it will become. I’ve lain awake with her every night since everything happened, trying to reassure her that she’s being looked after now. After countless books or movies, I’ll get her to sleep just as a nightmare will wrench her awake. Her blood curdling screams shake the house until I wrap my arms around her, rocking and soothing her back to sleep.
“Can I have a sip, Aunt Kailey?” she asks, and I hand over the full bottle. Her small hands with pink nail polish grip each side, and she swallows a quarter of the bottle. Amazed at her obvious dehydration, I try to wrack my brain if I fed them this morning. Since their grandparents were over early, I’m almost positive Caden’s mom made them breakfast. At least, I hope she did. Crap, I’m usually OCD on their schedule. Then again, I’ve had help these past months.
Chloe eventually stands up and flutters out of the room, chatting with a lot of relatives she hardly knows. Although she’s having the nightmares, during the day no one would guess anything was wrong. Her sister, Tara, runs after her. At three, Tara’s big-sister is her idol. Drew, the baby, follows close behind. Since he just learned how to walk a month ago, he’s a little slower than them. As they squeal and run through the streams of people, I notice there’s another wave of people coming towards me. People who
they’re giving me their sympathy and understanding, but it feels more like I’m comforting them rather than the other way around.
I grudgingly stand up and wait next to my sister for the mourners baring sorrowful expressions and tear-filled eyes to offer their condolences. There’s a stirring in my stomach signifying he’s arrived. Even though, my eyes remain fixed downward on the green carpeting, I know his eyes are focused solely on me. If I dare face him, I’ll break. With one look into his brown eyes, I’ll become unglued. My shattered insides are holding strong right now, but one brush of his finger could smash through my defensive wall.
The people are whizzing by me too fast, bringing him closer to me sooner than I can prepare myself. Next to me his deep voice offer sympathies to Caden’s parents, making it only a matter of seconds before he’ll be in front of me. Not able to bear seeing him, I turn around, pretending to fix the flowers with the sash stating, ‘Loving Mother’. His breath hits my neck and his hand finds my hip, fitting across the curve as though it was molded for his grip. One tear escapes my tear filled eyes and trails down my cheek before dropping to the floor. I will myself to push them back and dry the water from my eyes. Once his soft and caring voice pleas, “Kailey,” the dam breaks, and I can no longer hold all my emotions inside. I slump over with sobs escaping my mouth and tears pouring out of my eyes. He quickly turns me around and cradles my head against his broad chest. With one hand on the side of my face and his other on my back, all the built up tears I’ve been holding in for the past few days, rush out of me as the man I love holds me close.
Before I know what’s happening he’s shuttling me out the room, instructing Caden’s parents to take over. He opens a door into a private room, shutting and locking it behind us. Walking me over to a couch. Never letting go of his hold on me, he sits down on the older couch, cradling me in his lap. His strong arms are wrapped tightly around me. He holds me close as I continue to crumble, soaking his nice blue button down with my tears. He’s patient and kind, allowing me release the wave of grief that I’ve been straining to hide.
My body calms, my shutters stop, and my sobs turn to trickling tears. My finger traces his tattoos while my head lays against his chest. I should’ve predicted he’d have this effect, he’s always had a comforting presence to me. He doesn’t mention anything about our fight or me not answering his phone calls. All of our problems are pushed aside, so we can deal with the fog of death that surrounds us now.
I hurriedly stand, straightening my dress after I release myself from the comfort of Trey’s love. Following me to the door, his steps echo through the small space. He grabs my wrist to hold me in place. I sigh. “Trey, I need to get back out there,” I tell him, but he pulls me closer.
“They can wait five minutes, Kailey. Please, let me be there with you,” he begs, already knowing my heart is lost in some dark tunnel without a flicker of light. It’s wounded and broken, so my brain has taken over, translating to me pushing everyone out.
“Trey, thank you for coming, but you can leave now,” I say coldly with no emotion. He can’t be tied down with me, he needs to go and live a life I can no longer be a part of.
“No, Kailey, I’m not leaving.” He stands firm, planting his feet. Uncontrollable anger starts brewing in my veins. I’m mad he won’t listen to me and just disappear. Can’t he see it’s the best for him to forget us?
My hand rests on the lock; ready to twist it open when he steps forward. He turns me around to face him and cages me between his arms against the door. “Trey,” I argue, but he presses his lips to mine and an immediate raging desire seeps into my every pore. As much as my body screams to him, anger still lingers that he’s forcing me to be callous and cruel.
He places his hands on either side of my face, continuing to kiss me as though he’s starving for only my mouth. Instinctively, the irrational, live life in the moment Kailey that he easily pries out of me appears. Something only my sister and her family could accomplish until he came into my life. “Please,” he whispers, and my body starts to sway in his strong hold, as he travels his lips over to my earlobe and down my throat.
“Stop it, Trey, leave me alone,” I cruelly spout, placing my hands on his chest, trying to push him back, but he only grips tighter.
“You know you don’t want me to.” He trusts his keen instincts because they’re usually always right when it comes to me.
Trying to close myself off, I press my lips together when his graze across mine again before his tongue requests permission. But in the end, I’m not willing to deny myself, I open, allowing his familiar tongue to roam around my mouth and mingle with mine. The kiss feels safe and warm, like home. Ever since that fateful plane ride, I’ve felt as if Trey was a part of me. Recalling our first kiss; it was nothing like this. God! He ignited my whole body the first time his mouth pressed against mine. In those three minutes, he ruined me. No man would ever compare. But this, this is what I crave at night when I lay in bed all alone. It’s the familiarity of the one man who knows my lips, my tongue, and my body. My need of one man who continues to enjoy exploring every curve and nuance over and over again, as if he has discovered his own wonderland. When my thoughts unscramble, my lips and tongue are moving carelessly without retention of the real issue.
“Stop it, Trey.” This time, I use all my force to push him back. I’m torn if I’m happy, mad, or just sad. Sheer dejection fills his eyes, and suddenly remorse hits me. “We just can’t,” I softly say, shaking my head back and forth.
“Yes, we can,” he says, stepping forward, but I shake my head violently again. “What the hell, Kailey? All I want to do is love you,” his voice starts escalating, and I need to flee the room. His presence alone makes me jittery and uncontrolled. The sooner I leave, the sooner I can get myself stable again, back into my sealed bubble.
“I told you already, Trey.” I bite my lip, not wanting to lie again, but I will, if I have to.
“Don’t tell me that bullshit again. You and I both know it isn’t true.” He steps closer to me, and my weakness begins getting the best of me.
“Please, I need to get back out there,” I tell him, but he approaches again, pulling me to him similar to a child with their security blanket. I succumb to the haven of his embrace, mindlessly relishing the warmness of home.
“Kailey, it’s taking everything in me not to keep you right here, up against this door, until you admit you love me. I’ll let you leave this room, but don’t say you don’t love me again. I know you do, and no matter how hard you try to push me aside, I’m not leaving.” He releases me after his rant, and I unlock the door, fleeing the room.
I’m not two steps out the door before Chloe’s at my legs again. “Aunt Kailey, we’ve been looking for you,” she says, and I glance around spotting her brother and sister happily hopping on the couches while Caden’s aunt and uncle try to calm them down.
“I was—” Before I can finish she dashes past me.
“Trey!” she screams, and he scoops her up in his arms, smiling at her.
“Hey, C-lo, what’s been going on?” He raises his hand, and she gives him a high five.
“My mommy died,” she says to him, and my heartbreaks. Trey glances my way before returning his attention solely to Chloe.
“I heard, but you know what? She’s with the angels now, and you know what angels do, remember?” he asks her, and I briefly wonder if they had a previous conversation about this fateful day.
“They watch us,” she says in the most adorable voice. Clearly Trey has indeed been filling her in.