Authors: Christina OW
The Candle Light Series #2
Copyright Christina OW May 2015
Published by Christina OW
Cover Art by Ermisenda Alvarez
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
To Genevieve Migala. Thank you for all your help with this novel.
*Please read Love Reaffirmed first.
To all who have loved and lost, but never forget.
They say true love comes to those who believe, I believed.
They say love is empty without trust, I trusted.
I believed, I trusted and yet... I hurt.
I need... I need...
I’m getting off this road, but I’m holding onto my true love.
My candle light in the dark...
I feel lighter, I feel happy... I feel love!
Finally! A truthful smile on my lips!
A warm glow in my chest,
My heart, a happy trotting horse.
But suddenly, too suddenly... everything went dark.
I can’t see! Where’s my candle, where’s my light?
The pain! Oh God, it’s too much pain!
I trusted, I believed and yet... I hurt a hundred times more!
Please! I need... I need...!
I feel the warmth around me... the painful weight is lifting...
My heart, no longer bathed in larva, no longer fighting to live,
I can breathe… I feel peace in this loving warmth.
‘Hold on to me, believe in me, trust me... I’ll provide your need.’
“How much longer do you think she’ll be like this?”
“I don’t know. It took me almost a year to get over Kristy’s death. But she was my wife... a child? There is no telling how long she’ll grieve for him.”
I fell out of my sitting position onto my side on the couch, dragging the cushion over my exposed ear to muffle their voices. Will they ever stop hovering and whispering around me? They were like buzzing annoying flies around me. I’m sick of it already! Why won’t they leave me alone already, it’s not like I haven’t asked them to a million times!
“I understand what she’s going through—”
I didn’t hear the rest of his statement but that part irked me. Morris understood what I was going through? That’s a laugh! The man ran from anything that could tie him down. He ran like the hounds of hell were nipping at his heels from girls who thought they could change him into husband material and those who thought they could get a ring on their finger faster if he knocked them up. Why girls even chased after his selfish black ass was a mystery to me.
Everything inside me screamed for me to stand up and tell William and Morris exactly how they didn’t understand my pain. Tell them they’ve never lost a child and wouldn’t begin to fathom what that kind of pain did to a mother. It was me who would never get to feel my child again. I carried him inside me for nine months, fought to bring him into this world. I’m the one who cared for him from the moment he took his first breath. Cleaned him up when he got messy, held him against my chest and rocked him to sleep when he was restless. I was the one he called out to when he was scared or hurt. I cleaned his bruises kissed his booboos and picked him up when he fell so that he could try again when he started taking his first steps. And when he rode his first tricycle, I was the one who followed behind him with my heart in my throat and my arms held out ready to catch him even though it was practically impossible to fall over in a three wheeled bike that was a foot off the ground. I was the one who had a piece of myself ripped away from me cruelly so if I want to take a year or ten to get over it, I’ll damn well do exactly that!
Yes, that’s just some of what I wanted to say to them, to those who ‘understood my pain’ but the moment I tried to push of the couch to do just that, I would remember my baby was dead and it all felt insignificant. What was the use anyway, what would it matter? Little Eric would still be dead.
I groaned, pressing the cushion tighter to my head. Maybe if I just ignored her she’ll go away. But no, she was as determined as her mother used to be—in life and death. She tagged on the cushion and the tighter I held on the harder she pulled.
I let the cushion go and sat up, “What!”
Kristy stumbled back with the cushion in her hands. She took the two steps back and placed it beside me on the couch, and then she turned to me with a smile. This little girl could disarm a monster with one of her smiles. From the moment she was born, her smiles warmed me all over. The best remedy at the end of a bad day. She had this joy that just came off her in waves, completely infectious. She was so like her mother in that way… my baby sister. But now, all it did was annoy me and remind me of what I lost. It just wasn’t fair!
“Mommy says she’ll take care of little Eric for you.” She beamed up at me.
Did I hear that right? “Excuse me?”
She nodded vigorously, her smile widening another mile, “She says not to worry. That everything will be alright and she’ll always be with you to take care of you… like she does daddy and me.”
“Take care of me?” Was this a joke? “Kristy my perfect little sister, now the perfect ghost wants to take care of me?”
Little Kristy’s smile shrunk and she looked behind me—probably at her father or her ghost of a mother.
I pointed behind, “Is she back there? Is Casper’s new best friend standing behind me?”
She shook her head, her smile completely shrunk.
I nodded, “Tell your mother, I don’t need her.”
“Sandra!” William reproached, rounding the couch to crouch down next to his daughter.
“What? Now she offers her help, to take care of me?” I laughed bitterly at the silliness of it all, “Where was she when my son was dying? Where was she when my son’s lungs filled up with fluid, drowning him from the inside in his own blood? Why didn’t she help then when I begged her to? When I cried for days for her to intervene on Eric’s behalf with God?” I grabbed her arms and drew her to me, “It’s because of me you are here, I made sure her daughter exists and how does she repay me? By letting my son die!” I yelled.
I felt my hands get pried open, releasing a crying Kristy into her father’s arms. I was then pulled off the couch and held caged against a hard body. I didn’t have to turn around to know who it was. His scent, the feel of his skin against mine, I knew them all as if they were my own. I hated it. I hated him. More so because even now as I mourned my son I yearned for him with a profound need. Over eight years and the craving for him just grew in magnitude. Not even my husband could stop or slow down this growing tumor in my heart that was Ronald Stanford.
“That’s enough Sandra!” he said harshly into my ear. “You and I are leaving—”
“No!” I yelled cutting him off as I struggled to get out of the bands of muscles around my waist and shoulders. But it only made him tighten his grip.
“Yes!” he hissed, “You can hate me for Eric as much and as long as you want but you are not going to slowly kill yourself as we watch.”
I shrugged, “Then close your eyes. Or better yet, leave and never come back.”
He was silent for a moment before he said, “Love, you know I can’t do that.”
I cringed away from the emotion in his voice. The pain and longing in it weakened me, eased my hate and I couldn’t let that happen!
I fought earnestly now, “Let me go! You think I don’t know what you really want? You think you can take advantage of me now that I’m vulnerable and all my defenses are down? Ronald Stanford you’ve got another thing coming if you think you can get me in bed!”
“Don’t flatter yourself sweetheart. You are no longer the version of the Sandra that I lusted after for an endless romp in the sack.” He lifted me up off my feet and turned around. The door was wide open and my bag sat next to it.
When had they planned this little trip? Was it when they were whispering around me? Didn’t any of them think to ask me if I wanted to go anywhere, if I wanted to leave with Ron of all people?
“Morris, help me with the bag. I’m going to need you to hold her door shut as I get in,” Ron said as he moved forward and out the door.
I kicked and scratched but Ron didn’t drop me. How could he, considering he was six feet two and two hundred and sixty pounds of muscle? Unlike William who was lean and just six feet tall, and his only form of exercise was a jog at the park while Kristy rode her bike beside him, Ron took care of his body. Unlike William who had no desire to be with another woman after my sister, Ron the lothario went an extra mile to keep filling his directory of lays. He was probably at page three hundred by now. To think I was close to being listed under J.
He placed me down and opened the door to his silver Audi. “Get in.”
I crossed my arms over my chest and glared up at him, “Make me.”
His jaw clenched then he moved so fast, sweeping me off my feet and dumping me into the passenger seat. I would never have believed that had just happened if he wasn’t now leaning over me, fastening my seat belt.
“Don’t bloody move Sandra.” he ordered then slammed the door shut making me jump.
And for reasons beyond me, I didn’t. I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was close my eyes and sleep until all the hurt went away. Or until I’d convinced myself that it was all a bad dream and that the moment I opened my eyes, my little boy will be leaning over me, with his goofy smile and bright brown eyes.
That’s how I woke up—I mean,
wake up most mornings. With little Eric sitting on my chest, his sharp elbows digging into my clavicle bones his little hands under his chin supporting his head. I could always feel him stare at me, waiting for my eyes to open. I’d fight to keep from smile waiting to see what he would do to try and wake me up. Some mornings he would pull up my eyelids, other mornings he would whisper in my ear asking if I was up yet. He was just starting to say whole words and for some reason he thought pulling them made him clearer so it would sound like ‘moooommmmy, are you uuup yeeeeet?’
I chuckled just thinking about it, but then that familiar pain stabbed me in the chest and the chuckle turned into a sob.
I felt Ron’s hand on mine and that shiver only he invoked rushed through me. No, I couldn’t let that—him cloud my mind. He’d taken center stage in my head and heart long enough. He wasn’t going to overshadow my son.
I yanked my hand away, “Don’t touch me.” my voice broke from the tears stuck in my throat.
Without a word, he started the car and we pulled away from William’s house. My heart lurched when we passed mine just five minutes after and I could see Eric and me playing on the front lawn laughing until our chests would ache. I squeezed my eyes shut and held my hands over my ears. It was his laugh that would haunt me forever. I would never get to hear that laugh again.
I was finally getting my life together and this had to happen. Why?
I never thought my life would be like this—well I did, but I always pictured it different.