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Authors: EA Kafkalas

Out of Grief

BOOK: Out of Grief
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Also by E.A. Kafkalas

Soul Mistakes
Frankie & Petra
The Second Heart


OUT OF GRIEF © 2015 by E.A. Kafkalas. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except the case of brief quotation embodied in critical articles or reviews. For more information


Cover design by E.A. Kafkalas



ISBN 978-1-48-357584-1

For my muses …
the women in my life who are literally the wind beneath my wings lifting me up when I am down and encouraging me to keep creating. I call them my “sisters” because while blood did not provide me any, the universe in all her infinite wisdom has blessed me with many.

Be careful what you set your heart on,
for it will surely be yours.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Quinn lay curled on one side of the bed, practically a blur in the dim lit room—her conservative black dress blended with the dark duvet. I closed the door behind me, blocking out the din of the crowd below. Only those who would stay until the bitter end paying their respects were left now. Her mother had assumed the role of hostess, while her sisters played the cleaning staff.


I shrugged my jacket off, setting it on the rocker by the bed before lying down beside her. Without a word, she pushed herself against me. Instinctively, I wrapped my arms around her waist. Holding her close, I kissed the back of her head, struggling to find the right words. I felt her tremble in my arms as she sobbed.


“Sorry, my plane was late. But I’m here now,” I said.


She snuggled closer, her shoulder blades pressing firmly against my breasts. “I’m glad.”


His scent still lingered on the pillow beneath my head; a combination of Old Spice and cigarettes. It felt wrong to be lying in his spot. A spot he would never lie in again—a spot where he had probably held her, as I was holding her now. Had he thought about the fact he would never hold her again when he put the gun in his mouth? I shuddered at the thought. The idea of never holding her again would have been enough to keep me from pulling the trigger. But if he hadn’t, she wouldn’t be in my arms now, clinging to me like I could tether her to this world.


Resting my head on her shoulder, I smelled her—a mixture of mint and rosemary, from the shampoo she used. A crippling case of writers’ block clogged coherent words from flowing through my lips. The man shot himself in his basement office. A simple, “I’m sorry. I really did love you, but I can’t stay.” were the only words of explanation, offered in the form of a neatly typed note. Clearly he had taken the time to plan it, taken the time to feed the paper into the old manual typewriter and slam each key down. He unlocked the case that held his gun, loaded it, placed it in his mouth, and pulled the trigger—shocking everyone, including my sweet Quinn.


Quinn, who I had known since kindergarten, who had seen me through everything, and was the only woman I ever truly loved. Quinn was the yardstick to which all relationships were measured. So far none had come close. I had tried, several times, to love, but everyone felt threatened by my relationship with my best friend.


I had tried to like him from the start, and he had made it easy. But now I hated him. He had broken my best friend. Hurt the woman I loved. Now, it would be me here to help, to comfort, to mend—only to lose her in the end to another man. Yes, I hated him, and finally I could. But it didn’t feel as good as I had imagined it would, because the price was Quinn’s happiness.


Hours passed before Quinn cried herself to sleep. Anytime I tried to move, she held on, so I stayed until sleep overtook me too.

Chapter Two

I awoke, disoriented at first. My arm tingled, having been fast asleep under the weight of my best friend. No longer the big spoon, I was now flat on my back. Her head rested on my chest, her arm curled around me, essentially trapping me in place.


I studied her in the bright light of day. Even with her auburn locks out of place, she was a vision. My fingers sifted through her curls as she slept.


“Quinn,” her mother called as she opened the door. Stopping just inside, Mrs. Warren surveyed the room. Some of her trademarked chipper-ness she had worked so hard to feign fell away at the sight of her daughter wrapped around me. “There are things she needs to attend to. She should not be sleeping now.”


“Really?” The word came out before I could censor it. “She’s exhausted.”


Mrs. Warren looked directly into my eyes, but before she could say anything, I kept talking. “From crying … the better part of the night.”


“Yes, well—”


“She’s grieving. She’s allowed to grieve.”


“And what exactly are you doing?”


Her accusatory tone was not lost on me. But I was not here to engage in a war with her mother over who was more nurturing right now. I was here to do right by my friend. “I tried to leave several times, but she wanted me here.” I tried to extract my arm from under Quinn’s head and, as if to emphasize my point, she murmured, “No,” and snuggled closer.


Before anything else could be said, Mrs. Warren left, slamming the door behind her.


“Thank God, she’s gone,” Quinn mumbled.


“Why, you little faker!” I poked her in the side, and she looked up at me. “Leave me to face the firing squad on my own, why don’t you?”


“She’s harmless.”


“She thinks I’m here to sully your virtue, you know.”


“Does not. She likes you.”


“Well, you didn’t see her look at us just then.”


“How long are you staying?”


“That’s up to you. I have a second draft due in two weeks, but I can write anywhere, so you tell me …”


“Good, then I can tell her to go.”




She refused to get out of bed. So I found my suitcase, brushed my teeth, ran a comb through my hair, and ventured into the kitchen. I’d eaten nothing since I left New York yesterday, and I was famished.


“Hey, Nikki, where’s my sister?” Amy, the youngest of clan Warren, asked.


“Won’t get out of bed.” I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down at the table.


“Mom’s making waffles. Want one?” Abby asked, taking the seat next to me.


“I want to take Quinn something to eat.”


“Good luck with that,” Amy said. “She’s barely touched food since it happened.”


“She’s on the grief diet,” Abby said as she sipped her coffee.


There was no warmth in this family. The Warrens had a polished Donna Reed exterior. Always bubbly and chipper, they seemed to live in a plastic bubble. But it was all a ruse; underneath it all, they had no love for each other. Quinn could play their game, but she was nothing like them. Thank God.


I finished my coffee, poured a fresh cup, and then searched the refrigerator for something small.


Armed with an apple, a blueberry yogurt, and a cup of herbal tea, I left the Warren family to their waffles and went back to Quinn’s room. I set the tray on the nightstand. “Hey, sleepyhead. I brought you something to eat.”


“Not hungry.”


“Okay. I’m going to shower and put on something less formal. When I get back, something on that tray better have found its way into your stomach. I’m not going to lose you to starvation.” I didn’t wait for an answer, but grabbed my bag and headed for her bathroom.


Water was my go-to soother. Fortunately, they had great water pressure, and no cap on the heat. I let the hot water work some of the knots from my shoulders and back before washing off. I had seen Quinn depressed before, but this was deeper. I was ill equipped to deal with keeping a plant alive, let alone helping a person bloom again.


Nothing was touched on the tray when I emerged in my Superman t-shirt and beat-up jeans. I grabbed the yogurt to put back in the refrigerator before it spoiled and headed downstairs. On a whim, I opened the freezer. They were there, tucked in the back - the boys I needed to get the job done. My only decision now was between Karmel Sutra and Peanut Butter Cup. I chose the latter, rationalizing that there was more protein in peanut butter.


I grabbed two spoons and was almost out of the kitchen when her mother said, “Where are you going with that, dear?”


“Hey, you want her to eat, right?”


“Yes, but—“


“I know what I’m doing.” I left before I could hear her mother’s retort.





I dove into the bed beside her so that she would be jostled enough to sit up. Holding out the spoon and the pint of ice cream, I said, “I bring reinforcements!”


“Ice cream, really?”


“Okay, I’ll eat it myself.” I peeled the lid off and dipped my spoon into the heavenly concoction. Truth be told, I could live on a diet of ice cream, so this was not torture for me. “I could get used to this, you know.” I made a show out of savoring every bite.


She finally sat up, grabbed her spoon, and dipped it in. “This doesn’t mean I’m eating anything else.”


“Of course not.”


But it was only a matter of time before the carton was pulled from my hand, and the contents polished off. She set the container on the nightstand and lay back down. “Don’t think you’re so smart.”


“Who, me?”


“Seriously.” Her voice was barely a whisper now. “All I want right now is for you to hold me and tell me it’s going to be all right.”


“Oh, honey.” I wrapped my arms around her. “It will take time, but you’ll see. Everything will be okay.”




The question broke my heart. How could I promise that? But how could I say anything else in that moment?

Chapter Three

The one thing about Mrs. Warren was that when she was upset, she wasn’t quiet about it. So even though I was in the kitchen having coffee and checking my email on my laptop, I could hear her through the ceiling tiles.

BOOK: Out of Grief
11.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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