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Authors: S. Moose

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Coming of Age, #Romance, #Contemporary

Vision of Love

BOOK: Vision of Love
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Dedication

To anyone who has ever felt alone and lost.

Don’t ever give up. Even when it seems like you’ve lost
your way look deep inside your heart and you’ll find your answer.

Praise for Vision of Love


This is a different style of book than the author has written before.”
Stephanie from Stephanie’s Book Reports

“This is the second book of S.Moose’s that I’ve had the pleasure of reading and in true S.Moose fashion, I was left ugly crying.”
Ange from Cover to Cover Book Blog

“It truly is a beautiful love story with two very broken individuals who deserve so much happiness, you can't help but cheer for them the entire book.

Beatriz from Cover to Cover Book Blog


Break out the cold drinks and fan because Nicholas and Karly are all over the sweet sentiments and sexy scenes. This 1st book in the Infinity Series will have your emotions all over the place, loving every minute of it, and begging for more!

Megan from There’s This Book Blog

“I don’t know what to do with myself S.Moose! I will always love your books! Such amazing writing! I have to say…I loved your Never Letting Go series, but
Vision of Love!
WOW!”
Christina from
Miscellaneous
Thoughts of a Bookaholic

“P
ain, heartache, happiness.
Vision of Love
takes you on an emotional roller coaster with some twists and turns leaving you content and rooting for a happy ending between two amazingly broken people. S.Moose writes with beauty and turns heartache and pain into love and passion. This book had me from page one and kept me intrigued and wanting more page after page!! Loved
Vision of Love
!!”
Raquel from For the Love of Books Blog

Playlist

Britney Spears-Hold It Against Me

Katy Perry-Unconditionally

Krewella-Human

2 Become 1-Spice Girls

Zedd featuring Haley Williams-Stay the Night

Between the Trees-Changed By You

Billy Currington-Until You

Demi Lovato-Give Your Heart A Break

Breaking Benjamin-Give Me A Sign

Maroon 5-She Will Be Loved

Willa Ford-I Wanna Be Bad

Matt Nathanson-Come On Get Higher

Sara Evans-Slow Me Down

Luke Bryan-Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye

Jay Sean-Hit The Lights

A Great Big World-Say Something

Blake Shelton-I Found Someone

Liz Phair-Why Can’t I?

Christian Burns-As We Collide

Alyssa Reid-Alone Again

Usher featuring Gucci Mane-Spotlight

Pitbull-I Know You Want Me

Zedd-Spectrum

Lady Antebellum-Ready To Love Again

Emerson Hart-I Wish The Best For You

Sometimes the best thing to do is say

goodbye because everything happens for a reason.

Prologue

May 15, 2007

Karly

I walked into my house holding bags from my latest shopping adventure. I got a perfect 4.0 GPA on my last report card, and dad told me to go shopping and buy myself some new things. He’s been in a really great mood lately, compared to the other nights he’s been yelling and hating the world. Last night we went out as a family. It was the first time in months; just my mom, dad and me. It was something that I’ve been hoping for. We talked and laughed, things felt normal again.

The Erikson home has been on a twisting and fast roller coaster ride. All the ups and downs have affected all of us and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I put my things away in my room and made my way downstairs. No one was around and I thought it was weird. I looked around for Lydia, our housekeeper, but she wasn’t around either.
I check my parents’ room and found it empty. There were empty alcohol and pill bottles lying around. Everything was a mess!
What the hell happened?
I started going downstairs and saw my dad pacing the foyer.

“Daddy? You okay?” He turned and looked at me.
Fuck.

I never saw it coming. He punched my face and dragged me down the last few steps of the stairs. He kept muttering something but I wasn’t sure what he was saying. All I focused on was trying to get out of his death grip. He was high and drunk
again
.

“I told you to stop fucking charging things on the fucking credit cards! Who the fuck is gonna pay for your shit huh?”

“Daddy! Please stop. You said I could use my card and it’d be okay,” I cried out. I wasn’t sure why he was doing this. I told him I’d get a job to help pay for the things I wanted, but he told me I needed to focus on school. “Please,” I begged him.

He stopped and looked at me. I swore I saw some ounce of sadness in his eyes. I slowly got up and tried to smile. He was my dad, but when he was drinking and took drugs, he was a monster.

“It’s me daddy. Karly,” I explained taking his hand. He looked at me again and smiled.

“Karly?” He softly said, pulling me in his arms. I felt relief when he was hugging me. My dad was back.

As much as I should hate my parents I couldn’t. They gave me a great life and everything I wanted. We had a huge house, I had the best education and life was comfortable.

It was just my parents and me; I was their miracle child. My mom was told she wasn’t able to have kids,but one day she felt sick and took a pregnancy test. Nine months later I was born. We did everything together and I was happy. Life was great up until last year after I turned seventeen. Things changed
.
My parents would sometimes go on binges and not make it home for the night or days at a time.

One night I overheard my parents talking. My mom was yelling and I wasn’t sure what was going on until I heard her saying that he better fix things, and put
my trust fund back. I went to my room and slid down against the wall. Things only got worse from there.

The house phone constantly rang. Bills and letters were piling up. My parents were home a lot more than ever before and when they were, all they did was get drunk and high I even overheard mom telling Lydia they were going bankrupt. In order to process everything that was happening I confided in Bradley, my boyfriend, and he assured me that he’d protect me and be there for me.

My dad’s arms were tightening around my body. I felt safe and starting thinking maybe this was the turning point we needed. The feeling was short-lived. Without warning he pushed me on the ground and started kicking me.

“Everything’s your fault!” He kicked me over and over again. I cried, begging him to stop. With each kick to my stomach I felt sick and was in agonizing pain. I wanted him to stop. I begged him to stop, but he didn’t listen. Suddenly he grabbed the vase on the table and dropped it on the floor. He took a piece of the jagged glass, flipped me on my back, got on top of me and placed the glass against my face.


Daddy please!” I cried, but it didn’t work. Nothing worked. His dark eyes were empty. The drugs and alcohol possessed him.

His manic laugh filled the room. His wide eyes were empty. The darkness took over and I knew I was going to die tonight. No one was going to save me. When he pressed the jagged glass against my face I closed my eyes and prayed for him to kill me fast. With one fast swipe he cut me deep on my cheek. I could feel the blood rush from my face. He brought the glass up to my face once again and this time dragged it from the side of my forehead down to my chin. I felt everything. Every cut. Every pressure. Everything. I screamed. I cried. I just wanted him to stop. I closed my eyes and remembered the happier times, us on the beach, and him teaching me how to drive. The day he came home with a gift for my mom and me to have a girl’s day at the spa. I remembered all our talks and his dreams for me.

Bang. Bang.

Chapter 1
Karly

I look around my empty dorm room and a bittersweet feeling takes over my body. I’ve spent the last four years in this room, and as I’m looking around I can still see myself as a freshman unpacking my things and starting over. Now that my life is back in boxes I am ready to embark on a new journey, a new chapter of life.

A sense of accomplishment runs through me. This is finally it. I’m a Sum
ma Cum Laude college grad and will be getting my Bachelors of Arts diploma in May. Things are falling into place and I feel stronger. Happier. It’s in this moment I can finally breathe and let go of the fears that I held onto for so long.

At long last I’m able to start a new chapter and take on life headfirst.
I’ve been in Chapel Hill, attending UNC for four years and now it’s time to move on. It’s strange leaving the place I’ve called home, but I’m ready to begin something new. True I’ve accomplished four grueling years of studying and pulling all nighters, but this dorm room has been the place where I’ve cried, laughed, smiled and made a name for myself.

“Hey you ready?”

I turn around and see my ex-boyfriend, slash best friend standing impossibly sexy in the doorway waiting for me. His pale gray eyes look at me and those dimples! God I miss those dimples. The way his black shirt hugs his broad shoulders, enhancing his washboard abs, yum!
But
he’s my best friend and we’re not dating anymore. I love that we’re able to maintain a friendship without all the awkwardness. I even suggested being friends with benefits, but Neil doesn’t want me feeling like he’s using me. That’s one of the things I love about him; he’s
always
putting me first.

I walk up to him, wrapping my arms around his w
aist and breathing him in. When I look up into his eyes my heart breaks. He’s leaving tomorrow for a few months to travel Europe and find meaning to life-his words not mine. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do without my Neil. “Yeah,” I nod grabbing my purse. “I’m ready to go.”

I started over at UNC with no one, but myself. It was hard and I felt like giving up. I didn’t have any friends because I didn’t trust anyone. It was just me. After everything that happened in Boston I walked away and created a new life for myself. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I kept going. It was my only option. If I gave up then, they won. I fought through each day to prove everyone who doubted me and left me to fend on my own wrong. There were so many times I wanted to give up, but then his words came and broke me.
You’re a worthless bitch, Karly.

Even after all this time he still affected me. Each time I felt like giving up I remembered his hateful words and I pushed myself to the limits. As a freshman I maxed out on classes and advanced in each class I was in. I studied my ass off and avoided people. The first year at UNC was lonely. I woke up, went to class, worked out, studied and went to bed. When everyone went home for the holidays and breaks I traveled. It was an experience. Going
to England, Australia and New York City were life changing experiences. Sure it sucked that I was alone, but I saw so much and lived for the first time since leaving Boston. Before going back to North Carolina to start my sophomore year, I vowed to be social and experience the college life. That was the second best thing I did for myself.

“Thanks again for coming and helping me with everything. Alexis is at a teaching convention, but she said she left a key with the doorman so we’re good.”

He kisses the side of my head, “Anytime baby girl.”

Neil and I were in love once. It was a kind of love that
was special and unbreakable. We were together for three years, but called it quits a few months ago. We grew apart and now we’re better as friends. He’ll hold a place in my heart forever, but it’s time to move on and start over. Sometimes I think if I don’t find anyone, I’ll find my way back to Neil.

Life’s unpredictable so who knows what’ll happen.

I’ll remember our love and what he taught me. It’s because of Neil I felt like I could do anything. We did everything together from sky diving to singing karaoke. We had a bucket list that we came up with together; it was a list of things we were scared of, but still wanted to accomplish. Every check off the list made us stronger, together and as individuals.

I take one last look at
where I had spent the last four years of my life and get into Neil’s car – ready to embark on a new adventure.

“So tell me again how you know Alexis,” he asks keeping his eyes on the road while I’m playing with the radio.

“We met last February when I was student teaching. She was my mentor and we just clicked. After I was done we kept in touch and got together a lot. She’s really nice, you’ll like her.”

Neil doesn’t say anything at first. I see the wheels in his head turning. This isn’t easy for him to let me go.

Since sophomore year we’ve been attached at the hip.
Nearly every memory of UNC I had involved Neil in one way or another.


I want you to be safe ya know?” He takes my hand and gives it a squeeze. “You still mean a lot to me.”

“And you’ll always mean a lot to me too,” I smile finally settling on a country music station.

I look out the window and think about my life. I close my eyes and remember my mom’s sweet smile. God I miss her. I take out my phone and wake it up. There’s a picture of us as my wallpaper and we’re happy. I keep her close to my heart at all times. She’s my guardian angel, always protecting and guiding me.

As much as
I’ve overcome there are still dark moments that come alive. When I’m alone I feel the most vulnerable and unsafe. Images of my dad pop in my mind. I see him hitting me and screaming in my face. I smell the alcohol on his breath and hear the hate in his voice. I can’t seem to let go of the vicious flashbacks and seeing the look in his eyes. Those eyes. Those haunting dark eyes drilling into my soul and tearing me apart. I shudder remembering that night with him. But then I remember her words,
“Life is all about living. You’re given one beautiful life and even though things don’t go your way you should never give up. Always love, Karly. Always believe and never give up faith.”

I won’t mom.

I flip the visor down and see my reflection in the mirror. Moving my hair from my face
I see the scars that stare back at me. Even after all the surgeries nothing could make the scars disappear. It will always stay with me and stand as a reminder of that unforgettable night.

“Hey. You alright?”

I shake my head bringing myself back to the present. “Yeah,” I mumble. “I’m better.”
Sometimes I wish that were always true. It’s hard going through the day with everything weighing on my mind. At least my parents did one good thing before they passed away; ensuring I have a secure future.

“Do you remember how we met?” I laugh turning to face him.
I need to change the topic and get my mind off the craptastic past of mine.

“How could I forget?”
A flash of sadness shows on his face as he places his hand on mine.

Seth
Fisher, captain and all-star basketball player of UNC, threw the first party to celebrate a new year. I remembered my excitement and nervousness. Some of the girls and I went shopping and headed to the spa. We wanted everything to be perfect. After hours of shopping and being pampered we headed back to the dorm and got ready. I looked hot with my short black dress and red heels. My hair was curled and makeup done to perfection.

As
soon as we walked inside the fraternity house I felt a panic attack coming on. This was my first party at UNC and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The music blared through the speakers. There were people everywhere. Some were on the dance floor while others were taking shots at the bar. I couldn’t breathe. I tried looking for my friends, but they were off hanging out and dancing. The walls were getting closer. My heart was wildly beating. My hands were clammy and my breathing short. I was alone. Out of nowhere I was in the arms of this sexy, sleek black hair guy with chestnut colored eyes. He took me to the backyard for air and kept asking if I was okay. I nodded and we sat on the deck talking and laughing. He took care of me that night, and after a few short weeks that sexy boy became my boyfriend.

Neil
Carson was the guy all the girls wanted. Standing at six foot two inches, all-star basketball player and absolutely perfect in
every way,
there was no denying I fell hard for him.

“Go out with me
, Karly.” He asked playing with my hair while we laid listening to music on his iPhone.

“What?”

We both sat up on my bed and looked at each other. We’ve been hanging out for a few weeks and were technically dating without the boyfriend/girlfriend label. I knew he still saw other girls. It bothered me, but I never said anything.

“I wanna make it official. You and me.”

I looked into his dark eyes to find his reason for asking me. Neil could have anyone on campus. “Why?”

He ran his hands through his messy hair. “Because you’re different.
You see me for me. Not Neil the basketball player, but just the normal every day guy I am.”

“But…” I paused. I needed to find the right words. “
What about all those other girls?” My eyes left his. I stared at my hands and thought about how all the girls threw themselves at him.

His fingers went under my chin, lifting my fa
ce so we were looking at each other. “I want you, Karly. Just you.” His lips met mine and I was his. Life was great with Neil. I felt safe, confident and better than ever.

“That was a great night,” I whisper.
A part of me will always love Neil, but we’re both moving on.

* * * * *

After driving for over two hours we make it to Wilmington. It’s a cute town with shops, museums, the port and parks. It feels like home here. Neil looks around making sure it’s safe. I shake my head, but love him for looking out for me. Alexis’ apartment is right near the beach, which is a
huge
plus. Neil parks the car on the side of the road and we head inside. Remembering Alexis’ instructions I press the buzzer and ask for Fred, the doorman.

“Fred?” I talk into the speaker. “This is Karly Erikson. Alexis’ new roommate.”

There’s a slight pause and the door opens. We walk in and I’m stunned. The lobby of the apartment is beautiful with a large chandelier and a table in the middle of the room. There’s an array of flowers in the middle with brochures and a bowl of chocolates. The elevators are on the right hand side and the desk reminds me of the front desk at a hotel.
Holy hell.

“Karly?” Neil and I turn around and see a tall bald man with piercing green eyes walking towards us. “Hi. You must be Fred?”

“Yes that’s me.” He extends his hand out to Neil and I while giving us Alexis’ key. “Don’t worry about your things. We’ve scheduled the movers to collect your things and they’ll bring it up to the apartment.”

Wow.
Fancy.

“Come on let’s go grab dinner.” We say thanks to Fred and head out. Instead of driving Neil and I walk around the quaint town. There are a few local stores and a
Starbucks
. I literally jumped up and down when I saw my favorite coffee place. It feels like home here; somewhere I can finally belong again.

After eating dinner at a cute Italian restaurant and getting dessert, Neil and I head back to the apartment. We take the elevator to the sixth floor and walk to my new place. Once inside I’m shocked. The apartment is
huge
! The living room has a mounted flat screen television with a love seat and couch. The bay windows overlook the park and the kitchen…Holy hell…Nice! I love cooking and baking so this kitchen is a dream come true. The apartment is quite contemporary with the black, white, beige and light brown colors. The walls are a piercing white color with tiles in the kitchen and beige carpets. The art pieces hanging are remarkable. There’s one painting that pulls me in. The girl is in the shadows looking over the lighted buildings. The night sky shines on her and a lone tear streaming down her face. I’m not sure why this painting speaks to me but there’s a connection that I can’t shake off. Pulling myself away from the painting I head to the couch.

I pull out my phone and text Alexis letting her know we’re here.

Me: Thank you so much for everything. It looks great! I can’t wait to see you tomorrow!

“Nice huh?”

Neil looks around and sits down next to me. “Very.”

I grab his hand and we head to my bedroom. On the door there’s note from Alexis.

Karly Lynn <3

Welcome!!! I’m so glad you’re here with me! I hope you love Wilmington-very different from Chapel Hill, but I promise you’ll love it. Help yourself to ANYTHING and please make yourself comfortable. I’ll be home Sunday so we can def catch up. I’m so proud of you for finishing your last student teaching placement. I heard great things from Gail and you have my strong recommendation. You’ll do great!

I love you!

Alexis

I smile reading her note.

When we
first met I was so nervous. She was my teacher, slash mentor for the twelve weeks during my student teaching. It was for third grade at a nearby elementary school. As soon as I walked in I introduced myself and was relieved that she was happy to see me. I heard horror stories about different placements for student teaching and prayed I wouldn’t have a bad experience. Everything went smoothly and I took over her classroom within two weeks. I felt great and could tell she was proud of me by her compliments and reviews. By the end of my twelve weeks Alexis told me she was moving to Wilmington for a new teaching job. She knew I wanted to get out of Chapel Hill after UNC so she told me to make sure I called her and I could live with her. I was excited to say the least. We texted and talked all the time; she was my best friend.

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