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Elusive Love
  • Текст добавлен: 17 сентября 2016, 20:05

Текст книги "Elusive Love"

Автор книги: K. A. Robinson

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Текущая страница: 11 (всего у книги 12 страниц)

“Joey and I are over,” I told him after a while. “He has agreed to the divorce. I’m going over to the apartment tomorrow to fill out all the papers with him.”

“How do you feel?” Ethan asked.

I shrugged. “Relieved. A little bit sad, too. I mean, we’re both walking away from years we’ve spent together. That’s hard to swallow.”

“You have every right to be sad,” Ethan said. “But just know that you’re definitely not alone in this. You have me. Your dad is there for you, too.”

“I know, and I’m thankful for both of you. I hope you know that.”

He smiled. “I know.”

“Maybe, one day, my mom will come around, too. But I’m not holding my breath on that one.”

“I don’t know. The way she was muttering about Joey, you might just have her on your side, too.”

“It has been a crazy day full of surprises. Maybe she’ll shock me and actually be decent,” I mused. “Still, I can’t wait to get away from this house. It’s only a matter of time before one of us kills the other.”

Ethan laughed. “She can’t be that bad.”

“You just wait. You’re going to be around her a lot more now. You’ll see what I’m talking about.”

We fell silent, both of us simply enjoying each other’s company and the moment of peace after so much havoc today. After a while, I knew it was time to go inside.

I looked over at Ethan, a shocking revelation crossing my mind. “You’ve never met Amelia, have you?”

He shook his head. “No. Well, I saw her today for the first time, if that counts.”

“It doesn’t. Come on, I’ll introduce you to each other.”

I laced my fingers through his as we stood. I led the way back inside and to the living room.

Amelia was lying in my mother’s lap, eating her evening bottle. My mother’s eyes fell to my hands linked with Ethan’s, but for once, she kept silent. I let go of Ethan and walked over to Amelia. My mother stood and handed her off to me.

“I need to go check on dinner,” she said before leaving the room.

My father stood and followed her out without a word. I knew they would question me about what had happened with Joey, but for now, they were giving me time alone with Ethan, something I very much appreciated.

“Sit down with me,” I said as I settled down onto the couch with Amelia on my lap.

Ethan cautiously sat next to me.

“Amelia, meet Ethan,” I said as I carefully handed her over to him.

His entire body was stiff as he took her into his arms.

“You don’t have to sit so stiffly. You’re not going to hurt her, and I promise she won’t hurt you.”

He relaxed his body a tiny bit. “Better?”

“Much.” I grinned.

“Hi, Amelia. I’ve heard a lot about you,” he joked as he looked down at my daughter in his arms.

She started to fuss, and a look of terror crossed his face. I grinned as I handed her bottle to him.

“She’s hungry.”

“Oh, right,” he muttered as he held the bottle so that she could suckle on it.

She instantly attacked it.

He laughed. “I guess she really was hungry.”

“She’s always hungry. I think she gets that from me,” I joked.

He glanced over at me before returning his attention to the baby on his lap. “She’s beautiful.”

“Yes, she is.”

A smile covered my face as I watched Amelia and Ethan for the first time. It was strange to see two of the most important people in my life together at last.

Since I’d reconnected with Ethan, he’d been separate from my normal life. I wasn’t sure that I’d ever expected him to meet Amelia face-to-face. Now that he was, it was like my two separate lives were now crashing together, becoming one.

My smile widened. I liked the sound of that.

“Caley,” a voice whispered close by.

I moaned and opened my eyes to see my mother staring at me.

“Hmm?” I asked, still half-asleep.

“I made up the guest bedroom for your friend. You might want to wake him up. If he sleeps on the couch after the beating he took today, he’ll definitely be stiff in the morning.”

I sat up and stretched, finally waking up. “Okay.”

“I’ll put Amelia in her crib.” She gently pried Amelia from Ethan’s grip.

He began to stir as my mother walked away with Amelia curled up, sound asleep, in her arms.

“Ethan, wake up,” I whispered, hoping not to startle him.

His eyes opened slowly, and he looked around. “Crap. I fell asleep, didn’t I?”

I nodded. “Yeah. I did, too. Even Amelia passed out.”

He sat up and rubbed his eyes. “I need to head home.”

“No, you can stay here. My mom made up the guest room for you.”

He raised an eyebrow. “I thought you said she was evil.”

“She is, but apparently, she’s decided to shelve that attitude for the evening.”

“Wow, I don’t know what to say. Tell her thanks, I suppose.”

“You can tell her yourself in the morning.” I stood and held out my hand. “I’ll show you where you’ll be sleeping.”

He stood and followed me out of the living room and down the hallway to the spare room that was next to mine.

I helped him get settled before whispering, “Good night,” and slipping from the room.

I walked to the kitchen and grabbed a glass out of the cabinet. I filled it with water and ice from the refrigerator. When I turned around, my mother was standing in the doorway, watching me.

“I just want a drink, and then I’m going to bed. I don’t want to fight tonight,” I said, hoping she’d let me go without a fight. I was too drained to deal with her.

“I don’t want to fight with you. I just want to talk.” She crossed the room and sat down on one of the kitchen chairs.

“Talk?” I asked, bewildered.

“Yes, talk. Sit down,” she said.

I cautiously walked across the room and sat down on the chair across from her.

She watched me for a moment before sighing. “I owe you an apology.”

I nearly choked on the sip of water I had just taken. “I’m sorry. What?”

“You heard me,” she grumbled. “But you have to understand where I was coming from. I was thinking of Amelia first. That little girl deserves all the happiness in the world, and I thought that you were being selfish and taking that away from her for your own happiness.”

“Amelia will always be my number one priority,” I told her. “She’s my daughter, and I will always try to do right by her. My decision to leave Joey wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. It had been building for years.”

“I realize that now.” She hesitated. “I’m sorry that he cheated on you. That must have hurt.”

I shrugged. “Surprisingly enough, it didn’t hurt all that much. That alone should tell you how much I’ve distanced myself from Joey already. I was more upset that some strange woman was holding Amelia than I was over Joey cheating on me.”

She chuckled. “You’re a strong woman to face that and not let your emotions get the better of you. I’m proud of you for that.”

I looked across the table at my mother, unsure of what to say. My mother had never said she was proud of me.

“Uh, thanks,” I finally said after a moment.

“You’re welcome.” She cleared her throat. “Anyway, I just wanted to apologize and to tell you that your father and I are both here for you while you deal with all of this.”

“I appreciate that,” I said, stunned.

She nodded before standing. “I think it’s time for bed. I’ll see you in the morning.”

I watched her walk away. When she was gone, I finished my water and put my glass in the sink.

I chuckled to myself. Today just keeps getting stranger and stranger.

As I lay in bed later that night, I thought about everything that had happened in the last twelve hours. My precariously balanced life had taken a nosedive. Things had fallen apart, and within hours, they had repaired themselves.

For the first time, I felt like I finally had a chance to start over. Joey would no longer be holding me back.

I smiled. Joey and I would go our separate ways, and I could move on with my life, move on with Ethan. If that wasn’t something to smile about, I didn’t know what was.


Three months—that was how long it had taken for my divorce from Joey to finalize.

That was thirteen weeks or ninety one days or two thousand one hundred ninety hours.

Our years together had ended in what felt like no time at all.

We hadn’t fought, not even once. That would have been an unbelievable feat a few months ago.

The thought of Joey and I getting along back then had been laughable. Now, it was our new normal. It was strange. When we weren’t constantly around each other, all the petty shit that had driven each of us mad had finally faded away.

Although the things Joey had said and done to me over the years stayed with me, they didn’t bother me as much. Maybe it was because I’d stopped caring about what he thought. Or maybe it was because I no longer felt the need to make him happy. Whatever the reason, I was relieved.

With the help of my dad, Amelia and I had found a place of our own. It was a tiny house a few miles away from the apartment I had shared with Joey. When I’d said tiny, I’d meant tiny. It was a one-bedroom house, barely nine hundred square feet. I hated that Amelia didn’t have a room of her own, but I knew the house was only temporary. One day, I would have enough money saved up to put us into a two-bedroom home. I couldn’t complain about the house anyway. The rent was dirt cheap.

The day I received the letter in the mail, telling me that I was officially free, I did the only thing I could do. I drove straight to Ethan’s house. When he opened the door, I held up the letter with a ridiculous grin on my face.

“You’re free?” he asked.

I nodded. “I’m free.”

It took him all of five seconds to pull me to him and kiss me on the lips. I gasped in shock as his lips covered mine. We were standing on his front porch where anyone could see.

But then I remembered that it didn’t matter. We didn’t have to hide anymore.

When he finally released me, I had to fight to remember how to breathe.

“So, I’ve been meaning to ask you a question,” he said.

“What question would that be?”

He grinned. “I was wondering if you’d like to go on a date? I mean, technically, we’ve already been on one, but that didn’t turn out so well.”

“No, it certainly didn’t,” I said, remembering just how horrendously that date had ended. “And I’d love to go on a date with you.”

“I was hoping you’d be agreeable.” He stepped closer and wrapped his arms around my waist.

“And why is that?”

“Because I can finally tell the world that you’re mine. No more hiding, Caley. From now on, I’m going to let every single person who looks at you know that you belong to me.”

“Hmm…don’t I get a say in that?” I teased.

“Of course. If you’d rather no one knew for a while, we can wait.” His playful expression was gone. Now, he looked dead serious.

I laughed. “I was just kidding. You can put our picture on a billboard, for all I care. We don’t have to hide anymore.”

“Good to know.” He smiled.

“So, what happens now?” I asked, suddenly unsure of myself.

Since that one and only night I had spent in Ethan’s bed, I had made it a point to keep enough space between us, so it wouldn’t happen again. It had been hard to do, but somehow, we’d managed.

When I’d explained to Ethan that I wanted to wait until things were settled, he had understood, never once questioning why I had slept with him, only to take a step back.

Truth be told, I wasn’t even sure why I’d wanted to wait. If I had to guess, I would say it was because I had felt a twinge of guilt when I thought of what we had done while I was still with Joey.

I hadn’t wanted my relationship with Ethan to be clouded with the sins of my past or the toxic downfall of my marriage to Joey. I wanted Ethan and I to have a fresh start of our own.

“Now? Now, we move forward. I think we’ve waited long enough, don’t you?” Ethan said.

“Yeah, I do. I’m just…scared, I guess. It’s been so long since I dated someone. I’m not even sure how this works now that I’m not a teenager in high school.”

He grinned. “Well, I’m not exactly experienced, but I would say going on dates would be a good way to start.” He paused. “And if you decide to spend the night after a date or two, I won’t complain.”

I blushed, remembering our time together. Even though it’d only been three months, it’d seemed like an eternity since we’d been together. Every single day, we had seen each other, a constant reminder of what we could be.

My body was craving him like a drug now, and I was barely holding on.

“So, we date,” I stated, feeling silly.

“We date. Then, we go from there. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see you as a permanent fixture in this house soon.” When I started to protest, he held up his hand. “I’m not asking you to move in today or next week or even a month from now. You’ve been forced into enough stuff before, and I’m not about to repeat those mistakes. We’ll do this on our time. No matter how long it takes, we’ll figure it out together.”

“What on earth did I do to deserve someone like you?” I asked, still in disbelief that this wonderful man had waited so long for me.

“You didn’t do anything. You’re just…you. For me, that’s more than enough.” He leaned forward and softly kissed me. “Yeah, you’re definitely enough.”


Most guys my age didn’t spend their evenings giving a one-year-old her bath or filling up her sippy cup. They didn’t play with toys on the floor every evening until it was time for bed. They didn’t tuck a squirming little girl into bed and sing her ridiculous songs to keep her from crying. Once the little girl was asleep, they didn’t crawl into bed with her mother and hold her tight.

No, most twenty-year-olds didn’t have my life. They wouldn’t want it. They’d prefer to be off at college, studying and banging chicks in the backseats of their cars. We were only young once, so we might as well enjoy the hell out of it.

To me, spending every night with Amelia and Caley was exactly what I wanted. I couldn’t picture my life any other way.

I’d loved Caley since I was sixteen years old. That was never the problem. I’d just never thought I’d ever have the chance to show her how much I cared.

Fate had been looking out for me though. The night she’d messaged me changed the course of both our lives. If she had messaged someone else, anyone else, we might have never reconnected. I might be alone right now with no one but myself. I could be spending my nights the way I always had—alone, watching TV, waiting for the clock to tell me it was time for bed so that I could start all over again the next day. So, yeah, fate had been on my side for once.

Caley had moved in with me last month. I hadn’t forced the issue, but I’d let her know several times that I wanted her to live with me. She’d resisted at first, clearly afraid to jump in too fast and make the same mistakes that had led her to a failed marriage. But I’d shown her over and over again in every possible way that things were different for us. I wasn’t Joey. I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes he had. Caley was someone who deserved to be cherished, not someone who needed to be talked down to and humiliated.

My age had worried her, too. She’d felt like I was jumping in too soon. I wasn’t old enough to have lived a carefree life. I’d flat-out told her that was stupid. I’d thought she was going to throw something at my head when I said that, but she hadn’t.

After a few more tense conversations, she’d finally accepted that I was right where I wanted to be in life, age be damned.

I could tell her over and over that things with our relationship were different—that she was different, and I was, too—but it was pointless. Instead, I’d set out to show her how different we were from the way her relationship with Joey had been. I’d let her make her own choices, only offering advice when she’d asked. I didn’t control her or order her around.

For the first time in her life, Caley was living her life for herself and no one else. It was a beautiful thing to witness.

Every single day, I saw the changes in her. The woman I’d gone fishing with so many months ago was gone. That woman had been conflicted, terrified of her own shadow. She’d hated herself, inside and out. The new Caley was living life however she pleased. She didn’t shy away from anything. She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, both in mind and in body.

Exactly six months after her divorce, I planned a surprise for her. Amelia was spending the weekend with Joey, so Caley and I would have the house to ourselves. I blindfolded her and led her into our bathroom. When I removed the blind, she was understandably completely confused.

“What are we doing in here?” she asked as she stared at our reflection in the mirror.

“Tell me what you see,” I stated.


“Tell me what you see when you look at yourself in the mirror.”

“You’re insane,” she said, still thoroughly confused.

“I know, but humor me, just for a minute.”

She sighed. “I see myself and you.”

I poked her in the side. “Describe yourself.”

She looked at me like she thought I’d lost my mind. “I don’t know, Ethan. I’m me. Brown hair, big lips, super awesome boobs from having Amelia. I’m just…me.”

I laughed. “Your boobs are super awesome even though you didn’t think so not too long ago. Do you want to know what I see when I look in the mirror at you?”

“What?” she asked in exasperation.

“I see a woman who is no longer defined by what she always thought were her flaws. She doesn’t stop to obsess over whatever flaws she thinks are there. She looks at the big picture and points out her best features.”

“What are you getting at here?” she asked.

“If I’d asked you to do this a year ago, or even six months ago, what would your answer have been?” She shrugged. “You could barely stand to let me take your clothes off because you didn’t feel beautiful, Caley. Now, you pull them off before I have the chance. The woman looking back at you in that mirror isn’t hunched over with her hair covering her face, trying to hide from everyone and everything. She’s standing up straight, facing the world head-on.”

“I don’t know about that…” she said uncertainly.

“I do. The woman looking back at you right now? You made her completely on your own. You didn’t depend on me or your parents or anyone else. Life threw you a curveball. You hit a home run with that bastard all on your own. You owned that shit.

“One time, you told me that your greatest fear was falling back into the way you had been with Joey, only with someone else. You didn’t do that, Caley. You took control. You were amazing before, but now, you’re goddamn incredible. You’re invincible. And that”—I paused—“is why I love you so much that it actually hurts sometimes. There’s no one else out there like you.”

“Why are you telling me this?” she whispered.

“Because I want to show you how strong you are. You weathered your storm, the one you had been sure would pull you down, and you came out stronger. You don’t need me or anyone else. You’ve done all of this on your own, only looking to me for support once in a great while.”

“I’ve never seen myself as strong or pretty,” she admitted. “I’ve always looked at my downfalls.”

“Are you looking at them now?” I asked.

She shook her head. “No, I’m looking at a woman who’s happy with who she is and with where she is in life. The woman in that mirror is standing next to someone she loves more than life—not because she feels that she has to love him or that she’ll be all alone, but because she simply loves him.”

“I love you, too. You and Amelia mean the world to me.”

“We love you more.” She turned to face me. “We love you with all our hearts. For the first time in my life, I feel completely content.”

“Get used to that feeling because it isn’t going anywhere,” I told her.

“Love was always this elusive thing that I could never quite grasp. It was always just outside of my reach. Now, I feel I’ve truly conquered it. It’s incredible to feel this way.”

I smiled down at her. “Love is elusive—until you find the right person.”

“I guess so.” She stood on her toes and deeply kissed me. “Now, I’ve found you. I’ve captured love.”

Love was elusive. It was also fucking terrifying. But in the end, we would have to face our fears to become the person we wanted to be, and then we could take life by the balls. Then and only then, could we find the happiness we’d longed for, the happiness we deserved.

I knew one thing for certain. Caley and I weren’t going to walk away from this. We weren’t sprinting into it, but we weren’t walking away. We were going to take our time and explore every moment, every emotion.

Time didn’t matter because we’d found that elusive thing called love.

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