This serial story is presented in draft (unedited) form. Each installment will be available for one week, and new installments will be posted every Friday. Miss one? Joining in late? Email me and I’ll send you the previous installments. Enjoy!
Live With Me
When Candace woke several hours later, the room was pitch black and the space beside her was empty, but still warm. She rolled over and turned on the lamp by the bed, confused at why Emmett would just leave her after what they’d just shared. A sign of things to come?
The bathroom door was open and the light was off as she went past, pulling her robe on. His pants weren’t on the floor any longer, and she made it into the hall just in time to see him pulling his hoodie on beside the front door.
“You’re leaving.” She tried to keep the emotion out of her voice, but the statement itself sounded bitter and cold, even to her own ears. Emmett stopped, and then moved closer, his face dimly illuminated by the front porch light coming in through the side window.
“I have to get back before anyone realizes I’m gone. I’m sorry – I did leave you a note.” He pointed to the table, and she nodded when she saw the white rectangle.
“You should have woke me up,” she said, understanding why he needed to leave, but needing him to understand her fear. “I didn’t know what to think. And I’d rather hear it from you than in a note. When will I see you again?”
He reached for her and she went into his arms, accepting his kiss even though it felt like there was definitely something wrong. Something between them that hadn’t been just a short time ago.
“I’m sorry,” he said again, holding her tight. “You’re right. And I was going to tell you over dinner, but —”
“Tell me what?” Candace pulled back, staring up into eyes clearly in agony over whatever it was he needed to say. He sighed.
“Pre-season starts this week, and the manager has cleared me to travel with them. They want me to do warm-ups and then maybe play a couple of the easier games just to see if I can still cut it. I could be gone for several months, depending on whether or not my knee holds out. That’s why I had to see you tonight. I couldn’t leave without…this.”
She nodded, her heart breaking in two. This was it. The moment she’d been dreading for weeks, all condensed down into a few sentences in the dark. And now that they’d shared…everything, there was only one thing she could do.
Taking a deep breath, she forced herself to smile while she blinked back tears.
“Okay.” She nodded again, trying to convince herself that she could do this. “You’re going to be great – I know it. And whenever you get back, I’ll be here. Just be careful, okay? Try to come back in one piece.”
She could see the relief on his face, feel his muscles relax at her words, and she knew it had been the right choice.
“I will be back,” he said, with enough conviction that she almost believed him. “I promise you that.” Bending down, he kissed her and then pulled away, opening the door and disappearing before she could say anything else.
Unexpected anger welled up in the pit of her stomach and before she knew what she was going to to, she stalked to the table and grabbed the sheet of paper, crumpled it up and tossed it into the trash can near the door of the kitchen. Then she stomped back to her bedroom, drew the covers up over her head and cried.