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Perfect Love Story (Love 1) Natasha Madison 2022/8/3 13:48:38

The bright sun from earlier is now dull, and the birds no longer chirp. The only sign of life is the kids riding their bikes, laughing as they chase each other down the street. The streetlights flicker on as we turn down my street. We haven’t said one word to each other the entire ride, and the radio has remained silent. Blake parks the car, but I don’t make a move to get out. My arms are heavy, holding the brown bag like a lifeline. Suddenly, the car door opens, and Crystal, who I didn’t even notice came with us, reaches over me to unclip my seat belt

“Let’s get you inside,” Blake says as I turn woodenly and get out of his truck.

I’m not prepared when I walk into our home and see Eric’s jackets hanging by the door. The way his sweater from last night is just tossed on the couch, his morning coffee cup still sitting on the side table. Walking over, I grab the empty cup with just a drop left inside. “He just got home last night.” I look up. “Maybe if he hadn’t come back, he would still be here. Maybe…” I trail off in a whisper. Crystal and Blake share a glance. He moves to the kitchen, and she walks to me.

“Why don’t I take you upstairs, and you can lie down for a bit?” Crystal asks. I nod and make my way to the stairs. I look back at the mug and brown bag I placed by his sweater on the couch.

“Don’t touch his things,” I tell them, looking over my shoulder. When I walk into our room, I take in the bed, still unmade from this morning. The sheets thrown over on my side. His work pants are tossed over the chair in the corner with his boots on the floor right next to them. His bathrobe tossed over the end of the bed. Picking it up, I wrap it, and his smell, around me. I fall on the mattress and close my eyes, hoping when I wake up, this will all just be a bad dream.

My eyes flicker open as I look around the dark room. I’m still in my bedroom. Our bedroom. My body feels stiff from sleeping on my side, and I’m still wrapped in Eric’s robe. It’s dark outside, but I know this wretched day isn’t over.

“Is it real?” I ask the room, or better yet, I ask Crystal, who I know is beside me. She wouldn’t leave me, just as she knows I wouldn’t leave her if the roles were reversed. Since our mothers are sisters, and Crystal is only six months older than I am, we’ve been best friends since birth. No soul alive knows me better than she does.

“My chest hurts. My heart hurts.” I whisper the last part, and I feel her scoot over and put her arms around my waist. The tears roll down my cheeks. “Did he suffer?” I ask. She’d know since she was there when they brought him in.

“No,” she says quietly, her voice cracking as I hear her sniffle behind me. “He was already gone when they brought him in.”

“Do you think he knew today was going to be his last day?” I ask as my eyes focus on a blinking star in the sky. “Do you think he knew? What am I supposed to do now?” Rolling over, I look into her eyes. She doesn’t have the answers. No one does. I close my eyes, and once again, I let the pain take me. Take me to memories of when my life was happy, when my life was perfect.

I think about when I first met him. How opening a door to the local pizzeria changed my life. I wasn’t even watching where I was going, and I smashed into his hard chest. His hands flew to my arms to make sure I didn’t fall to the floor. “Sorry,” I mumbled, looking up into chestnut-colored eyes.

His brown hair fell onto his forehead as he smirked at me. “Not a problem,” he said as he dropped his hands. “I’m just glad I was here to help.” I realized my palms were still on his chest.

“Um …” I looked at my hands, then his face, smiling at him. “Thank you.” I put my hair behind my ear. “If it wasn’t for you, god knows where I would be.” I crossed my arms and laughed.

“I’m Eric.” He reached out his hand as he introduced himself with a smirk that brought out his dimple.

“Do you want something to eat?” Crystals voice breaks through my memory, bringing me back here. Where the pain is. My hand goes to my chest to rub away the pain or at least try. “You need to at least drink something.” She gets up and walks out of the room, leaving me alone. I take a moment to look around our bedroom. I feel like a stranger in this room, like I shouldn’t be allowed to touch anything. The picture of us on our wedding day taken only six months ago. I wish I could say I got my big fairy-tale wedding, but since Eric was a foster child, he had no family, no siblings, and his job required him to travel a lot. He never really made friends, so he wanted a small wedding. “Just you and me,” he said as he kissed me in the middle of our backyard while we promised to love, honor, and cherish each other until death do us part. I was so in love with him I didn’t care where we were married as long as we were together.