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

Tears pour down my face as I think of how my family crashed our small wedding. My brother, Blake, and his best friend brought over the meat while my parents came in with balloons and flowers. The small, intimate ceremony with just the two of us actually ended up being thirty, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

“Your mom wants to make you something to eat even if it’s just toast,” Crystal says as she walks back into the dark room with a glass of water in one hand and a coffee cup in the other.

“I’m not hungry,” I whisper as I turn back around and smell his pillow. “He’s really gone?” I ask her, looking at her, hoping it’s just a mistake. A horrible mistake.

She wipes away a tear from her face as she walks toward me and takes a seat on the end of the bed. “We will get through this. I promise you.” I just shake my head at her because there is no way to get over this. No way for the hurt to go away, the pain to dull, or for that emptiness to be full again.

“I don’t think I will ever get over this.” I close my eyes again, letting the now familiar darkness take me away. To the dreams of when Eric was here. When he smiled at me. Laughed with me. Kissed me until we were breathless.

“You really need to get up,” my mother, Joanne, says from beside me as she moves the hair away from my face. My eyes blink open, trying to adjust to the light from the side lamp by our bed. “I fixed your favorite dinner.” She didn’t need to tell me what it was because the aroma of fried chicken had made its way upstairs. Dinner? I slept through the night and the entire next day?

“Do you think he’s here?” I ask her looking, trying to catch a glimpse of something, anything, telling me he’s been here. “It hurts so much,” I tell her, seeing the tears roll down her cheeks.

Eric was my husband, but he was like a son to my mother and even called her mom. From the first time they met, they formed a tight bond. The way she looked after him, and the way he took to her was a thing of beauty. They were so close. She could ask him anything about his past, and he never hesitated to give her the truth. He was always willing to help her with anything she needed. The way my family welcomed Eric with open arms made falling in love with him so easy. From cookouts at my mom’s house to the fishing trips with my brother and father, it was like we’d always known him. Like he was always a part of our family. The only downside was his relentless traveling. Being the top mechanical engineer for Boeing had its up and downs. It meant we spent our first Christmas apart because he was stuck in Alaska. I never knew when he would be gone or when he would be back. But when Eric was home, he was with us one hundred percent. “I think I need to call his boss,” I finally say as I look at her.

“Blake can do it for you.” She leans down, kissing my forehead.

I shake my head. “That’s my responsibility.” I don’t need to say anything else. Mom can tell I need to do this, so she just nods.

“Why don’t you wash your face, come downstairs, and eat a bit? Then we can make the phone calls and worry about everything else.” I sit up, my head spinning from all the sleep and tears. I climb out of bed and head to the bathroom. When I emerge, my mom takes my hand and guides me down the stairs.

Even though I bought this house the year before Eric and I were married, it had always been our home. Touches of Eric were everywhere. Frames capturing our happy times fill the walls. Pictures of just him, just me, but mostly, pictures of us together. Walking in the living room, I see the flowers he bought me every week just to say he loved me. In the kitchen, I see the coffee mugs he collected from his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys. Eric was everywhere I turned. Everywhere I looked.

Blake, my father, and Crystal sit at the table set for our dinner that my mother cooked, but the only thing my eyes focus on is that brown fucking bag on the counter. The last items my husband touched.

Walking to the counter, I grab the bag, feeling the rough, thick paper under my fingers. Everyone in the room stops moving, and it’s so quiet; the only sound is my unrolling of the bag.