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Broken Love Story (Love 3) Natasha Madison 2022/8/3 13:53:38

“We are very sorry,” I say to her, and she puts her hand up to stop me as she turns and looks at me.

“Please spare me the fake sorrow. I don’t have the privilege to bash him and his ways because my in-laws hold him on a fucking shrine. I can’t look at them and tell them what a piece of trash their son was because then I will be left by myself. I play the wife role, and I take the well wishes of the people who come up to me, but at night, when all the lights are off and the kids are tucked into their bed, I’m left picking apart every single memory I have”—she raises her voice—“and it’s a lot more than eighteen months.”

“This was a mistake.” Crystal looks at me, and I couldn’t agree with her more. Coming here was a mistake; me going to the funeral was a bigger mistake.

“You came here to see who I was, and I get it. I wanted to do the same. I wanted to meet the woman who he felt he loved so much that he lied and married her. But I can’t because at the end of the day those girls need me.” I get up, nodding to her, as Crystal walks out of the house without another fucking word. I walk down the step to the car, buckle my seat belt, and look straight ahead as I drive away from the gray house.

“Well, that was a good idea,” I finally say when we are far enough away. “Great fucking plan that was.”

“She is more broken than Hailey is,” Crystal whispers. “Hailey can forget about him, but she will never be able to move on.”

“You going to tell her about this?” I ask her, and she nods. “When?”

“When she can handle it. Right now, the only thing she can handle is her bottle of wine. It’s got to fucking end.”

I agree with her. “Give her another week.” I don’t turn to look at her.

“Another week.” She throws her hands up. “I don’t give a shit what you say or that you’re older than I am and wiser. Next week, the tough fucking love starts.”

“Deal”—I look over at her—“and I won’t even give you a hard time about how you treated Samantha.” She rolls her eyes. “She isn’t the enemy.”

She doesn’t bother to answer me; instead, she looks out the window, lost in her own thoughts, leaving me to get lost in mine.

I listen for the front door to close, and then close my eyes until I hear the sound of two truck doors shut. Only when I hear the truck drive off do I open my eyes and look down at my trembling hands. I get up and walk to the sink, turning on the water and filling a glass. I drink a couple of sips and then count to ten. My hands never stop shaking. I look out at the swing set in the backyard and see one of the swings moving slowly with the breeze. The images of Eric looking back at me while he built it. The girls running around him the whole time. The glass in my hand falls to the sink, shattering.

“I hate you.” I look around the kitchen, seeing his picture on the fridge along with the kids’ drawings. I pull it off the fridge and trace his face with my finger. “I fucking hate you,” I whisper to him, hoping that he hears me. Hoping that somewhere, wherever he is, he knows how much I hate him.

The front door opens, and I hear Judy. “Hello!” she shouts, walking into the kitchen. “Oh, good, you’re here.” I look up at her. “I thought we could have dinner here tonight.” I nod my head, putting the picture back on the fridge. It’s been three weeks, and in that time, my in-laws have never left my side. Neither have Ethan or Elliot.

“That sounds like a plan.” I smile at her, the smile forced this time as Crystal’s words linger in my mind. “I have to get the girls soon. Do you need me to help you cook?” I know right away the answer to that is no; my mother-in-law is hands down one of the best cooks and people I know.

“You go sit and rest.” She smiles at me as she sets down the bags. “Relax. I have this covered.” I just nod at her, then walk upstairs to my bedroom. Looking around, I see little touches of Eric. His shirt still hangs on the chair where he left it; the change from his pocket on his bedside table. I walk to the chair and pick up the shirt, smelling it. His scent still lingers a bit. Did he ever wear this shirt with her? Did he ever hug her in this shirt? Did he tell her he loved her while wearing this shirt that the kids and I bought him for his birthday? Did she unbutton it and slip it off his shoulders?