Page 39

Broken Love Story (Love 3) Natasha Madison 2022/8/3 13:53:46

“I’m sure it’s perfect.” I smile for him. “Is that the only one you have?”

“Yes,” he finally says. “I used to have them all over the house, but one by one, they came down. I don’t need a picture for her to be part of this house.”

“I never thought of that,” I tell him, and it’s true. “So besides saving your father from a nervous breakdown, what did you do?”

“I went to the cemetery,” he says, and a tear slips out of my eye.

“Do you go there often?” I ask him, realizing I haven’t been since Eric passed away.

“Every week,” he says with a heavy breath. “Sometimes twice a week.”

“Do you feel closer to her when you go?” I ask him.

“Sometimes. Sometimes, I swear I hear her bitch and tell me to leave and fuck off.” He laughs, but I don’t.

“I doubt that,” I say softly. “I’m going to go to bed.”

“What is one thing you would change?” he asks me for the first time.

“Not calling you sooner,” I say. I’m not sure he answers or that I let him because I hang up the phone and tuck it away. My phone beeps, but I don’t reach for it even though my hands itch to. Last night while I sat on his lap, I itched to reach out and feel his cheek, wondering if his whiskers would pinch my hands, wondering if he would smile when I did it. I wondered if he would stop me; I wondered if he would picture Frankie.

I close my eyes, not sure I want to wonder anymore. That night, I dreamed of sitting on the beach, but this time, I was by myself when someone I’d never met walked by. She was stunning, her long, dark curly hair being pushed back by the wind. She raised a hand to wave at me as she placed her hands to her mouth and yelled, “Go to him.” I remember getting up and walking to her, but she disappeared as soon as I got close to her. I ran down the beach after her or what I thought was her, but then I came face-to-face with Hailey, sitting on the beach with tears running down her face.

Walking to her, I sat next to her, not sure if I should say anything, when she said, “I just want to be happy.” I looked back at the water, then turned to look back at her, but she wasn’t there anymore. My eyes flip open as the sun hits my face. I roll over in bed, looking outside. Daisy comes into my room and climbs into bed with me.

“I had a nightmare,” she says as I raise my hand for her to come to me, and I cuddle her to my chest.

“It’s okay. Mommy is here.” I kiss her as her soft snores fill the room. I smile as her hair tickles my chin and fall back asleep with her. Lizzie climbs into bed with us sometime later, and we end up watching Tangled in my bed till their stomachs grumble.

I go back downstairs, and we make plans to go to the park. The girls are dressed in pink skirts and white shirts. We walk to the park with my camera bag over my shoulder and the girls skipping in front of me. My phone beeps in the back of my pocket. I still haven’t checked it from last night.

I pull it out and find a text from Elliot.

Wanted to see if the girls were free to go to my parents’ house.

I roll my eyes and call him instead.

“Hey,” I say when he answers. “What’s up?”

“My mom was wondering if the girls could come over for dinner.”

“Just the girls?” I ask, and my heart hurts again, but this time, not that much.

He stutters, not sure what to say, so I let him off the hook. “It’s fine. Listen, we are on our way to the park to take pictures, so I’ll ask them and get back with you.”

“I didn’t mean anything by it. I just assumed you wouldn’t want to come.”

“It’s fine,” I say, “I get it.”

I don’t let him continue; instead, I hang up and ask the girls. Daisy is happy while Lizzie looks at the grass, asking, “Are you coming with us?”

“No, honey,” I tell her. “I’m going to stay at home and relax.” I lie to her as she looks at the ground.

“Okay, but not for long,” she says, and I text Elliot back.

The girls said they would go.

And I wait for him to invite me, tell me that it would be good to have a family dinner, but nothing comes through. I see the message from Blake with his answer.

I would have come for you sooner.

I smile, putting my phone in my back pocket. Two totally different families, one who supports and loves unconditionally and the other who loves only when it suits them.