Saturday, 23 February 2013

Tears of the Fallen Ch 04 Teaser

Here is the teaser for Tears Ch 04 :)

Enjoy! 

* 
 
“She’s weeping again.”

Liam’s softly spoken words had Ashleigh looking up from her book to see her son standing in the living room doorway. His large frame almost filled the entire space as he leaned against the side of the wall with his arms crossed. The anxiety in his eyes hurt her heart but she couldn’t bring herself to care about the woman lying in the room above her head.

Nors had said to give it time, but she still felt nothing but hatred for the former vampire who had tried to kill her son.  Liam’s compassion shone from his eyes. It was simply beyond her comprehension how anyone could look at her baby and see a monster worth killing. Ashleigh had lost so much already in her life that the mere thought of losing her son was the final straw. Her heart had hardened and she didn’t know if it would ever thaw, despite the faith her mate had in her.

“I don’t know what to do, Mom.”

Turning away from Liam, she looked back down at her book though she couldn’t read a word through the tears swimming in her eyes. It hurt to turn away from him but she couldn’t help it. “You know I’m not the best person to speak to about this, Liam. You should talk to your father if you need advice in this matter.” God, even her voice sounded cold and hard; a far cry from what she was usually like.

“Mom, please don’t hate her.” Liam entered the room, coming to rest on his knees beside her chair at the open fire. He placed his hands against hers, closing the book and gripping her tightly. “I know what she did was wrong and understand why you find it hard to forgive, but she’s my mate. Hating her is like hating half of me.”

The tears she was struggling to hide fell and splashed on their joined hands. Ashleigh struggled to hold in a sob, hearing herself echo the woman above. “I wish I could do this for you, Liam, I really do, but I can’t forgive what she did to you. If you hadn’t been immune to that poison I would have lost you. I know you probably think I’m being selfish, son, but I can’t help the way I feel.  I don’t mean to hurt you by rejecting her. I know I stand the chance of losing you by feeling this way and I hate her even more for that because, either way, that woman will have won and taken you from me.”

“Never!” Liam whispered, his eyes moist as he gathered his mother close. Surely she didn’t really believe that she would lose him? His parents were everything to him and always would be. He could feel his mom shaking as she tried to hold back her tears and it made him want to cry as much as Reasa’s weeping did. He had to comfort his mom somehow, so he held her even tighter and stroked a hand down her back. “No matter what happens I will always love you, Mom. You will never lose me. We’ll find some way to work through this, I know we will.”

Hugging him tightly Ashleigh was ashamed to let her tears flow. She was Liam’s mother and it was her job to comfort him and keep him safe, and yet, he was the one who comforted her despite his own pain. What kind of mother did that make her? Why couldn’t she be strong enough to work through her ambivalence and try to find something worth liking in her son’s mate?  

Just the thought of it made her feel physically sick. How were they ever going to resolve this if she couldn’t learn to get over what had happened? “I’m so sorry, Liam. Forgive me.”

“I’ll take it from here, son.”

Nors entered the room, crossing quickly to retrieve his mate from his son and cradle her close. He had heard Liam’s passionate speech and felt so proud of him. He understood the dilemma his son was in, having suffered something similar with Freya and Ashleigh in the past. It was hard to love two people in different ways and have them at odds with each other. Maybe that was why it was easier for him having Reasa in their home.  He didn’t want his son to lack support as he endured that awful feeling of being caught in the middle.

“Why don’t you head over to the community hall and help out?” he said, brushing away Ashleigh’s tears with a gentle hand. “I believe Lily is on lunch duty and we all know how interesting that will be.” Privately he sent a rush of love down their mate bond. “I’ll try and help Liam while you’re there, love.”

Pulling herself together, Ashleigh gave them both a weak smile and smoothed her hands down the side of her jeans. “Yes, someone has to save us all from Lily’s cooking.” She met Liam’s gaze and saw no condemnation there and her heart twisted painfully; he didn’t hate her for rejecting his mate. It made her feel even more ashamed.

“Stop, Ash. Liam understands and is willing to wait for you to work through this. Don’t think about yourself that way. You don’t deserve it.”

“I’m failing my son, Nors. Logically I know it, and yet my wolf will not accept that woman. I feel as if I’m being ripped apart inside and I should be strong enough to handle this.”

“Enough, Ashleigh. Go bang some pots and pans around until you work this self-loathing out of your system. It’s irritating my vampiric side and I think it’s better for Liam to have one of us balanced at the moment.” Nors’ tone was curt and it had the desired effect of shaking some sense into his mate. She straightened her spine and shot him a pointed look. He didn’t like being harsh with his Ashleigh but at the moment it seemed to be the only thing that helped shake away her melancholy.

“Fine, I’ll see you for lunch.”

The two males watched her leave, both frowning with concern. Ashleigh’s current behaviour was a worry. Nors was even considering discussing it with Mallen to see if there was some underlying medical diagnosis. If there was, then maybe they could treat it.

“I’m worried about mom.”

Nors sighed and clapped his son reassuringly on the back, his pride evident. “I know, son. I am too. I’m also worried about Reasa. She’s been inconsolable for an entire day now. What has Mallen had to say about that?”

Liam turned troubled eyes up to the ceiling. “He left something to put into her drink but I’m loath to do that. While it would knock her out for a while, it feels wrong to me, as if I would be breaking her trust in some way or lying to her. I don’t want to start my life with my mate by drugging her.”

“As opposed to your mate trying to murder you?”

His father’s dry quip teased a small smile onto Liam’s face. While the words were true, it still didn’t feel right to sneakily drug Reasa just because it hurt so much to hear her cry. She was going through so much pain that he felt he had to live each moment with her, that maybe if she saw him suffer too she would realise she wasn’t alone. “I can’t do it, Dad.”

“Then tell her,” Nors sighed, rubbing at the back of his neck. The constant noise of weeping was starting to give him a sore head and he’d barely been home ten minutes. He was ready to join Ashleigh at the community hall just for some peace and quiet. “Give her the choice of taking the sleeping potion or not. You never know, she may want the respite of oblivion from the emotions she’s going through.”

Liam hadn’t thought of that and he pondered it for a moment before nodding. It made sense. “Thanks, Dad.” He headed out of the room and upstairs towards his mate, mentally securing his defences as best he could against the onslaught of emotions coming from the room ahead.

Reasa was lying on the bed curled up in the foetal position. Her body shook with each sob, her voice sounding raw from the constant weeping. It would have been so easy to lie down and weep with her, but Liam knew he had to be the strong one.  He had to find some way to help her come to terms with what had happened. For the hundredth time he wanted to curse Annie for what she’d done, even as his head told him that the alternative would have been so much worse.

He wasn’t really angry with Annie, not anymore. At the time, his mate’s screams and obvious pain had brought forth negative emotions he’d never experienced before. For a moment, he had hated Annie and Anakatrine, and everyone who had wanted to harm his mate. Now, he was as worried about where Annie was and the division between the pack and vampires, as everyone else was. His mate had caused a chasm so wide it may never be repaired; not unless Annie came home and somehow found a way to fix things.

He still had faith in Annie. She had to come back. That thought was a litany in his mind. Annie had to return soon because she may be the only person strong enough to reach Reasa’s wounded soul if he couldn’t get through to her.  He couldn’t bear to think what the consequences would be if someone didn’t reach his mate soon.

“I have a potion that will help you sleep.” Liam spoke the words quietly into the room, the stiffening of Reasa’s body an indicator she had heard him. Her head turned slowly to regard him and he had to swallow hard at the wounded eyes that met his. There was pain there, but also an underlying venom that couldn’t be hidden.

“I don’t want anything from you except to be allowed to leave.” She’d said the same thing earlier to him, before the current fit of weeping.

“You know we can’t allow that, Reasa. We discussed it earlier.” Liam moved over to the window, staring out into the forest as he gathered his emotions in as tightly as he could. “You’re human now, so very fragile. You would be hurt out there and I can’t allow that to happen. You’re safer here with me.”

“So be it, abomination. Then you can live with my weeping and my hatred.”

He flinched at the disgust dripping from her tone, but tried to remain strong against her barbs. Thereasa’s mind wouldn’t change overnight, he knew that, but it still hurt to hear her hatred. His wolf ached to be with her. It paced restlessly, unable to understand why their mate rejected them. It was simple to his animal; they were mates and they were meant to be together. Everything else was inconsequential to that end. 

If only it was that easy. Sighing, Liam ran a hand through his hair, turning to look at the woman lying on the bed. Despite her eyes being puffy and red from the prolonged weeping fit, she was still the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen. His fingers itched to stroke her caramel skin, to feel the texture of her jet black hair running through his fingers. His body cried out to be close to her, to feel her naked skin caressing his as he showed her how much she was loved. The hatred looking back at him told him it would be a very long time before he got that close to her.

“Why do you hate us, Thereasa? What have we ever done to you to make you fear us so?”

“If vampires and Weres were supposed to mate, our venom would not be instant death to an animal. That alone is proof enough that these matings are unnatural.” The words hissed out, fury dancing in her eyes as she sat up and pointed a finger at him. “What you are…you should never have been created. You are neither vampire nor wolf; a new species being born into a world that already has too many vying for dominance. You threaten everything, abomination. Vampire; Were; Human.  You should not exist!”

“How, Reasa? How do we threaten the world? What have we done to suggest to you, to others, that we are a danger? Explain it to me, because I want to be able to understand why you think as you do. I want to be able to prove to you that you have nothing to fear from us – from me.”

She turned away, facing the wall and curling up with her arms protectively around body. “There is nothing you could ever do to convince me your creation isn’t a threat. “

Sighing again, Liam swallowed hard and tried to sooth his wolf who was becoming agitated at her continued rejection.  He wasn’t going to win this argument with her at the moment, so it was pointless to keep trying. He would bide his time and wait for a better opportunity.

Crossing the room, he sat down on the side of the bed. “The offer of the sleeping potion is still there. I know this is difficult for you to come to terms with, this change in your circumstances. Just now, you said ‘our venom.’ You have no venom, Thereasa. You are human.”

Silence greeted his words for a long moment, and then she moved to lie on her back, staring up at the ceiling. “You think I don’t know that?!” She spat the words out, furious tears gathering once more. “You think I wasn’t there when that redheaded bitch stripped everything from me?! I know what she did! I may not understand how she did it or what she is, but I know.”

Haunted eyes turned to his. “I used to be able to hear everything and now I hear nothing but your voice. I used to be able to see everything and now the world is painted in muted colours, so dull and lifeless. I used to run with the wind and now a strong breeze would knock me over. I know that I am nothing now, abomination. The bitch should have allowed the other one to kill me! Death is preferable to this nothingness!”

There was so much pain in the words, lancing through him and shredding his soul. His mate meant every word she said; she did prefer death to being human.  He had to find a way to keep her alive long enough for Annie to return; perhaps he could talk to her then, and beg her to reverse whatever she had done.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Demetri & Annie FTI Parody



Sooo for the Facebook contest, make a blooper reel, parody of a scene from FTI, I thought I would do one to make you laugh. Mine is on the outrageous side and I had tears rolling down my face writing this, but then I have been known to have a weird sense of humour.  Enjoy!  

*

There was a loud knock on the front door, and then, it swung open to admit Demetri. The dark haired vampire looked as gorgeous as ever and smiled when he saw Rhianna walking out of the kitchen. His green eyes twinkled with humour, as he took in her little body swallowed up in one of Caleb’s silk shirts.

“Hahahahaha, you do know that’s see through, don’t you?” he laughed softly, as his gaze ran over her, admiring the view. She really was stunning, and he almost did wish he’d had her first, but the thought only lasted for a second. Then, he remembered his friend’s manic mood swings and his moping over the little redhead. He could well do without all of that nonsense.

“Ya, I thought you might come over so I slipped it on so you could see what you missed out on,” Rhianna replied politely. She wasn’t quite sure whether she liked him or not. He was everything Caleb wasn’t, and yet, he was exactly who Caleb had once been. One minute he was being nasty to her, and the next he was being friendly. She just didn’t know how to take him. Today, he seemed friendly enough, if a little out of order eyeing her up like she was a piece of meat.

“Making your mouth water? My bad!” Rhianna said, when he just stood there looking at her. “Caleb and I have been fucking like bunnies and now he’s headed off out with Rafe, if you’re looking for him.”

Demetri raised an eyebrow and pursed his lips. Damn, he hadn’t got a piece of the action? He really was losing his touch. Things seemed to have moved on since Caleb’s little temper tantrum with the dogs, too. “I assume we’re not going to war with the dogs, then?” he asked with a smile tugging at his lips. She thought she was all that. He was going to ignore her jibe about the sex stuff.

She bristled slightly, clearly pissed off that he wasn’t drooling over her body, and her eyes flashed before she turned and walked back into the kitchen. “No, you are not going to war with the wolves,” she answered tartly, not liking his derogatory tone. She could really do with another coffee and wished she knew how to use Caleb’s complicated coffee machine.

Demetri followed the redhead into the kitchen and decided he’d try to be on his best behaviour, which meant he wouldn’t try to bend her over the table and.... She was important to Caleb, so he would try to get to know her better. He saw her staring wistfully at the coffee machine and smiled.

“Hmmmm I thought it was blondes who were supposed to be dumb. I take it you don’t know how to use the coffee machine, Red?” he asked, seeing her lavender eyes light up, even as she frowned slightly at his nickname for her.

“Clearly it was built by a man. It has enough useless things attached to it, just like everything else a man builds. Boys and their toys. I take it you can work this thing?” she asked, hopefully. “I’d kill for a mocha, but Caleb needs to feel needed so he hasn’t shown me how to use it yet.” Maybe the obnoxious oaf was good for something. She’d ignore the blonde joke and the asinine nickname but she’d pay him back by flashing some breast.

He smiled slowly. This should get him into her good books. “Grab the milk out the refrigerator,” he told her. “I’ll show you how to use it. It’s not rocket science, even am idiot like you should be able to do it.” He spent the next ten minutes explaining the finer details on how to work the machine and was surprised to find he actually enjoyed seeing the pleasure crossing her face, as she made her very first mocha and sipped at it experimentally.

She really was a rather enchanting little thing. He found himself smiling back at her warmly, feeling oddly pleased that she was smiling because of him, if he kept this up maybe he’d get his leg over after all. Damn was that a natural position to drink coffee, arching a back against the countertop and generous amounts of breast on show? If he looked lower down…

His eyes narrowed, as he looked at her covertly. Was she some kind of witch in disguise? He didn’t like the warm feelings he’d just been experiencing. Bugger had he just… that was unnatural. Women were only good for two things, their luscious bodies and the hot, sweet life’s blood which flowed through their veins. If he started doing shit like this, he’d never get laid again!

Rhianna noticed the abrupt change in the vampire and stifled down a laugh. He had been doing so well up until now. He had almost been human when he was showing her how to make the coffee. Now he had a damp patch and it was all going to be her fault…which it was #fistpump!!!!

“You don’t like me much, do you, Demetri?” she asked quietly and felt him stiffen at her side…well most of him did, the other thing would need some time to recover.

“You’re a ball buster,  Red,” he answered tersely, moving away from her and leaning against the kitchen counter, his glacial green eyes remote as he looked at her. “Caleb seems to like that, fuck knows why, so that means you’ll be around until he gets tired of you. I can tolerate you until then.” He knew his words were blunt and cruel, but that was his nature, and if she was going to be around for a while, then she would just need to get used to it. He hoped he didn’t need to get used to fucking damp patches though.

He saw a flash of uncertainty cross her face, and he actually felt a twinge of remorse, which he dampened down irritably. He was only speaking the truth. Why he should feel bad for doing so was beyond him. His lips tightened, and his eyes narrowed.

“What’s with the look. Red?” he bit out angrily. “You and Caleb haven’t discussed the future? That’s so unlike Caleb. Usually, he’s upfront about most things, except where you’re concerned. He’s far too busy worrying about your feelings than he should be. You make him weak. You make him vulnerable.”

“Actually we spend more time fucking than talking.” Rhianna retorted. “You know what that is, don’t you, Demetri? That’s when you dump your load into a woman as opposed to your pants. Think you had an oops moment there, darlin.”

Demetri’s eyes darkened furiously, and he pushed off the kitchen counter and took a step towards her before he managed to reign it in. “You’ve been around less than two months, and you think you know what’s best for Caleb and how I perform in the bedroom?” he sneered. “Well, I’ve been around for two millennia, Red, and I’ll be around to pick up the pieces after you’re dead and gone. And just to set the record straight, I regularly dump my load exactly in the right place, not that it’s any fucking business of yours, you little tart.”

Demetri’s words struck a chord inside Rhianna, and she tried not to let him see how much his comment had upset her. It had taken her years to find someone she could be a tart with. It was just cruel he was rubbing it in that he’d been one so much longer than she had. It also brought up the unasked question which had been hovering in her mind since she’d found out what Caleb was. What did their future hold?

Right now Caleb said he loved her, and she believed him, but he was ageless and she wasn’t. He would stay forever young, and she would slowly grow old. What would happen when she was no longer young and beautiful? Would Caleb still want her? How could he want to be with an old, wrinkled woman when there would be countless beauties out there just dying to be in his arms and in his bed.

Her coffee was suddenly making her feel nauseous, and she put it down avoiding the dark haired vampire’s all-knowing eyes.

“I’m going to get dressed,” she said, quietly. “I’m assuming you’re perfectly able to entertain yourself until Caleb comes back?” She didn’t wait for his answer. She turned and fled from the kitchen leaving Demetri frowning as he watched her leave.

He had caught a suspicious glint of moisture in her eyes, as she tried to keep her gaze averted from his. Had he upset her enough to make her cry? #fistpump. He’d gotten the witch back for emasculating him. Score for the D. Plus he’d gotten in the whole, you’re gonna grow old bitch. Yeah, he’d rocked it today!

He straightened his tall frame and strode out of the kitchen. He’d catch up with Caleb later. His job was done!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Don’t Speak

The words kept coming, one after another, the emotion within them failing to stop the cracks in her heart. Chloe sat on the sofa mutely, eyes full of unshed tears as she watched Christian’s lips move, her mind numbly trying to absorb what he was saying.

Oh God, had he really just said that tired old line, “It’s not you, it’s me?”

Seriously, did people still come out with those old clich├ęs and think they somehow spared the other person’s feelings? Because it wasn’t sparing her any as she listened to her lover of the past year explain why he was letting go, why he was walking away from something that had appeared so perfect to her right up until five minutes ago.

What had been so wrong with their relationship? They didn’t argue overly much and there had always been a good amount of communication between them. It wasn’t all based on lust and sexual attraction. They shared a lot of the same likes and dislikes and were able to debate anything they didn’t agree on without it turning into a personal attack against each other. In her mind, everything had been perfect.

“Christian, this doesn’t make sense,” she finally blurted out, wanting to halt the words coming from his mouth. “How could you make love to me last night knowing you didn’t want to be with me anymore? How could you tell me you loved me when you knew you were going to break up with me this morning?”

Her words ended on a strangled sob and the tears finally fell, hot and wet against her flushed cheeks. Chloe had never wanted to be the kind of woman who begged a man but she wanted to throw her arms around his neck and plead with him not to leave her.

She loved him. He was the one, that one person she’d been waiting for all her life. Why couldn’t he see that? Why didn’t he feel the same way? As she looked into his azure eyes, she could see the sadness within them, and knew that this moment was hurting him almost as much as it was her, but that didn’t make it any more palatable.

“I do love you, Chloe. I’ve never lied about that,” Christian said quietly, moving to sit beside her on the sofa and tentatively reaching out for her hand. “You’re not listening to what I’m saying, love, you’re only hearing bits of it and focusing on those. I need some space, some time alone to think about what I really want out of life. I’ve had the offer to go work in Italy for six months and that’s going to require all of my attention for a while. It’s unfair to ask you to sit here waiting for me.”

“You don’t have to take the job, Chris. You can tell them it’s not for you right now…or I could come with you. I can write anywhere. I’m not chained to a regular job like most people.”

He sighed deeply, staring down at the hardwood floor. “This placement is a stepping stone in my career, Chloe. You know that, we discussed it last weekend. We’ve never gotten in the way of each other’s careers. We’ve always respected our respective work fields. I know you’re hurting but please, don’t lay something like this on me, expect me to sacrifice a large portion of what makes me who I am.”

He sighed again and turned his head to look into her wet eyes, frowning at the misery he saw there. “This is make or break for me, love. I need this time apart to concentrate on what’s best for me. I know that sounds selfish to you and I’m sorry this is hurting you so badly. But this is what I need right now. Can’t you understand that just a little?”

Chloe sobbed harder, wrenching her hand from his, jumping up and pacing across the room. “You want me to understand? All I understand is you’re leaving and you’re giving me some bullshit about how unfair it is on me to expect you to come back in six months’ time, that you’re telling me to go meet other men like I’m a free agent. All I understand is that you won’t even countenance the thought that I could come with you, that we’re a couple and that’s what couples do.”

She stopped pacing, glaring at him with red eyes. “You just want to break up with me and are too chicken-shit to admit it. You’re trying to dress it up in fancy words but that’s what it boils down to. Just get out, Christian. Go find yourself, safe in the knowledge you can fuck as many Italian women as you want. I’m done!”

Chloe ran out of the sitting room, down the hall to her bedroom, and slammed the door closed. She tried to muffle the sound of her sobbing with her hands, before giving up and throwing herself onto the bed to bury her head under the pillow. She’d made more than enough of a fool of herself over him. She wasn’t going to let him see her cry anymore and she didn’t want to hear him leave. She just wanted to lie in a ball of misery until she could begin to heal and start moving on.

Christian hesitated at the bedroom door, hating the sound of muffled weeping within. He’d known Chloe would be upset but he hadn’t expected her to react this emotionally. She wasn’t the type of woman who was prone to emotional outbursts, she usually thought things through before discussing it calmly.

Sighing he rested his forehead against the door. “Chloe, I know you don’t believe this right now but I do love you and I am going to miss you very much while I’m away. I’ll call you when I get back. Maybe you won’t hate me as much and we can talk.”

There was no response and he sighed again, turning to leave the apartment, leaving his key on the table beside the door.

*****

The costume party was in full swing, Chloe had opted to go as a Goth, choosing a black corset dress with a puffy lace skirt, complimenting it with fishnet gloves to her upper arms. It was the first time she’d gone out in over six months, having stayed home in her misery, staring at her phone waiting for Christian to text or call or something.

Finally, she’d realised how pathetic she was being and she’d bought a new phone. Changing her number had seemed symbolic to moving on with her life. It had been one small step to acknowledging that her relationship was over even as she missed Christian every single day.

Her friends had nagged at her for the last two weeks to come to the party and she’d finally relented to get some peace and quiet. Now she was here, she wished she hadn’t come and found the first opportunity to slip outside into the back garden, to get away from the thumping music and revolving light.

Taking a deep breath she tried to centre her thoughts but all she could think about was Christian would be home now. Had he tried to call her? If she’d kept her old number would they be together again? She’d told herself time and again not to think like that but the wistfulness still brought tears to her eyes even after all this time.

Burying her head in her hands Chloe swallowed hard to fight back the emotions threatening to overwhelm her yet again.

“Chloe.”

She stiffened, her head swinging around in shock, her gaze locking instantly with a pair of azure eyes she hadn’t seen in such a long time.

Christian’s smile was hesitant, his concern evident in his expression. “I saw you heading outside. Wasn’t sure if you wanted to hear from me seeing as you changed your number. I had to come out though to make sure you were okay.”

“Christian.” She could only whisper out his name, stunned to see him standing there. He looked amazing as always, his blond hair a little longer than he usually wore it, but it looked good on him. He looked…he just looked.

“Are you?” he prompted, his eyes searching her face as if trying to record every minute detail.

“Am I?” Her voice echoed her confusion because all she could do was try to breathe in everything about him, his scent, the sound of his voice, his gorgeous face.

“Okay. Are you okay? Chloe, you’re worrying me, love.”

The use of the endearment broke her stupor and she bristled, straightening her shoulders. “I’m just fine, Christian. And you don’t get to call me that anymore. You lost that right when you left me.”

She could see the hurt in his eyes and she tried to ignore it. What did he have to be hurt about anyway? He was the one who let her go, who walked away without a backward glance. She could still remember the pain of finding his key on the table that day, of how it felt as if her heart was being ripped out of her chest.

“I’m sorry I hurt you,” he said sadly, running a hand through his hair. “I never wanted to hurt you, Chloe.”

“Well you did but that’s all in the past now. I’ve moved on. My life is good. I hope your time away was as beneficial to you as you hoped.” She added the last bit because even though he’d hurt her, she had only ever wanted his happiness. She did hope that he’d been successful.

“It was. I got the promotion when I arrived back. It should have been a pivotal moment in my life but the sense of achievement felt hollow. I realised I only wanted to share it with one person and she’d changed her number.”

“Don’t, Christian. Don’t think you can break my heart and then just waltz up when it’s convenient for you and pick up where you left off.” It was hard to keep the anger from her voice. It was harder not to throw herself into his arms and take him back.

“You made your choice six months ago when you wouldn’t even discuss the option of taking me to Italy with you. You said you needed a little time. Well you took it, and while you were away, I had some time to look at my life as well. I healed, Christian. I didn’t think I had right up until the moment you said my name just now, but I realise that I have.”

Chloe stepped around him turning to head back inside.

“I love you, Chloe.”

“I loved you too, Chris, so much so it broke my heart when you left. But I know I deserve better and one day, I will meet that man who will love me enough to never want to be apart from me, who will make it a priority that I be allowed to accompany him if he were ever sent on secondment to another country.”

She turned back to look at him, sad that he was hurting but feeling the first tendrils of freedom creeping into her soul. “Be happy, Christian. Do something remarkable with your life and show the world what an amazing person you are. There will always be a little piece of my heart that belongs to you and I do wish you well.”

Holding her head up, Chloe walked away without another backward glance. She did wish Christian well, and part of her thanked him for making the decision he had six months before. Because she did deserve better and she would find it one day. Until then, she had a life to live, and stories to write, and happiness to experience.