I know! I’m super-duper late but I kinda fell into a writing slump. Since it’s been so long, I fear you might have forgotten the story or new readers might not have even read it.
If you don’t want to go back and reread part one, two and three, I have read it aloud and recorded it. HERE is the recording with the whole story together. (Apologies if I sound bad or anything) If you still prefer to read, then click the following links.
He hugs me tigthly and I can’t help but hug him back. He sets the glass of water beside him and pulls me to the carpet as well. He continues to hug me, pressing his nose to my hair and stroking my back with one hand.
Eventually, we part and I know that I owe him a huge explanation. I need to say it before he can accuse me of anything. After going through so much, I don’t think I can handle it.
“Aaron, I’m sorry.” He opens his mouth to say something but I press my fingers to his lips. Those lips.. “I just need to say all of it, okay? Please let me explain and then say whatever you want.” He understands the desperate plea looking into my eyes and relents, leaning back and taking a sip of water. He continues to hold the glass in both hands and I can’t help but view that as a shield he holds against me, to not touch me again.
“I found out a little over two months after you left that I was pregnant.” His grip on the glass becomes tighter when I say he left. He doesn’t look at me, instead preferring to stare at a point on the carpet. “Since we broke up, my parents were furious when they found out. I didn’t want to have an abortion, Aaron, not for all in the world. They screamed at me for that decision, especially since we broke up and I would be a single mom.” My voice quivers slightly. “They couldn’t bear their daughter being pregnant out of wedlock. They didn’t want to face the society, I think, deal with the reputation. Instead they asked that I leave.” Asked would be putting it politely though. Aaron’s jaw clenches as he notices the contempt in my tone.
I couldn’t look at him anymore, with him not making eye-contact with me. I lean back on the couch’s legs and look forward at nothing. “Clarke was the only one who stuck with me. With being pregnant, I gave up my scholarship to college and came here, to get away and start again. She helped me move here and stayed with me for as long as she could. I got a job as a desk clerk in a nearby company. After the babies were born,” my eyes water, remembering those long hours of labour, “I hired Wayna, the woman you saw, to help when I was working. I made a new life Aaron. I’ve moved on.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He asks quietly. Now, my anger surfaces.
“How? How could I tell you? I didn’t know how to contact you, your friends wouldn’t give me your number and soon I had to leave. I couldn’t keep searching for you, Aaron. I had to take care of myself and the babies. I didn’t have time for you.”
He flinches when I say that. “Once, Aaron. You didn’t call me once.” Tears leak out of my eyes now. “I kept hoping, kept waiting. Instead, I was all alone. I loved you. And I thought you loved me too.”
He finally turns towards me, expression full of sadness, regret and hurt. Good. “I do love you. I always will. I thought I was doing the right thing. I didn’t want you to wait for me and be stuck up on me when I didn’t even know when, if, I would return.” He pleads.
“And that way you dealt me a worse hand. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to bits and wouldn’t trade these years for anything. But the heartache I felt for you? That killed me everyday, Aaron.” Tears are streaking unabashedly down my cheeks now. All the sadness, despair and hurt from so long shows in my words.
He pulls me into his arms. I am not able to resist and I cry and cry and cry, clinging to his chest. I can feel his tears falling on my skin too. I cry for everything I’ve been through and kept hidden for so long. He cries for everything he missed and could have made right.
After seemingly an eternity, I pull back. He cradles my face and wipes the tears from my cheek, pulling my gaze to his. I see heart wrenching regret in his eyes, it almost makes me cry again.
“Not anymore.” There is fervour in his voice. “You are not alone anymore, okay? I don’t care if it takes double the time, I am going to make it up to you until you can trust me again.” Tears stream down my cheeks again, which he wipes gently. I hold on to his wrists.
“Don’t commit to something on a whim.” I tell him. “They are children. I cannot bear it if one day you can’t take it anymore. It won’t be fair for Zoe and Zander either.”
“I planned on marrying and having a family with you anyway. What if the order is a bit wanky?” He jokes. I let out a choked laugh. “I promise, Riles. I won’t impose on you suddenly. It will take time for me to learn, and I know you; you need time to adjust to me being around again.” He says seriously. “We will make this work, you see. I don’t want you crying like this ever again.”
I stare into his eyes for long moments, searching them, seeing if he’s telling the truth. “What about the army?”
“I’m done. I wanted to serve, I have. But I didn’t think I could stay apart from you any longer. I can’t. And now them, I don’t think I can leave again.”
I hug his chest tightly, hoping that this will be true. The hope that we might actually have a happy future, together, blooms in my heart.
And right then, my stomach grumbles. We break apart laughing. “First thing I am going to do,” he says “is feed you. You have become so thin! No, the mother of my children shall be kept happy and full.” He said ‘my children’. He must have realised it after he said it too, because then he whispers, “my children.”
I nod. “I need to feed them too, now.”
“Do you have food made at home?”
“No, I haven’t cooked.”
“Okay,” he says and both of us keep nodding, looking into each others eyes. He gets up and pulls me up too. “I’ll buy some food and get back.” He walks backward towards the door, glancing towards the kids’ nursery. “I have a lot to do and learn. I will be back.” He says again, to make me believe.
“Okay.” I whisper. Just when he opens the door, he stops and whirls around. Confidently, he strides towards me, cradles my face in his hands.
“Forgot something,” he says and kisses me.
The slow, tentative kiss, full of meaning, emotion and untold sentences. I cling to his shirt and he grips my waist. Its like listening to an old favourite song, learning the lyrics to it again and finding that you never really forgot.
We break apart and as I stare into his beautiful eyes again, I start to believe in our future. Our future, all four of us.
Yeah I know, this last part was pretty rocky (and kinda lame?) but at least I finished it right? Comment whatever you feel like 🙂 I promise to take the negative ones like a sport.