A/N: This post contains mild horror and brief nudity/adult scenes.
I’m sorry. It’s been a while since I’ve written in here, hasn’t it? Weeks, in fact. I just got so busy with the wedding and all, and then… everything else that happened after that. It’s only now that I’ve had the strength and presence of mind to pick up a pen.
But… I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? I should start where I left off.
Susie’s parents appeared outside our house early one morning, about a week after we sent out the invitations to our wedding.
Well… technically they appeared inside our house. Susie’s father, Seeley (though I’m not particularly comfortable calling him that), was too impatient to wait for one of us to answer the door, so… he picked the lock. I had the fright of my life when I came out of the bedroom to find the two of them standing there, looking around with a mixture of curiosity and ill-disguised disappointment. Susie’s mother, Molly, apologised discreetly (once I’d calmed down enough to listen to her) for her husband’s lock-picking, explaining that he was a little stubborn and tended to get over-excited.
“I heard that,” Mr Moss grumbled, but he gave his wife a tender smile.
Looking at them together, I wondered if I was peering into my future.
For once, I was not afraid.
Now that the introductions were over with, I felt like some kind of animal locked up in a zoo. Mr and Mrs Moss looked me up and down, and I had the unnerving feeling that Mr Moss was trying to decide the best way in which to gut me. I suddenly wished that I hadn’t put on my hat that morning – I probably looked like a shady lowlife, or something.
I wondered if I could excuse myself long enough to take off the hat and brush my hair into some sort of order, but then they would know that was exactly what I was doing. Besides, they’d already seen me in the hat and it might have looked kind of strange if I came out suddenly not wearing it.
Maybe it wasn’t even the hat they disapproved of, but my clothes. Or my hair. Maybe I should have dyed my hair black or brown or even red.
Maybe they just didn’t like my face. Should I have worn a mask?
Thankfully, I didn’t have to squirm uncomfortably for too long, as Susie appeared from the bedroom and drew her parents’ attention away from me.
For a moment.
As Mrs Moss pulled her daughter into a tight hug, Mr Moss turned his sharp gaze back to me.
“So, what do you do for a living?”
For a long moment, I forgot how to talk as I quailed under his appraisal. Finding my voice after a brief struggle, I managed to stutter out, “I – I’m a farmer.”
Mr Moss raised a single eyebrow as he looked me over again.
“You don’t look much like a farmer.”
“Well, I… uh… I haven’t sold anything yet…”
As soon as the words had left my mouth, I could have kicked myself. Like selling vegetables had anything to do with looking like a farmer. I sounded so stupid.
Plus, I’d just admitted to my future father-in-law what a failure I was.
“Daddy,” Susie admonished. “Stop interrogating the poor guy – he’s not a criminal or anything, and I’m not one of your clients. So behave.”
I looked away at her words, but didn’t speak. Though I was looking intently at the floorboards, I could feel the searching gaze of Seeley Moss burn into me, like the laser on a sniper’s gun.
Could he see my guilt?
The moment passed as Jamie unwittingly ventured out of his room, diverting Mr Moss’s attention away from me. Mrs Moss, seeing him and (presumably) how skinny he was, gathered him into a tight embrace.
“Oh, you poor boy,” she said loudly. “You need feeding up.”
“Um…” Jamie awkwardly hugged her back. “It’s nice to meet you too?”
Everyone laughed, except me.
I was still feeling highly awkward and uncomfortable. Even my ‘preparations’ with Jamie had nowhere near made me feel ready to meet Susie’s parents, as nice as they seemed. This whole situation was far, far out of my comfort range.
“Er, would any of you like something to eat or drink?” I asked hesitantly. “Mr Moss? Mrs Moss?”
“Actually,” Mr Moss said, his attention turning back to me. “Actually, I’d like to hear more about you, Gabriel.”
“You can save that gormless expression for the really tough questions.” A smile flickered across his face. “Now, tell me about your family. I want to know how I should greet them.”
This time, it was Mrs Moss (rather than Susie) who stepped in to rescue me.
“Seeley, we’ve only been here five minutes. You can save the interrogation for later.”
“I mean it, Seeley.”
At Susie’s suggestion, we sat in a half-circle. Jamie and I rescued dining chairs from the table in order to have somewhere to sit, whilst Mr and Mrs Moss perched nervously on the battered sofa. In response to Mr Moss’s earlier question (at a loss as to what else to talk about), I told Mr and Mrs Moss of my childhood in the orphanage and my dead father, saying merely that my mother had left. I felt no need to reveal her identity as the current wife of a certain Matthew Hamming. After all, I didn’t need the rest of my past dredged up.
After finding out I was basically an orphan, Mrs Moss’s attitude towards me seemed to soften a little. As for Mr Moss, his expression was indecipherable, but he seemed to decide against questioning me more. Perhaps only because of the Look (capital ‘l’ and all) his wife gave him, but I wasn’t complaining.
Mr Moss had an intense gaze, as though he could look at you and read your innermost secrets, the ones that were seared into your very soul. I know that was impossible (at least, I hoped it was), but I was still unnerved every time he looked at me.
What if he looked at me and saw me for what I was?
What if he knew what I had done?
Looking at Mrs Moss, I could tell where Susie had got her beauty from. She took after her mother a lot more than she took after her father, though she had not inherited Mrs Moss’s fiery red hair. I wondered briefly if it would pass down to any of our children.
If we had any children, that is.
I must have been staring at Mrs Moss for longer than I meant to, as she suddenly turned to look at me.
“Tell me something, Gabriel. I’ve been wondering… why don’t you own an oven?”
I blinked in surprise, but swallowed the first answer that came to my mind. For some reason, I didn’t think that Mrs Moss would appreciate being told the oven would explode and kill us all.
“Um, I… I didn’t think we needed one.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. You need to get some hot meals into you. No wonder you and Jamie look like you’re wasting away.”
I held my hands up in surrender.
“Um… I’m sorry?”
“I’ll tell you what,” Mrs Moss said, suddenly smiling. “We’ll get you an oven as a wedding gift. That’ll kill two birds with one stone.”
“That’d be great,” I said, trying to smile and look enthusiastic, but inside I was screaming.
Didn’t she know how dangerous ovens were?!
But… Mrs Moss was true to her word, and the very next day a brand new oven was delivered to the door. I watched as the men set it up, feeling uneasy, but trying to tell myself to look on the bright side. At least this oven was new and shiny and white, not the horrifying rusty monstrosity that had been here when I moved in.
Besides, I had other things to worry about. The wedding was creeping up fast and, with every day that went by, I felt less and less ready.
James Frank was here, in my house.
James Frank was here, in the place I had felt safe and free from his toxic influence.
“Good evening, Lucas.”
“You’re not real,” I whispered, though the words died as they left my lips. “You’re dead.”
James Frank smiled and I took a stumbling step back. Icy fog had begun to rise, swirling around James Frank’s feet and clinging to my bare legs. I shivered and hugged myself, as though my bare arms could offer me protection.
“There’s no such thing as ghosts,” I told myself in what I hoped was a strong voice, feeling cold sweat slipping down the back of my neck. “This is just a dream. He can’t hurt you.”
James Frank began to moan and snarl, as though he was a beast in pain. His body flickered a few times, disappearing and appearing in rapid succession. I watched in a kind of rapt horror as he clutched at his head, grappling with it as it bent backwards until the bones in his neck cracked and screamed.
“Let me go,” he snarled, though there was no one else in the room. “Let me go, damn you!”
I watched, my heart pounding hard against my ribcage, as James Frank began to moan again.
“Look what you’ve done to me, Lucas.” Every word was spat out with considerable effort. “The pain I’m in…”
“I’m sorry, I -“
To my surprise, James Frank began to laugh. It wasn’t laughter brought forth by humour, laughter that could have lit up the room and chased away the fog. It was mad, bubbling laughter that spilled out of him as his body shook and his fingers contorted in agony.
He started to moan again, and then wrenched his head forward. My stomach turned over at the loud crack that resonated through the room. I wanted to run, but my feet seemed frozen to the floorboards.
“Look at me.”
And then James Frank looked up.
His eyes were dripping with blood.
My feet were frozen no longer. Screaming in terror, I turned to run, scrabbling at the door handle. It wouldn’t turn, the door wouldn’t budge and, and –
Abandoning my efforts, I started to bang on the bedroom door, screaming for Susie to help me, to let me in. Screaming for anyone to help me.
But no one could hear.
James Frank was coming.
All of the air rushed out of me as he slammed me back against the door, gripping one of my wrists hard enough to hurt. His touch was ice cold. I tried to pull away, but he held me easily, brushing his thumb along my jawline.
“I’m going to destroy you, little Lucas,” he murmured, his voice the coaxing gentle tone he had often used when he spoke to me. “Just you wait and see.”
“You can’t hurt me,” I whispered, though I could barely hear myself over the hammering in my chest. “This is just a nightmare.”
James Frank’s eyes glittered.
“Believe what you wish.”
“Fuck you,” I said with false bravado. The tremor in my voice betrayed me.
James Frank smiled and then, slowly, his lips pressed against mine in a frozen, strangely tender kiss. My body wouldn’t respond to my attempts to turn my face away and all I could do was close my eyes as he forced his tongue into my mouth.
And then, suddenly, he was gone.
I slumped to the floor, trembling. My limbs could no longer hold my weight.
I will destroy you.
The fog clung to me like a second skin, coating me in a thin sheen of moisture. My teeth chattered in my skull, but I couldn’t bring myself to move as James Frank’s words and voice echoed around the empty room.
I will destroy you and all you hold dear.
Waking suddenly, I stumbled out of bed and onto all fours, vomiting violently onto the floor. Bile burned my throat and frightened, frustrated tears stung my eyes.
When my stomach was empty, I stayed where I was, breathing heavily. My shirt was soaked through with sweat and every inch of my body shook as the nightmare started to drain away in the brightness of my bedroom. I half-expected Susie to wake up and ask me what was wrong, but then I remembered she was gone. She had decided to stay in the house her parents had rented in town.
It was the night before our wedding.
I sagged on the floor, my heart constricting in my chest as I thought of the celebrations that were to happen the next day. I still hadn’t told Susie the truth of what had happened with James Frank. Was that the meaning of the dream? My guilt at not telling her?
I felt sick and shaky and, although I tried, I couldn’t ignore the stale, bitter smell of vomit.
I couldn’t do this any more.
Getting shakily, weakly to my feet, I pulled on my clothes and ran.
I got as far as Lost Willow Park before I stopped running. My lungs burned as I struggled to breathe, gulping in air that felt as if it was on fire. I collapsed on the ground by the pond, breathless sobs tumbling from my body. Everything ached, but even the tightness of my chest was nothing compared to the sickness in my heart.
I didn’t deserve Susie. Who was I kidding? She would be much better off with someone like that Isaac Dream than someone like me. She would be much better off with someone whose entire existence wasn’t a lie.
“I thought I’d find you here.”
I hadn’t even heard Jamie approach, but he was here now, bathed in the half light of the breaking dawn. Burying my face further in my arm, I shook my head.
“I’m not coming back. I’m going away.”
“My name is not Gabriel!”
The words were harsh, raw, tearing themselves from my throat and fueled by fear and anger. Fresh tears, hot like pain, splashed their way down my cheeks and I rubbed my face frustratedly on my sleeve.
“I just, I can’t -” I shook my head again, choking on another sob. “I can’t do this any more, Jamie. I can’t.”
Jamie was silent for a long time after my outburst and I wondered if I’d hurt his feelings. The thought made me cry even more. The dream of James Frank had shaken me to my core and, finding myself unable to take the hit, I had crumbled.
Just like he would have wanted.
“You don’t mean that,” Jamie said eventually, though his wavering voice made the statement sound more like a question. “You can’t leave. I need you.”
The words were like a slap in the face. Not trusting myself to speak, I took a deep, shuddering breath and tried to calm down. Jamie was right. I was being pathetic.
Frustrated at myself, I wiped my eyes on my sleeve again and stumbled weakly to my feet. Jamie rushed forward to grab my arm, clearly worried that I was either going to pass out or bolt again.
“Come and sit down, Gabe,” he said gently. “It will be okay.”
Still gripping me by the arm, Jamie led me over to the bench to sit down. I didn’t resist.
“Did you have another nightmare?” he asked as he sat down beside me. His voice was cautious, as though he was worried a single word might set me off running again. “Is that what this is about?”
I nodded, but didn’t speak.
“You know you need to tell her, right?” He looked at me, his eyes anxious. “I mean, it’s a miracle she hasn’t found out before now. You talk a lot in your sleep, you know.”
In the cool night air, sitting beside Jamie, my nightmare seemed silly. I began to feel braver again.
“Susie keeps the nightmares away,” I mumbled, kneading at my sore eyes with my knuckles. “I don’t dream when she’s there.”
“You’re marrying her,” Jamie said, rather bluntly. “It’s only a matter of time before she finds out, and it’d be a lot better if she heard it when you’re awake enough to explain yourself.”
“If she doesn’t know, she doesn’t have to lie for me,” I told him, using the excuse I had used on myself so many times before. “If the police come for me, she won’t have to hide me. She won’t get in trouble.”
Thought it had worked many times to soothe my own guilty conscience in the dark of the night, Jamie wasn’t convinced.
“That may be true, Gabe… but it would destroy your relationship. You need to let her make her own choice whether to stick by your side or not.”
Not for the first time, I was struck by the remarkable maturity Jamie showed in a crisis. He was one of those people who always seemed to know the right thing to say, whether you wanted to hear it or not.
“Maybe I should call off the wedding. I can’t… I can’t tell her the truth before then. There’s no time, and – and I don’t know.” I groaned and buried my face in my hands. “She’s going to hate me for lying to her.”
“You can’t call off the wedding. Do you know how much that would hurt her? Mr Moss would hunt you down and rip off your testicles.”
Despite everything, I smiled weakly.
“Thank you for that lovely mental image, Jamie.”
I looked away, thinking. After a moment, I came to a decision, though my stomach churned at the thought.
“I’ll tell her the first opportunity I get. I mean, if we’re married… I have to be honest with her. I can’t hide who I am any more.”
“And… if she hates you?”
I swallowed and closed my eyes.
“If she hates me, well… I deserve it. And if she wants to turn me into the police, that’s her decision.”
Even as I said it a cold thrill of fear ran through me. Jamie must have noticed because he reached over and took my hand.
“No matter what happens, you’ll still have me. You know that, right?”
“I know,” I said softly, knowing that I didn’t deserve him. “Thanks, Jamie.”
Jamie looked at me and grinned.
“Now come on, let’s go back. We have a wedding to get ready for.”
By the time Susie and I were to get married, I was feeling a lot better. In the light of the day, I had almost forgotten about my nightmare and, with the promise I had made myself about telling Susie the truth, the guilt I felt had somewhat alleviated.
I was still nervous about saying my vows right and promising forever to Susie, but I knew I loved her. That was all that mattered.
We had decided to get married at the gazebo, the place where we had first met. It held special significance for both of us.
As well as Susie’s parents and her bandmates, her sister, Mia, and her brother, Jake, had managed to make it to the wedding. Mia, though she was finishing up a tough term in medical school, had informed Susie over the phone that she wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Jamie (my best man, of course) had begged to be allowed to invite Jenna, the object of his affections. He was so nervous when he asked me if she could come that it took him almost five minutes to get the words out. I don’t even know why he thought I would say no. As far as I was concerned, the more the merrier.
But we did have one uninvited guest, in the form of Kami Starr. Though she was my best friend throughout my teenage years, after the incident preceding her leaving my house, I had decided it would be best to not invite her. To save her feelings more than anything else.
Seeing her there, standing in the crowd at my wedding, conjured up all sorts of emotions in me. Her outfit, too, drew my eye, though I’m ashamed to admit it. It seemed as though it would simply fall off if you tugged at the sash around her waist.
That, and the lacy garter high up on her thigh made it clear that her motives were anything other than wishing us well.
Catching me looking at her, Kami caught my gaze and smiled, but I looked resolutely away instead of smiling back. I didn’t want anyone to think that I was responding to her seductive overtures, though there was one part of my anatomy that definitely wanted to.
Kami Starr had always and always would have that effect on me, no matter how much I loved Susannah Moss. And Kami knew that.
When I next chanced a glance her way, Kami had gone. I breathed a sigh of relief, though there was a faint twinge of sadness in my chest at the pain she must have been feeling right then.
I turned my attention back to the beautiful woman standing beside me and all thoughts of Kami Starr and her lacey garter fled from my head.
“You look amazing,” I whispered, so that no one else could hear me. “I didn’t think it was possible for you to get more stunning, but it’s happened.”
Susie flushed a deep red.
“Thank you,” she whispered, equally quiet. She tilted her head. “Are you ready?”
Looking at her, I knew that this was what I wanted. She was what I wanted, for far longer than forever.
“Always,” I murmured, and Susie smiled.
“Susannah Moss,” I said, my voice loud enough now for everyone to hear. “From the moment I met you I knew that you were special. You were the first person in this town to really give me the time of day, even if it was only because you’d lost your handbag.” A ripple of laughter went through the watching crowd, and I flushed. “What I mean to say is, well… Susie, I didn’t think I’d ever want to get married. But you’ve changed my mind and now I can’t think of anything better than the prospect of spending forever with you.”
“I love you, Susannah Moss.”
“I love you too, Gabriel Nesaren.”
“You’re the strangest man I’ve ever met, and that’s including my father.” Mr Moss laughed louder than anyone else. “You tried to help me that first day we met even though you had no idea what you were doing and, after a time, I decided that I would rather eat salads forever than be without you, though I think my mother would disapprove.”
There was yet another ripple of laughter at that, and Mrs Moss said, “Damn right, I would.”
It was to the sound of cheerful laughter that we officially became Mr and Mrs Gabriel Nesaren.
At that moment, there was nowhere I would rather be.
From the amount of rice that was thrown, I believe that we had gained everyone’s blessing. Either that or it was being hinted (again) that we needed to eat more hot meals.
But I like to think it was the former.
“I can’t believe we’re married!” Susie gasped when people had stopped showering us with rice. She grinned, admiring the ring that sparkled on her finger. “Can you, Gabe?”
“You know what married couples are allowed to do?” I said, smirking.
“Don’t you even think about it.”
“Stop! Stop it, you horrible man!” Susie laughed despite her words. “Stop or I’ll set my father on you!”
I broke away, laughing, even as Susie batted me away with her hand.
“All right, all right, I’ll stop! Help, Jamie, save me!”
“Oh, no,” Susie laughed. “No calling for back up. You got yourself into this mess, you can get yourself out.”
For future reference, sweeping your bride off her feet and kissing her is a good way of getting out of the metaphorical doghouse.
Whilst everyone else was talking and laughing and generally partying, I was taken aside by a rather grim-looking Mr Moss. My heart raced as he looked me up and down, and I wondered what he could have possibly found out about me that had him looking so grave.
“I just wanted to welcome you to the family, son.”
“Um, thank you, Mr Moss.”
“Don’t thank me yet.” Mr Moss’s expression was serious. “I just wanted to warn you, Gabriel, that if you harm one hair on my little girl’s head, I will hunt you down.”
“Trust me, by the time I’m finished with you, Vincent Valentine Mason will look like a harmless puppy. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, sir. Perfectly clear.”
Mr Seeley Moss flashed me a grin.
“Then let’s get back to the party.”
Chronologically (though there’s one more event I would like to document that occured during our wedding party), it is only fitting that the copies of the wedding photos I printed out for this journal go here.
Susannah, my beautiful bride. I love this photo the most out of all the ones we took that day. She looks so happy and carefree, as though nothing in the world could bring her mood down.
It makes my heart swell with happiness just to look at it.
This is another one of my favourites. We look as though we don’t have a care in the world and, at that moment, it was probably true.
Yes, that is a look of terror on Susie’s face. I think that she was worried I would drop her. In fact, I kind of did the moment after this picture was taken. I picked her back up again though and, from the way she was laughing, I think she forgave me.
Me and my best man. We clean up rather well, don’t we?
Our little family. Susie was rather embarrassed whilst we were taking this photo. I think it shows on her face.
I must admit, I prefer this photo of our family. I love seeing them both smiling like that.
Susie and her parents. She really does take after them, doesn’t she?
Susie and her siblings. This photo is Susie’s favourite, I think. She printed out a small copy to stick in her purse.
Jamie and Jenna. Jamie looks so nervous in this one, doesn’t he? I know for a fact that he keeps a copy of this photo under his pillow. I think it’s adorable, but don’t tell him I said that.
Susie and her band, Sienna Dreams. They used this as a promotional image on the website Isaac set up for them.
Of course, what are wedding photos without a picture of the entire wedding party? If you hadn’t noticed by now, we went with a green theme. Susie mentioned something about green being a rather important colour in her family and, well, who am I to argue with tradition?
Now that the wedding photos are finished with, I said there was one more event that I wanted to write about that happened that day. Once again, Jamie, you probably shouldn’t be reading my diary if you come across things you’d rather not read about yourself.
As it happened, Jamie decided to use our wedding day as an opportunity to confess his feelings to Jenna. I had to hand it to him. A wedding was as perfect a romantic setting as you were going to get, short of a sunset on a sandy beach somewhere in the Mediterranean.
Unfortunately, being preoccupied with a rather drunk Sugar, I couldn’t hear everything that they were saying.
I must admit, however, that I was surprised when Jamie produced a bouquet of yellow roses from behind his back and offered them to Jenna. Her gasp of shock was audible to everyone, but we all hurriedly pretended to be deep in conversation. Whilst we were pretending not to listen, Jenna hesitantly took the flowers and Jamie turned a brilliant shade of red.
Again, I couldn’t hear the words that were exchanged between them, but Jamie told me afterwards that he had then taken Jenna by the hands and asked her to be his girlfriend.
When she didn’t reply, Jamie said (shame-faced) that he had assumed a positive response and moved to kiss her. He told me that she had even responded for a few blissful moments, before…
Well, what happened next was witnessed by everyone.
Jenna shoved Jamie back away from her with all her might. He stumbled back a few paces, but, luckily for his dignity, remained standing.
“I just can’t do this!” Jenna burst out, her voice threatening tears.
With that, she turned and fled, looking back only once.
Jamie was heartbroken, and remained inconsolable for the rest of the afternoon.
Even Isaac taking a guitar and jokingly serenading him conjured nothing more than a weak smile. Isaac had refused to give up, however, and, by the time evening fell, Jamie was more or less the boy we all knew and loved. Obviously, he was still hurting, but Isaac had helped him take his mind of it, at least for a little while.
My respect for him rose greatly that day.
Though it was slightly tainted by Jamie’s rejection, the fact remained that the day was the most amazing of my life.
At least, until night fell.
To begin with, the evening looked like it was going to be even better than the day that had passed before it. Jamie, understanding that Susie and I needed some alone time, had shut himself in his room with the headphones of his mp3 player (Mr and Mrs Moss had insisted on spoiling him, much to his embarrassment) firmly in place.
I had gone to the bathroom to freshen up a little and, when I got back, Susie was lying on the bed wearing the sexiest underwear I had ever seen. I couldn’t help but wonder if she had been wearing it under her wedding dress and my boxers became a little, er, tight, if you know what I mean.
Susie smiled up at me.
“Are you just going to stand there staring at me, husband?”
I blinked, suddenly realising that I hadn’t moved.
“Um, no… sorry.” I swallowed, attempting to recall moisture into my suddenly dry mouth. “It’s just, you look… wow.”
I moved and sat down on the bed, leaning back against the headstand. Breath left me in a rush as the cold metal pressed into the skin of my back, but I soon forgot all about it as Susie moved and straddled my lap. Warmth pooled irresistably between my legs and I looked up at her, my mind foggy with desire.
“You look like your brain’s just fallen out,” Susie murmured, shivering as my fingers cautiously stroked the bare skin of her back.
“It has,” I replied softly, not caring that my response didn’t make sense.
All I could focus on was the hot, soft skin of her thighs shifting against my hips, and the way my skin caught on fire wherever her body touched mine. She leant down to kiss me and I lost myself in the feel of her lips and the taste of sunshine I could never get enough of. My hands slid up her back under her… whatever it was, and she pressed closer to me. For some reason I couldn’t understand, I felt her trembling.
As doubt clawed its way into my desire-addled mind, I made myself pull back, though my body definitely did not want to.
“Do you want me to stop?” I whispered breathlessly.
Susie shook her head, pressing little kisses to the skin of my neck.
“No, don’t stop,” she murmured. “Please don’t stop.”
It seemed like no time at all before we were both naked. I had lost myself so entirely in kissing and touching her that anything from minutes to hours could have passed since that first kiss. I didn’t care. All that mattered was Susie, me and Susie, Susie and I. Us together.
Pulling back a little, I combed my fingers through Susie’s hair, taking in her flushed and beautiful face. Her lips were swollen with kisses.
“You’re amazing, Susie. I love you.”
And then, wanting the moment to last forever, I slowly stroked my hand down her ribs and over her stomach to slide between her legs. As soon as I touched her, Susie drew in a sharp breath and stiffened.
“Stop!” Her voice was panicked, breathless, and I froze. “I can’t do this, Gabe, please…”
Shocked, I drew my hand away. All the heat of the moment drained away from around us, leaving my beautiful wife cold and shivering.
“Susie?” I whispered, feeling more than a little alarmed. “Are you okay? What’s wrong? Did I hurt you? I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
She shook her head a little, using shaking fingers to brush the hair back out of my eyes. Her cheeks glistened with tears.
“Gabe, there’s – there’s something I need to tell you…”
Though that’s a horrible place to stop, that’s all I can write, for now. The doctors have told me that I must rest if I’m to regain my strength, and it is already past midnight. Unfortunately, I’ve barely scraped the surface of the events I mean to tell, but… these things must be told in their proper order, mustn’t they?
I will write more soon.