What He Doesn't Know(103)By: Kandi Steiner
I broke in the middle of our bedroom.
My shoulders caved, knees giving out next, and I reached blindly for our bedpost to keep me standing upright as I succumbed to the flood of emotions soaring through me.
All of it swirled inside me like the deadliest tornado, and all I wanted was to escape it. To escape him.
Cameron’s voice was low, and in my peripheral, I saw his hand outstretched toward where I stood.
“Please, come here and let me hold you.”
“Just…” He sighed, hand falling to the bed before he held it up again, this time curling his fingers. “Come here.”
I shook my head, annoyed that he wouldn’t just leave me be as I gave in to his ridiculous request. I didn’t understand why he wanted to hold me, why he wanted to comfort me only now that he’d lost me.
But when my hand slipped into his, he tightened his grip, pulling me gently until I was in his lap. He framed my face with one hand as the other wrapped around me, pulling me flush against him, and his eyes searched mine.
And I saw him.
In that brief, lightning flash of a moment, I saw the man I’d married.
I saw lazy afternoons on the beach during our honeymoon, and laughter shared over candlelit dinners, and comfort in the form of hugs after long, hard days. He brushed my cheek with his thumb, wiping away a tear, and I couldn’t fight against the urge to melt into him.
I collapsed in his arms as he pulled me in closer, one arm pulling my legs up until I was cradled in his lap like a child. He rocked me, soothing me with his hands over my hair, my arms, my back as his lips pressed against my forehead. He didn’t kiss me, though — he just let his lips rest against the warm skin as a sigh left his chest.
“Two months,” he whispered, still rocking me, and a new wave of tears broke loose at the sound of his voice so close to my ears. “That’s all I’m asking. Two months to prove to you that the vows I made to you still hold true, and that it’s me you’re meant to be with — not him. Please,” he begged, and emotion robbed his next words as his own tears met mine.
I hadn’t ever seen him cry. Ever.
Not even when we lost the boys.
He was quiet a moment, battling against his emotion’s betrayal of the calmness he’d tried so hard to contain. When he finally found his voice again, it was quiet and raw. “Please. Just give me a chance.”
I swallowed, closing my eyes as I leaned into his warm chest.
“Two months?” I asked.
Reese flashed into my mind, but he was erased in an instant with a gentle sweep of Cameron’s hand over my lower back. My husband was asking me for a chance to keep me, for a chance to fight for our love. Was he too late? Maybe. Did I think he could change my mind? If I was being honest with myself, no.
But I owed him the chance to try.
They say there are two sides to every story, and it was in that moment, in that dark, desperate snapshot of my life that I realized I hadn’t asked him for his.
So, I opened my eyes again, leaning back in his arms until our eyes connected, and I offered the only word I could.
TO BE CONTINUED…