Life is full of moments.
And none of them are inconsequential.
Every single moment prepares you for that one instance that defines your life. You must overcome all your fears, confront the demons that chase you, and cleanse the poison that clings to your soul or you risk the chance of losing everything.
Mine started the minute Rylee fell out of that damn storage closet. She made me feel. Made me whole when all I thought I could ever be was incomplete. Became the lifeline I never knew I needed. Hell yes, she’s worth the fight…but how do you fight for someone you know you don’t deserve?
Love is full of ups and downs.
Heart stopping highs.
Soul shattering lows.
And none of them are insignificant.
Love is a racecourse of unexpected twists and turns that must be negotiated. You have to break down walls, learn to trust, and heal from your past in order to win. But sometimes it’s the expected that’s the hardest to hold on to.
Colton has healed and completed me, stolen my heart, and made me realize our love’s not predictable nor perfect—it’s bent. And bent’s okay. But when outside factors put our relationship to the test, what lengths will I have to go to prove to him that he’s worth the fight?
Whoever said love is patient and love is kind, never met the two of us. We know our love is worth it—have acknowledged that we were meant to be—but when our pasts crash into our future, will the repercussions make us stronger or break us apart?
I stand outside of the intensive care unit and prepare myself. Fear and hope collide until one big ball of anxiety has my hands trembling as I turn the corner to stand at his doorway.
It takes me a moment to gain the courage to raise my eyes and take in the broken body of the man I love. The images in my head are worse—bloody, bruised, total carnage—but even those couldn’t have prepared me for the sight of Colton. His body is whole and unbloodied, but he lies there so motionless and pale. His head is wrapped in white gauze and his eyelids are partially closed, the whites of his eyes showing somewhat from the swelling of his brain. He has tubes coming out of him every which way, and the monitors beep around him constantly. But it’s not the sight of all of the medical equipment that breaks me—no—it’s that the life and fire of the man I love is nonexistent.
I shuffle toward the bed, my eyes mapping every inch of him as if I’ve never seen him before, never felt him before. Never felt the thunder of his heart beating against my own chest. I reach out to touch him—needing to desperately—and when I hold his hand in mine, it’s cold and unresponsive. Even the calluses I love—the ones that rasp deliciously over my bare skin—are not there.
The tears come. They fall in endless streams as I blindly sink down into the chair beside the bed. I grip Colton’s hand with two of mine, my mouth pressed to our joined hands, my tears wetting his skin. I cry even harder when I realize the all too familiar Colton scent that feeds my addiction has been replaced by the antiseptic hospital smell. I didn’t realize how much I needed that scent to be there. How much I needed that small, lingering piece of the man I love to remain when everything else has changed so drastically.Incoherent words cross my lips and muffle against our entwined hands. “Please wake up, Colton. Please,” I sob.
I smile softly as I lift my head and look at all the reminders of last night. How sweet the gesture was from a man who swears he doesn’t subscribe to the notion of romance, when everything around us screams just the opposite. What man calls in a favor from his dad to get a copy of his not-released-yet but soon-to-be-blockbuster movie so he can have an uninterrupted date night with his girlfriend? And even though I came to find out he had Quinlan’s help, it was all his idea … the little touches here and there, because it’s the little things that mean so much more to me than the extravagant ones.
I raise my head up from where it rests on his chest and watch him sleep, let my love for him warm the parts of me the breeze has cooled. “I can feel you watching me,” he says groggily with a curl of his lip even though his eyes remain closed.
“Mmm-hmm.” I can’t help the smile on my face.
“Whose idea was it to sleep out here? It’s too damn bright.” He shifts, eyes still closed, but brings the arm that rests behind his head down to pull me closer to him.
“I believe the words were, ‘Your voodoo has worked its magic and stolen mine. I have no energy to move,’” I repeat, not hiding the smug look on my face or the pride in my voice.
“Nope, definitely not my words,” he says before cracking open an eye and looking over to me, that salacious smirk I love displayed proudly. “I’ve got magic in spades, baby, it must have been some other guy your voodoo sucked the life from.”