Authors: Britney King
Also by Britney King
Copyright © 2013 Britney King
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and
incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business
establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. This e-book is licensed for your
personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other
people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please
purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and
did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please
return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the
hard work of this author.
Cover Art by Sebastian Kellas of Legstore
Cover Design by Lisa Wilson of Pixel Pixie Design
Copyediting by Theresa Wegand
For the William in my life, we should all be so lucky . .
It is my belief that love is mostly about showing up.
It’s about showing up in the good times and especially in the bad. It’s about
being there, showing up, and continuing to show up. If you can do these things
day in and day out, no matter what life brings you, you’ll find that love is
there for the taking. In time you might come to find that while it’s not in the
form you may have imagined—or necessarily the way that you thought it would be—it’s
there nonetheless. This is the story of one such love and how it came to be everything
unimaginable and yet so much more than one could have hoped for.
Addison Greyer pulled the sweatshirt over her head,
stuffed her keys and phone in the pocket, grabbed her pepper spray, and headed
out for the run she so desperately needed. It was a cold, dreary morning, the
kind where the cold seemed to settle in your bones until it almost hurt.
Gripping the pepper spray tightly, Addie rounded her driveway, taking off in
full sprint, pushing herself harder and faster than she had in some time.
Although her eyes stung and her lungs burned, she knew better than to stop.
Instead, she let her mind drift back and forth over the past few months as
though searching for a clue, any tiny shred of evidence that may have simply
been overlooked. She’d played out this scenario hundreds of times, hoping that
she could find something she’d missed that, if found, would make everything
clear, and suddenly, it would all make perfect sense.
It wasn’t unusual that William Hartman weighed heavily on
Addison’s mind, and today was certainly no different. Unfortunately, the
situation had become significantly worse over the past twenty-four hours, and
no matter what she did or how she tried to keep herself busy, she couldn’t stop
her thoughts from returning to the letter she’d written. Her mind played it
back over and over. She remembered how she’d traced her finger around the
smooth edges of her finest stationery then carefully tucked it back in the
envelope. She thought about how she’d taken it out again just to run her
fingers over it one final time as though maybe, just maybe, she could tuck a
little bit of her love in with it while silently praying that somehow the letter’s
recipient might feel it. She’d even entertained the idea that if she were to
concentrate hard enough perhaps she might undo what she’d done—how quickly
she’d emailed the courier and scheduled for a pick up before calling to cancel,
only to finally call back and schedule once again.
Still, no matter how her heart struggled against what she’d done,
her mind knew it was the right thing to do. Addison hadn’t been able to forgive
herself after what would be forever dubbed “the disastrous Christmas-tree
event.” It had been that night as she pressed her head to the smooth cold tile
of her bathroom floor with tears streaming silently down her face that she
finally understood what it was she needed to do. She realized then it was time
she let him go, once and for all. She wasn’t good for him. That much was clear.
Asking him to wait for her wasn’t fair. Aside from that, her life was a complete
and total mess. There wasn’t room for anything else, certainly not love and all
of its glorious chaos.
For starters, Scott Hammons, the madman who had kidnapped and
tortured her, had been arraigned, pleading not guilty, and was out on bail.
He’d somehow managed to retain counsel who was able to convince a judge to
allow him a pre-trial release after agreeing to a strict no-contact order, 24/7
electronic monitoring, and posting an obscene amount of bail money. No
restraining order and certainly no ankle bracelet were enough to make Addie
feel safe. She’d seen what Scott Hammons was capable of, not to mention the
look in his eye at the arraignment. She didn’t figure he was done with her, not
by a long shot. Secondly, she was being blackmailed by her husband to stay in a
marriage that they both knew deep down, whether he wanted to admit it or not,
was broken beyond repair.
Not only was her life in utter turmoil at the moment but it was
certainly no place to let love walk in. The next few months, at least until the
preliminary hearing, were about nothing more than survival. At the thoughts of Scott
Hammons and survival, Addie pushed harder, feeling each step as her feet
pounded the payment. The faster she ran, the more the words she’d written
played out in her mind, words that would never, could never, be enough.
Panting hard and slightly dizzy, Addison was trying to recall
whether she’d eaten anything that morning when a sudden movement up ahead
caught her eye, causing her to stop abruptly in her tracks. After focusing in
and realizing she recognized the car, Addie sighed and braced herself, knowing
exactly what was waiting for her down the road.
William Hartman turned the unassuming envelope over in
his hands, considering the weight of it. No one sent letters like this anymore,
and this one seemed to scream class. He didn’t open his own mail, and whoever
had sent this understood that, which meant that there could only be a few
people who knew how to deliver something to him in this manner.
Opening it, he admired the stationery, realizing exactly whom it
was from and what it would say. William sank back it his chair, ran his fingers
through his jet-black hair, and proceeded to take it all in.
I’ve wanted so many times to call over the past week,
but with the trial coming up, the attorneys have instructed me not have any
contact with you. In addition, it’s very plausible that you have no interest in
hearing from me today or any other day for that matter. But I want to tell you
that I’m sorry, William. I am so very sorry for so many things. I’m sorry for
making the decisions that I did, I’m sorry for dragging you into the chaos that
is my life, I’m sorry that you saw what you did the other night in the park,
and I will be forever sorry that I didn’t have the strength in that moment to
do and say all the things I should have. The one thing I’m not sorry for is
falling in love with you. I want you to know that I would give just about
anything to be where you are, to be in a different time and a different place.
And I want you to know, for what it’s worth, that I would give it all if it
would mean that I could take back the way things turned out in the park the
other night. But I can’t. And the truth is what happened has given me the
clarity to understand what I need to do from here.
I need to move forward with my life, William. I need
to move forward with the way things really are, the way they currently stand,
not how I wish they were. I have to beat Scott Hammons in this trial. I need to
prove to him and everyone else that what he did to me was real, that I’m not
what they’re going to say I am, William. I need my kids to be safe and secure
and know that their mother loves them and would do ANYTHING for them. For the
time being that means I need to stay in my marriage, and for what it’s worth, I
can’t very well do that with one foot out the door. And most importantly, I
cannot do that and be hopelessly in love with you.
I have to let go for good this time. The irony here
is that it’s fairly likely that you already have and that I really don’t have
to say any of this at all. Honestly, if we’re facing facts here, it appears
that we’ve both let go. But so long as neither of says it out loud, it can’t be
real, can it? I guess that is why I felt I needed to say it.
Again, I’m sorry, William. I am so sorry I hurt you.
I’m sorry to have been just one more person in your life who has let you down.
And while I regret the aftermath, I do not, for one second, regret any of the
love between us.
I hope for you the very best that life has to offer;
William, and I want to thank you. Thank you for loving me. But most of all,
thank you for showing me a very different kind of love than I’d ever known
A world of love,
William meticulously placed the note back in its envelope. He’d
been right about one thing. It was classy; that was for sure. Suddenly needing
to let off steam, he laced his Nikes and headed downstairs to the gym but not
before placing a phone call that could no longer be delayed. Apparently,
Addison Greyer had forgotten whom she was dealing with. Too bad for her,
William Hartman had just decided he was finished playing nice. This time he
wasn’t fighting fair.
Addison walked slowly towards the woman who had once
been her boss. Leaning against the car driven by a driver Addison didn’t
recognize, Sondra Sheehan was dressed to the nines just as she always had. It
seemed motherhood hadn’t slowed her down in the least. Addie stopped a good
five feet away and just stared.
It’s better to play dumb.
“What in the hell has gotten into you, Addison? You don’t return
my calls, you don’t answer your email, and, quite frankly, you look like shit.
It really doesn’t surprise me that I had to drive all the way over to this godforsaken
place, this suburban hellhole. Please explain it to me. Why is it too much to
ask for some simple decency?” Sondra tilted her head and crossed her arms.
Addison slid her sweaty hands down her black compression workout pants
before straightening up and meeting Sondra’s gaze. “Well, hello to you too.”
“This isn’t a joke. We need to talk, Addison.”
Addison turned and walked towards her house. “Who’s joking?”
Sondra’s heels clicked on the walkway as she tried to keep up. “I
need you to listen to me, and I mean
Addie closed the door behind them and leaned back against the
wall, folding her arms. The dizzy feeling hadn’t quite subsided. “You’re here,
aren’t you?” she said, gesturing towards the living room.
Sondra sighed. “Look, Addison, I need you to come back to work.
The firm needs you. The clients love you, and, quite frankly, we’ve had a few who
have bailed on us in your absence.”
“Bullshit.” Addison said, a wry smile playing across her face.