CORAL - Fallen (A Romance Trilogy, Book 2)

BOOK: CORAL - Fallen (A Romance Trilogy, Book 2)
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PROLOGUE

 

I HEAR HER COMING DOWN THE STAIRS
and grip my hands into fists. Why the fuck didn’t I just let it go,
she wouldn’t be leaving if I hadn’t pushed. I watch her walk into the kitchen
and stop for a moment. I want to look up at her, beg her to stay, but I know
now it will only make things worse. I thought I could convince her, get her to
believe that I love her just the way she is, but I know that look in her eyes;
she’s made her mind up, she’s ending it, walking away.

I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. I
have never felt this way before. I feel ashamed, empty and void of all things –
I’m a complete failure. I thought I could get her to believe that I’m not going
anywhere, that we can take things slowly, at her pace – but her leaving has
proved to me that it’s not possible. She reaches into her bag and takes out her
keys.

No Coral, don’t do it!
– Silently, she unhooks my set of keys and places them on the breakfast
bar. I feel my eyes swim with moisture –
Shit! I’m crying?
– I am
desperately
trying to hold onto my sanity as I watch the girl that I love – the
only girl I’ve ever loved – walk away from me, out of my life for good. I have
to say something?

I look up at her, she looks lost, desolate
and bereft – on an island all of her own.

“Don’t go,” I beg, hoping she’ll change her
mind.

“I’m sorry.” Her voice is strained with
unshed tears – I feel my heart sink to the pit of my stomach –
She’s really
leaving, this isn’t happening!

She dashes away from me, I quickly stand
and walk round the breakfast bar hoping she’ll look back at me, see how much I
need her in my life, want her with me – but she doesn’t turn around. I watch
her yank the front door open, walk through it and out of my life, forever.

Fuck, she’s gone, she’s really gone. No!
Coral….come back!

I feel nauseous. I grip my hands into fists
again and fight against the rage I feel building within me – A horrid thought
races through my mind. What if it’s not me she wants? I instantly get an image
of her with another man – she’s happy, in love with him –
No!

I pounce to my feet –
No! I can't let
that happen, I can't stand it
.

Pain curses through me again…
Christ,
she’s really is gone…..

I slowly make my way up the stairs and stop
when I reach the bedroom - our bedroom. I look around the room trying to
convince myself she’s still here, that something of hers is still here, but
there’s nothing but an empty room, an empty bed.

I wonder lifelessly into the en-suite. I
can smell her in here. Christ, she’s everywhere…I look around the room and see
her shampoo sitting in the shower rack. I open the shower door, pick it up,
flick open the top and inhale deeply.

My head swims with her scent, I feel the
pain crush me again – Why is this so painful?
I’ve had relationships
that ended before, and I never felt like this? I feel like I’m balancing on the
edge of a very deep abyss.

Squeezing my eyes shut, I try to push the
pain away, but it’s no good, it makes no difference, I feel empty without her.
I open my eyes and stagger into the bedroom, all I keep seeing is a picture of
her face smiling at me, those eyes, that beautiful smile.

I fall onto the edge of the bed and hand my
head in my hands. I still don’t understand why she ran. I look up and realise she’s
everywhere I look, she’s all over this house now – I have to get out of here. I
force my feet into my trainers and race down the stairs. Grabbing my mobile and
my keys, I yank the front door open. Slamming it behind me I unlock the car, throw
myself inside, start the engine and slam my foot on the gas – desperate to get
away – the car swerves as I race out the driveway.

I drive aimlessly for a while, and without
consciously thinking about it, I find myself driving adjacent to Undercliff
Walk. I pull the car over and let it idle for a while – I can't help thinking back
to that walk we took, and how Coral slowly opened up to me, how I learned the
horrifying reality of her life as a child. I turn off the engine and step out
the car – I hear someone make a comment – but I acknowledge them.

I head down the steps and walk over to the
sea wall. I look out to sea, trying to work out what I did wrong and how I can
make it right. Then I remember, I promised her I wouldn’t fail her. I promised
her that no matter what – I would always keep fighting for her.

Is that what she’s doing, testing me? If
she is, then I’m failing her right now. I pull out my mobile and stare at her
number. It’s no good I need to know if she’s ok. I press call and wait – it
rings out and goes to her voicemail – I instantly start to worry.
Where are
you Coral?

I press call again and wait – I hate
waiting – It goes to voicemail again. Now I’m really worrying. I look to my
right and see the Marina. It’s about half a mile away, I have to see her. I
have to know she’s ok –
Fuck the car!

Stuffing my mobile in my pocket, I start
running towards the Marina, hoping and praying she’s there – that I’ll see her.
At least it will put my mind at rest that she’s not done something stupid, if
anything ever happened to her…I shake the thought away and run harder, faster.

The concrete beneath my pounding feet make
my knees ache slightly, but I don’t care, I have to get to her. I locate the
Western Concourse and slow down my pace. As I get closer to her studio, I
notice Bob is sat outside. When I finally reach the door, Bob looks up at me.

“Afternoon.” He says.

I nod silently to him. I want to ask him if
she’s in, but I don’t want to get him involved, and I don’t want him to think
I’ve hurt her. Although I’m not really sure if I haven’t? Stepping past him I
peer into her studio. I see her bags on the floor but there’s no sign of her –
Maybe
she’s gone for a walk?
I pull my mobile out of my pocket and call her. I
hear it ringing inside the studio –
Shit Coral, where are you?

I end the call and decide to see if she’s
in. I gently tap on the door, but I don’t see or hear any movement.

“She came back earlier, didn’
t
look too happy. She left it open though,
so I figured she was expecting you?” Bob says.

I stare down at him and nod once –
Ok
this is it!
No matter what, I have to get her back, convince her somehow
that she and I, we are meant to be. I take a deep breath and pull on the handle,
then I take a cautious step inside and call out for her…

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

I HEAR THE PATIO DOOR SLIDE OPEN
and instantly stop crying.
Who the hell is that?
I don’t want
anyone to see me like this! I lean up from my slumped position, listening
intently.
Shit!
Maybe I should call the police? Shit, my bag is
downstairs…

“Coral?” I hear Tristan’s voice shout,
making my heart pound against my chest.
Oh no!
What is he doing here? I
hear the bathroom door open and close as he tries to find me.

“Coral. Answer me!” He demands.
Oh no!
I don’t want him here. I don’t want him to see me like this.
His
footsteps come barreling up the stairs, his eyes bleak and wide, searching for
me. “Coral!” He gasps as he reaches the top of the stairs and sees me.

“Go away!” I croak and squeeze my eyes
shut.

“No baby, no!” He says, sounding appalled. The
next thing I know I’m in his arms and he’s crushing me to him. I try to push him
away, but it’s useless. “Baby, tell me what’s wrong? Why did you leave?” He
asks rocking me slowly.

“Tristan, please go.” I croak.

“No!” he barks. “I’m not leaving you in
this state.”

“Please…” I whimper.

“Why?” He asks in his husky voice.

“B-because…” I choke back the tears that
threaten to fall again. “Tristan, I…I can't do this, I can't be what you want,
what you deserve.” I croak.

“You are what I want.” He states clearly.
“I love you just the way you are.” I finally look up at his deep, hypnotic eyes.
“Don’t you know that?” He questions.

I sniff loudly – It’s really not attractive.

“But’ – “No buts baby, come home with me.”
He pleads.

“No,” I grumble. I just want to be left
alone. I don’t want to face my fears, and I don’t want to see the look in his eyes
when I freak out because he’s touched me in a sexual way. I squeeze my eyes shut,
trying to block out the horror within.

“I don’t want you on your own baby. You
don’t even have to be in the same room as me, I’ll sleep downstairs, just come
home.” I think about what he’s asking –
Can I do that?

“Please…” he begs again.

“Tristan…” I look up at him feeling full of
remorse and guilt. He gently wipes a couple of stray tears away with his
thumbs.

“You don’t have to tell me anything, just
come back with me.” I can tell by the look in his eye that he’s not going to
give in. “I told you baby, I won’t stop fighting for you no matter how hard you
push me away, no matter how many times you leave me. You’re all I’ve ever
wanted. I’ve never loved anyone like I love you.” He leans forward and kisses
my temple. He keeps his lips there; pressed hard against my skin.

A lump forms in my throat. He came back for
me, he came back…I think about the piercing pain that lanced through me just
moments earlier, and how it seems to have magically vanished. I think about how
I felt when I thought I would never see him again, just moments ago, yet here
he is cradling me in his arms –
Why? Why does he care so much for me?

“Why are you here Tristan, I…I left you,” I
croak.

“I know,” he sighs heavily. “And it was the
worst moment in my entire life.” He trembles.

I gasp and look up at him. “I don’t ever
want to feel that pain again, so don’t run from me…please. I’ll be whatever you
want me to be, just don’t….” He breaks off and crushes me to him again –
Oh
Tristan!
That’s just how I felt!

What a stupid thing I did, especially given
the fact that this feels so right, like he’s meant for me. I finally relent,
and wrap my arms around him, resting my head against his chest, listening to
his racing heart. I don’t know how long we stay there for, five minutes, an
hour, I’m not sure, but my tears slowly subside and I start to feel calmer.

“Come home with me?” He whispers, rocking
me gently. I think about his request and realise I don’t want to be alone, I
don’t want to be without Tristan – even though it’s scaring me to death. I take
a deep breath and slowly blow it out. “Ok,” I tremble. I’m still not sure if I’m
doing the right thing here.

His whole body seems to sag with relief. “Good…that’s
good.” I look up at him just as he lifts my hand to his lips. “You’re trembling,”
he says and kisses my knuckles.

“I’m scared,” I whisper croakily.

“So am I.” He admits. He rocks me gently
again. “Jesus Coral…don’t do that to me again,” he says, his heart beating
madly – I close my eyes and surrender. Feeling his arms wrapped around me like
this, is like being in seventh heaven. I never want to feel like that again, which
is really fucking scary, because I know it means facing my fears.

“Shall I get the car?” He murmurs.

“The car?” I question.

“Yeah, I went for a drive…” He solemnly
shakes his head. “It’s not far away, shall we walk there or’ – “No, can you go
get it?” I interrupt. “I still feel shaky, I don’t think my legs would carry
me.”

“Yes, I can. But I need you to do something
for me,” he says.

“What?” I whisper.

“I need you to give me your word you’ll be
here when I get back.” I nod silently to him. “Say it Coral,” he says more
sternly.

“I’ll be here,” I whimper. He kisses my
temple once more, releases me and slides off the bed. “I won’t be long,” he
tells me.

I smile weakly at him and watch him walk
away from me.
Crap!
Now I have no choice. I can't dodge him and go to
Gladys’s. Sighing heavily, I climb off the bed and slowly make my way down the
stairs.

Stepping into the bathroom, I take a good
look at myself.
Christ, what a mess!
I walk back into the living room
find my toiletries, and makeup bag, and head back into the bathroom. I slowly
cleanse my face then try my best to re-apply some mascara - It’s a trying feat
with red, puffy eyes. When I’m done I stare at myself in the mirror, trying to
find some courage from somewhere – Tristan’s going to want to know why I
freaked out earlier, I know he is.

I close my eyes for a moment, take a deep
breath and head back into the living room. Just as I bend down to repack my
bags, Tristan walks into the studio. He’s breathing hard and sweating; I guess
he ran back here to make sure I didn’t disappear on him again.

“Hey.” He says and walks over to me.

“Hi, did you want some water?” He shakes
his head at me. “Ok.” I look down at my hands that are twisting together in
anxiety, unsure of what to say or do.

“Shall we?” He says, I nod in reply, so he
bends down and picks up my weekend bag. I throw my handbag over my shoulder, and
find my sunglasses to hide my puffy eyes. Our eyes catch again as I slide them on,
he silently reaches out and caresses my cheek.

“Ready?” I nod silently to him. He takes a
deep breath and silently holds his hand out to me. I place my hand in his open
palm, and we silently head home...

 

AS WE REACH THE GATES TO THE HOUSE
, Tristan turns and catches my hand in his, giving it a gentle
squeeze. He pulls up outside the house, switches off the engine and turns in
his seat. Feels very strange being back here, considering I only left a short
while ago – I try not to panic.

“Ok?” he softly asks. I smile weakly at
him.

I still don’t know if I’m doing the right
thing here.

“Ok.” He nods his head once, almost as
though he understood my unspoken answer, and steps out the car. Reaching my
side, he opens my door and holds out both his hands. I place my hands in his
and he gently pulls me to my feet. Then he bends down and swiftly kisses my
forehead, shutting the door behind me.

“I’ll get the bags, why don’t you let yourself
in?” I shake my head at him. I don’t want to go inside that house without him.

“Ok.” He reaches out and runs a cool finger
down my cheek, calming me. Then he walks round to the boot, collects my bags
and comes back over to me. I take his outstretched hand, and we walk to the
front door – this feels so surreal.

Taking his key out he unlocks the door, and
pushes it open, gesturing for me to go first. With trembling legs, I take a step
inside the house, then another and another, until I’m stood inside the huge
entrance hall.

I hear Tristan follow, shut the door behind
him and drop my bag to the floor.

“Do you want anything baby?” I put my handbag
down, take off my sunglasses, and slowly turn to look at him.

He puts his hands in his pockets and gazes
back at me. He looks lost, very wary, and slightly uncomfortable. I hate that
I’ve made him feel like this. He’s beautiful, and sweet, caring and attentive
and I love him.
Why the hell did I walk out on him?

I grit my teeth at myself, take the two
steps needed and crush myself against his chest, wrapping my arms tightly
around his strong, muscular back.

“I’m so sorry,” I choke. He hesitantly
wraps his arms around me and gently rocks me.

“It’s ok baby. You don’t have to be sorry.”
He softly says.

“But I walked out on you,” I choke.

“Yes, I know,” he shudders. “What do you
want Coral? Do you want to be alone, or do you’ – “No, I want to be with you,”
I interrupt, closing my eyes and inhaling his intoxicating scent.

“Oh baby, I want to be with you too.”
Tristan kisses my hair several times. “Coral, what do you need?”

“You,” I whisper. I hear his soft chuckle
and look up at him.

“I need you too,” Tristan says, finally
smiling at me. He reaches up and takes my face in his hands. “You don’t have to
tell me anything you don’t want to, ok?” I nod once. “You didn’t eat much
earlier. Are you hungry?” I shake my head. “Thirsty?” I shake my head again and
start to smile, Tristan’s grin widens in response. “Hmm. What to do?” He says.

“Stay here,” I reply, squeezing him tighter.
I may not like strangers touching me, but ever since I came to realise that
Gladys wasn’t bad, I always loved her hugs – they make me feel safe, loved.
Just like Tristan’s hugs, only Tristan’s are better, so much better.

“I have a better idea.” He says, smiling
broadly now.

“You do?” I squeak, looking up at those
mesmerizing chocolate eyes of his.

Tristan nods once, his serious expression
is back. “Dance with me?” He asks.

“Now?” I squeak. Tristan nods once. “Here?”
He nods again, looking down at me with such a loving expression, that I have
only one answer. “Ok,” I shrug. “But we don’t even have any music?” I add.

“Stay there.” He grins and walks over to
the kitchen.

Moments later I hear a guitar rift start. I
instantly recognize the tune – Hero, Enrique Iglesias. My heart starts
manically beating…
oh the words

this song… it’s so beautiful
… I
feel very overwhelmed and have to fight to stop myself crying.

Tristan walks over to me, his eyes wide, and
his hand held out. I place my hand in his. Without a word, he pulls me into
him, and spins us around a couple of times, making me smile. Then we slowly dance
our way around the empty space of the living area, Tristan is so good at this.

“Hero?” I whisper, looking up at him. He
nods solemnly and twirls us around again. “You wanna be my hero?” I ask. Tristan
stares down at me and nods once more.
Oh Tristan!

“Oh,” I smile up at him. He stares down at
me with wide, sincere, serious eyes.

“Always,” he whispers. I swallow hard –
Why
did I just ask that?
I cradle my head under his neck and surrender to it. I
close my eyes just as Tristan sings in my ear,
‘I can be your hero baby, I
can kiss away the pain, I will stand by you forever, you can take my breath
away’
I practically melt in his arms.

What a beautiful thing to do, what a song
to pick! The beat comes in loud and clear and Tristan really starts to twirl us
around, singing to me again. Tears pool in my eyes as I look up at him.
He
wants to be my hero?

I feel some of my barriers break down and
my heart stitch back together; just that little bit more…
oh Tristan, what
are you doing to me?
The song ends, but Tristan is still swaying us around,
then he stops and we gaze at one another.

“You ok?” He smiles.

“Yes, I am now.” I say smiling back.

“Wine?” He asks –
Hell yes! I think I
need it
.

“Please.” Tristan goes to move, but I grip
onto him. “Stay here, just a little while longer,” I beg.

“Anything for you,” he softly whispers. I
hold him to me for a few more minutes until I’m feeling calm and brave enough
to let him go. “Want to go watch the sunset?” He asks huskily bringing me back
to him.

“Yeah, that would be nice.” I look up at
him. He slowly and hesitantly reaches down. His lips millimeters from mine,
waiting to see if I respond. I reach up onto my tiptoes, and plant my lips
against his, they mould into one, it’s almost as though they were made for each
other. Perfect!

BOOK: CORAL - Fallen (A Romance Trilogy, Book 2)
3.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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