Authors: Jason W. Chan
Tags: #paranormal romance
Luke entered their bedroom and saw
Alyssa in her nightgown, bent over the desk in their
Startled, she looked up at him, then
You’re home. Look what I
She held up the picture that she had
drawn. It was of a single white cherry blossom. Their
She went over and gave him a peck on
Without a word, Luke reached into his
briefcase, pulling out chocolates. “I’m sorry I’ve been so busy
He gave her the presents. “That’s not
all.” He took out a new set of paints.
She held a hand to her mouth and
He said, “I know you love your
She hugged him, and he held onto her,
relishing the feel of her body pressed into his.
Let’s just lie down on the
bed and close our eyes.”
He led her to their bed, taking off his
restricting business suit.
“I love your mkay.”
They fell onto the bed
I almost forgot.” He
reached into his briefcase on the nightstand, and pulled out a
Our flower,” she
Our flower,” he
She held it to her heart.
A comfortable silence surrounded them,
the peaceful silence after the end of a long day of working and
I read somewhere that if
you can have a comfortable silence with someone, it means you’re
close to him.”
Then I guess we must be
really close then.”
Luke felt the coolness of the sheets
against his body as he sank further into the bed. It was good to
take a break.
A warm Spring draft came in from the
open balcony, brushing against his cheek. For a while, they focused
on their breathing.
Alyssa was the first to speak. “A
family of three came into the ER today. Only one of them came in
alive. A little boy. He had so many broken bones he might not even
walk again. I stood there, and didn’t know how to tell him about
Luke turned around to look at her, who
looked like she was trying not to cry.
An ER doctor finally broke
the news to him after an hour,” she continued. “He didn’t cry. He
just lay there in his hospital bed and looked at me with a blank
expression on his face. There was total silence. Then he said a
And then he slipped into a coma.”
Luke pulled her closer to
I didn’t know what to tell
him. So I just held him.” She looked at Luke. “I wanted to adopt
Drew right there and then.”
He stroked her hair, pushing it back.
Then, he kissed her on the forehead.
She leaned in closer. “This kid’s
special. Can you promise me something?”
If I’m not around, can you
make sure Drew’s OK?”
He looked at her curiously. “What do
you mean if you’re not around?”
I meant that if I can’t
take care of him for some reason, will you?”
He nodded, still puzzled. “Yes. Of
course I will.”
She started to talk again, but her
words slurred into each other, and she stopped. He took a look at
her, his eyes barely staying open.
Alyssa was already out cold.
Luke closed his eyes, but found he
could not sleep. He got off the bed softly, careful not to wake his
He opened the sliding door of the
balcony and stepped out into the open air. The pleasantly cold air
massaged his skin at once. He stared down at the steady city
lights, the blinking traffic lights, and the massive sprawl of the
I was passed over today, he thought. I
wasn’t good enough. They gave the job to Mike, who now has
He felt so useless, like a total
failure. When would he get promoted then? Never?
He sat down on the hard floor, and
wrapped his arms around his legs. He then put his head in his lap,
and closed his eyes.
He felt old feelings of incompetence
come back to haunt him. Old, buried feelings from being fired as a
restaurant dishwasher when he was 16. His boss at the time said the
dishes just were not clean enough. Luke had even requested to work
an extra shift just to prove he can do it, but the boss wanted him
out right away.
Lightly, he rocked back and forth,
trying desperately to get rid of those old feelings. They made him
feel so small.
Just then, a gentle voice made Luke
Luke? What are you doing
Alyssa slid the door all the way open,
and joined him on the balcony in her silk nightgown. She sat down
next to him, and put a hand to his head, stroking his
Is this about being passed
over?” she asked.
Luke nodded, his face
Don’t worry about it,”
Alyssa assured. “You’ll be promoted sometime soon. You already work
so hard. How can they afford not to promote you?”
He said nothing, and reached for her
She let him hold it. “I don’t think any
less of you.”
He put her hand to his cheek, reveling
in the warmth of it. The feelings of failure were starting to
For a while, they looked out into the
quiet spring night. They saw scattered city lights amid a backdrop
of blackness. They heard a car door slam, then an engine start
You’re right,” he said.
“I’ll just work harder.”
Let’s go to
She led him by the hand to the bed, and
they both collapsed into it.
When he closed his eyes again, he found
sleep to be close by.
The last thought he had was how selfish
he had been. Alyssa had had such a traumatic day and all he could
talk about was how he had been passed over for a promotion. All he
could think and talk about was himself today. Shame invaded him as
he fell asleep to her breathing steadily beside him.
* * * * *
Luke woke up to something frying in the
The door to the bedroom opened and in
walked Alyssa with a plate of scrambled eggs and an English muffin.
She was beautiful in her sweatpants and a t-shirt, and her hair
tied loosely in a bun.
That smells great,” he
said. “You didn’t have to get up early to make breakfast in bed for
I didn’t get up early,” she
said. “And I wanted to.”
He ate some of the eggs. “It’s
Can you imagine? This is
what our kids would do for us on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day,”
she said with a laugh, sitting down on the bed.
Kids?” He stopped chewing.
He tried to swallow completely, but the food was stuck in his
living together. I’m assuming this is where we’re
heading.” She looked at him inquisitively.
We are, but we haven’t
discussed kids yet.”
You don’t want
He looked at her but did not reply
right away. She looked worried. And he hated to be the source of
Alright,” he finally said.
“Let’s say we did have kids. How are we going to have time to take
care of them?”
I’ll take maternity leave,
she answered without hesitation. “Or quit my jobs and stay home and
take care of the kids,”. “I really don’t mind.”
Can’t we just try living
together for a while? We don’t have to plan all that out just yet.”
He leaned in to hug her, but she shoved him away.
I’m not planning it all
out, but I at least want the possibility of being married and
having kids.“ Then, she added, “I don’t want to live with someone
who doesn’t want children.”
Her words stung him like a slap in the
He stared at her, wondering if this
meant the end for them. She was breathing hard, her eyes
She stood up. “I need to take a
He started to get up, spilling the eggs
all over the bed. “Alyssa, wait.”
She stormed out of the room, and onto
He ran after her immediately. What have
I done? He thought.
He found her standing there, her arms
crossed over her chest. The day was gray. He looked up. Dark sooty
clouds were starting to swarm the sky.
Luke approached her.
She turned around, squinted at him,
then turned her head away. The wind attacked her hair, blowing it
in all directions.
He came closer, enveloping himself
around her protectively. To his surprise, she did not push him
away, but allowed herself to be overtaken.
He felt the warmth of her head against
his chest. He discovered that she only reached up to his
A cold breeze wrapped itself around the
couple, and he held her closer still.
Why don’t you want kids?”
she asked, without turning around. “I would make a great
I know you would. It’s not
that. It’s just that we’re moving a little fast.”
But you were the one who
asked me to move in with you.”
She has a point there, he
But we don’t need to plan
it all out right now,” he said.
She tilted her head up, trying to look
him in the eyes.
I’m 25. I’m getting old. I
want to fall in love with the right man. Get married. Have kids.
I’m not trying to plan it all out. I just want to know if there is
a possibility that you might want kids too. Right now, I’m not so
sure that you’re the right one for me.”
Her statement caught him off guard. He
felt her slipping out of his grip.
I am,” he said.
No, you’re not,” she said,
shaking her head. “You‘re scared of something. Commitment? Moving
forward? Kids? Who knows?” She struggled to be released from his
embrace, but he held on tight.
I never said I didn‘t want
You didn’t have to. I saw
how you interacted with that little girl back on the ferry, on our
trip to Qualicum Beach.”
He was silent for a while. The only
sound was the traffic on the streets. There was a angry honk from
an even angrier driver. Then, the traffic returned to a steady
He thought about what she had said. She
was right, of course. What was wrong with him? He was the one who
asked her to move in with him. He really wanted to be married, not
just to anyone, but to her. He could really see himself with her.
He wanted to move forward. And he really wanted to move forward
I was just stressed because
of the tight deadline. This deal could make or break me. I can‘t
screw up again.”
It was her turn to be silent. She
finally wiggled out of his hug, and turned around, her back facing
He was the first to speak. “Do you know
how I know I’m the right one?”
Because I’m here with you,
wanting to be with you,” he said.
She let out a sob.
He spun her around, and kissed
Then, stroking her hair, he said, “Can
we give this a try?”
Mkay,” she said, trying to
smile, her face flushed.
Even on such a cold dreary day, his
body was warm.
* * * * *
That evening, Alyssa set the table in
preparation for her mother’s visit. She set the fine china on the
table first, then laid the silverware carefully beside the
She frowned when she noticed a fork was
out of place. She straightened it once, then kept fiddling with
Luke, who was standing beside her,
tried to help her with the utensils, but she grabbed his wrist, and
shook her head.
I can handle it. You know,”
she continued. “You’re so lucky your parents are dead. My father
was OK, but my mother drives me crazy. She’s a professor of
theology. That doesn‘t make it any better.”
Luke debated whether to ask
You might be wondering
how,” she said. “You’ll see when she comes tonight. You’re meeting
her for the first time. Are you nervous?”
Luke shook his head. “Nah, I’m sure
she’s a nice lady.”
She headed into the kitchen and he
followed. The kitchen was filled with the rich aromas of soup and
She stirred the big pot of soup that
was simmering on the stove.