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  • Carla Buchanan

BGGM Entry 14: Friday January 1, 2027


This is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, and happenings are solely products of the author’s imagination or fictitious retellings. Any likeness to actual events, locations, persons living or dead, is coincidental.

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**Readers 18 and up only please**.





I once agreed that black was a color that slimmed and was chic and classic. But now I’d rather be wearing any other color. I’d rather be in any other place other than sitting in the back of this car, on my way to my father’s funeral.

Looking out the window as we make our way around the square around the downtown courthouse, I recall the last time I held dread to be in Anson Valley. I had only just arrived a day or two before, but had to be confined to Valentine’s cottage after the minor wreck I had. I had dreaded seeing my father then, wanted to be anywhere but back in the place where my mother disappeared, the place where my father made it clear he loved my brother more than me, and the place where I fell in love with Valentine.

But now I would give anything to be able to dread seeing him again because now, I will never see him again.

When the hand covers mine, I tense, startled from my thoughts. I look over at him, a soft smile touching my lips. The smile falters, but he doesn’t seem to mind, probably deciding to give me the benefit of the doubt on this day.

“Thank you for this. All of it,” I say to him and let him lace his fingers through mine. He brings the back of my hand to his lips, his eyes reflecting an emotion I’m forced to turn away from.

“I didn’t want you to have to worry about anything today, least of all doing your hair or makeup or anything else someone could do for you so you can grieve properly.”

I nod softly but don’t turn back to him, especially not when I see the chapel come into view. I stare at the traditional-looking building with a white steeple and cross perched atop, and stained-glass windows with depictions of scenes from the Bible.

“We’re late,” I say, unsure if that’s a good thing or bad. There’s no one standing outside the church, but the parking lot is full of cars. Two men stand outside the doors like they’re guards, and I assume they are employees of the funeral home because of their white-gloved hands.

“They won’t start without you. Joseph wouldn’t do that despite his feelings.”

I don’t respond because I’m not sure if that’s the case. A week ago, that might’ve been the case. Sitting in that morgue, getting the news that our father was dead, we had supported one another. But now I fear my brother will never speak to me again.

Only a minute later, a hand is offered to me. I take it, stepping out of the car. I look up at the steps, seeing the flower arrangements I chose. My gaze is directed back to the area in front of the church to see a car identical to the one we arrived in pulling up. The couple gets out, the two of them coming to join us at the same time the funeral attendants come to greet us.

“Ms. Anson,” a brown-skinned man with gray hair says, greeting me. I’ve seen him before. He was my chemistry teacher in high school. Mr. North, I think. “I’m so sorry for your loss. Mayor Anson was a good man and a good friend. I’m honored your family’s choice is Anson Valley Homegoing Services during this time of bereavement.”

“Thank you, Mr. North,” I say, and the man smiles and nods, seemingly happy that I remembered him. “Is my brother inside?”

“He is. He’s waiting for you. He’s inside with your… Mr. Trudeau,” the gray-haired man says and then looks at the man holding my hand possessively. He looks uncomfortable, like he wants to be anywhere else than dealing with my family drama. I’m sure he’s heard the gossip about me and Valentine, that we’re married. I have no doubt the EMT who took me to the hospital after Gray Mason attacked me didn’t hold in that fact. Anson Valley is tiny, and something like the mayor’s daughter marrying the town’s bad boy was the tastiest tea they’d heard in years.

“Mr. North, this is my husband… Beaumont Lacoste.”

“And please, Mr. North, address my wife as Mrs. Lacoste.”


~~~


I have to give it to Beau. When he wants something done, it gets done. When I took a chance, returning to the beach house where we had our engagement photoshoot, I didn’t expect things between me and him to move so swiftly. In less than two hours after entering the home he bought for us, Beau had arrived looking satisfied and smug. Then, as if he knew I would show up, he had divorce papers in hand.

The divorce was expedited, thanks to the Lacoste family connections. Within twenty-four hours of Valentine being served, the papers were signed, returned, and I was signing a marriage certificate to Beau. After that we were married by a judge friend of the Lacoste family, and this was happening all while Joseph and I played phone tag as we planned our father’s funeral.

By the time I reached out to Joseph, which was less than two days after they left my apartment, he and Valentine were back in Georgia. They had been the ones to arrange for my father’s body to be transported, as well as talked to the police. When the police asked where I was and why I wasn’t there, both Joseph and Valentine lied for me. They told the police I was too distraught to speak to anyone and that they’d bring me into the station to make a statement. That didn’t happen since I left my apartment after my confession.

Joseph and Valentine told the police that my father thought I was missing and had gone to California to find me, thinking I had returned to Beau under duress. They had told the police they suspected Beau had something to do with my father’s death and my disappearance the week before.

Much to my brother’s dismay, I hadn’t backed up his and Valentine’s story when asked about it. I told the police I willingly left with Beau when I disappeared the week before when I was on the slave world. I cringed when I told the police I wouldn’t willingly marry a man who was holding me against my will, and I almost couldn’t get the words out when I said such a suggestion was ridiculous.

When I spoke to Joseph after talking to the police, he was livid. He demanded I return to Anson Valley, to him and Valentine. He’d known about the divorce, but hadn’t cared why I’d done it, only that I return to make things right. When he found out I wasn’t coming back, that I was now married to Beau and was choosing to stay with him, Joseph said he wanted nothing to do with me. He said he would plan everything on his own, and I didn’t blame him.

“You’re married to the man who killed our father,” my twin had said to me, and I’d wanted to sob with guilt and take the next flight out. I’d wished they didn’t know about my marriage to Beau, but Beau insisted everyone should know. He had our engagement pictures posted again, except this time it was to announce that we were married. “I don’t know what your plan is, but I won’t go along with this. Whatever you think you’re doing to help, our father wouldn’t want it to be this.”

“I love Beau, that’s what my plan is," I’d said, knowing Beau was listening in on the conversation. “I plan to stand by his side, no matter what. I’m sorry you can’t understand that.”

Of course Beau was listening, and he isn’t dumb enough to believe I’m suddenly in love with him. However, I had given him what he wanted, agreed to his terms in return for him telling me about my mother. His one and only term of agreement was...me.

He wants me completely and publicly, and only then will I know what happened to my mother and where she is right now.

You see, I’m not crazy like Valentine and Kendall think. Beau’s confession about my mother wasn’t some tactic to trick me into doing what he wants. My mother is alive. Beau admitted as much, and for some reason, I believe him.

Thankfully, my brother is a better person than I am. Hours after he said he could do it all on his own, he called me. Mentioning nothing else going on, together we made the decisions necessary to bury our father. Though I doubt he will be so accommodating when the truth hits him in the face and he sees me with Beau.

“Mr. North, these are Beau’s parents,” I say as Laurent and Juliette approach. “This is Laurent and Juliette.”

Mr. North greets the Lacoste’s as I stare at the double doors of the church. I’m dreading going inside, and not just because I’m here to say a last goodbye to Noble Anson. I’ll have to face Valentine for the first time since we made love, since I told him I slept with #2, since a stranger served him with divorce papers, since he found out I married Beau.

I feel like I might throw up, like my legs will give out before I reach the first step. Though, somehow, I make it to the top, managing to not fall apart when the other funeral attendant opens the door and at the end of the center aisle is my father’s black and gold casket.

My hand is grabbed, and my fingers are laced with Beau’s. But I barely notice he’s there when my eyes leave the casket and immediately find Valentine’s. He’s sitting in a row with his brother, his brother’s husband, his sister, and Kendall. Kendall’s daughter is sitting next to her.

I wonder where #2 is, where gentleman Valentine is, and what’s been going on with the MV Generator in the week I’ve been gone. I made a promise to Gentleman Valentine to make sure he enjoys his freedom, but I won’t be able to do that now.

Probably realizing that Valentine and I are looking at one another, Beau’s hand squeezes mine tightly in warning as we follow an usher to the front row.

Although I look away at the warning, my eyes are drawn to Valentine as I pass him. I notice he’s sporting a healing ring of purple around one eye.

I want to ask what happened, to hug him and be with him as his wife, but I know that’s never going to happen. I had to make a choice. Valentine has his family, his brother and sister, and knows what happened to his mother. I have none of that. If this is what I have to do to get a piece of my family back, I’ll do what it takes.


~~~


The funeral is somber and many people get up to speak, saying nothing but good things about a person I never knew like they did. As a child, I resented him and his expectations, so we never got close. When I left to go to school, we talked even less, and we both came up with excuses why we didn’t talk more or see each other more.

It wasn’t until my father pointed out how he was surprised that I said yes to Beau that I realized he knew me better than I thought. Then, after that, the revelation that he knew Valentine and I were close as kids, yet he never said a thing to me about it, let me know he loved me more than I ever realized.

Joseph is the last one to speak, saying beautiful things about our father, which makes me sad I never knew him that way. His words only strengthen my convictions to do what needs to be done to give him one of our parents back so he can have more moments like the ones he spoke of.

“It was a beautiful service, Christmas,” my father’s personal assistant says with my hand held in both of hers. “Your father would be so proud of you both… And so would Elise. I’m sure they’re both looking down on you and Joseph, happy with how they raised you.”

“Thank you,” I say, not knowing what else to say to the woman who knew my father better than I did. She’d know how my father would feel about how Joseph and I have handled ourselves after my mother’s disappearance all those years ago, and my father’s death now.

I want to scream at the top of my lungs that my mother is alive but if I did, no one would believe me. Everyone here would think I’m just as crazy as they thought my mother was.

“You’re welcome,” Farrah tells me. “Also, I have something for you. He told me to give it to you in the event of his death.”

Farrah looks over at Beau, who hasn’t left my side all day. It’s a silent request for permission, which means she has noticed Beau’s possessiveness, or possibly my somber demeanor, that has nothing to do with my father’s death.

Though, I’ll do somber if it means I don’t have to deal with Beau touching me. He hasn’t, thank goodness, but that will only last until I’m seen by a doctor. He’s sure I slept with the other Beau and ‘probably the barbarian and all of his copies’, which were his words, not mine. He’s even made me sleep in the second room of the beach house, which I don’t mind at all. He’s so arrogant, he thinks I’m upset because he isn’t allowing me to sleep in his bed.

My guess is that this little show is because sex is the one thing that will make him talk. Sex is Beau’s kryptonite and will have him answering any question I ask and giving me anything I want. Holding out is his only way to hold on to the power and control he has over me.

The truth is, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to go through with sleeping with Beau again, even if it means getting my mother back.

In response to Farrah’s request, Beau leans down and kisses me on my forehead. “You go ahead. But don’t stay away for too long.” He then places a kiss on my cheek and whispers, “Don’t make me have to come and find you, Christmas. Personal experience should tell you I’ll do anything to get what I want, and if I can’t have you…”

He doesn’t finish his sentence, but the threat is implied. And with multiverse travel as an option, the possibilities are endless. He could easily make someone I love disappear and has threatened to do so more than once in the past week when I’ve shown any amount of defiance.

Even now, I still don’t know what I was thinking of going to Beau without a plan. All I knew was that I was probably the only one who could sway Beau. I was depending on the Noble Anson from #2’s world being right about Beau’s obsession, and it worked out in my favor. Beau was willing to exchange my compliance for the information he had about my mother.

I’m not stupid. I know once Beau tells me about my mother, he doesn’t expect the information to see the light of day. He’ll make sure of that, and that’s why I need to be careful, and be on guard. I’m sure Beau has known about the MV Generator for years, which means he’s had years to plan. I’ve only had about a week around Beau, and most of that time I was grieving and really didn’t care what was going on around me. Grief made it easier to go along with Beau and tell him I’ll do anything to get my mother back. But now that I’ve snapped out of my grief-stricken haze, I’m realizing the deep shit I’ve stepped in, agreeing to marry Beau.

I follow Farrah through the house I once resented. The Mayor’s House has always been a sore spot for me because of what it represented, and the kind of life it forced me to live. I hadn’t wanted to be the mayor’s daughter. I hadn’t wanted the expectations that came with that title, and didn’t like the way it made my father treat me.

“This way dear,” Farrah says, her steps speeding up the further we get away from Beau. She takes me to the Mayor’s suite and walks through the door without hesitation. I’m not so bold. I hesitate, not knowing if I’m ready to enter his space so soon after his death. “Come Chrissy. Have a seat,” Farrah says and then quickly retraces her steps. I pause midway to the sofa chair, wondering why she’s leaving, but I don’t have to wait long to find out. As soon as the door to the room closes, the ensuite bathroom opens. Two Valentines emerge dressed in identical black suits and white button downs.


~~~


The both of them look just like Valentine did the day I met his daughter at Anson Cafe. At that time, Valentine had come from church, not a funeral. I’d noticed how sexy he looked in his suit, just as sexy as he looks now.

It’s strange that Valentine can so easily make me feel at ease, make me set my grief aside as long as he’s here. When I’m with Beau, I can think of nothing else but my grief, but that could be because I know Beau and his family are the ones who killed my father.

Beau’s claim is that he had nothing to do with my father’s death. He says he never saw my father while he was in town. However, I know he and the rest of the Lacostes saw my father while he was in town, and then made sure he never left. They might not have been directly involved with his death, since I doubt any of them would dare get their hands that dirty, so I’m sure they paid someone to do the job for them.

I almost laugh to see that both Valentines have a black eye, which both look real. I wonder what that’s about and wonder if I’ll get to ask.

When one Valentine winks at me, getting a glare from the other, I know these two are my Valentine and #2. I shake my head at #2 but don’t get to say anything to him because he immediately leaves the same way Farrah did.

When the door is closed and #2 is gone, I don’t know what to say or do. Valentine and I stare at one another, all sorts of thoughts and questions and feelings surely going through both of our minds.

“V, I’m so sorry,” I finally blurt out and then quickly stand. “But I can’t be here. If he finds me here with you, I don’t know what he might do… or who he might do it to,” I say. “I’m sorry for what I said… what I did… with #2.”

“Damn…” Valentine starts, “that name is still so appropriate for that asshole,” Valentine says, and I can’t help but let a small smile appear on my face even though I’m nervous about getting caught here with him.

Even though the number two that refers to going to the bathroom isn’t why I named the other Valentine that, my Valentine has latched onto that and hasn’t let it go. It’s sweet and funny because they are literally the same person, which means my Valentine is probably a lot more like #2 than he thinks.

“Don’t worry about Beau. That’s why The Shit is here,” Valentine says, closing the distance between us. I’m not surprised he knew exactly what I was thinking. He knows that despite what I’ve done or who I’m with, I will always try to protect the people I love.

When Valentine is in front of me, his large, warm hands cup my face and he presses his lips to mine. I open for him without hesitation, our tongues gliding against one another’s tentatively and gently, lingering in the moment. Valentine’s hand lowers, sliding down my arms, taking them and wrapping them around this neck. I sigh when I feel his hands on my body, relief filling me after being sure I would never feel this again.

I don’t know what comes over me, but I don’t want to stop and I don’t care that Beau is in a room on the other side of the house. I push at Valentine’s suit jacket, pushing it off his shoulders, and he doesn’t stop me. The buttons on his shirt are next, my small hands fumbling over them in frenzied need. When my hands finally touch smooth, bare skin, we both sigh in a way that would suggest we haven’t been together in years, instead of only a week.

The sweet, romantic interlude we had in California is nothing like this act. This is something so much beyond that. This is two people who have been denied and forbidden and kept apart for reasons beyond our control for much too much of our lives, and now we want nothing more than to be with each other and pretend like no one is still standing in our way.

“Wait,” I utter, pulling back from Valentine. “What about what I told you? I slept with him. I know you care, so why aren’t you mad?”

“I’m not mad. I’m… jealous. I’m disappointed. I’m stupid for ever walking away all those years ago. I should’ve never chosen Brenna over you,” he says and then kisses me again. His words make me think Valentine might already know that Breanna isn’t his, but that hope is dashed when he adds, “I could’ve been a good father to my daughter without being in the same house with Brenna and Breanna. I think we only made it harder for her because of the constant arguments and tension.”

“You’re a good father, V. You’re a good person and I never want to see you hurt,” I say, explaining why I haven’t told him the truth about Breanna without actually saying the words. Valentine loves Breanna. I have no plan to take that from him, especially not when there’s a chance I might leave with Beau and never see Valentine again.

“I know you didn’t try to hurt me when you slept with The Shit. The alcohol made you settle for an inadequate substitute,” Valentine says and then doesn’t give me a chance to say anything else. His lips crash to mine and the passion between us is like fuel tossed onto a fire, making it blaze brightly. Every part of me lights up with desire and need and a burning and urgent need to be possessed by Valentine. I need this moment with him so I can take it with me and hold it close so every time Beau touches me, my thoughts are only on Valentine. “You’re Christmas Noel Trudeau, my wife, and nothing Beau does will change that in my mind or in my heart.”

“I love you, Valentine.”

~~~


Once again, we kiss, but this time the kiss is a lot slower. It’s lingering. It’s orgasmic in its intensity. Raw, wild, uncontrolled need passes between us until the only thing left to do is to connect. Valentine turns me with a gentle force, then unzips the exposed gold zipper of my black sheath dress, exposing me in-turn.

Lips press to my back with every inch of exposed skin he reveals, the sensuousness of it making it hard to control the volume of my pleased sighs. My dress falls to the floor, and moments later we’re both exposed enough that Valentine enters me from behind as I hold on to the back of the sofa chair.

Over and over again we join in the most intimate of ways, Valentine fucking me as much as he’s making love to me. There’s an animalistic, yet spiritual hunger to our mating, our souls connecting as much as our flesh.

After long moments of getting lost in our pleasure, Valentine abruptly ceases all movement. I feel his lips press against my sweaty back before he disconnects our bodies.

I groan when his comforting presence leaves me. But only a moment passes before I cease all protests. Valentine coaxes me to face him and my brown eyes meet his. We share a moment where neither of us touches or speaks or moves. We convey all that we feel for each other in that one gaze, but then I can’t help but reach a hand up to touch the bruise around his eye.

“How did it happen?” I ask, glad that I had chance to ask since I didn’t think I would.

“The Shit. I beat his ass for getting you drunk and sleeping with you. In order for our plan to work today, he had to return the favor. I let him punch me once in the eye so no one would be able to tell the difference between us and he could pretend to be me for a while,” Valentine says. “But I don’t want to talk about anyone else but us right now, Chris. I’m here to tell you I love you and I forgive you and I’m not giving up on you. I know you think everything that happened is your fault. It’s not.”

I don’t agree with him, so instead of saying that, I lift to my toes and press my lips to his. My arms wind around his neck as the kiss deepens, becoming more passionate. Everything else we have between us gets set aside as Valentine lifts me from the floor and I wrap my legs around him.

Only seconds later, with the icy wall behind my back, we are both coming apart, our gasps and groans of pleasure filling the space, blocking out everything and everyone.

“All of you think I’m stupid.”

Both Valentine and I stiffen. My hearts thuds in my chest, fear taking over in a way it hasn’t since I thought I was going to be left on the slave world. Valentine curses and then whispers that everything will be okay before lowering me to the floor and blocking my body with his own. He then moves me toward the bathroom door as others enter the bedroom.

I watch as Valentine makes himself presentable again before closing the bathroom door in my face. I reach for the door, but the coward in me makes me hesitate. Before I can open the door, it gets opened, Kendall entering with my dress and underwear.

“What the hell is happening out there?” I ask, thankful that Kendall is here even though the last time we spoke, I was angry at her. She and Valentine had concluded that my time on the slave world made me so crazy that it made me stupid. They didn’t believe, and surely still don’t believe, that my mother is still alive.

I hurry to put on my clothes, regretting my decision to stay in the room with Valentine knowing that Beau was in the house. I had let my feelings take control of my common sense for a moment, but now I’m back.

“I’m sure your brother and the two Valentines are telling Beau he isn’t welcome here and that you aren’t going anywhere with him,” Kendall says.

“He knows where my mother is,” I say and then watch as Kendall’s smooth features scrunch into a frown that holds so much pity I have to look away.

“Chrissy… Beau is playing you. He’s obsessed with you and will say anything to get you to stay with him,” Kendall says. “You have to see that. The existence of that device doesn’t change the fact that your mother is probably dead.”

I don’t want to hear it anymore. I don’t want people to keep treating me like I’m turning into my ‘crazy’ mother who wasn’t really crazy. She was sane. Her best friend and husband simply decided about her just like Kendall and Valentine are doing to me. Juliette Lacoste convinced my father that my mother was crazy and my father believed Juliette probably until my mother eventually showed him the MV Generator and what it can do.

“Maybe so,” I say, even though there’s no part of me that still believes she’s dead. “But I will not give up until I know for sure. So if this is some sort of intervention where Valentine fucks me into submission, then your plan didn’t work,” I say, hoping the hurt in my tone can’t be heard. It hurts me that my best friend, my brother, nor the man who’s supposed to love me, believe me. It hurts that mine and Valentine’s intimate reunion was part of some elaborate plan the three of them came up with.

The fuck-some-sense-into-Christmas-plan.

“That’s not what this was, Chrissy. We weren’t trying to manipulate you.”

“Weren’t you though…?” I ask, but don’t wait for her to answer because I don’t need to know the answer. I was there. That’s exactly what their plan was. I’m sure Kendall is in the bathroom with me to keep me from leaving. I turn my back to Kendall to do just that, putting my hand on the doorknob but not turning as Kendall makes one last attempt to convince me.

“No, of course not,” Kendall pleads. “We just don’t want you to think you have to sacrifice yourself when you might be doing that for nothing. You deserve better than to be subjected to a man who would do the things he’s done to you and your family. You’ve waited too long to be with Valentine and you shouldn’t have to give him up again. You love him and I know you love Breanna, too.”

I bark out a cough and a laugh that encompasses everything I’m feeling right now. I shake my head because she doesn’t know what I’ve been keeping from him, at least I don’t remember telling her, nor do I remember telling her how sure I am about it now.

“Breanna isn’t his daughter,” I whisper, but I’m sure Kendall didn’t hear me.

“What did you say?” She asks as I finally turn the knob on the door and open it to leave.

I whip around to my best friend and reveal what I know to be true. “Breanna isn’t V’s daughter. I can’t be one hundred percent sure, but on every world I’ve been to, it’s been different circumstances but the same outcome,” I say and then huff out a breath. “The only reason I have been able to come up with to tell him the truth about Breanna is -”

“What truth about Breanna?” Valentine’s voice asks, interrupting me. My body stills and my throat closes. Valentine can’t see my face, so he can’t see me panicking or that my first instinct is to run as fast as I can as I break down into tears. I’m speechless, my mouth opening and closing with nothing but air coming out.

“Nothing Val,” Kendall inserts, saving me from myself, but I know I don’t deserve saving. I turn, not bothering to censor anything I was about to say.

“She’s lying, and I’ve been lying too.” I sigh, trying to get the courage to say the words since I once remember thinking I couldn’t stand the thought of telling him, not even if it gets him to let me go, but I need him to let me go this time. No matter what, Kendall, Valentine, or my brother think I am going to find out where my mother is. Something deep down inside tells me she’s still alive and I can’t let this go until I lay eyes on her again. Beau has promised me I will and for some reason, I believe him. “The truth about Breanna is that there’s a good chance she’s not your daughter.”


~~~


Valentine’s body tenses, and despite what I thought all this time, I’m now sure he hasn’t suspected that Breanna wasn’t his since he left me in that honeymoon suite all those years ago. I’ve been wrong all this time thinking he knew, but he just wasn’t willing to admit that to himself. He had no idea, and the disgusted way he looks at me is clear evidence of that.

Whoever said the phrase ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ must’ve been in a situation just like this one because I suddenly want to say those words. I don’t. I instead say, “I didn’t want you to find out like this. But I’m tired of lying. I’m tired of pretending like I don’t think about it every time I see you with Breanna.”

“So all this time you’ve been secretly thinking my daughter isn’t mine?” Valentine asks. “We were together for weeks before California and you never said a thing.” I don’t like how hostile his tone is because it’s not my fault. It’s Brenna’s fault. She let Valentine fall in love with being a father to her daughter, even though I’m sure she’s known the truth since before Breanna was born. “I bet that’s exactly what you wanted, what you were hoping for, right? So you could have me and not have to deal with Brenna?”

“Hoping for?” I ask with a lot of offense in my tone. I honestly hadn’t been expecting a reaction like this, even though this is the reaction I feared. I chuckle in a way that makes Kendall and Valentine stare at me like I’m confirming their suspicions about me - that I’m crazy. “You not having a child with Brenna was what I hoped and wished for. Brenna never liked me before she knew about us and now she hates me. You’re the one who told me she’s been giving you shit now that she knows about us. Since you told that EMT that we were married, and he told everyone else, Brenna has made it her duty to talk about me to anyone who will listen. Now people in Anson Valley think I’m a home wrecker, even though you claim you two were never together.”

“Oh, so now I’m lying to you about what I remember?” Valentine asks.

“I’m not going to argue with you about this. If you want to pretend to be oblivious, then that’s on you.” I shrug and then tell this lie… “It doesn’t matter to me. We’re no longer married, so what goes on with you and Brenna has nothing to do with me.”

“You don’t mean that,” Kendall says to me. “Val, you know she doesn’t -”

“No,” Valentine says, cutting her off. “She’s right. My life has nothing to do with hers anymore. All the Beaus, and all the other Valentines she’s fucked can have her,” Valentine says, making me feel like I’ve been slapped. “I choose my daughter.”

Valentine shakes his head in disgust like he never knew me, like he’s been wrong about his feelings for me this whole time. I immediately feel sick. And when he turns to walk back through the door of the bathroom, I know it’s over. I know Valentine will never look at me the same again. He’s a father, or at least he thinks he’s one, and good fathers are willing to do anything to protect their children. I should know that since that’s why we are here today. My father wanted to protect me and he paid the ultimate price for it. Valentine is doing the same. He’s giving up everything we planned, everything we talked about for our future, everything but his daughter.

The second Valentine is out of my eyesight, I feel my heart break into a million tiny little pieces. I feel my knees weaken and bile rise into my throat.

“Chrissy…” Kendall says, and then I feel her behind me. I feel one of her hands gently touch my arm as if she plans to turn me around. However, I shrug her off, not wanting to be comforted by her or anyone else. “I promise things will be okay between you and Val. He just needs some time for it to sink in. He loves you. Once he realizes you’re right, he -”

"Can you please leave?” I interrupt, snapping at Kendall. I knew this day would be hard, but I hadn’t expected this. I thought I would stare at Valentine from across the church, from across the room during the repast, longing for the man I love but can’t have.

Instead, this happened, and this is so much worse.

“Chrissy, you don’t mean that. I know you’re hurting, but you have me and your brother and you know we’ll help you figure out this thing with Beau.”

“There’s nothing to figure out,” I say coldly. “I’m leaving here with my husband.”



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