Dear April (Sunshine & Shadow Book 2)

 

 

Sunshine &
Shadow 2

 

 

 

 

 

Dear April

Novella by Alie
Williamson

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright @ 2015
Alie Williamson

All Rights
reserved

Published by
POWWOW Books, Canada

Cover photography:
Monika Paterson

Model: Katie
Giroux

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

 

Dear
April,

I
know you’re angry with me. I know you wonder why I left. I wanted to stay,
April, I really did, but I just couldn’t. There’s so much I want to tell you,
but I can’t.    I need you to forgive me. I don’t know what I’ll do if you
don’t. I can’t imagine never seeing you again. If you forgive me I won’t ever
let you down again. I promise you that. I love you, April Cooper, with all my
heart and I swear, I will explain everything. One day.

I
miss you.

Please don’t hate me.

I love you.

Lex

 

Dear
April,

I
started the prep for the movie yesterday, and I couldn’t get you out of my
mind. I’m surrounded by people every day, but I feel so lonely, because the one
person I want isn’t by my side.

My
heart isn’t in this film, and everyone else has noticed. It’s at Blue Haven,
with you.

Lex

 

Dear
April,

      Please.
You have to write back to me. I need you. April, I’m begging you; you have to
forgive me. You have no idea how much I regret leaving. I should have waited
for you. I should have told you everything, but I was so afraid that you
wouldn’t forgive me.

      I’m
not the right man for you, April. I’m not good like you. I’m not kind like you.
I was selfish, and I’m sorry.

      I’m
sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

      I
don’t know what else I can say, April! Please, just write back to me. I need
you in my life. I need to know that you forgive me.

Lex

 

April Cooper sat on her
bed with her legs crossed. She flicked through a total of seventeen emails that
had landed in her inbox in the last two weeks, all from the same address:
[email protected] The little arrow on the screen lingered over the Delete
button, but she couldn’t make that final click.

April kept every single
email from Lex Mitchell that pinged into her inbox. Her heart still gave a
flutter when she saw the subject line, ‘Dear April.’

She was angry with him.
How could she not be? He left her. He disappeared without as much as a ‘see ya
later’. And he had the audacity to leave her a note as if that would make
everything okay. Well, no sir. Everything was definitely not okay, and the best
way to convey that to him, was to ignore the emails, and the missed calls that
popped up on her phone from an unknown California number. April couldn’t bear
to hear his voice and changed the settings on her phone to send that caller
straight to voicemail, so she wouldn’t be tempted. She was going to every
length possible to remove Lex Mitchell from her life.

And it wasn’t working one
bit.

 

“April, honey, come down
and watch this video Jes and Rosie sent us from their Trek,” April’s mother
shouted from downstairs.

Her mother and father,
surrounded by their ranch hands, Adam, Hailey, Caleb, and Kip, were watching
the television screen. As April came down the stairs, she could see last week’s
guests, Jes and Rosie, smiling at the camera. April hadn’t gone on the Trek with
them, and she almost wished she had. Being alone at the ranch, with only the
horses to keep her company, left her too much time to think.

“Rosie and Lady sure got
along, eh, boss?” Kip said to Mr. Cooper. “Lady followed that woman around like
a puppy dog, even before the join up.”

April’s father nodded,
his eyes still glued to the screen. “Some people just have a natural gift when
it comes to horses.” He looked at April fondly. “I knew April had it from the
time she turned three and almost every horse followed her around that pen like
she had them on ropes.”

April’s mom stood up to
retrieve her slippers. “I’ll never forget when she found that mare at the old
Sweeney ranch that had been left to starve,” she said.

The wranglers looked at her;
they had never heard the story.

“April was seven then. She
ran home one day on her old pony, shouting and crying about this sad-looking
horse at the abandoned ranch down the road. Jack loaded up the truck and drove over
there right away, but there was no way that mare was going anywhere near him or
the trailer.”

April felt all eyes on
her, but she fixed her gaze on her mother and waited for the end of the story.

“Until April got out of
the truck,” her mom said, “and climbed over the fence and said to Jack, “It’s
okay, dad, she won’t hurt you. She’s just…”

“…scared,” April said. The
memory of the scene was still so strong she could almost smell the rotting wood
from the rundown barn.

Her mom nodded. “And
April walked straight up to the horse, held out her little hand and that mare
followed her right into the trailer.”

April sat on the armrest
of the large, leather couch and her father hugged her around the waist. “That’s
when we knew for sure that this one had the gift.”

The team grew quiet and
focused on the screen again. Rosie was attempting to drink from the fast moving
Sheep River, not knowing to always take your water upstream from the herd.

April looked over at Kip,
who sat at the opposite end of the sofa. He looked like a man watching his
wedding video ten years after the event. Every season Kip fell in love with at
least one of the female guests, and because of his luck, they were usually
happily married.

April could understand
Kip’s fascination. Rosie was beautiful, with tanned skin and short, curly hair
that didn’t quite reach her chin. Her eyes were a glittering green, and April
wondered what nationality she was. Maybe Italian.

Kip caught April watching
him and his cheeks reddened. He coughed and stood up. “I’m going to go do night
check on the horses.”

April got up and followed
him.

“Kip!”

He was already in the
feed room, scooping grain into waiting buckets.

“Need any help?” April
asked.

Kip nodded.

As they filled the
buckets and delivered them to each impatient horse, Kip looked sad. April
walked over to him, wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him. She had
been very lonely since Lex left, but the thought of letting Kip spend the night
with her like he used to, left her feeling guilty and even lonelier than
before. She clung onto Kip’s torso and buried her face in his soft sweater.

“You okay?” she said.

Kip heaved a sigh. “I
will be. She was so sweet, but I knew she was married and nothing could ever
happen from the get-go. To be honest, I’m a little lonely. It sucks to be alone.”

April pulled away and
gently punched Kip in the shoulder. “No more of that sort of talk; you have me.
Okay? Always.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

Kip smiled and gripped
April’s hand as they strolled to the corral to let the other horses into the
field.

“Enough about me and my
bad luck with the ladies. How’re you doing?”

“I’m fine,” April said,
answering a little too quickly.

Kip raised his eyebrow.

“Okay, I
will
be
fine. Just need some time, I guess.”

“Other than the letter he
left in the room, have you heard from him at all?”

She nodded. “Emails. Lots
of them.”

“You reply?”

“No. I don’t want to.”
Liar
.

Kip raised his eyebrow
again.

“Alright, alright, I do
want to. But I know that it won’t go anywhere. He made that pretty damn clear
when he just disappeared with no explanation.”

“Maybe he has one,” Kip
said. “Maybe you just don’t know what it is yet. And if you don’t reply, you’ll
never know. If it was me, I couldn’t just sit back and wonder what might have
happened.”

“Since when are you on
Lex’s side?” April pulled her hand out of Kip’s and turned to face him.

“I’m not, April. I just
see how miserable you are. And I hate it.”

“I’m not miserable.”  Kip’s
look told her that he knew she was lying. “I never thought I’d be one of those
stupid girls whose world ends because of a guy.”

“You can’t always help
falling in love, April.”

Am I in love? April
thought. She’d never been in love before. Is this what it felt like? The
emptiness, the longing? The feeling that part of her was missing? If this was
love, it sure as hell wasn’t what everyone made it out to be. This was no fun.
Lex said he loved her, but how did she know he was sincere? What if she trusted
him and he turned out to be lying? Trust could only be broken so many times.

“I don’t know what to
do,” April whispered.

“What did the emails
say?”

“Wanna read them?”

An hour later, Kip pushed
the computer off his lap and sunk back into the pillow on April’s bed.

“Wow,” he said.

“Tell me about it. What
should I do?”

Kip rubbed his temples.
“It comes down to what you want, April. Do you want to be with Lex?”

“I don’t know ...” April
buried her face in her hands. “Ah, I just don’t know.”

Kip was quiet for a few
minutes, and April listened to his breathing. When he finally spoke it was a
whisper.

“Why haven’t you deleted
these emails?”

April’s head lifted. “I
couldn’t,” she said, after a long pause.

“Why not?”

She shrugged. “I tried
to. But ... they’re all I have left of him.”

Kip pulled April into his
arms just as a tear rolled down her cheek. It was the first time in weeks that
she had been held like this and she buried her face in his chest and allowed
the violent sobs to wrack her body until her throat was sore and her eyes were
dry.

She loved Lex. She had
fallen in love with a man whom she barely knew, but seemed to know her better
than anyone else. She loved him and hated him, because he had left her, without
a goodbye, and all she wanted to do was chase after him and wrap her arms
around him and never let go. Oh, Lex. How could she have been so naïve to think
that she could have looked into his enchanting eyes
without
falling in
love with him? He had cast his spell on her and she was his.

“What…do…I…do?” April
sobbed.

The computer pinged.

Kip dove for it and held
it away from April’s reaching hands. “Is this what you want? Like really want?”

“Yes, yes, I want this.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes! Give me my
computer, Kip.”

Kip laid the laptop in
April’s hands and she flipped open the screen.

     

Sent To: [email protected]

Sent On: July 6
th
,
2014, 10:14pm

Sent From: [email protected]

Subject: The truth

 

Dear April,

 

I can’t pretend to be
okay being away from you. I can’t pretend that everything is fine. Because it’s
not.

I can’t do it anymore.

I will tell you
everything. Please don’t hate me.

 

The reason I had to leave
was because Violet was on her way to the ranch and I couldn’t let her see you,
because she’d know I was falling in love with you. She would have been able to
tell. Violet is ... my girlfriend.

 

April choked.

“What? What’s going on?”

April’s lips moved but
she couldn’t make a sound. Kip leaned over her shoulder and read aloud from the
screen.

“…would have been able…my
girlfriend!? Son of a bitch! I knew there was something going on with that guy!”

April was still stunned.
She stared at Kip’s face and tried to force her lungs to work.

Lex had a girlfriend.

That’s why he had to
leave. That’s why Cash had always given her weird looks. He had known. He had
pitied her. Another silly girl falling for his brother’s unwavering charm.

“Wait…April, keep
reading.”

April shook her head and
closed her eyes. She didn’t want to know the other reasons why Lex had lied to
her and made her look like a fool.

“April, trust me. Read
it.” Kip placed the laptop back into April’s lap and she reluctantly opened her
eyes.

The email continued:

 

She’s my girlfriend, but
not in the traditional sense. Violet Rose is an actress and she’s starring
opposite me in the movie. The producer told us that it would be huge publicity
if we got together in real life, too. People want to see their favorite onscreen
couple fall in love. And it worked. The movie is getting serious hype because
of this lie and I should have told you.

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