Authors: RaShelle Workman
Polished Pen Press Corporation
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All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the written consent of the author, RaShelle Workman Bountiful, UT. 84011.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the creation 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.
Design copyright @2015 RaShelle Workman
Edited by: 1 <3 Editing
Simone needed a miracle...
Twenty-year-old Simone St. James was a librarian from the tourist town of Bandon, Oregon. She was also diagnosed with cancer.
Two summers ago - before all hell broke loose - she met Sam. He was everything she ever wanted in a man: smart, funny, and gorgeous. But after eight perfect weeks he left, and she hadn't heard from him since. Until she received an email from him asking her to meet so he could explain.
It might be another empty promise, but Simone had to see him one last time, even if it was just to say good-bye.
Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me
And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Simone St. James was nineteen when she fell in love. It was that once in a lifetime kind of love, the kind of love that hit hard and didn’t let go, the kind where all she could do was think about him. Only him. Always him.
Like the twinkle in his eyes when he smiled or the way his skin crinkled along the edges when he laughed. Laugh lines. That was what she called them. And then there was the way his dark hair fell into his face when he tilted his head as they kissed.
His name was Samuel Merrick, Sam for short. He wasn’t a guy from her quaint tourist town of Bandon, Oregon. He was a man: tall, muscled, and completely and totally gorgeous. The day she met him and every day thereafter, his standard attire consisted of cowboy boots, jeans that sat low on his perfectly tapered hips, t-shirts, and a cowboy hat that looked older than him. He had a square jaw, straight white teeth, and a mouth that could do things to her lips and body that made her shiver.
Sam was Simone’s first time, her every time. From the moment she met him she knew she would never have to look at another man again.
She still didn’t know why he’d come to Bandon, but from the moment he walked into the library where she worked, strode over to her desk, and asked her opinion on a good book, Simone had been a goner.
Yes, it was love at first sight.
And she didn’t regret it. Not even a little.
He was in her life for eight weeks, eight flawless weeks. And then he left. Without saying good-bye. Just rolled over, kissed her tenderly, walked out of her bedroom, and never came back.
Simone’s heart broke that day, splintered into a million pieces. After that she got sick, couldn’t keep down food. Nine months later, Simone gave birth to a baby girl.
Everything changed when her daughter was born. Simone’s heart healed. Her baby’s tiny body, her sweet cries became Simone’s first real truth. Her baby’s life, her love, her needs superseded Simone’s.
It was strange to think in terms of another person’s life, to gauge her own merits and accomplishments based on someone else, and maybe it wasn’t right, maybe that wasn’t how she was meant to live. But Simone enjoyed every single moment she spent taking care of her daughter. She relished it.
Simone named her daughter Sabrina Sam after her grandmother and her daughter’s father. Sabrina taught Simone what it meant to love and be loved unconditionally.
Simone didn’t tell her daughter’s father. After Sam left she never heard from him again, and Simone refused to look for him. It went against every ounce of pride she possessed. It was bad enough that she’d allowed herself to be duped into falling for him. Growing up in a tourist town it was one of the first lessons taught—have fun with them, party, make out, but never, ever, ever, ever
, fall in love.
Knowing the rules hadn’t helped. She’d fallen hard and the worst part was she’d believed her feelings were reciprocated. He’d told her he loved her. More than once.
“It wasn’t his fault I believed him. It was mine.” She gulped down water from her glass and stared out the window overlooking the kitchen sink. Outside two children rode their bikes in the road. She watched them wistfully, wondering if she’d get to see Sabrina ride a bike.
For the last fourteen months Simone had raised Sabrina on her own. Well, with the help of her mom and her three older sisters.
Sabrina was spoiled rotten, which was good. Simone knew her life was good. Busy. Between work at the library, taking care of Sabrina, and spending time at the hospital and with family, there wasn’t time for anything else.
In two days Sabrina would celebrate her second Fourth of July, but the first one where she could understand a little of what was going on. It was one of Simone’s favorite times of year, when families came together for BBQs and to watch the fireworks as they sparkled over the ocean.
Simone was content with the life she had. Settled even—at the ripe old age of twenty.
At least, that was what she believed until she received an email.
She went to the kitchen table, picked up a strawberry and popped in her mouth. Sabrina had been put down for the night. Simone’s mom and sisters would be over soon to celebrate her twenty-first birthday. While she waited, she read the email from Sam again.
I hope this letter finds you well. It’s been a while since we’ve talked. Maybe you don’t even remember me. We met at the library a couple of summers ago. We dated a while.
Anyway, I left without saying good-bye or giving you a reason.
That was wrong.
You deserve an explanation.
Can you meet me at midnight tomorrow? At our spot on the beach. In the cave, remember? I’d like to see you again and explain. I’ve missed you.
Please say yes.
There were several things about the email that irritated the hell out of her. The first was the implication that she might not remember him, as though she fell in love with guys all the time or something. The second was that he emailed her out of the blue, asking her to meet him.
It surprised Simone that he even knew her email. She hadn’t given it to him. While they were together they hadn’t exchanged email addresses. He’d never given her his phone number and she hadn’t given him hers. It was a discussion that never came up. Sam would meet her after her shift at the library each evening. They spent every free moment together. She never introduced him to her mom and sisters. She hadn’t wanted to share him. And it’d seemed he hadn’t wanted to share her either.
Simone flipped off her computer and took another sip of ice water.
A soft knock sounded at the front door. Her heart jumped. Her first thought had been that it was Sam. Of course that was impossible. She quickly recovered and went to the door. The party tonight would consist of opening presents, eating strawberry shortcake birthday cake, and drinking sangrias.
Simone checked the peephole. Her sister, Heather waved. Simone smiled and opened the door. “Hey girls.”
Their arms were stacked with presents and sacks filled with alcohol ingredients. Simone took some of the bags as she kissed her siblings and her mom.
“Oooh, I like your birthday decorations, Sim,” Liv said with mock sarcasm.
“So glad I brought some things to spruce up the place.” Sara opened her paper bag and pulled out some balloons.
“Sabrina asleep?” Simone’s mom asked.
“Yeah. She went down a while ago.”
“Awesome. It’s time for sangrias.” Heather took a bottle of rum and wine from her paper bag. “You picked up the orange juice, right?”
“Of course.” Simone opened the refrigerator, grabbed the juice, and set it on the cheap linoleum counter.
Her mom took glasses from the cupboard and started making the drinks. The secret to her mom’s sangrias was lots of alcohol mixed with a little fruit.
“So how long have you been in your jammies, birthday girl?” Liv sat at the table in front of Simone’s computer and turned it on.
“Hey. You’re just jealous because you’re still wearing mom jeans and grannie panties.” Simone glanced down at her pink cotton pajamas and matching slippers. “These are comfy and I’m going commando.”
“Simone St. James. Is that necessary? What’s the saying? TMI,” her mom said, filling the glasses.
“Yep, definitely TMI, Mom,” Sara said, running her fingers over the curtains in the window. “Hey, are these new?” Sara always noticed the homey touches, like the curtains, the new slipcover she’d put over couch, and the Fourth of July wreath she’d made for the front door.
“Yeah, I made the curtains the other day along with the wreath.” Simone pointed at the wreath hanging on the back door. “You like them?”
“I do. The pale green color of the curtains gives all the white in your kitchen a pop of needed color.”
“I think so too,” Simone’s mom said, handing her a glass. Simone brought it too her lips. It smelled strong. As much as she wanted to get wasted and forget the email from Sam, she couldn’t overdo it. She needed to stay sober for Sabrina.
Simone’s mom held out her glass. She obviously understood what Simone had been thinking. “Don’t worry. I won’t drink—much. I’ll keep an eye on Sabrina.”
“Thanks, Mom.” She meant well, but her mom enjoyed her alcohol as much as her sisters.
Heather snorted. “Yeah, between the four of us, we’ll keep her safe.” They all touched their glasses to their mom’s.
“Happy birthday, Simone,” her mom said.
“Happy birthday,” her sisters chimed in, clinking their glasses.
Simone took a sip of her drink. It was sweet and burned all the way down.
“Good, right?” Sara asked.
Simone giggled, feeling her cheeks warm. “Really good.”
“So you going to tell us about this email?” Liv asked, pointing at the screen as she slid into her seat.
“What email?” Mom leaned over Liv’s shoulder. Sara and Heather joined in.
Simone let them read it because they were family. She would’ve showed it to them eventually anyway. She needed them.
Her mom finished first. “You’re going to meet him, right?”
Heather, Liv and Sara turned as one to watch Simone answer.
Simone shrugged. “Do you think I should?” She took a drink. “It irritates me that he thinks I might not remember him. Like I could forget.” She gritted her teeth.
“I forgot who I slept with last week,” Sara said with a shrug. “But then between my ex and my three kids, I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast this morning.”
Everyone laughed. Mom poured another round of sangrias.
“If you don’t go, I will. I want to hear what his
is,” Liv said, gulping down her second helping, making her cheeks rosy. She was the lightweight in the family as well as the lush.
“I agree,” Sara said, walking into Simone’s tiny living room. She blew up several balloons, tied them off, and let them fall to the floor.
Her mom and Heather nodded in agreement.
“I’d go see him, Simone dear. He needs to know about Sabrina and he needs to take some responsibility.” Her mom patted her hand.
That made her angry.
“Why should he get to swoop in, pretend to be the hero, and have any part of her life? He missed the midnight feedings, the colic, the first time she smiled.” Simone went over to the pictures hanging above the TV.
Her mom came to stand beside her, brushing Simone’s thick auburn curls off her sweaty neck. “Is it fair that he’ll miss anymore? Especially with… you know… it’d be nice if Sabrina had her father around.”
Simone swallowed down her fear. Tears filled her eyes. “What if I tell him and he doesn’t want her? What if he rejects us, me, again? I-I don’t know if I can handle that.” Simone shook her head. She sat on the Fourth-of-July themed couch, and put her head in her hands.
Her mom sat too, patting Simone’s knee. Sara took the other side. Heather and Liv knelt in front of them. Simone glanced at each of them, so grateful for her family. They’d survived without a father. Sabrina would survive too, especially if she kept these amazing women in her life.
“If he makes that decision, then he makes that decision. And we’ll know for sure he’s an idiot and we can move on,” Liv said, pulling Simone into a hug.
“I’ll stay tomorrow night and watch Sabrina. Then you won’t need to worry,” her mom said, wiping her eyes with a napkin.
“Thanks, Mom.” Simone sniffled.
Heather stood. “’Kay, we’ve got presents to open and cake to eat and more alcohol to consume.”
“Right, let’s get to it,” Sara added.
After Simone’s mom and sisters left she read the email from Sam again. And again. And again. She also finished off her sangria and had another. Not the smartest move with all of the medication she was taking, but Sam’s email had thrown her for a loop. At two-thirty in the morning Simone responded:
I’ll be there, but no funny business.
As soon as she hit Send, she proceeded to wish she could take it back. How could she assume there’d be funny business? Of course there wouldn’t be. He’d left her, like, got out of her bed, walked out, and never came back. Why would she think he’d want more of that… more of what she had to offer? The stupid words ate at her until she finally fell asleep on the couch.
Sabrina’s cries woke Simone what seemed like moments later. She went into Sabrina’s little room. As soon as Sabrina saw her, she stopped crying and smiled.
That was all it took to change Simone’s mood. It didn’t matter if men didn’t find her attractive. It didn’t matter if Sam rejected her. What mattered was the sweet girl smiling up at her from her crib.
Simone picked Sabrina up and changed her then carried her daughter into the kitchen. She placed Sabrina in her bouncy chair, warmed her a bottle and turned on the coffee. Even though Sabrina was fourteen months old she still liked a bottle first thing in the morning and before bed.
When the bottle was warm, Simone took her daughter into the living room and sat in her favorite old wooden rocking chair. It was the same one her mother had rocked her in when she was a baby.
“You ready, Sabrina girl?” Simone cooed.
Her daughter smiled, taking the bottle in her mouth and holding it herself. She seemed content. Sabrina’s eyes held Simone’s and she wondered if her daughter knew, if she understood how much Simone loved her, how she would do anything to protect and keep Sabrina safe and happy. Anything within her power, anyway.
“Positive thoughts, Sim,” she told herself in a soft voice.
Sabrina let go of the nipple and smiled as though encouraging her mom.
“I can’t die, right? I have too much to live for.”