An excerpt from author, Ross Hawse’s first novel. To be release in early 2016.
Jake hadn’t seen Ashley for a few weeks, not since she had stopped over in early October to visit and had ended up drinking two bottles of wine with him and staying overnight. She had this way of always coming back into his life just long enough to keep him from getting over her. She told him she had some news and wanted to tell him in person. Jake had immediately felt his stomach churn and felt like he was going to throw up. Ashley skirted around the real reason she had asked to meet him with small talk about Christmas and the weather. Jake could tell she was delaying the delivery of the real reason for the meeting.
After a few minutes he finally interrupted her and asked her to spit it out. Ashley paused, then slowly and quietly told him that her and Ryan were going to move into together (Ryan was the SOB from work that Jake had been accusing her of having a relationship with over the past six months).
Jake was dumb founded, shocked. Ok, it fucked him up. Ashley wasn’t finished with her news though. She started to cry and then told him there was something else. He asked her what else she could possibly have left to tell him. Let me guess, “you’re pregnant” he had mumbled. He didn’t really think she was, but he threw it out there. Ashley broke down and the tears streamed down her cheeks. It took her a few minutes to pull herself together but she finally managed to whisper a yes.
It was a moment that made him feel like he was in the movie The Matrix. You know the part where Keanu Reeve’s character is dodging bullets in slow motion, when he first realizes he has this ability or power to slow everything down so he can avoid the bullets.
This was Jake’s moment. It was like time stood still.
He could hear the conversations around them stop, he could see the snowflakes falling outside the window and he must have counted to a hundred before he realized Ashley was asking him if he was ok.
“Say something”, she was whispering.
He stood up and reached for his jacket, put it on slowly, fixed his scarf and looked at her without blinking. He just looked at her with this stunned look on his face and said “You promised me you would never hurt me.” He didn’t cry, he didn’t show any emotion.
He was empty, nothing left to give her, not even a tear.
He pushed the green and red tin of Christmas cookies back across the table, stood up, pushed in his chair and walked out the door.
She had been the woman who had helped him through the breakup of his first marriage and they had been through so much good and bad over the previous 7 years. He had never known anyone like her and really believed that they were meant to be together forever. Even though they had been separated for six months he still thought they would get back together.
But that wasn’t going to happen now. She was moving in with Ryan and they were having a baby.
Posted on LBH with permission by Ross Hawse