Knitted Hearts - Amber Kelly
The party is beginning to dwindle. We are all a little tired and a lot wobbly on our feet. I take a break from the dance floor and walk to the front porch to get some fresh air.
The cold winter air hits my damp skin and instantly cools me down. Bellamy had large propane heaters brought in to line the porch and back deck, so I move closer to the one on my left and place my hands on the railing. It’s a beautiful night. The stars are so bright. The music drifts out through the window, and I close my eyes and soak up the Christmas cheer.
I wait as a few guests meander out and to their cars. When a light breeze kicks up, I turn to go back in when I hear my name being called.
I look out over the yard, and I search the darkness.
Finally, a figure steps out of the shadows and into the light.
I look around to see if anyone else is out there.
“What are you doing here?” I ask as my eyes come back to him.
“I wanted to talk to you. I figured you’d be at this shindig.”
“I don’t think you’re welcome. You shouldn’t have come here.”
“I know. I won’t stay. I just wanted to see you and wish you a Merry Christmas. I miss you,” he says, and my stupid, traitorous heart skips a beat.
He takes a few tentative steps forward, and I back up. He stops, puts his hands in his pockets, and lowers his head.
“I wanted to apologize. I was angry, and I didn’t mean all those things I said at Doreen’s party.”
He looks up, no doubt waiting for my reaction. I just stay quiet, so he continues, “I’m a mess, but I’m getting on my feet. I want to be a good husband. I want to take care of you and buy you that house. I want to make babies with you and be a family. I’d be a good dad. I know I would. I just need you to believe in me again. To believe in us.”
He is saying all the things I wanted to hear two months ago. All of the things that I convinced myself he could be.
“Say something,” he pleads.
“I don’t know what to say,” I whisper.
“Say you’ll give me a chance, give our marriage a second chance. We should be spending tomorrow night together. It’ll be our first Christmas. Aren’t you always preaching about forgiveness? All I’m asking is that you grant it to me, your husband.”
“I do forgive you, Ricky.”
He smiles at that and starts forward, but I put my hand up to stop him.
“You’re saying all the right stuff. Everything that you promised me when I agreed to be your wife, and you still have the potential to be all that. But the problem is, I fell in love with who you could be and not who you are. I gave you all of me, the real me, but you never gave me the real you. I needed you to be that man, not have the potential to be him,” I confess.
He drops his head. “You’ve let those girls get into your head and turn you against me. Now, nothing I say or do is going to make a difference, is it?”
“This isn’t anyone’s fault, except for yours and mine. I was content, having part of you, and you were content with letting me. I’ve seen what real love looks like and what we had doesn’t compare. I want something real. I deserve it.”
“Right,” he bites out.
Before he can continue, the front door opens, and a giggling Elle stumbles out with Walker close behind, guiding her.
“Whoa, what are you doing out here by yourself?” she asks when she sees me.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me,” Walker hisses.
Elle looks up at him in confusion. “What?” she asks.
“If it isn’t my best friend, Walker Reid.” Ricky pokes at the hornet.
“Braxton,” Walker yells.
The door opens, and Braxton walks out, followed by Brandt.
“You bellowed,” Braxton deadpans before his gaze follows Walker’s, and he grimaces.
“Here, get Elle for me, will you?” Walker says as he hands her off to her brother without taking his eyes off Ricky.
He doesn’t get a chance to move beyond that because, in the blink of an eye, Brandt is off the porch and has Ricky by the collar.
“You got a lot of nerve, showing up at my house. Bellamy still has a scar on her arm from your teeth marks,” he spits