Eminent Love

By: Leddy Harper
Chapter One





Now



The phone sat on the kitchen table in front of me, mocking me. I bent over with my shoulders slumped forward in hesitation—or defeat, I could no longer tell. The photo I’d set as my phone’s background had become my new obsession, and I’d spent countless nights staring at it…her. Us. The picture alone held the ability to pull my thoughts back to the day it’d been taken. The laughs we’d shared were still heard loud and clear, as if resonating in the room around me. Our smiles were genuine. I never thought they’d disappear. The way she fit in my arms, tucked perfectly against me…like she had been made specifically for me and I for her. I could’ve never imagined it any other way.

Until I had no choice.

Until my arms were empty, her absence turning every fiber of my being cold.

I must’ve sat at the table for a good thirty minutes, tapping my screen every time it dimmed. I couldn’t stand the thought of her image fading away, disappearing into darkness, leaving me unable to experience the way she smiled with her entire face, making her eyes light up contagiously. Each time I saw her smile, the corners of my lips itched to break into a grin.

I’d followed this same pattern every single night for the last seven days. The only difference was the amount of time I stared at my phone each evening before giving up and putting it away. I knew I needed to man up and press the call button. I couldn’t even connect my thumb to the damn green icon. I hadn’t even come close to it. I was too afraid I’d accidently press it.

It made me a coward.

More of a coward.

I needed to apologize, to tell her how wrong I was for letting her leave. For giving up. For doing nothing except watch her walk away when I should have fought for her—for us. At the time, all I had were excuses. And anger had fueled each one of them.

I was a pitiful coward. I could see that clearly now.

Instead of choosing her, I’d chosen me. I’d picked a job over our relationship. Decided to fulfill my dreams instead building them with her. Except, I hadn’t realized at the time how she was my dream. The only dream that truly mattered. And instead of being the man she’d seen me as, I’d allowed her to leave.

And now here I sat, filled with regret.

Alone.

Sad.

Wishing I’d gone after her.

Wishing she’d never left in the first place.

Jobs come and go. You wake up from dreams, and then rest your head on your pillow at night to create new ones. Whereas love—the kind of eminent love we’d shared—was one in a million. Rare. Sacred. And I’d stupidly let it go.

I picked up my cell and hovered my thumb over the green circle. It’s the furthest I’d made it thus far, and the progress made my heart pound. Just do it. Call her and tell her how sorry you are. Tell her you’re an idiot. I knew it’d be useless. She had more than likely found someone new. Who wouldn’t? However, this call wasn’t to beg for her back. It was merely to apologize.

Because I had yet to do that.

I’d just let her go.

And never went after her.

I’ve done nothing for a year other than think of her and remember how good I’d had it. How healing her love was for me. How I’d never find anything resembling it again. Not like I’d tried, but that didn’t mean anything. Nothing had meaning without her. Nothing.

I inhaled deeply, my heart hammering away…and I pressed call. My breathing ceased as it rang. Once. Twice. Three times. And then her voice came through the line. Such a soft sound, like a melody. Warm and soothing, just like her. The air blew out harshly past my lips as I readied myself to speak, to recite the words I’d held onto for a year. Although, before my lungs completely deflated, my breath caught in my chest, burning me from the inside out.

“Hey, you’ve reached Layne. Well, not really. You’ve reached my voicemail. I wasn’t able to get to my phone fast enough, but if you leave a message, I’ll call ya right back.” With my eyes closed, I could picture her perfectly. Her smile was evident in her voice, in the way she spoke with a lilt at the end of her words.

Pain.

That’s what listening to her voice filled me with. Immense torture. I couldn’t even form enough thought to come up with something to say. When the beep sounded, I didn’t speak. One second. Two. Three. Four seconds of complete silence dragged out before I finally ended the call.

“Fucking stupid idiot,” I said aloud as I slammed the phone down on the table. My face immediately fell into my hands. Of course she didn’t answer. She had no reason to. She’d said all she needed to say in the email she’d sent about a month after we’d broken up. An email I’d disregarded for weeks before finding the patience to open it.

I should’ve responded then.

I should’ve done something.

However, I chose to dismiss her and the entire situation. It had been easier at the time because I’d allowed the fury inside to burn stronger until any ounce of compassion regarding her or our life together had been decimated, charred beyond recognition. Turned into ashes and then carried away by the wind.

I squeezed my eyes shut before getting up from the table, disgusted with myself. I decided to take a shower and go to bed. Maybe she didn’t care. So maybe I shouldn’t, either. I should’ve let it go…except the guilt continuously ate at me. It held on and refused to release me, eating away at me internally until I’d become nothing more than fragments of the person I had once been. It’d turned my world dark and my heart ice cold.

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