chapter 37

read chapter 36 here with greenlydia

I wake up slowly, stretch lightly and try roll onto my side but I’m pinned down by Michaels arm slung over my chest. I smile and feel all giddy inside, after all this time the thought that we’re together still excites me, this man makes me happy. I lay watching out the window as the day breaks through the night and the sun makes its way higher in the sky. I can’t lie here any longer so I gently lift Michaels arm and slip out from under it, I rummage around the floor trying to find something to put on and grab his shirt off the chair instead, I slip it on and make my way to the kitchen. I’ve gotten used to these casts now and walking has become much less of a hassle but I’m still glad that my leg will be cast free next week, sadly my wrist will be a little longer though due to crushing the bones in it and all that. I fill the coffee machine and switch it on, folding my arms across my chest I lean back against the counter and try figure out how I am going to confront the Mateo’s, I’m still hurt and I don’t want to do something that will end things between us but I can’t keep avoiding them either. Iris mailed me yesterday morning saying she would fix this and that she knows what to do but she hasn’t shared any insights with me since then and I feel alone. The light on the coffee machine blinks to signal it’s done and I move to pull two cups out of the cupboard above it, I start a little as Michael’s cat twirls herself around my bare leg, I can feel her purring and bend down to scratch her little ginger head, she rubs up against me some more then hops on the counter and stands at her food bowl so I dig around the cupboards and find her food tin, I idly scratch her head as I fill up her bowl. I put the tin away, fill our mugs with coffee and pad down the passage back to the bedroom. Michael is still laying on his stomach and I take a few seconds to appreciate the view, he turns to look at me as I walk into the room and smiles a half sleepy smile, I smile back and gesture at the coffee in my hand so he sits up to take his mug from me, I hand it to him and put my own down on the bedside table then crawl back under the covers. I prop myself up against the headboard and reach over for my coffee, Michael leans over and kisses me on the forehead, I lean into him and bump his shoulder.

Michael left me in bed and headed off to work but I haven’t felt the inclination to move at all, I’ve been sitting here for at least an hour just staring at the creases on the duvet. There’s a hole in my heart and an ache in my chest, I miss the Mateo’s. I miss Mama’s hugs and Papa’s belly laughs, I even miss Frankie and his slobbery kisses. I sigh and straighten the blanket out over my lap, I don’t suppose I can sit here all day, it’s probably about time I got up and actually did something before I think myself into a deep dark pit that I can’t climb out of. I through my legs over the side and stand up, pulling the duvet straight and fixing the pillows. I pick my clothes up off the floor as well as Michaels jeans and carry it all through to the washroom. I put all the clothes in the washer and add a spoonful of wash powder then close the door and put it on. While the machine is on I clean up last night’s dishes and straighten up the lounge, folding the TV blanket and throwing away last night’s take out boxes. I’m still feeling lost so I decide to open the box that Iris had sent with Michael yesterday, I’m not sure what it is but it’s pretty heavy. I make myself a cup of coffee and grab a knife, walk through to where the box is and slice through the packing tape, I put the knife down and open the tissue paper. There in all its printed glory is our book, is a whole box of books, I pick up the first one and flip through it quickly, a big smile forming. There’s a sticky note on the next book dictating that I am to sign all of these and return them to the publisher so I put my coffee down and go look for a pen, might as well do it now while I’m trying to bide away time. I awkwardly carry the box over to the lounge table and almost drop it but make it just as it’s sliding out of my arms, I fetch my coffee, grabbing the book I’d taken out of the box just now and get comfortable on the sofa so I can start signing, I’m sure Iris will be getting this box once I’m done so that she can sign them as well. I open the first one I took out the box and flip through it before going to the front page, as I’m about to sign it though I notice that there’s already an inscription and I gasp as I notice it’s addressed to me, Iris must have signed it for me like I’d asked her to all those months ago.

The tears are still rolling down my cheeks and I’m sure my eyes are red and puffy from the crying. What Iris wrote, it ripped me open and sewed me back up again. How is it possible for someone I’ve never actually met to have such a large impact on me? Wiping the tears from my cheeks I stand up to get a tissue to blow my nose, I’m all snot and tears right now and I know for a fact it’s not a pretty sight. Iris’s words have struck a cord and I know what to do now. I think it’s time I put on my big girl panties and head to the café to make sure I don’t cause irreparable damage to the relationship between the Mateo’s and myself by staying away and avoiding them. I pull my cardigan off of the jacket hooks by the front door and grab my crutches. I pat my pockets and make sure I have the spare key that Michael gave me before I pull the door closed behind me and head out into the warm afternoon to face my fears. As I get down the stairs Michael pulls up in the drive way, he gets out and walks over to where I’m standing, pulling me into a hug that lifts me off the ground and spins me around, he sets me down and steps back. “You’re home early?” I smile and give him a kiss on the cheek. “ I came to get you.” “Why?” “For your appointment. Did you forget? Your cast comes off this afternoon.” I shake my head “No, that’s only next week.” “Huh uh, it’s today sunshine. That’s why I’m here early.” Shit, I really thought it was only next week, so much for my sudden burst of courage and determination. Michael touches my shoulder to bring my attention back to him “are you okay?” “Yes, I just finally decided to go do something I should have a while back” “You can go after you’ve got the cast off?” “Yeah. Sure.” He looks at me with concern but I shake it off and head to the car, wedging my crutches in behind the seat, Michael opens the door for me and I get in wishing I could be at the café instead. We head through to the hospital and I’ll admit that I am a little excited. I wish the cast on my arm was coming off today as well but one is better than none. The drive is a long one and it leaves me with a lot of time to think about what I’m going to say to the Mateo’s, I’m scared they’ll shun me if they know that I know, I’m scared that things will be so changed that we’ll never have what we had again. I don’t know what to say, I’m not really angry at them anymore, just hurt that they couldn’t trust me with such an important bit about them. We arrive at the hospital and Michael helps me out the car, I grab my crutches and head inside, my last walk with these things.

My leg feels strange and extremely light, such a weight gone now that the cast is off I almost feel like I can fly, not that I’ll try. My head is still a mess though and I hope that Michael has been listening to what the doctor has been saying because I simply don’t have the energy to try and read the old man’s lips, plus the giant hairy caterpillar on his lip makes it a little difficult to keep up with what he’s saying. Michael touches my shoulder and I look back over it at him “time to go sunshine” I sigh in relief and tentatively climb off the bed; this is going to take a little getting used to. He gives me his arm and I slip my hand through the crook using him as a make-shift crutch as we head out. We get to the car and I decide that I still need to do what I had planned to “could you drop me off at the café on the way back?” “Are you sure?” “I need to do this” he has no idea what it is I need to do but I know that he’s figured out something is wrong, he’s far too attentive for his own good sometimes.

We pull up at the café and I sit staring at the entrance for a while before I unbuckle my seatbelt and make to get out the car, Michael touches my hand and I look over at him “Do you want me to come in with you” “No, this is something I need to do on my own.” “Okay.” I lean over, putting my hand on his cheek I pull him a little closer and kiss him softly, he slides his hand into my hair and grips it lightly pulling me even closer and deepening the kiss. I sigh into his mouth and pull back slightly flushed, he kisses me on the forehead before I turn to go. I take a deep breath and step out, close the door behind me and turn to the café’s entrance. I can do this, I can do this, I can do this. I can do this. I step around the car and walk up the ramp holding onto the railing as a crutch, I open the door and head inside. Mama looks up from where she’s busy with a customer, she’s quite for a minute just standing there staring at me and I lose my nerve but as I’m about to turn around and leave she comes over to me with tears running down her cheeks and pulls me into a hug, holding on tight and not letting go. Papa comes out from the kitchen and sees us, he walks over and next thing the three of us are standing at the entrance to the café in a big hug with the tears freely making their way into the world.

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