Chapter 16 – Moving on
Life had been somewhat greyer than normal since that night and I had no one to blame but myself. The Read ‘n’ Feed café had picked up, people enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and delicious food. I was forced to hire two new staff members to help Amber and I carry the workload, one of our new girls Nayla, was particularly skilled in the kitchen, which was a welcomed and adored surprise as it allowed more time to rest my ever expanding body and swollen feet.
Despite my busy days, my nights were consumed by thoughts of him and the way he didn’t want me anymore. I no longer dreamed of erotic sexual fantasies, instead, nightmares of pain and suffering filled them and I no longer welcomed the darkness for I would rouse in tears, broken again and again.
As I rested at the table with my feet on the chair as Amber brought me over a cup of steaming hot tea, my latest werewolf addiction and a chicken salad sandwich.
“Here Arabella, you need to eat,” she was so kind and sweet.
I absentmindedly rubbed my belly whilst staring up at her in a thoughtless haze, “you are so good to me Amber,” I smiled.
“You work too hard.” She patted my shoulder before returning to her work behind the counter.
As I looked out on the beautiful sunshine day, a familiar face strolls leisurely past the window and I smiled with delight. I had not seen him since I found out I was carrying, though, we had kept in contact and my smile grew broad and wide as my heart fluttered while he enters.
“Hey Ella,” Caleb smiles as he made his way to my table. I stood with my arms open and welcoming. Embracing him used to be one of my favourite things many years ago and I was thankful we were comfortable enough to do it again.
“How have you been?” I asked patting him on the chest. I looked up at Caleb’s beautiful face, his hair was longer and darker than before and his eyes sparkled with hope for the first time in years.
“You’re getting bigger,” he pats my tummy.
“Ha, I think that’s inevitable, how’s Iliana?” Iliana was Caleb’s new but old girlfriend. A gorgeous Mexican with a cracker personality and curvy body.
“She’s great, the reason why I’m here actually,” he blushes, “did you end up telling Logan?”
“Please sit,” I gestured. “Would you like a coffee, maybe a cake?”
“Yes!” He almost shouts in desperation. “Excuse me, yes please, Iliana has started a no sugar diet and I’m drowning.” I laughed, poor man.
“Chocolate cake and Vanilla latte coming right up.”
I returned several minutes later to a practically salivating Caleb, who could taste the thick lush chocolate before I made it out of the kitchen.
“Gee, no sugar is rough,” I commented as he moans after the first bite. Watching him pleasurably rolling the mixture around in his mouth was hilarious, I couldn’t help but chuckle at his expression.
“Rough but necessary,” he replied before shovelling in another large mouthful.
“Are you okay?” My query filled with concern.
“What? Yes, Ells, I’m fine. So... have you told Logan yet?” Smug prick, after all these years and he still won’t give me a straight answer.
“Are we going to go back and forth, beating around the bush?” I folded my hands over my large belly.
He chuckles at my observation. “You’re right, sorry… Iliana’s pregnant,” my eyes widen.
“Caleb, that’s wonderful, are you happy?”
“Very, we just found out, we are at nine weeks. Granted it would have been better if we had of been dating longer and if she hadn’t of been my mistress but it’s what I wanted.”
“It’s okay, as long as you’re happy.” I grasped his hand on the table, “oh, so that’s why no sugar.”
“You’re not mad at me?” His brow strains and a crease forms on his forehead.
“Why would I be mad at you? Am I not in the same boat?”
“I just wanted to make sure, I guess some part will always care and well, Iliana thought it would be best you heard it from me - considering you had the decency to inform me,” I nodded with a small smile.
“You have a wonderful woman Caleb, I’m so happy for you. After all this time, so many years wasted, I’m thankful we can have a friendship… I forgive you - in fact, I forgave you a long time ago…”
“But I was cruel…” I raised my hand to interject.
“You were hurt, I was hurt, none of it matters anymore, you deserve to be happy and that’s all I care about.” He squeezes my hand tightly.
“You were always too good for me, too kind.”
“Just promise you’ll keep in touch every now and again,” I roll my eyes.
“Maybe one day you and Iliana can be close friends?” I smile at his comment.
“I’d like that,” I reply.
“So, have you told him?” I laughed at his perfect conversation switch.
“I have, yes,” I nodded as my smile faded.
“By the look on your face, I’d say it wasn’t great?”
“He’s decided we are not what he wants… so, I carry on and I do what I have to do.” My lip lightly trembles and water gather’s in my eyes and I furiously blink to push them away.
“I’m so sorry,” he consoles, moving to the seat next to me.
“Don’t be, I deserve this,” I fake a smile at him.
“Give yourself a break, I forgive you, ya know, finally after all these years. You need to forgive you.”
“I don’t know how? I was hoping Logan would show me, like how he healed other parts of me.”
“He’s an idiot anyway,” I shoulder his bicep.
“Thanks for coming today,” I whispered.
“I’m glad I did.”
We spent the next couple of hours immersed in conversation, something Caleb and I had not done in years. He felt like a brother, which was an odd concept but I guess along the way, I fell out of love with him and in love with someone else. What started as an affair quickly grew into so much more but it wasn’t meant to be.
Maybe, I was never meant for love. I understand this is my punishment for being a murderer and I guess I can live with that, as long as I kept this baby safe - this baby that grows inside of me. Strong, happy and healthy, that is all I could ever need out of life.
“What do you want Pierre?” He slaps a piece of paper down on my desk.
“You’ve been mopping for over a week, I’ve had enough. This is her address to the café she owns…”
“She owns a café?” I knew she could cook but I never saw this in her future but really what did I know about her, it was stupid to think, after such a short time that somehow, I understood her.
“Yes, she owns a damn café with delicious treats. It’s up to you but you are starting to scare everyone and you have fired more people than we can rehire - I need my friend back.” I pinched the bridge of my nose as he walks out of my office.
I didn’t know how to confront her and after hours spent thinking about that night, I realised the reason I freaked out was because... of all the ways I pictured her coming back to me, that was not one of them.
What did she expect? That she could leave the baby then run again? Leave me to care for our child. I had given her my heart - my whole heart - and she had thrown it away. Yes, she said that she needed to properly end things with her husband but we could have faced those hurdles together, as a couple, that’s what a relationship is, being there, supporting one another. But she ran and now, now it’s too late.
I threw the paper in the bin.