It was already two o’clock in the morning as she sat at the table with an old shoe box next to her full of letters. The house was quiet while her mind reeled, which was never a good thing, and on top of that she was expecting a house full of people coming over for a barbecue tomorrow to help Cheer her up. But at the moment, with so many things running through her head, all she wanted was to go to bed and stop thinking but instead she was not only wide awake, but wasn’t going to be able to sleep any time soon.
Earlier, she did anything and everything to get the thought of Jimmy’s letters out of her head, she gave the boys their baths, paced around the house when she couldn’t sit still long enough to watch TV, even started to clean the house to where it fricking sparkled, and then paint her nails. But what she really wanted to do was read through those letters that were on the dresser in the bedroom again.
It was about midnight, and after painting her toenails again, she couldn’t fight it anymore and got the box from the bedroom and sat at the kitchen table and started to read. After she had found the box, and everyone had gone home for the night, she organized the letters by date. Now she could read every letter, card, and postcard in order as Jimmy wrote them to her.
Reading each letter helped her see what Jimmy was going through. She was halfway through the box, but found herself going back to the very first letter he wrote when he was in the rehab center.
Her fingers went over the top of the envelopes and then pulled it out. With a sigh it sat there in front of her on the place mat, then with a shake of her head went to make herself a cup of coffee as she pondered over the things that had happened in her life.
She placed the pod in the coffee maker and pushed the button and went to the fridge to get the vanilla creamer and waited for the machine to finish. Over the past two years coffee had become one of her best friends. It helped her stay awake on nights that she had been watching Winston. She pulled a spoon from the draw pouring an extra generous amount of sweetened cream in her coffee before sitting back down at the table and the letter she must have read a thousand times by now. The first time she read it, she didn’t think it would have such an impact on her, but it did.
Reading Jimmy’s words, his thoughts, his concerns, his questions, and his guilt, she knew what Lynn had said to her was true. She loved two men, but it was Winston who healed her broken heart and taught her to love again… but there was a piece of it, no matter how hard she tried not to, that still loved Jimmy as well.
Her head fell into her hand while the other held onto the hot cup as she stared down at the envelope. “Why am I doing this to myself? I need to move on from everything from my past not sit here torturing myself over it.” She sighed. “Maybe if I read the letter one more time, I’ll be done.” She mumbled, knowing that she couldn’t do it. These letters were from her Jimmy, not the drugged, and boozed out man that hurt her. “If you read that letter again Addison, you’ll never find your way back out. You’ve already read it a thousand times now, what would reading it again do for you except to make you feel even more lost then you already are.” She sighed.
Lynn had been working in California with Billy when Tia had called her. Her and Margie had been worried about her and that had Lynn on the first plane back to Nashville. She was sure when she broke down after reading Jimmy’s letters didn’t defuse the situation any either. She was thankful that the boys were in preschool when all that happened… but then again, that was why she permitted herself to read them in the first place. She just didn’t understand how she could miss a man so much, and long to see another just as badly. She didn’t know if there was an answer to that question, only that her heart felt like it was beyond broken, and her mind bogged down with loss.
She chuckled at her own stupidity because she wasn’t naive to what she went through before Jimmy finally signed the divorce papers. She remembered all too well waking up in a motel room with her face swollen and battered from Jimmy’s drunken fists, and she could still remember the anger in his eyes and how she didn’t even recognize the man she once loved anymore as he pinned her against the wall. But after she opened that first letter everything came rushing back, like the last six years hadn’t passed at all, and she was back to the time when he wrote it to her and it made her heart ache.
She would never tell anyone how she really felt about Jimmy, not even Lynn. They’d all think she was nuts, she thought she was crazy for feeling the way she did! But it was her secret, a secret she would never share with anyone ever. They might think she still cares for him, and that was fine, but they would never know the truth of the matter.
People don’t fall in love at the age of ten, and stay married to their first loves their whole life anymore, this wasn’t the forties, and real life doesn’t come with a fairy tale ending. Having Jimmy hurt her, and losing Winston to cancer was proof enough of that.
She took a sip of the now lukewarm coffee, and sighed at her own stupidity as she took out the letter to read it once again.
My sweet baby girl,
I doubt you even wanted to hear from me, but you know I couldn’t help myself when it comes to you. I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for everything I put you through. From the first time I cheated on you, to every time after words, and for every single time I hurt your beautiful body. I’m sitting in a room and now have nothing to take away some of the vivid and horrific memories of what I did to you. And even though I can’t remember everything I did, what I do remember kills me every single day.
I know this might hurt to bring this up but, I now understand why you cried after I ended the affair and the first time we made love after it. I understand now why it hurt you so badly when I touched you. I didn’t get that at the time because no one had ever touched you before but me and you considered me yours like I considered you. But now that I’m 100% sober, I finally get what you meant. I never knew that lost feeling you would tell me about, to understand how you felt knowing that I had made love to someone else, but now that I know your seeing someone and that you love this guy… I completely understand.
I was so stupid, and so full of myself, but after you left me, I can’t even describe how much it hurt. I was afraid of losing you, and scared to death that you wouldn’t love me again after everything I did. Then when you took me back and I had you back in my arms, I thought it was all in the past and I felt like I could breath. But after we made love, and you couldn’t look at me… I knew I lost something that I could never get back and it killed me. But I’m promising you right now that the man who hurt you, I’m going to make sure he never comes back baby girl, never!
Addison you are the love of my life sweetheart, and I still love you with every breath I take. I didn’t want to sign those papers and it was harder for me than checking myself into rehab. Even now just writing about it makes me want to just break down and go back to anything that will take my pain away from losing of you.
You had every right to not want to be married to me anymore, and I’m sorry I wasn’t man enough to say no to all the things that I should’ve said no to baby girl. I’m sorry I didn’t let you heal when you took me back, I’m sorry for making your life hell when all I ever wanted to give you was everything in the world.
Your heart has always been so big, and you’ve always been my guiding angel, just like the wings I asked you to put on your back all those years ago, because I always knew you were meant for me. I was one of the lucky one who you showed your true heart to, and then I lost it.
I have a feeling I’m going to be here for quite a while. According to the doctors, I really screwed myself up good. The first couple weeks here were pure hell. I never thought withdrawals could be that bad. In fact, I used to laugh at the story’s guys would tell of how hard it was to get clean, and how their body would ache and hurt worse than anything they ever could imagine. But let me be the first to say, all of it is true. But the pain in my body is really nothing compared to the pain in my heart, and that’s the truth.
They told me that keeping myself busy is a good way to keep my mind off getting high, or drinking, and the first thing I thought about was writing you. I hope you don’t mind but, I’m going to write to you because you are the only thing that keeps me grounded. Maybe one day when I’m totally clean and I can prove it to you, you’ll let me back into your life and we can start over and build a life together again.
I don’t care if you write me back. I just need some way of staying in touch with you baby girl. You take care of yourself and do great at your dream job of being a doctor, and know that I’m thinking of you even though I don’t even have the right to anymore.
Love you forever,
The letter fell to the table as she rubbed her hands over her face keeping her emotions in check before taking another sip of her now cold coffee. Quietly she folded the paper up and tucked it back into the envelope and stared at the writing. Her mind was so damn full but before she thought about anything else, she got up with the coffee cup in hand and went into the kitchen to heat it back up.
That letter brought back so many things that she had forgotten over the years, like when Jimmy started to drink heavily, and then gotten so bad he’d come home and black out. Then the day she saw the tabloids and Jimmy with Crystal Gross on the front cover with a photo over her in the corner with the title, Is the Rock Marriage Over?, and the big confrontation that came after when she confronted him with it.
She remembered the night that she accepted Jimmy’s apology over the affair. Then after everything, she took him back, but at that time, she just didn’t know how hard it was going to be.
Jimmy wanted to act like everything was back to normal, like nothing ever happened, like that affair didn’t happen, but that was easier said than done for her. And then she remembered how frustrated he was with her because of it, and her distance from him. But what she remembered the most was the night she let Jimmy come back into her bed, and the disaster it turned out to be.
Ten years ago, after Jimmy broke off the affair…
Jimmy's body laid on top of hers breathing heavily after they just finished up their love making. “I love you baby girl, love you so damn much.” He growled as he kissed her neck. He wrapped his arms around her holding her tightly to his body as he remained deep inside. “Tell me you love me to.” He whispered along the side of her throat.
“I love you.” She said, but the saying fell flat even to her ears.
The kissing stopped and he got up on his arms to look down at her. “Addie, baby, what’s going on with you, you’re never this quiet.” He asked.
She didn’t say anything, just stared back up at him. Her mind was in chaos as she thought about him with Crystal, did he say the same things to her when they made love? Did he touch Crystal like he touched her? Did he make love to her with just as much passion? Did he promise to leave her so he could have the famous movie star?
She tried so hard to not let those thoughts creep into her head while Jimmy touched her, told her he loved her, but it was no use, they came anyways, especially while he was making love to her… and they permeated through her mind like poison.
She told him that she’d forgive him that she’d take him back, and they could try to make the marriage work again but didn’t realize how hard that was actually going to be. Jimmy’s touch wasn’t the same any more, in fact it was hard to let him touch her at all now. And while his blue eyes stared down at her, she realized she didn’t think this through completely.
Maybe they should’ve separated for a while so she could heal more over the cheating. Then they could’ve started over slowly and not rush back into everything like Jimmy wanted. Because acting like nothing ever happened, that wasn’t working for her.
He leaned down kissing her again and she let him despite what was going on in her head. His passion for her was obvious, but now she didn’t know if it was sincere. When he had his fill, he pulled back smiling down at her, he saw the tears that started rolling down the sides of her face. “Baby girl, what’s wrong?” He asked baffled by the turn of events pushing some hair from her face.
She was still so damn mad at him. It’s only been a month since he broke everything off with his big Hollywood starlet. He let someone else touch him, and he had another woman, but not only a woman, someone who was famous… and now he was back in her bed and she felt like she was going to be sick. “I need to use the rest room.” She whispered.
He didn’t move, instead he wiped a couple tears from her face, and she could see he was getting worried. “Addie tell me what the hell is going on?” He begged.
“I told you, I just need to use the rest room. That’s all.” She answered quietly.
But he wasn’t buying it. He came down to kiss her, but she couldn’t pretend anymore that she wasn’t hurting, she just needed to get away and grieve without him watching her. So, when his lips came down, she turned her head. “Addison what the hell is going on, tell me!” He growled, but she saw that he understood what was going on, and the reality of what was happening to them was starting to take place. “Please Addie, don’t.” He murmured.
“Jimmy, I need to use the bathroom!” She cried, pushing him off her.
She ran through the master suit holding back all her emotions, to finally make it to the sanctuary of the bathroom. Her hands shook as she locked the door, making sure Jimmy couldn’t come in and her body slid down to the cool tile floor the emotional damn broke free. Once her head found the floor, she started crying in big heaping wails, and no matter how she tried to make herself calm down, she just couldn’t stop.
A knock came from the door. “Addison, let me in.” Jimmy said softly through the door, but she couldn’t. She didn’t want to hear that he was sorry, or that he loved her, or that he would never do it again, she just wanted him to leave her alone. “Addison, open the door baby girl, please.” He tried again, but this time she could hear the fear in his voice, but she had to deal with herself right now, and after he used his term of endearment… like she was precious to him, her stomach turned, and she quickly got up and started throwing up in the toilet.
“Addison, this isn’t funny anymore. Open the damn door?!” Jimmy growled pounding on the door. With the last heave of her stomach, she took a deep breath to get herself under enough control that she could manage words, but he started pounding again. “Addison, open the damn door now!” He yelled, and this time she knew he was panicking.
“Please Jimmy, I need to be left alone for a while.” She told him with as much clarity she could muster.
“Addison, just let me in, I need to see you!” He banged once more, now really begging her.
“Jimmy, don’t you get it? I don’t want to look at you right now!” She yelled back.
It was quiet for a minute, and she thought maybe he had left, when two fists slammed onto the door. “FUCK!” He roared and then stomped off, and when he did, the crying she had held back to deal with her husband continued until she’d cried herself to sleep on the cold tile floor.
The microwave beeped pulling her from the memory that she never wanted to think about again. That was the end of her and Jimmy and it always broke her heart. She felt wetness rolling down her face and reached up realizing that she was crying as she wiped them off.
There had been so much bad in her life but when she looks back now maybe she shouldn't have made the decision to take Jimmy back at all. It might have been easier if she just ended it right away without giving him the hope that they would get back together… but she did the best she could at the time and hind sight is always 20/20.
She took the dish towel and wiped her face off before pulling the coffee from the microwave and headed to the sliding door in the family room. The clock struck three as she took a sip and looked out at the back yard under the moon light. “I really don’t want everyone coming over tomorrow.” She sighed, but that was one of the reasons she was worried about herself to. “Damn it Addison, you need to move on, or at least have the appearance of it. Your boys need stability and the love of aunts and uncles to talk with them and have fun. The loss of their father is just as hard for them as it is for you.” She told herself. “They need this, no, you need this too… and if you don’t have Jones pulled pork and coleslaw ready by noon, you’ll never hear the end of it.”
She walked back placing her cup in the sink knowing that she might be tired tomorrow, but she was going to try her damnedest to have a good time. Maybe she'll tell everyone that she’s decided to go back to work earlier than she thought.
When she stopped at the boy’s room looking in on them before she made her way to bed. The little guitar lamp glowed in between the two beds. She could see both their sleeping faces and she smiled. J.W, her strong little man who wanted to help her do everything, and her baby Justin who was so full of love for everyone around him.
She walked in kissing both their cheeks before she walked into her room. She had two little men who owned her, one man who fought so hard to never leave her and was the air she breathed before he was taken, and the fourth man… he was her deep dark secret that only she would know the truth about.