Follow My Heart (The Wrestler's Heart Book 1)

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter Eleven

(Hillary)

P.M. from Velvet Rose:

I love Beau Reve in the summer. So many interesting people, from so many places, board the ferry. I wonder if they’re there to spend a week at Diamond Cove or are they visiting for a day. Maybe they’re visiting someone. I watch children playing on the hardwood of the cabin floor, or staring out the windows with wonder and curiosity and I smile. One day, I’ll be watching my own children. Some days I can’t wait to share the things I love with them. I wonder how many I’ll have and who their father will be. Who will I end up marrying and what kind of work will he do? Will we live in Beau Reve or somewhere else? And will I still have something to look forward to after the wedding? It seems like the last big event in a person’s life. They spend years, even lifetimes, anticipating that one day. That one event that lasts a couple of hours or less, and when it’s done, what do you anticipate? What do you plan?

P.M. from Ethan Hart:

I wonder that too. Who will I marry? How many kids will I have? Will I have all boys, all girls, a mix, or twins? Would I retire from wrestling or take them on the road? Would that a good life for them?

I few times I thought I knew who my wife would be, but fate had other plans. Now I don’t know if it will ever happen, but I still look forward to it. Not the wedding, but the years after. All the joy, worries, and chaos. I think I’ll love every minute of it.

I fear I’ll never find someone and I hate that feeling. Especially when I find myself feeling alone more than I used to. How can someone sit in a crowded room and still feel hopelessly alone? I’m sitting at a table in a mall, in some town, I’ve forgotten the name of, addressing a line of fans and I feel isolated. One after another, all giddy and beaming big smiles, they approach me and all I can do is force a grin, ask for a name, and say thank you. In the beginning, I relished the attention, soaked up the flattery, and lived high on knowing how much they adored me … but now, I’m no longer impressed. I’m still grateful, but knowing I’m a package, a marketable product, designed to sell merchandise, makes me feel a bit hollow inside.

***

I never imagined a celebrity’s life could be that complicated. Some days Ethan seemed happy and excited about everything and other days he seemed to be on the verge of giving up. But at least he had happy days. Some days, the only happiness in my own life came from reading a message from Ethan and I wished I could repay the favor.

***

P.M. from Velvet Rose:

Did I ever tell you that I love Dandelions? I know people think they’re weeds and complain about them popping up in the yards, but I love to stand on the porch and look out at hundreds, maybe even thousands of those bright, yellow flowers swaying in a gentle breeze. I like to think of them as little pieces of the sun, bringing warmth right into our hearts. A few minutes of watching them and I forget whatever may have upset me.

I miss that the most about my childhood home in the Coeur de’ Lile countryside. There’s too much city in the city. Nothing but concrete, cars, and buildings. The yards are small and manicured to perfection. You rarely see a dandelion or any other weed. I enjoy little Beau Reve more. It’s peaceful and not as busy, but it could never be home because, for me, home will always be wherever the dandelions grow.

P.M. from Ethan Hart:

You pain a blissful picture, Rose. I can’t say I have a place to call home. Home for me is where the people I love are and I no longer have a family.

Home is my suitcase. I haven’t decided where I might want to live permanently. I’ve yet to buy a house for that matter.

I have little more than my career. Which could end when the direction of the wind changes. The wind being the thoughts of the fans and how much they spend on my merchandise. If the numbers drop too low, the company will cut me loose and sometimes I don’t feel like the crowd cheers as loud as they used to.

P.M. from Velvet Rose:

Maybe it’s because you never take your shirt off in the ring anymore. You have a large female following. They probably miss the view. I know I do. LOL.

***

“You’re deep in thought,”

“Hello, Miss. Dot.” I addressed the elderly lady in the electric wheelchair that rolled up the sidewalk. “What are you up to?”

Dot Turnickle rarely left her room, except to eat her meals in the cafeteria when the mood hit her. To my knowledge, she had never ventured outside.

“A felt like taking a tour.” She laughed and pulled a cigarette pack out of the pocket of her hot pink jacket. “Got a light?”

“I don’t smoke, Miss. Dot.”

“Oh, well.” She laughed. “Where is that Tori when you need her?”

“I ask that question at least once a day.” I beamed a smile.

Dot was Tori’s favorite resident and the lady thought of Tori as her grandchild. She didn’t care for anyone else at Kenton. She had a temper and chased people out of her room daily, but she loved Tori, and she’d begun to tolerate me … because I was Tori’s friend and Tori probably made her.

“I’m gonna give that girl a good butt-whooping when I get out of this chair.” She joked. “Lord knows I owe her a few.”

I just smiled the same way Tori does, knowing that Dot would never walk again. A tragic car accident had left her paralyzed from the waist down and unfortunately, she’d reached the age when the body became immune to Jenithiyah’s miracle cures.

“You keep staring at your phone. Are you waiting for something?”

“Yeah, but I don’t know if it will come anytime soon.”

“Ah! It’s a man,” She guessed.

“How can you tell?”

“The sparkle in your eyes. Have you been dating long?”

“I haven’t dated him at all. We just talk online.”

“You write letters to each other?

“Something like that.”

“I talked to a man through letters once. We were never physical and we never talked about those things. Yet, it was the most intimate relationship I ever had.”

“Did you ever meet him?”

“Once. Right before the war. A friend of mine said I would love her cousin, and she set us up on a blind date. At first, he was annoying. And I didn’t find him one bit attractive. He wore these thick glasses and I was young. A teenager. This was long before I came here.

When they sent his draft papers and he came to my house.” She grinned and brushed a strand of silver hair away from her brow. “I didn’t find him more attractive in that uniform. I wasn’t a fan of green so that didn’t help … anyway …. He came to my door and he asked if he could write to me.

Of course, I told him he could. It wasn’t polite to say no to a boy going off to war, but I never planned to read the letters and I never planned to write him back.”

“But you did.”

“The first letter came and I was curious. I expected him to say he missed me or that my memory got him through the hard days … like the one’s my girlfriends received … but his letters were different.

He talked about the places he’d seen. He’d found beauty in something, even when the bombs fell around him and bullets soared over his head and he shared that with me. And he apologized.”

“For what?”

“For not being home long enough for us to get to know each other and he thought we could do it through our letters instead. Then he wrote a few things about himself. Things he enjoyed when he was home and missed while he was away.

The next thing I knew I grabbed a notebook and I started writing to him. The exact same way. I told him my thoughts about everything. We wrote back and forth like that for three years. Sometimes the letters came right away. Sometimes it took months, but each one made me love him even more.

The connection between two people who only speak through letters can be closer than any other because you don’t have the physical attraction and temptations getting in the way. It allows you to genuinely know each other, to truly fall in love. And I really loved Arnie.”

“What happened when he came back?”

Dot sighed. “I counted down the days of his return. As the days drew nearer my heart did flip-flops, anticipating that first kiss that he promised to give me as soon as our eyes met … on his way home … they shot down his plane.

I always regretted that one date. It was our only chance to share and feel that special moment.

After that, no matter how ugly … no matter how bad the first date … I made sure I kissed the man at the end of the night because you never know what might change in the future …” She wiped away a single tear.

“Well, I better get going. I have to talk a social worker into giving me a ride into town. I need a dress for that beauty pageant.”

“You could win in a paper bag, Dot.”

“True, but I have to at least act like I put some work into it.” And she had a right to be confident. Time had been kind to her, leaving her skin nearly wrinkle-free, except for the laugh lines around her faded blue eyes and pink lips and she’s won many pageants in her past.

***

P.M. from Ethan Hart:

Oh, really? Well here’s something I made just for you. So you’ll never have to miss
“The View” again. LOL.

***

I gasped when I opened that message and laid eyes on a photograph of his torso. Standing in front of the mirror, he’d held up the shirt, exposing toned abs and one nipple. It was enough to steal my breath and quicken my pulse despite the fact that I couldn’t see his face or his tattoo. Had I crossed the line? I’d unintentionally flirted and he’d noticed, which caused me to feel slightly embarrassed.

I thought a lot about Dot’s story that night while I tossed and turned. Thinking about how much time I wasted bothered me. I had no idea where this thing with Ethan would lead, but I shouldn’t I at least take a chance? And I didn’t want to wait another second.

But, I didn’t receive another message from Ethan that day and I couldn’t muster the courage to reply to that picture.

The next day his message came while I was in the middle of helping my patients with their breakfast. The day was so hectic, I didn’t get a chance to respond until my lunch break.

***

P.M. from Velvet Rose:

Another long day, just like the last seven before. It’s been so long since I’ve taken a day off that I forget what it’s like to sit around and do nothing for a while. Right now, I’m sitting down in the staff common room with a roast beef sub and my laptop.

I opened it, logged in, and a genuine smile crossed my lips as I read the words that notified me of a private message on Chatter. These notifications never say who sends the message, but I always know it’s from you.

Sometimes I wonder about my life. Why I ended up where I did. Is it because I haven’t been brave? Because I never fought for what I want? I don’t need an answer. Deep down I know the answer is yes. But how did I get that way? When did it become hard to say no and stick to it? My life began to remind me of a soap opera or one of those terrible made for TV dramas. You know the ones where one person is fighting for their life or running away from something or someone but at least they get away in the end.

P.M. from Ethan Hart:

I know what you mean. Do you ever feel like you have changed? And not for the better. Like you started life a decent person and somehow, somewhere down the line, turned into this nasty being. And the worst part is you don’t even notice until you say something that makes the light bulb come on.

I ate lunch in a restaurant today and the waitress served me the wrong meal twice. I just wanted a simple salad. A little lettuce, cheese, and some cubed meat. Maybe an egg or two. But it seems like everywhere I go they have these choices labeled gourmet or artisan. They throw in nuts, fruit, seeds … bean sprouts!

I tell this woman the items I want in the bowl and she acted like it’s the most complicated request in the world.

“It’s a simple request!” I yelled at her. “I’ll go to your kitchen and show you how to do it myself! Are you a complete moron or are you too busy flirting with the cook to be bothered to do your job?”

I now know that I suffered from fatigue since I hadn’t slept in two days, unless you count the sporadic ten-minute power naps.

But it’s no excuse. I never say things like that. I’m never nasty or rude. At least I didn’t use to be.

P.M. from Velvet Rose:

Don’t be so hard on yourself. We all have days when we’re not our best. Sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on the mind and the body. It’s normal to act out of character. I’ve been guilty of snapping a few times myself. In fact, I’ve done it a lot lately.

At least you realized what you did and feel bad about it. That makes you a good person. Someone with an evil heart wouldn’t give it a second thought. I put up with people like that every day. One in particular spits out toxic words with a smile and never apologizes. And worse, he thinks he entitled to say and do whatever he wants. His feelings are the only feelings that matter. I can tell from our messages that you’re not like him.

I had a long talk with one of my residents yesterday. She told me a story about a love she had once. It reminded me of us and it ended so tragically that I laid awake all night wondering why fight against these feelings.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.