Embracing Fate

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Chapter 3-Willow

Since the incident with Trevor; he has laid low, I want to believe that he didn’t mean to hurt me the way he did. The thing about it is, it wasn’t just the fact that he physically hurt me, it was what he said.

I don’t want him to be right about Cole but it’s possible he is. What if Cole did find someone else? If I’m still here holding on I could end up alone. No, I can’t let Trevor’s words get to me, Cole will come, and I just have to have patience.

It’s Friday night and it’s our traditional girl’s night with my Daughter and Mom. My mom really came through her for me when I told her I was having a baby. At first, she was upset thinking Tyler got me pregnant since me getting pregnant happened soon after he tried to kidnap me. I had to explain to her and my father about Cole and that Tyler is not Payton’s father.

They weren’t happy but they knew they were to blame for not being there for me. So she got her act cleaned up and has been there every step of the way. She practically lived with us or Payton spent a lot of time with her during Finals week. I’m grateful for my mom because without her help I don’t think I would have finished College.

On Girl’s night, it’s just Payton, Mom and I. Sometimes Cadence would join us. Josh’s girlfriend April would join us too when they come home for visits. Josh is away is at school and is doing very well. April is there with him.

When I graduated from College I moved in with my parents, they suggested it, since I’m able to save money and it’s good for Payton. Also living with my parents has given us a chance to improve our relationships. My Dad usually finds something to do when it’s girl’s night. He will sometimes tease us about it but he’s been such a great sport about it.

On Saturday’s we all meet for breakfast then they take Payton for the day. This gives me time to get what I need to get done.

Tonight was Payton’s pick; she said she wanted to have a Slumber Party and of course being the awesome Mom I am said okay. We put sleeping bags on the floor and used blankets to make a fort. I had just pushed play on Beauty and the beast and was getting ready to paint Payton’s toes when I heard a knock on the door.

“Are you expecting someone?” My mom asked. I looked up from Payton’s purple toes.

“Um...no... Cadence said she might stop by but she would text first,” I reply. The knocking continued. “Maybe if we just ignore them, they will go away.” My mom gives me a look that used to scare me when I was younger.

“Now, Willow, what if that someone is your Knight coming to sweep you off your feet?” Now that comment made me laugh out loud.

“Yeah right, who would want me and besides the only Knight I want is gone.” The person knocked again.

“Oh for Pete’s sake!” My mom says as she throws her hands in the air. “Just go and answer the door.

“Fine, Fine, I’m going.” I put the nail polish down, and pause the movie before I stand up.

“Hey!” Payton whines.

“Sorry Baby, we can turn it back on after I find out who’s at the door.

“Okay.’ She says as she goes back to painting Grandma’s toes. I walk up to the door and look through the peephole, and my heart stops when I see who’s standing there. I pull away from the door and turn to my Mom.

“Hey Mom, could you take Payton in the other room please?” She tilts her head to the side then looks up at me.

“Sure Sweetie, but is everything okay?”

“Um, I’m not totally sure, C.O.L.E is out there. I don’t want to tell him about Payton like this.” She nods her head in understanding. She turns to Payton.

“Payton, Nana has a craving for ice cream and it seems we don’t have any. I was thinking we could go get some.” She drops what she is doing and runs to grab her shoes. She comes back in the room and see’s that I’m not going.

“What about Mommy?”

“I have to stay here and talk to the person at the door but you can bring me back my favorite.”

“Rocky Road and mint chocolate chip?” She gives me her prize-winning smile.

“Yep, that’s it. Have fun with Nana.” I say to my Little Girl.

’Bye Mommy, love you to the moon and back.”

“I love you to the moon, the stars and back.” I wait until I hear the back door close before I glance at my appearance in the mirror built into the coat rack. I look pretty scary since I’m in my Pj’s, I’m not wearing makeup and my hair is pulled back in a messy bun. Oh well, it’s what it is. I open the door and see Cole walking away

“Cole?” I whisper. He heard me say his name and turned around. He stopped and stared. It was like he couldn’t believe I was standing here, right in front of him. I stare back, he still looks like my 17 year old Cole, the only difference is he is older and his clothes. He’s not wearing his usual black attire, instead he is wearing a pair of khaki Dockers dress slacks, a light blue polo and on his feet he is wearing Doc Martin dress shoes. His hair was cut shorter and he tamed down his spikes.

“You um..look different.” I start rambling “I mean you look great, you look like an adult.” He lets out a soft chuckle.

“Well that does tend to happen when you grow up.” He takes a look at me; his eyes roam over my body,

“You look more beautiful then I remember.” He compliments me and I feel the heat spread across my face. He then sees my pajamas. “Oh...Um... were you sleeping or umm busy?” He looks around nervously and then seems satisfied when he doesn’t see what he’s looking for.

“No, I was just watching a movie with my Mom; she just stepped out to get some ice cream.” I chose to leave Payton out.

“Oh that’s good, I’m hoping we can talk?

“Yeah, come on in.” I step out of the doorway and allow him to enter, Once he’s in I close the door. He takes a look around the room, I try to kick the sleeping bags out of the way, and I remove some of the blankets off the couch so he can have somewhere to sit. He notices something on the floor and I think I see a glimpse of a smile. He sees Payton’s pink my little Pony sleeping bag and Ellie is sitting right on top. Cole sits down on the couch and I go to the chair in the corner.

“I’m sorry to just show up like this, I thought about calling you but every time I picked up the phone I chickened out. I’ve been back in town a few days, but I needed to figure out what I was going to say before I came over. The right words never came so now here I am still not sure what to say to you.” He clears his throat and wipes his hands on his pants, his leg starts shaking, Cole is really nervous, so am I.

“Oh, hell I’m just going to come out and say it. I know about Payton. I know she is my Daughter and before you tell me she’s not, I did the math Willow. You got pregnant that night, the night I told you I was leaving. Plus there is no denying she’s mine, I mean look at her. Why didn’t you tell me I have a Daughter?”

He didn’t sound angry, he sounded more hurt and betrayed. I knew the day would come where I would have to tell him about her, but I had hoped I would have more time. Right about now I just wished the floor would open up and swallow me. Cole looks up with the same eyes as Payton.

“How did you find out? Who told you about her?” I was shocked and upset that someone else had told him. He looks up at me, his gaze his soft and understanding.

“No one told me, I saw the picture on your Facebook page. Then I called Toby and he confirmed it.”

“So Toby told you? I didn’t know you two were in contact with each other.” That means Erin knew where he was all this time and didn’t tell me.

“No, Toby didn’t tell me, and yes we talk every now and then.” He answers “You didn’t know that?”

“No, Erin never said anything about it. I’m sure she had her reasons though. Yes, Payton is your Daughter.

“Can I ask you something?” He asks softly.

“Of course.”

“Does she know who I am?” That was an easy question and I answer without hesitation.

“Yes, she does, she knows who you are and what you look like. In preschool last year they learned how to write their names, so one day she came to me and asked me about her name and why she has two last names. I explained that her first name was a name I really loved; her middle name is Sarah, after your mom and I gave her both our last names so she could always have a part of you with her. I know it doesn’t mean anything though.” Cole stands up and walks over to me, once he reaches me he takes my hand in his and sincerely says,

“Thank you.” I didn’t have to ask him why he was thankful because I already knew. “But why didn’t you tell me? If I would’ve known I would have been here for both of you, I would have married you and you wouldn’t have to be alone.”

“That’s exactly why I didn’t tell you. I found out I was pregnant two months after you left, you were finally starting to make peace with everything and I was worried you would have a setback. There were so many times I wanted to tell you; in fact, I wanted you with me when I was having her. That was the most exciting day of my life and I wanted to share it with you but I just couldn’t do that to you. You would have dropped everything just to come to be with us. You needed to stay in school and do something for yourself. You have always been the one to give and never take. That’s why I fell in love with you. I didn’t want you to regret us. I thought I was doing the right thing.” A thought pops into my head “Are you wanting to take her?”

“What? No!” Cole yells causing me to flinch. “Why would I do that Willow?” Cole leans over and presses his forehead to mine “I came home for both of you.” He pulls away again and our eyes connect.

“Willow, there has never been anyone but you. I tried dating but none of those girls compared to you or completed me. You are my first everything, my first and only love. My first kiss and my one and only lover. The last four years I just focused on finishing school so I could come back to you. Do you remember the day I told you I was giving my heart to you, and I didn’t want it back?”

“Yes,” I sniffle and reach over for a tissue.

“I meant it Willow; it’s still yours, forever and always. I don’t know if there is someone else in your life but I will fight for you. I will not push you though; right now I just want to spend time with you and get to know our Daughter. Are you okay with that?”

Having Cole back in my life is a dream come true. I have dreamed of these exact words and waited a long time to hear them. Cole is still on his knees looking at me with such love and adoration. I don’t understand how he can still look at me like this when I kept his Daughter away from him.

“I don’t get it.” I utter “How can you still look at me like that and say you still want me? I kept Payton from you, you should be angry at me!” Cole stays silent for a minute and looks lost in thought, after a few seconds he says,

“During the drive here, I had decided I couldn’t be angry with you no matter what your reasoning was. I understand why you didn’t tell me about her, and yes I’m disappointed. I missed so much but I’m also very grateful because I did get to finish college and I can someday be able to provide for both of you.” He answers. “I love you Willow, I always have. Does that answer your question?” I nod my head then quietly tell him,

“There isn’t anyone else. I’ve never wanted to date anyone; I didn’t want to drag Payton through it. It wouldn’t be fair to her or them. Payton has so much faith that someday her Daddy will come into her life, and I’m not about to take that away from her. I also don’t want anyone else since my heart is yours. It always has been. We need to take this slow though; I don’t want to get her hopes up.”

Cole stands up and reaches out for me. I take his and his hand, then he pulls me out of the chair. He wraps his strong muscular arms around me while I wrap my arms around his waist and lay my head on his chest. It feels almost surreal to be here in his arms. I’ve missed this and I missed him.

I breathe in his scent, he still smells of outdoors and mint. I listen to his heartbeat and match it to my own, he is content. Cole has always been my safe place and my home. I hear him sigh and then the door handle turns.

I quickly pull away and look around for somewhere to hide Cole. There is a room off to the right, I tell him to go hide in that room but he refuses.

“I’m not going to hide like I'm some dirty little secret Willow, Payton is my Daughter and I have a right to see her. She’s also going to find out I’m here sooner or later." He says a little too harshly and I realize he's right. I turn and face him, his brown eyes look sad but angry at the same time.

"You're right Cole, and I'm sorry. I'm not trying to act like your my secret, I just don't know how she will react to seeing you here, I wanted to break her into it." He moves over so we are standing in front of each other. He takes my hand in his again. His gaze softens as he looks at me.

"I understand Willow and I feel bad to just drop on you like this but I had to do it before I lost my nerve. Whatever happens with her I will be here to help you both."

"I know you will and I'm glad you're back." I hug him again until I hear the door open and close.

“Shit!” I say a little too loudly which causes Cole to laugh at me. “What?”

“You’re just so damn hot when you’re flustered.” I picked up the nearest pillow and threw at his head.

“This isn’t funny! Our Daughter is about to walk through that door and she doesn’t know you’re here.”

“So we tell her that God answered her prayers. She’s four Willow, everything will be okay.” Before I can rebuttal I hear an excited little girl say,

“Daddy?”

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