Match Made

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TWENTY-FOUR

I stare at the letter in my lap as I wait for him to finish writing. I wish I had something to do, because waiting only increases my nerves with every passing moment. I try to focus on something else, but I can’t. Normally, in a situation like this, I would pace. But I can’t do that either, because I busted my ankle up.

Finally, after what feels like eternity, Chris puts down his pen, picks up his paper, and brings it over to me. Each step he takes brings him closer to me. Each step makes me doubt my decision to let him read what I have written. But I have no choice.

He hands me his letter and picks mine up off the couch beside me before returning to the kitchen table to read it.

I should be reading what he’s written me, but instead, I can’t help but watch him as he reads my letter.

When he looks over at me, I spin back to the letter in my hands, acutely aware that he is also waiting for my reaction to his letter.

It’s now or never.

“My Darling Aubrey” it begins.

* * *

“So, what did you think?” I ask when he finishes my letter.

“I think it’s really good. It reads like you love me,” he smiles, and I can’t tell what he’s really thinking.

“Yours does, too.” I hand it back to him, “I particularly liked the part where you mentioned taking me here and proposing to me. It was authentic in a way I think they’ll believe.”

“I’m glad,” he smiles as he hands my letter back to me. “I always wanted my wife to see this place. And you’re probably the only one of those I’ll ever have, so at least I half got what I dreamed of.”

I look down at my lap, “I’m sorry, you know.”

“For what?”

I’m not sure how it’s possible that he doesn’t know what I’m sorry for. “For saying I don’t want to be in this. For ruining your chance at love and a wife. For potentially destroying your happiness.”

He shrugs, “Some things just aren’t meant to be.”

“Do you think you’ll find someone?” I ask him, refusing to look at him. “After me, I mean?”

He shakes his head, “No. I’m not going to try. One and done kinda guy.”

“So you won’t find someone else to marry?”

“No. I don’t believe that’s the right choice for me.”

“So, neither one of us want to marry anyone else?” the wheels are turning in my head. “Aren’t we a pair?” I try to lighten the mood.

“At least I made a good friend,” he smiles at me, “And we got to go on some pretty great adventures.”

“Oh my restaurant adventure was awesome,” I defend myself. “But this was pretty good, too.”

“It was,” he puts the letter down on the table before coming back to me, “But now, I think it’s time to get you and your poor ankle to bed.”

My phone told me it was barely eleven, but he was right and I was tired. I guess the excitement of maybe breaking your ankle makes you tired.

He leaves me in my room to change, but I’m sure he is standing just outside the door to make sure I’m okay.

“Chris?” I ask. “What would you say if I wanted to just stay legally married and live as friends?”

Why am I saying this out loud when only hours ago I swore I wouldn’t do it to him? What is possessing me?

He doesn’t respond, so I assume he hasn’t heard me. I don’t have the courage to say it again, so I guess I’ll ask him again in the morning.

“You can come in,” I call out into the hallway from the bed. “I’m decent.”

He opens the door and crosses the room to make sure I get into bed comfortably before covering me with the duvet and kissing my forehead.

“Can I have some more medicine or has it not been long enough?” I ask as he is turning out the lights and drawing the curtains.

“You can have some,” his voice is soft and gentle. “I’ll go get it for you.”

I sit up slightly in the bed while I wait for him to return. No sense laying down before you swallow the pills. I know he’ll make me sit up to take the medicine anyway.

He returns and watches me take the pills before tucking me back in again.

He kisses my cheek and picks up the water glass before striding across the floor to the door of my bedroom.

He stops short of the door by about a foot and waits there as though he is frozen in time.

“Christopher?” I ask, my concern growing with every passing moment. “Are you all right?”

“I want to tell you something,” he says as he leaves through my door.

What do you want to tell me?

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