After Five Years.
“Emmett, we have been together for six years. What happened now?” Donna’s voice trembled as she spoke. Her eyes filled with leashed tears. She couldn’t put her finger on what exactly went wrong. They were supposed to get married in three months – everything was going smoothing until Emmett decided to break it up with her. When he asked her to talk to her after dinner with her friends – she never thought it would be about breaking up. She believed it was about the venue or anything regarding the wedding but this. When Emmett didn’t answer her back and kept his head down – not even making eye contact with her she sniffed, “Talk to me, honey. Why are you doing this? If – if the wedding planning is stressing you out – we can postpone it but please don’t break it off.” She pleaded. She was desperate – she thought they were in love.
Emmett sighed. He knew he would have to face all the questions but he has been preparing himself for a month – he feels like a jerk for breaking it off just three months before the wedding, but it is better to be late than marrying the wrong person. Donna wasn’t the wrong person for him but he is for her. How could he marry somebody he doesn’t even love?
“It is not the wedding, ” He spoke after a long pause. He blew his cheeks out and held her cold hands. He finally looked into her tears eyes before he spoke, “Donna, you have been there for me when I really needed you. These past five years have been challenging for me, and you helped me through the mental and physical pain I went through, and I can never repay you for your love and care, but something is missing between us.” He said softly. Donna looked down for a second before she looked back at him and asked, “What is missing between us?” She asked almost desperately. “Love, ” He replied.
“But, I love you with all my heart, Emmett – I really do, ” She said as tears fell off her eyes. When Emmett didn’t answer her back she gulped painfully, “But you don’t, ” she whispered. She let out a shaky breath when Emmett didn’t oppose it. She sighed and pulled her hand from his, “I was afraid that this day would come.” She said. She mashed her lips, “I tried everything, Emmett. I asked you to move to New York with me because I didn’t think you would be able to move on back in New Orleans.” She said.
Emmett nodded, “I know you did, but maybe it was what didn’t work for me. Donna, for the past five years I have been living like a coward hiding from my friends and family – pretending to be okay, but in reality, I miss it. I miss them.” He replied. “I should have been with them in hard times but instead I ran away.” He added.
Donna paused and intertwined her fingers, “Do you blame me for that?” She asked. Emmett shook his head immediately, “No, but I do blame myself.” He replied. Donna sighed, “You know, it wasn’t your fault, right? You were as affected as them.” She expressed. Emmett chuckled drily, “Yet they stick together while I ran away, ” He replied.
Donna was hurting – she has been dreaming to marry Emmett since they came to New York five years ago. She never thought she would have to see this day. She sniffed and wipe off her tears before he hunched forward, “Emmett, can you be completely honest with me?” She asked. He looked at her and slowly nodded his head, “Did you ever love me?” She asked me. Emmett pressed his lips together, “I still do, Donna but not as –” Donna interrupted him, “No, not that. Just tell me truthfully if you ever loved me or not? Not as a friend or as someone you deeply care about.” She said.
Emmett sighed, “Honestly – I don’t know.” He replied after a pause. Donna nodded, “You never did.” She said dejectedly. “Is it someone else? Is it that girl from New Orleans? Are you planning to go back for her?” She asked. Emmett immediately reckoned she was talking about Leah so, he shook his head, “I never had and I don’t think I ever will.” He replied. She sniggered and wiped off the fresh tears from her cheek, “It hurts, you know.” She spoke softly.
Emmett tried to speak but Donna shook her head, “I can’t do this right now, ” Her voice wobbled. She mashed her lips, “Can you please leave me alone?” She asked him. Emmett hesitated but decided to give her some space – he just called off their wedding and ended a six-year-long relationship with her. She has every right to be angry with him. He nodded his head and walked out of the room before glancing towards weeping Donna. He walked out of their house and took a deep breath.
Although he is aware of how much he hurt her – he couldn’t possibly marry her when he knows he could never keep her happy. He was the wrong person for her and he had to call off the wedding before he could hurt her more by pretending to be in love with her. Five years ago he left his life behind to be with Donna thinking he was in love with him, but it was all in his head. He actually never wanted to leave – Donna did and at that time he thought it would better to get away from the place that only brings bad memories, so he did. Little did he know, he couldn’t live a single day when he didn’t think about it.
Everything was perfectly okay for him until he along with his close friends and many other young adults from his university were in the shooting incident. He lost three of his closest friends and one of those friends was the shooter. His physical wounds might have healed but he couldn’t remove the painful memories of that horrifying day. Seventeen young adults were killed. Many along with his close friends were injured. Several lives were changed. Everyone stayed together and tried to live their lives except for him – Donna asked him to come to New York with her and he agreed – leaving his friends and family behind. For the last five years, he doesn’t know what has been happening with his friends – where they are or what are they up to. He completely cut off with them, trying to start anew. He talks to his mother now and then but he hasn’t visited her in the last five years. He has decided to get back to his hometown. He couldn’t live like this anymore.
A few days after in New Orleans, Austin was working on the latest project he has to advertise in the coming month when his phone rang. He glances at it – thinking about ignoring it but when he saw Macy’s name – he decided to receive it even when he is quite busy. He leaned back to his office chair and answered the call, “Hey, Macy. How are you?” He asked.
Macy Hayes, his ex-best friend’s mother. She has always been like a second mother to him. Emmett and Austin were inseparable friends since childhood. Their mothers were friends and neighbors and so were they. After Emmett’s father died they became closer but after the incident that took place five years ago – Emmett decided to leave and they both haven’t talked since then.
“Hello, dear – am I disturbing you?” She asked. Although he was interrupted, he was too polite to point it out and shook his head as he chuckled, “No, you didn’t.” He said. “Is everything okay?” he asked.
“I don’t know where to start?” Macy stated. Austin knitted his eyebrows together, “What is it, Macy?” He asked concernedly. Macy sighed, “Emmett called.” She replied after a short pause. Austin’s mood often gets sour when someone mentions Emmett’s name. Leaving New Orleans was one thing but completely cutting Austin and others out of his life was something that has dented their friendship – or if it can be called that now. The days he went into a relationship with Donna – their friendships started to get bumpy. She was controlling him and he was letting her. They even fought a few times because of her and since the incident, he completely cut himself off from all of his old friends – and it sabotaged everything.
“Alright, ” Austin replied short. Since Emmett doesn’t want to do anything with him – Austin isn’t interested in what was going on with him either. “I think you might want to know this, ” Macy added. Austin sighed and replied, “Alright, what is it?” He asked.
“Emmett is coming back, ” Her voice wobbled. Austin was shocked to hear what he was being told. “He called this morning to let me know that he coming home. Oh, Austin – I am so happy.” He could hear emotions flowing off her voice – she had every right to – her only son was coming home.