Mending Heart

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Chapter 4


“The shattering of a heart when being broken is the loudest quiet ever.” – Carroll Bryant

The words on the screen continued to stare out at me, and the bright light illuminating from the computer screen was doing nothing but irritating the already throbbing pain pulsating through the left side of my head.

If you’ve never had a migraine before, consider yourself lucky because that shit hurts like a bitch.

I glanced at the clock and groaned when I saw it was only 1:47 PM. I still had another few hours to get through before I could leave, and don’t even get me started on the mountain of paperwork and emails I still have to get through. I spent the entire morning on a conference call with a client in Texas – who upon doing a mid-month inventory count – discovered their inventory for the past three months had been miscounted due to an error in their software.

Most days, I love my job. But on days like today, I would do anything to not have any responsibilities.

To make matters worse, it was only Wednesday.


That means there are still two more days until the weekend!

Leaning back in my chair, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I was pulled out of my trance when there was a knock at my door. Since I wasn’t in the mood to have people barging into my office all day, I had pulled down the blinds so nobody could see inside and kept the door closed. We usually have an open-door policy, even amongst the managers and directors, but there are days when you just don’t want to answer a million questions or socialize with people.

“Come in!” I replied, opening my eyes and sitting up straight.

To my surprise, it was Ethan who walked in. He was dressed in a navy blue suit with a light gray tie loosely tied around his neck. His hair was perfectly combed back, and he had a light stubble forming.


“Can I help you?” I stood up straighter so that I was no longer slouching.

Gotta look presentable, even if I don’t feel it.

“Yes, actually,” He leaned against the door frame. “You can.”

“With...?” I cocked an eyebrow.

“Come to lunch with me.” He threw me a devilishly handsome grin.

“I’m busy.” I pointed to my computer screen. Don’t get me wrong, I was hungry since I haven’t left my office to get lunch, but being seen with Ethan in public was probably not a good idea. There was an undeniable tension between the two of us that I didn’t need anyone else picking up on.

“Clearly.” He snorted, rolling his eyes.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I shot back, my voice taking on a defensive tone.

“It’s supposed to mean,” He replied, closing the short distance between us so that he was towering over my desk. “You look like absolute crap, and I very much doubt you’ve been able to get much work done today. Also, I’m guessing from the way your stomach is rumbling that you’re starving.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. Before I had the chance to even form a rebuttal, he continued. “And don’t even think about lying. My office isn’t too far away from yours.”

“Don’t you have better things to do other than harassing your employees?” It was my turn to roll my eyes.

“Oh, I’m harassing you?” His voice lowered and he tilted his head so that we were both at the same eye level. I tried to hold his gaze for as long as possible because I didn’t want him to know he was right, but I had to look away when I felt my cheeks begin to heat up.

Damn those green eyes!

“McKenzie,” His index finger tilted my head up so that I was once again staring into his soul. “I asked you a question.”

“You know, my friends call me Kenzie.” I leaned back in my chair, crossing my arms in defiance.

“We’re friends now, are we?” He chuckled, a small smile forming on his lips.

“That’s... I ... I-” I stammered.

Way to go making a total ass of yourself, Kenzie.

“Let’s go. I hear the restaurant downstairs has great food.” He straightened himself and looked at me expectantly. I probably could have put up more of a fight if I really wanted to but let’s be honest – I didn’t want to put up a fight.

In fact, it was kind of flattering to be asked to lunch – even if it was in a purely business-related scenario.

Logging out of my computer, I made sure to grab my work cell phone and purse before following Ethan out.

“Hi, Mr. Thomas.” As we passed the receptionist area, Sam smiled brightly at us. “Hey Kenzie!”

“Wait...” I stopped right in front of the company logo.

Thomas and Cooper Consulting Group

“You wouldn’t happen to be related to Mr. Thomas, would you?” I turned to look at him.

Ethan rolled his eyes before guiding me into the elevator. “That would be my father.”

You have got to be fucking kidding me. “Of course he is.” I grumbled under my breath as the elevator doors closed.


Rivers Restaurant was located right in the lobby of the same building where our offices are. It was a cute dainty place, that catered mostly to the thousands of downtown employees too lazy to pack their own lunch. I’ve eaten here myself a few times in the past and the food was decent, with excellent service.

The restaurant was packed with the remaining customers from the lunch hour rush, but luckily there was a table or two still available so we didn’t have to wait long. Ethan and I followed our waitress to the back of the restaurant where she seated us. “Can I get you guys started with anything to drink?” She asked.

“I’ll have an espresso.” Ethan politely replied.

“And I’ll have a cappuccino, please.” I added. Maybe the caffeine would help with the pounding in my head.

“I have to ask,” I hesitantly looked up at him as I handed the waitress back the menu. “Did you know who I was that night? At the bar?” The question had been bothering me since the whole torn panties incident. With my avoiding Ethan like the plague since then, now was the first opportunity I’ve had to ask him about it.

“Yes,” Ethan replied without hesitation. “I actually found out while you were sitting next to me. I was reviewing everyone’s employee files.”

My eyes boggled out of their sockets. “If you knew who I was, why wouldn’t you say anything?”

“There was nothing to say.” He leaned back in his chair and continued to look at me with an amused expression on his face.

“I think there was plenty to say.” I mimicked his actions, minus the amusement. “Did you stop to think that maybe I didn’t want to get involved with anyone I work with?”

“We didn’t work together at the time.”

“Yet you felt compelled to hand me my underwear the very next day.” I hissed, narrowing my eyes at him. “At work.”

He smirked at the memory. “I thought you might want them back.”

“For what? As a keepsake? They were torn!”

Our waitress chose that exact moment to come back with our drinks and food. After setting my buffalo chicken wrap down and Ethan’s roasted turkey sandwich, she quickly excused herself.

I was rummaging through my purse for the bottle of Tylenol I kept in case of emergency when I finally found it. Popping two pills in my mouth, I took a large sip of water and swallowed. When I looked up, I found Ethan’s eyes on me. “What?”

“Do you make it a habit of not eating until your head hurts?” He asked taking a bite of his sandwich.

“What are you, my mother?” I rolled my eyes as I picked up my wrap.

“No.” He stated, rolling his eyes. “Just someone observant.”

“Then maybe, you should be more observant towards others.”

“Who hurt you, McKenzie?”

My heart dropped at his question. Setting down my wrap, I took a deep breath. “Nobody hurt me, Ethan.” Then, I quickly added. “And if someone did hurt me, it wouldn’t be any of your business.”

“I thought we were friends.” He fired back, amused.

“We’re not.” I picked up my cappuccino and took a sip, the hot beverage burning my tongue.

“One day we will be, McKenzie.” He flashed me a genuine smile.


After dodging the rest of Ethan’s probing questions about my personal life, the two of us finally finished lunch and returned to the office.

Ethan being the gentleman that he was, walked me to my office where there was a young man in his early twenties waiting for me. “Can I help you?” I don’t remember having any other appointments for the rest of the day.

“You’ve been served.” The young man said as he handed me a yellow sealed envelope.

“Excuse me?” I looked at him puzzled. I don’t recall doing anything illegal which would require me to get sued. “What the hell is this?”

“Just doing my job ma’am.” He shrugged as he left. Quickly tearing the envelope at the top, I took out the papers inside.

My breath hitched in the back of my throat.

Petition for Divorce

I had completely forgotten that Ethan was behind until he cleared his throat. “I’ll um... just give you a minute.” He gently squeezed my shoulder and shut the door behind him, leaving me me alone with the divorce papers.

I know I should be happy to finally receive these because I was the one who initiated the proceedings, but I couldn’t help feeling sad. To finally be holding the key to what I thought would be my newfound happiness, seemed surreal right now.

I thought getting a divorce would be the key to everything I was feeling. However, how do I even begin to explain how broken I still feel inside – even after removing what I thought to be the problem?

In the past year, everything started falling apart faster than I could even process. I barely had time to wrap my head around all the new changes, let alone stop to pick up the broken pieces and put them back together.

I don’t remember what it’s like to have it together anymore. Ninety percent of the time I feel broken, like I’m just drifting through the day without really being aware of what’s going on.

I didn’t realize that I was crying until my vision blurred. I could feel my heart begin to beat faster in my chest, and I struggled to get enough oxygen to my brain. Leaning against my desk, I allowed myself to slide down so that I was sitting on the floor as I let the tears pour down my face.

I’ve never been one to talk about how I feel, not even when I was younger. I bottled everything up, hid my emotions, and pretended to be okay to avoid confrontations. All it takes is a smile to hide a broken soul. Nobody notice how broken you really are, or how much you just want to let it all out. They all take the smile at face value.

I wasn’t a healthy way to deal with the demons inside your head, but I don’t want to be a burden to anyone.

I don’t want to have people constantly worrying about me.

So, I kept everything to myself until every dark thought surfaces all at once and makes its ugly appearance. And only then, do I allow myself to assess how truly awful I feel.

The voice in the back of my head telling me that I’m not good enough or that I didn’t try hard enough. Always wondering why happiness doesn’t come naturally to me like it does to others. And most importantly, why I have to be the one to feel this way.

The only thing more exhausting than feeling this way, is constantly having to pretend like you’re okay.

When will it ever end, I thought as I bit down on my bottom lip to stop a sob from escaping.


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