There was once a girl who had fire in her eyes, the kindest soul, and dreams in her heart. She valued love, knowing that someday she would get to marry one of the people who had meant more to her than anyone.
Until one night, it all broke away from her, leaving her nothing but a shattered shell, fragments of her soul neither here nor there.
She was lost.
She was crushed.
And she was broken.
But perhaps… not entirely beyond repair.
That girl was me.
And this, my friends, this is my story.
That was the moment the first drops of pattering rain hit the pavement. I had noticed the dark clouds above me when I glanced up at the sky. There was a hint of green amongst the gray horizon and I knew what that had meant; a severe storm was brewing.
The rumbling in the distance was a sound I had adored since I was a kid. It brought fond memories of my childhood. My parents used to read to me to distract me from the flashing lights and thunder, and eventually, as I got older, I found storms to be quite soothing.
As the rain pelted down, I closed my eyes with my arms stretched out beside me, feeling the water drip between my fingers. I should have run to shelter the moment I walked out of the station, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stand in the rain.
I felt like a kid again.
The smile on my face was going to be difficult to shift because I was already in a good mood. Nothing was going to change it. My dress was soaked, clinging to my body and my hair was drenched and messy. I didn’t care that I had only straightened it that morning. It was pure bliss.
Feeling the rain pelt down harder, I decided it was time to walk home. Just as I spun around, a broad chest bumped into me, almost knocking me back. If it weren’t for his quick reflexes when he slid his arm around my waist I would have surely fallen on my ass.
“I’m so sorry,” he apologized quite breathily as though he were running. “Are you okay?”
His velvet voice reached parts of me that hadn’t been touched in a long time. My eyes trekked up his damp gray Henley shirt, the top buttons loose enough that I could see some chest hairs peeking through the gap.
I glanced up at the stranger catching a whiff of his aftershave. His arm was still tucked around me and our bodies were pressed up against one another, my chest heaving with each breath.
I was definitely okay.
Nodding absentmindedly, I failed to speak out any words to the man who still held onto me for dear life. Feeling my heart race a little more, my nerves suddenly kicked into gear and I took a step back to try and steady myself. “I’m good,” I managed to croak out.
He had an umbrella which was in the cusp of his hand, but he wasn’t using it for shelter like he could have been. It was pissing down on both of us now. I felt the water trickle down my neck into the valley of my breasts, disappearing into my bra, but he wasn’t focused on that. He was looking into my eyes, refusing to avert his gaze, and for some reason I couldn’t shy away from him either.
He cleared his throat taking a quick look around before speaking again. “I was in a hurry and I knocked into you.”
“It’s okay I’m not hurt.”
The stranger quickly whipped up the umbrella over our heads when he realized we were both getting drenched just standing there. I suddenly felt a chill radiate through my body leaving goosebumps across my raised skin. It wasn’t because I was cold. Far from it. It was because I was so damn nervous being around him.
And I didn’t even know his name.
“I should go,” I said to him, turning myself away. My burning cheeks were evidence that I felt flustered around him.
“Wait,” he said, gently grabbing my hand. “Here, take this.” He stretched out his arm offering me his umbrella.
“That’s okay, I don’t mind walking in the rain,” I replied, turning away from him a second time, but he stopped me again.
“Have coffee with me,” he blurted.
I paused, feeling a thousand butterflies fluttering around in my stomach, not able to control the smile that curved on my lips. Needing to wait till my heart rate normalized again, I turned back around to him.
He offered me his hand to shake. “I’m Reece.”
“I’m Alice,” I greeted back, our wet hands molded together. They remained there for at least a minute. An entire sixty seconds and I only knew that because I counted it in my head, waiting for one of us to let the other go.
But neither one of us did.
There was this force between us, an unseen energy that was drawing me to him, his deep brown iris’ specifically. The way his tongue subtly darted out of his mouth to lick his bottom lip, and the way his soft smile reached his eyes.
“Have coffee with me,” he repeated, gingerly dropping my hand.
I didn’t even think before I nodded my response.
It was just one coffee, after all.
He wasn’t supposed to end us.
Reece was the love of my life and I was his.
At least I thought I was.
But as he sat opposite me in this tiny, hidden restaurant in Denver, Colorado, downing shot after shot, I realized that perhaps my own vision of our relationship was as cloudy and grim as the night outside. It was October and we had savage weather that night. It was pouring down heavily with frequent lightning strikes flashing against the glass window behind Reece, my boyfriend of almost two years.
Well, soon to be ex-boyfriend.
The restaurant had an intimate and idyllic ambiance to it, with dimly lit candles and rose stems in tall glasses. There were couples around us, leaning over their tables with clasped hands and smiles on their faces.
But there was nothing romantic about this.
Reece had just given me an entire speech about why we needed to break up. His reason was simply because he didn’t want to be with me anymore.
It didn’t make sense because we’d spoken in depth about getting married and having kids even though we were still young. I was twenty-five but he was slightly older at twenty-eight. We even said we wanted an autumn ceremony because we both hated the humidity in summer. It was our favorite season of the year and Reece adored Halloween.
I knew it sounded fucking crazy, but I had even picked out the type of dress I wanted. Ivory with a slight plunging neckline to highlight my curves, satin finish on the bottom while laced up top, wide sleeves over my shoulders and a gentle, light pink sash to tie around my waist, because I wanted a hint of color. It was a simple dress, but perfect. I’m not even going to mention that I actually went to the bridal store to try it on because that would be madness, right? As a wedding planner, I imagined it all, even the music my own father would walk me down the aisle to, and how Reece would look at me when our eyes collided together.
Like I was the most precious thing in the entire world.
I was supposed to take his breath away, but now he was taking mine, and I didn’t know how to recover.
Or if I’d ever recover at all.
Reece and I both wanted two kids. Boy or girl, it didn’t matter because we would have been happy and blessed with any. Indie if it was a girl or RJ for a boy. We even picked out the local Church we wanted to get married in.
He was supposed to be my forever.
My life was going to change indefinitely and I didn’t even know what I had done wrong, or what I had done to deserve it.
I couldn’t figure out what happened between us, bare in mind I’d only just found out about ten minutes before that he wanted to end our relationship. Ten minutes of sitting in awkward silence, watching Reece drown out whatever feelings he was trying to avoid. I should have gotten up and walked out, but I physically couldn’t move. I was silenced for a while, only listening to the erratic sounds of my beating heart, my only evidence that I was in fact still alive.
But right then I didn’t want to be.
As I sat there broken hearted, tears stinging my eyes, I wondered if there was anything I could have done differently.
Perhaps I wasn’t beautiful enough for him, even though he used to tell me I was gorgeous every day. Reece used to send me those good morning texts that told me he was thinking about me.
I’m going to miss those.
Maybe he’d notice the little bit of weight I had put on or maybe he thought I wasn’t good in bed. But that couldn’t be it. Our sex life was crazy good. Reece knew my body better than anyone. He knew which buttons to push, where to kiss me if he wanted to hear me moan and take those ragged breaths. Reece had figured out where to press his fingers if he wanted me to cum quickly. He was so talented when it came to going down on me, like a starved man taking what he needed to survive. Don’t even get me started on the dirty talk.
My heart felt caged inside my chest, broken into pieces, a reminder of yet another failed relationship.
Except this time it hurt more than the last two. In fact, it felt like I couldn’t breathe, as though the little air that was left inside my lungs would soon cease to exist.
I was struggling and shivering, pleading with my eyes for Reece to change his mind. He was wrong about us. I knew it in my bones, and my heart, whatever was left of it in his hands.
“Please don’t cry,” Reece said with a hint of frustration and sadness in his tone. I think he was angry at me that I allowed a few tears to escape what I failed to contain.
I guessed that he didn’t want me making a scene, but why drag me to a public place to do it? It was a fucking cruel move on his part. There were a few people scattered around the restaurant enjoying their meals. They were in their own little bubble of happiness and there I was, shutting down, the walls crumbling around me because my life with Reece was coming to an end.
“I don’t understand,” I finally managed to say. “Last night. God, we spent the entire night together. What changed, Reece?”
He swallowed hard, and closed his eyes, taking a moment for himself, but soon snapped out of his thoughts. “I don’t want to be with you,” Reece confessed again. “I need to move on.”
Move on to what? Has he found someone already? Did he cheat on me? Oh, God.
The pain I felt manifested into a physical reaction. I was sick to my stomach, nauseated at the thought of spending the rest of my life without him. Every bone in my body was hurting, my head, my neck, my legs. I couldn’t get off the chair right then even if I wanted to.
“Is there someone else?” I asked, not sure if I was brave enough to hear the answer.
“No,” was all he replied.
“And you just figured out that you don’t want to be with me? In the last twenty four hours since we slept together?”
Reece downed another glass that he collected from the tray of shots he ordered. He wasn’t even man enough to be sober when he broke up with me.
“I’ve known for a while,” he said. “I just couldn’t figure out how to tell you that I wanted nothing to do with you. I need you out of my life, Alice.”
Now I was fucking mad. My nostrils flared and I gritted my teeth. “Well, you seemed to be okay whispering dirty shit in my ear last night.” I leaned forward and sneered. “You had no problem begging me to ride you harder.”
Reece was silent while my heart skipped a few beats.
He licked his lips and sighed. “I knew I was going to break up with you today, that’s why we spent the night together.”
I couldn’t believe it. I refused to.
We’d been together for nearly two years, and something clicked the moment that we had met. It’s like everything fell back into place. The pieces of my life fit together so easily when he came in it.
I had to admit, I fell in love with Reece quicker than I anticipated. I wasn’t expecting love to find me back then, and now? Now I wasn’t expecting love to desert me, but it was.
I didn’t want to be someone who groveled or asked for an explanation on why they were leaving me, even though I deserved one. I didn’t want to beg them to stay because I loved them.
And I really did love him.
Reece brought me here under false pretenses, making me think he was wanting to spend time with me instead of ending it all. I deserved better.
“If this is what you really want, then I can’t stop you,” I told him. “When I leave here then you’ll never have to worry about me again. It’ll be over. For good.”
His eyes flicked with what I caught as grief, but it was only a moment that flashed in his intense brown iris’. Reece downed another shot, slamming the glass back onto the table causing me to jump. “It’s what I want.”
And I didn’t want to be with someone who didn’t want to be with me.
I nodded, finally getting the fact that Reece no longer loved me. That he no longer saw me in his future, and that he really didn’t want to have anything to do with me.
Or that I was worth fighting for.
Pushing my chair back, I stood from my seat and snatched the last shot Reece ordered with shaking hands. When I kicked my neck back, I let the alcohol singe any part of my mouth it could. I wanted to feel pain other than where it was hurting me the most, inside my heart. Tossing the glass back onto the tray, I glanced at him one last time, with tears in my eyes and a knot in my throat. “Goodbye, Reece.”
He held onto my wrist the moment I went to turn away, and I looked back at him. His eyes had sunken in, brimming with pain, though I didn’t know what he was so upset about. Reece was the one breaking up with me. “Goodbye, Alice.”
Those words stabbed me where I was already bleeding, a wound so deep that I didn’t know if I was ever going to heal from it.
I waited for him to let go of his gentle hold around my wrist, but he refused, staring right into my very soul, the one left shattered next to my heart.
Drawing my arm back, he finally released me from his grasp and I managed to turn away. It was then I couldn’t control the tears that had begged to escape before.
“Ma’am are you okay?” the hostess asked as I walked up to her to pay the bill.
“I’m fine,” I croaked, breaking into a soft smile while snot continued to run out of my nose. “Do I need to pay for anything?”
See, Reece and I had already eaten a full fucking two courses before he decided to break it off with me.
She glanced at the screen and shook her head before handing me a tissue with a sympathetic look. “Here you go. Are you sure there’s nothing I can do for you?”
I politely declined, using the tissue to wipe my eyes before I walked out of that restaurant, never wanting to see that place again.