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The End Of An Arrangement

 

Welcome to Sunday Sips. I hope you enjoy this sample of Fixer Upper Love

Tonight was one of those nights Garrison could use the quiet solitude of an empty house. He ended a long-time arrangement with a woman he’d grown accustomed to having around at his ready. Was it enough though? Did he want to live out the rest of his life schlepping back and forth to Isabel’s? Even if he entertained the idea of wanting something permanent with her, on numerous occasions she made it known that that life wasn’t for her.

Climbing the stairs, he went into the master bathroom in his bedroom and stripped. Before picking up his clothes to toss in the dirty clothes hamper, he turned the water on in the shower stall.

Stepping beneath the rain shower head, Garrison closed his eyes and thought about what Isabel said about finding the right woman. He’d done that over thirty years ago in his youth. Though he wasn’t ready to be a father and husband at twenty-two, Natalie became his everything. Never once had he regretted doing right by her when she became pregnant with their first child, a son, who was stillborn.

He could’ve walked away, divorcing her after the loss of their child. But he didn’t because he had fallen deep and hard for his young bride. When the girls came along, Garrison’s love grew stronger. There was no other right woman for him.

After his shower was completed, Garrison dried off and put on jogging pants and a tank style undershirt. Going over to the dresser, he picked up the silver framed photo of him and Natalie before sitting down on the bed. Turning over the frame, he slid the back off and removed a weathered piece of paper.

Gingerly unfolding the paper, he read the letter again for what seemed like the thousandth time.

Garrison,

We’ve always been honest with each other. I wish I could tell you all that I want to say face to face. But I can’t because I see the sadness in your eyes even though you try to hide it and be brave. And I wouldn’t be able to get all of my thoughts out.

I’ve faced the fact that I don’t have much time left with you and my sweet babies, Sammie, Alex and Joey. I’m fighting as hard as I can to stay with you. But I’m just so tired and it kills me to see you and the girls watch me withering away to nothing.

Garrison, after I’m gone, I need you to promise me a few things. Make sure you have dinner with the girls every night. They’re going to need you. And please, please don’t let them forget me. Remind them how much I loved them and will always love them. Encourage my babies to follow their dreams. Let them know they can do and be whatever it is they want to be.

Lastly, I want you to live your life, Garrison. To find someone who will love you and our girls. Please do this for me. I don’t want you to be alone and the girls will need a mother to teach them things only a woman can teach them.

I love you and our babies with all my heart.

Forever yours,

Natalie

“Daddy, are you okay?”

Garrison lifted his head, unchecked tears streaming down his face, gazing at Sammie in the doorway. Wiping at his face with the back of his hand, he nodded. “I’m good, baby girl. Just missing your mother.”

Crossing the room, Sammie picked up the photo next to her dad and sat down. Her fingers gently stroked the image of her mother’s face.

“Mommy was a beautiful woman,” she whispered.

“She was. Every time I look at you and your sisters, I see her,” he commented, folding the letter.

“What’s that?”

“A letter your mother wrote me before she died.”

“Can I read it?”

Garrison shook his head. “No, baby girl. What’s in here is between me and your mother.”

 

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