As the script for the pilot episode of Splintered Love is ready to head off to a studio for, hopefully interest, here’s the story featured in the book anthology in which the pilot is based on.
The flicker from the film danced off the screen as the roar of laughter erupted from the audience and filled the movie theater. A joyous mood spread throughout this large, darkened room. Everyone, with grins pasted on their faces, took in the humor of what they were watching. Everyone, that is, except one lone female who sat stone-faced staring at the screen and failing to see the hilarity that was before her.
Twenty-six year old Lisa Fielding failed to experience any emotion. She decided four years ago that feelings led to sorrow and pain. Lisa was raised by a single mother who took care of her and two siblings. When she turned eleven, she watched as cancer devastated the core of what her mother was, until she succumbed and lost her battle. Continually crying for days, she felt alone in a world that seemed cruel and unjust. Her strong Catholic upbringing saved her faith from being shattered.
Not overly attractive; Lisa would be considered average looking. She had boyfriends in high school, but none of them worked out the way she hoped. Never one to initiate the split, the arrow of failed relationships stuck in her heart more times than she cared to remember. In her mind, it was her fault they didn’t last. The few close friends she did have always tried to sooth her damaged self-esteem.
At the beginning of senior year, she’d lost the woman who became a mother to her—her beloved aunt—who had raised her since the death of her real mother. Her sister praised her for being strong and not falling apart, but it was the wall she built to protect her from emotional self-destruction.
But love eluded Lisa at every turn, and when she did find what she took for love, it was torn away and slashed to shreds.
As Lisa walked out of the cinema, her attention was diverted by a movie poster. Upon turning to get a better look, it felt as if she hit a brick wall. Popcorn flew in the air, some finding its way down her shirt, as she stammered back and dropped the empty bucket. She regained her balance and gazed at the obstruction.
Before her was a tall, attractive man, who appeared to be in his upper twenties. A moment of awkwardness swept over the two of them as they exchanged glances.
“I’m so sorry,” the stranger apologized.
“It’s okay,” she responded, staring into his hazel eyes. “I should have been watching were I was going.”
“No, I should’ve been paying closer attention to where I was going. Please, let me buy you another one,” he said, picking up the empty container. “It’s the least I can do.”
“It’s fine. I’m leaving anyway.”
“Then you’ll have some to eat later. I’m not taking no for an answer,” he persisted with a grin.
Thinking back, it was during her freshman year of college that true passion found her in the form of a boy, who broke through the wall she sought refuge behind. His name was Russell. His straight blond hair nestled neatly on his head, hazel eyes, and a personality that cried, “Love me,” snapped her out of the emotional solitude in which she resided.
Their romance began in Mathematics 101. She would catch a glimpse of him stealing a peek at her, but he would quickly turn innocently away. She wasn’t interested in finding, or attaching, her heart to another. All she wanted to do was go forward and follow the course in her life that she had determined.
It was a day she remembered fondly. The wind blew the rain sideways, slapping her in the face. Lisa made a futile attempt to block the onslaught of the brutal, pounding rain, by placing her backpack in front of her face. The walk to her dorm appeared to go on forever; each step feeling as if it was not getting her any closer.
Without warning, the rain stopped around her. Lisa was startled when, from behind, a navy blue jacket covered her drenched body. “It wasn’t supposed to rain. Goes to show you how much weathermen know, huh? Why don’t we head over to the library until this passes?”
Wet and shivering, she agreed. To her surprise, they talked for hours in whispered voices in the quiet of the library. A calming force about Russell quenched the thirst she never believed would fill her soul after the loss of her Mom and Aunt.
Russell pampered Lisa every chance he got. She opened up to him unlike she had ever done with anyone else. She was comfortable around him, and for two years their love blossomed. The misery of the past was now just a sad memory. Love sought her out, and latched on. Their hearts bonded with the adhesive of devotion that made them inseparable. The gloomy days evaporated, replaced with sun-filled warmth and happiness. She found her soul mate; the one who protected her heart from being shattered again.
The flash of Russell’s smiling face and protective hug vanished as Lisa snapped back into the present to the man before her in the theater.
“Okay,” she said, breaking the glance with a smile. “Thank you.”
She followed him as they walked up to the counter, stunned at herself for accepting his offer. “If you don’t mind me asking, what movie did you see?”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” she answered.
“How was it?” he questioned. He pulled his wallet out of his back pocket as he handed the girl behind the counter the bucket. “I’ve heard it’s very good.”
“It wasn’t bad,” she replied awkwardly.
“I saw Godzilla,” he said, taking the popcorn from the girl and then turning to hand it to Lisa. “I’m not so sure that makes the best first impression,” he chuckled.
Mystery filled her mind as she gazed back into his eyes.
“Thank you,” she said shyly.
“You’re very welcome,” he responded. “Have a great night, and sorry once again.”
“No problem. Have a good night.”
They parted ways, and she made the lonesome walk to her car; the man in the theater constantly filling her head.
Lisa pondered how interesting it was that one word opened the floodgates of memories. For her, the word was Godzilla.
“Don’t you find it just a little distracting that their mouths don’t match what they are saying?” Lisa quipped, watching a giant lizard stomp its way through a Japanese city.
She found it adorable that he was still a kid at heart. His dorm room shelves were filled with DVDs of every Godzilla movie ever made, along with rows of “toys,” as she called them, of the creature. The sparkle in his eyes whenever he got the chance to discuss his favorite monster was cute.
“You’ll get used to it. Besides, these movies ooze awesomeness, don’t you think?” Russell gripped her tighter in his arms and stroked her soft, straight hair as they lay on his bed; her head resting on his chest, rising and falling with every breath he took. She held him close, never wanting him to leave. There was no doubt, no second guesses, not one worry of a shattered heart, just pure, undeniable love, and she felt complete.
“Did you notice anything special about my new cell number?” he asked.
“Ahh, no. Should I have?” she replied.
“Look at the last four digits.”
She reached into her back pocket and took out her phone. Studying the dial pad, she racked her brain as to what he was trying to convey. “What is it, some kind of encrypted message?”
“Just put the letters to the numbers.”
Determined, Lisa inspected every number. She started with the first two, five, and eight. She managed to connect them, and the rest fell into place; 5-8-8; LUV. As Lisa worked through the numerical puzzle, it dawned on her. She grinned as she looked up at him.
“I’m such a romantic, aren’t I?” The glow emanating from her face was as bright as the glow from the cell phone screen.
“I love you,” she whispered. “You’re the best thing that could have ever have happened to me.”
With a soft kiss to her forehead, he said, “I’m sorry about everything you’ve been through in your life. You’re a very strong woman. I admire that. Believe it or not, it has made you into the most special woman in this world, and I’m happier than flies on shit that I found you.”
“You have such a way with words,” she laughed. Their two hearts joined the longer they gazed into each other’s eyes. Their love weaved together into a knot. She melted with his kiss, always letting out a brief sigh when their lips separated. She never wanted the kisses to end—never wanting him to let go.
“You are the prettiest girl I have ever laid my eyes on,” he sincerely stated.
“Liar,” she shot back in a playful tone.
“In love, trust is a must. If I ever lied, it would make you cry,” he declared.
Her laughter continuously rolled out. “That is the corniest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Another trait she found sweet, and those were the lame quips.
With their lips locked again, their tongues tasted each other. When they separated, she let out sigh. “It’s corny, but it’s sweet.”
Days had passed after the initial meeting with the gentleman at the cinema, and he remained glued in Lisa’s mind. He was an enigma that repeated in her head over and over. The more thought she put into it, the more she wondered why he struck her as being familiar.
Sifting through the clothes rack at Old Navy, she grunted at everything that was not her size until she found something that fit her. With the shirt held out in front of her, she inspected every inch of the garment.
A deep voice from behind was startling, causing her to drop the item from her hand. The same familiar apology that repeated itself over in her head now echoed in her ears.
She spun around, and there he was.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you,” he apologized.
They simultaneously reached to pick up the fallen shirt. They clunked heads in a soft thud. He squeezed his forehead as he lifted his chin and chuckled.
“I was hoping I would bump into you again, but not this way,” he joked. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” she said.
“You know, I never properly introduced myself.” He held out his hand. “I’m Michael.”
She returned the handshake and flashed a fake smile. She had worked hard to get her feelings under control, and she was not going to let it fall apart.
“It’s nice seeing you again,” she stated.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
The pitch in his voice made her freeze in her tracks. His distinct tone resonated throughout her body; it was one she had heard years before. Michael spoke to her in a way that harkened back to happier times. Her mind may have been playing a cruel joke—making her think that he was somebody else.
Without facing him, she muttered, “Lisa.”
“Did I hear, Lisa?” he smiled.
Since she didn’t show any emotion, men looked upon her as if she was a reject, speaking to her when needed. It did not bother her. She accepted who she was and moved on. She didn’t want to invest the time into someone when in the end, they would leave like they always did.
Michael continued with small talk—meaningless chatter meant to fill the uncomfortable void between them. She wanted to walk away, but he had this unexplainable pull that made her stay.
A tingling sensation inched its way through her body once more. She did not want to allow herself to be overtaken by whatever was consuming her. In her heart she understood, but her mind denied it.
“Do you think I could have your number … possibly set a date for maybe … dinner?” he asked.
She had been so cold-hearted to him both times they met, she was taken aback that he would ask her this. “No” should have been the answer, but she did not hesitate, “Sure.”
They stood in silence, waiting for one of them to say something. Finally, Michael spoke up. “I wish I could read the mind of such a beautiful woman, but I can’t. You’ll have to tell me,” he chuckled.
Shaken out of her revere, Lisa returned his grin. “555-506-5472.”
His fingers fluidly moved across screen, pausing before he pressed the last number. “This is interesting,” he noted. “Today is May 6th, and the last four digits of your number spell out your name. What are the chances of that?” he added.
The phone buzzed in her purse, and she took it out to glance at the screen.
“Now you know who is calling or texting you,” he said.
A grin overcame her reluctant face. “Okay.”
“Well, I should get going. Talk to you soon?” he asked.
Lisa answered with a smile.
“I’ll take that smile as a yes,” he said. “Is your head okay?”
With her hand still rubbing the spot where they collided, she muttered, “Yeah, its fine.”
After the goodbyes, they parted ways. What were the chances of literally bumping into each other again? Perhaps it was fate, or maybe a mere coincidence. Either way the cat, or in this case, her cell number, was out of the bag. It would be a matter of time before he called, and she hoped that it would be sooner than later.
Lisa swung the Old Navy bag as she walked with Russell’s arm around her. “Thank you, sweetheart,” she said, her mouth twitching before widening.
Russell leaned down and gave her a kiss. “I love it when your mouth does that before you smile.”
“There is something else that twitches when you are close by it,” she cooed, flashing him a wink.
He lowered his hand, giving her butt a pinch through her tight blue jeans. She jerked forward, turned, and halted him in his path. With her arms around his waist, she snuggled him close in the middle of the mall parking lot. Wrapped in his arms brought her security. Her eyes motioned for him to move his mouth by hers. The “kiss” code he knew, and he replied. Their lips locked; Lisa pulled him as close as possible. A tiny car horn interrupted the moment of passion.
They moved to the side and watched as the car passed them by, the elderly couple inside shooting them an evil look. They returned to staring at each other and shared a laugh. There were more pressing issues to discuss, and Lisa’s face switched from joyous to serious.
“Are you going home this spring break?” she asked him, with the fear of being apart from him tearing at her insides.
“Not this year. Actually, I have a surprise for you.”
“How does a week at a cozy little bed and breakfast sound?”
“Really?” she asked again.
“Yes,” he smirked. “Horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, the works. The best part is that we won’t have to be apart.”
She leapt into his arms, wrapping her legs around his waist. “We won’t have to be apart,” she repeated joyfully.
A day did not pass that Lisa didn’t reminisce about what transpired a few days ago. A part of her waited for any contact from him. She considered making the first move, but tossed that idea aside. She didn’t want to get involved with him, and maybe it was best that he stayed away. Starting to set the phone on the table, it buzzed. There was his number and a simple text that said, Hello.
Her mouth twitched, and widened. Happiness came over her, and since it had been so long since she had the sense of joy, she became confused on how to react. She tried to fight it off, but seeing his text brought a ray of sunshine through the darkened clouds. She stopped trying to make sense of it and relaxed as they carried on their conversation. After an hour, she started to get more into the texting, feeling at ease with him. It occurred to Lisa that she was becoming too involved with Michael. She wanted to back off and decided to cut the chat short, making a lame excuse that she had something to take care of.
Graciously, he asked if it would be possible to text her again, or possibly call her tomorrow. She put little thought into it and let her heart decide for her. A ray of emotional sun warmed her in a way that she had not experienced in many years.
“Come on, dear,” the woman said, waving Lisa towards the front door.
The sun glistened upon the Hamilton Bed and Breakfast. It looked comparable to a regular house. Its wooden, white porch, lined with hanging green plants and rocking chairs, showed its age. The chipping paint gave the place its charm. The brown shutters stood out against the white painted aluminum siding. She thought to herself what a quaint painting this setting would make. She stood outside taking in the scenery while Russell had to attend to an “important” thing.
The woman limped over to the front door. She must have been in her upper sixties. Her silver hair, thick glasses, and flowered dress, turned her into a lovely little grandma that Lisa wished was hers. “Let me get that for you, dear.” She leaned over, and swung open the door.
Lisa inched up the porch steps, taking each one cautiously. The deep red of the mysterious items that started at the doorstep caught her eye.
“You’re a very lucky girl,” the old woman’s cracked voice said. “Your fellow is very romantic.”
Her grin widen when she realized what was on the floor. Placed roughly two feet apart, the rose petals dotted the entryway and lead the way up the stained wooden floors. In a hypnotic trance, she followed the trail. With every step, her heart swelled with anticipation; her hands became clammy. There was no more pain, no more desolation of her past.
She peered into the room where the petals led. The shades were drawn shut and flickering candles gave an eerie, yet soothing ambiance. Russell stood at the foot of the neatly made bed.
Months passed. Lisa still kept it barricaded inside her, not displaying any type of emotion, not even allowing Michael to kiss her. Yet with the lack of affection, he still hung with her; a noble feat that she admired. Either he was tough as nails or as dumb as a rock, but the pieces started to fall in to place. They had so much in common, and they went to the same college at the same time. She repeated in her head, why.
They sat in a crowded seafood restaurant, the salty scent of fish filling their noses with every intake of breath. They discussed their pasts—well, he was the one doing most of the talking. Lisa held back her messed up disaster of past relationships and the emotional hell she had been through. He did not pry anything personal out of her, nor did he try.
“I was an only child,” he said, wiping the white napkin on the side of his mouth. I couldn’t have asked for better parents. What about you? What about your parents?”
She knew that this question would come to see the light of day. She filled her mouth in an attempt to avoid bringing it up. She wasn’t ashamed, but now was not the time to feel that knot of pain tightening over her losses.
Michael noticed she had no interest in talking about the subject so he continued. “Anyway, just a couple of month’s into college, I met this wonderful girl.”
Why the hell is he telling me about his old girlfriend on the first date? She thought to herself.
“We weren’t party goers like half the other students were. We never went to Fort Lauderdale for spring break like everyone else. We preferred to be alone together. ” He paused, and changed the subject. “If you don’t mind me asking, what happened between you and your ex?”
Russell kneeled on one knee before her, the aroma of the scented candles, vanilla to be exact, filled her nose. His hand trembled as he took hers. Lisa’s emotions collapsed, shaking as bad as he was. Her eyes opened and the flow of tears tickled out as they trailed down her face. She didn’t ponder much as to what her answer would be before the words left his mouth.
“From the first day I met you, I knew that there was no one in this world as special as you. Every day, since I first looked into your beautiful eyes, I have thought of you. Your lovely smile, but more importantly, the person on the inside. You stole my heart, and the only way I can be with it again, is to have you by my side.”
He reached under the bed and took out a small silver box graced with a darker shade of a silver band just above the opening. For a fleeting moment, she pondered how many times he had rehearsed this scene in his head, but as soon as he flipped the lid open the thoughts vanished. Wishing she could see the ring through the tears, she fell to one knee.
“Lisa Fielding. My devotion. My love. My soul are yours, and I would be honored if you take my hand in marriage and be my wife.”
He squeezed her trembling hand to hold it steady, and slid the diamond ring on. She nodded as quickly as possible; the word “yes” stammered out of her quivering mouth.
She embraced him and then raced back to slam the door shut with a heavy thud.
A veil of sadness covered Michael as he swirled the remaining wine in the glass before setting it back on the table. The sorrow in his eyes as they met drained the happiness from her. She braced for the worst; but she hoped for the best.
“There was an accident,” he said.
“I’m so sorry,” she replied.
“So was I. We were torn away from each other when we reached the highest peak of love. I cherished her. I treated her like royalty because that is what she was to me. The beauty of the universe could not compare to hers. When we were apart, there was a piece of me missing and when we were together, I never wanted to let her go.” His voice cracked as the passion for his girlfriend grew.
A tear began to fall as he continued. “I never thought I would see her again, but in my heart, there would be nothing that could keep me away. The moment I saw that flash of light, I witnessed her elegance; her absolute magnificence within that light. My soul was determined to get back to her.”
“I’ll be back,” Russell stated in his best Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation.
“Let me come with you,” Lisa said.
“I’m just running across the street to grab some snacks, and when I get back, we’ll watch whatever movie you’d like.”
After a quick peck on the forehead, Lisa watched her fiancé disappear behind the closing door. She relished the thought that they would be married after college; it ran through her mind since they returned from spring break.
She looked at the shelves of his Godzilla toys, deciding where they would be displayed once they got their own place. The joyfulness gave way to grief as thoughts drifted to her mother. A heavy sigh flowed from her mouth. She believed her mother was keeping a keen eye on her from beyond, smiling at the woman she had become.
Involved in thoughts, Lisa lost track of time. She peeked at her cell phone. Russell had been gone over forty minutes—a long time for a trip to the convenience store a few blocks away.
I miss you. Where are you? She texted.
She waited for a return text, but none came. Her finger walked across the screen, she sent one more.
Frozen in terror, her eyes remained glued to the screen. She pleaded to an unseen God, putting trust in her faith that he would bring forth an answer. Her soul emptied. Rolling over the spot where he laid more than forty minutes ago, she flung her legs over the side of the bed, and bolted for the door. Flinging it open, it impacted the shelves with force, causing the toys to fall to the floor with hollow thumps.
The moment she set foot in the hallway, she heard the echo of a boy’s voice. “Lisa,” the voice boomed. Out of breath, the boy gasped. “You have to come.”
“Evan, what’s wrong?” she asked Russell’s closest friend. “Is it Russell?” she cried.
Panting heavily, he blurted the words that burned into her soul. “There has been an accident. Russell’s been hit by a car.”
Lisa’s face showed no expression. She sat in a trance, puzzled by the last comments he spoke.
“What?” she said confused. “I think you’ve lost me somewhere, Michael.”
“I woke up in the hospital. To this day, I can still smell the fresh linen as if I were still there, laying in that bed, attempting to figure out how it could have happened. But there was something very different about me and the people that were surrounding me. I didn’t know who they were. I heard the nurses explaining to these strangers that I might be suffering from amnesia due to the amount of sedatives I had ingested. I couldn’t tell you how long I was in the hospital. Everyone kept calling me Michael, but that was not my name,” he said.
Minutes passed like hours as Lisa sat in the waiting room, her head buried in her hands. She repeated the Lord’s Prayer, relying on her Catholic upbringing to guide her, and to assure Russell’s survival. It was all Lisa had to rely on. She trusted the Lord would forgive her absence away from him.
Heavy footsteps interrupted her prayers. Through her swollen eyes, she witnessed Russell’s parents walking somberly towards her; his mother wiping her nose with a tissue. Lisa’s mumbling stopped mid-prayer. The somber veil covered his dad’s face spoke more than words could ever have. Her heart melted, dripping life out of her distressed soul.
“No,” she muttered. “No!”
Michael took a deep breath before he continued. “The person who is talking to you right now, is not the man on the outside. The man you are looking at now passed away from an overdose of sedatives.”
He paused to see if Lisa displayed any hint of emotion. Her dead stare and stone face gave him no indication as to what was running though her mind. “The man on the inside died physically when he got hit by a car crossing the street. But somehow I was given a second chance at life.”
She tried to say, “What?” but only ended up mouthing the word.
“Look at my number,” he insisted. “I specifically got it to spell something out for you and only you.”
Confused, she took out her phone and tried to make sense of what he was attempting to tell her.
“The first letter indicates devotion,” he said.
She stared intently at the screen, puzzled. L, U, V; her eyes widened. The letters and numbers started to match up, she softly spoke each letter. “L,U,V,L,I,S,A.”
Her brain closed, not wanting to grasp what was happening. The color drained from her face as his tender touch failed to sooth the numbness that swept over her body. From the corner of his sorrowful eyes, a tear finally fell.
“Lisa,” he whispered. “It’s me.”
She stood to leave. Thinking that this was a cruel joke, it fortified her belief that love was nothing but a waste of time.
Tears filled her eyes for days. Every drop that fell took a piece of her happiness, until there was nothing left to shed. For weeks she sat isolated, contemplating what the meaning life held. Each day she strengthened her emotional wall.
She placed the engagement ring she once wore proudly back into that silver box and closed the lid, and thus ended that part of her life. He was gone, and no greater power could resurrect him.
It became a struggle to get through the basic grind without the love of her life, but she adjusted to feeling emptiness inside. She never stopped thinking of Russell, for his memory was all that kept her from falling into the endless well of desolation.
Being happy and reliving their memories would eventually be drowned out by a flood of sorrow and loneliness. She cursed the unforgiving and cruel God. Though her faith was gone, she also cursed the man who took her life away, damning his soul to burn for eternity in the pits of Hell.
“Lisa, please listen to me. I can explain everything if you give me the chance,” he pleaded.
She resisted, trying to get out of his firm grip without causing a scene. Knowing the window was closing, he spoke swiftly. “Your mother passed away when you were eleven. Your aunt raised you until she died in your senior year of high school. Your brother’s name is Ed, your sister’s is Emily. We went to that bed and breakfast every spring break. The first time there, I laid out rose pedals from the front door up to our room and proposed to you.”
Her mind deadened to the point of not being able to think rationally. Reluctantly, Lisa sat and looked at him as a whirlwind of conflicting feelings swirled in her head. She thought she was spiraling into her void of emotions, and there was nothing that was going to stop it. She opened her heart too quickly and now was paying for it with pain. She could not cast away what he told her, for Russell was the only boy she opened up to.
“Months went by after I got out of the hospital. I fought the grief of knowing that I was still alive, but my real parents thought I was dead. I struggled each day with the thought of them crying over my grave, and there was nothing I could do about it. I adapted to my new family, my new mother and father. They believed that their son, the body I am in now, suffered from amnesia as a result of his overdose. In reality, he died. His heart stopped for a few minutes and that’s when I entered his body. It was instantaneous for me. I saw the headlights, a flash, and then I woke up in the hospital.
“Years went by, I became Michael, but my soul and my memories remained Russell, but that’s not all I had to deal with. Michael had overdosed because he could not bear to live with what he had done four years earlier. I only know that because he left a note. That note was how I put it all together myself.” He paused, and stared intently at Lisa, whose pale face made it appear as if she was ready to faint. “Lisa,” he continued. “Michael was the one who hit me that night. He couldn’t —“
“Why are you doing this to me?” she barked. “Tell me. What the fuck is the purpose of this?”
She gulped down the last of her wine and slammed the glass on the table, no longer concerned if she made a scene or not. “I have no idea how you know all of this, but is this how you get your sick kicks you son-of-a-bitch?” she scolded.
She stormed out of the restaurant. The world spun around her. She sat on a bench as a cool breeze swept over her. Her face, buried in her hands, hid the shame. The wall she worked so hard to build had been compromised.
As soon as his firm hand came to rest on her shoulder, she twisted her body away from him. “Leave me the fuck alone, or I’ll call the cops,” she threatened, swatting his hand off her.
“I know how hard this must be for you to take in, but let me finish, please.” He pleaded taking a seat next to her. “What was it that we always said?” he asked. “I’ll tell you. In love, trust is a must. If I ever lied, it would make you cry.”
Tears flowed freely from Lisa’s swollen eyes as he muttered those words. It was the exact phrase they repeated many times, in a tone that resembled her lost love.
“I missed you so much. Not one day passed that you were not on my mind. I wanted to find you, but I knew what you must have been going through, so I kept my distance.” He gently placed his hand on her shoulder once more, and this time she did not brush it off. “I know how difficult this is for you, but I need you to look me in the eyes, Lisa.”
She uncovered her eyes and peered at him through her tears. There were no sparkles, just a slight glimmer of light. His inner soul came to light. Looking not at that person sitting next to her but at the person on the inside; her heart gave in.
“Russell?” she wept.
He responded with a simple smile and a nod of his head. The sight of the man that killed her Russell rattled her to the core. Conflict raged within her. The devotion and undeniable love for Russell grabbed at her, while the anger at looking at the man responsible for taking him away was unbearable.
“I love you, baby,” he said. “If I give you a kiss, and you truly believe in your heart that it’s me, you will let out that little sigh.”
She shut her eyes and let her heart lead the way. The soft, tenderness of his lips touched hers, and the protective wall collapsed around her. Their lips separated as she let out a brief sigh.
“This can’t be true,” she doubted.
“I won’t lose you again,” he promised soundly.
She looked at the man she once found striking, but now repulsed her. She could not, and would not, forget what Michael had done, but also could not ignore the feelings that rumbled inside her. These emotions, especially love, became a burden once again. They always were. They always will be.