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Life is full of silences – the quiet that befalls you as you wait for the woman you love to tell you that she will be your wife, that brief silence after you give birth – before you hear your child’s first cry…and the silence that ensued after I dared Devin to put a bullet in my head was no different.
I could see that he was weighing the pros and cons of making my inability to inhale and exhale permanent. He looked toward his father, who provided little to no indication of which path to take as he walked away, and, for a moment, I felt sympathy.
Suddenly it occurred to me that my hands weren’t completely clean. My relationship with Devin was definitely far from perfect – he had forced me not only to pull the trigger that ended another man’s life but also forced me to marry him under the pretense that my family would be slaughtered had I failed to do so. However, I don’t doubt that there was a small part of him…that loved me. And despite this knowledge, I took another man into my heart and into my bed…knowing full well what the man who held my freedom was capable of. Ryan may have pulled the trigger, but I loaded the gun and now here we were – the two survivors of a love gone wrong, trying to pick up the pieces.
And then I remembered the man who made me spaghetti and meat sauce on my birthday – the same man who carried me across campus because I was too tired the walk; the man who told me he thought “Aidan” was the perfect name for a boy. I reached out my hand and placed it in his – his eyes shifting to meet mine.
I thought I saw him crack a smile, for the briefest of moments, and watched as he wiped the tears away from his eyes, collapse on the bed and whisper, “I’m sorry, Lauren. I’m sorry.”
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