Where We Meet Again (Arrow Creek 1)

Page 84

He checked for a safe deposit box. And with luck, he’d found one.
In the box holding a stack of bonds and investments that Law had intended to deal with later was the envelope. The moment his eyes hit the looping scrawl, he knew it was the one.
Now, days after his discovery, he just has to convince himself to open it.
There’s only so much a man can take, and when it comes to the woman he loves, he wants to take everything. Love, however, is an emotion like any other, and sometimes, it isn’t enough.
He wants it to be. The love he’s carried for her never left. Fuck, laying eyes on her in that coffee shop for the first time since she’d disappeared from his life, that love came surging back.
There hasn’t been a doubt in his mind; from that moment forward, he was going to have her. It wouldn’t be easy. They both had their work cut out for them, but she had belonged to him always.
But hearing those words come from her mouth, the truth he saw in her eyes and what that meant about what he knew about his life, it eviscerated him.
His life had been a lie.
That father of his, who seemed to selflessly provide him with his heart’s desires, had been a mirage. Like the illusion of water in the desert, the closer her words brought Law to the truth, the faster it dried up.
Answers wait in front of him, but all he’s capable of is lifting that glass to his mouth, taking a hefty swallow, and setting it back down.
So much time passes that the dim light fades, and a blackness creeps out of the angles of the room.
The chair beneath him creaks when he shifts his weight. Law’s head falls back, and he rubs a hand over his eyes, willing himself to get it over with.
Her ghostly voice echoes in his ear, urging him.
Pick it up. Pick it up, Law. Pick it up.
He picks it up, turning the smooth cream paper in his fingertips.
Open it!
Law runs his thumb over his name written on the front. It’s his full name, a name he’s loathed since he was a kid. She used to call him that when she was ticked and trying to make him the same.
Why he tried to force her to call him that in Arrow Creek, he didn’t know. It was more torturous to him than it was to her, he’d put money on it.
Law pulls his Leatherman from his pocket, switching the blade up with his thumb, and in one fluid movement, slices the envelope open. Inside are two pieces of lined paper folded into thirds.
He leans forward and drains the rest of his drink in one swallow. Resting his elbows on the desk, he retrieves the letter and opens it.
To say the diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer is a relief is an understatement. By the time you read this, I’ll be dead. I know that won’t stop you from wishing I were alive so you could kill me yourself. Believe me, son, I understand. Too many times over the years I wanted to take the coward’s way out. The pain of the heinous things I’d done was unbearable, but living through every day after was my penance, and mine alone to bear. Taking my own life would have only added another loss in your life, something you’ve had more than your share of since you were sixteen years old.
As I write this, I am still shocked to know this secret has lived on. When I sent her away fourteen years ago, I thought it was only a matter of time until she came back. Weeks turned into months, turned into years without a sign of her, even after her brother died. I waited. I was always waiting for that moment the other shoe would drop, and she would come back to demand her due.
I know I’m rambling. This isn’t easy to tell you, after of living a lie for so long. I’m going to come out and say it now, and son, I hope you have it in you to forgive her. Forgive her, because the sole responsibility for what happened lies on my shoulders.
I raped her, and she got pregnant.
I’m ashamed to say how long it took me to believe that it wasn’t just sex, but there’s no responsibility I can place on her. She was sixteen, that in and of itself is rape by the definition of the law, but besides that, she didn’t come onto me. She didn’t want me. If she could have, she would have said no.
You don’t want the details; in fact, they’ll only hurt you, but I’m giving them to you, anyway. I hope that you will understand, and in the chance your paths cross again, you can forgive her.