Last song fic of 2017! This week, we’re inspired by “Chances” by Five for Fighting.
Even though I love this song, it took me a while to come up with something, but I finally did. I’m actually revisiting a flash fic I wrote – the first song fic I wrote for 2017. Kind of bookending the year. LOL
You could read this on it’s own, but if you want to take a look at the piece – it’s a short one,
Albatross by Susan McKeown
God, I was going to barf.
I fiddled with the coffee cup in front of me and focused on breathing slowly—in and out, in and out—hoping it would calm my nerves.
A simple coffee date shouldn’t fuck me up this much. I didn’t even know if this could be considered a date. And it was so far from simple it wasn’t funny. Meeting your husband for coffee after not seeing, or even speaking to, each other for nearly a year… Yeah, not remotely simple. I bit back the hysterical laugh that bubbled up.
I had no idea what to expect. The last time I’d talked to him had been right after he’d left me. Oh, how I’d hated him them. Or I’d thought I did. Who knew? Maybe I actually did in that moment. Hated him as much as I loved him. Because the love hadn’t gone way. Even when I was drowning in the pain that had eventually driven him away, I’d loved him so much.
Now, months later, there was no hate. Just gratitude that he’d done what I couldn’t. I would have clung to him, to our marriage, until my last breath. And I had a feeling that would have killed the love—slowly and painfully and to the point of no return. He’d been strong when I couldn’t be.
Now, I was filled with a sickening mix of hope and fear. The fear was winning, by far. For all I knew, he’d moved on, and this was some kind of act of closure for him. I swallowed thickly and straightened in my seat. If that’s what this was, I’d deal. I may not have been strong then, but I was now. And I wouldn’t fall apart.
The bell above the door jingled, drawing my gaze as it had every time, and my breath caught painfully. Fuck, he looked good—healthy and tanned, his dark hair wind-tousled, his jeans and t-shirt molding his body.
Seeing me, he smiled and strode through the shop toward me. I rubbed my damp palms over my denim-clad thighs and pushed to my feet. He didn’t hesitate when he came close—he pulled me in a tight embrace, face turned into my hair. I heard him inhale deeply then let out a long sigh.
I squeezed my eyes tight, trying to hold back the tears that threatened. Wrapping my arms around his waist, I leaned into him, soaking in his warmth. When he pulled back, he brought his hands up to my face, cradling it as he stared down at me.
“I missed you,” he murmured roughly. “Thank you for meeting me. I was afraid you’d… I wouldn’t blame you if you told me to fuck off after…everything. I…I’m so sorry.”
I shook my head. “No apologies. Please. It took me a while, but I know you did what you had to. For both of us. It’s okay.”
He pressed his lips together then huffed out a short laugh. “You were always too forgiving. Especially with me.”
I rolled my eyes, then we both sat at the small table. “Oh, do you want a coffee?” I asked.
“Not yet,” he said quickly. “We need to talk.”
My stomach dropped. This was it. Shit.
He reached out and took my hands. I looked down and couldn’t hold back the tears this time when my gaze landed on the gold band circling his finger. The sight pushed the hope inside me higher.
“How have you been?” he asked quietly, his thumb dragging over the ring that still sat on my finger. Was he as relieved by the presence of my wedding ring as I was by his?
“I’m good. Better. Still have some bad days, but I don’t think that’s ever going to go away. She was our baby, and she’s gone” I took a deep breath and met his gaze—so full of understanding. “But I’m not lost in the grief anymore. I’m…good.”
“Are you? Are you good, I mean,” I blurted. “Did you get what you needed by leaving?”
“Yes…and no.” His fingers tightened around hers. “I hated myself for doing that, but I…we needed the time and space to heal. It was too hard—dealing with my own grief in the face of yours. I just wanted to make it better for you, and I couldn’t, not when everything I was feeling was so—”
“I know,” I said when he choked on his words. “I know.”
He smiled, eyes glistening. “So, yeah, I got what I needed, but I missed you so fucking much. I missed us.”
“So, this isn’t you…breaking up with me for good?” I joked weakly, even as panic tightened my throat.
“What?” His eyes widened. “Is that what you thought?”
I lifted a shoulder. “I didn’t know what to think, to be honest.”
He stared at me for a long moment. “I spent the last month trying to build the courage to call you. I was so afraid you had moved on, maybe found someone else, who could give you what you need.”
“You did give me what I needed,” I protested. “Even if I didn’t see it then, even though it was so damned hard and hurt so much. You were always good at that—giving me what I needed.”
“I love you,” he said simply.
I inhaled sharply. “I love you, and I missed you, too, missed us. There isn’t anyone else—how could there be? And, yes, I have moved on—away from that dark place I was in—but not to where I wouldn’t want to be with you.”
“I’m not asking to come home,” he continued. “Not yet. I don’t think rushing into that would be good for us. We can’t pretend the past year didn’t happen.”
I nodded slowly, practically holding my breath as I waited to hear what he had to say.
“But I do love you and want to be with you, so much I can taste it, but I think we need to go slow. Would you…” He wet his lips. “Would you go out with me?”
I laughed, feeling light for the first time in a long, long time. “Yeah, I would totally go with you. So, this,” I gestured around the coffee shop, “is a date, then? I’d been wondering that since you called.”
He grinned, relief clear in the way he relaxed back in his chair, still holding one of my hands. “Absolutely a date.”
With that, the hope overcame the fear, and I found myself looking forward to the future again, to trying to get back something I’d lost and building something new, something stronger. And no matter the outcome, I knew it ‘d be worth it, because if anything was worth taking a huge risk for, it was love. My love for and with this man.
Bronwyn Green| Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris | Siobhan Muir