Our story started like the
fairytales you grew up reading, but it doesn’t end like them.
I was fifteen when I realised I
was in love with Cole. He was the foster kid who wore scruffy clothes and never
had any money. He was the bad boy, the fighter. The boy who took all the
dares—and won. He was the boy that scared me but excited me at the same time.
He was the boy I shouldn’t have wanted, but, of course, he was the one I wanted
In the beginning, he was mine.
And I was his.
Cole and Evie. Evie and Cole.
then a lie was told. Lies break people. And broken people shatter into little
pieces of tortured pasts and fractured futures.
then our fairytale beginning morphed into a story of heartache and sadness,
instead of happiness and hope. A story that ended with lost love, friendship,
and a never-ending cycle of what ifs
and if onlys.
Our ending broke me. Shattered
me. Destroyed me.
When a story ends like ours did,
is it any wonder I never wanted to start a new one again?
Eight years ago
tears streak down my freezing cold cheeks and snake into the corner of my mouth
as I walk over the sleet-covered field. When my eyes land on our tree, I suck
in a big breath and pull it deep into my lungs, hoping it’ll be enough to
suffocate the ball of dread that’s swirling around in my chest.
This used to be a
place full of happy memories…the place where I played tag with my brother and
best friend until long after the sun had set, the place where I grew from a
girl into a young woman, and the place that I ran to when I needed to escape.
It’s also where I met Cole for our first date. And where I’m standing now is
the exact spot where we shared our first kiss.
But the memories
I used to love and cherish are now tainted with anger that boils so fiercely
within me that I know I’ll never set foot in this place again after today. It’s
something else that he’s ruined for me and something else I hate him for.
I look up and
watch the branches of the oak tree bend and whine in the wind as if crying out
for me to not do this. I touch the trunk where our initials are carved into the
middle of a heart and cough out another huge sob. Cole and Evie won’t be
forever. Not now.
I tip my head
back, letting the ends of my hair tickle the bottom of my spine, and stare at
the angry clouds through the bare branches. The icy-cold rain pelts me from
every angle, soaking right through my thin coat until it settles deep into my
bones. It pours down my face and mingles with my tears as if it’s trying to
hide them for me. I want to shout out that it’s useless, that nothing can hide
my tears. I should know because I’ve been trying to hide them every single day
for the last five weeks.
I turn when I
hear footsteps. The sight of him in a suit momentarily stuns me. It’s far too
big for him and looks a little cheap, but he’s still incredibly handsome in it.
I’ve never seen him in a suit before, and I can’t get over how much it ages
him. For just a few seconds, I let myself imagine my hands pushing the jacket
over his shoulders and then unbuttoning his shirt.
“You came,” he
says in a voice that’s so familiar to me, I cling to it like a child clings to
a comfort blanket.
I shake my head
to try and dislodge the images that are whirling through my mind. I’m not
supposed to be thinking of him like that. “Yes,” I answer.
“I didn’t think
you would.” When he steps closer, I notice that he has tears falling down his
cheeks too. “How was the funeral? I wish I had been there. I wanted to
“Don’t,” I say.
“I don’t want to talk about it with you.”
He nods, looking
sad. “I’ve missed you so much,” he whispers, reaching his hand out for me. “The
last five weeks have felt like five years.”
I take a step
back and collide with the trunk of the tree. Hurt flashes across his face.
“I’m confused and
I’m hurting,” I blurt before he takes another step towards me. I want to tell
him the truth, but I’m scared. I’m scared he won’t understand.
“I love you,” I
breathe, wiping away a fresh set of tears with the back of my hand. “But now I
hate you, and I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive you for what you’ve
done.” The ball of pain that’s lodged itself in the centre of my chest cracks
and starts to bleed down into my stomach, filling it was so much hurt that it
makes me feel sick. And then my heart breaks all over again as I see his bottom
“No, Evie,” he
whispers. “Please don’t say that.”
“I’m so sorry,” I
sob. “I’m sorry, Cole.”
He shakes his
head, causing the damp strands to flick across his forehead. “No,” he repeats,
“I’m sorry. If only—”
“That’s it,” I
interrupt. “That’s what we’d be saying for the rest of our lives, and I can’t
live like that. I won’t live like that.”
He swears and
pushes his fingers through his wet, dark hair. His skin normally looks tanned
and clear, but today it’s pale and blotchy. His light brown eyes that usually
sparkle and shine at me look dull and lifeless. He looks like crap.
“I don’t ever
want to see you again,” I whisper.
across his face as he drops his hands from his head and looks down at me. “So
this is it?” he snaps. “The last three years have meant nothing to you?”
everything to me…everything.”
He takes a deep breath
and slams his fist against the trunk, just above my head. “You won’t even
I flinch as bits
of bark tumble over my shoulders. “I can’t.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
he questions, raising his eyebrows at me.
“It wouldn’t be
good for us,” I say. “You must be able to see that.”
forwards, completely eradicating any distance that I’d created between us, and
cups my face in his big, warm hands before I have a chance to protest. “What I
see is a girl who is so broken she’s shattering into a thousand pieces right in
front of me. She’s so fragile that I daren’t even touch her, but I have to.
Because this is my last chance, isn’t it, Evie?”
He gently skims
his thumb across my cheek. I nod and then look away from those desperately sad
eyes of his. “Yes.”
“You know what
the worst thing about this is?” he spits.
I peel my eyes
from the ground and blink up at him through the rain. He’s always been
handsome, with a face that I could stare at every single second of every day.
But right now, when I’m on the brink of never seeing him again, I can barely
look at him. “What?”
“I want to kill
the man that did this to you,” he growls.
I want to kill
He can’t mean… “You’re not going to—”
He shakes his
head. “No, I’m not. There are people that need to see that someone is punished.
I know that, understand it, and even respect it,” he says. “They need to see
justice has been done, and right now, I think you’re one of those people.”
I look deep into
his eyes, but I don’t answer him. How could I? I’m supposed to love him, no
matter what. But he’s right; I need to see him suffer for what he’s done.
“I deserve it,” he says. “But nothing
they do will compare to how much it’s going to fucking hurt to let you go. I’m
going to let you go because you deserve better than me. You deserve a life, and
more than anything, you deserve to be happy.”
Before I can say
or do anything, Cole buries his hands into my hair and crushes his lips against
mine. They’re soft and considerably warmer than my lips, and they’re a mixture
of everything I love about him and everything I hate.
He places the
palm of his hand against my back and then slides it down to the bottom of my
spine. He pulls, forcing me to press against him where I fit like we’re two
pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and I wonder if anyone else will ever come close to
making me feel so whole.
He tears his
mouth away and then presses his cheek against mine. I feel him shuddering as
the sobs vibrate through his whole body. “I’ll always love you,” he whispers
into my ear. “It’ll only ever be you, Evie. Please don’t ever forget that.” And
then he pushes away from me, turns around, and walks across the grass until he
reaches the waiting car. Without looking back, he opens the rear door and