I apologise for the length of time between recent chapters thanks for sticking with this story. This chapter doesn’t have any sex in it so will understand if you wish to skip it and wait for the next episode. It is fairly short and does set up the next couple of chapters with a bit of background.
I was awakened by the sound of people walking down the street outside our house, presumably coming home from a night out. I looked at the neon numbers on the clock over on Jade’s side of the bed, as I did so the numbers clicked over to show the time was two-thirty in the morning.
I turned over onto my back and stared at the ceiling. The Jade’s soft gentle breathing was the only other sound to be heard that late at night, or should that be early morning, now that the revellers had gone out of earshot. My mind was full of unclear and confused thoughts and I knew I would not be able to go to sleep but I tried anyway attempting to clear my mind but the memories kept invading my thoughts.
I carefully slid out of bed and wrapped myself in my robe and as quietly as possible opened the bedroom door. Stepping outside the bedroom the floorboard just on the other side of the door creaked as I turned and slowly closed the door, putting one hand on the door to slow its motion as the other hand turned the handle to try and avoid the click of the latch as it came into contact with the door frame.
I walked slowly down the stairs and entered the living room quietly, asking the virtual assistant to turn on the lights. The lights came up and I glanced at the photos neatly arranged on a unit against the wall. There were various scenes of the children and at one end of the collection a rather beautiful shot I had taken of Jade a few months earlier where she was looking off into the distance. I looked at the other end and stared at my Louise, a classic headshot making her look like some 1950s movie star.
“Don’t judge me,” I murmured and waved a hand at her photo, “it’s your fault you should have stayed, fought it, never left me and the kids.”
I flopped onto the sofa and ran my hands over my face, “what am I saying, there was nothing you could have done, nothing anybody could have done. It doesn’t get any easier you know, even after all these years.”
I continued to look at the photo, “I am happy again, you said before you went that I would eventually find somebody else, never thought it would happen, never wanted it to happen but it has.”
I fell silent and just sat staring at Louise’s photo.
I heard the door opened and the soft padding of bare feet as they walked across the wooden floor before a hand touched my shoulder, “Hey, what are you doing up, I could hear voices who were talking to?”
I looked up at Jade, “I was talking to myself, actually that is not true I was talking to,” I couldn’t say her name suddenly, her name caught in my throat, I waved at the photo.
“Why,” there was a puzzled look on her face, “You ok?”
I smiled at Jade, “Yes, yes it is nothing, don’t mind me, it just.” I paused, “I always get a bit melancholy at this time of year, today is the day she died.”
Jade said nothing but came around the side of the sofa and sitting down hugged me, placing her head on my shoulder.
“She told me to move on you know, said I had a right to be happy in my old age, and I am you know.”
Jade kissed me, “Good to hear, it must have been hard at the time.”
“It was difficult for the kids, I had to be strong, in that last year…..once we knew the treatment was not working…..I wanted……I wanted it to end, be over. Does that make me a bad person?”
Jade said nothing just continued to hug me and rub her hand up and down my back.
“She was in so much pain, they gave her stronger and stronger doses of morphine which meant she spent most of the time sleeping. She retained her sense of humour and somehow her smile right to the end. I couldn’t cry, I said it was because I had to keep it together for the kids but in reality, I felt nothing by the end, not grief, not anger, I felt empty and underlying it all was a sense of relief.”
I looked at Jade, there were tears in her eyes.
“You know she said she would watch over me and that she would send me a message.”
“What was the message?”
“I won’t say, it is a secret between Louise and myself, but it is completely obscure and something that nobody would ever say in conversation. Needless to say, I have not heard it and I think that now if I did hear it I would shit myself.”
I chuckled as I said that last bit and Jade giggled with me.
“Listen, I know I should have brought this up sooner but this weekend I am going to go down and see Louise’s family it is like an annual event these days. I was planning on just doing it in a day but why don’t we make a weekend of it. We can go down on Friday and spend Saturday with them. We then have Saturday night and Sunday all to ourselves.”
“I don’t know, do you think it is a good idea? I mean you are getting together to remember their daughter.”
“Of course, you know they have asked several times as to when they are going to get to meet you.”
“I still think it will be a bit awkward.”
I could understand Jade’s reticence but I knew that if I wanted to move on then little things like introducing her to my late wife’s family was something that had to be done.
“You will be fine, they will love you although I should warn you they might come over a bit eccentric but they are warm, kind-hearted and very much believe in family.”
Jade looked at me puzzled, “What do you mean by that last bit?”
“They are a large family, Louise was one of six siblings, three boys and three girls, I have lost count of how many grandkids and great-grandkids they have now. At Christmas when they all got together it was a madhouse with kids everywhere. They all still live in the same town, Louise was the only one to move away. We never got to see them as often as Louise would have liked because of living all over the place with my job.”
Jade paused for a moment, “What about when she was ill?”
“They travelled up as often as they could, I or one of the others would bring them up. They have not come up since she died.”
We kissed and cuddled for a few minutes before I picked her up in my arms and carried her back up to our bedroom.
Snuggling up to one another we started to drift off to sleep.
“You know on Saturday evening we could always go to a club, assuming there is one close by.”
“Mmmh I would like that,” Jade whispered as she kissed my neck. “Let’s plan in the morning,”
We drifted off to sleep with my mind a little clearer, cuddling the one I loved.
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