Love Beyond Words, page 1
Love Beyond Words
Epilogue - Heath
Epilogue - Leah
Bonus Scene - Heath
Bonus Scene - Leah
About the Author
Also by Dani René
Copyright © 2017 by Dani René
Published by Dani René
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
The following story contains mature themes, strong language, and sexual situations. It is intended for adult readers.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in the work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owner.
One day when I reach the end of my story
When all my pages are written and read
My life with you will undoubtedly
be my favorite chapters
I sit back in my chair with a sigh and remember a time when things were simple.
School has become tiresome because I know what I want to do, I want to talk to him. To write him and tell him what my plans are for the weekend. At eighteen, I’m the sweet girl my parents taught me to be. The one who always comes home before curfew, who gets straight A’s, who is sugar sweet and innocent.
But I feel as if I’m about to lose my mind because I know what I want to do and it has nothing to do with Algebra and Chemistry. My passion lies in pen and paper. In words. Perhaps it’s because of him. Maybe it’s because all I want to do is see his face. We’ve been communicating for three years. When I turned fifteen I met him, well, not face to face. More like…word to word. And I loved every moment of it because I had found a friend. Someone to confide in and give me advice on what I was going through.
They told me to pick a nickname. Something that wouldn’t allow the person on the other end to find out who I was. I was instructed to write the letter, address it and they would post it along with many others. The bright side was I could choose. There were so many of them, I didn’t know who I wanted to write to. As I scrolled through the multitude of names and their crimes one stuck out at me. One caught my attention and never let go.
He was serving a minimum fifteen-year sentence with the possibility of parole because it is his first offense. He claimed to be innocent. Second-degree murder. He was dangerous, he was a killer, but I wasn’t scared. I chose him because of his number, 0423. My birthday is the twenty-third of April. Perhaps it was fate aligning our paths.
We weren’t allowed to send a photo of ourselves. It was anonymous. Just someone for them to talk to. It had saddened me to find out he was in that place when he was only twenty-four. Yes, he was older than me, but only by nine years. Since that first letter I sent as an innocent fifteen-year-old girl, he understood me better than my own parents, better than I did myself.
That’s the man I chose. He was my pen pal.
So I wrote my first letter. The one of many that would take me from adolescence into adulthood.
I thought I knew everything. We were told to stop writing, but I was rebelling against everything and everyone, so I continued the letters. He responded every time and I wondered if I was his lifeline as much as he was mine.
Can you love someone you’ve never seen? Sure. That’s what happened and I fell, hard and deep. I suppose there wasn’t room for him in my real life, but we had become friends and I couldn’t walk away. Even though I knew I should. I became addicted to his words. His letters. The way he knew me, understood me, and made me feel alive.
My gut told me to crush his letters. To burn them. To never look back. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. And it brought me a love so infinite, so desperate, and so painful that the only choice I had was to walk away.
If I were smart, I wouldn’t have turned back. I wouldn’t have answered that last letter. If I were smart, I would have packed my bags and ran. But, I’m just a girl. I’m just Twig, the girl he depended on. I knew that over the years I had become more. I had become something else to him, as he had become something else to me.
It was when the secret he’d kept hidden from me was revealed that everything changed. That the man I had come to know, to love, and to ache for turned into a liar. And even then, when I said my final goodbye, I still yearned for him. When I turned to walk away, to leave him behind, I still held onto every letter.
Would he fight for me? Would I be able to forgive him? Only time would tell.
Fifteen Years Ago
I’m one month into my sentence. They said I was lucky, since it’s my first offense I was given the minimum sentence and if I behave, I could get parole. At twenty-four, I’ve been incarcerated for something I didn’t do, and right now there’s only one thing holding me back from fucking it up. The promise of freedom.
I have to bite my tongue; I bite it so hard that I taste the metal in my mouth. But I don’t fight. It’s not who I am and I refuse to change that for anyone.
My gaze drags up to the filthy mirror in my cell. It’s cracked in a few places, which makes me seem scarier than usual. Since I’ve been inside I have added some ink to my pale skin.
From my wrists up to my shoulders are decorated in intricate patterns and images. Walking into the main area, I find a few of the inmates stalking around. “Prisoners, your mail is here.” One of the guards dumps the lump of envelopes on the table and men run toward it like it’s their fucking free ride out of here. I know better. There’s fuck all a little piece of paper can do for me.
“Ohhh, look, our pretty boy Con, got one.” They’ve given me a nickname, which I hate, but I smile and nod allowing the fuckers to say what they want. I grab the blue envelope and stuff it in my pocket. I don’t need to read this shit in front of them.
They see me as a kid because I’m the youngest, even though I’ve been arrested for second-degree murder and I’ll be out before they’ve had their fucking breakfast.
As soon as I’m alone in my cell, I pull out the letter f
I’ve never done this before. I suppose you haven’t either. They asked us to select someone from the list and write a letter to them. It’s strange. What would or could I say to you that would make your situation better? Nothing. I realize that even as I sit here—a teenage girl—there’s nothing in my life that could ever compare to what you’re going through.
Perhaps you’re feeling down. I can sympathize. There are times when I’d like to run away. People tell me I’m too old for my age. Is that true? Can someone be too old for his or her age? How is that even possible?
I suppose I ramble on too much. Anyway, they said no personal details so I guess no real names.
My name is Twig, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I’m pretty weird. I guess I’m a nerd. A gawky girl who spends too much time around her books. I’m at school, as you’ve probably guessed, and I love writing. I don’t have many friends because they only get you into trouble. I’m a loner and proud of it.
They call me daddy’s girl. You know the type. Or do you? I hope you’ll tell me about you. Anyway, I do like writing, it’s an escape. I can create anything or anyone I want, that’s where I find my friends. Between the pages and between the lines. Is that wrong? To hide away from life. I’m not sure. I told you I ramble.
Do you get lonely? It must be a scary place. I’ve watched television shows, I’ve seen men in places like that and they scare me. They’re the monsters under my bed at night. Are you a monster? Somehow, I don’t think you are. I don’t know why. They said you murdered someone. If you don’t want to tell me about it, that’s fine. But I’d like to know you. I hope you write back.
I have to go. They’re waiting for me to finish. I told you I ramble.
The sun will shine tomorrow.
The innocence in her words makes me smile. Something about the way she says the sun will shine tomorrow tugs at me. The man they’ve locked up for murder. The sun no longer lives in my world. It’s been dark for too long and now that I have her sweet innocence to hold on to, I want more.
I read it another couple times and I can’t stop chuckling. I’m sitting in prison and reading a letter from a fifteen-year-old girl and I’m laughing. Who’d have thought? I fold it up, tuck it back in the envelope and deep down I hope there’ll be another one soon.
The only problem is; I’m meant to write back. What do I tell her? How do I explain my innocence to someone who hasn’t even left school? Someone who hasn’t experienced the real world.
They’ve given us paper and a pencil and even in my depression, my constant state of anger and frustration, I want to respond to her. I want to reply and tell her life is brilliant and amazing, and I want to tell her that she should keep writing.
I want to tell her life is good. It’s a lie, but to know she’ll smile, I do it anyway.
I sit down at the small desk that they’ve allowed in my cell and I write. I don’t tell her the real reason why I’m in here. I don’t tell her what happened to me. But I tell her how beautiful she is. I’ve never seen her. I don’t know her hair or eye color. I only know she’s beautiful because she made a grown man, who’s probably not going to ever meet her, smile. I need to tell her that.
As the pencil scratches along the smooth white page, I find myself writing more than just that. More than what I planned. And in my haste to tell her everything about me, I find myself three pages into a letter I have no idea will ever reach her.
With words merging into sentences and feelings pouring from me onto the paper that she’ll hold, I hope she feels what I do. I want to pour all my emotion into this one letter because if it’s the only one I get; I hope that someone out there will know how beautiful they are. I didn’t get to tell the one woman who held my heart I loved her before I found her slain in my house, so I’ll tell Twig.
With a quick glance at the clock I notice it’s just hit ten. He’s late again. Why the fuck am I here? Oh, yeah, my parents. “Hey, sexy.” A slur has me turning to find my fiancé. He’s a mess and I know he’s probably been at the bar again. It’s come to the point that I’m no longer good enough to talk to unless he’s intoxicated. But I’m no longer here myself, I live in my world. The stories I create to escape the reality that my life has become.
I’ve let myself get sucked into this situation. Being forced into a relationship is not something I ever saw for myself. Daddy, however, did. There’s only one man whose company I enjoy, and he’s not even real. Well, he is, we’ve just never met. I would prefer him being here rather than the man whose ring I wear.
“You’re meant to be half sober at the event tonight.” My retort doesn’t go unnoticed, nor do most of my anger-fueled responses. Those are normally met with rage, but tonight he has to behave and he knows it. If it weren’t for the fact that I was about to see my parents, I would have slunk back and just ignored him.
I would have hidden in the room I call my haven. Where I write, where I lose myself in worlds of my own making. The only place I can be myself. The rest of the house is his. There is nothing of me in any of the rooms, only him. He’s in charge and he likes to make sure I know he is.
I’m not happy. I’ve never been happy with any man. Friends tell me it’s my friendship with a convict, but surely it’s just my independence. Isn’t it?
When I think back on the most recent letter I received, only two weeks ago, I realize even he told me that I should leave.
It’s been weeks, months even and every night I go to sleep worried about you. Fear that I’ll not receive another letter. Unease sits heavy in my gut that you’re going to just disappear and it will be his fault. I’ve been thinking about how you’re still there. This man doesn’t sound like he’s good for you. Are you always going to stay in one place? Are you always going to let someone put you down? I hate to know you are. That you’re allowing it to happen. Where’s my girl? Where’s my beautiful Twig?
You worry me though, sugar. Is he holding you there by threatening you? If he is, tell me. I can help you. You know I’m out in a few weeks and I know people. (A joke, I swear). I don’t want to tell you how to live your life, but I know you can do better. Granted, I’m no better, but I think you should walk away and live the life you first told me about all those years ago. Do you remember? Because I do. Why don’t you tell me? Be honest.
You know my story sweet thing, so why don’t you just do as I say and walk away? Pack those pretty red heels and make a getaway worthy of a story. You could write a book about how you ran from the horrid fiancé and found real love. Do you want love? I mean real love.
I don’t mean your average run of the mill shit. I mean the kind that rams into your life like a freight train and knocks you on your ass. The kind that has you wondering how you ever lived without the other person. When all you think about is having them in your arms, or within reach. To see their smile, inhale their fragrance. When every song you hear reminds you of them. And when you sit alone in your room in the dark with all the lights off, the only thing you can see is their face in your mind’s eye. When you sleep at night, as soon as your eyes flutter closed, it’s their eyes staring back at you. Not haunting, but merely watching. Keeping you in their sight so you’re safe, warm, and appreciated. And you know that one day when you inhale your last breath, that is the only person who will ever be embedded in your heart, flow through your veins, and piece together your broken soul.
I guess I’m rambling now. I have to get to the break room. I’ll chat to you soon.
He started signing it Yours after the first year. I
When I turned seventeen we spoke about me having boyfriends. About my non-existent love life. He told me that I’d one-day fall in love and forget about him. I’m about to turn thirty and he’s still the only man I haven’t pushed out of my life.
Fifteen years of knowing someone.
Fifteen years of wanting someone.
I still look forward to opening that mailbox and finding an envelope with the stamp from the prison.
Seeing his masculine scrawl calms my nerves and sends my fears back into hiding. The only thing he can’t do is save me. That I’ll have to do myself. It’s something I need to decide to do and follow through. I reread the last paragraph again and my heart kicks in my chest. Could he be talking about us? Does he love me?
He can’t. I’m just a girl. He’s probably got someone waiting for him when he gets out. Someone his age. That’s something that’s never come between us, our age difference. He knows I’m nine years younger, but he’s never said anything to me about it. Never made fun of me, or the series of questions I would send to him.
“What the fuck are you doing? We need to go.” Turning to find the dark stare of the man I am meant to marry, I nod. If I don’t answer it will save the fight. The argument that so often occurs when he’s in this mood. “I asked you a fucking question.”
“Nothing, Ron, I’m coming.” Closing the drawer of my desk, I turn to Ronan and smile. He’s tall, almost six feet tall, and he towers over me normally, but tonight I have heels on. The dark blue dress I’m wearing is figure hugging and shows off the curves I’ve grown accustomed to.
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