***THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS SPOILERS TO LET LOVE IN. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE FIRST BOOK.***
Let Love Stay
Monday December 10, 2012
As the sliding glass doors of the hospital power open, the afternoon sun blinds me. While my eyes adjust to the glaring light, I can’t help but notice the irony of the scene before me. A husband is gingerly assisting his wife out of her wheelchair. The back door of their car is still open and I can see a tiny bundle of blankets, inside of which I’m sure there is a tiny newborn, carefully secured in a brand new car seat. Maddy’s words replay in my head – I’m pregnant.
A baby. My baby. Our baby.
At that last thought, my gut clenches and, if possible, my heart breaks even more. I’ve been apart from Maddy for less than ten minutes and already I miss her so much that I feel like I can’t breathe without her.
Okay, even I’ll admit that I’m being a bit melodramatic, but she means everything to me and when she needs me the most, I’m a fucking coward and I let her push me away. And I walked away. I didn’t fight for her, for us, for our future as a family.
I didn’t have the courage to say everything I needed to say. Instead, I just let my shock get the best of me. When she said she was pregnant, it was as if everything just stopped. My world faded to black and I shut down. I couldn’t process anything; I’m sure I looked like an asshole. The love of my life just told me that she is going to have my baby and I started talking about how it was going to affect my life.
But now, as I walk towards Jack’s pickup truck and unlock the doors, I can’t help but think about how this is all affecting Maddy’s life. She’s just starting college and I’ve gone and fucked that up for her.
I fuck up everything.
I slide into the driver’s seat, turn the ignition and just sit there completely paralyzed by the pain I feel at losing Maddy. Doesn’t she realize that she’s mine – that she makes me want to be a better man?
Some ‘better man’ you are walking out on your pregnant girlfriend.
I’m a shit and I know it, but I can’t go back in there right now. No matter how much I just want to wrap my arms around her and swear to God that I’ll do anything she wants me to so that she’ll take me back, I know that won’t fly with her. Yeah, she wants me to forgive my mother, and to make peace with my past, but she wants me to do it because I want to do it – not because she wants me to do it. And no matter how much I love Maddy, I’m just not sure that I want to do those things; I’m not sure that I can.
My misery over missing her promptly turns into anger and frustration at her. It’s not her place to tell me what the fuck to do in my life. Sure, I love her and I want to be with her, more than I’ve ever wanted anything actually, but I’m not going to just back down on this. My frustration and anger get the best of me and I can’t help but pound my fists against the steering wheel. How on earth can I choose between losing Maddy and facing my past? Right now both choices seem like hell – my hell.
These are the times that I wish Shane was around. He was always my sounding board. God, I miss him so fucking much. It’s not lost on me that if he was here, I wouldn’t even be in this situation. I wouldn’t have to choose anything; my past wouldn’t be haunting me.
Stuck in this internal battle over what I want to do and what Maddy wants me to do, I can’t help but wonder would I have even met Maddy if my past wasn’t causing me so much pain? The thought of possibly loving someone else instead of Maddy literally causes bile to rise in my throat.
I’ve gotten myself so wrapped up in loving her that I never, not even for a second, thought about what I want. I’ve devoted pretty much every single moment of the last few months to making her happy and I haven’t once thought about what would make me happy. Holy shit! I became that guy. You know the pussy-whipped boyfriend who bends over backwards for his girl.
But I don’t hate that version of me all together – at least I don’t think I do. My brain is a scrambled mess over all of this. I really need to figure out what the hell I want out of this whole fucked up situation and do it for me, because I want to – not because Maddy thinks I should. I can’t hide the fact that part of me thinks that she’s right. I do need to face down my past. Maybe that’s why I met Maddy? Maybe that’s the reason for her being in my life?
I’ve never been one to believe in that line of reasoning that suggests everything happens for a reason. If you tell me that there is a reason why sweet little ten year old Maddy had to lose both of her parents, or that there was a reason for Shane to feel so much pain and heartache that he’d rather end his life than fight for it, then I’d say bullshit. Sometimes horrible, fucked up things happen to good people, but in this moment of enlightenment – in this epiphany like state – I can’t help but feel a little bit lighter knowing that if I can’t have Shane as my best friend, that maybe in some sort of strange cosmic coincidence, maybe he sent me Maddy in his place.
She’s the only one who has ever meant anything to me. Maddy is the woman who makes me want to be a better man; she makes me want to be whole and complete, not just because she deserves this better version of me, but because I do. I have no clue how it happened or why it was her. I never in a million years would have thought that I’d be boyfriend of the year or anything like that. Sometimes people change. They change when they have a good enough reason to change. Maddy is my reason and now I just have to figure out how to be me, how to do what I feel is right, while still managing to keep her in my life.
Her love makes me feel worthy and I’ve gone and turned my back on her. Thinking of her moving on without me, of her forgetting me and finding someone else to love makes my eyes burn with unshed tears. She might not want to be with me right now, and God knows she’s got some pretty rock solid reasons for feeling that way, but I will not lose her.
It hits me like a ton of bricks. I will not lose Maddy to my past. I will not let my demons ruin a future with my angel. I might not have been the best person in the past, but Maddy has made me want to be better. I belong to her and her strength has inspired me to be strong.
Shane is gone because of the way my parent’s treated him; they took him from me, but I’ll be damned if they’ll be the ones to keep me from Maddy.
Suddenly rejuvenated and, more importantly, motivated by my own desires to lay the past to rest, I shift the car into drive and head back to the hotel to pick up Jack and Cammie. I can’t help but laugh inwardly as Fun’s Carry On starts playing over the speakers. That’s exactly what I have to do right now. I have to carry on with my life, even if Maddy is not physically in it for the moment. She will always be in my heart; she is my heart, but right now I have to work on fixing who I am if I can ever have the hope of being worthy of her love once again.
I’m not sure how it will all work out, what my next step is, but I do know that I will conquer my pain and I will get Maddy and my baby back. I shake my head at that last thought. I’m going to be a father – holy shit!
For the first time since I was sixteen, I will be whole again; I will find peace and, God willing, when I do find it, I hope that Maddy will be there stretching out her arms to embrace me back into her life.