Chapter 1 - 6 months later

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"Why is it still so hard to wake up in the morning? I feel like I can barely function. My reason for living is gone and I'll never see them again. When does it get easier?" I ask the therapist. "It's only been six months. It would be hard for any man to get past the sudden death of their wife and child. You just need to give it more time. You don't want to take the pills, so it'll take a little longer to get through this." She tells me. "Soon, it will start getting easier, and you have made so much progress in that time. You will start to find that it will get easier soon, because you are trying so hard."

I nod hoping that she's right. I think about it, and I've come a long way since I first started to see her. After their funeral, I couldn't even get out of bed. Finally, my captain called Robin, my therapist and she came to talk to me. At first she would come to my house and we would do the sessions in my bedroom. Then she started encouraging me to get out of bed and get dressed and we started doing the sessions in my living room.

Soon we worked our way to a restaurant close to home. It kept going that way until we are now having the sessions in her office. I've actually gone back to work, although I'm on desk duty. It's better than nothing and it keeps me busy. That's why I keep seeing her because I do see progress in myself.

One thing that I am happy about is that the last thing that I said to my wife was "I love you." She died knowing that and it comforts me. I'd rather have her here with me, but I've stopped questioning that also. One the things that Robin has drilled into my head is that there is a reason for everything, when the time comes, I'll know what it is. I just have to keep moving forward and to live my life.

We finish my session for the day and Robin has given me an assignment. I'm supposed to call one of my friends and go out to dinner. When I get home, I scroll through my phone and consider who I can call. I decide on my closest friend, Brock. He's excited to hear from me and we decide to meet for dinner that night. We agree to meet at our usual place.

Monty's was busy as usual when I pull up to the building. I find a parking space and walk towards the building quickly. Brock is at the front door waiting for me and when I walk up, pulls me into a hug. "Man, I'm so glad to hear from you! Let's get inside and get our seat."

We walk inside and Celeste our usual waitress is still there. "Hi guys! Long time no see! Your regular table is open!" She points across the room at it. "Take a seat and I'll be right with you." We make our way over to our regular table and take a seat.

After we catch up with each other some, Brock asks, "So how are you doing?"

"I'm doing better. It's still hard to get up in the morning and function without them, but I'm trying. I just can't believe that they are both gone except for the fact that I can't call them and they'll come. I keep expecting her to walk through the door with a bag of groceries yelling for me to help her with them." I tell him. He shakes his head, "I'm so sorry they're gone. I know I offered this before, but if you need anything, just let me know." I smile, "Thanks, man."

"I need to ask this one more time, no one survived the explosion?" He says. "There was a rumor around the precinct that there was one survivor, but that was squashed really quickly for some reason. All of the news outlets said that there were no survivors, but I wondered if there was one and they're just trying to protect him or her. I went to my captain and he assured me that there were no survivors. Which is horrible because of all of the women and children that were killed that day." I say.

"Not to mention the men that were in there also. That was the most exclusive doctor's office in town. It was hard to get an appointment there. Which is why I was surprised when Chloe got an appointment." He says. "I know. She just happened to know one of the nurses there who was able to get her an appointment. He was a great doctor." I say.

We finish our dinner catching up on other things and then decide to go have a drink at the bar around the corner. We walk inside and the ambiance is the same as it has been since the last time we came here. That comforts me for some reason. We take a seat at the bar and a bartender that we've never seen before walks over. "Hey guys, what can I get you?" I look into the face of a woman with red wild curly hair, with the most beautiful emerald green eyes that I've ever seen. Wow. She has a dainty round face and red lips to match. I stare at her until I felt a nudge on my arm, "What are you having man! It's on me." Brock asks. "Uh, I'll have a bud light." I give my order to her.

She smiles and walks away, telling us she'll be right back. I turn to Brock, and he's looking at me strangely. "What?" I say. "I didn't miss that reaction, what's up?"

"I don't know. She moved something in me." I say to him. He starts laughing, "Well, it has been a while. Maybe you need to go out and get some."

"Not like that..." I start, and stop when she comes over and put our drinks in front of us, "Here you go. If you need me, my name is Carmen, just call." She smiles at us and walks away. I take a long drink off of my beer and turn back to Brock, "I could handle it if it was only physical attraction. But there was something else, like she's a kindred soul or something. I can't feel like this about someone else so soon after my wife and unborn son dies."

"Under normal circumstances, I would laugh at you, but with your circumstances, I would say, 'yes you can.' It's been six months bro, anything can happen. There's not a time limit to how long it will be before you can feel something for someone else. I've heard of people meeting someone a month after their significant other dies and falling in love. There is no judgement. Well, there may be by some people, but they don't matter." He states.

That makes me feel a little better. We sit and chat while sipping our beers, when they get low, Carmen comes back over and see if we want something else to drink. We both order cokes since we are driving and she walks away again, her beautiful red curls swinging behind her.

She comes back and drops off our cokes, telling us to call her if we need her. We thank her again and she goes to the end of the bar to greet a new customer. She speaks to him like she knows him, but when she turns away, she has a look like she's in pain or something. She gets his drink and leaves the bar for about ten minutes. When she comes back, she goes to see if he needs anything else, and he holds a small conversation with her.

She turns and walks towards us again and she looks like she's in pain. When she steps in front of us, she asks, "Is there anything else you guys need?" We both shake our head and then she says, "Do you guys mind if I stay down here until that customer leaves? He a regular and really nice, but every time I go near him, my head starts hurting."

"Not at all. Is there a reason that your head is hurting when you go near him?" I ask. "I don't know, really. It's a long story and I'm not at liberty to talk about it. How about you guys? What are you doing out tonight"

"This is the first time that I have seen my friend here in six months." Brock says. "Oh really? Go on?" She smiles at us again. "It's not a happy story." I warn. "No problem. I hear them all behind this bar." She responds. "My wife died suddenly about six months ago. I've had a really hard time dealing with it and with a therapists help, here I am. I'm finally starting to be able to function again."

"I'm sorry to hear that. If it's not too presumptuous of me, may I ask how she died?" She asks. "Not at all, she died in an explosion at her doctor's office." I answer. She gets this look on her face like she's in pain again. "Are you okay?" Brock asks. "I don't know. This headache keeps coming at me for some reason. I..I'm going to the back for a second. I'll be back, okay?" We both nod.

"That was strange," Brock says, "She got the same look on her face when she talked to that guy. I wonder what's going on?" I shrug, "I don't know. I hope she's okay?" Another bartender comes out after that and we don't see her for the rest of the time that we're here. We finish catching up and separate at the door. After checking on Carmen, the drive home is quick and I walk inside of my lonely house and take a shower before I go to bed.  

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