Eternal Hearts (Incurable Hearts 2)Ellie R. Hunter
Ellie R Hunter
Ellie R Hunter
© 2013, Ellie R Hunter
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
“Can you repeat that please?”
“Certainly. The sum of thirty-five million pounds”
Yes, I did hear correctly. The man sitting before me in his expensive suit was serious. He looked in his early fifties, stocky build with a kind, gentle manner. He showed up about half an hour ago and introduced himself as Mr Jones.
“Where is she?” I asked still in shock.
“I believe she explains everything in this letter,” he said, passing me a thick envelope along the table.
“There is also this” he said, producing a larger, thicker envelope, “It gives you a lot of information that can help you find who you’re looking for” he said, still digging around in his case.
I didn’t dare open the envelopes yet, I would wait until I was on my own. I had been waiting years for this. I had no idea names, places and money would fall into my hands this easily, but it is a fantastic start in my search.
“The last piece left to you is a piece of jewellery, it was one of her most prized possessions, and it meant a great deal to her, she wanted you to have it.”
It was beautiful. I couldn’t stop myself from immediately fastening it around my wrist. It fit perfectly, and I felt closer to her already.
I have waited sixteen years to meet her and I have just found out I never will, but the search to find out where I come from will continue.
A big part of me died three years ago when my wife did. Jasmine Collins was and still is the love of my life, I only had five short months with her before she was taken away from me, yet they were the best five months of my life. The past three years have passed in a blur, the first year I barely remember from being intoxicated every possible waking moment, and the last two years have passed quite quickly from putting all of my sober energy into work. During the first year, I swear I could see Jas everywhere I went, even when I was at home, I would see her with me. When I began working again, I stopped drinking as much but I still would see her. I know now it was my mind playing tricks on me. I don’t care, I know she isn’t real or a ghost, but seeing her occasionally makes getting through the day a little more bearable. I had the option to walk away when I found out she was ill and save myself from this pain I constantly feel, knowing for sure she wasn’t going to be cured and still be here with me now. I chose to stay because how could I walk away from the most beautiful, generous yet the most stubborn, strong minded woman I have ever met. My life may have been permanently flipped upside down when I fell in love with her but I wouldn’t change a thing, apart from having her with me still. I would do it all again just spend another five months with her, but I can’t, so I spend every possible waking moment working. Like today, I arrived at work just before eight o’clock and haven’t stopped since, keeping my mind focused on building materials and building plans keep me away from disappearing into a world with nothing but memories.
I heard my name being called across the yard, I walked out of my office to see Rose carrying Jasmine-Lily on her hip and Jack running towards me. My beautiful niece and nephew. My Jas had been wrong about the sex of the baby, Natalie had given birth to a baby boy five months after she died, they went on to have my niece Jasmine-Lily who is about to turn one next month. They were coming to stay with me for the weekend. Rose had been lost when Jas died, pottering around the big white house on her own so when Jack was born and Natalie wanted to go to university she offered to be Jack’s child minder, over time she became the cook and cleaner.
“Hey little man, do you want to see where your bedroom is going to be when it is finished?” I asked him.
“Yeah” he replied excitedly.
He looked just like Alex did as a boy, fair hair with the brightest blue eyes and slim build, he also inherited his dad’s cheeky attitude.
I was finally building my own home, I spent many months in a drunken haze after losing Jas before deciding to use the loan to create Collins Construction. Jase came to work for me once I had the business up and running and then Alex came to work for me shortly after. Now I have a team of seventy-four workers, many of them came to work for me when Joe decided to retire, apparently he couldn’t get the contracts, I had undercut him at every opportunity. Jas was right, the rush I felt making deals and money was immense.
“It is coming along nicely Chris” Rose said looking up at the house.
“Another few weeks and it should be finished” I told her, feeling a pang of sadness that I’ll live here on my own. I wondered if Jas felt like this when she bought properties. Maybe I’ll poach Rose just to have someone around the place.
“Come on then guys, put these on and I’ll show you around before we leave.” I said handing them hardhats before taking Jasmine-lily from Rose.
“I’ll leave you to it, are you going to be all right with them?” she asked this every time she dropped them off.
“I’ll be fine Rose, I’ll bring them back Sunday afternoon so I can see Alex”
We headed for the house while Rose left, I carried Jasmine-Lily so she didn’t trip on anything while Jack walked beside me. Jack was a boy’s boy and loved everything, he was full of questions wanting to know how everything went together, very much like his dad.
We didn’t stay long because it was dangerous, the guys knew to down tools when the kids were about, they all knew Jack and pretended he was one of the workers to keep him happy.
After taking them out for dinner both kids fell asleep in the back of the car. I still lived in the same house as when I was with Jas, hopefully there will be no delays and I can move in the new house soon. Even though she only came here a couple of times, this house held too many painful memories for me to bear. It has been three years since Jas left me and it was only last year I could finally breathe without feeling like my chest was going to cave in on me. I still miss her like crazy but it has taken me this long to learn to cope without her. It is easier during the day while I’m working and keeping myself busy, but at night or when I am on my own too long which I try to avoid at all costs, I struggle not to think of her.
I knew my life wouldn’t be the same again after our first weekend together, she turned my whole life upside down and before I could regain my balance she was gone, even now three years on, my life is still upside down. Everything I have now is because of Jas. I can still hear her laugh
and see her smile whenever I think about her but then I remember the dark days when she was in pain or sick or sometimes both and it dampens my memories so I try to block them out.
Jack woke up when I lifted Jasmine-Lily out of the car and grabbed his bag, with Jasmine-Lily falling asleep and by the looks of it staying asleep, I knew I would be up with her at the crack of dawn tomorrow.
“Come on little man, let’s get you both inside.” I said closing the car door behind him. I still have the Aston Martin Jas gave me but when I started having the kids some weekends I bought myself a BMW Beamer, it roared on the open roads but was safe enough when I have the kids in the car.
“Can I stay up Uncle Chris” Jack asked yawning.
I knew he would fall asleep as soon as he sat on the sofa long enough, but he occupies my time for which I am grateful.
“Sure, I’ll put your sister to bed and then we can play the xbox” I said making sure he was settled on the sofa.
Thank god Jasmine-Lily was already toilet trained, I hated changing nappies. I got her changed into her nightdress and laid her in her bed. I turned the spare room into their bedroom so they had their own space while they spent time here. She stayed asleep all the while I changed her, she reminded me of my Jas when she was tired all the time and Jasmine-Lily was stubborn too, I think it carries with the name. I didn’t like the idea of my niece being called Jasmine, a constant reminder of the girl I lost but I am glad they didn’t listen to me and change it.
When I got back downstairs Jack was asleep on the sofa, I knew he wouldn’t last long. I carried him up and got him ready for bed too, although he moaned he wanted to stay up with me even though he couldn’t keep his eyes open.
Eventually I was sat on the sofa, I didn’t want to watch the television so I sat enjoying the peace before the kids woke up in the morning. They are good kids but they constantly want to be entertained. I love having them but I was glad when I could hand them back after the weekend.
My mind ran over what still had to be done at the new house, the kitchen was half finished and the bathrooms had been completed today, it was only the decorating and the gardens that had to be started.
The only time I spent more than a few hours here was when I have the kids over, I hated being here, it was the same when I used to visit Rose. Going back to where Jas lived was too painful. Every-time I go into my kitchen I see her sitting telling me she couldn’t be with me because she was dying, being in the living room I remember her laughing looking at the photographs on the wall. And most of all, the time I spent drunkenly grieving for her, they were the darkest days of my life, sometimes the places I went to I wasn’t sure I would make it back but Alex and Jase always managed to pull me back to reality. It wasn’t until I created Collins Construction that I started to really get my life back in some sort of order, Jas knew that, that is why she did what she did with the loan. Everyone underestimated her but she knew exactly what she was doing and had an uncanny ability to foresee that her decisions would work out. When her lawyer Mr Jones read out she had left me the money, I automatically assumed she wanted to give me something because she could, but with it being a loan she knew I would accept but now after all this time she knew it would keep me busy and give me something to focus on, the next chapter in my life as she called it.
God, I miss her so much. I wish she was here to see what I had accomplished. I poured another whiskey and headed up to bed. My bedroom was the only room in the house she hadn’t been in, I don’t think I could cope with the memories of her in there, it was bad enough remembering them in other places.
The kids were sleeping peacefully when I checked in on them while hoping sleep would find me tonight, but not before backtracking to close the stair gates.
True to form Jasmine-Lily was up and jumping on my bed at six am, I rolled over to see her big brown eyes wide-awake. I had managed to get four hours sleep and today wasn’t a day I could cope without my wits about me, not with both kids running around and my mother and Henry coming for lunch.
“Breakfast…breakfast…breakfast” Jasmine-Lily started chanting.
I don’t know why I bother trying to stay awake when she is up, she never goes back to sleep.
“Okay…okay. I’m getting up. Where is Jack?” I asked her.
“Sleeping” she replied, she was so cute.
“Let’s go and get your breakfast before you wake him up”
We made it to the bottom of the stairs before Jack was following us, it never ceases to amaze me how each one knew the other was awake and got up themselves.
Once they had eaten breakfast and we were all dressed, I put them in the car and took them swimming. I was proud seeing Jack swim on his own, as I am the one who taught him about six months ago. Little Jasmine was happy in the water but she didn’t like it when she got water on her face, which was most of the time, as Jack liked to torment her. It didn’t feel like we were in the water long before he was complaining he was hungry. Swimming finished and back in the car I drove us back to my house. Jasmine-Lily fell asleep on the sofa exhausted from swimming and Jack and I played the xbox, it wasn’t long before my mum and Henry arrived.
“We came prepared and fixed lunch for you” my mum said, coming through the door holding bags of food.
Even now, I know she worries about me, every-time she comes round she brings shopping.
“Thanks” I said, “Hey Henry, how’s things?” I asked, as my mum disappeared into the kitchen with Jack following her.
“Not bad, we only got back from London a couple of days ago and I want to go back already,” he laughed.
Henry and I got along much better now, we understood Jas when no one else could. Having him and Rose in my life felt like I still had her in my life. My mother gave notice at the pub where she worked the same day of the will reading, she said the least she could do was concede to Jasmine’s wishes of not putting up with her mother. She and Henry bought a house near to where Alex and Nat live now and stay part-time in London. I still wasn’t sure about them being together when they got married just after Jasmine-Lily’s birth but Henry hasn’t let her down and I can see how much he loves her. I keep telling myself that is all I want for my mum, for her to be happy.
“That is always the way, when are you due back?” I asked.
“Not sure, your mother prefers to be around here, close to you and Alex. Anyway, how is the house coming along?”
“Don’t get him started on that Henry, lunch is ready and where is my grand-daughter?” she asked, coming through from the kitchen.
“She is right here,” I told her, pointing to the sofa.
Her eyes filled with joy when she saw her. My mum is like a different person these days and the changes within her started when Jas was alive, she truly was happy apart from when she was worrying about me, which I reminded her constantly she didn’t need to.
“How long has she been asleep?” she asked, walking towards the sofa.
“About an hour” I replied.
“Wakey, wakey Jasmine” she coaxed her, gently picking her up into her arms.
When Jasmine noticed who was waking her up she was full of smiles.
“Nanny, I’m hungry,” she said, still half asleep.
Not even fully awake and she was complaining she was hungry, these kids never stop eating, I don’t know where they put it all.
“Nanny has made lunch, come and tell me what you have been doing?” my mum said, taking her into the kitchen while Henry and I followed.
“Now she is occupied you can tell me about the house” Henry murmured, as we sat at the table, while my mum threw him I-heard-you look.
“I reckon another few weeks and it will be finished.” I said, smiling.
“About time, what are you going to do with this place?” he asked.
“I haven’t really thought about it. I suppose I could rent it out, I’m not in any rush though apart from getting out of here.”
“Uncle Chris showed me where my room is g
oing to be Nanny” Jack mumbled, around a mouthful of his lunch.
“Did he, I hope you was careful around all those big tools” she said seriously, she hated it when I took them to the house.
“They are not that big Nanny” he replied, innocently.
“Of course there not, silly me” she said rolling her eyes, “Has Anna had that baby yet?” mum asked.
Jase finally settled down and realised Anna was the one he wanted. She was due to give birth three days ago but I hadn’t heard anything yet. He was scared shitless that he would be a bad dad but Anna reassured him he would be fine. Jase has settled down in himself too, he hardly goes out now and on weekends he actually spends his time with Anna. She is good for him and after Jas’s death he realised it too.
“I haven’t heard anything yet.” I said.
“Where are your babies Uncle Chris?” Jack asked.
What could I say that a three year old would understand? Would he understand that the only time I have ever thought about having children was before my wife died and now I hated the thought of having children with anyone else?
“Because he is too busy having fun with you two” my mum said saving me, I smile my appreciation to her and excuse myself from the table.
I went outside to the garden to get some air, it still feels like she should be here with me. She should be enjoying time with her niece and nephew, no doubt she would have spoilt them rotten, she would have loved them and by now, hopefully we would have had our own children.
“Are you okay?” Henry asked, following me out.
“I’m fine, sometimes it still knocks me, I miss her so much” I told him.
Sometimes I would catch Henry staring off into space and I know he is thinking of her. He doesn’t drive the Bentley anymore, but once a month he washes and waxes it like he is trying to preserve it.