Out of breath, p.65
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       Out of Breath, p.65

         Part #3 of Breathing series by Rebecca Donovan
 
Page 66

 

  I scanned her face as her eyes twinkled in the soft light. ‘What aren’t you telling me, Emma?’ She revealed the most dazzling smile. ‘Tell me. ’

  ‘Well … let’s just say that I made an investment in my future. ’

  ‘You bought this house. ’ We were no longer moving to the ethereal singer.

  ‘Technically, you own a portion of it,’ she explained. ‘Your mother accepted part of your savings as your offer, and Charles arranged for payment of the rest. So essentially you own your bedroom. ’ She laughed. I wrapped my arms around her waist and swung her around, making her yell out in a joyous laugh.

  I kissed her neck. ‘We have a house. ’

  ‘You have a room,’ she teased. ‘I have a house. Umm … the piano’s staying. ’

  ‘I’m not playing it,’ he said quickly, causing me to smile.

  ‘I guess I’ll have to learn,’ I said, laying my head on his chest as we began to sway again.

  Elation seeped out of him like he might burst, and I was smiling so big it almost hurt. I was grateful that Vivian hadn’t accepted any other offers before I met her last weekend – although at the time I didn’t know I’d be the one living here. She’d shared a reflective moment with me regarding choices and love.

  Love was easy. All I had to do was look in his eyes and know that.

  In the uneven balance of my life, I’d experienced love and loss. The loss challenged me to be strong, but it was the love that supported me when I was weak. I was a survivor. And now I wanted to focus on living my life.

  This was just the beginning of our healing. Of being forgiven. I knew I would struggle with it at times, and feel like I was fighting for every breath. I just had to remember, there was always a choice. And I chose to live. I chose to love. I chose to breathe.

  Epilogue

  I TWISTED MY HANDS IN MY LAP. MY HEART felt like it was going to pound right out of my chest.

  ‘Stop!’ I hollered, practically panting. ‘I can’t do this. I can’t. ’

  Silence. No pep talk. No coaxing. No trying to convince me.

  I closed my eyes and took a breath. If my pulse kept this up, then I’d be sweating right through my dress. And that was not the impression I wanted to make. I took another breath.

  I can do this. I can do this. All I have to do is walk. And smile. And maybe talk. I can do this.

  I opened my eyes again, and said, ‘Okay. I’m ready. ’

  Evan glanced sideways at me. ‘Are you sure this time?’

  ‘Shut up and go,’ I pleaded, making him chuckle. My shoulders relaxed as we slowed to a stop.

  A large soft-coral-coloured house sat before me. My breathing evened, and the panic subsided. Before I could step out of the car, the front door flung open and a little girl in a frilly pink dress came running out at full force. ‘Emma!’

  She crashed against me, her arms wrapping around my stomach. ‘Hi, Leyla,’ I said, my eyes watering as I hugged her tight. ‘You look so beautiful. ’

  ‘I knew you’d wear pink,’ she exclaimed joyously. ‘It’s our favourite colour. ’

  ‘Mine too,’ Evan chimed in, making her giggle.

  ‘Jack, why don’t you go help Evan bring in their things,’ the woman with the coiffed grey hair instructed gently.

  The young boy with the round wire glasses approached Evan hesitantly.

  ‘Hey, Jack,’ Evan said, holding out his hand. ‘I’m Evan. ’ Jack grasped it, and a small smile emerged as he shook it. ‘You can take in this box, since it’s yours anyway. ’ Jack’s eyes lit up when he accepted the gift wrapped in festive Christmas paper. ‘And I had to wrap it because Emma can’t fold a corner to save her life. ’

  Jack laughed.

  ‘True,’ I sighed.

  ‘Hello, Emily …’ My grandmother paused. ‘Emma. It’s nice to finally meet you in person. ’ I raised my head to view the woman before me, who I easily resembled. The woman who had given me back my family.

  My grandmother began to reach out with her hand, then stopped, undecided how to greet me. I slid away from Leyla.

  ‘Thank you,’ I said, wrapping my arms around her. She folded her thin strong arms around me and held me tight.

 
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