💜💜💜 A Life Less Beautiful 💜💜💜💜
Ellis Hughes has loved the girl next door since he was ten-years-old. She was his sun, moon, and every visible star in a clear night sky. She was also his biggest regret.
When a terrible accident rips Ellis and Harlow apart, it shatters both their hearts beyond repair. More than a decade later, Ellis has paid his penance, but his regret still lingers, and the love he once harbored for his childhood sweetheart has never faded.
What Ellis believes has been destroyed forever, slowly comes back to life, only for a cruel twist of fate to intervene. Knowing he cannot live his life without Harlow in it, he faces the ultimate test of selflessness.
He must sacrifice his own heart to mend hers.
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I lean over the edge of the balcony and peer down at the garden below. I’d take a moment to enjoy the cool Wilmington wind against my flushed face if I could breathe. For a solid minute my vision swims as I struggle to suck in enough air to keep from passing out. The sound of my pulse rushing in my ears begins to ebb as everything starts to calm and I thank my lucky stars. Soft strains of music slowly drift free and steal the silence I rushed up here to find, as the patio doors beneath me open. I can hear fractured snippets of people regaling fond stories of Mrs. Adkins. I move slowly backward into the shadows and watch as he steps out onto the deck, running his hands through his hair. I should take the opportunity to leave while he’s out here, but I can’t seem to make my legs work.
I watch as he links his hands behind his neck and stares out at the sky. My heart rate begins to accelerate again when I remember idly how I used to love running my hands through his messy blonde locks. He looks exactly the same and yet somehow completely different. The natural, infectious energy that used to surround him has disappeared, but I guess prison will do that to you. The boy I last laid eyes on has long disappeared, but the man that’s taken his place bears all the resemblances to my first love.
I wish I’d known he was going to be here—I could have avoided him. I’m not ready to see him, and as he stands looking out into the night, I can’t pull my eyes away. I’ve practiced every day for ten years what I would do in this situation. I’d ask him why he didn’t come clean. Why he lied. Why he shut me out and ruined what was left of my already broken heart. I was positive I’d be able to deliver it spurred on by anger alone. I was wrong. I assumed I’d be furious, but now that it’s actually happening I’m not.
The floorboard creaks when I jerk as a cold shiver races to the base of my spine. I quickly step behind the curtain, worried he might have heard me jump, but when I peer out he hasn’t moved a muscle. My body temperature suddenly feels as though it’s dipped to ten below zero and I’m trembling, despite the mild night. He’s so still it doesn’t look like he’s breathing. I can’t see his face; I should at least thank the universe for that small mercy. I shiver violently again and fold my arms tightly under my chest, trying to get a hold of myself. The sight of him has knocked out the little air I’d managed to suck in clear from my lungs, and my body’s decided to betray me yet again. I shouldn’t be surprised; it’s nothing new. I’m trembling uncontrollably now, and I try to relax and take some deep breaths like I’m supposed to. I’ve seen people shake violently with anger before, but I know that’s not what this is. This isn’t rage or hatred—it’s an acute realization.
I’ve missed him. I’ve missed the one person in this world I should hate.