I’ve finally finished my latest novel, Nothing and Everything (previously titled Take It All Away if you didn’t get the memo).
It was a long journey. It was hard. It was painful and sad and funny and happy and scary and just so many emotions all rolled up into one. I believe this has been my favorite story to work on thus far. All these characters mean so much to me and I wouldn’t ever let them go for anything.
This excerpt is from the end of chapter 35, which is the final chapter.
We were so happy together. I became a doctor, and I got a job. We moved out of our apartment and got a house; a nice, big house, with room for people to stay over if they ever wanted to visit. We wanted to make a family.
I was so overcome with joy when Caroline told me she was pregnant. I wanted to find out what the baby was, but she made me wait until it was born. I nearly cried when we delivered a precious little girl. I was the first one who held her, as I did the delivery myself.
Eryn was our pride and joy. We spoiled her every chance we got, and she was always daddy’s little girl. She clung to my leg whenever I got home from work, and I couldn’t get enough of it.
I forgot all about my troubles. Caroline was the one who helped me to forget. Helped me to fight through it. The first few weeks after I told her the truth, things were real bad for me, but she was always patient and kind with me. She always knew just what to say to make me feel better. Finally he went away altogether. I was happy for the first time I could remember in my life.
One day she was complaining about pain, so I brought her in and examined her. She was sick. Her sickness had spread at an alarming rate, and we had caught it way too late into it. We tried all sorts of treatments, but nothing worked.
She had grown so weak. It was hard to look at her, but I visited her every single day. I stayed with her during my breaks and held her hand and talked to her. Even though she was so weak, she still held that wonderful fire in her blue eyes.
Even when she was on her death bed she managed to keep that magnificent fury that so attracted me to her. She was still able to give me one last command before she went.
“Just promise me you’ll find a way to make things work and you won’t give up just because I’m not here with you.”
“Promise me, Damen!” She squeezed my hand so hard that it hurt.
“I… I promise. I’ll make things work, I’ll raise Eryn on my own. We’ll be… happy together.”
“Good.” She released her grip and it felt lifeless once again. “Never forget that I love you, Damen. I always will.”
“I love you, too, Caroline.” I leaned over her and gave her a soft kiss on the lips, which she returned.
I went out into the waiting room once it was all over and I took Eryn in my arms and held her close. “Everything’s going to be alright, Eryn. We’re going to be okay.”
I didn’t believe those words the first time I said them, as much as I wanted to. Now I see how much of a fool I was for lying to her. I’d been lying my whole life. I betrayed Caroline for telling such a lie, for breaking my promise to her.
I’m not going to lie anymore, Caroline. I’ll keep your promise. We will be okay.
Everything will be alright.