#Read An #Excerpt From Worth The Fight By L. D. Davis
My cell phone was wedged between my shoulder and my ear as I listened to Claire bitch about my lack of commitment. I juggled my briefcase and my duffel bag as I unlocked the door to my apartment before kicking it open. I dropped the bag on the floor by the door as it closed behind me and set my briefcase down with more care.
“Claire, I told you in the beginning I wasn’t looking for anything serious,” I said tiredly as I pulled open the fridge to get a much needed beer. “I was very clear about it and you said you were fine with it.”
I should have known better than to believe that she would be okay for more than a few weeks. Claire wasn’t a casual sex kind of girl. Claire was a settle down and get married and have kids kind of girl. I knew that very well about her since I had dated her for a year before moving to Philly many years ago, but she seemed so adamant that she could handle a casual relationship.
“I thought you just needed some time to deal with whatever the hell you were dealing with in your head,” she whined. “I thought you would come around.”
I rolled my eyes at this bullshit. I didn’t realize Claire was so stupid. I took a pull on my beer and said “Have I ever been anything but straight forward with you, Claire? Have I ever said one thing and meant another in all of the years that you’ve known me?”
She paused for a moment before answering. “No, but…but you were never…brokenhearted before. The circumstances are different.”
I closed my eyes for a moment. The last thing I wanted to talk about was the state of my heart.
“Yes,” I reluctantly agreed. “The circumstances are different, but that doesn’t change my direct approach.”
“I turned down other guys for you, Luke!” Claire yelled.
“You could have ended our agreement at any time if you wanted to be with someone,” I sighed as I walked into the living room and dropped down onto the couch. “Listen, Claire, I don’t mean to hurt you. I really don’t. The last thing I want to do is hurt anyone, but…”
“But what?” she snapped. “But you want to sleep around with other women? Is that it, Luke?”
“Not at all,” I said patiently as I glanced at the pile of mail on my coffee table, remembering that my sister Lena told me I had a letter delivered by a courier yesterday. “I don’t sleep with more than one woman at a time, Claire. You know me better than that, but I don’t want a relationship either.”
She said something in response, but I didn’t really hear her. The envelope on top of the pile caught my eye. I wasn’t sure if I was seeing it right until I picked it up and held it only inches from my eyes. Emmy sent me a letter.
I was disappointed that my heart rate suddenly increased, and further disappointed that my hands were itching to open the letter, but a large part of me wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to open. After months of trying to push any memory of her out of my head – only to be repeatedly reminded of her when I saw her mother – I had at least gotten to the point where she wasn’t the first thing on my mind when I woke up and the last thing on my mind when I went to sleep. I had finally gotten to the point where my pain was dulled and more often than not forgotten. I was able to go days without thinking of her more than once or twice a day, opposed to the constant torture of hearing her voice in my head and smelling her skin in the weeks and months after I broke up with her.
“Are you listening to me?” Claire whined again. I realized at that moment that Claire whined a lot. Even when we were having sex, she did this weird whining thing that she probably thought was sexy, but it really wasn’t. Not even a little bit.
“I gotta go,” I said distractedly. “I’ll call you soon.”
I didn’t give her an opportunity to respond before ending the call and dropping my phone on the couch beside me. I stared at the letter, weighing it in my hands. What could she possibly have to say to me after all of this time?
“Only one way to find out,” I sighed heavily before beginning to slowly peel open the envelope. I pulled out the folded letter inside and weighed that in my hands, too. I could burn it or push it into the garbage disposal and not worry about what Emmy had to say. I could put it back in the envelope, reseal it and send it back without looking at it. I was very tempted to do any one of those things. I had finally moved on and I didn’t want to find myself stuck on someone that didn’t deserve my time and my thoughts, but I knew I had to open it even though I had a gut feeling it was about to change my life.
I unfolded the letter and began to read.
I have rewritten this letter a dozen times already, but I feel there is no smooth way to lead up to what I have to say, so here it is: You are the father of a five month old, beautiful baby boy. His name is Lucas, in honor of his father, and he was born May 18th.
I didn’t tell you because I know you hate me, and my biggest fear is that you will hate my son, too. Maybe that fear is unreasonable, but I have had a very hard time getting past it.
I am in Chicago for a day or so, at the Fairmont, room 317. If you would like to meet your son, I will be here all day today.
I am sorry for keeping this from you, and I am sorry for forcing my mother to keep this from you. Please don’t be angry with her. It is my fault entirely.
The paper fluttered to the floor as I stared at nothing with my mouth hanging wide open.
This had to be a joke. This couldn’t have possibly been true. Even Emmy wasn’t that cruel to keep a child away from me, and her mother was the bluntest person I knew. Surely, she would have been falling over herself to tell me about my son, if I really even had one.
And then I realized something. Samantha didn’t go out of her way to spend much time with me as she did with my sisters. I didn’t think anything about it because they were all women and women tend to cluster together, but what if she was avoiding me? What if those looks of pity weren’t for the fact that her daughter had destroyed my heart or that my sister was near death, but because she knew a big, earth shattering secret?
“Shit!” I yelled as I jumped off of the couch and dashed for the door. I took a detour into the small kitchen for my keys and then ran out into the hall.
Emmy would fuck someone else throughout our relationship and lie about it, but Emmy wouldn’t lie about something like this after over a year long absence. Samantha would hold this secret for her daughter or risk losing her and her grandson.
I rocketed out of the parking garage and onto the street, just barely missing oncoming traffic. I hate driving in the city and usually take public transportation, but I was anxious to get to the Fairmont. My mind was racing all the way there and I couldn’t keep any one thought in mind before another rushed forward to take its place. It wasn’t until I had rushed into the lobby a little while later that another thought occurred to me, halting me in my tracks and knocking the breath out of me.
What if this Lucas wasn’t really my kid at all? What if he was Kyle Sterling’s?
“Can I help you, sir?” the woman in guest services asked me.
It took me a few seconds, but I was able to tell her why I was there before I started towards the bank of elevators.
“Miss Grayne stepped out,” she called after me. “Can I have your name?”
I stopped and took a few steps back until I was standing in front of her. “Luke Kessler,” I said, curious as to why she needed my name.
She smiled at me. “Yes, I was expecting you yesterday. Miss Grayne and the baby went out a little while ago. Maybe you can wait for her in the lobby,” she said, gesturing towards the fancy furniture behind me.
I nodded and wordlessly walked away from her. There was nothing to say. One thing was confirmed, there definitely was a baby. The question was whether or not he was mine. I immediately felt a little bit like a dick for thinking that. This was definitely something Emmy wouldn’t drag me into if Lucas was not my kid, but what if he wasn’t? How would I know? But what if he was – what would I do about it?
I suddenly felt like an ass for showing up to meet my son for the first time empty handed. I got up and marched to the gift shop. There were little shirts with Chicago scrolled across them, but I didn’t know what size the kid was. There were little sippy cups and a few other baby items, but I didn’t like any of it. I wasn’t going to give my kid some cheesy gift shop gift – if he was my kid. I told the woman at guest services that I would be back shortly. I rushed out of the hotel and used my cell phone to find a store to buy Lucas a gift. Once I was inside the baby store, I felt overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. There were so many baby items, things I had never even seen before with my nieces and nephews. Emmy and Sam probably made sure Lucas had everything he could ever need, so I walked away from the many gadgets and headed towards an aisle of toys.
What did I like as a kid? Hell, he was five months old. He probably liked anything that tasted halfway decent when it went into his mouth. I picked up a little stuffed whale. It reminded me of a vacation my family took to Sea World when I was a little kid. My parents were hard working lower middle class people. Trips to Sea World and the like were far and few between, if ever. It hit me then how hard it must have been for them to afford that trip and continue to feed us and keep a roof over our heads the months preceding and following that trip, but my parents wanted to make sure that we actually went somewhere and did something. They wanted to give us a little more than what their parents were able to give to them. If Lucas was indeed my kid, I wanted to be able to give him more than what my parents gave me, too.
I took the whale to the checkout line. Lucas or Emmy may not understand the significance of the whale, but I would. Besides, it was a sensible gift to give to my son that I was just meeting for the first time, though nothing about the situation was sensible.
I returned to the Fairmont and sat back down in the chair I had sat in earlier. I had an unobstructed view of the entrance. I didn’t take my eyes off of it. I’m not even sure I blinked. I don’t know how long I was sitting there staring before I saw first a stroller full of bags roll inside, and then the waves of brown hair, stuck to her face from the October wind. I watched as she pushed the strands off of her smooth cheek and smiled at the blond hair, blue eyed infant in her arm before continuing to push the stroller with her spare hand. Even from where I seemed to be stuck in the chair, I could see that Lucas was my son. His startling blue, smiling eyes were my own.
Somehow I pushed myself out of the chair and moved across the lobby until I was standing in their path. As soon as our eyes met, I felt immeasurable pain, anger, fear, and remarkably, love. For a half a moment, I wanted nothing more than to take Emmy and Lucas into my arms and make everything the way it should have always been, but then I remembered that she fucking broke my heart. I inhaled sharply as that old knife twisted in my heart, and then I turned my attention to my son. My son.
I fought back emotions as I offered him my finger, before remembering that I had touched all kinds of gross things since leaving my apartment and I didn’t want my fingers in his mouth.
“You didn’t come,” Emmy blurted out.
I felt bad for her for a minute. It must have been torture for her as she waited for me to respond. She must have thought that I didn’t want Lucas, and I couldn’t imagine how that must have felt.
“Yeah, I’m sorry,” I said. “I was out of town. My sister just happened to be in my apartment dropping off some things I left in her basement when the letter came. I didn’t read it until this morning when I got in.”
I looked at her, hoping she believed me.
“I understand,” she said, shifting Lucas from one arm to another.
“Can I hold him?” I asked.
Carefully, Emmy passed Lucas to me. Again I had to fight back emotions as I looked at this perfect baby boy that I helped create. I had a great relationship with all of my nieces and nephews, and at one point in my life I had wanted children, but after what I went through with Emmy, I didn’t think about it anymore. However, only moments after meeting Lucas, I knew I’d never be the same, and I felt so grateful to hold my son.
Luke Kessler loved Emmy.
She broke his heart.
Then she revealed a life altering secret that brought them back together.
Time and forgiveness heal old wounds and love flourishes. Luke and Emmy find themselves reaching for a happily ever after together. When their pasts begin to push into their present and hurtful mistakes are made, the couple struggle with each other and their past demons. How much is too much? Will the couple be able to fight their way to a happily ever after? Are their lives together worth the fight?
About The Author:
L.D. Davis was born and raised in a small town in South Jersey where she still resides. She is married with five children and comes from a very large family.
L.D. has been writing since the second grade and consistently received encouragement from teachers and friends.
L.D. frequently daydreamed about getting published, but did not think the daydream could be realized. It wasn’t until early in 2011 after reading the works of a new, self-published author did she begin to believe that she could publish her work. Her first book “Accidentally On Purpose” was published in April of 2012, just days after her 34th birthday.
L.D. is very excited to continue offering her imagination in printed form to the public.
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