We will not fulfill any book request that does not come through the book request page or does not follow the rules of requesting books. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Comments are manually approved by us. Thus, if you don't see your comment immediately after leaving a comment, understand that it is held for moderation. There is no need to submit another comment. Even that will be put in the moderation queue.

Please avoid leaving disrespectful comments towards other users/readers. Those who use such cheap and derogatory language will have their comments deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked from accessing this website (and its sister site). This instruction specifically applies to those who think they are too smart. Behave or be set aside!

The Last Letter: Chapter 29



If you’re reading this, it means I can’t see you in January like we planned. I’m so very sorry. I used to say that I couldn’t be scared while I was here, because I had nothing to lose. But the minute I read your first letter, that all changed.

I changed.

If I never told you, then let me say it now. Your words saved me. You reached into the darkness and pulled me out with your kindness and your strength. You did the impossible and touched my soul.

You’re a phenomenal mother. Never doubt it. You’re enough. Those kids are so lucky to have you on their side. No matter what happens with Maisie’s diagnosis, or Colt’s stubbornness, you are the biggest blessing those kids could ever ask for.

Do something for me? Contact my financial manager. His number is at the bottom. I changed my life insurance to Colt and Maisie. Use it to send them to college, or give them the start they need to find their passion. I can’t think of a better use for it.

Want to hear something crazy? I’m in love with you. That’s right. Somewhere between letter number one and twenty or so, I realized I was in love with you. Me, the guy who can’t connect to other humans, fell for the woman he’s never been in the same room with.

So if I’m gone, I want you to remember that. Ella, you are so incredible that you made me fall in love with you with only your words.

Don’t keep your words to yourself. No matter what, find someone who wants to hear them as badly as I do. Then love.

And do me a favor—love enough for the both of us.

All my love,

Beckett Gentry

Call Sign Chaos

Three months later.

“Where do you want this?” Beckett asked, holding a box marked “kitchen.”

“Probably the kitchen,” I teased.

“Ha, ha,” he fake-laughed as he carried it past me into the kitchen, setting it with the others.

“How many more do you have out there?” I asked from the great room.

“Just a few of the stragglers in the truck. Why?” He gripped my hips and pulled me to him. “Have plans for me?”

“Maybe,” I said with a slow smile. Somewhere in the last month, I’d stopped faking the small smiles. The bigger ones were still purely for Maisie’s benefit, but the tiny ones? Those were real. Those were mine.

“I like the sound of that.” He lowered his head until our lips met in a kiss. “Would these plans maybe include the shower? Because I had this little bench built into it—”

An icy blast of air hit us as the front door flew open. We turned to see Maisie and Emma fly in, snow covering their hats as they stomped their way to the mudroom giggling.

“That zip line is the best!” Emma said as her boots hit the floor.

“Right? Wait until it’s summer and we can do the other one that goes into the lake!” Maisie added.

The one Beckett had built a few weeks after Colt died. He did a million things like that—keeping Colt with him in his own way. Maisie was right, both of Beckett’s best friends were on that island, and just as Ryan had a part of Beckett that I might never know, so did Colt.

Beckett kissed me again quickly and headed to the garage for another box.

“How about some hot chocolate, girls?” I offered.

“Yes, please!” they both answered at the same time.

I pulled the cocoa down and started, pausing to admire the view of the snow falling on the frozen lake. My heart gave that familiar warning, and I looked away from the island, concentrating on getting mugs for the girls.

I missed Colt every day. Every minute.

But the months had given me just enough time that every second didn’t belong to my grief. And I knew that time span would only grow. It would never leave entirely, but at least I wasn’t capsizing on that ocean of grief with every heartbeat anymore. The waves still came in. Sometimes they were predictable, like the tide. Other times they hit me with the force of a tsunami, sending me tumbling so deep that I felt like I was at day one again, instead of day 105.

The girls ran in, hopping on the barstools I’d bought to slide under the granite expanse. They laughed and talked about the upcoming Christmas play. I poured the cocoa and plopped a few marshmallows in before sliding them across the counter.

“Thanks, Mrs. MacKenzie,” Emma said before taking a sip.

I didn’t correct her about the Mrs., just smiled. “No problem.”

“Thanks, Mom!” Maisie said, sipping at hers.

Beckett walked in with another box and put it with the stack next to the kitchen table. Then he leaned back against the counter with me. “What is this language?” he asked, staring at the girls.

“Girl speak,” I informed him. “They’re discussing the guest list for Emma’s birthday party next month.”

Maisie’s birthday had just passed. She was eight now, older than Colt would ever be. She would grow and mature and thrive, but Colt would stay forever frozen at seven years old. The day had been hard, but Maisie had invited her new best friend.

Turned out that when Emma and Maisie both lost Colt, they found each other. Even gone, he was still giving gifts to his sister.

“Cocoa, huh?” Beckett asked, stealing a sip of Maisie’s.

“Dad!” she chided with a giggle.

God, I loved the sound of that just as much as she loved saying it. We’d told her after the funeral, knowing she deserved to know every day of her life that Beckett loved her so much he’d become her dad. He’d saved her life, but that was something we kept between the two of us.

Beckett kissed my cheek and started opening the boxes, laughing when he found one of Colt’s toys stashed in one of the pans. I loved that about him, the way he could talk about Colt and smile through the pain. He kept him alive in more ways than one. Through the zip lines, the pictures he hung around the house, the framed red leaf. He was never afraid to say his name, and more than once I’d come home to find him and Maisie snuggled up on the couch watching video clips of Colt.

I had yet to make it through one without crumbling. Maybe one day I’d be able to smile at the sound of Colt’s voice. For now, it was simply a reminder of what I’d lost and how empty everything felt without him.

Beckett kept us moving forward at a pace that was uncomfortable but manageable. He never let me wallow too long, but never let me ignore the pain, either. He pushed my boundaries and then backed off, and if not for him, I might have chosen to simply stop moving at all.

Maisie kept my heart beating.

Beckett kept me living.

I made sure they both knew I loved them every day.

It had taken almost all of the three months, but I finally read Beckett’s last letter, and that was what got me here, into this house he built for the four of us—that would now house three.

Love enough for the both of us. That’s what he’d said in the letter. And it spoke to my heart in a way nothing else could. Because that’s what Colt would have wanted. He would have wanted to move into this house and live our life with the guy we all loved.

The man who craved my words and owned my heart.

He’d signed that letter with his real name. The last words Chaos had spoken to me merged the two men I loved until I saw them both in the Beckett who was currently looking at my garlic press like it was a torture device.

“This drawer,” I told him, opening the one at my hip.

“Eyelash curler?” he asked, dropping it in the drawer.

“It’s for smoothies. Works great on strawberries.” I shrugged.

“Liar!” He laughed, then went back to unpacking.

I glanced out the window at the island and took a steadying breath as that ache ripped into me. Then I grabbed the next box and started unpacking, item by item, merging my life with Beckett’s. I moved forward because that’s where Beckett and Maisie were, and that’s what Colt would have wanted. After all, he was here, too, in every line of this house Beckett had built for him—for us.

I still heard echoes of his footsteps on the stairs, his laugh in the halls. There were even moments I swore I caught the scent of his sunshine-soaked hair, like he’d sneaked in for a hug and run off again before I could capture him fully. The bedroom Beckett kept for him was untouched except for the boxes we’d brought from my house. I wasn’t ready to go there yet, and that was okay.

There were too many memories I wasn’t ready to pack away. I’d taken one look at the helmet Colt had worn that first Halloween in the hospital and known I wouldn’t be able to make it through a single box.

But Maisie had grabbed the helmet and smiled, remembering when she’d traded with Colt to wear it that night.

He’d worn her halo.

Like they’d known they’d eventually switch roles.

Like it had been planned all along, and I’d simply missed the signs.

“Do you think the lake is frozen enough to walk on?” I asked Beckett.

He gave me that look—the one where he knew exactly what I was thinking—and then glanced out at the snowy lake. “I was out there yesterday, and the temps are even lower today. You should be fine. Want me to go with you?”

I shook my head. “No, I’d like to go alone. I think I’m ready.”

He simply nodded and then gave me the space I needed.

Methodically, I laced my boots, zipped my coat, and grabbed my hat and gloves on the way out. The air was brisk, the snow the light, shimmery kind that looked like freshly falling glitter as I crossed the lake.

I made my way up over the island to the center, where Colt and Ryan waited.

I’d never been here alone, never felt like I was ready, like I was strong enough. Maybe I still wasn’t, but I was tired of waiting to feel like it. Maybe feeling strong enough came from being strong so often that it was the default.

Words deserted me as I knelt before Colt’s stone, uncaring that the snow immediately melted through my jeans. There were so many things I needed to say to him, but none of them would leave my lips. So I stopped trying and simply bowed my head, letting the tears from my eyes take the words from my heart straight to him.

Finally, my throat produced a sound.

“I would have fought for you. I would have torn down the very stars, Colt. You are loved, not in past tense, but now, every second of every day, and that will never change. I see pieces of you in your sister, little glimpses of your soul shining out from hers. She carries you with her the same way we all do. I miss you so much that some days it feels like I can’t carry it all, but then I see her and somehow make it through. You taught me how to do that, you know. When your sister was sick, and it felt like too much, like I couldn’t be enough to pull her through, I’d look at you and realize that I had to be, because no matter what happened with your sister, it would always be you and me, kid. You taught me how to pick myself up and take the first step. I just never realized how badly I’d need the lesson. But I’m doing it. For you, and Maisie, and your dad. We should have told you about him sooner…should have done a lot of things, really.”

I lifted my face to the sky and let the snow fall on my skin. My tears blended with the melting snow until the two were one, and my eyes dried.

The air burned my lungs as I drew it deep, freezing out the heavy, tear-clogged feeling I carried with me like a badge of survival.

Needing the break, I walked the few feet over to Ryan’s grave.

“I never said thank you,” I told him, brushing snow off the top of the stone. “For Beckett, I mean. I don’t know how you knew, but you did. And I know you told me the letters were for him, and you told him the letters were for me, but you knew how badly we needed each other. You saved me through Beckett, Ry. You saved Maisie. I found a ring while I was unpacking in our bedroom. He hasn’t asked yet, and I’m hoping he waits a while, but I know he’s my forever, and I only have him because of you. So thank you for Beckett, and for your letter that brought him home to me. Now, kiss my boy, would you?” I pressed a kiss to my fingers and put it over his name. “He’s only on loan, so be careful with him.”

Then I walked back to Colt’s grave.

“I love you, and I miss you,” I told him. “There’s nothing truer that I could tell you. And I wish I had been with you, but I’m so glad you had your dad, and now you have your Uncle Ryan. You were my greatest gift, Colt. And as much as I hate every day that you’re gone, I’m so thankful for the days I had you. Thank you for being mine.” Then I pressed a kiss to the same fingers and let them trail across his name, all twenty-one letters of it.


The walk back across the lake was quiet in a profoundly peaceful way. I’d done it. I’d found the strength to put one foot in front of the other and get there. And I’d continue to do so in every way, because I was strong enough.

A lot of that was due to the man standing at the edge of the lake, waiting for me to come home to him.

“You okay?” Beckett asked, wrapping me in his arms.

“Yeah. I think I will be, at least.”

He brushed my cheeks with his glove-covered hands. “Yeah, you will be.”

“Do you ever think about fate?”

His brow puckered. “You mean the way we lost Colt?”

“Yes. No. Kind of. I’ve been so angry with God for taking Ryan, then Colt when we’d just gotten Maisie in the clear, for taking him at all.”

“Me, too.”

“But then I was looking out at the lake, and I had this thought. Maybe he was always supposed to go. Maybe they both were. If Ryan hadn’t died, maybe you would have come to visit, but you wouldn’t have stayed. It wasn’t in your nature back then.”

Beckett didn’t speak, simply gave me a small nod and waited for me to continue.

“But he did die. And you came. And you saved Maisie with the treatments, and you saved Colt’s heart by being here when I couldn’t. You made his every wish come true, and you taught him such incredible things. Because of you, he wasn’t lonely. Because of you, he was doubly loved. I’m realizing that fate would have taken him whether or not you’d been here. Whether or not Ryan had lived, or Maisie had died. But without you, he would have been alone. No one else could have found him, could have given him the peace you did. Without you, I would have buried both of my children.”

His mouth pressed into a line as he struggled to maintain control. “I couldn’t save him. I would have given my own life if it meant he could be here with you. I’ve saved every child since…” He swallowed and looked away.

“With every call, you’re trying to repent for a sin you didn’t knowingly commit. I see your face every time you find a child.”

“But I couldn’t save yours. Couldn’t save my own. How can you forgive me for that?”

“Because there’s nothing to forgive.”

The girls laughed as they ran through the snow, heading toward the tree house.

“You think?”

I took one look at Emma, her smile bright as she helped Maisie up the ladder.

“I know.” Warmth raced through my chest. “Maybe you couldn’t save the little boy who was always meant to go, but you saved her by teaching Colt.” I motioned toward Emma.

Beckett’s jaw flexed. “Fate, you think?”

“Fate,” I answered. “And maybe it’s not true for everyone, but it can be my truth. That’s enough for me.”

He pressed his chilled lips to my forehead. “I love you. I will always love you.”

I rose on my toes and pressed my lips to his in a gentle kiss. “I love you. Now, forever. All of it.”

Yes, I was capable of immense grief, but I was also capable of infinite love. And I would love my life again. Maybe not today, but one day. Because I wasn’t done yet.

Life was short. Colt taught me that.

Life was worth fighting for. Maisie taught me that.

Letters could change your life. Ryan taught me that.

Love—when it was right—was enough to save you. Beckett taught me that every single day. And ours was more than enough.

And so was I.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


not work with dark mode