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Torn: Chapter 35

KENZI

Kenzi ~ age eighteen

Tor ~ age thirty-two

A tiny package came in the mail for me today, and I’ve been afraid to open it. Even though it has no return address, I recognize his handwriting on the address label. I put it off to the side to open when I’m alone.

Later that night as I’m sitting in bed at the Inn, I tear open the padded envelope, and inside is a small black velvet pouch. Taking a deep breath, I reach inside and pull out two tufts of fur, which I immediately recognize as Diogee fur and Kitten fur.

There’s a tiny note inside:

‘I know how much you must miss their fur, so here’s a tiny bit for you. Be impressed – I vacuum every day. 🙂 They miss you. I know you love my hair, too, but sending you that seemed creepy. Don’t forget me, Angel. I love you forever and longer.’


Tor

‘Oh my God,’ she covers her mouth with her hand and starts to cry as soon as she sees me. ‘I can’t believe he did this to you.’

I pull her into my arms, ignoring the pain in my ribs and chest. All I care about right now is being close to her. ‘It’s okay. I’m okay.’

‘It’s not okay, Tor. This is awful. He broke your ribs.’ Her voice cracks as she holds onto me.

‘They’ll heal. I’m way more worried about what this is doing to you.’ I swipe my thumbs across her damp cheeks. ‘You’re so beautiful, Angel. Please don’t cry.’

‘I can’t help it. I hate what’s happening to all of us.’

‘I do, too.’ We cross the room to sit on the couch together. ‘He’s too mad to talk to, Kenzi. Maybe in a few days I can try again to explain to him how I feel about you and make him see that I never hurt you or did anything unethical with you.’

‘I told him you didn’t. It makes me sick that he could even think that about you.’

‘I think he just needs time.’

She chews her bottom lip and grabs both of my hands into hers, squeezing them tightly as she peeks up at me from beneath her long bangs.

‘Tor…I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I even went to see my mother this morning.’

I’m shocked, but in a good way. Kenzi hasn’t seen her mother in over a year. ‘Wow. I would have gone with you, so you wouldn’t have to go through that alone.’

She shakes her head. ‘No. I needed to do it alone. And that’s kind of what I want to talk to you about.’

I wouldn’t be surprised if a black cloud just settled over my house, because I can feel it, like a dark shadow, stealing away all my light.

Stealing away her.

She swallows hard. ‘I think we all need some time apart. I need some time away from you and my father. And I think you need some time away from me and him, and him away from you and I.’

I knew this was coming.

‘Kenzi…’ I want to get on my knees and beg. Or propose. Anything to make her stay, because I know she’s leaving. I can’t stop her, and I may never get her back.

Her hands squeeze mine even tighter like she’s afraid to let go, and I don’t want her to. ‘I don’t want to lose you, Tor,” she says tearfully. “I love you so much and I still want everything we talked about. But I think we all need some time to really be apart and just think. I’m going to move in with Aunt Katherine for a while.’

A lone tear slides down her pink cheek as her eyes search mine frantically, the same green eyes that have looked to me for help, love, and guidance for eighteen years. The same eyes I fell in love with and want to be looking into for the rest of my life.

She promised me forever.

She made me believe I could have it.

I’ll never let her go…but I have to set her free.

Please come back to me, I beg silently.

Please always love me the most.

I force myself to nod and agree and it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. ‘Maybe you’re right,’ I cough into my hand, and swallow back the pain shredding my heart. How am I supposed to live without her now that I’ve had a glimpse of what life with her could be like? How am I supposed to come home to just Diogee and Kitten at the door without her standing there waiting to throw her arms around me? ‘I want you to have time to think, and really know what, and who, you want. I’ll be here,’ I grab the back of her neck and pull her to my lips for a long, slow kiss, then lean my forehead against hers and stare into her eyes. ‘I’ll always be here.’

She chokes on her tears. ‘I love you so much,’ she whispers. ‘I don’t want to hurt you. Or him.’

‘You haven’t. And you won’t. We’ll work through this. We’ve all got a strong bond, Kenzi. It’ll pull us through. I know it will. We’re all going to get our happy ending. But maybe you’re right; we just need some space to get there.’ I don’t need space to get anywhere. What I need is her in my life, planning our future, and for Asher to just accept the fact that we love each other and to stop driving a wedge between us.

‘I hope so,” she replies, clinging to me even tighter. Don’t let go, I beg. Please don’t let go.

The sadness in her voice completely guts me and I want to take it all away. I’m torn again, between the little girl I loved and the woman I’m in love with. I’d fix everything for the little girl if I could, like I always have. But I have to let the woman fix herself and stand by her side as she does.

Her hands slide up to my shoulders, squeezing them tightly and urgently as she kisses me softly on the lips, her emotions pouring into each kiss. Silently, she undresses me and herself before carefully climbing up on top of me and making love to me, so slowly and full of passion that I feel like she’s soldering our souls together.

It doesn’t feel like goodbye.

It feels like a request.

It feels like a promise.

And that’s what I’ll hold onto until we’re together again.


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