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All For Her

All For Her

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All For Her

Lunghezza:
273 pagine
8 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jun 15, 2014
ISBN:
9781310233739
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Steven has loved Sandy since they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, life has come full circle or has it? Can two people who have known each other all their life really fall in love and can they make a long distance relationship really work.

As real life grips them both, Sandy has devastating news throwing their happy ever afters into the unknown.

Follow the story as told by Steven, as he ponders the question that has plagued him for six years since they became a couple. If life gave you the chance to be with the girl of your dreams, what would you do to grab it?

****This book is set six years after the end of “Left Behind” and continues the story of Sandy & Steven ****

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jun 15, 2014
ISBN:
9781310233739
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Clair Gibson currently splits her time between Glasgow and Manchester and sees writing works of fiction as her true venture in life and is currently working on her next offering. She has nine books available - Another Chance at Love Fat Bottomed Girls Blackpool Here We Come Left Behind All for Her Yours, mine & the truth Stifado for two The price of friendship Broken return See her blog for details of those and new works in development

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All For Her - Clair Gibson

All for her

Clair Gibson

This is a work of fiction.

The characters of this book are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Book cover by Clair Gibson & Wendy Proteau

Copyright 2014 by Clair Gibson.

All rights reserved.

I license this eBook for your personal enjoyment. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it for your use, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

For Emma.

Chapter List

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

More from the author

She is the dark to the light that shines into my world, yet I love the darkness.

She is the madness to the sea of calm I used to traverse.

She has my heart and I give it freely as I have hers.

She is the only woman I ever wanted and gave me the ultimate.

Now I share my love between the two, my queen and my princess. Forever I will love them, as a man, husband and father should.

1.

Four times in the past five minutes, I took bananas out of the shopping trolley and put them back on the shelf. Emma, I insisted, we've got bananas. She looked at me, then down to her feet as I pointed. It never crossed my mind that letting her sit in the trolley instead of the children's seat was a mistake. She loved to hold on as I spun her too hard one way then the other. I couldn't resist that toothy smile and loud guffaw which turned a bad day on its head. Today was one of those days.

Daddee, she said. Nana, nana. Her face beamed as she put the two words together and my heart sang.

We'd worried her words weren't flowing as much as other kids her age, but that was a month ago. Now we couldn't shut her up. I smiled and ruffled her short blonde hair as she giggled. Okay princess, we'll get two bunches. Emma leaned over and picked up another bunch.

Last week at her eighteen-month check-up, she was tall for her age with big feet but blessed with a slender frame. That was the only thing she got from me. Everything else, even her tiny sausage fingers were Sandy.

Oh, what a beautiful little girl.

That was the usual compliment whenever we went shopping. People always commented on Emma's blonde hair and big blue eyes. Her cheeky smile and ability to flutter her eyes added to the pretence she was a princess. It enticed the elder generation into a passing comment no matter where we were. Thank you. I always replied with a nod of my head.

At the checkout there were a few more items I hadn't noticed the little minx grabbing. Since they were little packets of fruit and baby meals she liked and had long best before dates, I said nothing. She placed them on the conveyor one by one, with a grin. Child experts tell you that toddlers can't see things through, but this little lady can. She understands far more than you think. Just like my wife, Sandy, she knows what she likes and what she wants.

I was thankful the supermarket wasn't busy, and the happy assistant allowed us to take our time. Bigger supermarkets always tried to rush us through and I hated that. It was important to her development, if she wanted to help, I allowed her. Sod anyone who moaned behind us. There were another ten tills to choose from and I wasn't hurrying my daughter for anyone.

The young lady on the till kept smiling and laughing at Emma, which made her giggle. Once she started, it was infectious. Other shoppers turned and stared at the two of us, inevitably they laughed. My beautiful little princess captivated them.

With the bags secured in the boot, I pushed the trolley back and scooped her into my arms. She loved swooping into the air as high as possible pretending to fly and laughed as we twirled back to the car. Fastened into her seat, behind mine, I secured her favourite bear so he was close. With one adult in the car, journeys took far longer when she grew moody and threw things away. As I pulled out of the car park, I glanced at the mirror and caught her yawning. If I was lucky, the twenty-minute journey back to the cottage would send her to sleep and she might stay asleep once I carried her indoors.

Tori Daddee, she yelled and smiled proud of her two words.

Okay baby, I replied having worked out what she wanted. I glanced into the mirror again with a smile and she clapped her hands wildly. Since I was driving, it needed to be one of my special stories. A light at the back of my mind flickered. I know Emma, why don't I tell you the story of how Mummy and Daddy met.

She clapped again. Mummmm, Mummm.

Well, I began, We met when I was playing football with Uncle Chris.

I heard her yelling, Tis, Tis. She couldn't say Chris yet, but managed Tis. Now when I saw him, I struggled not to call him the same.

That's right baby. Your mummy was great at football, she was one of us boys and it stayed that way until she was a teenager. Daddy showed off and in an unfortunate accident broke her shoulder. The gentle sounds of baby snores rang out from the back of the car. I glanced in the mirror as I waited to pull out onto the dual carriageway. She was asleep. Daddy was a prize idiot and hurt Mummy badly. The memory danced in my mind and I smiled. She forgave me but not for a long time.

On the road back to the cottage, my mind cast back to the night we discussed our pasts. That was six and a half years ago and the first time I saw my wife let her guard down. She wasn't my wife at that point, just my girlfriend, or I hoped so. That night and the next morning had a profound effect on our lives. I learned a lot through tears shed over many hours as she explained why she wasn't ready for a relationship. I knew she'd lost her fiancée in an act of random violence and her dad and step mum to illness but nothing prepared me for how it affected her.

The next morning something changed. To this day, I still don't know why but she saw what I wanted, maybe letting it all out exercised the grief. Baby steps she told me and I agreed, not wanting to let her go. Eighteen months later and after a difficult journey, we became man and wife and never looked back.

I pulled off the carriageway and drove slow down the single track that ran around the cliff top and towards the cove. Breath-taking Emma, every time, I told my sleeping daughter. This small section of the East coast of Scotland blew my mind. The view across the cliff tops back towards Torness nuclear power station and Dunbar was never the same twice. Today subtle hints of coral green danced along the rolling waves. Thin wisps of white clouds hung in the clear blue sky shadowing the imposing white buildings in the distance. Privet hedged fields grew corn and the tell-tale fluorescent yellow flowers of rapeseed ring fenced the cottages between the cliffs and the dual carriageway behind them.

Emma continued to sleep, her dummy discarded onto the seat between her legs, her mouth wide open. It made me smile. She'd sleep anywhere. I used to have that ability but of late, it was more insomnia than relaxation I was getting. In the space at the end of the car park, nearest the wall, I killed the engine.

A trick I learned many years ago was to lift the shopping or cases over the wall and walk around. A godsend and meant I could concentrate on her. I opened the door by her side. She stirred but her eyes remained closed as I reached in and unbuckled her safety belt. With the bag strap of over my shoulder and dummy in my pocket, I lifted her out of the car. She nestled into my neck as we walked around to the front door.

Inside I dropped her bag on the couch and tentatively pulled her right arm, then left, out of her jacket. I didn't need to worry as I carried her up the narrow winding staircase. Carefully I laid her down, took off her red leather shoes and pulled one of the summer blankets over her. Shit. I tip toed back out of the room shaking my head. She needed her bear from the bag.

In the few minutes I was away, she turned her body through ninety degrees and lay knees pulled underneath and nappy in the air. I grinned and put the bear by her hand. Instantly she grabbed him in a stranglehold before resuming her afternoon nap. Yes, Emma was a one off and as protective of that bear as I was of her mum when sleeping.

Back downstairs, I flicked on the kettle and opened the backdoor to retrieve the shopping. The bags were still on top of the garden table. I smiled at my ingenuity thankful that the cottage was a safe place. Since I got Emma in from the car and into her crib, I knew I'd get maybe an hour or more before she woke. The sea air always made her sleep longer in an afternoon.

While the boiling water infused the fresh ground coffee, I emptied the bags of shopping. Careful to leave one bunch of bananas on the table, out of Emma's reach otherwise that little scamp would climb the table to get at them. I put the last of the cold meats in the fridge and cast an eye over all of Sandy's favourites. That will be a feast tomorrow my love, I said smiling as I gazed at the picture on the fridge door. There was no doubt they were mother and daughter.

My plan was to work this afternoon. There were always emails to answer, calls to return and invoices to check but telling Emma the story of how I met Sandy preoccupied my thoughts. There was no way I'd get anything done, so I switched on the baby monitor and took the coffee out into the garden. I sat on one of the two deck chairs and relaxed back into the early afternoon sun. My eyes hidden behind aviator sunglasses, a birthday present from Charlotte and David, allowed me to dream in peace.

When we first met, I knew nothing of this cottage. My wife always played her cards close to her chest but over a matter of years, it grew from her bolthole to a lover’s retreat. Somewhere we would escape the hustle of daily life and spend quiet time together. It was this past year we relented to broadband to make us contactable and Freeview so Emma had access to cartoons for those rainy days. Sandy preferred the quiet life, a haven for relaxing and escaping.

The baby monitor kicked into life as she moved around her crib and I heard mumblings. Sleep talking was something else she got from her Mum. I always told Sandy, I could chat with you in your sleep and you'd answer me! Now Emma was the same.

As I relaxed into the deck chair and picked up the coffee mug, I knocked the monitor onto the grass. Damn it, I cursed as it rolled under the picnic table. You're such an idiot this week. I stood and with the coffee cup still in my hand looked behind the table expecting to see the monitor on the grass, but it wasn't there. Shit!

I placed the mug, cafetière and the bag of nuts I had brought outside on the chair. The table hadn't moved in a few years and as I put my hands on either side, I expected the grass and weeds to glue it to the ground. I bent my knees and gave a sharp tug but the table lifted with ease and I staggered back from the force. Well I never, I exclaimed. That's where you got to!

Underneath the table hid Emma's baby monitor and a garden gnome dressed in football colours. He used to adorn the stone slab at the side of the front door but disappeared a few years ago. I picked both things up and put the table back in its rightful place.

Slumped back into the deck chair, the gnome still in my hand, I turned it upside down. Although faded, the message Sandy wrote on it ten years ago was still there – For my little grumpy fan. Even now, it made me smile. He belonged on the York stone slab by the door standing proud between one lying suggestively and another wearing a Christmas outfit.

***

Months passed by after we moved our relationship forward. From the moment I saw her again I wanted her. When she explained her life with Andy and his violent, senseless death, I tried to understand because I loved her and had for twenty-odd years since we were teenagers. Her words that night struck fear into my heart. I spent the night hoping she would move forward but expecting her to back away. It taught me patience, but I expected her to leave me every day for the first year we were together.

Eventually our dating grew serious and developed a routine. Each weekend, as long as neither of us was working, we spent quality time together. Sometimes David and Charlotte, her kids from her first marriage to James, were with us. When that happened, I spent the weekend at her home on the north side of Glasgow. When they stayed at their Dad's, Sandy travelled south spending time, with me, in Manchester. It was my hope she'd make the move permanently but I couldn't broach the subject, it was far too early to expect change.

***

The wind picked up and whipped across the front of the cottage, catching the front door and slamming it shut. The bang dragged me back from reminiscing. I hated the way it did that. It happened when the kitchen window or door was open creating a mini wind tunnel. Careful not to knock the monitor flying, I ran to the door, kicked the doorstop to prop against it and walked into the living room.

Emma slept on as I pursed my lips, cursing myself for forgetting to close the window. I loved this cottage as much as Sandy, but it was hard to remember the quirks. I closed the window then grabbed a banana from the table before heading back out to the sun. Sandy couldn't eat bananas because they were full of potassium and with her long-standing kidney condition, had to be careful. For the first year of Emma's life, we were careful not to let her eat them. Once we got confirmation, she hadn't inherited Sandy's condition, she grew to love them. I savoured each bite before I lifted my half-empty coffee cup and sank the rest of the brown murky liquid.

***

After three months, James took the kids away for a long bank holiday weekend and she came down to visit me. I met Sandy from the train on Friday afternoon keen to enjoy our four days together. She appeared chatty and attentive as normal, but I remember pain and worry in her eyes. Something troubled her and it unnerved me.

She wanted to take a quick shower and freshen up before we ate and I was keen to let her find her feet. She had a habit of thinking things through before talking whatever was on her mind might be there for a while. I never pushed her to talk back then. She'd had been through a catalogue of anguish and consequently found it hard to trust anyone, even me.

While she showered, I opened a beer, poured a small glass of lemonade and took them into the bedroom. She had left the bathroom door open, and I saw the outline of her body behind the screen door. Oh man, I whispered longing to run my hands over every inch of pale skin but I wasn't sure she'd be receptive to my intentions. With another sip of beer to boost my bravado, I put the bottle on the nightstand and walked purposefully into the bathroom. My clothes joined hers on the floor and I slipped into the shower.

Hey, she said turning as the door opened. I climbed in and pulled her close. Her body covered in suds, she looked into my eyes. I've missed you.

The following morning, I made her breakfast, a simple dish of scrambled eggs, diced onion, baby plum tomatoes and thin strips of ham. Early in the relationship, Sandy explained what she could eat. The kidney problem denied her several things I loved to eat and drink, but I loved her more and experimented daily to make her meals more interesting. She ate with gusto and I felt a familiar surge of love hold me in its grasp.

We had a lazy day with a little shopping and sightseeing before I planned a meal at our favourite Italian restaurant. In the first shop, Sandy spotted the gnome. We are both huge football fans but I'd never seen one dressed in our teams’ colours. She bought it for me on a whim, telling me she was taking him to add to her collection at the cottage.

We sat in a booth at the back of our favourite Italian restaurant, the perfect romantic ending to a great day. Less than a month ago, we sat in the same booth and she told me she loved me. The first time she ever said those words.

I ordered a beer and a glass of soda and lime while we perused the menu. The waiter placed our drinks then took the orders. I shuffled around the seating, as he walked away, placed her hand in mine and lifted my glass. To us, may we always be happy together.

To us, Sandy replied.

She seemed quiet, and I feared she was about to tell me this was too difficult for her and that the relationship was over. I leaned closer and kissed her cheek. You look gorgeous tonight.

Thank you.

I decided I had to ask. Honesty was important but to this day, I wish I hadn't. Can we talk? I said before lifting her hand to my lips and planting soft, gentle kisses. You know I love you and we have the best times. I winked recalling yesterday. I want to be with you... I paused for a brief second. But I have a nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach, something's going on. I hope you're not falling out of love with me. I watched as she swallowed hard.

With her glass placed deliberately back on the table, Sandy looked at me. Her hand still wrapped in mine. I love you. She leaned in close and kissed me with real passion. It's not a problem with us, it's me.

What's wrong? I asked butting in to her explanation. Are you having commitment issues again?

Do you think I'd have had such a great time this last two days? She took a deep breath and said, It's a health issue.

Immediately I suspected the worst and placed my arm around her. Why didn't you tell me something was wrong?

She looked deep into my eyes, ready to say more, but the waiter returned with our starters and she clammed up.

As I ate, I realised I needed to tip toe but now she had started I couldn't let her stop. If I did, she might never tell me. How should I proceed without upsetting her? I had one question. How was the consultants visit?

She looked up at me and half smiled. They rushed a scan, and it showed a few of the cysts burst.

When did that happen?

I've no idea, she replied with a shake her head. It must have happened in the last few weeks. A sore stomach plagued me.

You never said! What do you do then? Is it a case of being careful? I placed my cutlery on the empty plate. Should I promise not to squeeze you too hard if it helps? I slept with her in a bear hug.

Sandy smiled at me coyly. They want to do more tests in two week’s time, an ultrasound and a laparoscopy.

Her answers stunned me that wasn't a good sign. I'll come with you, I stuttered as tears appeared in her eyes. I brushed them from her reddening face. What did I say?

I can't ask you to come, you hate hospitals and I won't pressure you into something you're not comfortable with.

The waiter appeared with our main courses, his knack of wrong timing

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