Saved By The Lumberjack

Page 17

Chapter 7
As soon as I wake up, I know something’s wrong. When I roll over to snuggle up to Burke, I realize the bed is empty. My eyes fly open, and the memories come rushing back.
How did this happen? Less than twenty-four hours ago, we were perfect. And then everything went to shit. And I still don’t know why or how.
I get out of bed, not wanting to lie there with only my dark thoughts for company. When I enter the kitchen, I see Burke sitting at the table, his expression closed-off. He doesn’t even look up. I pour myself a cup of coffee and sit down opposite him. Still, he refuses to look at me.
I want to talk to him. Want to ask him what happened. I take in a deep breath, working up my courage. “Burke, I—”
He pushes back his chair, and a sharp screeching sound fills the air. “You should pack up your things,” he says flatly. “Let’s get this over with so I can enjoy my Sunday.”
Now he looks at me, and I wish he hadn’t. His eyes are so cold. It’s like nothing ever happened between us, like I’m nothing to him.
And worst of all is how familiar this expression is to me. It’s how Roger looked at me every time I pissed him off.
Burke turns and walks out of the kitchen, leaving me behind with my cooling cup of coffee and my heart fracturing into a million little pieces.
Don’t cry, I tell myself as Burke and I drive to my new apartment in silence. Don’t cry, I tell myself as he leaves, his only goodbye a nod of the head.
When he’s gone and I’m alone, the tears don’t come. I wish I could cry; wish I could sob and scream until I’m worn out and can fall asleep. But my eyes stay dry, and I feel like I’m choking on my pain.
I go out and buy a blanket and pillow and some groceries. When I’m home, I lie down on the couch and stare at the ceiling.
It’s strange how time passes differently when you feel like shit. Minutes can feel like hours, and then suddenly time speeds up, and you wonder where the day has gone.
I’m just about to throw a frozen pizza in the oven when the doorbell rings.
I open the door and see Annie’s smiling face, a bottle of wine in her hand. “Hey. I thought I’d come by to see how you’re doing.”
And suddenly the tears decide to come. There’s something about the kindness on her face that makes my pain surge.
Tears pool in my eyes, and Marianne sighs. “That bad, huh? I figured something was up when Burke didn’t even talk to me when you guys got the keys.”
The tears spill over and flow down my face.
“Oh, sweetheart, I’m sorry.” Annie pulls me into a hug and rubs soothing circles over my back. “How about you let me in and I pour us both a glass of wine?”
I nod. With a sniff, I let go of her and step aside so she can enter the apartment. I follow her into the kitchen and once we’re seated, Annie takes plastic cups out of her handbag. “I figured you might not have glasses yet.”
I nod and take a grateful sip of wine once she hands me the full cup. I expect her to ask me what happened, but Annie surprises me. “Did Burke tell you how I got that scar?” She points at her cheek.
I nod, wondering why she’s asking. “Yeah.”
“After I was allowed to leave the hospital, I rented this apartment. But before I could move in, I spent a week living with Burke and his fiancée.”
My eyes widen, and I’m sure I must have misheard. “His fiancée?”
Annie nods. “Her name is Sylvia. She and Burke met in highschool, and they were inseparable. Even back then, we all thought they’d get married.” She takes a sip of wine. “But Sylvia left Burke. For his brother, Eddie. They married three months later and moved away.”
I open my mouth and close it again. Poor Burke. My heart breaks for him.
“So you understand why he has trouble trusting people.”
I nod and take another sip of wine, wondering why she’s telling me all this.