I had to bite my tongue. I’d already acted like a complete asshole in front of this woman, and frightened her children. I wanted to tell her she was like one of those insane women who went looking for pen pals on death row! But I held back.
She must have read the disdain on my face, because she said, “I know it sounds impossible to believe, but he hasn’t been the man you remember for almost two decades.”
“He’s still the same person,” I said sharply. That one I wouldn’t let slide.
“On the outside, yes, but…” She sighed again. “Can I tell you something, Dakota?”
I shrugged nonchalantly.
“He has nightmares, a lot. And he wakes up in a cold sweat, weeping. He relives every terrible thing he did to you and your brother, over and over. It’s been like that since we got married.”
“Well that makes two of us then,” I said, unable to keep the ire out of my voice. “Are you really asking me to feel sorry for him?”
“No, no, never!” she said hurriedly. “I would never ask that of you. I’m under no illusions; I know you and Dove are the victims in all of this. I told you so you know that he hasn’t just been enjoying his life; he carries that burden of who he was around with him everywhere he goes.”
Well that was something, at least. He would never know what it felt like to be that helpless child on the receiving end of his fists, but if he really had changed, become a better man, as so many had claimed, then the memory would forever haunt him. If he really had changed…
“I don’t think people can change,” I said, shaking my head in defiance.
“Will you let me show you something?”
I was hesitant, but I followed her into the house. I noticed immediately how welcoming and warm it felt inside. Neutrally decorated in soft, light colors. As she led me up the stairs, I saw the family photos adorning the wall. Luke and Josie throughout their childhood. There was one with Luke dressed as a pirate, Josie as a princess, and their dad in the middle, dressed as Elvis. Halloween? No, they wouldn’t have celebrated it.
So many pictures. Some with the whole family, some with just the kids; all with happiness. My heart felt heavy.
She pressed a finger to her lips as we neared a bedroom whose door was slightly ajar. From within I could hear my father and Josie’s voices.
We stood outside, and Sarah gestured for me to take a peek.
“Dad, that’s not your line!” Josie whined, though the amusement in her voice was evident.
“Am I not Macbeth?”
“You’re Macduff, I’m Macbeth.”
He chuckled. “Sorry, love. They all sound the same to me.”
It was like watching the perfect family on television, longing for it the way I used to as a child. Marshall Adams with a silly wig on, acting out a scene from a Shakespeare play.
12 thoughts on “Bliss: Chapter 3”
Wow. That. Was. Intense. But in the best way! Well worth the wait, and now the story finally feels complete. Thanks for that.
The pace and build of this was perfect. I was totally with Dakota in all her thoughts and on edge during that whole dinner. I loved how everything was handled! Especially when Dakota lost it and threw that water over Marshall!
And ohhhhh, that ‘look’ Naomi can give really got me. Very well done. I loved it. Whew. You make some strong, competent, surprising, clever characters, dear Heidi; that’s for sure! I loved every bit of Naomi’s scenes, as always. And I really liked how you had her ‘win’ that fight. That was pure gold!
Anyways, great fluff, fantastic storytelling, and I absolutely cannot wait for more. Also, I don’t think it would be spammy to get an email every time you update. I’m pretty sure people are going to want notifications for quality content like this. Just thought I’d share my thoughts.
Thanks so much, Heidi!
Thanks for all the kind words! Glad you liked the final chapter. It’s kinda sad to say goodbye to them, but it had to happen eventually. 🙁
Yeah, pretty intense. Dakota’s never been able to control herself, lol. Naomi’s the complete opposite, which is why they’re perfect for each other.
Aww, I appreciate you saying that about the newsletter. I’ll have to think about it, maybe come up with a regular publishing schedule so that I don’t have to keep bugging people with them.
So, Um yeah, I love you. This is such a special treat for your readers. And I’m over the moon that you’ve gifted us this special treat. You’re a phenomenal writer and I’ve purchased all your work. I am fuckin freaking out right now. So, Strummed…. please write about Elle and Autumn. I just reread the book and want more from after they made up. Please…. I’m dying
Aww, thanks! 🙂 Glad you stopped by to read.
Haha, there is a planned Strummed short in the works, I can say that much. Every story in the header image of this site will get at least one short. I’m not sure when I’ll get to Strummed, but it’s definitely on the list.
Wow! Again thank you so much for this. The story was amazing and I’m glad she realized she needed to forgive her father after all, since she was pretty lucky to have the great family she had. Maybe next you can write about, A Scarlet Kiss, I would love to see what’s going on with Jenna and Scarlet. The book was so good but the ending was over so soon once they got back together. Runner ups would be, The Neighbor and Set Dreams. Would love to see what the couples are up to from those two steamy stories. And or maybe a wedding between Dana and Erica. Please send emails every time you add a new story, do not worry about it being spammy. We love you and your writing!!!
Hey! Thanks for reading.
Yeah, she really needed to heal. Her father probably didn’t deserve her forgiveness, but she deserved to move on, and letting go of the pain was the only way to do that. Plus she wanted a relationship with her younger siblings.
A Scarlet Kiss is definitely on the list for a short sequel, don’t worry. 🙂 As for the others you mentioned, they were really only supposed to be short novelettes. I don’t think I have enough material to extend them, to be honest. I only planned to extend the books in the header image above. But never say never.
I loved the story. It was filled with tragedy and then hope and back to tragedy to love and hope for the future.
Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
What a chapter and a beautiful ending to this story! So happy that Dakota is moving forward, and you have to love how Naomi is her rock through it all. Thanks again for this incredible story. I can’t wait to read what you have coming next!
Loved the story and what a beautiful ending. ❤️ Sigh…. Looking forward to read what’s next in A Scarlet Kiss… the ending was too abrupt… and would really love to read more about Jenna and Scarlet 😊
Well…this was true to form when it comes to Dakota. I understand how hard it is to forgive a parent for the wrongs that they have done to you while you were impressionable and growing up. I had a similar up-bringing. It took me a while to forgive my mother for what she had done to me and all the abuse I suffered at her hands. That feeling gets engraved deep into the psyche. I was also born into the church, but fully took it on at 25 y/o and the time. And I am sorry to say that god stuff does nothing to quell the pain caused over the years. And a parent finding god and changing their lives does nothing for the horrific past they reared us in. I did in the end forgive my mother for what she did to me. And she is lucky of that, because when she got sick and had a stroke at a young age, I have been there for her caring and allowing her to live with me for years now.
So, I am ok if Dakota decides not to allow him access to her new family and into her life. Some things are just unforgivable and unforgettable. Him sitting around the dinner table as a loving father just burns me. Sure he is a great husband to his current wife and his “new” kids, but that does nothing to pull at my heart strings. I am glad Dakota was true to form and let him have it. Sometimes I wished she had done more, but for the sake of her own emotional and mental welfare, I am glad she didn’t. I am also glad that she is in a stable and very loving marriage to show her what love really is. I doubt that could have happened without Naomi entering her life. Thank goodness that Naomi had a good family and a great upbringing. She knows what love looks like, even with the challenges that comes with loving someone so hurt and broken like Dakota had been.
This is one of my favorite stories because of the abuse and the presence of the church. I left the church 20 years ago and never looked back. I hope this is something that Dakota does at well. The only difference between me and Dakota is that she found her Naomi. I am still waiting for mine.
Just stumbled into this series and read the book and the bonus 3 chapters found here in 2 days. Definitely more to this book than the synopsis on the playstore. I know its been 2 years since you gave us this short story and wanted to know; would you ever consider writing atleast the counter part to Born Again, from Naomi’s perspective? There is a lot that could be worked on from there to give us an insight to her mind when it came to Dakota. Just a thought. Thank you again.