The Daredevil Bonus Epilogue
“I’ve got great news,” Tyson announces as soon as I walk into our bedroom and the tranquility I found in the ten minutes of affirmations I just recited while I was in the shower is shattered.
I tighten the belt of my robe and eye him. He’s lounging in bed, his muscular chest bare and beautiful. Two weeks ago, I would have had to force myself to not get back into bed. Now, all I want to do is run, screaming from the room.
“Is it really good news or is it about the wedding?”
His wide, toothy grin doesn’t so much as flicker. “And why can’t it be both, Debbie?” he enunciates the D in the nickname he christened me with just last night. It’s short for Debbie Downer. I laughed and pretended it didn’t annoy the hell out of me when he said it then.
I’ve gone along with everything he’s suggested. I’m the pragmatic and clear eyed one in this relationship. Except when it comes to him. Saying no to Tyson has proven impossible. But I’m resolved to start putting my foot down about this wedding. I just don’t want to hurt his feelings in the process.
So I smile and tighten the belt on my robe again and imagine that it’s the leash on my annoyance. “Well, I guess there's a first time for everything,” I say with exaggerated cheer.
He chuckles and pats the bed next to him. “Come here.”
I smile, even though my face feels like it’s going to crack. “I’m fine where I am, just tell me.” I lean one shoulder against the door frame and raise an expectant eyebrow.
He rolls his eyes and shakes his head in mock disappointment. “You’re going to be sorry you’re not close enough to kiss me when I tell you.”
That draws a chuckle from me. “And you’re going to be glad I’m not close enough to punch you if this news is anything like the news you gave me last night.”
His handsome face creases and his smile turns into a puckered frown. “The salt around the house and covering that mirror were just a suggestion, babe. And you were right, it’s bullshit.”
Cautiously relieved, I relax my ramrod posture and eye him. “That’s a complete one-eighty from where you were ten hours ago.”
He nods, a self satisfied smile on his face. “I looked into it. With our compatibility only being thirty per cent, those won’t be strong enough to reverse our bad luck. I found something that will actually work.”
My short-lived relief evaporates and I can’t hold back an exasperated sigh or look at his smiling face for one more second.
Seething with disappointment, I stride to my dresser and yank it open. “So I guess it’s a miracle we’ve managed to make it three years without realizing that’s the soul deep love we share, the happiness we’ve created in our home, and the mind blowing sex we’ve been having is really just this bad luck of ours manifesting. Thank goodness we know now.” I pull out the first bra I touch and slam the drawer shut.
I yank another drawer open and fish for my underwear blinded by the angry tears that have filled my eyes.
The sheets rustle and I glance over at the bed. He’s watching me with concern in his dark eyes.
“Are you crying, baby?” He sounds bewildered and when he swings his long muscular legs over the side of the bed and his gloriously naked body comes into view, I glance away quickly and turn my back to him and gather my composure. I don’t know why I’m crying when nothing is really wrong. All he’s trying to do is give me everything I said I wanted. It’s not his fault I’ve changed my mind. It’s not his fault I don’t know how to tell him that. But I’m mad that I have to tell him. That it's not obvious to him that this stopped being fun for me weeks ago.
“Tell me what you need, baby and I’ll give it to you.” I don’t hear him cross the room and jump when his big arms encircle me.
His body is my favorite playground, and my soft place to land and he knows it. As much as I want to resent him for it, I’m so grateful and desperate for the comfort he’s offering.
I melt into him instinctively and let myself indulge in the wonderful feeling of being in his arms. I’m still damp from the shower and the silk of my robe might as well be paper when he presses his naked front into my back. I’m aware of every ridge and swell of his chest and abdomen.
“Tell me mon coeur.” He’s been calling me that since our trip to Paris last year. And the way he says it now, soft and low with his lips brushing my ear and skimming my throat makes me forget my own name.
“I love you, so much,” I whisper, my eyes fluttering closed as his mouth travels lower and lower and his hand mimics it’s movements down my body.
“And, I love you. We don’t need anyone to tell us what we already know...That what we’ve got is forever.” He tugs the belt of my robe and it falls open. The cool air hit my warm body and my nipples, already hardening in anticipation of his touch, furl almost painfully tight.
“Ty, touch me,” I plead and reach up to pluck them. He chuckles and slips his hand between my thighs and cups my pussy in a possessive grip that turns my knees to jelly. With his other hand grips my chin and turns my head to kiss me before I can answer.
Not that I even remember his question once his tongue slides against mine. His kiss is an antidote to everything that ails me and I let it work it’s magic. I turn in his arms and run my hands greedily over his chest, up the smooth muscular landscape of his shoulder and create a cradle with my fingers around his neck. His knee nudges my thighs apart and he presses his hips into me. My ass is up on the counter of the dresser before I even realize he’s lifted me.
He slips one of his big fingers into me and groans into my mouth before he tears his lips away from mine and rests his forehead against mine. “You and me against the world, baby. What could ever stop us?” He pants and slides his finger out of my body.
I whine in protest but he silences me with his lips and satisfies me with his body. The broad head of his cock slides down the wet lips of my pussy and when it brushes my clit I moan. It turns into a shriek of pleasure as he enters me in one swift thrust. My back bows and he drops his head to take one of my nipples into his mouth. He leans me back until my head touches the wall. He presses a hand to either side of my face and starts to pump in and out of me.
I wrap my legs around his waist and lose myself in the pleasure of his body’s complete dominance over mine.
His physical prowess is thrilling. Knowing that all I have to do is lay back and let him take care of both of us is intoxicating and I don’t know how long he makes love to me or how many times I come before he calls my name and spills inside of me, but it’s never long enough.
He carries me to the bed and drops me onto it. “Grabbing a towel, I’ll be right back,” he says.
“‘Kay,” I sigh and lay there spread out like a starfish, every muscle sated and satisfied and close my eyes. He wipes my clean and then lays down next to me. Slide over, lay my head on his chest and sigh in contentment. He trails his fingers over my back and presses a kiss to the top of my head.
“Now that you’re feeling better, I can tell you the good news. Your aunt found a place that can make the balut for us.”
His words settle on me like ash falling from a wildfire...one he set it without meaning to but one that feels like it’s going to consume me. My heart is back in my throat and my eyes sting with tears I don’t understand as I lift myself off his chest and glare at him. “God, I forget that you play dirty. Sorry no amount of sex isn’t going to change my mind about any of this.”
His smile flattens and he sits up too. It's clear he's tired of humoring me and trying to win me over. “You’re the one who wanted to have this wedding. And now that we are, you’re acting like I’m frogmarching you to your death.” He throws his hands up, as exasperated as I am.
“Well, do you blame me? I’m surprised you even remember it’s me you’re marrying.” I know I’m raising my voice, but this burst of anger has taken me by surprise and I can't seem to get a reign on it. Hands on my hips, chin up and out, I let him have it. “I mean, your mom is acting like it’s her wedding. Picking our fabrics, choosing the menu. And your guest list is longer than mine. I’m the one who’s half Vietnamese. And yet somehow, you’re the one who’s being treated like the subject matter expert.”
He shoots me a withering glare, throws the cover back, and climbs out of bed. “Well one of us has to be. And since you’ve made it very clear that you want nothing to do with any of the planning I didn't have much choice.”
I bristle at his assertion but find myself unable to refute it. I can only sit, stewing while he pulls on a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt. I jump out of bed and get dressed without uttering a word. I’m afraid that if I start talking, I’ll start crying. And if I start crying, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop.
He stalks into his closet and hobbles back out talking and pulling his socks on at the same time. “You think I want to wear that hot as hell blue silk outfit all day and say the most intimate words I’ll ever speak to you in front of a room full of people I don’t know, Dina?” He turns to face me with a face like thunder.
And his anger feels so unwarranted when I’m the one who has to face that day with a gaping hole in my heart.
I scowl at him. “Fine, then don’t. If it’s so terrible, we don’t have to do any of it.” I say with a look of indifference on my face and my arms crossed over my chest.
He looks at me like he’s never seen it before. “Why would you even say that? This has never been about just us. This is for both our families.”
“What family? I only have my dad. I met my aunts for the first time two weeks ago. I’m glad you feel all buddy buddy with them but I don’t warm up to people as quickly and you’ve let them take over everything. Why do you need my input when you’ve got theirs?”
He narrows his eyes, but not with anger. “What's really wrong?”
“Maybe I don’t want to spend the day being dressed by and getting advice from women who barely know me. Why couldn’t we just have kept it simple?” I say in a voice that quavers and is thick with tears.
He takes a step toward me “Babe, tell me what you need and I’ll give it to you.” There’s something in his voice, or maybe it’s the softening in his eyes that makes me fear he’s closer to the truth than I want him to be. I don’t have time for that truth today. So, I put a wall up in it's way. “There’s no point. You could never give it to me.”
He expels a sharp breath and looks away. “Talk about playing dirty.” He shakes his head and turns to leave the room without another word.
“I don’t think Ty's home.” I pull into the drive of the three story townhouse Tyson and I share and cut the automatic lights on my car before they can sweep across the darkened windows of our front facing bedroom.
“And why do you sound relieved by that? ” Regan’s voice crackles over the speaker in my car and I wince at the accusation in it.
“Because, I am…” I admit in a sullen voice that’s become increasingly familiar to me over the last two weeks.
“Please don’t tell me you’ve bought into the fortune teller’s reading, too?”
I suck my teeth in annoyance. “Of course I haven’t. And that apparently is a problem. You’d think he and my aunties were in league together, Regan. It’s too much.” It’s an oversimplification of the truth, but it’s the best I can manage.
“Tell him,” she urges like it’s the easiest thing in the world.
“I did. And then we had an argument and haven’t spoken since.” I expected him to show up at some point in the day. Or at least call me to say whatever it was he needed to.
But he didn’t. As the day wore on, my emotions ran the gamut from resentment to despair with long stops at regret.
When I hadn’t heard from him by the time I’d seen my last client, I was in full on fret mode. Tyson’s silences only ever mean one of two things. Either, he’s still too angry to talk or he’s planning something.
Neither of those prospects did anything to calm my nerves, so instead of going home, I went for a drive through the neighborhood I’ve called home for the last three years. But not even that could do anything to quell the unease in my gut.
I never thought the day would come that I’d pull up the house I share with Tyson and feel anything other than glee. But here I sit, questioning my life choices and wondering how the hell to get out of this mess I’ve made for myself.
Swallowing my pride and girding my loins, I bid Regan goodnight and finally call Tyson.
He answers on the first ring.
“Baby, I’m so sorry,” I rush my apology out before he can even say hello.
“Me too, mon coeur, it shouldn’t have come to a head like it did today.”
I sag in my seat, relief and love softening all of the places my fear and pain hardened today. “I’m in the driveway, I’m coming inside. I want to have this conversation in person.”
“I’m not home.”
“Oh,” I slump back in my seat again. “Okay, where are you?”
“At your dad’s. I thought you'd come here after work given how upset you were and how we left things this morning. I’ve been here all day.”
“Oh my God. Why didn’t you call me?”
His warm chuckle washes over me and I wish he was here so I could see it, too. “At first I was pissed, too. And then I was busy. I was trying to give you space, but I was about to call. It’s later than I thought it’d be when I finally heard from you.”
“Are you...staying there tonight?” I’m confused and touched all at once.
“I was hoping we both would. If you’re up to the drive. Your dad is out back on the smoker and whatever he’s got on there won’t be ready until morning. I thought a night away might do us both some good.”
“Yes, absolutely. And when I get there, I’ll explain everything. I’m sorry I didn’t sooner.” I start my car and am pulling out of the driveway before I'm finished speaking. "I'm on my way."
“It’s okay. Drive safely and I’ll see you soon.”
Winsome is two hours away and as I pull onto the freeway to begin the drive, I try to make sense of my reaction this morning and hope I can explain it in a way that he’ll understand.
When Tyson casually suggested we get married, he made it sound like a logistical choice.
We were already committed to each other. Why not reap all the financial and social benefits of it? I’d been hesitant to get married again after my divorce. But, three years into our relationship, I’ve never been happier and nothing has ever been easier than living with him. The only thing that could make me leave this man is my heart ceasing to beat. I can’t see the future, but I can’t imagine life without him. I didn’t have a single reservation when I said yes.
We agreed that a small civil ceremony at the Justice of The Peace was the best and simplest thing we could do. We drove out to Winsome to tell my father first. He was thrilled that I was getting married again. And not just because he loves Tyson.
My first wedding was at a small chapel in Las Vegas. He was upset but forgave me for eloping. But this time he made it clear that he wanted a full blown Vietnamese wedding experience and even though it wasn't what we planned, I couldn't say no when it was clearly so important to him.
My parent’s marriage was unconventional in so many ways They met in Paris as students and were married in a small registry near the Sorbonne were they were both studying Then, my father's job brought them to Houston. They were happy there because the city had large Vietnamese and West African communities. But soon after I was born they moved again. Winsome was the last place we lived together as a family. And there no one looked like any of us. I speak French because they both did and it was the first language they taught me. When my mother was alive, we ate Senegalese food all the time, but otherwise, I grew up pretty disconnected from both aspects of my heritage.
I thought Tyson agreed to the traditional wedding to humor my dad and be supportive of me.He was fine with us not having the huge church wedding followed by an even bigger reception. This traditional, intimate ceremony would allow his family the opportunity to make memories, too.
As he started learning about all the traditions that come with Vietnamese weddings, I was sure he’d feel as overwhelmed by it as I did. I was wrong.
He found and made an appointment with a seamstress who could make the traditional Ao Dai, the traditional clothes that we would both wear for the ceremony. His mother who bemoaned our decision to have a small civil service was thrilled and hired a famous fabric designer to custom make ours. Venue halls were booked, caterers, entertainment, and officiants were booked.
The idea of all that pomp and circumstance turned my insides into a swarm of trepidatious butterflies. Especially when my father announced that his sisters, both of whom I’d never met, were coming from Vietnam to help plan ceremonies.
I’ve been going along with it - reminding myself that this is Tyson’s first marriage and that he deserves to have exactly what he wants, the way I did with mine.
In the weeks after he proposed, I started to enjoy the planning - mainly because he’s been so excited. Then, my father announced that his sisters, both of whom I’d never met, were coming from Vietnam to help plan the ceremonies and shepherd me through them.
Suddenly the idea of all that pomp and circumstance turned my insides into a swarm of trepidatious butterflies. But I endured their too personal questions, and said yes to everything they deemed necessary for a successful wedding.
Including a visit to a Vietnamese fortune teller to pick an auspicious date for the ceremony and to have our Lunar Zodiac signs matched.
Never mind that we’d already booked a date.
Never mind that I didn’t even know what my Zodiac sign was, much less cared what it meant. But my aunts insisted that this was one of the most important steps in traditional Vietnamese marriage. I took it seriously even though I was skeptical.
Until the matchmaker said my year of the horse sign was incompatible with Tyson's year of the rat zodiac. No two people have ever been more simpatico than us. So, I laughed that off. But no one else did.
And that’s when everything started to go wrong.
I pull into my father’s driveway behind Tyson’s big black Escalade and my threadbare nerves start to knit together again. Before I can cut the engine, he steps through the front door, bathed by the warm glow of the light from inside my father’s small three bedroom cottage style home and heads toward my car with a huge smile on his face. The first thing I need to apologize for. I can’t believe I said he can’t give me what I need when he’s already done that more times than I can count. I scramble out of the car and run into his open arms.
I’ve been an utter idiot. The love of my life, my damn everything, has been trying to tell me something for weeks and I refused to listen. This morning when it spilled out of her, I didn’t respond well because I didn't know how to deal with being the source of her upset.
The last three years have been the very best of my life. And Dina is responsible for that. She doesn’t underestimate me, she doesn’t think my ideas are outlandish and she always fights my corner with me. We argue, but that emotional outburst and the low blows she through my way are new and threw me for a loop.
I knew marriage wasn’t high on her list of things to do, but I was ready. We’d already decided we weren’t going to have kids and our commitment was rock solid, but I wanted to call her my wife for real. I want her to have the same last name as me and I wanted to memorialize everything we’d built together.
I didn’t understand the Pandora’s box I was opening when I jumped into planning this traditional wedding with both feet. She seemed happy about it. Until her aunts arrived and declared themselves proxies for her mother.
I should have seen it. I wouldn’t want anyone standing in my father’s place. For all the different roles that a father would traditionally play in the Vietnamese ceremonies, we replaced him with my brother or sister.
We didn’t do that for Dina. And I’ve spent today trying to make up for that. She arrived last night full of apologies that I accepted because I know she needed me to. And then I apologized too. We went to bed and both slept like logs. She was still passed out when I woke up this morning to get the preparations for the day set going. Her father is already up. A spry man in his late sixties, he’s got more energy than most people half his age. Including me.
He bursts out onto the back porch, where I’m sipping my coffee and watching the sunrise, drenched in sweat from his morning run.
“Tyson, your mother just called, they will be here by ten and My sisters will be here by eleven for the lễ vu quy. If we’re going to do this first, we need to get her up soon. Was she okay? She doesn’t mind that we’ve moved this part up?”
“I didn’t tell her yet, but she will be,” I say with a confidence I feel to my bones.
Yesterday, after I explained what was going on and how much I knew Dina’s mother’s absence was hurting her, he suggested we have a private small ceremony here, today. Without the wait, the auspicious date, the fuss and the crowd of people. He also decided we break with tradition further and do the tea ceremony with just the three of us.
He slaps me on the shoulder. “I hope you’re sure. She’s my daughter, but even I’m a little afraid of her.”
“Mr Lu, I’m more worried about what your sisters are going to do when they find out.”
“There’s nothing to worry about, we can outrun them.” He’s still laughing heartily when he walks back into the house. He’s an interesting man, with a quick smile. But there’s a lingering sadness in his eyes that mirrors the one in Dina’s when she’s thinking about her mother. She died far too young. And neither of them had her for as long enough.
I think about my reticence to spend time with my father and feel guilty for not being grateful to have that chance. But I also have a full family, siblings, cousins, a mother who have all been constants in my life. Dina loves them as much as she loves me. In fact, sometimes I think it’s my family that drew her to me.
I finish my coffee and go back to the room Dina and I share when we stay here. She’s still fast asleep. Her dark hair is spread on the pillow in a mass of coils and curls that I know she’s going to be cursing when she wakes up. She drove here without even a toothbrush or change of clothes and the bonnet she wraps her hair in every night. She has a drawer full of T-shirts and leggings here, but she crawled into bed naked. I followed her lead and we fell asleep wrapped around each other. I know there’s a lot to say today, but mostly I’m here to listen and learn.
I lift the comforter to climb in next to her and she stirs, her hand slides over to the side where I sleep and then she sits up with a start. I love that she can’t sleep without me either. “Hey, I’m here,” I whisper and she looks up, her dark almond shaped eyes are as clear as they were when she got here last night.
She holds out her arms to me, “Come back to bed, I miss you.” I slip out of my shorts and do what she commands. She curls into my side, nestles her head on my shoulder and links our fingers under the covers. "It's been twenty years...I know it’s not rational. But I don’t want to have this celebration without my mother. She should be here. She promised she would be. I still need her Tyson and it feels impossible to do anything that mothers and daughters are supposed to do with other people. I don't have siblings. She's an only child. And my aunts are sweet. But even if I'd known them my whole life, they could never stand in her place.”
My heart has grown exponentially since I fell in love with her, and just when I don’t think it’s possible to stretch it any further, she proves me wrong. I know that what she’s just told me is her most guarded secret. I'm gratified to know she trusts me enough to say it. But, I don't know why she feels ashamed. “Why do you say that like it's a weakness you're confessing? And I thought you took psychology in school. You know that your feelings aren’t irrational - it’s what you do with them that can be.”
She nods, her hair tickles my chest and I use my free hand to lift away from her face and tilt her chin up so I can look at her. Her eyes are wet with tears that have been in them far too often recently. “I know. I went to therapy to talk about it, and I have moments where I know she’s here. She wrote me letters all the time and I read them when I need a reminder that I can do big things.”
I lean back and frown in feigned offense. “I thought I was your motivation.”
She rolls her eyes, and grins - which was all I was really after. “You are...but the night I came over to your place with nothing but a raincoat on, one of her letters gave me the courage to do it.” She sits up suddenly, her eyes bright with nostalgia. “And she was obsessed with weddings, Tyson. She said that even though she told everyone she didn’t care if she had a boy or girl when she was pregnant with me, she was glad she had a girl because she was going to live vicariously through me when I had the wedding she hadn’t been able to.”
Understanding hits me like a bolt of lightning and I sit up, too. and drape my arm over her shoulder and draw her back into my side.
She sighs and snuggles against me. “It’s not the fuss or the fabric I hate, it’s that she’s not here to see it. She didn’t get to have hers and she didn’t get to have mine and I feel guilty celebrating it without her.”
“I should have known,” I say between the kisses I’m pressing to the top of her head.
She chuckles and drapes her arm over my waist. “Well, I know everyone tells you you’re superman, but I don’t expect you to read my mind. I didn’t want you to see... it felt so silly and self indulgent.”
“It’s not silly. You are not silly and I wish I’d known because we would have gone to the Justice of The Peace and gotten married and been happy.”
She leans away and gives me a skeptical frown. “Tyson, it's your first wedding, you should have what you want.”
“It’ll be my only wedding and I already have what I want. You.” I brush a kiss across her lips and force myself to pull away.
She cups my cheeks and gazes up at me in that way that always makes me feel like I might just be superman. “Thank you. I love you feels inadequate for the way I feel about you, but it’s the truest thing I know.”
She leans in to kiss me and throws a thigh over my lap and straddles me. She deepens the kiss and rocks her hips and tells me what she wants without saying a word.
I break the kiss. “Dina, your dad is awake, this cabin is small and he will skin me alive if I make you scream my name so loud the neighbors can hear it.”
She grins. “You’re right. So let me make you scream and then he’ll just spend the day laughing at you.”
I quirk my lips at her. “I’ve never screamed a day in my life.”
“Is that a dare?” she runs her soft palms over my chest and tweaks my nipples.
I bite back a groan and shake my head. “Of course it is, do your best.”
She leans forward and presses her sweet mouth to mine. I cup the back of her head and kiss her deep and long until she panting and wet against my thighs. I cup her breasts, they are so heavy and full and beautiful and make my mouth water. I dip my head and lift one to my mouth. She lets me get one lick before she pulls it away.
“Ah, ah, ah. It’s my turn.” She slides down my body and I spread my thighs to make room for her between them. “I love your body. It’s so big and strong and hairy and sexy,” she peppers my stomach and thighs with kisses after every word. She holds her body away just far enough to avoid my dick.
It’s jutting toward her like a compass arrow drawn to it’s true north and it’s so hard it hurts.
I stroke it and she covers my hand with hers.
“No stealing my thunder,” she chides and then leans down to take me into her mouth. My head falls back and I can’t hold back the moan of pleasure her plush, hot lips sliding down over my pulsing head draws out me.
“Good Lord, woman, you are going to kill me.”
“No, baby...it’s just going to feel like it.”
She uses her talented mouth on me and when I come under five minutes, I lose the dare and decide I don’t give a damn who hears it.
When she comes back from the bathroom, I’m out of bed, getting dressed. “Where are you going?”
I grin and hold out my hand. “To get married, come on.”
Her eyes go wide, but her smile is even wider. “Really? Today? Here?”
“Yes. I told you. If you tell me what you need, I’ll give it to you.”
She slips her hand into mine and beams. “Tyson Wilde. You are my hero.”
“That's right I am. And after today everyone else will know it, too. ” She wrinkles her nose in confusion and I laugh. “Don’t worry, you’ll see.”
He wasn’t kidding. He had the bakery write "Happy Wedding Day Dina and her Hero.” on our cake. It was just one of the many moments today that made me laugh out loud. It was perfect. And everyone that mattered was here when I married the love of my life. I expected to feel different after we said our vows, but we're exactly as we were yesterday. Together, committed, partners in everything.
Next to me, Tyson is fast asleep. His dark, curling lashes cling to each other and his broad, full mouth is soft and slack with sleep. I can't believe he's mine forever and that he fought as hard as I did to make it so. I run a finger over the curve of his ear, and he snuffles, and turns over in his airplane seat that he's extended so it's nearly flat. We're on my best friend's private plane. Well, her husband's band's private plane, but it's only the four of us on board right now.
We hitched a flight with them to Corsica, where they spend their summers, and will spend a couple of days with them before we head off to Greece for our honeymoon. He fell asleep as soon as we boarded and I don't blame him. He was busy planning everything and getting everyone to my dad's. We danced until 3am and made love until the sun came up.
But the best part of the day was the private ceremony we had at my family’s altar in honor of my mother. When we were finished burning incense and praying, my father pulled out a letter she’d given him to give me on the day of my wedding. It was still sealed. When I asked him why he hadn’t given it to me when I married Wes, he said “She told me to give it to you the day you gave your heart, and life to someone. I knew that boy would never have either.”
The plane is dark, but for the lights over our seats . Tyson still needs them on to sleep. Far from being annoying it’s actually really convenient for someone who likes to read in bed to not have to worry that I’m keeping him awake. And on the nights the light bothers me, I pull an eye mask on,
I reach into my bag for it and and my fingers brush the envelope I tucked inside. I’ve read it so many times already that I've memorized it, but I'll never get tired of reading my mother's words, so I pull it out again.
I settle into my seat, extending it so I can lay down, too and open the small piece of paper. My heart skips a beat just looking at it.
Her handwriting was so meticulous and I can imagine her sitting at her desk writing this slowly and deliberately, the way she did everything else - except for die.
“My Dearest Dina,
I’m so happy that you’re reading this letter. I told your father not to give it to you until you were getting married and full of as much love as we were the day we pledged ourselves to each other. I’m sorry I’m not there to hold your hand or do your hair. You know how badly I wanted to be. But I hope that the lessons I managed to teach you in these first thirteen years of your life have stuck and that you still feel me. Death is just a transition. I’m not afraid. But I know that the years you’ll have to live without me will be hard, and so I hope that the man you’ve deemed worthy of you will bring family into your life, too. Your father taught me that family is a choice and I know he’s taught you the same. The only advice I’ll add to whatever wisdom he’s imparted is this “Love is worth it. And what you put into your marriage is exactly what it will be. Compromise, sacrifice, forgive and hold each other accountable. I am so proud of you. And remember that nothing will ever end our love. It is forever. Have a beautiful life my darling baby.
Love you always and until the end of infinity,
I fold it, place it back in the envelope, and slip back into my bag. I climb out of my seat and into Ty's. It's a tight fit, but we make it work. I pull my eyes mask and fall asleep with a smile on my face that has nothing on the one in my heart.
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