I left her a note and a glass of water by the bed. Peeling my body away from hers was a task nearly painful in difficulty, getting her out of my head would be impossible, now that I carried her permanently etched in my heart.
Silas was gone when I first opened my eyes to the bright morning light. The aroma of coffee and bacon, something like homemade bread permeating through the house brought tears to my eyes. Those scents spoke to me of home and treasured days with my mother now long gone by. I reluctantly rolled out of the warm nest of tangled sheets and pillows. A handwritten note from Silas drifted to the floor as I stood up. I liked seeing his handwriting, picturing him choosing those sweet words.
I thought you were beautiful awake, but seeing you innocently asleep in my bed has ruined me forever. I’m never letting you go. But fear not, my gilded cage serves an all-inclusive breakfast which awaits you downstairs. I’m off for a run to hopefully release some energy from this body.
The sweetness of the note brought tears to my eyes. I wasn’t sure that I even deserved a protector as generous and honorable as Silas, but I promised to myself to never let him down and make up for all the time we’d lost. When I looked at Silas, I no longer saw the scars, what I saw was the man behind the facade. A man dedicated to my safety and happiness, one who was willing to bare his heart to me and let me share in his madness.
Downstairs in the kitchen I found Annie humming to classical music with the sound system on. She was clad in a bright yellow apron teeming with patterned flowers. There was indeed fresh bread visibly rising in the oven. My throat felt choked up with emotion as I croaked out a good morning.
“Well hello, dear,” Annie said. She rushed over as I took a seat and overturned my teacup. “The birds were singing especially loud this morning. So much sun and rain in one day, the poor creatures don’t know what to do with themselves. It’s as if Mother Nature herself were over compensating, don’t you think?”
She poured me a tea and shook out a cloth napkin. She then transferred a giant vase teeming with fresh cut roses onto the table in front of me.
“Silas brought these in this morning, he asked me to give them to you.”
I cupped one of the delicate buds and inhaled its perfume. The silken petals were still covered in droplets from that morning’s sun showers.
“Is he here?” I asked. I tore into the breakfast Annie placed in front of me. Poached eggs on a bed of greens, bacon, and potato hash.
“No sweetie. He and Kyle went to go catch a thief. He told me to tell you they’d be back in time for lunch and that you should feel free to explore the grounds. He sketched out this map of how to get to his rose gardens.”
I looked at his hand-drawn map and smiled at his attentiveness.
“I swear, Olivia, you’re a breath of fresh air. Ever since I’ve known Silas, he’s cultivated those thorny roses. He’d spend hours in that garden pruning, making sure the soil was the exact right acidity for them to grow.”
Annie poured herself a cup of tea and sat down beside me.
“But wouldn’t you know, he never cut a single one? He’d just watch them bloom and grow, then get sullen when they’d shrivel up and die.”
“I wonder why?”
“Well, I think poor Silas didn’t have enough beauty in his life. Then you show up and it’s like he wakes up from a trance. Cutting roses every day and with a little more hop in his step. I don’t know what you’re doing, Olivia, but please keep it up. To see him so happy warms my little old heart.”
“He makes me happy too,” I said. I blew away the steam from my tea, which tasted of roses, sun showers, and a future full of Silas.
Three Years Later
“I’m telling you, the doctor said we could go back in as soon as she’s stable. Pacing like a caged tiger and punching holes in the wall isn’t going to score you any points with the Obstetrics team.”
“Kyle, I’m losing my mind. I won’t make it if I lose her.”
“Which won’t happen, she’s under the care of one of the best teams in the world. Just pray for those two little girls—they’re the ones who are going to need it by showing up so early.”
“It’s my fault, we shouldn’t have been having sex. I should have forced her to do bedrest.”
“No offense my friend, but the doctor didn’t order those measures and I think he might know just a smidge bit better than you.” Kyle clapped me on the back; his smile was smug. I looked at him with a pained grin and he pulled me into a bear hug. He slapped my back through my suit jacket and almost made the tears start to flow.