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What I thought would be my happily ever after, was only the beginning
Portia Moore is an Amazon and iBooks bestselling author of romantic suspense, including the popular If I Break series, the Her series, and the Collided series, which combined have sold over one million copies across all platforms. Located in the chilly Midwest, her favorite vacations are anywhere that’s hot and sunny with a beach, reading the same kind of heart-pounding, twisty, edge-of-your seat romantic thrillers that she loves to write. When that’s not possible, she loves drinking wine, cooking (also with wine) and spending time with her little family of one human child and two furbabies, one that barks and one that meows.
What Happens After (If I Break Series)
He lied to me. What’s worse than him lying to me as my husband and the father of my child, my so-called soul mate, is that he lied to me as my friend. Our history, our bond, our love, didn’t stop my best friend from lying to me all these years. He kept secrets from me, and it hurts. It hurts so badly—the half-truths, the deception, the words I never ever thought I’d use… it all hurts.
I never thought that anything associated with love could be so painful, but love betrayed definitely is. This unfathomable heartache snuffs out all of my urges toward forgiveness because now I know the truth. At least what I imagine the truth to be—those images run continuously through my mind.
The love that once was so sure has been replaced by anguish . A pain that erases the joy and closeness we shared, pushing it further and further away, like a mirage—unreal. Our history seems more like an illusion. Only vague images of our love and life together remain, but those spectral images are tainted.
While my own memories are like a half-forgotten dream, those moments I imagine are all too vivid. Everywhere I look, I see betrayal, and I can’t get his duplicitousness out of my head. My faith has been shaken to the core. Those thoughts become an unbearable weight, a sickening fog that suffocates me, a stench so bad it chokes all the beauty and joy out of life. All that remains is blinding rage, anger, bitterness, and hatred. These thoughts turn my consciousness into an abyss that I can’t escape. I secretly pray for the moment I’ll feel nothing because anything is better than this.
Words I try to escape from as the hours tick by. It feels like time has slowed down, but in reality it is moving so fast it sneaks up on me—like a thief in the night. I look in the mirror at the fine lines that have formed around my mouth and eyes, things I overlooked before but are like flashing lights now. I wonder when this happened. When was my youth stolen? Did it happen when Christopher turned ten, or did it happen when I first saw my grandchild? Is today just the first day I noticed them? This morning when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see them, but they were there. Right? I just never noticed until now. I wasn’t even alarmed by the increasing number of grey hairs I’ve accumulated over the years. Why should I worry over trivial things like that anyway when there’s so much more to regret?
I always knew life was precious. You realize it when you find out you’ll never be able to produce it. When you find out that you’re unable to do the one thing you believe you were put on the planet to do―your God-given right as a woman to bear children. I have come to appreciate that fertility is a gift, not a right, even though I’m slightly resentful. The realization of just how precious the gift of life is became even more evident once I heard the words, “You have stage-three breast cancer.” Aging, living is a blessing, not something to worry about. When I was able to say, “I beat cancer,” I quit worrying about the small things. If I could survive cancer, I could survive anything. To wake up in the morning and take a breath became so much more of a welcome event than one would ever think.
So it isn’t a wonder why today, of all days, I notice the things I didn’t use to care about but today mean everything.
I wish I were just being dramatic, but without hesitation, I can say being alive doesn’t seem as important as it once was. These badges of maturity feel less like an honor and more like a punishment, a cruel inside joke I’m not in on.
What else could I think of it as?
My husband, my dear husband, the man I love more than anything in the entire world, has always made me feel beautiful. When I said wrinkles, he said laugh lines, and not only that, he said they made me more beautiful than the day he first met me. I believed him.
I believed him because he’s my best friend, my confidant, my own personal superhero… or at least he was yesterday. Today, he’s my personally-crafted villain. One who knows my weaknesses and knows me better than anyone else in the world. I’ve shared my deepest secrets with him. He’s been my glue when my world was on the cusp of falling apart several times over―at least I thought he was. Maybe he wasn’t, or maybe he was for a while, or maybe it was all a façade.
Maybe I was just a fool. I must have been a fool, an arrogant one. Because until today, I never understood why the women I grew up with felt self-conscious about their appearances as each birthday passed. Because I knew it all, I had it all figured out—they’d married the wrong man. I thought that if you married your soul’s true mate, a life partner, they should appreciate who you are now, who you’ve grown to become. My husband, my best friend, told me that, and like a fool in love, I never once questioned it— until today.