Cold Feet/C16 Chapter 16
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Cold Feet/C16 Chapter 16
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C16 Chapter 16

RICK

The drama has ended and the story has passed. Viola and the wedding whisperer are little more than a memory and the odd meme that pops up on social media here and there.

Trish’s divorce case has been settled. There wasn’t much chance for Eric to fight given the evidence against him. It’s been one of my easiest cases ever and I’m glad it’s over.

I can’t stop thinking about Viola though. Not because I feel sorry for her but because I want to see her. I want to be with her. I’ve tried calling her and sent text messages but she doesn’t answer. I’ve driven by her house a few times.

I know it’s creepy but I don’t care.

A ‘For Sale’ sign has been hammered into the beautifully manicured front lawn. It tells me she wasn’t lying but then I never took her for a liar. All I saw in Viola was a woman who had nothing but the best of intentions in her heart. She believed in what she did. It was her passion to create beautiful days and memories for couples that made her happy.

I know she knows I’ve called and sent her messages. I’ve stopped calling and sending messages as much as I don’t want to. She made it clear she was upset with me and that we’d never be a couple. If she wanted to talk to me, she would have answered, would have returned my calls.

I don’t drive by her house again for a month. When I visit a client that lives near to her, I decide to make the detour and maybe stop in to see if she might warm to me a little.

When I reach her house I park on the opposite side of the street. I get out of the car and as I approach the house my heart sinks. The ‘For Sale’ sign has been replaced by a ‘Sold’ sign. I call the agent’s number on the sign and am soon connected to the agent who informs me that the house was sold a week ago. She tells me that the new owner is taking possession in two days and that Viola has already vacated the property. I could ask for a forwarding number or address but I know it’s useless. The agent won’t give me Viola’s details. I thank her and hang up. It’s over. I drive off feeling as if the world has lost its color.

I knew she didn’t want to be with me, she made that clear, but I took some comfort in the thought that at least she was still here and I could drive by her house and maybe pluck up the courage to see her again at some point.

I always hoped that there might be a second chance despite her ignoring my calls and messages.

I’ve never been big on relationships for personal reasons. I grew up in a home where both my parents cheated on each other. I watched them rip each other and the family apart. Thank God I was an only child. It made it easier to run away when I did. I didn’t have to worry about leaving a sister or brother behind or taking them with me. I never saw my parents again but I looked them up when I became a lawyer. They eventually divorced and moved on. My mother married the man she cheated on my father with. My father never married again and passed away a few years later.

I’ve always shied away from marriage. I’ve had a few long-term relationships but they’ve always ended when my partner wanted to get engaged or married. I now prefer to stick to short-term relationships. The shorter the better. It works for me and saves me from having to go deep to an emotional level that risks either one getting hurt worse than necessary when it ends.

And feeling the way I do, I can’t help but wonder why I am attracted to Viola more than I have ever been attracted to any other woman. Surely, I would have hurt her with my inability to commit, so maybe what happened was a blessing in disguise…

VIOLA

I take a last look at what was my life in the big city. The house has been sold and stands all locked up in front of me. My business is dead and the ‘Sold’ sign on the front lawn stands boldly like a headstone and testament to its death. I was able to afford this house because of my business and having to sell it now represents the loss of everything that I built.

I smile thinly as I hand, Jenna, the agent, the keys to the property. I don’t want her to see my pain. I don’t think she’d understand and besides, I’m just another client to her. Was another client, I correct myself. The house is sold. I have no more value to her unless I’m in the market for another house and I’m not. She knows it.

Nevertheless, she did a great job for me.

“This is for you,” I say as I hand her a small gift.

“Oh, you really shouldn’t have,” Jenna says smiling with genuine appreciation.

“You deserve it,” I smile.

“Thanks,” she says smiling back at me.

I shake her hand and greet her. Then I get in the car, start it, and with a quick wave and empty smile, I back out of the drive. I look at the house one last time as I drive away slowly making my way to the freeway.

It’s a long drive and I stop regularly to rest. When I need to sleep, I stop and park in public places where I know it’s safe. I sleep in the car to save my money and make it to my hometown in two days.

When I arrive, I realize not much has changed but then what do you expect? It’s not like people are rushing to get to this small town.

It was the only place I could think of to come right now. I tried finding work after my business died but my reputation preceded me and I wasn’t able to find work that would pay the bills and sustain my lifestyle in Los Angeles. It hadn’t been an extravagant lifestyle either.

So here I was. I had told no-one about the small house my mother had left me after she passed away although I know anyone who had seriously wanted to sue me would have found it. I was grateful that the lawsuits threatened by past clients hadn’t happened.

Even if they had, if I had to sell this small house it wouldn’t have generated much cash. A house in this small town wasn’t worth much. I was nevertheless grateful that I still had it and that it was paid for.

Surprisingly, I left Los Angeles with a bit more money than I expected and the fact that my mother’s house is paid in full gives me some room to breathe.

The house has been closed up for so long that it smells dusty. I carry my bags from the car into the house and set them down in the bedroom before going through the house and opening all the windows and doors. I change into my oldest clothes and began cleaning immediately. By the time evening arrives I am still far from finished.

All the work cleaning and dusting has left me with an appetite I have not had in a long time and I decide that I will finish the cleaning tomorrow. I need food and drive into town to get some food from the local supermarket.

Danzer’s is the local supermarket. It’s been around since I was a child. When I enter Danzer’s I get the feeling that the only things that have changed are the products on the shelves and the cashiers. Other than that, I remember it exactly as it has always been when I was growing up. I roam between the shelves and find that the products I want are still in the same locations on the shelves where they were so many years before. As I wonder if I have stepped into the land that time forgot, someone bumps into me from behind and I drop the jar of peanut butter I am holding. It smashes on the floor splattering peanut butter all over.

Look at that. They still use glass bottles here, I think as I look at the mess. My thought is interrupted by the person that collided with me.

“I am sorry. I’m such a klutz,” the woman exclaims.

I think I recognize the voice and turn to look at the woman.

She has red hair that falls just past her shoulders. Her hair frames her face as it hangs smooth, silken, and straight. Her eyes are emerald green and her lips full and perfect. I am sure I have seen her somewhere before but can’t quite recall where.

As it happens, I do not need to recall where I have seen her before. She remembers me.

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