Moving On

Ariel Miller lost both the love of her life and their child in a horrific crash in 2010. 3 years have passed since then, and she moves from her one room apartment in Sydney - the city that holds too many memories - to a condo on Dublin Street, Edinburgh. Now at 24 years old, she finds herself falling deeper and deeper into the pain of remembering those she lost that day... She also finds herself having a dangerous attraction to the handsome man that lives across the hall.

At 28 years old Hugh Evans (AKA Hunter) finds himself tired of dating women who only want his money. He soon finds himself enchanted by the polite graces of the new woman across the hall. He is astounded by her beauty and modesty, but also her ability to ignore his advances towards her. Always up for the challenge he decides to break down the barriers she has set up and really try to get to know her.

A story of healing, forgiving and learning how to love again...

Warning: Mature Audiences (Ages 16+)

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2. Leaving

"What do you think you will achieve by moving to Edinburgh?" Doctor Lucille Clover's voice asked gently. Drawing a shaky breath, my hands instinctively tightened together where they sat upon my stomach.

"A fresh start..." that sounded scripted.

"A chance to meet new people," I said, my voice steady. Turning to meet Doctor Clover's eyes, I paused, only for her to nod as she signaled for me to continue.

"Where I am now... The people who knew how I was with..." I choked up. Eyes flitting to the white, flawless ceiling as I tried to will myself to somehow maintain even a little bit of composure. Though only for a moment before letting out another shaky breath.

"Heath... I can't stand their pity," My eyes slid closed as I felt my shoulders relax slightly. "I've thought about it for a while now, and I've realized... It's all just been drowning me. I know they love me, as I love them - but they don't empathize with me, they don't look at me as the woman who lost her husband but is still functioning to live day by day. No. They see me as the woman who's husband died along with their child, the woman who's still living in the past..." sitting up in on the lounge, I opened my eyes only to face my counselor of 19 months.

"Do you know what his sister -Yvonne - calls counseling?" I asked her - rhetorically, of course. My heart seeming to constrict within my chest at even the thought of Yvonne's disability to understand me. She shook her head.

"She calls it 'digging up dead spirits'." The venom that dripped off each word I spoke saying enough for how it had felt. The nasty, old, hag thought I hadn't been listening whilst she gossiped on her home phone one Sunday evening during our usual lunch. She'd been wrong. Unfortunately, I had heard every bloody word.

"I don't even understand: what the hell, does that even mean?" I asked, my voice itching towards hysterical as I threw my hands helplessly into the air.

 

"I'm sick of the people who think they know how I feel... or even 'what it feels like.' I've been talking to you for - what - 19 months now? Lucille, can you honestly tell me that every time I come to one of these sessions you can tell how I feel about everything?" I asked, leaning back on the lounge only to watch as she shook her head. Writing a few things down, she glanced back up at me before a soft smile broke across her lips.

"Why haven't you told them you see a counselor to talk about how you feel about the accident?" she asked. It was a question she asked a lot. Sighing, a wave of melancholy overtook me as I looked down at the plain green carpet, tears welling up in my eyes.

"Because even if I told them I don't think they'll really 'understand'... It's one thing to tell them. One thing for them to hear. But the purest understanding of how it could feel, to be me, I don't think they could. Maybe in time but... I'm just not ready to..." I confessed my eyes glued to the carpet, taking in another shaky breath. Glancing at the time, a frown crossed my face upon the realization that our last session was finally over. Getting up I turned, lifting my purse from the ground before slinging it over my shoulder as I turned to face Lucille. She smiled handing me an envelope,

"A list of colleagues in Edinburgh... You can pick, and choose - just email me who it is and I can forward your transcripts." she said. I took it before bringing out a small box from my purse, and handing it to her. Upon opening it a slow smile flitted across her face as she saw the wooden tortoise inside.

"Thank you, for everything." I smiled gently. Doing the same in return, she nodded. Crossing to room to open the door for me.

"I'm only a phone call away if you ever need anything." she offered genuinely. My heels hit the floorboards with the softest of taps as I tucked a stray strand of my blonde hair behind one ear.

"Careful I may take you up on that," I joked, turning to cast her one last smile, and wave.

"See you later Lucille." I said,

"Goodbye Ariel."

 

*          *          *          *          *

"Ariel, your mother called to tell me your moving to the UK, I'm a bit worried..." Delete.

"Ariel, this is Lachlan from the church at Berry. I was wondering if your free this Saturday..." Delete.

"Rie. It's your best-friend Diana. Just letting you know I'm M-I-A for the next couple of days - yes, I am - the Simpson desert is the 'place to be' for some serious sun tanning. Just kidding! Remember to forward me your address for Dublin so I can come by and we can catch up. That condo you bought has to be uh-freaking-mazing! And no, that's not because I went, and checked it out before you bought it - secretly... Well not to secretly that now you know. I'm missing you heaps right now, chilli fries just aren't the same without you. Mwa, mwa, did I remind you it's me - Diana? Well now you know. Love you! Bye!" I smiled at the voice mail as I walked home, earphones in ears as I crossed the street. It had been a while since I'd heard from Diana - one of the only few people who understood me the most. My thoughts flashed back to the time I first met her...

 

- 27th February 2011 -

Sitting on the bench outside the St Marys Cancer Ward I watched as countless children played in the park the sound a blissful blur in the background of the scene set before me. At the time, I was caught in a daze. My thoughts had drifted back to the initial pain I'd felt when I found out I had to have an ovary removed, my dreams of ever being a mother crushed.

"You know, sometimes I think God is doing this just to make us humans die off faster." a voice said beside me. Turning, I met the beautiful, sad, green eyes of a smiling woman around my age. She was seated beside me. For how long, I didn't know. Arms slung over the backrest, her eyes then flitted to the sky as she leaned back allowing the sun to shine down on her naturally dark skin, the white dress she wore emphasizing her slim figure.

"Why would he do that?" I asked, confused for a second by my own curiosity, yet quietly surprised at me own boldness before she turned to smile at me. Shrugging she swiveled on the bench, only to fold her arms as she drew her knees up against her chest.

"I don't know, but why else would he let us not have kids?" she asked, her gaze turning from mine back to the park. I followed her gaze to a woman holding her newborn on a seat across the park. Her long red hair, and what seemed to be the brightest smile on Earth seemed to shine in the glimmering sun I began to tear up, watching as she bent down to kiss her child on the forehead.

"Oh, man. Listen, I'm really sorry pushing my anger onto somebody else..." the stranger beside me reached out, and touched my shoulder. Turning to face her, I smiled, shaking my head as I wiped away the tears that threatened to spill any second.

"No, I'm alright. I'm just thinking about the other women out there, like me, who don't have the same choice to have kids like they do." I said. Her lips curved into a small, sad smile - empathy written all over her face.

"Us," she said, I blinked for a moment.

"What?" I asked, slightly confused.

"Women out there like 'us' who don't have the same choice to have kids like they do." she corrected me. Smiling she opened her arms, her eyes welling up. Leaning forward, I fell into that embrace, and for the first time in a long time experienced what it was like: being able to share the pain of having lost something so dear to me... Even if she was a total stranger. A few minutes later, she stiffened awkwardly.

"I'm Diana by the way." she whispered in my ear. I laughed,

"I'm Ariel." I whispered back.

 

*         *         *         *         *

 

Unlocking the door to my cozy, one-bedroom apartment, I entered slowly. Dumping my purse on the hallway table as I turned to shut the door behind me.

"Surprise!" a voice called out. I jumped, spinning around as my hand flew to cover my thundering heart only to see my sister-in-law Yvonne beaming like the bloody Cheshire cat as she lay across my couch. Forcing a smile, I longed for the days when she wasn't so nose-y... The days when Heath was alive.

"Hi Yvonne. What's up?" I asked, faking a cheery smile as I went into the bedroom to quickly make sure all my stuff was packed in the single suitcase atop my bed.

"I came to collect the house key for the real estate agent." she lied with ease. That was Yvonne for you, if she wanted to know your business she'd come do it herself.

"Thanks for your consideration but I've already made plans to meet the agent on the way to the airport." I said, turning as I pulled the suitcase off the bed only to wince as it landed on my toe with a heavy thud. Watching as she contorted her face into an expression of concern, her green eyes staring into mine, I tried not to look away no matter how much they looked like Heath's. She crossed her arms, leaning against the wall. Her tall, curvy body against the door frame, only emphasizing another thing I didn't like about Yvonne... Her outward appearance seemed to mirror that of her inward appearance. It was all fake.

"Are you sure it's not out of your way...?" she asked slowly, the purposeful articulation of each word seeming to sound even more pitying than the last.

"I'm fine" I snapped, hoping that was enough to make her leave. She smiled triumphantly as if she'd run a marathon (which I highly doubted) before she turned on her heel, and briskly headed for the front door.

"Well then be sure to call so Peter can hear all about Edinburgh!" she called out over her shoulder, before slamming the door instantly behind her.

 

Turning around to face my sparse apartment I took in the bed, and wardrobe. Lugging my suitcase along side me, I paused outside the kitchen. Spotting the sofa-bed, flat-screen TV, small dining table, and the few chairs. Apart from the kitchen utensils, and appliances there was nothing else in the place that remotely showed sign that anybody had been there recently - apart from the fact it was clean. My phone rang, and my hand instantly reached down to answer it before the calling stopped. Frowning, I stared down at the words 'Private Number', before shoving it into my purse deciding not to bother calling around to figure out who it was. That was the Sydney-Ariel, I was going to be the Edinburgh-Ariel. Not that it made sense. I laughed at myself before pausing as I realized how nutty this all was. Ditching the suitcase, I walked over to the sofa, sinking into it's depths before resting my forearms on my legs as I hung my head forward for a second, letting my eyes slide shut.

"This is ridiculous..." I said, my words piercing through the complete, and utter silence of the place. It really was ridiculous... And after a few moments I gave into it before if I pondered upon it any longer. Not moving was defiantly not an option at this moment. Glancing up at the living room clock, I quickly bolted upwards before running to grab my suitcase. Slinging my purse straight onto my shoulder once more as I headed out the door, not bothering to take a glance over my shoulder before I shut the door behind me one last time.

 

My phone went off again, and quickly answering - I put it against my ear as I headed down the stairs.

"Hello?"

"Hi Mrs Miller, this is Kelly from the Raine and Home real estate, we're just reminding you to drop the key off on your way to the airport today." Kelly's crisp English accent chimed over the phone. Reaching the bottom floor, I walked out to the main road, and quickly flagged a cab.

"Thank you, Kelly. I'm on my way now." I said, before exchanging pleasantries, and then consequently hanging up. The driver got out. Opening the boot for me, as I threw in the suitcase, and jumped into the back seat before I could have anymore second thoughts like I had in the apartment.

"Address?" the driver asked, pulling away from the curb.

"Raine and Home real estate on Missindon road, then the airport, thanks." I said sitting back. Glancing out the window as I watched Sydney pass me by, I wondered if I was doing the right thing or making a mistake. I froze suddenly when I remembered the last time I'd had second thoughts about my actions... It had been before Heath had died. Hot tears stung my cheeks as they rolled down my face.

"Are you okay miss?" the driver asked. I glanced his way, nodding quickly before wiping my eyes.

"Yeah, yeah... I'm fine" I said, more to reassure myself than the driver. Taking a shaky breath, I closed my eyes for a moment, and sent a silent prayer to God. The same God Diana had lack of faith in, yet the very God who I later decided had held my hand through each excruciating second of the day I lost the love of my life...

"Be with me Lord" I prayed,

"Be with me".

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