And Forever Release!

And ForeverI can’t believe today is finally here. This has been years in the making. When I first released For Always, I had no intention of continuing Jordan and Stephanie’s story. I thought it wrapped up well, but so many people reached out to me, asking for more, I had to start considering it. The decision to write And Forever wasn’t an easy one for me. Even as I wrote it, much like when I wrote To My Hero and Regret Me Not, there were many times I thought about scrapping the whole thing. Ultimately I didn’t because I didn’t want to disappoint my fans. I have to tell you, I am so excited about this release. If you fell in love with Stephanie and Jordan in For Always, I have no doubt you’ll love And Forever!
 
Here’s the first chapter of And Forever. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know if you’re excited, and what your thoughts are!
 
Chapter 1
 
The scent of death lingers nearby. Always. Only I don’t attract it like I once thought. I repel it, like a deflector shield. This is my lot in life, my special gift, to extend the days of those I love. That theory comes from Jordan; the keeper of my heart, and the love of my life!
 
I sigh. I don’t realize I made a sound until Jordan apologizes. Again.
 
“I’m sorry, Steph. I just don’t want to be distracted.”
 
“I know.”
 
He misunderstands. It’s a contented sigh. One that says I’m thrilled my boyfriend is driving me to school. It’s a sign of how surreal sitting next to him and knowing that he loves me is. How I can’t believe in a matter of hours he’ll be leaving me alone on my college campus, and I intend to savor each minute with him, every possible second. The sigh is the only chance I have of communicating any of these sentiments because he doesn’t want me to talk while he’s driving. I know just being together in the car for this length of time is challenging for him.
 
Jordan still suffers the after effects of a terrible car accident that killed his ex-girlfriend. Ex as in he broke up with her minutes before it happened. When he served as my unexpected prom date, I pressed him to admit his feelings for me. That’s what led to the break-up. Now he has to deal with the swamp of guilt-induced quick sand he’s been left in. It hasn’t been an easy road to get to where we are, but we worked through all that.
 
I hope.
 
“I’m doing the best I can, babe.”
 
“I know.” I don’t bother saying anything further to reassure him that I’m not upset.
 
“Maybe you can find some music on the radio.”
 
Maybe I would if I could hear what’s on the radio. Every time I turn the volume up, he lowers it. The problem is he wants it down so low I can’t hear the music. I glance at his hands on the steering wheel. He holds it in a death grip. His knuckles are white, and I think his fingers might snap in two any moment.
 
“I’m fine. Just happy to be here with you.”
 
“Liar.”
 
“Am not.”
 
A car swerves slightly towards our lane. He lays on the horn and goes back to stoic silence. I hate that this is so hard for him. I want him to find his way back to being the carefree, flirtatious boy I fell in love with. I doubt he’ll ever go back to being that person, and it makes me sad. I don’t want him to carry all this pain for the rest of his life. I wish I knew how to make it better, but the only thing I can do is stand beside him and hope in time he’ll heal.
 
I turn to my window, watching the never-ending expanse of trees zoom by. I wish for a fleeting moment I’d gone in the other car with my mother and her new, at least new to me, boyfriend Eddie. I’d been clueless about Eddie, but after her health scare last week, she came clean.
 
“There’s someone I want you to meet,” she said when he showed up at our house to visit her.
 
At that point she had no choice. She’d been ordered to take a few days off of work, where they’d rendezvous during lunch. She’d been frightened when they first told her it looked like a heart attack and realized it was silly to keep him hidden away. I can’t imagine the cheesy conversations taking place in the other car, but I’m happy for her. My father died a decade ago and as far as I know she never dated before, so it’s about time she gives someone a chance.
 
“Sorry.” I hear the tension in his voice.
 
“No worries. It’s all good, as long as I’m here with you.”Always and Forever guy
 
I mean it, because even with the deafening silence, and the tension he carries on his shoulders every time we’re in a car together, there is nowhere else I’d rather be. From the first moment he spoke to me, he owned my heart. It’s branded with his name. I’d tried for four years to move on, to forget him, but that wasn’t an option for me. No one can hold a candle to him.
“Hey,” He pulls my attention back to the here and now. “You know I love you right?”
 
I smile. I’m sure it’s just the reaction he hoped for. It feels like that’s all I’ve done over the last week since he found me crying on the beach. I’ll never forget the wave of relief that washed over me when I found out he’d been spared from a terrible plane crash. He never made it on the plane because I called him at the last minute in an attempt to convince him to stay. Thank goodness he did.
 
I always believed myself to be the root cause of the bad things that happen to people around me. Jordan thinks I’m what keeps them hanging on. I don’t believe him, at least not yet. But having him try to convince me otherwise promises to be an amazing adventure.

 

 

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