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Epilogue part five, Atonement

By Melissa IngoldsbyPublished 6 months ago 7 min read
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Epilogue part five, Atonement
Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

John is looking at me like a literal deer caught in the head lights.

“Oh shit. Oh fuck. How must this look to him? After everything? After my accident and my stupid crappy memory going on the fritz? Damn!” I think frantically as I try to finish the stupid interview with the cop.

The officer looks at John and they exchange a strange look at each other, and John’s face looks flushed, pallid—-his eyes narrowed, his messy hair covering part of his face.

I can see John’s carrying a bag and has my coat on, and I smile at the fact that he’s wearing it—- but his expression goes from scared to worried to confused to upset.

I finish up quickly with the officer, and introduce John awkwardly, as he barely responds to my words.

“This is Avery. He’s been here helping me remember things and taking care of me,” I say with a nervous smile and the officer nods at John.

“That’s a great to have a friend like that. Especially during these down and out sort of situations,” the officer responded, shaking John’s hand.

John shook the hand back but barely nodded back and managed a forced half smile before the officer finally left.

Suddenly, the door closes and I see only John’s back.

I wait a minute and take in a deep breath, still feeling woozy and have a headache but overall, more clear and relaxed.

Finally, I speak up, “Baby? Johnny?”

Hmm?” He barely murmurs, and I sigh.

“Johnny, come here. Please.”

He turns a little and I see just part of his crossed arms, and though I can see his posture is closed off and upset, I can’t help but think he looks so cute right now.

“What was that, Edward? What were you talking about with the cop?”

“Nothing, baby. It was about my accident. Why? Come on, I need you over here.”

He swiftly turns around and says in a growl, “Why did you barely introduce me, like I was nobody to you? That cop made it seem like I was just a casual buddy that you go out to bars with on Saturday nights!”

I start to get up from the raised hospital bed and stumble a bit as I tried to stand. John’s eyes flash a huge bit of concern and he runs toward me, putting his hands on mine to help me up.

“Don’t try to get up yet you dummy! You’ll fall!” John admonishes but there is no bite to it, just barely masked concern and affection.

I take the opportunity and lean in close, very close, to John’s face and I see him turn bright red.

“Oh, Johnny, you’re so sweet. I love you so much,” I whisper and kiss his nose, and though he tries to scoff, I see him smile. “The nurses told me how you were so devoted to staying by my side and talking to me and keeping me company… taking care of me and watching over me.”

I feel John nuzzling my face with his and my neck, his hands circling my back, and I feel so utterly happy now, back with him and in his arms.

“You’re more than someone to me, you’re my everything, my love, my soul mate, my darling, my husband, the man I want to spend my life with and start a family with … you do feel that to, don’t you?” I say as he breathes in softly and kissed my cheek. “Not just for me, but how I feel for you?”

“Why’d you introduce me so blandly though, huh?” John whispers with a wry smile as I kiss him, and he laughs as our lips finally meet.

“What’d you want me to tell him, baby?” I whisper back, tangling our hands together. “Oh, hey mister officer, here’s the man that gives me the most ripping orgasms I ever had or hoped to have, or you could ever hope to have for that matter, and yes, he’s my very best friend and lover and partner and husband and I don’t give two flying flipping birds what you think about us?”

John laughs, but it’s in this special way I can tell he’s not caring how it sounds or how it looks. It’s in a way that I know is special because he only laughs like this when he’s with me. He’s throwing his head back and really cracking up and the sound is just music to my ears, and I’m so glad he’s here with me.

“Oh, jeez, that’s hilarious. Though, you’d be in for a few good whacks if any cop heard you say that, huh?” John says, stilll laughing, and I ruffle his hair, nodding.

“I’d deserve it, though, don’t ya think?” I countered and he paused a moment and then said, “Yup!” Making me laugh.

We settle down after a minute and he sits down more comfortably next to me, holding my hand, now looking at me in a transfixed, sad state.

Three days, Edward. There was three full days of terrifying, agonizing silence… of absolutely nothing. You were right here, but you couldn’t wake up,” he starts to tear up and I cup his face, thumbing his tears away. “And then? Oh God. And then… you do wake up, and you are so irritated and frustrated and upset. You barely recognize me. You seemed so unaware of everything. It was hard.”

“I had hope,” he continues, and I nod, silently listening as he leans in closer, “Hope that since my prayers were answered for you to wake up that you would snap back to me and you again and everything would be normal. Seeing you in that coma was devastating. But seeing you so confused and in pain and out of sorts was almost worse—though, I was so incredibly relieved you woke up.”

John tilts his head and rests it on his hand. “And now you’re here. Awake and aware. But, baby….The cops know something. The paramedic I saw strolling in and out of here while I was visiting you knew something. And that cop that interviewed you sure as heck knew something too.”

I started to speak and John put his hand up and shushes me quietly. “No, my love. This isn’t “Paranoid Johnny,” trying to find ways to freak out for no reason, this is based on gut feeling and fact.” I see John stick out his tongue at the side of his mouth, leaning down toward the table next the the bed to pick up the USA Today magazine. “Here. Read this,” he flips through and I see the article. It’s about a California manhunt for…

Oh shit. John Becker.

Dated less than a week ago!

And it has a picture of him in the article. A clear picture of him.

“Everyone knows what I look like and what..” he taps the picture of himself in the article menacingly and I sigh, “he looks like, and soon, it’ll be obvious as day, we are the same person!”

“Evil twin?” I joke lamely and he gives me a disgusted look.

“This isn’t funny. Edward, you and the new baby are at risk. This isn’t okay.”

“We didn’t even get the baby yet, honey… just please, let’s go home and talk it out,” I say, and I start to feel the panic rising between us. “I’m supposed to be released tomorrow morning.”

“You got that letter and need to schedule a home visit. I got it while you were in the coma. Look, Edward, you need to focus. What’s important here?”

I gently take him by the shoulders and pull him close, his wavy, frizzy brown locks tumbling toward me. “You. You are. You and me are important.”

John frowns, bites his lip and looks ready to cry but says, “No. You and Clarissa. You and our baby. Okay?”

I feel my heart shaking inside my chest like an flustered, confused, upset bee and I feel my voice breaking, “J-John? You aren’t leaving me, a-are you?”

“I don’t know. I have to think of your security. And our family. It’s my duty to protect you as you have protected me, Edward.”

I sit up and say in a fury, “Don’t you give me that! Don’t you say that if you leave me you’ll be protecting me! God, John!” I sob.

“Baby, please..”

“John, I’m done talking about this.”

“Think logically here for a moment..”

“You can’t just go, not after all we’ve had together!” I cry and John is red in the face, tears streaming down.

“Baby… I love you more than you know…”

“Then don’t leave me, John..”

“Baby, it’s not that easy… I have to be less selfish-”

“Just shut up! Shut up! Get out of my face if you’re so worried!” I yell, and I look down, when I hear John stomp on the floor and storm out, closing the door in a flurry behind him.

“Oh, fuck,” I blurt out loud to myself, hoping John was just going to go home and not do anything stupid or rash. But then I think about it, really think about what he was talking about—and I realize…

Shit, he may have a point, after all.

I sink into my knees in the crisp white hospital sheets and weep for a possible future without my beloved.

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About the Creator

Melissa Ingoldsby

I write short stories and poetry. I hope you find yourself in between the spaces of my words.

My Patheos column profile on art history.

My debut novel I am Bexley has been published by Resurgence Novels and you can read it on their app here.

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Comments (3)

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  • Srini V6 months ago

    Hilarious job done.

  • Mohamed Jakkath6 months ago

    This is a beautifully written epilogue by Melissa Ingoldsby. It depicts a touching moment between two lovers, John and Edward, who have gone through a traumatic experience together. Edward is recovering from an accident and has memory loss, and John has been there for him every step of the way. However, when a cop comes to interview them, John feels hurt when Edward introduces him as just a friend. Later on, Edward reassures John that he is more than just a friend to him, and they share a tender moment together. The writing is emotive and the characters are well-developed, making it easy to empathize with them. Overall, it's a heartwarming story that will leave you with a smile on your face. Thank you, Melissa, for sharing this with us.

  • ❤️😉Awesome storyteller❗

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