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A Love She Never Forgot, A Love He Wanted to Hate - Ch. 1
Kayley Logan didn’t want to be here. She wanted to be at home, in Dallas, not here in Jasper. But Kayley had promised her long-time friend Heather, the only person she’d kept in contact with from high school, she would come for her wedding.
Her assent had been filled with great reluctance when she finally agreed to come back to Jasper. If Heather hadn’t begged Kayley to come, to be her maid-of-honor, she would never have come back to this small town in Texas where she’d spent two and a half years during high school.
Kayley’s father, Robert Logan, had acquired a new company in Jasper and it had required his personal attention and management, so the Logans had packed up their belongings and moved to east Texas.
She sighed as she looked at herself in the mirror that hung on the wall of the room that had been designated as her dressing room for the ceremony.
That had been six and a half years ago and if she ever hoped to put the past behind her she had to stop remembering. The problem, however, was that those two and a half years had stayed with Kayley every day since the very day, the absolute worst of her entire life, when her parents had ushered her away from this “no good town” and these “not good enough for you” people during winter break of her senior year.
Kayley felt the moisture pool in her eyes. She blinked rapidly to extinguish the tears that threatened to spill over.
The door opened behind her.
“Kayley,” Heather said, “it’s almost time to begin.”
Kayley took a deep breath, slapped a smile which she hoped looked genuine, on her face and turned to face Heather.
“Oh, Heather,” she exclaimed, “you look absolutely beautiful.”
Heather beamed her thanks. “I’m so glad you’re here Kayley. It just wouldn’t have been the same without you. I consider you my best girlfriend.” She paused and then added, “I know it’s hard for you what with --- you know.”
Kayley’s smile faded somewhat, but she managed to reply, “I wouldn’t have missed it.”
The two women were silent for a moment, neither knew what to say.
The door opened again and Heather’s brother walked into the room, relieving some of the tension.
“There you two are,” he exclaimed. “The ceremony is about to start. Kayley you’re on deck.”
Heather rolled her eyes at her older brother’s use of baseball terminology. He was obsessed with baseball and managed to make a reference in just about everything he said.
“What Michael means is that you’d better get in line with the rest of the girls,” she laughed.
Kayley hurried out of the room and took her spot in line behind the rest of the bride’s maids. She smoothed her dress, patted her hair, and took another deep breath.
The music started. The other girls began their descent down the aisle, one at a time, into the back yard of Heather’s family house.
When it was her turn, Kayley couldn’t get her feet to move. She knew everybody would be staring at her and whispering. Oh God, she thought, why did I come back here? Her breathing accelerated and her heart beat frantically.
Snap out of it Kayley Logan, she chastised herself as she popped the rubber band that encircled her rest. You came here because Heather wanted you to be her maid-of-honor and by God that’s exactly what you’re going to do. Now, forget about everything else for a minute and get your butt out there.
Taking yet another deep breath, Kayley stepped out the back door and made her way down the aisle.
As expected, every single person in attendance had their eyes focused on Kayley. She heard their shocked gasps and whispered tittering. Kayley stared down at her bouquet and tried not to have a panic attack.
Finally, she made it to her position on the steps of the altar. Nobody would be paying attention to her now, so she was able to relax a bit. She only took her eyes off her flowers to watch Heather walk down the aisle and to take Heather’s bouquet when she took her place next to Bobby, her groom.
When the priest said, “I now pronounce you husband and wife,” Kayley looked at Heather and Bobby and smiled at how happy they looked. She was glad for them and that their love had lasted all these years. She just wished ---
Her smile faltered and she mentally shook her head. Kayley reminded herself that that wish belonged in the past.
As the groom was kissing his bride, Kayley had a morbid curiosity to know who Bobby’s best man was. The man who deserved to have that honor was --- gone. Her gaze traveled to the man standing to Bobby’s right. His eyes bore into hers. Kayley’s bouquet of roses fell from her fingers, where they lay forgotten on the ground.
And she screamed. And she screamed.
“OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD…”
“Kayley,” Heather exclaimed, “what’s wrong?”
Kayley didn’t hear anything other than the sounds of her own terrified screams. The panic attack started and she felt as if she was going to die. She began hyperventilating and her blood pressure went through the roof.
“OH GOD, I’VE FINALLY GONE CRAZY AND NOW I’M GOING TO DIE,” she screamed hysterically.
Heather laid a comforting hand on Kayley’s arm and tried to reassure her by saying, “Kayley, honey, you’re not going to die.”
“You don’t understand. I see him. I CAN SEE HIM!” Kayley shouted, pointing at the man next to Bobby who continued to stare at her.
He stiffened angrily in response to her outburst. The man strode purposefully toward her, moving Heather aside.
Kayley squeezed her eyes shut and chanted to herself, “This isn’t real. This isn’t real. This isn’t real. THIS ISN’T REAL!”
He grabbed her upper arms in an iron hard grip, bringing them nose to nose, and shook her violently. Her head snapped back and her eyes popped open as he did so.
“Stop it,” he hissed in her ear. “You’re making a scene.”
“You’re not real,” she stuttered, trying to convince her own self of this fact.
“What the hell are you mumbling about?” He asked, clearly taken aback by her statement.
“YOU AREN’T REAL,” she shouted right in his face.
“Sorry, sweetheart, but I’m as real as it gets,” he replied, coldly. “Now, you’re going to stop this nonsense and be quiet. Do you understand me?” He demanded harshly. “This is Bobby and Heather’s wedding for C***** sake and I won’t let you ruin it with your games.” He shook her again for emphasis.
She shut up, frightened out of her wits.
“Is everything okay over here,” Bobby asked, eyes wide and speculating.
“Everything is fine, isn’t it Kayley?” The man said with threatening calm, tightening his hold on her arm in warning.
“If you say so, man,” Bobby replied, but didn’t look too convinced.
“Stop it, can’t you see you’re scaring her,” Heather admonished the man at the same time.
“Heather, Bobby,” Kayley whispered in all seriousness, never taking her eyes from his face, “Do you see and hear him too?”
The three looked at each and then turned once again to stare at her. The expressions on their faces said they thought she had lost her sanity.
“Kayley,” Heather said gently, “What do you mean? Of course we can.”
“What do I mean? Are you kidding me,” she asked, jaw dropping. “He’s DEAD!”
“Kayley, he’s not---” Heather started.
“I’m not crazy! The car crash was fatal, I saw the obituary in the paper, and I … I saw the gravestone!” She snapped the rubber band on her wrist again.
No one said anything.
“The only reason I didn’t go to the funeral was because I was shipped off to boarding school. My parents…” Her throat went dry. She swallowed. She forgot about Bobby and Heather. “Oh God, my parents said ‘forget everything about this place, there’s nothing here for you.’” Realization struck.
“You mean you’re --- you’re…” Kayley began.
“Alive and kicking,” he said, sarcastically. “Disappointed, sweetheart?”
“You’re really not dead?”
He shook his head.
“Lane,” Kayley managed to breathe right before she fainted in his arms.