Written in the ScarsBy: Adriana Locke
For everyone that has loved deep enough to have scars.
And for Jade.
Seven years earlier
Glancing over my shoulder, the water below is reflected in Ty’s bright green eyes. His chiseled face and sun-kissed skin smiles back at me.
I’m still no match for his grin. Without fail, a giddiness surges inside me when he flashes it my way. It’s always been hard to believe he is my boyfriend; it’s been even harder to wrap my head around being his fiancée. Being his wife tomorrow? Having his last name for the rest of my life? It’s a level of elation I can’t fathom.
“We really are getting married tomorrow, aren’t we?”
“We are.” He bends forward, kissing me sweetly on the forehead.
My body shifts with his as he draws a deep breath into his muscled chest. I let my back press on his front, the beating of his heart felt through the thin fabric of my sundress.
“Are you nervous?” I pick at the hem of my dress, waiting for any signs that my boyfriend of the last six years is reconsidering.
His deep laugh dances over the top of Moon Mountain, our favorite spot, as he wraps his arms around me and pulls me closer to him. “Absolutely not.” He rests his chin on the top of my head. “We’ve talked about this day for years, Elin. Hell, even when I was fifteen, I knew I’d marry you one day.”
“That day is in a few hours,” I whisper.
“You aren’t nervous, are ya?” He angles himself so he can see my face, his tone etched with worry that maybe I am.
“No,” I laugh, a flutter of excitement creeping into my belly. “I feel like we’re already married. Tomorrow just makes it official.”
Our fingers lace together on my lap. My engagement ring, something that Ty put off buying until he could save his own money, glitters in the late afternoon sunlight. It’s probably not worth a ton monetarily, but knowing he saved for it, went to the jewelry store and picked it out, called my father and asked for my hand in marriage—even though he knew he’d get it—makes it worth more to me than anything in the world.
“It’ll be the two of us,” I remark. “Mr. and Mrs. Whitt.”
“It’ll be the two of us . . . until I get you pregnant,” he breathes against my ear. “I want to have a damn basketball team with you. Boys. All of ’em.”
“Maybe one girl?”
The heat of his lips sears against my skin as he presses kisses behind my ear and down my neck. His free hand lies flat against my stomach before easing slowly toward the apex of my thighs. Bunching my dress and pulling it up into a ball at my navel, his palm rests at the base of my belly, his fingers hovering, taunting me with their proximity to my opening.
“We can start trying now,” I offer, my breathing stuttered.
He stills, the only movement coming from the rise and fall of his chest. “I love ya, E.” He squeezes my hand. “I know I’ve said it a million times, but I do love you. I’ve always loved you. You’re everything to me.”
“I love you too.”
Scrambling to find the way to say all I’m feeling aloud, I realize: maybe there aren’t words. Maybe that’s what love is, something so beautiful and perfect that you can only feel it.
Snuggling as close to him as I can, I reiterate my words from before. “I love you, Ty. For better or worse.”
“Til death do us part.”
“I dare you.”
Shooting Lindsay Watson a dirty look, I plop down in the chair beside her work station. Swiveling side to side in an extra hairdresser’s chair, I watch her take the final snips of Becca Snowden’s long, chestnut hair.
“But you’d look so good as a redhead, Elin,” Lindsay gushes, ignoring my empty threat. “A crimson would make those green eyes of yours pop. Just let me.”
“Ooh, you would look great with a little red,” Becca chimes in.
“I’ll keep basic variations of my dishwater blonde, thank you,” I reply. “Pretty sure my Kindergarten class might freak out if I showed up with something new.”
Lindsay laughs, her voice trickling across Blown, the salon she opened up a few years ago. Her blue eyes twinkle in the way they do when someone is living the life of their dreams, when everything is just the way it should be. It’s an amazing feeling that I remember well, if distantly.
I let the chair come to a rest, my playful energy now falling with Becca’s hair. Lindsay makes small talk with Becca as she removes the cape and leads her to the cash register in front, light shining in the windows from a beautiful fall afternoon. The city square in Jackson, Indiana, population six thousand, is bustling outside.
“I’m going to run to The Fountain and grab a drink,” Becca says, digging through her purse. “Do you want me to bring you guys anything?”
“No, but I think I’ll walk over there and grab a Bump when I leave here,” I say. “Damn, I love those things.”
“I haven’t tried that.”
“It’s my favorite,” I tell her. “A cinnamon citrus drink that’s seriously the best thing in the world. We moved here my seventh grade year. After school that first day, Lindsay walked me to The Fountain and insisted I order one. I think we became best friends after that.”