The Wright Love (Wright Love Duet Book 1)

By: K.A. Linde

One



Sutton


My knees hit the ground in front of my husband’s grave.

I clutched a bouquet of white flowers in my hands. Their blooms were bright and full of life, destined to shrivel and die long before their time. Just like my Maverick.

A tear slipped down my face even though I’d sworn I wouldn’t cry. Not today. Not any more days.

A year of crying was enough for me. An endless year of tears brought on by memories, certain smells, the look on my son’s young face, or sometimes from nothing. Just sitting in the car, waiting for the light to change. Not a thing running through my mind. And then the tears would hit.

How cruel could this world be that it would take my husband from me after only a year and a half of being married? Only a year with his son? Only twenty-four short years on this earth?

I placed the bouquet in front of his gravestone and traced my fingers over the engraved lettering.

Maverick Wright. A good husband and father. Gone too soon.

I couldn’t recall if I’d chosen those words. The days and weeks after Maverick had died on the Fourth of July were a blur. My family in and out, Mav’s family hovering, casserole dishes and church services and so much therapy. All I really remembered was holding Jason, crushed to my chest, as we’d buried his father and the love of my life six feet under the earth. Exactly where I was now.

A sob escaped my throat. My hand flew to cover the sound.

“A year,” I whispered. “A whole year without you, Mav.”

It seemed impossible.

Totally impossible to be here today and think that I’d made it that long.

When I’d first found out I was pregnant, everyone had assumed that I’d get rid of it. I had money. I hadn’t needed to be shackled to my college boyfriend because of one little hiccup. But I never considered it. I loved Maverick with all my heart, and the baby had felt inevitable.

Sure, I had been scared as fuck. Terrified that we weren’t ready. Worried about what other people would think. Upset by everyone’s reactions. But I never doubted Maverick. Everyone had spouted bullshit about him knocking me up on purpose for my money, for that bold Wright name that came with so much respect in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas. I’d just known it wasn’t true. Not only had Maverick been completely devoted to me, but I’d also utterly belonged to him. Our nerves had morphed into excitement, and when Jason was born, it was the best day of our lives.

Thirteen months later, Maverick was gone, and suddenly, I was a widow and a single mom.

My life couldn’t have changed more.

“I survived,” I told Maverick, sinking back on my heels. “That’s about as much as I can say. I survived, and Jason survived. I never thought I could do it without you, but…but I did.”

I felt guilty, saying it.

He was gone, and somehow, I was still functioning. Not the same. Not by a long shot. The Sutton Wright who had first married Maverick no more. Yet I was still making it day to day.

“I know you’d want me to be happy. But, God, I miss you every day. Being happy seems like such a stretch. Like, what is happy without you? I want to be able to get back to the good, Mav, but everything hurts. Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night to check on Jason, and I think I hear your voice downstairs. I rush down the hall, my heart in my throat, and all I find is an empty living room. And it hits me all over again that you’re…you’re never coming back.”

I pressed my forehead into the grass that had grown over the empty pit where they’d put the casket. My tears stained the earth. I hoped that they reached him down there.

“No one understands,” I told him, confessing my truth. “People don’t get what I feel. All my friends are happy and young and living this beautiful life that we had, and they can’t comprehend what I’m going through. That I’m a shattered mess inside. That just because I can manage a fake smile doesn’t mean I’m okay. Christ, even when I manage a real smile, I’m not okay.

“Annie is still around, of course, and my family. And I made a new friend in the nanny, Jenny. I know we weren’t close in high school, but I’m a different person now. All our friends from Tech,” I said, my chest aching as I remembered the wonderful years we’d spent together at Texas Tech University, “they’re gone. I was too much for them. Eventually, they got tired of my grief. It was easier to avoid me than anything else. They couldn’t comfort me, but it was nice to have people nearby. And, sometimes…it’s easier to have no one. To sit at home alone and feel numb. But I try not to, Mav. I know you’d want me to live. You always said I was so full of life. I don’t know what you’d think of me now.”