This is a story of unspoken words and how loud they can be.
Unspoken Words, “a wonderful story of first love, first heartbreak” from K.M. Golland is available now!
Connor Bourke and I met when we were twelve years old. He was a quiet boy with so much to say and only one way to say it—through song. He’d lost his best friend to cancer, so I showed him there was love and life in loss, and to hold on to his memories, always.
Eloise Mitchell was a blazing fire when my world turned dark. She’d shined so bright and burned so fierce that the wall I’d built around myself simply melted to the ground at her feet.
We shared everything together:
Our first kiss,
and first regret.
She taught me to speak,
and to never forget.
Through his music, he could say all he needed to say except for, ‘I love you’.
I could never tell her those three words.
Yet, I knew he meant them, that he loved me beyond all measure, beyond time
… beyond a broken heart.
I loved her more than anything.
Our bond was unbreakable.
Our love was ever after.
But, then, we tend to destroy the ones we love most.
And all bonds break, especially when the heart is what holds them together.
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“Eloise.” Connor’s hand shot out and clasped mine. “Don’t leave.”
“Please let go. I can’t stay here right now. I need air.”
He didn’t quite chuckle but waved his hand at the space around us instead. “There’s plenty of air.”
“Yeah, but you’re stealing it,” I choked out, unable to hold back my tears. “You’re always stealing my air.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You!” I shrugged out of his clasp so that I could point my trembling finger at him. “You breathe air into me and then you steal it, and I’m left gasping. Why do you do that? Why can’t you just let me breathe with you?”
Connor’s wide eyes searched mine, darting from side to side like a ball in a pinball machine. He looked so lost and helpless, and stupid, so I elaborated. “Every second we are together, I feel alive. Every kiss, every touch, every unspoken word breathes life into me and I tether myself to it, afraid to let go. But then you refuse to tell me how you truly feel with the words you were given, words I know you can damn well say and choose not to, and it sucks that air right back out of me, and I … I can’t breathe.”
He closed his eyes, his shoulders sagging.
“Why’s it so hard for you to say?”
Connor didn’t respond. He just kept his eyes pressed shut, as if I weren’t even there, and it ripped me in two.
“JUST SAY IT,” I shouted. “Just tell me you love me. I know you do.”
“If you know I do then why do you need to hear it?”
“Because some words mean so much. Some words need to be heard and spoken.”
“Of course those. They’re the most important three words anyone can say.”
“No, baby, you’re wrong.” Connor opened his eyes, grasped my arms, and pulled me to sit on his lap, securing me tightly, his finger tracing a heart over my own. “My love for you goes beyond what words can say and do, so yeah, I choose not to say them. Those three words are empty where we’re concerned.”
I sobbed. “But I need to hear them.”
“You don’t,” he whispered, pressing his palm over my heart and placing my palm over his, the pressure firm, both of our hands unmoving. “Do you feel that?”
A reverberating beat travelled through my body into his and from his into mine, our pressed hands a bridge, one beginning where one ended. We begin where we end.
What I’d written in my notebook before we made love hit me like a truck, and I jolted and gasped.
“What, Eloise? What’s wrong?”
“I get it.”
“I get that you don’t want to say what you feel or that some words to you are empty. I get that, deep down, we don’t need words to prove our love, that what’s in here,” I said, massaging my fingers into his chest, “and here,” I added, twitching my other hand over my breast, “speak for us.”
A small smile crept across his face.
“But,” I continued, “words mean a lot to me. You know that. They’re not empty where I’m concerned. They could never be empty.”
He sucked in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “If you want words so desperately, I’ll give you words. But they’ll be my words. No one else’s.”
“All I’ve ever wanted was your words, Connor Burke.”
“Okay,” he said, cupping my face. “You’re. My. Ever. After.”
A tear spilled down my cheek. They weren’t the words I’d expected him to say and, yet, to him, they meant more. They meant always and forever.
They were perfect.
Sinking into his arms, I let Connor cradle me for what felt like an eternity, and I realised in that moment that an eternity with him would never be long enough, that always and forever was too short.
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, K.M. Golland is a best-selling author with HarperCollins, and a ranty, married, mother of two who is quite happy to support a very healthy high heel obsession. A lover of rabbits, doughnuts, bridges, and cars, she traded her legal work for her love of writing and found her dream career.
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