Brianna pushed the tissue against her mouth to stifle the sobs bubbling in her throat. Tears still glistened at the corners of her red-rimmed eyes. She was curled up on the couch, feet tucked under her and the cordless phone still gripped in one hand. A shudder coursed through her and she gulped against the lump in her throat.
Never in a million years had she ever expected to fall so deeply in love with Evan Douglas. And love him she did – with absolutely every fiber of her being. He was so much a part of her that she felt certain she would die without him.
Taking a deep breath, she stood up, her legs slightly wobbly. Pain was slowly splintering her heart into tiny fragments and it hurt very much.
“This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” She whispered the words into the air before sinking back down onto the sofa, letting go of the phone. Her mind was telling her to get cleaned up before Reese came home from school and found her wallowing in her own pool of misery.
Half an hour later, Brianna had once again gathered herself together and was in the kitchen when she heard the apartment door open.
“Hey, Ma!” called Reese, dropping her knapsack on the floor and shedding her sneakers before joining her mother. The fiftee-year-old casually draped an arm around Brianna’s shoulders and gave her a quick peck on the cheek.
Pasting on a smile, Brianna turned to face her. “Hey yourself! How was school?”
“Never mind school. What’s up with you?” demanded Reese with a frown. “Have you been crying? What happened?”
The questions were fired like rapid missiles and Brianna put up her hands as if to stop the onslaught. There was no fooling her daughter. They were so close they could always sense one another’s moods. Even the makeup she’d put on had obviously not hidden the signs of her trauma.
“Mom?” Reese took her mother’s hands and led her to the sofa where both sat down. “Tell me.”
“I broke it off with Evan.” Brianna pressed her lips together to stop them from trembling. Fresh spears of pain stabbed at her.
“How could you?” Reese shook her head uncomprehendingly. “You guys love each other to death. Did he do something?” Her soft blue eyes hardened at the thought. “Did he hurt you?”
“He didn’t do anything.” She patted Reese’s shoulder and sank back against the comfortable weight of the cushions. “It’s me. I phoned him and broke it off.”
“But why? Mom, that makes no sense!” Reese jumped up and began to pace. “I don’t get you. Finally you’re happy and then you break it off?”
“I’m too old for him.” One lone hot tear splashed down onto her cheek and lazily traced its way to her chin.
“Is that what Evan said?”
“No. He’s never said anything about our ten year age difference.” Sweet, lovable Evan. She’d met him nearly two years before at her college night class and straight away there had been a connection. Both of them had been surprised at learning one another’s ages but the numbers had never given either of them grief. Until now. Last week on her thirty-fifth birthday, Evan had started talking about marriage. It was something she hadn’t yet revealed to Reese.
“Then why are you hung up on it?” Reese shrugged off her hoodie and tossed it onto the chair. “Mom, I don’t get you. I thought you were serious about Evan.”
“That’s the problem.” Brianna’s voice choked. “Evan’s thinking of marriage.”
“That’s wonderful! I really – “ Reese’s reaction was interrupted by a loud, continuous knocking on the door. “I’ll get it.” She scowled at the rapping. “I’m coming,” she shouted. “Lay off with the knocking.”
Taking a quick look through the peep hole, she suddenly put the chain on before opening the door.
“Yes?” she asked cautiously.
“Reese, let me in please.”
“Yeah, it’s me. Let me in. I need to talk to your mother. Please,” he added softly.
“Reese, who’s at the door?” Brianna wondered at the strange behavior as she watched Reese slide the chain off.
“Brianna!” An unrecognizable man sailed into the room, arms outstretched, a wicked grin on his face.
The gray hair, droopy moustache and tufted eyebrows combined with the tweed jacket and plaid pants had transformed Evan into a stranger. Only his voice was familiar.
“Evan?” A baffled Brianna could feel laughter threatening to spill from her mouth. “What is going on?” She cried out as he swept her into his embrace and recognized the scent of his cologne. “What are you doing?”
Reese had propped herself by the door and was watching in amusement.
“I am sweeping the love of my life off her feet”
“But what’s with the silly disguise?”
“It’s not a disguise. I’ve made myself 10 years older than you.” The humor in Evan’s eyes succeeded in making Brianna blush.
“You’re not taking this seriously,” she tried to tell him as a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth.
“I am! I am!” intoned Evan dramatically, a hand on his heart. “I love you, Brianna Collins, and I will do anything to make you see that.”
He planted a huge kiss on her lips.
“I do see that,” she murmured, her voice a bit shaky.
“I already knew that,” piped up her cocky daughter with a very broad grin.
“All in favor, say aye!” Evan chuckled at the enthusiastic response.
“Now take off that moustache,” ordered Brianna, unable to stop her giggling. “It tickles.”
“Only if you’ll marry me.”
“Okay, okay,” she echoed as he leaned in to kiss her again.
“Finally,” groaned Reese happily.
Yes, finally Brianna could see how love was ageless.
About the Author: My interest in writing began in public school when we were assigned to write a scary story for Halloween in Grade 3. After that, I realized I enjoyed creating fiction. I then joined the newspaper clubs both in public and high school. From there, I began entering contests and at the same time continued to assist in company newsletters. While I currently work in administration, I would eventually like to have writing be my full-time salaried position