I’ve come undone. For years I thought the world looked at my family and saw perfection. I was a busy surgeon and my wife was devoted to our two boys. But her devotion crumbled as her alcoholism took over. The outside world saw all too well what I wanted to deny.
Ten months ago she filed for divorce, packed up and moved away. To where – I don’t know. Nor do I care. But my boys do. And they’re left with me, a man who never learned how to be the dad they deserve.
Just when I’m starting to pick up the pieces, my world is rocked again by the last woman I’d expect. Given her past with my family, she’s a bad idea. But I’m drawn like a moth to a flame. I can’t stay away, even though I know this, too, will eventually crumble around me.
“How are you, honey?” Mom asked me.
She looked at me for a second, gauging whether I meant it. My parents knew I’d struggled to get my shit together after Kim left.
“I’m good, Mom. Really. You need help with anything?”
“No, everything’s just about ready.” She leaned against the counter and smiled up at me. “Have you heard that Gretchen Palmer’s divorce is final now?”
“I always liked her.”
“Maybe you should ask her out,” I said wryly.
She gave me a pointed look. “I just think it would be good for you to get out. All you do is work and take care of the boys.”
I shrugged. “I don’t want to date, Mom.”
“I’m just suggesting—”
“I know. But I’m good.”
“Have you heard from Kim at all? Does she check on the boys?”
I shook my head. “I’m gonna grab a beer, okay?”
She nodded and pushed away from the counter. Even after ten months, my mom couldn’t understand how Kim could just leave her children.
I was over it, because I’d lived it. Kim’s glass or two of wine in the evening had become half a bottle, and then she’d started drinking during the day. I’d turned a blind eye, too wrapped up in work to consider that my wife was an alcoholic.
When she left me, Kim told me she felt like she’d missed out on a lot by marrying her high school sweetheart. By that point, I didn’t even want to fight her on it anymore. We’d gotten a quick, amicable divorce, and she’d split.
My family had been supportive, but still, I was the odd man out now. Everyone but me was half of a couple. My youngest brother, Justin, was unattached, but he was finishing up law school in St. Louis, so he wasn’t home much.
I’d been the first of the five boys to get married and have kids. But when I saw the way Reed looked at Ivy, his expression full of admiration and warmth, I knew they had something Kim and I never did.
About the Author
Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.