Wished away a broken fai.., p.6
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       Wished Away: A Broken Fairy Tale, p.6

           S.P. Cervantes
 
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  “Mrs. Bosi, I’m sorry to interrupt.” He walks to her side and looks down at my body.

  “Please call me Jess.” Tears are in her eyes and she takes my hand and rubs the place where my wedding ring used to be. “Wait, no, call me Mrs. Bosi. I don’t ever want to be anything but Mrs. Bosi.”

  His empathy evident, he nods and continues, “I’m sorry to say this, but they need to take him now. I have the items he came in with. Would you like them now or would you like me to send them?”

  She takes the bag. “Thanks,” and turns back to me. “I don’t want to leave him. It’ll be too real if I leave. I’ll never hold his hand again. Never kiss him. Never feel his big arms around me again. Do you know how good that feels? Do you? If I leave right now, I’ll never, ever see him again.” She’s sobbing over my body now with her head pressed against my chest, clutching at my hospital gown and I just about die all over again.

  My beautiful, strong Jess is falling apart before me and there’s nothing I can do, nothing I can say, to take away her agony right now. Watching this is making me feel more and more like I’m in some sort of hell. Gage walks up to her, placing a hand on her back before setting the bag down at the foot of my bed, and speaks in a hushed voice, clearly trying to compose how much seeing her like this is affecting him. I’m sure it’s taking him right back to the death of his wife, and I begin to feel his sadness inside me. “You’re right, you’re not ever going to be able to touch him again, and that will suck. Some days it will seem like the worst thing in the entire world. And you’ll miss everything about him. Some days will be easier than others, and the grief will hit you like a tidal wave when you least expect it. I’m not going to stand here and lie to you, because you deserve better than that.” She looks up at him with a mixture of shock and relief at his honesty as he continues, “But you still have to say goodbye. Be glad you have this time to say goodbye, it’s the one thing that keeps me going each day.”

  She nods to him and turns back to me, and brushes my hair off my forehead like she always has and smiles the most heartbreaking, sad smile I’ve ever seen. “You’re such a motherfucker for leaving me.” She bends over and kisses the scar on my forehead. “But you’re a hero, and I’m so proud of you. Thank you for showing me what love is.” She kisses my head one more time and stands up, holding my hand. I wish I could feel her skin on mine one more time. I wish I could smell the warm vanilla scent that always follows her. She lifts the limp hand that no longer belongs to me in her hand and kisses it. “I’ll always love you Dave Bosi. Always.” The way she says the words leave no doubt of their truth.

  She turns to Gage and tries to put on a strong mask. “I’m ready.”

  He nods and hands her the bag filled with my belongings that I came to the hospital in that aren’t covered in blood. “Cam, Holden, and Joey are waiting for you.”

  “Thank God,” she says under her breath before looking back at my body and blowing a kiss its way before running down the hallway into the comforting arms of our best friends. They’ll be the lifeline she’s going to need, and I can’t leave her until I know she’s okay. I just can’t.

  Jess

  One Year Later

  I stand in the mirror, adjusting a long, fitted emerald green dress wondering how I wore crap like this so much before Dave died. I used to love getting all dolled up for one of the big Hollywood parties Joey’s parents threw, but now it just feels like more work than I have the energy for. Before Dave died, I lived for a chance to wear a dress like this one. I loved to wear them any chance I got because of how much Dave loved seeing me in them, but the past year, I haven’t put a dress on since his funeral. I couldn’t bring myself to go to any event that would even call for it until now, and I have no choice in the matter considering tonight is in honor of Dave. Luckily, Cam ordered one for me from Rent the Runway because she decided the comfortable black cotton dress I’d gotten wasn’t appropriate for an event this extravagant.

  After Dave’s funeral, I tried to put on a brave face when out around the town, but inside I feel dead myself. If it wasn’t for Charlotte, I don’t think I’d have made it this long. Some nights his absence is so overwhelming that all I can do is try and sleep to make the sorrow end. On those nights, when I’m in my darkest moments, I feel like Dave is watching over me, telling me to get my ass up and do something, not to let myself go. His last words to me replay in my head telling me I have to live.

  When Dave died, Cam and Holden, Joey, and Kat all seemed determined to make sure I didn’t ever go more than a day alone. They insisted on Friday night dinners together, and our first year of holidays were so busy, that only at night, when I was alone in bed, could I let myself cry and acknowledge the hole that is tearing me apart from the inside out. One night when Joey was over a few weeks after Dave’s death, he handed me a small yellow envelope before walking out the door.

  “Dave said to give this to you if anything ever happened to him.” I remember the sadness in Joey’s eyes. Dave and Joey were closer than any two friends I have ever met, and I know his death cuts him almost as deep as it does me.

  I leaned in and kissed his cheek. “Thanks, Joey. Thanks for everything.”

  After shutting the door, I held the letter to my chest, knowing it’s his good-bye letter to me. I could feel the thumping of my heart against my chest while I contemplated opening the letter. I’d been trying to avoid anything that reminded me of Dave and reading this letter would be like he was talking to me again. I walked down the hallway towards my kitchen with the letter still clutched to my chest. I spotted a bottle of wine and decided to pour myself a heaping glass before going to the couch, deciding that if I didn’t read it now, the curiosity of it would drive me insane. I couldn’t help but wonder what Dave’s thoughts were about life, our family, me…while he was still alive. When I sat down in front of the fireplace I looked on the mantle and smiled when I saw the collection of heart shaped rocks lined along the bright white wood with a the little blue matchbox Camaro he gave me when he proposed at the center. I took a large drink from my wine and set it down on the coffee table and took a deep, freeing breath before tearing open the bright yellow paper. Dave knew that I thought yellow was a happy color, and I smiled again at the thought he put into choosing an envelope that he knew might make me smile when he knew if I ever got it, smiling would be a rare event.

  I unfolded the small piece of paper and noticed it was dated six months before his death. I couldn’t help but wonder if he wrote these often as life changed, or if he had some sort of sense that his time was running short? The thought made me reach for my wine again and take another sip before reading the words that were written in Dave’s handwriting.

  Dear Jess.

  Well, if you’re reading this, all I can say is, I’m sorry. You and Charlotte are the two most important people in my life, and I’m sorry that I’ll not be here with you anymore. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t in love with you, Jess. It’s always been you and only you. I know that you have no doubt of how much I love you. I could go on for pages, I could write a novel, all dedicated to the many things I love about you. I hope I did a good job of loving you Jess, because you deserve to be loved every second of every day of your life. You’re the strongest person I know Jessica Bosi, please don’t forget that.

  No matter what happens to me, or how we got to the point that you are reading this letter, please know that I died doing what I love. I never wanted to leave you or Charlotte, but I died fulfilling a lifelong dream and calling to serve others that was as much a part of me as my own skin. By protecting others, I was protecting you, Jess. I want nothing more than for this world to be a better place, and I hope I at least helped to make Ocean County a better place. Thank you for always supporting me in my dream. My only regret is that it took me away from you.

  Thank you for being the most caring, smart, sexy, and funny wife. I thanked God every day for giving me the blessing of having you in my life, and however much time
I’ve had with you, I cherished ever second it. I never took for granted having you in my arms while we watched T.V. or watching the adorable way your nose crinkles when you are having a dream. As hard as it may be after I’m gone, I want you to remember that moving on doesn’t have to mean forgetting. I hope you never forget how much we loved each other, and how much I love you. But you have to stay strong. I want that more than anything. I want you to be the strong sassy girl that I fell in love with.

  Kiss Charlotte every night for me, tell her how much I love her, and remember to find happiness again.

  With all my love,

  Dave

  I sat there and read his words over and over again for hours that night, letting the memories overtake me, and doubted I’d ever be able to go on without him. But when I woke up, still in my clothes from the night before, lying on the couch, my dream turned my crippling grief into resolve. I became determined to honor Dave as the hero he was. A few days later, I went to Joey, Cam, and Holden with an idea to start a non-profit organization in Dave’s name to support families of officers, soldiers, and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty. We decided to call our organization GoodFellas, because that was Dave’s favorite movie and we used to refer to our group as the GoodFellas.

  Holden had everything set up and running with the organization within a month, and I had something to occupy my time and help me not think of the emptiness I feel. One thing that helped most was that when Joey’s parents, the McMillans, heard of the organization, they started us off with a one million dollar donation. Beyond ecstatic at the amount families we’d be able to help with funeral costs, therapy, and paying bills, I went straight to work connecting with families in need and doing my best to make Dave proud. Over the past year, we’ve been able to help thousands of families, and donations continue to flow in, forcing me to have Kat and Cam, along with numerous other volunteers, help run the organization.

  Today is the year anniversary of the formation of GoodFellas and the McMillans insisted on having a charity dinner in Dave’s name tonight. A hodgepodge of emotions stir inside me when I think of tonight. I’m a little nervous because I have to make a speech in front of one hundred of Jersey’s most influential people, and I don’t have Dave at my side to keep me calm and focused. Public speaking has never been particularly difficult for me in the past, but nothing about me is the same anymore, and I can’t help but worry I’ll draw a blank when I get up to the podium. I do have to admit though, a part of me is also excited. I haven’t even been out to dinner to any place other than Cutter Lane since Dave’s death. And tonight, I’ll be surrounded by my best friends, which I hope will help ease the loss I feel of Dave’s absence.

  Now, here I stand, generously filling out this dress, trying my best to use make-up to cover the sadness on my face. Tonight I’m entering society again for the first time on my own, and I want to do my best to do what Dave asked of me and try to fool everyone by appearing to look strong tonight, even though I feel broken inside.

  As I assess myself one more time, I’m glad that Cam began badgering me when she found out she was pregnant to go running with her because this dress is more form fitting than I’m used to. Holden insisted she run with a partner in case anything happened since she was pregnant, and she needed to get outside and enjoy the fresh air since every smell indoors drove her crazy. She’s always been a runner, and her doctor said it was still ok to do during the first two trimesters, so there I’ve been, running slower than a pregnant lady, but at least I got my butt out of my office and in the fresh air again. Cam said before one of our runs that it’s helped her when she was sad or depressed, and I have to admit she was right. I’ve become somewhat addicted to running now, and who knows, maybe one I day I’ll even run a marathon like Cam. Just as the thought comes, sadness follows thinking of how much Dave would have loved to see me take on a challenge like that.

  A flicker of jealousy shoots through me when I think of the life Cam and Holden are building together. They’re each other’s true love, a perfect match just like Dave and I used to be. I’m happy for them, I really am, they’re both like family to me, but it doesn’t ease the heartache I still feel every time I think of Dave. Now, they are expecting a little baby boy in a few months, and new life is being brought into the world so soon after Dave’s was ripped away from us.

  Just then, I hear an approving whistle from behind me and notice Joey standing in the doorway. He doesn’t look like himself tonight dressed in a formal black tuxedo, and his normally mussed sandy blonde hair is now shaved, making him look much more the mysterious playboy that he is. I turn and smile at my friend. “Hey there handsome, nice hair.”

  He runs his hand over his head as if he forgot what I’m referring to and smiles shyly. “Thanks. I needed a change. The ladies will love it, don’t you think?” He makes his way over to me and kisses my cheek. “You look hot, Jess. I’m going to be beating off every guy there tonight.”

  Just the thought of having to talk to any man other than Joey or Holden still makes uncomfortable. “Oh please Joey, shut the hell up,” I say, trying to practice being the Jess from before, rather than the Jess from after. Life has become a collage of before and after. “Are the others here yet?” I ask grabbing my black sequin purse and applying one last coat of my red lipstick.

  “I saw Holden and Cam waddling down the street when I got here, so they should be here any second.” I slap the top of his shaved head at his insensitive comment making him laugh.

  We walk downstairs and just as he said, Cam and Holden are walking up the porch. I can’t help but giggle when I notice just how true his statement before was. Cam really is waddling.

  “Told ya,” he says matter of fact from behind me.

  I shoot Joey a look feeling guilty for my own reaction. “Shut up, Joey,” and run over to open the door.

  The car the McMillans sent for us pulls up just as Cam makes it to the top step. She turns and curses under her breath. “What was I thinking wearing heels?”

  I can’t help but smile at her and Holden when he kisses her head and tells her how beautiful she looks. He’s right, even thirty pounds heavier and eight months pregnant, she still looks more beautiful than anyone I’ve ever met.

  She looks over at me and her frustration turns to warmth. “I knew that dress would look amazing on you tonight. We are going to be beating the men off you.”

  I can’t help but frown at her comment. “Will you guys stop talking about other men? I. Don’t. Want. To. Meet. Anyone. That’s why Joey’s my date.”

  They all get quiet not wanting to stir the beast that comes out when they all decide to get together and tell me that they think I should try and go out on a date. I still can’t believe they can even suggest such a thing when Dave’s only been gone a little over a year and a half. I honestly can’t imagine ever wanting to be around any man in a romantic way again. As much as I loved noticing hot guys when Dave was alive, I can’t even talk to a good looking man without feeling overcome with guilt and grief.

  “You better at least put out tonight.” Joey makes one of his crude jokes trying to lighten the mood I’d just dampened.

  “Jess, tonight is about Dave, and we just want you to be proud of all the lives you’ve changed. Let’s keep things light tonight, Okay?” Cam asks putting her arm around my shoulder, helping me balance my mood.

  “Sorry guys. I guess I just miss him tonight more than usual.”

  Holden’s now on my other side and kisses my forehead. “It’s going to be a great night Jess. Have a drink in the car before we walk the carpet, it’ll calm your nerves.”

  I look up at Joey with a dark scowl making him turn and run to the car, emerging with a bottle of champagne. He has a devious smile on his face as he approaches cautiously. “Surprise!” he says handing me the bottle and looks over at Cam and Holden. “I may have left out the part about walking the carpet to Jess guys.”

  I hold the bottle up to them all and drink down nearly half o
f it before handing it to Joey. “Let me finish this and I may forgive you.” I force a smile, trying to be the Jess from before for one night.

  As much as I was dreading having to walk the bright blue carpet of the media line, I’m glad to see the enormous turnout to help promote the GoodFellas organization. Reporters ranged of people from Access Hollywood to NBC News, all here to capture pictures of the stars inside, but more importantly, they’ll inform millions about my organization and that thought makes it easy to put a true, sincere smile on my face. Having Joey as my escort may not have been the best idea considering five minutes after going inside, he’s already cozying up to some young, hot brunette that’s throwing herself at him. The second Joey saw that Kat had brought a date, a hot one at that, I knew he’d do everything he could to show her he didn’t care. But we all know he does underneath all those excessive hormones.

  Cam and Holden stay by my side through the meet and greet, and at times, Holden really did have to run interference with some overzealous guests who also felt that enough time has passed and tried to make a pass at me. The cocktail hour is coming to an end, and we’ll be taking our seats soon for the auction and dinner. So, I decide to go to the bar to get a glass of wine, hoping it will calm my nerves before I have to start everything off with my speech. My heart feels like it’s in my throat with the thought of talking about Dave in front of all these strangers, when I have a hard time getting his name passed my lips when I’m alone. But now, I have to be strong. I close my eyes and repeat to stay strong to myself when I take a sip of the dry red wine.

  I turn to meet the others at the table, bumping my arm into the person next to me at the bar, causing me to jump back, trying to prevent red wine from spilling all over my green dress. A strong hand grips my forearm to steady me and when I look up, a flicker of excitement pulses through me when my eyes meet those that belong to this strong, familiar hand.

 
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