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Finding us happy ending.., p.1
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       Finding Us (Happy Ending Resort Series Book 4), p.1

           t. h. snyder
 
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Finding Us (Happy Ending Resort Series Book 4)


  © 2015 t. h. snyder (Tiffany Snyder)

  Published by t. h. snyder

  First published in 2015. All rights reserved. This book is copyright. Apart from the fair purpose of private study, research or review as permitted by the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced without written permission.

  This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  Images Copyright

  Book Cover By: K23 Designs

  Dedication

  This story is dedicated to anyone that has ever struggled with depression, anxiety or panic attacks. It’s a life altering illness that impacts the mind, body and soul. The important thing to always remember is there is light at the end of the tunnel. Through the darkest of days there will always be a reason to shine…find your sparkle and reach for the stars.

  Prologue

  Chelby

  The sun is shining ever so brightly through the large window as my sleepy eyes begin to peek open. Glancing over to the side table, I check the time on the clock…ugh, it’s still too early. Closing my eyelids tightly together, I stretch my arms over the top of my head while every bone in my back starts to crack. My body goes still as the bed shifts while Tristan starts to move. For a brief second I hold my breath, I don’t want to wake him, not yet. Once his body is completely still, and I can hear the steady rhythm of his breathing, I roll over onto my side. Taking a moment to appreciate the handsome man lying next to me, I can’t help but stare, his features take my breath away. It’s as if every time I look at him, it’s the first time all over again.

  Butterflies churn in my stomach, my heart races as I scan him from head to toe. With each breath, his muscular chest slowly rises and falls. Shaggy, dark hair spikes in all directions surrounding his masculine face. One arm is curled beneath the pillow under his head while the other is draped across his chest. A light trace of hair runs down his sculpted stomach leading to the hem of his boxer briefs. Excitement starts to overwhelm me, knowing very well what is under the thin material. Hell, I can see exactly what’s there. It’s a sight I’ll never tire of seeing. This man resting beside me is absolutely perfect; he’s gorgeous in every sense of the word, and he’s the love of my life.

  The past three years, he’s been the only constant in my life. The one who could pick me up when I’ve fallen and bring me back from the pile of ashes I’ve created. Through the good times and bad, I’ve never worried that he’d leave my side. This man right here has shown me how I should be loved, cared for and nurtured.

  A warmth fills my chest just thinking about him. He doesn’t have to say anything, the way he looks at me tells me everything I need to know…he loves me and is the man of my dreams.

  Tristan may have a rugged exterior, but on the inside he has a heart of gold. Too many times I thought I wouldn’t get through my battles of anxiety and depression, but he’s always been there to remind me of who I am and who I want to be.

  He’s my knight in shining armor, yet I still feel as though I’ll never be the woman he needs me to be. I always thought I wasn’t good enough for much of anything. Finding him was a miracle. It didn’t seem possible that a man like Tristan could want a disaster of a woman like me. No matter how hard I’ve been on myself, he’s always the one who can pick me back up and show me that I’m worth everything…to him I’m everything.

  Rolling over onto my back, I release a heavy sigh while trying to remain quiet. It’s early on a Sunday morning and I know that it’s going to be a long day. It always is on a Sunday. For him, it’s a day to spend with his parents, his siblings, and their families, but for me it’s a dreaded reminder that I’m an outsider in their perfect world.

  As an only child, I grew up in a broken family. My parents divorced shortly after my tenth birthday and things just seemed to go downhill from there. Even after Ma and Pops split there was always screaming and yelling in the background. After a while, they gave up on wanting to keep their cruel words to themselves. I could feel the pain my ma felt, saw the tears she shed, and witnessed the grief she had to live through. The way my father treated my mother wasn’t something I felt was necessary to bear and would beg my ma to let me stay with her when it was my weekend to be with him.

  It didn’t take too long for him to see that I was just like her. Depression ran in our family genes and it was something he didn’t want to deal with. He had given up on both of us, and we were just fine living our lives without him. On the outside, to those who saw the smiles and laughter, we seemed like the perfect mother and daughter pair. However, on the inside, our souls were destroyed; we were slowly fading away into our own personal darkness that no one else could see.

  Now as an adult, I can understand more clearly the struggles my ma fought to keep the face. The upbeat persona she always tried to put forth was hurting her more than anything. She took her life shortly before my nineteenth birthday. I hated her for taking the coward’s way out, yet I missed her so much. Emotionally, I was shattered. She may not have understood what was happening at the time, I wish I would have been there to help her. But the pain I felt after the fact was more than I’ve ever wanted to bear. No matter what was going through our minds, we always had each other, or so I thought. I’m scared that one day I’ll stumble into the same pit of despair she did. I’m strong and I’m willing to fight with Tristan by my side, but I’m scared…I don’t want to fall so far that I have no other choice but to leave this world.

  I hate that I feel this way, but it’s a struggle I’m learning to work through. Day by day, Tristan always says. The fight is real, and I’m trying, I truly am. It’s just so hard. Every week knowing I’ll have to face a family that thinks so little of me brings back my worries, insecurities and concerns that they’ll see right through me.

  Tristan grew up with a loving and caring family. Both of his parents are well-known doctors for a large hospital here in Cary. Money was never a worry, and as I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s something they don’t mind throwing in my face. I may be a paralegal for an established law firm, but to them I’m just a receptionist bidding my time. I know this isn’t something Tristan stresses over, but the thought of them looking down at us sends a chill of rage through my body. Job titles and wealth aren’t his main concerns. He’s worked hard for the things he has and I’m so proud of him. Even though his parents may have wanted him to follow in their footsteps, he took charge of his dreams and followed through with the career of his choice. He’s worked for the Cary Police Department for the past few years and even though I worry about him when he’s on duty, I know he’s doing something he loves.

  That’s all that should really matter, right?

  I’m a simple girl, material objects have never been a concern to me. I’d rather sit back on the porch with a sweet tea, in my torn jean shorts and a tank instead of getting all glammed up for a black tie affair. Tristan loves me for me and has never wanted me to fit into their mold. I just can’t help but feel less of who they expected for him.

  I do my best to put on a smile when we’re with them, yet it’s something that has been slowly hurting our relationship. I’ve been
trying to listen to his loving words, telling me that I’m over thinking the smallest of things, but I can’t help it. This is who I am, and he knows very well how hard it is for me.

  I’m not overreacting; I see the way his parents look at me, the words they say when they don’t think I’m listening. Wanting and needing to be the type of person they desire their son to marry is something I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to achieve. It’s a feat that I’ve…we’ve worked through for years. I don’t know that their opinion of me will ever change.

  Closing my eyes to fight the tears, a strong, warm arm pulls me in close to him and I’m instantly brought back to the moment. I turn onto my side and slip in next to his body. A smile pulls from my lips as he begins to kiss my shoulder all the way up the side of my neck. It’s in these arms that I’m safe, protected, and content. He makes me feel happiest when we’re together, and I never want to lose that. When Tristan and I are alone and united as one, the world is perfect, in his arms is where I want to be forever. I don’t have to worry about being judged because I know how much he loves and adores me.

  It would be so much easier if he and I could run away.

  Allowing my mind and body to ease back into a restful slumber, my last thoughts are what I wish for the most…

  If only no outside forces were trying to pull us apart.

  If only there was a place we could go to find us again.

  If only it all was possible…we could be happy forever.

  Chapter 1

  One Week Later

  Chelby

  My alarm clock wakes me bright and early alerting me that it’s time to get ready for another fun filled Sunday with Tristan’s family. Rather than staying over at his place last night, I thought it would be best to toss and turn in my own bed. It’s not a shocker to him that I dread going to visit with his family, but as of late the thought of spending time with them puts me in a mood I’d rather be alone to contend with.

  Flinging the covers off of my cozy, warm body, I kick my legs off to the side of the mattress and stretch my arms over the top of my head. A loud sigh releases from my lungs as I get up and make my way through my bedroom toward the bathroom. Reaching my arm into the shower, I turn on the water before shedding myself of my shorts and tank. With my right hand I reach inside of the shower, testing the warmth of the water with my fingertips. When it’s just right, I step inside and let the spray wash away the stress I’m feeling in this exact moment. Knowing very well that Tristan will be here within the hour, I quickly wash my hair, shave my legs and lather my body with the sweet smells of lavender. Just when I’m ready to rinse the soapy bubbles away, the water goes from warm and comforting to cold and torturous. Trying to rinse myself off as fast as I can, my body starts to shiver as the ice cold water hits my skin. Watching as the last of the suds finally slide from my toes, I turn off the shower, reach for my soft blue towel, and dry myself off to lessen the chill running over my damp skin.

  As I step onto the tile floor, I wipe down the bathroom mirror with my bare hand, staring back at my reflection. Traces of yesterday’s makeup sit in darkened circles beneath my eyes. With a wet toilette, I remove the stubborn mascara and get moving before my guy gets here. Without a second thought, I maneuver through the small area, preparing myself to look my absolute finest…not really. Instead of drying my hair I decide to brush it straight and let it air dry. Applying minimal makeup, I finish myself off by moving back into the bedroom and grabbing a pair of jeans and a pink and black flannel button up top. After pulling on my boots, I stand in front of my floor length mirror looking back at my Sunday best ensemble…perfect.

  Just as I’m about to walk through my room and down the hallway, I hear Tristan coming into the apartment.

  Our eyes meet, and a smile pulls from his lips. I take lengthy strides to meet him in the living room and fall into his arms as he wraps me in his loving embrace

  “You look beautiful today, my love,” he whispers into my ear.

  Taking a step back from him, I look over his appearance. He’s wearing a pair of jeans riding low on his hips, accompanied by a green dress shirt that enhances the color of his hazel eyes.

  “I’m not too dressed down, am I?” I ask looking down at my shirt.

  Reaching his fingers beneath my chin, he tilts my head so that I’m looking him in his eyes.

  “No, Chelby, you look breathtaking as always,” he responds before lightly kissing my lips.

  My body molds against his while I tighten my arms around his neck. A soft moan escapes him, and I can’t help but smile. Pulling away, I place a gentle peck on his lips and take a step back.

  “We better go before I make us late,” I say with a smirk.

  “Funny girl, go grab a jacket and your purse. It’s gotten a bit cold out there and I can’t have you getting sick.”

  With a wink, I salute him as I turn to move toward the hallway closet. Grabbing a jean jacket, I march back through the living room to the kitchen to grab my purse and keys.

  “Okay, Mister Schmexy, I’m all set.”

  He reaches for my hand and escorts me out of my apartment down the stairs.

  “Hey, you mind if we take my car today?” I ask.

  “Yeah, sure, babe, as long as I can drive your new wheels.”

  With a smile, I toss him the keys and slide into the passenger’s seat. My stomach starts to churn as the uneasiness of our destination sets in. I’ll never get over this feeling, knowing that the firing squad will be waiting for me. I’m dreading this day even more with every second that passes.

  The drive to his parent’s home is short yet left in silence. There are no words to express how I’m feeling right now, and I can guarantee Tristan senses the tension pouring off of my body. I can see the house he grew up in from the distance as he turns the car down the street he played on as a child. A warm feeling fills me thinking of a young Tristan riding his bike with his siblings and friends on a warm summer’s night. The thoughts almost give me hope for our kids one day, but then we pull into the driveway and every sense of happiness I had quickly diminishes.

  “Sit tight, sweet girl,” he says while sliding out of the car.

  I watch as he rounds the front and comes over to open my door.

  “Such a gentleman,” I remark as he extends his arm in to grab mine.

  He flashes me a smile and winks while taking my hand in his.

  “Breathe, baby, I’m right here with you.”

  I fake a smile in response and allow him to pull me against his side as we walk up the paved path leading to the front door. Inhaling a breath of air, I exhale while trying to relax. No one should feel this way going to spend a lazy Sunday with their boyfriend’s family…this is insanely nuts.

  Tristan

  As brunch is finished I release a sigh of relief, man, is it hot in here? I can barely stand the awkwardness of my family’s interaction with me and Chelby this morning. I’m not completely sure as to what’s going on, but I know for a fact that something is off in this house. Maybe it’s me or the vibe I’m pulling from Chelby, hell if I know, but I don’t like it…not one bit. The silence at the table was just about deafening, and I can only imagine the anxiety my girl is feeling. Deciding to take a walk with her into the backyard, I feel it’s best to give us some space from the rest of the family. As we near the old tire swing that my nieces and nephews play on, I guide her to take a seat. She follows my gesture and for a few moments I enjoy seeing the carefree expression on her face as I push her high into the air.

  “You doing okay, Chelby?” I ask almost worried what her response will be.

  She looks back to me as the swing comes to stop.

  “Tristan, you already know the answer to that,” she states with a furrow to her brow.

  “I’m sorry, babe, should we head home early?”

  Shaking her head, she moves to stand next to the tree looking off into the distance.

  I hate that this has to be the way it is, but this is my family, an
d I have to spend time with them too. If there was a way to cut the tension and allow them to see her as I do things could be so different.

  Moving to stand behind her I wrap my arms around her waist and rest my head on top of hers.

  “I love you, sweet girl.”

  “I know,” she replies.

  For what seems like an eternity, we stand in silence as I hold her in my arms. Right now in this moment we are at peace just being with one another. Well, at least I feel that way.

  “Tristan,” my mother’s voice bellows through the yard.

  Releasing a groan of frustration, I remove my arms from around Chelby and turn to face my entire family standing on the back porch. The kids start to run towards us and quickly take turns riding and pushing each other on the swing.

  I pay close attention to Chelby as she watches them play, but the look on her face never changes. She looks so sad, so hurt, and so helpless.

  “I gotta….” She stops me before I can complete my thought.

  “Just go, Tristan, I’ll stay out here with the kids. It’s fine, go.”

  Her tone is spiteful and no matter what she says, I know she’s dying inside. I leave her with the kids and make my way up to the porch. My parents are sitting around the large patio table with my brothers and their wives, getting ready to play a hand of cards. Looking around at the faces of my immediate family, everyone is smiling and deep in conversation about what plans they have for the annual fall vacation in two weeks. Every year, I’ve tried my best to escape the travel because of work. I’ve made up just about any excuse so that I wouldn’t have to go. This year is no different. There’s no way in hell I’m going on a vacation without Chelby and even if we decided to go it would be a living hell to endure.

  “Take a seat, Tristan,” my mother demands in the sweetest of tones. “I’ll assume you’ll be trying your best to join us this year. You know how upset we’ll all be if you don’t come.”

 
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