I fell back onto my butt and I cried, heart-wrenching sobs. I don’t know how long I was crying but a pair of feeble arms wrap around me. I jumped and looked at an older woman. “I’m sorry,” I mumbled.
“No, it’s okay, sweetie,” she chuckled. “You looked like you needed a hug.”
“I need more than a hug,” I sniffled.
“Come on, sweetie. Come sit with me on the bench. I’m ninety and I can’t sit on the ground like I used to,” she quipped. I got up and let this woman lead me to a stone bench. “Why are you crying, dear heart?”
“A lot of reasons,” I said.
“My grandchildren say that I’m a good listener,” she said as she tucked a wayward hair behind my ear. “When are you due?”
“End of October,” I said as I put my hand on my belly. I sighed and looked into this woman’s eyes. They were green with hazel at the rims of her irises. Her hair was immaculately coiffed in tight curls. “What’s your name?”
“I’m Helen,” she said.
“Nice to meet you, Helen. I’m Bella,” I said as looked at her, holding out my hand.
“Now, what ails you so that you were crying so hard?” Helen frowned.
“It’s a long story,” I sighed. I closed my eyes and told this stranger everything. I told her about my relationship with James and how he beat me nearly to death, killing our son. I told her about my two year struggle to get my life back and how I moved to Chicago for a fresh start. I told her about my dreamy relationship with Edward and his love for me and his daughter. Cringing, I recounted my recent abduction and the feelings that I was battling with. Finally, I told her about the distance this whole situation had put between Edward and I.
“Oh my,” Helen blanched. “So young to deal with so much heartache.” She wrapped me in her arms and held me as tightly as she could. “I know that right now it all seems black and dark, but it will get better. It sounds like your husband loves you very much and would do anything for you.”
“We’re not married yet,” I frowned. “He proposed to me in April and with everything that happened, we hadn’t had time to really address the wedding.”