Dare to Dream (Carolina Beach #1)(2)

By: C.A. Harms



I ran through the emergency room doors in search of my mother, desperate to find her. Desperate for her to tell me I had misunderstood her. My heart raced and my throat burned from the rush of fear and dread.

On the inside I wanted to crash to the ground and cry like the little girl inside me was begging to do. The little girl who remembered all the times her father had held her close and promised to always protect her from the demons in the world; all the times he vowed never to allow a man to hurt his little angel in any way.

I wanted him to wash away this ache inside me, only he couldn’t. He never could again.

My daddy, my hero, was gone.

He had always been my image of what a perfect husband should be. All my life, he treated my mother and me with deep respect and showered us with love, never once letting a day go by without letting us know we were the center of his world.

Losing him would shatter us both.

“Greer.” I turned quickly at the sound of my name and came face-to-face with my mother. Her vibrant, beautiful face was ashen from heartache.

“Mom,” I whispered. My chest burned so badly I felt as if I could barely breathe. “No.”

I wished this was all just some horrific nightmare and that I’d wake up to find my father alive and well in the room behind her, giving the doctors hell. But I knew that wasn’t the case. I could see it in her eyes and in the devastation that poured from her in waves.

We stood staring at one another as tears rolled along our cheeks, feeling so hopeless and lost. Neither of us knew what to say. We both knew nothing could ever heal this pain.

Where would we go from here?

What would we do?

***

I don’t know how long I stood in that hallway as my mother and I cried. I just knew it was well after dark when I finally left.

The whole time I was there felt like an out-of-body experience. I couldn’t even remember turning around to leave. I don’t remember what the doctor said, or what my mother and I said in return. I do, however, remember refusing my aunt’s offer for a ride home. I’d insisted I’d be okay, even though I was far from that. I was broken with sadness, but I needed to get away. I needed to fall apart without someone attempting to console me, and my aunt had her hands full with my mother for the time being.

I’d be okay.

I had to be.

But once I was safely tucked inside my car, I gave in to the devastation and cried harder than I’d ever cried before.

“Oh my God no,” I screamed, and begged for it all to be a dream, even though I knew it wasn’t.

I raged at God or whoever the hell was listening for taking such an amazing man from those who needed him.

My father was healthy, strong, and active. Not a man anyone would picture having a massive heart attack. But life was so cruel and unpredictable sometimes, and we had absolutely no choice but to accept the hand we’d been dealt and move on.

I just wasn’t sure how I could do that.

Once the denial and anger had subsided, the numbness kicked in.

On instinct I attempted to call Tucker, but the call went straight to his voice mail. This only made my anger return with a vengeance.

I needed him, yet he wasn’t there.

I mindlessly left the parking lot and drove to his house. The smell of antiseptic and sickness still lingered on my clothes. My ears were still filled with the sounds of mindless chatter from people that hadn’t been told the one man they thought they could always turn to hadn’t just been robbed of a long, happy life.

I pulled up to the curb and placed my car in park as I looked at Tucker’s front door. By some miracle I had made it here safely, since I barely remembered the ride across the city. I should have been concerned about that, but at this point I found it hard to care.

I got lost in the memories of my father again. I could almost hear his deep, raspy laughter, and I closed my eyes tight, doing all I could to hold on to that memory. I wanted to keep it safe and always remember just how his happiness with life had made me feel growing up. I was terrified of one day losing the memory of his smile.





Chapter 2


I wasn’t sure how much time had passed. It could have been minutes, but it felt like hours.

Drying my tears, I finally did my best to pull myself together. Suddenly the only thing I wanted was for Tucker to hold me. And in that moment, I realized my connection to him was more for comfort than that hungry need I imagined one would feel toward a man who was supposed to be her boyfriend.

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