Dare to Dream (Carolina Beach #1)(8)

By: C.A. Harms



One thing I learned from Lynn’s death was to never waste time on the things I couldn’t change, but to focus on making happy memories that would last a lifetime and banish the sad times. I wanted my girls to have so much happiness in their lives that they would focus less on the loss of their mother and instead remember what little time they did have with her.

I won’t lie and say there weren’t rough times after Lynn passed, because there were. There were times when I blamed everyone in my path for the loss I felt, and times when I crumpled and those around me feared I couldn’t take care of the two daughters Lynn and I shared.

My girls and I lost her shortly after Violet was born, and it shocked everyone who knew us. One moment she was driving down the street, and the next she was gone. The aneurism took her fast and left everyone devastated, but eventually I picked myself up and made a promise to the memory of my wife. After saying words of anger and grief, I stood in my backyard looking up at the empty sky and swore I would love and protect our daughters. I vowed they would be happy and healthy no matter what it took from me.

Now here I was, drowning in glitter and lace, but I smiled and laughed alongside them because I wouldn’t change it for anything. They were my girls, and I had no problem sitting back and allowing my sweet angels to paint my toenails. I didn’t give two shits about the strange looks I received when flashing my pink toes on the beach. I wore it proudly.

I lowered Violet to the ground and bent over, taking a moment to catch my breath. Being a single father at the age of twenty-nine to two girls under four was exhausting.

“My turn,” Vivian insisted, and I chuckled. I knew I wouldn’t get away with not giving her a ride of her own. She wouldn’t allow it to happen; she never did.

I gripped her waist and tossed her up over my shoulder, and she giggled as she grabbed the back of my shirt. Spinning in circles, I felt myself get dizzy and stopped before we both toppled over.

Lowering her back to the ground, I refused to let go of her completely as she tried to regain her balance. Violet laughed, calling her sister silly. I loved seeing the two of them like this. The love they shared for each other was amazing, and I imagined them being the best of friends as they grew older. They were my joy and my sole reason for surviving and for working as hard as I did. I owned my own construction business, which gave me the freedom I needed to spend as much time as possible with my daughters. I worked my ass off to build a reputable name for my business, and I would continue to do so, ensuring my girls would have everything they needed in life and more. My own needs and desires were the least of my worries. Vivian and Violet would always come first.

I saw movement on the deck of the house behind ours and looked up to see a young woman hidden partially by the darkness. The property was usually vacant, except when random vacationers occupied it from time to time, so I assumed she had decided to rent it out for a week or two.

She must have sensed me watching, because she quickly backed away into the darkness before disappearing around the side of the house.

***

I woke as sunlight streamed in through the solid glass wall of my bedroom. I truly loved sunrises and sunsets and had passed that love on to my girls, who enjoyed sharing them with me. Their bedrooms, like mine, had wide windows that welcomed the morning sun daily.

I stretched my arms up before placing them beneath my head as I continued to watch it rise higher and higher, soaking in the energy of its rays.

I remained in this position until I heard the cheerful giggles of my girls as they moved toward my bedroom. It was our morning ritual. They would climb into my bed, one on each side, and snuggle in close. We would talk about our dreams from the night before, and their imaginations would then run wild with the ideas those dreams had kick-started in their young minds.

It was by far my favorite way to start the day.

“Can we have waffles?” Vivian asked out of the blue, making me smile. She was my little Betty Homemaker. She was barely four years old, but hand the girl a cleaning rag and a broom and she went crazy. Making breakfast was her own form of heaven. She was just like her mother that way.

Violet on the other hand was a mirror image of myself. She loved her naps, and her idea of the best day ever was lounging around in her pajamas all day while watching cartoons. I was amazed how the two of them could be so different, yet so much alike in other ways.

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