Absolution by Amanda Dick Read Free Book Online

Book: Absolution by Amanda Dick Read Free Book Online
Authors: Amanda Dick
thoughts of him out of her mind and she was prepared to put up with it if it meant a blank canvas for a few precious minutes.
    Gritting her teeth, she reached down to remove the pillow from between her knees. She awkwardly pushed herself up onto her elbows, a low moan escaping as she grabbed a fistful of sheet. Tom’s face hovered in front of her eyes. She had met him for coffee in town a couple of days before he died. She had no idea it was to be the last time she saw him. Her heart ached with loss and she was filled with a sudden, overwhelming guilt – that she hadn’t spent enough time with him, that she hadn’t told him often enough how much she loved him, that she didn’t take the time to make sure he knew how much she appreciated all he had done for her. He had become like a father to her and she had taken it for granted, despite losing her own father and knowing how temporary life was. She should have known – she should have told him.
    She forced the thought into the back of her mind as she pushed herself further upright, breathing through her teeth. Sitting motionless for a couple of minutes until the pain eased again, she reached over to pull her wheelchair closer. Maneuvering her body to the edge of the bed, she slowly transferred into it, the ache in her spine flaring once again. She breathed through the pain, sitting still for a moment, her heart racing.
    She tried to prepare herself for Tom’s funeral today. She could do this. It would be truly awful and it would break her heart, but she could do this – for Tom and for herself.
    She tried to think about something else, but the only other image that popped into her head was that of her own father’s funeral – the glossy wood of his casket glinting in the sunshine, the flowers almost completely covering it, her grandmother sitting beside her, sniffing into a pristine handkerchief, her soft blue eyes brimming with tears.
    She was painfully aware of how alone she felt right at this moment. Her mother had taken off a couple of months before her second birthday and she barely remembered her. Her father had raised her until his own death from cancer when she was fourteen, and she had come here, to live with her grandmother – a new town, new family, new friends and a new life. It was a good life – she adored her grandmother and settled into small-town life easily. She liked not being anonymous – she loved walking down the street and having people smile at her and say hello. It was completely different to her life in the city, but no less happy. Then, six years ago, her grandmother had also passed on. Her death had left a huge hole in Ally’s life, but by then Tom and Jack had become her family, too.
    And then the accident happened, Jack vanished, and everything was different. She was different, and not just in ways she could quantify, either. Something had changed inside of her. Her perception of the world had altered. She felt both wise beyond her years and more frightened than she had ever been in her life. She was lost and, for a time, she wasn’t even sure she could be bothered finding her way back. But she had, with help.
    Putting his own grief and disappointment aside, Tom made sure that nothing changed between them. He was still there for her, he still loved her. Losing him like this – suddenly, without warning – was somehow worse than watching her father’s slow death from cancer. At least then she had known what was coming. He had told her, kept her informed, wanted to prepare her. Having Tom ripped away from her like this was cruel, like some kind of bad joke the universe was playing on her; yes, you can be happy, but not for long. Don’t get too comfortable.
    Tom’s funeral was her chance to say goodbye, to say thank you. As much as she dreaded the funeral, she hoped it would help the emptiness to pass.

    Four Years Earlier
    Tom sat watching the clock on the waiting room wall. The minutes ticked by, each seeming longer than the

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