When he woke up, he felt completely happy; almost carefree in a way. It had been a long time since he'd felt such at ease, and he knew why he felt that way, and who made him feel that way. As he turned his head to look at her, their previous night was being replayed in his mind. All the touches, kisses, and the way his name sounded when she said it. If heaven existed for a man like himself, this had to be it. But then he remembered the last detail, and heaven suddenly turned to hell. Ray was gone. And when she woke up, he'd have to tell her the horrible truth. Christian dreaded the moment, and almost hoped that it had been a dream, but then he knew that their night would had been a dream as well. Gently, he released his grip on her and left the bed to put on some sweatpants and a t-shirt. After one last look at his sleeping wife, he walked out to the living room to think about everything.

He was going to be fine; that's what everyone had told her. Instead, he died. Why did he have to die? Those were the sentences that replayed in his mind, as he fetched a drink from the minibar. Ana would be heartbroken, and he didn't know if he could bear it, now when they'd gotten closer to each other. How was he even going to tell her that her father died?

Ana woke up and felt that the space beside her was empty, secretly she was a bit disappointed, but she barely cared at the moment. She felt happy. Last night had been nothing like their wedding night, and it meant something; she just hoped that it had meant something to him as well. He'd been gentle, caring and loving; qualities she didn't know that he possessed a few weeks ago. Before, she'd always been hesitant towards her husband, and almost hated him in the beginning. But now, she was starting to fall for him more and more every day. He'd been honest with her since the weekend he told her about his former lifestyle and his feelings, and now, she was planning to confess her feelings towards him. She rose from the bed with the sheets firmly wrapped around her petite form, and walked to the bathroom to have a shower, and then she would tell him.

After a brief discussion with himself, he decided to order some roomservice for both of them. He still didn't have a clue when he was going to tell her, but she needed to eat. When he'd hung up after speaking with a waiter, he heard the shower running. Ana was awake. The thought of her standing in there gave him the usual reaction; he wanted to join her and make the dull activity a bit more interesting. The temptation grew and he almost started to make his way to her, but he stopped himself. He needed to have a clear mind, and not think about sex with Ana, which was quite hard after their night. A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts, and he opened it to get the roomservice. He set the table with their food, and waited for his wife. He heard that the shower had stopped running a few minutes ago, so she would join him any second now. Slowly, he grabbed his cup of coffee and brought it to his lips to take a sip; he needed to be fully awake during the conversation he dreaded.

Ana looked at herself in the mirror. She'd showered, dried her hair and wore one of his t-shirts along with a pair of sweatpants. She felt relaxed and happy; it was time to face Christian. She opened the bedroom door and walked out to the sight of her husband's back; he seemed to drink his morning coffee. A small smile formed on her lips as she took in his appearance, and she tiptoed to him and pecked his cheek in greeting.
"Good morning, Christian", she said, the smile still intact on her face. He seemed to be slightly shocked by the loving greeting, but collected himself quickly and smiled back.
"Good morning, Ana. Please, have some breakfast, I ordered roomservice for us. I hope that a mushroom and cheese omelet is alright?", he said, and she nodded happily as she sat down beside him and started to eat.

She seemed to be happy, he noticed. It was quite bittersweet; he was one of the reasons for her smile and happy mood, however, he would soon be one of the reasons for her unhappiness. Suddenly, a hand was waving in front of his face, and he snapped out of his thoughts to see Ana looking at him with concerned eyes.
"Christian, are you there?", she said, and he realized that he had to tell her as soon as possible. He couldn't keep this information for her any longer.
"Sorry, I was just lost in thought."
"I saw that, you seemed to be quite lost there. Any particular thoughts?", she asked, and he averted his eyes for a few moments before he looked into her worried blue eyes again. Eyes that seemed to be full of life; eyes he'd loved since the first time he'd seen them.
"Yes, and I actually need to share them with you. Can we go and sit down over on the couch?", he asked, and she nodded, confusion written clearly all over her face. As they sat down, he took her hands and gave her a small smile in reassurance. She returned it, and gave him her full attention. He hesitated, not knowing how to start the conversation, but soon began to talk.

"I need to talk to you about something that happened last night…", he started, but soon got interrupted by a nervous Ana.
"What are you talking about? Was anything wrong or…?", but this time, he interrupted her with a smile and shook his head.
"Last night was amazing; a night I'll never forget. It was perfect, don't worry. The thing that I need to talk about occurred after that. I received a phone call a few minutes after you fell asleep, and it was from Dr. Collins", he said carefully, watching her facial expression all the time.
"Well, what did he say? Are there any new news about my dad?", she asked, and then he saw her entire demeanor change. She'd figured it out.
"I'm so sorry, Ana. He flat-lined yesterday evening, and the doctors did everything they could to revive him, but he didn't make it", Christian said, and he saw the life in her eyes disappear and the smile that had been present on her lips earlier faded quickly. But he saw no tears in her eyes, and she didn't say anything. She just sat there, from shock he assumed, in complete silence. The minutes passed by, and nothing happened. All of a sudden, she rose from her seat and walked into their bedroom, and closed the doors behind her.
"Ana? Please, talk to me", he tried, but he was met with silence.

Three weeks later, Seattle

Her father's body was being lowered into the ground, beside her mother's grave. The priest spoke some words from the Bible, but she really didn't listen. They were just words; nothing that could bring her father back to life. Her entire family was gone now. By somehow, she couldn't cry nor show any emotion. She was emotionless, and had been ever since Christian had told her the news. Life was funny; funny because it would change in less than a second. She'd woken up that morning, so happy and content. A few moments later however, her world turned upside down. She hadn't spoken to anyone since then, not even Christian or Kate; she'd just shut down. It was like her heart wasn't there anymore to allow her to feel. She looked away from the casket as she realized that Christian had risen from his seat beside her, and looked at her; concern and sadness written all over his face. She rose with him and walked up to the priest and shook his hand, but as Christian started to thank him, she left his side and took a rose from one of the flower arrangements. It was a light pink rose; her mother's favorite. After examining the rose, she walked up to the grave and took one last look at her father's casket, and she threw it down the grave. Then she walked up to her husband and the priest again, as some workers started to fill the grave. She took one last look.
"Good bye Daddy."
Then she walked away, with Christian by her side.

Half an hour later, they reached the house, and she left the car immediately and walked straight up to their bedroom. He sighed; she did that every day now. Just shut him out. He missed Ray as well; he'd had a lot of respect for him. But he showed his emotions and spoke with their family members; she just left. And he didn't know what to do, or how to help her. He just wanted Ana to know that he would be there for her, no matter what. Christian followed her up the stairs and into their bedroom. She just sat still by her side of their bed; still not showing any kind of emotion, and she was still dressed in her clothes from the funeral. He went in to their closet to change into something more comfortable. It was late and it had been a long day. He just wanted to sleep. On his way out of the bedroom, he stopped just before the doors.
"Anastasia, please know that you can come to me when you're ready. I'm right here for you", he said silently, before he left for one of the guest bedrooms. There he started a movie, and made himself comfortable. About fifteen minutes later, just as he was about to fall asleep, he heard the door handle being lowered. He looked up towards the door and saw Ana walking into the room after closing the door behind her. She walked up to the bed and lay beside him. He didn't know what to do or say, but he soon realized that she didn't either. But she needed someone, and he wanted to be that person. So he reached for her and pulled her in to his embrace and kissed her temple. That's when he felt the first tears, and he looked at her.
"Christian, I miss him", she whispered; the first sentence she'd said to him since that day when he'd told her. He just hugged her harder, and wiped away a tear on her face.
"I know, baby, I know. Just let it out. You don't have to keep your emotions hidden, just let everything out", he said.
And that's what she did, and he sat with her the entire time. Letting her know that she wasn't alone, and that he would be there for her. For better or worse.

Hello everybody!

I can't even begin to tell you how sorry I am for not updating since December… I feel quite ashamed of it myself. Of course, I can list a bunch of excuses of why I haven't updated, but I won't. Instead, I want to thank you for the incredible support I've received for Tied Together, your comments seriously makes my day, and they mean the world to me! So I hope you'll enjoy this chapter, even though it's quite short, and I'll try to update as soon as I can.

Much Love,

Fijah xx