Leaving Emily was Mitch’s greatest mistake. Can she forgive him?
Growing up, Mitch Carson had always dreamed of leaving Holton, Texas, traveling the world, and writing life altering stories. As an investigative journalist, he made those dreams come true, but he left behind the only woman he ever loved. That was his greatest mistake. Mitch has returned home to see if she can forgive him for leaving her when she needed him the most.
In high school, Emily Fairview had fallen deeply, madly, and completely in love with Mitch. The two of them planned a life together far away from Holton, but when Emily’s family needed her, she chose to stay. Mitch chose to leave. Fifteen years later Mitch is back and wants a second chance, but Emily doesn’t know if she can forgive him.
Return to Holton, Texas one last time to see if Mitch can get Emily to forgive him. Forgive Me is the fourth and final book in the Holton Series but may be read as a standalone novel.
Weddings and marriage made Emily think of Mitch. She didn’t want to, but there it was. That stray thought she couldn’t control. Mitch Carson had left her fifteen years before, but that didn’t stop her heart from aching or her mind from remembering. Most of the memories were good. They had a lot of fun together. But the memory of the night they had graduated from high school still brought tears to her eyes.
She sat through the graduation ceremony in a haze, just going through the motions. Afterward, she accepted congratulations from friends and family. She managed to avoid Mitch until the end. He was headed straight for her with a huge grin on his face. He moved with a cat-like grace, his steps long and flowing. She quickly intercepted him and whispered, “Meet me at the clearing.”
When she arrived at the clearing about an hour later, Mitch was already there. He had spread out the throw blanket and set up a small lantern. He gave her a big smile, and she walked directly into his arms. Emily inhaled deeply and held on tightly. Mitch hugged her close as her tears started to fall.
“Hey,” he said softly, rubbing her back. “Emily, what’s wrong?”
She took a deep breath, stepped away from him, and wiped her eyes. “It’s my dad.”
“Is he okay?”
“Yes and no. He had his three-month checkup today. The doctor won’t release him to go back to work. He said that the blood vessels in my dad’s head are weak. He might have another stroke.”
“Oh, Emily. I’m so sorry.”
“I can’t go to Columbia,” she said softly.
“What? Why not?”
“Mitch, I don’t know what is going to happen with my dad and going away to school is really expensive.”
“What about your college fund? Your parents set that up for you years ago.”
“I know, but I think they’re short on money. I don’t think I should use it. I want them to have it.”
“Okay, I guess that makes sense,” Mitch said slowly. “We can still make it work. I don’t have a lot of money either. Sure, my parents will help, and I have some money saved, but I intend to work. You can too. We can get a place together and share expenses.”
“Mitch, I can’t leave my mom to face this alone. I need to be here for her.”
Mitch started pacing around the clearing. He did that sometimes when he was agitated. He stopped to stare at her. “Have you talked to your parents about this?”
“Well, no, but…”
“Emily,” Mitch interrupted. “Your parents don’t want you to give up your dream for them. You told me yourself how happy and proud of you they were when you got accepted to Columbia.”
“Mitch, you don’t understand,” Emily said sharply. She was getting irritated. She wanted him to tell her everything was going to be okay, that he would stay in Holton with her.
“What don’t I understand? You’re going to throw all our plans away without even discussing it with your folks?”
“They’re not our plans. They’re your plans,” she snapped.
He froze. For a moment, she wanted to take it back, but she realized it was true. He had talked of nothing else during the three months they had been together. They would attend Columbia together. Work on campus or nearby during the school year. During the summers, they would travel around the country, working odd jobs, staying wherever their fancy took them. He had made it all sound so glamorous and exciting. Emily had been swept up in the dream, but she realized now that she truly didn’t want to leave Holton.
“You don’t want to leave?” he asked.
Emily looked away. She wasn’t being fair to Mitch, but she wouldn’t change her mind. Holton was home, and her family needed her.
“I can’t leave,” she whispered. “My family needs me, Mitch. I have to stay here and help my mom.”
Mitch stared at her. “What about us?”
“You could stay here, too. Maybe for the summer, until we know more.”
“And then? Will you leave with me at the end of the summer?”
“Mitch, I…I don’t know,” she said helplessly. “What if it were your father?”
“If it were my father, I would talk to my mom. Ask her what she needed. See if she wanted me to stay. I get that you need to help your family, Emily, but you are not giving them a chance to tell you want they need from you.”
“What about what I need? I need to help them. I need you to stay here with me while I help them.”
“You’re asking me to stay? At the last minute? I’ve been planning this for years. You know I hate it here. I love you, Emily, but you’re asking me to give up everything I ever wanted.”
“If you love me, you’ll stay.”
“If you love me, you’ll come.”