When I first wrote I Love You to Death, I actually had no idea how to end the book. The only thing I did know was that Luke wasn’t going to die…that much was certain. At the time, I didn’t worry too much, I just wrote, figuring it would come to me eventually. That’s pretty much how I work when I write anything. I don’t write in order and I just write scenes as they appear in my head. I then spend hours rearranging them and re-wording them and eventually they fit together in some sort of logical way. I was probably about 60k words in when I suddenly woke in the middle of the night, maybe around 3am, with an epiphany of how to end it. Once I realised, it was so obvious to me that was how it should end. Then it became a matter of doing it in a way that (a) made sense and (b) wouldn’t piss people off. In the end, I created three endings for I Love You to Death. The first ending was bad, even I couldn’t believe I wrote it, and ultimately one person saved that ending, Luke. I just could not do it to him. And by the reaction I’ve had to posting it, I don’t think I could do it to any of you either! Then I wrote ending two. This one actually went out to my beta readers and while they loved it, they also thought it was a bit too neat, a bit too HEA. I agreed with them and as I had already started writing both Luke’s and Mia & Jared’s books, it didn’t really fit with a continuation of these characters. Plus it’s pretty cheesy 🙂 So in the end, I wrote a third ending and not only were my betas happier with this one, so was I, and this is the ending that wound up in the book. But, if you want to check out the first two, here they are. Just please don’t hate me for the first one!
Somewhere, faintly, I can hear someone counting. Numbers.
When I was only one minute old I lost the first person from my life. I was an unforseen complication who killed her mother. She had wanted me so badly, but in the end she never got to hold me and I never got to know her.
As if to help me get over that, I got a decade off. But then at the age of ten I lost my best friend, my loyal defender Grace. I was a child and I did something so stupid that it ended up killing her.
By twelve it was my grandad, a man who could always make me feel better and who was one half of the greatest love story I’d ever heard. I tried to make him feel better and it killed him.
By sixteen it was a boy who had the misfortune to be the subject of a school girl crush. Maybe if he hadn’t been so nice to me, hadn’t felt the same way, it could have been avoided.
One year later my mum’s sister joined her. Her surrogate mothering earning her the same fate as my real mother. Once again I was the unforseen complication who caused it.
By the time I finally had another best friend, a confidant, I was beginning to wonder if knowing me was such a smart idea. When he died at nineteen, I was sure it wasn’t, because once again I had been responsible.
By the time I got to twenty-one my grandma was next. For some reason this one caused me the least guilt even though I was to blame. This one at least gave a final happy ending to that love story, even if I was the reason why.
Then my role model, my mentor, the woman I aspired to be died and I was hoping it could all finally stop now. But that wasn’t going to be the last of it. Because then, then it started to really hurt. Almost as if death was coming for me with a vengeance now, like the last twenty-one years had all been a warm-up.
Because then in four years I lost my dad.
My boyfriend. The four people I loved more than anything. I felt like I was dead then too, that I really would just be better off dead. So I did the only thing I could. I removed myself from the world. Tried to stay away. Tried not to get attached again. But then something happened. Someone happened. He walked into my life and he showed me how to smile again, how to start living again. That it was worth fighting for. That it was worth taking a risk and making the choices you wanted to make. And that he was choosing me, fighting for me. But I wasn’t going to let him be next.
So when it came time for number 13…..that’s when I decided I was finally making a choice. That this time I was going to fight. ….
That this time, it would be me.
I feel a sudden powerful jolt. It surges through me, blocking out everything else.
Memories swim through me and I try to hold on to them.
Wrapped in his arms….a kiss in the ocean….the back of a darkened room watching him sing to me…lying in bed…his warm skin…his touch…his taste…his smell…his kisses… His love… They go. I’m trying to hold on to them. I don’t want to let them go. I don’t want to let him go. Another jolt surges through me, squeezing my body. A blinding light and then nothing. Nothing. The noise is all gone now, the pain too. I can’t feel Luke’s hand anymore. I can’t feel anything. I wonder what time it is. Today is my birthday. I got the best gift of all. I got to save him. I wonder where Luke is. I hope he is ok. I hope the others are with him. I hope he knows that I love him. More than anything. And I hope he knows why. ….Luke, I love you…I really love you…. …Thank you…
The only certainty in life. That’s what they say anyway, but really they underestimate the power of other things. The power of choice. The power of fighting. But most of all, the power of love.
They say love makes the world go around, but that’s just not true. It’s limitless and it can do so much more than that. I was wrong when I said you can’t stop death. Sometimes, just sometimes, you can and it is the most amazing feeling.
I was only one minute old when the first person died. I was only just twenty-seven when I died. I died for exactly 13 seconds. One second for each life I’d lost, including my own. By the time it finally happened, I was in the emergency room at the hospital. I was lying on the trolley, covered in blood and losing even more. Doctors were scrambling over me, fighting for me. Luke was holding my hand. A bullet was lodged inside of me and my heart was stopping.
Breaking; is what it felt like to me.
I don’t remember any of it. Well, not much anyway. I do remember waking up the next day though. It was a new year. I was another year older and I was alive. So was Luke. He was there, waiting for me. Sitting by my bed, still holding my hand and waiting for me. When I saw his face, his eyes, his beautiful smile, I knew I’d done the right thing, had made the right choice. That it had all been worth it, that he was so worth fighting for.
I’m thirty now and no one has died since. Something else has happened though. Now I’m nearly eight months pregnant. Yeah, it was very unexpected and definitely unplanned. But it surprised us both when we realised how much we really wanted to do this. I have to admit though, it does scare me a little. Of what it means, of what might happen and of me passing it all on to her. For years, all I did was destroy lives and somehow now we have created one and it’s growing inside of me. Luke tells me to stop being a scaredy cat, it doesn’t happen that way, it never did. I tell him it will ruin his rock star image having a baby.
He laughs and says, “No it will get rid of all those annoying groupies.”
Him saying that makes me smile, because picturing Luke holding a newborn, I know it will earn him even more.
Since I died, there has been no more death, only life. I don’t know if it was all just bad luck, wrong place, wrong time as Sam said, or random accidents like Luke said. Or whether it had always been about me and by dying, I could finally end it. Whatever it was, it has stopped…for now.
But for the first time in my life, I’m choosing to be hopeful that it’s all really gone. For the first time in my life, I’m choosing not to be afraid anymore. I’m choosing to live now. After the death thing, Luke took me travelling. He said it was a thank you, you saved my life more than you can know and I am crazy in love with you kind of trip. But really, it was more like an; our band just got asked to tour as support for this huge band and I really don’t want to leave here without you kind of trip. He’s stubborn remember, he really wouldn’t have gone without me. Even the others agreed.
I didn’t care what it was about. I just wanted to be with him. Like I said, that is something I’m now no longer afraid of. That is something I’m never going to change. That is something I will always fight for. Always chose and always protect.
The tour was unbelievable, and afterwards everything changed for them, in such a good way. We moved shortly after we got back and we live in Brooklyn now. The whole band moved down here and it’s been really good. I don’t work at the café anymore obviously, but I do stuff for the band. They are doing so very well now, the tour opened so many doors for them, but they really deserve it. Sarah and Ben are all good. She and I have become really good friends, and Luke and I were both there when they got married a couple of months ago. Jared and Mia, that’s a whole other story, but things are finally looking good for them. Jared doesn’t live with us anymore because now he lives with Mia. She left Chicago when everything changed with them, when they finally sorted all their shit out, but that’s for them to tell you about. Mia jokes that that night changed everything. Whatever it was, I’m just glad they finally sorted it all out. Pete and Steve of course are still very much together and very much in love.
They live here too, we all live close by, and we see each other all the time, practically every day. I love it, I really love it. I love having everyone around because they are my family, the family I wanted so badly.
I still think of Sam, but it’s different now. I accept he is gone and I’ve accepted it was not my fault. It’s hard in other ways though, because his death brought me Luke, who I just can’t let go of. But I do think back to the words Sam left me, asking me; to be happy, to travel the world, to fall in love again and to live. I know I have that now. And I know why.
Luke is and continues to be, amazing. He makes me laugh, every single day and he still makes me cupcakes whenever I want them, which lately seems to be a lot. He makes me not be afraid. He makes me want to choose. And he makes me want to fight. He loves me. I love him. More and more every day. More than I ever thought possible. And now, I never stop telling him why.