A Symbol of Memories- A Symbol of My Love
Disclaimer: I retain the rights to the plot, but not the characters.
Synopsis: The upcoming anniversary of her father's death brings up painful memories for Amanda, can Lee's love bring her through the darkness?
Amanda Stetson smiled as she cantered over the rolling green hills of the Virginia countryside. It was a beautiful crisp Saturday morning in February. The sun was shining and life was perfect, Amanda thought as she reached down to pat the soft black velvety neck of her mare. She was an anniversary present from Lee. They had been married for two years, two happy years. Amanda smiled, her life was perfect. In two years her life had changed dramatically, every one knew about their marriage, no more sneaking in the shadows, and they had purchased a beautiful ranch outside D.C. Every thing was perfect. As Amanda rode, smiling dreamily, another thought protruded from the deep corners of her mind, another upcoming anniversary, and one she would rather forget. A lump formed in her throat and tears formed in her eyes, threatening to spill over. She shook her head and pushed all thoughts of it out of her head. It was to good of a day to think of such sad thoughts.
Lee walked out of the house and strolled over to the fence, leaning against it, he stared out into the horizon. Amanda should be back any minute. He hoped this ride put her in a better mood. Lately she had been sullen and depressed. He had caught her crying a couple of times, but when asked, Amanda would say that nothing's wrong. He was worried about her and hated it when she wouldn't talk to him. A smile crept across Lee's face as he saw Amanda's figure appear over the horizon, her soft brown curls blown out behind her head as she road towards him. She rode up to him, smiled and dismounted. "Morning Honey, how long have you been standing here?" They kissed and he answered, "Just long enough to watch my beautiful wife come riding in." Amanda smiled and blushed. Lee looked in to her soft brown eyes. He could see tears in her eyes. "Amanda, what's wrong?" Lee asked with concern in his voice. "Nothing's wrong, I'm fine". Amanda replied and turned abruptly to walk to the barn. Lee sighed and watched her walk away. He wished she would not shut him out.
Several hours later, Amanda sat on a hay bale in the barn. She felt it was safe to let the tears come which she had been desperately trying to hold back. She buried her head in her face and cried. Grief overwhelmed her. The anniversary of her father's death was tomorrow and she didn't know how she was going to get through it alone. Amanda wanted to tell Lee what she was going through, but she couldn't. She didn't want to bring up painful memories of his father's death. She sighed and she knew she would just have to face this alone. Amanda fingered the diamond heart necklace around her neck. The heart had come to symbolize so much. It was a link to the past, present, and to the future. It was special in several ways. The necklace was the last gift from her father. It was a symbol of Lee's love for her. She would never take it off. Amanda held the necklace and began to cry again.
Amanda sat upright and gasped. A lump was in her throat and tears were running down her cheeks. She was in a cold sweat. She wasn't sure where she was. She was in Lee's protective embrace. "You're alright sweetie, it was just a dream." "Lee," Amanda gasped as her heart rate slowly began to return to normal. "I'm here Amanda, I'm here," Lee said in a reassuring voice as he gently rubbed her back. Amanda wiped her eyes and took a deep breath. "What was your dream about?" Lee asked. "I really don't want to talk about it, just hold me," Amanda said as fresh tears ran down her cheeks. "Okay, okay," Lee said lying down and pulling Amanda close. Her head rested on his shoulder. He just held her while she cried. Amanda took several deep breaths to calm down. She felt safe and soon fell asleep in Lee's embrace. Lee lay awake listening to Amanda's even breathing. He was worried and wished he knew what was wrong. Seeing her upset always-made Lee's heart break.
Lee walked in to the kitchen where he found Dotty drinking a cup of coffee. "Morning Dotty." "Morning Lee." Lee looked closely at his mother-in-law. Her eyes were red, she had been crying. "Dotty, what's wrong?" Lee asked. "Nothing, Lee, I'm fine." "Don't you leave me in the dark too," Lee said. Dotty gave him a puzzled look. "Neither you nor Amanda will tell me what is bothering you." Dotty gave a weak smile, "I can pretty well gather that the same thing is bothering Amanda and I." "Lee, today is the anniversary of Amanda's father, my husband's death." Lee was surprised. He wondered why Amanda didn't tell him. "I'm sorry Dotty," Lee said gently. "Thanks Lee," Dotty said with a smile. "It's especially hard on Amanda, he died in her arms." "This day is hard for her every year." "She really needs you." "How did he die," Lee asked. "You need to ask Amanda, she needs to talk about it, I don't know why she won't tell you." Just then Amanda came in to the kitchen. She had dark circles under her eyes and Lee noticed she had been crying again. "I'm going for a ride, I'll be back later." Before Lee could respond, Amanda was out the door.
Amanda cantered over the fields, her mind not on the scenery. She was heading toward her favorite spot where she wouldn't be disturbed. Amanda just wanted to be alone to cry, not worrying about being discovered. Suddenly, a deer cut in front of her path, caught off guard, Amanda went flying over her horse's head and landed hard on her back. The horse took off running. "Destiny," "Oh, no!" Amanda slowly got up and stood, observing her surroundings. She could hear the rush of water and knew the creek wasn't far away. She made her way to the creek, sitting on a flat rock overlooking the water. Amanda sighed, what a day, she thought.
As Lee came out of the house, he saw Destiny grazing by the barn. Her saddle and bridle were still on and Lee immediately became concerned. Something had happened to Amanda! Visions of his wife, hurt, unconscious flashed threw his head. Pushing all thoughts aside, Lee caught Destiny's reigns and mounted. He took off threw the fields.
An hour later Lee found Amanda sitting on the creek bank, crying. Dismounting quickly, Lee rushed to his wife's side. "Are you all right!" Amanda raised her tear stained face and gave a week smile. "I'm fine, Lee, I wasn't hurt, at least not by the fall." "You are hurting Amanda, tell me what's going on?" "I know that today is the anniversary of your dad's death." Amanda bit her lip to keep the tears from coming. "Let me help." Amanda sighed, she was too tired and sad to go threw this alone any more. "It started out as a beautiful summer day, we were boat riding on a near by lake. We had stopped to swim," Amanda's voice shook. Lee held her tightly. "Dad went under the water, he didn't come up, I dove in after him, I brought him to the surface and performed CPR." "I got him back, he opened his eyes and told me that he loved me." Tears ran down Amanda's cheeks as she spoke. She took several deep breaths to calm down. "We got him to the hospital, but it was to late. He died of a heart attack." Lee held Amanda as she cried, not saying a word, just holding her.
Amanda drew back, taking deep breaths. She touched the necklace around her neck. "Dad gave me this as a graduation present from college, I had just graduated a month earlier." Lee smiled, "that necklace is special, it's lead me to you more than once." Amanda smiled. "Yes, it has." "Amanda, don't keep things from me, I'm your husband, I'm here for things like this." "Amanda smiled, "I didn't want to bring up painful memories of your parents." "Don't worry about it, I can handle it because I have you." Lee smiled softly. "Let's go home." He helped Amanda onto Destiny and mounted in front of her. As they rode home, Amanda's head resting on Lee's shoulder, a weight gone from her chest. She felt better talking to Lee, and Amanda knew that things would be all right.