Book cover of “There Is Still Love in Us“ by Thami Santos

There Is Still Love in Us

  • Genre: Romance
  • Age: 18+
  • Status: Completed
  • Language: English
  • Author: Thami Santos
Theo believed that love was something meant for a lifetime. He saw marriage as a serious commitment, where two people shared their lives in joy or sorrow, in health or sickness, until death do them part. However, everything changed when he witnessed his marriage crumbling upon discovering compromising photos and messages between his husband and ... 

Chapter 1. Hurt Heart

Theo

The photos in my hands were memories of a happy past, filled with love and passion. The bright eyes amidst so many other people felt like a punch in my stomach. When did we become this way?

Eleven years of marriage and three years of dating were enough to turn the good feelings into emptiness, loneliness, and sadness. Photos from school, university, wedding, and the present – in each of them, I could notice the change in emotions, in happiness. There was nothing left, or was I mistaken?

Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized that I had contributed to making my life miserable. I contributed when I didn't know how to compromise, when my pride spoke louder, when I couldn't listen to him, but he wasn't blameless either. I remember the first time he came home with a different cologne, I remember the business trips and how his secretary flaunted her cleavage, practically rubbing her breasts in the face of anyone around. That jealousy corroded me and destroyed me bit by bit. Passwords on his phone, secret messages, strange outings and dinners – how could he explain all that?

I was tired of feeling like this, of this immense sadness, of the loneliness in this apartment, and everything got worse when the day began. I got up earlier, as always, performed my hygiene routine, and headed to the kitchen, already annoyed by the mess of papers on the table, dirty dishes in the sink, and bread crumbs on the floor. Still, I cleaned, washed, and made coffee. While clearing the papers, my heart leaped with joy when a photo of us fell – maybe it meant that he missed us too, right? Wrong. As I turned the photo, I noticed a contact there, without a name or any other identification.

Guided by impulsivity, I grabbed my phone and called. One, two, three rings, and the raspy, hoarse voice of a man was enough to scare me. I hung up, and my heart felt like it was about to explode, but what was I doing, after all?

I tried to put the whole thing aside, but then a beep on my phone made me jump, and there it was – the same number I had called sending me a message asking for my identity. At first, it didn't affect me, but the photo on that contact's profile devastated me. There was Juliano, my husband, next to a handsome man, and according to his profile, his name was Daniel.

I stared at it for a while, noticing the enchanted smile on his face next to that man, and my curiosity got the best of me. Before I knew it, I had Daniel Alencar's name on my search bar. The photos on his Instagram took away all my good mood – after all, Ju was in many of them, at parties, beaches, museums, and restaurants. All the pictures were from the trips he claimed were for business, the same trips where he said he was bored and always came home tired and annoyed.

It was inevitable not to let the tears, which blurred my vision, fall freely down my face - the pain of betrayal, of lies, of lack of love... My heart was shattered into tiny pieces, and I was certain I could never gather them all and recover from such a blow.

I got up, leaving everything there, and went into the bathroom, taking off my clothes and stepping into the shower, inhaling the steam of the water that was too hot, but no amount of physical pain could stop the ache within me. I emerged with a red body, just like my face and eyes, got dressed, and when I noticed him starting to stir awake, I hurried my steps and slammed the door behind me.

Lost, I stopped at a park near home, and since then, I've been staring at the lake with its dark and calm waters, as if there was no life within. The hours passed, and I remained there, wondering where I went wrong. My phone was turned off, and it must have been past midnight, but I wasn't ready to go back yet.

I could remember the first time I saw him in two thousand and eight. He was new in my class, coming from Rio de Janeiro, looking completely out of place, and he sat next to me. That made me feel shy, but I needed to be brave to start a conversation.

"Hi!" I said softly not to disturb the class. He looked at me, already opening a small smile, which made me feel comfortable to continue. "I'm Theo, welcome."

Juliano then smiled more openly, and I swear I could feel my body tremble and my heart race. And during all those days, we became inseparable friends, until one day, the first kiss happened, the first romantic relationship, the request for dating, the first fight, and many, many reconciliations. Our relationship wore down, and still, we fought to stay together, but now, after everything I've seen, maybe I'm fooling myself, and I'm the only one wanting to fight for this hurtful feeling.

The time in that place only made me believe more and more that I needed to detach from Juliano, ask for a divorce, and pursue my happiness, but every time I reached that decision, my insides would contract, and the tears would come, bitter, strong, and painful. Considering being away from him meant closing a chapter of my life, but was I ready? Did he really betray me? Was I worth so little to deserve this?

Questioning myself in this way made me lose focus on the movements around me, and only after a while and a cold breeze carrying a perfume I loved, I realized Juliano was sitting next to me.

For a few minutes, silence reigned, and the only sounds present in that early morning came from the small creatures around. I didn't know what to say, and I also didn't know what I wanted to hear. Maybe I wasn't ready yet to face that situation, but would postponing the inevitable solve anything?

“I was looking for you,” he said. His gaze was fixed on his feet, his voice was hoarse and somewhat choked, and his hands trembled a little. Still silent, I tried to take a deep breath, but still, no words came out of my mouth. “What happened, Theo?”

His question made my heart ache, and I felt suffocated. This conversation would destroy me, but I needed to be strong for myself, I needed to free myself from so much insecurity, from so much fear.

“I've been asking myself that for a long time, Juliano. What happened?' I spoke softly, repeating the question. 'What happened to us? To our marriage? Our love? I ask myself that every day…”

“Theo, I know that…”

“NO,” I said a bit louder, and he fell silent. His eyes were frightened, and his skin was turning red, indicating that he was about to cry. “You don't know anything, Juliano. You've been so busy with your trips with that Daniel guy that you haven't had time to realize that this thing we call a marriage is destined to end in the saddest way possible.”

I spat out all those words quickly and unexpectedly, leaving him even more surprised with the information I provided. Silence reigned again, and I knew I hit the mark when I mentioned that Daniel guy, and it hurt so much that I couldn't hold back the first sob, drawing Juliano's attention, who still looked scared. His expression was full of guilt, but even so, he couldn't speak, and I didn't let him either. I needed to unload all this weight that seemed to be suffocating me.

“Are you so enchanted by him that you don't see?” I asked, looking into the eyes I love so much and noticing how they slowly filled with guilty tears. “You betrayed me, didn't you? You left me alone in this and cheated on me. How can you sleep at night, Juliano? How can you be by my side while kissing someone else? Am I worth nothing to you?”

At this point, I no longer cared about the consequences of the words coming out of my mouth. In that moment, all I needed was to express all the painful feelings that had been haunting me for the past few months. Insecurity, guilt, anger were slowly taking over me, and the only thing I wanted was not to see my husband, not to see his muffled cries, his red and teary eyes that only confirmed my own madness.

"Theo, I didn't betray you; I never touched another person... Let me explain," he said amidst sobs, but I didn't want to see, much less believe. So I got up and left, but he caught up with me and made me turn to him, enveloping me in a hug where he held me tightly and cried copiously. Maybe he deserved an explanation, maybe I was wrong, but just as I wasn't ready to lose him, I also wasn't ready to believe his words. I was a mess of emotions and tears; it wasn't the right moment to decide anything related to our marriage, so I took a deep breath, inhaling a lot of air, and exhaled slowly.

"Please, Theo... Listen to me, I never betrayed you, my love."

Those words hurt me like knives, but I had to stay strong; I needed to be strong.

"I'll go home, and you can go to the guest room or be with your lover, you decide. I need some time, Juliano; I need to figure out what to do, and when I'm ready, you'll know my decision. Just let me be and respect my space."

I stepped out of his arms and turned my back, heading towards the house we had managed to buy together, fulfilling one of the countless dreams we had when love fueled our relationship. I went, I walked, and I kept walking without looking back; perhaps this was the first goodbye in almost fifteen years of our relationship, and even though it was painful, it was necessary.

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