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You Have My Heart

Posted on February 5, 2018 at 10:10 PM

The night was crisp and clear and Dakota was thrilled to be walking hand in hand with her true love. She’d seen Ian, her ex-lover and couldn’t help thinking about how she’d dodged a bullet. She and Ian had met six years ago at her college graduation. He was part of her roommate, Pamela’s, extended family. Once the commencement ceremony was over, Pamela introduced the two and they started dating shortly thereafter. Pamela loved Ian, but she knew that he was a big play boy. She tried to warn Dakota, but after her initial date with Ian, there was no discouraging her from spending every available moment she could with him.


Two years into their relationship and Dakota learned that Ian had been cheating her for half that time. He apologized emphatically and swore that it would never happen again.


"Dakota, you are everything that I want. I was a fool, a greedy, selfish fool, but please don’t punish me by leaving me. I need you, baby. I promise you that I’m here, mind, body, and soul. I’m all yours, Dakota. Please give me another chance,” he begged.


Despite her gut feeling to walk away and Pamela’s encouragement to leave him, Dakota took Ian back after only a week long separation. She was determined to make him commit to her. She insisted that they sit down and have a serious discussion about their future. Dakota needed to be sure that they were on the same page as far as their future was concerned.


“We are both now established in our careers. You’ve said that you want me forever, Ian. You’ve promised that you’ll be faithful, so the next step in this relationship seems pretty logical to me. You have to know that I don’t want to be someone’s girlfriend for the rest of my life. I want a husband and kids,” Dakota said very matter-of-factly.


“As do I, babe. My heart knows that I want you to be my wife. However, my mind says that for financial reasons, we need to wait maybe another year. That way we can pay down some of our individual debt and have the money to put down on our dream home,” Ian explained.


Everything he’d said made perfect sense to Dakota. Her friends tried to poke holes in his reasons for not marrying her right away, but Dakota didn’t want to hear it. Instead, she fell for his lies and forgave his infidelities for the next four years. But when she found a pair of panties in his bed that didn’t belong to her, everything changed.


“How could you do this to me, Ian? I’ve done nothing but love you. I’ve forgiven you, stood by your side, helped you with your business, and all you’ve done is hurt me. I’ve wasted six years of my life waiting on you to fulfil all these empty promises,” Dakota cried. “Where’s my ring, Ian, where’s my future?”


“I’m right here, babe. I’m everything you need. I swear, I can be everything you need.”


“I need a ring, Ian. I need a real commitment.”


“Dakota, you have my heart. That’s what’s most important. You have my heart, you don’t need a ring,” Ian declared.


His words washed over Dakota like fire over a gasoline soaked log. A rage built inside of her and her mind left her. She jumped from her seat at the kitchen table and yanked a knife from the butchers block on the counter. She spun around and lunged at Ian. It was her intention, her desire to plunge that knife straight through his ice cold heart. But scrambling to get away, Ian fell backwards in his chair causing the knife to gash his arm as opposed to hitting its desired target. As Dakota went after him again, Ian shouted out to her, stopping her in her tracks.


“I love you, Dakota! Please say you’ll marry me? If it’s a ring you want, we can go right now and buy one. I love you, I’ve always intended to marry you. Forgive me for all the wrong I’ve done, let me make it up to you. I swear I’ll be a good husband,” Ian begged.


His words now echoed in her head as she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the oven door. Seeing herself holding a bloody knife snapped her out of the trance that her anger had transported her to. Dakota dropped the knife and tears and moans of heartache escaped her body. She continued to weep as she slowly gathered her things. She exited Ian’s home, got into her car and drove away. She fully expected to be stopped and arrested by the police, but they never came. Instead, Dakota got home, stripped off her clothes, and sat in the shower. She wanted the water to wash over her, wash away whatever made her stupid enough, desperate enough to let Ian drag her along for six years. How could she have had so little respect for herself? To have tolerated all that she had from Ian was a slap in the face to all that her parents had taught her about self-love and self-respect.


A week later, Ian stopped in to see Dakota. He wanted to apologize for all the hurt he’d caused her, for all the lies he’d told her. To his surprise, she accepted his apologies and offered one of her own for the knife incident.


"I don’t know what came over me, but that type of behavior is completely unacceptable. Please forgive me, I allowed myself to be consumed by anger, I was completely out of line.”


Ian offered his apologies for all that he’d done over the course of their relationship. He tried to ask Dakota for one more chance, but she cut him off before he could even finish the question.


“I think we’ve seen this relationship through to the end. It’s now time for me to reevaluate my life, figure out how I let myself stray so far from the confident, self-assured person that I was raised to be. Yes, I still want to be married, still want to be loved, but I want those things from someone who wants to love me and me alone. Someone who wants to marry me, not someone I have to threaten to kill,” Dakota confessed. “And while I’m having my moment of self-discovery, I suggest you do the same. You have a problem, Ian. You need to figure out why you can only be fulfilled if you’re hurting others. The lies, the cheating, those are true signs of self-hatred and you need to figure out why you feel that you don’t deserve more.”


He stepped closer to her and planted a kiss on her forehead. “I did love you, Dakota, but you never allowed me to fall in love with you. I’m not saying this to hurt you, only to shed light and finally a little truth. No man wants a desperate, clingy woman. You’re so beautiful and intelligent, but your lack of confidence leaves so much to be desired. I never should’ve strung you along, but you should’ve let your strength shine through. You should’ve left me a long time ago. More than anything, you should’ve realized that a ring wouldn’t have changed a thing. It only would’ve made you a weak, married woman as opposed to a weak single one.”


Four years had rolled by since they’d parted ways. In that time, Dakota had met and fell in love with a wonderful man that wanted nothing but to make her happy. They had a new born son and were living the life. As for Ian, he’d also met someone new. The woman was the female version of the man he used to be. She toyed with his heart, took his money, and left him with only the ring he’d bought her. Ironically, it was the one thing she didn’t want from him.


Stacey Covington-Lee

If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love my first volume of short stories, The Love That Lies Between Us. Available now @


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