To his great surprise, Will made it all the way home, inside the door before bursting into ragged sobs. He closed the door behind him, his eyes clenched shut, tears squeezing their way past his eyelids and streaming steadily down his cheeks. He blundered through his kitchen, into the living room, collapsing onto the couch and burying his face into his hands.
"My God, Cheyenne...my God..."
Guilt raged through him, tearing at his insides. He stood from the couch, gripping the coffee table and leaning over to the other side of it, releasing a hot torrent of bile as his stomach heaved, clamped, heaved again. He swept his arm across the top of the coffee table, shoving the objects about it onto the ground haphazardly, crawling atop it and leaning over the edge, vomiting uncontrollably onto the carpet. After a few minutes, he was merely spitting up stomach acid at intervals that slowly spaced themselves apart. He gagged a few more times and opened his eyes, seeing the mess splattered across his carpet before breaking into tears again.
The house was like a morgue, its curtains drawn, no lamps turned on, the ceiling fan turning lazily yet emitting no light. Half of the furniture was gone, strewn about the hallway of the second floor of their apartment. Will fisted at his mouth, wiping the mess against his jeans without care. He didn't care about much these days; the mess on the carpet, the furniture everywhere, it meant nothing. He had come to Pennsylvania for college, trying to get away from his family, but he was soon to be back on his way to Illinois, back home with his parents, away from this mess; he would talk to the landlord and tell them that everything in the house was theirs, that they could do whatever they wanted with it. He wanted no part of the catastrophe.
Slowly sliding one knee off of the tabletop and setting his foot on the ground, he did the same with his other leg and shakily eased himself onto the couch. His hand brushed up against something and he glanced down, his heart leaping into his throat; it was the notebook.
He had only been gone five days, one night before that, having left for Milwaukee on a business trip. Cheyenne didn't work; her condition didn't allow her. She'd been good for a long time now, but with her bipolar disorder, she didn't handle the stress of work very well. That left Will to provide the money for the both of them. He had graduated college and gotten his degree in business, and was now working with a company that built and sold computer parts, but it called for him to go on sale pitches fairly often, so he would have to leave for some other city to sell his products to some other company fairly often. When he first got the job, he called home every night while he was away, but he'd gotten in the habit of immersing himself into his work, losing himself in the world of numbers and persuasion.
His stomach heaved again, and he bit down on his lip, refusing to allow himself to throw up anymore. He'd probably be dry heaving at this point, with nothing left in his stomach, and he wanted to avoid that if possible. Pushing his guilt to the back of his mind, curiosity stepped forward and took hold of him as he pulled the notebook into his lap, opening it. He flipped through the pages absentmindedly, noticing that the handwriting was steadily becoming more frantic, scrawling more unevenly across the lines of the pages as he neared the end. He had no idea what had happened while he was gone...he bit harder into his lip, fighting the shame that tore at him for not calling even once, for not noticing that anything had been amiss before he left. He had only been home two days, stopping there in between two different trips, and he had slept most of the time, trying to catch up on energy...but still.
Still. He should have called.
Flipping back to the front, he stared at the lines of the first page, his vision blurring as he gazed blankly at the black upon white, his fiancé's neat, cursive handwriting twilling across the threads of the paper.
What had happened?
He glanced down at his watch, seeing that his taxi was to arrive to take him to the airport in seven hours. The notebook was nearly filled, the pages riffled, ink carved into the surface...seven hours should be enough time to read...to comprehend.
It wasn't going to be pretty, he knew that much.
But he owed her that much...he owed her his suffering of guilt, of reading through the torment she had endured and he had missed.
Blinking a few times to clear his focus, he began to read.