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Stay with Me

Stay with Me

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She's giving up.
He's holding on.

Main Tropes

  • Marriage on the Rocks
  • Redemption Romance
  • Family Saga


Ten years ago, Izzy and Sam Pierce started their happily ever after. But years as a stay-at-home mom with a workaholic husband have left Izzy lonely and desperate for something to change.

When Izzy is ready to call it quits, Sam gets the wake up call he never saw coming. He’s ready to put up a fight for the family he loves. But Izzy isn’t sure there is anything left of their marriage to redeem.

Now, these high school sweethearts will have to reach into the past to remember who they are and look to the future to decide what they both want.

Chapter One Look Inside

Isabelle Pierce heard the cabinet door slam shut for the hundredth time. “Charlie, get out of the kitchen,” she called out to her toddler son. It was no use, she knew.

She left the laundry she had been folding on the couch and went to get him. Isabelle, Izzy to most everyone, picked him up and took him to the living room floor where she handed him a basket of blocks and books to play with. Maybe that will work for a few minutes, she hoped rather than believed that to be true. Upstairs she could hear her other two sons jumping around in their room, wrestling no doubt. She called up to them, “Boys, be careful. Don’t hurt anyone.” She tried again to finish the stack of never-ending laundry. She glanced at her phone and saw that she had another email about the school program coming up. I have got to finish Benja’s costume this week, she thought to herself. I probably should get something to wear too, she told herself as she noticed her faded yoga pants and her yellow workout tank top that seemed to have some sort of food spot on the left shoulder. Her long blonde hair was pulled up in a messy bun today. Her mind worked on a to do list while she folded and time slipped away from her. She smelled something strange, was that…

“Smoke!” yelled the toddler who had climbed onto the couch and was about to tip over the back side head first. He pointed at the oven.

“Oh no, not again!” Izzy shouted in frustration. She ran to the oven and yanked it open. She grabbed an oven mitt and coughed as she tried to wave away some of the smoke. She hoped the dinner might be salvageable, but once the smoke cleared she saw that it was hopeless. The chicken in the glass baking dish was covered in black, and the green beans on the sides looked like dried up worms. She pulled the dish out and set it on top of the stove, then ran to open a window. She thought she could make in in time when she heard the shrill beep of the smoke alarm. She covered an ear with one hand while waving a towel frantically in front of the smoke detector. It was a motion she was far too familiar with.

The crisis over for now, she grabbed her cell phone from the counter and called her husband, it rang and rang. “Come on Sam, pick up!” It was no use. His voicemail answered, even the second time she tried. “Ugh,” she shook her head. Just as well, she thought, since he would probably just be mad and yell anyway. He would say I should pay more attention to what I’m doing. 

She grabbed her keys and picked up Charlie in the living room. “Boys, come get in the car, we’re going to pick up pizza.” That instruction they followed immediately. Both the older boys came bounding down the stairs, shouting and pushing each other along the way. Izzy tried to get them to be quiet while she called the pizza place and gave them her usual order. 

Two hours later, the empty pizza boxes sat on the kitchen table, the food having been devoured by the boys. Izzy had fed them, helped with homework, sent the older boys for showers, bathed the youngest, and gotten everyone to bed. Now she sat on the couch, with the still-unfinished-laundry next to her. She barely noticed it as she stared at the wall exhausted. There were so many tasks needing to be done, she didn’t know where to start.

Their home was a reasonable size for their family of five. Their three boys, Benja, short for Benjamin, Wilson, and Charlie were rambunctious and needed plenty of space. Izzy had been so excited about the possibilities when the realtor told them, “It has a Master on the main floor and three bedrooms upstairs. It has four bathrooms and a chef’s kitchen.” Izzy and Sam had envisioned family time in the cozy living room, the boys bonding as brothers upstairs, and the family enjoying gourmet meals at a big dining room table. Izzy had not imagined the boys fighting all the time, eating pizza alone on the couch, and cleaning four bathrooms. She glanced up at the clock now, 8:45, it read. Telling her that once again, Sam was late, and she hadn’t even heard from him since her phone call about the burnt chicken. She almost picked up her phone to call him, but didn’t really see the point.

It was just after nine when Sam walked in the door. “Hey,” he said, his voice sounding as tired as she felt.


“What’s that smell?” He grumbled as he pushed toys out of the way to sit down on the couch.

Izzy had tried, but the smoke smell lingered in the kitchen. “I burned dinner. I called you twice.”

“Sorry, I was in a meeting.” He didn’t sound very sorry. 

“Mmhmm,” Izzy didn’t look at him.

“I have to go out of town tomorrow, I’ll be gone for three days.”

Izzy gave a heavy sigh, “Okay,” she said as she reached for the television remote. She flipped on a show hoping she might find something to laugh at before she drifted off to sleep.

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