Read Dream of You Online

Authors: Kate Perry

Tags: #Romance, #Women, #sexy, #love story, #Romantic, #fun, #sweet, #Contemporary Romance, #beach read

Dream of You (18 page)

BOOK: Dream of You
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Hearing the resignation in her voice, Lola
patted her arm in sympathy. "Sometimes parents just don't realize
what they're doing."

Gwen flipped the card over. "Your office is
just a couple blocks away."

"I just opened it." Valentine smiled proudly.
"Off Sacramento, on Walnut."

"Welcome to the neighborhood," Gwen said.

"Anyway, I can find a great guy for you." She
looked at them hopefully. "I'm offering a discount, too."

"Well, I'll definitely keep it in mind."
Kristin tucked the card into her bra. "Once I get over being bitter
about Rob."

"Who's Rob?" Lola asked.

"A loser." Although the way she said it
showed she didn't actually believe that.

"Well." Valentine cleared her throat. "I'll
get on my way. I hope you guys stop by."

"She was cute," Gwen said after the woman
left. Then she turned to Lola. "So we know Kristin's bitter about a
loser. What's your story?"

She sighed. "I'm bitter too. The man I was
dating was using me."

"For sex?" the barista asked as she wiped the
counter. "Because that wouldn't be so bad under certain
circumstances."

"To get his job back." Lola frowned. "The
thing is, I'm mostly angry at myself."

"For trusting him?" Gwen offered.

"No, because when I realized I was in love
with him I decided it didn't matter how he felt about me, because
my feelings were real, and even if he didn't love me it was a gift
to have those feelings again. And then I go and get pissed at him,
when really he hadn't made any promises to me. He just made me feel
special, and shouldn't that be a good thing?"

Gwen frowned. "Well—"

"But then I
am
angry," she continued,
smacking her fist on the counter. "If he hadn't meant to lose me,
why didn't he just tell me his job was on the line unless he dated
someone steadily for a period of time? He lied to me."

"Bastard," Kristin said.

"But he's not." Lola wilted. "He's really a
nice guy, underneath the swagger and the baggage. He's called me
every night since the fight."

"What did he say?"

"I don't know. I haven't taken his
calls."

"Lola." Gwen shook her head.

No way was she going to admit he'd left her a
note, too, in case she hadn't been getting his messages. It'd been
a sweet note, too, asking her to just hear him out.

But she was scared. She didn't trust herself
with him. Was she creating the relationship she wanted out of fairy
dust, or was Sam for real? And how could she tell?

"Lola." Gwen leaned toward her. "What does
your heart want?"

Her heart wanted him.

But it'd also wanted Kevin.

Was she going to let it lead her astray
again? How did she trust it?

Chapter Twenty-three

 

Not even watching
Dirty Dancing
helped.

Lola slouched on her couch, watching Patrick
Swayze lift Jennifer Grey for the millionth time, knowing she
should be writing the end to her story. The problem was she had no
idea how the story ended.

She looked at the whiteboard on the wall,
where she'd brainstormed out possible endings.

 

Louise meets Gerard Butler and forgets about
Sawyer.

 

Louise moves to a small hippie town, stops
shaving her legs, and spends the rest of her life making voodoo
dolls for women who've been scorned.

 

Louise doesn't answer Sawyer's calls, buys
three cats, and lives alone for all eternity in her cold
apartment.

 

And, finally:

 

Louise forgives him, asks for forgiveness
herself, and they live happily ever after.

 

That ending seemed especially farfetched.

Her phone rang. She debated not answering it,
but then in the end she picked it up. "Heartbreak Hotel, proprietor
and sole resident speaking."

There was a chuckle. "It's Eve, Lola."

"Oh. Hi."

"You have a visitor waiting for you at my
café."

"A visitor?"
Sam
? She shot up, her
heart racing.

"She's cute, but she was very effusive about
my hot chocolate so I was predisposed to think that."

"Madison." Lola hauled herself up and
scrounged under the couch for her flip-flops. "What's she doing
there?"

"Waiting for you. I take it you didn't
realize she was coming to see you?"

"No. Is she with anyone?"

"She's alone."

Stranger and stranger. "Keep her safe. I'll
be there in two minutes."

She hung up, redid her ponytail so she looked
less insane, grabbed a hoodie, and hurried to Grounds for
Thought.

Madison sat on a stool at the counter,
nibbling on a Madeleine. She lit up the moment she saw Lola.

"Hey," Lola said, grabbing the seat next to
the kid and moving it closer. "This is a surprise."

"A bad surprise?" the girl asked
hesitantly.

"I love seeing you so, no, it'd never be a
bad surprise." Lola brushed the hair out of Madison's eyes. "But
how'd you get here?"

"The bus."

"Alone?"

She nodded. "But I ride the bus alone all the
time."

"Do your mom and dad know where you are?"

Madison shrank in on herself. "Not
really."

"Oh, Madison." Pulling out her phone, Lola
shot Sam a quick text:
Madison is with me. She's fine. I'll get
her home safely
.

Then she put her phone away and faced the
girl. "It's not cool to take off without anyone knowing where you
are. If something happens, it helps if people know where you were
headed. So don't do this again."

"Okay." Madison grimaced. "Are you really mad
at me?"

"I'm not mad at all. I just don't want you to
be hurt." She hugged the girl, who clenched her tight. Running a
hand down her hair, Lola closed her eyes against the swelling of
her heart. Apparently, she'd fallen in love with the daughter as
well as the father.

Damn it.

Madison looked up at her. "Did I do something
to mess things up with you and Daddy?"

"Of course not." Lola scowled. "Why do you
think that?"

The girl shrugged, looking miserable. "I
thought maybe because I brought my mom here. Maybe you didn't like
her."

She hadn't really, but Madison didn't need to
know that. "It has nothing to do with you or your mom, and
everything to do with me and your dad."

"Daddy is really sad."

Lola narrowed her eyes. "Are you sure he
didn't send you here?"

"No way." She shook her head vigorously.
"He's going to kill me when I go home. Then he'll ground me till
I'm forty."

"Knowing this, you still came?"

"Well, yeah." She looked at Lola like Lola
was smoking crack. "Daddy met you and he was happy again, like he
used to be when I was a kid. Now he's all moping and sad
again."

How coincidental—
she
was moping and
sad too.

"He likes you a lot." Madison looked at her
with a child's candor. "I really like you too, and I hated all the
other girls my dad dated. So if it's my fault you left, I'm
sorry."

"It's not your fault. Your dad and I are just
being"—stupid, really—"adults."

Madison frowned. "Since you're adults for
life, does that mean you won't be together anymore?"

Lola sighed. "I don't know what it
means."

"Don't you like him?"

"I like him a lot."

"Is what he did that bad then?" the girl
asked hesitantly.

"Your dad is a great guy," she said
unequivocally. "He'd never do anything bad, but he did do something
that hurt me."

Madison nodded. "Everyone makes
mistakes."

And she wasn't exempt either, because she
hadn't given him a chance to apologize or make it up to her. She
swallowed thickly. "Is he really miserable?"

Madison turned puppy dog eyes on her. "Not
even I can cheer him up."

Lola nodded, feeling a little lighter. Not
that she was happy that he felt wretched—okay, she was just the
teensiest bit—but because maybe he really did like her. And people
did make mistakes.

Maybe her heart
had
been
trustworthy.

She took one of Madison's cookies and nibbled
on it. "How's
your
love life coming along?"

The girl sighed and then swigged her hot
chocolate. "Love sucks."

Lola slung an arm around Madison's shoulders.
"Welcome to the club, kid."

 

 

 

Lola sat in her agent's office, staring out
the window. Instead of the sun peeking from the clouds, all she saw
was the expression of longing on Sam's face when she dropped
Madison off at his apartment.

She missed that face.

Sighing, she turned her attention to Paul,
who was flipping through her manuscript. She should have been more
concerned about his reaction but she knew this was a good book. Her
editor would love it and her fans would go crazy over it.

Paul got to the end, stared at the last page,
and then looked at her. "There's no ending."

"You're so observant."

"Need I remind you that your publisher is
paying for a beginning, middle, and an end?"

"I understand that." She sat up. "I just
don't how it works out."

"Figure it out. You don't have much time." He
pushed the manuscript across his desk at her.

She took it and put it in her purse. Next
stop: her mom. She stood up and murmured a goodbye.

As she exited the office, Paul called out,
"Lola."

She looked over her shoulder.

He pointed at her bag. "That's the best thing
you've ever written."

Nodding, she kept walking. She'd realized
Louise and Sawyer were good—in fiction. In real life, she and Sam
were...

Combustible.

Comfortable.

Confounding.

She shook her head as she hailed a cab.

Still contemplating the situation, when she
arrived at The Sunrise Care Home, she walked automatically up the
stairs to her mom's floor.

"Lola, wait."

Startling out of her thoughts, she turned to
find Letty leaning out of the nurses' station. Lola smiled faintly.
"Sorry, Letty. I was lost in my head. How are you?"

"I'm good." Her tone implied someone else
wasn't, and her somber look didn't help any.

The polite smile faded from Lola's lips. "My
mom?"

"Yes."

Worry made her stomach jump. "I'm not going
to like whatever you're going to say, am I?"

"I'm afraid not." Letty sighed. "The
congestion in Sally's chest has built up again and has been
resistant to medication. The doctor put her on heavy antibiotics
this time."

"Okay." She nodded. "It's not something to
worry too much about, right?"

Letty paused. "We just want to be careful
with her."

"That's not reassuring."

The nurse patted her arm. "Seeing you will
help her. She's always so happy after you're here."

Not that her mom knew who she was, she
thought sadly. Lola straightened her shoulders. But her story was
sure to lift her mom's spirits.

Instead of knitting, her mom was lying in
bed. At first, Lola thought she was asleep, but then she saw her
eyes flutter.

"Hi, Mom." She carefully sat on the edge of
the bed, not wanting to freak her out. "It's me. Lola."

It was always unpredictable how her mother
would react, but there was always a reaction, even if it was being
freaked out for a moment before she settled back into the cloudy
haze of her dementia. Today she didn't even stir.

Lola touched her mother's forehead. "Mom?"
she said softly. "How are you feeling?"

Still no response.

She sat there, unsure about what to do and
scared. Shifting to face her mom, she accidentally kicked her purse
over.

The story
.

Taking it out, she said in a chipper voice,
"You ready for your chapters today, Mom? We're getting to the part
where Louise and Sawyer fall in love."

Sally stirred.

Heartened, Lola began reading the latest
chapters, all the way to the black moment when Louise and Sawyer
were seemingly finished forever. And then she stopped, because that
was all she'd written.

Her mom lifted her head. "Louise made a
mistake," she said in a weak, raspy voice.

"You think so, Mom?"

Her mom hummed. "She should have trusted him
a little. But he should have been honest with her, too. It's okay.
They'll find their way together."

There was a pause, and then her mom added,
"Louise is a good girl. She deserves to be happy."

Tears clouded Lola's vision, and she blinked
quickly. "Sometimes she doubts if she'll ever find her Happily Ever
After."

"Then she should have more faith, in love and
in herself." Turning over, Sally snuggled into a ball and feel
asleep, her breathing labored.

Lola sat there next to her mom for a while,
letting her tears fall. Her mom was right—she deserved a Happily
Ever After, and she wanted it with Sam.

Did he want one with her?

She didn't know, and she'd never know as long
as she was sulking. She had to ask him. She shared half the
responsibility in their relationship—and complete responsibility
for herself.

Wiping her cheeks, she kissed her mom. "I
love you, Mom. I'm going to find my Happily Ever After."

First things first. As soon as she was
outside, she pulled out her phone and dialed a number she never
thought she'd call again.

His voicemail picked up. "You've reached
Kevin. I can't take your call right now, but..."

She tuned out the rest of his long-winded
message, waiting impatiently for her cue to speak. Finally, the
tone sounded and she said, "It's Lola. I'm mailing your T-shirt
back to you. Have a good life."

That done, she deleted his number from her
phone and flagged a taxi. There was just one more thing left to do.
She needed to write her happy ending.

BOOK: Dream of You
5.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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