Authors: Carla Krae
Tags: #my once and future love, #contemporary romance, #jacob and beth
He tried to swallow the lump in his throat
and gulped down some water, only to choke when some of it went down
the wrong pipe.
She got up and rubbed his back while he
coughed. “Are you okay? Relax, try to breathe.”
He nodded. She waited for him to be able to
“It’s better. I’m okay.”
“Don’t kill yourself trying to talk to me,”
she gently admonished him.
He gestured for her to sit back down. “I was
about to say, I’m going to be tied up a while. The last concert is
New Year’s Eve.”
“Well, there’s nothing I can do about it, is
there? You have commitments. That’s your life.”
“You could come with me. I don’t care what
anyone would say.”
She shook her head. “I can’t miss the
holidays with my family. And I still have to have income.”
“I know the timing sucks. I looked into
getting out of it, but the dates are sold out. I hate that I’ll
miss Christmas with you, and every other day. This time away with
“It was good for me, too.” She sighed. “I
didn’t know the tour would be so extensive. You should have told
“I’m sorry. I only learned the exact dates
when we got home.”
“Yeah…I’m sorry…I just didn’t think--” She
set her fork down. “At least it’s not longer, huh?”
“Sixty days across Europe and Asia. We’re
playing in Moscow again.”
“Beth, we still have a week, and I’ll keep in
touch. Please think about coming out to at least one city.”
She poked noodles around on her plate. “Who
planned this thing, anyway? You should’ve had a break in the middle
“We get the day off.”
“Ooo, one day. Not long enough to see any of
your family. When did you agree to the tour?”
“March, I think.”
“Are you going to be mad all night?”
“Maybe I should go.”
“Beth, you just got here. Maria went to all
this trouble. Stay, please?”
“I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” She placed her
napkin on the table and pushed the chair back, then stood. “I can
see myself out.”
It drove him nuts not knowing what she was
thinking right now. He chased after her and pushed the front door
shut before she could walk through it.
“You’re not running away.” He closed in until
her back was pinned to the door.
“Aren’t you? You heard something you don’t
like and you don’t want to deal. I call that running.”
She glared at him. “Let me go.”
“So you can avoid me until you get lonely
again? Don’t think so.”
“Stop putting words in my mouth.”
“Make me. Be mad, hate my job, whatever, but
we’re going to hash it out like adults.”
“I don’t want to talk about your stupid
“Fine. Then finish your bloody plate like a
good girl and I’ll let you leave after dessert.”
me? Who do you think you
He bent and tossed her over his shoulder.
“The man who loves you. Stop kicking me.”
“Put me down!”
Jacob set her on her chair. “Eat.”
. But only because I hate wasting
food.” She shoved a heaping forkful in her mouth and made a show of
“Fine,” he said, hiding a smile. She was a
spoiled brat, too. She could fight kicking and screaming, but he
wasn’t going to let her avoid and hide any longer.
Beth stewed during the whole meal. He had a
hard time not laughing at her pout, but, since she stayed and he
was a man of his word, he served her dessert. The pout melted when
she saw the shell of chocolate.
“Is this what I think it is?”
“A very similar recipe. You wondered how they
got the filling inside.”
“I can’t believe you remembered that.”
“My dear Bethie, I remember everything.” He’d
been trying to get that through her head for so long.
She nodded, then started to eat. Baby
I wore a casual business suit for the
meeting. Nathan had a reservation at Spago Beverly Hills, so I
didn’t want to be underdressed. A waiter guided me out to the
patio, where Nathan sat at a table over in the corner. I carried a
small portfolio, along with a CD of what I considered my best work.
If this wasn’t an old friend, I would be sweating buckets with
He rose and greeted me with a kiss on the
cheek. “You look well. I’m guessing your trip was a vacation?”
I blushed, letting the waiter seat me. “Yes,
it was. Your sample contract was quite generous…but still
“Right down to business, hmm? I like that.
Let’s order first, though, then I’ll tell you what I have in
I made a modest selection, knowing he would
insist on covering the tab. I wasn’t very hungry, anyway. Once the
waiter came and went, Nathan explained why I was here.
“The offer is in two parts: I need a unified
corporate vision, which is where you come in, and I also own a
noted internet magazine that needs a photographer for Fashion Week
in March. Things turn out well; you’ll have an opportunity to cover
all major entertainment events.”
“The second part isn’t exactly my
He shook his head. “The hard part is getting
in. You just sit in a chair and photograph the models as they come
down the runway. You’ll be fine.”
“Okay…so, where do you want to start? Are you
promoting you, or your holdings?”
Ideas started running through my head.
“Alright. Pick the setting, and I’ll show up. I’m not fully free
until the end of the month, but I can spare a couple days here and
there in the meantime.”
“Excellent. My secretary will be in touch.”
The waiter brought our plates. “Enough business. How have you
I smiled. “Fine. Good, actually. I took my
first vacation in years. I greatly recommend it.”
“Seeing you in New York reminded me how much
I missed you. I owe you a portion of my success.”
I rolled my eyes. “Whatever. I got you
through one freshman class, which you would’ve passed, anyway, if
you weren’t pledging that fraternity at all hours of the
“Still with your source of complication?” he
“Yeah. How about you?”
“Nothing serious. I rarely have time to sit
on my own sofa.”
“Well, I’m glad things are going so well,
Nathan. And thank you for thinking of me.”
He raised his glass. “To a fruitful
I joined in the toast. “I’m looking forward
Jacob was at my house when I pulled into the
I sighed. “You are most impatient, Jacob
Lindsey,” I said upon entering the house.
He sat in the living room with my father.
“Elizabeth, the boy brought you flowers,” Daddy said.
A small pot containing grape hyacinths sat on
the coffee table.
“They’re beautiful,” I said. “Dad, could you
give us a moment?”
“Of course.” Daddy kissed the top of my head
as he passed, and went back into his office.
I sat down on the sofa next to my boyfriend.
“Hi. You’re dressed up.”
“Business meeting. Couldn’t wait, huh?”
“Never been good at that. Are you still
I took his hand. “No. How do two people used
to doing for themselves integrate someone else into the plan? If
this is going to work, that’s something we have to figure out.”
“I agree.” Some of the tension left his
shoulders. “Now what?”
“We fit each other in around work. Keep
“And fumbling, and trying again?”
“Yeah.” I smiled. He leaned in to kiss me,
tentative at first. I caressed his cheek. He relaxed further and
deepened the embrace. “Like that,” I whispered when we parted.
They were cuddled together on a lawn chair in
Beth’s backyard, looking up at the stars.
“What do we have?”
“About ten days,” Jacob said.
“I think we should talk about rules.”
He arched a brow. “Rules?”
“Yeah, since I won’t be around. It’s your
first tour where you can’t hook up with the groupies, you
“Ahhh, I see. However will I remember to keep
my hands to myself?”
She poked him in the side. “Jerk.” She sat up
and straddled his legs. “Your mine, and don’t you forget it.”
He tilted his head, as if searching for an
She brought her face nose-to-nose with his.
“Beth. Lawson. And I’ll kick your ass from here to Tokyo if you
ever cheat on me. Clear?”
He grinned. “As crystal. I love it when you
get bossy.” He closed the distance, eagerly capturing her lips.
She whimpered, and wriggled in his lap.
They must’ve been out there too long. The
light above the sliding glass door started blinking on and off.
“Mmm, let go, kitten. I think your dad is
“Huh?” She looked back at the light. “Oh.
Geeze, that’s embarrassing. I’m twenty-seven!”
“And living under his roof. Up. You know, if
you come over to my house, there’s
a curfew.” Jacob
snuck a feel of her ass helping her stand.
. But then, I still have
to come home in the morning.” She opened the sliding door and let
him precede her, then locked it for the night.
“Maybe you’ll have to look for an apartment
while I’m away.”
“Perhaps,” she said. “You better go before my
father comes out to glare at you in his boxers.”
“Eww! He wouldn’t.”
“He might!” She pushed him toward the front
door. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
He kissed her in the doorway. “Love you.”
It was on the tip of my tongue to reply, but
he was already dashing for his car.
Interruptions happened constantly right up to
the day Jacob left. Fate seemed to be conspiring to let us have no
more than fifteen minutes alone together at any given moment. The
frustration led to short tempers and grumpy moods.
On October twenty-seventh, he went into
secluded practice with the band. He tried calling me from Paris on
the 1st before the concert, but he missed me because of the time
difference. He left a voice message, starting a trend.
One week since I saw you last. I’ve tried to
reach you by phone, but I guess you’re already working. I had a
dream last night I wish I could share with you, but I’m not alone
in the room.
Write back soon
I got the pic from your cell phone--very
funny! Guess you boys are amusing yourselves. Celeste wants Bob to
know she’s horny and wants him back (blush). Nathan, my new boss,
has me really busy, but I check for notes from you all the time. I
You should be proud of me: A girl slipped her
number in my pocket and I gave it back to her. Aaron thinks I
should get your name tattooed on my forehead, as I’m “completely
whipped”. I’m not averse to body art, but I’d choose a place more
hidden…and maybe you could find it.
London calling… Send me a photo.
You are so bad! Tell me you won’t really get
a tattoo of my name?
Pic attached. It’s not from today, as I’m in
Seattle and currently look like a drowned rat. Open it when you’re
I LOVE what you sent me. Wasn’t sure what to
think when you said open it alone, heh heh, but you look beautiful.
Baby, how do you manage to look so sexy without revealing
Love you, want you
I won’t have much time this week. Andrew and
co. are coming for Thanksgiving. It’s the first time since Mom died
and he and Darcy got married, so I’m nervous. Wish you were here. I
want you to meet my brother. I think you’d click.
Dad already bought way too much food for four
of us, so I invited Celeste, and Maria, if she’s not engaged with
family stuff of her own. The mountains got an early snow--isn’t
Oh, I had a showing since we last “talked”.
It went really well. Bora Bora was great inspiration. Thank you,
I miss you and hope you guys get a meal on
Thursday. This second month is going to be hard.
Bloody hell, it’s cold over here! We just did
an outdoor gig, and it was snowing. Am I getting paid enough for
this? Have to bug my assistant.
We had a panic recently when the truck
carrying our equipment didn’t show up behind us. Turned out, they
just had a flat and got delayed, but it was close. Knock on wood,
no more bad luck.
Stable internet connections are harder to
come by as we head east, so I don’t know how much I’ll be able to
keep in touch.
I’m glad your family dinner wasn’t a
disaster. Yes, I think you should go to Virginia for Christmas.
The guys say “hi”
Hope you aren’t still freezing your behind
off. Things are really busy for me. I have a lot to tell you about
when you’re back home.
I baked gingerbread men today and gave one of
them a gingerbread guitar. Wish I could mail you some, but I fear
they wouldn’t reach you.
I’m also working on your Christmas
Write me back soon?
Jacob? Hope you get this. I haven’t heard
from you in almost two weeks. I know what you said, so I’ve been
trolling fan sites for pics just to see you, but I still want to
hear your “voice”. With Christmas two days away, I think about who
is here and who I miss, and there’s a hole.