Next to Forever (Never Letting Go) (8 page)

BOOK: Next to Forever (Never Letting Go)
8.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“So you said you’re here in Charlotte by yourself,
” Sophia starts to say. “Do you have family?”

“I did
, but my parents died in a car accident when I was younger. I really don’t have anyone else except my aunt and uncle. I lived with them for a while before coming back to Charlotte.” Connor’s attention goes directly to Vander and he listens to his story.

Connor’s parents were killed also
, and the man responsible was behind bars. He was so young when he lost his parents, but thankfully, Adam’s parents adopted him and raised him like their own son. Sophia used to tell me that Connor had a lot of anger problems, and it took a while for him to be okay. He mainly focused on school and basketball. When we first met, he was so shy and wasn’t mad—just dark and cautious. He barely smiled, and he made me nervous, but when he let me in, that was the best thing that happened.

I grab Connor’s hand, giving him a reassuring squeeze to let him know that I’m here for him.
It still hurts Connor, and he doesn’t like talking about it. My heart breaks for him. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost my parents. He goes by their grave when he’s sad and needs advice. I offer to go with him, but he tells me he likes to do it by himself—that it’s his time with his parents. I’m fine with that, and I hope that he gets what he needs when he visits.

“So I’m thinking about trying to find my own place. I hate to be a bother.” Vander laughs, eating his chicken.

“Nonsense, Vander. You’re more than welcomed to stay here as long as you’d like,” Doctor Burns states.

I grab my purse and take out my business card. I slide it to Vander
. “If you’re interested, let me know.”

, perfect. Thanks! I have great friends, and now a real estate agent.” We all laugh and continue eating, drinking, and laughing. 

Vander gives Sophia and I tips to get through the sickness and different things we can do to relieve the soreness. He makes jokes with us and makes everything comfortable. After a few hours with the Burns’, Connor and I say good night and head back home. We walk hand in hand and appreciate the quietness between us. Sometimes no words are needed between us because we both know what we’re feeling and thinking. The smile on Connor’s face as he touches my face and stomach makes me know that everything’s okay.

Connor’s in the shower, and I’m in bed with my kindle reading ‘Forever You’ by Sandi Lynn. This book is going to be the death of me! I love me some Connor Black. My face gets so red thinking about his naughtiness and dominance. I love a man who takes control and knows what he wants.

When I read her first book,
Forever Black,
I laughed so hard because I’m in love with two Connor’s. My Connor isn’t a fan of my reading since I always compare him to my book boyfriends. I love, love reading. I swear I’m such a book whore.

I rub my stomach and wonder if we’re having a girl or boy. I look down and smile
. “Hi baby. It’s mommy. I just want you to know how much I love you, and I can’t wait to feel you grow inside me. We’re going to have a lot of fun, huh?” There’s no response but just the quietness around me. I let out a breath and rub my stomach. “Daddy and I are so excited to meet you. Do you know how much your daddy loves you?” I lean back and place my kindle down. “Baby, you’re going to change our lives for the better. Daddy wants you to be a girl, so you will have my eyes and smile, but I don’t care as long as you’re healthy.” A lone tear rolls down my face. “I promise I’m going to do everything I can to make sure you’re safe and sound. Nothing’s going to ever hurt you, baby.”

I feel his eyes on me, staring deep into my soul. My pulse speeds up
, and I’m on cloud nine. The greatest feeling is what’s going through me now: love and devotion. Our souls connect on a different level. A level of true feeling and understanding. People say you only fall in love once, but I swear that every time I see Connor, I’m falling in love all over again. I don’t even have to look up to know Connor’s watching me. The effect this man has on me is incredible, and I never want it to go away.

“Coming to bed anytime soon, or are you just going to stand there and watch me?”

He comes walking
toward me, sits down, and kisses me on my forehead. “I can watch you all day. Every day. For the rest of my life.” He kisses my stomach and rests his head there. “I can’t wait to meet you,” he whispers.

My fingers entwine with his hair and I lean back, smiling.

“I’m scared.” His voice is so small, and I can’t help but wonder what he’s thinking.


“Everything is going really well, and I’m scared that something is going to happen. I don’t know. Just can’t fight this feeling.”

He pulls me closer to his body and holds me tight. “Babe, nothing’s going to happen. We’re going to be perfect
, and I’m not going anywhere.”

Seeming content with my answer, he moves up to the pillow and pulls me against the curve of his body. My back is to him as he rests his hand on my stomach and within a few moments, I can hear him steadily breathing.
I’m glad he’s sleeping, and I feel his body relaxing but there’s something that I can’t put my finger on. I hate that Connor feels as though everything good in his life is going to be taken away from him. Even though it’s been over ten years since he lost both of his parents, the scars and wounds are still fresh. Now the added pressure of keeping both our baby and me safe is weighing on his mind.

“Just believe, babe. Nothing’s going to happen. We’re stronger than that
, and we’ll overcome all the obstacles, I promise.”

The next morning, Connor gets ready and heads to the office. He gives me a kiss on my forehead and tells me to have a great day. I roll out of bed and stretch my arms over my head. It’s only seven
, and I have two hours before I have to meet the Lowe’s at a potential house. Looking down, I touch my stomach and smile. “Good morning, baby. Time to get started, huh?”

I shower and change into gray slacks, a pink button
down, and black heels. I make sure the house is all set and turn on the alarm before leaving. There’s still time to grab breakfast and coffee, so I get in the car and head to the diner. Walking in, the smell of bacon and eggs hit me. My stomach growls, and I let out a soft laugh, “I’m hungry too, angel.” An older lady greets me and leads me to a booth.

“Here you are, sug
.” She hands me the menu and smiles. “Coffee?”

“Mmmmm, can I get apple juice and water
, please?”

“Sure thing, darling. Be back.” She walks away
, and I look out the window thinking about the future. My hand is resting on my stomach, and I wonder if we’re going to have a boy or a girl.

“Erin?” I look up and see Vander walking
toward me.

“Oh, hey! What’s up?”

“Do you mind if I sit with you?”

“Sure,” I gesture for him to sit down.

“Thanks,” Vander sits down and rests his arms on the table. “I saw you over here and wanted to come in to say hey.”

“Yeah, I love coming here. So, ah, what’s going on?”

Vander laughs. “I’m sorry. I know this is weird, but I don’t know anyone here and Sophia’s busy shopping with Sarah. I thought maybe we could be friends or something?”

He’s so adorable! Vander doesn’t look like a stalker or a mask killer. He’s sweet and helpful, plus I’m sure it’s a great thing to know a doctor. “Aww, Vander. Yeah, of course. Sorry
, it was just kind of weird, and I didn’t know what to do.” We both laugh, and I hand him the menu. “They make amazing omelets here!”

The sweet lady comes back and smiles at us
. “Alright, sug, what can I get you to drink?” Vander looks at what I have and orders water and coffee. She walks away, and we look at the menu, trying to figure out what to order.

Vander and I decide on the omelets with cheese, bacon, sausage, peppers, onions, black olives and extra cheese with hash browns. He tells me about his life in Florida
, and why he’s back in North Carolina.

“That’s so funny that we didn’t know each other growing up.”

Vander drinks his coffee. “I had an interesting childhood. My parents kept me from school and taught me at home. I hung out with some kids in the neighborhood, but my parent’s didn’t want me to go too far.”

“Awww, that’s sad.”

“Nah, it’s okay. Everything worked out, so no worries.” Vander smiles and before we can say anything else, the server comes with our food. It looks so good and we start eating. “So, Ms. Costella, what are you up to today?”

I look at my watch and note I have an hour left. “I have to show a house to a couple and then head back to the office and do some work. What about you?”

“Nothing really. I have today off, and I need to sort some of my things. You know, the boring things.”

Talking to Vander is easy
, and he’s really nice. We talk a little more and finish our breakfast before heading out.

, you didn’t have to pay, honey.”

He puts his arm around me
. “It’s alright! I’m really glad we met, Erin. And,” he pauses, looking at me, “thanks for being my friend.”

“Anytime, Vander.” He walks me to my car and tells me to text him.

I head to the Lowe’s and pray that this appointment goes well, and I do everything I can to get this deal.

The Lowe’s loved the house and the sale was easy. We walked around the house
, and I showed them the bedrooms and noticed that Mrs. Lowe was slightly showing. I went with my gut and showed them to the other bedroom. I stated that this room would be great for a nursery especially with the bay windows overlooking the backyard.

We went to the basement
, and since it was finished, I explained how comfortable it would be and the extra space for Mr. Lowe and his man cave. We laughed and the conversation was easy. Within about an hour, we were signing papers, and they met the asking price from the buyers.

Driving back to the office, I can’t help but smile. It’s a great feeling knowing that I can do a great job in my position. When I get back to the office, Alisha and Stacey come running
toward me and start laughing. We walk back to my cubicle and everyone is around saying congratulations and how proud they are of me.

“I knew you could do it,” Alisha said.

“Congrats on your first sell,” Stacey yells, popping a bottle of champagne. She gives a glass to everyone and when she tries to hand me one, I decline.

“What’s going on with you Costella? You pregnant or something?”

Sipping on my tea, I smile, but don’t respond.


The girls in the office start freaking out and congratulating me. I hate that they found out since we wanted to keep this to ourselves, but I’m sure it’ll be all right. 

Everyone’s congratulating me and it feels good to know that I can do my job and make my team proud. We spend the rest of the day celebrating
, and Albert gives us the rest of the day off.

I get in the car and call Connor. His phone rings and he answers on the third ring.

“Babe! Guess what?”

“What?” He laughs. God, I love his laugh and miss him already. I hate that we’re away for a few hours
, and that I even feel this way. My love for him grows, and I love hearing how happy he sounds when we talk.

“Boom, babe! I nailed it!” I start bouncing my seat and laughing in the phone with Connor.

“I knew you could do it, Erin. I’m proud of you!”

“Thanks! But I’m heading to Zedd’s to celebrate! I’ll be home by six, okay?”

“Sounds good, baby. Have fun and congratulations. I love you.”

Grinning like a cheesy person, I tell Connor I love him too and hang up the phone. Life can’t get any better.




Chapter Six



“Alright, gentlemen, everything seems to be in order. Let’s follow-up next week and let me know where we are with the California project.”

The men in the conference room all shake hands
, and we agree to meet again next week. Once everyone is out, I fall back into my chair and let out a deep breath. These meetings and endless hours in the office are taking a toll on my body and my time with Erin. I miss her when we’re not together, but I know what I need to do to ensure we have a comfortable future. I slowly get up from the chair and straighten everything in the conference room. As I make my way out, Sophia comes over to me with a smile on her face. “Sophia? How can I help my best friend?”

She jumps in my arms and laughs. “I’m hungry and Adam’s too busy to do anything
, so can we, ah, go get sushi?” Her voice is low, and she looks around the office.

“Yeah. No. Adam will kill me if I do that. You’re pregnant. No sushi!”

Sophia punches my chest and waves her hands letting me know to lower my voice. I laugh and shake my head. “Cooked sushi is fine and that’s what I want.”

I raise up my hand and point up my index finger. “First, I know you and know you hate cooked sushi.” I point up my second finger. “Second, no.” I give Sophia a kiss on her forehead and take her hand. I know she’s pouting and is mad that I won’t give in to her
, but I’m excited to be an uncle, and I know my brother will kill me. We walk into Adam’s office. He’s on the phone and waves his hand, letting us know to sit down. Sophia fidgets in her seat and tries to get comfortable. “You alright?”

BOOK: Next to Forever (Never Letting Go)
8.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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