Next to Forever (Never Letting Go) (9 page)

BOOK: Next to Forever (Never Letting Go)
10.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Sophia looks at me and her face is pale. She gets up from the couch and runs out the office. Adam looks worried and rushes to get off the phone
, but I put my hand up letting him know I’ll go check on Sophia.

I walk down the hall and into the bathroom. I push open the door and hear Sophia gagging. I hurry to her side and hold back her hair. I rub small circles on her back and her body relaxes.
“Shhh, you’re okay, babe.”

She leans into me and cries. “I hate this
, Connor. I throw up all the time. I thought being pregnant would be great. Adam loves it, but I hate it. I’m always crying and nothing stays down.”

I kiss
her on the top of her head. “It’s okay, sweetheart. You’re going to be a mom soon, and it’ll be worth it in the end. Just think, you and Adam created life, and soon you’ll meet your little boy or girl. You’re strong, Soph. Just keep remembering that. No worries. No regrets.”

“Thanks, Connor. I love you.”

“You, too.” I help her get up from the floor and see Adam leaning against the counter. He looks worried. I tell him that we can talk tonight and hand Sophia off to him. I watch as he holds her and reassures her everything will be all right. After all these years, we get to watch their story unfold. I smile, thinking about Erin and our story.

I stop by the florist and buy my girl a wild bouquet. I get in the car and drive back home. When I pull in and get out, I notice another car in the driveway and wonder
who’s here with Erin. I use my key to open the front door. “Erin?” I walk down the hall into the kitchen and hear the TV on. I walk into the living room and see Vander sitting on the couch with Erin. She’s lying on his lap, curled up in a blanket. “Vander?”

He turns his head and smiles
. “Hey Connor. How was work?” I notice his hand on Erin’s back. I clench my fist. Who the fuck is this guy? Erin’s absolutely gorgeous, so I can understand any guy looking at her, but she’s mine. 

“Um, it was alright.” I set the flowers down on the table and go to Erin’s side. I gently shake her and kiss her on the forehead. “Hey
, baby.”

She slowly opens her eyes and that goofy smile that I love so much appears. “Connor, you’re home.” She gets up and gives me a hug. I nuzzle into her neck and breathe her in. Damn, I miss her smell. I miss this feeling. Having her in my arms makes everything in the world feel right.

“Are you feeling alright? What’s wrong?”

Vander gets up from the couch and squeezes Erin’s shoulder. What the fuck is going on? “Yeah
, no worries, man. Erin was showing me houses and then she got dizzy so we came back to the house. Erin, just stay in bed and see your primary soon. Remember, rest and take it easy.”

“Thanks again, Vander.” Erin gives him a small smile and looks back to me. “See, I’m okay!”

I get up from the living room floor and extend my hand to Vander. “Thank you for being here for her. We appreciate it.”

, no problem. Glad I’m able to help. I’ll see myself out. Have a great night.”

Vander makes his way out
, and when I hear the door close, I bring Erin in my arms and sit down with her in my lap. She rests her head on my chest and her breathing slows. I hate that she’s going through a rough time with the pregnancy, and a part of me is scared to see how she’ll be throughout the rest of her pregnancy. I gently rub her neck and kiss her forehead. I can’t get enough of her.

Before I met Erin, I thought love was just a game and never wanted it. I dated here and there but no one ever caught my attention until she walked into my life. Erin saved me. She
opened my eyes to something else other than basketball and work. She made me have fun.

One night, she took me out to the beach.
I didn't want to go. I hate swimming in the fucking ocean. At night. No, not something that I wanted to do, but watching her excitement and carefree spirit made me want to follow suit. She jumped in my arms and I twirled her around. She told me to close my eyes and told me to start walking. I wasn’t sure what she was thinking, but she felt me shaking and told me that there was nothing to be scared of because she was here with me. I took a deep breath and started walking. I felt the cool ocean water touching my feet and hesitated, but Erin whispered in my ears and told me she wouldn’t let me go. Yeah, I felt like a fucking pussy that my girl was calming me down. I got my dick back and ran into the water. Hearing her laughing and seeing that beautiful smile on her face made my heart beat faster. I picked her up as she wrapped her legs around my waist. She told me she wanted our first time to be here. On the beach under the stars. I walked back to the sandy beach and laid her down. She was beautiful, staring up into my eyes. I brushed her hair to the side and she wrapped her hand around my neck and brought my head down to hers. That night meant everything to me.

“What are you thinking about
, babe?” Erin whispers into my chest, touching my arm.

“The night on the beach. Our first time.”

Her breath hitches. She moves her head and looks up at me. “That night was fun, huh? Do you think that was the night, babe?”

I kiss her on the top of her head. “I hope so.”

I don’t want to seem like the jealous guy, but I’m not a fan of having Vander here with my girl when I’m not home. “Baby, why does it seem as though Vander’s constantly by your side?”

“He’s lonely
, Connor. He doesn’t have anyone except Sophia and me.”

Erin strokes my forearm, reassuring me and telling me not to worry
, but I can’t help it.

The next morning, I’m in the kitchen making coffee and grabbing an apple and a bagel. Erin’s soundly sleeping
, and I didn’t want to bother her. She looks peaceful and actually slept through the night without getting sick. I leave her a note on the kitchen island.



I’ll miss you today. Text me when you get up to let me know you’re okay. I love you,



I walk out of the house but when I look up, I see that my car has red paint all over it and all four of my tires are slashed. “What the fuck?” I drop everything and run to my car. I run my hands through my hair and let out a loud grunt. I take out my phone and call Adam. It rings a few times before he answers.

“What’s up?”

“My fucking car! Get over here now!” I hang up before he answers. I let out another grunt and start punching the air. I probably look like an idiot but I don’t give a shit. I want to find the little shit who did this and kill them!

I see Adam driving up the road and pulling up to the side of the house. He gets out of the car and takes off his sunglasses. His mouth drops as he looks at my car.

I point and start yelling. “Do you see this shit?”

“Who the fuck did you piss off?” Adam walks around and pulls out his phone. He pulls my arm and brings me inside. “Joseph, hey. Connor and I will be late coming in this morning.” Erin’s walking down the stairs rubbing her eyes.

“Babe, what’s wrong?” She stops at the last step and looks at me. “Babe?”

“My car. Someone fucked it up,” I mutter, looking at Adam
who is still on the phone with Joseph.

Erin looks out the window and her hands fly up to her mouth. She doesn’t say anything
, but her expression is the same as mine. We’re both upset, and we aren’t sure who could do this to us.

Adam and I get to the office after dealing with the police and insurance. I have everything covered and it’s not the car that I’m completely upset about
, but now I’m scared to leave Erin home alone. She’s petite and weighs one hundred and five pounds soaking wet. There’s no way she can protect herself. Adam and I drop her off at Doctor Burns’ house with Sophia. The girls are safe there until we can figure this shit out. I don’t care that I’m overreacting, but if someone can do this to my car and not steal anything, what else are they capable of doing?

I get to my office and turn on my computer. I take out my phone and call Erin. She answers on the second ring.

“Babe, please, I’m okay. Sophia and I are watching ‘The Last Song,’” she sniffles in the phone. “It’s so sad, Connor. I mean she’s just so broken and angry.”

I roll my eyes. Erin and her movies. “Okay, I just wanted to make sure you’re okay. I love you. Call me if you need anything.”

“Okay. I love you, too.”

I end the call and sit down in my chair. I read some emails and then my phone vibrates.

Unknown: I need to see you please.

I look at the text message before answering. I know who it is and I can’t talk to her. It’s been months since
the last time we talked. I shake my head and feel my shoulders tense. This is the worst day. I lock my computer and walk out of the office. I text her back.

Me: Okay. Be there in 10.

I walk a few blocks to the café at the end of the street. I look around to make sure no one is following me or sees me. I lower my head and walk in. I walk to the back of the restaurant, to the corner booth. An older woman comes over to me.

“Coffee hun?”

“Please.” She walks away. I’m looking out the window and watching people walking, getting to their destination. A tightness grows in my chest. I hate feeling like this and sneaking behind Erin’s back. My jaw clenches and I feel her coming. I don’t have to look up. I know she’s walking toward me. She slides into the booth, opposite of me.

She tries to touch my hand but I pull it away. “Connor,” she says in a broken tone.

“Olivia, what do you want? I give you a check for three thousand every month. What more do you need?”

“I miss you. Why can’t we be together?” I see tears rolling down her cheeks
, and I have to look away.

“Olivia, I’m sorry
, alright? That night was a mistake. I’m with Erin now and we’re engaged. She’s pregnant with my child.”

Olivia slams her hands on the table and grabs my hand. “Are you fucking serious
, Connor? What about me and our baby?”

I close my eyes and my mind goes back to another bad day in my life.

I was sitting in the apartment, alone, listening to music, and working on a report. A knock came and I got up and answered the door. It was Olivia. She was standing there in sweat pants and a loose tee shirt. “Olivia?”

She looked up at me and threw herself in my arms. “Connor, I-I’m so sorry.” I couldn’t hug her back. She clawed my back and held onto me as if she were falling. “I was pregnant.” The words came out and hit me like a pound of bricks.

“What? How? Olivia, it was just one night.”

She let me go and held my hands. “I know and I’m sorry. I
know we were both drunk, but I was told I couldn’t have kids, so when I told you not to worry about the condom, I thought we were okay. I, um, just came back from the doctor. I lost the baby.” She cried again and came back into my arms.

I was shocked and wasn’t sure what to say. I was actually relieved. I wasn’t ready to be a father, especially with someone I wasn’t in love with. I had a one-night stand with Olivia, a drunken one-night stand. It meant nothing but Olivia looked broken. “I’m sorry, Olivia, but what do you want me to do?”


She left and ran off. Olivia and I saw each other in the office, but we kept it civil. She looked happy and busy trying to steal Adam, but when I had to let her go, everything fell apart. She blamed me for her losing her job and threatened me,
saying she’d make me pay for what happened, so I told her I’d pay her every month. Three thousand a month. I never told anyone, not even Adam. It was our secret, just like the pregnancy and miscarriage.


Olivia’s voice pulls me back to reality. “Olivia, I’m sorry, but it was just a onetime thing. I don’t know what else you want from me?”

“I need more money
, Connor,” her voice trails off. She straightens herself and looks at me. “I need five thousand a month or else I’m going to the press. Don’t you have a California deal you need to score?”

This fucking bitch
. I want to strangle her, but I keep my cool. I have to think about the company and do what’s best. I pull out my checkbook and write her a check for five thousand. I hand her the check and get up to leave but before I do, I lower my body and am at eye level with her. “You are to not text me. Do I make myself clear? I will text you once a month so we can meet and I will give you the check. If you do anything to jeopardize the company or my life, you will see a completely new side of me. Do I make myself clear, Olivia?”

She licks her lips and brings herself close to me. “Crystal.”

The rest of the day goes by quickly and after a ten-hour day, I head to the gym and let out my stress and frustration. The idea of Olivia being around here kills me. I want to tell Erin everything, but I don’t want to see the look of hurt in her eyes. She’s everything to me, and I can’t do that to her but she needs to know.

I finish my last set, head to the locker room to get my things and head out. I pull out my phone and notice that Erin hasn’t texted me in a few hours.

Me: Hey I’m heading home now, you ok?

BOOK: Next to Forever (Never Letting Go)
10.78Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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