Read Until Forever Online

Authors: E. L. Todd

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Erotica, #Romantic, #Romance, #Contemporary

Until Forever (6 page)

BOOK: Until Forever
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“I really can’t deal with everyone invading my privacy with Monnique right now. Please don’t tell anyone what we talked about today.”

“You have my word.”

“Thank you.”

“And I won’t tell anyone about my theory.”

“I think that would be best.”

He didn’t move from the seat. “What can I do to make things right? The next time we’re in a room together, I want there to be no resentment or anger between us. I just want to be friends.”

I closed my eyes for a moment, realizing
my behavior was unacceptable. “Flynn, you’re a very cool guy. I understand why everyone likes you so much. And, I apologize for being a jerk to you. I shouldn’t have acted that way and I’m sorry. I’m falling apart, piece by piece, and I’m struggling to accept new people and changes. Hazel has been depressed for the longest time, and as selfish as this sounds, I wanted her to be depressed with me. It helps knowing someone feels just as shitty as you do. And I guess I felt threatened that you were taking that away from me…because I’m a fucking asshole.”

“That doesn’t make you an asshole, man.”

“Yes, it does,” I spat.

“When we go through our darkest hour, we say, think, and do things we aren’t proud of. We
become the people we despise. We hate others for being happy. We don’t want people to be more successful than we are. We can’t be happy for others until we’re happy for ourselves. It’s natural. If someone told you they’ve never felt that way, they’d be full of shit.”

I met his gaze.

“I don’t think less of you for it. All your friends adore you. You’re the most popular guy in the group. You obviously earned that reputation for a reason. And Hazel thinks you’re the greatest guy she’s ever known. That came from somewhere, man. Maybe we just met at a bad time.”

“Maybe…”

He extended his hand to shake mine. “We cool?”

I stared at his hand for a long time until I finally forced a smile to my lips. “We’re cool.” We shook hands.

“Phew,” Flynn said. “I was expecting that to be a lot worse.”

I chuckled. “I’m not exactly approachable right now.”

He rested his elbows on the table. “Since you already told me some personal stuff, can I say something?”

“I guess.”

“Why aren’t you leaning on your friends for this? I mean, they are a good support system. You’re purposely alienating yourself.”

“Because, deep down, I know what they would say…”

“Which is?”

I swallowed the lump i
n my throat. “That I should leave her. If they knew how she was acting…the way she was treating me…they would say I should turn away and not look back. And they would say I made a mistake taking her back.”

“Why aren’t you read
y to hear that?”

I shrugged. “I guess I hope they are wrong.”

“Are they?” he asked.

I shook my
head. “I’m not ready to think about it.”

“You know how I know when a woman is right for me?” Flynn asked.

“Hmm?”

“I picture my wife. Throughout my life, she keeps changing. Sometimes she’s
a blonde, sometimes she’s a brunette. Sometimes she has big tits, and sometimes she’s tiny. We live in different places and we have different numbers of kids. But when she starts to have a face, that’s when I know I’m dating the right person.”

“Do you see Hazel’s face?”

“Well, it’s a little soon for that, but…I think I do.”

“Have you seen someone’s face before?”

He nodded. “The woman I spoke of before.”

“When your wife’s face started to change, is that when you knew it was over?”

“Exactly.”

I didn’t want to picture my wife’s face. I had a strong feeling it wouldn’
t be Monnique’s.

8

Ryan

Janice wasn’t home by the time she usually was. I gave her a few more minutes before I started to worry.

Where are you?

Hello to you too.

Did she always have to be a smartass?
Answer my question
.

I’m getting drinks with people from work.

A head’s up would have been nice.

I’m telling you now.

Always a bitch.
Be careful, okay?

I can take care of myself.

So typical.
Let me know if you want me to walk you home.

I have a pair of legs that work just fine.

I’m going to spank you so hard when your ass gets home.

Am I supposed to be afraid of that…?

Sometimes I forgot how kinky she was. I’d have to think of a better threat. I didn’t respond to her text and took a shower. I did my usual routine like she was there. I changed then turned on the TV, looking for something to watch. The wedding binder sat on the table, looking forgotten. Since I wasn’t doing anything else, I finally decided to take a look at it. While it was insanely boring and colors and styles started to blend together, I picked out a few things that I liked—and that were cheaper.

When I looked at the venues, Janice made notes on a few of the pages. It was pretty clear she had her heart set on the Plaza. While I tried to be a
hardass with her, if her heart was set on that hotel, I wouldn’t take it away from her. I was an asshole, but I wasn’t that big of an asshole. But those ice sculptures were ridiculous. We’re not fucking doing that.

My phone vibrated so I looked at the screen.

My coworkers want you to join us
.

Just through the words, I could tell she was annoyed by their request. She didn’t like it when people loved me, and least not when she was pissed at me.
Because I’m better company than you are.

Coming or not?

Yep.

Great…not really.

I’ll make it two spanks.

Oh no
. I could hear the sarcasm over the phone.

I smiled then got ready, wearing a shirt that made my shoulders and chest look great. It was loose on my stomach, but tight on my back muscles. I wore dark jeans that made my legs look toned and long. I wanted her coworkers to eye me to piss off Janice. Perhaps that will teach her to appreciate me better.

I arrived at the bar and spotted all of them at a table. Janice wore a pencil skirt and a pink top. Her tits looked great. That’s what I always noticed first about her, her tits and her ass. Call me a perv, but that’s how it was.

Everyone waved and smiled at me when I approached the table.

“Evening,” I said.

“Congratulations on your engagement,” her secretary said.

“Thank you,” I said. “We’re very excited.”

Everyone asked me questions about the shop and other things. They seemed more interested in me than Janice was. When I finally pulled away from them, I reached Janice. We hadn’t exactly been sweetly affectionate with each other lately, just playing sick mind games with each other in the bedroom, but I knew I should put on a show. I cupped her face and gave her a gentle
kiss. Even though I was just doing it for the audience, I loved it. Those lips were made to be pressed to mine. I could kiss them forever.

I pulled away and sat in the chair beside her.

Cal winked at me. “Glad you could join us.”

I shook his hand. “Nice to see you.”

“I’m trying to get Janice drunk, but she’s too professional.”

I placed my arm over the back of her chair. “Well, I’m here now so she can do whatever she wants. I’ll get her home safely.”

“And you’ll take advantage of me,” she said.

“You know me too well.” I rubbed my nose against hers. Even though she tried to hide it, the warmth was in her eyes. She could act like she was pissed at me and hated me but I still made her melt just as much as
I did on our first date. She was head-over-heels in love with me. That would never change.

“Awe,” Cal said. “Too bad Ryan is straight.” He winked at me.

“Where’s Will?” I asked.

“He had to work. Magazines never sleep.”

“A friend of ours is a model for Satin Magazine,” I said.

“Oh my god, that’s where he works,” Cal said. “It’s a small world. Who is it?”

“Her name is Monnique,” I explained.

“Oh,” he said. “I’ve met her.” He didn’t sound warm.

Janice and I exchanged a look. “Where did you meet her?” I asked.

“At one of the release parties,” Cal said. He sipped his drink and said no more.

“I get the impression you didn’t like her,” Janice said.

He shrugged. “I’m not here to start a war. I’d rather be merry.”

I was too curious. “Did she do something…?”

“You
guys are really interested, huh?”

We waited for him to explain.

“She was just very…catty.” He shrugged again. “I can’t think of a better word. You know, very superficial, mean, vain…typical things for a model who thinks she’s hot shit.”

That didn’t sound
like Monnique at all. But Cal was a great guy who got along with everyone. If he immediately didn’t like her, that was alarming.

“Anyway,” he said quickly. “Any plans for the wedding?”

I knew this would come up eventually.

Janice took the lead. “We haven’t decided anything yet.”

“Actually, we’re having a Tuscan feast with yellow lilies, and the guest list will be about a hundred and fifty people.”

Janice raised an eyebrow when she looked at me.

“But no ice sculptures.”

Cal smirked. “Sounds like he’s helping you with the wedding.”

“We have a binder,” I explained. “We’ve been picking things out together.”

“Weddings are expensive,” Cal said. “Especially in the city.”

We were silent for a while.

“My fiancé has given me a very generous budget,” Janice said.

That’s more like it.

“With twenty thousand, you could make a fairytale,” Cal said.

“He’s giving me thirty,” Janice said.

“Wow.” Cal winked at me. “He’s a keeper.”

She rubbed my arm. “I know he is.”

I gave her a
smirk, silently knowing our feud was finally over. We hadn’t made love in several weeks, and I was excited to go home and be with my fiancé again. Now we could plan this wedding with a realistic budget.

“You still owe me two spankings,” she whispered.

My spine shivered. “I’ll give you more than two.”

“Ooh…”

Cal watched us. “ I can tell you guys are going to last. It’s nice to see that for a change.”

That was something I already knew. I knew it the moment our eyes connected at my old apartment in Seattle, the moment she made me ramble on like an idiot. Call me crazy, but I think she was meant to come into my life. The stars aligned and the clouds cleared. She landed in my arms and I never let her go.

 

My sister invited us over for dinner. We grabbed a bottle of wine then headed to the house in the countryside. Since they were trying to have a baby, I figured the conversation would be full of that. But the idea of my sister having sex was pretty disgusting.

When we came inside, Scarlet gave Janice a big hug.

“Pregnant yet?” Janice asked.

“No,” Scarlet said sadly. “We’re still working on it.”

Janice
hugged Sean next. “You’ll knock her up. Just give it time.”

“I’m determined,” Sean said with a smile.

When I used to look at Sean, I used to think about him fucking Janice. Over time, I forced myself not to think that way. It was in the past and it should stay there. Now I thought of him as my brother. “Your sperm handicapped or something?” I teased.

He glared at me. “My swimmers are just fine. Scarlet isn’t ovulating yet.”

“Blame it on that…” I handed him the wine.

“Thanks,” he said. “But Scarlet isn’t drinking.”

“Good. I think she has a problem.”

Scarlet glared at me before she hugged me. I noticed she was wearing the necklace I gave her. “Don’t be a jerk.”

“Why do you even bother to ask?” I pulled away then headed to the table. Pot roast and rolls were on the surface. “Yum. I’m starving.”

“You’re always hungry,” Scarlet jabbed.

“Not as hungry as you, fatty.” I pulled out Janice’s chair and helped her get situated. Then I sat beside her.

Scarlet watched the interaction. “You guys are back to normal?”

“Yep,” I said. “We did lots of lovemaking for the past few days.”

“Isn’t that what you were doing before?” Sean asked.

“No, they are very different,” Janice said. “There were no spankings.”

My sister cringed. “Anyway…”

“Where’s Cortland?” I asked. “Did you invite him?”

“I did but he said he was busy
,” she said sadly. “I never see him anymore. Whenever I stop by at work, he’s always on the phone.”

“Or he pretends to be on the phone,” Sean said. “I have no idea who he would be talking to for that long.”

“I’m worried,” Scarlet said. “But every time I ask him if everything’s okay, he assures me it is. And I haven’t talked to Monnique either. She’s always busy with work.”

I was worried for my friend. “I think he’s hiding something.”

“What?” Scarlet asked. “There’s nothing he would hide from us. We’re his family.”

“Flynn asked to meet him so they could talk. Flynn said the conversation went well and he didn’t notice anything odd with Cortland, but he also doesn’t know him very well.”

“Should we attack him?” Scarlet asked.

“Attack?” Sean asked. “What does that mean…?”

“Like, corner him so he can’t get away. He’ll be forced to talk to us.”

Sean gave me a grim look. “Baby, I know you’re worried, but if he is going through something and he doesn’t want us to know, we should respect his privacy and wait for him to come to us. The reason he’s probably avoided you so much is because he knows you won’t quit until you drain everything out of him.”

“But…” Scarlet picked at her food. “He tells me everything.”

“Maybe he’s pissed at you,” I said.

“No,” Scarlet said immediately. “There’s no reason for him to be mad.”

“Mike?” Janice asked. “Maybe Mike pissed him off.”

“No,” Sean said. “He’s had his own problems to deal with.”

There was only one other person. “Hazel?”

“What about her?” Scarlet asked.

“I haven’t seen her around much, and Cortland’s been an ass to Flynn since the moment he met him, even though Flynn is liked by everyone. Maybe there’s something going on there…”

“Like what?” Sean asked. “Are you implying Cortland has a thing for her?”

“No,” Scarlet said immediately. “He wouldn’t do that to Monnique. That’s not possible.”

“And Cortland turned Hazel down when she wanted to be something more. That can’t be it.”

I remembered what Cal said the other night. “Janice’s coworker said he met Monnique at the magazine, and basically, she was a bitch.”

“Monnique?” Scarlet asked. “No. That’s not possible.”

“That’s what he said,” Janice said. “And he’s a nice guy. Even when Ryan was a total ass, he still liked him. It takes a lot for him to dislike someone.”

“Thanks,” I snapped.

She shrugged. “What? We all know how much of a jerk you were.”

“Anyway,” Scarlet interrupted before we could get into another fight. “If there was something wrong between them, he would definitely tell us. There’s something else going on. Maybe a relative died or something…”

We spent the next thirty minutes discussing Cortland and what his problem was.

Scarlet cleared her throat. “We actually invited you over for dinner for a special reason.”

“Great…” It was probably for something stupid.

She glared at me. “Sean and I know you’ve been working on your wedding and trying to figure things out so we wanted to offer you something…”

“We don’t want your money,” I snapped.

Scarlet rolled her eyes. “I know you better than that, Ryan. Actually, we wanted to offer the house. We have a big backyard and a beautiful view of the beach. If we ordered a catering company and a chair supplier, we could make it look amazing. And the house is big enough to accommodate everyone and all the food. You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, but it’s just an idea. At least you wouldn’t have to leave by a certain time and you can make it your own. At the Plaza, there will be tons of traffic and it might be difficult to arrange everything. Anyway, it’s up to you.”

BOOK: Until Forever
6.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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