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“Hey, Scout,” the man sitting alone in the love seat says.
“Hi, Cole,” I attempt to catch my breath.
"I missed you so much, babe," Cole ascends from the love seat and plods unswervingly towards me. He immerses me into his arms and kisses the top of my head.
A symphony of chills descends down my spine in a creepy manor, “I missed you too,” I breathed against his chest, “Why are you in here though?”
”Well, TIME needed someone to take a few pictures at a WWF fundraiser tonight, and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to see you,” he simpered.
“That’s…wonderful,” I give my best grin, though internally I’m seething. So much for having two weeks to figure things out, “So, how long will you be here?” I ask gingerly.
“Only until tonight,” he said, “I left New York this morning, and I have a flight scheduled for after the fundraiser is over later tonight.”
“So, your entire day is free then?” I probe him.
“Completely,” he wraps his arm around me and gives a coy smile.
His touch causes a wave of guilt to roam through my body. Josh sitting on the couch, his stance firm and defensive, only adds to the displeasure I feel with myself. I am so ignorant. Did I really think I could marry a man whom I cheated on? I couldn’t possibly; it was a ridiculous idea.
“Cole, sweetie,” I smiled coyly, “Can I have a word with Josh? Alone.”
”Um, sure,” he said crisply, clearly irritated, “Can you point me in the direction of the bathroom?”
“Down the hall and to the right,” I say gently, careful to not offset his temper.
“I didn’t know he was coming,” I begin just as Cole disappears, “I’m sorry. He shouldn’t have just shown up here.”
“It isn’t your fault,” Josh mumbles, his palms holding his cheeks up, “I can go over to Andre’s for the day. You know, if you two want your space.”
“This is your house, Josh,” I furrow my eyebrows at him, astonished that he would even suggest such a thing, “You don’t have to leave.”
“Well, for the next two weeks, this is your home too. I really don’t feel like staying here while he gawks over you all day.”
“If you aren’t feeling well, I can just tell him he has to…” I began, placing myself next to him on the couch.
“You’re being ridiculous, Scout. I’m fine,” he retorted whilst cutting me off.
I pulled at the collar of my shirt. Why was I so weary to allow Cole to say? I’m not ready to say what I need to say. I know I’m not. It needs to be done. When will I finally quit living in a constant war with myself? When will I realize what is right for me? “You’re right,” I admit, “Just call up Andre, but if he can’t pick you up, we’re leaving.”
Cole’s footsteps echoed from the hall and without a second thought, I scoot away from Josh.
“How about I take you out for lunch? Are you hungry?” Cole asked as he comes into plain view. I feel Josh’s tense demeanor return.
”I actually just went out for lunch with Tarynn. We can sit back and watch a movie or something if you want,” I stand up and glance at Josh who takes his cue to leave.
He mumbles about going to call Andre and stumbles out of the room. Cole shoots him an odd look as he leaves, which almost makes me angry.
The rest of the day passed by haltingly; watching Josh go left me cold, though I knew it was only for a short time. I found my eyes trained on Cole, stirring around the house. He felt completely out of place. We settled back in my bedroom to watch some romantic comedy that was placed on one Josh’s movie shelves. I tried to keep my eyes on the movie for the entirety; I could feel his eyes burning when he would glance over at me. I even shuddered when he wrapped his arm around my shoulder.
”Babe, are you okay? You seem very jaded,” Cole said just as the credits of the movie ran across the screen.
”I’m just worn out,” I lie and keep my eyes ahead.
”Well,” he smirks, “How about I help you wake up?” He pulls my face towards his and begins languidly kissing my lips. Slowly, he moves down to my collar bones, gently pecking them.
He places both of his hands on either side of my cheek and immerses me in a deep, full kiss. I gradually eased into the motion, and in my stomach I felt, nothing. Not the slightest twinge of excitement or even a butterfly. I haven’t had sex in three weeks and before me sits my future husband, basically yearning to rip my clothing off and I just want to crawl away. How can I go through a with this? I lied to this man, I cheated on this man, and emotionally, I’m still cheating on him. He is not the only one who holds my heart.
Still enveloped in his kiss, he reaches for my button on my jeans and gently undoes it. I squirm uncomfortably underneath him. I can’t go through with this, it isn’t fair- not to me, not to him, not to Josh.
”Cole,” I say very abruptly, gasping for air as I pull away, forcibly moving his hands off of me.
”Shit,” he breathes, “Is it that time of the month?”
”What?” I sneer, “No, it isn’t that,” I scoot upright out of his grasp.
”Then what is it?” He furrows his eyebrows and pulls a loose strand of brunette hair out of my eyes.
”I don’t know. It’s me, it’s you. Us, I guess. We don’t belong together, Cole. Do you not see that?” I bury my face in my palms.
He lets out a sigh, “Scout, I know we fight sometimes, but you’d have that in any relationship. Where is this coming from?”
”Cole, when we first started dating, I cheated on you,” I breathe.
His face twists into a mixture of emotions. He clenches his fists, and his face falls, followed by a pregnant pause.
”You did what? You cheated on me? With him,” he swallows.
”Yes, with Josh.”
He exhales, “Well, it’s stupid of me to say, but I can understand why that would happen. You didn’t have closure with him. Your feelings were all over the place and I shouldn’t have asked you out when I did,” he shrugs, “Is that what this is all about? You regret that? We can work past that, Scout.”
”No,” I shake my head, “The problem here is that I don’t regret it. I’m not being fair to you. It’s not right, our relationship.”
”What are you saying? You don’t love me? You don’t want to get married?”
”I do love you, but…”
”You love him too,” he finishes my sentence.
”I don’t love Josh,” I snap.
”The fact that you assumed I meant Josh indicates that I’m correct,” Cole smirks.
“Well, then I don’t know. Okay?”
"No, you do know. If you didn’t know that you loved him, you wouldn’t be having this conversation with me."
"I’m really sorry," I choose to ignore his remark, and slowly slide the ring off of my finger and place it in his palms.
"I’m not mad at you," he stares at the ring in his hands, "I’m upset now, but you’re right. We aren’t happy together. I want you to be happy, Scout," he looks up at me.
”You’re going to make someone very happy one day Cole, I promise,” I place one last kiss on his cheek.
Cole left less than an hour later. I feel surprisingly liberated, that now I can completely start a clean slate; out with the old and in with the new. I don’t know where to start though. Do I immediately throw myself back into Josh’s arms? I couldn’t possibly. He said he loved me, if he’s at all interested in starting over, he’ll make a move. Right?
After a while of sitting and staring on the couch, I decided to make use of my time. Blakely, my editor, has been sending me stories to get back to him with corrections. I dove full force into my laptop and began typing away. For hours, I worked furiously on my keyboard. In fact, I was so engulfed into my work, I didn’t even notice Josh walk through the door.
“Hey,” Josh yelled as he stepped through the door, “I’m home.”
“I can see that,” I looked up at him with a sly grin.
“I expected you to be on the other side of the house,” he eyed me, “Where’s Mr. Photographer?”
“Gone,” I bit my lip, “He left like, six hours ago.”
“What?” The words dropped out of his mouth, “Why?”
“We just kind of, broke up, I guess,” I panned my eyes down to my laptop.
“Scout,” he grimaces and rests himself next to me, “What happened?”
“Well, first off, I told him about Christmas,” I exhaled.
“Christmas?” The word rolled off his tongue as he recalled the memory, his mouth clenched tightly, “What exactly about Christmas?”
“He knows that we slept together. I didn’t tell him it was even on Christmas. He just knows that when he and I were dating we were together, once,” I shift uncomfortably in my seat.
“So he broke up with you because of me?” He frowns and takes my hand in his..
“I ended it with him,” I said, “I couldn’t marry someone that I cheated on. He didn’t even have the slightest clue. He wasn’t too mad about it, surprisingly. He knew I still loved you then.”
“What are you talking about? You told me you didn’t love me the next morning,” he furrowed his eyebrows.
“Josh, those were lies,” I whispered, “How could I not still be in love with you? We just broke things off then.”
“I know,” he mumbles, “You just seemed so indifferent about us.”
“Yeah, I guess,” I state nonchalantly, “How was Andre’s?” I change the subject.
“It was really good. We walked around for a little and went to see the new Batman movie.”
”Any reporters catch you?” I laughed.
”Only a few,” he smiled, “I didn’t mind. I’ve been out of the public eye for so long.”
”You must be tired then. It’s good that you got out of here though.”
“I don’t mind being here. You’re here,” he squeezes my hand that I just realized he was still holding.
”Um,” I let go of his hand, “Are you hungry? I can pick up sushi or we can order in pizza.”
“Yeah, pizza sounds nice, actually,” his cheeks turn crimson.
”I’ll go call,” I nod and move up from the sofa. My face imitating his, red. I slowly step into the kitchen to retrieve the house phone. I can see him turn around to stare at me while I dial the numbers. God, do I want him.
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