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If only, p.21

If Only..., page 21


If Only...

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  “An hour?” I repeat, dropping the Post-it notes back on the desk.

  He nods. “Sorry about the short notice. I thought I asked you to do them on Friday, but I came in and found them still on my desk this morning.”

  I snatch them up and stand. “Let’s hope Joseph is in a good mood.”

  Joseph manages the copying for the whole building, and he’s always complaining that he’s not appreciated and that people take the piss out of him. Last time, I ran out of patience and asked him if he ever wondered why people just dump their shit and run when all he does is moan at the people that stand and wait.

  “I’m sure you could bat your eyelashes at him or something,” he says, dismissing me with a wave of his hand.

  “That’s a little sexist,” I mutter as I walk away. Plus, I don’t think flirting would help my case with Joseph, since I’m pretty sure he’s gay.

  When I push open the doors to the copy room, there’s no sign of Joseph. Instead, I find Cole standing at the franking machine with his back to me. He half turns when he hears the door opening, but he doesn’t fully turn around. I freeze, and I’m wondering if I should just turn around and go back out when he clears his throat.

  “I know it’s you, Evie,” he says, jabbing at the buttons on the machine.

  How did he know it was me? And why is he in here franking his own post? I click my tongue and walk over to the copying machine. I remove the paper clip that Gerard attached to the corner of the booklet and slide the papers into the tray.

  “I’m sorry for leaving the other night,” he says. “It was childish of me.”

  I take a deep breath and punch the number of copies I need into the keypad. “Yes,” I agree, “it was.”

  “I needed some space,” he tells me.

  “I know,” I say with a sigh. “You told me all this last night.”

  “You don’t understand.” I’m trying. “We have a son,” he whispers.

  I pause with the first pack of printouts in my hands, feeling a shiver creep all over me. “Yes, we do.”

  “That’s all I ever wanted, and I’m absolutely gutted that I’ve missed so much. And I’m especially fucking pissed off because I thought I was doing what was best for you and your family, but what was best for you would have been for Lucca to have a father.”

  “That wasn’t all I wanted you for,” I confess after a few minutes. “That wasn’t what I missed the most.”

  He takes a deep breath and blows it out with a loud huff. “Letting you go was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done,” he tells me.

  I staple the papers together and then stand back with my arms folded across my chest while the second pack is printing. Just when I’m about to take it off the tray, I feel Cole’s fingers wrap around my shoulder. Before I can say anything, he presses the gentlest of kisses to my exposed neck.

  “Cole, I need—”

  “Shh,” he interrupts, kissing me again. His lips are soft and warm and full of promise—of what, I don’t exactly know.

  I close my eyes and immediately relax into him. He’s always had the ability to melt me, even when I really didn’t want him to.

  He presses his warm lips against my skin again, and I feel him smile against me. “He looks just like I always imagined our son would look like. I used to daydream when I was in prison of getting out and marrying you and having children with you.”

  “Cole,” I breathe, moving my head so he can kiss more of my neck. “Why were you seeing a solicitor?”

  “Hmm?” he mumbles, trailing kisses up to my jaw.

  “That woman,” I say. “Why were you meeting her in a restaurant when you were drunk?”

  “I shouldn’t have been drunk. We were meeting there because she’d just had a meeting around the corner and it was convenient for her.”

  “But why were you meeting her in the first place?”

  He pushes his hands down my sides and over my hips and then tugs me towards him, forcing my back to collide with his chest. “I was sorting the shit out from Edinburgh. Trying to figure out how I can get Michelle out of my life the quickest way.”

  My whole body sags in relief. He wasn’t seeing her to try and take Lucca from me. It was nothing to do with either of us.

  Cole suddenly moves away from me, and I peek back to see him striding across the small room until he gets to the door and locks it.

  “We’ll get caught,” I tell him.

  “We won’t.”

  “Joseph won’t be happy,” I say, turning my attention back to the stack of papers in front of me.

  “Joseph can go fuck himself.”

  I giggle. “I think he’d rather enjoy that.”

  I hear Cole start to undo his belt and then I hear what sounds like his jacket hitting the floor. “Enough talk about Joseph,” he says. “Lift your dress up, Evie.”

  “No,” I tell him, stapling the second packet together.

  He growls and then I hear more clothes being taken off. “I haven’t stopped thinking about being inside you since Saturday night.”

  Something clenches in my stomach as I think about how good it was. Then again, it’s always been good with Cole. I push my hands down my thighs and pull my dress up to the top of my hips.

  “Look at me, Evie.”

  I turn my head just enough to finally see him. He’s still wearing his shirt and tie, but his trousers and boxers are around his ankles and he’s stroking his rock-hard cock. “This is what you do to me,” he tells me while staring at me.

  Before I can say anything, he strides forward, kicks my legs apart and bends me over, pushing my knickers down my thighs at the same time. I gasp when he drops to his knees behind me and plunges his tongue straight into me. I cry out, bracing myself on the photocopier that shakes and lights up underneath my hands.

  Cole’s tongue swirls and dips inside me while his fingertip gently brushes over my clit. My knees start to buckle, and any worries I had about being caught slip away as I let my head fall. I can now spy Cole’s hand moving up and down the length of him as he kneels behind me.

  “Oh, God,” I breathe.

  He lets go of himself to grab onto my hips and mercifully continues to lap at me until my whole body starts to shake.

  “I don’t want it like this, Cole,” I say. “I want to come when you’re inside me.”

  He wordlessly stands up, places a heavy hand on my shoulder and spins me around until I’m facing him. Then he kisses me, dipping his tongue into my mouth, mimicking what he was just doing down below.

  “Can you taste yourself, Evie?” he asks against my lips. “You taste fucking delicious. I could eat you up all day long.”

  I push my hands up the back of his shirt as he lifts my legs and pushes me back so I’m on the table. I pull my feet up so I’m as wide as I can be and watch as he bends down to retrieve a condom from his trouser pocket.

  “Do you always carry one of those around the office?”

  He grins and rips it open with his teeth. “Only since you started walking around the office in tight little dresses.”

  I smile as he wraps a hand around my thigh, pulling me towards the edge. “I’m not going to lie to you, Evie. This will be quick.”

  I start to laugh, but then he grabs a hold of his cock and pushes himself into me with one quick thrust. My laughter turns into a gasp.

  “Fuck,” he says with a groan.

  He leans forward and kisses me again as he starts to thrust faster and harder, pushing himself into me with such force that the whole table wobbles underneath me.

  Spasms of undiluted pleasure fire up my spine and into my brain. I’m so high from adrenaline and desire that I feel like I’m going to go crazy, but it’s not enough. I want more. I want all of him. “Harder,” I manage to say.

  “Harder.” He grunts, placing both of his hands around my waist. “I’ll show you fucking harder.”

  He pounds into me, pushing in so hard and then pulling back out so fast that the sound of our skin slappin
g together drowns out the sound of the photocopier.

  “Cole, I’m close,” I say between clenched teeth.

  “Not yet,” he orders, wrapping his arms around my back. Without disconnecting us, he picks me up and drops to the floor with me on top of him, my thighs straddling his chest.

  I place my hands on his chest and push myself off him, forcing his cock to slide right across my G-spot.

  My legs start to burn and shake as I grind on top of him. Then Cole grips my hips, holding me just a fraction above him, and thrusts up into me while pulling me down on top of him.

  I cry out as my orgasm flies through my body.

  “Fuck . . .” He shudders and stills beneath me. My orgasm is still rolling through me as he tugs me down to him. I rest my head against his chest, feeling him convulsing as our heavy breaths echo out around the room.

  “I love you,” he whispers into my hair. “I know you might not feel the same,” he adds quickly. “You hated me and quite rightly, but I didn’t hate you. I loved you and never stopped loving you, Evie.” He gently brushes my hair with his fingers. “I’ll wait. I’ll do everything I can to make sure you say it back to me one day.”

  Just as I’m about to open my mouth to tell him how I feel, a heavy knock thuds against the door.

  “Evie, are you in there?”

  “Shit,” I whisper. “It’s Gerard.”

  “Evie!” he shouts. “Open this door right now. I don’t care what you’re doing in there, open up. It’s urgent!”

  Cole crawls away from me and starts to pull his boxers and trousers up his legs. I jump up, pushing my dress back down and putting my knickers back in place. “I’m coming,” I shout, smoothing my hair with my hands.

  “Ready?” I ask.

  Cole tucks his shirt in and quickly pulls his jacket back on. His just-fucked hair is adorable. “Yes,” he says, nodding.

  I stride towards the door and unlock it before pulling it wide open. Gerard’s face is bright red as he stares at the two of us. He blinks from me to Cole and then back to me again before shoving a phone in my hand.

  “It’s your brother,” he says.


  All the hairs on my body stand on end. “Hello.” My voice breaks right at the end.

  “Evie,” Fabio says, sounding breathless. “You need to get to France right now. It’s Lucca.”

  My legs give way and I fold to the ground in a heap. “What’s happened?” I know that whatever he’s going to tell me is bad. “Is he okay, Fabio?” I ask as tears start to fall down my face. My hands are shaking so badly that the phone wobbles by my ear and I don’t catch what he says at first.

  “—to do an emergency landing in France.”

  Emergency landing? “Fabio, just—”

  “We were on our way to Spain,” he cries.

  I know this. I know they were going to Spain for their last stop before coming home. Why isn’t he telling me what’s going on?

  “Fabio, please,” I beg.

  “He was fine this morning, Evie. He was fine when we got on the plane. He was absolutely fine. Honest.”

  “Just fucking tell me what’s wrong with my son!” I yell as my eyes find Cole. The look on his face causes my heart to jump into my throat.

  “They don’t know, Evie,” he says, sobbing. “It’s his head. His brain. You need to come quickly. To the hospital. You need to come now.”


  Present Day

  I used to lie on my bunk bed in prison and think about Evie a lot. She was all I ever thought about, but at the same time, she was all I tried not to think about.

  I never thought I’d see her again after I walked away from her at our tree all those years ago. And the tiny bit of my heart that was still intact broke completely when Simon drove me past their empty house on the day I was released from prison.

  I’d been kidding myself up until that point, convinced that she’d still be there. I’d promised myself that I’d tell her the truth, beg her to try and understand my reasons. But that was assuming she was waiting for me to do exactly that.

  She wasn’t.

  I knew then without a doubt that our story was over. Finished.

  Our ending broke me. Shattered me. Destroyed me.

  I slipped in and out of depression after that day, and I did a lot of stupid stuff, regretting almost all of it. I’d wake up most mornings after spending all night dreaming about Evie, her name a whisper on my sleepy lips.

  Despite promising myself that I wouldn’t search for her, I did anyway. I searched high and low for her when I got out, but Evie was nowhere to be found.

  And even when I was engaged to someone else, I didn’t stop trying. But despite my best efforts, fate was what brought her back to me. The day I walked into that office and saw her green eyes staring up at me—the same green eyes that had haunted me since I was eleven—I knew we weren’t over. And though I’d made a promise to another woman, I already knew in that moment that I wouldn’t be able to go through with it.

  Nothing compared to the love I felt for Evie. Nothing. We could never be over. Evie and Cole. Cole and Evie. That’s what we’d always be.

  Within seconds of realising I’d found her, I’d already imagined how it would feel to bury myself deep inside of her again, to feel the soft swell of her breast against the tips of my fingers, to hear her breathe out my name through her plump lips. But those seconds turned into minutes, and those familiar, sparkling green eyes turned into furious, angry-filled eyes. And while I might have thought that this could be our second chance, Evie clearly thought otherwise.

  She couldn’t even bring herself to look at me that day, and I realised that she was still back where we were eight years ago. I hated that she hated me, even if I understood why. But as I watch her now shaking beside me as she looks out the window of the taxi on the way to see our son—our son—I realise that our story is only just beginning.

  She shudders as another wave of sobs take over her body. I want to reach out and hold her, but I’m scared that Evie will push me away and blame me because we were having sex while or son was falling into unconsciousness. I hate that’s how she’ll remember that moment for the rest of her life. I wish I could take it back.

  I’m also scared of how Fabio will react when he sees me, because he still thinks I’m responsible for Nico’s death. Evie loves and respects him, so if he hates me, then she might too.

  Beyond all of that, I’m fucking terrified because I may lose my son before ever getting the chance to meet him. I spent six years in a prison where men would knock you the fuck out if you so much as looked at them the wrong way. I spent six years dodging the dirty bastards who were too horny to care how they got their rocks off. I spent six years thinking I knew what fear was, but nothing that I saw, felt or heard was anywhere near as scary as what I’m feeling now. I haven’t even met Lucca, but I know that I love him.

  “Bonjour, M. Bennet, je suis médecin Durand et je suis actuellement à la recherche après votre fils, Lucca. Êtes-vous sur votre chemin?”

  “Oui.” I turn away from Evie so she can’t see my reaction to whatever news they might have for me.

  Please don’t tell me my son is dying.


  My eyes roam unfocused and disinterested over the view out of my window. I’ve never been to France, and I wish more than anything that I wasn’t here now. I glance over at Cole who is still on his phone frantically muttering to someone in French to try and find out what’s going on with Lucca.

  All that Fabio could tell us was that Lucca blacked out on the plane. After they landed, he was taken directly to a hospital, and he was having his brain scanned when Fabio rang me.

  Cole immediately rushed us to the airport, and while we were in the taxi, he booked plane tickets and got all the information for the hospital where Fabio had told me to go.

  I did nothing.

  I just sat in the back, staring out of the window—a bit like I’m doing now—while Cole sorted ev
erything out. I crumbled. I froze. And I don’t know what I would have done if he wasn’t here.

  Cole shoves his phone into his pocket and grabs my hand, squeezing it. I turn and stare at our joined hands, my heart clenching as I wonder why he’s only just decided to reach for me now. “He’s about to come out of the scan. Then they’re going to move him to intensive care.”

  Tears leak out of my eyes and down my face. I don’t bother to wipe them away. “Has he woken up yet?”

  He shakes his head.

  “Did anyone tell you what they think it is? Is it epilepsy or something?”

  “They didn’t say,” he says gently. “I asked, but they said they don’t want to say anything until they know more.” He looks down at my hand and rubs his thumb over my fingers. “I got a sense from them that it was serious though, Evie.”

  Serious? How serious? Is he brain damaged? Is he breathing on his own?

  I nod, knowing he did the best he could. It’s more than I could have done.

  We don’t speak the rest of the way, but he doesn’t let go of my hand. We’re not two ex-lovers who have rekindled a long-lost romance right now. We’re two absolutely terrified parents, and neither of us wants to ask the other the question that’s whirling around our heads: Is Lucca ever going to wake up?

  The taxi screeches to a halt in front of the main hospital doors. I don’t waste a single second as I fumble for the handle and push myself out of the car. I run along a narrow, concreted path and charge through the automatic doors, pausing when I look up to find that all of the directions are in French.

  “Oh no,” I breathe, my eyes searching for any words that I might recognise. I spot the information desk, and I’m just about to head towards it when I feel Cole’s hand around my elbow. “It’s all in French!” I shriek. “I don’t know where to go.”

  “It’s this way,” he says, running while pulling me towards a lift. He punches the button and I hop with impatience until the doors slide open.

  “Which floor, Cole?” I ask as we enter the lift.

  He jabs the button with his finger and leans back against the wall while pinching the skin in between his nose.

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