If I Had You, page 2
It’s all I can manage to go to the bathroom and clean up before I climb into my bed and cry myself to sleep.
“You’re an asshole.”
“So you keep telling me,” I retort in a tired voice, having barely stepped inside the house when Erica starts running her mouth. “What did I do this time?”
“It’s not what you did,” she says with an exaggerated roll of her dark brown eyes and a toss of her equally dark brown hair before glaring at me. “It’s all the things you don’t do.”
“Sign the divorce papers.” Pointing to the envelope on the table, I shrug at her and release a forceful, exhausted sigh. “Then what I do and don’t do won’t bother you so much anymore.”
“No!” She steps close and pokes me in the chest with one perfectly manicured fingernail. “They’re unfair, and you know it. You want me to walk away with almost nothing.”
“Keep your damn hands off me,” I snarl, snatching her finger in my hand and flicking it away, hard enough she stumbles a bit before righting her body. “You haven’t done anything this whole marriage except bitch and spend all the money I was dumb enough to give you access to. I don’t owe you shit, and you’ve got more than enough money of your own.”
Erica continues to look daggers at me with her hands on her hips. “And our daughter? You think you’re the one to have full custody of her?”
Straightening my back, my scowl matches hers at the mention of the child I love more than anything else, including my life. “She’s mine. We both know you got pregnant against my explicit fucking wishes, something you knew I didn’t want since before we got married, all because I took you at your word that you were taking your pills. You didn’t want her, you wanted to lock me to you, but that’s not gonna work. You aren’t a mom to her, and we both know it, so I’m keeping her.”
“You’re the one who didn’t want children!”
“No!” The word is a roar, a warning as I shove an angry hand through my hair. “I wanted a child who was planned and desired by my partner and me at the same fucking time. We started having problems, and you just went on and got pregnant without my consent.” She goes to open her mouth and I point my finger at her with pure fury. “The fucking moment I knew about your pregnancy, yeah, I was pissed, but I loved our child every minute since. You thought it would keep us together, though, and it won’t. I don’t want to be with someone who would be that devious and you’ve been fighting me for a fucking year now.”
Stalking over to the table, I pick up the papers and a pen, slamming them down again in front of her on the counter. “Fucking sign them and get the hell out, or we’ll go to court, and you’ll get nothing.”
“You don’t know—”
“Yeah, I damned well do know.” Lifting the pen and holding it out to her with an expectant look, my mouth’s in a grim line as I modify my tone to something a bit nicer. “Sign so this hell is over, Erica. Stop fighting me. Please.”
Watching the woman I married the day after my twenty-first birthday, the indecision evident on her face. We never should’ve gotten married as I hadn’t loved her at all during our time together. But, I had been sick of being alone, and she had been my friend for two years before I asked her out on a date. Within a year of that first date, we were married, and for the first time since Darcy’s betrayal, I had trusted a woman enough to let my guard down.
When we started having trouble, she stopped taking her pills thinking a baby would fix everything, and now a little two-and-a-half-year-old girl named Rose is in the middle of it all.
I put in the effort after our daughter’s birth, but I just don’t trust Erica anymore, and since I don’t love her either, I believe we both deserve better. She isn’t taking my little girl from me, though; she’s what keeps me going most of the time.
As I stare at Erica in complete silence, she finally breaks, tears trickling down her cheeks as she steps forward and takes the pen from my hand. She signs page after page while I watch, occasionally swiping at her face to get rid of the tears, and once done she sets the pen down with a hard tap.
Then, standing up straight, she squares her shoulders and glares at me while saying in a small voice, “I’ll be out by the end of the evening if that’s okay with you.”
“Of course.” As she goes to walk away from the table, I softly add, “Thank you.”
She stops and glances over at me with a sad smile. “I know I’ve angered you, but I didn’t think you were serious about this. Whatever, though. You win. No more fighting from me. I just want to keep things civil for our daughter’s sake.”
I acknowledge her statement with a nod while gathering up the papers. “Absolutely.”
After staring at me for another moment, she lets out a heavy sigh and leaves the room. Taking the papers and heading upstairs, I drop them off on my desk inside my home office, and then head to get a quick shower before my daughter returns with the nanny.
Moments later, while standing under the pounding hot water, a tiny bit of shame at how I treated Darcy makes me want to go back over and apologize. Not only for the way I acted but because she no doubt thinks I’m a cheating dirtbag. And to blatantly ignore the fact she said she has a fiancé? I’m an asshole and know it.
She’d been into it, though, and she hadn’t stopped me. I would’ve if she’d said something, but fuck, I’d just wanted to be close to her. The moment I saw her face, my heart started pounding, and even now it continues to beat hard and fast as it hasn’t in years.
Not to mention she’s even more beautiful than she’d been at sixteen. God, being inside her felt so fucking amazing. And damn, how badly I want to fuck her again, a fact which pisses me off because getting close to her was insane.
I should’ve walked away the moment I knew who she was, but the look in her eyes gave me pause. The softness mixed with the guilt and pain had made me want to know why, even though a small part of me was thrilled her life hurt as much mine has for so long.
I might’ve been young ten years ago, but I hadn’t been stupid. We’d been friends for years, something neither of our parents liked even though they tolerated it, until one day everything changed.
Isn’t that how it always goes?
I shut off the shower and step out, drying off while reminiscing about the first time I kissed her, setting in motion our transition from friends to more.
I had been sixteen and she, fifteen. We were both at a New Year’s Eve party, supposed to be supervised by our friend’s parents, but they hadn’t actually paid attention. All twenty kids had been in the basement, drinking soda, eating a bunch of junk food, and basically just socializing. I hadn’t been invited, but Darcy had, and she brought me with her even though her friends didn’t like me and never had.
That night, though, no one said anything, and everyone had even been kind to him. Little did I know at the time she told her friends she wanted to date me, and they better start being nicer to him for her sake. In her group, she was the queen, and I can’t say becoming part of the popular crowd because of her had been a bad thing because it hadn’t been. Nobody fucked with me after that night, and he had always been grateful for that simple fact.
And the kiss which started it all, fuck. Even after all this time, with tonight as a refresher, our first kiss is clear in my mind. I’d been with one girl before Darcy, but that girl nor the women I’d been with since came close to how things were with her. She was my first love.
Dancing that night in their own little corner of the room, she’d wrapped her arms around my neck soft and sweet during a slow dance with a little giggle. Resting her head on my chest, we’d swayed back and forth until she’d suddenly stood on her tiptoes.
“I like you,” she’d whispered into my ear before pecking me quickly on the neck and hiding her beautifully freckled face in the crook of my shoulder as if the admission embarrassed her.
I had laughed softly, hugging her closer, appreci
“No.” She had shaken her head, not moving from her position even as she continued with, “I like like you, Zach.”
My body had reacted instantly to her words, and for the first time since we’d met, I hadn’t had to hide how attractive I found her. However, the way she felt was unexpected, and she lifted her head as I had pulled back to stare down at her with my mouth agape.
But like the forward, get everything she wants girl she was, Darcy had smiled bright and happy while looking up at me. “Kiss me before I start thinking you don’t want me like I want you.”
As if she planned it with perfect timing, the lights went off right then, the kids counting down loud and clear as midnight approached. But I hadn’t waited until the clock struck midnight. I held her close, slid one hand to cup the back of her neck, and locked my lips tightly on hers.
The touch of her lips against mine had sent thrills of pleasure through me, and when she opened her mouth to let me in, I’d followed without question. It hadn’t lasted forever, but long enough we kissed right through the New Year arriving, and when we finally parted at the hoots and hollers around us, we hadn’t stopped smiling for the rest of the evening.
Really, for the next year, everything had seemed so perfect until it wasn’t.
Scowling at the thought, I hang up my towel after drying my hair, and get dressed. Moments later I open the bathroom door to find Erica passing by with her luggage.
She stops, tossing me a tired glance over her shoulder as she says, “That’s the last of it. I’ll call you later.”
I would ask why she isn’t waiting for Rose to get back with the nanny so she can say goodbye, but as we both know, she’s never been much of a mother. She loves our daughter, but spending time with her isn’t something she’s ever really done. Rose doesn’t even call her ‘mommy’ which in this matter I’m glad for as it will likely be less traumatic when Erica doesn’t see her much.
She walks away without another word, and I head to my office to wait on Rose to return.
And when the doorbell rings a half hour later, nothing is more surprising than finding Darcy standing on the doorstep glaring at me.
“What do you mean you’re leaving?”
My fiancé stares at me as I move around the room, gathering my things to pack in my luggage which is open on the bed and already halfway full.
I stop at the obvious distress in his voice and focus on him, one brow lifted in confusion as I cross my arms over my chest. “Did you not just hear what I said a few minutes ago?”
“Of course, I heard you,” Oliver says with a huff, sitting on the edge of the bed and putting his black-haired head in his hands. “I’m just not sure I understand why that means you have to leave, Darcy.”
If it weren’t for the fact we’ve been together five years now and I know him like nobody else, I would think he’s joking right now. But he isn’t. I could probably tell him I prostitute myself when he isn’t around, and he’d still want to marry me. He’s just happy I’m with him, no matter how that happens or what I do otherwise.
“Because after that, there’s just no way I can marry you.” I sit next to him and touch his upper arm with my hand gently while letting out a shuddering sigh. “The moment I saw him again…everything changed.”
Oliver nods, not saying anything else as he keeps his head in his hands, and I stand back up to finish packing.
I told him everything of course. First who Zach was, and then about what happened from the moment I saw him in the store, to when we were in the bathroom, and how we ended up here at the apartment. I’ve never lied to him; I learned a long time ago how damaging lies could be. Even though Zach called me a liar earlier, I wasn’t one now.
All I’d been trying to do in the store bathroom was avoid the exact confrontation we’d ended up having.
There’s no going back to my comfortable life with Oliver, in our nearly passionless relationship; not with Zach being so close.
His anger and his touch awakened a part of me I long thought asleep, and there’s no way I’m letting him get away without saying my piece. After my nap earlier, I got onto the computer and found his address, which is where I’m heading once I’m done here with Oliver.
Shit has hit the fan in my life and now it’s about to hit it in his.
He thinks he can just say whatever he wants, fuck me like he hates me and misses me all at once, and then just walk out on me. No way, and he’s about to learn I’m not the girl I used to be.
I won’t take the easy path this time; I won’t just pretend earlier never happened. I won’t ignore the fact I hurt him in my own naive pursuit of comfort and happiness, but he’s not going to treat me like dirt forever because of it. I’ve paid the price for my decision already, and I’m not willing to pay for it again.
“Where will you go?” Oliver’s voice is soft and filled with concern as I put the last of my things inside the luggage and zip it up. I can also hear the roughness in his tone, indicating how hard he’s fighting his emotions, and he pulls me into a hug as I sit down next to him once more where he says, “Please don’t go. We both know you don’t have anywhere to go.”
It’s true. I’ve never been good at making friends, at least not since I was in high school, and Oliver has been my only one for eight years now. Our relationship isn’t healthy, and I know it. We’re co-dependent on one another, and it’s always been a problem. Which we’ve both ignored, of course, because we’ve been each other’s life.
“I won’t abandon you,” I say to him, lifting a hand and stroking his hair as he holds me tight against him while I try to ease his anxieties. “You need me, you call me, okay?”
“Same to you.” His voice is muffled in my shirt. “Don’t make me worry.”
We sit like that for a little while, and once he’s calmed down enough, I call for a taxi since I don’t have a car while he takes my stuff down to the front entryway of the building.
Grabbing my purse, I give one final look at the apartment I’ve lived in with Oliver for half a decade, and then head downstairs, stepping outside as the taxi pulls up. And as the driver gets out to put my stuff in the truck, Oliver takes me into his arms and presses one final, awkward-as-always kiss to my lips.
“I’ll miss you,” he whispers as he lets me go just as quick, stepping back and sliding his hands into his pockets, the look in his brown eyes reminding me of a forlorn puppy. “Just remember my door is always open.”
With a nod I say, “I’ll miss you, too,” and get in the taxi, tossing him a final wave as it drives away from the curb after I give the driver the address.
Sitting back, I examine the fact it’s insane to go to Zachary’s house, because well…he’s fucking married. I’m not sure what my plan is exactly. I just show up and announce what? How her husband fucked me and I let him? How we used to date, and I went against what he wanted for my own personal gain, so the sex was really just his anger, disbelief, and utter desire to fuck me once he saw me again?
I don’t even know why I’m going there. Or what I want. Not sure if I want a repeat of earlier, which left me with aching thighs and an arousal that springs to instant life when I think about how hard and fast he fucked me, or if I want to slap him across the face again after I tell his wife he cheated on her.
My whole body jerks, jumping as the driver says, “Hey lady, we’ve arrived. You getting out or what?”
“Sorry.” Face flushed, I look out the window to discover a beautiful two-story brick house staring back at me, the light by the front door shining brightly at me. I make sure Zachary’s car is in the driveway — which it is — before I say, “Got lost in thought.”
The man mutters something as he opens his door and gets out, walking around to take my things out
He looks at the bill, back up at me with his dark brown eyes widening in surprise at the blatant overpayment, and after a moment he nods toward the house. “You want me to wait?”
“Nope, but thanks for asking.”
Taking my luggage in hand, I turn toward the house as the driver tosses me one final nervous glance before getting back in the car. I’m still staring at the house as he drives away, and I wonder if I should’ve come here at all. This is a nice neighborhood, Zachary’s place of residence making it clear he’s no longer the poor boy I once dated, and I don’t miss the irony in this seeing I’m clearly the relatively poor one now. And besides, he made it clear he wanted to use me and throw me away; clearly, me coming to his house was not something he had in mind.
Taking a few deep breaths, I figure I’ve made it this far so I might as well go all the way, and walk up to the door. Ringing the doorbell once, holding it down for a few seconds for extra effect, I let a whole minute pass before I decide to ring it again.
But before I can do that, the door swings open, and there stands Zachary without a shirt on. My eyes instantly fall to his bare chest, the v and light dusting of hair leading straight down to the rim of his jeans, where they hang low on his hips and make you wonder what’s beneath. Well, if you had to wonder, which I don’t as I’m obviously intimately acquainted with his equipment.
“What are you doing here?”
His snarled words have me lifting my head and locking my eyes on his, my mouth turning down in a scowl to match his irritable tone, all while the spicy smell of whatever cologne he’s put on teases my senses.
But if he’s gonna be an ass then so am I. “I don’t know. Why do you smell like a cheap hooker?”
VIOLET HAZE SERIES:
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