My Forever Is You, Book 1: Reunited

By: Ashley Blake

It was the day after my mother’s birthday party, I was all packed for our flight back to New York the following day, and I was sitting in the backyard of mother’s gorgeous estate, taking in the beautiful scenery. It had been a long, exhausting five weeks. My brother Joshua and I had been in Dubai on business for a month and my girlfriend Vivienne tagged along. We stopped in California on the way back to New York for a week to celebrate our mother’s birthday. I heard footsteps behind me as mother joined me. She sat in the chair next to me and lightly touched my hand.

“Jake, I am so happy that you were here to celebrate with me. I had a wonderful party. I’m sad to see you go tomorrow, but I know you are very busy with the company and you must get back.”

I looked over at my beautiful mother and smiled at her.

“Mother, I am always just a phone call away. If you ever need anything you know that Joshua and I will be here in a split second. Yes, we are busy with the company. But that is good, business is very good right now.”

“Your father would be so proud of you.” Pride filled her eyes. “There is something I want to talk with you about.”

I looked at her wondering what was on her mind.

“I am not trying to meddle; I just know when my son is not happy. And you don’t seem happy Jake.”

Mother did know me very well. I was never able to hide my feelings from her.

“I am sure Vivienne is a lovely girl.”

I had to hold back my chuckle because I knew my mother could not stand my girlfriend Vivienne.

“But I don’t see the light in your eyes that I saw when you were with Lauren.”

My mother loved Lauren. She was almost as upset as I was when Lauren broke up with me 10 years ago back in college. Lauren Harper was my first and only true love. We met freshman year at college in Massachusetts and we were inseparable practically from day one. I loved everything about her and I was sure that she would be my wife one day. I didn’t tell her that I was Jake Hunter of Hunter International at first because I wanted to be sure that she liked me for me. I didn’t want her to know that I was a billionaire. Three months after we had been dating, I finally told her who my family was and she was not fazed. That was one of the many things I loved about her. Lauren came home with me for many of our college breaks and she vacationed with my family often. Everyone loved her. I was planning to ask Lauren to marry me the day of graduation. I bought a beautiful ring and had my proposal all planned.

I was being groomed to run the family business with my older brother Joshua and I was conflicted because I wanted to be with Lauren. She was accepted into several law schools and narrowed them down to Chicago and New York. She decided to go to school in Chicago and I was devastated. I decided that I was going to tell my family that I was not going to be a part of the family business and I was going to pursue some sort of career in Chicago. I had no idea what kind of job I would look for, all I cared about was being with Lauren.

Lauren did not want me to leave my family’s business, she felt I would be throwing away an incredible opportunity. I didn’t want to leave her so I told her that my mind was made up. This led to the biggest argument we’d had ever had. She didn’t speak to me for a couple of days and I was miserable. And then the night before graduation Lauren shattered my heart into a million pieces when she broke up with me. I was completely blind-sided. I begged her not to leave me, not to throw away what we had. But she was adamant about her need to focus solely on law school.

Lauren was a very driven woman and she worked hard for everything she had. She said she didn’t want any distractions while she was in law school. She told me that if we were meant to be together, then one day we would be. I had no choice but to accept her decision. I couldn’t get out of bed for days. My poor mother was worried sick about me. I tried to contact Lauren several times after graduation but she didn’t return my calls or emails.

Eventually I pulled myself together and joined my family's company as the Chief Financial Officer and it turns out I really enjoy the position. In hindsight, Lauren was right about me joining the company. I would have thrown away so much if I would have walked away from this opportunity.

That break up with Lauren changed me. I was no longer the mild-mannered, easy-going man I used to be. That “nice” Jake was reserved for those who had not hurt me, who I felt I could trust. The list was very short. Unfortunately, Vivienne was not on that list. I knew that I was not always nice to her but she seemed to like my aggressive side, the side that told her what to do. And I learned that I liked to be in control. I had a wall of steel built around my heart and I was fine with that. I didn’t know if I would ever let a woman in again.

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