My Forever Is You, Book 1: ReunitedBy: Ashley Blake
I got a full ride to college and Jake, I would learn after three months of dating him, had a building on campus named after his family. After I found out that he was Jake Hunter, billionaire heir to Hunter International, I felt a little bit insecure because he came from old money but I never let my insecurity show. His family was not just rich, they were wealthy. But Jake was very down to earth and he never made me feel like I wasn't good enough.
We were pulling an all-nighter studying for finals at the end of our first semester freshman year, when Jake told me he loved me for the first time. I remember we were at an all night diner and I was on my second pot of coffee slurping the last sip when I looked over to see him smiling at me:
“Do I have something on my face?” I made a silly face at him.
“No, you look perfect.” His eyes were dancing as he looked at me, and he kept staring at me.
“What?” I let out a nervous laugh as his gaze became more intense.
Jake suddenly looked very serious as our eyes locked.
“I love you Lauren.”
My stomach did flips as I heard the words I had been dying to say myself. I smiled at him. “I love you too.”
His family had always been very kind to me and very welcoming when I would go to their mansion for Christmas dinner or go with them on family vacations. His mother adored me and the feeling was mutual.
I grew up in Wisconsin and my family did not have a lot of money by any means, but we were a tightknit group. We didn’t have any secrets and we were very open about everything. I knew I was lucky and that most families were not like mine. I talked to my mom and dad almost every day and my siblings at least once a week. Both of my parents were public schoolteachers and they raised four kids on their small salaries. I had two brothers and one sister and our parents gave us a lot of love and did their best to give us everything that we needed. We all wore hand-me-downs and rarely had anything new. The Goodwill was my mother's favorite store because she was able to buy clothes and shoes for all of us without going broke. Luckily, we were all smart, focused and ambitious and we were all able to get full scholarships to college. Our parents instilled a lot of confidence in us and constantly told us that we could grow up to be anything that we wanted to be. My older brother and my sister were doctors, my younger brother was a brilliant and talented artist and I was a lawyer. I had wanted to be a lawyer for as long as I could remember and my ultimate goal was to own my own law firm. This is where Jake and I started to have trouble and eventually parted ways.
Upon graduation, Jake was expected to join his family’s company back in New York City. I was accepted into law school in New York and Chicago. I decided to go to school in Chicago because it was the better of the two schools. Jake was really upset with me because he wanted me to go to school in New York so that we could be together. I told Jake that I had to go to the better school to give myself the best chance of getting a great job when I graduated. He didn't want to hear any of that. He told me that his family would be able to find a job for me anywhere I wanted. That statement annoyed me because Jake knew that I was a hard worker and that I worked for everything that I had. I was not one to take any kind of hand out. We had a pretty big argument that day and I didn't talk to him for a couple of days.
As I thought about things between us I knew Jake only wanted the best for me. He would never do anything to hurt me and I could see that he was afraid he would lose me. As we got closer to graduation, Jake was becoming more and more tense that I was moving to Chicago. He didn’t want to work for his family’s company; he just wanted to be with me. But his family had big plans for him. Jake was being groomed, along with his older brother Joshua, to run the company. They were going to be responsible for a billion dollar company one day. I couldn’t let him throw everything away. He had to at least give it a try to see if he liked working for his family. And if I was around, I was afraid he was going to let it all go down the drain. So the night before we graduated, I broke up with him. I told him that he needed to move on with his life. We both cried a lot and he told me that I was breaking his heart. It killed me to see him like that but I didn’t want him to throw his future away because of me.
After graduation Jake emailed and called me constantly, but I didn’t respond. I knew that if I talked to him, I would give in and tell him that I wanted him to wait for me. But that wasn’t fair to him. He had a huge family obligation to uphold and in that kind of wealth, it is expected that you fulfill your obligations. I knew that he would probably leave his family’s company and move to Chicago to be with me. It was really important to me that I was not the reason for any of Jake’s professional decisions. I was afraid he would resent me if he left his family’s company and things didn’t work out between us and I didn’t want him burning any bridges with his family.