My Forever Is You, Book 1: ReunitedBy: Ashley Blake
I cleared my throat, told myself to breathe and finally was able to utter words.
“Hi Jake, it’s nice to see you.” My voice was cautious and soft. He was so gorgeous. I felt the familiar heat between my legs as my eyes studied his. My body responds like this still? Even after all this time?
I could see a glimmer of hurt in his eyes and then it was replaced by complete stoicism. There was barely any emotion emanating from him and I couldn’t tell if he was happy to see me.
He reached out to hug me and it felt forced but I hugged him back. I inhaled his familiar scent and didn’t want to let go.
“It’s good to see you as well.” He looked at me for a long time and I started to squirm under his gaze. I noticed that he had a few flecks of grey in his hair and he looked more muscular. He was even more gorgeous than I had remembered and my stomach was going crazy. He looked more like a man now and it was very sexy.
“I’m surprised to see you here.” I had to say something to break his gaze on me.
“Oh, I think I see Allison! I’m going to go say hi. Adam, you remember Allison don’t you? We should both go say hi. I’ll find you later Lauren. Good to see you Jake!” Amy quickly ducked away, pulling a reluctant Adam along with her.
Jake chuckled for just a second and then he was stone faced again.
“Subtly is not Amy’s strong point.” I tried to loosen things up but Jake didn’t respond. You could have cut the tension with a knife. I could see people glancing at us out of the corner of my eye.
“Can we go somewhere else and talk?” I didn’t know if he would be receptive to my request but I had to take a chance. I didn’t want everyone staring at us. Who knows what they were thinking seeing us together after all this time. I was sure we would be the talk of the reunion and I had to get Jake to talk to me. I didn’t want the whole trip to be uncomfortable for anyone.
“Sure. Let’s go to the other side of the deck. We should have some privacy there.”
I followed him and we walked in silence to the other side of the boat. We stood at the railing and stared out at the water for a while. The glass in my hand felt cool even though the ice was almost all melted. The wind blew through my hair as I stood there amazed that I was actually with Jake after all of these years. But something was different about him. He seemed hardened. After a few minutes, Jake finally spoke first.
“How have you been Lauren? How has life treated you the last 10 years?”
I told him about my success with law school, that I was able to get a job at a top law firm and that I made partner a few years ago. I also told him how I liked living in Chicago and how cool it was to live right downtown.
He congratulated me on my success and it seemed sincere.
“What about you Jake? I assume you’re working for your family’s business?”
“I am. I’m the Chief Financial Officer and Joshua is the Chief Executive Officer. I’ve learned a lot about the business and I have to say I enjoy running it with my brother. My dad always told me he never had any doubt that we would do well with the company and that makes me feel good.”
I knew that Jake’s dad had passed away while we were in college, and Jake had always wanted to make him proud. I was happy to see that things were going well with him and the company. I looked at him and tried not to stare. His face was more mature and he had small wrinkles in the corners of his eyes. You are so gorgeous.
I could see a strained look on his face and I could tell that he was holding something back.
“Now that we have all of the formalities out of the way, I think we should really talk.” He had a pretty serious look on his face and I was nervous about what was coming. I knew that I had broken his heart and I hoped that he didn’t hate me for it. We sat at a nearby table and the question I had been dreading came out of his mouth.
“Why did you break up with me before graduation? Was it really about work?”
I definitely saw hurt in his eyes and I hated that it was me that made him feel that way. I looked down at the floor and took a deep breath. My heart was pounding. I took a sip of my drink before responding to him. He was searching my eyes for an answer.
“I didn’t want you to throw your life away because of me. Jake, you were offered an incredible opportunity to work for your family’s BILLION dollar business. And you were going to throw all of that away for me! I couldn’t let you do that. If things didn’t work out between us you would have resented me and I didn’t want that. I wanted you to take that opportunity and see if it was what you wanted to do, and decide on your own if it was right for you. I didn’t want to be an influence in any way. I broke up with you because I wanted the best for you. And from what you just told me, you made the right decision going to work for your family.”