Forever You(Forever Black #2)

By: Sandi Lynn

Chapter 7

I put the Range Rover in park and got out. The air was quite warm for this time of year. I looked out

into the ocean as I was searching for Ellery. The ocean looked beautiful at night with the moonlight

shining down, illuminating each wave that pushed its way to the shore. I can see why she wanted to

come here. I saw her down by the edge of the water as the light of the moon fell down upon her and

illuminated her silhouette. I could hear a light laughter coming from her as her feet touched the water.

She was so full of life; and a free spirit. I stood there with my hands in my pocket as I cleared my

throat.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” My voice angered.

She stood still and turned to look at me. “What are you doing here, Connor? Don’t you have things

to wrap up?”

“I’m here because you didn’t make it home and forced my driver to disobey my orders,” I said in

an abrupt tone.

“Well, it was such a beautiful night, and I wanted to be here; it’s my favorite place to visit.”

“There’s a time and place for that Ellery, and now is not the time.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but I’m not done here yet, and I’m not leaving.”

“Let’s go now, Ellery,” my voice commanded.

“Don’t be so grouchy, and if you want me to go, then you’ll have to catch me,” she laughed as she

started running down the beach.

“For fuck sake, Elle, you’re pissing me off!” I yelled as I started to chase after her.

I was catching up to her. I could tell she was becoming out of breath as she started to slow down. I

came up behind her, picked her up, and put her over my shoulder. I’m glad it was dark so she couldn’t

see my half smile. She was kicking and screaming as I was carrying her through the sand.

“Put me down, Connor Black!”

“Not a chance! You’ll just run again, and I’m done playing games.”

“I won’t, I promise. I’m out of breath anyway,” she said.

I knew she was out of breath, so I gently put her down. She immediately sat herself on the soft sand

in that expensive designer dress. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as she held her hand out to me

and asked me to sit next to her.

“I’m not sitting in the sand in this tuxedo,” I said.

She looked out into the night ocean waters and softly spoke, “Live a little, Connor, life is too

short.”

Her words were serious. She wasn’t playing anymore. Against my better judgment, I sat down next

to her. She didn’t look at me, but the corners of her mouth were slightly turned up. We sat in silence

for a moment. I was staring out at the water, trying to see what she saw. She came here for a reason,

and now something was on her mind. I was just about to ask her if she was ok when she started to

speak.

“It was my 16th birthday when I was diagnosed with cancer. Hey, happy sweet 16! Guess what,

you have cancer.”

I was stunned by what she had just said. Why was she telling me something so personal? I gulped

because I didn’t know what to say. Her voice was soft, and her eyes were focused out in the distant

ocean waters. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and hold her tight, but I couldn’t. I was afraid of

her reaction. I reached over and lightly took her hand in mine as I whispered, “You don’t have to do

this.” I watched her take in a sharp breath as she continued.

“I couldn’t bear the thought of my father having to go through that torture and pain again like he did

with my mother, so I decided I was going to spare him from having to.”

“Ellery,” I whispered as I leaned closer to her. I still had her hand in mine, and she didn’t try to

pull away. The feeling inside me was overwhelming as I softly rubbed her warm skin with my thumb.

“He was going out on one of his drinking binges, and I knew he wouldn’t be home until the middle

of the night, if at all, so that was my opportunity to put my plan into action. I filled the bathtub with hot

water, laid back, and took a razor blade to both my wrists. Can you believe it was the one night he

forgot his wallet and came back to the house? Talk about fate, right? He found me and called 911. I

almost didn’t make it; I had lost so much blood.”

I couldn’t say a word. I was choked up as I just sat there holding her hand. I was feeling her pain,

and it hurt me so much to know that my friend, this beautiful woman, went through something so

terrible.

“I guess God had other plans for me. I went through a year of chemo and went into remission. I was

given a second chance at life, and for that, I’m grateful. Like I said yesterday, I was young and stupid,

and I made a terrible mistake.”

The overwhelming need to hold her finally won. I let go of her hand and put my arm around her,

pulling her into me. She rested her head on my shoulder.

“That’s why you have this overwhelming need to help others, isn’t it?” I asked her as I lightly

kissed the top of her head. “You’re a good person, Ellery Lane,” I whispered in her ear.

Tonight was a turning point for me. Ellery let her guard down and showed me her broken side. I

knew when I saw the scars on her wrists that she had a troubled past. I never dreamed she would

have to fight cancer. She closed her eyes as she left her head resting on my shoulder. She was

exhausted, and it was late. I needed to get her home. I picked her up from the sand and carried her

across the beach. She put her arms around my neck and laid her head on my chest. I held her tight. I

needed her to feel safe with me. I opened the door to the Range Rover and gently laid her in the front

seat. She started to stir so I whispered to her, “Sleep, angel.”

I pulled out of the parking lot and drove to her apartment. I kept looking at her as she slept

peacefully. She looked like an angel. Everything I tried to bury tonight came back to the surface and

drowned my fears with a bit of hope. Maybe, just maybe, something more could come of our

friendship one day. I pulled up to curb of her apartment. Her purse was lying next to her so I opened it

and grabbed her keys. I got out and walked around to the passenger side, and I opened the door. I

carefully picked her up as she put her arms around my neck, and I carried her to the door. I inserted

the key, unlocking the door and lightly kicked it open with my foot. I carried her down the hallway to

her bedroom and gently laid her on the bed. I looked around the room and saw a blanket in the corner.

I walked over, picked it up, and covered her with it to keep her warm. I stood over her while she

slept and ran the back of my hand down her soft cheek. “Sleep well, angel, and sweet dreams.” She

didn’t move or make a sound.

I walked out of the bedroom and stood in the middle of her apartment. I looked around at the

practically bare space that is her home. It reminded me of a box. With the sale of her paintings, she

would be able to move into a bigger and better apartment. I made the decision that I was going to help

her find one.

***

The next morning after my shower, I sat on the edge of the bed and looked at my cell phone,

debating whether or not to text Ellery. I looked at my watch, and it was still early, but I decided to

send one anyway.

“Hi, I hope you slept well. I just wanted to see if you were up and how you were feeling.”

As I hit the send button, I could hear voices coming from downstairs. Who the hell is here at this

hour in the morning? I walked down to the kitchen where I found Ashlyn talking to Denny.

“Ashlyn, what are you doing here? Do you see what time it is?” I asked in an irritated voice.

“Good morning, Connor. You look quite handsome this morning,” she smiled as she walked over

and adjusted my tie.

I rolled my eyes and walked to the coffee pot. “Answer the question, Ashlyn.”

“Phil asked me to get these papers to you. He said he was sorry, but he won’t be in the office until

later, and he said you needed them for your meeting. So I told him I would deliver them personally to

you.”

She stood beside me and reached across to grab a cup. I sighed as I moved out of her way. “Thank

you for delivering the papers, Ashlyn, now you can leave.”

“Connor, why do you have to be so heartless? I’m riding in with you. Why should I pay for a cab

when we’re both going to the same place?”

I took my coffee and headed into my office to look over the paperwork before my meeting at Black

Enterprises. My phone chimed and there was a text message from Ellery.

“Good morning, Connor. I slept well, and I’m feeling fine; thank you for your concern. I hope

you have a terrific day, and don’t work too hard!”

I smiled as I read her words. I quickly replied. “I’m glad you’re feeling fine, and I always work

hard; it’s why I’m as successful as I am.”

“I believe that, and thank you for taking care of me last night. I owe you one!”

I looked at my watch, and if I didn’t get going, I was going to be late for my meeting. I quickly

responded back to her. “Consider it repayment for when you got me home safe. I have a meeting I

need to get to. TTYL!”

 “Bye, Connor.”

I stepped out into the hallway where Ashlyn was waiting for me.

“Denny is waiting in the limo for us,” she said.

“That’s where he waits every day, Ashlyn,” I sighed.

We climbed into the limo, and Ashlyn made her attempts on me. She leaned over and grabbed my

tie.

“Why don’t we get together tonight and have some fun? It’s been way too long, Connor, and I’m

going through withdrawals,” she whined.

I removed her hand from my tie. “I have plans for tonight. I’m sorry.”

“You always have plans lately,” she whined. “This doesn’t have anything to do with that girl you

were with last night, does it?”

“Ellery doesn’t have anything to do with it. I’ve explained to you a thousand times that I’ve been

busy. You work at Black Enterprises; you know how hard I’ve been working trying to secure the

acquisition of that company in Chicago.”

She reached over and grabbed my hand. “Connor, you need to take a break. I worry about you.”

I pulled my hand away. “Remember the rules, Ashlyn,” I scowled. She turned away and looked out

the window. I could see Denny glaring at me from the rearview mirror. We finally arrived at Black

Enterprises, and Ashlyn stepped out of the limo and onto the sidewalk. I followed behind her. As I got

out of the limo, I adjusted my tie that she messed with. I looked over into the crowd of people,

scurrying to get to their destination and saw Ellery a few feet away, standing in the middle of the

sidewalk, and staring at me as she held a Starbucks cup in her hand. She lightly smiled and waved. I

was furious at that moment because she must have seen Ashlyn getting out of the limo. The look on her

beautiful face was sad. God knows what she must be thinking right now. She tried to fake her smile,

but she couldn’t hide the fact that she was hurt. I saw the pained look on her face when she looked at

me. I couldn’t force a smile because I was upset that she saw us like this. I wanted to walk over to

her, hug her, and tell her how much I enjoyed last night, but I could only managed a small wave as I

walked into the building. Fuck, what am I going to do now? I hurt her again, just like last night when I

put her in the limo by herself to send her home.

***

My meeting had ended on a positive note, and I was in a fairly good mood. I had an idea, so I sent a

text message to Denny.

“I will be having dinner tonight with Miss Lane. I believe she told me last night that she gets off

work at 6:00 pm. I need you to pick her up from her place of employment and bring her to The

Steakhouse where I’ll be waiting for her.”

“Does she know she’s joining you for dinner?” he asked.

“She will when you pick her up.”

“Very well, Connor.”

I got the impression from that last text that Denny didn’t believe Ellery would have dinner with me

tonight.

I wrapped up the day and looked at my watch. It was already 5:30 pm. I stepped out of the office

and hailed a cab to the restaurant. I sat in a booth and waited for Ellery to join me. I wanted to talk to

her about what she saw this morning. I didn’t know how I was going to explain it, but I had to think of

something quick. It was 6:30 pm, and Denny should’ve been here by now. Just as I was about to pull

my phone out and call him, I noticed him walking towards me.

“Miss Lane told me to tell you she’s not available this evening and that she has plans. She also said

that if you want to have dinner with her, then you should pick up the phone and ask her,” he started to

laugh.

“I’m glad you’re finding this amusing, Denny.”

“I’m sorry, Connor, but she doesn’t take orders from anybody. She’s one-of-a-kind.”

I shook my head and looked down. “She’s mad about this morning. I know she is. You’re right,

Denny, she is one-of-a-kind, and I need to make things right. Take me to her apartment,” I said as we

exited the restaurant.

“She’s not at her apartment,” Denny said.

“How do you know?”

“I followed her after she declined your dinner invitation. She’s dining alone at a pizza place called

Pizzapopolous.”

“Then it looks like I’m having dinner there tonight.”

I stood in front of the window and watched her as she sat at a small table, fumbling for something

in her purse. She looked just as beautiful as she did last night. I walked through the door of the small

restaurant and sat down across from her. She looked up at me and rolled her eyes. That attitude of

hers was arousing.

“So this is where you want to have dinner?” I asked.

She cocked her head to the side. “Yes, Connor, this is where I’m having dinner tonight, and I don’t

believe you were invited.”

I put my hand over my heart. “Ouch, that stings, Ellery. I invited you to dinner, and you turned me

down, so I took it upon myself to join you.”

“How do you know I want company?” she asked.

I put my hands on the table and folded them. “I don’t, but since I’m here, we might as well dine

together,” I said as I looked around the restaurant.

She shook her head and lightly smiled. I opened up the menu and glanced at it as the waitress

stopped at our table to take our orders. I used to eat pizza when I was a kid. I haven’t had it in years

and I wasn’t about to start now. Just as I placed my order for an antipasto salad, Ellery reached over

and grabbed the menu from my hands.

“You can’t sit in a pizza place and only get a salad.” she said.

The waitress was eyeing me and wouldn’t stop to look at Ellery. She cleared her throat to get her

attention.

“We’ll have a large deep dish with pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives, and a large antipasto

salad with an order of bread sticks,” she smiled.

I brought my finger up and rested it on my lips, “Do you actually think I’m going to eat that pizza?”

“I don’t think you are; I know you are,” she smiled.

Damn that smile. I’m finding it very difficult to say no to this girl. It’s like she has some control

over me, and I just can’t help it when I’m around her. The waitress brought the pizza and set it in the

middle of the table. I looked at it and then at Ellery who was putting a slice on my plate. I grabbed my

fork and knife and started to cut into it when out of nowhere, she startled me.

“What, are you kidding me?! Put that down right now, Connor Black!”

“What? What the hell is wrong?”

“You are not eating pizza with a fork and knife,” she said as she leaned over the table and took

them from my hands.

“Then how the hell am I supposed to eat it?” I frowned.

“Like this; pick it up and bite into it,” she said as she chewed.

“That’s disgusting, and don’t talk with your mouth full.”

She cocked her head, and a smirk came upon her face. “If you won’t do it, then I will,” she said as

she grabbed the pizza from my plate and held it to my mouth.

“Bite,” she demanded.

I raised my eyebrows at her, “Do you have any idea how sexy that sounds?” I winked. That was the

sexiest thing coming from her, and I started to get aroused.

I couldn’t deny this beautiful woman who was holding a slice of pizza in my face, so I opened my

mouth and took a bite. It was worth it just to see the smile on her face.

“My turn,” I smiled back at her.

“Your turn for what?” she asked.

I took the pizza and held it up to her mouth.

“Bite,” I demanded.

I couldn’t help but smile because she was so damn cute when she took that bite. We sat and talked

about art while we ate pizza, salad, and bread sticks. I was having a great time in Pizzapopolous,

sharing pizza with Ellery. A part of me was glad she turned me down for the first dinner invitation.

Her phone rang and she answered it with a strange look on her face. I pulled out my phone to check

my messages, and I looked up to see a tear running down her cheek. Her face turned from happy to

pain in a matter of seconds. Without even realizing what I was doing, I reached for her hand that was

resting on the table. She was as white as a ghost when she hung up the phone, and I became worried.

She had received the devastating news that her aunt and uncle were just killed in a car accident. She

said she needed to get out of there as she quickly stood up from her chair. I threw some money on the

table and followed her out of the restaurant. She looked confused as she stepped onto the sidewalk. I

put my arm around her and held her as she stumbled on the sidewalk a couple of times. She was in

shock, and I needed to get her into the limo so she could sit down.

I helped her into the back seat and climbed in beside her. I didn’t say a word; I just wrapped my

arms around her and pulled her into me to let her know that I cared. She clenched my shirt in her

hands and started sobbing into my chest. I kissed her on her head and held her tight, letting her cry for

as long as needed to.

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