Perfectly Imperfect(9)By: Harper Sloan
My eyes connect with his, but I hold it in. I draw on the inner strength I have left and keep my face passive.
“Have a nice life, sister dear.”
I watch as they gather their things. Brad places the official paperwork copy of our divorce neatly in his briefcase, and his arm wraps—easily—around Ivy’s waist as they go to leave the room.
“Take care of it, Willow. I no longer desire to have any part of me touching you any longer than necessary. The Tate’s reputation upholds a level of perfection that you no longer manifest.”
He doesn’t wait for me to respond—not that I would have. Instead, he ushers my witch of a sister right out the door … slamming it for good measure.
I look back down, my belly rolling over the button of my black slacks, and sigh. He’s right. I’m about as far from perfect as it gets. I’m sure when the evil queen looks into her enchanted mirror and asks who the fairest of them all is, my image never pops up.
I reach up and swipe at the one tear that slips past my hard-built shell and vow right then and there that no one will ever make me feel like this again.
No matter what it takes; from this moment on, I will never allow this feeling to define me. Hell, it hadn’t been one I’d entertained in months. With the help of my friends and my therapist, I had come so far, and just like that—he easily knocked me right back down.
When I leave the lawyer’s office, the lunch crowd is starting to rush through the busy streets. My body is craving some food—not just because it’s well past my normal lunch hour, but also to help me emotionally cocoon myself. The desire to fall back on old coping methods is strong, but I push it away as I remember my vow back in the conference room. I walk past all the establishments I would normally jump right in line at; I rush past my favorite little Italian restaurant and keep going until I’m all but running down the busy New York streets. Bumping into people in my madness, I’m getting yelled at left and right. I don’t slow one bit; I just power walk through my gasps for breath. Finally, when I see my building ahead, I allow myself to slow.
The Logan Agency, my father’s pride and joy, is all the way on the fifty-seventh floor. Even through the long elevator ride up, stopping every few floors to let more people off, my breathing doesn’t return to normal.
It takes me a good ten minutes after sitting down at my desk before I’m able to breath without the tightness and stinging in my lungs.
“Willow, my coffee, now,” my father barks through the intercom. I look down at my phone and wonder, not for the first time, what would happen if I threw it at the floor-to-ceiling ‘wall’ that separates his office from where my desk sits outside his door. “And don’t forget, only three sugars this time,” he orders before slamming down the phone—severing the connection to my own intercom system.
This ends today, Willow, I think to myself as I mix in his sugar—just three packs—with the stirring stick. With each turn of my wrist, I solidify the vow I made earlier.
I will never, ever allow someone to get close enough to hurt me again. I will do everything possible to claw out of this heavy shell I’ve grown around myself.
I let the strength and motivation today’s events have given me sink in. The push I’ve needed to take the final steps toward making myself someone better. Someone I could like. But even with that determination coursing through my veins, all I feel is more and more hate. Hate for those around me. Hate for the way I allowed Brad and Ivy to make me feel one inch tall again. Hate for being so freaking weak I let myself fall down. Back to the person I used to be. A person I hate down to my very core.
I have nothing left to lose.
Nowhere else to go but up.
It’s time to finally be the Willow I can love.
Even if no one else can.
Six months later
“WILL, GET IN HERE, BABY!”
I roll my eyes as I continue to gather the nail polish and remover we’ll need and tossing them into the basket by my side.
“Willow Elizabeth! You don’t want to miss this fine-ass man!”
There really is no telling who my lust-sick best friend is talking about. Truth be told, there really isn’t a man Edward Hart doesn’t find bed worthy. I love Eddie, God do I, but I swear that man is incapable of thinking about anything other than sex.
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