Your Forever Love (The Bennett Family #3)(17)By: Layla Hagen
As Julie and Eric negotiate whether to do a marathon of all the movies or select a few, I push Alice and Nadine to the side.
“Girls, I know what you’re doing,” I murmur. “Stop.”
“Yeah, we thought you’d say that,” Alice replies.
“I’m not just saying it. I mean it.” I use my bigger sister tone, but unfortunately, it stopped being effective a million years ago.
As calmly as possible, I say, “Neither of us is—”
“You two need a push,” Nadine interrupts. “How was lunch?” She smiles suggestively. Ah, damn. Nadine and my brother Logan were the ones I staged the accidental lunch for about six months ago.
“Full disclosure,” Alice says, “I didn’t insinuate to Julie to invite you just to set you and Eric up. You need a distraction this weekend. You already turned down our offer for a girls’ night out.”
All my annoyance with my sister dissipates. Always looking out for me, even though the last thing I want in the world is to worry her.
“I’m fine,” I say a little too cheerfully. This Friday would have marked my fifth wedding anniversary. “I’ll be fine.”
“If you say so. Anyway, if you two don’t want anything to do with each other, how hard will watching a few movies be?”
Almost involuntarily, I glance over my shoulder and find Eric sizing me up. As his eyes find mine, I have my answer.
Very, very hard.
“These are wonderful,” I say, admiring the shoes I’m trying on. I’m in my favorite shoe shop in downtown San Francisco. The red pumps look ridiculously good on me.
“I set them aside especially for you,” the clerk says, winking at me.
“Oh, you’re a bad influence,” I tell her. I walk around in the store, admiring the shoes in the mirror. I don’t know why I love shoes as much as I do, but I’m sure it can be classified as an addiction.
“I can bring you more to try on,” she offers.
“No, no, or I’ll end up buying all of them.”
“So, you’re taking these?”
“You need to ask?” Toeing them off, I bend to take the shoes, then hand them to her. “Pack them up. On second thought, don’t. Pack my old ones. I’ll walk away in these.”
“Got it. Nothing like a new pair of shoes to brighten the day, right?”
“Amen to that.”
When I walk out of the store, I’m smiling ear to ear, which is what I needed today. I have fielded invitations from my family for the past two days. They all tried to convince me to join them for dinner on Friday evening, but I declined every time, assuring them I’ll be fine on my own. But today is Friday, and I’m not so sure I’m fine.
I remain in my office long after Julie and the team leave, drawing like a madwoman. It’s dark outside when I finally lift my head from my sketch. I put down my pencil, flexing my wrist. A glance at the clock tells me it’s ten. Sighing, I lean back in my chair, staring at the ceiling. I’m not ready to go home, not yet. Today of all days, I don’t want to be alone in my apartment. Maybe I should have taken my parents up on their offer to sleep at their house tonight, but they’d worry about me again.
Rubbing my temples, I flex my stiff neck to the right and the left. Thank God, this isn’t my fifth wedding anniversary.
On our first anniversary, Terence forgot to show up at the restaurant we had reservations at and bought me flowers the next day to apologize. On our second anniversary, he forgot about the reservation and didn’t even apologize for it. On our third one, I didn’t make any plans, and he didn’t bother to pretend he cared about the damn anniversary anyway. On our fourth one, we were in the process of getting divorced.
Today, on what would have been our fifth anniversary, I received a call from my lawyer. He informed me that Terence got himself a new lawyer and wants to appeal the court decision, which was in favor of not giving Terence a single penny, as was stated in the prenup. But apparently, this new lawyer found a loophole in the prenup, and Terence wants to fight again. Well, good. Let him fight. I will do the same. That bastard won’t get one cent.