Frayed Page 70

Don\ get me wrong the constant guilt is still there. Time can never fully heal those wounds. But I had come to accept my decision and because of that, I was able to start anew. It hadn\ been easy. My wounds ran deep. Yet somehow I was confident that I could continue to heal. My choices had led me to where I ended up. I had accepted that. When I started down this path, I was a young, immature woman. And once I made my decision, I was a lost girl who looked for love in all the wrong places.

Now I\ve turned my life around. I\m doing great well, not great but really well. Sure, my job sucks. Working for Tate Wyatt started as a dream job, but the novelty wore off the more his attention toward me bled into possessiveness. I am handling it, though. And I don\ really love living here. However, I\m not home that often and my family stops by or I visit them often.

But the hardest thing about telling Ben is that I\m feeling lost again, and I can\ shake the feeling. All the memories keep swooshing around in my head and I can\ get them out. I spent all day in bed and called in sick on Monday, but Tuesday comes way too fast. I wake up from a dream. The same dream I always have but this time instead of smiling I yell, ’’Damn you, Ben Covington, you came back into my life with all your charm and turned my world around one minute, then upside down the next just like you did to me before.’’ My mind keeps repeating over and over, You should have known better. You did know better. You kept yourself at a distance. You tried so hard to stay aloof. But the more time you spent with him, the more time you wanted to spend with him. I shake my head, saying to myself, ’’Yeah, it\s all true but it doesn\ make it any better.’’

My legs swing onto the floor and I push myself into the shower, drag myself out of it, force myself to dry my hair, dab on a minimal amount of makeup, and dress as casually and comfortably as I can for work and still get away with it.

With coffees in hand I enter the showroom. Tate is standing at Josie\s desk with his arms crossed talking to her. His head snaps up.

I cross the room, stopping at Josie\s desk. ’’Coffees for everyone.’’ I manage a smile.

Tate takes his and with a huff he storms off. His door slams, but before I can say anything to Josie, it reopens. ’’Bell, I need you in my office in fifteen minutes.’’

I nod and his door slams again.

’’What\s going on with you?’’ Josie asks, clearly concerned.

’’Nothing.’’ I take the lid off my coffee.

’’You look like shit.’’

’’Jeez . . . thank you.’’

She laughs. ’’Seriously, where have you been and what\s the matter? I left you a message and yesterday Tate was the biggest ass**le that ever walked on the planet. Did something happen?’’

I don\ want to break down at work. ’’Oh, Josie, so much has happened, but Tate is the least of my worries. He showed up at my event on Friday with Romeo.’’ I lower my voice. ’’I think they may have been having a threesome.’’

’’With you?’’ she asks, shocked.

’’No!’’

’’Holy shit, those are two hot men. I bet they both have big ’’

I cut her off. ’’Ewww . . . don\ say it. I am not interested in either of them and definitely not the two of them together.’’

’’But you\d be in between.’’ She tips her coffee cup in my direction.

I start to walk away. ’’Not interested.’’

’’What happened to Glow Boy?’’

’’Glow Boy?’’ I toss over my shoulder.

’’The one who had you glowing brighter than a firefly for the last few weeks.’’

’’He dumped me.’’

’’So you were shagging him,’’ she says, not exactly quietly.

’’Shhh . . . And I was not.’’

’’Well, whatever you were doing it\s better than what I\m doing.’’

’’And since when do you say shag?’’

She smiles and shrugs. ’’Seemed appropriate.’’

I toss my stuff on my desk and flop in my chair. ’’Hey, are you doing okay?’’

’’Me? Ha! Me and Bob are doing great.’’

’’Bob? Who\s Bob?’’

’’B.O.B.,’’ she spells out.

’’Oh.’’ I laugh, thinking I haven\ used mine in so long I kind of forgot about it.

’’Oh is right,’’ she says, turning around.

I turn on my computer and think that at least work will take my mind off Ben for a little bit.

’’Bell, are you coming?’’ Tate\s voice booms from his office door.

’’Yes, let me grab a pad and pen. I\ll be right there.’’

Josie turns around. ’’Just remember, big . . .’’

I cover my ears. ’’Don\ say it.’’

She doesn\ know we dated, because I ended things before she started work here. And although I never actually had se* with him, I am very well aware how big he is from the couple of times he shoved my hands down his pants during some heavy make-out sessions. The thing was, I\ve never needed more than first base with a guy. I do like to feel wanted, but the actual se* part isn\ important to me until Ben. Don\ get me wrong, I\ve slept with my fair share of men. Any boyfriend\s end game is to score, but I don\ always let them win. Sometimes I cut them loose because I just don\ feel any connection, but there are times when I\ve drunk enough to get myself in the mood and then I feel something, and something is better than nothing. But those times are past.

I keep my eyes down as I pass Josie\s desk for fear she\ll make me laugh. Tate\s door is cracked open. I knock. ’’Can I come in?’’


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