She wrapped her arms around herself, knowing that if he’d said this before that damn Christmas party, she would have caved. She wouldn’t have gone to her parents’, nor would she be spending most of her nights crying.

“You hurt me.”

“I know, and I’m so sorry. I will do everything I can to make it up to you.” He took a step toward her, and this time she didn’t move back.

Instead, she took a step toward him. Gripping his black shirt, she rested her head against his chest. “I’m so scared.”

“You don’t need to be scared. I’m going to be here every step of the way.” His hands surrounded her, providing her the comfort she needed.

Closing her eyes, she allowed the warmth of his embrace to enfold her. She wanted to give in, she really did. They had such a good thing going, but she was afraid to. What if they were not meant to be?

“I’m going to prove it to you.” He cupped her face, making her look at him. “I want this. Let me prove it to you, please.”

She felt even worse that he was going to try to change, and be something he wasn’t. “You don’t have to—”

“Don’t do that, Nora. Don’t give me an out. I didn’t have any right to talk to you that way, or to treat you like shit. There is no right or wrong way I should have been. That is my bad, and I’m going to make it up to you.” He pressed his lips against hers. “It’s what I’ve got to do.”

Nora saw that it meant a lot of him, and she didn’t get it. Not really. He wanted them to be together, and even though he had hurt her, it wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t like he cheated on her, or made her do something she hated.

She had loved being with him, spending time, and getting to know the real him.


“Can I ask you a question?” she asked.

“Yes. You can ask me anything.” His thumb stroked across her cheek, and it was messing with her head right now.

“Which was real? The guy you’ve been for the past couple of weeks, or the guy that’s an asshole? I don’t know who is real, and who is not.”

“I’m real. The guy I’ve been with you. That’s real to me, okay? You and me, laughing, talking, just being together. I’ve never had that with anyone else before, and I don’t want to not have it with you. I will fight us for it. I won’t screw this up again.”

She believed him.


“You kept the dog?” Rex asked.

“Of course I kept the dog. Besides the fact you told me to, I wasn’t going to give him away,” Alaric said.

They were sitting in a coffee shop enjoying a freshly brewed coffee and Rex had ordered a scone. He wanted to see if they were nicer than the ones that Nora had made yesterday at the office.

“Where is the dog?” Rex asked, wrinkling his nose at the dry, stale scone. Nope, Nora had ruined his appetite for anything sweet that wasn’t made by her. He didn’t mind, it was just another thing to love about her.

“He’s at home right now.”

“So what exactly happened?” Rex asked. His best friend, Alaric, was intent on getting revenge on a rival businessman. The revenge was for Alaric to sleep with the guy’s daughter, and get her to fall in love with him. Not only did all of those things happen, but Alaric fell in love with her as well, screwing with all of his carefully ordered plans. Anyway, before Alaric could come clean and admit to it, Bella found out the truth, and in fact it was Rex that had taken her to see Alaric in his office. Good times … not. While Alaric had his drama, Rex had his own.

“So, you see that is what happened, and she’s giving me a chance. Or at least, her father is helping me to not screw up. What about you and your chubby little PA?”

“Nora’s not chubby.”

“So you do have feelings for her?” Alaric asked, taking a sip of his coffee. “I always knew you did. You were always complaining about her, but I don’t know, something didn’t seem right.”

“I love her, Alaric, and she’s pregnant with my kid.”

Alaric choked on his coffee, and started to cough. “Wait, what?”

“That’s right. I knocked up my PA at the same time you were trying to win over Bella. We both fucked up.”

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