Authors: J. L. Beck
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Short Stories & Anthologies, #Short Stories, #Romance, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College, #Contemporary Fiction, #Single Authors
A Bittersweet Novella Book Five
More by J.L. Beck
The Bittersweet Series:
(New Adult Contemporary)
Copyright 2014 by Josi Beck
Cover design by Sprinkles on Top Studio LLC
Cover photo by Shutterstock
Editing by Tina Donaldson
Formatting by Angela Shockley
All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means- except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews- without written permission from its publisher. Pirating this book may turn me into a raging bitch, and I hate doing that so please just buy the book so I don’t have to hunt you down. I hate having to do that.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarities to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Copyright 2014 by Josi Beck
All rights reserved.
To all the people who told me I would never make it as an author: Here’s to you lovely bitches! Hat’s off to you!
Table of Contents
The pain of losing him racked through my body. I had never lost someone before, and even though he wasn’t dead… it felt as if he was… as if I were to never see him again or feel his warmth surround me.
I paced the house, tears falling from my eyes. Looking at everything here just caused me more pain, hate, and anger.
“Why, God? Why?” I screamed at no one… After all, there was no one here to listen to me. My chest heaved as I slid down the wall, hitting the floor.
Were we ever really anything but hate? Was there even an ounce of love to show between us? In that moment, my eyes, of course, had to land on the one picture that I had of us from the Halloween party last year. There was a look of hate in both of our eyes, but there was also something so much deeper under the surface: an intensity that I know we both shared—a love.
My body was shaking as I stood up, barely getting my footing. I couldn’t see anything between the tears as my fingers gripped the wooden frame. Would we ever have this again? Would we ever have a love for us, for our baby?
My grip tightened as anger ripped through my already broken heart. How could he? How could he leave me here? How could he leave to become the person I knew he wasn’t. I knew there was a fear inside of him, but there was a fear inside of all of us. Everyone had an anger, rage, or hate that sometimes consumed them. No one was perfect.
But it wasn’t just about us anymore. It was about the baby growing inside of me… My eyes slid back down to the picture again. There would never be anything between us again… There would never be that stare…
A switch flipped in my mind, forcing me to let go. It was as if every wall within me came back up…
I flung the picture frame without a care and watched it shatter against the wall. The glass broke into tiny pieces that flew in every direction. The pieces of glass reminded me of my own heart. The jagged pieces that were left in his wake. I knew in that moment that for as long as I lived, those pieces would prick at my heart and be a constant reminder of the heartache I had endured. True love wasn’t supposed to be painful; it was beautiful. I would like to think that what we had was beautiful, beautifully destructive. I slid down the wall, pulling my legs up to my chest as my hands firmly grabbed onto my hair. How could I have given myself to him? How could I have been so stupid to assume he could be a different person? Love never changed anyone… I was stupid to think that it could.
Corey would always be as he was…
Is it possible to hate someone more than you already do? I am starting to think so. I can’t pull my eyes from the back of Corey’s head, no matter how hard I try. Had I known that I would have to share a class with him after our break up, I never would have tried with him or told him the truth. I knew that telling him I was pregnant would break him. I knew he would—no, I expected him, to run. After all, that’s what I would have done. But I can’t. I can’t run when our baby is attached to me. I can’t run from someone who needs me more than anything.
“You grip that pen any tighter, sweetheart, and you’re going to be covered in ink,” a male voice says behind me. It is rough and deep like the ocean or rather, like my problems. Either way, it kind of soothes me.
I turn around, my face saturated in anger. It seems no matter what kind of mood I am in, ever since things went downhill with Corey, all I know how to do is be mad.
“Thanks for the concern.” I reply sarcastically. My eyes linger on him longer than needed, and I know if I keep staring, we are going to have more problems. He is beautiful. His hair is cut short on the side and longer on top, a cross between really dark brown and black, but the longer I stare at it, the more it seems to look black. His eyes are an intense blue like the ocean, and his chin is clenched tightly and held high. His body is that of someone who works out often, and he’s at least a foot taller than I. He is trouble, huge trouble, trouble that I don’t need to be getting into.
“My name’s Declan Johnson,” he greets me, clearly ignoring my sarcastic comment and extending his hand to me. I look down at the large and calloused hand of a man who knows what hard work is.
I refuse to touch it, though. I haven’t touched another man since Corey, and I don’t plan on starting now. Instead, I swivel in my seat and direct my attention back to Corey. He is hunched over, examining a book or something. I can hear his laughter as he speaks softly to the guy next to him.
It has been two weeks since our break up and one whole week since he moved out. I grip the pen tighter as the memories of the day he moved come back to me. I grit my teeth, unable to hide my anger. I hate him and love him; more so, I hate that I love him. He left me in this condition to fend for myself and our child alone.
“A pretty girl like you staring at some douche canoe like him… Let me guess… He did you wrong in some way, shape, or form, and you’re contemplating whether or not you should throw that pen at the back of his head.” I feel Declan’s breath on my ear and smell the minty freshness of it. My mouth is gaping open, wondering if I honestly have all those thoughts written on my face.
I turn around to face him and find he’s barely back in his seat. I catch his one dimpled smile and work my way back up to his eyes. I try to glare, but I’m sure I just look like a pissed off cat or something. I wonder if I should tell him the truth or deny it since he basically has it figured out anyway.
“You’re right on that account - he is a total douche canoe,” I mumble under my breath. As much as Corey hurt me, I don’t really want to talk badly about him. At the end of the day, it does nothing for me to put him down, especially when part of him is growing inside of me. The professor dismisses us, but I remain in my seat to continue staring at the back of Corey’s head. He stands with whomever his new friend is and turns around to scan the room. He does this everyday as if he’s discreetly checking on me without acknowledging that he’s doing so.
Our eyes meet like they always do, and he looks at me with a sickening look of remorse. Just as soon as I notice it, though, it’s gone and replaced by a mask of someone unknown to me.
“He’s sorry, you know,” Declan observes behind me again. Does this guy ever shut up? He’s gorgeous, so he shouldn’t have to bother women for a date. Specifically, he shouldn’t be bothering me.
“How do you know?” I retort, not believing him. I shuffle the papers into my folder and grab my backpack to shove the rest of my crap in it. I don’t even know why I continue coming to class; it’s not as if I’m going to be able to keep attending once my baby is born. It’s beyond pointless, actually.
“I know because every day when class is dismissed, he turns around to look for you as his eyes become full of deep remorse and sadness. Plus, anyone can tell that he’s all mopey and shit from a mile away.”
I stand, making sure my shirt doesn’t pull too tightly against my stomach. I’m not showing much yet, but that doesn’t mean I want anyone to question me about it.
“I’m glad you think you have him figured out, but you don’t. Corey Winchester feels nothing for anyone but himself. Believe me. I’ve been there, done that, and earned the sticker, T-shirt, and mug. It was a great time, full of memories, but not worth the heartache,” I respond, pushing in my chair and making my way toward the door. I desperately want this guy to leave me alone, but at the same time, I don’t. I have no friends other than Jenna and Kennedy, and sometimes it’s good to see things from a new perspective.
“Hold up!” Declan yells from behind me. I stop dead in my tracks as the few students still in the auditorium turn around and look at me. I do what I do best and give them all a dirty look. Since finding out I am pregnant, I hate being watched or stared at. I feel as if I’m hiding a big, huge secret, and I worry that with just one look at me, someone will crack the code and expose all my secrets.
A hand lands heavily on my shoulder. I try to shrug it off, but it grips tighter. “Don’t touch me,” I warn, turning on him.
“Whoa, sweetheart, I wasn’t going to do anything. I just wanted to know if you wanted to meet up for lunch.” His question is just that - a question. There’s a sincerity on his face that looks as if he’s telling the truth. However, I’ve been fooled before, so I’ll pass. Fool me once, shame on you… Fool me twice, well, you know where that goes.
“No, thanks,” I answer, meeting his eyes and pulling away from him. I descend the stairs and hear a deep laughter emanate from his mouth.
“That’s fine. May I at least know your name?” he enquires with a hint of amusement in his voice. I shake my head, my curls falling into my face, and my lips form a smile for what seems like the first time in forever. This man, despite what his agenda may be, has given me a sliver of happiness in my dismal life.
“It’s Mimi Jones and don’t you forget it,” I respond, my smile proudly lighting my face still.
Just as my feet reach the bottom step, I think I hear the faint whisper of I won’t… meet my ears.
By the time I get back to my apartment, Jenna is already there unloading groceries for me. It’s times like these when you should be most thankful for your friends. When you can’t stand to get out of bed, they come and force you to brush your teeth, shower, and dress like a normal human. They make you whole and hold you up when you cannot do it yourself. That’s what true, forever friends do for each other. Friendship is more than just a glass of wine and a movie on Friday nights, it’s always being by your side when you need them.
“You do realize half the shit in your fridge is either rotten or something you shouldn’t be eating or drinking during your pregnancy, right?” she asks as I rummage through the bags she has on the counter. I shrug my shoulders at her.