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Authors: Jessica Wood

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #General, #Contemporary, #Erotica

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BOOK: The Day to Remember
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“Well, I hope it’s better than what you had anticipated.”

“Definitely,” she laughed.

Then her expression immediately changed and became serious. “Don’t hurt me again,” she said in a serious tone as she gently hit my arm.

I smiled at her. “I won’t. I promise.” I kissed her again, trying to reassure her that I meant it, trying to reassure myself that I wouldn’t. I would not be able to live with myself if I hurt her again. I pushed away those thought. “Well, if you’re free, can I stop by after work? Let’s say 7 p.m.? I need to pick up a few things, but I can pick up some dinner and we can hang out. How does that sound?”

“It sounds nice,” she smiled—a smile that put a smile on my face. “Just one problem,” she continued.

My body tensed. “What?”

“I’m not sure I trust you with food, so don’t bring over dinner. I’ll cook.” Her playfulness made me laughed and it was this same playfulness that I loved and felt at ease with.

“Deal. Even though you almost burned down my place last time with that
au jus
sauce, I’ll put my life in your hands and let you cook,” I teased back.

We smiled and looked at each other in silence, and for a brief moment,
the hubbub of other people on the pier became muffled and distance, and all that mattered was Emma. Emma and me. Together.

***

I heard my phone go off in the bedroom as I stepped out of the shower.
Maybe it was Emma
, I thought with a smile. Emma had texted a few times after work to figure out what we’d be having for dinner. I was pretty sure we had decided on some curry butter chicken thing. I think I’ve had that once at an Indian restaurant. She also mentioned some grilled asparagus with cheese or something. I’ve had grilled asparagus and enjoyed it, but I didn’t have the heart to question her about the cheese part, or about grilled asparagus with Indian food.
Maybe I should stop by McDonald’s on the way there just to be on the safe side.

I s
haved and slapped on some aftershave before getting dressed. I wanted tonight to be special. I’ve already picked up the things I needed on my way home. I hope she’ll enjoy everything. I loved her genuine surprise and joy when I planned our first night together on the terrace. I was surprised at just how happy her reaction had made me.

Just then my phone went off again.
It must be Emma again
. I looked around for my phone, trying to remember where I last left it. I followed the sound, and finally found it in the breast pocket of the suit that was laid out on the leather recliner next to my bed. I quickly picked up the phone and answered before it could go to voicemail. “Hey, sorry, I couldn’t find my phone,” I said breathlessly. “Sorry, I think I’ll be a few minutes later, but I’m heading over now. Don’t eat all the curry butter chicken.” I laughed.

My laughed came to an abrupt stop when I heard
the voice that came from the other end of the phone.

“Were you expecting someone else?

It was Desiree.

“Oh, hi Des.”
Why was she calling?

“Wow, don’t try to sound too excited to hear from me,” she said flatly.

“I’m sorry, Des, but after the mess you made by telling Emma you’re my girlfriend, I’m not really in the mood to talk to you. Besides, I’m in a hurry. What’s up?” I tried my best to sound patient.

“In a hurry?
” she asked as she ignored everything else I said. “Let me guess? Are you going to go see that girl?”

I felt annoyed by Desiree’s dismissiveness. “If you mean Emma, then yes, I am. I’m dating her, Des. I’m happy. I hope you can understand that.”

There was silence on the other line.

“Des? Why did you call? Do you need something?”
I tried to keep my voice even, devoid of my growing irritation.

“Well, I was just
calling to let you know that I’ll be heading back to L.A. tomorrow and wanted to see if you wanted to grab breakfast before I left town.”

“Des, I have work tomorrow. You know that.”

“I do, but you’re also the boss, you don’t have to be there right on time. Consider it a breakfast meeting.”

I sighed. Des was
always a persistent person. It was that same persistence that had saved me those many years ago when I tried to shut everyone out as I mourned over my mother. The persistence that had saved me from falling too far into the abyss of the depression I had been spiraling down towards. And for that, I was thankful. “Okay, Des,” I sighed, “Just a short breakfast.”

“Awesome!” she said excitedly, “Oh, and I have some exciting news to share!”

 

Chapter Three

Emma

The intercom buzzed and I smiled.
That must be Brandon
.

“Hi,” I said into the intercom.

“Hey you, it’s me. Are you going to buzz me in this time?” he asked teasingly.

“Careful there
, or I won’t,” I teased back and then pressed the button to let Brandon through the lobby door downstairs. Excitement shot through me as I waited for Brandon to come up from the lobby. I thought about how much of a difference 24 hours could make and laughed at myself. It had all been a misunderstanding. Desiree was his ex, and
I
was his girlfriend. I smiled and realized how much I had overreacted.

A knock on the door brought me out of my thoughts. I went to open
it and was greeted with a bouquet of rich dark pink peonies and Brandon standing there with a gorgeous wide smile.

“Hi,” I said breathlessly, “those are beautiful! How did you know I love peonies?
These aren’t even in season.”

“I have my ways,” Brandon said teasingly and he gave me a warm hug and kissed my right cheek.

Must be Sarah
, I thought. “Thanks. You’re too sweet.” I took the peonies from him and found a vase to put them in.

“So th
is is your place,” Brandon said from somewhere behind me.

I
turned around and blushed with embarrassment as I also looked around my tiny studio apartment and thought of Brandon’s amazing condo that was probably 20 times the size of this place. “Yeah, it’s not much, but it’s close to work.”

“No, I didn’t mean it that way.
” Brandon smiled. “I meant, I like it, it feels like you.” He looked at me warmly.

“What do you mean by that?”

“Well, it’s homey and filled with signs of love,” he said as he walked the few steps towards my bookshelf and looked at the photos of me with my mom and friends. “It’s a reflection of who you are,” he said as he looked up at me. “You don’t seem to know it, but you have a way of making people feel comfortable around you and you give people a lot of love.” He smiled at me in a way that took my breath away.


Thanks.” I was touched by his words and filled with a wave of emotions to hear the way he thought of me.

“Is this your mom?
” Brandon asked.

“Yeah,” I said as I saw the picture of my mom and me at
my graduation commencement ceremony. I smiled at the memory of that day. Besides my move-in day freshman year, that was the only time my mom visited me on campus. She lived in Sacramento, which was a six to seven hour drive to Los Angeles, and she could not afford to take off that much time from work. I loved my mom and wished she could have visited more often so we could spend more time together. But I knew she had a lot of debt from the all the years of raising me as a single mom. So when she visited L.A. for my graduation, it meant a lot to me that she was there, and that picture reminded me of everything she has done for me in my life.

“I don’t see any pictures of your dad.” Brandon’s comment pulled me from my thoughts and a wave of sadness hit me. He looked over at me and saw the pain in my eyes and immediately said, “I’m sorry, Emma. I didn’t mean to …”

“It’s okay. You’re right, there isn’t a picture of my father.” I paused. “I actually don’t know what he looks like. He was never a part of my life.” I looked away from Brandon as tears filled my eyes. I walked over to the stove to remove the chicken out of the oven where it had been warming.

“I’m sorry, Emma,” came Brandon’s voice from behind me and I felt h
im gently put his arms around me from behind. I turned around to face him and I saw the concern in his warm, brown eyes. “I didn’t mean to … do you want to talk about?”

“It’s okay, but I don’t really want to talk about it right now. Is that okay?” I was
not ready to talk about the father that was never a part of my life. A man who I had hated for so long.

“Of course,” he said softly as he leaned down and kissed my forehead. He pulled away and smiled at me—a smile that had a way of melting away my sadness. “Only happy thoughts tonight, okay?”

“Deal.” I smiled, grateful that he hadn’t pushed me to tell him more about my father. I wasn’t ready to go through that emotional roller coaster. Not tonight.

“Wow, I’m excited about this curry butter chicken thing. It smells amazing,” he said excitedly. “I think I’ve had it once at a restaurant, though I’m n
ot sure it looked like that,” he said as he suspiciously eyed the dish.

I frowned.
“Oh? You have?” This was a simple home-style chicken recipe. I wouldn’t expect to see it served in a restaurant. “Did you like it?”

“Yeah, it was pretty good. I’m impressed you know how to cook Indian food.”

I looked at him in confusion. “What do you mean? How do you know I can cook Indian food?”

“Because you just made it. The curry butter chicken.”

I started laughing when I realized what Brandon must have meant. Brandon looked at me in confusion. “What did I say?”

“I think you thought I was making butter chicken, which is an Indian dish. But I made a baked chicken
with a mixture of honey, butter, and curry powder. It’s not an Indian dish at all,” I said between giggles.

“Oh.” Brandon began to laugh too. “That makes more sense.”

“How so?”

“Well I was wondering why
you’d make an Indian dish and grilled asparagus in the same meal.”

We both laughed.

“That’s what you get for doubting me,” I teased.

“I guess you learn something new every day,” he said teasingly as he pulled me into
his hard, warm chest and kissed me. “Now let’s eat.”

***

After a delicious meal, Brandon suggested watching a movie. I ended up picking some random action flick on Netflix, something I thought we could both enjoy. After a few minutes into the movie, Brandon got up to use the restroom.

“Do you want me to pause the film?”
I asked.

“No, that’s okay. I’ll be back in a bit.” He leaned over the couch to kiss me. “Don’t miss me too much,” he teased.

I rolled my eyes and giggled.

When 10 minutes had passed and
Brandon still hadn’t returned from the restroom, I was starting to wonder if he was okay. I couldn’t really hear anything from the bathroom over the noise of the TV, but I thought I heard the water running.
Maybe he’s making a call
, I thought.
Maybe he’s calling Desiree
, a tiny voice whispered inside my head. “No,” I heard myself say out loud. “Stop jumping to conclusion again, Emma.” I shook my head, as if I could shake off that jealous thought.

“Sorry to interrupt.” I jumped at the sound of Brandon’s voice.

“Oh. Sorry.”
God, he must have heard me talking to myself.
I felt my face grow hot as I looked over at him. “How much did you hear?” I asked sheepishly.

“Nothing at all,” Brandon said with a smirk. I cringed with embarrassment
.

“Is everything okay?” I asked, trying to change the subject.

Brandon raised his eyebrows. “Why wouldn’t it be?”

“You were just, um, just
in the bathroom for a while,” I replied hesitantly.

Brandon laughed. “Right. Well, I had some business to take care of.”

“Gross,” I said, making a face of disgust as I laughed.

Brandon
shrugged and laughed. “Come over here. I need to show you something.”

I looked at him and felt uneasy. “What did you do?” I asked tentatively.
Oh God, did he clog my toilet?
I thought.
I am not ready for that type of intimacy. In fact, I never want to be ready for that sort of intimacy
.

“Just come over here already,” he said with a playful air of impatience.
“Or else, I’ll have to make you come over here.” There was something raw and forceful in his voice that instantly turned me on.

“And what if I want you to make me come to you,” I flirted back as I slowly got up from the couch. Our eyes locked on to one another and I instantly knew he was turned on
too.

When I got close enough, he grabbed my waist and pulled me urgently towards him and whispered hotly into my ear, “I would have
had a lot of fun making you come … to me.”

BOOK: The Day to Remember
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