Here is a preview of book 12!
Tentative title “Our Legacy”
Mike changed after they got back to his apartment and Jade sat on the couch and pet Peeps. He came out and smiled at them while Jade put the little bird back on her cage and went to put on a different shirt. She came out wearing a t-shirt that was too big, but it was comfortable.
“Do you think I’ll be able to go home soon?” She sat down on the couch.
Mike sat down next to her and shrugged.
“I’m not sure, but I’ll talk to Evan and find out.”
He was quiet and then looked at her.
“I know it isn’t ideal, you staying here, but I hope it’s been okay. I hope it hasn’t caused you more stress.”
She looked at him and he could see she was trying to hold back her tears.
“I need to apologize to you,” she began and her chin quivered as she spoke. “I need to apologize and I need to explain.”
He was terrified of what she was going to say and he suddenly realized why.
“I have been alone my whole life. I have conditioned myself to expect a certain response from people and I don’t allow any other options to present themselves. I think I’m unattractive and ugly, and I think that has made me become unable to be anything else. I look at you and I think about how amazing you are and how beautiful you make me feel and then I see a mirror and I realize that I’m not. I don’t know how to change that. I don’t know how to recondition myself to change that feeling. I also don’t believe that I am worthy of someone like you, or that you are even feeling a quarter of what I think I am.”
She took a deep breath and continued.
“You had a wife, and I know how deeply she hurt you. I also don’t know if I am simply a friend who needed you and you liked to be needed. I don’t mean that in any way to insult you, but more because I don’t know how to believe any of this is real. I don’t want to be hurt, and I think you have the power to do that. I don’t want to be naïve and think something is happening that really isn’t.”
She wiped her eyes and Mike reached to cup her cheek in his hand.
“What did you feel when you woke up in my arms?” he asked softly.
She sniffed and tried to swallow her tears.
“The point is I don’t know what you feel,” she said. “I don’t know if this is real. I don’t know what ‘this’ is.”
Mike looked at her and took a breath, but didn’t say anything. He didn’t know how to put his feelings into words.
Jade felt like a complete idiot. She stood up and shivered.
“I’m going home. I’ll pick up Peeps tomorrow if that’s okay,” she walked to grab her bag when he spoke.
“I am falling in love with you,” he said simply. “I’m scared to death because I didn’t expect it, or see it coming. I don’t know how to respond because I don’t want you to think this is a rebound. I don’t want you to leave, but I don’t know how to make you want to be with me. I would never hurt you. I just don’t know how to trust my feelings. I don’t think I would make it if I messed this up. What I felt for Rebecca doesn’t hold a candle to what you make me feel. I can’t change my past. I can’t explain what happened, but I know it’s real.”
He got up and walked to her.
“I know it’s real because I look at you and I’m happy just to see you. I talk to you and you care about what I have to say. You seem to enjoy being with me and what’s most amazing to me, is that you actually find me interesting,” he smiled. “I love you because you’re my equal. You make me so happy, and I will wait as long as you need in order for you to believe me.”
She covered her mouth and he was alarmed at her reaction. She began to cry.
“Baby what is it? What’s wrong?” he asked her as his own tears fell. “If you want to leave, it’s okay. I’ll take you home,” he just needed her to stop crying.
“No one has ever said those words to me before,” she whispered as she stepped back.
“What?” he was stunned, but then it made complete sense. She never had a connection to a parent or a family member. She never knew any form of unconditional love.
“I have never heard anyone say those words to me and mean it,” she shrugged. “I feel like a loser, Mike. I don’t know how to be in a relationship. I don’t know how to do this.”
He cupped her face in his hands and smiled.
“I don’t either. My track record is crap, but maybe we can learn together?”
She moved into his arms and he held her to him, his arms strong and secure. She looked up into his eyes and he kissed her passionately and urgently. She returned his intensity and they broke the connection, looking into each other’s eyes.
“It’s been a long day. I think you need to sleep,” he said softly. “Will you let me hold you again?”
“I would really like that,” she said.
He took her hand and they went into the bedroom.
Jade changed into a tank top and shorts. She was shy about wearing something so revealing, but as long as she was covered, she figured it would be okay. She walked out into the bedroom from the bathroom and saw Mike wearing a pair of pajama bottoms and nothing else. He saw her and went to put on a shirt.
“Sorry. I meant to be dressed before you came out.”
“I’m okay if you want to keep it off.”
“Really? I don’t want you to be uncomfortable,” he said, trying really hard not to stare at her beautiful body.
“As long as you’re okay with what I’m wearing, too. I can cover up more if you want.”
He chuckled and walked to her.
“I think you look incredibly beautiful,” he ran his hand through her hair.
“You need to stop making me blush,” she said as they got into the bed. She turned to look at him and smiled.
“You were amazing with the kids earlier. They were enthralled with your music.”
“Jimmy used to love it when I played my guitar. I missed that. It was nice to make them happy.” He looked at her and she waited.
“Do you want to have children?”
She was quiet for a minute and then nodded.
“I do. I don’t think I ever considered it a possibility, but if I could have a family of my own one day, it would be amazing. I love kids, and if I could have a chance to make memories I never had, it would be a great legacy.”
Mike ached to touch her. He loved this. Having her in his bed while they talked about their hopes and dreams. It was the most natural thing.
“Your mother seems like such an amazing woman. I’m glad I got the chance to meet her.
“Did she say a bunch of annoying and invasive things?”
Jade grinned. “Other than a comment about your dad’s anatomy, I think it was fine.”
Mike looked horrified.
“She didn’t, did she?”
Jade smiled and nodded.
“Oh, shit. I’m so sorry,” he said and blushed.
“Don’t be. She also said some amazing things about how much she loved him. It’s obvious how much she loves you, too, and how proud she is of you.”
“I don’t think I’ve done a whole lot for her to be proud of, but I’m going to change that. I want her to be happy. I need her to know how much I love her.”
Jade was touched by the way he spoke of his mom.
“I’m pretty sure she knows.”
“Do I want to know what inappropriate comment she made about my dad?”
“She said he had some physical attributes that she had to get used to,” she smiled and Mike groaned.
“Oh my God, I’m going to die of embarrassment.” He looked at her and saw there was more.
“She also said that you might take after your dad in that way.”
Mike wasn’t sure he could be more embarrassed.
“Jade, I don’t even know what to say.”
She smiled as she looked at him.
“I don’t think it’s anything to be embarrassed about,” she said softly. “I already think every part of you is beautiful and amazing.”
He didn’t understand how she could be here with him. He didn’t know how he got so lucky.
She put her hand on his chest and ran it up to his shoulder. She leaned in and pulled him to her for a kiss.
Their lips ran across each other’s and she moved her hand under his arm and to his back. He moaned as she let his tongue play in her mouth and he felt her body flush against him.
She moved her head to the side and he pressed her onto her back as they kissed some more. His hand moved to her chest and he waited for her to stop him.
“Can I touch you?” he asked breathlessly.
Her eyes met his and she nodded.
“I think I would like that,” she said softly.
He kissed her again and ran his hand over her breast, the tank top not doing much to conceal anything. He felt her nipple harden under the material and he felt his own body harden in response.
He moved his hands over her large breasts and she wondered what it would be like if he touched her all over.
Mike’s phone rang and they both groaned.
“If that’s my mother, she is disowned,” he said as he rolled over to grab his phone. He didn’t recognize the number when he answered.
“Why are you calling me?” he asked Rebecca.
“There has been an accident and I didn’t know who else to call. Can you come to the hospital? It’s Jimmy.”
Mike sat up.
“What happened? Is he okay?”
“I don’t think so. He needs you, Mike. Please come.”
Mike hung up and didn’t know what to do.
“What is it?” Jade asked quietly.
“Jimmy is in the hospital. Rebecca said he needs me.”
“Okay, then we should go,” she went to get up.
“No. I don’t want you there. I’ll go. You need to rest,” he would not put her near Rebecca ever again.
She nodded, stung by his words. “Okay, whatever you think is best.”
He didn’t know what was best. He was so confused. He threw on some clothes and looked at her.
“I’m sorry,” he began.
“I’m not important right now. You go do what you need to do. Call me if you need anything.”
He nodded and left.
Jade crawled under the covers. She knew there was no correlation, but she couldn’t help but think he had to leave just after touching her. She took a deep breath and exhaled. She just hoped Jimmy was okay.