Flesh: Part Seventeen (The Flesh Series Book 17)

BOOK: Flesh: Part Seventeen (The Flesh Series Book 17)
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Flesh

 

Part Seventeen

 

 

SKY CORGAN

Text copyright 2015 by Sky Corgan.

 

All rights reserved.

 

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the author.

 

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CHAPTER ONE

 

 

It's like night and day. When I first moved in with Lucian, I was so afraid that something would go horribly wrong. Something always goes wrong with us. But things have been going eerily well. Better than eerily well, even.

While Lucian didn't finish his interior design contract with Environ Design, he had no qualms about me working on completing it in my spare time. I was concerned that one of the reasons why he hadn't finished it was because he wasn't ready to let go of his parents' things, but he didn't seem to mind at all as the movers carefully wrapped and boxed up everything. He said he was ready for a fresh start—ready to begin his new life with me. He even let me pack the pictures of his wife and son that seemed to be an ever-present fixture in the master bedroom, but those ended up in the closet instead of in storage.

Far be it from me to deny him access to his past life. I know he loved them both dearly. In truth, I would have let him keep them up as long as he needed to, but I'm kind of glad he let me take them down. The moment they were gone is when it truly felt like he was mine, and I couldn't help but smile at the thought of replacing all of those pictures with images of us.

That's not the only thing that's been going well though. Lucian made good on his promise to bring more clientele to Environ Design. His influence alone has had business booming, and since he told every client that he recommended Derrick and me specifically, the word bonus has been coming up a lot more frequently. Hell, I'm beginning to think that Derrick loves Lucian more than I do at this point. He's always making some quirky comment about how Lucian is the best thing that ever happened to us.

“The best thing that ever happened to
me
,” I correct him with a smile.

“No. The best thing that ever happened to us.” He shakes his head. “That guy is like a money tree. If you ever break up with him, I'll shank you.”

I burst out laughing, knowing that he's not serious. It's nice that he doesn't hate my boyfriend anymore though.

“Well, I certainly hope we don't break up. We're both really invested at this point.” I click through the furniture website I've been browsing, looking for a bedroom suite for the home of one of Lucian's movie star patients.

Since we've been getting higher profile clientele, Tyra has expanded the list of furniture stores that we purchase from. It's kind of neat to just look at the furniture. A lot of it is custom made one-of-a-kind pieces. Gorgeous wood with flawless carvings. And expensive as heck too.

Derrick sits behind me in his chair, looking over my shoulder and loudly munching on a bag of chips. I cringe at the sound since he's chewing right in my ear.

“Don't you have work to do?” I quirk an eyebrow though I know he can't see it.

“I'm taking a break.” He shoves another chip in his mouth. “I'm not used to having so much work. It's kind of exhausting.”

“I know, but kind of fun too.” I tip my head to the side, trying to clue him in that he's annoying me.

“Have you talked to Janice lately?”

“No.” My mood instantly takes a nosedive.

It's been close to a month since I last saw Janice. I sucked up my pride and tried to go over to talk to her once, but she had moved. Thankfully, Lucian made arrangements with the apartment complex to pay off the remainder of our lease so that it wouldn't screw our credit. I knew when I left that Janice wouldn't be able to afford the rent on her own. It was part of my revenge to leave her hanging. But I had honestly thought she would just bring someone in to take over my half of the rent. I guess I was wrong.

“What about you? Have you spoken to her lately?” I ask hesitantly.

“Nope. I haven't heard hide nor hair. She hasn't been answering my phone calls. I think she unfriended me by association.” I can hear the sarcasm in his voice, but I know he's offended.

“She'll come around,” I tell him, though I'm not sure if it's the truth.

“You two need to kiss and make up first.” He shoves a chip next to my mouth, and I jerk away from it.

“No, thanks.” I hold my hand out to further tell him no, inhaling the scent of sour cream and onion.

“So what's your game plan on that front? You do plan on making up with her, don't you?” He stuffs the chip in his mouth after I refuse it.

“Lucian thinks I should go to her job.” I screw my face.

“That might work.” Derrick scoots his chair back a bit, and I'm thankful for the distance.

“Walmart is a big place.” I take a deep breath. “She'll probably see me before I see her and avoid me.”

“Go to customer service and ask for her.” He makes it sound like no big deal, but I worry that it will get Janice in trouble.

“I guess that's always an option.”

“Well, you need to fix things, one way or another. You two have been friends too long to stop talking to each other over douchezilla.”

“Douchezilla?” I swivel in my chair to look at him, stifling a giggle.

“Hey, he put all of us through hell before we got to this point. I'm allowed to hold on to a little bit of resentment.” He raises his head up high as if his comment was justified.

“I suppose you're right.” My smile falters as I think of Janice. “Speaking of resentment, I hope Janice isn't going to be too pissed that Lucian and I are a legit couple now.”

“I don't know, Amy.” Derrick shrugs. “Resentment runs deep, and you did leave her hanging on the rent.”

I sigh. “These past few months have seemed like a game of everyone hurt everyone.”

“Well.” He reaches out to put his hand on my knee. “It's time to change that.”

I grin down at his fingers. “Yeah. I just hope it's not too late.”

 

***

 

Even though I know this situation is better handled on my own, I allow Lucian to tag along with me to Walmart. To be honest, I'm nervous as hell and having him by my side doesn't make me feel any better. I'll be lucky if Janice doesn't storm off when she sees us together.

“Maybe you should wait in the car,” I tell Lucian as I unbuckle my seat belt. We took my car since it's inconspicuous and the Walmart that Janice works at is in a rough part of town.

“Nonsense. Your friends are my friends. We should make this right together.” He steps out of the car without allowing me to protest further.

I scowl as Lucian flanks my side and we stare up at the big glowing white letters of the Walmart sign against their blue backdrop. He rubs my back gently, perhaps feeling the stress radiating from me. This seems like a really bad idea, for some reason. More than likely, Janice is going to be pissed that we came to her place of work.

“Come on. It's going to be alright.” Lucian laces his fingers with mine.

“What if it's not?” My expression is uncertain.

“If it's not, then I'll take you out for ice cream.”

“I'm not a little kid.” I smack him in the ribs though I still smirk.

“I know. But I also know that you like ice cream.” He gives me that charming smile that melts my heart every time.

“I love you. Why couldn't it have always been like this?”

“Because I was selfish. Because I am selfish. But I'm working on it. Now, come on. Let's go get this over with.” He starts walking towards the store, forcing me to follow him since we're linked together by our hands.

Every step towards the behemoth supercenter makes my heart beat faster. It feels like we're running instead of walking, but I know that's just my nerves getting to me.

As soon as we enter the building, I take a quick look around. My pulse is pounding in my ears, and everything I had planned to say to Janice goes right out the window. My mind is divided between gathering my thoughts and just wanting to leave, and the just wanting to leave part is starting to win out.

“I don't see her, maybe we should go,” I whisper, clutching on to Lucian's arm.

“She's here somewhere.” He glances down at me.

“How do you know?”

“Because I called before we came to make sure she was working today.”

“Lucian!” I give his arm a gentle slap. “Now she's going to know we're coming. We're never going to be able to find her.”

He rolls his eyes at me. “Don't be a baby. For all she knows, I could have just been a customer calling. It's not like I spoke to her directly. Besides, customers call in to find out when certain managers are working all the time. Do you know nothing about retail?”

My lips dip into a frown at the realization that he practically just called me stupid. Jerkface. I know he's right though. It's highly unlikely that Janice would suspect it was Lucian calling to find out if she was working.

“Well, how are we supposed to find her?” I keep scanning the crowd of people.

“The logical thing would be to just ask for her.”

“No.” I bury my face against his arm. “I don't want to embarrass her like that.”

He inhales deeply, tiring of my childish behavior. “Let's just walk around then. Maybe we'll run into her.”

“I like that idea.” I nod. It gives me time to recompose what I want to say.

We make a leisurely circle around the store with me pulling Lucian aside every few minutes to browse the aisles. If we're not going to find Janice, then I might as well enjoy the little shopping excursion.

Lucian is more watchful than I am, keeping his eyes on the people around us. I feel kind of guilty knowing that he probably doesn't think I'm taking this seriously—that I'm being a complete and total coward. There has to be a better way to mend things with Janice than this though. Perhaps I could contact the post office and get her forwarding address. Or maybe I could inject more begging into my text messages to her instead of being so casually conversational.

“Hey.” Lucian tugs on my arm while I'm trying on a pair of cheap pink flip flops. “Is that her?” He points to a Walmart employee in the boys' clothing area.

Sure enough, it's Janice scanning tags with a scanning gun and being completely oblivious to everything going on around her. It feels strange seeing her like this. I can count the number of times I've been to her job while she was working on one hand. It's like a secret rule we've always had not to bother each other at work.

I place the shoes back on the rack and stare at her like she's a deer in the wilderness that I don't want to disturb. Lucian looks down at me, waiting for me to make my move. A hard lump is forming in my throat. I know I should go to her, but I just can't make myself do it.

“Well?” Lucian's shoulders jerk slightly. “Are you going to talk to her or are we just going to stand here?”

“I don't know what to say.” I cower behind him.

“You've had a long time to think about it, Amy.” He stands like a protective wall though I fear that any moment he's going to take off without me to approach her.

“I know but...thinking was different when I wasn't looking at her.”

He turns around and grabs me by the arms, forcing me in front of him. My heart skips a beat as he starts moving, walking me in her direction while whispering in my ear, “Just say what's in your heart.”

“Lucian,” my voice is panicked. He's not stopping though, and the strangeness of our actions draws Janice's attention away from the task at hand.

She does a double take before realizing that it's us. Then she frowns. By that time, Lucian has marched me right in front of her. We have no choice but to face each other.

“What are you two doing here?” she grumbles, refusing to look at us as she continues scanning clothing tags.

“We came to see you,” I reply though it sounds more like a question than an answer.

“Well, you see me.” She pulls a stuck tag out of the rack so forcefully that the plastic string holding it to the article of clothing almost snaps.

“And?” Lucian urges me on.

“And I came to apologize.” I lower my gaze.

“You need him to make you say that.” She nods in Lucian's direction spitefully.

“No, I just...” I deflate, feeling guilt overwhelm me. “I'm really sorry, Janice. Lucian told me everything. I wanted to talk to you about it, but you wouldn't answer my phone calls or return my texts.”

“Funny. You believe it when he tells you we didn't mess around, but you don't believe me. What a friend,” the sarcasm in her tone is like a slap to my face.

“I think I'm going to step over here and give you girls some time alone.” Lucian squeezes my shoulders gently before going back to the shoe department.

Janice gestures back towards him. “You might want to inform him that we don't carry anything in rich asshole size.”

I shift my weight, placing a hand on my hip. “You know, he's the one who convinced me to go as far as coming here to talk to you.”

“He shouldn't have. He really shouldn't have.” Her lips tighten into a line and she nods her head, her eyes going wide for emphasis.

“I'm sorry, Janice. I really am.” Hope begins to fade as she continues to be difficult. “We both screwed up really badly. You shouldn't have messed around with him, even though he told you it was over. We both know that. And I shouldn't have left you high and dry on the rent, which Lucian took care of, by the way.”

BOOK: Flesh: Part Seventeen (The Flesh Series Book 17)
2.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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