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Authors: E. L. Todd

Gorgeous Consort

BOOK: Gorgeous Consort
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Troy

Grocery shopping was a pain in the ass. I only had two arms to carry everything so I was limited to the essentials, mainly ingredients for my daily protein shake after a visit to the gym. I had a car, but parking in Manhattan was such a bitch that I’d rather just walk.

I walked down the aisle with a basket in my hand and searched through the shelves. I grabbed a box of Lucky Charms even though it had way too many carbs, got my protein supplement, a few fruits and veggies, and then reached the hygiene aisle. I grabbed the Head and Shoulders shampoo then stopped when I spotted the boxes of condoms hanging on the rack.

My eyes took them in and I just stood there. I didn’t know what all the fuss was about, but they made me feel uneasy. Perhaps it was what they represented: sex. I hadn’t had sex in over a year. I pretended I was a flirty playboy that met up with random girls and had a good time, and it seemed to fool everyone who knew me—or thought they knew me.

In reality, I just wasn’t there yet.

But I didn’t move. Instead, I stood there like a teenager buying their first condoms. The anxiety and guilt held them in place while they stared at the different choices. Lubricated, flavored, magnum…there was a lot of choices.

“Troy?” A beautiful female voice came into my ears and reminded me of a meadow full of wild flowers. Just the sound brought me back to a place I hadn’t been in a really long time. I suddenly felt panicked, like I needed to escape. But like a cornered animal, I couldn’t run.

I turned to Alexia, the woman I gave my heart to so long ago. She hurt me more than I could put into words. Even after all this time, I wasn’t back to normal. Would I always suffer like this? But I had to keep a straight face and pretend she absolutely meant nothing to me, that she didn’t ruin my life—literally. “What’s up, sweetheart?” I asked with a cocky attitude. I grabbed four packs of condoms, over-the-top amount, and threw them into my basket. They covered the rest of my groceries, hiding my milk, bread, and protein mix.

She glanced down into my basket, clearly seeing what I just threw inside, but she didn’t comment on it. Her brown hair looked like it’d been dyed, and now it had a slight red tint to it. It was soft, I could tell just by looking at it. I remembered the way it felt in my hand when I fisted it in bed. Her blue eyes jumped out at me, icy and blue, cold just like her stone heart. “How are you?” She wore a perfect smile, the kind that showed all her perfect teeth from having Invisiline braces as a child, and it irritated me that she was so happy. It pissed me off actually.

“I’m well. Just stocking up for the weekend.” I indicated to the basket and the condoms inside.
Take that, cold-hearted witch
. “What about you, sweetheart?” There was condescension in my voice. She was nothing like a sweetheart, more like a bitchheart.

“Great,” she said. “Just grabbing a few things.”

Why did she come over to talk to me? It wasn’t like we were friends. I never wanted to be friends. I’d only seen her one other time after we broke up, and she acted the exact same way, like we ended on good terms. Did she have the memory of a raccoon? She was never very bright. “I should get going.” I just wanted to end this conversation. My heart was beating fast and my palms were sweaty. My grip on the handle to the basket was beginning to slip because of all the extra moisture. I hated the fact my body reacted this way. I hated the fact that I knew it would always react this way. I was in a vortex, doomed to live in the past forever. As ashamed as I was to admit it, I glanced down and looked at her ring finger. There wasn’t a ring there, and that gave me relief. But that just made me loathe myself even more.
Why couldn’t I just not care?
“I have places to be.” I walked around her, keeping my cool and indifference.

“Wait.”

I turned around, which pissed me off a million times more. Why couldn’t I just walk away? Would I ever be able to walk away? “I haven’t got all day,” I said coldly. “Spit it out.” A part of me wished she would tell me she missed me. Or that I looked good in the t-shirt I wore. But what I really wanted her to say, whether I would admit it to myself or not, was that she made a mistake when she left me. I lived for those words.

“Are you still an escort?”

Disappointment filled me, and then anger followed quickly afterwards. Of all things she stopped me for, that was it? What the fuck did it matter? “What do you think?”

“Is that a yes?”

I cocked an eyebrow, trying to be as rude as possible. “What does it matter, Alexia?” I hated saying her name. It didn’t sit well on my tongue.

“Well, I have a friend who needs a boyfriend for her parents’ wedding anniversary…”

Fucking. Bullshit.

“Go fuck yourself, Alexia.” I turned and walked away. I clearly meant nothing to her. When she looked at me, she didn’t see an ex-boyfriend. She didn’t see the three years we spent together. I was just…there. When would I accept that she didn’t care? When would I accept it without being hurt?

Ever?

***

After I stocked the kitchen with the groceries I just got, I lay on the couch and stared at the ceiling. The condoms sat on the coffee table, which would never be opened. I would just take them back but I didn’t care about the money. And I would risk running into that heartless whore.

Now I had to find a new grocery store. That was a pain in the ass because this place was so close to my apartment. Now I would have to walk an extra half-mile to a different place. Then I would have to figure out where everything was all over again.

Ugh, I hated that bitch.

My phone rang so I pulled it out.

It was Danielle, probably calling me for a new gig. I silenced it then tossed the phone on the coffee table in the bed of unopened condoms. The last thing I wanted to do was work. It would be impossible to put on a smile and be charming right now. I’d just be a fucking asshole.

The screen lit up so I knew she was calling again.

Unable to find the strength to move a single muscle, I let it go to voicemail. Danielle didn’t call me again so I lay still on the couch. Depression came and went so I was used to it. But right now, it was heavy. I was disappointed in myself for not being stronger. I was acting like a pussy, letting a woman break me like this. The simple solution would be to get over it.

But you think I haven’t tried that already?

My thoughts lulled me to sleep. The sun was still out but it was quickly sinking outside my window. I still needed to go to the gym but I lacked a purpose at the moment. So I went to sleep instead.

***

My dreams were worse than reality. Incoherent visions came into my mind and I wasn’t sure what I was experiencing. But like the sun finally peeking out from behind a mask of clouds, it hit me hard and right on the skin.

The Grand Canyon was the backdrop to my dream. Millions of years of evolution were imbedded into the dirt and rock of the canyon. Fossils were lined in places that couldn’t be reached without ruining the integrity of the foundation, something so beautiful it seemed to be created by a god, not by erosion.

“Can you believe we’re here?” Alexia approached the edge of the cliff, wearing shorts and a razorback top. Her long hair covered her shoulders and it moved in the light breeze. It was a warm summer day, but the morning dew still lingered in the blades of grass.

I smiled while I stared at her back, glad I could do something to make her voice carry excitement. My purpose in life was to make her smile, and every time I succeeded it made me feel high. “It’s amazing, isn’t it?” I came to her side and watched her face.

She ignored me. All that mattered was the canyon below our feet. Like gods looking over a kingdom, we stared at the world like it belonged to us. I grabbed her hand as I stood beside her. Her palm was warm, and the grooves from her fingerprint were obvious to me. That was how well I knew her, down to the intricate cells that comprised her body.

“I’ve always wanted to go here,” she said. “Thank you for taking me.”

“I’ll take you anywhere you want to go.” I stared at the side of her face, mesmerized by how gorgeous it was. The Grand Canyon was a work of art, but its beauty doesn’t compare to hers.

She finally turned to me, and her eyes reflected the light of the sun. They were bright, like they were glowing just for me. Every time she gave me that look, I felt at peace. How did I get so lucky to find someone like her to share my life with? What did I do to deserve something as perfect as she? “Why are you staring at me like that?”

“Because I love you.” There was no other explanation. It was the simplest way to explain the thoughts in my heart.

Her eyes were glued to mine, and she searched my soul. A strand of hair blew in front of her face, sticking to the moisture of her lip, and then flew away again.

The time had arrived, the moment I’d been waiting for. I pulled the box out of my pocket then kneeled.

“Oh my god…” She covered her mouth with both hands and released a loud gasp.

I snapped the box open and looked into her face, not feeling a train of doubt or hesitation. Spending my life with her was the right decision, and it would bring me nothing but joy. She was the one. “Will you marry me, Alexia?”

She lowered her hands and showed a wide smile. Her eyes watered with emotions, moved by the ring and the words. The Grand Canyon was a place she’d always wanted to go, and I couldn’t think of a better place to declare my undying love for her. Seeing the joy in her eyes, the reflection of what I felt in my heart, made me realize just how lucky I was.

But then the scene changed. The sun disappeared as a blanket of dark clouds obscured the sky. It suddenly became cold and windy. The scent of rain came into my nose. Crows flew across the sky, releasing their annoying cries. The wind picked up and blew violently through her hair, obscuring most of her face. The strength almost blew me over and down the cliff.

Alexia stepped back from me, like my touch appalled her. A look of disgust overcame her face. The joy in her eyes that was there just seconds before was absent. She moved to a tall man with a face I couldn’t distinguish. She touched him like she needed him, that she needed him more than me.

“Alexia?”

She clung to him and looked at me like she wished I would just go away.

The wind blew harder, becoming a wall of force. It pushed me further to the edge. I didn’t fall over but my body moved. The box in my hands started to shake, like it wouldn’t stick around for long.

“No.” Her answer echoed on the wind, wrapping around me. There was no doubt or room for mistake. Her answer was clear. “No.”

The wind pushed me harder and I fell over the cliff. But I grabbed the edge and held on. “Alexia?” I couldn’t hold onto the ring at the same time so I set it at the end of the cliff. “Alexia!”

She slowly approached the edge and looked down at me. Now she stared at me like she despised me, like she wanted me to stop existing—forever. Her foot moved to the box and she kicked it gently, letting it roll over the cliff and fall off the edge.

I held on and watched it fall, hoping I wouldn’t share the same fate.

She kneeled down and grabbed both of my hands.

She was pulling me up. I wasn’t going to fall.

But a sinister glow came into her eyes. They turned red and maniacal. She suddenly looked like the devil, not the woman I loved. Demonic fire burned in her eyes, and it was clear she wouldn’t be pulling me back up the ledge.

She loosened one hand on the ledge.

“Stop!” I tried to grab on again but she wouldn’t let me.

“Why would I be with you?” she said in a deep voice. “When I could have him?”

“Stop!” I tried to grab the earth again.

She moved to the other hand, the last lifeline I had. “Why would I be with you?” she repeated.

“Alexia, stop!”

She gripped my hand with both of hers and gave me a final look. The anger disappeared and only resignation was left behind. There was no sadness, just obligation. She needed to throw me off and there was no other way. She had to get rid of me. “You are a fool.” Then she yanked my hand loose and let me fall.

I screamed as I fell, looking up into her face as it moved further away. I kept falling, feeling the ground come close to me with every second. I was about to collide with the earth, to become a fossil just like everything else.

BOOK: Gorgeous Consort
11.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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