Authors: C. R. Jennings
Then Summer Came
Copyright © 2013 C.R. Jennings
All Rights Reserved
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Any band, singer, celebrity, song, artist, location, person, or brand mentioned in this book has nothing to do with the making of this story. The views, opinions, and details are not necessarily true to the specified brand, location or persons, and do not reflect their views in any way. They are solely the author’s ideas, thoughts, and opinions and are to be taken as such.
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All my love and thanks to my children and my husband for your patience and sacrifice while I do what I love. You’re the best, and you should all three know that I am forever grateful to you.
My additional thanks to my mom and grandmother, who are just wonderful and so very supportive and proud. I couldn’t ask for more than that.
Thank you to my beta reader, Ginessa. You are and have always been so wonderful! Your feedback and opinions are essential to my writing, and I am so lucky to call you a friend and even luckier to have you as my beta reader. You’re chock-full of awesomeness!
Lastly, I would like to say thank you, from the very bottom of my being, to everyone who read my last book. You all took a chance on my book and you all gave me wonderful reviews that absolutely lifted my spirits and gave me the drive and confidence to continue writing. I can never thank you enough.
To every person that believed in me and supported me. There are always people who do not believe in you or will not support you, but it seems miniscule when you have the ones that
standing beside you.
I was belting out the well-memorized words to my favorite Chili Peppers song, scrubbing my hair under the scalding water of my compact apartment shower. My parents had dropped a lot of money to get me into Wilshire at The Miracle Mile, which was one of the most beautiful apartment complexes in Los Angeles, yet the shower was just a standard shower. It was probably the only thing ordinary about the place, though. It was gorgeous and was everything a girl could ask for in a fully-furnished apartment home. Lots of space and lots of light was only a portion of its awesomeness.
My best friend, Emily, and I had lived at Wilshire for just under two years, and we loved every second of it. I had the master bedroom and bathroom because Emily mostly stayed on campus, meaning the apartment was always quiet.
Em was a trust-fund baby, but was attending school at Pomona College—about twenty minutes outside of Los Angeles—to get her bachelors in Psychology. She was full of spunk and spontaneity, and she loved to have a good time, but she was dedicated to her degree. She hated the clichés that were thrust upon her because of her trust fund, so she was determined to make something of herself.
We’d been best friends since the third grade, and we’d always hoped to live together before we settled down to start our separate lives. So, it was ten kinds of exciting for both of us to finally live together.
Emily probably still had several more years before she was interested in settling down. Especially since, until around about a year ago, she’d never even been interested in seeing a guy for a second time. Some Rick guy had swooped in at one of her parties and they’d apparently hit it off. But he’d left the next morning and never talked to her again. From what I understood, he’d even transferred schools, but I don’t really know more than that because she acted like she didn’t want to talk about it. So, I just left it alone. All she’d ever said was that she liked him and “it sucked that he just left.” She’d seemed a little upset by it, honestly, but she bounced back with a new guy every day for the next few weeks. She was a trooper. Anyway, needless to say, marriage was not on her before-I’m-thirty list.
I, however, had already boarded the marriage train. His name was Derek. Derek Easton. He was a busy man, considering he ran his father’s company in California. I’d met him at Wilshire a few days after Em and I’d moved in. He had an apartment there, too, which he rarely occupied.
We’d been together for a little over a year when Derek asked me to marry him. He’d confessed that he was madly in love with me and wanted nothing more than to make me his wife. He was sure of himself in everything that he did. He led a fast-paced life, and he’d said that he was ready to settle down; he was twenty-eight and “it was time”. He wanted a wife and a family and he wanted that with me.
His parents weren’t crazy about me, but they weren’t too keen on people in general, so it didn’t bother me. They were nice enough. I don’t know, his mom just always looked at me like she thought, with every strand of her being, that I’d never end up with her son. My parents, however, loved Derek. They hadn’t been very happy about me being engaged at twenty-four, but over the past year they’d come to adore Derek. Mom
complain that they didn’t get to see him enough, and she worried that it was worse for me, but I assured her I had plenty to keep me busy with my job at her company.
Mom was a fashion designer. She owned her own line of just about anything you could think of, relating to fashion. Her brand was popular, and she was working on her new line to celebrate her thirty-year anniversary.
I had worked for her since I was eighteen. I even ran the entire shoe line, which I loved, but I was mostly her assistant; I handled the paperwork and any meetings with buyers, but I was also her model, often.
I loved shoes, and it was truly my dream job. I’d even chosen it as my career, rather than heading off to college for some random degree I might never use. The job wasn’t very demanding, considering I had plenty of assistants of my own, but I tended to spend a lot of time there in Derek’s absence. Did I have to work? No. Despite my scandalous past my parents trusted me enough with access to their money, via my dad’s Black Card, but I liked working; it felt good to pay for things out of my own checking account.
I stepped out of the shower and toweled off. I wiped the mirror and rubbed on my makeup, and then headed into my bedroom to get dressed. Emily and I had promised to get together at noon; we were both in need of some girl time. She’d been studying for finals, and I had been throwing myself at my mother’s Thirtieth-Anniversary Shoe Line, to keep busy.
One summer-perfect dress later and I was in the bathroom drying my hair. I twisted and twirled, clipped, straightened, curled, and braided my dirty-blonde locks to the point that my arm was tired and my hand was numb. I never could seem to get my hair to do what I wanted it to. I settled for a pony-tail, slipped on my sandals, grabbed my purse, and headed downstairs to Derek’s Wilshire apartment.
Derek had asked me to move in with him, but I figured there was no point when only a few floors separated our apartments. Plus, he was never home anyway, and I didn’t care anything about being in the apartment by myself all the time. I told him we could just move in together once we were married and we bought a house.
Derek’s apartment was as stark quiet as it always was. I slung my purse in the chair and headed across the living room, straight to the kitchen. I opened the cabinet…
cabinet. It was the only cabinet in the apartment that had food in it, but I only kept a box of cereal in it.
I poured the cereal into my favorite mixing bowl and grabbed the milk from the otherwise-empty fridge. I always ate my breakfast at Derek’s. I usually just stopped in and ate and watched TV for a minute. Just long enough to let the scent of him soak in. Sometimes I’d just go in to take a nap in his bed; I’d wrap up in his sheets and bury my head into his pillow for a few minutes. It was the closest I could get to him when he was away for long periods of time.
This was one of those times; I’d not seen him in eleven days. He was actually only about thirty minutes away, but it was like trying to breach the White House to get to him. We usually just talked on the phone a few times a day, and then he’d finally appear and stay with me for a day or so, and then he’d escape back to work.
I curled up on the sofa in the den and surfed the older cartoon channels while I ate.
"Lis?" Derek's voice bellowed through the empty apartment.
I nearly sloshed my milk everywhere when I jumped up off the sofa. "Babe!" I squealed, running to meet him at the door.
“Good, I was hoping I’d catch you here.” He was clearly in a hurry; he shot by me and straight back to his bedroom. “I have to grab a tie and meet Walden,” he said, loosening his tie as he passed me.
Walden was his account manager, and they were basically attached at the hip. Not nearly as much as he and his assistant, though, who passed me, tailing Derek. She followed him around like she was a lost puppy. I was glad Gina wasn’t like that.
I followed them, asking about his day. I should’ve been asking about his
, considering it’d been nearly two since I’d seen him.
“There’s so much chaos at the conferences, and I can’t seem to get everyone on the same page,” he said, yanking a tie from the closet. “I guess I’ll spend the rest of the week terminating these assholes that think they know more about my company than I do.”
“Oh, sorry, babe.” What else was I supposed to say? He always talked about his job like I knew exactly what he was talking about. I’d only ever even stepped foot into his office twice, and I didn’t know any of the employees, aside from Olivia—his trailing assistant—and Walden. I’d been to a few of the surrounding offices, too, but only a few times.
“Well, it’s not your fault, but thank you,” he smiled and strolled over to kiss me. “I missed you,” he said down my nose, his arms finally around me.
I breathed in his thick, musky cologne, realizing I’d almost forgotten the scent. “My God, I missed you, too.”
I wrapped him up and kissed him, but he cut it short as usual; he had to get back to work, of course. I smiled and reminded myself that I would have to get used to that. It’d been two years, and I still wasn’t exactly used to not seeing him, but in my own defense, he’d been a lot less busy when we’d first met. He’d taken over for his father
a little over six months ago, and it was a much more demanding position. He had even started taking flights out of California on occasion and staying gone days at a time.
I was still having trouble adjusting to his new schedule.
When we first met we were inseparable. We’d spent almost the entire first year of our relationship together every day without a day apart. He’d asked me to marry him around the end of our first year together, and now I was lucky if I got to see him three times in one month. He’d promised that it would all settle down after everyone adjusted to the changeover, but it’d been six months and he’d been away nearly every day of it.