Ellie Clarkson has been abandoned by the very people who should love her. She flees to England, and with the support of her best friend, Grace, Ellie begins to rebuild her life. Several years after a life-changing night with a mystery man, the truth of his identity threatens to destroy their friendship when Ellie meets him again at Grace’s wedding. Ellie must make a choice. This man is everything she has dreamed of and can provide the security she desperately seeks, but at what cost? Will Ellie continue to conceal things from Grace when she knows that in pursuing happiness, she risks distancing her friend from those she loves too?
Age Rating: 18+
I can’t take it any longer. I can’t stand being here with my mother for another second.
I’ve never had a good relationship with her, so I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea to move in with her to save money.
I planned to stay six months, that’s it, but nope, I’ve been here for over a year now while she drinks my paychecks away.
She wasn’t always like this. A bitch of a drunk. No, she was a workaholic until she lost her job.
So now she’s turned into an alcoholic. Sounds about right. Doesn’t it?
Everything is always my fault; my fault that my “dad” ran off with another woman. My fault that she had to work so much to feed my fat ass. And now it’s my fault she’s lost her job.
I honestly hoped that if I came here, we could try to mend our broken relationship, but all I know is it will never get fixed.
I know what I have to do. My best friend Grace has been nagging me to move back to England.
We only moved because my father left my mother. No, I can’t keep thinking about that. It’s messed my head up enough.
I have half the money saved up for a plane ticket, and Grace has offered to lend me the other half and a place to live until I can stand on my own two feet.
I take one last look at my mother passed out on the sofa. It’s then I know I’m doing the right thing; maybe if I leave, she will get herself sorted. Maybe it is me causing all of this stress for her.
I dial Grace’s number, hoping to god that she’s going to pick up. I’m about to hang up when she answers breathlessly.
“Bitch tits, you do realize I was nearly at the peak of my orgasm.”
What? Ew, nope. I do not need to hear that.
“Then why the hell did you answer? You could have ignored the phone call.”
The thing about Grace is she hates leaving the phone to go to voicemail. Unlike me, who never picks up the phone to anyone.
“You know I hate doing that. Anyway, whatever you’re ringing me for better be good.”
I smile, knowing she’s going to be screaming in a moment for a totally different reason.
“I want to take you up on that offer if it still stands?” I say nervously. I hate asking for money or help.
“Oh my god. Are you for real? I’m so excited. This is the best day ever! I’ll send you the money for the plane ticket now so you can hurry up and get your sexy little ass here.
“You can pay me back by letting me take you out on the town drinking.”
The thing about Grace is she’s loaded.
Well, I should say her dad is. He works a hell of a lot, traveling up and down the country; she hardly sees him other than at Christmas and birthdays, still a lot more than I see my dad.
I’ve never met Grace’s dad or even seen a photo of him. I know she looks nothing like him, as she’s the spitting image of her mother.
Grace has long wavy auburn hair, bright green eyes, and dimples that make her look more beautiful than she already is.
The only thing she didn’t get from her mum was the pale skin; she must take after her dad with that, as her mum always looks like she’s had a spray tan.
God, I do miss her.
“I can’t let you pay for it all. I have some money saved up, not a lot, but still something.” I hate being a charity case.
“Don’t worry about it, honestly. The money has been sitting in my account for months. So book the first flight out. I also have someone I want you to meet when you get here.
“Do you remember Brad? Well, we’ve taken it to the next level, and you know I don’t do boyfriends, but with him, it’s different. He’s amazing, Ellie. I’ll even get him to set you up with one of his friends.”
My mouth hangs open. This is definitely a first for Grace. She never does boyfriends. He must be someone special for her to stick with one guy.
“I can’t wait, babe. I’ll let you finish getting yourself off whilst I try to book a flight. I’ll let you know the details. I love you.”
We say our goodbyes, and I start looking up flight details.
A new beginning. I can’t wait. For once, I hope everything goes okay.
I start loading my suitcase for yet another work trip. This time I’ll be gone for a year, then I’ll be home for a week, then back for another two years.
I’m an architect and have a waiting list of up to six years.
I’ve got my timeline fixed out where I plan to retire in the next seven years. I’ll be forty-eight then. Still young enough to enjoy my time.
I started this job for my daughter. I wanted to have enough money to support her in whatever she wanted to do in life. Even if it has put a wedge between us.
I have more money than I could wish for, just not the picture-perfect family I wanted to share it with.
I know, looking back now, I should have put my ex-wife and daughter first. I’ll regret that for the rest of my life.
But I know now that Sandra is happily married to a man that deserves her. I don’t feel bitterness toward any of them. Why would I?
“Owen, we’re heading out for a drink at the local if you want to come?” my friend Ted says.
I look at the clock; I don’t leave until first thing tomorrow morning.
“Yes, I can do. Just give me an hour, and I’ll meet you there after showering.”
I landed in England three days ago. I still can’t get used to the cold weather. I arrived in a dress, and as soon as the wind picked up, I knew I had made a terrible mistake, but now I’m wrapped up cozy in Grace’s spare bedroom.
Her house is beautiful, but yet again, it doesn’t surprise me, seeing as her dad designed it.
“Yes, that’s it. Slap my ass and call me a dirty girl.”
Ew, no. This is the third night I’ve heard her and Brad fucking. I shove my earbuds in and listen to my favorite song of all time. “Come Join the Murder” by The White Buffalo.
I close my eyes and think back to my life in America. I don’t miss it one bit.
I didn’t have any friends, but it was my home for a long time. Would my life have been different if my dad had stuck around? Would I have let men into my life if I wasn’t so scared of getting broken?
I’ve had one relationship, and that only lasted two weeks. He told me I had too much baggage. I think he ended it because he finally got into my pants.
He is the one and only man I’ve slept with, and I’ve regretted it ever since.
My bedroom door slams open. I gasp as Grace walks in with sex hair.
“We’re going out tonight. Put this dress on, and let me paint your face. You need to get laid. I almost feel sorry for you having to listen to Brad and me doing it.”
I feel bad for myself too, but I don’t tell her that. “I can’t, Grace. I need to find a job, and I plan on doing that tomorrow. If I’m hanging out of my ass, no one will want to take me on.”
I need to apply for a visa soon too. I know I lived over here when I was younger, but I don’t know how any of this works. I never had to do any of that.
My mother took care of it when she wasn’t too bad to live with.
“Trust me. You don’t want to apply for jobs on a Saturday. I’ll help you on Monday morning. And besides, it’s Friday night.
“Oh my god. This song will get you into a party mood. Give me two minutes. I’ll get my phone.”
I laugh as she rushes off, and that’s when I hear it on full blast. “It’s Friday Again Saturday, Sunday” by Mufasa.
She’s not wrong. It’s catchy as hell, but I don’t know why she calls that music.
“It’s Friday, then it’s Saturday. Whoop whoop, let’s get this party started, baby,” Grace sings as she throws my wardrobe door open.
She pulls out a black satin dress that has a slit up the leg. It’s the sexiest dress I own.
I shake my head instantly. I can’t wear that, not unless I get drunk before I leave the house. “Where’s Brad gone?” I ask, trying to change the subject of us going out.
“He’s meeting some friends. He’s going to ring me later, but enough about Brad. This is about us going out and having fun.”
I swallow hard, knowing I won’t get out of it. “I’m not sure, Grace,” I say nervously.
“Right, I’m going to give you a talking to. You need to let loose. When was the last time you went out and did something fun?
“Because every weekend I spoke to you, all you did was look after your pissed-up mother and work. We are doing this. End of discussion.”
She’s right. I never do anything for myself. One night is not going to hurt. I might even have fun.
“Okay, let’s do it, but I swear if you let an old man come onto me, I’m leaving.”
She throws her head back and laughs. “Oh darling, have you seen yourself? You’ll be fighting off more than older men.
“Now, let’s get to work. I want to give you the forbidden look. It will look amazing against your gray eyes. I swear I’ve never seen anyone with that eye color before. You’ll be pulling men in just from that.”
I smile at her, not knowing what I’ve gotten myself into. I hope I don’t regret it.