10 years. 3,650 days. 87,600 hours.
That’s how long it has been since I saw my best friend. But who’s counting? Walking away from Luke Thomas was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but the choice was out of my hands. I left Las Vegas a seventeen-year-old girl, afraid and alone, and returned about the same. I was forced into a situation I didn’t want to be in. Until that day. I haven’t seen him in ten long years, but one look at the man he became and that killer smile, and I knew I would never be the same.
Life goes on.
I learned that valuable piece of information at a young age, but sometimes a memory creeps up and smacks me square in the face. Or more accurately, a person. The day my best friend walked away was the day I realized I’d never be the same. My life became work, family, and women, and I was doing great. Then she walked back into my life. One look at the grown-version of Sidney Rogen leaves me breathless and yearning for more.
But love is never easy.
And our love story isn’t perfect.
In a heartbeat, one person can wrap around you so tightly, you’re entwined forever. That’s our love.
Lacey Black Bio:
Lacey Black is a Midwestern girl with a passion for reading, writing, and shopping. She carries her e-reader with her everywhere she goes so she never misses an opportunity to read a few pages. Always looking for a happily ever after, Lacey is passionate about contemporary romance novels and enjoys it further when you mix in a little suspense. She resides in a small town in Illinois with her husband, two children, and a chocolate lab. Lacey loves watching NASCAR races, shooting guns, and should only consume one mixed drink because she’s a lightweight.
Lacey’s debut novel, Trust Me, was released in August 2014 and has been a Bestseller twice for Free e-books, including #3 on Amazon and #2 on iBooks, as well as #1 for Contemporary Romance. Submerged also made her an International Bestseller in the summer of 2016.
And now for a sneak peak!!
10 years ago
“So, I’m sure you see why I think we should break up, right? I mean, we’re both heading off to college soon, and I want to experience everything that college life has to offer.”
I gape at Jessica, my girlfriend for the past five months. Wants to experience everything? That’s code for ‘wants to sleep around.’ I’m a dude. I know.
“And you just had to do this tonight?” I ask, looking back at the doorway that leads inside my house. The same house where my entire family and a good amount of my friends are gathered to celebrate my high school graduation.
“Well, I just thought it was best to cut the cord now, you know? Like…just do it.”
“Whatever, Jess. If you want to break up now, that’s fine.”
“Really?” she asks, twirling her long brown hair around her pointer finger. “You’re gonna be okay?” She gives me those big brown, puppy dog eyes that won over my heart–and my dick–during Christmas break.
I’ve known this moment was coming since I started dating Jessica. I didn’t see anything long-term developing with her. Call me an asshole, but I knew she was just someone to help me pass the time during my final year of high school. But I also knew going into this that she felt the same way. I guess, in a way, we both used each other to keep ourselves company until we moved on to the next stage in our lives.
“I’m going to be fine, Jess. We both knew it was coming to this eventually, right?”
She continues to twirl her hair around her fingers. Why had I never noticed how fucking annoying that was? “Listen, we had a great time. If you’re ever in the Seattle area, look me up, ‘kay? We can maybe spend some time together for ol’ times’ sake.” Her smile tells me exactly what her comment means. She’s looking to hook up again if I’m ever close to where she’s attending college.
“Maybe,” I reply with a shrug.
As much fun as I’ve had with Jess in the last few months, I don’t see myself reaching out to her anytime in the future. The sex has always been all right, but nothing I see myself driving upwards of eighteen hours to get. There’s plenty of mediocre ass left in Vegas if I’m that desperate for a hook up. And, honestly, as an eighteen-year-old red-blooded male on the verge of experiencing college life, I’m pretty sure I’ll have no problem moving forward from here.
“Bye, Luke. It’s been fun,” she says before placing her full lips against mine. The kiss is brief, closed mouth, and lacks the usual tongue and groping we generally partake in. This kiss is goodbye.
I watch as she walks away, heading around the side of the house so she doesn’t have to go back the way she came; where my entire family celebrates. Gazing out over the darkened backyard, it’s not lost on me that there’s no going back from here. That I’m finally leaving the only home I’ve ever known. I’ve graduated high school, will start UNLV in a couple of months, and will finally be out from under the controlling thumb of my mother. Ever since I was younger, Blake and I chalked it up to me being the baby of the family for her ever-present hovering and involvement in my life.
It’s time for me to grow up and experience life.
And I’m starting it without a girlfriend.
The slightest sound of something thumping against wood pulls my attention away from the emptiness of night and towards the small fort in the back corner of the yard. Built ten years ago out of pieces of scrap wood we’d find around the neighborhood, the fort was my brother’s and my escape from the house. We’d spend hours upon hours in that thing, playing with GI Joes, having Nerf gun wars, and when we were older, sneaking off to steal our first kisses.
But I know the noise coming from inside isn’t from my brother. There’s only one person who still uses that fort: our neighbor, Sidney.