We Were Once - Page 140

“Sold.”

Laughter shakes lightly through her. “That simple?”

“That simple.” Running the back of my fingers along her cheek, I say, “Move in with me.” I don’t have to think these things through. I don’t want to waste any more time that I can spend with you. I mean it. I want us together—messy mornings and late shared spaces, sleeping during the day and cooking at night. I want that with you, Chloe.” I know in my soul this is it. This is our future. This is everything I’ve ever wanted.

She lifts and through a curtain of her hair, our lips find each other, and when our tongues embrace, her arm wraps around my neck. Tucking her hair behind her ear, she says, “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

51

Chloe

A week slipped out from us before we knew it, and we found ourselves in June. In the past four days, I’ve become a lady of leisure in this huge apartment. As much as I’d love to enjoy the time off, I have that need to find my next adventure.

It’s been fun moving into his apartment. I’d forgotten how incredible living in our own little world could be where we’re the only ones who exist.

Well, except for Frankie and Dwayne Evans. They sit on the windowsill next to the tub because there was a kerfuffle with Basil Evans on Tuesday, and it was just easier to separate them for now.

With the bubbles dissipating faster than I’d like, I make the most of the rest of my bath and text Ruby and my mom: I have news. Are you sitting down?

Ruby: Are you pregnant?

My mom: Did you get a new duvet?

Me: I don’t even know what to say to that, Mom. I don’t own one duvet, so I can’t say I got another. And no, Ruby, I’m not pregnant.

Though if looks could do it, the one Joshua gives me when he comes home would knock me up in a heartbeat.

Ruby: *pouts* Tell us!

Mom: Did you get the position at the hospital?

Excited to share the good, I want to share my disappointment, too. I drag water over my shoulders to warm up, and then type: No, long story short: No funding for me. It’s okay. I’ll find something else.

Ruby: I legit just checked my phone to make sure I was talking to the right Chloe. “It’s okay.” Is that a cry for help? Do you want me to come over?

I start laughing.

Me: No. I really am fine. I just thought you two should be the first to hear since you’ve been so concerned. My vagina is in therapy. Nightly. Sometimes twice a night. On Saturday, I saw the therapist four times. She’s doing well. Happy as a clam. I giggle over the pun.

Since there is no immediate text returned, I add: I’m also madly in love with Joshua Evans. I moved into his apartment last Friday. Surprise! We’re back together. We’re living together. We’re all the togethers together.

Heartbeats pound in my ears waiting for their response. They’ve been with me, loving me through it all, and yet— I’m a little scared they won’t approve.

My phone rings. “Hello?” I try for nonchalant.

Ruby says, “I’ve conferenced Cat in. Now what the hell is happening? Have you lost your ever-loving mind?”

“Yes,” I say, smiling. “I have. Maybe I’m dumb in love, but we’ve worked through so much. And one day, I’m going to marry him. Mainly because I want to, but also because I’m going to hold him to that promise.”

Ruby laughs. “Competitive much?”

“A little.”

I hear a shaky breath, and ask, “Mom? Are you okay?”

“If you’re okay, I’m okay, honey. I always adored Josh. What happened with you two wasn’t your fault. To know you’ve found your way back to each other, well, I’m happy for—”

“Your vagina,” Ruby adds, bursting out laughing.

When we all recover from shock and the lightness we can joke about, my mom adds, “I’m happy for you and your heart. The right job will come along, but you two share a once-in-a-lifetime love. I can’t be happier for you.”

“Thanks, Mom, that means a lot.”

Ruby asks, “When’s the wedding. I want to be your photographer.”

“Slow down. It’s only been a week.”

My mom says, “When it’s right, it’s right. Why waste time?”

It’s something Joshua and I say all the time too. Seeing the time, I add, “I need to go, but maybe we can get together in the next few days?”

“I’m in,” Ruby says.

My mom laughs lightly, delight coming over her. “Let me know when and where, and I’ll be there. We can shop for a duvet, too, while we’re out.”

“Absolutely. I love you both.”

We hang up shortly after, and I hurry out of the bath, excited to put my plan into motion. I dry off and touch up my makeup. Hurrying into the kitchen, I lay the towel across the island so it’s not so cold this time and perch myself on top. I hear the key in the door and tilt my head back while resting up on my hands. Quick to bend my knee, I close my eyes and wait for him, feeling as beautiful in my body as he sees me.

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