That would be nice. I really don’t want to live with Leah again. Not after this trip.
“And then once you graduate,” he says with a shrug. “We’ll figure it out. Whatever you want to do. I just want to be by your side.”
“But you have dreams and plans and goals…”
“They’re nothing without you. I’d give it all up and sleep in a cardboard box if it meant that you were next to me.”
“You’d seriously give it all up to follow me around?”
I’m skeptical, but the look on his face is pure conviction. He would give it all up.
“There are hotels everywhere,” he says. “I can build an empire of them anywhere I’d like. You, on the other hand… are one of a kind. I choose you.”
I step into his embrace and moan as I feel his warm protective arms wrap around me.
I’m not sure what the future holds, but I do know that I want Jackson in mine.
“I choose you too,” I say as I look up at him.
He kisses me as the moon shines down on us, as the waves gently lap the shore at our feet, as we get connected and closer still.
And when the warm feel of his love surrounds and engulfs me, I know that I chose well.
* * *
I have my priceless book in one hand and my priceless man’s hand in the other as we arrive back at the hotel.
It was a perfect date and one that I can’t wait to tell my future children about. I can already see their excited smiling faces as I tell them how romantic and thoughtful their daddy was.
The anticipation of being alone with Jackson is mounting with every step we take toward the hotel. I’m getting all hot and excited knowing that our clothes are soon going to be on the floor and we’ll be experiencing each other intimately once again.
I’m so distracted by the thought of sex that I forget all about my bitchy travel companions.
“No,” I mutter under my breath when I spot them in the lobby. Are they waiting for me?
“Oh, look,” Mackenzie says as the four of them strut over like they own the place. “Ella has another book.” She grabs it out of my hand and laughs when she looks at the cover. “Another Harry Potter book for her to masturbate to.”
My stomach drops when she tosses it to Addison. They’re throwing around a signed first edition copy of my favorite book. Not only that, but Jackson gave it to me on our first date. It’s priceless as far as I’m concerned and these drunk assholes are tossing it around. I want to cry.
“Let me see that,” Leah says with her hands out.
Addison tosses it to her with a laugh, but a strong hand darts out and grabs it mid-air.
“This belongs to Ella,” Jackson says in a vicious tone as he hands me the book. “Theft of personal property is grounds for expulsion from the hotel.”
Mackenzie laughs nervously. “You can’t be serious.”
“I am serious,” he says as he looks her over in disgust. “I want you four out of my hotel. Now.”
All four of them explode into fits of anger. “You can’t do that!” Leah shrieks.
“We already paid for the week!” Addison shouts.
They’re all making a scene, but Jackson isn’t budging on this. I step a little closer to him while I try to hide my pleased grin.
“Ella,” Leah begs. “Get him to reconsider!”
I know I could. Jackson would let them stay if I asked him.
They’re all looking at me with one last shred of hope in their eyes, but all the mean stuff they did to me comes flooding back.
“No,” I say as I stare each one of them down. “Jackson is the owner and we both want you out.”
I look up at my man’s calm face and nod.
“Get your shit and get the fuck out,” he says in a low controlled voice. “You have ten minutes before I call the cops.”
“Where the hell are we supposed to go?” Willow hisses. “It’s after midnight!”
Jackson turns to the receptionist watching (everyone is watching) and asks her to book a room at the motel down the street. She snickers as she picks up the phone.
“That place is disgusting!” Addison shouts in horror. “It looks like it’s infested with rats!”
“Not infested,” Jackson corrects. “They had an exterminator who got rid of most of the rats last month.”
“You can’t send us there!” Mackenzie shrieks, looking like she’s about to cry. “We were supposed to get an upgrade!”
“An upgrade?” Jackson says with a dry laugh. “After what you did to my girl? You’re lucky I’m not calling every hotel owner in the city to warn them about you four. You’re taking that room or you can sleep in the bus station. I really don’t care which one it is, so you better tread carefully.”