Chase just finished having dinner with his girlfriend, Mia at her flat when his cell rang. He plucked it out of his breast pocket and flipped it open, grimacing when he saw the number displayed. “Hello, Alexa.”
“Hi, Chase, I’m sorry to be bothering you but I’m stuck here.”
“Where are you?”
“I’m outside of nightclub. Chase, I hate to do this but could you come and pick me up?”
“What about Shawn?” Shawn was his brother who was married to Alexa’s sister, Karyn.
“They are in Florida for March break.”
“Did you go to the club alone?”
“No, I came with my friends.”
“So, why can’t one of them take you home?”
“They met some guys they really like and they don’t want to leave.”
“What about taking a cab?”
“I don’t have enough money for a taxi. Chase, I’m really sorry to be putting you out like this but I have no other choice.”
He sighed. “All right, I will come and get you.”
“Thanks, Chase. I really appreciate this. I’ll be waiting out front.”
“Where’s this club located?” There was a pause as he listened. “I’ll be there in twenty minutes.” He rang off and snapped his phone shut before shoving it in his pocket, his eyes apologetic as they met Mia’s. “I’m sorry,” he said to her.
“When are you going to stop letting Alexa take advantage of you?” she demanded. “All she has to do is call you and you drop everything and go to her.”
Chase got up from the table. “No one takes advantage of me,” he muttered tightly. “She’s stranded and I’m just helping her out.”
She watched him suspiciously. “Are you sure there’s nothing going on between you two?” she asked. “It’s no secret that she has a thing for you but what about you? Do you have feelings for her?”
“Alexa is family,” he replied evasively. “I really hate to eat and run but I have to go. I will call you tomorrow.” He walked over to her and kissed her on the lips before he let himself out of the flat.
On the ride down in the elevator, he thought about what she said. If he were honest with himself, he would admit that he would do anything for Alexa and it wasn’t because she was family. From the moment they first met ten years ago at Shawn’s wedding, he wanted her. He tried to deny it because she was seventeen at the time and he was engaged. Like Mia, Janet suspected that his feelings for Alexa were not platonic and she broke off the engagement. She refused to marry a man who had feelings for someone else. He had no idea how she could have suspected anything when he had tried so hard to hide his feelings, especially from Alexa herself.
Then he remembered that one unguarded moment when he thought that Alexa and he were alone. As he started the engine, his thoughts went back to that evening two years ago. It was at the family’s annual summer dinner and dance held at the family estate. They had just finished having dinner and some of the guests were enjoying cocktails while others were dancing. He wasn’t in the mood for dancing but Janet wanted to. He accommodated her for a while and then excused himself.
He went out on to the terrace, thankful to be out in the fresh air—it was beginning to get a bit stuffy inside. He leaned over the balustrade, gazing down at the courtyard which was illuminated in the bright sunshine. It would be another hour or so before the sun set. He didn’t hear her come up behind him until she was standing next to him. “It’s a beautiful night, isn’t it?” she remarked, leaning against the balustrade, facing the direction she had just come from.
He straightened up at once, his expression guarded as he turned his head toward her. “Is that why you’re out here instead of in there with what’s his name?”
“You mean Nigel. I left him talking to Shawn.”
“Is it serious between him and you?” It was foolish of him to ask her that but he couldn’t help it.
“No,” she said, sounding surprised that he would ask such a question. “We’re just friends.”
“I’ve seen the way he acts around you, Alexa. He wants to be more than friends.” And who could blame him? Unable to resist, his gaze traveled over her. She looked stunning in the ankle length, black dress with the spaghetti straps and slit on the right side. Her hair was in an up do, giving her an elegant look. She looked older than nineteen.
“I’ll have to have a talk with him, then.”
“I’d better head back in,” he said.
“Why?” she asked, her head cocked to one side as she stared at him. “Will Janet come looking for you if you’re not by her side in five minutes?”
He pursed his lips. “I won’t stand here and listen to you make fun of Janet.”
“I’m not making fun of her. She doesn’t like me.”
“And why should she dislike you?”
“Maybe she thinks that there’s something going on between us.”
“That’s ridiculous,” he exclaimed.
“What’s so ridiculous about it?” she demanded.
“So? That doesn’t prevent me from being attracted to you and I’ve noticed the way you look at me sometimes. Chase…”
“I’d better go back inside.”
“What are you afraid of?” she asked, moving so that she was standing in front of him.
His expression was tense. “I’m not afraid of anything,” he muttered tightly. His heart was pounding heavily.
“Why are you leaving, then? Stay out here with me for a while longer, please, Chase. It has been a while since we spent any time together. I’ve been waiting all evening to be alone with you. I saw you come out here and I followed you.” She moved closer.
“Alexa,” her name was a strangled whisper now and his hands, as if of their own volition, caught her by the shoulders and instead of moving her out of the way so that he could walk past her, he was pulling her toward him. He saw her eyes drop to his lips, her own parting as he lowered his head to kiss her…
“There you are,” Janet’s voice was a bucket of cold water doused on them and they broke apart. When she reached them, she looked from one to the other. Then, putting her hand on his arm, she said, “I would like to leave now. I’m feeling a bit under the weather. I’ve already said our goodbyes to everyone so we can leave this way.”
He looked at Alexa, reluctant to leave her. “Goodnight, Alexa,” he said quietly.
Janet didn’t say anything to her and as soon as they got into the car, she said to him, “When I came out on the terrace, I interrupted something that was going on between Alexa and you, didn’t I?”
He looked at her but didn’t answer. What could he say? He couldn’t lie and say that she was imagining things. They didn’t speak until they were parked outside of her building.
She turned to him. “I don’t know what’s going on between the two of you but I want it to stop,” she said.
He stared at her. “What do you mean?”
“I want you to stop seeing Alexa, Chase.”
“But, she’s family—”
“She’s Shawn’s family not yours. He’s the one who married into her family.”
“Janet, you’re being unreasonable—”
“I’m being unreasonable?” she exclaimed, incensed. “What about you? Every time I turn around you are with her. She throws herself at you and you encourage her. Chase, she’s nineteen years old. She’s not even in university. And what about us? We are supposed to be planning our future together. You’ve let Alexa come between us and I won’t stand for it anymore. You have a choice to make. It’s either her or me.”
He raked his fingers through his hair, his mind racing. Finally, he muttered, “Janet, I’m sorry…”
She met his gaze for a moment, her eyes shining and then she slipped the ring off her finger. She took his hand and pressed it into his palm before closing it. “Goodbye, Chase.” She turned, pushed open the door and walked out of his life.
For several minutes, he sat there, feeling awful because he hurt her. He slipped the ring in the breast pocket of his jacket and fired up the engine. After the break-up, he tried to stay away from Alexa but he couldn’t for very long. He avoided being alone with her, though, because he was afraid that almost happened on the terrace would happen again. He dated several women but nothing serious came of it. Then, a year ago he met Mia, a Software Developer, whom he hoped would help him to get Alexa out of his system but it was no use. He was in love with her and there was nothing he could do about it.
And here he was driving to a nightclub to pick up Alexa instead of relaxing with Mia after a romantic dinner. Admit it, you would rather be with Alexa than with Mia or any other woman. She was waiting outside on the building for him and when she saw him get out, she hurried over. “I’m so glad to see you,” she said as he opened the door for her. She saw his eyes travel over her figure in the black off the shoulder dress before she got in and he closed the door. “I’m sorry you had to come and get me,” she added when he climbed in behind the wheel. Her eyes flickered over him, thinking how sexy he looked in the white shirt which accentuated his swarthy complexion and how she would like to run her fingers through his thick dark hair.
“When you called I had just finished having dinner with Mia. We were going to relax and watch a movie or something.”
Jealousy consumed her at the thought of the two them having a romantic, candlelight dinner at Mia’s place. “I bet she wasn’t at all happy about you coming for me. She doesn’t like me.”
“You said the same thing about Janet.”
“I’m happy you didn’t marry her. She was all wrong for you.”
“What about Mia?”
“She’s not right for you, Chase.”
“And I suppose you know who’s right for me?”
“Yes. I’ve known it for a very long time.”
His hands gripped the steering wheel. “And who might this woman be?”
She looked at him. “Me,” she said huskily. “I’m right for you, Chase. I’ve loved you for ten years. It hurt seeing you with other women but I refused to give up. I know that you have feelings for me. I’ve seen the way you look at me and in spite of what you say, I know that you want to me with me as much as I want to be with you. You didn’t love Janet and you don’t love Mia.”
They were at a stop light and he turned to her. “You’re right,” he admitted. “When I met you I realized that I didn’t love Janet and marrying her would have been a terrible mistake. I care for Mia but I don’t love her.”
She reached out and touched his face. “I love you, Chase.”
“I love you too, Alexa,” he muttered thickly before he leaned over and kissed her. Her hands held his face as she responded wildly to his kisses. This lasted until a horn blared behind them, forcing them to break apart. “I loved you the moment I first saw you,” he admitted as he drove through the intersection that would take them to her apartment building.
She leaned her head back against the car seat, her senses swimming. What she had hoped for and dreamed of had finally come true. Chase loved her. When they pulled into the parking lot and left the car, she slipped her hand in his, lacing her fingers through his. After she let them into her flat and locked the door, she turned to him.
Wordlessly, they fell into each other’s arms and as they exchanged passionate kisses, he thought how true the words, “True love cannot be found where it does not exist, nor can it be denied where it does.”
Source: Brainy Quote