Love Online by Ssam

“Nikki” Sammy came to my cabin looking upset.

“Sammy what is it?” I asked her getting up from my chair.

“Mom is admitted in hospital. I have to go see her” she answered.
Love Online
Love Online by Ssam
“I am coming with you” “No Nikki. You have to stay here. They need you in the office. It’s ok I’ll call you” I was worried for her mom because they are the only family I have. “You sure” she nodded and left. My day in office went slow after that. In the evening Nolan came to my cabin. “Hey baby” he kissed me on my lips, not the long kiss just a peck. “Hey” I smiled at him. I have loved Nolan from last three years now, but it still amused me how much we have evolved in these years. He was my prince charming. “You heard from Sammy” he asked. “Yes. She said her mom was doing OK and she’ll be back in three or four days”. “That’s good. You ready to go home” “Yes” We went to the apartment. I prepared the dinner. We were on the dining table when Nolan asked. “What are you doing tomorrow night?” “Nothing; why? Do you have any plans?” I asked him. “I may have” he had a faint smile on his lips. I liked it when he smiled. “And that is?” I knew what his plan was. Sammy saw the ring he bought for me a few days ago. This was a dream come true. “Be ready tomorrow. I am taking you for a dinner after the office” he got up and kissed my face. When we were done with the dinner, I washed the plates and cleaned the kitchen. When it was time for Nolan to leave he asked me if I’ll be fine by myself. “I’ll be fine Nolan. I am not a little girl. Now go” we kissed and Nolan went to his apartment. I wanted him to stay but it didn’t felt right. He never spent the night at my apartment. The next day when it was time for our dinner I was so excited that finally Nolan and I will be together forever. I called Sammy to check on her mom. “Mom is fine. You tell me are you ready for your big day” she was excited too. “I guess so” I heard the car horn, “Sammy Nolan is here. I have to leave” “I want all the detail later. Now go and get him girl. Have fun” she laughed. “I will. Bye” with that we hung up the phone. Nolan was waiting for me outside. “Hey baby. You are looking so beautiful” “Thank you. Where are we going?” I kissed him. “It’s a surprise” that surprise comes out to be Aces. We were talking when a waiter dropped juice over Nolan’s jacket by mistake. “I am so sorry sir” his face went red with embarrassment. “It’s Ok. Just be careful” Nolan excused himself to use the washroom. I was waiting for him when his phone started ringing. I ignored it a few times, but it didn’t stop. So I finally picked it up. “Hello Arthur. If it’s not important Nolan will give you a call later. He is out right now” I told him “Oh! hi Nikki. Tell him to call me when he is free” “Ok I will” I was going to put the phone back on the table when I saw the text. And my life was shattered in pieces I could never collect. That was the worst day of my life. NIGHTMARE OR REALITY This is wrong. This is so wrong. No-no-no this is not real; it’s just a bad dream, a nightmare. I tried to blink my eyes and rubbed my palms on my eyes. I want to wake up. But nothing happened. I am still standing outside the restaurant in tear streaked face waiting for a cab. I know I am looking horrible with the ruined makeup. The blowing wind caused a chill in my body. I want to cry so hard. (Ring * Ring * Ring) Who is calling me at this time? I am in no condition to talk to anybody. I have lost all my ability to think. My mind is in a numb place. A quick glance at my phone and it flashed the one name I am hoping not to see ‘Sammy’. But if I didn’t pick up the phone she won’t stop calling me. “Hello Sammy. I am in no mood to talk” I tried to say in a hoarse voice. “You have got to be fucking kidding me. Your special night and you are saying you don’t want to give me any detail. Seriously?” is she for real. Has she not noticed my voice and she is my best friend for crying out loud. I heard her voice again, “Come on and spill, I want everything in detail. Did he finally propose? And, where are you?” Samantha asked. “Yes he did and I am coming out of the restaurant. Are you happy now?” I was getting irritated with her oblivion. “Oh my god-Oh my god, finally he did it, did you decide the wedding date, I will be your bridesmaid, OMG what am I going to wear and what is it with the attitude?” how can she not notice my pain. “I found out Nolan was not my Mr. Prince charming after all” I managed to say that with a choked throat. “Wait. What? But you two were so good with each other” Sammy sighed. “Every love story don’t have a happy ending Sammy” I sighed. “Nikki, are you OK? Will you please tell me what is going on? You are confusing me a hell lot” she sounded confused. “Look can we discuss this later. I know you want to know everything, but I am totally drained, I am so damn tired, confused and all worked up. I want to take some rest. So, please stay out of it for now” If I have to talk to her about this I am going to lose what strength I have left in me. I don’t want to cry anymore than I already have. “You can’t do that to me” she was shouting on the phone from other side, “I want to know if you are OK or not. Or you bet your ass that I am coming back to New York in the next flight so please do me a favor and tell me what’s this all about Nichole” oh perfect so Sammy is pissed, we only call each other with full names when we are pissed. “Samantha, I swear I am in no condition to give you any details, I have said no, to a marriage proposal for God’s sake and my heart is hurting. Will you fucking let me be alone for a fucking day? Or is it too much to expect from you”, I know I am sounding rude but, come on I want my space for some time. I cannot deal with this emotional drama. “Fine, do whatever you want. I don’t give a shit” with that she hung up the phone. I know I have hurt her feelings, but she’ll be right back to normal in a day or two. Still feeling a little guilty over taking out my anger and hurt on my best friend. Thinking about today’s events I started feeling sick to my stomach. I feel my inner bravado slipping off me and there is this ache in my heart like someone is gripping it in a hard vise. I am angry on Nolan, angry on world and more than anything I am angry on myself. Why didn’t I see that coming? Was I dumb enough to let that happen? Why did I trust him more than he deserved? I should have been careful. I want to cry my hurt out. I don’t want to feel like this. I want to strangle him, kill him. But I won’t do any of these things I am stronger than that; I am not going to waste my tears on a jerk. For now, I just want my bed to cry myself out to sleep. I took a cab from the restaurant and told the driver my address, finally reaching at my apartment I paid for the cab and went straight for the lift, opening the apartment door I be lined to my bedroom took two sleeping pills from my nightstand and fell face first on my bed after that, I was enveloped in a dreamless sleep. THE HEARTBREAK Knock – Knock – Knock – Ding – Ding – Ding Oh my god what is that noise? Who the hell is at my door? I looked at my alarm clock; it’s only 7 am on a Sunday morning. I’m going to kill whoever is on the door with my bare hands. Knock – Knock – Knock – Ding – Ding – Ding “Whoever you are I am going kill you if you don’t stop that, go away” I shouted from my bed like they can hear it from behind the main door. And what the hell is about knocking and the doorbell in that way, is it some kind of musical concert. My head is hurting so bad. Knock – Knock – Knock – Ding – Ding – Ding Not Again! Ah, I got up from my bed and went to the door. Opening it I see Sammy standing outside the door. “Really Samantha” I asked in my most irritated tone so that she knows that I am not happy with her. “Yes, this is your best friend. Who else did you expect?” “But it’s only 7 am in the morning, why did you come back so early”, I asked trying to wake my sleeping mind. “I gave you enough time and you know that was way higher than my limit” “Yes, I know”. “Now spill” she said walking to the living room. “Would you mind if I brush my teeth and get a shower first, it was a long night you know. And don’t you want to settle down first” I asked pointing at her luggage. “You have exactly ten minutes to do whatever you want”. “Oh, well thank you so much for your generosity your highness”. “Nine minutes” When she is like this I really hate her, but what can I say. After all, she is the only best friend I have and I can’t really blame her because what happened between Nolan and me is a big deal for her. She was there in every phase of my life with me. Sammy and I know each other from kindergarten, she was being bullied by two girls and I was there punching them in the nose and saving little Samantha and from that day on we were inseparable. She was there when I had my first crush on our English tutor in my junior high, who was ten years older than me. She was there with me when I had my first heartbreak when we saw Philip (the tutor) on his date with his girlfriend. She cried with me all night and when I swore off loving a guy again she took my revenge from the tutor who never knew that I was planning to be his wife and mother of his children in my head. She went to him the next day and kicked him in the balls and that is how we were grounded for the first time by our parents. Our fathers worked for the same company but different offices in West Virginia, so when Sammy’s parents invited us over dinner on her birthday we sort of became a second family. We went together to every school, undergrad and to graduate school as well, we took our degrees together from WVU in creative arts and at the age of twenty-one we moved to New York together for our jobs. She was the one who noticed Nolan checking me out in the office on our second day in office, and she was the reason we became friends and started dating. And today after three years of being with each other Nolan and I broke up, and one thing that hasn’t changed is Sammy. So, you know it is a big deal for her and she is a big deal for me, so I can’t blame her for being so impatient here. After doing my morning rituals and having a hot shower I was feeling relaxed, she had coffee ready on the table, and you see this is why I love her. She knows what I want and when I want it without me asking for it. She is the best. “Ok, so tell me what happened?” “You know when I told you that Nolan was behaving strangely from last year”, I started. She nodded. “I was getting suspicious the way he was late on our dates and talking on phone in low voices and sending text messages every now and then to a “New friend”, remember when I asked him who this friend was he simply said I never met this new friend of his. That new friend comes out to be Mrs. Linda Johnson”. “Holy cow, Boss’s wife Linda Johnson, That bastard” Sammy said in a rage when I nodded in confirmation. I know it wasn’t my fault, but it still hurts me that he did this to me, I thought I was being unreasonable and I felt so guilty that I was losing faith in my boyfriend. And what he did to me was cheating on me with our boss’s wife. ‘I am strong and I am not going to cry’, I chanted the mantra in my head. “But how did you know?” “I don’t know, there were some things out of places from months and I never noticed them, never paid close attention. But when I went to his apartment last week, there was a women scarf in his bedroom, but I kept it aside because you said I’m not being fair to him for suspecting anything, and then the other day there was a bouquet of lilies in his apartment that he said was for me”. “But you don’t like lilies” “That’s what I said, but he made it look like it was a mistake by the delivery boy and he said he is feeling bad about it, so I just said it was okay. But they were…..” “Ok I get it they were for him because he likes lilies” “I can’t believe Nolan can be such a douche bag” it was hard to believe for me too. “Yesterday when we were at the restaurant a waiter dropped juice over his jacket by mistake and he left his phone on the table and went to washroom. It was ringing so many times and I thought it may be important so I took the phone; it was Arthur I told him to call later. But when I was about to put the phone back then I saw a message from Linda Johnson and I was curious why boss’s wife was messaging Nolan” a shudder ran through my body remembering the message, “She said she was missing him and she enjoyed their sex last night”, it felt like I was stabbed at that time. He was fucking boss’s wife last night and today he had the courage to sit in front of me like I was his life. I didn’t want to continue it was so painful but I wanted to get it over with so I said, “I checked the previous messages and there were a hell lot of other things then missing. There were a few pictures she sent him over and a nudie of Mrs. Johnson on my boyfriend’s phone”. “OH MY GOD” I was trying to keep the tears out of my eyes but failing miserably. Sammy hugged me and was saying something like ‘it’s OK’ or something which I was not able to make out. I cried all I could and she held me like kids. “I put the phone back on the table and when he came back I told him that Arthur wanted a callback from him. I didn’t want to create a scene there so I didn’t say anything about the messages. And then he waved to a waiter and there was this guy with a guitar who came over and started singing ‘marry me’ and Nolan went down on his knee. He had the ring in his hand”, that was the most painful moment in my life watching my world shatter, watching the man I loved for three years with all my heart, the first real love of my life, not some junior high crush going down on one knee. And at that time I knew why heartbreak hurt so much. I can’t explain the pain I was feeling, it was like I couldn’t breathe anymore like there was a heavy weight on my chest. My stomach was tied in knots. I had always planned how I wanted my special day to be, my prince charming on his knee proposing me. When Nolan came to my life and we started dating I always adored him. I still remember the day when Sammy said that there was a cute guy 6’1, blonde hair, green eyes and a killer tanned body checking me out, I was amused to see Nolan when he asked me for coffee. Sammy was happy that I finally accepted a guys request to go out with him after my first heartbreak in ninth grade when I swore off the guys. She was so worried over high school and college that I will never date. I was the amazing girl in school and college who can be friends with boys but never accepted to date them, the forbidden queen. But when I said yes to Nolan for coffee Sammy was more excited than her date. Nolan took me to Joe for coffee and we were talking for four hours. It was so easy talking with Nolan, not that I am shy or anything, but there was this comfort level when we were talking. He told me he was twenty-four and works as the senior editor for the magazine. I told him about my family and about the things Sammy and I did together. He was crying from the laughter. I liked making him laugh it felt good. So, when the staff at Joe started eying us we collected our laughing asses from there and like a gentleman he dropped me at my apartment and promised for a repeat. The second date converted into a lunch date and then the third and on our sixth date Nolan said he loved me and I confessed my feelings too. Sammy was the first one to know and then everyone at the office knew. Everything was just perfect. Nolan loved me, cared for me and I loved him and cared for him. He promised me forever and I dreamt of that forever. When my mom and dad died two years back in a car accident Nolan was there for me by my side with Sammy. He was my rock. Sammy’s family took me in after my parent’s death and they and Nolan were the only families I had left. But this, this was never in the plan. This heartbreak, this was never my dream. I never thought I will be getting my heart shattered in pieces like this. What am I going to do now? There will be no forever with Nolan. I didn’t notice the tears that were flowing from my eyes until Sammy said that ‘it was going to be alright, we’ll fight it together and it was us against the world always’. ‘Yes, it was us against the world. I am strong and I am not going to cry’. I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand. I knew I was looking miserable like this crying like a baby. I promised myself yesterday I won’t cry because it’s not my fault, but my heart has stopped listening to me. The feeling of anger and disgust from yesterday has somehow converted to dread and loss like I have lost a part of my heart. Sammy broke my train of thoughts by confirming my thoughts, “Nikki, please don’t cry baby, that asshole is not worth your tears. I am always here for you, you know that right”. Only Sammy can combine baby and asshole in one sentence. And I love her; I know she will always be here for me. I have to get my shit together because she can’t take it anymore; she is not strong enough for my emotional breakdown. I am always the one playing strong and she is the one breaking down now and then, so she is not used to seeing me like this. I repeated my mantra ‘I am strong and I am not going to cry’ in my head and smiled weakly. “I know Sammy. I know u will always be here and I’ll always be there for you. Thank you”. “You don’t have to thank me for that. At least not now”, she said with a suggestive tone. That’s more like her I know there is going something in her evil head, so I asked. “What are you planning to do evil princess?” and the mode changed from sorrow to mischievous and I am feeling somewhat normal again. “Don’t know what you are talking about girl”. “Are you going to hit him in balls too evil princess?” I tried to say this with a straight face but lost it and we started laughing. After our laughing fit her face went straight and she asked, “Please tell me you kicked him in his balls after pulling that stunt”. “I slapped him and told him to go to hell and take Mrs. Johnson with him”. “I can’t believe you said that” she was shocked. Then she asked, “What did he say?” “Said that he loved me and it was a mistake and begged me for forgiveness. He said he’ll never talk to her again and I can’t do this to him because he loves me”. “I can’t believe he had that nerve to say all that, what a bastard”. “Yes” “What did you do then?” “I just came out of there and slept after talking to you. I switched off my phone” “Oh Nikki, I am so sorry”. “Nah! It’s OK, I’m OK”. “Hey get up and get ready”, Sammy said suddenly. “Where are we going?” “Out” “OK” And that is how we spent our Sunday mornings of heartbreak shopping and roaming around the city. IRRITATING BUT CARING BEST FRIEND *****RRRIIIINNNNGGGG***** My alarm went off. I hate Monday mornings. I got up and switched off the alarm, then checked my phone. Twelve voice mails and fifteen messages from Nolan. I deleted them without looking at them, I don’t want to hear his sorry voice and read his sorry messages. This is a new day and a fresh start which doesn’t have space for Nolan’s sorry ass. You make or break your life rules yourself, so it’s time to make new ones. I have decided now, no more crying for the jerk and no more sulking over the ex-boyfriend. I got up from the bed and went to the bathroom. After getting ready for office, I went to the kitchen where Sammy was making coffee. “Good morning Sammy. Can I get one of that too”, I asked pointing towards the coffee pot. “Sure you can”, she answered and handed me the coffee mug, “here, your toast and egg is on the table”. “Thank you, Sammy” “Come on eat fast or we are going to be late for office”. “Yes, mother”. So, our day started with good laughter, but once we reached office I was getting that sulking feeling again. I tried to ignore that but failed every time. I went to my cabin there were some new covers to be chosen for the new addition of the magazine, for which I was grateful. Anything to keep my mind off Nolan will be a welcome, so I started working on the covers. I didn’t know how much time passed when there was a knock on my cabin door. ‘Must be Sammy, I thought’. But to my surprise it was none other than Nolan. I was in no mood to talk to that asshole so I said curtly, “I am busy, and I don’t have time for any crap right now. So, if you don’t mind leaving me alone”. “I know I hurt you, but will you please listen to me for a minute”, Nolan said. He was sounding sad. But I don’t have to feel bad for his sadness. It was his fault, not mine. He was the one cheating on me. “No, I don’t have anything to give you. Not even my hatred”, I pointed to the door and said in a voice as cold as I can manage and said, “you may leave now Mr. Jenkins”. “Nikki please don’t be so cold. You know I LOVE you. I am sorry I was not faithful to you, but can’t you just give me one chance to prove myself. Please, if you want I can beg you for your forgiveness. Give me a first and last chance and we’ll live happily forever. Please, Nikki”. “Look, Nolan I am hurt and right now I don’t know if I can give you any chance or not. But I forgive you for what you did to me. Just give me my space and I’ll give you yours”, I said defeated. I can’t give him any chance I know that, but I am not going to hate him too because to hate him I’ll have to remember him which I don’t want to do. So, I decided to forgive him and move on in my life. “But I don’t want my space; I want you with me as always.” “Look Nolan does not test my patience, I said you I forgave you now leave me alone, ‘coz you may not need it but I do need my space, at least for now”. He must have seen my anger rising so he said, “For now, I’ll give you your space. But I know you will give me a chance”. And he went out of my cabin. I drowned myself in my work again and when I noticed the time it was already time to go home. I took a sigh of relief and saved my work. When I was out in of my cabin I noticed Sammy and was happy that there was no sign of Nolan there. We went home and I told Sammy about the unexpected visit from my ex-boyfriend on our way back home. She was totally pissed. “Why doesn’t he leave you alone? What is his problem?” “I don’t know and I don’t want to know. I just want to forget all about him and move on” “That’s my girl” “Yeah, your girl” And like that both of us were laughing. Reaching home was so good. I took a hot shower to release all the tension of the day. When I came out Sammy was sitting on the couch and doing something on her laptop. “Whatcha you doing,” I asked her. “Solving you problem”. “Excuse me?” I was confused. “You said you want to move on from that dirt bag Nolan”, she said like it was obvious what she meant. “Yes I said”, I was still confused. “So that’s what I’m doing, making sure you move on”. “And that is related to what you are doing on your laptop, how?” “You see this website here?” “Look, Sammy I appreciate you being trying to help me out with this and I appreciate it. But you know very well I don’t like this online dating business”. “I know that girl, will you please let me finish first”. “Ok go ahead” “You are not going to say one word till I finish and I’ll let you speak after that, deal” “Deal”, I said knowing she’ll say what she have to say one way or the other. “Ok. So, there is this website Julia and I were talking about the other day...” “Julia?” I asked. She was glaring at me with frustrated eyes. “What did I tell you about not saying a word?” “Sorry” I said smiling. “Julia! the girl in the copying floor”. “Oh that cute girl who broke up with her long-distance boyfriend” I said recognizing the girl. “Yes, the same one”. “Ok” “So, she told me she was heartbroken after that and was feeling very low when her cousin suggested her for this website”. I wanted to tell her I don’t want to do anything with any website, but I kept myself quite ‘coz you don’t want to deal with a pissed Samantha. So I just listened. “She said she registered to that website and got herself a virtual boyfriend. She said that it’s all anonymous and you don’t have to disclose your identity and your personal information’s if you don’t want to. They match you with someone based on your preferences. You don’t have to worry about anything; I researched about this thing myself it looks safe and pretty fun to me”. Was she really saying what I was hearing? Or was it just my imagination that she has said “Virtual Boyfriend”. “Are you insane Samantha?” “What’s wrong with it?” “Look I told you I don’t want anything to do with the online dating shit” “But it’s not online dating Nikki” “It is a form of online dating Sammy, how is it different?” “You don’t have to date him like ever if you don’t want to. He’ll do anything you want and never say anything and be possessive. He’s going to be there whenever you want and you don’t have to worry about him taking advantage or anything and above all he is never going to cheat on you”, she said like she has solved the biggest problem in the world. “No” “But why not?” “Sammy I said no and I don’t want any further discussion on that”. Sammy got my tone which said no more discussion, she got up stomped her foot. “Then be stubborn”, she said and left for her room. I was not in any mood to talk to her in one of her stupid anger fits. I will deal with her tomorrow; she can be such a drama queen sometimes. I went to my room and ordered pizza. It arrived in 30 minutes; I left half in Sammy’s room and went to my room with the other half. Next morning I woke up before my alarm went to the kitchen, started the coffee and made breakfast. Sammy came out of her room and gave me the silent treatment. We went to the office and her silent treatment went on for a whole week. When it started bothering me I decided I’ll be the one to talk first ‘coz I know she can be stubborn. So, I went into her room on Friday unannounced and said, “Look, Sammy, what’s the problem, why are you being so stubborn”. “I am being stubborn, really” “Yes, you are the one giving me silent treatment”. “And you are the one who thinks I have no sense” “When did I say that?” “You don’t have to say that, you think I am stupid telling you to try that VB thing out, you think I am stupid to risk your privacy like that. I have already researched about the whole thing and it is safe”. “I know you won’t do anything without checking it, but why don’t you get it I don’t want any relation real or virtual. At least for now I don’t want any boyfriend”. “But what’s the harm in trying it once. You know, it’s not like you can’t erase your account or stop talking to the guy if you don’t like it. That’s the whole point of the virtual boyfriend you know”. “Yeah I know but they are not real and sometimes they use the artificial intelligence, what use that will be?” “What is the harm to try?” “Nothing” “If you don’t like it, you can delete the account and I’ll never say anything about dating ever”. Sammy out of my back on this dating thing was a good deal, worth the profit right. And she is right I can delete the account whenever I want. “OK, I’ll do it later”. “Already done” “OMG Sammy, you are insane. You made an account for me already”. “I was being positive that you’ll come around” “Yeah right” I said with irritation. “Now login and talk to your boyfriend”. “Virtual boyfriend”. “Same” she said showing me her tongue. “Will do it later, I am tired. Going to sleep, goodnight”. “Whatever. Here”, she wrote something on the paper and said, “this is the site and your username and password for login”. I took the paper from her and went to my room. I checked the username “pussycat” and password “hungry for love”. Really. “Samantha I am gonna kill you” I shouted from my room and heard her laughing so she did this knowing it will irritate me. She is such a brat. I was curious how it will be, but I was tired too. So there was a fight going on between curiosity and tiredness in which obviously the curiosity won. I opened my laptop, fired up the program and logged into my account. MY VIRTUAL BOYFRIEND VB: Hey there I am Jacob. Me: Hello. I am Nichole. VB: How are you Nikki? Me: I don’t know. Tired and heartbroken. VB: Ouch. Long term relationship? Me: Three years. VB: Must be hurting like hell? Me: Yeah. Can we talk something else. VB: Sure. Why not? Me: Why are you here? I mean I am here because of my best friend. VB: Best friend? Interesting. Me: Don’t tell. VB: I am here because I am a sucker for any real relationship. Me: Don’t worry you are good without that. I have tried and tested. VB: Why did you breakup if it’s ok to ask? Me: Cheating boyfriend. VB: That’s why I don’t want to commit. Me: Hmmmmm . VB: Want to know a secret. Me: Yeah. VB: You don’t have to settle for something which ends up hurting you. Me: You sound like a philosopher. VB: Life teaches you so many things including philosophy. Me: Ever been in love? VB: Never. Me: Then you won’t understand. VB: You don’t have to take the poison for proving that it kills. Me: But you have to experience things to know the real effect? VB: I rest my case. Me: hahahhaa, that was easy. VB: Are you laughing at me? ME: Maybe. What are you going to about that? :p VB: Is that a challenge Miss Nikki? Me: I guess it is Mr. Jacob. VB: Bring it on then Me: I was kidding. VB: Me too. Me: How long have you been here. VB: A few times. That was way better than I thought. Jacob seemed to be a nice guy. We were talking about everything and nothing. We never shared our personal details but we shared our interests which were mostly common. He was twenty-five and I told him I was twenty-four. He liked to read like me, loved the music, travelling and he told me he can play guitar which I am dying to learn. It was nice talking to him. When it was late I was feeling tired we declared it a night. He said he’ll meet me at 6 pm tomorrow. Me: Why 6 pm? VB: You mentioned in your account that you work a day job and will be available around 6. And I mentioned about my job too. Me: That would be Sammy. VB: Oh! Is the timing a problem? Me: No, it’s ok. VB: You sure? I can be here whenever you want. Me: Nah! It’s fine. VB: You can talk to me whenever you want ok. I don’t mind. Me: Sure. VB: Seriously you can ping me anytime you want. Me: I will. Meet you at 6pm. Bye VB: Bye. Have sweet dreams. Me: You have salty and horror dreams. VB: hahahaa, where did you learn that from. I was showing my tongue like he’ll be able to see me through my laptop. Me: you didn’t like. VB: I didn’t say that. Me: Bye. I’m sleepy. And I didn’t wait for his reply and closed the program. I knew if I didn’t leave I’ll be sitting here till the morning talking to him. And I knew he didn’t want to leave too. So I just closed it, I programmed the website with my login and password on my phone for easy access, just being positive you know. After that, I don’t know when I went to sleep and woke up in the morning to the face of smiling Sammy sitting on the corner of my bed. “How was it?” Sammy asked. “How was what?” “The talk with your Virtual Boyfriend” “Good” “So you are going to talk to him” “I guess so” and she was looking at me with ‘I told you so’ eyes. “Ok it was good, and we are going to talk at 6 pm today. Jacob is a nice guy, we are trying to be friends that’s all” “I didn’t say anything” we laughed. And then I told her about our conversation. She was laughing her ass off when I told her that I asked Jacob that who made him. That made me laugh too and thinking about that it was really silly of me. I was a little embarrassed. Then after telling her about my “First date” with my Virtual Boyfriend we got ready for office. In the office, I was in a dream-like haze going over the events of last night in my head. It felt good to talk to Jacob, not quite like connected or something but good better than I expected. And to be true I was looking forward to talking to him again. The day was busy so I just worked and forgot all about today’s meeting with Jacob. Sharp at 6 pm there was a message on my phone. I knew without checking it was Jacob. I was happy to see his message on my phone. I was talking to Jacob all the way back to home. He shared stories about his cat and I loved her by the end of the day. When I reached home I promised Jacob we’ll talk after dinner. So I changed and prepared dinner and after dinner I went straight to my room and started talking to Jacob. Me: You had dinner? His reply was instant like he was waiting for me on the other side. I liked that. VB: Yes. How was your day at office? Me: Busy. VB: What do you do? Me: Photo editing. Not exactly true but it’s not a lie too right. I am yet not comfortable about telling about my personal details to a total stranger. Maybe later, when I’ll be sure about trusting Jacob. VB: That’s pretty cool. Me: What do you do? VB: I am in a construction business. Me: Pretty boring. And we talked more and more. Every day there was something new we were learning about each other. I liked the way he thought, he was completely opposite of Nolan. And I liked him for what he was. He went to community services every Sunday and helped the homeless. He loved pets. He liked to sing but was horrible with tunes. He cried watching emotional movies. It was so much fun talking to him. He will tell me the stories of his school time and how he used to annoy his parents as a kid and I’ll laugh my ass off. After a month talking to Jacob I got to know him as an emotional person who never shows weakness. He became a part of my life. I’ll come from office and tell him about my day and share everything with him, except the personal details and our true identity. I was still not sure about doing that soon and so was Jacob. But we talked about everything apart from that. He’ll send me funny images of cats any everything he saw will make him laugh and I did the same. It was like we shared our happiness as well as concerns with each other. When Sammy got sick I told him that I hate hospitals and I am so worried about Sammy’s health. He said he can come and be with me there but I was not sure. But then the doctor said it was just flu and Sammy will get better within a week. I told him I’ll be talking to him in a while ‘coz I was not being a good friend to Sammy and I wanted to spend time with her. He said it was completely fine and said he’ll be there whenever I want and asked me to take care of Sammy and myself. So we spent the night at the hospital and next day Sammy was discharged and we went home. For next few days it was my best friend and me, I took leave from the office and tended Sammy for four days. She was feeling much better. I was kind of tired one evening being home for four days so I helped Sammy sleep and went for star bucks two blocks away from our apartment. MEETING A STRANGER I was waiting in the line for my Java Chip Frappuccino when I noticed that the café was so crowded. I was wishing I’ll be able to get a seat, I didn’t want to go back so early. I needed some fresh air. When I got my order I was happy to get a seat at the corner near the window. I was thinking about Jacob when I heard a guy clear his throat. I looked up, there was a guy standing near my table tall around 6’3, ice blue eyes, black ruffled hair, fair skin wearing black button-down shirt and denim. He cleared his throat again and I was embarrassed that he has noticed me checking him out. So, I looked at his face. “Excuse me?” the guy said. Oh my god, his voice was like smooth silk chocolate, so damn sweet. I can lose myself in that voice. The voice which can melt your inside. He had ice blue eyes, they looked so deep. I don’t know there was something about those eyes. I wanted to loose myself in them. Who was this guy, some Greek God? “Ahem, excuse me?” he said again. Holy shit I was lost in my train of thoughts again. I wanted to dig a hole around me and bury myself in that hole. “Sorry, yes” I finally said scolding myself in my head. “I am sorry, but there is no other seat available in the café so if you don’t mind”. “Ammmmm” I don’t know what happened to my brain. Why is it acting dead? “So, can I sit here?” he asked politely. “Yeah. Sure”, I said. “Thank you” and with that he was sitting next to me. I caught his essence and it screamed all male, his own scent combined with his cologne. He had a lean body, the one to die for. I could make out his muscles through his button-down. Was I going nuts? What had happened to me suddenly? Why am I behaving so strange? I was drinking my coffee when out of the blue he asked. “Are you a regular here? Is it always this crowded?” “Yes and no. Yes, I am a regular here but it’s not always this crowded. I don’t know why today is an exception or maybe it’s crowded at this time”. “Oh. You see I am new here so it’s kind of awkward to go to crowded places”. “You don’t like crowded places. Do you?” “Is it that obvious?” “Nah, just that I am good at reading people”. And he laughed. The laugh which can take your breath away. I stopped breathing for a minute and my heart skipped a beat. “Jake”, he extended his hand towards me and I was sitting there like a deer in front of headlights. He saw my face and his expression faded. No, no, no it was going wrong. You have to do something quickly. I said to myself. “Nikki”, I blurted like I suddenly remember my name and shook his hand. His hands were hard like he works a lot. “Nice to meet you, Nikki. You from around here”. “Same here and no I am from West Virginia”. “Oh. I am from Texas” “Ok”, did I just say ok really? After that, we were silent. He must think I’m a weirdo. I got up and collided with a waiter. The cold coffee he had in his tray went down on me and I can feel the chills of the cold coffee all over my stomach and down my jeans. Gross. “Are you ok?” Jake asked. “Yeah fine. Thank god for cold coffee”, I replied trying to lighten the mood. He laughed again and I forgot about the coffee dripping down my shirt and jeans. “Do you need help?” “No, I’m ok” “You sure” “Positive” I was trying to walk with all the sticky mess when I dropped my phone. Can this day go any worse? I bent down to pick up my phone and when I got up I hit his chin with my head hard. Oh my god, I got the answer yes my day can go so much worse. Jake was grunting in pain. “I am so sorry” I was saying trying to check his chin. He was holding it so tight with his hand. “Please let me check” I asked politely. He removed his hand and I checked there was no blood thank god. I took one ice cube fromm the table and put it on Jake’s chin. “Here, it’ll be fine. And I’m really very sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you” “I know its ok”, he smiled. “You fine” “Yeah I am. You can put that ice cube down. It’s no biggie” he said. “Hmmm” worst day ever in my life, “I think I should leave”. “It was nice meeting you Nikki”. “Yah ditto” That got a big laugh from him again. I took a cappuccino for Sammy and went out of the café, disappointed that Jake didn’t ask for my number or workplace. I was hoping we’ll meet again soon. I took a cab back to my apartment because I was feeling so gross and wanted to shower badly. ****************** {JAKE} I was doing that again, remembering the incident with Nikki at the star bucks had became a routine. My chin still hurts and I cannot stop the smile that spreads on my face when I remember her mortified face. Her face oh god, that face has haunted me in my dreams from last three nights in my dreams. Her chocolate brown eyes, her lips, her honey blonde hair and her flustered face, I get hard every time I think of her. When I went to sit at her table I knew she was checking me out. She was so lost in her thought looking at me she didn’t even notice I had asked her something. When she looked up at me she was so red with embarrassed and that made my cock react immediately. I swear I was so hard that it reached the level of painful. I was worried she will notice my hard on in my denim. But I couldn’t help it then and I couldn’t help it now. What am I doing thinking about Nikki? I scold myself mentally. I am already seeing a girl. I shouldn’t be fantasizing about any other girls. Why am I thinking with my dick? But there is something about Nikki which is not letting me forget her. I had been dreading myself for not getting her phone number or asking her out. And now I hope we will meet again soon. I would like to know her. Maybe we can be friends. I know very few people here in New York City. There is no harm in making new friends. ******************** {NICHOLE} After giving Sammy her coffee I took a long shower. I was thinking about Jake, still can see him smiling in my head and those ice blue eyes, Oh god. They were haunting me. I groaned in frustration, I don’t want to remember those eyes or that smile. I came out of the shower and went to the kitchen for making dinner. The dinner was silent Sammy went back to sleep after dinner and I went to my room. I fired up the virtual boyfriend program hoping Jacob will be there and will not be pissed at me for not talking to him for four days. Me: Hey. No instant reply. After five minutes of waiting I was thinking that Jacob will not answer and when I was going to close the program I got his reply. VB: Hey stranger. Me: Are you pissed at me? VB: Why? Me: I didn’t talk to you for past few days. VB: That was because your best friend had flu and you had to take care of her. Me: But you are my friend too. I should be able to make time for both of you. VB: It is totally cool. I was busy in work anyways. How’s Sammy? Me: She is better but still not fully recovered. She is sleeping all the time. VB: hahahaa must be the medicines. Me: Yeah. I feel sorry for her. She doesn’t like being sick. VB: How are you? Me: Good. I took leave from office. VB: Oh good. How was your day? Me: Don’t ask. VB: Why? Me: Worst day ever. VB: What happened? Me: I met this guy… VB: Really Nichole? You met a guy? Me: Yeah but what is with the question mark? VB: Nothing. Leave it I have known Jacob for more than a month now. He never behaved like this. Me: Jacob tell me. VB: Nothing, just that I didn’t like you met a guy. What? Was he serious. Me: And what is wrong with that? VB: Nothing I just don’t like it Is he really throwing a jealousy fit? Really? Am I dreaming or something? Is he being serious? Me: Jacob you didn’t even listen to me. Are you saying I can’t see any guys because I am talking to a stranger over the internet from last one month who thinks he can decide what I should do. Are you out of your freaking mind? VB: No. I didn’t say that Nichole. I like you Ok. And I don’t want you talking to other guys when we are trying to build something here. Me: Fuck you Jacob. You are my friend not my fucking boyfriend. Go to hell. And I closed the program. What was all that about. Who the hell he thinks he is, telling me what I can do. I liked him. I thought he is a good guy, but today I am not so sure. He didn’t even listen to me what I was going to say didn’t even give me a chance to explain. My day went from bad to worse. Does this day have an end or not, but why am I so upset over that jerk. We are not even in a relationship. If I can survive heartbreak I can survive this too. I don’t need anybody in my life. ************ {JACOB} Oh my god, what did I just do? I thought. I was still looking at the screen where our last conversation was in front of my eyes. I didn’t even let her complete her sentence. I heard her saying that she met this guy and I lost it. I really completely lost it. I cannot imagine her sitting with a guy and talking to him, laughing at his jokes. I didn’t mean it to happen but I was so angry and there was this odd feeling like there is fist clenching my heart, I couldn’t make myself hear what she was going to tell me about that guy. We were strangers and I never did relationship but why was I feeling different with Nichole. Why was this so much different and complecated. This relation is not true right. We are not a real couple, she is my virtual girlfriend. Then why does it hurt so much. Why her last comment hurt me so much. It’s still there on the screen. Nichole: Fuck you, Jacob. You are my friend not my fucking boyfriend. Go to hell. But I don’t blame her for her outburst, it was totally my fault. I don’t know what got over me. Why I was behaving like the douche bag which she hates. This is not me; I’m not that jerk who can’t see his friend happy. But is she just my friend. She’ll hate me now. Oh god, I am screwed. I’ll have to make it right. I’ll do whatever it takes to make it right. Even if I have to beg her for forgiveness, I’ll do that too. I cannot afford to lose Nichole Allen, not now not ever. I’ll have to explain her what I am feeling for her. But first I have to understand what that feeling is. So, I texted her even if I knew she won’t be replying me soon but I had to be positive. Me: Nichole please listen to me, I am really sorry. I know what I said it was out of line and I deserve your anger. I don’t know how to explain, but I will. I promise just talk to me give me one chance to explain it to you so that I can make it right. I am not going give any excuses about what I did. It was my mistake, but please let me explain. Her reply was instant which was really unexpected. I felt so relieved at least I will get a chance to explain myself. Nichole: Why should I listen to you? Did you listen to me? Me: I am really sorry, it was my fault. I am not denying it. Nichole: Say what you have to and then leave. I don’t want to talk to you anymore. Me: Let me explain and after that if you think I don’t deserve to talk to you, I’ll not disturb you anymore. Nichole: Whatever. Make it fast. Me: I think I am falling for you. Nichole: But, how is that possible? You don’t even know me? Me: I know that is what I was telling myself, but it is what it is. And I may not know your true identity, but I know you as a person. You are funny, you are caring, you are strong and you are independent. Any guy will easily fall for you. I know it’s only been one and a half month we started talking, but I know what I am saying and feeling. That is why I was behaving like that. I am sorry. Nichole: But? Me: I know I am scared too. But can’t we give it a chance just to see where it goes. I think it’s worth trying. It’s all I have to say. Now it’s up to you what you want. Nichole: I don’t know. It’s just so odd. I have never thought of you that way. I mean I know you as a person and I know you are a good guy. But being in a distance relationship I don’t think I can manage that. You getting what I am saying right. I want to feel connected to my boyfriend not by chatting or talking over the phone. I want him with me. I know it’s not possible all the time but whenever I can have him I would like for him to be with me. Me: I know. I want the same. But we can manage if we want to. Wherever you are I’ll come over there to meet you anytime you want me with you. Because I want to give this a try I want to give us a try Nichole. I know we can be happy together. Nichole: This is scaring me. You know I already had a cheating boyfriend. I cannot afford it to happen again. It will break me. Me: I know. But you have to build the trust in every relationship right. We can do it together. Just give us a chance. Please god, just once I want something so badly in my life. I have never wanted anything so badly. Please help me god and let her answer be yes. I was praying in my head. I think I have lost it. I am asking a girl over the internet to give this virtual relationship a chance. That’s fucked up. Nichole: I need time to think. Ok, it’s better than a No. so I replied. Me: Sure. Nichole: Good night. Me: Good night Nichole have sweet dreams. I slept after that and woke up the next morning thinking about Nichole. I was hoping her answer will be yes. THE MISTAKE After telling my feelings to Nichole we were talking to each other normally. But I can tell Nichole was a little cautious about what to say or not. She was holding herself back. We talked about normal stuff every day like how our day was and what we did. But she never told me about her answer or she never brought that day up. So when it was two weeks after that night of confessions I was getting a little worried and I wanted so bad to go to her and demand her to give me the answer. But I didn’t know anything where she live or her phone number or where she work. And I didn’t want to be impatient because I knew if I’ll force her into anything she’ll stop talking to me and I would never meet her. So I never said anything to her. I was getting frustrated and it was showing in my work. I would lash out on anybody for small things. Like the other day my friend Mike, accidently dropped a coffee mug in my kitchen and I bursted out. He was so upset after that and asked me what was wrong. I was not able to concentrate anywhere. I wanted to talk to Nichole so badly. So I did one thing which always helps. I called my mom. She picked up on the second ring. “Hey baby”, she said. It felt good to hear her voice. “Hey Mom” “How are you? It’s been so long you talked to me”, she complained. “I know and I am sorry I don’t call you often. But you know how the work is” “Yeah I know. So tell me what is it?” “Why do you think there is something” how did she know. “I am you mother Jacob. I know when my son is worried. So tell” “Nothing maa, there is this girl…” I started. “Ah. A girl and?” “Ummmm, her name is Nichole and I want to talk to her so bad, but I don’t know what she wants?” I confessed. “Oh so finally you got a girl who is giving you a hard time. I like her already”my mom stated with smiling. I told her all about Nichole and me. She listened to me and finally when I was done with my story she finally said. “Look, baby I don’t know about her. But if you are feeling something for the girl she would be worth it. Give her some time she had her heartbroken and she don’t want that to happen again and trusting a stranger is hard for a girl. When she’ll be ready she will tell you. Be patient”. “I am mom, this waiting thing is frustrating me”, I always had an easy access to girls. I never had to do anything for getting a girl before, but this is different. I don’t want it to be a quick relationship or quick fuck like others. I want it to be serious, something special with Nichole. There is something about her which I cannot resist. I want her with me. Want to see her, feel her, and hold her in my arms. I want to know how it feels to hold her in my arms, kiss her and listen to her voice. This thing I feel for her is new for me, but I like it. “I know baby it’s hard. But you know good thing don’t come around easy”. “Ya, I know. I love you mom and I miss you”. “I miss you too and your dad misses you too”. “How’s dad? I miss him too”. “He’s good. Went to fishing with Bob and Phil. I’ll tell him you called”. “Ok mom. Bye. Take care and Thank you”. After talking to mom, I was feeling a little better and hopeful. But I still didn’t know what to do about Nichole. What if she says No. I stopped thinking about Nichole and focused on my work that helped a little to keep me busy. ************ {NICHOLE} It was one of those busy days in the office when you don’t get time for lunch or even a quick coffee. I hate days like this when I don’t get my caffeine. So I went to star bucks for my fill of coffee. I was standing in line, when I noticed the cute guy Jake from a few weeks earlier sitting there. I took my order and was walking towards an empty table when he looked up and saw me. He smiled and pointed for the empty seat in front of him. I went to his table and sat in front of him. “Hey”, he said. He was sounding so low. Not the happy cheerful guy I met the other day. “Hey. You ok” I asked. He was looking at me with confusion. “I can see there is something bothering you” I told him. “You really good at reading people”, there was a hint of smile on his face. “I told you. So what’s the matter? That is if you want to tell me”. “Nothing much, just a bit stressed about work”. “Oh, I can understand” “Yeah. There is this big party on Saturday and I don’t have a date”. “You don’t have a girlfriend?” I was curious. “It’s complicated. She doesn’t live nearby” he sighed. “So ask her to come here” I suggested. “I can’t do that. Told you it’s complicated” “Oh. So, take a friend”. “All my friends are busy on Saturday and I don’t know so many people around here”. “Hmmmm. Sorry, I don’t know anybody who’ll be ready to go. My best friend would have loved to go with you, but she has plans for Saturday too” I said apologetically. “Are you free on Saturday?” he asked suddenly. “Umm...Yes, I am”. “Perfect. Will you come with me? Please”, he asked with those puppy eyes. I had to laugh. “Oh my god you don’t have to do that” I said laughing. “Please, I promise it will be good. I’ll be a perfect gentleman” “Ok Ok I’ll go with you” “Thank you so much you are a saver”. And we both laughed. We exchanged our numbers so that he can tell me about the plans on Saturday. We said our goodbyes and I was thinking about my stupidity on my way back to the apartment. Why did I agree? But looking in his pleading eyes I couldn’t say no to him. I reached home changed, had dinner with Sammy and went to my room. Then I went to the VB program and there was a message from Jacob. VB: Hey Nichole I know I’ll sound impatient to you but seriously you are killing me here. I know it’s been a long time since he confessed his feelings for me, but I am not sure what to do. I asked him for time and he has been so patient with me. I think it is worth trying, but I am afraid of heartbreak. I manage to survive this one but can’t survive if it happened again. It will break me. But I like Jacob I like talking to him. But is he worth the risk? I got my answer. Yes, he is. So I typed my answer. Me: Yes. He replied after some time. VB: Yes? Me: We are worth trying. I want to try this. VB: Oh my god baby. You don’t know how much I wanted to hear this answer. Me: I know. VB: Can I call you my baby? Me: If you want to. VB: Thank you. Thank you so much baby. You’ll not regret it. I promise. Me: I hope so. But can we go slow? VB: As slow as you want baby. Me: hahahaa you like calling me that. VB: Hell yes. I was dying to call you baby. Me: Ok. I am going to sleep now. VB: So early. You ok? Me: Yes. Just a bit tired. It was a hard day at the office. VB: Oh. I know he is upset. But I really can’t talk right now. I feel bad for him. Me: What if I’ll talk to you first thing in morning before leaving for office. VB: I would like that. Me: Ok. Goodnight. VB: Goodnight baby. I’ll be waiting for you in the morning. Me: I’ll be there. Bye. Have Horror dreams. VB: hahahaa thank you baby. Bye. And I closed the program and I don’t know when I went to sleep. That is how we spent our time. He’ll talk to me every day with so much affection I started feeling the distance between us. I wanted him near me, I wanted to touch him, feel him. Whenever I’ll see a couple sitting with each other, talking, hugging or touching I’ll feel that empty feeling. I wanted all that with Jacob. So I decided after coming back from the party on Saturday I am gonna tell Jacob that I wanted to meet him. On Saturday, I was getting ready when Jake called for getting my address. I told him the address and he said he’ll be there in twenty minutes. When he called again saying he was waiting for me outside my building I went there. He was looking good as always. “Hey gorgeous” he said. “Hey handsome” And he laughed. We went to the party, it was good party. Everybody was enjoying. We had drinks and after dinner Jake asked me for dance. So we went to the dance floor. Jake put his hand on my waist and it felt so warm. His hand on my back felt so good. This close to him I could feel his cologne, his body heat. His breath was creating a tingling near my ear. What was happening to me? He had a girlfriend. And I was working on a relationship with Jacob. This is not right. I have to get away from him. I excused myself from Jake saying I wanted to use the washroom. I went to the washroom and washed my face. When I came back Jake was already saying bye to everyone and I was thankful for that. The drive back to my apartment was silent. When we reached my building he came out and opened my door. We said goodnight and I was walking towards the door. Suddenly my dress came under my shoes and I was falling but Jake caught me in time. He was so near to my body I could feel his hard muscles, his breath on my face. Our eyes met, my heart was beating like a hammer. His breath was coming fast too. And then he was bending down slowly, killing me with those ice blue eyes. Then I felt his lips on mine. And oh my god did it feel good, I died in that instant and reached heaven. His lips were so soft, so very soft like feathers. His arms came around my waist in a tight embrace. The pressure of his embrace felt so right. I locked my hand in his hair. His hairs were so soft. Everything was like I imagined with Jacob. Jacob. Oh my god what is wrong with me? I have a guy who is waiting for me, waiting to talk to me and the guy I am kissing has a girlfriend. Am I no better than Nolan, already cheating on Jacob before even starting our relation. Jacob did not deserve that, it won’t be fair to him. That got me moving. I shoved Jake away from me. He was looking confused, then it drowned him what we did. “Shit, shit, shit” he said and his hands went to his face like he was feeling ashamed. “I am so sorry Nikki. I wasn’t thinking. I am so sorry”, he finally said breaking the ice. I could see he was feeling guilty. But so was I. “Not your fault, maybe we are too drunk to think”, I wanted to blame it on the alcohol but I know I was not that drunk. “I should leave. I am sorry again” “It’s ok” I said “Bye and thank you for coming with me” “Thank you for inviting me. Bye” And with that he was back in his car and I went back to the apartment. I can’t believe I kissed a guy. I’ll have to talk to Jacob soon and tell him to meet me or I’ll go mad. I changed and tried to relax a bit, but the guilty feeling was not going away. When I opened the VB program there was a message from Jacob. VB: Nichole I want to meet you. I know you want to take it slow, but trust me we need to meet as soon as possible. Me: Wow that was what I wanted to talk to you today. His reply was instant like he was waiting for my reply. VB: Yeah. I am glad you were thinking about meeting me. I want to talk to you, hold you and kiss you. Me: Exactly my thoughts. VB: Really. So when should we meet? Me: How much time will it take you to come to New York City? VB: I am in New York City. Me: Wow. So we live in same city. You never told me. VB: You never asked. Me: We don’t know enough about each other. VB: Trust me that is why we need to meet soon. Me: Ya. When? VB: As soon as possible. Me: Tomorrow? VB: Yes. Me: Ok. Where? VB: You decide. Where should I meet my potential future boyfriend? This is so confusing. Me: I don’t know. Kimberly? VB: How about we go to the Central Park first and then I’ll take you to Kimberly for dinner? Me: Fine by me. VB: Ok so meet you tomorrow baby. Me: But how am I gonna recognize you? VB: I’ll be near the Carousel at 4 pm in a red T-shirt. Me: Ok. I’ll meet you there. VB: Ok. Bye. I can’t wait for tomorrow. Me: Me too. And that is how we planned our first date. I was feeling excited but nervous too what if he doesn’t like me and what if I don’t like him. What if he’ll be disappointed to see me? I went to sleep thinking what will happen tomorrow. In the morning, I was a complete mess. I told about yesterday night incident and my date with Jacob to Sammy. She was happy that I was going to meet Jacob but was worried too. By 3.30 pm, I was a nervous wreck. “If you think he is creepy even a little bit you are going to call me understand”, Sammy said when I was going out of the apartment. “Yes mother” “This is not a joke Nikki. I am serious” “So am I Sammy. I’ll call you if I find something odd” “Keep your phone with you all the time” she said behind me. “I will. Bye” “Good luck” “Thank you”. I took a cab and went to the central park. By the time I reached Carousel, it was hard to breathe. I thought I’ll faint. Then I saw him standing there in a red T-shirt as promised, his back towards me. I was walking toward him every step taking me near Jacob. I put my hand on his shoulder and said his name. “Jacob”. He turned and oh my god I think I stopped breathing. He was standing in front of me and I was shocked to see him. I was speechless like I have seen a ghost. He was looking at me with those baby blue eyes and I bet his and mine expression matched. Then his expression changed and he started laughing and I couldn’t help myself. We were laughing like hell. By the time we stopped laughing we had tears in our eyes. “It’s nice meeting you. Again”, he said. “Ditto” I replied and we started laughing again. “What was it with Jacob?” I asked Jake. “That is my name but I go by Jake” he smiled. “Now I get it why you wanted to meet as soon as possible?” I teased him. “Yeah” he replied. BIG DAY “So Jacob or Jake” I asked him laughing. I was stunned at first to find out Jake standing there near Carousel. At first I was confused then it suddenly hit me Jake was Jacob, my Jacob. “I can’t believe it’s you Nikki” he said reaching for my hand. His expression became serious when he said, “I was feeling so guilty yesterday that I was cheating on you”. Those were my sentiments too. I was feeling guilty and I wanted to tell him what happened but not on chat but face to face so I can tell him I was sorry. “Ya, me too”, I replied. “I am so happy it’s you. You are my Nichole. Come let’s go and sit somewhere. I want to talk to you for hours. I have waited all this for so long”. We went to the sheep meadow and sat on the grass. Jake lies down on grass and put his head on my lap. “Is this ok?” he asked. “Yes” I was happy he did that. It felt good. “Would it be bad if I tell you that when I was talking to Nichole I was imagining Nikki’s face” he said softly. “No, because while I was talking to Jacob I was think about Jake too” I confessed. “I still can’t believe it. It is you right I am not dreaming” he said and touched my cheek. “Yes it is me” “Oh god you are so beautiful Nikki” “And you are so handsome Jake” he was looking so good today and I can’t believe he was all mine. “What was that about your girlfriend?” “I was talking about you, told you it was complicated” “But I didn’t give my answer” “I was being positive”. That made me laugh hard. ************ {JAKE} She laughed and I felt it in my heart like something eased up inside. I was feeling so guilty after yesterday night. But now that I know Nikki is my Nichole that guilt is not there. Her smile is so sweet. She looks like an angel when she smiles. I vowed inside my head that I’ll make it a purpose of my life to make her smile. “I can’t tell you how much I want to kiss you right now” I told her. And she went crimson with that comment. The first time I met her in café she was checking me out and when she thought I have noticed her doing that she went crimson with embarrassment. I liked it then, I was so aroused to look at her like that in that cafe. And it’s the same today, I am so aroused looking at her flushed face. “It feels good to be here in your lap and talking to you” and there it was again the red in her cheeks. I wanted to touch her so I did just that I touched her cheek. But that was not enough. I sat up from her lap, held her head with my hands and kissed her. The kiss which I was not able to give her yesterday I gave it to her today. Last night I had to back off because I thought I was cheating on her but today, today she is mine. And I’m going to tell her what she means to me with this kiss. Her lips are so soft, I kept my one hand in her hair and the other went to her shoulder, so that I can feel her closer to me. I licked her upper lip with my tongue and she opened up for me. I kissed her like a starving man. When I pulled back I can tell she was aroused too. I took her in my arms and lie down on the ground keeping her head on my chest. That felt oh so lovingly right, like it was meant to happen. We stayed like that on grass for several minutes. She told me about her office which was on a ten minutes distance from my office. And she told me about her parents. It was getting late so we left for our dinner date to Kimberly. The dinner was good, after dinner I went to her apartment to meet Sammy. I know how much she matters to Nikki so I will be on my best behavior and have to be on Sammy’s good books. I was a little bit nervous, what if she doesn’t like me or doesn’t approve me. I can’t let that happen. Finally, I have found a girl I can plan my future with and not freak out. So I have to be positive and be confident so I can prove Sammy that I am worth her best friend and she can trust me with her. *************** {NICHOLE} I was happy that Jake didn’t hesitate when I asked him to meet Sammy. He knew Sammy is a big part in my life and her opinion matters. So he said he would like to meet Sammy. I know Sammy will be awake, so when we reached the apartment I was a little shocked to see that the apartment was not locked. When we went inside Sammy was not alone. We had a visitor, Nolan. I don’t want a good day to end on a bad note because of my ex-boyfriend. So I was trying to be polite. “Nolan what are you doing here” I asked Nolan. “I am here to say hi. How are you Nikki?” he said eyeing Jake. “Hey Nikki, you are back early. Was everything good?” Sammy said coming out of kitchen and then noticing Jake she answered herself, “Oh that means it was good. Hey” she said extending her hand towards Jake, “You must be Jacob. I am the best friend. Sammy”. “Hey, Sammy. It’s nice to finally meet you. I have heard so much about you from Nikki, I feel like I already know you” he grinned at her. He is trying to make a good impression on her and I can’t blame him. “Likewise” Sammy smiled. “Jacob this is Nolan, Nolan this is Jake” I introduced both the guys. “Hello Jake I’m Nikki’s boyfriend” Nolan said. “Excuse me?” confusion was clear on Jake’s face. “Ex-boyfriend” I said matter-of-factly. Realization hit Jake’s face and I could see the hard lines on his face. He was getting angry that Nolan was there. I liked it. “Nikki don’t be so rude in front of others. You know I love you and you know I love you” he said and then turned to Jake and said, “Nikki is angry with me over a little misunderstanding, but she’ll get over it”. “There was no misunderstanding Nolan. You cheated on me” I challenged him to prove me wrong then I took Jake’s hand in mine and said “My bad let me make a formal introduction, Jake meet my ex-boyfriend Nolan who cheated on me, and Nolan Meet Jake my boyfriend”. I can tell Jake was happy with the introduction and I could see a hint of a smile on his face. He took my hand and put his arm at the small of my back like he was trying to make a statement about his possession to Nolan. “That’s not true. You love me, Nikki. I know I made a mistake and you don’t have to rub it in my face by taking home strangers. I said I am sorry dammit” Nolan said raising his voice. “Look Nolan…..” I started. “Look man I don’t care what you think or not I don’t like the tone you using with my girlfriend. She said she doesn’t want to talk to you. You may leave or I can help you to the door” Jake said to him in a final tone. Nolan and Jake may be almost equal in height, but Jake is more in built then Nolan. So I know Nolan doesn’t have it in him to stand against Jake. And I can kiss Jake for standing up for me. +1 to Jake for doing that for me. “I am leaving for now but Nikki I know you will come back to me. Remember I love you” and with that he left and took a sigh of relief. “Thank you” I said to Jake. “Hey, no thank you. A guy has to fight for his girlfriend right” he asked smiling. “Yes he has to” replied. “Hello, you two love birds will you please tell me what is going on. Is he Jacob or Jake?” she asked confused. I knew she won’t let it slip. “Both” we replied together. And I told her what had happened with us. She was shocked as well as amazed. “Wow man your story is like those novels” she said finally. And that made Jake and me laugh. Then Sammy grilled Jake and when she was satisfied she finally said, “Ok, I like you. You are good for my best friend but hurt her and you are dead. I have a 9mm pistol and training in shooting. Just so you know” she warned Jake. “Message received loud and clear” Jake replied. “Ok, I am tired. I am going to sleep. Don’t be so loud though” she teased. “Samantha” I warned her. And Jake was laughing. “Don’t worry about that we’ll keep that in mind” Jake said. “Not you too Jacob” I said. “Dude, you want to keep a check on the full name treatment that means she’s going to be pissed” Sammy told Jake. “Noted” Jake replied laughing and I punched his shoulder. I liked Jake being friend with Sammy. It was good that both of them were getting along. Jake spent some more time with me at my apartment. We talked and touched and kissed. It was all like dream then Jake went back to his apartment ‘coz we both had office the next day. When he reached his apartment he sent me a message on my phone. Jake: Reached home. Thank you for meeting me and giving me a chance I am missing you already. P.S. I like being called your boyfriend. That brought a smile on my face. Me: I like calling you my boyfriend. I am happy that I gave you a chance. I miss you too. Jake: Are you going to sleep? Me: Yes. I enjoyed today a lot but I am tired. Jake: Me too. Goodnight baby. Me: Night babe. Horror Dreams. Jake: Say that again. Me: What horror dreams? Jake: No the other part. Me: Oh! Babe Jake: I like how that sounds baby. Me: Ok babe. Good night and miss you Jake: Miss you too baby. Sleep tight. Bye. And then I went to a peaceful sleep. In the morning when I got up there was a message from Jake. No more VB needed for talking. I had an easy access to Jake now, I can call him text him or meet him anytime I wanted. Jake: Good morning sunshine. Me: Morning baby And this is how my day started with a good mood. When I went to kitchen Sammy was already there with the coffee. “Somebody is in a good mode today all smiley smiley”, Sammy teased. “Yes I am” “And does it have anything to do with your new boyfriend” she inquired. “Everything to do with him” I replied. “He is so gorgeous Nikki. I mean he looks like he came out of a GQ magazine cover” she said in a dreamy voice. “Watch out. He is mine” I said laughing. “Ya, I know. Does he have a brother who is single?” she asked. “I’ll have to ask him” “Please do” “I am happy you approve” I told her. “I am happy you found him” she said. And then we went to the office. Mondays are always so busy so was this one. I didn’t get any time to talk to Jake and I hated it. When I was finished with my work I checked my phone. There were two messages from Jake. Jake: Hey baby. In a meeting. Missing you like crazy. Wish you were here. This message was sent in the day. And there was a message from half an hour earlier. Jake: Meet you at the Star bucks. I’ll save you a table ;) I was coming out of the office when I replied him that I’ll be there in ten minutes and then I sent a quick text to Sammy. Me: Going to star bucks with Jake. Wanna come? Sammy: No I am running late on my work, have to edit some articles. You enjoy. Bring me mocha though. Me: Ok. See you at home. Sammy: K. I reached star bucks in ten minutes and went inside. Jake had already saved a table so I went straight to him. He got up from his seat and hugged me and kissed me on my cheek. “I missed you today” he said. I gave him a quick kiss on his lips which he liked and told him that I missed him too. “Sorry I didn’t know what you would like so I didn’t order yet” he apologized. “It’s ok we’ll order now” “So what would you like to have ma’am?” “I would like to have a strawberry smoothie” I replied. “One strawberry smoothie coming over” he said smiling and went to stand in the line. He came back with our orders and we were talking about what happened today. When it was getting late we took mocha for Sammy and went to the apartment. Jake left after dinner and I went to sleep. I was so happy being with Jake. Everything felt amazing. Jake was always so understanding and so caring. We were taking our relationship slow. We were still getting to know each other and I liked him more and more every passing day. Jake had to go to his hometown on this weekend so it was Sammy and me alone after a long time. We were talking about Jake and me taking our relationship slow. “So it’s been what like three months for your relationship with Jake?” she asked “Yes. I think it’s more than four months if you count the chatting too” “And you still are hesitating to go on next level. I mean what are you, a teenager? I must say that guy has some patience” Sammy said. “Shut up. We do kissing and hugging” “You know a guy like Jake can have girls in his bed everyday right” “He is not like that Sammy” I defended Jake. But I knew she was right. “I know he’ll never do that to you. But don’t you think it’s not fair to him. I mean a man has some needs and so do you. How much slow do you think this thing between you should go?” she questioned. I know I am not doing right by him and he never act like he care about getting laid. He had told me that his earlier relationships were all just for fun and he never had a serious relationship. But Sammy is right a man has his needs. But I am still afraid. “I know you are right but?” “Look, Nichole it’s your life and I know it’s a little bit difficult for you to trust after what Nolan did, but you cannot punish Jake for the wrongs of a jerk. I know sex is not everything but it is important if you want a serious relationship with Jake. And trust me girl, it is about time you take your relation with Jake to the next level”. “You think?” I asked again. “Yes” And I decided, it was time to go one step further with Jake. When he’ll come back from Texas I am going to make his arrival special and make him a happy man. I was excited for us. I checked my phone; there was no message from him that night and on Sunday too. Maybe he was busy at home. So I sent him a message asking if everything was ok and to answer me when he gets time. On Monday too when there was no response from Jake I started feeling a little worried. I tried to call him but his phone was switched off and I was getting late for office. So I went for office and decided to call him from office. When I was in the office my boss Mr. David Johnson told me that there was a meeting for which I have to be in the meeting hall with a team of editors. He said that there was this big construction company coming for a meeting. They were new to New York City and wanted to do a cover on our magazine for their company. So I had to be there in the meeting with Sammy, Nolan and two other members. I was upset and worried about not being able to talk to Jake. I met Sammy and the others outside the meeting room and went inside when Mr. Johnson introduced us to the owner of the company Mr. Jacob Collins. And I was feeling the flames of heat rising on my face not because of embarrassment this time but because of anger. He owns a company and he never told me about this. I was angry that he didn’t tell me but there would be a reason to that. Jake is not the one to hide anything about himself, he always is the reasonable kind. I’ll know why he did that later, right now I have a meeting to attend. THE MISSED DETAIL {JAKE} When Nikki entered the meeting room I knew I was screwed. I could see it on her face. I told her that I worked in construction but never gave her the details that I actually own the company. Not because I didn’t want to or anything it’s just that I don’t like to brag about it and it never came up. But right now I am thinking it was a mistake and a big one. Because I can feel the anger wives coming out of her and her face has gone red with anger. I know she is not going to say anything here but I am not sure about later. I haven’t seen her that angry in last three months. And that one time she was angry because of me that was when we were talking on the internet. But it was enough to see that I was royally screwed. She was angry first, then her expression changed to hurt which was worse than angry. I was going to tell her when I planned on coming back from Texas because I wanted her to meet my parents and wanted her to take a position in my company. I wanted to be able to talk to her and see her all the time. But then Dad told me about the company shares going low so we had to do some advertising and he came to New York with me. From all the advertising agencies, he had to go and choose the one in which Nikki worked. I thought I’ll introduce my dad as the company owner which he is and I’ll be safe in the meeting because Nikki know I work in construction but then suddenly he was not feeling well and he had to return to my apartment. So here I was conducting this meeting. I prayed to god that Nikki won’t be in the team for this meeting but no that didn’t work either. Here she is sitting in front of me all upset and angry. And what’s more, is that Nolan is with her in the team too. I don’t want Nikki working with Nolan. But right now I cannot say anything because of the meeting meeting. I looked at Sammy and tried to smile, but she was throwing daggers at me with her eyes. Oh god, how did I got myself into this? In the meeting I told them about the company and the shares and what we expect from them. The meeting went well. They shared their strategies and what they are going to do to help raise the shares. I was happy with the meeting, but I still had to face Nikki. When the meeting was over and everybody was leaving I thought I’ll talk to Nikki alone. “Nichole, can we talk for a moment?” I asked in a low voice. “Sorry Mr. Jacob Collins I have to work on the project. It was nice meeting you.” The full name treatment means she is pissed. Hell, what am I gonna do now? I know better than talking to her now in office and creating a scene. That won’t be helpful so I nodded and headed out of her office to my car. I took my phone out and messaged her. Me: Nikki I know you are angry right now but I can explain. I have to leave right now back to Texas, but I’ll be back as soon as I can and when I am back I’ll explain everything to you. No reply. I’ll have to make it right. I reached my apartment and asked dad if he’ll be ok to go back alone. He said it was ok. I changed and went to Nikki’s apartment by 7 pm. I know she’ll be back from office by now. I knocked at her door Sammy opened the door. “Jake what do you want?” she asked. “Sammy I want to talk to her. I know she is angry, but I can explain” “I don’t know if you can convince her but go ahead she is in her room” “Thanks” I went to her room. “I am sorry Nikki. Please baby talk to me”, I pleaded. “Why did you do that? Why didn’t you tell me?” she has every right to be angry I know that. “I never thought about it. It never came up. I am sorry” “How is that possible? You told me you are in construction but forgot to mention that you own the company” she accused. “But that’s not my company; it’s my dad’s company. I never thought of it as my own company so it slipped my mind” I replied. “Whatever. You were going to Texas, right. So what are you doing here?” that was easy. She is not as pissed as I thought. “So you are not angry anymore?” I can’t believe it can be that easy. I thought I’ll have to beg her. “I was, but then I thought about it. I get it why you must have forgotten to mention it. I know you don’t like to brag about yourself and I never asked what work you do in construction. Now tell me why are you here?” “Oh my god Nikki” I hugged her I am so relieved she is not angry, “I was so afraid that I must have fucked this up. I thought you’ll be so angry. So I asked dad if he can leave alone and he said it was ok if I didn’t want to go back home”. “Your dad was here?” I told her all about the trip and how dad was feeling unwell and I had to take the meeting as owner and how I was wishing she wouldn’t be there. She was laughing and just like that everything was all right. I love her she is so understanding. Oh my god, did I just say I love her. I guess I did. I love Nikki and I am not scared of love anymore. I want to be with her forever and love her forever. I was thinking about how I am going to tell her so that she don’t freak out. The next thing I know she was kissing me. Her lips met mine and we were kissing like hungry people. Then I felt her hand going under my shirt, this was new. We never did anything other than kissing from last three months. I was giving Nikki time to trust me so we were taking it slow. “I love you” oh shit I thought I was saying it in my head, but I have said it aloud. This was not the way of the love confession. I wanted to take it slow but I was not thinking at all. It just came out. Her expression was shocked at first, but then it changed into something I could not put my finger on. “You don’t have to say it back to me. It’s what I feel for you. You don’t have to return my feelings” I assured her. “I know. But I love you too” I can’t believe she said that. “For real” I was surprised. “Yes Jake, for real. I love you so much” “Nikki you made me the happiest man alive. I love you so much baby”. I kissed her forehead. “I am tired will you please stay the night?” “You don’t have to ask baby. Of course I’ll stay” I replied. I went to the bathroom to freshen up. Nikki said she’ll make dinner with Sammy. When I came out dinner was set on the table. We sat together and started eating dinner. I had a permanent smile on my face and Nikki was smiling too. After dinner, we said goodnight to Sammy and went to Nikki’s room. I cuddled with Nikki in her bed and we slept. It felt different to share a bed with someone but in a good way. *************** {NICHOLE} One week after the night of our love confession we had the copies of keys to each other’s apartment which was another big step in our relationship. We planned a vacation to Jake’s hometown. He wanted me to meet his parents. So we decided we’ll leave for Texas on Saturday and will be back by Wednesday. On Saturday, I was ready to go when Jake came to pick me up. He came to my room and kissed me first then took my bag and said, “Ready to go”. “As ready as I’ll ever be” I replied. I was feeling nervous for meeting his parents. “I told you baby, my parents are cool. They will be happy to finally meet you. My mom is eating my ears off whenever I talk to her. They want to meet you”. “What if they don’t like me?” “Not a chance. I know they will love you” “If you say so” We said our goodbyes to Sammy and went for the airport. We reached Jake’s home around 9 pm. The house was so big and there were three cars parked in the garage. The lawn was full of flowers of different kinds. I can only imagine how much wealth they had. But Jake was so down to earth I would have never guessed from his behavior that Jake was so rich and we had financial differences. Even the apartment in which Jake lives feels so common like mine. Nothing too fancy, but looking at this house I can tell he must be loaded. We entered the house and I started feeling nervous. He took me straight to the kitchen which was huge. There was a beautiful lady standing near the stove, her back towards us. Jake went and hugged her from behind. “Hey, mom I missed you. Where’s dad?” he said. “Oh baby I missed you too. Your dad went to Jones. He needed his help, but he’ll be back soon” she turned and hugged Jake. Jake has her smile and her eyes. She was average in height, shorter than me and she had a great smile just like her son. Seeing her there like that cooking dinner put me on ease. Then she noticed me, “and you must be Nikki. Come here and give me a hug” she said. I went to her and hugged her. Jake was right his parents were cool. At least his mother was. “It’s nice to meet you Mrs. Collins” I said. “Don’t be so formal darling, call me Patricia” “You have a very nice house” “Thank you dear. You must be tired. I have made your room for you. Go and get some rest dinner will be ready in some time” she said. “Come with me” Jake said. So I went with him. We went upstairs and went to the third room from the right. This room was as big as mine and Sammy’s room combined. “You have a very big house” I said. “Yeah. You liked it?” “Yes it is good” “Thank you” “Your mom is nice. I like her” “I told you. She likes you” “How can you tell?” “She only hugs people when she likes them”. “Really” I was happy. “Yes” and he kissed me on my forehead. “Is this your room?” I asked “Yes” “Where am I staying?” “Here” “And you?” “Here too” “But we cannot stay in your room together. Your parent won’t like it” I said. “No, they won’t. I told you they are cool. They are very open minded” “But they’ll think we are having sex” “But they already think that” he replied. “But we didn’t” “We will” he said with a grin. “You are such a horn dog” I said laughing. There was a knock on the door. “Dinner’s ready. You guys coming out” Jake’s mom asked from outside the door. “Mom, can you please come inside?” Jake asked. She came in the room. “Yes baby” she asked. “Nikki wants to know do you mind if we share my room.” Oh my god, Jake didn’t do that. It’s so embarrassing. I looked at him with disbelief. He was grinning. “No I don’t mind. I know you love each other. Don’t worry Nikki we know how it is these days with the relationships” she smiled, “come on get freshened up, your dad is waiting and dinner is on the table. And Nikki you don’t have to feel nervous”. When she went out of the room I hit Jake on his shoulder. “Ouch. What was that for?” he asked rubbing his shoulder. “For embarrassing me in front of your mother” “But you still love me” he replied laughing. After that, we took shower and went downstairs. Jakes dad was sitting in the living room. He saw us coming and stood up. I know now from where Jake got his height and his good looks. He has a good physic and whitish hair the only noticeable difference between Jake and his father is the eye color. I can see Jake will look good when he gets old. “Hello you two” Jake’s dad said with a smile. “Hey dad. How are you?” Jake asked. “Hello Mr. Collins” I said “I am good son and Nikki please call me Kevin, it’s nice to meet you” he took my hand and kissed the back of my hand. I laughed and said “it’s nice to meet you too Kevin” “Dad behave, she is my girl” Jake said laughing too. “But you can’t blame a guy to be a gentleman when he is around a beautiful girl” Kevin said. And we laughed again. It felt good to be there. I was feeling like I know these guys already. I felt comfortable around them. I went to Jake’s school where he studied. We went to his company and all the places Jake like. I don’t know where the time went and it was Wednesday already. I was feeling bad that we had to return. I liked being there with Jake’s family. “Promise you guys will be here for thanksgiving and Christmas” Jakes mom asked. “Yes mom we promise” Jake said. And then we left for New York. LOVE IN THE AIR A week after coming back from Texas and Jake and I haven’t seen each other. We were working on our latest project which was for Mr. Collins of course. From working for Jake’s company I came to know that my boyfriend was a billionaire which was a shock. When I went to Texas to meet his parents I knew they were rich but this was not what I expected. We had short conversations over the phone, but I was missing him. I was doing the laundry when Sammy came behind me. I looked at her she was looking nervous. “You have something you want to tell me?” I asked. “I met a guy” Sammy said. “That’s good news Sammy. Is it serious this time?” I inquired. “I guess so” she said in not so sure voice. “Sammy you need to stop it” I said in a serious tone. I never judged her for her quick relationship but it needed to stop. “Sammy you need someone in your life you can rely on” “I have you Nikki” she said. “I mean other than me Sammy. You need to get serious about your relationships, don’t you think it’s about time you get a lover in your life who is not there with a time limit of three weeks” I asked her. “I know. And I think you are right. I like this guy and I think he can be the one” she said still not sure. “What’s his name? What does he do?” I started with my rapid fire. “I invited him over for dinner. You can ask him yourself” “Good. I’ll call Jake too” I said. I called Jake to ask if he wanted to join us for dinner. He said he’ll be there. We prepared the dinner. Sammy’s date came to our apartment at 7 pm. His name was Ian Martin and he was a good looking guy. He was polite and the way Sammy and Ian were looking at each other was adorable. I liked the guy and was happy that Sammy finally was being serious in her life. Jake was running late. We watched TV and I asked Ian about his work. Ian was working for a software company, a total nerd. I was shocked because Sammy’s dates were usually the model looking types. She had never dated any nerds, not that Ian wasn’t a good looking guy. Whatever makes Sammy happy I am ok with it. Jake arrived at 8 pm. We served the dinner and after dinner Sammy and I went to the kitchen for cleaning up. The guys were busy talking about the sports and stuff. “So?” Sammy asked. “I like him. He is good for you. Does he make you happy?” “Yes” “Then I am okay with it” I smiled at her. “Thank you” she smiled back. Around 10 pm, Jake asked me to go with him to his apartment. I know he wanted Ian and Sammy to have their alone time so I went to Jake’s apartment. When I was leaving the apartment I looked at Sammy to make sure she’ll be fine. She mouthed a thank you; I winked and gave her thumbs up. She chuckled. Jake drove me to his apartment. When we were inside the door Jake suddenly attacked me and I laughed. He was acting like a hungry animal eating his prey. “Someone is getting impatient” I teased him. “I missed you so much. It’s been so long I have met you and you are looking so hot in this dress” and with that he kissed me. “I want to make love to you tonight” he said in my ear. And that’s what we did. ****************** {JAKE} Nikki yawned. So I kissed her forehead and said, “Sleep baby”. We both slept spooning each other. This was a new step in our relationship and I knew I will not be able to live without Nikki ever. I want this every day, Nikki in my bed spooning me. I want Nikki by my side forever. And I will do anything to make this happen. I was in a room which I didn’t recognize and Nikki was sitting on my lap. Her head was in the crook of my neck her hands in my hair. It was a sweet dream one I will hope to be true. Then I opened my eyes slowly and saw Nikki was really there in my arms and that filled my heart with happiness. *************** {NIKKI} I got up in the morning with a sweet ache in my body. It was a reminder of what Jake and I did yesterday night. I was memorizing all the intense moments of our love making and I couldn’t help the smile on my face. I turned to the other side and was face to face with Jake. He was still asleep I like waking up next to him. I nuzzled closer to Jake and put my head in the crook of his neck. I like his unique scent and the warmth of his nearness. Jake grunted and I watched his eyelashes flutter then lift. His eyes were clouded in sleep. He hugged me closer to him and kissed my forehead. “Morning baby” he said in his sleepy voice. “Morning” I smiled, “I am going for a shower care to join?” I asked him. He nodded and got up from the bed took my hand and helped me out of bed. We went to the bathroom, Jake started the water. When we were under the shower Jake kissed me and we had a repeat of last night. “Shit” I said. Jake put me down on my feet and I sat down on the side of the bathtub. “What’s wrong?” confusion was written all over his face. “I don’t want to freak you out babe. But we didn’t use protection” I pointed out. Jake froze. He had an expression like he had seen a ghost. His face went white, I was afraid he’ll black out. He was breathing hard. “Jake you ok. Please say something” I was worried. “Shit, that can’t happen. No that didn’t happen” he murmured. “Jake I am clean and I am on birth control” I said. “Oh my god I thought I must have knocked you up. I am clean too. I am sorry I freaked out, but I have always used protection. I never forget to use one. But with you I tend to forget everything” he said with a sigh of relief. “You don’t want kids?” I asked. “Not yet. Not like this. I mean it’s still too soon for us. All this is new to me you know that. I cannot stand the thought of becoming a father” he replied. “I know. I can’t think of having kids this soon too” “So are we good?” he asked still a little bit concerned. “Yes Mr. Collins I saved your pretty ass” “Thanks a lot baby. I would have died with tension” and he kissed me. THE EVIL PERSONAL ASSISTANT We had shower and went back to my apartment. Jake had to work so he went to office and Ian had to leave too. That left Sammy and me at the apartment. We had the girl talk and shared our stories about the previous night. Sammy said Ian was a surprise packet in bed kinky and aggressive. She said she loved being with Ian. I was happy for her. The office was busy as always on Monday. We planned that Jake’s company needs to be known in the market and for that throwing a party was the best plan to introduce them to the New York business sharks. So we had the party at the best venue “The Tonic East” and the entire important persona from business world got the invitation. I was happy I could help Jake in any way. Our team working for Jake was invited too. Sammy, Nolan, Venda, Paul and I went to the party together as a team. The party was good people were enjoying. I was looking for Jake ‘coz he was the host and he had to be at the party before everybody else. I noticed him talking to some guy and there was a girl standing next to him. The girl had a figure to kill for. She was looking like a model. She was wearing a gorgeous black dress and she was smiling at Jake. Both of them looked good together. I felt a pang of jealousy. What was Jake doing with a girl like me? I was nothing in comparison to her. She was amazing and I was an average looking girl with an average height of 5’7. Suddenly I was feeling self-conscious. I wanted to go to Jake, but I couldn’t move. Jake said something to the girl and went towards the door. I went behind him to talk. The girl standing with Jake came to me and said, “Where are you going?” “Oh, hello. I want to talk to Jake” “Jake doesn’t talk to girls like you” “Excuse me?” I was wondering the same thing a few moments back, but she was insulting me by saying this. “Are you hard of hearing? Jake doesn’t like talking to your type” this was crossing a line. “Shut up. Who the hell do you think you are? You don’t know me” I accused. “I know you are from the advertising company we did contract with” she said, “and I am Jake’s personal assistant”. Oh so she was his PA. He never said that he was coming to the party with his PA. I was so angry on him. He hasn’t told anybody about me. Why? Was he ashamed of having a girlfriend who was average looking or was working for an ad agency? Was I his dirty little secret? No that’s not my Jake he can never do that to me. “Look I don’t want to talk to you right now. I just want to talk to Jake for a moment” I said. “Hey Nichole it’s good to see you here. I was looking for you guys. Where is your team” Jake’s voice came from behind me. What? So he is going to act like professionals now. Wow that hurts. “Hello Mr. Collins. My team is here too. I wanted to thank you for giving us the project. It’s nice to work with you. But your personal assistant here was telling me that you were busy and couldn’t talk to me” I looked in her eyes. She was giving me death glares. “Is that so Michelle?” he asked his PA. “I told her you don’t have time right now and you’ll talk to her later when you’ll be free” she replied. I wanted to shout Liar on her face. But it was a party for Jake’s business and if he doesn’t want to tell people about our relation then two can play the game. “It’s okay Mr. Collins. I was here to thank you. I must leave now. Enjoy the party” I said in a hard voice looking in his eyes. “What? No, you can’t go. I mean you can’t leave like this. The party just started” he was confused. “Thank you, but I have some work to do. I’ll see you tomorrow in your office Sir” and with that I left him with Michelle. Jake was shouting my name but I was too mad at him to stop. I took a cab outside the venue and texted Sammy that I wasn’t feeling well so I was heading to the apartment. She said that she’ll come with me but I asked her to stay there. After a little argument she agreed. I reached the apartment and went to shower. Hot water always helps me release the tension in my body. When I came out of the bathroom Jake was sitting there on my bed. His elbows were on his knees and head in his hands. He was looking tired. “What are you doing here Mr. Collins?” “Nikki what’s wrong baby. Why are you behaving like this?” he asked with a pained expression on his face. I was starting to feel like I over reacted. I love him so much but I can’t live like this, I can’t be his secret. “Are you ashamed of me?” I asked in a shaky voice. Tears were starting to form behind my eyes and my throat was feeling heavy. Jake stood up from the bed and came to me. He cupped my face in his hands and said, “No. Oh god baby how can you even think that. I love you so much. I can never be ashamed of you. Why would you say that” I can hear the seriousness in his voice. “Then why did you act like that in the party?” “Like what?” he was confused. “Like you only know me professionally” He hugged me hard and kissed my forehead. “I wanted to keep you away from the pressure baby that’s it. If your boss knew that you are my girlfriend he’ll pressurize you for the business, he’ll start eating your head for the meetings and the contracts. I didn’t want to put you in any situation just because you are my girlfriend. I wanted to keep you away from this mess. I am really sorry baby. I thought you wanted the same thing ‘coz you didn’t tell anybody about us in the meeting that day”. I couldn’t stop the tears now. He was so thoughtful about me and what did I do? I ruined his party for him. He was thinking about my comfort and I imagined the worst. “I was mad at you in the meeting that’s why I didn’t tell anyone about us” I blurted out. “I am sorry Nikki. I should have introduced you to everyone at the party. Get ready we are going back to the party and I’ll introduce everyone to my beautiful and gorgeous girlfriend”. “No. I don’t want to meet anybody” “But why?” “I am sorry. I thought you are ashamed of me and I was your secret. So, I came back home” “Nikki how can you even think that baby?” I can see the hurt on his face. I kissed him and said, “I am stupid and I am sorry. But Michelle said that you don’t talk to girls like me and I can’t talk to you” I told him “so I was mad at you that you didn’t tell her who I was. And I was not thinking at all” I was blabbering I know but I didn’t like the hurt expression on Jake’s face. I wanted to erase that somehow. His expression softened. “You don’t have to listen to Michelle Nikki. She doesn’t know me like you do. She is just my PA and you are my life. You don’t have to worry about her”. I smiled at that, I had to. “I am your life” I asked with a smile. “Yes you are” Jake laughed and kissed me on my forehead. Every time Jake does that it feels so intimate. “Now you wanna go back to the party?” Jake asked. “No I want to sleep” “Ok” Jake said and started removing his tie. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Why? I am going to sleep with my girlfriend. Do we have a problem in that?” Jake said with a naughty expression. “You have a party to attend Mr. Collins” “Party can do without me. But I cannot be without you Nikki” he said and with that we were kissing each other. I don’t know who started removing clothes first but we were lying on bed naked, attacking each other’s body with kisses and after a moment Jake was inside me, filling me completely. “You are on pills baby” “Yes. I already told you” “Just confirming because I don’t want anything between us now that I know how good you feel without the latex” “I don’t want anything between us either” and that is how we spent the night. I got up in the morning. Jake was still asleep, I didn’t want to wake him up. So I got up from the bed carefully and went to the bathroom. After my shower I went to the kitchen. Sammy was making coffee. “Morning Sammy” “Hey, Morning. So why you left the party yesterday?” “Nothing much, I was not feeling well” I lied. “Oh, you fine now” “Yes all good. How was the party?” I asked her. “It was good. Jake left after you too” I smiled. “Oh so is he here” “I am indeed” Jake called from behind me, “Morning baby” he came behind me and kissed my neck. Then he looked at Sammy and said “Morning Sammy” “Morning Jake. Coffee?” Sammy asked. “Yes please” he said. We were having breakfast when Sammy asked Jake about the girl standing with him. “Oh that was my personal assistant Michelle” Jake told her. “Oh” “Why?” Jake asked. “Nothing I didn’t like the way she was looking at you when you left after Nikki” she said. “Don’t worry she is harmless” Jake said looking at me too. After the breakfast we got ready for the office. “Jake your clothes are taking more than half of space in my closet” I complained. We had our clothes in each other’s places as we were spending so much time together. But Jake never cleaned and always made a mess wherever we spent the night. I always had to clean after him but I liked taking care of Jake. It felt so domestic, it made everything real. “We’ll have to order a bigger one then” he laughed. “I guess so” I kissed him and picked up the towel which was discarded by Jake from the bed and took it to the bathroom. “At what time are you coming to the office?” Jake asked putting his shoes on. I was meeting Jake at his office for finalizing the cover for the spread on his company in our magazine. “I’ll be there around 12” I told him. “I have a meeting at 11. I’ll wrap it up till 12 and be there with you. We’ll have lunch together” he said. “Ok Mr. Collins” I smiled. After a quick kiss he dropped me to my office. We had some meetings and at 11.30 I left for Jake’s office. It was on the 23rd floor. The ambiance was good. I went to the reception and told them I had an appointment with Mr. Collins. She sent me to the cabin at the far end of the office. I knocked and a girl’s voice came from the cabin. “Come in” I went inside the room and Michelle was sitting there behind a table and there was a room on her left with glass doors. I guess that was Jake’s room. “Hi. I am here to meet Mr. Collins” I said in a flat tone. I was not happy to talk to her. But I was there to meet Jake and I didn’t want anything to spoil it. “He is in a meeting. When the meeting is over I’ll send you in. till then you can wait here” she replied. “Ok” Fifteen minutes later Jake came out of his room with a man in his fifties and both of them were laughing. Guess the meeting went well. He waved to the man and turned around. He noticed me standing there waiting for him and the smile on his face was priceless. I can tell he was happy to see me there. “Hey Nikki I was waiting for you. How long have you been here?” “Hello Mr. Collins. I just got here” I replied. He didn’t like my greetings, his smile vanished. But I was there for official work and I didn’t want anything to affect his business life. “Come on in” he said. We went inside his room. Once the doors were closed he asked me, “What Nikki? Did Michelle say anything to you?” “No Jake she didn’t. I was just kidding with you” I lied. That made him smile. “I thought you were upset about something” and he hugged me and kissed my lips lightly. “You liked my office?” “Yes I did” I told him. “Sit here” he took me to his chair and gestured me to sit down. “But that’s your chair” I questioned. “And you are mine too. So now shut up and sit here. I’ll be back” he said and went inside a door which I guess was the washroom. I was sitting on Jake’s chair and looking at the paintings when the glass door opened and Michelle came in. “What the…” she started at the same time when Jake came from the washroom. He looked at her and asked, “What is it Michelle?” She was still looking at me, and then she corrected herself and turned to Jake and said “I wanted to ask you about the lunch” Jake came near me and bent down to kiss my forehead. “What do you want to eat baby?” Michelle was stunned. I was in a little shock too, but hey I am not complaining. Jake showed Michelle her place and I liked it a lot. I looked at her and told Jake, “Anything you want Jake. It’s our lunch date remember so I’ll have whatever you’ll order” I smiled at Jake. Jake told Michelle what we’ll have for lunch she went out of Jake’s cabin like she had tasted something bad. “What was that for” I asked Jake smiling. “That was me telling my PA that you are my girlfriend” he said. I didn’t think I can love Jake more than I already love him but he always does something like this which makes me fall in love for him more and more. TROUBLE IN PARADISE {JAKE} I know when Nikki likes anything I said. Whenever she likes something I do she has this dreamy look in her eyes like she wants to get lost in me and I love that so much. I know she liked it so much when I kissed her in front of Michelle. She wanted to tell Michelle that I was her. She wanted to stake her claim on me but she is too good for hurting other people so I did that for her. Michelle came with our lunch and I liked having her in my office. “How would you like to work for me?” I blurted out without thinking. She was caught off guard, “haven’t thought about it” she said finally after a moment. “Would you like to think about it?” “I don’t know maybe” that was enough for me at least she haven’t discarded the idea outright. Maybe means she’ll think about it. We checked the covers for the spread she brought with her. I have never seen her work before and I must say I was impressed with her ideas. It gave me a feeling of proud that she was so talented. We were deciding which one of the pictures will be best for spread when the door opened and Michelle walked in. “Your mother wants to talk to you on line 2” she said and put the files on my table for signing. I nodded and picked up the line 2. “Hey mom. How are you?” I asked my mom. “I am fine. Are you and Nikki coming home on Thanksgiving?” she asked. I forgot that the thanksgiving was coming around in a week and we had promised her that we’ll be home for thanksgiving. “Ask her yourself she is in the office. I’ll put you on speaker” I told her. I can see the expression changing on Michelle’s face. And I know why Nikki doesn’t like her. I put the call on speaker. “Hi Nikki, you coming for thanksgiving right?” she asked Nikki. Nikki was looking at me with a smile. “Yes of course we are Patricia” she answered. “Perfect I was going to plan the menu. Meet you too on Friday next week. Love you guys” with that she hung up the phone. Nikki looked at me and we both laughed. “She is so excited for the thanksgiving” Nikki said smiling. “She doesn’t get to meet my girlfriend daily so she is excited” I winked at her and laughed. I signed the file Michelle had on my table and gave it back to her. She left the room and Nikki and I decided the cover. “I should leave now. Are you working late?” Nikki asked getting up from her seat. “Yes, but not that much late. I’ll be at your apartment till 9 pm” “Ok I’ll wait for you for dinner” “No you and Sammy don’t have to wait for me” I said “Sammy is staying at Ian’s place tonight” that was an invitation. “Do you want me to come with you right now” I asked lifting one eyebrow. “No you finish your work first I’ll be waiting in my sexy red transparent nightgown” she said with a sexy smile. Oh shit I love that nightgown. It’s transparent and it doesn’t leave anything for imagination, just thinking about that image made me hard. I got up from my seat and took her in my arms crushing her against my body. I know she can feel me. “Look what you did. Now I’ll have to sit here for another three hours like this” I murmured near her ear in a low husky voice which I know she likes and licked her earlobe. She moaned and that was not helping my hardening erection. “I’ll make it worth you discomfort” she moved her hand between our bodies and stroked me and then she was running out of the room laughing. I grunted, I love the playful Nikki but now I’ll have to sit here with a hard on. I finished my work in record time. It was very difficult to work when I had the image of Nikki’s sexy body covered only with threads and transparent piece of cloth on my mind. I almost ran out of the office to my car. I was driving faster than usual to reach her apartment. When finally I was at Nikki’s apartment it was locked. That was unusual. I opened it with my keys and the apartment was dark. Nikki had left my office three hours earlier. Why was she not at the apartment yet? I was getting worried when I heard a sniffling voice coming from Nikki’s room. I ran towards her room and switched on the light and there she was lying there on the floor in a fetal position like she was hurt. “Oh god Nikki. What happened?” I went down on the floor and took her by her shoulders to make her sit. Then I took her in my arms. She started sobbing. My heart was beating like drums. I was so scared. I started searching for any injury but I found none. Was she hurt internally? Was she in pain? My heart was breaking hearing those sobs. “Nikki baby please tell me what happened. Are you hurt? I am calling the ambulance” I said. She shook her head. So she was not hurt I took a sigh of relief. I tightened my hold on her, kissed on her forehead and rocked her. After a few moments her sobs died and were once again coming as sniffles. So she was crying before I came here. “Nikki will you please tell me what’s wrong?” I tried again. “You slept with Michelle” crying again. I froze. It felt like someone dropped ice water on me. I felt the chills running through my body. I was terrified more than the time when I forgot to use condom and I thought I must have knocked Nikki up. This was my worst nightmare exposing Nikki to my past. I was worried if Nikki knew what I was in my past she wouldn’t love me anymore and here it was. I was the reason she was crying like that. I was the one who have always hurt her. Every time I did something to hurt her she forgave me. But this, this was something Nikki won’t forgive. But that was in the past. I am a changed man. Will Nikki still love me after this? I don’t want to think about Nikki not forgiving me this time and breaking up with me. No this can’t happen; I’ll have to make sure she doesn’t leave me ever. Hell I should have knocked her up that day. She’ll never leave me if we’ll have a family. If I’ll be the father of her child she’ll stay with me forever. Yes I’ll do that. I’ll impregnate her that is if she’ll forgive me. I started feeling a burn in my chest. “Nikki baby will you please let me explain” I was feeling ashamed of asking her the same thing again and again. I was the one always hurting her. But I can’t give up on us. She was quite so I started. “Nikki I know I made a lot of mistakes in past and I am not proud of it. If I can go to the past and can manage a do-over, I’ll not hesitate to change what I was. I never thought love can change a guy. I always thought of relations as a time pass. I always had a luxurious life; I never had to ask for anything. It was always there, money, cars and the girls, everything was always available. I never had to make any effort for getting girls to my bed and they never complained. I am not giving any justification to what I did in the past but that is where it is, in the past. Michelle and I had done some things together but it means nothing to me. No girl from my past means anything to me” I tried to explain her. “And you think I should believe you that I am not one of those notches in your bed” Nikki accused and I can’t blame her for doubting me. “Nikki any of those girls never met my parents, they never went to my room, hell they haven’t even been to my office. You are the only one I love. If you want you can ask them if I ever said these words to any of them. I only said those words to you because I mean them. I love you so much Nikki. My mom always said that one day a girl will come to my life that’ll change my thoughts about love and show me the true love. You are that girl Nikki. You are the one who told me the meaning of true love. I don’t know what it was but you got to my heart and made it yours” “What did I have which others don’t” she asked. “You never judged me Nikki, not even when we were strangers, not when you found out Jake and Jacob were the same person, not when you found out who I really was. Nikki you don’t want me for my money or for what I look like. You want me for the person I am. You are a strong woman Nikki, independent. You always amaze me with your strength. Is it reason enough to love you” “Why didn’t you tell me about Michelle?” “I didn’t want to hurt you” “But you did anyway” “I am sorry Nikki. Please forgive me” I pleaded. “I don’t know Jake. In this relationship it always seems that I am the one getting hurt always” she said and I know she is right. “I know and I am ashamed of it, but will you give me one more chance to make it up to you. Please” there was a hope in my voice. She was thinking over whatever I said to her I can see the wheels running in her head. I know she doesn’t want to get hurt. Nolan has already hurt her with his cheating, but I won’t do that to her, ever. ************** {NIKKI} Jake was asking me for one more chance again. But was I ready to give him one more chance and risk the heartbreak. I can still hear the conversation I had with Michelle when I came out of Jake’s room. “You don’t think you are special to him. Do you?” she said. “What do you mean” I was sick of her games. “You know Jake don’t like to be with the same flavor for a long time” “Huh” I was confused. “No one can tame Jacob Collins. He is the worst of them all out there. You may think he’ll be with you forever but he always gets bored with the girls. He always comes back to me you know when they start clinging to him” she said in a proud tone. “He loves me” I said in a solid voice. “You can dream on but when he comes back to me after his fun, you’ll get to your senses. Do you think Jake would be with a girl like you for so long? He’ll soon get bored of you and I’ll be here as always and we’ll be together again. Hopefully, it will be forever this time, but I am ready to wait and he knows that. So enjoy it while you can” with that she waved at me and left me there. It had hurt like hell. Her words had hit my insecurities hard. I knew Jake had his moments with girls and he never fell in love. But that was in his past. I knew this was the reality I had to face. But I never thought how it will feel to actually meet the girls Jake had been with. I came back to my apartment and lost it. I didn’t know when Jake came in and took me in his arms. Was it possible to forgive him for what he did in the past? I knew the answer. Yes. I don’t have to like his past but he cannot change what he was before. I can look ahead of his past to the man he is now, the man I love not because of his success but the real man behind that. But was I strong enough to face his past again. I know I will be coming face to face with the girls from Jake’s past, so was I strong enough to face them like I did Michelle. Would it be as painful as today every time I meet his past? I don’t know. But is Jake worth the pain. Yes, he was worth every pain. “You know this will be your last chance at forgiveness. After this you won’t get to explain yourself” I told him with tears in my eyes. This will be the last time I’ll allow Jake to hurt me and after that no more. “Thank you so much Nikki. This time I won’t fuck up I swear” Jake said with a sigh of relief and hugged me so tight it was uncomfortable to breathe like he didn’t want me to go away like I was his lifeline, I liked it. Then my stomach growled and we both laughed. Jake kissed my forehead and asked, “Hungry” I nodded. “What do you want to eat? We’ll order something or you want to go out for dinner?” “No we’ll cook at home. I don’t want to go out or order. Would you mind eating Macaroni and cheese” I replied. “Not at all baby, Macaroni and cheese it is” We ate in silence and went to bed. Jake held me to him and made soothing circles on my back. It was making me aroused. I put my hands around his neck and kissed him. His one hand went to my ass and he was crushing me to himself and the other went inside my shirt. He stopped kissing me and asked, “Are you sure baby?” “Makeup sex is the best kind of sex” I replied with a smile. And it was just that, best kind of sex. When I got up in the morning I was alone in the bed and my body was sore. The love making last night was so intense I can still feel him. I smiled at that thought. There was a sweet fragrance of bread coming out of the kitchen so I went there. “Morning baby. You up, I was coming to the bedroom. I thought you’ll like breakfast in bed” Jake said smiling towards me. “I’ll love it here too as long as you are with me” I smiled. Jake was smiling; he came with the breakfast towards me and kissed my lips. “Have breakfast and get ready or you’ll be late”. We had breakfast and I was late for the office ‘coz Jake wanted to shower with me and we started with washing each other which later turned into a fucking session. Jake dropped me to my office. I went to my cabin and took my phone out to message Sammy. Me: Where are you? Want to talk to you. She replied after a minute. Sammy: I am working on something right now. I want to talk to you too. Meet you at lunch in the coffee shop. Me: OK The day went as usual. There were some messages from Jake saying he loved me and missed me. When it was the lunch time I went to the coffee shop in our office. I saw Sammy sitting there on a table and went there with my coffee. “So what do you want to talk about?” I asked her. “Ian wants me to move in with him” she said. I didn’t know how to answer that so I said “Oh”. “I don’t know I want to move in with him but then I can’t leave you alone” she sounded like she was confused. I don’t know how I was feeling. I have always had Sammy with me. I don’t know how I felt her moving out. But I know she has finally started being serious about Ian. I didn’t want her to lose her relationship with Ian and feel bad because of me. “Look Sammy if you think it is the right thing if you can trust Ian and if it makes you happy I don’t have any issues. I know you’ll be there for me even if you are living with Ian” I said with a reassuring smile. “Are you sure?” she looked hopeful. “Yes I am. And I have Jake too so don’t worry I’ll be just fine” “I love you Nikki. I was so worried you’ll feel bad. I am so happy” “So when are you moving out?” I asked her. “Tomorrow. And you guys are helping us” she said. “Yes evil princess” and we laughed. After the office Sammy, Ian and I started packing her stuff. I didn’t notice Jake coming home. “Hello ladies. Hello Ian. What’s going on?” he asked pointing at the packed bags. “Oh nothing Sammy’s moving with Ian” I said. “Oh ok” Jake said and went to the room. He came back after changing his work clothes and asked, “Need help?” “No we are done here. We were waiting for you to have dinner” Sammy said. We had dinner and I washed the dishes and Sammy cleaned the kitchen. Ian and Jake were watching TV. After some time we went to our room. “Are you fine with Sammy moving in with Ian” Jake asked getting in the bed. “She is happy with him so it’s ok” I smiled and went to bed too. Jake spooned with me. “I wanted to ask it before but I was not sure how you’ll react” he started. “What” “Do you want to move in with me?” he asked and I laughed. “Mr. Collins you were little late in asking that” I said. “Why?” “Because Sammy is already moving out” “But that gives you all the more reason to move in with me” he said. “I can’t just leave this apartment Jake. I am positive but what if something happens between Sammy and Ian, where will she go then” “She can come to our home, you know that” “I know baby but what if…” I didn’t want to say that but future is unpredictable and I don’t want to be too hopeful. I can see the hurt on Jake’s face. “You don’t trust me?” Jake asked. “No I trust you Jake. But I need something I can rely on. You can’t say what the future holds. You have to be practical” I replied. “Ok then I’ll move in” “You’ll do that” I asked excitedly. Jake smiled too. “Anything for you” I could see the sincerity in his voice. “Ok” I kissed him and we slept. MOVING IN TOGETHER After a few days of Sammy moving out of our apartment Jake moved in with me. We used Sammy’s room as a home office for Jake and I kept my working table next to Jake’s so that we can work together. We ordered a bigger closet for our clothes and as always it was filled with Jakes clothes. I liked living with him. It was like we were sharing every bit of our life with each other. We were planning for the thanksgiving trip to Texas when I got a flu. I had high fever two days before we would leave for Texas. I was in the office when I felt body ache and I was sweating so much. I was going to get a coffee when I blacked out and fell on the floor. After that I don’t know what happened. When I opened my eyes I was lying in our bed. Jake came in the room, he was in his t-shirt and pajama bottoms. “Why are you home so early?” I asked him. My throat was dry and scratchy. “Because you are not feeling well and the doctor said you need to take rest” he replied. “What happened?” “Nothing you fainted and they took you to hospital. Sammy called me and the doctor said you have a flue. He wanted to keep you there, but I know you don’t like hospitals so I told him I’ll take care of you at home. The nurse will be here every morning to check for you flu and the doctor said you’ll be fine in a few days” he took a medicine and gave it to me “here take it you’ll feel better” “Thank you” I said in a weak voice. I tried to move, “Ouch” my head was hurting. Jake reached for me and helped me get up. He kissed me on my forehead and said, “There is a head bump on your head from falling. Is it hurting too much? ” “No I am ok. Will you please hold me till I fall asleep” I asked Jake. He nodded and came with me in the bed. He took me in his arms and hummed softly. I was asleep in a few minutes. The next time I woke up it was still dark outside and Jake was still holding me to his arms. I wanted to go to the bathroom but I didn’t want to disturb Jake. So I tried moving out of his arms slowly, but he got up from the bed. “What is it? Do you need anything? Is your body hurting?” he was worried. I smiled at him as much as I can manage; it was hurting to smile too. My body was hurting so much it was like a bus had hit me hard. “No I am ok. I want to go to the bathroom” I told him. He nodded and got up from the bed. He helped me sit up in the bed and then put his hand under my shoulder to get up. It was so hard to get up from bed. I whimpered in pain and then suddenly I was lifted up in Jake’s arms. He put me down near the toilet in the bathroom and helped me take my shorts down. I was feeling so helpless. “I’ll manage now” I said. I know it is stupid. We already know about each other’s body but I can’t let him see me using the toilet. “But Nikki what if you need me” he asked in concern. “I’ll call if I need you. Please Jake” I said. He nodded and went out. I was feeling a pain in my stomach and back like I mostly feel in my periods. Shit! What was the date today? No, no it can’t be that day of the month. This can’t happen to me, I wanted to cry but what came out was a groan, Jake came in looking worried. “What Nikki are you in pain?” he asked. “Actually….” “What Nikki” I don’t know what was funny, Jake’s concerned expression or the fact that he’ll be grossed when I am going to tell him what I want him to help me with. I laughed. He had a funny expression on his face. He thought I have lost my mind. “I want you to open the cabinet there” I pointed out “and hand me the tampons”. Realization hit his face and he was blushing. First time in our relationship of five months, Jake was embarrassed and blushing. “Oh Ok” he said and went to the cabinet; “Here” he gave me the tampons. “Thank you. Now go outside” I said. “But if I’ll go out how am I going to help you?” “No I’ll manage. Please go out” “No Nikki I am not going out. What if you fall, you’ll hurt yourself” he said in the final voice. I didn’t have the energy to argue with him. “Ok close your eyes and help me get up” he closed his eyes and held me with my shoulders. Who thought using a tampon can be so difficult. “Jake will you please hold my back to your front? I need your support” he did as I asked and finally with a great effort I was done for now. But I was worried about the next few days I have to go through this. These will be worst days of my life ever. I was feeling so damn tired like I haven’t slept in days. Jake picked me up again and we went to bed. Jake went to make dinner for me. After fifteen minutes Jake came back with food. “Your soup ma’am” he put my soup down. “I am not hungry” “I know baby but you have to eat a little. You need energy” so I ate the soup and we went to sleep. After two days of painful mornings and suffering evenings I was feeling somewhat like humans again. But I was upset for Jake because he had to suffer with me and he wasn’t able to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family. “Happy Thanksgiving and I am sorry” I said with a sad voice. “Why Nikki?” he asked. “You are stuck here with me on Thanksgiving” “Shhhhh, I am not stuck here. I am with the girl I love. So no sorry, I don’t want to be somewhere you are not. Happy thanksgiving baby” Jake can always say something which makes me happy. I kissed him. “I want to take a bath please. I am feeling gross” I really wanted to feel water on my body. “Ok. Come I’ll give you a shower” Jake took me to bathroom and started the water in the tub. Then he came back to me and helped me come out of my clothes. He picked me up in his arms and put me in the bathtub. “I can walk you know. I am not that much weak now” I said smiling. “I like picking you up in my arms” I like being picked up by him. The warm water felt good. It helped me relax my tender muscles. Jake started taking off his clothes. “You don’t have to join me in here” I told him. He didn’t say anything just smiled, picked up the shampoo from the cabinet and came up behind me. Then he took some shampoo in his hands and started massaging my scalp. It felt so good I couldn’t help the moans coming out of my mouth. Jake laughed and that made me laugh too. “If I didn’t know any better I would think you are inviting me for something else” he said with a raised eyebrow and a hint of a smile on his lips. “Maybe I am” I felt his erection come to life and I smiled. *************** {JAKE} My cock jerked and I know she can feel it hardening. So she is being playful today. “Nikki baby don’t play with fire. You know I am hanging by a thread here” I told her. She was smiling. “But what if I want what you want” she asked. “Make no mistakes Nikki. I won’t mind joining the red ribbon club” I said. She laughed. I kissed her hard and all laughter was forgotten. She had her hands in my hair. I moved my hands to cup her face. I kissed her for a moment and then I pulled back and she mewled like her favorite toy was taken from her. I gave her a peck on her lips and she was pouting. She looked so cute that I felt bad for not giving her what she wanted. “Baby you are not ready for this yet. You have a flu and we can’t do anything yet. I want to but I can’t risk your health” I said with a calm voice. She nodded and held her hands out like babies to be picked up. I laughed and picked her up in my arms and took her to bed. I towel dried her hair and helped her to put on clean clothes. “What do you want to eat for dinner today? Something special?” “No I like the soup” “But it’s Thanksgiving Nikki” “No my stomach can’t take a special treat. You order something for yourself Jake. I know you are bored eating the plain soup and bread” she smiled. I don’t like eating alone now that I always had Nikki with me at almost every meal. “No I’ll have soup too” I said returning her smile. “Where is Sammy? Why didn’t she came to meet me?” I had been thinking when she’ll ask. “She came here every day but you were always sleeping whenever she came to meet you. She’ll be here in some time” like on queue the doorbell rang. “That must be Sammy” I told her and went to open the door. I was right Sammy and Ian were on the door. “Hey. How is she? Still sleeping?” Sammy asked. “No she is feeling better today” I told her. Ian and I shook hands and nodded to each other. Then we went to our room. “Hello Nikki. How are you feeling?” she asked Nikki. “Hey Sammy, I am fine. I was waiting for you” she was smiling. I knew she was missing Sammy. Sammy hugged Nikki, “I missed you too” she said. “Happy Thanksgiving” she looked at both of us, “I brought you Thanksgiving dinner”. “Thank you Sammy. How are you Ian?” she asked Ian who was standing in silence. He smiled at her. “I am good Nikki. You seem to be doing fine. Sammy was eating my ears off worrying about you” he winked at her and after two days I was feeling the tension leaving the room. When Nikki got the flu I was so worried about her. She was in pain most of the time but she never let it show and I was worried. But now looking at her joking around I feel the worry lift from my shoulder. I was finally relaxed after two days now hat Nikki was feeling better. “She worries over nothing” Nikki teased Sammy. “Look I am happy that my best friend is normal again so nothing can spoil my mood. The dinner is getting cold come on we have a feast to dig in” she said. “I’ll have the soup. I am not sure my stomach can take the feast yet. You guys enjoy” Nikki told the same thing to Sammy she told me. “You sure?” Sammy asked. “Positive” Nikki smiled. We finished our dinner and spent some time together. Sammy and Nikki were catching on their lost time so Ian and I went for grocery shopping. “So how is it going for you and Sammy?” I asked Ian. We never got any alone time. “It’s good, great actually. She is really fun to be with” Ian said with a smile. It was good to be with someone who understands the love you fell for you partner. We shopped for groceries and then some other essentials and went home. Sammy was waiting in the living room. “Is Nikki alone in her room?” I asked her “She was feeling tiered so I let her sleep. How are you doing? She is worried about you. Do you want me to stay here? You can have rest for today” she said. “No I am fine. And I don’t need any rest” I smiled at her. After some convincing Sammy went back with Ian and I started unpacking the groceries in the kitchen. When I was done in the kitchen I went to our bedroom. Nikki was rubbing her eyes like she was trying to wake up. “Where were you?” she asked me still in the clouds of sleep. “I went shopping. You were running out of your tampon supply” I laughed. “Awwwww that’s so sweet, you went to get tampons for me” she was looking cute in her sleepy expression. “And I got chocolates for you too” I showed her the box of chocolates. She was smiling and our Thanksgiving went much better than I would have imagined two days earlier. Two days after thanksgiving Nikki was feeling almost fine. But I asked her to rest for a day more and she was irritated. “You know I am bored lying on the bed all day” she pouted. “I know baby, but it’s just one more day” “On one condition” “What?” I was doubtful on the tone she used. “You are going to join me in the bed” “Yes I am” “And we are not sleeping” “Ok, whatever you want” I smiled. Sleeping in bed together turned out to be a hot love making session. At the end both of us were breathing hard and trying to come down from our high. “I love you so much” Nikki whispered in my ears and went to sleep. SURPRISE SURPRISE {NIKKI} Finally the next day Jake let me go to the office, I was getting bored in the apartment. Office was a good distraction. I know Jake must have suffered a lot of loss in his business because he was taking care of me. I know I am so lucky that he loves me so much; he didn’t even hesitate for a minute for staying at home with me from last one week. We went to Texas two days before Christmas to make it up to his parents for Thanksgiving. They were so happy that we were there soon and I was happy that I was able to help Jake’s mom with the preparations. After dinner she showed me the old albums. Every time I found a compromising picture of little Jake in his birthday suit I never left a chance to pull his leg. It was fun making Jake blush. His mom and dad teamed up with me and Jake was pouting all the time that they love me more than their only son. This was the family I have always wished for, a loving mom, a caring dad and a cute supporting husband. Wow I didn’t even realize that I was thinking of a future with Jake. It was not scaring me anymore. I was ready for my future. I don’t want to wait anymore. I just want my family with Jake. When did this happen? I was looking at Jake with such affection laughing with his parents; he must have felt my gaze on him. He looked at me and winked. “Are you ok?” he asked me when we were going back to his room. “Never been better” I replied with a warm feeling in my heart. He held me to himself in the bed and I felt safe, I felt like I am complete and I don’t need anything else in my life ‘coz I had Jake. I woke up to darkness. I can’t tell what time it was, but there was dark outside. I was not feeling good. I wanted to puke, but Jake had his arms around me in a tight vise. I tried to get out of his hold very slowly so I didn’t wake him up, but it was hard. So I pushed him hard and ran for the bathroom. I was hugging the porcelain and puking my gut out when I heard the bathroom door open behind me. “You don’t have to see this Jake. Go out” I told him. He didn’t listen to me as always and came behind me. He held my hairs out of my face and was rubbing my back. When I was finally done Jake cleaned my face with a wet towel, then took me to the bedroom. He put me down on the bed and gave me the glass of water. “Here drink this you’ll feel better” “Thank you. I think I ate something or maybe it’s the flu again” I didn’t want to fall sick again. “We’ll go to the doctor in the morning” Jake said. “No I have the medicines from last time. I don’t want to go to the doctor again. Please” I pleaded. “We’ll see in the morning” I took the medicine so I was feeling better in the morning and Jake didn’t force me to go to the doctor. Christmas was a big festival for Jake’s family. His mom and dad were up early on Christmas morning when we went down from Jake’s room. She was cooking cinnamon rolls, the smell was heavenly. It was time for gifts. I didn’t know what everyone would like so I bought what I thought everyone will like. First Jake’s parents gave us the gifts. It was a holiday for two to Hawaii. Jake gave his mom an ancient painting which was worth more than my one-month paycheck and for his dad he got him a new car. I was feeling a little unsure about my gifts after that. Jake’s mom must have noticed my discomfort so she smiled at me. “Ummm… I was not sure what would u like. It’s not much” I handed them their presents. Jake’s mom was the first one to open her present it was a frame of Jake and his parents laughing. I took that picture when we were here last time and it was a very good one. So I went to the market and framed it in a silver frame. Jake’s mom had tears in her eyes. I guess that means she liked it. “I love it Nikki. Thank you so much” I saw the approval in Jake’s dad’s eyes. I released the breath I didn’t realize I was holding. Next was Jake’s dad to open his present. It was a similar frame but it had the picture of Jake’s parents only. I framed this picture ‘coz they were looking at each other with so much love, affection and respect for each other that anybody can see the bond between them. Jake’s dad had a warm smile on his face and he looked at mom with the similar feelings. “Nikki it’s perfect. Thank you” Jake’s dad hugged me and kissed my forehead with the fatherly love I was missing after my parent’s death. My throat felt heavy with emotions. Jake cleared his throat. “If we are done with all the emotions here may I please open my present now” all of us laughed and I nodded. I was hoping Jake will like this one. It was a platinum band which had an encryption of forever yours in the middle with the links all around it. I saw this one in the shop and I thought of Jake. He was looking at me with those deep ice blue eyes and he had satisfaction written all over his face. Like he was not sure I’ll want a forever with Jake. Jake’s parents had a similar expression on their face like they had found the answers to all their questions. “Nikki this is the best gift ever. Thank you so much” then he kissed me in front of his parents. The kiss which can make your toes curl. I forgot everything and kissed him with all the feelings I had. Then I heard Jake’s dad clear his throat and oh my god I wanted to die with mortification. Jake chuckled at my embarrassment; I know my face must have gone red. “Ok that’s enough. Let her open her present” Jake’s mom scolded him. I opened the packet Jake had given me. When I opened it, there was a beautiful white gold pendant inside it. “I love this. Thank you Jake” I kissed him lightly on his lips, just a peck this time. “Open it” he pointed for the pendant. I opened it and there was a picture of me on one side and a picture of Jake on the other. And in the middle there was an infinity sign. “Oh my god Jake this is so wonderful” I saw his mom nodding, “Please help me put it on” and Jake helped me. I like the idea of having Jake near my heart always. I couldn’t help the ear to ear smile on my face. We were at Jakes home for three more days after Christmas Eve. I was not feeling well, I had been puking most of the times in evenings and feeling feverish, but I didn’t want to tell Jake about it because then he’ll take me to the hospital. So I took the medicines I had earlier, I always felt better after taking the meds. Jake had been out of his office so much lately first with my illness and then with Christmas so he was working so hard to make up for the lost time. He was working most of the times than not and he always came late from the work. When even after ten days I was not feeling fine and there was no improvement in my health I was a little worried. I wanted to talk to Jake, but he always came after I was sleeping and went to office before I was awake. Sammy was on her vacation with Ian so calling her was out of question. I decided I’ll go alone. I was sitting in the waiting room when I got a text from Jake saying he was going out of the country for two days and will be very busy. I was going to reply to that text when the nurse called my name so I put the phone back and went inside. “Hello Nichole” the doctor was a young guy, his smile was very comforting. “Hello doctor. It’s Nikki” “I am Ryan. So you are not feeling well?” he asked. “I had a flu last month I think its back and I am taking the meds from last ten days but I still puke a lot and feel feverish” I told him. “Ok no worries. We’ll take care of that. Will you please come to the examine room with me?” “Sure” I went to the smaller room and the doctor checked me. After ten minutes he took my blood samples and asked me to wait for the report. I went back to the waiting room and tried to call Jake but his phone was switched off. Maybe he was on the plane, so I left a message. Me: Have a safe flight. Miss u. Please call me as soon as u reach there. After half an hour, my name was called again. I went inside; the doctor had the same smile on his face. “So you found what is wrong with me?” I asked. “There’s nothing wrong with you Nikki, we have your blood reports” he pointed to the reports on his desk, “and it looks like you are pregnant. Congratulations”. “No no that’s not possible I took the birth control pills. I can’t be pregnant you are wrong” I mumbled. I was not able to breathe; there was an ache in my heart. I could only see darkness in front of my eyes. “Nikki please breath, it’s ok. Put your head between your legs. Yes, like that” it was the doctor’s voice. It felt like coming from afar. After some time I was breathing normally. “You feeling ok now? I take it this news was not a good one for you.” He asked. “Are you sure it’s not the flu. I never missed my pills” what am I going to do now? Jake is going to panic. He clearly said he didn’t want children. He’ll never forgive me for this. What if he leaves me because of this? “No Nikki, I am sure. You said you were taking pills for your flu. The birth control pills don’t work with other strong medicines. And you know they are not 100% safe” he looked at me in concern “If you are feeling ok we’ll have to take an ultrasound to check how far you are” the doctor broke my thoughts. This was not a horror dream it was a reality of my life. I didn’t trust my voice so I nodded. I don’t know how I came to the other room when I changed out of my clothes but I was lying on the bed and there was a machine with a monitor. A nurse was rubbing a cold fluid on my stomach and was running the machine over my stomach. I couldn’t see anything in the monitor; it was the same for a few minutes. Then suddenly the machine stopped and there was a teeny tiny dot on the machine. The nurse smiled, that’s your baby. You are four weeks in your pregnancy. That was when I realized that what this means. I was going to be a mom; this was what I wanted on Christmas, My family. It was then I realized that it didn’t matter anymore to me how Jake will react to this news. Because I was in love, this was the love at first sight with my teeny tiny blip. There were tears in my eyes but I was smiling. The nurse gave me the tissue papers. “Thank you” I said with teary eyes. “You know I have three children. I felt the same every time what you are feeling now when I saw them for the first time like this. Watching your child in your womb can do miracles” she smiled. “Yeah I think you are right” “Do you want me to print this for you?” she asked. “Yes please” She printed the picture. I got up from the bed, cleaned up and got dressed. The nurse took me to doctor’s room. This time, I was feeling calm and happy. I had my baby with me. “So you are four weeks along and everything looks fine” the doctor said. “I took medicines for flu for past ten days. Are you sure it hasn’t harmed my baby?” I was worried for my teeny. “No. Your baby is perfectly all right for now. But you have to be very careful for the coming month. Try not to take stress and eat healthy food. You’ll feel morning sickness for some time but that will be over very soon. Here I am writing some vitamins for you, take them time to time and everything will be fine” he wrote the meds and asked me to take the next appointment in three weeks. I went back to the apartment and slept. I woke up to the sound of my ringing phone. I checked there were ten missed calls and five messages. All from Jake, I forgot to call him. I called him back; he picked the phone on first ring. “Where the hell were you Nikki?” he shouted. “I fell asleep. Sorry” “Sorry. You know you almost gave me heart attack. I was one minute away from coming back home” he was worried. For a second I wanted to ask him to come back. But he already had done so much for me. “I said I am sorry. Don’t worry I am ok. How was your journey?” I tried to change the subject. “Look Nikki I have to finish some work, I’ll talk to you later” and then he went. I know he was pissed at me. Suddenly I was feeling very emotional. I wanted Jake with me. I cried myself again to sleep. The next time I woke up it was night already and I was feeling like puking again. I ran to the bathroom. So I was one of those women who had evening sickness instead of morning. Wow that was just perfect. I was pregnant, I was alone and to top them all I had evening sickness. After my puking I went to the kitchen and made myself ginger tea which the nurse at the hospital has suggested. It worked. I had dinner and went back to sleep. YET ANOTHER HEARTBREAK Office was busy. Jake hadn’t called me yet. I was thinking of calling him when Nolan came to my cabin. “Hey Nikki, I am really sorry about Jake” he said. I froze. “What happened to Jake?” no nothing bad can’t happen to him, he was alright. He had to. “No nothing happened to him. I thought you knew” he was not looking in my eyes. “Nolan look I can’t play this hide and seek games. Just tell me what you meant” I warned him. “Nikki I went to a party day before yesterday and…..” “And Nolan” “Jake was kissing a girl there. I thought it must be an accident and he must have told you”, no this can’t be true; Nolan was lying so that he can take his revenge. “Shut up Nolan. Jake is not like you he’ll never do that to me. He loves me and he’ll never cheat on me like that” I tried to sound confident. “I knew you won’t believe me and I don’t blame you for it. What I did to you was horrible and I have no explanation for it. But I still love you Nikki and I’ll never let Jake hurt you worse. Here look at this picture, I took it in the party to show you the truth” he handed me a picture of Jake and Michelle kissing each other. My vision was blurry. “No it’s not true” I said in a weak voice. “Nikki I am sorry. I never wanted to hurt you. But Jake isn’t worth your love” Nolan said. I can’t trust it. I know Jake loves me so much to do such a thing. There must be some explanation. I’ll talk to him and we’ll seek this mess out. I know my Jake. I can’t let Nolan ruin my forever like this. “Get out” I said in a hard voice. “But Nikki…” “Please Nolan; just get out of my cabin. I need to finish my work” I went to the door and opened it so that Nolan can go away. “Ok Nikki, I know you are hurt and you don’t trust me but if you need me anytime I’ll be there for you” with that he went out. I want to hit something. Preferably Nolan’s head he is an asshole. He wants to break Jake and me up. That’s why he is cooking up these stories. But what about the picture, I am sure Jake will have an explanation. I’ll call Jake and ask him. I spent the remaining day in the office thinking about Jake. I reached the apartment and called Jake. I know it will be early morning in Hong Kong and Jake must be getting ready for work but I need to talk to him or I won’t be able to sleep. He hasn’t called me yet. He picked his phone after a few rings I was going to say something when I heard a girl’s voice. “Jake babe who is calling you so early, just leave the call and come back to bed with me” Michelle I can recognize her voice anywhere. What was she doing with Jake? And what was she doing in his room so early? No this can’t happen to me, my heart can’t be crushed again and this was a bad dream. Suddenly I felt like puking which has nothing to do with my evening sickness. I ran to the bathroom and puked all the coffee I had in the office. Was Michelle right all this time? Is it possible Jake was having this fling with me and now he is bored with me? Is he really going back to Michelle after all? My stomach started rumbling. I haven’t been eating all day. My baby must be hungry. I’ll have to eat; I’ll have to take care of my baby. I won’t reach any conclusion without talking to Jake. So I went to the kitchen and fixed myself a salad with lots of fruits. After dinner I went to sleep. That night I had a strange dream. I was searching for Jake in woods, but I never found him, I was all alone in there, I cried, I shouted his name, but he never answered. In the morning my pillow was damp with crying. I wasn’t feeling like going to the office so I stayed in the apartment. I was going through that stage of depression again, I was sulking. I wanted to talk to Sammy, but I didn’t want to ruin her vacation with Ian. The next day went like the previous. Except the ache in my heart, it was increasing day by day. It had been two days and Jake hasn’t called me yet. I wanted the answers to my questions. I was sitting on the couch when my phone rang. There was a ray of hope in me. That died when display showed Nolan’s name. “Yes Nolan” I asked him. “Nikki you still don’t trust me right. Come to the fifth avenue, the harry Winston store you’ll see for yourself” and he hung up with that. I got ready and went to the address which Nolan had told me. I covered my face with the scarf and went inside and sure there were Jake and Michelle standing in front of a counter buying rings. Michelle said something to Jake which I was not able to hear from this distance. Jake pulled out a ring out of a box and put it on Michelle’s hands and Michelle started jumping up and down. Jake was smiling at her, they looked happy. I couldn’t watch it anymore. Didn’t let me feel anything because I knew if I let it take over me I’ll go in a panic. I ran out of the shop and reached for my car. I was out of breath when I felt somebody hugging me. It was Nolan; I don’t know why but was relieved to see him. “Home” that was all I could say and there was darkness around me. When I opened my eyes I was not in my apartment, but I knew this place. Nolan took me to his apartment. “Thank god Nikki you got up. I was thinking of taking you to a hospital” Nolan said. “How long have I been out?” “It’s been half an hour” “You want to go to the hospital. Should I cal Sammy?” Nolan asked. “No, but I need a favor” I replied. “Anything Nikki” Nolan smiled. “I don’t want to talk about Jake so you are not going to mention him and I want you to go to my apartment and move my things to some hotel” I told him. I can’t go back to that apartment. I don’t want to face Jake ever. He doesn’t deserve my anger. He doesn’t deserve me. And he doesn’t deserve my baby. This was my baby and I’ll make sure my tenny will never be a person like asshole scumbag Jake. “Nikki you don’t have to move to a hotel. You can live here as long as you want” Nolan said. “No I don’t want you to suffer because of me Nolan. Please do me this one favor and I’ll be no trouble for you” “Nikki you can never be a trouble for me you know that. And you are staying here in this apartment that is final. If you are not comfortable with me being here then I’ll move to a hotel. But you are staying here” Nolan said. “No I can’t send you away from your home. It’s ok we can stay here” Nolan went to my apartment and moved my important stuff like clothes and my personal stuff to his apartment. He never mentioned meeting Jake and Jake never called me so he must be busy with Michelle to notice that I was out of that apartment and his life for good. Or maybe he was happy that I did move out, maybe he was happy that he didn’t have to explain anything to me or breakup with mes because I did that for him. I switched off my phone and Nolan helped me get a new number. Sammy was coming back in two days so I called her from my new number and told her everything what had happened. She said she was coming back that day and I didn’t stop her this time. I wanted her with me. I was feeling so alone, broken. What I felt the first time when Nolan broke up with me was intensified to a degree of torture this time. I asked Sammy not to pick up Jake’s calls. Sammy reached Nolan’s apartment the next day. She was acting like a mother hen. She didn’t let Nolan near me and I was thankful for that. I was not in any condition to deal with any questions or stares Nolan had in his eyes. “Sammy I want to go away from here” I told her when she was lying on the bed with me with my head on her lap. “Yeah we’ll go back home Nikki. I am so done with the city life” Sammy said not understanding what I wanted to convey. “No Sammy. I don’t want to go home. I want to leave this country. I can’t stay here anymore” “Nikki if you are sure u don’t want to stay here we can go anywhere you want” why she have to be so stubborn? “No Sammy you are not going anywhere, you just started planning your life with Ian and I don’t want to ruin that for you. I am going alone”. “Nikki you know you are my first priority and everything comes after you. So don’t you dare to say you are going alone” “Listen Sammy I know you love me a lot but at some point I have to learn living alone. Look you will always be a big part of my life and we’ll always be in touch. But now it is about time we start making our future. Your future is here with Ian, not with me. So you are staying here with Ian otherwise you know if you don’t agree with me I’ll leave from here without telling you where I am going. Now decide what you want, me away from you for good or me away from you but in contact” I knew this was the only way she’ll agree to my decision and I really don’t want what happened between Jake and me to affect Sammy’s life in any way. She deserves all the love Ian has for her. “You promise you’ll be safe and in contact with me” she finally said with tears in her eyes. “I promise” I hugged her and we cried all night. In the morning when I woke up I had no clue what I was going to do. I knew I wanted to be far away from this place but where I had no idea. Sammy and Nolan wanted to stay home with me but I insisted them to go to office after breakfast so I can be alone at Nolan’s apartment and clear my mind. It took a huge amount of convincing but they left. I fired up my laptop and wrote a resignation mail to my advertising company. Then I checked my main bank account for the money I had in there. I had enough to survive anywhere. And with my work experience I knew I could get a job in any advertising firm. It will be difficult to set up a new life with my teeny but it was worth the effort. I put a hand on my stomach and started talking to teeny. “Hey baby. This is your mommy; you know I love you so much. You don’t have to worry I will take care of you and keep you safe. I’ll give you so much love you won’t feel alone ever. You just take care of yourself and be healthy, ok” oddly it felt good talking to my baby. I knew he can’t listen to me but comforting my baby calmed me enough to make a decision. I had to move now. I can’t put Sammy or Nolan in any trouble. I booked the flight for my destination, packed my bags and left for the airport before Sammy and Nolan can get back from office. I GOT A DOCTOR After a week in Paris, I was still struggling for a job. Sammy and Nolan had been so angry with me for vanishing like that from New York. They went nuts when they didn’t find me in Nolan’s apartment. I called them as soon as I landed in Paris. Sammy stopped talking to me for a few days. But after three days of silence my best friend was worried for me. I wanted to tell her about my baby but the doctor had asked me to wait till the sixth week which will be next week. I don’t know how Sammy is going to react to this. And I need to find a good OB/GYN for my checkup. My phone rang; I took it out from my bag. “Hello Sammy” I said smiling. “Nikki I am so happy” she was shouting on the phone. I had to laugh at her enthusiasm. “Ok that is a good thing but may I know why?” I asked. “Ian proposed me just now and I said yes. We are getting married” she seemed so happy. I know I should be happy for Sammy. But I felt my throat choking up and my vision blurred. I was trying so hard not to remember Jake’s face. “Wow Sammy I am so happy for you” I tried to say in a calm voice. “I am really sorry Nikki. I wanted to share this news first with you but I totally forgot it must really be hard for you. I was not thinking at all, I am sorry” I know she was feeling upset for me. But it was not about me it was her day so tried my best to sound happy. “Are you kidding me Sammy I am so happy for you, I have always wanted to see you settling down and getting married. So tell me all about it” Sammy started with all the details and it turned out that they wanted to get married as soon as possible. So they have decided on a summer wedding. I would be six months pregnant by the time of the wedding. “Nikki I am missing you a lot” “Me too Sammy” there was a call waiting on my phone “Sammy listen I am getting a call from one of the ad agency I have applied for. I need to take this call I’ll talk to you in sometime ok” I took the call. “Hello may I talk to Nichole Allen?” there was a guy on the other end. “Yes, this is Nichole” I was hoping that it was good news. “Hi I am calling from B&D ad agency. You had an interview with us yesterday” “Yes” I replied. “You have been selected for the job. May I know when you can start the job?” I took a sigh of relief. I had been stressing for the job from last week. And the stress was bad for me. So finally I could relax a bit. “I can start from tomorrow if you want me to” I wanted to start working so I can distract my mind. I was doing everything I can do not to think about Jake. “That will be perfect. So I’ll see you at 10 am tomorrow. Please bring your original documents with you” “Sure. Thank you and have a nice day” I said smiling. The next day I got up and ready for my new job. I was thankful for the evening sickness because if it would have been in morning there was no way I could get up and go to the office. My new office was half an hour ride away from my apartment. I took a cab and entered the office. After two hours of formalities I had my new id card and my new cabin in my hand. The bosses in the company were Bryan and Diana. They were so nice and the editors in my team Cedric and Grace were good natured too. All in all, I liked my new job. It didn’t feel like my first day, I felt comfortable talking to these people. The week went pretty much same as the first day. I kept myself busy in work most of the time. I searched for a good OB/GYN and took the appointment. On my appointment date I reached the clinic and went to the doctor. To my surprise, the doctor was a very handsome guy. He had a charming smile, big grey eyes and blonde hair. He had a tanned skin more like a surfer and he had a muscular body. For a second I was thinking he must have chosen a wrong profession, he should be a model or something. “Hello Nichole I am Nicolas Bernard” he smiled and I had to laugh at that too. His smile was perfect like him. I mean you can’t blame a girl for appreciating a handsome man. I was not checking him out just looking at his perfection. “It’s Nikki. And hello doctor Nicolas” I replied with a returning smile. “You can call me Nick” and both of us started laughing. “Ok so how are you feeling?” Nick asked. “I am good except for the evening sickness and the mood swings. That is worst and I am hungry most of the time and a bit tired” I replied. “I am sorry about the evening sickness and mood swings but I am afraid that is going to be there for next four to six weeks and the hungry part is good for baby that means he or she is healthy” “I hope so” “So should we find out? Would you mind coming to the examination table?” “Sure” I replied and went to the examination table. I changed to the gown he gave me. Nick got to the ultrasound machine and started rubbing the gel on my stomach. He put the machine on my stomach; I could see my teeny had developed a bit. I can’t say it was so much just little bit. And I could hear something on the machine. “That is the heartbeat of your baby, it’s very strong. Your baby is healthy as a horse” Nick told me. He printed a copy of ultrasound for me and gave me a towel to wipe the gel. I changed my clothes. “Where is the father? We need to discuss some important details” he questioned. “I am a single mother and I don’t have any family in here so you’ll have to discuss everything with me” “Oh. It’s ok. So as I said the baby is healthy, you need to eat healthy food and stay away from too much stress so we can keep him that way. You can notice a little spotting for some time which is very common but if you think it’s more than a little you need to call me and come here for a checkup. I am writing some vitamins which you have to take regularly. We’ll meet in your second trimester which will be around twelve week from now. You need to take care till then. And if anything happens in between have my card and call me” Nick smiled. “Thanks Nick. I will keep everything in mind” I replied and left the clinic. Nick was right about the evening sickness. I had to suffer with evening sickness for full fourteen weeks. But now after fourteen weeks in my pregnancy I am starting to show a bit and with no more evening sickness I can feel my energy returning. I like the little bump in my stomach when I touch it; it feels like I can connect to my teeny. Nick said he is not teeny anymore; he took me to lunch once when we were passing by each other in the market. He was laughing when I told him I call my baby teeny. He told me my teeny is the size of a lemon now. I like talking to Nick about my baby. I haven’t got any chance to tell Sammy about the baby yet because of the time difference and the stress Sammy is suffering because of the wedding. I am planning to surprise her with this news when I’ll meet her. I know she is going to go ballistic for this, but it will be fun. It’s like two months from now and Sammy is going nuts with the depression. She wants everything to be perfect. I can just guess what she must be going through. In office everyone is suspicious but nobody wants to be rude and ask me about it. I was going for dinner with Cedric and Grace on a Saturday night and waiting for a cab when a car stopped in front of us. “Hey gorgeous you want a lift” Nick asked from driver’s seat. “Hey Nick, we are going for dinner but can’t find cab” I told him. “Driver in your service ma’am” he smiled. “No it’s ok we’ll take the cab. I don’t want to trouble you” I said politely. “It’s no trouble Nikki, and I am starving. I guess I can have dinner with you guys if you don’t mind me tagging along” he asked pouting. It was so funny to look him pouting. “How can I deny when you put it that way” so we went to the restaurant. Dinner was fun; Nick was entertaining us with his patient’s stories. After dinner Nick dropped Cedric and Grace to their apartments. When we were alone in his car he asked me. “Fancy an ice-cream” I laughed at that. “Actually I was going to ask you to stop on an ice-cream stall. I am craving for Ben & Jerry’s strawberry cheesecake” we had the ice-cream and Nick took me to my apartment. “Thanks for the ride” I said getting out of the car. “Thanks for letting me have dinner with you” “It was fun to have you” I replied. After that it was common for me and Nick to go out and eat together. Cedric and Grace will pull my leg saying Nick and Nikki are going together again. I told them we are just friends. I had an appointment with Nick for the ultrasound for the eighteenth week. I went in and Nick was smiling. “Hey Nikki, I was waiting for you. Ready to see your teeny” he said teasing me. “Yes doctor” I laughed. He started with the machine and I could see my teeny on the screen all growing up. It was a miracle how my teeny started from a blip and now was the size of a bell pepper. “Do you want to know the sex of the baby?” Nick asked. “No. I want it to be a surprise” I told him. “Ok want me to print this one too” “Yes please” I wanted to collect every part of my teeny with me. His growing up inside me, his first movement everything I can get. Nick finished the printing and gave me the towel. “Your teeny is perfectly healthy. If you want we can have an anomaly scan two weeks later to find out your due date” I told him yes and went back to the apartment. At night, I called Sammy to know how she was doing. “Hey Sammy” “Hello stranger. I thought you don’t remember me anymore” she taunted. “I know and I am sorry. I was a bit busy with work and all. How are the preparations going and how are you holding up” I asked her. We talked for about half an hour. And I promised Sammy that I’ll be with her next month. I was happy that the wedding was in Florida not in New York City. I can’t bear the thought of going back to New York City and face the memories of Jake. It was hard to avoid those memories. I still had dreams about him sometimes. That face never left my memory. “Hey baby we are going for your aunts wedding next month. You’ll get to meet your aunt Sammy, I know you’ll love her and she’ll love as much as I do” I wanted to feel my teeny do something. I know some women can feel their baby kicking or move inside them but my teeny was lazy to move. I laughed at that thought. I had my anomaly scan two weeks later and Nick said everything was fine. “Why can’t I feel teeny move or kick? Is there something wrong?” I asked in concern. “No there is nothing wrong it is normal you’ll feel him in one or two weeks” Nick said calmly. “I need to go to my best friend’s wedding. Is it ok to travel?” “As long as you will be careful and take care of yourself it will be fine” after leaving from the clinic I wanted to go shopping. I needed new clothes; I was getting bigger by every passing week. Sammy is going to kill me for not telling her. She’ll have to make amends in the bridesmaid dress. I was getting out of the clinic when I heard Nick calling my name. “I am off from the clinic. I’ll drop you at your apartment” he said. “No it’s fine Nick. I need to go shopping, I’ll be fine” “Shopping for the wedding? Where is the wedding?” he asked. “Florida” “Do you mind if I come with you. I am in urgent need of a vacation but I don’t know what to do. Florida will be a great vacation destination” ok so what do you say to this type of question. “Yeah sure Why not” I shrugged. We went shopping and had dinner. I told Nick we’ll be leaving in two weeks. Nick and I were entering the airport when I saw someone I thought looked like Kevin Jake’s dad. But when I started looking I couldn’t find him. “What happened? Why did you stop?” Nick asked. “Nothing I thought I saw someone. But I guess it was just an illusion” and we went to our flight. Finally after hours of journey we reached the wedding destination, I was so tired. Nick went to his room and I went to mine. I called Sammy from there. “Sammy I am in my room. You have to come here quickly. I have a surprise for you” I told her and she said she’ll be there in five minutes. I heard a knock on my door after ten minutes of hanging up the phone. I went to the door slowly so that Sammy won’t jump on me to hug me. “Hey Nikki what’s with the slow motion” she said raising an eyebrow. “Just being cautious” when she entered the room she saw what I meant. She stood there frozen. I was not expecting this reaction. “Nikki, what the fuck, When did this happen? Why didn’t you tell me?” she was confused like she can’t trust her eyes. “I wanted to give you a surprise” I replied smiling. “Is this …..” I knew what she wanted to ask. “No Sammy this is my baby, my teeny. I came here so that teeny can meet his aunt. I am so happy to have this baby. And I am happy for you too” I hugged her. She had tears in her eyes. “You should have told me Nikki. You went through all this alone. I should have been there for you. I am happy you are pregnant shocked but happy if you are. I can’t believe you are going to be a mommy and I am going to be an aunt” she put her hand on my growing belly and said, “Hello baby. This is your aunt I love you so much and I am going to spoil you so much. Your mom is a bad friend she didn’t tell me you were coming. But we’ll forgive her for this mistake. You must be happy in there, we will be waiting for you baby” awww that was so sweet, both of us had tears in our eyes. There was a knock on the door and Nick came in looking worried. “Hey what happened? Why are you crying” he came beside me and put his hand on my shoulder. “It’s nothing. Sammy was talking to teeny and I am a bit emotional you know” I smiled, “Sammy this is Nick and he is my doctor and Nick this is Sammy the soon to be bride” “Nice to meet you Sammy and congratulations” “Same here doctor” she smiled. “I am o sorry Sammy I’ll need the fitting redone for my costume” apologized to her. “It’s ok Nikki we have got three days to work on that” she smiled. “I came here to check how you were doing Nikki. My work is done here so ladies I’ll take your leave and meet you at dinner. You can enjoy your time together” with that Nick left and Sammy had that mischievous grin on her face. “Don’t get any ideas Sammy there is nothing going on here. He is just a good friend who wanted to go on vacation” I explained. “I never said a word” she laughed. We went for the fitting of my dress and the three days were over before we knew it. It was the big day of wedding and Sammy was nervous as hell. “Nikki I can’t breathe. I think I am going to die” I laughed at her expression. “Oh come on Sammy you have been ranting to me from last three days that you can’t wait now what? Why are you so nervous?” I tried to calm her down. Sammy’s mom came inside and said it’s time. And we heard the wedding march. Her dad was standing at the door. The ceremony was so good and everything went without a hitch. We danced and had a lot of fun. I was feeling tired by the time Sammy and Ian left for their honeymoon. I went to my room and slept. The next day we took the flight back to Paris. Nick was driving me to my apartment. I was missing all the fun Sammy and I had in old times. I can’t trust what had happened in last one and a half year. Nolan breaking my heart, Jake coming to my life and then again breaking my heart, one constant thing in all those times was Sammy. But now Sammy was away too. I was feeling so lonely and I didn’t realize I was crying till the time I felt a hand wiping them from my eyes. “Sorry these tears don’t know when to come out” I tried to smile. “Hey it’s ok. You want to talk about it. I am all ears” Nick smiled back. “Oh it’s nothing. I was missing Sammy. She is the only family I have got and now she is married too” I sighed. “You don’t have to feel alone. I will be here for you, you know” and Nick’s head was coming down to me. I blocked him with my hands. “Look Nick, you are a good guy and I like you a lot but as a friend. I have been there and been through all of this. I can’t risk everything one more time. I know I can’t punish you for someone’s mistake, but I am not alone now. I have teeny to take care of too. I am really sorry; I know there will be someone out there for you. But trust me that someone is not me” Nick was a good guy, but I was not ready for yet another relationship. I still had Jake in my heart and involving some other guy in this mess would be unfair to him. “Nikki you know you are the best girl have met till now. You are so strong; you sometimes amuse me with your strength. I want to be a part of your and teeny’s life. But if you are not ready I can wait for you. I know you had your heart broken, but I want to take care of you and the baby” he had sincerity in his voice but I didn’t have the strength to go through all that one more time. I was not strong enough for that. “You are already taking care of us doctor” I smiled and kissed him on cheek, “and thank you so much for that. Goodnight Nick” I waved him good night and went to my apartment. Next month went in a blur because of the work and setting up the room for my teeny. I wanted it to be best; I didn’t know the sex of my baby so it was so hard to choose the color scheme for the paint and furniture. I decided for the blue color, the mural I choose was a baby unicorn that will be protecting my baby. I was crossing the street when saw Patricia Jake’s mom, our eyes met for a second and I walked away from there without looking back again. So it was not an illusion that day they were really here in Paris. Was Jake with them too? How was he? Had he and Michelle been married by now? Was he happy with her? I didn’t want to think about him but those questions were haunting me. I went to the apartment, had dinner and tried to sleep through my confusing mind. I went to sleep but it was a very uncomfortable sleep. I dreamt of Jake that night. We were holding our baby and he was so happy to see our baby. I was looking at Jake and I had tears in my eyes. I never wanted to come out of that dream. It was my family in that dream I have always wished for. I had to get up halfheartedly to get ready and go to office. I wanted to talk to Sammy before starting my day so I called her. “Hey. How is it going with Ian?” I asked her when she picked up her phone. “How do you think it’s going Nikki? I am on my honeymoon. It’s awesome and you are disturbing a very intense sex right now” she said in an irritated voice. I had to laugh at that. “Really sorry to disturb you, but I wanted to make sure you were fine. Go ahead and enjoy your honeymoon. I miss you” “Miss you too Nikki. I’ll talk you later” and she hung up the phone. ************* {JAKE} I can’t believe it had been seven months of my miserable life. I am living a zombie life. I get up–eat–bath–go to office–come back home–eat–sleep–get up and repeat the routine again. I have never felt as hollowed as I do from past seven months. I have lost any interest in my life. Nikki took every color from my life when she left me. The thing which hurts more than her leaving me was, not knowing the reason behind that. She didn’t give me a chance so say or explain anything. I have tried to talk to Sammy and Nolan, hell I begged them to tell me where she was. I have cried like maniacs some nights when it was unbearable for me to stay without her. I have tried everything I can to find Nikki. Every time I think I am getting closer to find her, it comes out to be impossible to do so. I tried to end my life and be done with this hell, but then I would remember her smiling face ad stop myself. These past seven months had been the worst torture of my life. “Where in the hell are you Nikki?” I mumbled to myself. I want to see her, hold her, and kiss her desperately. I am going nuts without her. My phone rang and broke my train of thoughts. “Jake” Dad said from the other side. I know my parents are concerned for me, but I can’t help it. They wanted me to move on. I can’t move on from Nikki. She is the only one for me. No one can replace Nikki ever and I will never give up on her. “Yes dad” I replied sounding calm. “Look I want you to listen to me very patiently and not to act without thinking ok” “Dad just tell me what it is. You don’t need to freak out” I was confused with his words. “I think we saw Nikki” “When? Where? Tell me dad I leaving my office. Tell me where you saw her” I found a ray of hope in my voice. “I saw her at the airport a few weeks earlier, but I was not sure, but then today your mother saw her too on the sidewalk. But she can’t be sure as it was for a second and the girl just vanished from their” “Dad will you please tell me where?” I was impatient to find her. “In Paris” “Paris?” damn that is why I was not able to find her. “I am coming to Paris dad. I am going to find her” first time in seven months I was hopeful. I tried Sammy’s number, maybe I can convince her to give me Nikki’s address. No answer. Who else can help me? Nolan. Yes, so I went to Nolan’s apartment. When I reached there I knocked on the door. “Who is it?” he shouted from inside. “It’s me Nolan, Jake” “What do you want Jake?” “Nolan man I only want to talk to you for a minute” I replied. He opened the door and let me in. “Jake I don’t know where she is if that’s what you want to talk about” I know he is lying. I have to do something. I am not going out of here empty handed, I am going to get the information about Nikki by hook or by crook. I have already waited too long. “Can I get a drink please” I wanted to find something in the apartment which can lead me to Nikki. He nodded and left the living room. I got up from my seat and started searching. I can’t believe my luck I found his phone sitting on the side table. I sent silent prayers to god and adding up to my luck the phone was unlocked. I rummaged through the contact list and there was Nikki’s number. Finally, relief washed over me. I could breathe after the seven months of hell. I was closing the contact lists when by mistake I opened the gallery in Nolan’s phone. I was shocked to see a picture of Michelle and me kissing with a caption “Golden Ticket”. What the hell was all this? What was this picture doing on Nolan’s phone? I wanted to check further when Nolan came running towards me and snatched his phone. “What the fuck are you doing here looking in my phone” his face was getting red. I clutched his throat with enough pressure not to choke him. “You have got flat two minutes to tell me what is that picture of Michelle and me doing in your phone and what does golden ticket mean” I saw straight in his eyes so that he knew not answering me could be a big mistake for him. “It’s nothing” he tried to say. I increased the pressure. “Nolan I don’t have any patience left for these games. So if you want to live you’ll start talking right fucking now” I threatened him. “It was Michelle’s idea” he confessed. “What? How did Michelle come in all this” I was feeling the anger build up in me. I didn’t feel good about wherever this was going. “Michelle wanted you and Nikki to break up so she can be the one getting you. She knew you were in love with Nikki. She thought if you two broke up you will be heartbroken and then she can be there for you. She thought you were going fall in love with her after your breakup. She set this all up” shit it was a setup. “What did you tell Nikki” I kept my one hand on his neck and with other I clutched his hair. “I showed her the pictures. She didn’t trust me at first and then Michelle asked me to send Nikki to the jewelry shop where you were buying a ring. She saw you putting that ring on Michelle’s hand and …” “And she thought I was asking Michelle to marry me” no this can’t happen. I remember that day. I wanted to ask Nikki to marry me. I wanted to give her the family she always wanted. On Christmas, I planned everything. After coming back from Hong Kong, I went straight to get a ring from the airport. Michelle said she can help me out with the ring. When I picked the ring she was squealing like I was going to ask her. When I raised my eyebrow she said she was acting like Nikki would do when she sees the ring. I smiled at her for that. She offered her hand and said she has the same size fingers as Nikki and I should try the fitting before selecting the ring. I was not thinking at all so I just slipped the ring on her finger. She hugged me and said thank you. I was a bit confused, but I let it go. I was so stupid I should have known she was up to something. “How did you know Michelle and why would you do that?” I can feel my throat choking up. I wanted to break down but now was not the time. “She called me and convinced me that I can get Nikki back if you were out of her life. So I helped her but…” “But Nikki moved to Paris” I completed that for him. Suddenly I was feeling so tired. I left his throat and let him go. “I want to rip you throat off right now Nolan for making me and Nikki suffer for all this, but you know what I pity you. You got what you deserved which was nothing. When Nikki will find out what you did she is going to hate you Nolan and her hatred will be the best punishment for you” with that I left his apartment. It was time for getting my Nikki back. MY HAPPY ENDING I called the detective who was working on finding Nikki for me. “Hello Thomas” “Hello Mr. Collins. How can I help you?” he asked. “I need you to trace a number for me” “But what about the case I am working on?” “I found her. She is in Paris. Trace this number and give me the address before I reach Paris” I hung up the phone and boarded the flight to Paris. It was five pm when I landed in Paris. I got a text from Thomas with Nikki’s current address. I went for a cab and told him the address. When I reached there I saw a car coming to a halt in front of the apartment so I stayed in the cab. A guy came out of the driver’s seat and went to open the passenger seat. A girl came out of the car with her hair covering her face. She was pregnant. Looking at her reminded me of Nikki, how she’ll look if she’ll get pregnant with our baby. It made me smile; I cannot wait to see her. And then it happened with a hand the girl removed the hairs from her face, all of a sudden I can’t breathe, a heavy weight was crushing my chest. The girl standing with that guy was Nikki and she was pregnant. My world shattered to pieces. It was too late. I was too late to get to Nikki and tell her what had happened. I have waited too long and now Nikki was with someone else. She was having a baby with this guy. The dream which I saw was getting true for someone else. I felt a tear slide down my eye. All the hope I felt in those seven months of separation was dying now and with that my heart was dying too. I wanted to ask the cab driver to move but my words were frozen. I couldn’t make myself speak. The guy kissed Nikki on the cheek and left. Wait he left? He was supposed to take care of her. She was carrying his baby; he had to be there for her. Jake looked at Nikki once again waving the guy and his eyes fell to her swollen belly. It looked like she was six or seven months pregnant, but how was that possible. To be this pregnant she should have conceived the baby after Christmas and she moved to Paris in February. How can this be possible until…. Then it hit Jake, this was his baby. The sickness during Christmas Eve was not the flu. She was pregnant with his baby. Jake’s heart started beating faster. He felt so light like he can fly. Tears started flowing from his eyes aging but this time they were not because of pain. They were the happy tears; he was going to be a father. The dream of getting Nikki knocked up was coming true. Jake shuddered with excitement. He saw Nikki going to the apartment. He wanted to run after her but then thought against it. He didn’t want to catch Nikki off guard. So he let her go inside the apartment and came out of the cab. He paid the fare and went to the apartment door. He rang the bell. Suddenly he was feeling a little nervous. What if Nikki will not accept him or the mess Michelle had created was too much for her? No he can’t have negative thoughts now. The door opened and Nikki stood there frozen like she had seen a ghost. She started backing away from Jake. It put her off balance and suddenly she was falling. Reflexes kicked in time for Jake and he caught Nikki. “Oh my god Nikki are you ok? You could have hurt yourself” I was shaking with the fear of losing Nikki or the baby. She started crying and mumbling something. “It’s not true. You are not here” I made it out after some times. She was confused. “Shhh” I took her in my arms and sat on the floor with Nikki on my lap, “I am here baby. I am sorry. I am so sorry. Calm down please. I’ll make everything better I promise” I was rocking her and trying to comfort her with my words. She cried for a few more minutes than without moving her head from my chest she asked me. “Why are you here now?” I can feel the hurt in her voice. “Nikki I am here because I love you” I answered. “No. You don’t love me, you love Michelle. I know you were cheating on me with her” then the new pool of tears started. Looking her like this broke my heart. “No Nikki I can never cheat on you. The picture Nolan showed you were from the past. It was two years before I met you. That was a setup Michelle and Nolan did to break us up” I explained everything to her. What Michelle and Nolan did? How I got her number and traced her address. “So all these months we were apart for nothing; I can’t believe Nolan could do this to me. Oh god Jake I am so sorry I should have trusted you. I shouldn’t have done what I did” and she started sobbing again. I hugged her tightly to myself. “No it wasn’t your fault. It was Michelle who planned all this. I am really sorry Nikki I should have listened to you and take your issue with Michelle more seriously. It would have saved us both the pain and distance. I am sorry” we stayed there for half an hour without speaking. I wanted to make up for all the lost time when I was not holding her in my arms. “When did you find out?” we were still sitting on the floor. I wanted to be a part of her and my baby’s life. I have already missed on most of her pregnancy. I didn’t want to miss it anymore. I wanted every detail. “The day you went to Hong Kong. I went to see a doctor and was surprised to find out that I was pregnant” “Why didn’t you tell me at that time Nikki?” I was feeling a little angry now. We could have prevented all this only if she would have told me about the baby. “I was afraid. Remember that day in the bathroom when we forgot to use a condom and you thought I could be pregnant. You were freaked out at the thought of a child and you said you don’t want children. I thought you’ll go crazy if you found out on the phone so I was waiting for you to come back” how very stupid of me. “I am sorry baby” I kissed her on forehead and said, “I want to confess something”. “Hmmmm” she replied. “You know when you were upset about me and Michelle I thought I will impregnate you so that you’ll never leave me” she chuckled. “Really” I nodded. “We wasted seven months over nothing. I promise I am not going to make that mistake again. I love you so much Jake. I can’t live without you. These seven months were the worst time of my life. I was not living without you” “Me too Nikki” and I kissed her with all the love I had for her. She moaned. I missed that sound a lot. Then my hand went to her waist but I landed on her belly. I broke the kiss and smiled ear to ear. “This is our baby” she smiled too. “Yes Jake that’s our baby” I put my hands on her belly and rubbed her belly slowly. It warmed my heart to the core. “Hello baby this is your daddy. I love you so much baby and I am going to take a very good care of you and your mom” I bent down and kissed Nikki’s belly. I couldn’t stop myself from doing that. ********************* {NIKKI} The way Jake was talking to teeny melt something in my heart. My family was now complete. Jake never cheated on me. I can’t believe we lost this much time over a misunderstanding. I promised myself I was not going to waste any more time. I will love Jake and teeny with all my heart and make for the lost time. Jake was still taking to teeny when I felt a kick on my stomach. “Oh my god Nikki did you feel that. Shit the baby kicked my hand” that made me laugh so hard. “That was my stomach he kicked silly. Ofcourse I felt that” Jake laughed too. “Yeah I guess, but that feels awesome” he kissed my belly again and teeny kicked again. “Teeny likes it when you kiss him. He never moved till today. But when you kissed he started kicking” I smiled at Jake, “he is showing that he loves you Jake” Jake had that grin on his face which always took away my breath. “Teeny. You named the baby teeny” I got up from his lap and went to the bedroom he came behind me. I took out all the ultrasound images of teeny which I had framed. “Here look at this blip here. This was the first time I saw him he was so teeny tiny I had to name him teeny” I passed him all the frames. “Is it a boy?” he asked. “I don’t know I wanted it to be a surprise. Come with me” I took his hand and lead him to teeny’s room. His expression changed from happy to something I can’t put my finger on. “Is it that bad? Didn’t you like it?” I asked him feeling nervous. “No baby it’s perfect. I just feel sad; you had to do all this by yourself. I am sorry you had to go through all these things alone” his voice was choking up. I hugged him. “It’s not your fault and we are together now” I can see the happiness on Jake’s face. He hugged me again and kissed me. Then he pulled away, took out something from his pocket and went on one knee. “Nikki I know this is not the proposal I wanted but I have already wasted so much time. I don’t want to waste it anymore. I want to protect you and our baby. I promise I’ll never let you go through anything alone ever again. I will be there for you be it happiness or sorrow. So will you do me the honor to marry me and make me the luckiest guy on earth” my vision blurred and I had tears in my eyes. I was nodding before he even finished his sentence. “Yes” Jake slipped the ring in my hand. It was a simple yet elegant diamond ring. I loved it. “I love you” Jake said kissing me. “I love you too baby” “I want to marry you this week. I know you may want a fancy wedding but I can’t wait to call you my wife” Jake was talking my thoughts. “I don’t want anything fancy. I only want you Jake; I’ll marry you whenever you want. But how are we going to invite everyone here so fast” I asked Jake. I wanted the important people in my life to be there with me on my special day. “Leave that on me. Is it ok for baby to travel?” “Yes. It’s ok” I told him with a smile. Jake really outdid himself. He arranged for everyone important including Nick to Tahiti Island. Sammy came early from her honeymoon for my wedding. Jake’s parents were so happy for us and the baby; they were going to be grandparents. Everyone was enjoying themselves. On the wedding day Sammy’s parents were there to give me away to Jake. When I came out with the wedding march, my heart rate increased to see the handsome man standing on the aisle. Jake was looking so admirable in his black tux. And his ice blue eyes had the same effect on me as the first day. I loved him more and more every day. He was the best thing in my life, the father of my child. He took my hand from Sammy’s dad and kissed the back of my hand. “You looking so beautiful in that dress” he said with a smile. “You are looking handsome yourself Mr. Collin” The minister asked us if we wanted to say our vows or wanted to use the traditional and we said we’ll use ours. “I promise to love and care for you, and I will try in every way to be worthy of your love. I will always be honest with you, kind patient and forgiving. I will never let any misunderstanding come between us, I promise to try harder to prove you that I love you and will never give up on you. I promise to be your lover, companion and friend, your partner in parenthood, your ally in conflict, your comrade in adventure, your consolation in disappointment and your accomplice in mischief. I love you and always will. I Jacob Collins take you Nichole Adams to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us apart.” when Jake finished with his vow everyone was clapping and he had such admiration in his eyes I forgot everything. Tears were flowing down my eyes and he was smiling at me. The minister cleared his throat and said it was my turn. I nodded and started. “I vow to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share in the silence when they are not. I promise faithfulness and patience, respect and lightheartedness, attentiveness and self-improvement. I will celebrate your triumphs, and love you all the more for you failures. I promise to be supportive and to always make our family’s love and happiness my priority. I will be yours in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health. I will dream with you, celebrate with you and walk beside you through whatever our lives may bring. You are my person – my love and my life, today and always till death do us apart”. I said my vows and there were cheers again. “Do you Jacob Collins take Nichole Adams as your lawfully wedded wife?” The minister asked Jake. “I do” Jake nodded. The minister turned to me and asked me the same. “Do you Nichole Adams take Jacob Collins as your lawfully wedded husband?” “I do” “I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride” those were the last words I heard. Jake took me in his arms and I forgot everything. We kissed with such passion it melted my inside. Jake stopped kissing me and his lips brushed near my ear. “I love you Mrs. Collins” I smiled at my new name. “I love you too Mr. Collins”. This was the life I wanted. The family I never got. This was what it felt like to get the prince charming. This was what they say about dreams coming true. This was the happy ending of my story with Jake.

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