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Don't Go (For You 3) Alexa Riley 2022/8/3 13:49:54

Then I stand, knowing I need to put as much space as I can between me and this man, and I know where I want to go.

I turn off the shower, still not feeling like I washed Jason away. I can only hope he doesn’t come looking for me.

I sit back in my desk chair and look out at the city. It’s the same window my father looked out of for longer than I can remember. I’ve been thinking about him and my mom a lot lately. They’re off on another vacation enjoying one another and life. They call and check in, but I know they’re happy traveling the world.

I’ve got a stack of papers on my desk that I need to go over, but I don’t feel like it today. For some reason, I’ve felt an ache in my chest for the past couple of days, one I haven’t felt in a long time, mostly because I’ve learned to ignore it. But the beating in my heart can’t be ignored, and my thoughts drift to Kory, just like they always do.

I rub the place between my ribs and wonder if this is exactly what my father felt like, looking out onto a city where he knew the love of his life was, but she was just beyond his reach.

For years I tried to fight it, but it never once went away. Not even for a second.

I think back to the day I asked her to the prom and how it all seemed so perfect. I picked her up at her apartment and met her mom. We laughed and held hands while we went to my aunt and uncle’s house for pictures. She looked so beautiful in her white dress. I kept thinking she looked more like a bride, and I loved it. At eighteen years old, I pictured her walking down an aisle to me, and I wanted so badly for it to be real.

But then everything went to shit, and in an instant, it was gone.

I’m my father’s son, even though I’ve spent my life trying not to be. I knew the way he was with my mom. He was out of his mind for her, and nothing else mattered. I never wanted to be that way. I didn’t want someone to have that much power over me because it was dangerous. That’s what I knew to be true. But all it took was one look at Kory and all of that changed.

It’s been years and I haven’t gotten over her. The day she disappeared was the day I lost my soul. She took it with her, and I’ve never so much as glanced at another woman since. Why would I? I might have been young, and it might have not meant anything to her, but I’ve never felt anything like it since. I knew when I was eighteen that I’d met the love of my life, but she slipped through my fingers.

I could have tracked her down a thousand times over. I could have hired a team of men to find out where she was and drag her back to me, but that wasn’t what she wanted. She left town two days after prom without a single word. I sent hundreds of texts. I called until my number was blocked. I even went to her house so many times that her mom called the cops. Kory chose to erase me from her memory and broke something inside me. I chose to give her the only thing I could, which was my absence. I knew some people thought we were just kids, but it was more to me than that. It still is. Only I choose to bury it deep down inside me and put food on top of it. Pandora always tells me food makes everything better. I hope one day she’s right.

My parents knew something was wrong the next day, but I didn’t tell them what happened. I was embarrassed, and even though it wasn’t my fault, I felt responsible. Kory hated me after that night, and she wouldn’t hear me out. I tried everything I could to explain, but eventually it wasn’t about what I wanted. It was about giving her peace.

Now my life is all about my work and my family because I don’t have any room for anything else. Kory Summers is the majority stakeholder in my heart, and that’s never going to change. I’ve learned to live with the ache, but some days are easier than others.

There’s a knock on my office door and I turn around to see my assistant, Joseph, coming in, holding his tablet with an expectant look on his face.

“The set of contracts I gave you this morning need to be sent to the courier by the end of business today. You’ve had three calls from our legal team over the new proposal from the Adams Group, but I’ve directed them to the right people instead of bothering you with them. I’ve canceled your lunch as per your request and I’ve moved your afternoon meeting to tomorrow at eleven,” he says, touching the stylus to his screen. He looks up at me through horn-rimmed glassed with a polite smile.