Before jamaica lane, p.44
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       Before Jamaica Lane, p.44
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         Part #3 of On Dublin Street series by Samantha Young
Page 44

  I’m happy for you, Soda Pop.

  I smiled to myself. Yeah. I think my mom would be really happy for me.

  My heels had just hit the end of the line to get into Club 39 when my cell rang. Pulling it out of the black clutch with the ruby clasp that matched the scarlet red dress I was wearing, I saw my dad’s name and instantly answered.

  ‘Hey, baby girl. Dee and I were wondering if you and Nate wanted to pop by the flat for a beer?’

  ‘I’d love that, Dad, but how about tomorrow night instead? I’m meeting Nate and the gang for drinks. ’

  ‘Not a problem. Sounds good. Is Nate there? I wanted to ask him if he’d talked to his journalist friend yet about doing a piece about the business. ’

  I grinned, looking at my stilettos. They were suede and they were dark red. They were awesome. I’d chosen my outfit carefully for Nate. Nate, whom I’d officially been seeing for only the past week. Already my dad was trying to extract favors out of him. ‘I’m meeting him inside. You can ask him tomorrow. ’

  ‘Okay, sweetheart. ’ He was silent a moment and I moved along the line, now descending the stairs to the basement bar. ‘So things are good?’

  ‘Things are great. ’

  ‘I’m happy for you. Your mum would have been so happy for you. ’

  Tears burned behind my eyes. ‘You know I was just thinking that exact same thing. ’

  ‘Well –’ My dad’s voice was suddenly gruff so I knew he’d gotten all emotional on me. ‘I’ll let you go. Have fun. ’

  ‘ ’Bye, Dad. ’

  I slipped my phone back into my clutch and pondered the fact that I felt physically brilliant. For the first time in the longest time, I felt like I was breathing free. Although I’d once admitted my fear to Nate that I was somehow, maybe, deep down, harboring some kind of resentment toward my mother, I knew now that it wasn’t true. I think what I really feared was somehow disappointing her, and I knew that the only way I could ever disappoint my mom was by not being happy.

  It was amazing the kind of relief being happy brought a person.

  The pieces of my life were falling together nicely. I had a job I loved, friends I adored, a makeshift family I couldn’t be without, I finally liked myself all the way through, and I was in love with a beautiful man who loved me back just as much.

  Something Nate had set about proving all week long.

  Much of that proof of love had been physical, and I swear to God I’d lost five pounds from all the activity. Not that I was complaining.

  The bouncer at the doors to Club 39 smiled wolfishly at me, giving me a chin lift as I passed him with a secret smile. My secret smile wasn’t for him, though. It was for Nate. After Angus had asked me to work a little later that night, I’d called Nate to tell him to meet me at the bar rather than picking me up. This meant I got to make an entrance for him, but it also ensured that we actually went out, rather than becoming distracted by each other in the bedroom. It was important that we went out tonight, since it was the first night we’d be spending as a couple with our group. Despite not being able to drink, even Joss would be there.

  ‘You’re coming?’ I’d asked, surprised when she’d called me to confirm the time.

  ‘Hell, yeah. Nate Sawyer brought to heel. Yeah, that’s definitely something I want to see for myself. ’

  ‘I haven’t brought him to heel,’ I’d argued.

  ‘Olivia, he’s been screwing anything that moves for as long as I’ve known him. I’ve wanted a woman to throw him off course since the first night I met him. Nothing on this earth will stop me from witnessing him drooling over you. ’

  I’d laughed, not wanting to disappoint her by telling her Nate wasn’t the drooling kind.

  When I walked into the bar I zeroed in on my friends sitting around a table and began to stride toward them, my heart picking up pace at the sight of Nate laughing at something Cam was saying to him. As if he sensed me, Nate turned slowly and as his eyes drank in the sight of me his expression was as close to drooling as I’d ever seen it.

  He stood up as I neared, coming around the table toward me.

  My welcoming smile was suddenly lost in his hard kiss as his strong arm wrapped around my waist and pulled me against his body. I kissed him back, my fingers curling lightly in the hair at his nape. When our lips finally unlocked, I raised my eyebrows. ‘That was some hello. ’

  Nate’s hooded eyes were trained on my mouth. ‘That’s some dress. ’

  ‘Your favorite color. ’

  ‘On my favorite person. ’

  I smiled and gave him another quick kiss. ‘Should we sit down before we cause a scene?’

  ‘Or we could just go back to your place,’ he suggested, caressing my hip.

  Although I shivered with delight just at the thought of it, I pressed a hand against his chest and leaned back. ‘I think we can afford to take a tiny little break from the bedroom for a few hours to spend time with our friends. ’

  ‘An hour. ’

  ‘Three. ’

  ‘An hour and a half. ’

  I chuckled and shrugged. ‘Okay, two. ’

  ‘Two hours. ’ He gave me one more quick kiss and let go of my waist, only to take hold of my hand. As he led me over to share his seat with him I felt all my friends’ eyes burning into us.

  After I took my seat I looked around at Ellie, Jo, Joss, Braden, Adam, and Cam, and I had to bite my lip to stifle my laughter. They were staring at Nate as if they’d never seen him before.

  ‘It’s a manwhore miracle,’ Joss breathed, her eyes wide.

  I giggled, nudging my shoulder against Nate as he glared at her.

  ‘Seriously. ’ Ellie smiled. ‘I don’t think I actually believed it until I saw it with my own eyes. Nate loves Olivia. ’

  Nate’s glare grew darker, but the girls didn’t seem to notice.

  ‘I knew. ’ Jo smirked at them. ‘I knew he fancied the pants off her all along. ’

  ‘I’m just glad he’s finally met his freaking match. ’ Joss grinned smugly at him.

  ‘He did go through a lot of women to find her,’ Ellie added. ‘It was a long time coming. ’

  ‘Men,’ Nate suddenly growled through clenched teeth, ‘control your womenfolk. ’

  While Braden, Cam, and Adam laughed, enjoying Nate’s discomfort, I attempted to restrain my amusement. It was very hard for me. But it was fun to see someone as laid-back as Nate get wound up over a little teasing.

  When Joss opened her mouth, obviously ready to deal out more teasing, Nate cut her a deadly look. ‘Liv needs no more reminders about my … colorful past with women, so can we all shut up and talk about something else, please?’

  The group shared gleeful little looks but did as they were asked, and we started discussing the renovations Joss and Braden were making to Ellie’s old room in their apartment. They were turning it into a nursery, and once they knew the baby’s sex Jo, Dad, and Dee were going to help with the decor.

  ‘I’m getting another round. ’ Nate turned to me. ‘Want to come up to the bar with me?’

  I told him yes, still holding his hand as he pulled me through the crowd to the bar. As we waited I leaned into him, squeezing his hand in mine. ‘Babe, you know I don’t care about your past hookups, right?’

  A muscle in Nate’s jaw ticked as he looked at me. ‘I just don’t need people reminding you of it. ’

  ‘Why does it bother you so much?’

  He seemed genuinely surprised by my question, as if somehow it should be obvious. ‘It took me weeks to convince you what I felt for you was real, Liv. I don’t need my past messing us up again. ’

  Wow. Nate was worried about losing me?

  Pressing against him, I gave my head a little shake. ‘Nate, those women didn’t mean anything to you. They’ve never worried me. ’

  ‘You sure?’

  ‘I’m sure. All that uncertainty was about Alana, but th
at’s over, okay? I love you and I’m here with you. I’m not going anywhere. ’

  His eyes darkened with heat and something else I hadn’t seen before. ‘Promise?’ he demanded.

  I felt concern wash over me as I realized that our separation had caused more demons in Nate than I’d been aware of. It suddenly occurred to me that I’d spent the last week allowing him to drive away any uncertainty I had over the depth of his love for me, when I should have been working just as hard to prove to him that now that I knew he loved me I wasn’t going to let anything else come between us.

  Reaching up I brushed my lips over his ear. ‘Let’s go back to my place now. ’

  Nate pulled back, his eyes questioning.

  ‘I have a promise to make,’ I answered on a saucy smile.

  Understanding flared in his eyes, and just like that we were moving toward the exit. I texted Jo to let her know we were leaving, and Nate and I hurried along the street in silence until we got to Jamaica Lane.

  Upstairs in my bed, where it had all started, I slowly made love to Nate, promising him with every inch of me, that the ‘after’ we’d found together … well … it was forever.

  Epilogue

  ‘I really do appreciate you guys keeping me company. ’ Ellie smiled gratefully as she set down a tray of drinks and snacks among all the boxes. ‘Adam can’t stand clutter or chaotic spaces, so I promised him I’d get this place up and running before we move in. ’

  I stood with an ornament wrapped in newspaper in my hand as Joss and Jo dug through boxes. ‘You can stop thanking us,’ I assured her. ‘We’re happy to help. You’ve got a lot on your plate. New house. New job. Wedding plans. ’ I frowned at her, putting down the ornament to reach for a drink. ‘Did I tell you lately that you’re crazy?’

  It was a few weeks since our night out with the gang, and Ellie and Adam finally had the keys to their new home on Scotland Street. On top of the stress of the move they were now well into their wedding plans. The wedding was only nine months away.

  Ellie laughed. ‘Well, I thought I’d have help from a certain someone, but she had to go and get knocked up by my overprotective big brother, who, I might add, barely let her out of the house to help me unpack. ’

  Joss glanced up at her. ‘Yes. I got knocked up deliberately so I wouldn’t have to help with the heavy lifting or bouquet choosing. ’

  ‘Speaking of heavy lifting,’ Jo said with a frown, ‘where is Cole?’

  I looked toward the front of the house. ‘I think he went outside. Want me to haul his ass back in?’

  ‘Aye,’ she said with a sigh. ‘Bribe him with food if you have to. ’

  ‘You didn’t have to make him help. ’ Ellie smiled as if in sympathy with the teenager.

  ‘Why?’ Hannah suddenly appeared in the hallway, arms wrapped around a box. ‘You made me help. If I can’t escape, Cole can’t escape. ’

  ‘I’ll go get him,’ I muttered, making my way out of the huge living room into the wide, spacious hallway. The double doors were both open against the wall, giving us better access to the property, and as I neared them I heard Cole’s voice, followed by a softer female voice. I slowed my steps, quietly making my way to the entrance.

  My eyes widened at the sight of Cole standing at the bottom of the front stoop next to a small redhead. It wasn’t that the sight of him talking to a girl was surprising; it was his body language. He hovered over her, almost protectively, and the way he was smiling down into her face …

  The girl laughed at whatever Cole was murmuring to her and I bit my lip at the bright look that entered his eyes. They continued talking in hushed voices in an intimate way, and I decided I definitely was not intruding. On silent feet I made my way back into the sitting room.

 
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