Until November (Page 20)
Standing with my hip resting against the side of Asher’s kitchen sink, drinking coffee while watching Beast eat. More specifically, I was watching Beast eat out of a very nice dog bowl that was next to a very nice water dish, neither of which I bought. They were the large ones that held an endless supply of food and water so your dog could enjoy food and clean water whenever they wanted.
I had no idea when Asher bought them. All I knew was that he must have done it yesterday. Then I watched as Beast finished eating and walked to the sliding glass door. He lay down in a giant dog bed, that was also new, and proceeded to chew on a very large dog bone. I smiled and let the feeling of warmth run through me. He obviously liked my dog, and planned on us being here with him enough that Beast would need food and water dishes and a bed for when we came to visit. I wasn’t ready to start staying over all the time. I mean, I was, but at the same time, I didn’t want to over stay my welcome. I knew Dad had people coming out to put in a security system today, so I would be sleeping at home tonight without Asher.
On that thought, I went to his room and made the bed, cleaned up the bathroom where all my stuff had gathered then I collected all of my clothing from his closet and packed up. Then, I gathered Beast and we went to my dad’s place so that he could go with me to the lawyer.
I was stunned. I mean, this kind of thing didn’t happen to people every day. I was sitting across from Mr. Stevenson and I couldn’t find my voice. My mouth was moving and I’m sure I looked like a fish out of water.
He sat forward in his chair. “Are you okay, darlin’?” Mr. Stevenson asked. It had to be a trick question. I mean, I was a millionaire. That was good, right? Everyone wanted to be rich. I just didn’t know what to think about being told that I would be one million five hundred and thirty-six thousand dollars richer by the end of the month. Part of me wanted to tell him that I couldn’t take it then the bigger part of me realized how many people I could help with that money.
“Um, I—I just need a minute to process this,” I told him honestly.
“Take your time.”
I looked at him then over at my dad. He was holding my hand and his face looked shocked as well.
“Can I ask a question?”
“Of course,” he said, sitting back in his chair. He looked like he belonged in an old movie. He had on black slacks with a button up shirt but instead of a tie, he had one of those silver pendants that had two pieces of leather hanging from it. On his feet, he had cowboy boots, and I knew that he wore a cowboy hat because it was sitting on his desk.
“Why did they leave it to me and not my mom?” Why would they leave me anything when I didn’t even know them?
“I’m not sure of their reasoning. A few weeks before the car accident, they came in and changed their will so that you would be the sole beneficiary of the estate at the age of twenty-eight. Now, your mother contacted me about their estate shortly after the death of her parents and I explained the situation to her. She was upset, but said she understood why her parents left their estate to you. I’m surprised that she never told you about this.”
I wasn’t surprised that she didn’t tell me. We weren’t close and she never talked about her parents. Maybe she didn’t talk about them because they left me the money. That might also be why she treated me so poorly growing up. She felt that I took something away that should have been hers. I decided I was going to call her later and tell her that I was giving her half of the money. They were her parents and I’m sure they would want her to have some of it.
“Are you okay, baby girl?” I turn towards my dad. His eyes are concerned, and I’m so lucky to have him. His love is unconditional. No strings, no stipulations. He just loves me. He doesn’t even care that I now have money. And I know that if my mom was sitting where he is, she would be mentally spending every penny.
“Yeah, Dad. I think I need to call Mom later and talk to her about this.” I squeeze his hand. I could tell by the look on his face that he wanted to say something.
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea, baby girl.”
“Dad, I want to tell her that I’m going to give her half the money.”
“No, that’s your money. You are going to keep every f**king penny. That bitch is not getting one cent of that money.”
“Dad,” I whispered. “They were her parents. No matter how you feel about her, they gave her life. I feel like they would have wanted her to have something from them.”
“Fuck, no. They left it to you, not her, and they did that shit for a reason.”
“Baby girl, I want you to think about this for a week. Seven days. Then, you decide what to do about it. But don’t call her yet. Wait a week and see how you feel.” I felt tears sting my eyes and I knew that my dad hated my mom for what she took away from him. I also knew he wanted me to make a good decision.
“Okay, a week,” I agreed, and he pulled me into his arms and hugged me close.
“I love you, baby girl. Never forget that.”
“I know, Daddy.” I hugged him tighter.
“Okay, November,” Mr. Stevenson said, bringing my attention back to him. “Since that is all out of the way, I’m going to have Nick call you in a few days, once I got all the papers ready to be signed. Once that’s done, we can talk about the accounts and I can help you get things sorted, so that it’s more manageable for you to handle on your own.”
“That would be great,” I told him. He stood, and Dad and I followed. Mr. Stevenson came around his desk and shook my hand.
“We’ll be in touch,” he said, walking us out to the front of the office where Nick was sitting behind a desk, typing away at a computer.
“Son,” Mr. Stevenson called to his son and his head lifted. “I’m going to need you to pull all the papers for the Armsted estate then gather all the transfer papers.”
“No problem. How are you, November?” Nick asked. He had on a suit today, and he looked good in it. He also had on a pair of black rimmed reading glasses that made his eyes stand out. His hair was a little shaggier than the last time I saw him, and it fit him well.
“I’m good. How are you?” I asked, starting to get uncomfortable about the way he was looking at me. Today, I had on a pair of black leggings and a cream scoop neck sweater. I also wore black knee high wedge heels and the scarf I got from Liz’s store.
“Good. I was just getting ready to have lunch. Do you want to join me?” His dad took a step back, and I felt awkward that he was asking me out in front of his father. Plus, he knew that I was seeing Asher, who had made it perfectly clear that I wasn’t available.
“I’m sorry, but I’m meeting Liz for coffee.” His face fell and I felt so bad. I’ve never liked hurting people’s feelings. “But I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if you joined us.”
Even though I was sure that she would mind. She didn’t seem like a people person. I was actually surprised that she even agreed to have coffee with me. Then an idea formed in my head. Nick was cute and Liz was pretty. Maybe they could get together.
“Sure.” He smiled and stood. He took off his glasses and laid them down then grabbed a file and handed it to his father, who looked shocked.
“I’ll be back in an hour. Do you want me to get anything for you while I’m out?” he asked his dad.
“Coffee,” his dad told him. Mr. Stevenson turned towards me. “It was nice meeting you, November. See you next week,” he said, smiling big. EEEKKKK!!
“Nice to meet you too,” I said, walking out the door. “Um, dad. I’ll see you at home, I guess,” I said, almost wanting my dad to offer to stay. I didn’t want Nick to get the wrong idea that this was a date or anything close to a date.
“Sure, baby girl. See you at home.” We were all standing outside on the sidewalk a couple blocks away from Liz’s store. I watched my dad walk to his car. His head was bent towards his boots, and he was shaking his head.
“Um, we can just walk to get Liz, and then go to the coffee shop next to her store, if that’s okay with you?” I said, looking up at Nick.
“Sure, lead the way.” He smiled and I smiled back, and then I pulled out my phone. I debated about calling Asher. I felt guilty and I didn’t want him to find out that Nick was with me by someone else, but at the same time, I didn’t want to call him in front of Nick, and have him freak out and get into an argument with him while on the phone.
“So, are you still seeing Asher?” he asked and I put my phone away, deciding I would just call him later.
“Yeah,” I said, smiling.
“Oh.” His eyebrows shoot together in surprise, and worry crossed his face. “Look, November, I know you’re new but you should know—”
I cut him off before he could make me mad. “What? That he has bagged almost every girl in town? Tell me something I don’t know. Do I like knowing that?” I asked, looking up at him. “No, but it is what it is, and I’m giving him a chance. He is sweet to me, and if there comes a time when he is not sweet to me, I will deal with it. Got it?” I asked, narrowing my eyes.
“Got it,” he said, his lips twitching. I was still looking at him when I was grabbed from behind and pulled off the ground. I screamed and start kicking, trying to throw a punch. I could hear someone telling me to calm down, but I couldn’t stop fighting. I won’t let myself be dragged down an alley and beaten again. I kicked, scratched, screamed, then arms wrapped around me, and I was being rocked back and forth. Someone was whispering to me that it was going to be okay. I started pulling myself together.
I opened my eyes and saw Nick standing further down the sidewalk with Cash blocking him. I took a breath and realized that I’m sitting on the ground. Not only that, but I was in someone’s lap. I held my breath and lifted my head. Yep, it’s Nico, and he has a bloody nose and a mark under his eye.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. I swallowed hard and shook my head. “I don’t know what happened.” I shook my head again, trying to clear the adrenaline.
“Do not apologize,” he said, framing my face, and I could feel the tears sliding down my cheeks.
“Jesus, Asher’s going to kick my ass.” He leaned in and kissed my forehead then pulled my face back into his neck. I let him hold me for a minute, and felt so embarrassed about what just happened.
“I’m okay now,” I told him, wiping my face on his shirt.
“Did you just wipe your face on me?”
“Nope,” I said, smiling into his shirt, remembering Asher and the fake blood.
“Just checking,” he mumbled. I look to see his lips twitching. His eyes scan my face and his thumb swept my cheek. “Have you talked to anyone about what happened?” I can’t talk. I just shake my head.
“Babe, you need to talk to someone.” I swallowed and looked down. I felt tears pooling in my eyes again. “Ah fuck.” He growled and hugged me tighter to him. Then he stood and pulled me with him, and Cash was there hugging me.