Until November (Page 27)

“I like that you keep saying we,” he said softly, his eyes warm. “Now I know you see a future with me.” He smiled his cocky smile and I laughed.

“You know, you’re very bossy and completely cocky.” His lips twitched, but what he didn’t do was disagree with me. I had to admit, it was a total turn on that he was so sure about us. It put my mind at ease. I didn’t worry that I was thinking things were more serious than he thought they were. He kissed my nose then my lips softly.

“I’m going to see if Ma needs help. I’ll make sure that everyone is going to be ready to go to your dad’s soon.”

“Thanks.” I stood on my tiptoes and kissed him quickly then walked into the bathroom and shut the door. I listened to Asher leave the bedroom. Once I knew the coast was clear, I pulled a towel down from the shelf, shoved my face into it, and screamed at the top of my lungs while jumping up and down. I couldn’t believe that I was getting everything that I had ever wanted. I had a man that loved me, a great job, and a giant family. I knew that I was lucky.

I remember spending Christmas in New York, watching the Macy’s parade then going to Tia’s family’s house for the day. If they weren’t around, I would make dinner for myself and camp out in bed with a good book while my mom was with her friends or whatever guy she was seeing at the time. Now I had friends and family who would always be around to spend holidays with.

Chapter 8

The doorbell is ringing and Beast’s barking woke me suddenly. I roll to the clock and see that it’s just after ten in the morning. I can’t think of anyone who would be here this early, unless it’s the postman and he’s dropping off a package.

I crawl out of bed and find Asher’s shirt that he took off last night. I slip it over my head and find my sleep shorts lying on the floor. I pull them up quickly, noticing that they’re getting a lot tighter. I’m still half asleep because I got home late yesterday.

I had been out on another all day shopping adventure with Susan. This trip was much better than the last, only because I needed to get stuff for an Easter egg hunt that I was going to be putting on at the nursing home. Hearing kids laughing and having a good time makes me happy, so I want parents to bring their kids and let them go into the patients’ rooms and get an egg and some candy.

With Asher gone on job sites more often, I am starting to feel bored. I work for my dad and Liz, plus I took on a few other small clients in town. But even with the extra work I am doing, I still have plenty of free time.

First, I started going to the gym. I was working out so much that I had definition where I never thought I would and I was losing tons of weight. Then, one day Asher looked at me and actually complained.

“Babe, I loved your body. I loved having something to grab onto. I loved how soft you were. I know that you want to be healthy, but I miss the softness.”

His voice was soft and the look in his eyes said that he loved me no matter what, but that he missed the way I looked. And I don’t know any woman who would not want their man to tell him that they shouldn’t lose weight. I really didn’t care. I wasn’t working out to lose weight. I was doing it out of boredom, but I was happy to hear that he liked my body the way it was.

That night, I may have gone a wee bit overboard. I hadn’t been on a diet, but I had been watching what I was eating. So, that night, I made homemade chicken Alfredo with garlic bread and asparagus. For dessert, I made apple cobbler with vanilla ice-cream. There were more than three days’ worth of calories in that meal, but it was so worth it. In the middle of eating, Asher started laughing at me.

“What?”

“You sound like you’re really enjoying your food,” he said, watching me take a bite of apple cobbler.

“It’s yummy.”

“Yeah,” he said, leaning over to give me a very sweet vanilla apple kiss.

After dinner, I was sprawled out on top of Asher, him still inside of me his hands running along my back. Our breathing returned to normal and I broached the subject of money. “Since I’m living here now, we should talk about how we’re going to divide the bills for the house.”

“You’re mine. I take care of you. You use your money to buy clothes or groceries for the house, unless I’m with you. Then, I’ll pay. Also, you’re going to need a new ride soon. That thing you call a car is not safe. There are too many deer around here. If one runs in front of you, your car will be totaled. If I’m lucky, I will just be visiting you in the hospital. If I’m not, I’ll be visiting you at the cemetery. I don’t want that shit, so we need to go to the dealer that I got my jeep from and we can pick you out something.”

I lifted my head from his chest, looking down at him. There were a few things that pissed me off, so I was deciding what pissed me off the most before I opened my mouth. I was sated, I had three orgasms and I was in a chill mood, so I was trying really hard not to flip out.

I watched his eyes roam over my face. “This is non-negotiable.”

My eyes narrowed at his words and my temper flared. “Really? So how I spend money and what car I drive is non-negotiable?” I asked, just to make sure that we were on the same page.

“Yep, we might as well get all this shit out of the way,” he said, rolling so I was under him. I felt him slide out of me and I couldn’t help the mewl sound that I made at the loss of him. He kissed my nose and bit my bottom lip. The kiss started to get good when I pulled away.

“What shit?” I asked before he had a chance to put me in an Asher fog, where I unknowingly agree to everything he says.

“You don’t need the money that your grandparents left you. When we have kids, you can put it in a college account for them, but I make enough money to take care of you, me, and any kids we have.”

I took a deep breath, calming myself before I started to yell at the top of my lungs. “I love you, but you are not paying my way. I have taken care of myself for a long time. We need to come to an agreement that we can both live with,” I said in a tone that was a lot calmer than I felt.

“We’re starting a life together. If you never got that money, we would still be living the same way we do now. I’m not selling my land or building a new house somewhere else. This was my dream. I knew when I built this house that the woman who I fell in love with would live here with me, and my kids would grow up here on this property. I don’t need more. I have a good car, toys in my garage, and money in the bank. I was planning for you before I even knew who you were. I never wanted to be millionaire. Money does shit to people’s heads. I like your head the way it is. We don’t need it.” Well, he had a good point. Money did mess with people. We were happy and I had never even touched the money from my inheritance. But I knew the money could do some good. I wanted a swimming pool badly. I also wouldn’t mind getting a new car with the money, and maybe a boat. I have always loved the water and have wanted to try skiing. The only thing with that was if I sucked at water skiing, we would be stuck with a boat we didn’t use.

“I have few requests before I put the money away for our future children,” I said, shaking my head.

He gave me a crooked smile and kissed my nose again. “Go for it.”

“First, I’m paying for my own car, if I decide to get a new one.” He started to talk, but I covered his mouth with my hand. He narrowed his eyes, but I carried on like I didn’t notice.

“Second, I would like a swimming pool, and third,” I said loudly before he could cut me off or talk over me. “I would like a boat, but only if it can be returned if I end up not liking it.”

“First, you’re getting a new car whether you want one or not.”

“If—” I started, but he cut me off with a quick kiss.

“Second, we can have a pool put in, as long as it’s childproof. And when we have kids, they have to take swimming lessons. And third, I have a boat so you don’t need to think about borrowing someone’s boat to test it out.”

I squeal, doing a happy dance. ”Wow, that was easier than I thought,” I said, smiling. “But I want to confirm that I’m paying for my new car when I decide to get one, and the swimming pool when it’s put in.”

“We’ll figure it out.”

“Hell no!” I said, rolling him to his back. I was looking down on him, making sure I had his full attention. “I will pay for that stuff, Asher, or I’ll buy you a gift every week, and I will make sure they are extravagant and expensive. Trust me, you don’t want to test me. I’m thinking along the lines of a unicorn.”

“You don’t get it. This is my land, my house. I pay for the pool. And I hope to God that you know that unicorns aren’t real.”

Okay, that hurt. “So, I’m just a guest. I’m not living here with you? I’m not the woman that you plan on having a family with? If that’s the case, let me know so I can pack my stuff. I don’t want to be in the way when the one you plan on sharing your life with shows up. And who knows? Money is power. I’m sure I can convince someone somewhere that unicorns exist, and that they should locate one for me.”

I watched as his face became hard and his jaw started to tic. “You know I don’t mean it that way. You’re my woman. I take care of you.”

“If I’m your woman, as you put it, then you’re my man. Relationships work both ways. They give and take. It’s called compromise. I need to feel like I’m doing something for you. I won’t be happy thinking that I live here with you for free. You take care of me, make me feel safe, give me a home and unconditional love, and I don’t do anything for you? I won’t live here feeling like I’m not bringing anything to the table. That’s not me. I need to feel like I’m pulling my weight.”

“Baby, don’t you see it’s the other way around?” he asks with both his hands holding my face. “All I have to offer you is stability and love. I have nothing else. If you left me tomorrow, some other guy would be there giving you the same thing I do. You’re beautiful, funny, smart, kind. And the sex, f**k me, sex with you is off the charts. If you left me—Christ!” He closed his eyes, shaking his head. “If you left me, I would never be able to find another you. Someone who fills my life with the beauty that only you give me.”

Okay, I couldn’t help it. I started bawling like a giant baby. I laid my head on his chest, wrapping myself around him. Trying to get as close as I could without crawling inside of him. I no longer cared about the pool or the car or anything else to do with money.

“I feel the same,” I said through a sob. “You are an amazing man, Asher James Mayson, and you better not ever forget it.”

“I love you, baby,” he whispered and I felt his lips at the top of my head. His arms were around me, holding me tightly against him. I was so comfortable that I knew I could easily fall asleep that way. “I only want you to be happy.”

“I am.” My heart was full. There was no room in it for sadness or anger. I felt happy and loved. Even when I was arguing with him, I felt unconditional love.