If my life was a movie or novel I would probably be described as the sinister sort, the bad person that tries to come between the two main characters so she can have the guy. No one wants to think about my suffering or pain because and I quote "amthe evil one… the bad guy" I mean am human too you know and you can't just decide who gets to be loved or not. Okay fine I will admit to have been a serious sinister witch which thinking about it now really upsets me but I was desperate. My life was going on perfectly and then some 7months pregnant chick comes into the picture professing to be my boyfriends fiancée and suddenly she's the victim. I get cursed at for trying to keep what's mine but she gets praised and supported for stealing my man, even my best friends abandoned me for her… the witch!. Taking a deep breathe I try to not think about the ugly past anymore, with no other choice I left New York for L.a since my name as been tarnished after the blow-out at her wedding which was also not my fault but would anyone believe me… no, because am the bad guy.
I would have started this story from the beginning but am not in the mood to remember past events so let's start from now, the present. Am currently on a plane to L.a tired, heartbroken, stressed and 4months pregnant, after leaving my job as a model I decided to move away from my past back to my parents house which they left in my care when they died a year ago.
"please fasten your seatbelts ladies and gentlemen, we are about to land safely in l.a. thank you flying with Royal Airways and have a nice day." the pilots broadcast interrupted my thoughts and I signed sitting up, buckling my seatbelt I looked out the window down to the glittering lights of l.a and smiled at my new beginning.
Welcome home Eva, i mumbled to myself.
With my luggage I manoeuvred around the airport looking for my black-haired cousin who is supposed to be picking me up, the last time we talked was a few months ago when she begged to live over at my parents place after leaving her own painful past in Boston. Though we never really talked much growing up, we're pretty much the only family we have left since her own parents passed 3 years ago, so when she asked desperately over the phone if she could stay there I couldn't turn her down. We talked on many occasions though I wouldn't go forward as to call us close, from what she told me she's living her dream with a steady job as a freelance photographer for fashion magazines and she's doing pretty well for herself now.
"Eva, Eva over here." a voice called and I turned to see a woman who looked nothing like the tomboy cousin I used to know, the hairy legs were replaced with smooth skin and long legs, huge grandma glasses gone also, the flat chest was replaced by double d's and the pimples and acne's with clear skin. She still has her long black hair that reached her back and the same green eyes, dimpled cheek and full lips we inherited from our twin dad's.
Walking over I noticed am not the only one noticing or appreciating her body, several men stopped to glance over and some plainly stared as she bounced in her feet waving me over "what the hell happened to you're body?" I asked by way of greeting and she smirked saucily giving me a wink.
"just a couple of changes here and there, some naturally," she said pointing to her boobs "others through serious efforts... you like?" she asked strutting a pose and I chuckled.
"who are you and what have you done with jen?" I asked pulling her into a hug.
She pulled back shrugging "I decided the old jen had to go, but wait a minute sweetie are you really 4months pregnant because that bump looks big."
"I am, I read it online that for most people this is normal so don't worry." I said with a wave of my hand, she nodded skeptically but didn't say anything.
"dose this have to do with Boston?" I asked as we made our way out of the airport, she helped put my suitcase in the back seat while I entered the passenger's side waiting for her.
She entered the drivers side and started the car sending me a knowing look "don't open other's can of worms when you're not ready to even show me yours." she stated and I made a zipping motion with my hand over my lips, telling her I got the message.
We drove in silence all the way home and I couldn't be more relieved when she drove into the drive way, getting out I studied the small mansion I lived in growing up and smiled fondly having happy memories assault me. Breathing in the night air I signed knowing I made the right decision, Jen dropped my suitcase by my legs jolting me from my thoughts and I turned startled "welcome home." she said shoving her hands into the pockets of her jacket then turned to stare at me with a smile and I smiled back in return before noticing the lights turned on in the upper window of our neighbours house above her head.
From what mum told me, the house had been abandon for 5 years when the pickets moved to London to stay with their daughter and her family "are the pickets back?" I asked jen in surprise as we made our way inside the house, she turned on the light switch and the house came to life.
I looked around having a flashback of all my days here, the spiral staircase leading upstairs, the slide doors beneath it leading to mum's garden, the outside pool and backyard then turned to the living room. Leaving my luggage by the hall I got down the small steps and smiled staring at the huge glass chandler I used to dangle from as a kid until mum screamed for me to get down, the Persian rug under the glass table still having the chocolate stain I made. I laughed remembering when my mother walked in on me having chocolate covered hands and mouth looking down at the rug with a guilty look, she almost had an heart attack when she saw it. My dad had been coming from the backyard but one look at the two of us he went right back out - the traitor. The smooth marble floors still shined and I knew mum would have been pleased - she never liked a dirty house and hated it even more when I used to leave my room in an utter mess as a teenager, I signed looking u at the wooden roof and walls giving it the cable like décor and the mass of family photos arranged all around the walls above the entertainment centre. The white leather couch was one of the few things that didn't meet with destruction from my hands - snickering mum made sure of that I though then looked at the two arm chairs facing opposite each other with a bean bag pushed to the side.
Turning I looked at the kitchen to the left and watched as jen stood on her toes rummaging the cupboards remembering how mum used to do the same thing, then noted with some surprise that mum got the old fashioned oven she always wanted. Thinking back i remember her calling to squeal about it but I never gave her the chance to finish because I had been so busy that day with a photoshoot and had been so exhausted later on to call her back, I sat on the steps remembering how I loved to watch football games with my dad even though I knew next to nothing of what was happening but did it because it made him happy.
After he had to give up his job as a navy seal early because of a busted shoulder he never smiled as much so I took it upon my self to make his day. Thankfully he got in contact with an old friend and they built a security company together so in some ways he still got to do what he loves to do despite mum's anxiousness, when he had busted his shoulder she had guiltily been over the moon to have him home and safe by her side. There was a lot of tension between her uncle Kent for 5 years but over time she'd come to accept that dad was happy doing was he does and finally stopped grumbling about it, smiling I rested my hands on my knees then rested my chin on top remembering how she used to drag me to her book clubs or when she forced me to bake with her. Even though I always had a scowl at those times, secretly, it made me happy she included me into her life and I would be lying if I said I never had fun.
"I don't know much about them," jen answered breaking me from my thoughts "but I heard its their grandson living there now. Since I've never met him before I don't know anymore than that, why?" she asked turning to face me but I just shook my head.
"I was just wondering its all, well am tired so am going to bed." I said heading up the stairs.
"good night." she called out and I yelled "night." back before entering my room.
I chuckled when I saw the room was still the way I left it after high school, pink littered everywhere and I smiled dropping my luggage in the walk-in closet then went to sit on the bed picking up my favourite teddy bear Mr. Jerkins. Thinking about it now I wished I had put more effort in coming back home - even if it was to visit so that way I had some time with my parents before they'd died tragically in the car accident, being a model kept me super busy so I never had time to come over and when I started dating Kevin coming home was the last thing on my mind. Even though I talked to them daily on the phone and they visited New York sometimes I never made it home even when I promised I would. A tear fell down my cheek and I quickly wiped it away shaking off the bad memories, standing I removed my clothes and dropped my cell on the night stand making sure to charge it then took a quick shower before unpacking my bags.
changing into my pyjamas i went to sleep hugging Mr. Jenkins close to my chest desperately.
Waking up the next morning with my face down the toilet is not how I wanted a new day at home to start, I vomited for the last time before flushing the toilet with a groan. Standing I brushed my teeth and signed tiredly, four months and the morning still sickness won't go, I thought grudgingly then took a shower before dressing up in some carpi-jeans and a big black t-shirt that covered the bump with white sneakers. Going downstairs I turned to see jen in the kitchen flipping pancakes and smiled sitting at the counter, she smiled with a nod pushing a plate of pancakes and bacon with a glass of orange juice over to me and I hungrily gulped them down then asked for more which she complied to do with a roll of her eyes. After having a third plate of pancakes I washed the dishes then joined jen on the couch rubbing my swollen stomach that is starting to large bump slowly then turned to her and asked "no work today?"
"nope, I always make sure my weekend is free. Saturday and Sundays are my days off." she replied then turned to me staring down at my hand as I continued to rub my baby bump.
"how's the little peanut?" she asked poking the stomach and I squirmed away.
"hopefully alright, I have to go to the hospital at some point to see an OB/GYN." I responded with a small sign.
"does Kevin know?" she asked and I nodded my head with a sad smile.
"I told him but he called me a liar and called security to kick me out of his company." she awkwardly rested her hand on mine then patted it gently.
"he's an ass and you can do better." she tried to sound sympathetic giving me an encouraging smile which looked more like a grimace and i laughed in amusement.
"thanks for trying to cheer me up but am not so sure I want to do better right now, I think am just going to concentrate on having my baby." she signed shrugging.
"well I tried and that's probably the wisest thing for you to do, you know if you're looking for work I know some fashion houses looking to hire. I doubt you could do a runway but to at least you could do some fashion photoshoot for pregnant women to at least gain some money." she says turning to face me fully "are you interested?"
I shook my head without hesitation "I don't think so, the last thing I want is the press knowing where I ran to and besides I don't really want to go back to that scene. I mean I do understand what you mean about the money and though I have a lot saved that could last me at least a year, I still need to work if am going to provide for this peanut." I replied with a thoughtful look "but I think I should just get some simple part-time job that is stress-free then think about your offer after I give birth."
She nodded in understanding then signed "I get it, just alert me if you change your mind." patting my hand again she stood up "well I have some major editing to do so I'll be in my room."
Nodding I watched her go then signed turning back to the tv which held no interest of mine, stretching on the couch I closed my eyes as sleep suddenly overcame me. The sound of breaking glass startled me from sleep and I sat up in a shocked daze looking around the house, getting up I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and walked out through the back door when I heard another sound of breaking glass coming from our neighbours. Worried I crossed over to their yard and hesitated for a minute before knocking on the back doors.
A deep baritone voice called out in a British accent "hold on please." I signed then leaned closer to peer through the glass when I heard series of cursing then another sound of breaking glass, tentatively I open the slide doors and walked inside what seems to be the kitchen.
Moving forward into the living room I stood at the end of the steps and called out "hello, am sorry if am disturbing you but I heard the sound of breaking glass and was wondering if everything was alright?"
Footsteps sounded behind me and I turned to see a 6'2 curly brunette with ivory skin, low cheekbones with full lips, a scruffy beard around his sculptured jaw and huge muscles. He walked down the stairs with his hands outstretched on the wall trying to manoeuvre his steps carefully and when he came closer I noticed he looked to be in his early twenties wearing a light blue t-shirt and cargo-shorts. I moved backwards so he could get down then bit my lip in surprise at the raw intensity of his blue eyes though he couldn't see me "hi, am josh Brooks." he introduced raising his hand in greeting as he stopped on the last stair and I stepped forward and quickly held it, shaking his hand firmly I felt a sharp electric shock and pulled it back in surprise.
Looking back up at the man i noticed he didn't seem affected by it so I kept quite and tried to ignore the pleasurable feeling the rough callousness of his hand invoked on my body.
"am Eva mandez. sorry to berg in unannounced but I live next door and was startled awake by the sound of broken glass, i came by to check if anything is wrong. I knew your grandparents from when I was small so I felt the need to check up on what's going on if you don't mind?" I rambled nervously, biting my lip to stop talking I took another step back as he took one closer.
I don't know why I felt nervous or even skittish around him but my brain screamed to keep some distance while my body seemed to cry for me to draw closer and take a deep inhale of the fruity cologne he's wearing, he smiled gently as if sensing my nervousness and said "its fine, am sorry for disturbing you but I just got here 2 months ago and finally took up the strength to settle in. But as you probably heard am not exactly equipped to do this by myself since am temporarily blind."
"temporarily?" I asked, surprised and he motioned for me to follow him as he made his way to the kitchen.
He nodded explaining "yeah, I had a bad car accident a week ago and shards of glass entered my eyes. The blindness is only temporary but I have to live like this for another week while my eyes slowly heal."
"are you okay?" I asked not knowing what else to say but he simply shrugged.
"am alright, its not so bad because I found using my other sense is quite thrilling." he grinned taking out a box of strawberry's and fake a moan as he bit into one and I smiled relaxing.
"well that's good to know." I mumbled bemused.
He hit his forehead with a groan "where are my manners, am sorry would you like anything to drink or eat?" he asked and I shook my head before remembering he can't see me.
"uhh no thanks, in fact I should probably get going." I answered walking towards the slide doors and he nodded following behind me.
"well it was nice meeting you Eva." I smiled mumbling a goodbye before making my way down to the house, entering the back door I heard jen footsteps as she made her way downstairs.
"Eva!" she called "is that you?"
"yup." I answered moving to the kitchen just as she rounded the last steps.
"where were you? I've been looking for you for like 30mins." she asked folding her arms before her with a frown.
"why? What's wrong?"
"I thought I heard breaking glass so I came down to find out what happened but when I didn't see you I searched the house and you were gone." she explained worriedly and I smiled gently.
"sorry, but I also woke up to the sound of breaking glass which came from the neighbours place and went over to check it out." I explained raiding the cupboards until I found a box of oreos and ripped it open stuffing one in my mouth.
"well what happened, was he okay?" she asked in relief, then leaned her elbows on the counter and I nodded explaining what happened.
She clapped her hands with a grin "oh this is just great, you should apply for the job." jen suggested with a twinkle in her eyes and I choked on oreos, quickly opening the fridge I grabbed a bottle of water and chugged it down before spluttering.
"what the hell are you talking about!"
"you heard me, this is the opportunity you wanted. The house is next door so you don't have to stress yourself trying to get there every morning and its not a hard job as long as you take it easy so it's perfect," she explained standing straight "plus… judging by the grin on your face when you were talking about him the view won't be so bad." she grinned slyly.
I scowled not even knowing I had been grinning at the time "he's blind." I stated with a blank look.
"temporarily," she stressed giving me a pointed look "you said so yourself, besides am not asking you to sleep with him just give him a helping hand then get paid… and if anything happens then so be it." she mumbled with an innocent expression but I shook my head at the crazy idea.
"I don't think so jen, even if I were to consider it and that's a big if I can't log around heavy stuff while am carrying a baby." I tried to reason walking around her to the couch though she just followed on my heels.
"you could simply explain your condition and am sure he would agree to you just helping with light stuffs." I bit my lip in hesitation considering the idea then signed facing her.
"and what if he doesn't hire me?" I asked playing the only card I had left she just regarded me with a grin.
"then I guess we'll just have to find out."
She ran off to the neighbours and I stared at the empty space in confusion before realisation set in and I ran out after her "get back here jen!" I yelled but by the time I got outside she was already at his backyard knocking hard on his slide door, I cursed under my breathe and ran to her side about to drag her home but the doors picked that moment to open and we were greeted by a shirtless josh who had perspiration running down his smooth body.
We gaped following the trail of his sweat until it reached his cargo shorts and gulped "hello, can someone please say something or are you going to just continue staring?" he asked slightly amused and I shook off my lustful thought then blushed in embarrassment thankful he couldn't see me.
While jen just grin cheekily "hi am jen mandez, Eva's cousin. We haven't formerly met yet but I just came to say hi and also ask if you are willing to give my dear cousin here the job to help assist you?"
I gaped then hit her on the shoulder "jen! You can't just ask that." I hissed in her ear in outrage completely embarrassed but josh only chuckled opening the door wider.
"do you two want to come in so we can talk more about this?" he asked and jen gingerly nodded then rolled her eyes at herself and muttered "yes." following him inside, I hesitated for a few seconds thinking about running away before deciding to follow along closing the door behind me.
Following their voices I found them in a study across the kitchen to the right and entered wrinkling my nose at the moldy smell coming from the books, I leaned on the door admiring the rustic maple-wood desk filled with a few tools and some light bulbs, a computer and some papers. Two wooden arm chairs sat at the opposite side of the desk, a long antic couch stretched across the room to the right with a black and white framed picture of the Buckingham palace above it, a large shelf filled the wall opposite the couch in the other side of the room and behind the desk completely filled with books - some old and some new.
"sorry about the sweltering heat, my grandparents forgot to mention a few things in the house needs repairs starting with the air-condition here and a few light bulbs." josh said in an apologetic tone leaning on the desk.
"its alright," jen responded in an understanding voice fanning herself a little with her hand then asked "so how much exactly is the salary?"
Josh chuckled at her forward question "I believe I need toactual decide on hiring her first before we get to that." he says with a raised eyebrow in her direction and she nodded seriously.
He tilted his head staring in what he presumed to be my direction then asked "why is your cousin the one inquiring about the job instead of you?"
I opened my mouth to answer but jen cut me off with a wave of her hand "because if it were up to her she wouldn't be here at all, you see Eva is 4months pregnant," she stated without any concious thought and I winced "and she needs a part-time job that isn't going to be too stressful. She mentioned you were looking for someone to help around here and I just had this brilliant idea that she should apply for this - of course that's if you agree to keep her work light in regards to the baby, she's very resourceful so don't worry about her slacking." josh rose an eyebrow at the pregnancy comment but thankfully said nothing.
"jen," I groaned embarrassed throwing my head back then turned to josh "am sorry for my cousin, she tends to get ahead of herself."
Josh shook his head with a small frown "no its fine, I haven't really gone into searching for a someone to help me out here so if you would like the job I would appreciate it immensely. As for your pregnancy you don't need to worry, there isn't really any heavy lifting involved and if there were I would do it as long as you help navigate my way of course."
Jen squealed jumping up and down "that's just great but wait, what about the salary?" she asked stopping to stare at him seriously.
"uhmm, how about $100/per day for the entire week. what do you think… is it okay?" he asked while jen and I gaped at him.
"y-you want t-to pay $100 a day for me to help you organize your stuff?" I asked with a stutter and he nodded.
"yeah why, is it too small?" he asked and jen shook her head vehemently.
"hell no dude, its perfect."
I opened my mouth to protest but jen turned and shot me a dark scowl making me close it back up, josh stood with a grin "great, then I hope to see you bright and early tomorrow. Oh and you might want to wear some shorts and a thin top because you'd find where we're working tomorrow quite stuffy." he said with a grimace and I nodded slowly.
"got it chief." I joked with a mock salute and he smirked, he stood walking us out the door with jen skipping ahead of us.
When we got outside I lingered a little and jen sensed my need for privacy so she went ahead of me, turning to face josh I nervously bit my lip and said "thanks for being accommodating to my cousin, not many people can stand her forward attitude at times. At first it's refreshing then it just changes to just downright rude and then annoying."
"its no problem at all, I know she was simply caring for you so its alright." he replied shoving his hands into his pockets with a soft smile and I grinned happy he was so understanding.
"thanks for the job, I really appreciate it." I mumbled then walked off heading for the house, walking in I ran upstairs for jen's room and busted in without knocking.
Spotting her by the desk across the room I walked over turning her chair to face me then glared "I can't believe you did that, do you know how embarrassing that was for…."
"why, I got you the job didn't I?" she asked interrupting me with a small shrug.
"... me to stand there and let my cousin beg for a job for me like am some baby, and what the hell were you thinking mentioning the baby…" I said an octave higher.
"well you were going to have to tell him at some point." she mumbled looking down sheepishly.
"... without any thought as to how awkward it would be for me to explain my situation to him at some point..."
"you don't really have to if you don't want to-"
"jen!" I yelled cutting her off in anger.
"fine. Am sorry okay," she yelled back raising her hand in frustration "besides why are you so pissed I told him about you getting pregnant? It's not like it some shameful secret."
"am not, who said I am, am not." I rushed out and a grin slowly formed on her lips.
"you like him." she stated and I snorted.
"obviously not," I half-yelled in denial then took a deep breathe "I just… though I love the baby inside me to death am just too ashamed of my past, he's obviously going to ask about the father at some point and I don't feel like reliving the past any time soon."
She gave me a sympathetic look "you know youreally don't have to answer any question he asks you, right."
I nodded "I don't have to... but if he asks am sacred am going to want to." I stated slumping on the bed with a sign.
"well aren't you in a tough pickle then." she mumbled rolling sideways slowly on her chair.
"tell me about it." I groaned under my breathe.
I stayed with her for a little while before heading off to my room, grabbing my cell I ignored all the messages and missed calls then called the Cedars-Sinai medical Hospital to schedule an appointment for a Saturday since it will probably be the only free time I will have. Later that evening Eva and I made lasagna for dinner then watched some weird comedy sitcom before going to bed, that night I laid in bed leaning on my sides while staring up at the night sky through my room window wondering what life has in store for me this time. Rubbing my tommy I signed closing my eyes and let sleep take me into its warm embrace, waking up the next morning with bright lights glaring directly in my face, I groaned rolling over to the other side with a small yawn which turned into a scream when my face came unexpectedly close with jen's.
she knelt at the side of my bed with her chin resting on the mattress staring at me, sitting up I held my chest and yelled "what the hell jen, you scared the freak out of me?"
"have you forgotten you have a job now missy? Its 8:00am already missy." she said sternly and I cursed under my breathe untangling myself from the covers then rushed into the bathroom.
I brushed quickly then took a shower before rushing out, walking into the walk-in closet I rummaged for a pair of shorts and found a white one then picked out a blue tank top wearing them. Choosing to wear sandal instead of sneakers I combed my blonde hair then packed it up into a loose bun and ran downstairs, jen handed me a plate full of spaghetti and a glass of water.
"are you okay? Should you be rushing like this?" jen asked worriedly.
"am fine, I didn't have morning sickness today so maybe its finally gone." I answered with a grin.
Thanking her I ate quickly then rushed out the door heading for josh house feeling deep levels of excitement coursing through my body, taking a deep breathe I knocked lightly on the front door and waited for him to answer. A few minutes passed and there was still no reply, I tried the door knob and raised an eyebrow surprised when it turned freely. Entering I cautiously called out "hello josh, josh are you here?"
"here, you can come up am in the attic." his voice called from upstairs and I breathed out locking the door behind me then moved for the stairs.
In the long hall was an iron staircase leading up to an open part of the celling, climbing up I grimaced since it was a little dark, the air too stale and the place packed with a lot of junk reaching high to the 6ft celling, climbing inside I noticed a lone light bulb that gave the room a dim glow and turned to see josh sitting cross-legged at the far conner of the room with a large box in front of him. Crawling over to his side I made a lot of noise so I wouldn't startle him then sat down crossing my leg also "so what are we doing today?" I asked.
"clearing out the attic and the basement," he replied shoving an half-filled box of junk towards me "we're going to be taking out all the old useless stuff from the attic and basement leaving only the useful ones, sorry in advance for any dust that's going to disturb you. Gram called me yesterday to ask if I could help clear out the space since they're not living here anymore, my gramps had always been a pack-rat and never allowed her to touch both places but now that they're gone she sneakily called me." he explained with a fond smile.
"it's fine, if the dust gets too much I will go downstairs to rest for a bit and get some fresh air." I responded and he nodded with a grateful smile.
We spent the next 6hours clearing the attic and basement and I only had to get out twice because of the dust, josh hadn't been joking when he said his gramps was a pack-rat because we had to throw majority of the stuffs cluttering the attic and basement away. He even had those old first generation computers called ENIAC down in the basement which josh and I decided it was best to call a professional to help move it out and put it in his garage along with the other stuff we planned to sell off.
"well I for one am glad that's over and done with." I stated with a groan using my hand to wipe away the perspiration on my forehead, I sat down on one of the high stool in front of the counter in his kitchen while josh stood by the stove making us lunch.
"I still can't believe you can cook while temporarily blind, I wish you'd let me help though." I said leaning my head on my fist and watch as his muscles tighten and flex with his movements.
He smiled putting the eggs on a plate then moved to the counter in front of me cutting up onions like an expert "I already knew how to cook, I just had to learn to manoeuvre around so I don't make trouble plus you're my guest. I can't have a guest cook for me... even one am paying to help clean my place, I hope you don't mind fried rice and eggs its the simplest I can make without causing trouble."
"its fine but you didn't have to, I could have just gone home to eaten since today as been quite long and hard." I muttered feeling some guilt sitting here without doing anything.
"its fine, am happy to do this. Though its harder than my usual workout." josh said and I turned to him with a frown.
"work-out?" I asked and he turned my way for a second nodding, grabbing salt he poured some in the rice on fire.
"oh right, I never told you but am a pro-football player." he answered rather sheepishly rubbing the back of his neck.
My eyes widened "seriously, as in NFL?" I asked and he nodded while I bit my lip hiding my nervousness then asked.
"wait… I thought you lived in London?"
"i did live there when I was young but moved to New England after college to play for New England Patriots up until a year ago before I was recruited again for a team here in L.a. I had only travelled from New England to L.a for training and my games before but due to its inconvenience I decided to just move here instead." I nodded absent mindedly.
"so what team do you play for now?" I asked casually and he smiled his face lighting up at my question.
"Los Angeles Rams." he answered.
"that's nice, you must be famous then? Hope I won't get mobbed by the press?" I joked making sure my voice is light and steady not wanting to reveal how shaken I am inside.
"i highly doubt that, everyone thinks am in London with my family." I breathed out in relief silently then closed my eyes, tears threatened to fall but I held them back.
"are you okay?" he asked coming to stand by my side resting his hand on my shoulders and I nodded quickly.
"am fine." turning to stare up at him then regretted it immediately due to how close our faces were and then I had a sudden flashback of Kevin, gulping I pushed off the chair making it fall down and took several steps back praying that box... the stupid Pandora's box that keeps tipping open would stay shut.
He blinked a couple of times in confusion and surprise "is something wrong, I didn't mean to startle you."
"its nothing, am fine. uhmm what else is in store for today?" I asked trying to change the subject.
"alright," he answered after several awkward minutes of silence "can you take a picture of all the stuff we left in the garage and create a website so we can sell them online. You can use the studies computer and there's a camera up in my room, its the last one on the right upstairs." he explained shoving his hands into his pocket and I nodded.
"I'll go do that right now." rushing off I climbed the stairs heading towards the door, opening it slowly I was surprised by how neatly furnished everything was.
He must have paid someone to do this, I thought checking out the tasteful sea paintings on the walls, a king sized bed was pushed to the wall in the middle of the room facing an entertainment set and two bean bags, green curtains hung from the right side of the room with a white couch placed underneath and a shelf to its side filled with classic novels, a few sports magazines, photography books, journals and some modern mystery novels. Another shelf was pushed to the wall having a huge opening with two football jersey straightly set (one blue and the other red) with the number 25 and 8 in framed glasses, trophies, awards and pictures loitered the rest of the space under the huge space and a lot of them where of josh and his friends.
Most were taken on the field and some in random places, then there were a few with his family and 3 photos that showed a picture of josh with his arms rapped around a gorgeous brunette. She must be his girlfriend, I thought with a frown then shook my head berating myself for getting jealous, signing I looked around the rest of the room and found the camera on the night stand. Picking it up I walked downstairs then took careful pictures of all the stuff we piled in the garage then moved to the study, cool air grazed my skin and I smiled staring up at the air conditioner he must have fixed it yesterday I thought walking over to the desk.
Turning on the computer I created the website then uploaded pictures, stretching I left the the study and turned down the small hall to see josh setting up the table with food "are you done yet?" he asked not looking up.
"yes, I am." I answered in a small voice, my mind flashing back to what happened before then bit my lip berating myself for making a big deal out of nothing.
He must think am some weird chick just because I freaked out at his touch, and now he's probably regretting hiring me.
"great sit down so we can eat." he motioned to the table taking his sit and I slowly walked over and sat down opposite him.
Taking a bite of the food I couldn't hold in my moan of pleasure then took another bite "well am glad you approve." josh said amused as he took a bite of his and I smiled blushing in embarrassment.
Not liking the silence I quickly said "i already uploaded the pictures and left the name of the website on a post-it note in the study in case you want to-"I stop shot at his raised eyebrow, biting my lip I berate myself.
"Are you mocking me now, Eva?" he asked in that British accent with a mock scowl and I shivered at the way my name sounded on his lips.
"of course not," I rushed out the took a deep gulp of water "I just stupidly forgot, am sorry."
He waved off my apology with an easy shrug "am joking, I rather liked that you forgot. it wasn't easy to admit defeat after the accident and even though it was temporary I was determined to do it all myself until things started breaking."
"I understand, never mind about the website. I'll be checking up on it until the week ends and you can see again." I replied finishing my food, noticing he's finished his also I grabbed both plates and cups walking to the sink.
He walked over coming to stand by my side just as I was putting on the rubber gloves "you don't have to-" I stopped him by putting a gloved finger to his lips.
"you made the food, I do the dishes." I said seriously leaving no room for arguments, he raised his hands in surrender then leaned on the sink with a smile.
After a few minutes of comfortable silence he spoke "can I ask why you reacted the way you did before," when I didn't speak he then added "you don't have to tell me if you don't want to, I asked because am a little worried."
Titling my head to the side I bit my lip then said "when people say that its because they want you to actually tell them and make it look like its your idea in the end. I can't tell you everything but I will say this…" stopping I blow out a breathe resining the dishes then turned to face him removing the gloves "the prospect of having the press here scared me a little."
"that much I figured by the way you spoke, you weren't really successful in hiding it from your voice." he says and I smile.
"before I came to L.a I used to live in New York as a model, one bad decision led to another and it brought me to this moment. I left without anyone noticing because I just wanted to forget the past and focus on my future with my baby." I answered reluctantly looking up at him, I admired the blue eyes looking down at me and leaned a little closer noticing it also had a bit of grey in there.
"is this about the baby's father?" he asked gently, almost hesitantly.
"a little bit, but its mostly about me and what I should have done right. Coming here to l.a is more or less a retreat for me to recover while keeping the press off my back, them knowing about the baby is the last thing I want." I answered.
He shifted and pulled me into his arms startling me, I blinked standing tensely in his arms "I know this is awkward with me randomly hugging you but I was raised to always offer comfort to friends who need it," I scowled a bit at the friends statement then berated myself "I won't ask you what happened because you obviously don't want to talk about it, but just know if you ever do I'll be here." slowly I relaxed in his arms returning the hug.
"thanks josh." I whispered with a smile into my chest.
Pulling back I took a step back "so what now, are we done for the day or is there anything else?"
"hmm, I was going to try and mow the lawn in the backyard and then wash my car. if you don't feel like going home then can you help this poor, poor, blind man?" he asked with a fake pout, he made a terrible puppy dog face then blinked his lashes slowly and I grimaced.
"I'll help as long as you don't make that face ever again." he laughed straightening then held out his hand for a shake.
We spent an hour cleaning up his car with a lot of playing though and he talked to me about his family and friends. He spent most of the time explaining about hilarious events that involved him and his older daring, bike riding, bungee jumping sister - apparently she's an adrenaline junky. He bragged of how he was a notorious prankster as a kid all through high school and even college when he wasn't engrossing himself in sports, he talked about how he got his first pet fish at 8 and then killed it by overfeeding 10mins later, he showed me the battle scar he got when he wrestled with a wildcat in the streets for his half-eaten sandwich and at the end of the day got it taken from him. He asked about my past too making sure to stare clear of any recent topic which I appreciated and I told him about my childhood, I laughed the entire time spent with him and even got to learn how to work a mowing machine. He instructed me as I drove the huge thing across the grass which now has uneven lengths of grass, I never said anything to him about the destruction I made on the lawn and will instead wait till he can see it for himself.
Pulling my wet and dirty tank-top from my body, I grimaced in distaste If my mum could see me now, she'll no doubt have an heart attack.
"I need to go home and have a bath, do you want to come over for dinner later?" I asked looking up at him.
He looked down at me, surprise clear on his face "you're inviting me for dinner?" he asked and I nodded.
"uhh uh, it must be lonely and boring here all by yourself and even harder for you without your sight. Besides I spotted a lot of empty pizza boxes before in the trash and don't want you to go through eating pizza again, you cooked lunch for me so the least I can do is invite you over for dinner. Especially after I destroyed your backyard." I muttered that part in a low voice to myself under my breathe.
He grinned then nodded "since you're so concerned for my health then I must not disappoint, I'll just take a bathe then come over."
I grinned happily "alright, see you later." I said then walked down to the house.
Entering I spotted jen in the kitchen going through some ingredients in the fridge and leaned on the counter "josh is coming over for dinner later, so you have to cook for three." I stated and she looked up, she grimaced when she saw how dirty and wet I looked but I just stuck my tongue out childishly.
she shook her head rolling her eyes turning back tot he fridge then back to me quickly "what did you just say?" she yelled coming closer.
Leaning back a bit perturbed I mumbled "I said josh is coming over for dinner so you should make food for three. Oh! and maybe something healthy since he's a pro-footballer, am not sure but I believe he would have some diet."
"a pro-footballer?" she asked in surprise "well that explains the built body, so which team did he use to play for."
"h-how, how did you know he moved teams?" I asked confused and she rolled her eyes.
"you just said he's a pro-footballer, so I thought about it. His muscles screamed of proper work-out and not the kind you get in a gym, so its obvious he's been playing for a while. And since he moved here 2months ago I figured he would have had to change teams." she explained.
I shook my head impressed "I didn't know you were so intuitive, anyways your right he used to played for New England Patriots but was recruited to L.a to play for Los Angeles Rams and that's when he decided to move to l.a."
"well, you two must have had a long talk." She grinned, her face lighting up and I saw the wheels turning in her head.
Thrusting a finger in the air out I shook it along with my head "don't even start, sure we talked a lot about him but it doesn't mean anything. And I only invited him for dinner because he made lunch for me."
She smiled innocently turning back to the ingredients "I never said anything sweetie, why so defensive?"
Narrowing my eyes I muttered sly witch under my breathe then ran up the stairs while her laughter filled the house, removing my clothes I entered the bathroom dumping them into the hamper then entered the shower enjoying the hot spray on my skin. While washing my body, my mind flashed back to when josh and I were washing the car and we had a little water fight which I won with an unfair advantage but who cares right. Grinning I closed my eyes and leaned my head back then proceeded to wash my hair and body. Getting out an hour later I dried my body then picked out red matching underwear in my closet, putting those on I rummaged through my clothes and picked a pair of blue tight skinny jeans that shows off my slim figure which as gotten fuller ever since I stopped my diet and gained a baby and a simple tight white-tee.
Walking out of the closet I sat at my dressing table and ran my comb down my wet hair while drying it with the hair dryer, styling it in a french braid I fixed a simple make-up and smiled admiring myself then stopped as realisation dawning on me. Signing I dropped the lip gloss wondering what the hell am doing while putting my head on my hands, after 5mins of silence I looked back up slowly "Eva, you need to get your head on straight." I muttered under my breathe while glaring at my reflection.
Pulling out a tissue from the box by the side, I wiped the make-up off my face roughly and left the room walking down the stairs barefoot. jen was setting the table and when I got closer I stopped in my tracks in front of the counter gaping. "what the hell jen?" I asked looking at the counter in shock and she looked up with a satisfied grin.
"nothing much, I just made a few things its all. i made a nutty farro pilaf that's loaded with sautéed mushrooms, creamy white beans and silky massaged kale with pasta loaded with roasted butternut squash. For desert crisp, crunchy pumpkin pecan biscotti drizzled with dark chocolate and a creamy, decadent no-bake fall desert filled with delicious flavour of a pumpkin pie without stress of a fussy crust! Layers of smooth pumpkin, fluffy coconut whipped cream and crunchy ginger cookies all rolled into one cup. She said pointing them one after the other.
Looking up at her I pointed "jen this," I stated waving my hand over the food "is more than not much, it goes way beyond that. I was only upstairs for an hour and thirty minutes, how the hell did you make all this in time?" I asked astonished.
"oh sweetie its just a simple call away, I did the food myself but called the bakery around this area to deliver the deserts. Since I've started living here I've been calling their bakery for desserts, if am going to experience some bouts of loneliness from time to time I want to at least do it with sweet goods in my mouth."
I huffed in disbelieve as she took a sample of her drink moaned while licking her lips, knocking sounded on the slide doors and I moved to open to it to see josh standing with his hand inside his back pockets. Josh had showered and changed to dark jeans and a red t-shirt that had a drawing of a monkey doing jumping jacks with headphones in his ears. Smiling I grabbed his hand to direct him inside… and maybe to just hold him a little "I hope your hungry because jen went all out for dinner." I stated as we rounded the kitchen to see jen serve the first course.
He rubbed his tommy coming to stand in front of the table "well if it tastes as good as it smells you don't need to worry." he joked as we took our sits.
"i hope you don't mind eating a lot of carbs today, Eva told me you're a pro-footballer so I hope you don't have a specific diet. And please are you allergic to anything? This was so last minute I didn't have the time to ask Eva to call you and ask." she explained rubbing her hands nervously but josh just smiled with a shake of his head.
"am not on a specific diet plus am going to just burn everything later on in the gym and you also don't need to worry am not allergic to anything." she breathed out, relief clear in her eyes then smiled widely.
"then enjoy, we have 3 course meals here so we're starting with the first one. a nutty farro pilaf that's loaded with sautéed mushrooms." she said, her face gleaming with delight waving her hand for us to eat, I handed josh his fork and we watched as he took the first bite.
His face brightened and he took another one, "this is really good." he said and she grin inclining her head in appreciation as if he could see.
"why thank you." I took my own bite and before I knew it everything was gone, taking the plates into the kitchen jen served the second one "now this one is my favourite, creamy white beans and silky massaged kale with pasta loaded with roasted butternut squash." she said taking a sniff of the food grinning, I collected the two plates she handed to me while she went back for hers.
"you know, you could be a chef." I said stuffing my mouth with food.
"i could," she stated with a snort "if I had the patience to stay all day in the kitchen and endure the aching in my legs after a long day or the unbearable heat, I prefer to spend minimum amount of time in there. Besides I love taking pictures too much to give it up."
I smiled and we eat in silence and by the time we were done I was getting full, I leaned back in my chair while rubbing my stomach "I think she's trying to overfeed us." I muttered under my breathe in josh ear as I watched her drop the plates in the sink and come forward with the desserts.
He chuckled and I leaned back as jen came closer, she rolled her eyes "I heard that, and here I thought pregnant woman ate all the time."
"well this one doesn't." I said with a dismissive sniff.
"good. then more desserts for the rest of us, you in josh?" she asked sliding him a glance and he grinned leaning forward.
"so in, thanks for the dessert Eva." he said throwing me a teasing grin.
Leaping forward I snatched the plate of cake and cup of delicious goodness from jen's hand before she could set it in front of josh, shifting away I took a bite and moaned quickly taking another not bothering to spear the laughing two a single glance. It wasn't until I was done before I surveyed the mess I made on my hands and the table, licking my fingers I shyly looked up to see the two of them studying me with amused faces "what?" I grumbled.
"want more?" jen question and I sat up in delight nodding quickly.
She shook her head standing up "I thought you were full?" josh asked staring at me or in my direction rather as he leaned his head on the arm resting on the table.
"peanut decided it wanted some more and I can't stop him or her if they want to fatten up a little, I know I will be the one to pay for all the carbs but its a sacrifice am willing to make." he laughed shaking his head.
"well that's nice of you, to sacrifice yourself for peanut."
I woke up feeling someone's hands carrying me up the stairs, still sleepily i groaned tightening my hands on the neck and breathed out "jen I didn't know you were so strong."
The sound of a male chuckle made me tense and judging by the way my body shivered at the deep voice plus the way my heart accelerated, it was definitely not jen carrying me and I swallowed looking up. My lips brushed his neck as I moved to stare up at him and I felt him shiver tightening his hand around me to pull me close, "can you tell where you're going?" I asked and he nodded. I relaxed watching him as he carried me into the room and laid me gently on the bed, about to remove my hand from his neck I only tightened them and pulled his face closer "am I dreaming?" I asked again still sleepily.
He crouched down to his knees leaning forward on the bed so our face were close "what do you think?" he asked gently, his breathe blowing my face.
"I think this is a dream... no I want it to be a dream." I answered simply and he titled his head in question.
"because the real me wouldn't have the courage to hold you this close… or do this." leaning forward I pecked his lips softly then pulled back a few seconds later.
Josh was silent for a minute then he asked in a more husky voice "why Eva?"
Sniffing I looked up and played with his hair, running my hands through the soft curls i smiled sadly "am still going through a lot of pain from my past relationship that made me run here so I don't want to be jumping into another one when am not ready for it. If I do I would be using you to replace the hurt I feel and I don't want to, besides I have a baby to think about now so no more playing."
"is that the only reason?" he pressured putting his hand on my hip then pulled the edge of my top slowly to reveal my stomach, I sucked in a sharp breathe when he leaned down to kiss the baby bump slowly then trembled as he continued to graze his lips on my tommy.
"no." I breathed.
"what is it? tell me Eva." he coaxed gently pulling up to look at me and I answered in a whisper.
"am afraid if I give in I would end up falling for you… more than I already have."
His eyes brightened and he grin "good." leaping up he captured my lips in a heated kiss and I moaned pulling him closer, we kissed for what seems like hours before he pulled back making me whimper.
He rose kissing my forehead gently then whispered "sleep." gently in my ear, not having the strength nor willpower to fight the command I closed my eyes with a small sign burying deeper into the pillow. 5mins later I felt him stand and leave the room, closing the door gently behind him then slowly moved my hands to my lips. it felt a bit swollen and I grin, tomorrow will come and I will probably regret it but as for right now am going to savour every moment without regret.
Monday morning came quicker than I anticipated and I stirred turning over to see it read 8:00am on my alarm, sitting up slowly I dragged my feet to the bathroom sink and started brushing my teeth. My mind turned back to the to the kiss and a grin slowly formed on my lips just as my green eyes light up in happiness, I tried to stop grinning but to no avail and the regret I waited to feel didn't come at all. Rinsing my mouth I took a quick shower and walked to my wardrobe carefully selecting a black lace underwear, a loose red floral chain-link cold shoulder top that hid the bump well with sandblasted high waist jean shorts and black ankle boots. Signing I moved to the dresser and stared at myself for a minute before styling my hair up into another french braid leaving bangs in front with a few curled strands around my face, I didn't want to be too noticeable so I made the make-up very light and simple. I was about to exit the room but I saw my phone lit up with a call from the conner of my eye, i paused staring at it for a few minutes till it stopped then I bit my lip contemplating if I should check or not. i had left it on the night stand avoiding glancing at it ever since I got here, it lit up again and curiosity got better of me so I walked over to see the hospital number flashing on the screen.
"hello." i answered confused.
"good morning, please am I speaking to miss mandez?" a soft female voice asked.
"yes, this is she."
"oh that's great then, am Dr. Pete you're OB/GYN. I was calling to ask if you could come to the hospital today around 2:00pm?" she asked and my brows pulled down in confusion.
"but am already scheduled for Saturday."
"yes I know," the woman said with a stressed sign "my assistant had mistakenly schedule an appointment for you among with many others on that day when I clearly told her not too, I know this is probably inconvenient for you especially if you are busy but please could you make it today?" she asked and I signed biting my lip.
"uhmm, sure I could." I answered hoping josh wouldn't mind me leaving a little early today.
I heard her breathed out in relief "oh thank God, you're the few among many who as made things really easy for me."
I chuckled "that bad?"
"you have no idea," she answered in a tired tone "anyway thanks for being to so good about this, see you then."
"see you." I replied then cut the call.
Looking down on the screen I noticed I had 30 missed calls from my agent, a few from the little friends I could actually call my own back in New York and a message and a few missed calls from stellar George now probably known as stellar Philips… Kevin's new wife. That one made me frown, where the hell did she got my number... Wait how the hell did I get hers. Shaking off the thought into Pandora's box, I dropped the phone not ready to deal with that can of worms. It was 9:00 by the time I made it downstairs and I spotted a note from jen telling me she already left for work, seeing the plate of left over from yesterday I quickly dug in then went over to josh place after washing the plates and making sure the doors were locked.
Spotting josh outside, standing near the pool I smiled and walked over "hey, good morning." I called coming over to his side.
He turned to me with a grin and as soon as I was close he pulled me into his arms bending down to give me a surprise peck "do you regret what happened yesterday?" he asked without holding back and I shook my head.
"no." he grinned and pulled me back for a longer kiss this time.
"what are you doing here?" I asked breathlessly when we finally came up for air, a little dazed.
"waiting for you and also the person whose coming to clean the pool." he answered, his hand circled my waist pulling me tighter against him and I grinned.
"oh really," I drawled "I hope you didn't wait long?" I asked standing on my toes to nuzzle his neck then placed a small kiss at the side and my grin turned wider when he shivered with a groan.
"you better behave." he warned with a mock glare.
"uhmm, Mr. Picket?" a nervous voice called and we both turned to see a young kid about 16 standing with an awkward smile near the garage.
"you must be mike." josh said pulling back a little and the boy nodding quickly looking from me to josh then back to me, I smiled when I saw he was trying not to look anywhere below my neck.
"yeah, my mum said you wanted me to help clean your pool?" he asked and josh nodded.
"yeah, I'll pay you a 100bucks." the boy straightened then grinned.
"right on it sir." he said then set off to work.
Josh and I headed inside and I asked "have you eaten yet?" he nodded with a small smile.
"yeah no need to worry, we need to go out though. We are going grocery shopping, there's package I need your help emailing and we're also going to be picking up my new dog Gus. He's a Labrador retriever, I requested to buy him from some dog shelter a few days before the accident and haven't been able to go get him until now. The shelter have been more than accommodating keeping him for me since I explained my situation but I think their patience are wearing thin and I would very much not like to lose him."
"alright, we'll go right away. Let me just check the website and see if anyone as ordered anything first." he nodded waving me off with a kiss.
"I'll be in my room then, I need to take care of a few stuffs first. If they buy anything there are some boxes I have left in the garage along with tape on the last shelf and stamps are in the office." nodding I headed to the study while he ran upstairs, he's getting good at moving around without reaching out for the walls.
Surprisingly a lot of stuff were ordered for small amounts which am not surprised at and only a few items remained, I sucked in a breathe though at the outrageous amount someone paid for the old computer. Shaking my head I looked for stamps and grabbed some from his drawer then went down to the basement picking up 10 boxes and a tape, luckily for me the items sold were not the huge heavy ones like the old pack-rat machine, some weird metal robot sculpture that was made in the 1900's judging by the shirt it wore, an old copy machine and typewriter. Sealing everything inside a box I left the computer only for the company I called to come help deliver it and packed the rest inside the trunk of his Jeep. I was so surprised the first time I saw his car because I thought he would be one of those guys who drove a sports car, Kevin did and I hated every minute we spent inside. He loved to speed down the road and God help me if it was a free highway, that crap sacred the living daylight out of me and even more when my parents died of a car accident. A lot of fights between us resulted from that train of conversation and thinking about it now, it was a little insensitive of him to do that despite the fact that I shared my fears with him.
To be sincere there were a lot of things Kevin did insincerely… like forgetting our 3rd anniversary party with friends that I had painstakingly organized to spend his day in the office or the time he left me stranded on a the side of a dark street when we had a fight about it or the time he forgot about my birthday or skip every dinner we were supposed to have with my parents when they were around. I frowned as I berate myself wondering why I let him treat me like a piece of crap, there are a lot of stuff I let him get away with just because I loved him but thinking about it now he must have bailed all those times to spend it with shelly. And judging by the size of her stomach when we meet my assumptions are right.
Man was I stupid, I thought with a shake of my head still surprised I ignored everything that was in front of me because of that jerk, pain and sadness gripped my chest in its tight, unforgiving fist and squeezed making me gasp in pain. Anger, intense and burning anger at myself for still being affected by him replaced my emotions and I bit back a scream of frustration clenching my fists. It took about 30mins before I calmed down again shaking off the past from my mind, pushing it and locking them into Pandora's box as usual.
I went back inside the house to call out for josh "josh we got 10 orders," I yelled as I entered his room to see him picking up books from his shelf and putting them into a box "someone from England also offered an outrageous amount for that ENIAC computer but I already called a delivery company to come get it and send it over. Why are you packing your books?" I asked confused as I moved to sit on the couch.
"Its time they leave." he said evasively in a cold tone and I frowned.
"you can just say if its something personal and you don't want to talk about it. you don't need to be so cold."
He signed his brows coming together in a frown "am sorry, its just not something I want to talk about."
I crawled forward on my knees to the end of the couch and turned his face towards me, using my thumbs I straightened his brows then pecked his lips "its fine, I understand personal more than anyone." I said then moved to his left side "what can I do to help?" I asked as I grabbed the box from the floor and put it into his hands then turned to the books with a tilt of my head.
When he didn't answer yet I looked up to see him holding tightly to the box, frowning I asked "if you want me to leave I can? this seems more personal than you let on."
He shook his head clenching his jaw then swallowed "its not that, i just…" blowing out a breathe he smiled thinly "it just seems so final, before you came I have been removing and putting everything inside the box."
I slowly removed one hand gripping the box then raised it to my lips and kissed it softly "its okay. I can't give you any advice because 1. am terrible at them 2. I have no idea what this all means to you or why your taking the initiative to get rid of them. But what I will say is that if getting rid of them is what your heart wants and not your head then do so."
He kept silent for a minutes holding on tightly to my hand then signed releasing me to raise the box higher "take the classic novels down." he said with finality and a determined look in his eyes.
"alright." I replied softly then took the books out, arranging them neatly in the small box.
When we finished I locked the doors carrying the box to the truck and dropped it along with the others while josh paid the kid and told him to leave when he's done. He entered the passengers side while I moved to the drivers side and drove to email the boxes first, we took about 2hours to get everything settled before heading to Walmart to shop for groceries and after staying silent all through our journey to the post office and back josh turned back to his playful self when we went to the store.
"where's your list so I know where to start?" I asked taking out a trolley and pushing it with one hand while josh refused to let go of the other, not that I minded in the least.
"damn I knew I forgot something?" he cursed running his hand through his head with a sheepishly smile.
I stopped turning to glare at him "you forgot your list?"
"more like forgot to write the list, but don't worry I know my fridge is empty. I used the last ingredients I could find yesterday to cook you lunch, and the reason for the empty pizza boxes is because I haven't gone shopping since I came here."
I stare at him in astonishment "why didn't you say so earlier, we would have done the grocery yesterday."
"because I wanted to impress my beautiful neighbour, sue me." he said with an easy shrug and I shook my head moving for the milk section.
"you can't see me yet so how do you know am not ugly, I could be a pimpled bug eyed woman." I stated getting some milk with one hand while shooting him a mocking glare when he pulled my hand under his armpit refusing to let go when I tried pull mine forcefully.
He snorted "well first off you told me you're a model and not to be a mean or anything but pimpled bugged eyed woman aren't models besides it doesn't really matter to me, I'll like you either way."
I grinned standing on my tip toes to peck him on the lips "you better keep your words."
I had so much fun getting groceries with josh, he acted like a total goofball through out that the manager had literally threaten to drag us out three times to keep him down. I don't know what made him get so playful but I never said anything and enjoyed my time with him, if I were with anyone else… even my ex am pretty sure I would have stalked out embarrassed after all the things he'd done but with josh I enjoyed every minute laughing the entire time. Its seriously scary how he can make me forget myself and my problems in a single minute, 5 times he purposely knocked down a bunch of stuffs from the shelves then played the blind guy who had no idea what he's doing making a poor worker pick everything up only to knock it over again. Am quite astonished how the guy still maintained a full hair considering how many times he pulled at it in frustration, I've never seen anyone more happy before than him to see a customer leave and I wouldn't be surprised if our names and faces were put on a poster in every section of the store just to ban us from the place.
Next up was the dog shelter, I checked the time surprised to see it was 12:30pm, time sure flies past when your having fun I thought then remembered my appointment, turning I speared josh a glance to see him staring out the window back to being silent. I had been concentrating on the road that I didn't even notice his lack of conversation, I cleared my throat to get his attention and when he didn't respond I slapped him lightly in the shoulder with the back of my hand "hey, I wanted to ask if I could bail for a bit to go for my appointment with the OB/GYN, am sorry if am ruining any plans you have for later especially if it involves more cleaning but am sure i wouldn't take long. I had scheduled the appointment for Saturday but due to some mistakes the doctor had to reschedule it for 2:00pm today." I rambled on nervous, he smiled then took my right hand giving it a quick kiss before releasing me so I can put it back on the wheel.
I turned to stare at him when we reached a traffic red signal "its fine Eva, you don't have to be nervous when you ask for some time off if it involves your pregnancy. I don't believe am that cruel a boss now, am I?" he asked joking and I turned back to the road with a scowl and drove on as the lights flashed green.
"no." I said trying to keep the annoyance from my voice but failed miserably.
"what is it?" he asked his smile dropping to concern.
"nothing, I was just thinking about something it's all."
"do you want to talk about it?" he asked softly and I stayed silent for 5minutes as I drove before saying.
"I just had a flashback on how I used to act with my ex is all, I just noticed I have been comparing the two of you today." I turned down the street leading to the shelter and josh asked quietly.
"is that a bad thing... to compare the two of us I mean?" he asked and I turned to see his face had turned blank.
"its not josh," I said stopping in front of shelter and parked by the side of the store, switching off the car I turned wanting to clarify myself hoping he doesn't get the wrong idea "am just realising how different the both of you are and how different I am now compared to my old self, am more relaxed and so much like the former me before I meet him. Kevin is bi-polar and though his case isn't that serious but when he gets into a certain mood at times he could be scary, one moment he's the loving, caring person I came to love and the next he's some insensitive brute."
"did he ever hurt you?" he asked, his jaw clenching and his eyes burning in rage.
"of course not," I said gently putting my hand on his "I just noticed the differences in you both and wondered what the hell I was drinking to stay so long with him. For 5years I spent it ignoring my family and doing everything I can to please him and I turned into a mega conniving witch because of my fear of losing him after my parents died because I felt like he's the only one I had left." breathing out I shook my head and turned to the shelter not wanting to face him or see the look on his face "we're here already, we should get inside."
Removing my seatbelt I tried to get out but josh pulled me into a tight hug before I could "am sorry for bringing up such bad memories Eva and again if you ever want to talk I'll be here." he mumbled gently into my neck, wrapping my hand around him also I tightened the hold pulling closer and breathed in his fruity scent.
"what cologne do you use, i love it?" I asked offhandedly and he drew back in confusion.
"its not cologne but some fruity shampoo that belongs to my grandma, mine had finished so I used hers. I hated the shampoo before and more especially because I had no means to get a new one but now that you said you love it am keeping it." he grinned and I laughed.
"there's the sound I was hoping for, come on lets go get my dog."he said giving me a slow kiss on the lips.
We got out of the car and entered the shelter and immediately am assaulted by the stinky smell and sounds of wet dogs or just dogs in general, I might love dogs because they're the best pets to have but I think am going to be a cat person from now on instead. The young brunette at the counter greeted josh with an enthusiastic grin which dropped at the sight of me then turned to a dark scowl at our joined hands "hey Lisa, am here to pick up Gus. You can't imagine how grateful I am to you for holding onto Gus for me this long, so can I get him now?" he asked excitedly, his face lightening up with a broad smile.
"sure," she purred turning to him and I narrowed my eyes, gripping josh hands tighter I watched as she picked up the phone and called for someone named Racheal to bring Gus. When she was done she turned back to us and asked with a slight edge in her voice "whose your… friend?"
"am not his friend but the girlfriend." I answered before he could and she gritted her teeth, her hands clenching. josh turned to me in surprise before a grin slowly took over his face and he pulled me closer.
"that's right," he said "she's mine." then growled the last part in my ear and I swallowed as a shiver ran down my body.
Thankfully Racheal took that moment to bring an adorable Labrador puppy and I melted taking him in my hands, his tail wiggled and he barked licking my face in greeting "aren't the cutest thing ever." I said rubbing my nose to his and he barked again happily burying his face in my neck.
Josh reached over and rubbed his head "he didn't even notice me." he teased, Racheal smiled at the three of us then helped carry the dog carrier full with toys, his food and water bowl while josh grabbed an heavy bag of dog food.
He went back inside to pay for everything while I settled Gus into the back seat and waited, not more than a minute later he came back out and got it "so… my girlfriend?" he asked teasingly.
I bit my lip, my cheeks turning red in embarrassment "shut up." I mumbled and he threw his head back in laughter.
By the time we were done it was 1:40pm, a few minutes to my appointment so I drove straight to the hospital. Parking the car in the parking lot we left a sleeping Gus inside with the window down a little for fresh air then walked to the hospital manoeuvring our way through the place until we got to the OB/GYN section. Walking over to the nurse behind the desk I filled in my information and went back to wait with josh for my turn, a woman and her husband sat in front of us and the man had her in his arms sleeping while he gently rubbed the large bump. I smiled leaning my head on josh shoulder and he moved to hold my hand, and not more than a few minutes my name was called and I stood.
Josh stood along with me "you're coming?" I asked in surprise turning to face him and he nodded slowly, biting his lips in uncertainty.
"if you want me to," then quickly said after a few minutes of silence "or I could just stay here." he mumbled looking down and I smiled squeezing his hand.
"of course I do, I was just surprised you wanted to come along." he looked up quickly then a grin formed on his lips. we turned and followed the nurse who had patiently waited for us into the doctors office.
"Dr. Pete, you're 2:00 is here." the nurse said gently as we entered to see a gorgeous curvy red haired with black rimmed glasses perched on her nose behind a huge desk across the room, she wore a white blouse with her doctors coat and long black strip pants. The nurse cleared her throat when she didn't answered and the red haired jumped with a startle glancing up from the paperwork piled on her desk.
"uhmm hi." she greeted awkwardly with a small smile then looked to the nurse for answers.
"your 2:00pm appointment." the nurse whispered with a roll of her eyes and she nodded in understanding.
"oh right, your Eva mandez." she greeted holding her hand out for a hand shake and I smiled shaking it
"yes I am, this is josh my-"
"boyfriend." he interjected cutting me off with a teasing grin and I blushed, the two woman sent us curious looks and i used my elbow to nudge josh hard in the stomach.
"right," the doctor said glancing at the two of us with a small smile "well miss Eva please go with the nurse for some test and then come back here, the hospital in New York already sent over your medical records but I just want to check over some things to make sure every things alright."
Nodding I followed the nurse and took the necessary test she told me too before making my way back into the office, I found josh leaning causally on the side of the wall besides the door and when I entered he straightened. The doctor directed me to the bed and I laid down with josh sitting to my right while the doctor sat to my left "I thought you were for months along?" she asked and I nodded, she bit her lip then nodded "this is going to be a bit cold." she warned grabbing a tube and I nodded.
Squirting the gel on my big bump, she moved the stick wand or whatever they call it and we turned to the monitor. Immediately the sound of my baby's heart beat filled the room and I grinned while josh's hold on my hand tightened "can I know the gender now?" I asked excitedly and she nodded absent mindedly studying the monitor.
"is something wrong?" I asked in concern and she shook her head.
"no, you're sure your 4month pregnant right?" she asked again turning to me with a frown and I nodded "hmm." she mumbled.
"what is it?" josh asked and I swallowed nervously then clenched the hand he held and he gave a firm squeeze back.
"its nothing, am just surprised to see two babies in there instead of one. Your report mentioned only one baby." she answered with a frown.
"excuse me, two babies? What do you mean two?" I asked lifting my head up a little in shock.
"it means your having twins sweetie," she answered causally "that explains why your bump is larger though."
"wait, am still stuck on two babies." I said with an edge and worry in my voice "is it common to make mistakes like this?"
She turned to me with a gentle smile "relax okay, sometimes it happens. There are a lot of cases where the woman could be having more than one baby and the doctor might not be able to tell, firstly if the equipment used are too old you might not be able to tell and secondly it depends on the babies positions in the womb. If one is completely covering the other a doctor will not be able to tell there's another until when it's time for birth and also if the two babies share similar pace of heart beats it could be mistaken as one. Heck I wouldn't have known myself if baby number two didn't come out from hiding for a minute." she said in a comforting tone trying to reassure me.
"at least you noticed something was wrong from the beginning." I grumbled turning back to the monitor.
She chuckled "I believe they would have noticed two, because baby number two seems to want out of her hiding. Besides a true tell-tale sign to does who are very observant will notice the difference in your size from that of a woman pregnant with one. Now are you satisfied yet with my explanation so I can tell you the gender of the two?" she asked teasing and I nodded brightening.
She turned to the monitor and squinted her eyes at the black screen "well baby number one is a boy and baby number two is a girl."
Signing I slumped back with a frown, I never imagined twins before so what the heck am I going to do "you have nothing to worry about, your healthy and so are your babies so just rest. Stress is never good remember." the doctor said seeing my frown and I smiled though it didn't reach my eyes.
"thank you doctor." josh said helping me get up, she handed me tissues and I cleaned off the gel then mumbled my thanks dumping the tissue into the trash, collecting the sonogram picture I stared down at it and smiled as we made our way out of the hospital "lets go to the beach." josh exclaimed suddenly and I turned to face him with a frown.
"yes, let's forget about work today and play at the Malibu beach." I stared up at him for a moment before grinning, taking his hand I pulled him towards the parking lot and answered.
We made it there in record time and josh, Gus and I stayed in the less crowded side wearing the sunglasses josh kept in his car to avoid recognition from anyone or the press. This is a popular beach so we thought it would be better if we were careful, spending the entire day playing all the worries I had vanished before I knew it and I was laughing and having fun thanks to the wonderful man and beautiful puppy by my side. At 5:00pm we left the beach and headed home because of the sudden rain but because of the sudden downpour and josh insistence on helping me get all his stuff inside we had to ran out of the rain to the garage 3times while holding hands. We finally got the last of the groceries inside and stored in the fridge and the cabinet, josh settled Gus doggy bed on his room while the dog plates in the kitchen. He currently laid on his bed sleeping while I sat on josh's bed and he knelt in front of me drying my hair with a towel.
I signed as josh loosed the french braid letting the hair fall around me in wet curly waves, I grabbed my own dry towel and pulled him closer between my legs so I could dry his hair "you should have let me get the groceries alone."
"no way, I might be temporarily blind but am not invalid." he responded with a scowl.
I rolled my eyes, smiling, then i dropped the towel on the floor and ran my fingers through his wet hair "I love playing with your hair." I mumbled, fingering a strand and he grinned.
"well in that case please play away." he responded with a grin, nestling his head between my breast, I laughed pushing his head away.
"you need to bathe with hot water to get warm, I don't want you catching a cold." standing up i pulled him along with me and he said.
"well then you use mine also, I will go use one of the guest rooms." I smiled, thankful he didn't mutter some crap about joining me.
"but I don't have any clothes to change into." I pouted.
"as if you don't know you can use mine, you can take a clean shirt and boxer briefs to wear." I nodded then peck his lips before leaving for the bathroom.
I only took 40mins to wash up then groaned remembering I didn't bring any clothes, wrapping a towel tightly around my body I walked out thankful josh's closet and bathroom were built together. Moving to the his wardrobe I picked a blue boxer brief and dropped the towel wearing it, I was looking through his shirt when that Pandora box that always threatened to spill like every other time busted open and I was assaulted by memories.
I remembered the good ones and the bad, I flashed back to the first time we met, the first date, first kiss, when he asked me to move in with him, when he first told me about his bi-polar behaviour and painful past and how we both cried cuddled in each others arms. Suddenly the air felt too hot and the room too tight, my heart accelerated as I clenched my hands into fists and realised am having a panic attack. I was too busy deciding what to do to control myself that I didn't josh enter the room until my body tingled in response to his closeness, slowly I blinked in surprise as my body slowly relaxed, the memories stop and my heart calmed down just in his mere presence.
"are you dressed yet?" josh asked and I tensed, covering my breast with hands as realisation dawn that I was half naked "Eva, is something wrong?" he asked worriedly, and when I still didn't respond he put a hand on my back then tensed when he felt the bare skin.
I licked my lips as tension filled the room for a few minutes before I jolted in awareness feeling his hands move slowly up my skin then stopped, landed firmly on my shoulders. Raw and intense pleasure raced through my body down to a certain anatomy and I shivered. I bit my lip hoping he would do something, make a move or anything, but he just said in a slightly husky voice "I'll leave you to get dressed."
Relief was the first emotion I felt when he dropped his hands to his sides, then a small level of disappointment and lastly desperation as the memories flashed back again. Quickly before he could leave I turned and hugged him before he could leave, "don't leave me." I rasped out in a shaky voice.
The memories whipped around in my head in a mocking manner and I shut my eyes in hopes for it to stop and tighten my hands around josh, I pulled back and turned him quickly pulling his neck down to give him a desperate and heated kiss. He responded at first then pulled back pushing me by the shoulders, afraid he would reject me I quickly said in a pained and pleading voice "please don't, please hold me tonight and make me yours."
He groaned, having a look of pain and desperation on his face "I c-can't Eva." I let out a low whimper and he gripped my hips tightly, before I could say anything else I gasped in surprise when he pulled my body closer.
Using that little weakness of his I jumped into his arms, wrapping my legs around his hips so he had no choice but to catch me and pressed my body even closer. Bending down, I captured his lips in a heated kiss him. He hesitated and tried to pull away for a few minutes but I gripped his hair tightly and held on, as if a spark when off he responded, taking the kiss into his control. His mouth moved against mine in a hungry, angry and passionate frenzy as he carried me into his room then laid me down on the bed gently.
Pulling back he trailed a kiss down my neck and whispered "I hope you don't regret this tomorrow."
I didn't bother with a response but instead drew his face back to mine and let him take away the painful memories, the night had been spent blissfully in his arms and I couldn't be happier as I slept. It wasn't until I woke up the next day and realised I used him that shame and fear gripped me, my flashed back to the night Kevin and I made love for the last time and i sat up in bed quickly, shoving my clothes on then ran out of the house to mine. I unlocked the slide doors and fell inside with a cry, jen who had been getting a glass of water took one look at me and rushed over, pulling me into her arms. We didn't talk as she helped me in bed, I begged her to tell josh I couldn't come at all this week and she nodded her head in answer. I saw the questions in her eyes and was thankful she never voiced anyone of them, my days turned gloomy and repetitive with me staying in bed all day. I only went downstairs to eat and went back up to sleep in bed, in other words I was a complete zombie in the house.
Most times jen tried to cheer me up and it worked for a few minutes or so before I delved back into my cocoon, it wasn't until Thursday night that I was startled from my thoughts from the sound of my phone ringing. I turned to the see my agents face flash on the screen and something snapped in me, whether its frustration, anger or resolution I don't know but the next thing I knew I picked up my cell.
Signing I took a deep breathe then slide the screen to answer the call "hello! Hello! Eva I can hear your breathing so freaking answer me!"
"hello to you too Justin." I replied in a soft voice hoping it will quell is anger.
"don't. don't act like every things okay between us when it damn well is not! Do you know what I've been going through here? You know what, forget it and answer this instead, where the hell are you?"
"l.a, checking out some agent companies." I teased playfully.
"you traitor! you better have not signed with another company or sign a contract with any fashion house without my permission or else I will freaking sue and ruin your ass!"
Chuckling I said gently "as if I could, have you forgotten the little detail of me being pregnant?"
I was greeted by silence for a seconds before a relieved sign filled my ear "right, am glad your okay since your laughing. The whole of new york as been in a frenzy ever since you just took off, I have fans camping in front of the company asking for you to come back."
"I told you I was always popular." I teased jokingly and he chuckled.
"are you okay? How's the peanut?"
"am okay," I answered sullenly "and its twopeanuts now."
"shit! Seriously? Wait... You can't get pregnant when your pregnant already right because I could have sworn the doctor said its only one baby."
"of course not dummy, am having twins."
"uhh uh. am just as surprised as you by this but that's the least of my concerns, can I ask you a quick question?"
"Justin... why did you let me hang onto Kevin for so long?"
There was paused silence on his side for a few seconds before he answered "because you're an adult, because even if I told you not to, you still would have done what you wanted because you loved him. Because he became you're anchor when you're parents died."
Tears slowly fell down my face and I held back a sob "after I went to the hospital and found out about the baby," I said sniffing "I thought really hard about all the bullshit decisions I made and decided it was best I live somewhere the pain can't reach me."
"I understand, you know I wouldn't have stopped you if you told me about your decision."
"i know," I answered with a smile "I guess I was just going for dramatic story. I mean I amEva mandez, the 23 year old super model after all."
He realised an uncharacteristic snort and I chuckled "I have something to tell you," he said hesitantly and i frowned.
'what is it?"
"well..." letting out a breath through his lips he said "there are possibilities of stellar and Kevin breaking up."
I sat up straight in bed "what do you mean?"
"well after Stellar's father wrecked havoc on the wedding and you left, during the reception Kevin went off somewhere only to come back yelling at Stellar for lying to him, shocking everyone. We were told to go home before any real drama unfolded but one of the reporters disguised himself as a waiter and recorded their private conversation in the study, apparently she'd planned it with her father to sneak into the his hotel room when he was on that business trip to Paris 8months ago and drugged him with aphrodisiac. From the video it showed him trashing the study in anger while Stellar knelt in a conner sobbing, as she held her swollen tommy and ever since then, rumours have been floating around of how he's looking into ways to annul their marriage. Though no one as seen or heard from either of them for a few days, its become public knowledge stellar and Kevin are breaking up. Remember when I said the reporters have been going crazy asking for you in the beginning, well it had little to do with you disappearing and more to do with this scandal.
"Justin, what's the name of the video the reporter recorded?" I asked.
"the things a woman does to get a man." he said then asked not less than a minute later in an annoyed voice "why? Are you thinking of getting back with that tool?"
"no." I replied without hesitation and he signed in relief.
"Good. look I have to go babe, I have an important meeting coming up. When I call later you better pick up." Justin threatened and I smiled.
"I will." the call cut and I dropped the phone quickly, grabbing the old laptop I had used back in high school from my night stand drawer.
Logging into the internet i watched the video and carefully studied kevin's reaction, as expected i saw something everyone else failed to see. The sadness and heartbreak he had on his face when he stared down at Stellar before leaving her alone in the study "he loves her." I whispered under my breathe then cried silently, the final tears I will ever shed over him.
As I watched the water dissolve into my covers, I piled all the memories and hurt I had and imagined them as my tears dissolving into the covers and fell asleep at some point in the night.
Friday morning I awoke bright and early with a smile on my face, my heart felt lighter after I let go of everything yesterday, I signed staring at the beautiful sunlight coming in from the windows. Doing my usual morning routines of bathing, dressing and putting on make-up, I walked downstairs and stopped in surprise to see both jen and josh sitting opposite each other on the dinning table. Josh looked terrible and he was running a hand roughly through his hair in frustration, my mind flashed back to that night and I bit my lip in hesitation, not sure how to act now that I have to confront josh and my growing feelings.
Jen though, looked both pissed and worried "did someone die?" I asked jokingly, going for light and easy conversation.
The both of them jumped out of their chairs in shock as soon as they saw me, I put my hand in the back pockets of my jean shorts and rocked on my feet as they continued to stare at me in silence before jen ran over and pulled me into a tight hug.
"you idiot, I thought you wouldn't get back to your normal self," she yelled in hiccups then started wailing "you don't know how scared I was to see you living like a freaking zombie." pulling her close I patted her on the back as she cried on my shoulder then looked up to see josh leave through the slide doors.
After making sure jen stopped crying, she waved me off to go after josh and repair the relationship I had probably damaged. I went out the back doors and walked across the yard to see him sitting at the edge of his pool with his legs in the water, slowing down I walked over and sat besides him in silence for a few minutes before saying "am sorry for making you guys worry... and for running out that day."
"why did you?" he asked gently, his voice devoid of emotion "did you really regret it that much?"
"yes." I whispered and he flinched.
He was about to get up and leave but I used a hand to stop him "I regretted that night because I was using it to get over my pain. What was supposed to be a beautiful memory between us turned into a release for me... A release from my past."
"well am glad I could be of service." he muttered coldly and this timeI flinched, removing my hand from his I signed kicking my legs into the water and finally let Pandora's box open.
"At 18 years old I left home for new york after I got the chance to pursue my dream as a model. As my agent expected I made it big and was deemed New York's sweetheart model in a year, my story with Kevin started out when I was 19 like any other story where a young girl at the height of her success falls for the strong, stable and successful business man. My relationship was the envy of most woman but I didn't care really about the fame I got at all because I was happy to be by his side, life was a series of excitement and sometimes it felt like a movie come to life with Kevin and maybe that was the problem, because I felt a little pressure to maintain that image. To make this story short, 5 years passed swiftly with us getting further and further apart, i knew I loved more than I was loved but I didn't care as long as he was with me. When my parents died a few months ago I felt like I lost any hope to live and most especially because Kevin was treating me like I was non-existent in his world until that day, he changed back to the man I once loved, helping me through my pain and that's when I made the biggest mistake of my life. I choose to depend on him entirely so I could fill up the hole in my heart that my parents left behind." I paused taking a deep breathe and smiled when his hand slowly closed around mine.
"go on." he coaxed.
"just as you're sight was snatched from you temporarily from a swift accident so was Kevin... my anchor. Suddenly when I started tolive again stellar comes into our lives 7months pregnant with kevin's baby, shocking me and everyone. That's when I learned I could be very vengeful and cruel when something threatened to take what I consider mine. Like a typical story I threatened, bullied, and hurt my rival with every trick I could think of, starting with ruining her father's business, getting her fired from her job as a real estate agent, getting her humiliated a lot of times. Eventually Kevin found out about the things I did and dumped me publicly, I never heard from him ever again until a month later. He came knocking on my doorstep, drunk and begging for me to take him back. I didn't know he was there because he fought with stellar, so like the idiot I was I took him back happily and slept with him, creating my two peanuts that night." I mumbled rubbing the bump that had grown larger slowly.
"what happened next?" josh asked when I kept silent for a while, lost in thought.
Taking in a deep breathe I continued "the next morning I woke up to see Kevin rushing to dress up while muttering under his breathe "everything that happened was a mistake" I had tried to plead with him to not leave but he pushed me roughly aside and left. Later on that night when i read about their engagement in the newspaper, angry and hurt I promised my revenge on both of them. A few days later i heard from a friend that stellar had left her dad high and dry in his bankruptcy when she started dating Kevin, it was like the perfect plan was handed down to me on a silver plater so I made plans to contact him that day but as God would have it I found out I was pregnant that day and I quickly dropped my plans. The pregnancy made me realise how far I was willing to go just to hold onto someone who didn't want me so I cancelled my meeting with her dad thinking that put an end to the issue and made plans to leave New York for l.a a few days later, the day of my departure was the day of their wedding and I went over to tell Kevin the news before I left but that morning he got security to kick me out through the back doors of the hotel. As I was making my way out of the hotel dejected I spotted Stellar's dad, drunk and stumbling his way into the hotel, I tried to stop in from going in but he succeeded anyway and crashed through the doors yelling and screaming while holding a knife. Luckily security dragged him out but the damage was already done and when everyone spotted me standing by the doors they immediately accused me of trying to sabotage the wedding, I didn't bother to explain myself to any of them but just stomped out of the place and drove straight for the airport and well, you know the rest. That night we made love I was remembered when Kevin arrived drunk to my place and felt just like him, using you and sex to get away from my demons wasn't the right thing to do so I ran. I ran away from my past, from you... the man likely to make my heart beat again and from my pain.
"so what changed, why are you talking about it now?" he asked turning to face me and I looked up.
"because I need to stop being a coward, my agent called last night and we talked a bit. He told me stellar and Philip are likely to divorce, apparently stellar planned getting pregnant for Philip with her dad and they used aphrodisiac to drug him one night on a business trip. One of the reporters at their wedding disguised himself to get the information and released the news to the world. Now everyone knows what really happened, they're also not coming out of their house so people are speculating a divorce."
"are you telling me this because you're going back to him?" he asked, his face changing from sympathy to anger and jealousy letting go of my hand.
"why are you asking? Why are you angry?" I asked, wanting to hear his answer.
"what kind of question is that Eva! You come here bearing you're soul to me and i thought you finally decided to let me into you're world but if you're only telling me this to-" he yelled getting up.
"you never answered my question." I said cutting him off impatiently.
"its because I fucking love you!" he roared "but if all you're going to do is go back to him-"
"i never said that." I stated, cutting him off again while standing also.
He stared at me in confusion, his anger dwindling from his eyes "what?"
"i never said I would go back to him- to Philip, I was just telling you about the latest events."
"why?" he breathed after a pause.
"because in other to say this part I needed to know how you felt, its was manipulative again and am sorry but I just didn't want to rush into another relationship without being sure of myself." moving closer I wrapped my hands around his waist and rested my head on his chest.
"what do you mean?" he croaked out, putting his hands around me, he held on tightly.
"I can't out rightly promise you love here josh but I hope you give me a chance to find it with you." I whispered looking up at him and he signed in relief bending down to kiss me.
This kiss was so much softer and gentle than our usual kiss, it felt as if he was savouring every moment and ingraining them in his memory. Pulling back slowly, I opened my eyes to stare up at those beautiful blues "am sorry I ran out that night though. I hope you fully understand that when I said I regretted it, I didn't mean I regretted you josh but just how I will always connect my past to it when I think about that night."
He smiled softly, pulling my body closer "then I guess we should start making new memories." his voice turned husky as he trailed a hand down my back and I chuckled, pulling back.
"how about you take me on a date first big boy and then we can think about that."
"you lied to me though." he said offhandedly and I frowned.
"what do you mean?"
"i was expecting a pimpled bug eyed woman." he teased and I squealed.
"you can see me? since when? Have you gone to the hospital yet? Let's go now." I demanded pulling him, headed for his car but he wouldn't bulged and instead pulled me back to him.
I stumbled backwards then bounced off his hard chest "what the heck are you on, steroids?" I asked poking his pecks and he grinned, flexing his muscles.
"no am not, this is all real baby." he boasted pulling up the sleeve of his shirt then folded his hand to bulge out his biceps.
"why did you pull me back?" I asked instead, rolling my eyes.
"i started seeing yesterday and yes am fine and I already went to the doctors. She declared my eyes healed so don't worry." I signed in relief putting my hands to his face.
"alright." I mumbled, standing on my tiptoes to give him a peck on the lips, pulling back I was surprise to feel his hand tighten on my waist pulling me forward again to press my entire body to his. I drew my head back to see he had a mischievous smile on his gorgeous face, drawing his head forward I squealed when he started pecking me all over my face.
"uhmm guys," I heard jen call hesitantly and we turned to see her standing behind us with a grimace "am sorry to disturb this beautiful moment but Eva you have a guest."
Pulling back we followed jen into the house only for me to spot stellar sitting in the living room couch rocking a baby in her arms while tapping her legs anxiously "stellar," I called in surprise and she turned towards me with tears in her eyes, releasing josh's hand i moved in her direction "what are you doing here?"
"am-" she started then stopped staring down at my baby bump, blinking several times in surprise, self consciously I put my arm around it "you're pregnant." she blurted out and I nodded.
Josh came to stand by my side and the door bell rang so jen went to answer it "4months actually but stellar this is not important, why are you here and crying? Wait... How did you know i lived here or that I was in l.a?"
"uhmm, there was a picture of you and that man," she responded, pointing to josh "online in a grocery store and in the beach. Everyone knows your here Eva and as for knowing your house, am sorry but I had someone look for you. I wanted to know if Kevin came here" she answered, her eyes reverting back to the bump.
"Kevin isn't here but shit, someone must have recognised us when you were acting like an utter goofball." I grumbled, throwing josh a frown.
"hey! if I remember correctly at the time you didn't mind me being a goofball." he retorted back with a grin and I hit his shoulder playfully.
"that doesn't look like a 4months pregnancy." stellar grumbled, glaring at my bump.
"that's because there are two babies in there." I snapped.
"what!" two voices yelled and we turned to see jen and Kevin gaping at us.
Kevin looked terrible, he had a few days beard around his jaw, dark circles under his eyes and his face looked thinner and paler, the brown eyes I once loved had turned empty but there was a flicker of life in there as he speared stellar a quick glance. Jen walked over to me and put both hands on the bump gently "why didn't you tell me?" she asked with hurt look in her eyes and I smiled in apology.
"am sorry but the day I found out I came home a mess remember and then afterward I was too busy trying to get myself back together. I have a sonogram picture if you want to see it." her eyes lit up then dimmed when she looked behind me.
"after," she said with a wave of her hand "you have guest to take care of, josh and I will be in the kitchen incase you need us." she said pulling a reluctantly josh along with her, I nodded gently to him mouthing "I'll be fine." when he turned worriedly to stare at me as Kevin stepped forward.
"let's sit on the couch." I said motioning to the living room, I took the sit besides stellar while Kevin took the arm chair.
"am sorry for not believing you before." Kevin mumbled after a few minutes of awkward silence.
"oh please you did, but you just didn't want to deal with the baby and me." I scoffed, they both looked up at me in surprise for calling him out on his bullshit.
"alright then let's start with you kevin, why did you leave your wife and new born baby alone in New York and thought it was wise to come looking for me?" I asked as we both stared at him, waiting for answers.
He cleared his throat uncomfortably and asked "can we talk in private please? I don't want to say it in front of her."
I shook my head "nope, no way. You will say what you have to say right here or leave and deal with your problems yourself." I stated in a strong voice and again they stared at me in surprise.
Stellar bit her lip and slowly stood "I'll just go-"
"sit down," I commanded softly using my hand to stop her but she shrugged me off and went to sit with jen and josh.
I released an irritated breathe "we need to clear this air between the three of us, am starting a new relationship and I don't need anymore baggage in my new life."
Kevin blanched asking "you think am baggage?"
"yes." I answered without hesitation.
He scowled, then asked in confusion "why are you acting this way Eva? Your not the Eva I used to know."
I scoffed "am the same person Kevin, only I do not take your bullshit anymore. You can't just keep barging into my life and expect me to accept you with open arms, Justin called and informed me about the video the reporter took and I watched it. If you came here for advice I'll willing give it but if you were expecting something to happen between us you can very well stop dreaming and go find a willing woman elsewhere." he flinched at my snarky tone and rested his elbows on his knee as he ran a hand through his hair.
"am sorry, I know I've been an asshole to you and even more so the last time we met but I don't know what to do. I feel lost and my heart keeps hurting anytime I see her face, I had to leave the house because I couldn't stand to keep looking at her." he said, his voice lacing with frustration as tears ran down his face.
I softened, feeling pity for him "its normal to feel this way, you're heartbroken."
He sat up straight, cleaning his tear and shook his head in denial "that would mean I actually-"he started then scoffed not wanting to say the words "I hate her Eva after what she did to me."
"who are you trying to convince Kevin? You wouldn't be feeling this way if you didn't love her already. Think about it very carefully Kevin, you keep fighting yourself from stealing glances her way, you can't stop thinking about her even after she hurt you, while I tend to help you through one of you're episode she calms you down with a single touch, being with her brings the feeling of home to mind." I rested my hands on my knees and stared at him seriously "Kevin you wouldn't have left me for her if you didn't want to be with her, baby or not you would have gone to her without so much as a fight and that's why I went a little crazy. Because out of all the women in the world, she was the only one with the potential to break us apart... And she did." he kept silent after that, staring at me at a loss for words.
"b-but, she d-drugged-"
"yes she did and it was a shitty thing to do but we all make mistakes," I cut him off "deep down you know she was kind of a victim in this too, her father manipulated her feelings and fears."
He scoffed "and what makes you so sure."
"anyone who would take a careful look at stellar and study her behaviour would see the truth, you need to talk to her and sought things out and then when your through go see a therapist."
"I will," he nodded and I signed in relief "why are you helping me understand her? I thought you brought her father over that day so he could tell me the truth." he gazed at me with a questioning look in his eyes.
"hmm, at first I arranged to meet at some bar in Brooklyn and planned to pay him a lot to ruin your wedding and maybe even hurt stellar, at the time I really didn't care if she was pregnant or not but then I found out I was pregnant with the twins…" I trailed off as I gently rubbed my bulge "I was in a daze as I was walking home, too shocked by the news of me being pregnant, I wasn't really concentrating on where I was going but almost a little too late I noticed a guy driving his bike carelessly on the side of the road and I quickly pulled away when he almost crashed into me. I think God decided to show me what it will feel like to lose your unborn child by making that guy almost hit me. After that brief feeling of fear and trepidation over losing my baby, it made me realise what I would be putting or rather what I wanted to put stellar through so I bailed on meeting her father. I don't know how he got to the hotel but before he crashed in, I was trying to stop him from entering." I explained with a sad smile.
Kevin bit his lip staring at me in sadness then signed "am sorry for turning you into that person Eva."
"it wasn't your fault-"
"yes it was, I knew the kind of person you were turning into when you finally meet stellar and I didn't put a stop to it. I was looking for a reason to leave you and letting you hurt her was more than enough," he explained looking down in shame at his hands while I gaped.
"Kevin! If I hadn't stopped myself I could have-"
"i know, that's why I thought if I left you it will be alright and you would stop which you did but then I made the mistake of coming back that night and am truly sorry." he begged, looking at me desperately.
I shook my head in disbelief and waved off his apology, fighting back my tears "just forget it, I've decided to forgive so I could be forgiven so just drop it." I stated, swallowing dryly.
He signed in relief staring at me through his tears "thank you."
I nodded and waved him off "go talk to her." he nodded getting up and I followed behind him as he walked over to stellar.
She looked up from the sleeping baby in her arms and stood "we need to talk." he said in a hard voice and she nodded.
"you can use my room, first door on the left." I told them and Kevin turned, heading up the stairs.
Stellar stopped in front of me and mumbled with a shaky smile "thank you."
I shrugged her off her thanks "I accept as long as you forgive me too."
She shook her head "there's nothing to forgive." with that said she left to go upstairs and I walked into josh open arms.
"you okay?" jen asked with a sympathetic look and I smiled, nodding "you did good cousin, sit and let me make you some breakfast. I don't seem to remember my little peanuts eating."
As soon as she said that my stomach grumbled loudly making us all laugh, josh guided me to the dinning table and sat besides me "we heard some of the stuff you were talking about and am really proud of you and the way you handled it but do you think he will listen to your advice?" josh asked, pulling me into his embrace and I shrugged as we watched jen.
"its all in their hands now, they could choose to get pass this or they could go their separate ways. I just hope whatever decision they choose to make, they will make the right ones while considering the baby."
Epilogue: One year later
I sat on the bleachers of Los Angeles stadium on Hollywood park watching the Pre-season game between Los Angeles Rams and Dallas holding onto my baby boy Alexander Hale Mandez while jen held onto Amanda Henrietta Mandez in her arms. Josh had helped me name them at the hospital and he was such a good sport staying with me and putting up with my brief touch with insanity when I was going through labour. If your wondering what happened to Kevin and stellar, well I'll just say that they spent a long while talking and then made the decision to separate. stellar and I have gotten a little closer over the year and she's now living with her beautiful girl Tessa here in L.a. She bought a small house in Agoura Hills where she found a job as a real estate agent while Kevin is currently undergoing serious therapy in some remote island near the pacific ocean, he's not allowed to tell us the name of the place neither can he have visitors due to the privacy of other residents.
He calls me on occasions though to find out about the babies and thankfully he's doing better these days, as for him and stellar getting back together I don't know though stellar still has hope. Last night she called to tell me Kevin called her for the first time ever since he left and that he promised to come over to visit for a few days, to spend time with his daughter. She sounded positively excited on the phone and I smiled remembering how she couldn't hold back a squeal, I hope this time they make things right between them. As for me and josh we're still going strong and I love him more than ever, he's been the best thing to happen to me and I can't help but thank God for sending him into my life.
I stood up with jen screaming when L.A Rams won the game, I looked down at alex who joined in the excitement clapping and squealing as I pointed to the field "daddy won, baby." I said kissing his chubby cheeks.
I tried to locate josh among the crowd of players but couldn't pinpoint his number, I was concentrating so much on looking for him that I didn't notice the commotion on the field. Screams and cheers filled the air as players and the coaches of L.A Rams team took off their helmets and pointed at me, I gaped and exchanged looks of astonishment with jen when one by one the players fell into a straight line then turned with the words "WILL YOU MARRY ME, YES OR YES?" written on the back of their jersey.
I could feel the crowds eyes on me as I covered my mouth in shock, tears slowly cascading down my face, music started playing loudly all through the stadium and I recognised it as TAKE MY HAND by Emily Hackett and Will Anderson. It was the song that was playing on the radio on our first date and I made a teasing joke that if he ever wanted to propose he should play it, the players turned around clapping as the Emily and Will came out from where the players ran out, holding a wireless mike and a guitar. The crowd started clapping and singing along as the players and coaches made their way over towards me, each of them with a single rose. Tears fell and laughter bubbled out as they each handed me a rose and gave me a hug then moved to the other side of the steps in a single line as josh materialized out of nowhere and started walking in my direction, he grinned boyishly as he stood before me then knelt down on one knee with a small blue box raised in the air and a beautiful 4-carat emerald stone that looked suspiciously close to the colour of my eyes nestled inside.
I looked into his eyes and was beyond touched when I saw the love and devotion that lit up his gaze, taking a deep breathe he asked "Eva Mandez, will you marry me?"
Will and Emily stopped singing and hushed silence filled the stadium as everyone waited for my answer, I opened my mouth to answer but a choked sob came out so instead of speaking I nodded my head then finally yelled "YES!"
Will and Emily took that cue to continue the song while the cheers and screams of fans turned deafening, he got up slipping the ring on my middle finger and I sniffed, jumping into his open arms. I completely forgot I was still holding alex, it was when we felt something wiggle between us that we separated. Josh pulled alex into his arms then threw him in the air making him squeal with laughter. Josh had managed to convince me to move in with him last month so we packed all my stuff and moved it into his house, later that night when we got home he and I put the babies into bed then I gave Gus a small kiss on the head. He decided he preferred the kids room to ours and sleeps there now, acting as a permanent bodyguard. In our room I lay in bed with my head on josh shoulders as we cuddled facing each other, I ran my hand through his hair "i can't believe you proposed like that."
He smiled lazily, grabbing my hand to kiss my wrist softly "only the best for my girl."
I smiled with a sign "am so going to be bombarded by the girls tomorrow." I said referring to a few model friends I acquired here.
That's right I forgot to mention I've returned to the model scene again, after I had the kids, through jen and josh encouragement I worked out to lose all the fat I acquired carrying the twins and got back to modelling under justin's company of course. When I told him the news he didn't waist any time in moving the company just for me though the one in New York still remains but under someone else's guidance. I was about to fall asleep but then josh voice woke me up "remember the mystery novels you helped me get rid of last year?" he asked and I nodded slowly "it used to belong to my ex girlfriend, she died 3years ago in a car accident on the way to one of my games and ever since then I had theses panic attacks that comes and goes. I never told you this but we've met before you came over to my place a year ago."
I pushed back so I could see him better and asked "really?"
He nodded "I had visited new york for a friends birthday party and was going back to my hotel but saw an accident on the way, I can't really remember what happened next but I pulled up at the side of a street and got out of the car having a panic attack. A loud ringing sound at the time filled my ear but through that I heard approaching footsteps then warm gentle hands pulling me into a hug and your voice filled my ears, surprisingly the panic attack stopped immediately but I didn't have the heart to pull back. I think I passed out because the next time I woke up I was in an hospital bed, I always thought about that night whenever I had attacks and they surprisingly stopped. I hadn't had an attack for a long time but suddenly it happened and in surprise i swivelled off my lane making contact with a truck, I didn't think I would ever see you again.. until you knocked on my door that day. I was so shocked to hear your voice that I broke a lamp and had to caution myself from running over."
I tried to see if I could recollect anything like that but nothing came to mind "am sorry I can't remember," I mumbled with a pout "but that kind of fate is incredible don't you think?" I asked and he nodded.
"that day I knew my accident was a blessing in disguise, because I got to meet you again and fall in love." he said and I grinned, pulling him closer to into give him a kiss.