“What? How?” I asked.

“Back when you were about eight years old and I bought a new Range Rover. You wanted to come with me to the dealership and Jake was there. He was sitting behind his father’s desk. The dealership had a playroom and your father asked you to take Julia and show her the toys while we went over the numbers for the purchase.”


“See, I told you I felt like we’d met before,” Jake said as he smiled at me.

I wished I would have remembered that, but I didn’t. Jake and my dad continued to talk while my mom pulled me into the living room.

“Oh my God, Julia. He’s hot.” She smiled.

“He took my breath away, Mom.”

“Sweetheart.” She smiled as she put her hand on the side of my face. “I don’t know what to say except ‘be careful.’”

I smiled at her as she placed her arm around me and we walked back into the kitchen. Jake turned around and flashed me a smile.

“Mr. Black, would it be all right with you and Mrs. Black if I took Julia on a date?”

I looked at my mom and she was grinning from ear to ear. My dad looked at me and then back at Jake before giving his answer.

“Yes, Jake. You may take my daughter on a date.” He smiled as he put his hand on Jake’s shoulder.

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Jake walked over to me as his amazing green eyes stared into mine. “Julia, I know we’ve only known each other a couple of hours, but I was hoping you would do me the honor of going on a date with me tomorrow night.”

I was so excited that I wanted to scream “yes!” and jump up and down, but I remained calm and smiled at him as I nodded my head and told him yes. He continued to smile at me as he nodded his head like he was happy with my answer. The fact that he asked my parents first scored him big points. As the guests were starting to leave, Jake said that he should get going. When I walked him down to the beach, he pulled his phone from his pocket and asked me for my number. I gave it to him and he told me that he’d text me so that I would have his.

“Goodnight, Julia Black. I’m looking forward to our date tomorrow night. How about I pick you up around seven o’clock?”

“Seven o’clock is perfect.” I smiled.

He leaned closer to me, kissed me lightly on the cheek, and began to walk away. I called his name and he turned around. I put my hand up and gave him a small wave.

“Goodnight, Jake Jensen.” I smiled.

“Sweet dreams, Julia,” he said as he turned back and walked down the beach.

I said goodbye to the last guest and closed the door. I leaned up against it and sighed. My mom walked over to me and smiled.

“What a great party, but I’m glad it’s over.”

“Me too, Mom. Thank you for everything.”

“Aw, you’re welcome, sweetheart,” she said as she hugged me.

I went upstairs and started a hot bath. I twisted my hair up, set my phone on the edge of the tub, and climbed in. I slid down until my head rested comfortably on the bath pillow. As I closed my eyes, the sweet smile of Jake Jensen filled my head. I couldn’t help but think of his almost six foot height and his light brown, tousled hair, which made him even sexier. The shape of his lips and the smile that came from them. A smile that made his green eyes light up and captivate me when he looked into mine. As I was dreaming about Jake, my phone beeped. I opened my eyes and looked over to see a text message from him. My heartbeat picked up pace as I read his message.

“Hi, Julia. It’s me, Jake. I just wanted to say goodnight and that I can’t wait until our date tomorrow night.”

I smiled because I couldn’t wait either. I dried off my hands and quickly responded.

“Hi, Jake. I’m very excited for our date. I can’t wait to see you again.”

I stepped out of the tub and changed into my pajamas. I looked at the clock and it was two a.m. I walked downstairs to get a glass of water and I saw my dad sitting on the couch in the living room.

“Dad, it’s late. Why aren’t you in bed?” I asked as I sat down next to him.

“I’ll be heading upstairs soon, Princess. Shouldn’t you be in bed? You’ve had a long day.”

“I just came down for a glass of water,” I said as I sat down next to him.

“I want you to know that I like Jake and I approve.” He smiled as he put his arm around me.

“I like Jake too, and I’m glad you approve. But you do know that even if you didn’t approve, it wouldn’t have mattered.

“I know,” he sighed. “The women in my family are very defiant.”

“That’s because we don’t like to be controlled, Mr. Black,” my mom said as she entered the room. “There’s only one place where I let you control me.” She winked.

My dad got up from the couch and put his hands on my mom’s hips. “Would you like me to control you right now?” he asked with a smile.

“Oh my God! I’m going to bed!” I exclaimed as I got up and ran up the stairs before I could hear any more.

I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and started making our family Sunday breakfast. My mom and dad walked into the kitchen just as I started to make the eggs.

“Good morning, Princess. What’s all this?” my dad asked as he kissed me on the head.

“I couldn’t sleep, so I thought that I’d make breakfast today.”

“Morning, baby,” my mom said sleepily as she kissed me.

“Morning, Mom. Can you go wake up Collin?”

My dad poured some coffee and sat down at the table. “Why couldn’t you sleep? Were you thinking about Jake?”

I turned to him and smiled. “Maybe.”

Collin and my mom walked into the kitchen. Collin looked so tired. “You look tired,” I said as I poured him some coffee.

“Gee, maybe if I wasn’t kept up all night, I wouldn’t be so tired. Let me tell the two of you something,” Collin said as he looked at our parents. “I can appreciate how much you two love each other, but you’re old and you have sex like you’re in your twenties. When you bought this house, you obviously didn’t consider the bedroom situation because my room is right next to yours and you don’t seem to care whether I can hear you or not. I’m asking you to please add on another bedroom to the house, preferably way on the other side of where my bedroom is.”

I stood there, with the spatula in my hand, in shock at what my brother had just said to our parents. My mom and dad looked at each other and then at Collin.

“Okay, son. We’ll add on another bedroom,” Dad said.

“That’s a great idea, Collin. I’m surprised we haven’t thought about it before.” Mom smiled.

“You know, Ellery, the family will only grow, so maybe we should just expand the house with more than just a bedroom. Think about it. Julia and Collin will get married someday and have kids of their own, and we’ll want them here in the summer to visit, so we need to make sure we have the room.”

“I agree, Connor, and I think we should do it.”

“Oh, Dad,” I said. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about. It’s about that scholarship I won. We don’t need it, and there are students out there that do. Can we give the scholarship to someone else? To someone who really needs it?”

“I already thought of that, and I left a message for the dean. I don’t see why not, and if we can’t, I’ll just match the scholarship and give it to someone in need.”

“Thanks, Dad.” I smiled as I got up from the table.

I started to clean up, but my mom told me to go and get dressed because she was taking me shopping for a new outfit for my date with Jake. It was unexpected and I was so excited. She and my dad cleaned up, Collin went back to bed, and I went to my room and got dressed. As I was brushing my hair, my phone beeped with a text message from Jake.

“Good morning. I hope you slept better than I did. I can’t wait to see you later. Have a great day, Julia.”

“Good morning, Jake. I didn’t sleep at all. I just got done making breakfast for my family and now me and my mom are going shopping.”

“You cook? You’re even more perfect than I thought.”

My heart melted when he said that I was perfect. This feeling that had overtaken me was something I couldn’t describe. I’d never felt anything like it.

“Don’t put me on that pedestal yet. I can only manage to cook breakfast foods.”

“I’ve already put you up on that pedestal, Julia. I’ll talk to you later, my dad is calling me.”

“Bye, Jake.”

My mom and I went into the city and shopped all day. She told me that it would make the day go by faster for me and she was right. As we were leaving Starbucks, I ran right into a guy as he was coming in.

“Oh my God, I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you,” I apologized.

“No, it’s—Ellery?” he asked.

“Kyle?” She smiled as she gave him a hug. “It’s nice to see you. Wow, it’s been what? At least ten years?”

“Yeah, I think so. It’s good to see you, Ellery. This beautiful girl must be Julia?”

“Yes, this is my daughter, Julia. Julia, this is Kyle. We used to date.”

“I would call it more than dating. We lived together for four years.” He smiled.

It suddenly hit me. This was the guy my mom had talked about. He was her ex-boyfriend. “It’s nice to meet you.” I smiled.

“Oh boy, Elle, she has your smile.”

“How have you been?” she asked him.

“I’m okay. I’m VP of the accounting firm and I’ve just ended my second marriage.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Nah, don’t be. I just haven’t found the right woman to spend the rest of my life with yet,” he said as he looked at her with sad eyes.

She put her hand on his arm. “You will, Kyle. She’s out there somewhere.”

“I think I already lost her,” he said as he stared into her eyes.

“Mom, look at the time. We need to get going.”

“You’re right, sweetie. It was good seeing you, Kyle. Good luck with everything.”

“Thanks, Elle. It was great seeing you too. It was nice to meet you, Julia.” He smiled.

As we began to walk away, Kyle called my mom’s name.

“How’s Connor?” he asked.

She turned around and gave him the biggest smile. “Connor is wonderful.”

“Good. Tell him I said hi.”

We continued walking down the street, stopping into one more store before heading home.

Chapter 12

I sat down at my vanity and put on my makeup. There was a knock on the door and my dad asked if he could come in.

“I just wanted to let you know that I spoke with the Dean of Columbia and he said it wouldn’t be a problem to give the scholarship to someone else as a donation.”

“That’s great news, Dad. Oh, by the way, mom’s ex-boyfriend, Kyle, said to tell you hi.”

“What?” he asked. “When did you see him?”

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