I got up from the bed and headed for the door, “I can’t listen to any more of this Connor, I’m sorry.”

“Ellery, please, we need to talk about everything,” he pleaded.


“Why, so we can hurt each other again with our words?”

He put his hand on my face as I backed away. “My illness is tearing us apart. You can’t handle your emotions and neither can I. We just end up hurting each other. I have a question for you and I want you to be totally honest with me, are you trying to save me to erase the guilt you’ve harbored over the years about your ex-girlfriend?”

Fuckity fuck…I couldn’t believe I just asked him that. He stared into my eyes with his cold eyes, like all the love he felt for me had just been erased, as if it never existed.

He closed his eyes. “I think it’s best if you go back to California and I stay here.”

He turned around so he didn’t have to look at me. He gave up and it was my fault; I pushed him to this point. Tears streamed down my face as I turned around and walked out the door.

I walked back to the hotel and grabbed my bag. As I was walking out a text from Connor came through. “My private plane is waiting for you to take you back to California. Text Denny your location and he will pick you up.”

The heart wrenching pain reared its ugly head again as I didn’t respond back. I called Denny and within 5 minutes he was at the hotel picking me up. I slid in the backseat. He turned around and looked at me.

“I’m sorry Miss Lane, but I’m going to tell you what I told Mr. Black, you two are the most stubborn people on the face of this earth and you couldn’t be more perfect for each other.”

I gave a small smile. “We are a disaster together.”

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He pulled up to the private landing strip where Connors plane was waiting for me. He opened the door and helped me with my bags.

“Do not let your fear sabotage your relationship with Mr. Black,” Ellery. It’s not fair to you or to him.” I kissed him on the cheek and entered the plane.

“Ellery,” Mason smiled as he met me outside with a big hug. “How are you, we missed you?” He knew the minute he saw the sadness in my eyes things were bad. “Not again” he frowned. He walked me upstairs to my apartment. Peyton was calling so Mason went back downstairs.

“Hi Peyton,” I said.

“What the f**k Elle? What is going on with you two? And why didn’t you call me?”

“I was going to. I wanted to get back to California first. I’m sorry Peyton I just can’t talk about it right now. How did you know?”

She sighed, “I went to Connors place to give you something and he went off on a tangent about you. I looked over and that driver of his was escorting some chick out as she was holding her mouth yelling something about you and telling Connor never to speak to her again. He told me you punched her, is that true?”

“Yeah, I did punch that bitch square in the jaw and she deserved it.”

“That’s my girl,” Peyton shouted. “Make things right with Connor, Elle. He loves you, and you love him and sometimes people do stupid stuff.”

“I know Peyton, but I’m not sure we’re good together as long as I’m sick.”

“Elle, you’re overthinking things again. You don’t want things to be right because you’re scared and I get that, but he’s scared to, and it seems to me that you two don’t get that.”

“It seems like every day I’m finding out something new about him and it’s driving me crazy Peyton.”

“I understand that Elle, but you need to realize that maybe he keeps some things from you because he doesn’t want to hurt you.”

“But not telling me hurts me even more.”

“Then f**king tell him that; talk to him instead of yelling at him and storming out.”

“Peyton, I have to go, we’ll talk later.”

I crawled into my bed and cried myself to sleep, again.

Chapter 41

The days passed slowly as I threw myself into my paintings. One night I was putting the final touches on my painting and I was on my 4th glass of wine when I decided I was going to call Connor. I missed him and I missed hearing his voice and I wasn’t sure if we were even still together. It was nine o’clock L.A. time so it was six o’clock New York time. I hit Connors name on my phone and sat nervously as it rang. After the 3rd ring it went to voicemail. I was just going to hang up, but as soon as the beep sounded I left him a message, “Hi Connor, it’s Elle, I just called to see how you’re doing and how things are going, I guess you’re busy so I’ll talk to you soon, bye.”

I poured another glass of wine and took a sip. I didn’t expect him to call me back. When my phone started ringing and Connors name appeared on my screen, my stomach twisted itself up and my heart started racing. “Hello,” I answered. His voice was deep and low.

“Hey Elle, I see you called?” Hearing his voice made me feel less alone. I grabbed my wine and climbed on the bed.

“Hi, yeah I was just wondering how you were doing.”

“I’m ok, how are you?”

“I’m ok; I was just finishing up a new painting.”

“I’m sure it’s beautiful.”

I smiled, “I could take a picture and send it to you if you want.”

“That would be nice; I would like to see it.”

I decided to go for it and try to carry on a normal, full on conversation.

“So, what have you been up to?” I asked not fully aware if I wanted to know the answer.

“Not much, I’ve been working a lot. What have you been up to?” he asked me.

“Nothing really, I’ve been doing a lot of painting.”

“How are you feeling?” he asked.

“Ok I guess.” What I really wanted to say was that I was feeling like f**king shit because I miss him so much.

“I’m sorry Elle, I have to get going, Cassidy and Camden are in the city and I’m taking them to dinner, they should be here any minute.”

“Oh ok, tell Cassidy I said hi and give Camden a big hug for me.”

“I will Elle, thanks for calling.”

“Sure no problem, I’ll talk to you soon, bye Connor.”

“Bye Elle.”

I held the phone to my chest, closed my eyes and took in a deep breath.

A couple of days went by and I didn’t hear from Connor, so I took it as my cue that we were over. I figured since I made the first move he would contact me again. He obviously moved on so maybe I needed to try to do the same. Drinking had become a daily routine for me lately, downing a bottle wine every night before bed helped me sleep.

I walked to the local store where I took my VHS tape that my mother put in the safe deposit box and had it converted to a DVD. The minute I got home, I put it in my DVD player and sat on the couch. My eyes filled with tears when she appeared on the screen. She was more beautiful than I remembered her. Her long blonde hair was like mine and we shared the same eyes. No wonder why my dad drank so much, I was the spitting image of my mother and he was reminded of her every time he looked at me.

“Happy 18th birthday angel. I’m sorry I can’t be there with you physically, but I am with you spiritually. You’re all grown up now and you’ll be heading off to college soon. Make sure you go somewhere you can stay on campus because I want you to have the full college experience like I did. I wish I could have watched you grow up, but God had other plans for me. Once college is finished you’ll get a fantastic job, meet a wonderful man, get married and have children of your own. Please follow my advice and do it exactly in the order. I know being raised without a mom was tough on you Ellery, but I know you’re a strong woman and you can handle anything that is thrown your way. You deserve only the best my sweet girl and don’t you ever forget it. I will be with you and guide you through the rest of your life. Remember, there’s nothing more beautiful and peaceful than the sunset setting over the blue ocean waters. Live your life in peace baby girl and remember I will always love you.”

I sobbed as I watched her say goodbye. If there was a time I ever needed Connor it was right now. I picked up my phone and dialed his number; I just needed to hear his voice. He didn’t answer and this time I didn’t leave a message.

I called Mason and asked him if he and Landon wanted to go to a club. I desperately needed to get out of this damn apartment and forget about my life for a night. Mason loved the idea, but said it would only be the two of us because Landon wasn’t feeling well. I put on my short black skirt, a black and white color block halter top which showed off my cl**vage and my high black boots. I curled my hair and put on more makeup than I usually wear. I wanted to look and feel sexy, even if it was for just one night.

Mason whistled as I opened the door, “Look at you sexy kitten.”

I smiled and twirled around, “You like?”

“Like? I love and you may just totally turn g*y men straight.”

I smacked him on the arm, grabbed my purse and left for the club. We were in the cab and my phone started to ring, it was Connor. I didn’t answer; I wasn’t going to think about him tonight.

We walked into the club and I pulled Mason straight to the bar. “Line up 4 tequila shots with lime,” I shouted to the bartender. He lined up 4 shot glasses, each with a lime in front of them and some salt. I licked the salt, downed the shot and sucked the lime. “Hey yeah” I yelled.

“Your turn,” I yelled at Mason. We both did 2 shots each and then hit the dance floor. It was packed and there was a lot of bumping and grinding going on. I danced like I never had before. Tonight was about me and having some fun, for the first time in a long time. After dancing for a while, we headed back to the bar, “Line em up, this time 8 tequila shots,” I said. Mason was all for it as we slammed them down together, I slammed six, he could only do two. The room was starting to spin but I was feeling good. The floor was thumping beneath our feet as I dragged Mason back to the dance floor. I was enjoying the music as we were moving back and forth against each other when I felt someone grinding up against my body. I turned around to this sexy looking man who was trying to talk to me.

“Hey, I’m Chris and you are one beautiful woman.”

I smiled as I danced with him, swaying my h*ps from side to side as he grabbed my waist. He turned me around so my ass was up against his erection. I wasn’t paying attention as I was too drunk to care. I was watching Mason a few feet away from me dancing with some random girl when I felt his hands take a tighter grab on my hips. I moved my hands up and down his arms taking in his muscular form as I moved my body up and down his. I turned around and came to a complete stand still when it was no longer Chris at my side, it was Connor. His eyes were enraged as he looked at me.

“Let’s go now,” he ordered. My heart started racing and I started to sweat. What the hell was he doing here and why?

“What the f**k are you doing here Connor?”

“Why don’t you tell me that Ellery?” His voice was angry.

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