Distinction: The Distraction Trilogy #3

BOOK: Distinction: The Distraction Trilogy #3
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Distinction

 

A.
E. Murphy

 

Distinction

 

A. E. Murphy

 

Formatted by Dedicated Ink

 

© A. E. Murphy

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.

Dedication

 

Mum.

I’ve missed you.

Acknowledgements

 

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me endlessly.

To the ladies at S.A.S.S (Struggling author street team services) for continuously pimping my work and asking for nothing in return. I and all of the other authors in the group appreciate all you do.

S.A.S.S. Is in search of pimpers and readers to help expand our happy little family, please, if it’s something that might interest you, let me know. There are paperbacks and other amazing things to be won.

Adriana Rizak-Healing, you are quite possibly one of the most hilarious women that I have ever met. Just to warn you, when I find somebody I click with, I latch on and I don’t let go. You’re mine now.

Elisia Goodman, you are simply fabulous. You’ve helped me so much, taught me so much and I flove you so much. Also, my covers are the best, seriously.

Charlena Barclay, I love you lots. Still searching for the mermaid potion. *Sad Face*

Elizabeth Butts, congratulations on your books and I wish you success in everything you do. I’m proud to call you friend. (Singleish) (Second Hand Purses)

Rivka, as always, you’re amazing. Thank you for plowing through my book despite the fact that you’ve not been feeling great. I can’t wait for the day we actually get to meet in person.

Ali and the kids, your patience and brilliance astounds me. Elif not included… mini time sucking demon that she is. I love you all with every single fibre of my being.

Rue, Mum, Amy, thank you. You’ve made this past year a special one for me. I’ve missed you all.

My readers. You make this gig possible for me and you make this worth it. Thank you. Please don’t be shy in saying hello.

Isaac

March 2020

 

“Honestly,” I chuckle, smiling at my year nine class full of tired looking students. “It’s only forty percent of your grade. No big deal, correct?”

They groan a collective groan and the bell rings, signifying the end of the school day and the beginning of the Easter holidays. For them, not for me. I still have a heap of work to take home with me and only a grumpy, old father to celebrate the season with.

“Mr Price?” A young girl with blonde hair and bright blue eyes stands before me.

“What can I do for you, Polly?”

She hands me her homework piece from three weeks ago and quickly scarpers away.

Why can’t they just put their work in when I ask them to? Why is that so hard?

I shove my things into my briefcase and exit my classroom, leaving it unlocked so the cleaner has access.

After driving back to my place and letting my neighbour know that I’ll be away so she knows to keep an eye on my flat, I double check my suitcase and set off on my two hour drive back to Lily Hill, my home town.

I miss my parents and make this trip as frequently as I can. My dad appreciates the company. I know he gets lonely and it’s times like this that I wish they had another child instead of just me. I feel like they were dealt the short straw in life.

 

Isaac
:
On my way.

 

Dad
:
Don’t text and drive.

 

Grumpy old git.

 

As I enter my home town after a long drive from Boston, I divert from the same route I usually take. I get a peculiar urge to try to see her yet again, so I drive slowly past the Blackburn residence for the first time in a very long time. The lights are on inside but I don’t know who’s home. I’ve driven past before in an attempt to see Eloise, though not for a while. I never have caught a glimpse. She either never visits anymore or she goes to great lengths to avoid me when she does.

I also drive past our house, the house I bought four years ago as a way of showing Eloise how serious I was about her. Seeing it lit up in all of its glory warms my heart. Knowing that another couple lives in there now with their new baby destroys my heart. That could have been us.

I never could sell it, so I rented it instead. Part of me wasn’t ready to let go of that part of my marriage. My short, ‘doomed from the start’ marriage that still plagues my thoughts and dreams.

I wonder if Eloise still thinks about me.

I don’t know what she’s doing, where she is or even how she is. Not for lack of trying, either.

If I didn’t still have photographic evidence of her existence, I wouldn’t believe it even happened.

 

“Whenever I see you these days, you’re always lost in your own mind.” My dad tells me as I stare into a kitchen cupboard. I’m bored and when I get bored I eat.

“Sorry.”

“Don’t apologise,” he chuckles and sits on the stool by the fridge. “Are you planning on staying the entire holidays?”

I shake my head. “Just a few days. I have plans with friends next week and a ton of work to do.”

“Good.” I can see that he means it too. “You’ve really come out of your shell these past two years since moving to Boston.”

“I made friends. I got a life.”

“And your love life?”

Shrugging, I close the cupboards and lean my hip against the counter. “I’m happier single.”

“You need to learn to trust eventually. Otherwise how am I ever going to get me some grandchildren?”

My eyes roll away from him to the picture of me as a baby on the kitchen wall. It’s one of the few pictures I’ve ever allowed of myself to be displayed. “Let’s not replay this broken record.”

“I just want you to be happy.”

“I am happy.” I then add. “Single.”

“You’re not over her.” His brow quirks. It’s very rare that we talk about her.

“I am.”

“If you were, you’d have started dating years ago.”

Sigh. “That’s not it.” If only he knew how I really felt. I’m not sugar coating it. I’m not downplaying it. I just don’t want to date; I have no desire to be with anybody in any kind of romantic way. “Just leave it, please? I’m too tired for this conversation.” Way too tired.

 

Eloise

“I love it,” I say, staring up at the ageing building. “It’s perfect. I can already see it in my mind; the winding driveway through the trees, the cobblestones leading to the door, the lattice windows and old cottage feel. I’ll need to thicken the walls, without taking away the authentic feel of it.”

“You’re sure?” Silas asks, switching on the large camera that hangs on a leather strap around his neck.

I nod. “This is the one.”

He raises the camera to face level and starts snapping picture after picture. When he finishes he smiles warmly at me, showing deep set dimples in his beautiful dark cheeks. His skin is the colour of melting chocolate. His hand slips into mine as our eyes meet, then our fingers entwine.

The real estate agent passes Silas the forms, snapping us out of our moment. “I’ll hold onto it for you for two weeks. That’s all you have before it goes on the market for twenty grand more than what you’ve offered.”

Silas nods and grins down at me from his towering height. He says to the agent without removing his dark eyes from mine, “I’ll have the deposit with you in the morning; that’s not an issue.”

“Good.” He responds and leads us to my car before walking at a slow pace back to his.

I’m almost reluctant to pull away from the beautiful house before me. This is it. This is the place I need to own in order to leave my mark on the world.

Silas switches on the radio after buckling himself into the passenger seat. He nods his head to the music, seeming to be lost in thought.

“Are you happy?” His twinkling brown eyes scan my face. “Genuinely?”

“Can’t you tell?”

He shrugs and I know now that there’s something on his mind. Silas only falls quiet like this when he’s contemplating something. In the eight months we’ve been dating, I’ve come to learn this about him.

He’s such a calming influence on me. I’ve never met somebody more relaxed than Silas. He doesn’t anger or yell; if there’s an issue to be resolved, he takes a moment to himself or a few days to figure things out and then he talks about it, depending on the situation.

I really enjoy this about him. There’s no drama with Silas. What you see is what you get and he’s quite possibly the most pleasant person in my life. He’s always there for me and has been for the past two years, though it took him fourteen months of those two years to convince me to start dating him.

His patience goes beyond comparison.

“What’s wrong?” I ask worriedly, hating the tortured look that seems to be playing across his features at present.

He pulls his lips into his mouth before releasing them with a heavy breath. “I really hate to have this conversation.” He pauses and I’m left wondering what conversation? “Your husband…”

I tense a little. Isaac isn’t exactly an easy subject for me. It’s not because I’m harbouring any feelings for him, but because after I left it was such a dark time for me. It’s not something I like to drag up but I knew this was bound to happen sooner or later.

He continues, “I know we don’t talk about it and I’m fine with that, but this really needs to be said.” Here we go. “You’re still married and you’re planning on putting your name onto a binding document. You’re putting your money and time into a potential future for yourself…” He pauses and turns towards me, his dark brown eyes full of uncertainty. “For us.”

“I know.” It’s true; I do know exactly what he’s getting at. This isn’t about getting married to Silas, but about protecting something we’re both investing in. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.”

He takes my hand over the console as we stare across the way at our beautiful investment that holds so much potential. “I don’t trust that he won’t try and take it from you. By law it will be half his and even though you’ve been separated a long time, I don’t think you should risk arguing that in court.” I open my mouth to respond but he cuts in. “It’s time. You know I love you.”

“I do.” And he does. He’s far too good to me to not love me. “I love you too.” And I do. It’s something I never thought I’d be able to do again but I took a chance and I don’t regret it. Silas is everything a woman could want in a man and he’s mine.

“This isn’t a proposal. We’re not in that place.”

I’m relieved he’s clarified this. I may love him but marriage isn’t on the cards for me… ever. It’s not something I see myself going through again. “I know.”

“But I’d like to be the partner of a free woman. Not a married one.” He drags a hand through the tight, short curls atop his head and bites on his bottom lip. “It wasn’t my place to ask you before, but I’m hoping that now we’re taking this step together and becoming business partners, you’ll consider it.”

Nodding, I put the car into drive and grip the steering wheel. His finger and thumb lightly pinch my chin as he pulls my face around to see him. I feel his soft, warm and welcoming lips against my own and feel my stress just melt away.

Pulling away, he keeps his hand on my cheek and rests his forehead against mine. “I’m sorry for bringing this up here and now. I’ve ruined what should be a celebratory moment.”

Grinning, I push my lips to his once more and pull back to look at him. “You didn’t ruin a thing.”

“So…”

“So I’ll find a solicitor and get the ball rolling.”

“You’ll get a divorce?”

I ignore the nauseous feeling in my stomach and force a smile. “I’ll file for divorce.”

“That’s…” He clears his throat and tries not to look too pleased. “That’s great news. I’m under no illusions that it will be an instant thing, but it’s better to file now. Is there any other way to safeguard your investment?”

“I’ll speak to the solicitor about it.” We sit back and look around us at the thick shrubs and parted trees. “Let’s go.”

 

BOOK: Distinction: The Distraction Trilogy #3
11.61Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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