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Until You - Chapter 25

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*Chloe's POV*

"What makes you think I love him?" I ask Ray, as we place fresh cups near the coffee machines.
"Huh?" He shoots me a confused look.
"What makes you think I love Jacob?"
Ray stares at me, eyebrows raised in surprise.
"Excuse me?" When I wait for him to answer my question, he laughs incredulously. "Can we do this somewhere more private?"

Shrugging, I lead Ray to my office. He closes the door behind him as I sit down on the couch. Perching at the edge of my desk, he watches me for a few moments.
"You haven't realized it yet have you?"
"Realized what?"
Sighing, Ray runs a hand through his hair. "Okay. Answer this. When I say Jacob, what comes to mind? How do you feel?"
"Happy. Caring. Understanding. Supportive. Handsome. Attentive. Confident. Lucky. Mine."
He smiles, "Imagine he heard all of that. What I'd give to see 'hi' expression!" I glare at him, blushing and chuckling, Ray continues. "If he left, how would you feel Chlo?"

I stare at him, my stomach dropping.
How would I feel if Jacob left?

Broken. He's become such a big part of my life. Even before we started going out officially, he'd always drop in randomly at the bakery. And once he did ask me to become his girlfriend, it's like every minute we're not working or separated because of his traveling, we're together.

Him standing with flowers one Monday morning flashes through my head. Our first date, my first trip to Victoria. The day I'd taken him to the CN Tower and his expression when he's stood on the glass floor, looking down at the city. My birthday party. All of our nights spent together.

My life's become the sort of fairytale I've always dreamed about.

I don't realize Ray's sitting beside me until I feel him taking my hands between his.
"Is it even a fraction of what you felt when you broke up with that asshole?" When I stare up at him, Ray tucks a lock of my hair behind my ear. "Now you know."
A knock at the door makes him pull back and I shake my head.
"Yeah? Come in."
The door opens and Foster looks in.
"Are you busy? I need to talk to you."
Ray gets up. "I was just leaving." With a last glance at me, he leaves.
"Come in Foster."
"I need your help."

I pull open the door to the driver's side and slip in. Jacob glances at me as he buckles up and I shoot him a smile. Slipping the key in, I turn on the engine and music blasts through the speakers.
"Oops!" I quickly turn the volume down and then start backing out of the parking lot.
What can I do to help?
I tap my fingers on the steering wheel, thinking.
"That's really nice."
"Huh?" Pulled out of my thoughts, I turn to Jacob.
He gives me a funny look. "This song, I like the beginning."
I glance at the stereo and press the previous button so it restarts.
"I was giving Alice a ride yesterday, she must have forgotten her CD." I chuckle as I realize it's her high school musical soundtracks. She's so obsessed with the movies.

"Once in a lifetime,
Means there's no second chance,
So I believe that you and me,
Should grab it while we can,
Make it last forever,
And never give it back,
It's our turn and I'm loving where we're at,
Because this moments really all we have,
Every day,
Of our lives,
Want to find you there,
Want to hold on tight,
Gonna run,
While we're young,
And keep the faith..."


I glance at Jacob and he holds my gaze, like he's trying to say something. As the chorus starts again, he tries to sing and I crack up.

"Everyday from... of our lives want to find you there, want to hold on tight." He glares at me. "Don't laugh! I'm sure I sing better than you." He reaches over and turns off the stereo.
"Sure Jake. You do."
"So, what's wrong? Something's on your mind."
I sigh, coming to a stop at the boutique he wanted to come to. He'd called me an hour ago saying he needed to buy a suit and wanted me to come with him.
"It's Foster."
"What's wrong? I noticed he wasn't there."
"Yeah." I sigh, "This close friend of his died a month ago. He was really young and didn't have a will. His family took everything and his wife and daughter are left with absolutely nothing. His daughter's just two Jacob," I turn to him, troubled. "And the wife's heavily pregnant, she's due soon. They took the house, everything."
"Why?" He asks, shocked.
I shrug. "They never accepted her. She's an orphan, has no living family she knows and that somehow made her look unworthy in their eyes or something. She's living in a cheap hotel right now."
"There has to be something. The wife gets a share, no matter what."
"But he didn't leave a will."
"So? The house must have been in his name right? She's married to him, she has the right to keep it. I'm going to look into this." He frowns, thinking.

Relief floods through me and I sigh. "Thank you. I've given Foster however long he needs to take to help them and I told him to come in the evening, that I'll have something ready by then, but there has to be something more we can do. She can't work, she needs to rest."
He reaches over and takes my hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze. "I'll help. Don't worry sweetheart."
"Thank you." He tugs my arm and I lean over and rest my head on his shoulder. "You're the best."
"No Chloe, it's you. I can't get over how bighearted you are. You help your staff out so much, it's incredible!"
I pull back, "They get what they work hard for."
He shakes his head, "You help them much more beyond that. Tarek was telling me just the other day how much you did when his mother passed away. Then there's Darren and Alice, you treat them like your own kids. It's all you sweetheart. I'm so honored to say you're mine."
Those last words remind me of my conversation with Ray and I drop my eyes, my cheeks coloring.
"So, you wanted a suit?"
Chuckling, Jacob follows me out of the car.
"What's the suit for anyway?"
"Yeah, I meant to ask you. What are you doing for Christmas?"
Crap. Wrong question.
"Why?" I glance at him as I look through the suits.
"Just wondering. Any plans?"
I shrug. "Not yet. I should go up to my parents. I can't leave Ray alone, I've never left him for the past ten Christmases. He doesn't have any family to go too."
Jacob sighs. "I should spend it with my mother as well. But," he tilts my face up towards him. "It's our first Christmas, I want to spend it together."
"I know. Me too."
"What should we do?"

I pull out a blue pinstripe suit and hold it up.
"Do you like this?"
"Yeah," he runs his fingers over the buttons. "It's great."
I make to drape it over my arm but he takes it from me and holds it.
"Well, how about this. I'll go up to Ottawa on the 24th and bring my parents down for Christmas Eve over here. And we'll have a party the next day, Christmas morning. And you could bring your mo-"
"My mom. I'll leave with you for Kingston the same day and bring Mom back as well."
"Yeah and we'll have a party at my place."
"Or we could go out. Having a party at your place means you'll have work. We'll go out."
I shake my head, glancing up at him. "It's Christmas, we should have it at home. It'll be no work. My Mom and I love spending time in the kitchen."
"But then how will the two of us spend time together?"
"We'll all have lunch together..." I hesitate.
"And then later on in the evening I'll whisk you away."

Blushing, I look up at him to see him watching me closely, a smile playing on his lips.
"So, the suit?"
"Oh, yeah. The company always has a huge party on New Year's Eve. Red carpet event, photographers and all."
"I see. Must be pretty big."
"It is." I glance at him and see him fiddling with the lapel of the suit he's holding. "I was hoping you'd accompany me."
"What?!" I whirl around, surprised.
"Why are you so surprised? Of course I want my gorgeous girlfriend with me to show off to everyone."
"But... but I don't think..."
"Hey, think about it. I don't need an answer right now."
"Okay."
"Shall I try it on?" He holds out the blue one and I nod.
"Yeah, go ahead."

"Can we just stop by my place for a minute? I need to grab something." Jacob asks as we start heading back to the bakery.
"Sure." I turn the car around towards downtown.
I wait for him in the car as he runs upstairs to his room. Jacob returns with an envelope five minutes later.
"I'm sorry! The elevator took forever."
"It's okay."
Leaning across, he brushes his lips across my cheek.
"Give this to Foster for me yeah? It's for the family."
"Thanks Jacob. It means a lot."
"It's nothing." He shrugs.
I take the envelope from him before turning off the engine and getting out.

"Come on guys! Turn it up!" I call over my shoulder as I carry the box of decorations into the front. Tarek follows with another box.
Darren turns on the music. "Yeah! Let's start the par-tay!"

*************************************************************************************

Alice laughs and follows him around the bar. The rest of the staff are behind them. It's a Little Miracles tradition that we all decorate a tree the day before we close for Christmas and New Years.

"Come on boys!" Alice and I cheer as Tarek, Darren and Foster race to see who'll finish hanging the lights first. It's the only part we don't like, and Alice and I had managed to trick them into doing it.
"Yeah! Come on Darren!" Alice jumps as he unwinds the last coil of lights in his hands.
"Hurry!"
"Yeah! Foster!" I cheer as he raises his hands up. "You won! And the Christmas lights champion is... Foster!"
"Yeah!" He exchanges a high five with me, grinning.

*************************************************************************************

"Drive carefully okay? Eyes on the road at all times."
"Okay." I smile. "You're going to be behind me half the time anyway until you turn off for Kingston."
"Yeah it's the other half I'm worried about."
Draping my arms around his neck, I press my forehead against his. "I'll be fine."
"Okay." He captures my lips in a delicious kiss and when he pulls back, we just stare at one another for a few moments. "Better hit the road."
"I'm right behind you."
I get into my car and start the engine, watching as Jacob gets into his Porsche.

Just as we're driving past Brampton's outskirts, my phone rings. I glance at the screen by the steering wheel.
Jacob.
"Hey!"
"Hi. Listen, we'll stop at the rest area just before Kingston, yeah?"
"Okay, sure!"

The drive is uneventful. I think back to my shopping trip yesterday that turned out very successful. I bought Ray a Cartier watch, something I saw him looking at on my laptop a few weeks ago. For Amelia I got a beauty set complete with scented body cream, perfume and candle. Jacob was the difficult one. I wasn't kidding when I asked Ray what you get for someone who has everything.

First I got this really nice Kenneth Cole wallet, but that definitely didn't look enough. Then by chance I walked into Burberry and saw the most gorgeous black belt and I bought that as well. My last purchase yesterday was a pair of black Gucci cufflinks.

The last rest area near Kingston we both pull off in. While I get freshened up in the washroom, Jacob gets us a hot cup of coffee to share from the vending machine as well as a bag of chips.

Half an hour later, we both part. I continue on the Ottawa and Jacob turns into Kingston.
"You didn't have to drive up all the way here! You should have just spent your Christmas with your Jacob. Or called us, we'd have driven down today to yours instead of you making two trips in one day honey!" Mom scolds me lightly once I've hugged her and Dad, and we've sat down in the living room.

"I wanted to come home, even if for just a little bit."
"Okay then." She smiles warmly.
Dad leans back in his chair, watching me. "You look great love. Everything going well?"
"Yes Dad, everything's great."

He gestures towards the tree they've both decorated. "We're waiting for you to put the star up. Like you've been doing for the past twenty-nine years."
I look towards the tree standing proudly by the fireplace. "It looks great!"
"Your mother didn't want to get one. Said it was no use as it's just the two of us. But we've always had a tree up during Christmas, it didn't seem right so I convinced her." He winks at me, a sly grin tugging at his lips. "Reminded her all life doesn't stop just because our baby girl's all grown up."

I laugh, "Of course it doesn't! And your baby girl still wants to spend every Christmas with you!"
"I told you so. My princess wouldn't let me down."
Mom raises her hands. "Okay, okay. I get it. If Ray were here he'd be taking my side!"
"He's so excited you're coming to stay! Wanted to stay home and keep everything tidy."
Mom chuckles, "We won't be staying over at yours darling."
"Why?" I frown, looking at the two of them. "Where are you going?"
"We'll get a hotel room."
"Daaad!"
"It wasn't my idea." He quickly replies.
"You're staying at my place!"
"Then what about you? You said Jacob's mother is coming as well."
"We'll work it out. We can manage for a few days!"
"We're not going to be putting Ray out though."
"He'd be very upset to hear that. You're like his parents you know. And you'll be staying in my room. No arguments." I raise a hand as Mom makes to object.
She smiles. "Alright."
"So, come on Princess. Let's put up the star."

I pick up the star we've used since I was born and stand by the tree as Dad gets his camera. He takes a photo every year of me placing the star and has a whole album filled with twenty-eight Christmases of tree decorating.
"Turn towards the tree slightly. Yes, that's it."
Reaching up, I place it at the top, it's place of honor and see the flash as Dad captures the moment.
"I need to pack for how many days?" He asks, putting his camera away.
"Four."
"Four?" Mom asks, raising her eyebrows.
"Yes Mom, four."
Laughing softly, she shakes her head, deciding not to argue.

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Dad refuses to let me hold their bags so after knocking loudly on the front door, I unlock it.
"We're home!" I call into the apartment, which sounds empty.
"I thought you said Ray's home." Mom says following me in. Dad's right behind her. He places their bags in the hallway and looks around.
"Mom! Dad!" Ray comes out of his bedroom in a fresh shirt, his hair brushed back messily.
"Look at you! Have you grown taller?" Mom asks as he leans down slightly to hug her.
"No, I don't think so." He grins, dropping a kiss on her cheek. "Hi Dad."
"How are you?" Dad smiles at him warmly.
"I'm great now that you're here! Come inside."
I chuckle, watching as he leads my parents into the living room. Taking the opportunity, I take their bags into my room and do a quick check to make sure everything's tidy.

"Hey."
"Hey beautiful. Reached home safely?" Jacob asks.
"Yeah. Where are you?"
"On our way back."
I frown, glancing towards the window. "It's dark."
"I'll be home in half an hour."
"Drive carefully."
"I will." It's silent for a few moments until he sighs, "I'll call you later alright?"
"Okay. Take care."
"You too hun. Say hi to your parents."
"Will do. Bye."

The tree Ray, Jacob and I decorated is surrounded with gifts by the time I make a last round of the apartment and head off for bed in Ray's bedroom. Mom and Dad must have sneaked their presents under while I was in the washroom.

The next morning, everyone's up early. The house is in full swing. Mom and I are in the kitchen, first making breakfast and then as the men head out of the kitchen, starting on lunch. Ray's going around the house setting up chairs in the living room and Dad's sitting and reading the paper.

Jacob calls around twelve saying they've just left the Ritz. Leaving Mom for ten minutes, I hurry into my room to get dressed.
"Chloe! They're here!" Ray sticks his head into the kitchen just as there's a loud knock on the door. Trying to catch me running to it because Jacob's here.
"Let them in." I say over my shoulder.
Mom laughs, "She knows you too well. You can't fool her Ray."
"I can try! And hope." He says as he heads towards the door.

Seconds later, the apartment's full of talking and laughter. Mom pulls out the casserole from the oven and places it on a hot mat before turning to me.
"I'll just go greet them." She shoots me a smile and hanging her mitts up, leaves.

"Hey."
I turn around at the sound of his voice, still holding the cup full of soapsuds. He looks divine in faded blue jeans and a gray sweater that's hugging his chest.
"Hey. Merry Christmas!" My eyes flick over behind him to make sure no one's around.
Sounds like they're all in the living room.
He glances over his shoulder as well before walking up to me.
"Merry Christmas beautiful." His fingers curl around my chin as he leans in and covers my mouth with his warm lips. When he pulls back, he chuckles. "I feel like a teenager, hiding from our parents."
I laugh, "I know!"
"Can we sneak out now?"
My mouth falls open. "No way mister. My Mom and I spent the whole morning making lunch and you want to leave? You're sticking around!"
He sighs, "It was just a thought." Jacob smiles. "What are you doing?"
"Just finishing off these dishes. You go on, I'll be right there."
"No way. If you're staying in the kitchen, then I'm helping. Come on."
"Jacob, I'll be done in five minutes!"
"Let's make it three yeah? You soap them, I'll rinse."

Sighing, I let him stand beside me and help out. And we finish in three minutes like he said.
We're leaving the kitchen when I feel his fingers circle my arm.
"I don't know how long it's going to be before I can do this again." And with that he gives me a light kiss.

Ray smirks as we enter and I just roll my eyes, ignoring him, before sinking down on the couch next to Jacob's Mom.

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*Ray's POV*

It's just becoming dark when Chloe and Jacob leave. Hearing the front door close behind them, the adults, excluding me of course, all exchange smiles. It's silent for a moment before they turn to me.

Let the questioning begin.
The best thing about staying back with the adults while Chloe and loverboy leave is that I'll be spoiled. Not that I'm already not. I eye the pile of gifts I'd gotten from Chloe's parents, Chloe, Jacob and his mother.

And the best part is that they loved what I'd gotten them! I was really worried where I'd have gone wrong somewhere.
"They look really happy." Jacob's mom, Janet, says.
"They do." Emma agrees.
"They are." I put in and then chuckle.
Chloe's father looks at me. "She still stays here right?"
I smile. "Are you worried that I'm staying by myself or that she's staying with him?"
He grins. "Both."

"She stays here. She just spends a few nights there say if he's traveling the next day or something." I shake my head, smiling. "The two of them are inseparable!"
"I haven't ever seen my son so happy. You can tell."
"Is it true he hasn't gone out for a while?" I ask, leaning forward.
She nods. "Yeah, it's been years! Ever since his father died he's been working hard and looking after me."
"The only thing is, he's doesn't live here."
"He doesn't?" Emma asks, shocked.
I shake my head. "He's here for work."
"But it's been months!"
I sigh, shrugging. "I don't know. All I know is that he doesn't stay here, just came here for work."
"He hasn't said anything?" Janet asks, slowly. "I think he's transferring here."
"Really?" I gasp, surprised and overjoyed.
"Yes, at least that's what I understood from what he's been saying. It isn't anything concrete yet. I think he wants to surprise Chloe."
"I won't say anything! I promise."
"I hope he does." Emma sighs.
"Yeah."
"Any idea what they're up to tonight?" Her father asks.
I shake my head. "No, but I'm sure I'll hear all about it after."
Janet smiles. "He's such a romantic, I'm sure he got it from his father." She looks around at us, grinning. "He told me what he's got planned for tonight. Of course the obvious things were omitted but..."
"What is it?" I ask, leaning forward.
She laughs, "Well..."

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*Chloe's POV*

"We're coming back here?" I groan as he parks the car in front of the Ritz. "We should have just stayed back!"
"What?" He looks at me, frowning. "You don't think a night spent in bed, cuddling is fun?"
I laugh, "Say that again!"
"What?" His frown deepens.
"Cuddling! It sounded so cute." I chuckle.

Rolling his eyes, he turns off the engine and gets out. I follow him around the car, slipping my hand into his.
"I'm sorry. Of course it sounds fun! I'll be with you right?"

He turns to me, his expression blank and his eyes bore into mine. I can't look away, riveted by his intense gaze.
Breaking into a beautiful smile, he leans in and kisses my cheek. "Too bad, I've got something planned."
"What?" I ask, breathless as he starts leading my down the sidewalk away from the Ritz.
"You'll see." He shoots me a mysterious smile and I follow him.

Turning around the corner, we walk down the sidewalk that's lit up with fairy lights.
I gasp, raising my hand up to cover my mouth. Just ahead of us is a gorgeous chestnut horse, its rich coat specked with snowflakes, attached to a large sleigh.
"Jacob?" I breathe out questioningly.
"Yes, sweetheart?"
Smiling, he leads me up to the sleigh and the bearded-friendly looking man sitting behind the horse descends, smiling.
"Good Evening ma'am, sir." He nods.

Jacob turns to me, smiling and completely charmed, I take the hand he holds out and climb onto the sleigh. Jacob climbs in after me and as he sits down, his arms come around me, pulling me into his chest.

Yeah, I so love this man.

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Replies to comments

Praiser - Am glad you enjoyed! Lol! Thank you! Yes my first commenter of the chapter! Congrat.

Renae Oropeza - Thanks so much!

BriBri - Never too old for a snowball fight are we? I know, I'm sure that was a shocker to Jacob and Ray that she didn't care, go Chloe! Thanks so much!

Anjana - So do I! Thanks so much!

Maddz - Thanks so much! Haha yeah she would have lit up the whole place with fire if she could, she must have been steaming mad lol, I know right? Such a surprise she cooperated! Ray's a gem. Ooh there might be more Ben appearances no worries. Thanks so much!

Britt - Aw I'm so glad! Thanks so much!

Athenaelite - Lol Thanks so much!

Grace - Okay I really don't understand how it's wrong if Jacob pays. He lives there and so they'll just add it to his room payment. He isn't showing off. Neither Ben nor his girlfriend work in Jacob's company. Ben's girlfriend is an accountant but that's it. Thanks!

Lucy - Exactly! You know me too well. Oh no worries, I'm sure there's more humiliation in store for the two of them. A snowball fight is amazing I can assure you. Enjoy!

Queenie - It's alright! But I missed your comments! I know, Jacob's the best! Thanks so much!

PH - Haha revenge is sweet isn't it? I'm So glad you enjoyed it! I wish I had a Ray to shop with haha would be awesome. You're telling me! I have no idea what I'm going to do! I'm gonna miss Jacob so much ( Aww I'm so glad you love it) and flattered. Really means a lot to me. Thanks!

Jar - I can imagine! Haha you and your 'aww's. Yeah Ray so had it coming! Thanks so much Jar Of Wonders. Love you too.

Maha - Thanks a lot! Will do.
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Published: 2/25/2013
Bouquets and Brickbats | What Others Said