It's almost midnight when I get home. I open the door quietly, stepping into the apartment. I'd dropped Darren on the way back from the party. It was late enough and being a school night, I didn't want him not waking up tomorrow morning. The rest of the staff, excluding Alice, were waiting at the bakery for us, wanting to know how it went.
The television is on loud and I stand in the hallway for a minute, deliberating. Fine then if that's how he wants it to be.
I head straight into our bedroom and after emptying the contents of my purse, grab my pajamas and head to the bathroom. I spend half an hour under the hot jets of water, analyzing everything that took place tonight. It was successful in every point, the food was delicious, Mike was really pleased and I got a lot of publicity. I handed out so many cards and got asked about where my bakery was numerous times. I smile to myself, elated.
Ben was the only damper on the evening.
I reluctantly leave the relaxing shower and change. When I enter our room, Ben is sitting on the bed. He looks up but I ignore him, moving around the room, doing my work.
"How was it?" He finally asks.
I nod. "Good." Way beyond good. The best thing that's happened in terms of publicity.
"That's great." The room is silent again. "Chloe, I'm sorry, I pushed you tonight." I look at him, raising an eyebrow.
"You just pushed me? You knew how important this night was however you still had the check to call up and demand, I turn up when I'd told you I'd try my best." I reply calmly.
"I'm sorry. But I really needed you there."
"Oh yeah, and what about me? I really needed you before the whole party, I was nervous as hell but no you didn't even think about that did you?"
"Look, I'm sorry. I know I fucked up tonight."
"Yeah, no kidding."
"Chloe! I wasn't the only one wrong."
"No, you were all wrong. Every time your mother says something you get all high and mighty, and start acting like an idiot. I don't know when you're going to understand!"
"I do not!"
"Ben, let's face it. Your mother is more important than me when it comes to keeping her feelings unhurt."
"Don't be ridiculous Chloe."
"I am not being ridiculous! Every single time you take her side, act like an idiot with me to make her happy, listen to all the crap she fills your head with."
Ben takes a deep breath, "Okay okay. I'm really sorry Chloe. I'm sorry honey."
I nod, sitting down on my side of the bed. Ben's eyes are on me as I lean back into my pillows, stretching.
"But the thing is, I really did need you there tonight Chloe. For me."
I look at him and sigh. "Then I'm sorry, I couldn't make it." He just nods and I start feeling guilty.
Why I have a subconscious, I really don't know! It's really inconvenient.
"Are you going over to your parents' place this weekend?" I find myself asking.
He nods. "Yes, I am."
I shrug, glancing away. Wanting to pinch myself even as I say it. "I'll come with you if you like."
He stares at me. "Really? You would do that?"
I shrug. No, no, noo!! "Yeah I'd do it for you."
He looks at me quietly before moving over close to me. "Only if you want to. But I'd be very happy if you would."
I nod. "Okay then."
"Thanks Chloe." He kisses the top of my head and I snuggle down in his arms. "It means a lot to me."
We're all exhausted the next day but that doesn't seem to bother the crowd. The breakfast rush is as crazy as usual but just when we think we can relax and breeze through the lunch hour, we're hit with one wave after the next of customers. Of course I'm beyond pleased and my staff work just as hard and the day ends happily.
Ben's got a surprise dinner waiting for me when I walk into the apartment and I spend the night basking in his attention.
The next day I pick up my routine again, going for a jog before heading to my bakery at the crack of dawn. The day goes by just fine with Darren walking in barely awake and me sitting him down in one of the booths with a huge cup of coffee and his textbook; while Alice helps me out at the back. Ben announces that he has a business trip and has to leave tonight so I leave the bakery in Claire's hands and head home early to see him before he leaves.
The apartment is quiet once Ben walks out and I look around, wondering what I'm going to do. I spend about half an hour cleaning up and then make up my mind.
"Hey!" I say, smiling as he answers the phone.
"I'll be there in five minutes?" Ray asks, his voice all excited.
I laugh, "What?"
"You never call me so late, so this means that Ben's traveling. When do you want me to pick you up? Five minutes enough?"
"To pack my bag? Yeah." I grin.
"Fantastic. See you in five!"
Laughing, I switch off the call. Ray definitely knows how to make my day. Shaking my head, I head to my bedroom to pack my pajamas and outfit for tomorrow.
Eight minutes later, the doorbell rings. Excited, I skip towards the door and open it to see Ray standing on the other side. His face lights up with a smile as he sees me.
I nod, stepping back. "Come in."
He shakes his head. "Get your bag and we'll leave?"
"Okay." I quickly grab my bag and make a round of the apartment to make sure everything's in place.
"How are you?" Ray turns to me as he comes to a stop in front of a traffic light.
I nod, smiling. "Great."
He grins. "It's been so long since we had a sleep over."
I laugh. He sounds like a girl! But I love him for it. "I know! I'm excited!"
He chuckles and leans over and tugs on my ear lobe just as the light changes green.
"I haven't been home in so long!" I say as we enter his apartment.
Ray and I had both moved in together after college and shared the rent. Once Ben had proposed last year, I'd moved out and the apartment was left for him. "Your room hasn't been touched except for when the cleaning lady comes and cleans up."
I shoot him a grin, heading to my room. Everything is as I've left it. A few posters of my favorite movies and actors on the wall, books piled in the corner, my bed made up with my favorite blanket.
Dropping my bag, I head out of the room. Ray's standing in the kitchen going through a drawer.
"Takeout?" He asks, looking up.
He smiles. "Yeah." He pulls out a menu card and I go over and we decide what to order as he dials the number.
"You sure I wasn't disturbing you? You didn't have anything planned for tonight?"
He rolls his eyes, "Of course not Chloe."
"No really. You didn't have any plans with your friends? No work to catch up with? No girl to meet?"
He shakes his head, taking my hand and pulling me towards the living room. "No, no work, no friends, and you know I have no girlfriend."
"Yeah why don't you?"
"Because darling you're the only girl for me."
"Ha ha ha, very funny Ray." I plop down on the couch and he sits down beside me.
"No, it's true." He looks at me his eyes wide.
The pizza arrives 10 minutes later and we settle down on the couch to eat and watch a movie.
"So what exactly happened the other night with Ben?" Ray asks as the movie comes to an end. He reaches over our feet, that are propped up on the coffee table, and gets the last slice of pizza. I take a bite as he holds it to my mouth and then sigh.
I tell him about our argument and then about what happened when I got home.
Ray sighs, "Chloe, this is crazy."
He shakes his head, sitting up. "You can't let him do this. Chloe." Ray stares at me and I avoid his eyes, leaning forward and grabbing the last bite from his fingers.
"I'm not. This weekend is his last chance."
"Good, it better be." He answers. I shoot him a smile and snuggle down into his side. Ray slings his arm around my shoulder.
"Yeah?" I stop from randomly flipping channels and throw the remote on the other side of the couch.
"Are you excited about the wedding? It's in another two weeks. When you think about the big day, do you... do you feel happy?" He asks hesitantly.
I feel my stomach drop. Unconsciously, I push into Ray and his arm tightens around me. Running my tongue over my lips, I glance up at him.
"Yeah, I do feel happy, but most of the time it's more of worry than happy."
He bites his lower lip, watching me, "It's your big day, Chlo, you're not supposed to be anything but happy. Excited. There should be no 'buts'."
I nod, looking away.
Ray knows when to drop the topic and he changes it, making me laugh with stories about his work and friends.
Later on, I head to the bathroom to take a shower and get ready for bed. On my way to my bedroom, I peek into Ray's room and he's bent over his laptop on his bed. Changing into my pajamas, I brush my dry hair and pull it back into a ponytail. Hanging my towel to dry, I leave the room.
"Do you need to go in early for work?" Ray asks as I sit down opposite him on his bed.
I shake my head, "Claire's got the keys, she said she'd be in early tomorrow. So I can sleep in!"
He grins, "That's great! I'll have more time with you!" He pauses, looking down at the screen of his laptop. "When is Ben coming back?"
"Hm." I watch Ray closely as he says this, but his expression is unreadable. He puts his laptop away and stretches across the bed and we talk for another hour, remembering random things from before and updating each other on anything and everything.
I see him struggling to keep his eyes open and reaching over, ruffle his hair.
"Let's turn in yeah? I don't have to wake up at dawn, but I do still need to get up early. And so do you."
"I'm sorry Chloe. It's just been a very hectic week." He yawns, sitting up.
"I know." I smile, "and it's going to get worse. I've got the wedding dinner rehearsal next week as well as getting fitted into my dress and make up and all, and a hundred small last minute things."
He grins, "Hey! At least you've got a great weekend ahead."
I glare at him, throwing a pillow at his head. Ray though, catches it effortlessly. "Shut up."
He chuckles, "Sleep well sweetheart." He holds out his hand and pulls me close when I place mine in his, placing a kiss on my cheek.
"Sweet dreams Ray-ray." I blow him a kiss and head to my room.
I snuggle down under my blanket and try to sleep but Ray's question pops up in my mind. Sighing, I turn, trying to get comfortable again.
He's right. Of course he is. He's always right when it comes to me.
Why couldn't I have just fallen in love with Ray and he with me? I understand him, he understands me and everything would have been great. But no, life has to decide to make me fall in love with a guy who has a ridiculous mother and someone who doesn't understand me at all. But love Ben I do.
Groaning, I bury my face in my pillow, trying to block out all my thoughts but it's no use and 30 minutes later, I sit up.
I slowly open my bedroom door and walk out. Ray's door is ajar and as I push it open, it makes no sound. He's fast asleep on his side, his blanket pulled around him. I walk around his bed, towards where he's facing and holding back the covers, slide in.
"Mm." Ray mumbles, his arm sliding around my waist and pulling me back against his chest. "Chloe?"
I hesitate before answering, "I can't sleep."
I start to think he's fallen asleep when he doesn't answer immediately, but then he lifts his head up and looks at me.
I shrug, "I don't know."
Nodding, he bends down and kisses my cheek. Ray doesn't say anything as he lays back down, holding me close. I sink down into the pillows, taking in his scent. It really does feel like I'm home. I've slept like this, all wrapped up in Ray's arms, so many times, that it's natural.
Ray doesn't snore and minutes later his heavy breathing tells me he's asleep again. Listening to his breath go in and out, I feel my eyelids grow heavy and eventually slide shut.
Replies to comments
Lucy - Well you can't blame her in a way, her fiancé is putting down her dream. How would you feel? And after all the hard work she's put into it for years. But we'll get more insight into their problems soon. Exactly. Love gets lost sometimes but we'll have to wait and see how this works out. Lol Ray's addictive isn't he?
Char - Thank you!
Jar - Hahaha, yeah I know you do! Thanks honey!
MayJuneJuly - Hahaha I know right? Exactly. Like chill. Love you.
PH - Hahaha gosh you know me WAY too well. I have no idea, you'll have to wait and see! Sorry for the delay! I just got ten comments! Lol enjoy!
Rachel - I totally agree! Thanks! Enjoy!
Macy - Thanks!
Selena - Thanks!
911 - Thank you!! I'm glad you liked it!
Tamika - Thank you! I know right? Such stressful times haha, Oh you guys haven't seen anything yet from Ben. Hahahahaaha, I'm so glad you have so much faith in her. Aaw yeah Ray's perfect. Thanks!
You guys, I've got 16 chapters written, all I'm waiting for is your comments yeah? Enjoy!