Somewhere I Belong

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 37: Trenton, North Carolina - December 6, 2017

I unpacked all my stuff, choosing to stay in the back house for the time being. Since I knew Sarah was going to be back, I didn’t want to heave my stuff back and forth during the short time she was in the city. I had a feeling that she was entertaining the idea of moving here. We could easily move the firm down here to Jacksonville. Granted, it wasn’t as big as New York but we could still branch out around the area and sell some nice pieces of land and real estate. Sarah could sell anything to anyone and I think we could be just as successful here as we were up north. It would be nice to have her down here. She was the only thing I had in the city right now. It would make my decision that much easier.

I had all but made up my mind by the time I pulled up in front of Cory’s house that night. There was no way I could move away from here now, not after everything that’s happened. Having Cory back in my life was my main concern now and I wasn’t just going to let that go again. There will hopefully be other chances to get published. I printed out a bunch more manuscripts and gave them to Dad to mail out in the morning. I hid my contract in the dresser of the loft, pushing it aside until last. I would need to call Kerri to let her know what I had decided.

None of that matter though as I walked up the walkway that led to the small house where Cory lived now. It was a cute little thing set back in a little bunch of trees; the light brown siding and the dark blue shutters reminding me of a small cottage. I knocked on the door and he answered it quickly, smiling down at me. His torso was covered in a black t-shirt and he had on dark blue jeans, his bare feet sticking out from the end of them. His hair was a mess on top of his head like he had just rolled out of bed. Moving aside, he motioned for me to enter. I did, pulling my red scarf off as I did.

The inside of his house was mainly one room. Half of it was his living room and the other half was a kitchen area. A door on the far side of the kitchen was open and I could see a shower curtain, telling me this was his bathroom. This left me to assume the door next to it was his bedroom. It was closed though, the cheap wooden door pulled shut. I pulled my pea coat off and hung it from a bar stool that was tucked under his breakfast nook. I went to say something as I turned around but was unable to from the kiss he gave me. It was powerful and heartwarming, his arms holding on to me tightly. I smiled into the kiss, cupping his face in my hands.

“I missed you.” He breathed when he finally pulled away.

“I could tell. I missed you, too.” The sound of nails on the hardwood floor came to my ears and I looked over his shoulder to see a pure white pit-bull standing next to his leather couch. It wagged its tail when it saw me, prancing in place with excitement. Cory turned to see what I was looking at. He smiled, bending down. The dog ran over to him and licked his face happily.

“This is my baby girl, Nala. She’s really friendly. Huh, girl?” Nala wagged her tail with a faster enthusiasm when Cory talked to her. I bent down next to him, petting the top of her head. She stepped forward and gave me a sloppy kiss on my cheek. Laughing, I scratched behind her ear.

“She’s a cutie. How old is she?”

“About three now. I got her from the shelter when she was just a puppy. Someone had ditched her momma and three puppies on the side of the road in the middle of the winter. She was the only pup that survived. She’s my little miracle.” He ran his hand down her back, massaging the muscle that was there. She plopped down on her side, rolling over on her back to show us her belly. “You goof. Abby doesn’t want to pet your belly.”

“Yes, I do!” I laughed, rubbing Nala’s belly. She wiggled with glee, her tongue flopping out of the corner of her mouth. Cory wrapped his arm around my waist, pulling me back to my feet.

“Are you hungry? I can order a pizza or something.”

“That sounds great. You want some money for it?” I asked.

“No. I got it. Why don’t you go get comfy on the couch and I’ll order the food?” I nodded. He gave me a quick kiss before disappearing into his dark bedroom. Walking over to his living room, I looked around. You could tell he was the only one who lived here. It had a manly touch to it; a brown leather couch on one side of the simple wood coffee table and a recliner on the other side. A big screen television was attached to the wall, a video game system on the entertainment center underneath it. Nala followed me, jumping up on the couch as I approached it. She gave me an expectant look, almost asking if I was going to sit down next to her. Smiling, I did and began petting her on the top of her head. She rolled on her side, placing her head on my lap. White fur covered my jeans and my pink and white flannel. I didn’t mind though. I loved animals. It came with the territory.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw some framed pictures hanging on the wall near the front door. Gently pushing Nala off me, I stood and walked over to get a better look at them. The first picture was one of him, Henry and Cindy shortly after he moved in with her. They were grouped together in front of the marina, both boys holding up fishing poles. The next was a picture of him and Henry on the top of Black Mountain. It was a popular hiking spot in our neck of the woods. Both wore hiking gear and were smiling proudly at the camera, their arms around each other’s shoulders. The picture next to that one was Cory, Henry and Cindy dressed up. There was another man in the picture, his arm tucked behind Henry. This must be his husband and it had to have been from their wedding day. It still shocked me that he was gay. Henry had chased girls his whole childhood and through high school. I thought for sure he’d end up with a few kids by the time he turned twenty. I guess I was a bit off.

The following picture made me stop. It was of him and me. We were about 15 in the picture and it was one I had taken on my first cell phone. We were sitting close together on the log in our spot at Getman’s and we were soaked. I remembered that day well. He had the grand idea to go hiking through the woods even though the sky was dark. I had told him at least ten times it was going to pour but he didn’t believe me. Half way through our adventure, the sky opened and rain seemed to dump from the sky on to us. There was no use in running for cover so we just stayed in our clearing. In the picture, we were both smiling and looked like drowned rats. I asked him for a picture because the whole situation was funny to me after the fact. He didn’t want to but he did.

I finally reached the last picture and a wide smile crossed my face when I recognized it. I knew it was from prom when I saw the puffy dress I was wearing. I groaned as I looked at it, wondering what the hell I was thinking at the time. Cory and I were standing next to each other in front of the large maple tree across the street from my house. Even though I was going to prom with Mike, my Dad and Cindy had insisted I took a picture with Cory. I did, him looking very dashing in the tux he had rented. His arm was around me in a friendly way even though he was glancing down at me in a way that told a different story. I had been so blind when I was that age. I know it took me forever to open my eyes but I’m glad I finally did.

“Hey, Abby? Can you come here for a minute?” Cory’s voice called behind me. Careful to not trip over my new shadow, I stepped over Nala and headed towards the bedroom. The door was only opened a crack and I saw it was dark in there. Raising an eyebrow, I pushed the door open all the way. The glow of what seemed to be a hundred candles illuminated the small bedroom. They were aligned along his dresser, the windows, his head board and the two end tables on either side of the bed. I gaped at the sight of them, the sound of soft music hitting my ears as well. Turning towards the bed, I saw Cory on the floor. He was down on one knee and I felt every bit of air disappear from my lungs as I gasped. Perched in his hands was a small ring box. It was opened, showing a gold band with a modest size diamond set on it.

“Cory…” I whispered, covering my mouth.

“I know it’s fast and sudden but I just know that I don’t need any more time to make this decision. You are the love of my life, Abby. You’ve been my rock, my best friend and my person since I was ten years old. I never believed in soul mates until you came back into my life. Letting you go to New York was the biggest mistake of my life that I will forever regret. I know so much has happened in the last few months so I understand if you need time to think. So, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?” He spoke, his voice cracking as he did. I saw tears shimmer in his eyes as they built in mine.

“Yes.” I whispered. His eyes widened as what I said registered in his brain.

“What?”

“Yes. Yes, I’ll marry you.” He stood, stepping closer to me.

“Are you sure? You don’t need any more time to think about it?” I shook my head, smiling up at him.

“I don’t need any more time because the answer will always be yes. I love you, Cory. Nothing would make me happier than to be your wife.” His face exploded into a smile as he suddenly lifted me off the ground. I giggled as he spun me in a circle, placing a kiss on my lips as he set me back down. Grabbing my left hand, he stopped when he saw my wedding rings were still there. “Oh.” I said, softly.

“Hold on.” Walking over to his dresser, he grabbed a chain from the top of it. Gently, he pulled my rings off and looped them onto the chain. He set it on the dresser before slipping the ring he held on to my finger. Placing his hand on the side of my neck, he kissed me briefly before pulling away. “You make me the happiest man on this planet. I don’t know what I would do without you.”

“I guess you’ll never find out. I’m never leaving you again.”

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.