Somewhere I Belong

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Chapter 38: Trenton, North Carolina - December 7, 2017

I spent the night at Cory’s house, celebrating our new engagement by spending several hours tangled up in each other. It felt like home, being there with him and knowing he was the only person I would ever love. A part of me still hated that time I wasted while I was gone but I knew that it needed to happen for me to be here right now. Cory’s heart was the place I wanted to call home and here I was, deeply engulfed in it as much as I could be.

The next day, we agreed to not tell anyone until the Christmas party. I knew that my father would be supportive of it but I wasn’t quite sure how everyone else would take it. I was afraid people would think I was heartless for getting engaged just two months after my husband died. Not everyone knew the story though and if they did, they would be able to understand why this isn’t a rash choice. Still, we decided to announce it at the party this weekend. I tucked the ring onto the necklace with my other ones and wore it proudly.

“Hey!” Sarah’s voice called as I walked into my house that afternoon. She was sitting on the couch with Marie and my father, each sporting a cup of coffee. She jumped off the couch to hug me, ignoring my confused look. Cory walked in behind me, waving at everyone. Dad raised his cup at him with a wink.

“What are you doing here? I thought you were going to be in New York for a few days.” I asked.

“Annie and the interns were able to sort things out before I even landed. So, I rented a car and drove back. How are things? Was your trip successful?” She asked, sitting back down on the couch. I tried not to smile as I saw her hand rest on Marie’s knee. Marie’s face blushed slightly when she saw me noticing, a small smile filling her lips. Meadow was crawling around in the play pen in the corner of the room, an occasional musical note coming from the toy she had in there.

“I’d say it was a successful.” Dad said, sitting back in his recliner. I shot him a look as Sarah let out a little gasp.

“Are you two officially together?” She asked. Glancing over at Cory, I smiled as his ear tinged pink again. Looking back at the two on the couch, I nodded. Both let out little squeals, jumping up to hug me.

“That’s so great! Took you long enough!” Marie exclaimed, hugging Cory as well. “I’m so happy for the both of you.”

“Thanks.” I replied as Sarah’s bone crushing hug finished. “What about you two?”

“Oh, I think it’s safe to say it’s over with Pat.” Marie replied, wrapping an arm around Sarah’s waist. She pressed her lips against Sarah’s in a quick peck, both smiling at each other.

“I’m glad you two found each other. So, what now, Sarah? Are you moving to Trenton now?” She shrugged.

“I guess so. I tried to convince Marie to come to New York with me but she doesn’t want to. If you and I are both staying down here, we need to figure out the office.”

“We’ve got plenty of time for that.” I turned to Dad. “Daddy, maybe you can rent the back house out to Sarah! I’ll move my stuff back inside so she can use the whole place to herself.” He sighed, standing. Draining the rest of his coffee, he frowned.

“I’d love to but I already found someone to live there.”

“Really? Who?”

“Some girl who responded to my ad in the paper. She’s coming to the party this weekend to meet everyone. She’s a nice girl. I think she’ll do just fine. Sorry, Sarah.”

“It’s okay, Mr. Green. I’ll find something. For right now, I’ll just stay here with Abby in the back house until your new tenant wants to move it, if that’s alright.” Sarah answered. Daddy nodded.

“Of course it is. I think I should just buy an apartment complex and let the whole lot of you move in. That way, I can keep an eye on all you trouble makers.” Shaking his head, he walked up the hallway towards the kitchen. I grinned at Sarah who smiled back.

“This is so great! Everyone will be together here. We’ll move the firm down here and we can get our lives back on rack.” I said. Cory stepped forward and wrapped an arm around my shoulders.

“Don’t forget your book deal. Once that gets going, you’ll be on your way to a successful career.” He pointed out. I felt my stomach do a flip flop. Even though I had made my mind to stay here in Trenton, it still upset me that I was passing on this. It’s all I ever wanted as far as a career goes but I knew being here with Cory and everyone else was more important to me.

“Did Penguin sign you?” Marie asked. “I’m still waiting to hear back from Cottonwood about our children’s book. I haven’t gotten a refusal so I suppose that is a good sign.”

“You guys will totally get it! That book is so cute and the art work is fantastic.” Sarah chirped, walking towards Meadow. Bending down, she picked her up and held her at her hip. Meadow laughed and pulled at Sarah’s black blouse. The three-stood next to each other, looking like an adorable little family.

“I hope so. I’m tired of the whole call center life style. I don’t know how people can do it so long. By the third customer, I’m ready to throat punch someone into next week.” Marie grumbled, looking at her watch. “Well, I suppose I should get little Miss Meadow home. She’s due for a nap and I need to get started on decorating the house.” Marie took Meadow from Sarah, walking towards the front door.

“I’ll come over later to help you.” Sarah said, following Marie and scooping up the diaper bag on the way out.

“I can’t wait to tell everyone.” Cory said softly, linking his fingers with mine.

“I know. Just a few more days though. Speaking of decorating, I should get started around here. You want to help Sarah and me?”

“Wish I could. I have to help Mrs. McGregor with a lighting issue she’s been having. I’ll be back tonight though.”

“Okay. Maybe we could have dinner with Sarah and Marie tonight.”

“And then after, we can have dessert at my house.” He whispered, winking at me. I felt a blush fill my cheeks and I smacked him lightly on the chest with my free hand.

“Shhh. My dad might hear you!” I whispered back, giggling. Leaning in, he kissed my lips. When he pulled back, he locked eyes with me for a moment.

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

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