Never Have I Ever

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Chapter 26

Loud shouting made both of us jump, ruining the moment. Bella stood crying and her husband was grabbing her by the forearm, his face furious.

James cursed as he let go of me.

"I have to go over." He said, squeezing my arm.

I nodded, although I didn't understand why he felt the need to rush over. Especially after the bombshell he'd just dropped.

I watched as he walked over to his ex and her husband, my curiosity too great to ignore. I followed behind him, feeling nervous.

"Who the fuck do you think you are, James? Bella is MY wife. Doesn't that mean anything to you?"

Chris marched towards him, his fists clenched at his side.

James came to a stop, holding up both of his hands.

"Not here, Chris. If you want to talk let's go somewhere else."

A few people were watching, and I looked around for Richard. Chris was angry, and he didn't seem to show any signs of calming down.

I glanced over at Bella. She caught my eye, a flash of satisfaction washing over her face. This was what she wanted all along. A showdown between her husband and James.

"Fuck off! I'll do what I want. Why can't you leave us alone? Bella's told me everything. You can't help yourself, can you?" Chris yelled, shoving James.

A security guard arrived and grabbed hold of Chris. James turned to look at me as Chris broke free and launched himself at him, jumping on his back.

Bella screamed as they fell to the floor at her feet. Chris was on top of James and was punching him hard. I didn't even hesitate as I rushed over and tried to pull him off. There was no way I could stand there and watch someone hurting him.

I pulled Chris's elbow back, and he shouted, shoving me to the floor. Pain coursed throughout my body, radiating from my hip.

Of course, the sight of me on the floor enraged James. He hadn't put up much of a fight, but it took little effort for him to raise up and punch Chris in the face.

James moved away and another security guard ran over to help.

I was still struggling to get to my feet when Richard arrived. He offered me his hand and helped me up.

"Are you ok?" He asked, his face full of concern.

I nodded, not wanting to make a fuss. Once Richard was satisfied I was ok, he turned his attention to James and Chris.

"There better be a good reason you two are fighting." He said, his voice low.

Georgia appeared at my side, her hand catching hold of mine.

"Your brother has been fucking my wife. He screwed her days ago!" Chris spat, holding his nose.

Richard stared at James and didn't say anything. He looked angry, but there was also disappointment in his eyes. James couldn't meet his gaze as he lowered his head and rubbed his jaw.

"Come with me. We can talk privately." Richard said, nodding at the security guard who was holding Chris.

"You can't save your brother's ass this time. He's had enough chances." Chris said, glaring at James.

"You don't know the whole story..." James sighed, staring up at the sky.

"Enough! Shut the hell up. I'll handle it." Richard barked, his voice filled with frustration.

James sighed, but he didn't speak again as they left.

Bella ran over to James and grabbed him, but he pushed her off and glared.

"What have you said to him?"

She seemed shocked by his reaction.

"The truth! I can't carry on like this. Watching you with her whilst I'm pretending I'm happily married. We belong together, let's stop with the games."

James threw his hands up in frustration.

"I don't want to be with you!"

Bella glanced over at me, her eyes full of hatred.

"Let's talk alone. You still love me, James. That's why we always end up coming back together."

He exhaled loudly and grabbed her arm, so she was facing him. He looked her right in the eyes as he spoke, his face tense.

"It's because you come to me, and I feel sorry for you. Nothing else."

I felt a shiver run down my spine at the lack of warmth in his voice. The thought of him speaking to me with the same coldness was unbearable.

"Why are you being like this? After everything you've put me through." Bella said, wrenching herself free from his grip.

James's shoulders slumped, and he ran his fingers through his hair.

"Let it go and move on, Bella. I know it isn't easy, but-"

She shoved him hard, her eyes filling with tears.

"I hate you so much! You tell me to move on like it meant nothing. You have no idea how hard it is for me."

James stood there, not saying a word. Even though Bella wasn't my friend, I felt bad for her. I didn't know what had happened, but it was clear she was still affected by it.

Bella turned away from him and walked towards me, her eyes filled with tears.

"I was going to tell you myself, but it'll be more of a punishment for him to do it. Then you'll know exactly what kind of man he is."

Before I could even answer, she'd marched off. I turned to look at James, his face full of guilt.

"I'll leave you to talk." Georgia whispered.

I nodded, but I didn't have a clue what to say to him. We both watched her walk off, neither of us speaking.

"Sophie, please let me explain." James begged, moving towards me.

I held up my hand.

"What did you do to her, James? She's in so much pain..."

"Don't get mad at me. It's not the way it sounds. Please." He said, his eyes pleading with mine.

"You should go to the villa and get cleaned up. I'm going to keep Georgia company. This was a special evening for her and Richard." I said, crossing my arms.

"I know that! Bella did as well. She just can't bear the thought of me being with someone else." He said, taking a deep breath.

"You hurt her, James. I don't know how or why, but it's obvious." I said softly.

"I know I did. Jesus, I feel guilty every day." He said, rubbing the side of his head.

"I'll come and see you later. We can talk then." I said quietly.

"Please don't hate me." He pleaded, taking hold of my hand.

When I didn't speak, he sighed.

"Can I hold you?"

He wrapped his arms around me before I could reply, pulling me into his chest. I closed my eyes and inhaled his aftershave, savouring the way it felt to have him hold me.

"Are you hurt from Chris knocking you over?"

"I'm fine, I've been through worse."

James's whole body tensed. It was an unfair comment considering I refused to go into detail about what I'd actually been through. He didn't say anything though, he held me tighter and rested his chin on the top of my head.

"Everything's such a mess, but as long as I have you, I know it'll be fine."

I moved back from his embrace. I didn't want to promise everything was fine without knowing what had happened with Bella.

"You should go. I need to find Georgia and check how she is."

James nodded and cupped my face in his hands.

"Promise me you'll come to my room? I want to talk to you and explain everything."

I nodded, and he kissed me on the lips, his forehead resting against mine.

"I meant what I said before this all happened. I am falling in love with you."

I closed my eyes, and he kissed me again, this time a bit more forcefully.

I watched him walk away, and I knew it was too late. I'd already fallen in love with him, and I doubted anything could push me away.

I sat opposite Georgia at a small table by the bar. We were both drowning our sorrows, neither one of us in the mood to talk.

It had been an hour since Chris had confronted James, and Richard had yet to return.

"Why isn't Richard back yet? It's ridiculous he has to fix James's drama." Georgia complained, tapping her nails on the table.

"I'm sure he'll be back soon." I muttered, my anxiety growing.

She leaned back in her chair and sighed.

"I felt kind of bad for Bella. She seemed really upset. That's why I told you not to get involved with James. He seems to always end up in these messy situations."

My heart sank. Georgia took one look at my face and groaned.

"Oh, shit. You love him, don't you?"

I took a deep breath and nodded.

"He told me he was falling in love with me, before… Well, you know."

We were both quiet for what felt like ages. The fact that Georgia didn't know what to say was weird. Normally she was full of advice and suggestions.

"What are you going to do?" She asked, finally breaking the silence.

I shook my head,

"This whole situation is complicated. I can't be with him, can I?"

She sighed,

"Love doesn't care about obstacles. If you love each other then you can't walk away from that."

Before I could reply, I saw Richard walking straight towards us, his smile not reaching his eyes.

"Come here, I'm so sorry." He said, pulling Georgia up from the chair and wrapping his arms around her.

"Is everything sorted?" She asked, stroking his face.

Richard shook his head.

"Not really. Chris is furious. I've agreed to pay him back in full for his stay here, and they are checking out now. I've got them a villa for the rest of their time here."

I frowned.

"Bella left with him?"

Richard rolled his eyes.

"James isn't a saint, but she is a real piece of work. I wouldn't trust anything she does."

Georgia handed him her glass of wine, and he took a gulp. He seemed stressed. I could tell this wasn't the first time he'd had to clean up James's mess.

"His nose is definitely broken. I'm just relieved he isn't going to the police. The last thing we need is him getting arrested for assault, not with his record..."

I didn't know what to say. This all felt awkward, and it was a big reminder that there was still a lot James and I didn't know about each other.

"It's classic James. He acts first and thinks later. Where is he now?" Richard said, putting the glass down on the table.

"He went back to the villa. He seemed pretty upset." Georgia said, glancing at me.

"I bet he is! Everyone has told him to stay away from her. I didn't even realise something had happened between them, he's not told me anything." Richard sighed.

"It was the day I arrived." I muttered.

Georgia and Richard stared at me.

"I kind of saw them from my room. I asked James about her before we... you know."

I knew my face was red. I could see that Georgia had a ton of questions, but thankfully Richard spoke before she could begin her interrogation.

"With their history it isn't a good thing."

"Well, it wouldn't be a party with some sort of drama!" Graham said, plonking himself down next to me.

"Is everything ok, Richard? The non-disclosure forms are watertight. Nobody can talk publicly about anything that happens here." Johnny said, sitting down next to me.

"Yeah, it should all pass." Richard muttered, although he didn't sound convinced.

Georgia stretched up to kiss him.

"Right, come on. Let's dance and enjoy the rest of the night."

He nodded, and they strolled to the dancefloor hand-in-hand.

"I'll get us some more beer. Do you want anything, Sophie?" Graham asked, jumping up.

I shook my head, and he squeezed my shoulder.

"Are you going to see James? I'm sure he'd appreciate it."

I wasn't used to Graham being sensitive or thoughtful. It was weird.

"Yeah, I am."

He hugged me tightly.

"You're good for him, Soph. It might be the beer talking, but it's nice to see James with someone he cares about."

I felt tears sting my eyes. Graham looked emotional himself, but he hurried off before I could reply. I looked at Johnny, feeling awkward.

"I'm sorry about earlier. I've had a chat with Graham, and I understand this wasn't your fault." Johnny said, his cheeks turning red.

I smiled, relieved that he was finally talking to me.

"It's fine. Thanks for the apology, I know things have been awkward."

Johnny nodded in agreement.

"James is one of my oldest friends. Don't judge him harshly on what you've seen tonight. A lot of shit went down between him and Bella. He wasn't perfect, but his heart was in the right place. It always is with him."

I nodded, knowing he was right. Anyone who spent time with James could see he was a caring person.

"I think I'm going to see him now. Thanks, Johnny."

He smiled kindly at me.

"You're welcome. I'm heading back to the UK tomorrow, but enjoy the rest of your holiday. Maybe I'll see you again if things work out with James."

I smiled, a hollowness filling my insides. I was a fake. None of them knew my real identity. I couldn't help but wonder what they'd think if I told them the truth.

"I'm glad we cleared the air."

Johnny nodded, and I drained my drink before standing.

It was time to talk with James, both of us had things we needed to get off our chest.
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