Wanting to Remember, Trying to Forget (Meet the Shepards, #1)

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Chapter 9: September

Max stood in front of the magazine rack in the supermarket and groaned. Danny had asked him to pick up a few magazines on his way home and as his eyes surveyed the variety, dread built inside him. There were so many to choose from. She wanted a few bridal magazines for a wedding she had been asked to plan and a few on décor but she also asked for a few lifestyle and celeb magazines. He hated celeb gossip and when his eyes caught sight of yet another picture of another Kardashian, he wanted to throw up.

How could people read this junk?

He took one of every magazine, dropped it into his shopping basket and headed for the check-out counter. As he handed the magazines to the cashier one by one, a picture in the corner of one of them grabbed his attention. His eyebrows creased together as he quickly grabbed it back and studied it in more detail.

“You gotta be kidding me!” he said to himself.

He immediately pulled out his cell phone.

Max: Why is there a picture of you and your BOSS making out on the cover of Hot Gossip???

Jordan: He tripped and fell on my face

Max: I thought he said that you guys DON’T have that boss-accountant sort of relationship.

Jordan: I know right! He told me the same thing

Jordan: Yet still he fell on my face

Max: Give Tyler a message for me, will ya?

Max: Balls and shears

Jordan: Don’t know what that means but sure. I’ll tell him.

* * * * *

Danny sat in front of a laptop, transforming the design in her head into electronic pictures. Max had downloaded a program where she could manipulate a basic picture of an open room into something that was fully decorated.

September had flown by at a phenomenal speed. She had secured four other corporate events and her first wedding and her free time was diminishing with every passing day. She had not even gone to the spa with Lauren and Amber this month.

She loved it, though. It wasn’t just a way to pass the time. Planning events was daunting and challenging and it kept her on her toes. The wedding, however, was freaking her out more than she had anticipated. A wedding wasn’t like a themed dinner. It couldn’t merely look pretty. It required her to capture a feeling, an aura and she had spent hours on this particular design trying to do just that.

Max was equally busy. He had taken on a big client earlier this month and every time he came up with a decent design for their website, the board changed their mind about what they wanted. She understood his frustration. Her last client had been the same and there was nothing more aggravating than someone who didn’t know what they wanted.

She had barely seen him since he had taken it on. The project demanded late nights and early mornings, but he had left the office earlier today and she knew why.

She added white drapes to the ceiling of her electronic design and gasped when she saw the time. “Shit!”

Max would be home in less than twenty minutes. Okay. It could still be done. She had a surprise for him on this special day that could still maybe be pulled together in twenty measly minutes.

She raced to the bathroom, trying to brush her teeth and shave her legs at the same time, but the circular motion of the hand brushing her teeth was confusing the up motion of the hand shaving her legs. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, white foam all over her mouth and legs. One thing at a time, she resolved. She finished her teeth, then finished her legs then hopped into the shower.

Sliding out of the bathroom and into her bedroom, she grabbed the green and black plaid skirt and a tight white shirt, the same outfit she had worn for her flash-mob dance. She pulled it on over her bare body before pushing her feet into a pair of black heels. She left the shirt unbuttoned half-way, exposing the scar that she now flaunted proudly. Make-up was unnecessary for what she had planned, but she did accessorize with two of the butterfly clips he had given her for her birthday. There. Perfect!

Her pace slowed now and she walked calmly back to the front of the apartment and sat down on the dining table. The door opened a few minutes later.

“You have a good day, Sugarpie?”

The packet full of magazines dropped from his hands. So did the big bouquet of flowers. She watched as his eyes devoured every inch of her.

“Better now,” he replied in an awe-struck whisper.

“See what I found at the back of my closet,” she said, sliding her hands up her thighs to toy with the edges of the skirt.

“I’m seeing, alright. The gift that keeps on giving.”

He walked up to her so fast that she barely had time to brace herself for the overpowering kiss she had been expecting. He moved his hips between her legs and urged her down until her back was flat against the table. His eyes skimmed over her, a mixture of hunger and appreciation, before his fingers began exploring.

Starting at the scar and trailing down all the way to her ankles. He hooked her heels up on the edge of the table and nipped her inner thigh.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fantasized about you in this skirt.”

She smiled and bit her lower lip. “Let’s make it a reality.”

After he had taken her in every position known to man, Danny was pretty sure that they had fulfilled every one of his erotic fantasies of her in that skirt. She let out an exhausted sigh of satisfaction and got off the sofa, her legs feeling strangely numb. She couldn’t remember how they got there, but she knew it had something to do with rug-burn.

“That was so dirty,” she said with a smile, “I think I need another shower.”

All she got in return was a dismissive nod and a tired grin.

Fifteen minutes later, she returned and picked up the packet of magazines and the bouquet of flowers.

“Those were for you, by the way.”

“And to what do I owe this pleasure?” she teased as she sat down beside him at the table.

He shrugged. “It’s just flowers.”

“But why am I getting flowers? Is it perhaps because it’s September twenty-second? Is it perhaps that this is the day we met seven years ago?”

He rolled his eyes and walked to the kitchen.

“You’re so sentimental, Max.” She began unpacking the magazines from the plastic packet. “There’s pizza in there,” she called out.

“Good. I’m starving.” He returned a few minutes later. “A man needs sustenance with a woman like you.”

“Did you call Shane for his birthday?” she asked.

“Yeah. I called him at the office.”

She looked down at the cover of one magazine and noticed someone familiar, a face she recognized from the videos. “Hey, is this…isn’t this Jordan?” she asked as he sat down beside her with a hot plate of pizza.


“Who is she kissing?”

“Her boss!” he grumbled.

“Gee, talk about accountants gone wild.”

He groaned his disgust. “She’s my sister, Danny!” he said through a mouthful of salami and cheese. “I don’t wanna think about it, okay?”

She giggled and changed the topic, indulging in the playful banter that she had grown to miss in the last few weeks. As he chuckled and nudged her when she told a stupid joke, she felt like everything was falling into place, like the world was beginning to make sense again. The emptiness was filling with her sheer love of life. A great career, great friends and a great man sitting beside her. What more could a girl ask for?

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