Conflict Of Interest

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Chapter 26

Dare

After a creepy phone call that Sage took and some weird whispering between the girls, and not to mention some excited squeals. The girls have been trying to convince me to go out. Is it so bad that I want to stay home and chill rather than go out to a dance club that gives you food in the ocean. “I don’t want to go out, I know thats what I came here for but Gage and I are still in a weird place. He hasn’t texted or called since I told him how I felt and now I’m wondering if he’s backing out. I don’t want to see all of those cheesy couples together and lovey when I may not be anymore” I say picking at my fingers curled up on the warm tan couch. Ophelia is on the couch adjacent to mine and smiles warmly at me.

“Boo, I love you and I don’t mean to play the my situation sucks worse but I’m gonna. I just found out the guy I was in love with has a fiancé” She said and I looked at her.

“My past got leaked and the first thing Gage did was get photographed with another girl” I say and she purses her lips.

“I got told I wasn’t Italian enough for his family” she battles.

“I told Gage I love him and he hasn’t said anything since” I say and she sighs.

“I got slut shamed not only by his fiancé that he hid for 6 months but also by his dad” she says.

“I got ambushed by my aunt and Rachel at a diner that I invited Gage to” I say and she gives me a ’are you serious?” look.

“Fine you want to go there. When I left Kade’s house he tried to stop me from leaving. He banged on the window of my car, begged me to stay” her voice breaks and my irritation faded away instantly as a tear slides down her face. “I left him standing there in the driveway, heartbroken, I was crying. I didn’t know what else to do I couldn’t stay knowing how his dad felt and how he was engaged with a Harry Winston on her finger.” she ends it with a sniffle and looks at me. “I love you Dare but you need to stop worrying about things that are out of your control. So get up and get dressed in that pretty silver cocktail dress of yours and let’s go get some food on the beach.” she says dragging me up off the couch and to the bathroom.

***

I think Ophelia was right to drag me out. The sky is lit up with colorful string lights. lighting up the sky like the fourth of July. Something crunches under my heel and I look down to see blue rose petals and a memory comes to mind.

∞∞∞

“So what are your favorite flowers of all time?” Gage asks leaning over the airplane seat.

“Honestly?” I ask and he nods “Blue roses. They are my absolute favorite” I say and he smiles.

“Why?” He asks and I’m skip a beat.

“Huh?” I ask and he laughs

“Why are blue roses your favorite?” he asks and I laugh.

“It’s actually a really funny story. So Ophelia and I were 17 and I didn’t have a date to the dance. So I made a deal with Estefan, if I washed his car and did his laundry and all kinds of chores that he would take me to the dance. Of course I worked all of the time and eventually he said it was enough. The night of the dance he gave me a bouquet of blue roses and ever since that night they were my favorite. Also it happened to be because I had a huge crush on Estefan so” I say laughing and he smiles at me.

“I’ll remember that” he smiles happily and I kiss him on the cheek.

∞∞∞

The next thing I see along the blue rose petal path way is colored candles. I see photos of Gage and I’s trip to Paris. The various dates we had. Like the day at he water park. The time I spent at his apartment and Ryan stopped by with Sage and we played board games. The picture Sage took of us sleeping. All of these memories with Gage I forgot about. And there is Gage sitting at a table that is lit with candles and a bouquet of blue roses.

“Gage?” I ask and he looks at me with those beautiful brown eyes his mouth widening with a smile so big. I sit down at the table noticing none of my friends are here. “What’s going on?” I ask confused.

“I’m crashing your girl time?” he offers sheepishly with a shrug. I laugh at his childish face.

“I missed you” I say grabbing his hand. Honestly I did. I just didn’t realize truly how much.

“I missed you too Dare. More than you know” he says and I don’t follow up with the rebuttal that instantly comes to mind. Not even close to how much I miss you dork.

“Look the sun is setting” he says and he comes over to kneel next to me as I look at the shouting colors dancing on the sky.

Gage

I look at her and watch as she looks at the sky her eyes filled with wonder. Suddenly all of the doubt in my mind and second guessing goes away. I take the small blue box out of my pocket and open it kneeling on one knee. She turns around to say something and her eyes go wide.

“Uhh” she says “what are you doing?” she asks her cerulean blues searching my face rapidly.

“I think you know” I tease and she shakes her head tears coming to her eyes.

“You don’t wanna marry me” she whispers.

“Uh I think I do” I say and she shakes her head no again.

“Gage I tried that, and it failed remember?” she asks tears threatening to spill. I wipe a tear before it falls and I smile at her.

“Come on you gotta know what you and me have? is ten times the connection you and Mark shared. We’re as solid as gold baby” I joke and she laughs and nods through the tears. “I had this whole thing planned you know. This big long speech-” I say and she interrupts me being the woman she is.

“Big long speech?” she asks incredulously.

“Oh yeah, full of the cheesiest shit you’ve ever heard” I say and she laughs.

“But knowing you...You would want something short and sweet and to the point so I threw out the five pages of-”

“Five pages, Jesus Gage what are you writing an essay?” she asks and I laugh.

“I couldn’t trim it down, I wanted to explain it all, how I fell in love with you, what my reaction was when you hit on me at the bar at Sage and Ryans wedding” I say

“Hold on, you hit on me” she says holding a finger up and then pointing it at me.

“No I’m sure it was the other way around” she says.

“Yeah okay” I say and our friends laugh behind us. “You like short and sweet here it is. Dare Liliana Williams I love you...Marry me” I say and her face goes contemplative as she looks from the ring to me.

Dare

As I look at him contemplating what my next move is. Whether I say no or yes. I close my eyes and breath for a moment. I open them my eyes meeting his and I know instantly what my answer is...

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