CHAPTER TWENTY NINE
Walking down the street with my hand in Chases, I try to ignore the people grabbing their phones to take photos. It's so strange that anyone would want a photo of me. It's like I'm in another world, and all I want to do is hide away, but Chases comforting hand gives me the strength to keep walking next to him. If people taking photos and following me around is the price I have to pay to be with Chase, then I'll pay it.
Chase guides me into a small restaurant a couple of blocks from his office. The place looks fancy as we step in, the lighting dim with white table clothes and shiny cutlery adorning the tables. I look down at my jeans and shirt. I don't look horrible, but not exactly dressed for a place like this. Chase squeezes my hand as a waiter walks us to a table towards the back. He releases my hand to pull out a chair for me. I smile up at him as I take my seat and he walks around to his own.
“Such a gentleman.” I say with a smile making him chuckle.
“Mom tried to raise us right, didn't always rub off, but for you I'll try.” He says with a grin. I can feel my cheeks blush as I bite my bottom lip. Chase orders a bottle of wine from the waiter and we are left with our menus. I take a look at all the fancy named meals, noticing the French language. I try to think back to the tiny bit of French I learnt in high school, but nothing comes to mind.
“I have no idea what any of this says.” I whisper across to Chase who chuckles.
“Well then, how about I order for you?” he offers. I purse my lips and tap my chin while I think.
“Considering everything I've made you eat.... sure, I'm game.” I concede. He chuckles again as I close my menu.
“I'll try to be nice.” He says. I grin big, I wouldn't blame him if he decided to order me snails or frogs legs. But I'll deal with that when it comes. “So how's the plans for Dallas coming?” he asks. I take a sip from the full water glass on the table.
“I finished it off today and dropped it in.” I tell him.
“I'm sure you'll get it.” He says with a nod of his head. I narrow my eyes at Chase.
“Chase...” I warn. He raises his hands in defence.
“I won't interfere, I promise. But I saw your plans, they are fresh and new, exactly what we would want for Dallas.” He tells me. I smile, my cheeks turning red again.
“Thank you.” I mumble. He smiles and reaches across the table for my hand. I place mine in his and he squeezes it slightly.
“You're brilliant Kate, I'm sure the board will see that too.” He states. I smile and look down at the table, not used to receiving compliments. The waiter comes and shows Chase the bottle of wine. Chase nods and the waiter uncorks it and pours it into our glasses before walking away.
“I'll have to find something to do until they make a decision.” I say. He takes his glass and raises it to his lips, taking a sip.
“Why don't you redesign the apartment?” he asks. I look up at Chase.
“You don't want to put it back to the way it was?” I ask. He shrugs and takes my hand.
“While I'd rather not continue living in a unicorns ass... the penthouse before was a bachelor pad.” He says. I giggle at his description of the current state the apartment’s in. “I want it to be our place Kate...” he says sincerely. My heart flutters and I smile, nodding my head in agreement. He grins and squeezes my hand. The waiter comes back and takes our order, Chase ordering in French.
“I didn't know you spoke French.” I say as the waiter walks away. He shrugs his shoulders nonchalantly.
“I don't really, I know a little bit... do you speak any other languages?” he asks.
“Does Aussie slang count?” I say with a smirk. He chuckles and nods his head.
“Considering no one else understands it, then yes, I'd say it does.” He states.
“Then nah, yeah I do.” I reply with a grin. He looks at me confused and I let out a laugh.
“Aussies are weird.” He mumbles.
“You married one.” I counter. He grins wide.
“Yeah, I did.” He states proudly. A comfortable silence descends upon us as we sip our wine and stare into each other's eyes. I notice out of the corner of my eye, a woman pointing her phone at us and I frown, turning my face away from her. “What's wrong?” chase asks as he looks at me concerned and I give him a small smile.
“Just a woman taking photos...” I say with a sigh. He frowns and places his hand on mine.
“I'm sorry.... I know you didn't sign up for that.” Chase says softly, guilt clouding his features.
“It's fine... I'll get used to it, it's just weird you know.” I say. He chuckles and squeezes my hand.
“I know. I've never understood their interest in me, or my family. Just because we have money, they seem to think we are celebrities.” He states. I nod my head in understanding. Chase releases my hand as the waiter comes over and places our meals in front of us. I look down at my plate and smile when I see it's a simple chicken dish.
“I thought you'd take the opportunity to make me eat frogs legs.” I say with a grin making Chase laugh loudly.
“I considered it.” He says with a smirk. I giggle and cut into the chicken breast on my plate.
“So, I've been meaning to ask...” I say. Chase looks up from his plate expectantly. “Well, with the will, what happens now that James is gone? Do you still have to stay married to keep the company?” I continue. He raises an eyebrow and smirks.
“I'm not letting you go Kate.” He states. I blush and bite my lip.
“Good... I'm not going anywhere... I was just curious.” I say with a shrug. He smiles wide.
“Well... if either Ryder or I don't meet the conditions of the will, everything falls to the other brother.” He states. I nod in understanding.
“So Ryder has to get married or you get everything?” I ask.
“I'd find a way to give it back to him if he doesn't.” he replies. I smile at that. Chase and Ryder are incredibly close. I'm not surprised that Chase would always look out for him.
“So what would happen if neither of you met the conditions?” I ask.
“They'd sell the company…” he frowns. He hesitates and looks at me with concern. I reach over and take his hand.
“I'm not going anywhere Chase...” I assure him. He smiles and squeezes my hand.
“I know... it's just...” He sighs before continuing. “There's another part of the will that I haven't mentioned.” He says, looking guilty.
“What is it?” I ask, furrowing my brow.
“The marriage has to produce an heir...” he states. He doesn't make eye contact with me. I stare at Chase letting his words sink in.
“The will aside.... is that something you want? Kids?” I ask him. He looks up and squeezes my hand, a small smile on his face.
“I never really thought about it either way.... not until you came into the picture anyway... but yeah, I'd like to have a family with you... I want everything with you.” He tells me. His face reddens and he looks away, embarrassed by his admission. I smile and take a bite of food.
“Ok.” I say between mouthfuls. His eyes shoot up to meet mine.
“Ok?” he asks, his face showing shock.
“Mhm.” I mumble, not elaborating further.
“That's all I get?” he asks bewildered. I giggle and lean forward in my seat.
“I want it all with you too, Chase.” I tell him truthfully. A relieved smile crosses his handsome features and he leans over to capture my lips with his. He pulls back, smiling contently. “I'm surprised the doll didn't turn you off.” I say with a grin. He lets out a loud bark of laughter.
“I'm surprised too... but I figured it would be different with a real kid, you know?” he says. I nod in agreement.
“Yeah, it is... I mean, I only have experience with my friends kids and I could always hand them back... but they were cute, and every time they did something new it was exciting... it makes you forget the screaming or shitty nappies.” I tell him. Chase chuckles and simply nods in understanding. The rest of the lunch date goes by quickly, with quick looks between us that makes my heart beat faster. We finish lunch and I kiss Chase goodbye before heading back to the apartment.
Walking through the door to our apartment, my phone starts ringing and I scurry to find it in my purse. I pull it out to see a video call coming in from Nicole. I press accept and Nicole's smiling but tired face comes on the screen.
“Hey girl!” I say excitedly.
“Hey Kate, how's everything going?” Nicole asks, sounding happy but exhausted. I smile as I walk to the lounge and collapse on the couch.
“It's good, just had lunch with Chase. How are you doing?” I ask, bringing my legs up underneath me.
“Just finished night shift so thought I'd check in. You went out with Chase? How's all the media going?” she asks. I purse my lips.
“It's not too bad... just weird... random people taking photos on their phone and stuff... I really don't get it.” I say with a sigh. She laughs and shakes her head.
“Me neither, I can't imagine having people want my picture everywhere I went! How's Chase?” she asks. A smile forms on my lips and I can feel my cheeks heat. “Oh! That good hey?” Nicole teases. I giggle and sigh happily.
“Yeah... things are great.” I say, the smile not leaving my face. I fill her in on the past weekend with the doll and watch as tears of laughter roll down her fac.
“You are so cruel.” She says through her laughter.
“I couldn't help it. I honestly forgot about that doll with everything that happened, but when it showed up... well, I couldn't waste the opportunity.” I tell her.
“It sounds like he stepped up though, baby daddy material?” she asks as she wiggles her eyebrows.
“Mm maybe.” I giggle. She shakes her head with a smile on her face and sighs happily.
“I guess this means you aren't coming home?” she asks, the smile falling from her face. I frown at that, and look down at my hands. I miss Australia, I miss Perth and I miss my friends and brother. But the thought of leaving Chase breaks my heart.
“No... Argh, I miss you all though.” I groan. Nicole smiles sweetly.
“We miss you too, but you can always visit, and we can visit you, plus there's FaceTime like this.” She states.
“True... but it's not the same.” I grumble.
“It's not... but Kate, I've known you for 3 years now, and honestly, this is the happiest I've ever seen you.” Nicole tells me. I smile as I take in her words. She's right. Back in Perth I was just going through the motions, drifting aimlessly from one day to the next. Here, with Chase I feel alive, I can't wait to see what the next day will bring.
“I am happy.” I say with a smile. She smiles wide, her eyes sparkling through the small screen.
“That's all we could ever want for you Kate. Just come visit soon ok?” she tells me. I nod in agreement.
“I will, I promise. I still have to pack my things from my house.” I frown at the thought. I share that place with Ethan, what will he do now? I don't like the idea of him coming home from a mission to an empty house. As if reading my thoughts, Nicole speaks.
“Don't worry about Ethan, the girls and I were talking, all of us are more than happy for him to move in with us, it's not like he's home much anyway, or him and Jordan could live together… we will take care of him.” She tells me. I smile, relieved that our friends are always there for us. “Or, we could find him a woman.” Nicole adds. I laugh at the thought.
“I doubt E would ever settle down, he's married to the army.” I tell her.
“That's true.” She nods in agreement.
“I'll talk to Chase about coming home soon.” I tell her. She nods and bites her lip, a slight tinge of pink colouring her cheeks.
“Well, just make sure you're available in six months’ time.” She tells me. I jump up from the couch in excitement.
“Did you and Brad finally set a date?!” I practically scream into the phone causing Nicole to laugh. They have been engaged for two years and have barely spoken about getting married.
“Sorry to disappoint you, but no.” Nicole says through laughter. I sit down, deflated. My brows furrow in confusion.
“Then what's happening in 6 months?” I ask. Nicole smiles wide.
“You're going to be an aunt again.” Nicole states. I blink at the phone, my brain slow to grasp what she's telling me. It finally hits and I'm on my feet.
“Are you fucking kidding me?!” I scream. Nicole laughs as my excited voice yells out.
“Not at all, I'm 3 months, just hit the second trimester.” Nicole says with a massive grin.
“Oh my god! I'm going to be an aunt!” I say. Nicole laughs hard as I bounce excitedly on my heels. “Do you know what you're having?” I ask excitedly. Nicole shakes her head.
“Not yet. Brad wants to find out, so we will at our 20 week scan.” She tells me. The smile doesn't leave my face as I sink back onto the lounge
“What do you want?” I ask her. Nicole shrugs her shoulders.
“I honestly don't care as long as they are healthy, but
Brad wants a girl.” Nicole says.
“His little princess.” I say with a smile. Nicole nods her head. “I'm so happy for you! I wish I could hug you right now.” I say.
“Me too... so come home soon so we can celebrate hey?” she says. I laugh and nod my head.
“Definitely.” I agree. We talk for about an hour longer as she fills me in on what's going on at home. It makes my heart long to see my friends. Hopefully, I can convince Chase to go back with me.