PARTNERS

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 18

Toren's POV

I feel like shit. I hate lying to her. I hate holding in these secrets

But she can’t know.

The paparazzi caught us last night, Rachel and I, heading into the restaurant. Of course they got our picture. Of course they twisted it, made it into something it wasn’t. I hadn’t even thought twice about her seeing that. She rarely reads those tabloid articles.

The fact that she really worried I’d cheat on her hurt me. It hurt me, but I understand her. I am her calm. I can’t react in an aggressively argumentative way. It would crush her. I needed to be gentle with her. With her heart that’s still healing. We balance each other in that way.

But even so, as sick as it is, I’m glad they focused on Rachel and I and not who was inside the restaurant. It would’ve ruined everything.

When she called me crying at the early hours of the morning it nearly killed me. I was ready to get on a jet, fly to her just to wipe those tears off her cheeks. I’d kiss her until she didn’t have a thought left in the world.

She never needs to question my loyalty to her. No one could ever compare to my Moe Moe.

Especially after that internet sex we just had. Jesus, I can’t stop thinking about it. I jerked off in the shower just imagining her fucking herself in front of me like that. Thor and I are finally in an agreement and I am a lucky, lucky man.

Adrien, however, can get bent.

After waking up, I head to the office to finalize some duties. Susan has another stack of papers for me to sign.

“These are for Happily Home. The new building contracts. Once you sign this it appears all of the construction can begin.”

“Great. This is great. I can’t wait to show Scarlett my plans for this.”

“I think she’s going to love it, you’ve been working so hard lately.” Susan smiles, looking at my blueprints for the design.

“It’s a spin-off of Happily Home, these buildings will be free for anyone who needs them. Once we build, our partners will assist with funding for the tax benefits of course.” I roll my eyes. “But, I placed the communal center near the kitchen and then the art and creative room is just off the side.”

“And how many of these shelters do you plan to build?” Susan asks, inspecting the design.

“So far we’ve got five, a plot in Chicago, one in Denver, Detroit, Houston, and of course, New York.”

“Incredible.” She shakes her head, looking at me proudly.

“I’ve decided to name them Moe’s Miracle, an offset of Happily Home.” I comment, still looking at the blueprints.

Susan’s mouth drops open as tears begin to fill her eyes. “Oh my...”

“Hey, don’t you get all soft of me now.” I joke, feeling my own emotion come to the forefront.

“I’m just so proud of you.” she says before swallowing down her tears.

My heart feels full. Susan’s been through the thick of it with me. She’s seen me at my worst. She’s seen the error of my childish ways. But, she’s also watched me grow. She’s seen me fall in love, she’s stood by my side, and she’s always been like a second mom to me.

“But, honestly, who’s going to head all of this?” she asks, legitimately concerned.

“Well...me, I guess?” I shrug.

I hadn’t really thought too far ahead yet about how much work this will actually be for me to add into my normal 9-5. It’s going to be a lot, but it’s important to me. It’s important to Scar. After everything she’s seen and been through, there’s no way I wouldn’t make the effort towards giving back.

Now, having Wesley around, and just that overwhelming feeling of love for children, it’s a priority for me to use my wealth to do anything I can to give a lost child a chance, give a mother or father a safe place to call home. A place they can grow and learn. A place they can create, and find love again.

“Mr. Hollingsworth, this is a lot for you to take on. Especially with your father still-”

“No. Don’t even mention him.” I scoff. “My father...the guy with all the plans.”

I shake my head, then pinch the bridge of my nose. Susan takes a seat across from me, looking concerned.

If I had to guess, I’d say he was working really hard on getting his ‘affairs’ in order overseas. He left us to diversify the company. Stretch our profits ‘for the family’ as he said. But with the lack of communication, I have a hard time believing he’s doing anything but sowing wild oats.

I am his son after all, I know just how easy it can be.

Either way, I’m becoming my own man. One I’d want my kids to be proud of.

Scarlett’s POV

I woke up early. Adrien was still knocked out in bed, so I decided to grab us a few coffees and some scones before we head to the jet to get home.

I walk to a little bakery down the street from our hotel, breathing in the salty, smelling air as the sun shines down on my face for the last time. The tiny coffee shop smells of fresh bread and freshly ground coffee beans. As I walk towards the front counter, I pass couples sitting at the small tables, enjoying their morning brew, some reading the paper, some enjoying company.

I wait in line, behind a few people. A man ordering ahead of me has an American accent and it catches my ear. From the back, I see he’s tall, sporting blondish, grey hair, combed back in a sleek style. He looks like he’s made of money.

He grabs two coffees as he turns around, walking past me. It’s his eyes that grab me first. Those blue, crystal eyes that I’ve seen before. The ones that pull you in when you don’t wanna budge. The ones that you fall in love with, when they look through you, into your soul. I know those eyes.

He gives me a light smile and a head nod before his eyes narrow slightly and his smile slowly drops.

It’s Toren’s father.

I suck in a breath, unable to obtain oxygen at the moment as he passes me.

He walks back towards his table, placing the coffees down for him and another guest. A guest that is another woman. A woman that isn’t Debbie. My heart drops into my stomach at the sight. I wonder if he even knows who I am. He looked like he might have recognized me, but I can’t be certain.

He looks back over to me questionably, before focusing his attention back on his guest. Reaching across the table he touches the woman’s hand. He picks her hand up, holding it in his as I see her reflection in the window. She’s smiling profusely and fluttering her lashes at him.

The intimate gesture makes me feel instantly ill. I can’t move. I’m frozen at the scene in front of me and the idea that I’m catching him in his infidelities.

“Ma’am how can I help you?” the barista asks, snapping me out of my stare.

I quickly get the food and coffee and hurry out of the place. His father cocks his head to the side, watching me leave, almost as if he’s trying to slowly piece together how he might recognize me. I hurry back to the hotel to talk to Adrien about it. I have to tell someone.

“A, get up!” I say, sitting down at the end of his bed.

“I don’t wanna go to school. My outfit isn’t finished.” he groans.

“Wake up!” I yell again.

“The seams...the seams aren’t done.” he groans again, rolling over.

“Adrien! Get up before I get another pitcher of water!” I warn, making him snap upright with his eyes closed.

He rubs them, slowly peeking at me as he blinks them open. “Jesus, I was back in boarding school again. Making dresses for the fashion show I coordinated. The mean girls were laughing because I forgot to finish the back of my outfit. Bare, black ass out for the world to see.”

Shaking my head at his nonsensical dream, I interrupt his thought process. “Adrien, I just saw Toren’s dad.”

“It was a total black out. An eclipse of straight black ass.”

“Adrien! Toren’s dad!” I scream.

“Huh?” he yawns, “Toren’s dad? What do you mean?”

“I just saw him. At the bakery. With another woman, that wasn’t Debbie.”

“What? Seriously? How do you know for sure? You’re sure it was him?”

“Trust me, I know Hollingsworth men.” I interrupt.

“Damn.” Adrien signs, showing his disappointment. “You gonna tell him?”

I don’t want to break up their family. I don’t want to poke the coals of a turbulent situation and bring the fire to life. I don’t know much about their situation other than the fact that his dad is overseas to expand the business. But this? This would ruin them.

“I don’t want to, but I feel like I have to.” I say, making a pained face.

“Well, you have some time to think about it. We’ve got a long flight ahead of us. Let’s get to packing.” Adrien says, standing up and stretching. “Oh, and don’t forget Dildo Daggins. I know he’s tired and ready to come home.”“Shut it. Not a word about it. How you remember that portion of the evening and nothing else is beyond me.” I roll my eyes.“Overworked and underpaid, that one.” Adrien comments under his breath.

We walk to the jet, boarding, as we make the long trip back to New York. I have a weight on my chest now. I love Toren and never want to see him or his family facing any type of adversity. I’ve grown to love this family and everything they represent. I imagine that picture of Toren I saw in his apartment. Him and his brother, his mom and his dad, all posed together when they were younger, holding each other with the biggest smiles on their faces.

What ruined that? Was it the money? Was it the business? The stress of it all?

I’d hate to think anything could ruin Toren and I. With everything we’ve been through, I can’t even imagine something could disrupt the deep connection we’ve built.

I peer over at Adrien who’s mindlessly scrolling through his phone on the flight, switching from instagram to some online dating website and back.

“Ya might as well just disable that account. You’ll be cuffed up soon enough.” I state matter of factly.

“Excuse me?” he raises a brown, turning to face me.

“When I get back, I have business with Adam to take care of. I’ll need your help.” I wiggle my eyebrows.

“Can we stop trying to make this a thing? Seriously, Moe, I expected more from you.”

“Can’t stop, won’t stop, homie.”

We arrive back in New York after what feels like the longest travel journey ever. I’m so excited to see my baby again. I part ways with Adrien in plans to sleep off our jet lag before reconvening tomorrow morning at the studio.

I sneak into our penthouse, breathing in the smell of home. I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about crawling in and surprising Toren. We talked earlier when I was onboard the jet, just a quick, light conversation, but I knew he wouldn’t be able to stay awake till I got back.

Walking into the bedroom, I’m surprised to see candles lit around the bedroom. It smells like roses and I realize why. There are fresh rose petals all around the candles on the dresser, the nightstands, the bed. The bed, where he sits, donning a sexy grin that grows wider as I approach him.

I can’t tell him. Not now. It’ll have to wait.

“Baby...” I whisper, biting my growing smile, feeling a bubbling excitement in the pit of my stomach, flutters in my heart.

“You know I couldn’t sleep until you got back.” he smiles, meeting me in the middle of the room.

I run my hands up his solid arms, finding their way to encircle around his shoulders. His hands cup the sides of my jaw, drawing around to the back of my neck.

“God, I missed you.” I whisper, staring into his face, feeling light headed as our bodies pull us into each other.

His eyes tell me everything he’s been thinking. That he’s been missing me too. He looks longingly at me, then peers down at my lips. Before I can think, his lips are on mine. His tongue finds mine as he proves his need for me in a sweet, tortuous massage.

“I finally feel whole again.” he confesses between kisses, pulling me into a tight embrace.

We lay on top of the bed, hands touching each other as we just stare into one another’s eyes. He trails every outline of me with his soft fingers, memorizing the feel of me next to him all over again, as mine memorizes his.

Placing his palm and outstretched fingers against mine, I think to myself. Have I known him for years? A lifetime? An eternity? It feels like more.

Our fingers interlock as we lay facing one another and we talk. We talk all night into the morning, our conversation and light hearted energy filling the room. We laugh for hours, we connect emotionally, we love hard.

He’s not only my soul mate. He’s the other half of myself I need to live. I’m exactly where I was always meant to be. Home, with him.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.