Forbidden Grief-SAMPLE

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CHAPTER 2- Carter

“No! I told you already, Nate. I won’t do it.”

I’ve been having the same argument with my brother for the fifth time. “I didn’t come back from Europe with a Master’s, to be a fucking babysitter.”

“Come on, Carter,” says my brother. “You said it yourself. You’d do anything to keep yourself busy. And you like kids. I wouldn’t ask you if it wasn’t for Beck.”

Beck. Freaking Beckham Karson. I’d had a little crush on that guy since Nate first brought him home for a sleepover. It was that night that I realized I liked boys more than I liked girls. Until I was finally grown enough to know I was one hundred percent gay.

“You do know he is Anaya’s ex, right?” I remind my brother. “That would be like the ultimate betrayal.”

Anaya had been my closest friend since high school, and even though she and Beck dated for like two months during our senior year, she still holds some sort of friend code over me that says I’m not supposed to even look at the guy.

“Carter, come on! That was ages ago. Anaya can’t still be crying over that. And isn’t she engaged or something?”

Ok, I guess he got me there.

“Alright, alright. Give him my number,” I finally say, “But I’m only doing this until I find a real job, ok?”

My brother grins and pulls his phone out of his pocket to text his best friend I assume.

I spent the last two and a half years in Europe getting my Master’s degree. I applied for an internship before I met my then-boyfriend, and that’s where that relationship ended. We had a good run, though.

The last time he messaged me to check on me, he said he married the guy he was in love with while we were together. I wasn’t hurt about it because he was honest with me from the beginning, I was happy when I saw the message. I just… I can’t help but wonder when I will meet my future husband. The love of my life.

A couple of days go by without me hearing from Beck, so I figured he found someone. Yeah, I got too excited too quickly there. I hear a notification on my phone and pick it up from my bed to see who texted.

UNKNOWN NUMBER: “Hey Carter! This is Beckham Karson. Nate gave me your number. I was wondering if we could meet to talk about Lyra. Let me know when you’re free.”

I find myself reluctant to respond but I already said yes to my brother, plus I know if he is asking me for help then he must truly need someone.

CARTER: “Hey! Yes, Nate told me you need help. We can meet tomorrow if that works for you. Just text me your address and I can be there around 6 p.m. Let me know.”

Beck sends me his address and I save it along with his phone number. I get back to reviewing my resume and applying for pretty much all the jobs I can find, even if they aren’t remotely related to my degree. Turns out people in Boston don’t care much for you even if you have a Biology Master’s degree from the Sapienza University of Rome. Oh well, at least I got to practice my Italian.

The next day, I find myself rummaging in my closet in search of the perfect outfit. As if that would make a difference to the straight guy with the kid. In your dreams, Carter… in your dreams. I end up wearing jeans and a Henley and some worn boots. I don’t have to impress anyone other than the kid. As long as she likes me—and is well behaved—I don’t need to worry much about the rest.

I arrive at Beck’s building and as I’m about to ring the buzzer, someone comes from behind me and beats me to it. I’m ready to yell at the rude stranger until I turn around and see a handsome man staring me down. If I judge by the way he just looked me up and down and smiled, I can at least presume he’s into men.

“Yo-you live here?” he asks.

“Oh no, sweetie,” I respond. “My brother’s best friend lives here. I’m just visiting.”

As I’m about to flirt with the stranger, my damn phone rings. We both enter the building after being buzzed in and before I bring the phone to my ear, I lean over close to him and whisper, “I hope this isn’t the last time we see each other,” and then he disappears.

I answer my call and smile when I hear who it is on the other end. Not long after I hang up the phone I do a little happy dance after scheduling my first job interview since I got back home last month.

I breathe in and out and make my way up to Beck’s floor.

I knock on the door and the man that opens it is as hot as I remember him. Beck welcomes me into his home and greets me, and it isn’t until he introduces me to the other adult in the room that I see a man, but not just any man. It’s the stranger from downstairs. He looks even hotter without his jacket that was covering a lean—but not too big—body.

Oh yeah, I’m one hundred percent taking this babysitting gig.

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