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The Road Less Traveled

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Isabella Alderman lost her parents and won two of the biggest lotteries in history in the same week of her 18th birthday. After building so much for herself read and find out if with the help of her friends and new people if she can finally find the happiness and life she's been looking for. What would yo do if you had everything but the right place or family to share it with. This story may start a little different but it all pulls together.

Romance / Drama
Marie Sanchez
5.0 3 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter 1: Welcome to Altheo

“I got everything set up and we are ready to go all of our bags are going to be there. Furniture is set up and I got the pictures everything is beautiful. Are you sure you want to leave the city?” Dimitri asked looking to make sure this is what she wants. “I’m sure D, I need this desperately you know how much I hate the city beside we’re only about almost an hour away anyway I can still get to Dolton Industries if I need to and any other of the others who ring the damn call bell.” Isabella said rolling her eyes. “The real question is are you sure you want to come with me? Do you really want to do this?” Isabella asked him. “Anywhere you are is home. You are not just my boss, Bellz you are my bestie.” Dimitri said kissing her forehead. “Thanks D.”

Making their way out of the CEO’s office. “Oh, there she is! I told you she wouldn’t just walk out without saying good bye to me.” A very well designerly dressed woman said smacking the chest of a younger man. They were surrounded by an older man and another man around her age. “You didn’t really think I would just up and leave you without any love now do you, oh the hurt in my heart Mrs. Dolton.” Bella said holding her heart in fake hurt. “I knew better my darling girl. What’s this Mrs. Dolton crap. I told you million times my love to call me Grace, hell call me mom.” She said squeezing her tightly to her chest. “Calm down now dear you going to scare her off even further away than she’s already going. Are you sure this is what you want?” Mr. Dolton asked.

“Yes, Mr. Dolton I am sure I am only needed around here what maybe three maybe four times a month anyway and those are only for half days along with the others who call me up. So it’s time to go out and find what makes me happy I will still check in here and you can always call and texted me.” Bella said hugging him tightly. “What have I told you about that?” He said sternly looking at her. “Sorry Papa Corban.” Bella said smirking looking down. “You know you’re really not that far from here. I could always come and check in on you. If you get lonely. Maybe take you to dinner when you come back?” The younger version of Corban said. “Jaxon Dolton are you still trying to put moves on me?” Bella asked crossing her arms. “Who else besides me, and of course Dimitri know you better than I do?” He asked hugging her tightly.

“True, but I still don’t think it’s the best idea Jax.” Bella said as she slowly pulled away. “I guess you just need some more time, but believe me I know you will come around. Your going to miss me, and when you do please promise you’ll hit me up. Anytime, anywhere, you hit me up.” Jaxon whisper to her kissing her cheek. “I promise Jax. Well, I have to go I want to make sure I have all I need and to be settles in by night fall.” Bella told everyone waving goodbye getting in the elevator. “Well, you remember to call if you need anything. You call if you get lonely and don’t forget to relax and get out every now and then and remember we love you.” Grace yelled throughout the office, tears starting to fall form her eyes, as the doors closed Bella smiling at them the whole time.

“I thought you would never get in here.” Dimitri popped up right next to her as he was hiding on the side of the door. Making her roll her eyes. “I knew you would leave me to deal with them alone.” Bella said in a mocking tone. “You think I am going to get in the middle of that sob fest you need to be thinking again no way in hell am I doing all that? Besides I did not want to stand around and watch you shoot down Jaxon’s attempt to get you chained down.” Dimitri said laughing. “Are you sure there’s nothing there? I mean you guys have been close for the last three years.” Dimitri asked looking at her questionably. “Yes I am sure. I do care for him. A lot, I just don’t get the same feelings for him, and I just don’t feel that way for him.” Bella said.

“Ok, well here are your keys, I will see you tomorrow for dinner ok remember you are out in the country part you have no neighbors for about fifteen minutes. I live fifteen minutes from you in a house in the upper east side of town. You know I like the higher side.” Dimitri said laughing. She took her keys to her Lincoln Navigator. Got in turning on her GPS to put her new address, taking in a deep breath she was so ready for something different. “Hopefully this will be it.” She said in a low tone. Turning up her radio she started her new way the almost hour drive to her new start. Hopefully for the last time.

Pulling up to her new house with her groceries waiting on her door. She just smiled. “Dimitri.” She said grabbing the bags, well glad to know Instacart works out here, she thought to herself. After putting her food and other things away she reached for her laptop bag and grabbed the five frames out and started to hang them all over the living room and hallway. Pictures of her parents when they were younger, when they got married, and of course when she was born, when she was younger and her high school graduation. Miss you guys. Let’s just hope this place works out. I really need this to be different. There must be so much more than this. She said looking at their life together. Next, she hung up pictures of Dimitri and her, and then her other three friends another reason why she chose this place. As she got ready for bed, she took a deep breath. This is it she said laying down in her bed. I know it.

The next day she slid on her dark wash jeans, and a nice blouse. Let her hair down slid on her black flip flops. I am ready. She got her book, and a purse, cell phone, and keys and was out the door. She looked at her phone I got time, she thought to herself getting in her black 1967 charger. Firing it up smiling deeply as her car purred to life and made her way down to the town’s local café. Her home was lovely it was five-bedroom, with three bathrooms, a basement, an attic, a huge living room, big dining room, and her dream kitchen she loved to cook. There was a huge inground pool, and a hot tub big enough to fit at least twenty normal size people. She herself was only almost 5’1 and weighed about one hundred and thirty pounds she was a very curvy girl in her bust and her thighs. The drive to the café was short. It was beautiful, and cutely named ‘Sweet Treats’. Walking in smelled like heaven. There were a couple of high school kids in a table far on the other side of the shop. Four cops on side in front of a set of familiar another four men at another table all eight about her age looked up at her and watched her every move. The thing about small towns gossip is fast.

“Good morning. Welcome to ‘Sweet Treat’ what can I get you?” The older woman behind the counter said. “Good morning. Gosh you know everything smells amazing I think I will just start off with a blended mocha for now. Is it ok if I read in the corner for just a little bit?” Bella asked. “Of course, dear you are always welcomed. “Are you one of the new people who just moved to town?” The older woman asked with a smile. The eight men were quiet listening to her responses. “I am. It’s nice to meet you I’m Isabella Alderman. The other man who moved to town is one of my best friends and assistant He is Dimitri King you will see him in here a lot we are both addicted to cafes. By the looks of this place, you will probably have to start kicking us out.” Bella’s laughed shaking the other woman’s hand. “Just call me Ellie. It is nice to meet you. I have been hearing lots about you.” Ellie said with a wink. “I can only guess the source. I take it Leah, Rylie, and Madison come in here a lot too?” Bella asked. “Oh, honey you do know them well they have been talking about you about seeing you nonstop. I am happy to finally have a face to the name.” Ellie said handing her a drink.

“Got a big day?” Ellie asked. “I actually have an appointment soon hoping to get a little caffeine beforehand. Thank you Ellie I will be seeing you a lot.” Bella said smiling. All the guys knew she was from the city but damn was she beautiful, not only that she was country sweet, and old school manners.” She sat down and pulled out her book and placed her phone on the table looking to make sure her alarm was on so she wouldn’t be late. After about ten minutes she looked up and started to look around the room, taking everything in. One man did grab her attention just looking at him made her had to take a deep breath in. She had seen these guys around town when she comes visits her friends and has spent time with them every now and then. This one has always captured her attention. He had a scar going across his left face and his eye. It was a faint line but it wasn’t hard to notice. He was absolutely breath taking beautiful. His friends were also handsome as well as the men in uniform who were do familiar but non held a candle to that dark skinned stranger. In fact, she was the only white skinned person in the whole café. Damn I should have moved down here sooner if I knew they grew them like this out here.

She had no idea she was staring at him so long until she heard one of the policemen who was the table in between her and the stud muffin on the other side. “You’re probably wondering where you know me form right?” The other handsome man asked. “Huh, I’m sorry what?” She asked shaking her back to the reality around her. Catching the other men at the table’s attention. “I noticed you were starring for a minute I just assumed you were trying to remember where you knew us from. We all meet before at the Police gala a few months back you came with Leah and her friends. Rylie said you moving down here we were all actually hoping you come down here after the fun we had that night We’ve also hung out a couple of times when you would visit every now and then.” Carter said with a cocky smirk.

“Oh ya, I remember you guys’ um Carter, right? Ya Carter, Elijah, Nathan, and I want to say Liam?” Bella said. “Damn girl you nailed. It’s good to see you please call me Eli. It’s great to have you here, you and the girls should come out with us we could give a nice welcome home dinner or something.” Eli said. “Oh, that’s sweet, I will have to think about that I am actually not that big socially.” Bella said. “Well after starring for so long do you remember us all now?” Carter asked. As Bella got up gathering her things. “Well, I believe in total honesty, so this is awkward. I was actually looking at the guy in the table behind you.” She tried to say lowly.

“You was staring at us Bells?” The second taller one asked all of them raising their eyebrow. “Well like I said I believe in nothing but honesty, so yes I was. I am sorry if I made you uncomfortable at all, I’m sure you get this a lot it’s just you are so incredibly handsome it’s hard not to notice you. Again, I apologize if I made you uncomfortable and my apologies to the lucky lady who is lucky enough to have you. I am late for an appointment. See you guys around town.” She said walking out the door quickly to her car and leaving to the local high school. Atheo High.

The guys starred out the door. “Damn did you see the car she was driving man that was sexy as fuck.” Draven said. “That’s what you got from that? One of the sexiest girls in town comes in eyes Xavier like a piece of meat, blows off Carter stank ass and thinks this guy got a woman?” Zain said. “I can’t believe that just happened. How the hell is a girl like that coming up to me?” Xavier asked shocked. “Seriously, that is the question Knight, she is so out of your league. There is no way in hell you got a shot with something as incredible as that. She could probably buy and sell the lot of you.” Carter said laughing. “Huh it’s almost nine am should you guys get back to the station to go sucking on your daddy’s titi there Anderson?” Jayden said. The other cops getting up all pist off getting their things. “Just watch your ass. Williams.” Liam said.

“Do you think the girls will bring her out tonight? I mean we have been seeing this girl and that other gals for the last four years. When are you going to push yourself to make a move already? She just verbally and publicly called you out man and you said nothing. Dude you’ve been hanging out with all of us including here a couple of months to talk to her. You need to fix this while you still got a shot.” Zain said. “At least clear up the fact that you’re single so Carter doesn’t try to weasel his way in there like his dumb ass puppets try to with us.” Jayden said. “Does anyone know why she moved here anyway? Or what is she actually does?” Draven asked. They all looked around. “All the times you talk about her to the girls, and you never thought to ask any of the basic questions?” Zain asked raising an eyebrow.

“Look right now the only thing I know is we are late for work so hurry up and bring your sorry asses. We’ll talk about this later.” Xavier said in a husky voice. They all go their things and went to open the shop. Xavier busted his ass for years and was finally able to open his own mechanic shop, fixing cars and other things makes him feel at peace. This was not just a job this was his passion something that makes him happy. It also paid his and his friends bills. The other three work with him, they all shared the same things in common. They have been friends since grade school. For some reason they have always been competing against Carter and the other three. Guess when it’s a small town and you feel the need to compete with someone who’s on your level to meet their match.

“There you are the principal will meet us down in the on the field.” Dimitri said walking along with her out of the hall and out to the field. Someone came rushing up and crashing into her. “I can’t believe you’re here I missed you why didn’t you tell us you were already settled in? I got the text from Ellie. I am so excited. We haven’t seen you in two weeks.” Rylie said. “I missed you too chicky. Where are the others?” Bella’s asked as Rylie hugged Dimitri. “Well, you know Leah she’s down at the office they are in the middle of allergy season so some patients can just see her without seeing the doctor. Madison is at the pharmacy you know she bumped up to the head tech over there.” Rylie said. “It’s good to see you Brooks what you teaching this year. I am teaching the seniors advance English and advanced science classes. Rylie said proudly. “So in reality I only teach about four classes and then I am done before lunch.” She said proudly.

“Damn so all of you are like crazy smart.” Dimitri said making her laugh. “Well, we have to go check out the football team I have scouted out four seniors I really liked their reels I saw so much I have decided to open up a full ride scholarship for five to players. The Colton Industries have decided to back me with this meeting me halfway on all costs.” Bella said proudly. “Maybe you can point out any other clubs here on campus you think would be worth of a couple scholarships I think I can get about another ten spread out with some other companies you know how everyone looks for the tax breaks.” Bella said with a smile. “I will ask a couple of teachers maybe they can get some things put together for you.” Riley said as she quickly went off to start the new tasks.

“Ms. Alderman Welcome to Atheo High. I am Principal John Andrews. This is such an honor to have you here.” Mr. Andrews said shaking her hand. “Hello, I am honored to be here. This is Dimitri King, please call me Bella. I am excited to see the boys I have come for. I also have talked to other companies, and they are willing to be able to offer ten other full ride scholarships for other students in other programs in the school.” “Are seriously saying you got twenty full ride scholarships for the kids in this High school just because you saw some football players with potential? Sorry Coach Ian Wilkins.” The coach asked shaking her hand. “Well, what can I say when I get inspired, I like to take it up a notch.” Bella shrugged looking at the field as the players played on the field. After the hour was up the bell rang and they grabbed their things and made their way to the locker rooms. “I made up my mind I want to meet them. Give me those four, and that one over there.” Bella said. “Are you sure those are the ones you choose?” Principal Andrews asked. “Yes, call them into your office I want to tell them before I leave. I have their letters on me.” She said walking into the building heading to his office.

“Knight, Davis, Paterson, Phillips, and Damico hurry up and get to the principal office.” Coach Wilkins shouted out in the locker room. The boys starred at each other. “Are we in trouble sir?” Cameron asked getting nervous. “Just get your asses up there.” Coach said with a smirk walking away. They knocked on the door and entered standing in front of the principal looking around the room, to see another woman and man dressed in laid back clothing. “You wanted to see us Sir?” Oliver asked. “Yes, I want you boys to meet someone extremely special. Boys this is Ms. Isabella Alderman, and her assistant Mr. Dimitri King. They are here because of you. Bella please meet Cameron Knight, Oliver Phillips, James Patterson, Mason Davis, and Lucas Damico.” Mr. Andrews said. “What do you mean?” Cameron asked. “I have a friend who teaches here at this high school, and she has on occasion dragged me to a couple of your games the last four years. I have seen some reels she and your coach have sent in. I guess I should explain I am in investments free-lance if you will I help many companies invest their money wisely rather it would be partnering up with other companies, or my favorite investing in people I help people who need help with medical bills, surgeries or even scholarships find money to help them and the big companies get a tax write off it is the perfect investment putting towards people who can take and make it worthwhile. So I have been inspired watching you guys play to get some other companies to give this school fifteen additional full ride scholarships, besides yours. I am proud to say you are the only one’s so far that have been chosen. I have your acceptance letters right here. Wherever you can get in to school it will be covered full ride even extra for allowance for more food, books, and lodgings.” Bella said with a big smile.

The boys have been starring at her with their mouths open. Now it’s not set in stone about the other fifteen scholarships so until I get a positive or negative response, I can tell you I did not make this decision lightly I have checked your grades, attendance, school records, and a lot of other educational information. I will be personally calling your parents today if you would be so kind to give us their numbers. I need to be on our way, but I just couldn’t wait to tell you guys the great news. Now I think you all have a lot to go home and think about I will be checking on you boys a lot so feel free to come to me should you need anything.” Bella said shaking their hands.

“You sure you want to give this to us and not like the quarter back or anyone else.?” Mason asked. “I mean ya were just the offensive and defensive linemen.” Lucas asked scratching the back of his head. “Is that how you really see yourselves? Seriously have you never seen you guys play? Over the last four years off and on when I would randomly come to your games and the reel I have back at home. You guys play with such fierceness and heart. You are true team players and shows. You may think you are ‘just linemen’ but you’re the best I have seen, and I grew up watching a lot of football believe me, what you boys have is special especially when you are together. You are all strong individually, but when you are together you one working as a whole unit and that is the best thing to watch and that is why you’re undefeated. Let me tell you one thing before I go rather you guys make it in football, or as a doctor, firemen, plumber no matter what you end up doing always strive to do your best. Try to be the best plumber, player, fire fighter because no matter what you end up doing you will have other coworkers and they will be your new team so as long as you do your best every day you will always win.” Bella said as she walked out.

The boys couldn’t believe what just happened. They were so excited. They walked out of the office given the rest of the period they were missing off since Bella asked the principal too and donated twenty thousand dollars to the school to give them some slack as she knew their brains would be reeling all day long. “I can’t believe this.” Cameron said looking at his friends who just started to hug each other in a big group hug, hooting and hollering outside. “I can’t believe the job she has; man, she must make bank money did you see her car?” Lucas said. “How good do you think her public speaking skills are if she can talk her way to other companies into giving out money anywhere, she wants all year long?” James said impressed. “I don’t know let’s go to the lunch hall. You coming man?” “Ya I just want to make one call real quick.” Cameron said to his friends. Picking up his phone Cameron called the one person he respected and looked up to more than anyone else in this world. Answering on the third ring. “Aren’t you supposed to be in class right now?” The husky voice came through on the other end of the line as he could hear the door shut as the loud music got cut off. “Xavier you will never believe what happened to me, Oliver, James, Lucas, and Mason today. We just got out of the principal’s office.” Cameron said excitedly. “You WHAT?! You didn’t get caught putting icy hot on the toilets of the faculty lounge, did you?” “No.” “You didn’t get caught putting the laxatives brownies back in the math and art teachers’ rooms again?” “No.” “You didn’t get caught putting those damn ducks in the other schools pool again did you those things crapped everywhere.” Xavier said in an annoyed tone. “NO, damn it will you just listen to me. We just got done talking to a lady who is involved in investments, and she’s been watching us for years she even has a special reel of us playing from one of her friends who works here, Ms. Bomien and Coach Wilkins made and gave her. She has gotten all five of us full ride scholarships to wherever we want to go. The best part is this letter says it’s for four full years.” Cameron said catching his breath.

“That is incredible, so your coach and your teacher made a reel of just you guys?” “Nope there was apparently three reels with other players, but she only liked us. She’s been watching us for a long time and today she gave us these letters and she may call mom and dad she was on her way to another appointment, but I am just shaking a little trying to calm down and I couldn’t wait to tell you. You know what the best part is?” “What’s the best part?” Xavier asked with a smile on his face knowing how much this means to his brother, how excited he is to have been blessed this greatly. “She bribed the principal to give us the day off saying we would be too shook up to think straight for the rest of the day. She donated twenty thousand dollars to let us out the rest of the day. So do you think you can come get me maybe I can help around the shop and calm down a little if tell mom I just think there would be a lot crying and I just can’t do that right now.” Cameron said. “Give me fifteen minutes I’ll be right there.” Xavier hung up the phone.

He felt so proud of his brother but was now even more amazed by the girl who has captured his attention for a while. He looked down at the phone and wondered to himself who are you, to have so much power to wield that way? He got a text on his phone. Then he heard three other dings. Opening it up he read a text from Leah. “Hey guys we were hoping you could come out for dinner at Craves Grill and Bar we have two friends who just moved to town and wanted them to meet you. Be there tonight at six.” He looked at the other guys who looked up and smiled at each other knowing how much they loved spending time with the girls, not being able to have the courage to ask them out officially they all looked at each other. Xavier got another text. “You have the advantage so don’t blow this. Ellie texted us all what happened at the Café today. Don’t get in your own way.” Leah texted him. The guys looked at me. “Well, we all going, are you?” Taking a deep breath. “Want to make a deal?” Xavier asked. “Like what slap bet?” Zain asked in question tone. “If you guys can ball up and ask those girls on a date. I will put myself out there. However, if she runs in terror from this mug or the burn marks under neath you guys back off the subject of my love life and you let up on my damn crush for this chick.” Xavier said. They all looked around. “Deal by the end of the night we will all ask them out. No more waiting on the side for those uniformed ass hats to try to swoop in.

“Don’t get in your own way either. Ya Carter may go to the same functions that, that Bella goes to According to Leah, but that doesn’t mean she thinks anything of him if she was looking clear past him today to you. Also think about how much fun it would be to be her date at those functions while Carter stands in the corner going home with his favorite date, his right hand.” Zain said with a wildlife. Making everyone else laugh with them. “I have to go get my brother he got the day off from school, he just got a full scholarship to any school that he can get accepted to.” Xavier said proudly. “That’s great man. “How’s your brother doing?” Xavier asked sadly to Draven. “He’s holding in there, after the surgeries, and all I just don’t know he needs to go through Chemo, and the doctors we have here and all they keep telling us that they can’t treat him here anymore, but we just can’t afford to get him in anywhere else. I don’t know what to do next. Leah bless her damn heart is so attached to him she sees him more than we all do. She said she knows of a program that might be able to help us so we’re waiting for that feedback I guess she made a call and just waiting on an answer.” Draven said sadly.

“What if we helped?” Jayden asked. “There’s just no way if we busted our ass for five years straight could we even make a damn dent in the treatment on the offhand he needs to get another surgery if it came back.” Draven said. “Don’t worry about it guys it will all work out I have faith.” Draven said. That was typical Dre though his never-ending faith. “I’ll be back than you guys get back to work we got a lot of people coming in today to pick these cars up. Frank is on tow today so that means whatever he gets he’s bringing here. Frank Vitale owner of Franks towing. He would bring them business, and they would give him discounts. Frank loved the boys as they were his own, he saw them all as nephews, only Jayden was his real nephew his mother’s brother.

Isabella walked into the doctor’s office. “Hello, I am sorry I am running a little behind this morning. You must be Callen I have been waiting to meet you. I am so excited to be standing in front of one of the bravest people I have ever read or heard about. You know. You have quiet the fan base here.” Bella said shaking his weak hand. “I do?” He asked looking at her weirdly. “Oh yes in fact one of my best friends speaks about you a lot. In fact, she got permission from your mom and dad here for me to read all about your story. I just couldn’t put it down. I’ve read like fifty times. It got to the point where I just had to meet you. So here I am. I hope you’re ok with that?” “Ya that’s ok. What story did you read?” He asked confused. “I read this one.” She pulled out his medical chart which was almost two phone books long. “Wow.” He said knowing what they are.

“Please allow me to introduce myself I am Isabella Alderman please call me Bella, Dr. Ruiz it’s a pleasure to see you again.” Bella said shaking all their hands. “I am Victor Brooks, and this is my wife Fallon Brooks. It’s nice to meet you are you a doctor also?” Victor asked. “Nope, not at all. I am here for him.” Bella said pointed to Callen. “My job is an odd one you may say I am in investments. I go around and tell other companies what and where to spend money on and how they get money back. I am very good at my job. I believe nothing is a better investment than people. So, when I am not helping other companies, help other companies, I get them to invest back into people. I help get all kinds of people, all kinds of money, rather you’re a CEO, or just a school janitor if you submit a request and it’s something worth me looking into than I check it out and pitch it to all the companies or single individuals who need that tax write off, or even press once in a while. Don’t worry this is nothing media will get ahold of that is only for good publicity like building a library or soup kitchen, or parks. Bella said.

“I am here because one of my best friends Leah and many doctors have sent me lots of letters and requests that I knew I had to come down here and get you the help you are looking for.” Bella said. “Oh my god are serious? Did you really find someone who can help us?” Fallon asked tears starting to fall down her face hoping she won’t be one of those mothers who lose their babies to cancer. “Well, that’s where the problem came in. See it’s because of my close personal relationship with those who are seeking help that made this unethical request to pitch to my other investing members so based on the contracts I signed with them when they signed on and based on me not knowing you prior to my relationship with them I can’t ask them for help. Since I moved into town, I thought I would just cover this myself I actually brought a friend named Dr Hernandez.” The Dr. Hernandez?” Dr. Ruiz asked in shock. “Yes, he has agreed to work at the General hospital the next town over about twenty minutes away from your home for one year, while treating Callen. After that Dr. Hernandez which you can call Dr. Nacho by the way, see his name is Ignacio Hernandez. We all call him Nacho. He is convinced you will be cancer free. That is the goal plan. That doesn’t mean we won’t hit bumps and snags along the way I just want to point this out now. You know I have done this program a thousand times you know that he will get a little worse before he get s better.” Bella said. The parents and Callen were all teary eyes and trying not cry the two parents just hugging her tightly thanking her repeatedly.

“How can we ever repay you for this?” “Easy three things. One you sign a contract that only you, siblings, even grandparents are the only ones to know my involvement and you never reveal me out to the public or personal family or friends I love my privacy and I would like to keep it you just tell people you got on some cancer plan and got accepted into one of their many programs. Two you get better. Lastly you guys take some rest for yourselves you need to be as healthy as your trying to get him. I have another engagement so be at the hospital nine am tomorrow morning you will be his only patient on a Saturday. You call me or this guy on this card if you need anything.” Bella said shaking their hands on their way out. Driving her way back home She waited for Dimitri to come pick her up for dinner with her friends.

Walking into the restaurant she made her way over to the girls. They all hugged each other. “I’m just going to step outside and take this real quick.” Dimitri said as he walked out answering his phone. “He’s going to ditch me for a booty call you watch.” Bella said shaking her head. “So, be honest with me why aren’t we sitting down yet?” Bella asked looking around confused. “Well, we are just waiting for the hostess to walk us to our table where a couple of people will join us shortly.” Leah said in a mumbled tone.” “Other people, what other people?” Bella asked crossing her arms starring at them. “Ok fine you win stop looking at us like that. We invited those hot mechanics in town we told you about.” Rylie said. “You mean the funny, smart, sex gods on a stick you can’t stop talking about?” Bella asked. As her friends turned beat red and started to look anywhere but behind her. “Well, that is one hell of a way to start a conversation.” Jayden said smiling brightly. “They’re behind me, aren’t they?” She asked the girls in low voice. They nodded. “They’re blocking the only way out from here aren’t they” She asked again only for them to nod again at her.

Turning around to face them. “We really got to stop meeting like this, you know you guys just being there seeing my foot in my mouth and all it’s not very lady like.” Bella said waving at all of them. “Ya, not your best look, at least you took us all down with you. Hey guys how you doing?” Leah said smiling at them. Xavier was standing to the farthest side as he was the last one in. “Table for nine?” Hostess said eyeing all the guys but Xavier up and down. Xavier and the guys had a very tall muscle built but Xavier was just big scary looking and quiet type he kept only to his family and close circle wasn’t one to talk much he was a very intimidating man. “Actually, I think you should just make that for eight. I have a feeling I am about to be ditched very soon.” Bella said loudly. Making the other girls laugh and the guys look at them confused.

“Ok than please follow me.” Hostess said, “Bella hey hold up.” Dimitri said. “Oh, hey guys how are you doing. It’s good to see you.” He said pulling her arm back a little way ending up next to Xavier who just watched curiously he always wondered about their relationship no one ever asked. “Ok, so hate to do this to you but I’m going to bail. Leo came down here to surprise me and he’s waiting at my house right now. Are you ok if I leave?” Dimitri asked looking in her eyes for confirmation. “Yes, I will be fine I can catch a ride home, I’m sure. GO and give my love to Leo, in fact if he’s in town for tomorrow to just take the day off tomorrow there isn’t much on schedule this week that I can’t handle solo anyway.” Bella said hugging him tightly. He kissed the top of her head. “You’re the best cookie.” He said as he quickly made his way out the door. Xavier looked at Bella who was staring at him back. “He seems excited.” Xavier said in an amused husky voice. “Ya he’s boyfriend just got into town to surprise him, even though he moved here for me, I can’t take that from him.” Bella shrugged. “You guys close?” “Well, he is one of my best friends and he is also my assistant so were close enough. He’s almost liked my gay work husband.” Bella said shaking her head with a laugh making Xavier Laugh to. A huge weight lifted off his shoulders know that was one less person to worry about.

They got to the table, and he pulled out her chair on instinct everyone starred including Bella as she sat down. The other guys have done the same gesture, but they have seen Xavier do it for anyone but his mother. They all sat down and placed their drink order. “So, Bella I don’t think you’ve ever been properly introduced to the guys but I know you remember them so Let me just do a little roll call real quick. Boys this is Isabella Alderman.” “Please call me Bella, Bells, or even Izzy.” Bella said waving high to them, they just all smiled deeply at her. “Bells this Draven Brooks, Jayden Williams, Zain Russo, and Xavier Knight. They all run the mechanic shop in town and can literally fix anything. Maddison said proudly. The girls have been taking with these guys since they came in from college about four years ago.

They normally all join together in town whenever the girls can find a reason to call the guys out which used to be a lot when Bella would try to make into town. “Where’s your other friend who’s normally with you?” Jayden asked. “He’s boyfriend popped into town, so he has ditched us for booty.” Bella said making every laugh hard. “So, Bella what do you do?” Zain asked. “I am in investments kind of like a free-lance consultant for other companies or individuals looking for funding or partners to join projects or other random things anyone needing special funding for. Dimitri is actually my assistant, it’s really quiet boring.” “Wow, that doesn’t sound boring. That sounds really busy though.” Draven said. “Not as busy as you would hope. There is something I need help with does anyone know of a good realtor I need to get a place rented for an old friend coming to work in Alton. He needs help getting a place for a year, I just want to make sure he can be settled when he gets here tomorrow.” “Oh, who’s coming?” “Nacho.” “Oh, we haven’t seen him in hella days how is he?” Maddy asked. “Is he still with what’s her face, you know the surgeon Melody I think?” Leah asked taking a deep drink of her soda. “Yes, I’m willing to bet anything they make it about a week before she is down here.” Bella said making the laugh.

“It would be nice to take a day and go see them.” Rylie said. They had all met at college. “Xavier actually knows a great realtor; his cousin actually owns the realtor company in Linden the town twenty minutes south of us. Alton is to the East he does a lot of business kinda all the way around.” Zain said with a smirk. “Oh really, do you think I can get his number?” Bella asked. “You know tomorrow is a slow day so I’m sure if you’re not too busy Xavier can just take you down there and talk to him personally, he has to go down to a store to pick up certain parts for the shop anyway.” Jayden said smirking even bigger. “That would be great actually, but I don’t want to be a burden.” Bella mumbled worried the tall silent man who was glaring at his friends didn’t like that idea. His look softened once he looked back at her though. “If your free the company would be nice. I can call him tonight to make sure he’s there.” “Oh, thank you so much I really appreciate it.” “Does Dimitri have to go with you?” Rylie asked. “No, I gave him the rest of the week off. It’s just me. I only have some paperwork to review he can review some at home on his own and I don’t have to be back in the city for two weeks, and that’s just a day trip for a few hours to listen in on a meeting, then I will be quickly back home.” Bella said.

The guys looked to each other a little happy knowing she was getting comfortable here. “So, what do you plan to do while you’re here? Did you come down for work? Draven asked. “I came here because I hate the city and since my schedule and my job doesn’t require me to be there no more than three days a month to the companies who request my help, I’m kind of call only three days a month unless it’s an emergency meeting on their end. So, I always loved small towns, so I let my besties here call me to my new home. It’s nice feeling like you’re around family.” Bella said looking at her friends who were happy smiling back. “What about your family you didn’t want to be closer to your parents?” Xavier asked curiously. Never being able to picture being far from his parents. The girls all stopped at starred at him than towards Bella. Then the waiter came snapping them out of their stares. Making the guys feel lost.

“Are you ready to order?” He asked them with a smile looking around the table. “YES! Maddie said in a quick hurry to try to change the subject. After placing their orders, it got quiet. “So, I am guessing you guys are kind of close with each other and I’ll be seeing you guys a lot more, right?” Bella asked. Everyone shaking their head. “Ok stop staring at me like that.” She said to the girls. “Look I don’t want to make this weird so I’ll just say this real quick and we can get past it it’s small town anyway everyone bound to find out my story sooner or later. Alright.” Bella said taking in a deep breath.

My parents were both orphans grew up in the same place and ironically feel in love with each other the last two year they were there, they were born about a month apart so when they turned eighteen, they were able to put all their savings together and rent a place and get jobs. They got married and had me the week I turned eighteen they got hit by a drunk driver and died on impact so did the driver. So, since there is no other family, I busted my ass got into college, meet these great people here, and a couple of great others on along the way. Now here I am. That’s my whole story.” The girls looked around knowing that was less but knowing she had her reasons. “I am so sorry for your loss. That is quiet the amazing story though I mean I don’t know if I could ever be able to do that.” Xavier said as he was just lost in how brave she really was. Wow she really was out of his length. There’s no way he could reach her level. He was thinking to himself, but he knew he couldn’t deal with it if he didn’t even try. Never to be one to be plagued with the what if’s he realized he was done sitting on life sidelines and if this woman can make it this far almost all on her own going after her dreams, then he can manage to man up and make a move.

The food came and they all enjoyed themselves talking about stories none of them can outlive. The whole place was filled with laughter everyone shocked but not saying anything, as this is the most Xavier has spoken while out in public or with the girl’s period. It wasn’t until Leah looked down at her cell phone at the time. “Wow I think it’s time to call it we have been at this place for two hours.” She said everyone looking a little shocked. “Wow it doesn’t even feel that long. Do uh do you all have a way home?” Zain asked mainly looking at Leah who was turning red. “Ya, oh wait you came with Dimitri didn’t you?” Leah asked. “I can take you home if you need a ride?” Xavier offered not even realizing the words came out of his mouth. “Are you sure? I don’t want to bother you.” Bella said as they were all standing gathering their things. “You’re no bother Bellz, I need to know where to pick you in the morning anyway.” Xavier said. Bella turning red loving the way her nickname came tolling so easily out of his mouth.

“Ok than well thank you guys for coming out and making feel welcomed It really means a lot. I really hope we can do this again soon.” Bella said as the rest of the guys walked the girls to their cars. Xavier came and opened the door for her to get in. The other guys mirrored the gestures to the other girls who were on the other sides of the parking lot. “Leah, I was wondering if you are busy in the morning?” “No, I am free. Off on weekends remember.” She said smiling gat him. Leah was a nurse. “Would you like to go to Ellies shop with me in the morning?” Zain asked in a low husky voice. “Ya that sounds yummy.” Leah said happily. “Like a date Leah.” Zain said to make it clear. The guys all agreed to ask them out tonight this was the maki it or break it point after all this time this needed to happen to know if the girls felt the same or if they need to start getting over their crushes. “I would love to go on a date with you Zain. You kept me waiting long enough don’t you think?” She said laughing. “Well, I didn’t see you saying anything, you guys are intimidating women alright men get nervous to.” Zain said as they both starting to laugh. “So, eight?” He asked. “You picking me up or meeting me there?” “Picking you up, I like to spend as much time with you as I can get.” He said smiling deeply shutting her door walking away to where he parked as she drove off.

“Maddy you busy Sunday?” Draven asked. “Nope, being boss means I get most weekends off.” She laughed. “Do you want to go out to dinner with me?” “Are you finally asking me out on a date?” Maddy asked shocked taking in a breath. “Yes. I know we have known each other for a long time now, I just I can’t keep standing around not trying, and let some other tool sneak you away.” Draven said looking at her, with nothing but honesty in voice. “I can think of nothing else I would rather do than spend time with you in any way I can get it.” Maddie said kissing his cheek getting into the car. “Call me.” She said as she shut the door, leaving Draven shocked with a huge smile on his face. Walking back as the guys all parked next to each other.

“So, I was wondering if you wanted to go on a date with me to dinner tomorrow night? Jayden asked Rylie as he held the door opened for her. “Wow really?” Rylie asked with a big smile on her face. “If you have nothing going on we can always go another night.” “You have no idea how long I have been I have been hoping you would ask me out. I have been to scare to ask you myself.” Rylie said looking down to the ground. Lifting her chin to look him in the eye. “You have no idea how long I wanted to ask. So, is that a yes?” Jayden asked her. “Yes. Oh, I almost forgot, I just got to make a quick text later but yes I would love to go out with you.” She said happily. “You go to plans with the girls or something?” HE asked smiling at her. “No, Eli asked me if I was free tomorrow to hit him up, I was going to make up an excuse but no I don’t have to lie.” “Do you guys got something going on?” HE asked a little nervous to hear the answer.

“Nothing like you think they like to hang out with me and the girls, it’s just sometimes they can get a little creepy like. So, we like to limit the interaction they have with us, but they have been nice friends to us since we got here, and we don’t want to be rude or anything like that you know small town wanting to keep the peace. It’s just sometimes we think they looking for more than we are willing to offer.” She said kissing his cheek. “So, they’ve been hitting on you guys, and you all basically just cringe?” He asked laughing a little. “Basically, in simple terms ya. Don’t tell them that. We always make it very clear they aint walking out of the friend zone. We don’t need anyone making it any more awkward than it was.” Rylie said shaking her finger at him. “I promise I will be on my best behavior. However, if they cross a line that promise becomes void.” He said to her leaving no room for discussion. “I will pick you up at five. Dress casually.” He said shutting the door waling back to his friends.

“How’d it go?” Zain asked. “I got yes.” Jayden said. “I got yes.” Draven. “Guess we all finally got dates. Why did it take us this long? I feel hella dumb right now.” Zain said shaking his head. “Naw bro we are hells dumb. You know the whole time we all deep sown thought they would go to the officer douche squad? Ya they all don’t feel them like that. In fact, they try to avoid them every possible time.” Jayden said laughing. “For real? So wait we had a shot this whole damn time and we’ve just been blowing it then?” Draven asked looking mad and confused. “Yup we are such dumb asses. We really got to make sure not to blow this.” Jayden said. All of them nodding along.

“Are we going to talk about how different Xavier was tonight or are we just let that go?” Jayden asked. “I think she can be good for him, just the kick in the nuts he needs.” Zain said. “Ya, I think we just all started something truly worthwhile man. Now all we got to do is stake claim before douche squad comes along and fucks it up.” Draven said. They all looked to each other knowing they got some ground work to start covering. There was no way in hell they were going to just lay back and let something as good as those girls go without a fight. It’s been a secret battle for the last four years, it’s time for it to come to a close.

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