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There’s a funny sense of irony in what happened between Dominic and I. I have always known who Dominic is, who he really is. I knew that if I fell in love with him I would end up heartbroken, so I didn’t—or at least I thought I didn’t. But that moment in the closet of what was my room proved me wrong, so very wrong.
I should have known, should have seen it coming. It was bound to happen though, right? Sex aside, spending months with someone like that, trapped together in a house and playing pretend, one of us was going to fall in love. It just so happened that that someone was—is—me.
I knew what was going to happen; I saw the inevitable, and I got kicked in the ass by it anyway. I fell in love while telling myself not to...
It’s been three months since I left Dominic’s penthouse, three months since I felt truly heartbroken. I never thought that conversation the morning after Alister’s charity event would cause what it did. And it hurt, it tore me apart and I hate myself for it. I didn’t realize I had already fallen for Dominic until everything came crashing down around me.
I still have received no divorce papers, I thought they would have arrived here shortly after I did. I can’t bring myself to call and find out why. I can’t bring myself to dial his number and hear his voice. Would he even answer me? Probably not.
A week ago I finally stepped outside the hotel and went and got a tattoo on the side of my ribs. It’s a crescent moon with a rose and stars around it—it’s for Dominic. Going to the tattoo shop got me out of whatever rut I am in and now the only time I leave my hotel suit is to go to the local cafe to get out of my head. I bring Wuthering Heights with me, not that I can actually read much of it. But it gets me out of the room and I guess that’s something.
I sit in the outdoor seating area of the cafe. My book closed on the table and my usual cup of tea next to it. I order the same thing every time, it’s a routine and it’s something I need.
“You know, it helps if you actually read the book.” A male voice says in front of me.
I look up to find a tall man in front of me with blonde hair and blue eyes. There’s an amusing smile on his face as we look at each other. “Romance stories are a lie anyway right?” I’m starting to believe Dominic was on to something about not believing in love. It does end in heartbreak.
“Hm.” He hums as he pulls the chair out across me at the table. “Seems like there’s a story behind that.”
“Isn’t there always?” I question, tilting my head to the side slightly, trying to figure this person in front of me out.
“I’ll buy you a glass of wine and you can tell me all about it.”
“You want me to trust some random stranger and tell him my life story and all I get out of it is a glass of wine?” I ask curiously. I’m not too sure if I’m too heartbroken and empty to care about the fact that I’m talking to a complete stranger, but there’s something about him I trust. I’m just not sure what it is.
“You’re right. Where are my manners.” He reaches his hand out towards me. “I’m Eric Luxington.”
I take a breath and grab his outstretched hand shaking it, “Tessa Sullivan.”
A look of recognition crosses his face at my name as I pull my hand away. “Tessa Sullivan who married Dominic Caldwell?”
I nod slightly, just a quick tilt down then back up. “The one and only.”
“We are going to need something stronger than a glass of wine.”
Five minutes later I follow Eric inside a bar a few blocks away from the cafe I was sitting at. We sit together at the bar and Eric waves the bartender over. “A few shots of vodka and keep them coming.” Eric hands the guy a 100 Euro and I watch as the bartender places a few shot glasses in front of us before pouring the vodka inside.
Eric grabs one and hands me the full shot glass. “Cheers.” Our shot glasses clink together and then I shoot it back quickly, wincing at the burn sliding down my throat. Eric hands me another and I throw that one back into my mouth too.
He hands me another one but I set it on the counter. “So,” I start, “what do you want to know? I can only imagine what the papers back home are saying.” If he knows about Dominic and I then he must be from Seattle.
“Are you sure you want to know?” He asks curiously.
I think about it for a minute, I don’t. I have barely spoken to Noelle and Peyton because I don’t want to know. I shake my head, “no. Not really.” I grab the shot glass on the counter and take it, coughing slightly from the burn. “They aren’t always right. The papers.”
He nods but says nothing, he’s not forcing me to say anything until I’m ready.
I can feel the warmth from the alcohol move through my body and I sigh. “It was a business deal, all of it. The engagement, the wedding, all of it. We were both getting things out of it, though I guess my end of the deal was pretty shitty because I technically didn’t get shit from it.” More shots appear in front of the two of us and I grab another, throwing it back quickly. “It was rough, we couldn’t stand each other.”
“Until you didn’t.” Eric says and I look over at him. It isn’t a question.
“Yeah, until we didn’t.” I can’t stop the laugh that erupts from me as I think about when I fell into the pool and the night after that street race. I think about our agreement, the good times that we had. Then I think about that last night, the night of our fight, and the morning after. “I told him I wanted love and if he couldn’t give me that then we needed to just be friends. He told me to leave so I came here, to Paris.”
“So he broke your heart.” Again, it’s not a question.
I shrug, “I’m not sure, maybe. I knew who he was, who he is, so did he really break my heart or did I break my own?” I can see the sympathy on Eric’s face and I push back the tears that want to fall because it really doesn’t matter how you look at it. I ended up heartbroken. I know and Eric knows it. “So,” I change the subject, “why are you in Paris?”
“Vacation slash work with my husband.” he smiles.
“And you’re spending part of it with some sad broken woman? That’s horrible.”
“I have free time while he goes to a few meetings. Plus you looked like you needed a friend. I wanted to be that friend.”
“So I’m a pity friend, good to know.”
“Ah.” He says as he raises a shot glass up. “But I friend nonetheless.” He clinks the full shot glass on the bar in front of me and then downs his shot.