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|Before Jamaica Lane(On Dublin Street #3)(74) by Samantha Young|
A Blu-Ray disc of The Wizard of Oz.
Tears pricked my eyes and I felt strangely nervous as I fumbled for the envelope. Taking a deep breath, I began to read the handwritten letter from Nate.
It’s time we upgraded your favorite movie to this century, even if it is The Wizard of Oz.
And just so you know: If you were a movie you’d be The Godfather – I could watch you over and over and over and over again because … well, you’re my favorite.
I miss you.
I miss our Would You Rather conversations and your hilarious answers. I miss your laugh. I miss the way I feel when I make you laugh. Like I just won something really important. I miss just sitting with you in perfect, silent understanding. I miss the way you never judge anyone. It’s such a rare find, Liv. And I miss watching how kind you are with everyone. I miss being able to call you and talk to you about random shit and important shit.
I miss my best friend.
I miss you.
I love you.
Shaking, I pulled my cell out of my pocket, hoping Angus would understand that I needed to make a personal call and make it pronto.
Jo picked up, sounding out of breath. ‘Hey, Liv, can I call you back? I’m in the middle of pasting wallpaper and I need to get it up on the wall quite quickly.’
‘Well, I’ll be quick. Tell Nate to stop sending me gifts. We’re over.’
She was silent a moment. ‘Can’t you tell him yourself?’
‘No, he’s … I can’t be around him. Please tell him to just back off. Please.’
‘Liv, the reason you don’t want to see him is because you care about him and being around him makes you less hurt and more susceptible to giving him a shot. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.’
‘You’re wrong,’ I told her haughtily. ‘I’ve moved on. I’m meeting Ben for coffee after work at Black Medicine.’
‘The one on Nicolson Street?’ Jo asked sharply.
‘Yes. I think I might even suggest we take things to the next level.’
‘Well, I hope for Ben’s sake you’re not just trying to piss Nate off. Because he actually sounds like a nice guy and he doesn’t deserve to be messed around.’ Jo sighed. ‘I’ve got to go.’
She hung up, clearly annoyed, and that only made me feel like shit.
I’d feel less bad about the fact that I’d disappointed her roughly five hours later …
‘What the hell are you doing here?’ I hissed up at Nate.
He stood between me and Ben with his hand on the back of my chair and I saw the hardness in his eyes before he shook it out to turn to my friend with a congenial smile. He held out his hand to Ben. ‘I’m Nate. We met briefly before.’
Tucked in the back of Black Medicine, this quirky, gorgeous little café with naturally cut wooden furniture that wouldn’t be amiss on the set of a Lord of the Rings movie, I’d been in the middle of telling Ben about my Nate woes when the handsome bastard had suddenly appeared as if conjured.
But I knew he wasn’t conjured.
Jo had given up my location.
I was going to kill her.
Ben blinked, clearly as surprised as I was to see Nate there. He took in Nate’s offered hand and slowly reached forward to clasp it with his own. ‘Good to meet you,’ Ben answered quietly, his expression assessing.
‘So –’ Nate made a tsk sound with his teeth ‘I’m going to have to ask you to leave. I need to talk to Liv.’
My mouth fell open at his audacity. ‘Are you out of your mind?’
When his gaze slid back to me, the hardness was in it again and I realized quickly that it was annoyance. He was annoyed with me? Was he kidding me? ‘You and I have unfinished business,’ he replied softly. ‘I don’t think it’s fair to drag Benny boy here into it.’
Ben cleared his throat. ‘With the exception of the condescending nickname, he has a point.’ Ben shifted, pulling his wallet out. I stared in horror as he put a five-pound note on the table to cover his coffee.
‘You’re actually leaving?’ I hissed.
His lips curled up in beleaguered acceptance. ‘You’ve just spent the last fifteen minutes telling me about all the ways this guy has spent the past week trying to convince you that he’s in love with you. I think you need to talk it out with him instead of me.’ He smiled kindly before shooting Nate a warning look. His green eyes flicked back to me. ‘Call me later to let me know you’re okay.’
My eyes narrowed on him. ‘I don’t talk to traitors.’
Ben snorted, shaking his head at me. ‘Just call me.’ And with that he left me.
Nate didn’t bother to watch him leave. He just slid into the chair Ben had vacated and shuffled it so close to mine that our legs were touching. I pushed my chair back, readying to leave. Nate’s arm shot out, his hand taking hold of my wrist. ‘Liv, please.’
Our eyes clashed in a war of wills, and unfortunately my will was severely dented by the pleading warmth of his gaze. Sighing, I tugged my hand gently out of his grasp and shifted back toward the table, but made sure that we were no longer touching. ‘You have five minutes.’
His eyes searched my face for a moment, like he was cataloguing every feature, and there was something so vulnerable and open about his expression that my heart immediately began to pound. Nate leaned forward, his voice low as he said, ‘That night at Cam’s … the redhead.’
I flinched, my expression shuttering.
I didn’t really want to talk about the fact that while my heart was breaking Nate was out there getting over me by getting other women under him.
‘I didn’t sleep with her,’ he hurried to assure me, his words almost desperate. ‘Liv, I haven’t been with another woman since you.’
Snorting, I casually took a sip of my coffee even though I felt anything but casual about our conversation. ‘Right,’ I muttered sardonically, setting my cup back on its saucer.
‘I would never lie to you about that.’
At his hard, indignant tone I looked up at his face and found he was angry. I raised an eyebrow at his expression. ‘You’re mad because I don’t believe you? Really, Nate? I asked you point-blank if you were in love with me, you said no, and now weeks later you’re saying yes. And you wonder why I’m struggling to believe a word you say?’