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Between Commitment and Betrayal: Chapter 37

EVERLY

HE WAS RIGHT. He’d always be a part of me. I’d always be his in some way. But …

“But she’s going to have your baby, isn’t she?”

“Drop”—his voice cracked and my heart felt pain even as my body felt the pleasure. Pain and pleasure, a mixture that warred in my soul. He was betraying me even though he’d committed to me—“it doesn’t matter what’s happening with her. You understand that, right?”

I didn’t answer. He knew good and well it mattered, but I was too far gone, too close to my orgasm to respond. Then he smacked my ass and I cried out, the orgasm barreling fast through me. “You’d better understand. Because until the divorce is final, don’t think for a second you can forget. I’ll tear apart any man who comes near you. I fucking mean it, Everly. You’re. My. Wife.”

His statement had me squeezing his cock tight, my body still reacting to him even though it shouldn’t have. His thrusts got erratic before he groaned, emptying his seed where he shouldn’t have. Yet, I rolled my hips against him, wanting all of it. If this was our last time, I wanted all of him, every part I could take.

It was only a second later that I heard Anastasia’s voice down the hallway. His brows came down hard, and his Adam’s apple bobbed as I scrambled away from him to pull my pants back up. “Sign the divorce papers, Declan.” As I said the words, more tears sprang to my eyes.

“Everly, I’m not going to.” He shook his head, his cock glistening with my arousal still. He didn’t bother tucking it back in right away, like he had nothing to hide as he grabbed the back of my neck and pulled me to him. He didn’t ask permission or hesitate when he took my lips in his. Even as I bit his bottom lip at first to show I was mad, he just groaned, waiting for me to let him in. My weakness was him, my body responded and took one last kiss. He devoured me, lapping at every part of my mouth like he was memorizing every piece of it.

When I shoved him back, I was panting. “You will sign the papers, Declan, because Anastasia is out there. And I’m not waiting for us any longer. This is over. You’ve got one month.”

I stormed past him and scanned my watch to open the doors fast enough that Anastasia flew in by me and started bickering with him.

I didn’t say anything to her. I didn’t need to. I wanted out of there. I scheduled an Uber and immediately packed my stuff from my locker to go home. I’d lost control by letting that happen, but I knew it couldn’t again, especially when my heart broke a little more with Anastasia there to witness my walk of shame.

I ignored the calls from Declan and my mother as I showered that night, but the call I knew I couldn’t ignore came from Tonya.

I answered as I towel-dried my curls. “Tonya, what’s up?”

“He’s out, and he’s looking for you.” Those seven words. It was all she had to whisper for my blood to freeze, my hand to shake, my heart to beat out of my chest.

“Why?” I whispered.

I heard her take one breath and then another before she responded. “He stopped by. He’s asking about you and Declan. He’s jittery about it this time. I …” She hesitated. “I told him to go to hell, Evie, and I’ve never done that. He looked so furious. But he left and I heard he’s been going around town asking people about you—”

“You need to leave, Tonya. Come here and let the dust settle.” I cut her off sternly. Tonya never responded well to me trying to protect her. We’d been through his brutality together. It bonded us for life but also separated us too.

Cruel.

What that man had done to us was the cruelest thing. He’d beaten me down enough mentally that I hadn’t questioned his intentions at first, hadn’t questioned how he slowly morphed my self-confidence. Now, the pain we felt when we were with one another, reliving every moment, it almost forced us to be strangers. She couldn’t look at me without pain, and I couldn’t look at her without remorse and guilt. “Being in that town isn’t good for your health.”

She sighed. “I know that now. God, do I know it now. I should have testified with you, Evie.”

I tried to disagree, to see the good in the place I’d left behind. “I don’t know if that’s true—”

“Stop defending a town that shoved you out, Evie. Stop defending me. I should have been there for you! I didn’t even say he assaulted me. How much of a coward am I?” I shut my eyes, trying my best not to relive it all. “I practically shoved you out of town, too, okay? I wanted this all to disappear but it’s not. And if I leave, he gets his way. Don’t you see that?”

I try to cut her off, but she doesn’t let me.

“No. You left for me, but otherwise you would have stayed. I know you would have. You would have stood tall and silent and fucking made him walk past you every single day because you could take all the pain and not dish it back out. You didn’t break like me. Every time I saw you, I was too scared—”

“You don’t have to explain,” I tried to tell her, but I choked over my words. She was saying everything I’d hoped she would, but I couldn’t be there to hug her, couldn’t tell her it would be okay.

“I know. You’d never make me explain. You’d never make me do anything—which you should have. You should have made me testify against him.”

“Tonya,” I chastised, “come stay with me for a month or two. We can figure out someplace safe—”

“I can’t,” she said, harsher than I think she wanted to. Then she cleared her throat. “I can’t do it, Everly. I love you, but I can’t see you and that look you always get in your eyes. None of this was your fault, and I’m just … I destroyed you, and I can’t take that back no matter how much I want to. Just be careful.” She hung up without another word.

So, I did the only thing I could do. I sent a text.

Me: You have something to say, come say it. You know where I work. You’ve obviously seen the magazines. Stop bothering my friends. If you want to bother someone, come bother me.

I deleted the thread afterward.


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