The Pucking Wrong Number: Chapter 27

LINCOLN

Father: I wish it had been you.

It took me a second to realize why my father had thrown me that gem this morning.

And when it did, it was like I was dying.

It was the anniversary of Tyler’s death today.

And for the first time since his death…I’d forgotten.

I’d forgotten the one day of the year that was supposed to be dedicated to him. And it was like I’d failed him all over again.

I could feel my carefully put together facade cracking. The weight of his death…the guilt, the fact that I was fucking daring to be so happy…

The walls were closing in on me. I couldn’t breathe.

Because of me, he’d never have the chance to meet his soulmate. He’d never smile. He’d never laugh. He’d never have another fucking day.

Because of me.

Without another thought, I walked to the cabinet and pulled out a handle of vodka.

It was better than killing myself.


Monroe

I frowned at my phone. It wasn’t like Lincoln not to text me almost every second of the day when we were separated.

I was just as bad, but after the three texts I’d sent had gone unanswered, I’d stopped texting, and instead started worrying.

Was this it? Had he decided he was done with me?

It was a crazy, unreasonable thought, but it was my worry all day.

“You think you were ever more than a good fuck, Roxanne?”

The man’s cruel words echoed around our small apartment. I watched from a crack in the door, my mother on her knees in front of him, her body shaking with sobs. He gave her one more disgusted look before he left.

I walked out into the muggy evening air, biting my lip as I scanned the parking lot for Lincoln. He’d picked me up every day this week and had told me he’d be here when I left this morning.

Instead, there was a black town car with a man dressed in a sharp, nicely tailored black suit, a stern expression…and a sign with my name on it.

Confused, I tentatively walked over.

“Good evening, Ms. Bardot. My name is Nathaniel. Mr. Daniels sent me to pick you up. He’s indisposed at the moment.” The man, Nathaniel, opened the back passenger door and stared at me expectantly.

I hesitated, shooting a text to Lincoln asking what was going on.

But after an awkward moment, where it never showed he’d even read the text, I got in the car.

Hoping the guy wasn’t a serial killer or something.

The interior of the town car was plush and luxurious, with black leather seats and polished wood accents. I sank into the seat, nerves building in my gut, unsure of everything.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. My thoughts bounced around, one second telling me to stop being so crazy, and the next, cursing myself that I’d depended on Lincoln to begin with.

‘Where exactly is Lincoln?’ I asked Nathaniel as we set off. He gave me a small, tight-lipped smile in the rear view mirror.

“I’m not sure, ma’am.”

‘So, uh, how long have you been driving for Lincoln?’ My voice was awkward, but silence felt like it would be too loud…give my thoughts too much room to roam.

‘A while,’ Nathaniel responded curtly, eyes fixed on the road ahead.

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. ‘Um, where are we going?’

‘Mr. Daniels’ penthouse.’

‘Oh, right. Of course,’ I stammered, feeling like an idiot for even asking.

Nathaniel remained silent for a few moments before speaking again. ‘Is there anything else you need, ma’am?’

‘No, no. I’m good,’ I whispered, realizing I wouldn’t get anything useful out of him.

I stared out the window, watching the city rush by in a blur of lights and colors. My mind raced with questions and worries about Lincoln.

What was going on?

We drove into Lincoln’s underground garage, a good sign that I hadn’t made a mistake by getting in the car in the first place, and it stopped in front of the elevator entrance. A moment later, Nathaniel opened the door for me.

“Thank you,” I murmured, clutching my bag to my chest.

He nodded at me and drove off before I’d even gotten in the elevator.

As I ascended to the penthouse, my unease bubbled inside me like boiling water in a kettle, threatening to spill over at any moment. It was as if I were suspended in mid-air, waiting for a cruel gust of wind to knock me off balance. The ride felt never-ending, each passing second causing my heart to race faster and faster, like a train barreling towards an inevitable collision.

This shouldn’t have been a big deal. Things came up in life.

I would feel like a complete idiot when I walked in and he was there…

But everything felt wrong.

The doors slid open and I walked into the silent foyer. A few steps in and I heard the faint din of a vacuum cleaner coming from one of the rooms.

“Lincoln?” I called out as I walked into the next room, hoping with everything in me that he’d appear, that beautiful grin on his face that I was obsessed with.

But there was no sign of him.

The sound of the vacuum subsided and the door that led to the theater room opened down the hallway. Out shuffled Mrs. Bentley, Lincoln’s housekeeper, and the best cook in the world, I was pretty sure.

She was usually perfectly put together, her gray streaked brown hair in a neat bun, and her dresses she insisted on wearing perfectly pressed. Right then, she looked like she’d seen better days. Her face was red and blotchy, her warm brown eyes puffy and bloodshot. She was a short, stout English woman with a motherly air about her, perfect since Lincoln had told me she’d spent his entire life looking after him.

But right now, she looked like she could use some looking after herself.

My heart sank as I took in her appearance. ‘Is everything okay?’ I asked tentatively. “Do you know where Lincoln is?”

Mrs. Bentley’s lower lip quivered as she tried to speak. ‘Oh, Miss Monroe, I’m afraid it’s not good news. Mr. Lincoln’s not here.’

‘Where is he?’ I asked, my voice coming out desperate.

Her eyes welled up with tears. ‘He’s at the cemetery, love. It’s—It’s the anniversary of Tyler’s death today.’

“Tyler?”

A sob slipped from her throat. “His brother, dear.”

My heart sank even further. I’d known Lincoln had a brother, and that he had passed. But Lincoln hadn’t given me any other details…and certainly not that today was the day he’d died. It was a reminder this was all so new. We’d moved at a million miles an hour…but we still knew almost nothing about each other.

Correction, I knew very little about him. He seemed to know most things about me.

‘Is he okay? What can I do?’ I asked, my voice barely above a whisper.

Mrs. Bentley shook her head, tears spilling down her cheeks. ‘I don’t know. He—he seemed worse than usual, love. I don’t know what to do.’

A deep ache tugged at my heart, and I was desperate to get to him. ‘Which cemetery is it?’ My voice was steadying despite the knot in my stomach.

She hesitated for a moment, eyeing me carefully, but she must have seen how much I cared, because she finally gave in. ‘It’s St. Mary’s, love. But please, be careful.’

I nodded, determined to do whatever it took to be there for Lincoln.

Just like he’d been there for me.

Getting to the cemetery was a hair raising experience. I wasn’t a good driver, but put me in a luxury SUV, and it was even worse. I could have called for Nathanial to come back and drive me, but I didn’t know what I’d find when I got to the cemetery. And I wanted to protect Lincoln’s pain.

As I approached the gates of St. Mary’s cemetery, a chill swept through my body, prickling my skin. The weather was bleak and overcast, with the ominous feeling of an impending storm. St. Mary’s was surrounded by a rusted iron fence that was almost as tall as me, and the gates creaked ominously as I pushed them open. Rows of headstones stretched out endlessly in all directions, and it felt like I was walking through a maze of grief and mourning.

The air was thick with the smell of freshly cut grass, and I could hear the distant sound of church bells ringing. Clouds overhead were a dark, brooding gray, and I could feel the weight of them pressing down on me. It was as if the sky was mourning with me, mourning for all the lost loved ones who were buried beneath the ground.

I walked the path that wrapped its way through the grave sites…until finally, I saw him.

Lincoln. Lying in front of a headstone, a handle of vodka next to him. My heart sank seeing him like that, completely consumed by his pain and grief. ‘Lincoln,’ I whispered, tears already prickling at my eyes, my voice barely above a whisper as I kneeled beside him.

He stirred slightly, muttering something unintelligible. I gently shook him, trying to bring him back to consciousness. ‘Lincoln, wake up,’ I said, my voice shaking with emotion.

He finally opened his eyes, his gaze unfocused and hazy. ‘Monroe?’ he mumbled, his voice hoarse from crying and drinking. ‘I’m so sorry. I forgot.’

I shook my head, unable to speak through my tears. ‘It’s okay, Lincoln,’ I managed to say after a moment. ‘I’m here now.’

He tried to sit up, but I held him down gently. ‘Just rest for a bit,’ I told him. “And then I’ll get you back home, and I’ll take care of you.’ Lincoln let himself fall, his face lying in the grass, wet from the humidity of the incoming storm.

Eventually, I helped him up, and he clung to me tightly, his body shaking with sobs. ‘I miss him so much,’ he choked out. ‘I’m sorry, Monroe. I don’t deserve you.’

I stroked his hair as we stumbled our way back to the car. He could barely walk, and it was all I could do to hold him up. He was so much bigger than me. ‘Shh, don’t say that,’ I said softly. ‘It’s going to be alright. I promise.’

He just shook his head, another wave of grief clouding his golden eyes.

The car ride back to his penthouse was quiet, the only sound his ragged breathing and the occasional whimper.

Once we arrived, I led him to the couch and wrapped him in a blanket. ‘Stay here,’ I told him firmly. ‘I’m going to make you some tea and get you some water.’

He nodded weakly, his eyes closing as he drifted off to sleep. The house was silent as I moved around the kitchen, trying to keep my hands from shaking. I knew Lincoln needed me, but I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the weight of his grief.

As I brought him a cup of tea and a glass of water, he stirred, opening his eyes to look at me. ‘Thank you, dream girl,’ he murmured.

But he fell back asleep before he got anything down.

I stayed there, just watching him. Thinking that some soulmates are born to find each other.

But others are ruined.


Lincoln’s fingers twisted a lock of my hair as we laid in bed. He was still seated deep inside me in the aftermath of our lovemaking. He’d woken me up in the middle of the night, desperate for me.

I’d felt that way, too.

He was studying me now, in that intense, awestruck way of his, as if trying to read every emotion that flickered across my face. My body was sore, but it was a good kind of sore, the kind that reminded me of where he’d been. Where he still was.

I was riding the edge. If he started moving again, I would come with ease. I was so addicted to this man.

The air felt hazy around us, magical, like we were trapped in our own little world, and there was nothing that could touch us. I didn’t know how I could ever feel closer to a human being than I did to him at that moment.

‘Lincoln,’ I murmured, breathing through the sensations coursing through my body. I wanted his pain, wanted to take it from him, wrap him up in my love.

I couldn’t say the words to him.

But I could show him.


Lincoln

I drank in the details of her beautiful face. I’d woken up hungry. Desperate to have her. Needing a hit of her special brand of magic to heal me.

She was riding me, her dark tresses sweeping over my stomach, her breasts bouncing with each movement. I couldn’t help but obsess over her beauty as she gazed deeply into my eyes.

It was more than just a physical experience, it was spiritual.

Our minds, our souls, and our bodies were reaching out and touching each other at the same time.

I moved gently, drawing on her pleasure, and felt her tighten around me. She exhaled a soft moan as I met the gentle writhe of her body with a heavy thrust.

She was riding me, and then, suddenly, she was coming. Those beautiful spasms gripped me tightly, and the orgasm rocketed out of me in excruciatingly intense bursts.

I owned her, and she owned me. I was addicted to the way she felt, a bittersweet pain I wasn’t sure I’d survive.

She collapsed onto me, panting and dazed.

After a second, she tried to lift herself off, wincing a little. Her thighs were slick with our passion and her hair was a wild mess. She’d never looked more beautiful.

But I couldn’t let her go yet. I couldn’t do it. I pulled her back down, and she understood.

Of course she understood.

She was my fucking soulmate.

She was the most exquisite thing I’d ever seen in my life.

I stared at her for a long moment, my emotions swirling inside me.

“You’re so damn beautiful,” I said roughly.

She smiled, a small, knowing smile. “I could say the same about you.”

I chuckled, and we both groaned at the sensation.

We laid there in silence for a few moments, catching our breath. I could literally feel our hearts intertwining, and it was both exhilarating and terrifying.

“I want to tell you about Tyler,” I finally said, breaking the silence. She stared up at me, her green eyes soulful, understanding.

I inhaled sharply. How did I even begin to tell her about him? About the things that happened to me growing up? It all felt so heavy, so insurmountable.

Too heavy for my sweet, perfect girl.

But as I stared into those starry eyes of hers, I knew I could tell her. I could show her my scars.

‘I don’t know where to start,’ I said finally, my voice hoarse.

‘It’s okay,’ she murmured, reaching out to touch my cheek. ‘Take your time.’

I nodded, taking a deep breath. ‘Tyler was my hero,’ I began. ‘He was ten years older than me. He was the only one who ever protected me from our father. The only one who ever believed in me. Tyler was everything to my parents, the perfect one, the heir to my father’s throne, so to speak. But he was also my protector, my savior.’

I paused, lost in the memory of my brother’s kindness.

“Why did your father beat you?” she whispered in an anguished, broken voice.

I shrugged. I’d long since gotten over the fact that my parents had hated me from my birth. “They’d moved on from being active parents; they were living their lives, and then probably the one time they’d had sex since Tyler’s conception…they ended up with me. It just pissed them off, or at least that’s what I think. We’ve never really sat down and talked about it.”

I was trying for a bit of humor, but as she bit down on her plush bottom lip, her gaze sparking with anger, she wasn’t laughing.

I loved her even more for that.

‘One day, after my dad had beat the shit out of me yet again, Tyler took me to the skating rink. We watched a team playing hockey, and I was…I was caught. It was like a whole new world had opened up to me.’ I smiled sadly at Monroe, remembering that moment, reliving the spark of joy, the flicker of freedom I’d gotten that day.

‘He took me to all of my practices and games after that—going against my father for the first time in his life. Tyler was my biggest fan and supporter, told me he saw something in me. Thought I could really be something someday.’ My words caught in my throat. I tried to breathe through the pain. ‘He believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.’

I closed my eyes, a tear trickling down my face. Monroe’s soft hand brushed it away.

‘In ninth grade, there was a huge hockey exhibition in Minnesota. Tons of scouts from colleges and the NHL were attending. I was practicing on a frozen lake near the facility, because I was fed up with how crowded the arena was, when I fell in. I was drowning when Tyler jumped in to save me.’

Flashbacks of that day cycled through my mind. The icy cold darkness of the water. The realization I was going to die…and then the hands lifting me onto the ice.

‘He got me out of the water, but…he didn’t make it out. He drowned right in front of me.’

All the pain and guilt I’d worked so hard to push down, rose to the surface. It was an open wound that stabbed and twisted, refusing to close and heal. ‘I couldn’t save him, Monroe. He hadn’t even wanted to be out there. He hated the fucking cold. But he’d done it because I’d bitched so much about it.’ I stared at her with pleading eyes, hoping she’d understand his death felt like my own. ‘He was my hero, my brother, my best friend. And I killed him.’


Monroe

I listened, my heart breaking for him. He was splayed open right then, his deepest pain lying before me.

I knew he didn’t want to hear that he wasn’t responsible for his brother’s death. Those kinds of words never worked when they went against something you really believed. People said false platitudes, thinking they would make you feel better.

And it never worked.

So I just held him.

I gave him my body.

I gave him all I had.

And I hoped that it helped.

It was only later that I told him my own confession.

“I freaked out today. I thought you were done with me.” I blurted it out as he ruined my body for the third time that night.

He stopped mid-thrust, staring down at me with his outrageous beauty, the kind I’d never, ever get over.

“I love you. And I’ll never stop,” he told me. “I’d do anything for you…I’d live for you.”

I’d never been loved before. Not by anyone. And certainly never by someone who knew that the hardest part of a love story was when your own heart was breaking. Living for someone was the most unselfish thing you could do.

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