Wildcat: Epilogue

Scarlett

TO LOHAN AND HIS DREAM GIRL

Scarlett

After the newspaper story about Rhyse gave me credit for his racing photos, my phone blew up with job offers. I went from no experience and being unemployable to magazines and teams begging me to come on board. Life is weird.

I took some time to think about what I wanted and finally accepted a position at the same bridal magazine Jade works at. What’s better than working with your best friend? Nothing, that’s what.

While I don’t always get assigned to work on her articles, we spend almost every day together, either at the office or working at the coffee shop.

Tonight, I’m at a bridal expo taking pictures of couples in front of a white floral backdrop that makes whoever stands in front of it look like they’re on the cover of the magazine.

Jade and our boss, Melody, are working in the booth next to it.

My phone buzzes in my bra, and I retrieve it during a break in the line, smiling when I see Leo’s name. Just landed in Minnesota. What time are you done?

I let him know I still have another hour and that I’ll come over after. I love taking pictures, capturing smiles and memories. It feels like such a privilege. They won’t remember me, and I probably won’t remember them, but in twenty or thirty years, they’ll still have something that I helped make.

“Thanks for your help tonight, Scarlett,” Melody says when the event ends.

“I took a few of the booth before and during. I’ll get them edited and sent to you this week.”

“Looking forward to it.” She looks at Jade. “What’s next on Jade’s Bridal Blog?”

“I’m meeting with venues this week,” Jade answers. She might be faking an engagement, but her dedication to this job is real.

Melody’s face lights up. “Can’t wait. See you two on Monday.”

My feet are killing me by the time Jade and I tear down the booth and load up our cars.

“I hate lying to that woman,” Jade says.

“Little late now.”

“No kidding.” She hugs me. “I’ll call you in the morning.”

In my car, I start the engine and turn on the heat, rubbing my hands in front of the vent to warm up. It’s the middle of December and winter is officially here. Another text comes through, an image of Leo’s bed. His hand is stretched out on the empty side—mine.

I tap out a quick response, On my way.

I get halfway to Leo’s before I cut the wheel and make a U-turn, heading to my parents’ house instead. I rummage through my room downstairs and pack two bags worth of clothes and all my toiletries. When I go back upstairs, Dad is in the kitchen eating cereal.

“Hey.” I drop my bag and join him. I still haven’t changed out of the black dress I wore to the expo, and he smiles as he sees my outfit.

“You look beautiful.” He motions toward the bags. “Going on a trip?”

“Sort of.” I take a seat beside him. “I’m moving in with Leo.”

My heart hammers in my chest. Dad’s mouth pulls into a somber smile, and he nods. “I’m going to miss you around here.”

We’re barely home at the same time anymore, but I’ll miss him too, and I tell him as much.

“I promise to come by for Sunday dinners.”

“Good. I don’t know if I ever told you how much I missed you when you were in London, but I hope not to ever go that long again without seeing you.”

“Same.” I smile and hug him around the neck.

“Need any help?” he asks, pointing to my stuff.

“No, I think I got it. I’ll come by tomorrow to get the rest and tell Mom.”

I load up, one bag on each shoulder, but before I can get out the door, Dad halts me. He goes to the pantry and pulls out an unopened box of Fruity Pebbles, then walks it to me. “For your midnight snacks.”

“Won’t be the same without you.” My throat tightens and I give him another hug. “Love you, Daddy.”

When I get to Leo’s, he’s clearly worried about the length of time it’s taken me. He stands at the front door in only a pair of sweatpants, brows furrowed. “Everything okay? I was getting nervous.”

“Everything is great.” I get the bags and lug them once more into his house. He takes one from me and quirks a brow. “Is this all photography equipment?”

Suddenly, I’m nervous. He hasn’t asked me to move in with him again since we first got back together. I assumed he was giving me space and letting me get there on my own, but now I’m a little worried he won’t be as excited about my sudden desire to shack up.

I needed to feel more settled, like I had some clue what I was doing with my life. Some days I still feel like I’m about ten steps behind my peers, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t need to take a detour or ten to find my way.

And I’m sure that my way includes Leo.

“I decided that I didn’t want to stay at my parents’ house tonight.”

His face scrunches up. “Yeah, no kidding.”

“Or tomorrow night. And not the night after that either.”

I watch realization dawn on him, and his mouth pulls into a wide smile. That dimple on the left side of his face appears. He sweeps me off my feet and clutches me to his chest. “Really?”

“Really.”

He kisses me quickly and then takes both bags and hustles up the stairs with them. He tosses them in his walk-in closet, moves everything from one side, and tosses it in the other direction, making room for me.

“I think we can do that tomorrow.” I’m laughing as I watch him so eager to get me unpacked.

I take off my coat and toss it at his head. The black dress finally gets his attention. It’s modest, but the way Leo looks at me always sets me on fire.

“I’m never letting you leave now.”

“I can live with that.”

He kneels in front of me. Those hands I love so much slide up my calves and under the skirt of my dress as he places open-mouth kisses along my leg—the right and then the left.

The first time is almost never slow between us. I wonder if it’ll always be this way, physically impossible to get enough and rushing to get naked.

He slides my panties down my legs, and I step out of them. When he disappears under my dress, and his talented mouth finds my pussy, I sway and steady myself on the now-empty clothing rack.

He squeezes my ass with both palms as he licks and sucks.

What a way to christen a closet. Holy crap. I’d say as much if I were capable of forming words. Instead, I moan and lift one leg onto his shoulder to give him better access.

I come with his name on my lips, and before I’ve recovered, he has me in his arms and is pushing inside of me, filling me so completely in the way only he does—body and soul.

At some point, we end up on the floor. Closet sex, that’s something I didn’t know I needed in my life. Half of his side is orderly and neat, and the rest looks like a bomb went off where he tried to make some grand gesture in clearing room for me.

“This closet has a real vibe.”

“It sure does.” He rolls on top of me, kisses me, and smiles. “The whole house has a better vibe with you in it. My whole life, really.”

“Mine too.”

“Welcome home, baby.”


I sleep fabulously that first week in my new place. On Thursday, I wake and Leo’s already gone to the arena, but he left me a note to meet him at Mike’s bar for drinks to celebrate. As if that isn’t what we’ve been doing the past four days. We have had sex in every square inch of this house—inside and out.

An hour later, two delivery guys show up with a new desk and office chair, which they place in one of the spare rooms. I find a card with my name on it taped to the door. It tells me it’s all mine or if I don’t like this room, pick any other for my office.

I bring in my photography stuff and my laptop, but I’m too excited to be very productive. Instead, I plan the perfect outfit for drinks and call Jade to come over.

“This place is amazing,” she says when I open the door for her.

“I can’t believe I live here.”

She walks to the back windows and looks out at the pool. “Hope Lohan’s okay with a third roommate come summer.”

“Non-negotiable best friend clause,” I say. “You are always welcome.”

Jade helps me pick a dress and do my hair. It’s nice to spend a day just talking and playing dress up. I’m way too overdressed for Mike’s, but I don’t care. There is so much to celebrate.

“We better go, or we’ll be late,” Jade says as I add another layer of lip gloss.

“We’ll?”

“Oh, did I not mention that.” She waves me off. “I’m covering a shift at the bar.”

“Still? I thought you stopped doing that weeks ago.”

“It’s a one-time thing. You know how crazy trivia night can get.”

“Oh right.” I smile thinking back to the night I first met Leo. “I’ll ride with you then, that way I can come back with Leo.”

“Great.” She claps in front of her and we head to the bar.

Leo’s already there, along with Ash and a few other guys from the team. A small wave of disappointment washes over me that it won’t be just the two of us, but when he stands to hug me, he says, “Sorry, the guys still haven’t forgiven me for going to trivia on my own and finding my dream girl. They’re convinced it’ll be just as lucky for them.”

Ash raises his beer. “Here’s hoping.”

The bar isn’t as busy tonight and Jade spends as much time hanging out at our table as she does the bar. When trivia finally starts, Leo finds my leg under the table and his fingers spread out, covering my bare thigh.

Just like last time, he’s ridiculously good at trivia. The rest of the guys, too, but Leo and me take the first game. Okay, fine, it’s mostly him. But I’m clutch on actors and movies.

“Yo, college,” Ash says narrowing his gaze. “You’re going down.”

“No way.” I sit forward. “We’re unbeatable.”

Jade drops off fresh drinks as Mike and another bartender get set for another round of trivia.

I’ve never seen Mike smile so much. He’s loving having so many of the Wildcats in his bar. They’re good sports and sign everything he pushes in front of them. Leo even brought him a signed jersey, just like he promised. My boyfriend is a pretty great guy. His friends too.

I snuggle into his side, and he wraps an arm around my shoulders. Jade takes over the trivia for Mike. She perches on a stool at the bar and swivels to face all the tables.

She laughs as she reads the first question, which so happens to be Wildcat history. Jack shouts out the answer before she’s even finished.

“Correct.”

I look to Leo. “Where were you?”

“Where were you?” he taunts back. “You’ve lived in Minnesota way longer than me.”

Yeah, fair point. “Okay, this one we’ve got.”

“Since when did you get so competitive?”

“I think your teammates are rubbing off on me.”

“Not too much, I hope.” He brushes his lips over mine.

Jade raises her voice to call out the next question. “What is the most popular diamond shape for engagement rings?”

“Round cut,” I yell quickly. Jade wrote an article on this a few weeks ago, so I’m confident in my answer.

“Nice job,” she says. “Point to Leo and Scarlett.”

Leo moves his arm from around me and holds it up for a high-five. I slap my hand against his and toss out some trash talk to Ash and Tyler.

They give it back two-fold. The quieter of the two, Tyler, grins but mumbles about the questions being rigged.

It must be our night because the next one Jade reads from her trivia note cards is a complete these lyrics question, and while the other guys are still thinking, Leo finishes it off singing the end of the Backstreet Boys tune.

After another handful of questions, Leo and I are tied with Ash and Tyler. Jack and Declan are so far behind that Jack has given up completely and goes to the bar to order a round of drinks.

“Final question,” Jade says, and we all go quiet. “What is the most difficult question for a man to ask?”

My brain freezes. What the hell kind of question is that? Adrenaline shoots through me as I wrack my brain for an answer before someone else gets it.

Ash throws his hands up. “Oh, oh. I know. Asking for directions.”

Jade shakes her head. “Sorry, wrong answer.”

“Oh, we still have a chance.” I look over to Leo, except he’s no longer sitting next to me. Everyone goes quiet, and it takes me an embarrassingly long time to figure out why he’s down on one knee.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen my boyfriend look so nervous. His confidence in himself and me has always been something I loved about him, but seeing him like this and knowing what it means makes tears sting my eyes.

“Scarlett Miller, will you marry me?” His voice quivers, and he opens the black box in his hands.

I nod and get to my feet. My vision is too blurry from crying to even see the ring, but I already know it’s perfect. I blink away the tears, and he raises up and places the round-cut diamond on my left ring finger.

And then he kisses me. The guys cheer and Jack brings the round of drinks he ordered to the table. Champagne, of course.

“Cheers,” the team captain says as he lifts a glass. “To Lohan and his dream girl.”


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