Journal 13: I Promise

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A/N: Hi everyone! Sorry, this was delayed. If some of you were following me on social media, you might already know that I had my wisdom teeth taken out so I was down and out of commission for a few days. I'd already started this but just didn't feel well enough to sit down and finish it. I'm hoping to write a little bit more this weekend and post the next entry.

This one covers only a part of Chapter 12 since that chapter transpires over a couple of days and I'd like to keep the entries lined up with the dates. I have a feeling the next one is going to give you a better glimpse of the wedding than what you saw in TMMM. I've had a few complaints about the stingy details about that. LOL.

Anyway, hope you enjoy this!


Jake and I go way back. 

He's my best and oldest friend. He's seen me through the best and worst. And while we've had a few differences in the last two decades we've known each other, I haven't felt like punching him out cold more than I did today.

I didn't really think that Jake was serious about Charlotte. 

He has a crush on her, sure. Every guy within a mile radius is afflicted with it.

He adores her, yes, because God knows no one is strong enough not to. But I didn't think he'd felt more deeply about it. 

And while I still don't think it's love, I could tell Jake cares the hell about her enough to get in my face after chatting her up out on the balcony. He pretty much told me that I didn't deserve her but since I was the lucky bastard to have her, I better deserve her. Like I already didn't know that.

Jake's too smooth with girls that I'm not sure most of them believe him when he's promising them the moon and the stars. I only cared that Charlotte didn't do something as silly as to have a crush on him too. We're all way too old for this—right? 

I was ready to tell her that Jake's just playing around but when I saw that distant look of regret on her face as she mused about the choice between true love and a million dollars, it hit me that I was an idiot. 

Jake might be too sweet on her but I was the one who forced her into the pinching shoes of the legendary Mrs. Maxfield at the price of a million dollars. Jake could tell her one corny pick-up line after another and I would still come out the ultimate jerk.

But I didn't know what to tell her. 

I could tell her what I wanted then was nowhere near what I wanted now and that despite the lies that brought us together, I realized a brand new important truth.

But I don't want Charlotte to run when she realizes that I want her for the rest of our lives. I don't want her to see this arrangement as a trap to hold on to her forever because right now, I'm still digging my way out of her bad side so I could make my way across. Despite everything that's happened between us in the past few weeks, the fact remained that I practically blackmailed her into this situation, turned her life upside down and cheapened what turned out to be an incredible thing between us with money.

So I stayed my hand, no matter how much I wanted to tell her that she didn't have to wonder how it would be like to have someone love her and not just consider her an obligation. That was already all true. I just needed to convince her.

The plan to Paris was key. With Marissa's help, everything was set and ready to go. I was coordinating the final details of that on top of formulating the perfect excuse to keep her here for tonight rather than hand her over to Dad when I got the call from Simone.

It was awkward as hell, I tell you.

For one, because she talked like she did when we were still going out—sweet, affectionate, teasingly intimate. But I wasn't responding like I used to because while I still appreciated her a lot as a good friend, there was none of the old heat stirring in me. I honestly just wanted her to get to the point so I could get back to the kitchen to make Charlotte's sandwich. I must've blurted something like that out loud because all her sugar disappeared. She was frustrated, angry and petulant at the same time, demanding to talk and 'drop the act'. She wanted to come up with an alternative, or just talk to my father about it. And what precisely was I supposed to tell my father? That I didn't really want to marry Charlotte because I wanted to be with Simone? That doesn't really solve anything because that would be an even bigger lie than my engagement to Charlotte. She wanted me to find a way out that didn't involve marrying Charlotte. Good intentions, I get it, but I didn't want a way out. I've shut that door firmly close on myself and made a home here, with the woman I wanted to marry.

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