Chapter 40 - Severed Ties

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"I can't promise you that. You know me."

"Blake, what do you want me to say?"

"There isn't anything to say. This conversation was meant to be over and done months ago. In all fairness to you, I had lost you to Dane before I ever told you how I feel." Blake crammed the remainder of his half eaten cookie in his mouth. "Let's give it a rest. There is no point in agonizing about it. Besides we're both too tired right now."

"That we are." She paused. "I have news." She offered trying to lighten the mood. "I'm going to look at a place across town tomorrow. You'll have your apartment completely to yourself again, if all goes well and I really do need my own space." She sighed at the thought of having a little independence again.

"I'll load up your things and drop them by for you whenever you're ready. It's no trouble." He said politely wondering why she wasn't moving back in with Dane. Her mood had him thinking that maybe they were working things out. He didn't like the thought of her living alone. Not in the city at least and with a psychotic ex-boyfriend luring around out there somewhere. He didn't share his concerns with her. He knew she was too stubborn to listen. She didn't need to be alone and pregnant for various reasons. He thought of Dane. What the hell? Is really going to stand by and let her wander around aimlessly till the baby gets here?

"Blake, I don't expect you to. I can get Garrett to do it this weekend."

"It's fine. Regardless of what we are, we're forever, remember?" He smiled knowing she would remember the inspiration for their pact.

"I don't deserve you." She gave him a final hug. "Goodnight, Blake."


Dane spent the morning in the conference room. It was one meeting after another. Christmas was coming soon and the office decorations were going up. He watched the clock and tried to keep everyone on schedule. He wanted to shut things down early this year. He wanted everyone to enjoy a full week at Christmas but in order to do it; there were quotas and deadlines to be met. So much was happening right now.

As watched the decorations go up, he thought of his home. Void of Berkley and void of a Christmas tree. Grace had practically done most of his Christmas shopping for him. Aside from what he ordered online, she had giftwrapped it all.

He didn't want anything from Berkley, other than have her home no later than Christmas Eve and he couldn't think of anything better than waking up early with her by his side Christmas morning.

Grace was going to talk to her and work a little Christmas magic. If anyone was capable of Christmas it, it was her. She struggled with it for a while after Ethan died but she worked her way through it and found her own special way to remember during the holidays.

She enjoyed wrapping things and then boxing it and wrapping it again. You'd make Santa proud. Dane reminded her every year. It was the mischief in her that amused Dane every December. He watched her hide more gifts just last week. This one is special and I want to make sure Berkley doesn't stumble across it before Christmas. No, I'm not going to tell you what it is. He remembered her saying, when he didn't ask as she hid the gift. He smiled and gave her a hug.

He was lost in thought when he realized, Ana for once wasn't the last one to leave the room. The brunette that had spent all morning undressing Dane with her eyes was gathering coffee cups from the table and throwing them in the trash. She worked her way over towards him. Dane wasn't in the mood and he wasn't about to let another woman within a hundred yards of him. He was finally making leeway in rebuilding his relationship with Berkley and he didn't have time for more complications.

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