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With You

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  • 7.5
  • 💬 1

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Lauren Lawran has been running away from her past for five years, avoiding the place filled with memories she wishes she could forget. But when her past unexpectedly catches up to her, Lauren finds herself with no other option but to accept the one proposal she thought she'd never consider—a marriage proposal from Zevran La Monte, the man she wished she'd never met again. At first, Lauren believes that the one-year marriage contract is just a way for Zevran to hurt her again. But as she begins to unravel the truth behind his offer, Lauren discovers that Zevran is keeping a secret - her mother's illness. With only one year of marriage left, and one year left to be with her mother, Lauren must navigate the difficult path of acceptance and loss. As Lauren grapples with accepting her mother's fate, she realizes that her feelings for Zevran never truly went away. Despite her attempts to keep her guard up, Lauren finds herself falling for him once again. Will she risk her heart and give their love a second chance, or will she continue to keep her guard up, determined to protect herself from any further heartache?

Prologue

With deliberate steps, I moved in slow motion towards the closed door, my right hand grasping the glass of rum tightly. As I pushed open the wooden door to my office, I let out a sigh. My eyelids felt heavy, and I glanced back at the pantry, noticing the half-empty bottle of rum on the countertop. “I’ll ask my secretary to clean up the mess tomorrow,” I thought to myself. I frowned as I tried to remember where I had put my phone. I rolled my eyes at the disarray around me, furrowing my brows in frustration. The room was dimly lit, adding to my annoyance.

I noticed a man sitting in the room, and as I switched on the light, I realized it was my father. I wondered why he was there and asked, “Dad, what brings you here?”

His response was angry, his voice booming, “Is this how you plan to treat yourself? Drunk and wasted? What about the company? Do you want to destroy it along with yourself?” He looked at me disapprovingly, scanning my appearance.

My hair was disheveled, my white polo shirt was half-unbuttoned and smudged, my walk was unsteady, and my eyes were bloodshot. Despite the gravity of the situation, I couldn’t help but chuckle, which only made him scowl. “This isn’t a joke, Zevran. You need to get your act together. You’re not well.” He shook his head and added, “Perhaps it’s time to see a psychiatrist to improve your mental health.”

I stumbled over to the swivel chair but managed to grip the edge of the desk and recline with my back against the chair. Downing the remaining contents of the glass, the bitter liquor burned my throat. The old man glared at me as I placed the glass on the desk.

“I don’t need a psychiatrist, Dad. I’m fine,” I told him, grinning to reassure him.

“You’re not fine. Look at yourself,” he countered. “Your mother is worried sick about what you’re doing to yourself. Stop ruining your life.”

I couldn’t help but notice that my father was getting older; his hair had turned white in places, and wrinkles had formed on his face, but his dignity remained unchanged.

“When are you going to start taking the company seriously, Son? I want you to be the CEO, but you’re not ready,” he said, gazing at me with his dark blue eyes, the same eyes I inherited from him.

His words made my fists clench and clouded my vision. “I’ve always wanted to be the CEO since I was a kid. What are you doing, taking it away from me? You promised me, and I’m holding you to it,” I replied with a pained voice.

“No, I won’t give that to you,” he said sternly. “Not until you’re ready. It’s clear that you’re still stuck in the past, unable to move on. She’s never coming back. You need to let her go.” Each word he spoke tightened my jaw, and my emotions churned within me.

“Let her go?” I snickered, my dad’s brows furrowing as his eyes warned me.

It felt like those eyes were yelling at me. “Why are you laughing? This is serious. She left you, and you need to move on now.”

I chuckled, but tears welled up in my eyes, and a sharp pain stabbed my stomach. My dad spoke to me in a soft voice, as if I were a five-year-old. “You’re hurting, son. It’s been three years, and you’re still blaming yourself for everything. There’s no one to blame here. You need to accept it.”

His words were easy to say, but the actions were the hardest part. My bitter laughter faded, replaced by tears streaming down my cheeks. I clenched my fist, my jaw tight with pain and resentment, a burning blue fire burning within me that needed to be released. “D*mn it, I hate this! I hate this!” I yelled, slamming my fist on the table.

My dad shook his head, reaching out to clutch my hand. “That’s enough! Don’t hurt yourself anymore. It’s enough, son!” He tightened his grip, his concern evident in his eyes.

Subsequently, I wiped the tears from my eyes. I felt like a fool for being upset about her for four years. How could she move on so easily and live a happy life? The question nagged at me like an ice-pick.

My dad saw that I wasn’t hurting myself and let go. I leaned back against my chair, my head resting against the backrest and my gaze fixed on the white ceiling. “I need to paint this d*mn ceiling,” I muttered in frustration.

“It’s just a ceiling, son. You should go home now. It’s late, and you’re still here, drowning in alcohol. I’ll call Gedrius to take you home,” my dad suggested, trying to make me see reason.

“No, I’m not going home until this d*mn ceiling turns black,” I replied stubbornly.

My veins pulsed, and I glared at the ceiling, hating how it reminded me of the woman who tore my world apart. “Your mother will handle it,” he said calmly. “Look at me, son.”

I turned to face him, and I could see the weight he was carrying on his face. It broke my heart to see him like this. This man was making me feel even worse about myself.

“Your brother will be here soon. I’ll talk to you again when you’re sober enough to think clearly, not now when you’re acting irrationally,” he continued firmly. “You need to stop obsessing about the person who left you. You need to accept that she won’t be coming back.”

With that, he patted my shoulder before turning and walking out the door, leaving his words hanging heavily in the air. I closed my eyes, allowing the silence to seep in, but my father’s words kept replaying in my head like a broken record.

After a few seconds, I struggled to my feet, my balance wobbling. I stumbled towards the tinted glass window, staring out at the city lights. A knot twisted in my stomach, and I clenched my teeth and cracked my knuckles in frustration.

The view outside made me feel sick. The city lights were supposed to signify happiness, but they only made me sneer in disgust. I slammed my forehead against the cold glass, relishing in the pain as the memories of the past consumed me.

Finally, I leaned my head against the window to steady myself, but my phone rang, breaking the silence. Without looking at the caller ID, I answered the phone.

“Zevran, son, am I disturbing you?” my mother’s gentle voice came from the other end.

I closed my eyes, trying to calm the raging emotions inside me. “No, Mom. What’s up?” I listened to her voice, but the phone slipped from my hand, thudding onto the floor as I broke down in tears.

Why did it have to be her?

One

How many times had I fled, trying to escape the things that I knew would hurt me? It wasn't just three times; it was too many to count. Over the past five years, I relocated to several places, forsaking my identity and memories and avoiding attachment to anything. I only stayed temporarily before moving on yet again, a coping mechanism to prevent myself from revisiting the place and memories I had buried deep within my mind.It was the only way to allow the wound in my chest to heal completely.I was working as a writer for my friend's publishing house, fulfilling my lifelong dream of becoming a published author. Writing fictional stories with horror and fantasy themes was my passion, and I was grateful for my friend's help making it happen. At first, I hesitated to accept her offer of assistance due to my pride. I didn't want to be helped because it made me feel weak and worthless. However, I eventually swallowed my pride and accepted her h
Heroes

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