Tied in the midst of passionate lost and an alpha's love
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Chloe Hermes is on the verge of having it all. Hard work and passionate determination have culminated a promotion that promises to put her on track with her upwardly mobile boyfriend, who she has been dating for ten years since high school they are Young enough to have their whole life ahead of them, but old enough to have established themselves as forces to reckon with. the news should call for celebration but taking this job means moving two hours away instead of planning their reign as an up-and-coming power couple, they have their already tenuous relationship further damaged by their misunderstandings. Her boyfriend Sloan doesn't want her to leave and she refuses to reverse her opinion. In the end, she heads up north. The problem of sorting solutions later serves as a barricade She settles into her new routine easily, thanks to her large impact on her roommate Clara. Clara's companionship comes cripping affiliated with her brother Miles. One night over dinner an unsuspecting healthy banter leaks out of the bag that they all have more in common than they ever imagined. Ashamed of his role in the tread that binds them together. Miles begins to withdraw as Chloe devises a game plan to ease his torment. But her boyfriend accidentally pushes them together with his selfish actions. Chloe's relationship continues to stagger. The distance is an issue but Sloan's indifferences do nothing to help the crumbling relationship. Every bright spotlight in their courtship is countered by darkness and bitterness. More often than not Miles is there to pick up the pieces. Before meeting Miles, Chloe thought she had the man she ever wanted now she is in a point dilemma to pick up Sloan's Love or Mile's passionate lost
“Don’t worry, Chloe,” Joyce said, “he’ll come around.”
I twirled my straw in my Coke and stared blankly as the ice cubes hit the sides of my glass.
I hoped her words were true. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Joyce rise from the booth. My
gaze followed her as she stood. Apparently, the pep talk was over.
“And for goodness sakes, enjoy your party.”
She latched on to my shoulder as she brushed past, partly in support of my situation, mostly
in support of her own body weight. She teetered unsteadily on her platform boots and let out
what could be best described as an intoxicated giggle. I watched as she made her way to the
restroom toward the back of the restaurant, stifling a laugh of my own as she attempted to open
the ladies’ room door by pushing rather than pulling.
Ah, yes, this was my party.
I glanced around at the large booth our group occupied. The familiar faces of coworkers
surrounded me. There had been a good turnout; by my count, twenty people had at least stopped
in to say goodbye. Ten of those twenty still remained, even now, two hours after the official
Invariably when someone decided to leave the bank, another employee would take it upon
themselves to organize a get-together, usually held at the Mexican restaurant a mile down the
road from our branch. For some, it was a good excuse to gorge on chips, salsa and margaritas.
For others, it was truly an opportunity to celebrate the guest of honor’s new job or retirement and
to say farewell. Whatever the case that brought all these people here, to think they were gathered
because of me was surreal.
Neither one of the usual scenarios pertained to me. At twenty-six, I wasn’t anywhere close
to retirement, at least not without a winning lottery ticket in hand. And I wasn’t quitting. I had
garnered a promotion.
I started at the bank right out of college. Armed with my shiny new accounting degree, I
had landed a position at the local branch underwriting mortgage loans. My attention to detail –
some would call it anal-retentiveness – got me noticed by our corporate office. After five years
of employment there, I had been offered the job.
Director of Underwriting, Mortgage Lending.
The title alone had a nice ring to it. The thought of actually having a staff at my beck and
call was enticing. The increase in salary was definitely attractive. The location, not so much.
Corporate was about two hours north of here, and I would have to relocate. That was really the
only thing that had given me pause.
Being considerate of the circumstances, my current boss had instructed me to take a couple
days to think it over, pray about it, do whatever I needed to do. In my heart of hearts, I had
known what my answer would be, but I was still relieved that I had a moment to mull things
over. That night, I had made two phone calls.
My father had been ecstatic.
Sloan, well, things had not gone so swimmingly with him.
Joyce staggered back to the table. She fell onto the seat of the booth, the cushion protesting
with a squeak beneath her. This was apparently the funniest thing that had ever happened to her.
Her convulsive laughter brought all other conversation at the table to a halt.
“Maybe time for someone to go home?” Mary from Consumer Loans suggested.
“I’m on it.” I set down my Coke and went to grab my purse. “Come on, Joyce, let’s get
you to bed.”
“Oh, Chloe,” Stacy, the receptionist, protested, “it’s not fair that you have to leave your
own party early. One of us can drive her home.”
“But it’s tradition,” Mary chimed in, “Joyce always drinks too much, and Chloe is her
“Oh, no,” Stacy snorted, “did they include that in the job description for your replacement?”
Joyce still had enough sobriety left in her to shoot both Mary and Stacy a dirty look. “Shut
I stood to go and Joyce followed suit. She was pretty wobbly. She leaned against the wall
as I said my goodbyes, thanking each person for coming and accepting their well wishes. As I
made the rounds, my eyes welled up with tears.
This was really happening. Come Monday morning, the rest of the people at this table
would go back to work like they always did. My desk would be sitting empty. No manila file
folders stacked up on the desktop, their contents spilling over onto my keyboard.
Pushing the melodramatic to the far recesses of my brain, I took Joyce’s arm and escorted
her out of the restaurant. Considering that she towered over me, especially in those shoes, this
was no small feat.
The cool evening air greeted us as we spilled out onto the sidewalk. We continued across
the parking lot to my awaiting car. I unlocked Joyce’s door first and helped her inside. As I
rounded the car and unlocked my own door, I realized that it was as if we were on some sort of a
strange date. I was being rather chivalrous.
“I’m not tired, Chloe,” Joyce whined as I assumed the driver’s seat. “I don’t want to go to
bed yet. I want to help you with your problems.”
“Oh, Joyce,” I laughed, “I might be beyond help at this point.”
We drove in an easy silence back to her apartment. I pulled my car into the carport beside
her sedan and shut off the ignition. She made no move to get out of my car. Upon closer
inspection, I realized that her eyes were closed.
She jumped. “I’m awake, I promise. You want to come up?”
I checked my cell phone before answering. It was only nine. “Sure, why not?”
The short nap had done Joyce wonders. That coupled with a fresh pot of coffee might
actually transform her into a worthy confidant. With renewed energy, she exited the car. I
followed behind her, realizing as I threw my purse over my shoulder that my cell phone
remained in the center console. Briefly, I considered running back to get it, but decided not to.
No one would be calling me at this hour. I had just spoken with my dad prior to the party, I was
with my best friend right now and Sloan was on some sort of random business trip in some
location I was sure he had mentioned at some point during chewing me out.
Joyce kicked off her boots as soon as she made it through the threshold. She set her
housekeys on the table beside the door with a loud clunk, then landed on the couch with a
flourish. I continued on to the kitchen to make said coffee. Moving around the small space as if
it was my own, I set to work opening cabinets and grabbing mugs.
As the coffee brewed, I leaned over the breakfast bar. From here, I could view the entire
apartment. Joyce’s bedroom was at the end of the hall, right next to the bathroom. The place
itself was bland, walls covered in typical renter’s off white. Even though the whole of the place
was no more than five or six hundred square feet, it seemed cavernous in comparison with my
studio apartment. What made it feel like home were the small finishing touches Joyce had
managed to add with her meager bank teller’s wage.
One of those finishing touches, a throw pillow in the shape of a question mark, whizzed past
“Penny for your thoughts.”
I poured the now finished coffee into the mugs and carried them over to the sofa, where I sat
down next to her. She took the mug that I offered, closing her eyes as she tasted the first sip.
I sighed, not sure where to begin.
“He’s probably just upset because I am leaving town.”
For the majority of our relationship Sloan and I had been, in one way or another, apart. We
began dating when we were both sixteen. When it had been time to go to college, we had settled
on different universities. This led to lots of long distance phone calls, internet chatting and
romantic reunions during breaks. After graduation, instead of finally being in the same place at
the same time, he had gotten scooped up by a life insurance carrier to be their sales rep. Even
though he was stationed out of their Kentucky office, the majority of the time he wasn’t
It had been a complete shock when he expressed his distaste at my promotion.
“That’s bull and you know it.” Joyce set down her coffee cup on the table in front of us.
She tucked an errant strand of black hair behind her ear and stared at me. “He feels threatened.”
Threatened? Maybe, just maybe, he was.
There were four missed calls and three voice mails on my cell when I returned to the car
after midnight. I didn’t need to guess who they were from. I closed my eyes momentarily,
attempting to give myself the strength to deal with him. Knowing resistance was futile, I pressed
the speed dial button before listening to any of the messages.
“You didn’t answer your phone,” Sloan said in lieu of a greeting.
The apology slipped out of my mouth before I had a chance to stop it. More of a trained
response, learned from ten years’ experience. Honestly, I wasn’t sorry.
“Where are you?” he asked, his voice softening.
“Just leaving Joyce’s place. What hotel are you at?”
“It’s a small place. Relatively local. You might say the atmosphere leaves a little to be
desired. Lots of moving boxes at the moment.”
“You’re at my place?”
My anger melted away at the thought of him lounged on my couch, his feet propped o
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