Woods

I hadn’t been able to sleep. I’d sat out on my balcony all-night and stared at the waves while I faced several facts. The first one I finally accepted was that I would never be happy married to Angelina and neither would she. The second one was that I was going to have to let go of my dream of taking over Kerrington Club one day. My dad wasn’t going to forgive me for not doing his bidding and marrying a Greystone. And then the reason I even made myself face the truth- Della. I wanted her. Maybe it wasn’t forever but for whatever length of time I had with her I wanted her. I couldn’t keep thinking about her and torturing myself with the idea of not getting to have her.

My future was about to be completely thrown off track because Della Sloane was under my skin and I had to have her. I couldn’t ignore it anymore. It wasn’t just the sex with her. It had been in the beginning but not now. I’d gotten close enough to her to see deeper. I knew she was selfless and thoughtful. She didn’t expect anything from me and was just happy to be alive. She was wounded but still fought hard to make it past that. No sob story. It was all part of her beautiful package. Had I ever known a girl like that?

The relief that came with the acceptance that I wasn’t going to give up something that could be the best thing I’d ever found in order to fulfill my father’s orders was incredible. I could take a deep breath with ease.

I picked up my phone and asked Angelina to meet me in my office at eleven. That would give her time to sleep in and get dressed. Then after that was over I was going to find Della and get on my knees and beg if I had to.

Leaving her with Tripp last night had been the slap in my face I needed. This farce of a relationship I didn’t have with Angelina was ridiculous. She knew it too. We were both so power hungry to take the places that were rightfully ours in our fathers’ businesses that we were willing to forego love. Even if Della hadn’t walked into my life and forced me to walk away from my dad’s demands, I wouldn’t have been able to walk down the aisle and say ‘I do’.

The swift knock on my office door came before Angelina opened the door and stepped inside. Her long blonde hair was pulled up in a twist with curls cascading loose from the top. Her short purple linen dress was without a wrinkle and I was willing to bet her matching heels cost more than the average person made in six months. The diamond ring on her left hand mocked me as the sunlight pouring in through the window reflected off it and danced around the room. It was as perfectly polished and set as the woman’s hand it adorned. Angelina had always been beautiful and elegant. She’d been raised to be her father’s pawn. The young girl I’d once cared for was underneath all that facade somewhere.

“Don’t do this,” she said, stiffening her spine and reaching out to grasp the back of the chair beside her. I hadn’t said a word but she already knew. That should be confirmation enough for both of us.

“We can’t do what they want us to. I let him force my hand this far but I’m done. I can’t.”

Angelina’s eyes flashed with anger and disgust. She didn’t understand. I’d thought maybe she would thank me but I could see that wouldn’t be happening. She had been prepared to go through with this. Why? Her father would find someone else. Possibly someone who could love her. Who wouldn’t just be marrying her for her father’s name and fortune.“You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,” she said through clenched teeth.I walked over to the other side of my desk and sat down.“Marrying you would have been the biggest mistake of my life. We would have hated each other. I can’t let my father keep controlling me. If he doesn’t want me to have this business, then fine. At least I will have made my own decisions.”Angelina rolled her eyes as if what I was saying was ridiculous. “Listen to yourself. This world is all you’ve ever known. This life you are so willing to toss away because you don’t want to be told what to do, is ALL YOU’VE KNOWN. You’re acting as if marrying me is the worst possible thing you could ever do. We were close once, Woods. We were friends. We could have that again if you would just accept this and be open to it.”We had been two kids whose parents had left us alone all the time. We’d shared the same screwed up life. She’s right; we’d been friends. But I’d never wanted anything more.“Because we were friends once, I refuse to let us both be forced into something we didn’t choose. You have never been given another choice. Since we were kids your parents shoved me down your throat. There is someone out there that will love you. They’ll want you for you. Don’t settle for less. Life is short and I’m tired of wasting it.”She threw her hands up and let out an aggravated growl. “Fine. Whatever. I’m not begging you. It isn’t like I can’t do better. I just figured marrying you would be the best for me. You know me and we have a history. But I won’t keep this up. I have pride and I won’t stand here and beg.” She slipped the diamond off her finger and slammed it down on the edge of my desk. “Take it. We both know I don’t need it.”I started to say something more. Apologize or at least try and ease her mind but there was nothing else I could say. I needed to count myself lucky that she hadn’t hurled anything at my head.“Goodbye, Woods. I hope this was worth it to you,” she spat then stalked out of my office.I waited until she had time to safely get out of the building before I left. I had to go find Della.