Page 47

Beyond perfect.

“Good, good. That’s good.” He smiled his shyest grin I’d ever seen. “Good night, Ellie.”

“Good night, Grey.”

As I started walking toward the guesthouse, he called after me one more time.

I turned his way, and he was swaying back and forth a little with his hands stuffed in his pockets. “No regrets?” he asked me.

“No.” I shook my head as my heart began to explode into a new form of happiness. “No regrets.”



We fell together quickly, and we fell together fast. Once we started the descend, there was never a moment of regret. There was simply respect and understanding. We worked through the hard parts together, and we found our way around the tough days.

And boy, did we learn to embrace the good days wholly. We welcomed them with open arms.

When the girls fell asleep, Greyson would crash into my world. We’d laughed, we’d kissed, we’d made love.


I was falling in love with him, and it came effortlessly, too. Almost as if all I was ever supposed to do was love a man like him.

“Good morning,” Greyson greeted his daughters as he walked into the dining room for breakfast. He looked refreshed that morning, and I couldn’t help but think it had something to do with our early morning greetings.

He moved over to Lorelai and kissed her forehead as he grabbed a banana from the table.

“Good morning, Daddy!” Lorelai exclaimed, shoving cereal into her mouth.

Greyson walked into the kitchen to get his coffee, and he hummed to himself as he did so.

Karla cocked an eyebrow. “What’s wrong with you?” she asked him as he walked back into the dining room, still humming.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“I don’t know, you’re acting…weird.”

Greyson tossed the banana in his left hand into the air, and caught it in his right. “Don’t know what you mean, Karla.”

She narrowed her eyes, still suspicious, but she went back to eating. “Whatever, Dad.”

Greyson headed off to work, leaving me and the two girls there to finish our meal.

“He was super weird,” Karla mentioned again, pouring herself another bowl of cereal.

“How so?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. He just seemed like…old Dad. The dad he was before everything happened. Like he was himself again. After Mom died he never hummed anymore.”

I tried my best to not react too much to her comment, but Greyson was humming again.

And I thought that was beautiful.

Greyson and I together felt like a dream. It felt like the best dream in the world. Each day we connected, my breath was swept away from me. Each day we touched, I prayed he’d be mine.

One night after a lot of conversation and a bit too much wine, we began losing ourselves against each other in the guesthouse. I moaned as he kissed me all over. His hands roamed my curves as if I was the only body he’d ever wished to touch again. Each time his lips found my inner thigh, I arched toward him. Each time he swept his tongue against my core, I cried out for more.

Then, I always returned the favor, turning him onto his back, and lowering my mouth to his hardness. I loved how whenever I touched him, he’d moan. I loved how whenever I sucked, he’d show his delight.

“Yes,” he whimpered, pushing his hips toward my face as I worked to show him how much I craved every piece of him. “Mmm,” he moaned, twisting his fingers within the sheets. I felt his need. I felt his want. I felt his desire every time he spoke. “Yes, yes, please…”

I love how he moaned, how he craved me.

Once I finished, we put on our underwear, held one another, and I was sure I’d found heaven.

We talked, and laughed, and I fell ever more for the first love of my life.

“Are you ticklish?” he whispered, running his fingers against my sides as I squirmed in the bed.

“Oh my gosh, stop!” I giggled as I tried to get away from his grip. When I failed to escape, I fought back and began tickling him.

And boy, was Greyson ticklish.

“Okay, okay!” he laughed nonstop as I kept my fingers moving at full speed against his sides. I loved that sound—I lived for his laughter.

“Alright! You win! You win! Stop it, Nicole!” he chuckled.

I froze in place at his words and then I felt pain.

It stabbed me right in my chest, forcing me to pull away from his body.

The moment I stopped, he sat up and I saw realization hit him as the reality of the situation slid into place. “Oh, my God…Ellie, I’m sorry,” he breathed out.

I was on the brink of tears.

They were sitting there, begging for me to let them fall, but I pushed out a tight smile.

“It’s fine,” I said, shaking my head.

He parted his mouth more, though nothing come out. That made sense. What more could he say?

He’d called me by her name.

My mind was spinning as embarrassment settled in deep in my gut. I felt foolish, idiotic, even. Was that what he was always thinking of whenever we touched? When his lips found mine, was he thinking of hers?

Oh, my gosh…

I needed a shower.

“I—” he started, standing up, but I shook my head.

“It’s fine, really. I think we should just call it a night, though,” I said, snatching the sheet from the bed and wrapping it tightly around my body. “I’m just going to shower here first before heading home.”

I felt hurt.



He looked as if he had so much to say, but he knew nothing could fix that moment. There were no words that could heal my humiliation, so he simply gathered his clothes, and got dressed.

As he walked away, he muttered another apology, but I couldn’t even reply to it.

I shut the front door, headed straight for my shower, and dived inside, allowing the water to wash all over me. I turned up the heat, too, letting it slightly burn my skin.

I wanted it removed from me. I wanted his touches that weren’t crafted for me to be gone. I wanted his taste to leave my mouth, I wanted his name to escape my mind.

The water hammered against my skin as the water crystals intermixed with my tears.

I guessed that was the thing about dreams.

The biggest problem with dreams was the fact that one day, you were forced to wake up, and once you awakened from the slumber, you could no longer return to the make-believe world you were creating.

Reality set in, and you were left to face its truths all on your own.

“He called you by her name?” Shay blurted out, stunned as I sat on our couch with my knees pulled to my chest.


She lowered her brows. “After you two had …?”


“Crap,” she breathed out, stunned. “I’m so sorry, Ellie. I can’t even imagine how hard that was for you.”

“Well, I just sobbed in the shower. No big deal,” I joked, but Shay didn’t laugh. She just kept frowning. “I’m okay. I mean, we’re okay, Greyson and I. I’m sure it’s just something we have to get over together. Just a speed bump.”

“Wait, what? Ellie, that’s not a speed bump. That’s a red light. That’s a stop sign. That’s a ‘Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred’ moment. You can’t seriously think that you and Greyson are still…something.”

“How could I not? It feels like we were brought together for this, for us to be an us.”

“But you aren’t an us,” she argued. “Eleanor…he called you by his dead wife’s name. That just has toxicity written all over it.”

I shifted around in my seat and shook my head. “You don’t understand, there’s something there with Greyson and me. There’s always been this thing between us.”

“Yeah, I know, and trust me, I was there for it through and through, but this changes everything.”

My stomach flipped as I listened to her words, and anger began building more and more. “You were the one who’d been pushing me toward this idea! You and your reality show talk.”

“Yeah, I know, but this…this is more than just a mishap in the beginning stages of a new relationship, Ellie. This is unhealthy. I know how you feel about Greyson. I’ve known ever since we were kids, I get it, but he’s not in a place where he can give you what you deserve.”

“I deserve him,” I told her. “He’s the right one for me.”

I knew it, too.

I knew it deep down in my soul.

“Yeah, you do. You deserve the completely healed Greyson, not who he is right now. Plus, he deserves to completely heal before he can learn to give himself away again. Don’t take his broken pieces and call them love.”

I stood up, irritated at her.

How could she say this?!

She was the one who’d pushed this. She was the one who’d been so loud about me allowing myself to fall for Greyson, and now she was backtracking. Now she was being realistic.

I didn’t need her to be realistic.

I just needed Greyson and me to be okay.

“I think it was a mistake with me telling you,” I told her, grabbing my purse and walking toward her door. “I think I need to get some air.”

“It’s never a mistake telling me anything, Ellie, and you know that. I’m sorry if I upset you, but I’d rather upset you out of love, then tell you what you want to hear. I love you, Ellie. You are the most important person in my life, and you are worthy of having more than someone’s mediocre love. The best kind of love is the kind that fills one up completely, leaving reassurance, not doubts. You deserve that. You deserve to be someone’s whole.”

“I really believe we’re meant to be, Shay.”

“I know, honey. I believe that, too, but just because two people are meant to be together, doesn’t mean it has to happen right this second. Sometimes the best love stories are about those who waited.”