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Prologue

 

I nervously rummaged through my closet, trying to find my Louboutin black stiletto heels— shoes that were half off and then another seventy-five percent off the half-off price. They were a freaking steal and the only pair that was left happened to be my size. I stumbled upon them by accident, earlier in the week, when I was looking at the clearance rack, trying to find the perfect pair of shoes for my date tonight with Corey. He was taking me to my favorite restaurant because he had something he needed to discuss with me. It was no surprise, though. I already had my suspicions. He was going to ask me to move in with him.

Corey and I had been dating for almost nine months. We met when he and his mom came into the art gallery where I worked, looking for a painting for her bedroom. We got to talking, and he asked me out for coffee the next day. At first, I didn’t think he was really my type, but then again, I never really knew what my type was. We had so much in common that it wasn’t hard to fall for him. Corey, by far, had been the longest relationship I’d ever been in and he was a really nice guy. The only thing that bothered me was that he wasn’t very sexual. Once every other week was more than enough for him and it was usually over with before it started. But I overlooked that problem because we always had so much fun when we were together. We loved the same movies, the same music, and he loved art almost as much as I did. We were perfect for each other and I knew the time was right to move in together. Although we never talked about it, I sensed it was what he planned to ask me. You’re probably sitting there thinking that he’s going to propose. That was off the table because neither one of us wanted to get married until we were at least a couple years older. Being twenty-four, we both felt we needed to be completely established in our careers before making a lifelong commitment.

I stood in front of my full-length mirror as I slipped into my heels and ran my hands down the sides of my short black dress with the V-neckline and three-quarter-length sleeves, which I also picked up on sale. Running my fingers through my long blonde hair, I lightly sprayed the curled ends, grabbed my purse, and headed to Sur in West Hollywood.

When I arrived, Corey was already seated and waiting for me. Butterflies fluttered around my belly at the thought of us moving in together. As I approached the table, Corey stood up and kissed my cheek. He was always such a gentleman.

“Hey. You look beautiful. I love that dress. Is it new?”

“Yeah. I bought it earlier this week along with these babies.” I smiled as I stuck my foot out.

“Are those Louboutins?” His eyes widened.

“Yes! And they were half off and then an extra seventy-five percent off of that!”

“Wow. What an awesome deal. They look good on you.” He smiled.

We started off with a glass of Chardonnay while we waited for our dinner. My mind was in overdrive with excitement and I couldn’t wait for him to ask me. His apartment was much bigger than mine and had way more closet space. As I stared at him from across the table, I could tell he was nervous because his eye was twitching.

“So what did you want to discuss with me?” I asked with a grin.

He reached across the table and took hold of my hand.

“You know I love you, right?”

“Yes. Of course I do.” My heart started to race.

“You’re my best friend and we are so good together.”

“I know we are.” I smiled, waiting patiently for him to spit it out.

As his blue eyes intently stared into mine, he gave my hand a gentle squeeze.

“Chloe, friends are all we can ever be.”

“What?” I cocked my head in confusion. “I don’t understand, Corey.”

He took in a long, deep breath. “What I’m trying to tell you is that I’m gay, Chloe.”

I couldn’t help the laughter that escaped me.

“Yeah, right. Come on, Corey. You wanted to talk about moving in together. You don’t have to be so nervous about it. In fact, I’ll make it easy for you. Yes, I would love to move in with you.”

“Chloe, didn’t you hear what I said. I’m serious. I’m gay. I’m sorry.”

Tears filled my eyes as I silently shook inside. I pulled my hand away from his as I looked up at the ceiling to avoid the embarrassment of the tears that were about to fall in front of a restaurant filled with people.

“Chloe, talk to me. Please don’t cry,” he begged.

After a few moments of silence, an anger tore through me like a hurricane traveling over the ocean making its way to destroy whatever was in its path.

“How could you do this to me?” I asked through gritted teeth. “Why now? Why didn’t you tell me this nine months ago? Why did you stay in a relationship with me if your sexuality was in question?” I spoke in a loud voice and the couple sitting at the table next to us glanced over.

“Will you keep your voice down?” he spoke calmly. “I didn’t tell you this to hurt you. I’m being honest with you before things go any further.”

“Any further?” I angrily spoke. “You had nine months to tell me. Why now, Corey?”

He looked down and slowly closed his eyes.

“Oh my God! You’ve met someone. Haven’t you?” I barked at him across the table, and suddenly, all eyes in the restaurant were on us.

“Not here, Chloe.”

His attempt to silence me to avoid causing him any further embarrassment pissed me off even more. I threw my napkin on the table and stood up.

“Not here? Really, Corey? How did you think I’d react to this news? Did you think if you told me in a public place that I would graciously accept it with a smile and walk away quietly? I gave you nine months of my life. I gave you my heart and you took it.” The tears started rolling down my face. “You took my heart, knowing that you could never give me yours. I do believe that is the cruelest thing anyone has ever done to me. I guess the joke is on me. Have a nice life, Corey.” I turned on my heels and stomped out of the restaurant.

I was shaking so bad that I couldn’t walk down the street to my car, so I took a seat on a bench outside the restaurant. As I sat there with tears streaming down my face, trying to make sense of the last nine months of my life, Corey sat down beside me.

“I’m so sorry, Chloe. I never meant to hurt you.”

“Go away, Corey.” I wiped my eyes.

 
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