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Only Ever Yours
Author: Nikki Ash








“I call dibs on the brunette.”

I follow my friend’s line of vision over to the two women who are eyeing Noah and me and groan. One has bleached blond hair with way too much makeup and fake tits, while the other has natural auburn hair, less makeup, and breasts that look like they’re the perfect handfuls. “You’re a dick. You know I prefer the brunettes.”

Noah downs the last of his whiskey and chuckles. “True, but I’m sick of blondes. I’m ready for something different.” He grabs the bottle from behind the counter, since the bartender is a friend of ours and doesn’t give a shit, and pours himself another glass, bringing it to his lips and downing it in one go. “Besides, I’m wondering if the saying is true: blondes have more fun. And there’s only one way to test that theory out.” He nods toward the brunette. “Fuck her and see if she’s more or less fun.”

I shake my head and laugh, questioning how the hell I’m even friends with this guy.

When he refills his glass again, I side-eye him. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m good.”

“You know I’m not going to just let you have her, right?” I tell him, referring to the brunette neither of us knows.

He laughs and says, “Of course not,” no doubt remembering the first time we met. We were both at this same bar, drinking with some mutual friends, when a sexy brunette approached. We both had eyes for her, but it was me she went home with. The next night, we were out again, and a blonde approached. I told him he could have her because I’m only into brunettes. She ended up being a dud and so Noah and I spent the next couple hours bullshitting while we watched the game. When I mentioned I was going boating the next day, and he told me he’d never been on a boat, I offered for him to join me and we’ve been hanging out ever since.

When I glance over and lock eyes with the brunette, I hit her with my signature smirk. She smiles shyly, raising her hand to wave at me, and I know I’ve got her hooked.

“Damn it,” Noah grumbles, as the women saunter toward us, the brunette keeping her eyes on me. “You always get what you want, don’t you?”

I shrug, owning my place in this world. There isn’t much I don’t have, and anything I want, I can’t imagine not being able to get. My dad raised me to go after what I want, to not stop until it’s mine, and I use that approach in all aspects of my life.

“If you wanted her, you should’ve taken the initiative,” I point out as the women approach and the brunette stops in front of me. “You said you wanted her, but I acted.” I grin smugly. “Let that be a lesson learned.” I throw an arm around the brunette. “What are you drinking, beautiful?”

She tells me what she wants, and I’m calling the bartender over to make it, when Noah’s phone buzzes on the bar top.

“I gotta take this,” he mumbles, grabbing it and walking away.

I order drinks for both ladies and am finding out their names, when Noah comes back over, a frown marring his features.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, forgetting about the women.

“My mom,” he chokes out. “She’s been sick for a long time. They just called and said she might not make it through the night.”

His words make me feel like a shitty friend. I never even knew his mom was sick. Noah is a quiet guy, and I never push. We hang out, drink, go boating, pick up women. But we don’t really talk.

“Shit, man, I’m sorry. What do you need?”

He shakes his head. “I have to go.”

He takes off toward the exit and I follow after him. “Wait, I can go with you. You’ve been drinking…”

“I’ll take a cab. I need to do this alone, but thanks.”

When he gets to the sidewalk, he hails a cab and jumps in without looking back. Unsure if I should force my way in or let him have his space, I text him, letting him know I’m here if he needs anything. He doesn’t text back, even though it shows he read it.

No longer in the mood to get laid, I go back in to pay our tab and then take off to my place. I live in a condo my dad owns a couple blocks away from the bar and campus. When I get inside, I text Noah again. I’ve heard him talk about his mom a few times, saying they’re close, but he’s never mentioned his dad, so I’m assuming it’s just the two of them.

I change out of my clothes and into a T-shirt and sweats, then grab my phone to call my parents. Hearing Noah’s mom is sick and could die any time has me wanting to talk to my own. A couple years ago, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and for a while we were worried she wasn’t going to make it, but thankfully she pulled through and is now cancer free.

My mom answers on the first ring. “Isaac, is everything okay?”

I chuckle at her worried tone. It’s pretty late on a Friday night, so she’s assuming something is wrong. She isn’t far off…

“I’m okay. I just wanted to say hello… and to tell you that I love you.”

I can hear her smile through the phone. “Oh, meu amor, I love you too.” Meu amor means sweetheart in Portuguese, which is my mom’s native language. She doesn’t speak it often, especially since my dad is Armenian and can’t speak a lick of Portuguese, but she’s been calling me by that nickname since as far back as I can remember.

“I can’t wait to see you,” she continues. “You’re sure you’re okay having us stay with you?”

“Of course.” I glance around the condo that has been my home the past four years. Most kids would live on campus, but my dad insisted if I was going away to school, I would be living where it’s safe—in a building he can monitor. I can’t complain since it’s a nice place with a kickass view. It’s also walking distance from the marina where the boat my parents got me for my high school graduation is docked.

The place is pretty clean, but I’m going to need to bring someone in to make sure it’s to my mom’s standards. The woman is a neat freak.

“Your dad and I will be arriving on Thursday. We’re both so proud of you. I can’t believe you’re graduating. Is there any chance the jobs you’ve been looking into are close to home?”

“Maybe. I’m keeping my options open.”

When I told my parents I wanted to go to college instead of going to work for the family business right out of high school, I expected my dad to be upset, but I should’ve known better. He patted me on the back and told me he would support whatever I decided to do, even if it meant never going to work for him.

Over the last few years, I’ve interned at a few different companies and have found my passion is numbers, but what I want to do with them yet, I’m not sure. I’m also considering extending my schooling and getting my MBA.

“So, any reason why you called tonight… aside from wanting to say hello?”

“And that I love you,” I add, remembering my reason for calling her.

She laughs softly. “What’s going on, Isaac?”

My dad grumbles something in the background, I’m sure asking my mom for the phone to make sure I’m okay. I’m one of the lucky ones who actually gets along with his parents. Don’t get me wrong, my dad is a hard-ass, but we’re close, and I’ve never wanted for anything. I have enough money in my bank account that if I wanted to, I could get on my boat and sail for years without having to work or worry about money. But that’s not what I want to do… I want to find my place in this world. I’ve considered going to work with my dad, but I’m just not sure if it’s the future I want for myself.

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