Thirty-Eight Reasons (#2)
By: Len Webster
Publication: October 28th, 2014
Contemporary Romance/New Adult
Cover Design By: Najla Qamber Designs
Clara Lawrence never thought one simple word could define the rest of her life. She has a decision to make. But the constant lingering thought that she's held for the last six months has made it difficult. The past never seems to go away. No matter how much she tries to run from it, Nolan Parker haunts her.
Nolan Parker finds himself with everything he could ever dream of, except one thing, the love of his life. Clara Lawrence broke his heart and now he's slowly living a life after her. But when he sees her in his lobby months later, will they reconcile or will they pick up where they last left off, breaking each other's hearts all over again? One chance to rewrite their relationship or were they always destined to never be more?
Noel looked up at the ceiling vents and let out a frustrated sigh. He leaned back into his leather office chair and stared at the white paint. July in Boston was hot. But it held nothing to the Australian heat. Australia’s temperatures almost doubled what Massachusetts could reach. But in the eight months since his return, Noel had adjusted to life back in the US.
He never liked to think about her. Sometimes he couldn’t help himself and sometimes he’d find himself frustrated and angry. That’s when Noel would mindlessly be at the gym or at a bar. He needed a way of release. She still had a hold on his heart. He tried desperately to sever it but nothing could erase the memories of her. So instead Noel kept focused on Andrea.
Andrea had been his anti-depressant. She took away the pain each time she was close. The first time he met Andrea there was something about her. Noel refused to call her ‘Andy.’ Not when her full name suited her and separated her from the male dominance of G&MC. There was something about her that attracted him the moment he saw her. Noel knew it was her headstrong attitude and her will power to obtain what she wanted.
Andrea was essentially the complete opposite of the woman that broke his heart all those months ago. Noel tapped his fingers on the leather arms of his chair and swiveled it around until he faced his large office view of the Boston skyline. In the months since his return, Noel had secured three more important accounts as well as improving his chances of becoming a senior executive for the office. Long ago, that all didn’t matter. Now, it was the center of his universe. The more consumed he was with work and Andrea, meant less time remembering.
“Noel, you busy?”
Turning his chair around, he saw Damien Oliver from marketing standing at his door. Damien’s dark hair was almost black and his tanned skin looked darker against the light grey suit he wore. Noel had found a mate in Damien now that he no longer had Rob or Max by his side. He couldn’t speak so openly around Alex when it came to her. With Damien it was different. He had no connection to her at all.
“Nah. I’ve finished with these accounts for the day. Gregson’s had me checking the balances and making sure they add up,” Noel replied as he leaned forward from his chair and placed his arms on the cherry oak desk.
“Thought I’d come by and see how you and Andy were getting along for the move? Need an extra hand on Sunday?” Damien asked as he stepped into Noel’s office. Noel closed the folder and stacked it on top of the pile he had forming on his desk.
“Yeah. Come by whenever it suits you. Andrea has some furniture coming in from her old place.”
“You made room for her stuff?” Damien asked as he took the seat in front of Noel.
“My apartment has minimal furniture. You’ve been over.”
“Yeah but what about all her law books and her desk?”
Noel shrugged and started to unroll the sleeves of his white business shirt.
“I’ve got a spare room that’s gone unused. It can be Andrea’s office. Should be big enough,” Noel said as he buttoned both of his cuffs. There was silence between them until Damien breathed out and looked at him.
“Listen, are you sure you’re ready to have Andy move in?”
“Why?” Noel asked curiously as he reached behind the back of his chair for his jacket.
“I don’t know. But last night you weren’t as excited as you led to believe. Could it be …”
Don’t say her name.
Just her name made him freeze. He tried so desperately to forget her name. Damien saying it out loud brought all the pain crashing back down on him. There was something in the way he said it that made Noel want to ball his fist and lay one on Damien’s jaw. Noel took two deep breaths and had to remember that he was the one to confide in Damien when he couldn’t with Alex.
“She means nothing to me. You don’t even know her!” Noel growled and Damien defensively raised his hands in front of him.
“Then why can’t you say her name?” Noel looked away and stared at his fists.
“Does it even matter? I told you all that shit because I had a few beers.”
Damien nodded his head twice and rose from his seat.
“No. You told me all that shit because you needed to tell someone that wasn’t Alex. You can try to lie to me all you want, Parker, but at the end of the day you can’t even face the facts. You still love Clara,” Damien said before he walked towards the door, stopped and turned to face Noel. “I’ll see you Sunday. Realise that Andy’s your girl now. Not Clara.” Damien turned and walked out of Noel’s office.
Slamming his fists on the desk, Noel hastily got out of his office chair. Pure frustration and anger coursed through his veins. He knew he was stupid to be this angry over her. It had been months since he last saw Clara Lawrence. Last time he checked, she had gone and fallen in love with Liam O’Connor. Max and Rob never said anything about her when they spoke over the phone or through emails and messages. She was a topic they never discussed. But sometimes, all Noel wanted to do was talk about her, find out about the things he missed since their separation. Find out if she ever thought about him.
You’re with Andrea now.
He had to stop thinking about Clara. He had Andrea and she had an importance in his life. Noel pulled out the top drawer of his desk and took out his phone and wallet. He needed away from his own office. Noel thought Boston, Massachusetts, was enough distance from Clara. But no matter how far he was, she still affected his life in some way or another. She was the one that got away. The one that haunted his dreams and the one he didn’t want to let go of.
Noel pushed her out of his thoughts and hid the memories of her further into the pits of his closed and darkened heart. He couldn’t remember their love; it caused too much pain in his life. Noel unlocked his phone to see a message from his best friend, Alex.
Alex: Coming down to NY this month? Keira wants you and Andy over for dinner.
Noel felt a sense of guilt in him. He had neglected his own friendship with Alex since that day in New York when Alex had called him out. Noel knew that Alex was trying hard to make things better between them. It wasn’t his fault but Noel wanted to blame someone and found it easy to direct the blame on Alex. It was hard to admit the faults he couldn’t fix.
Noel: Yeah, towards the end of the month. Andrea’s moving in on Sunday and I want her settled before we head down to NY.
Noel sent the message, bent down and picked up his briefcase by the handle. Before he even got to the office door his phone vibrated in his hand. He stopped and read the new message.
Alex: Andy is moving in?
Asking Andrea to move in with him was quick and decisive. He didn’t want Alex telling him how soon it would be or mention Clara's name. Noel took it upon himself to make the decision without Alex’s advice.
Noel: Asked her over a week ago.
Noel looked at Alex’s instantaneous message. One word and that was ‘congrats.’ He was slightly annoyed by Alex’s short reply.
Noel: Thanks, man. I appreciate the support.
He waited a few long minutes but Alex didn’t respond and Noel knew the support wasn’t there.
The truth is, Len Webster is a romance-loving Melbournian with dreams of finding her version of ‘The One’. She calls Australia home, but secretly wishes a man with a beautiful accent would whisk her away. She’s been called a hopeless romantic and a firm believer of happily ever afters, which she doesn’t object to.
When Len isn’t acting as the voice of her characters, you can find her drowning in business textbooks as she slaves over her Bachelor degree. She spends more time than she should daydreaming of her next Europe adventure or swooning over Mr. Darcy.
Len can be found sitting at her University library, earphones in, and writing instead of studying. If she could, she would own a cupcake bakery just for an endless supply of red velvet cupcakes. Her best friends are a hot cup of tea, a warm jumper and her MacBook, ready to write to her heart’s content.