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Copyright © 2014 by Sandra Corton

ISBN: 978-0-9943930-0-5

All rights reserved.

Published by Sandra Corton

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any forms or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Cover Design by Marianne Nowicki

Edited by Beth Vallely

Nathanial Miles and Adelaide Winston had been best friends since they were ten years old. They may have been as different as chalk and cheese but they were always there for each other.

Addy’s life was going as well as could be expected of any twenty five year old. She had an okay job and a new apartment with her boyfriend of going on a year, Stanford. The most important thing in her life though was still Nate.

Stanford often complained that she spent more time with Nate than him but Addy couldn’t help it. Nate had seen her through a lot of her life, whether good or bad. He was her rock, the one person she could always depend on.

So when Addy finds out that Stanford has been sleeping with one of her co-workers, she of course turns to Nate. The one person she knew she could trust more than anything.

Her wonderful best friend offers her everything from the keys to his front door to a new job. Between ex’s trying to take from them, they stand together as always.

She knew that her heart had been with her best friend for many, many years. All she could wonder was if Nate felt the same for her.


ifferent as chalk and cheese but they were always there for each other.

Addy’s life was going as well as could be expected of any twenty five year old. She had an okay job and a new apartment with her boyfriend of going on a year, Stanford. The most important thing in her life though was still Nate.

Stanford often complained that she spent more time with Nate than him but Addy couldn’t help it. Nate had seen her through a lot of her life, whether good or bad. He was her rock, the one person she could always depend on.

So when Addy finds out that Stanford has been sleeping with one of her co-workers, she of course turns to Nate. The one person she knew she could trust more than anything.

Her wonderful best friend offers her everything from the keys to his front door to a new job. Between ex’s trying to take from them, they stand together as always.

She knew that her heart had been with her best friend for many, many years. All she could wonder was if Nate felt the same for her.



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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 – Many happy returns.

I’ve heard people say that it’s funny how things happen. A lot of them have said it about my friendship with Nathaniel Miles. They are right, in a way. What’s a struggling poor girl like me doing with someone who came from old money?

The truth is that Nate and I have been friends for a very long time. We met on the first day of school the year that we turned ten. Mum and Dad had sent me to a private school, even though I hated it and they hated struggling to pay for it.

I had told them repeatedly that I would have been happy to stay at the same school I attended the year before. They had insisted that I go to the school that they chose. My parents have spent all their lives trying to fit into a higher social setting than they could afford, but it never made them happy.

The thing is, I have no interest in the Miles Fortune, as those who don’t know Nate or his parents call it. The truth of the matter is that Nate’s family love me a hundred times more than my parents ever did, and money is never an issue. To my parents I could never do well enough in school to please them, and I was a burden on their money constraints.

Nate’s parents are well aware of how much I would kick up a stink if they ever tried to pay my way for anything. As a child, it was different and their generosity was welcome. They were more than happy that Nate had found a friend at last that he could relate to so they spoiled me as much as they spoiled him.

The most important thing in my life is that Nate loves me. His parents adore me to a ridiculous extent too, and that is all I’ve ever needed.

I’ve been recently thinking, quite frequently in fact, that it really is funny the way things happen. I thought I finally had things going my way, which hasn’t happened very often in my life. I have a job, which may not be the best, but it pays my bills. I’ve recently moved in with my steady boyfriend Stanford, although that isn’t going as well as I had hoped.

Sure, he has a huge apartment because of his hoity toity lawyer position at an elite firm, but he is so smug about it all. It is very different to my small, cramped flat but somehow it has never felt cosy to me.

I have never feel comfortable there, even though it is supposed to be my home. He hates me attempting any craft project that involves glue or glitter. He detests when I cook or make a mess too. It’s as though he wants me to sit around looking pretty and not have a mind of my own.

The best thing about my life, which Stanford is immensely jealous of is Nate. I know it sounds bad but if someone said to me that I had to choose between Nate and Stanford, there would be no contest. Nate would always win.

So of course, this is where the story of mine starts. A jealous boyfriend that I was starting to not really like and my best friend’s birthday that I was organising and attending.

Nate had told me to invite anyone I wanted but I knew him well and therefore, that meant no more than three people. He was such a social recluse sometimes that I deliberately invited people for him to meet.

That’s how a woman named Tracey Helga enters this story, someone whom I had considered a friend. I knew Tracey from work. She was at the desk diagonally across from mine where we did data entry stuff, all day, every day.

She had been working there for a lot longer than I had but had never really noticed me, or so I thought. I recall one afternoon when Stanford had come to pick me up and she had waved at me. That was the first ever acknowledgement from her, even though I’d been working there for a month, sitting a few feet away from her.

Then she moved into the same building as I lived with Stanford. I often wondered how she could afford the rent on our wage but I didn’t let it bother me. Therefore, I invited Tracey to the party so Nate could meet someone new for the year.

“Nate, I hope you're home. Could you please open the door?” I called out as I stood outside Nate’s fancy apartment. I juggled the grocery bags in my hand as I tried to find my keys in my handbag.

I could honestly say that Stanford’s apartment was nothing when compared with where Nate lived. Sure, location was a part of it. This was a great and massively expensive part of the city. Nate’s place had a warmth to it though that Stanford’s was missing. I always felt at home and welcome here.

“I’m coming Kitty.” His deep voice as usual made me catch my breath.

I had to squash down the little thrill that went through me every time he called me by my nickname. I still don’t know why to this day, but Nate has called me Kitty since practically the first day I met him. Seeing as my name is Adelaide, it’s all a mystery to me why he chose that name for me.

“Hey birthday boy!” I shouted out when he opened the door.

He grinned at me and I have to tell you that I adore that grin of his. I think practically all the females on the planet would be smitten with that grin if any of them ever saw it too. The best thing is that he saves that smile for me most of the time.

I remember when I first met Nate as a stocky ten year old who wasn’t terribly happy with himself. He has always thought that he lacked something, but he could never explain to me what that was.

Sure he didn’t have the greatest social skills, okay no social skills to be honest. He also doesn’t have any friends besides me, and it’s not from lack of me getting him to meet people either. However, the things he can do with his hands are absolutely unbelievable. He has talent that is astonishing to watch as he creates and builds.

Looking at Nate now as he turns twenty-six, I wonder what he sees in me. I’m a pale redhead who has a much too big weakness for chocolate and the curvy body to prove it. He on the other hand is, buff, gorgeous and rich beyond any girls dreams.

As I watch that dimple appear in his cheek, I reassure myself that nobody can make that dimple show itself besides his parents and me. If you wanted to know if you were in Nate’s close circle, that dimple was the telling force.

“I thought you were bringing your boyfriend along,” he said the word boyfriend distastefully and the dimple disappeared.

He has never really liked Stanford but has kept quiet on why. Honestly, I don’t think he has ever approved of any person I’ve ever dated. They always got the Nate scowl that scared a lot of them away.

“He’s bringing one of my friends that live in the same building as ours,” I explained as I opened my arms for a hug. “Happy birthday,” I end up muttering into that very solid chest of his.

Sometimes Nate makes me feel like a small child, especially when he hugs me. You see he never really stopped being stocky but now he’s tall as well and all muscle. He always holds me close, which makes me feel tiny, and petite, which I'm certainly not.

I love how he smells. I’m not sure if it has to do with the fact that he builds furniture but he always smells clean, fresh, and woodsy. It’s pretty sad that I’m always trying to smell him too. His scent to me is a comforting familiarity mixed with an exotic sexiness that’s indescribable.

I wish I could say that Stanford smelled as intoxicating to me, but then I’d be lying. He is always too busy trying to drown in very expensive and often feminine smelling cologne.

“Are your parents here yet?” I asked him as I looked up into those immensely beautiful golden brown eyes of his.

“Did I forget to tell you that the cruise they are on has been delayed? They probably won’t be back for a few more days now. They rang me this morning though,” He explained as he ushered me through the door.

“That’s too bad. It’s got to be the only birthday of yours that they have ever missed.”

“You’re here and that makes everything better.” He tucked his chin on top of my head. Although I could sense his embarrassment by his words, they moved me. He could be so adorable, and sweet to me.

“Aw shucks, thanks Natey.” I hugged him closer and felt all the worries of my day drift away. “I come bearing gifts you know.” I gestured to the bags that sat at my feet.

“Kitty, I ordered a caterer to make dinner. You don’t have to do it all by yourself,” He chided me softly as he let me go to pick up the bags.

“How about I just make you a chocolate mud cake then?” I suggested, knowing he wouldn’t be able to resist.

“You always wreak havoc with my workout when you come over.” He shook his head ruefully at me.

“What are you going on about? There’s not an ounce of flab on you,” I said as I poked a finger gently into his rock hard chest. “Do you want me to stop coming over to see you?” I asked with a raised brow.

“Fuck no, Kitty! You know that you can turn up whenever you damn well please. That’s why you have a key.”

“Good to know.” I grinned at him as he set the bags down on his kitchen counter. “You do still want chocolate cake don’t you?” I asked as I grabbed the block of dark chocolate and waved it under his nose.

“On one condition.” He leaned back against the counter with a huge smirk on his face, and I just knew whatever he had planned wasn’t going to be good for me.

“No way,” I told him quickly before he could tell me any of his ideas.

“You come running with me every day next week and I will let you bake me a chocolate cake.” He looked me up and down in a rather provocative way. I had to suck in a quick breath as my chest twisted pleasantly around.

“Come on Nate, you know I’m a terrible runner,” I groaned at his hellish idea.

“Maybe, but I’m the birthday boy.” He slapped his chest. I bit my lip hard knowing that I was going to give in if I so much as opened my mouth. “Say yes, Kitty.” His eyes teased me as he managed to trap me against the kitchen counter.

“Sometimes I hate you.” I muttered as he planted a solid hand on either side of my hips.

“Say it, Kitty.” His voice dropped low and trembled across my nerve endings.

“Fine, I’ll run with you for a week, but one week and no more!” I told him sternly.

“Yes.” He fist pumped and I rolled my eyes. I pushed against his chest and he moved out of my way.

“I know it’s just so you can laugh at my crappy running ability.” I said as I frowned and pulled ingredients from the bag.

“If only it was just that.” I turned at his rather dreamily spoken words.

I swear to God, that his eyes looked glued to my backside. This was one of the moments where my secret crush on my best friend exploded. I often wondered what he would do if I tried to kiss him. I stopped myself every time knowing that losing Nate would make my world implode.

I could lose Stanford far more easily and have no regrets. I would regret losing Nate every second of my life that I didn’t have him. I always managed to push the attraction that I felt for him away. I forced myself back to the very boring task of unpacking groceries instead.

“So, when are your friends arriving?” Nate asked, not seeming to notice my almost desperate need to throw myself at him. I managed a shrug but didn’t look his way.

“Stanford said he’d pick Tracey up at about six. I guess that gives me enough time to get this beauty baked. I didn’t make you rush home or anything did I?” I glanced over at him to see if he was still watching me but he quickly shook his head.

“I always like watching you cook.” He sent me a rather devilish smile that made me snort.

“More like you enjoy eating cake batter.” I replied dryly.

“Yeah, that too.” He replied with a lick of his lips that certainly got my attention. “I promise to keep myself amused. I’ve got to get a new P.A, so I will have lots of boring crap interviews in the next week or so.” He grabbed a pile of paperwork from the satchel bag he always carried. “Now I get to go through resumes of useless people.”

I didn’t know a lot about Nate’s work from the business side of things. I knew however, that he was always busy, and had needed the help of a personal assistant to organise his work schedule for the last few years. Nate had a lot of trouble trusting people, so this would have to be hard for him.

“What happened to Pete? I thought he was really good, from what you told me,” I asked as I found all the equipment I would need in his cupboards, and began organising the ingredients.

“Pete wants to be more involved with his family. He’s not going to leave until I find a new P.A though, which is good.”

“You get to work on those resumes then, and I’ll get to baking.” I waved a hand at his paperwork, but he just appeared even more disgruntled.

“That’s a mean thing to say to the birthday boy,” He pouted at me looking completely adorable.

“How about if I promise you a spoonful of cake batter?” I bartered, only to see his brown eyes twinkle at me.

“Two spoons.” He returned quickly.

“One and a half.” I argued as he sat down and stretched his long frame out. I almost drooled, and berated myself for my staring. He was just too darn good looking to resist sometimes.

“Three.” He replied with that cheeky smile firmly in place.

“Two is going to be my final offer.” I said as I snapped the chocolate into smaller chunks.

“Three with one of them being yours.”

“That still gives you two.” I told him smartly.

“I know.” He stretched out the words and I had a feeling that he was up to no good but I couldn’t guess what.

We went quiet then, as we both set to work at our tasks. Occasionally we would say something but it was never forced, nor was the silence awkward. We had always worked this way together.

“Shit, this one was P.A for a damn socialite! Like they would have any fucking idea about what goes into building furniture,” Nate scoffed as he threw a bunch of papers to the side.

“Yes, not knowing the difference between pine and cedar could pose a problem.” I stated in all seriousness.

“At least you know the difference,” he grumbled at me.

It was true, and all because of Nate’s love of woodwork as a kid. I knew all the important facts about anything, and I do mean anything to do with woodwork. From various tools to what wood makes the best chair, drawer, or anything even slightly resembling furniture, I had the expertise thanks to Nate.

“So, how many are potential P.A's?” I asked and Nate threw all the papers down.

“None, but Pete has a pile of resumes too. I hope that some of his are better than the selection I’ve ended up with here. All I’ve got are P.A's for everything other than what I need.” Nate grumbled at me.

“Come here grouchy birthday boy, this should cheer you up.” I offered him a spoonful of sinfully delicious, scrumptiously aromatic cake batter.

“That smells damn good. You are definitely running with me now.” He rushed over to me, all his P.A woes forgotten.

He accepted the spoonful I held out to him. The intimacy of feeding him made me want to moan as a pleasurable feeling twisted my insides around. Watching his lips wrap around the spoon, then his tongue licking to capture every little bit had my full attention.

Those gorgeous eyes of his flared brighter, the gold in them almost seeming to glow. My whole body seemed to be beating to a rhythm that attuned only to Nate.

Taking the spoon from my shaky fingers, he dipped it back into the batter and offered it to me. I couldn’t even find the words to protest the double dipping! Holy hell, I felt like I was on fire as that delicious concoction hit my tongue. His eyes moved to my mouth and I couldn’t breathe when he sent a dangerous but seductive smile my way.

Reminding myself that this was my best friend wasn’t helping me at all. This was seriously turning out to be more erotic to me than sex with any man I had ever been with before.

Of course, the damn doorbell rang, shattering our intimate moment. Nate didn’t rush away from me though. Instead, he leaned in close to me and flicked a finger against the edge of my lips. A tiny amount of chocolate cake batter was on his finger, which he put into his mouth and licked.

Hells bells! I had to grip the kitchen bench behind me, afraid that my knees would buckle at how weak and aroused I felt. He continued to stare at me and me at him until the doorbell insisted on ringing again.

“You might want to get that cooking now, Kitty,” he said in a deeper, huskier voice than usual. His fiery look went between my mouth and my eyes a few more times before looking away.

He turned then and went to answer the doorbell while I tried to get some modicum of control over my flaming body. Wow, my best friend just managed to shock the hell out of me and I enjoyed every single second of it.

“The caterers are here,” Nate called out from the front door as I shakily poured the cake mix into the pan, ready for baking.

“Okay,” I replied dumbly, my brain not fully functioning yet.

I felt dazed by what had just happened here in his kitchen. I had been feeding Nate cake batter for years but it had never been like that, never filled with that zapping desire that burned through me fiercely right now.

Sure, I knew we had sparks between us but neither of us seemed to dare explore them. Our friendship was something we both clung to and appreciated.

We loved each other so much that we had been deliberately ignoring the attraction that had always been there. I had a feeling that maybe Nate’s patience was finally wearing out and that made me one excited girl.

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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 – Birthday revelations

It was weird when Stanford and Tracey arrived. I can’t explain the weirdness. Maybe it was because I felt a little guilty over the cake batter moment that Nate and I had just shared. It had been quite an intimate moment. In that second, when all I saw was the gold in Nate’s eyes, Stanford had been the last person on my mind.

Nate had greeted them at the door in the same brusque manner that he seemed to treat everyone bar his parents and me. I had to try to calm my heart fluttering madness that just wanted to relive that intimate time we shared.

“Happy birthday.” I heard Stanford say in the same bland manner that he always spoke. I heard him introducing Tracey in a much more upbeat manner, as I flipped the cake out of its pan and headed to the door too.

I couldn’t understand why, but Nate had barricaded off the most beautiful part of his apartment. The huge open living area with the view of the city afforded the most spectacular view. Everyone knew simply by the location that this was the most affluent part of town and he was in the penthouse so it screamed wealth.

Nate didn’t like people knowing about his life. For his business, he even went under the name of Nathanial Ryan instead of Nathanial Miles. He pretended to live a far more meagre existence what he actually did.

I did understand a little of why because I had endured the stuffiness of high society over the years. Nate had dragged me to every function, ball or foundation event that he had been forced to attend when we were younger. High society knew me well, which was hilarious really. If those people saw my day-to-day life, they would be astounded.

“Evening, Adelaide.” Tracey’s overly cheerful voice had me gritting my teeth with suspicion. She never talked like this at work. She always called me Addy and joked around instead of being so stiffly formal. To me it sounded as though she was trying to cover something up.

“Hi Tracey, how was work?” I asked because I felt that I had to respond politely.

“Good thanks.”

“Hello, Adelaide, I guess you spent your afternoon constructively?” Stanford’s snobby attitude had my back up in an instant.

“I did, I made a birthday cake for Nate.”

Why oh why did I feel the need to defend my actions to my boyfriend of all people? Since I had moved in with him, I had noticed his attitude shift dramatically. Instead of the loving, doting boyfriend that he had been for the last year or so, he was becoming bossy and insufferably rude. He was always trying to box me into the way he wanted to see the world.

“Very constructive use of a sick day.” Tracey piped up before sending a look to Stanford that confused me.

“Yes, actually it was. Nate is a very important person to me,” I told her, noticing Stanford sending a scowl to Nate, who still hadn’t said anything beyond a greeting.

“There’s food organised in the dining room.” Nate’s words were abrupt but he still sent me a reassuring smile.

“You are such a social recluse.” I whispered to him as the other two left.

“I don’t like them.” He stated with a shrug and I sighed.

“Do you want me to send them away?” I asked, knowing I’d rather it just be the two of us anyway.

“No. He’s your guy and she’s your friend.” He spat the word guy viciously but I chose to ignore it.

“I will tell them to go,” I said with a frown, which he answered with a sigh of his own.

“Let’s just eat, Kitty.”

He steered me into the dining room with his hand on my back. Stanford and Tracey stood close together and I just knew they were discussing Nate. The fact that they jumped apart so swiftly seemed rather odd, however.

Stanford smiled that smug, condescending smile as we entered. Not for the first time did I wonder why I was still with him. He seemed to grow more insufferable as time went on.

Once we all seated with plates of food that smelled divine, things turned awkward. I ran my fingers over Nate’s beautifully handcrafted table and took in a breath. I tried to make conversation but nobody seemed to want to cooperate.

Tracey would occasionally let out a weird little giggle that made no sense whatsoever. Stanford kept up his smug grin, while Nate was grim and silent. Just great! I had ruined Nate’s birthday by inviting these two losers, that I called friend and boyfriend.

“Do you want your present now, Nate?” I asked feeling so excited about what I had made him that I was bouncing in my seat. He finally cracked one of those awesome dimpled smiles while nodding.

“You know I’ve been waiting.” He looked at me eagerly with sparkling eyes and I heard Stanford grunt.

“There is no way you’ll guess this one!” I said with a cheeky grin.

Every birthday I essentially give him the same thing, but with a different theme. He always seemed to love his gifts though, and I appreciated his thoughtfulness.

“I’ve guessed them right every year,” he said with satisfaction lacing his tone.

I noticed the other two giving him a funny look at his teasing tone. Nate didn’t show this happier side of his personality to many people. Most people found him gruff, grumpy, and frustratingly stubborn. His happy side though was charismatic, appealing and after a while, rather addictive. You would do anything for one of those dimpled smiles.

“Hand it over, Kitty.” Nate eagerly held his hand out.

I scurried into the other room where I had left his parcel. I raced back in and handed it to him with a broad grin. Another dimpled smile came my way for the Garfield paper that I had had a great deal of trouble finding. Nate had always loved cats and had wanted one as a kid. He couldn’t because of his Mum’s allergies.

He oh so carefully began to undo the sticky tape, taking care not to rip the paper. It was suspenseful waiting for him to reveal the present, and I was back to bouncing in my seat. Eventually, out fell a simple wooden photo frame, which admittedly Nate had made. The frame had shells and golden sand covering it, which made him smile even more.

“That’s what you’re giving him? I thought that was some silly craft thing you were attempting.” Stanford’s words cut me deep. He had never supported my love of all things crafty and kitschy.

I didn’t know whether to be angry or severely hurt when I was feeling both in equal measure. Stanford just didn’t get me sometimes and I hated him for it.

“Yes it is.” I answered abruptly as I crossed my arms and turned back to Nate.

“This one isn’t even hard, Kitty.” Nate interrupted my furious, internal rant at Stanford.

“There is no way you could know that one.” I waved my hand at the blank photo frame.

“This is from the first beach we went to, which is ironically called Shelley Beach,” he said triumphantly and I sent him my grumpy face that he had guessed it so quickly.

“Damn, I thought I’d picked a tricky one.” My anger melted away as I smiled at him.

“The photo's in the frame right? There had better be a photo, Kitty.” I felt my grin widen as I nodded in response to his words.

He now had photo frames of us hanging up all around his apartment from different parts of our life together. He had one for every birthday. I loved that he was always happy to receive one of our memories as a gift.

“You have got to be kidding me!” Stanford said with an oddly delicate snort.

“What do you mean?" I asked turning to him.

“He gave you a jewellery box that would have been worth hundreds for your last birthday. All you gave him is a stupid craft project,” Stanford said snidely, and that dug at me harshly again.

“We make our gifts for each other, Stanford. I made this for Nate out of shells that I picked up from that beach when we were there twelve or so years ago. Nate made me a jewellery box because he’s an awesome carpenter.” I defended our choices, which only seemed to affront Stanford’s feelings further.

“That jewellery box was a bought gift. There is no way that he made that.” Stanford said savagely as he flicked at something on his sleeve.

Boy did that set me off! Nobody accuses my best friend of not being able to build something out of timber. The man was a genius at carving any piece of wood the way he wanted it.

“You don’t know Nate then! He made it.” My words came out as a defensive snarl and Stanford appeared shocked by my aggression.

“You are right about one thing.” Nate was a world of calmness as he tented his fingers on the table.

“You didn’t make it,” Stanford said in his high and mighty voice that only made my anger grow.

“No, I made the jewellery box in question. You were simply right in your estimation of the price of the lumber to make it though.” Nate replied as he looked at a now, not so smug Stanford.

“Nate, you didn’t!” I turned to my best friend who simply sent me that dimpled, ultra cheeky smile.

“Money’s no object, Kitty. I still made the gift from raw materials so technically I didn’t break the rules.” He smirked at me when my mouth popped open and no words came out.

Every present he had ever given me sprang to mind then. I fingered the necklace that I rarely removed. I absolutely loved it and had from the moment that he first showed it to me. He winked at me and I knew it had cost him more than I had ever thought.

“Don’t ask if you don’t want to know the answer.” He teased me.

“Well he couldn’t have made that, it’s not wood,” Stanford pointed out while Tracey moved uncomfortably in her chair.

“Actually, it's very highly polished oak.” Nate answered smartly.

“The necklace and bracelet set you gave me for my eighteenth isn’t,” I piped up as I thought of it sitting innocently back in my jewellery box at Stanford’s house.

“No but we have a deal for big birthdays, remember. I still had it made by a jeweller and I selected all the stones for them,” he insisted as I fiddled with my necklace, which was a habit of mine.

“I think I’ve heard enough bragging rights for tonight. Just because you buy her this stuff, doesn’t make her yours. She is my girlfriend,” Stanford told us all pompously, and I was tempted to smack him in the head.

“Don’t be an arse,” I told him sharply.

“I’m not, he is.” Stanford pointed a finger at Nate childishly, and I sighed.

Why was this person even my boyfriend again? That’s right; he used to be a real sweetie until I moved in with him. From then on, he has been the world’s biggest, most arrogant jerk. I narrowed my eyes at my so-called boyfriend before storming out of the room into the kitchen. I needed to calm down and not throttle my pompous, jackass boyfriend!

“Sorry Kitty, that guy gets on my nerves.” Nate came up behind me then, and I was happy to have his soothing presence envelop me in a hug.

“He never used to be like this,” I said as I stuck candles in the cake.

“It is hard to imagine you ever wanting a guy like that,” he pondered with a shake of his head.

“Well I sure don’t at the moment. Go in there so I can sing happy birthday and we can have some cake,” I ordered him, and he grinned.

“Alright I’m going already bossy boots.” He gave me another quick sideways hug that soothed my anger before leaving.

I realised with a huff that I had forgotten to ice the cake. I rolled my eyes at my own stupidity and swiftly pulled the candles off the cake. I grabbed the icing I had made earlier and quickly slathered it onto the cake before returning the candles. I could only hope that no fights had broken out while I had been getting the cake ready.

What waited for me was much, much worse. Nate had his calm but furious face on. Most people had no clue when Nate is angry. He can hold down a polite conversation but be seething on the inside. I knew the many signs because I had seen them a lot over the years. I never wanted him to be angry on his birthday.

“It doesn’t make any difference.” Stanford’s voice was so arrogant that it grated on my nerves. “She’s still coming home with me.” His eyes narrowed on Nate, who assessed him outright with a blatant stare.

“You don’t know Adelaide very well at all do you?” Nate asked him with such assurance that I realised he was right.

Stanford didn’t know me. He had never taken the time to understand why I loved making gifts for people rather than buying them. I had always been a pretty figure to hang off his arm at dinners and parties.

“You’re the one who doesn't understand! She’s my girlfriend; she’s coming home with me, not you. No matter if you know her better, she’s still in my bed.” Stanford’s smugness had me riled up as I marched into the room and slammed the cake down on the table.

“Get out!” I shouted the words at a very shocked Stanford.

“What are you talking about?” My very stupid boyfriend seemed somewhat confused by my anger. That shouldn’t have been surprising; he never seemed to understand my anger any time I had ever displayed it.

“Get out means stand up, walk to the door, and don’t let it hit you on the arse as it closes.” I snarled the words and Stanford’s expression would have been priceless if rage hadn't been flooding through me.

“Told you,” Nate said dryly as he smirked in quite a devilish way at my boyfriend.

“Told me what?” Stanford, being the chauvinistic pig he was, ignored me completely to talk to Nate.

“That you don’t know Adelaide. You’ve got a week.” Nate’s eyes went from Stanford to Tracey and back again very pointedly.

His back stiffened in that moment and I don’t think I had ever seen such a furious expression on Nate’s face. His brown eyes darkened and his glare was deadly. I hate to say it, but that only seemed to make my heart start thumping with anticipation, and my skin tingling with wanting to throw myself at him again.

I realised then that I had missed something in this whole conversation. My thoughts scattered and I frowned as I wondered what had happened while I had been icing the cake. Something was going on and I had absolutely no clue what it was.

“Well if we are going, come on.” Stanford stood haughtily, and I laughed at his obvious misconception.

“You didn’t understand what I meant at all did you?” I said with another splutter of snide laughter.

“There is nothing to understand, just get your stuff so we can leave.” He gestured for the door and I just shook my head in disbelief.

“I think I should be leaving,” Tracey interrupted, but I had to say my piece before Stanford got any more ridiculous ideas into his head.

“I’m not going home with someone who talks about me so rudely. If I’m in your bed, it’s because I choose to be and right now, I don’t. I’ll happily spend the night on Nate’s couch instead,” I told him abruptly.

Stanford’s jaw dropped open as though this idea had never occurred to him. I was starting to doubt my sanity in dating him now. I was not the kind of girl that would meekly submit to someone treating me badly and now he knew that.

“It’s always you isn’t it? The saviour of the moment.” Stanford turned a nasty look Nate’s way but my best friend simply shrugged.

“I happen to know Kitty pretty darn well. Perhaps you should have gotten to know her too, and then you wouldn’t be having this empty bed problem of yours.” Nate’s words became dark at the end and Stanford fumbled. He appeared awkward and uncomfortable, which are not words I would have ever used to describe my boyfriend.

I said no more but I didn’t have to. Whatever Nate had just insinuated had both Tracey and Stanford running for the door. I guess I would owe Tracey an apology in the morning for having to endure such an odd evening.

I was still fuming that my boyfriend would try to upstage my best friend on his birthday. He had been nothing but a pain in the arse since he walked through the door. The worst thing was that I had no idea why he had been acting like that in the first place.

I didn’t know what to think or what to do about him. I was at a loss. I wasn’t even sure I wanted him as my boyfriend anymore when he acted like that. I huffed out a breath and decided not to worry about it right now. I was going to focus on giving my best friend the birthday he deserved.

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