Money (The Keatyn Chronicles, #10)
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12th
Asher Vineyards — Sonoma County
I’m lying across my bed talking to Riley on the phone like I used to do in high school.
He’s in L.A. all week, and I’ll be at the vineyard getting everything set for Keatyn and Aiden’s wedding. We agreed to talk every night and decide at the wedding if we wanted to move forward with a relationship.
I already know I do.
I’m so glad we both ended up at Eastbrooke for homecoming. It’s hard to believe that neither of us had ever been back.
Well, not that surprising for me but, I have to say, I was shocked he hadn’t gone either.
For years, I’ve thought about—dreamed about—what I would say if I saw him there again, but the reality was better than I had imagined.
I feel like we can move forward now. Not forget the past, but get past it—if that makes sense.
And when Riley says, “I think that’s what this weekend did for me. When we said goodbye, I started focusing on what could be—what, hopefully, will be—and not on what should’ve been,” I feel even more hopeful, practically giddy.
“That’s a big shift in mentality,” I say, then hear a shrill voice calling out Riley’s name.
“Shelby, what are you doing here?” Riley says. “I told you I didn’t want to see you again.”
I cringe when I hear the name Shelby. She’s the girl who was in his penthouse wearing practically nothing when Riley and I went there after dancing at the club.
“I need to talk to you, Riley,” she says. “It’s important. Can I please come up?”
Um, no! I don’t want her going anywhere with him! “Shelby, as in naked, leather-strap, threesome Shelby?” I ask, reminding Riley that I’m still on the phone.
“Uh, hang on,” he says to me, doing something that muffles his conversation but still allows me to hear.
“Whatever you need to say, you can say here,” Riley says to her.
“God, you’re such an ass,” she hisses loudly. “I thought you might want to do this in private.”
“I don’t want to do anything with you—in public or in private,” he says, causing my heart to swell. He loves me. I know deep down in my heart that he still loves me.
And that’s all that matters.
He told me he’s been with a lot of women but only been serious with one. Me.
And I can handle it. I can be confident knowing that I was the only one to ever have his heart, regardless of what others may have done with his body.
“Well, you’re going to have to now, Riley,” Shelby shrills. “Because I’m pr—”
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. The call drops.
I quickly call back, but it goes straight to voicemail.
I pick up one of the menus I was reviewing before Riley called and double check it for accuracy, but I can’t seem to concentrate because what I heard as the call ended keeps replaying in the back of my mind.
Oh my God. Did she just tell him that she’s pregnant?
Riley’s Penthouse - L.A.
I’m wearing a huge smile as I get dropped off at my building and walk through the door, talking to Ariela on the phone.
Having her come back into my life after so many years has been both excruciating and exhilarating. But this weekend changed things. We faced our past together and, in one week, we’re going to decide if we want to pursue a future together.
As much as I want to be with her, honestly, I’m a little torn about it.
Part of me wants nothing more than to pretend we never broke up. But the reality is that she’s married. And even though she filed for a divorce, I wonder if it’s too much too soon.
In a very short time—on a whim—she came to California, was reunited with me, slept with me, filed for a divorce, got a new job, and faced her demons at Eastbrooke. I mean, how many more life changes can she throw at herself all at once?
I loved her with everything I was in high school, and I was devastated when she left with nothing more than a goodbye.
And since she’s come back, she’s wreaked more havoc in my life.
Soon, I’ll have to decide if I want to risk another relationship with her. Even though she still looks like the girl I loved, she’s different—life, age, and time have that effect.
“Riley!” A shrill voice stops me in my tracks, wiping the smile off my face.
“Shelby, what are you doing here?” I ask, as she gets up from the couch in the lobby. “I told you I didn’t want to see you again.”
“I need to talk to you, Riley. It’s important. Can I please come up?”
I know girls like her. No way I’m letting her come up.
“Shelby, as in naked, leather-strap, threesome Shelby?” Ariela asks in my ear.
“Uh, hang on,” I say to her, putting the phone against my chest. Then I say discreetly, “Shelby, whatever you need to say, you can say here.”