Home > Give Me Forever (Beaumont : Next Generation #5)

Give Me Forever (Beaumont : Next Generation #5)
Author: Heidi McLaughlin

 

 

1

 

 

BEN

 

 

The other day at work I overheard my co-worker talking about his girlfriend. He said she was fun and always up for a good time, and it got me thinking about how I would describe Elle to someone if they asked. The first thing I would say is she’s my best friend, followed by the love of my life, and then I would add how she’s strong-willed, determined, loves fiercely and with her whole heart, and her family is the most important aspect of her life, aside from music. I would tell my co-worker about how beautiful she is, and how I can spend hours watching her long, chestnut hair blowing in the wind. I would tell him how I feel when she walks into the room, even when I’m in the middle of drafting an advertising plan or she’s had a rough day and just wants to sit with me.

I’m listening to Elle talk instead of focusing on my current project. She’s on the phone with her mom or sister by the tone of her voice. When it’s business, she’s matter of fact. It’s her way or the highway—something I’ve learned by working for her management company over the years. In her line of business, she needs to be direct. Other managers have tried to show she can’t hack it in the industry, only for her to prove them wrong. Sinful Distraction is well on their way to stardom, and she’s in the process of signing two new bands. To say I’m proud of her is an understatement. Elle’s doing exactly what she set out to do—changing the music management industry.

I look outside at the graying sky and wonder if there’s a storm coming or if December is going to be a dreary month in Malibu. I think it’s been a week since I’ve seen the sun, although the lack thereof hasn’t deterred any of the surfers. Every morning when I go for a run, they’re out there, welcoming the early morning waves and the quiet solitude before the traffic starts and tourists arrive. I close my laptop and make my way outside to get the mail. While most of our bills are online, all our packages come to the house. I’m elated to find a catalog full of wedding invitations and internally fist pump because this means we’re one step closer to finally nailing down a wedding date. We’ve already decided to get married in Napa at one of the vineyards or in Tiburon overlooking the bay, and just need to pick a date.

Elle comes out of the office and finds me in the living room flipping through the catalog. I’ve dogeared a couple designs I like and plan to show her. She sits down next to me, leans over, and kisses me on the cheek before righting herself. “What are you looking at?”

I close the magazine so she can see the front. “Came in the mail today. It’s a sign for us to set a date and finally get the ball rolling.”

“That was my mom on the phone,” she says, changing the subject. “Aunt Josie has rented a house in Stowe, Vermont, for Christmas and we’re all going. It’ll be fun, although I’m not sure about the snow. It’s cold there, but whatever. We need to go buy some snow suits. We can rent skis there if we want to or just hang out at the house. There’s a hot tub as well so we definitely need to bring our suits. I’m not sure what we are going to do about the presents though. I guess we can pack them in a suitcase.”

I glance at Elle. She’s focused on our Christmas tree and the pile of presents underneath. “I think it would be a pretty awesome present for your parents if we tell them a date.”

“For what?”

“For our wedding.” I hold the magazine up and shake it. “There are some cute invitations in here. We could make one online and put it in a box for your parents.”

“We don’t even know if the venue is available. People literally book it out a year in advance, if not more.”

“Maybe we need another venue,” I say, shrugging. “Or go to the courthouse. I’m tired of dragging our feet.”

“I’m not,” Elle replies.

“You’re not what?” I ask.

“Dragging my feet.”

“I didn’t say you, I said we. We own a house together. We love each other. We want to start a family. We are financially stable.” She is, and I am because of her. “I don’t understand what we are waiting for. I already told you I’d sign a prenup if that’s the hang up.”

Elle stands, ignoring everything I just said. “Where are you going?”

“To the sports store. We leave tomorrow.”

“Can you please sit down and discuss this with me?” I wait for a minute or two and when she doesn’t return, I go to our bedroom. I lean against the door jamb and watch her before asking, “Why do you keep brushing this aside?”

Elle sighs. “I’m not brushing anything aside, Ben. I’m saying, let’s discuss this later, like after the first of the year. Right now, we need to go to the store and get some clothes to wear otherwise we’re going to freeze to death there.” She passes by me. When she gets to the end of the hall, she says, “Are you coming with me to the store?”

“No and the store can wait. It’s not going anywhere. Hell, I’m sure you can call, and they’ll send the entire store to you if you run out of time.” My steps are loud as I walk toward her. She backs up until we’re in our living room.

“I hate when you say things like that. You make it seem like I’m some spoiled brat.”

“Not my intention, Elle. But this is important to me. I’m tired of waiting for us to start our lives. I want to get married and start a family.”

“And we will.”

“When?”

“I don’t know, Ben. When I’m not busy,” she says. “When I’m not in the middle of trying to launch a tour for Plum and finalize a record deal for Talking Til Dawn. You know how hard I worked on getting these bands, I need to put my best foot forward and get their careers started.”

“I want our wedding to be a priority to you, Elle. Right now, it’s so far down your list, you make it seem like you don’t want to get married.”

“I do, Ben. I love you more than anything, but our lives are busy, and I really feel like you’re picking a fight for no good reason.”

I scoff at her words and shake my head. “Our wedding day is a good reason. Starting our lives together is a good reason. But if we have to wait for you not to be busy with work, then we’ll be waiting forever because you get busier by the day. Right now, my life is nothing but waiting for you. I wait for you to tell me where we are going and what we’re doing. I’m waiting for you to sit down with me and set a date, which is funny, because the date doesn’t even matter as long as it fits into your schedule. I’m tired of waiting, Elle.”

“Where is all of this coming from, Ben?”

I groan loudly and push my hands through my hair, rubbing the tension that’s suddenly appeared at the back of my neck. “Why can’t you see this from my perspective, huh? Why can’t you see I want a family with you? That I want to be your husband?”

“I do, Ben. And I want those things too, but not enough to cause World War III between us. I don’t understand how earlier things were fine, we were fine. One minute we’re talking about the trip to Vermont and the next we’re fighting all because this stupid magazine shows up.” Elle picks the catalog up from the table and throws it across the room.

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