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Chapter Forty One – June 29 / June 30

I would be lying to you if I said that we spent the next day touring LA. I would be telling the truth if I said that we spent the greater part of the day right where we started the night before.

As we curled up to sleep, Nick’s hand once again snaked up my bare side.

“Any more and I’m never going to be able to walk again,” I said with a giant yawn. Bitsy lay by the balcony doors, her white patches of fur almost looking phosphorescent in the moonlight. Nick laughed, nibbling my neck.

“So is that a no?” he teased. I gave him a look.

“I guess we’re going to have to go outside tomorrow,” he said with a yawn.

“You need groceries,” I reminded him. He groaned.

“I hate grocery shopping.”

“Do the fans chase you down with carts?” I teased.

“I try to go either really early in the morning or really late at night,” Nick explained.

“Yeah, like we’re going to wake up early,” I laughed. “This should be fun.” I turned around, kissing him softly.

“Night, Nick.”

“Night, babe.”


By the time we got to the grocery store the next morning, it was already 10 a.m. Nick was wearing his “bank thief” outfit again. It was ninety degrees outside.

“That’s not conspicuous,” I said with a laugh. He scowled from underneath his hoodie.

I grabbed a shopping cart and started at one side of the store, ready to sweep through the aisles. Nick glanced left and right as we walked along. I stopped for a good look at the fresh fruit.

“Like my melons?” I asked, holding up two cantaloupes.

That produced the desired effect. Nick grinned. “I love ‘em.”

I walked ahead of the cart; after awhile Nick treated it like a skateboard, sailing past me several times. He tossed the hood away from his face.

“It’s warm in here,” he said as if just realizing it.

“Then we better go to frozen food.”

We were discussing what type of ice cream to get when I heard a squeal. Nick braced himself.

I turned to see a mom walk by with a little toddler having a fit.

“Coast is clear,” I said. “Cranky two year old.”

“Let’s get out of here,” Nick said, grabbing a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough and rocky road.

We were able to get through the line without anyone stopping Nick. Maybe it was because he hadn’t yet shaved or maybe it was the sloppy clothes, but he managed to evade detection.

As we loaded the groceries in the back of his Toyota Prius, I spotted a pet store.

“Nick, I want to run in there,” I said. “I want to get a bed for Bitsy.”

He looked around at the parking lot; it was filling up fast.

“You can stay in the car with the air on so things don’t melt; I’ll be right back.”

I headed into the store, focused on buying a cute fluffy pink bed. As I headed towards the back of the store, my phone rang.


“Hi, sweetie.” It was my mom. I broke into a huge smile.

“Hi, mom!”

“How are you doing?”

“I’m great. How’s everything there?”

“Good. How’s Nick?”

“He got me a puppy, mom,” I said. I picked out a soft velvety pink bed. It was perfect.

“He didn’t.”

“He did!”

I told her all about Bitsy. As I made my way back to the front of the store, the little bed filled up with puppy treats, toys, a collar, and a leash.

“And is Nick behaving himself?” Mom finally said when I paused for breath.

A thousand images flashed through my mind. In every single image Nick was naked. I fanned myself with some puppy training pads.

“Of course, mom,” I finally said. I handed my stuff to the cashier.

“When will you be home?”

“July 5 around noon,” I said.

“You’re going to have to meet with the lawyer,” mom reminded me. I sighed.

“I’m sure I’ll be able to fit that in, even if I had to do that on my lunch hour later in the week,” I said.

“That will be 74.50,” the cashier said. I handed her my debit card.

“Okay, sweetie,”

“Ma’am, the card was declined.”

I looked at the cashier like she was crazy.

“Can you try it again? Mom, I’ve got to go,” I explained.

“Okay, love you.”

“Love you.”

I pocketed my cell phone as the cashier tried my card again. She shook her head.

“I’m sorry.”

Digging through my wallet I pulled out my credit card. The cashier and I did an exchange of cards. She swiped my credit card; again she shook her head.

“I’m sorry ma’am,”

I counted out my cash; I was able to cover it. With my hands full of bags and my mind half in a panic I headed back to the car.

“I thought you were just going to get a bed!” Nick said, hopping out of the car to help me.

“She needs this stuff,” I explained. I was still frowning.

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know, yet,” I said. He opened the car door for me then ran around to the driver’s side. On the way back to the condo, I dialed my bank for information.
What I found out made my heart drop into my stomach.
My bank account was at zero; my credit card had been closed.

I had a feeling I knew who the culprit was.


As Bitsy lay at my feet, gnawing happily on a nylon bone, I was on the phone with my lawyer.

“I know Hunter wiped my account,” I said. “He’s the only one that had access.”

“Did you have joint checking?”

“No, but I put his name on my personal account as a secondary before I left for my job,” I closed my eyes. “He said if anything happened he needed access to keep the bills paid.”

I cracked my knuckles. I felt like an idiot. Nick walked by, raising an eyebrow in question. I shook my head.

“Well, I’m going to have to do some checking. When can we meet in person?”

“I’ll be back by noon on July 5. I can meet with you late afternoon.”

“Alright, I’ll see you at 3:00 on July 5.”

I hung up and let out a frustrated scream. Bitsy paused, a string of drool coming out of her little mouth.

“What did he say?”

“He said he’d look into it. I can’t believe I forgot I put Hunter’s name on my personal account.” I buried my face in my hands.

“Have you gotten paid yet for the internship?” Nick asked. I nodded.

“He walked away with over thirteen thousand dollars,” I said bitterly. Nick winced.

“And the credit card?”

“It’s maxed out. I have to print out all the charges and mark ones I need to put a fraud alert on.”

“Have you looked at any of the charges yet?”

I peeked at him through my fingers. “Yeah, it looks like him and Jess went on a nice little shopping spree.”

Nick frowned. “Was his name on the card?”

“No, he must have had Jess pretend to be Mrs. Ryans. You know how places are, they never ask for ID.”

Nick knelt down beside me, scratching Bitsy’s ears.

“Do you think this is retaliation for breaking his nose?” Nick asked. I smirked.

“No, I have a feeling he’s punishing me.”

“For what?”

“For finding someone so much better than him.”

Nick smiled softly.

“He should of thought this out a little better,” Nick said.

“Well, he’s done a pretty good job so far,” I said bitterly.

“No,” Nick paused. “He made a huge mistake.”

“No one’s going to mess with you while I’m around.”

He took my hands from my face and kissed me softly.

He meant business.