Collin (A Forever Novel)

By: Sandi Lynn

Chapter 1


I looked at the time on my phone while I was stuck in the famous New York City traffic. My mom was going to kill me if I was late for dinner again. I was expected to be at home for dinner two nights a week. The two nights that Julia and Jake came over, we’d all have dinner as a family. I should’ve left Black Enterprises earlier, but I had an unexpected visitor and she was smoking hot. One thing led to another, we had sex, and now I was going to be late. I parked the Range Rover and took the elevator up to the penthouse. As I walked through the elevator doors, I headed straight to the kitchen, where I heard everyone talking. Thank God, they hadn’t started eating yet.

“There you are,” my mom said as she walked over and kissed me on the cheek.

Something was going on. Everyone was way too happy. Julia smiled as I kissed her on the cheek and I shook Jake’s hand.

“What’s up? I’m sensing there’s a celebration or something.”

Julia looked at me and grabbed my hand. “I’m pregnant. You’re going to be an uncle.” She smiled.

“What?! Congratulations!” I exclaimed as I pulled her into an embrace.

“Thank you, little brother.”

I reached over and gave Jake a light hug. “Congratulations, bro. Wow. I thought you guys were going to wait a couple of years?”

“Yeah. So did we. But it happened, and we couldn’t be happier.” Jake smiled.

I turned to my dad, who was grinning from ear to ear. “Well, looks like you’re going to be a grandpa.” I smiled as I hooked my arm around him.

“Yeah, and I think one grandchild is enough for now. You reek like perfume and I’m assuming she was the reason you’re late.”

“I was working, Dad. I got the contracts ready for tomorrow’s meeting.”

“Really, because when I left the office three hours ago, you were almost finished.” He sighed.

I walked away because I didn’t need his shit. He didn’t understand what I was going through and I was in no mood for a Connor Black lecture. My mom and Julia called us to the table and we all sat down and enjoyed a family dinner. I was happy for Julia and Jake; they were going to make amazing parents. She was glowing, Jake was all smiles, my parents were ecstatic, and I was happy that now there was something other than me on which Connor and Ellery could focus.

I hadn’t been the model son since Hailey left. I wanted it to work, but she said that with her being in Italy, and me in New York, it wouldn’t. She left to study fashion when she was accepted by one of the top schools of design and was interning with a well-known, up-and-coming designer. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her and the thing that hurt me the most was that she wasn’t even willing to try and have a long distance relationship. She left without even so much as a sorry. My twenty-second birthday was the next week and we had been seeing each other for almost six years. How do you just throw the past six years of your life away? I thought we had something, and I thought that I meant something to her. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. Well, those days were gone now. I’d never let another woman do that to me. Since she left, I’d partied too much, drunk too much, had sex with every woman that looked my way, and I’d been labeled New York’s Most Eligible Playboy. Much like my dad, women fell all over me. My mom called it the Black Curse. I’d decided that many women were better than just one. No relationships, no strings, no frills, nothing. Just good sex and a sweet goodbye. When one woman left, another stepped into her place.

“Are you okay, Collin?” my mom asked.

I looked at her as she stared at me with her blue eyes. “Yes, I’m fine. Why?”

“You seem distant. Your sister asked you a question and you didn’t answer her.”

The truth was that I was lost in my thoughts about Hailey that I didn’t hear her. “I’m sorry, Julia. What did you say?”

She looked at me with pursed lips. “We’ll talk later, after dinner.”

“Okay.” I smiled as I finished eating.

****

As I pulled my phone from my pocket, I went upstairs to my room and sat down on my bed. Julia knocked lightly on the door and asked if she could come in.

“Hey.” I smiled as I held out my hand to her.

She took it and sat down next to me. “I’m worried about you, Collin.”

“Don’t be, sis. I’m all right.” I smiled.

“It’s been a couple of months since Hailey left. Have you talked to her?”

“No. She made it clear that it would probably be best if we didn’t because it would make things harder. What the fuck ever. I’m over her, and I’m moving on.”

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