355 500 произведений, 25 200 авторов.

Электронная библиотека книг » S. L. Scott » Until I Met You » Текст книги (страница 1)
Until I Met You
  • Текст добавлен: 4 октября 2016, 23:16

Текст книги "Until I Met You"

Автор книги: S. L. Scott

сообщить о нарушении

Текущая страница: 1 (всего у книги 19 страниц)

Until I Met You

Copyright ©S. L. Scott 2015

The right of S.L. Scott to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her under the Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act 2000

This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced, copied, scanned, stored in a retrieval system, recorded or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

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

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-940071-32-9

Interior design: Angela McLaurin, Fictional Formats


Cover design: Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations


Cover photographer: Yuri Acrurs

Small Images: People Images, Dollarphoto.com, Stocksy


Marion Archer of Making Manuscripts

Marla Esposito of Proofing Style


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

A Personal Note

About the Author

Available Books by S. L. Scott


To my heart and soul—my husband and children. I am, because of them.

THE BARS WERE rusted. The dingy paint was chipping on the inside of the windowsill, and her gown was fraying along the ties. She took in and then slowly released a long breath, even though the air she was breathing was stale. She wondered if the vent was blocked, but it was too high for her to reach. So she remained flat on her back on the bare mattress with the springs poking into her. Jude had a knack for lying very still for hours on end. This was how she stayed sane. This was how she survived.

Don’t give them anything.

Don’t give into them.




Hold on.

One more day.

Hold on.

Love wasn’t about reason.

Love wasn’t rational.

The heart charged forth with love on its wings to spite the possibility of the bloodshed aftermath.

MAYBE IT WAS the music—an instrumental version of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” played melodically through the Upper East Side apartment. Or maybe it was traces of the pink pills still in her system. Her mental freedom was slowly awakening her dormant mind.

Either way, Jude Boehler liked this party.

She liked the suits that surrounded her, the women who ignored her. She liked being invisible. So wonderfully rare not to be under a microscope.

Jude swayed to the music while nitpicking her way through the trays of food on display. She tried a few of the fancy appetizers but put back what she didn’t like. Grabbing a celery stick, she dipped it in the creamy sauce next to it. Nice. She dipped again.

“You shouldn’t double-dip,” she heard a man say.

Continuing to swirl the celery through the dip in a figure eight, she looked up. While taking a large bite her gaze traveled over the charcoal-gray suit-clad banker type, and she swallowed. And smiled. Then laughed as she dunked her celery in the dip again as if she had never heard him. She took another bite, this time louder while looking into the eyes he hid behind black-framed glasses. Lifting up on the balls of her feet, she tried to see them more clearly. Not appeased, she dropped back down and asked, “What color are your eyes?”

“Hazel,” he replied flatly. A line between his brows, which had formed long before tonight, drew her attention.

Done with the celery, she stuck the remaining piece in the dip, leaving it sticking straight up, and took his hand, palm up, into hers. “You should buy me a drink.” The tip of her finger traced a broken line that led from just above his wrist in a semi-circle around his thumb.

Pulling his hand back and shoving it into his pocket, he stated, “The drinks are free. The bar is over there.”

His words screamed impatience and she wondered if he was always this uptight. She stood her ground with him and looked in the direction he was pointing. “You should offer to get me one. Isn’t that the polite thing to do?”

His head jerked back. “You just put your germs in that dip and touched half the food on the table, thus contaminating it, and you’re calling me out for not being polite?”

She nodded. “Yes. I’ll take a Crown and Coke.” Her back was turned to him as she picked up four different cookies to investigate the chip to dough ratio, and then settled on a brownie. She could feel Hazel’s gaze and returned to face him. With an ironic smile, she curtsied. “Fine, I’ll get my own drink. Since you’re here, can I get you something while I’m over there?”

“No. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Before she left, she asked, “What do you do for money?”

“My profession?” He watched the peculiar girl twirl in front of him. Her skirt ballooned out and brushed against his gray wool-covered legs.

She stopped, smiled, and replied, “No, just in the general sense.”

One of his eyes squinted, completely confused by the nonsensical question. “I’m an architect.”

Jude’s lips pursed, seeming to agree with him. “That makes sense.” She left this time while he watched her go, but she didn’t walk. She floated. She danced her way in red snow boots through the stiff crowd dressed in suits and evening attire. The girl wearing a chartreuse sundress with little pink flowers embroidered around the bottom in the middle of winter stood out at this party. And captivated him.

There were plenty of people he knew and some he should talk to, but he didn’t move from where he stood. He waited for her. Shifting uncomfortably, he was confused as to why he was waiting, but he did.

Jude returned as if they were long lost friends, as if she had no doubt he would still be there, waiting.

Taylor stood next to the girl in the sundress in silence. Her brownie had been eaten, and a cocktail now replaced it in her hand, which she waved flagrantly to the music not noticing—or not caring—that liquid was spilling as she moved.

Finally speaking up, he asked, “How many drinks have you had tonight?” But he really wanted to ask if she was drunk. He had never seen someone so careless before, so carefree before. She twirled again, and he swiftly took the glass from her and set it down on the table. For the safety of the drink, of course.

“This is my first.”

His expression may have questioned her answer, but he didn’t say anything.

With a small smile, she asked, “What’s your name?”

Her current smile was the most contained thing he had witnessed about her tonight, and he found it endearing. “Taylor,” he responded. “What’s yours?”

“Judith. My family calls me Jude. You can call me Jude, too.”

Watching the quirky girl in front of him, he examined everything about her, noting she hadn’t even taken a sip of the drink yet. “But we’re not family.”

Nudging him with her elbow, she laughed. “We’re not friends either, but we will be.”

“We’ll be friends or we’ll be family?”

“I don’t know,” she said, her expression turning thoughtful. “Let’s see where the night takes us.”

Taylor almost argued that the night wasn’t going to be taking them anywhere, but he couldn’t. As he stood there, he started feeling a loss of his own senses. Somehow, pretty little Jude made him believe there was a possibility. Her free spirit was contagious, and in the middle of this repressed party, he started to relax. “What do you do, Jude?”

“Well, Hazel,” she said with a smirk, “I’m glad you asked.”


“Your eyes. They’re hazel. Did you know that hazel is actually a very rare eye color? Most people think it’s just an awkward brown that doesn’t have any self-identity. But it does. Your eyes do.” She lifted up again to go in for a closer look. “Yep, Rayleigh scattering.”

“Rayleigh scattering?” he asked, voluntarily widening his eyes for her to see them better. He finally just took off his glasses and tucked them into his jacket pocket. He liked to wear them for distance but didn’t need them tonight.

She sighed, perplexed. “Hazel. It’s just an impossible color.”

Leaning in to see hers, he asked, “Green?”

“Blue, but mine too suffer from a variance that is often confused by what I’m wearing. I mean,” she said, shrugging, “they really don’t, but people like to say they change when I wear blue or green or whatever. But they don’t change. My clothes do.”

He nodded, almost lost, but managed to keep up. “Do you always talk like this?”

“Like what?”

“Like you’re manic?”

“Manic or a maniac?”

“Manic. I don’t think you’re a maniac.”

She seemed to ponder that and looked away. When she turned back, she asked, “So Hazel, what do you architect?”

“Homes. A few buildings around the city. Why are you calling me Hazel? Because of my eyes?” When a few seconds passed and she didn’t reply, he realized she didn’t tend to answer his questions, so he redirected the conversation. “And you?”

With surprise, her eyes went wide and her hand covered her chest. “Oh, I’m not an architect. Is that what this party is? A party for architects?”

Taylor was fully confused and shook his head. “No,” he said, looking around. “It’s a party for The Barretts.”

Whispering, she asked, “What’s a Barrett?”

Nothing about this woman made any sense, but he liked her chaos. He leaned over, pointed across the room at an older couple near a large fireplace, and whispered, “Those are Barretts.”

“Ahh.” Bringing the drink to her lips, she took a small sip as she watched them over the crystal glass, and then asked, “Never seen them before. Who are they?”

With his head almost touching hers, he leaned to her ear and whispered, “They’re wealthy Upper East Siders who host parties for colleagues and charities pretending to be doing it for the cause, but really it’s for the publicity.”

Her eyes were fixated on the hosts, and it took great effort resisting the temptation to look at him. “And are you one of their ‘causes?’”

“I am.” Just as he answered, the Barretts, as if aware of their name being spoken moments earlier, came toward them. “Shit,” Taylor muttered under his breath. He straightened back up and returned their smiles.

Taylor, darling.” The gray-haired woman with smooth skin and bright pink lipstick leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. “So glad you could make it.” Her eyes focused on him, but sincerity seemed to be missing in her greeting.

“I wouldn’t miss it.”

Jude noticed how flat his tone was, and that the life in his eyes that had sparked when whispering with her had dulled in their presence. That was no good, and she hoped it returned once they left.

The older man shook Taylor’s hand and patted his arm with the other. “How’s the world of architecture?”

When they released, Taylor’s right hand started to shake and he tucked it into his pocket. “I’m currently working on four projects.”

“Good. Good. That’s good to hear, son.”

Mrs. Barrett asked, “Who’s your friend, Taylor?”

Jude could tell the woman wasn’t invested in the answer before he had a chance to give it. She was all too familiar with that judgmental, condescending tight-lipped grin. Taylor slid his hand down the underside of Jude’s arm and weaved his fingers together with hers. “This is Judith.”

The Barretts faced her and smiled. In unison, they said, “Hello, Judith.”

“Hello,” she replied meekly, feeling her body shrink away from their disingenuous gaze. As if Taylor understood discomfort, his hold on her tightened, causing her to look up. His smile was soft. The architect made her feel safe, so she ignored the desire to flee, and stayed.

Their clasped hands were of deep concern to The Barretts judging from their critical gaze. “And how long have you known each other?” Mrs. Barrett asked.

Taylor was fast and confident. “Feels like our whole lives.”

Mrs. Barrett continued to smile, but it stopped short of her eyes. “How charming. Hopefully we’ll get to hear more about it over dinner soon. But for now, we must greet Mr. and Mrs. Stevens. They’ve been begging us to come to dinner. Speaking of, the food is being replenished. Please eat before you leave.” Her hands held his shoulders and she kissed his cheek again before taking her husband’s arm and making a quick getaway.

Taylor and Jude stood there silently recovering from the pretentious welcoming that just drove by and hit them. Peeking down at their still entwined hands, and then up, she asked, “Wanna get out of here?”

IT WAS JANUARY second. The city was predictably cold and Taylor tightened his coat around him. Jude buttoned her purple coat and looked in both directions when they stepped outside. The awning protected them from the snow, but not the cold. Jude slipped on gloves, as did Taylor, and then she walked with the wind.

He was behind her, but double stepped until he caught up. Leaning his head down, he peeked at her. Her cheeks were rosy from the weather and snowflakes were clinging to her eyelashes, which she didn’t bother sweeping away. He asked, “Are we going anywhere in particular?”

Her eyes teemed with happiness. “The world is our rainbow, Hazel.”

He still had no idea how this girl’s mind worked, but he was too intrigued to end the adventure. “What does that even mean?”

She laughed as if nothing bothered her in life. She was fascinating to Taylor and he stared. He had never met anyone like her before, nor understood how her blithe behavior carried her through life. She smiled so widely that two dimples appeared in her cheeks. “Let’s find out together.” Then like the snow, she flurried away.

When he caught up to her again, he asked, “What’s your last name, Jude?”

She was an expert at avoiding what she didn’t want to address. “When that man shook your hand, he called you son. Are you his son or was that him trying to relate to you?”

“I’m his son. You don’t like to answer questions, do you?”

“I get bored with them. I’m asked questions all day long. How are you feeling? Will you venture outside today? Did you take your pills?” She turned to him. “See, boring. I get so sick of talking about myself all the time. Do you ever get bored of yourself?”

This was easy for him to answer. “All the time.”

“Then you do understand.”

He wanted to give her the smile he believed she wanted from him, but he was still stuck on the questions she’s often asked. In particular, he was stuck on the pills question. “Did you take your pills today?”

Nodding, she patted him on the back. “Don’t worry about me, Hazel. All is good. That’s why I’m here.”

Everything was a side effect of the previous topic with her. One thing led to another. “Why are you here exactly? I mean, why were you at the party if you didn’t know my parents?”

She stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and put her hands on her hips. “Like I said, impossible.”

Halting in front of her, he narrowed his eyes at the incredulousness of her comments. “Is this a reference to my eye color from earlier or to me now?”

“Aren’t you one in the same?” Walking forward, she turned around to Taylor who was still standing where she left him. “You coming?”

He conceded and caught up to her once again. “Do you even know where you’re going?” He walked steadily next to her. His long strides could easily out pace her shorter ones if he wanted. He just didn’t want to. He couldn’t fathom why, yet again.

“Do you want ice cream?”

She hit him with one surprise after another, and he replied, “It’s freezing out here. How about a coffee?”

“I don’t like coffee.”

“Wow, a New Yorker who doesn’t like coffee.” Taking her by the arm, he stopped her. “Are you going to tell me anything about yourself?”

“I just told you I don’t like coffee. That’s something.”

He sighed. “I’m serious, Jude.”

His emotional sigh was wearing on her and she gave him the most honest answer she could. “Not if I can get away with it.”

He looked into her blue eyes. Under a bright fluorescent light of a convenience store, he could see they were tinged in green with champagne centers. They were the most unique eyes he had ever seen. She was the most unique woman he had ever met. Now he felt bad for making her unhappy, so he broke his gaze away. “Fine. I’ll limit my questions.” And just to see her smile again, he said, “Ice cream it is.”

She jumped for joy. “I know a great place a few blocks from here.”

“Should we catch a cab?”

“No, I love the snow. It’s magical.”

Looking down the street and then back to her, he started wondering when he’d stopped seeing magic in the world. He could probably guess, but he didn’t want to think about that time.

A half hour later, his hands were frozen but he still found himself eating pistachio ice cream with Jude for dinner. He bought the treats and joined her at a booth where she was contentedly licking her rocky road. As soon as he sat down, she asked, “I think you can tell everything you need to know about a person by their favorite ice cream flavor.”

Taylor watched as her tongue came out and she licked the ice cream in absolute bliss. When their eyes connected, she grinned, catching him watching her. Having trouble hiding his own smile, he asked, “What does pistachio say about me?”

She paused in thought, then offered, “Maybe not in all cases.”

Tilting his head, he said, “You have an opinion. You just don’t want to share it with me. Go on. Don’t hold back. I’m a big boy. I can take it.”

Shaking her head, she grabbed a napkin and wiped her mouth. “No, it’s okay.”

He took one bite of his treat, and in all earnestness said, “I want to know what you think about me. I’m curious.”

All the lightheartedness that existed between them disappeared and her voice turned somber. “I don’t think you’re pistachio at all. That’s just what everyone else wants you to be.”

“That bad, huh?”

Brightening, her expression showed her joy with a wide smile and that seemingly unattainable possibility was back in the depths of her pupils. “Have faith. It’s not too late.”

“Let’s hope not.” He looked down at his ice cream and completely lost his appetite for pistachio. Getting up, he threw it away and returned to the table.

Jude looked at her own ice cream. Rocky road. It had always been her favorite and still was until that moment. Suddenly she lost all favor for the flavor and threw hers away too. “What now?”

He laughed. “You’re the one with all the crazy ideas.”

“They’re not crazy,” she said defensively, and walked out into the dark of the winter’s evening, the bell above the door chiming loudly behind her.

Taylor could tell he’d hit a nerve and wasn’t sure if he should be relieved to find one thing that actually affected her or if he should feel bad. He went with the latter. “Hey, Jude. Wait up. I didn’t mean that.”

Shrugging, she looked up at him. He was handsome. Jude had noticed at the party. It would be hard not to, but now… with the faint light from the store surrounding him and snow falling over his head, he was stunning. Reaching up, she touched his cheeks with her fuzzy green-gloved hands. His breath appeared to stop like hers and she gravitated closer, the tips of her shoes on the tip of his. “Hazel?”

“Yes?” he replied as if that was his name now.

“Will you kiss me?”

Taylor had wanted to do that since he’d met her, but hadn’t realized it until that moment. He took her cheeks between his leather-clad hands and leaned down without hesitation and kissed the girl in the chartreuse sundress. He kissed her until the snow flurried, their world revolving around them. He kissed her until her lips parted and a secret was shared. A secret that would always only be theirs to share. A kiss that said I like you… and maybe more. A kiss that spoke through emotions instead of words. A kiss that bonded them to this moment and to each other.

When Taylor pulled back, ever so slowly, he opened his eyes to find hers still closed, her red lips still parted, and her hands still on him. So he kissed her again.

And again.

Then he kissed her hands after taking them in his. “Jude?”

“Yes?” she asked in return, leaving her hands right where they were.

“Do you want to come back to my place?”

A playful smile crossed her lips. He had trouble looking away from them, wanting to kiss her again, longer this time. “Are you asking me because you want to sleep with me?”

“I’m asking you because I’m cold, but I wouldn’t be opposed to sleeping with you.”

Her smiled turned serene, warming him. “Okay.”

Taylor didn’t know what to expect from her, feeling very much like he was just along for the ride. Her answer was so easygoing and accepting that he found himself surprised by her again, but feeling lucky to have this quirky, pretty girl going home with him. Keeping hold of her hand, they caught a cab and headed across town.

Jude had been in plenty of nice buildings in Manhattan, but this one was nice, and still felt accessible, much like him. She liked that. The doorman was in a simple sweater and pants. No epaulettes on the shoulders of a brightly colored suit or check-in desk with a gatekeeper. This guy said hello to both of them and held the door. That was all and she was in.

Taylor lived on the fourteenth floor. As they walked down the hall, she said, “I like this building.”

“Me too.”

He held the door open and followed her inside. The apartment was modern, which didn’t surprise her. He was an architect, after all. Clean lines. Simple color scheme of varying warm shades of brown. In contrast, paintings hung on the walls and offered large splashes of color, each room a different theme. Royal blue and turquoise in the living room. Yellow in the kitchen. She peeked back at him and caught his eyes on her. “I’m hoping red is in the bedroom.”

“Then you won’t be disappointed.”

With a tilt of her head in approval, she walked to the large wall of windows and looked out. It was dark, but the city always remained lit up like false stars in the night. “Do you have blinds?”

“I do. Would you like me to lower them?”


Dragging her fingers across the glass, Taylor watched as Jude surveyed his apartment, secretly wanting her to like the place, to like him. Despite the fingerprint trail he would be cleaning in the morning, it didn’t bother him. “Would you like something to drink?”

“Why are you acting so formally?”

“Am I?”

Her eyes locked on his. “You are. I liked you better when you spoke of The Barretts as things instead of people.”

“I’m a Barrett.”

“And yet, I still came here.” Jude walked to an open door. “Is this the bedroom?”


“I’d like a Crown and Coke.”

“Will Jack Daniels do?”

“I’ll have wine. Red,” she replied, then disappeared into his bedroom.

Taylor had stopped trying to figure her out back at the party, so her drink preference didn’t surprise him. It took a few minutes to figure out which bottle he wanted to open. When he did, he poured them both a glass of Cabernet and joined her in the bedroom. He stopped in the doorway when he found her asleep on his bed. “Jude?” He waited a few seconds before trying again. “Jude, are you awake?”

Walking to the side of the bed closest to her, he set the glasses down on the night table and kneeled in front of her. Her eyes were closed and her breathing was even and calm. Her coat was draped on a chair by the window and her boots were on the floor. The green gloves still covered her hands, so he carefully slipped them off, one by one, and set them by her coat before returning with a blanket to cover her.

Taking his glass of wine with him, he sat in the chair. Outside, the lights provided enough visibility to see her in the dark room. Her small form was curled on her side. Her lips were together. Her hair splayed over his pillow. He watched her, curious to know more about her.

He hadn’t brought anyone to his apartment in a long time, and it had been even longer since anyone had been in his bed. But he found her discord refreshing compared to the monotonous tedium of his day-to-day.

This was the most alive he’d felt in forever. The high was addictive. The eccentric young woman more so. She had disrupted his peace and as he watched her sleep, he liked the way she made him feel.

He liked her.

    Ваша оценка произведения:

Популярные книги за неделю