Lovers of my books The Carrero Series will love this brand new bonus scene.
Universal book links
Book 1 – myBook.to/TheCarreroEffect
Book 2 – myBook.to/CarreroInfluence
Book 3 – myBook.to/CarreroSolution
Book 4 – myBook.to/CarreroHeart1
Book 5 – myBook.to/CarreroHeart2
Jake’s POV – myBook.to/JakesPOV
Just Rose – getBook.at/JustRose
Please note – there is swearing and sexual references, this is not suitable for those under 18 years of age.
Read at your own risk!!
Arrick Carrero’s POV
The Carrero Heart book 1 – After Sophie and he part ways, breaking up with Natasha
Sitting on my couch, leaning forward with elbows propped on my knees, I stare at my cell for the millionth time and scroll to Sophie’s name on the list. Last call was twenty-eight days ago…twenty-eight long days of hell, silence, and lack of Sophie. Twenty-eight days; the last time I felt anything but the constant absence and heavy pit in my stomach, from her just disappearing in every single way and leaving a gaping silent space in my life.
I’m missing her like crazy, keeping her last texts messages because it’s all I have left of her. I scroll to the very last one, again. It’s a nothing text; I don’t even remember what it was in response too, as it’s not connected to the conversation before it. Just one single text, one that sums her up in so very few words and I stare at it as my chest heaves with that same ingrained weight that I feel daily.
You’re lame, badboy xxx
I stare at her smiling face, I saved as her contact image, and it has the same effect that it has every time I do this to myself. Like a gut punch from something sharp. Dull, yet piercing. She has no idea how much this hurts. I never knew I could miss someone with the depths of agony that I miss her. That missing someone could make every part of you ache, like a toothache you cannot relieve, no matter what you do.
I trawl my cell almost daily, for the snippets of video on my phone that have her in them, for the signs of her in my life, our past life. It’s all I have since she disappeared on all my social media; she either removed her accounts, or blocked me on every single one, I know because I have searched for her. All the pictures she had tagged me in are gone too. It’s like she just wiped out every connection in one fell swoop. Cut me off and severed me, like I deserve.
I stare at that smiling, once happy face. Taken on a trip, a couple years back. Perfection in a picture. That almost love heart shaped face, framed in natural honey blonde hair, big tropical blue eyes and the devastating mouth of a born seductress. Pouted soft pink lips, natural blushed cheeks and flawless complexion. Sophie could have been a model in another lifetime, if she had a start with the Huntsbergers long ago, and never developed the fear of men she has now. She’s beautiful enough. I don’t have a single bad picture of her in my cell, every one as photogenically flawless as the previous. She never really acted like she knew she was gorgeous, I don’t think she ever saw it and it only made me love her all the more.
I know it’s not right, to sit and stare at her face anytime I’m alone, to try and find pieces of her I can draw back to me. Natasha is clinging to me, trying so hard to make this work. But my heart walked out that door four weeks ago, and never looked back. I didn’t know what I had until I didn’t have her anymore.
It kills me inside.
I dream about her, I think about every day, yet I know I lost all of it. She was more than just my best friend, she was ingrained on my soul, so that severing every tie has torn me apart. I never knew how much I needed her in my life, never saw how emotionally invested I was in her, until she left. Except I made her go, didn’t’ I? This was my choice. My doing; so I only have myself to blame.
She told Jake that she doesn’t want to hear from me, I keep telling myself to give her time. I thought I knew what I needed to do, to fix this whole mess. I figured in time we could sort this out, but all time has shown me, is that I stayed behind with the wrong girl. Sophie took more than just her things from my life, she took the sun, the happiness, and the sense of purpose with her. Since she walked away, I just feel like I don’t care about anything anymore.
My phone buzzes and Natasha’s name pops up at the top of the screen, above Sophie’s smiling face. I have to drag my eyes from her to look, and it takes a moment longer than it should.
Almost there, are we going out to eat? xXx
I feel that same weight of duty and guilt come over me, it always drags me back to this. The fact I am still here, still doing this, and trying to make amends. I sigh as my thumb hovers over the home key on my cell, the one which will tuck her face out of sight again, so I can respond to Tasha. I linger, looking at her and feel that same weight hit me in the heart, it happens so many times a day that I should be used to it, but I swear it gets worse every day.
Every blonde girl I see, every dumb unicorn or fast food vendor. Every cheesy pop song, old movie or lame girly cartoon. I just see her. Everywhere. Like my own personal torment. It never feels any better.
I reply, with zero enthusiasm. I know I am just going through the motions with Natasha. I don’t even know why anymore.
I throw my cell on the coffee table and slump back. I can’t bring myself to kiss her, let alone sleep with her and we seem to just be skirting around one another all the time. Polite, weird, strained atmosphere. She is the one who is trying so hard to be together again, when it should be me. I’m the one who fucked it all up, I’m the one who betrayed her, yet I just can’t find it in me to try.
Staring at the ceiling for a minute, I know I should go get changed. I’m still in my sweats from training, but I don’t care. I can’t be bothered getting up and showering, can’t really face going out to eat either. Nate has been busting my ass the last few weeks, over how off focus my game is and my trainer managed to punch me square in the jaw today, because I let my guard down. A rookie mistake, one I never make, but my head isn’t on fighting anymore. Nothing seems to get my head back on task anymore. Maybe I just need a break, and time, to do absolutely nothing. A trip skiing, or maybe just on my dad’s yacht. Thing is … every trip I have ever enjoyed, also has memories of her.
I sit up and grab the remote, in a bid to push her out of my head, and stop torturing myself over this. I made my choice and I need to man up and live with the consequences. It will get better, it will pass. Sophie is still there, just out of reach, but I’ll get her back…. She loves me as much as I love her, we are like two magnets who are always drawn back to one another, and if I can just fix all of this first, she will come around too. I’m just wallowing, feeling sorry for myself, because I miss her. I just need to think beyond this, when feelings are less bruised, and people are more open to building bridges. I can’t give up on the hope that I will see her again.
I hit the button on the remote and the last paused movie is still on screen. I never watch movies anymore. The last few weeks I have kept myself busy almost constantly, so that I can come home and crash and sleep away the hours, before I do it all again.
I blink at the screen as I try to work out what it is, pressing play so that it comes to life in a burst of colour.
It’s Sophie’s favourite movie, paused from when she was sat here watching it. I can almost picture her next to me, doe eyed at the cartoon unicorn on screen and sobbing her eyes out when she finds her family in the sea. Clinging to me, in a bid to relieve her upset and stealing the popcorn from my lap as she snuggled herself against me. I know every detail of this movie, she has watched it so many times that is imprinted on my brain for an eternity.
I stare at the screen and it just hits me with the weight of a thunder bolt. My heart constricting painfully as I stare at the dumb white horse in front of me.
Nothing will ever be like it was, Sophie will never sit here with me again, and watch this movie. Ever.
Even if I manage to salvage a friendship, Natasha doesn’t want me to know her anymore. I betrayed her with Sophie, she would never want her near me again. She has all but begged me to promise to never go back to how it was with Soph’s. I couldn’t, I can’t promise that. It goes against everything in me, but even I know how callous it would be to do that to Tasha.
Sophie is all I want. If I could have her here right now, beside me, watching this dumb movie and eating junk food then I would… over Natasha coming, over everything. I just miss her that much.
I chose the wrong girl.
I stare at the screen, numbing out the noises and images and just become so consumed with the fact that this isn’t temporary. This isn’t something that will end, and we can pick up the pieces. This was a choice of one or the other. Of never being with Sophie ever again, and it strangles me with the force of a steel grip.
I never saw it that way at the time, I kept telling myself it was a means to an end. I never really thought that one choice, one moment of doing the right thing would be an end to her…and me….. That I would never be a part of her life ever again. That I would lose every single one of those moments we shared. Innocent moments, movies, jokes, smiles… her smile. It rips me open like I am just a piece of paper and emotion hits me in the throat. It really feels like someone just switched on a light and illuminated the flaws in my plan, in the most stupendous way.
I love Sophie. It kills me that I can love her this much and was stupid enough to give that up, to give her up. I don’t want Natasha, I want Sophie. If I’m being honest then I always have wanted her. It’s why I could never just ignore the two am cries for help. It’s part of my soul to be there for her to fall on, and no one is doing that for her now.
Who’s there for her when she needs a hug, when she needs someone to pick her up? No one, because I know her. She won’t let anyone close. I should be there. I am the one who was always meant to bandage her wounds, wipe away her tears. In the weeks that I haven’t, then who has? Who has been taking care of my girl?
It’s a pain worse than death to realise that I did this to her. That she’s been alone all this time, hating me, hurt by me, and yet knowing her. Suffering alone. She won’t turn to those she loves for support… that was always me. I was her rock. I didn’t just severe a friendship to save a relationship I feel obliged to be in. I let the girl who loves me and needs me, walk away to be alone, to suffer alone so I could save face. I let the girl I love go. And I do… I love her. I really love her.
Staring at a white horse prancing around on screen, feeling the dampness hit my cheek as the realisation hits me that this is the problem right here. I didn’t let a girl I care about walk away. I pushed the girl I am crazy in love with, out the door. For someone I don’t.
I don’t love Natasha.
It’s guilt, it’s a sense of duty and loyalty. But it’s not love. I could never feel about Tasha the way I feel about Soph’s. Sophie makes me feel like I’m going crazy without her, she brings emotions out in me that no one else has ever been able too. Didn’t I learn anything when she cut me off once before?
I am so in love with her.
It hits me like a slap in the face.
I claw my cell back from the table, brain on auto pilot and mind just reacting. Panic searing through me at a rate of noughts.
I need to talk to her, I need to just hear her voice once, to tell her I am still here, that I love her. The way she loved me, if she even still does. I need to just end this agony for both of us. Want to know that she isn’t alone and dealing with shit by herself. I want to hug her more than anything right now. To feel her against me jut for a second, one more time. I want her to know that I will always still be only a call away.
Twenty-eight days is an eternity and I can’t do this anymore. I can’t leave her alone anymore. It kills me to think about it, to see her out there, standing on her own two feet. She wasn’t built to be alone, I can’t bear the thought of it.
I scroll until I find her number, the call from that day and hit the icon without questioning it anymore. Holding it to my ear as my hands begin to tremble and I have no clue what I even want to say to her. I only want to reach out to her.
It beeps three times and cuts off, I knew it would, it’s done it every time I tried in the past weeks, but there’s a part of me that hoped she would have unblocked my cell at some point. I try again and get the same noise, ripping my heart from my chest. Praying that there must be a way.
My emotion catches in my throat and I call Jake instead. He has her new apartment details in the city, he will know where she is, be able to call her. He can tell me how to get hold of her. I know he’s been seeing her, making sure all her bills are paid and I know she started school. I have had to curb the urge to go there so many times. I have tried to just give her space, tried to not bring her up in every conversation with him.
It rings, and he isn’t long to answer.
‘Hey, what’s up kiddo?’ Jake sounds tired, I can hear the kids in the background and know he’s at home. It’s late, almost eight pm.
‘I need to talk to her.’ I blurt out impulsively, emotion going haywire and my voice sounds gruff and shaky. I tale a slow inhale to calm myself, realising my hands are trembling crazily now, but Jake only sighs.
‘She doesn’t want to hear from you Arry…We have been through this.’ Jake sounds pained, he knows I have been having a tough time dealing with her absence, but he doesn’t think I should try and get hold of her while I am with Natasha. If anything, he’s been pissed at me for weeks, that I chose to fix this relationship… I guess I can see why now. He hasn’t been shy about being off with me, over all of it.
‘I need to talk to her, know how to find her.’ I can feel the panic gripping my body, like this sudden realisation has finally hit me and that I have left it so long that I need to be urgent. Before I lose anymore of the slight hold I may still have on her. All I want right now is just some sort of connection to her, her voice, anything.
‘There’s someone else. I’m sorry Arry….I didn’t know how to tell you.’ Jakes voice is hoarse, emotion filled, and I cannot compute what he’s saying to me.
‘What do you mean there’s someone else?……. Sophie doesn’t let anyone close.’ My voice breaks, heart crushing in my chest and breath hitting me hard. My mind scrambling to decipher the words he’s hitting me with and refusing to believe them.
‘That’s why I know there’s someone else….. this guy. She’s with him a lot, every time I call her, he’s in the background. I think it’s serious.’ Jake’s voice trails off and I just stare blankly at the screen, numb with the shock of what he’s telling me.
It’s too late, I left it too late. She’s not mine anymore.
The weight of that realisation hits me harder than any sucker punch I have ever endured in the ring, I physically exhale and slump down, heart constricting badly and pain choking me. The thought of Sophie with some other guy takes away the last blinkers that may have lingered and it nearly cripples me with jealousy. I hate the thought of some other guy, being to her, what I was…what I should have been. It’s not how it’s supposed to be. She’s mine, she’s always been mine… she stood in front of me and told me she loved me. She offered me all of her. It was mine for the taking. It doesn’t get to be his.
‘What do I do?’ I croak out, unable to hold back the pain in my face, behind my eyes, consuming my throat. Mind consumed with how the hell I get her back. How I find her and beg her to let me in. I’ll beat the shit out of him, who ever he is. No one gets to be to my girl what I should be. I don’t lose her this way, not after everything.
‘Leave her to live her life….. You have Natasha…I mean you didn’t call and say, it’s over…so………’ Jake seems to be pointing out the obvious and I nod numbly, slapped in the face by my own brother, sense coming back; he’s right. I didn’t. I called him to reach out to her, yet I have a girlfriend who should be arriving at any minute and here I am, trying to confess undying love to someone else. I don’t deserve Sophie; I’m an idiot of the epic proportions and I can’t even sort my shit out before I desperately make attempts at reaching for her. I’m an asshole.
She deserves so much more than this.
I hear the elevator ping and realise Tasha’s almost here.
‘I need to go. I’ll call you tomorrow.’ I respond emptily, despite the turmoil of grief going off inside of me, too consumed right now with what I am feeling to say anything else. I hang up before he responds, before he gives me a lecture, or just calls me out for being an, idiot, or an asshole. Sophie is right.
I am lame.
It kills me inside that she’s not my Soph’s anymore. I can’t think about this right now.
I stand up when I hear the elevator ping again, pushing it all down expertly behind that face of coolness I excel at; the noise time indicating it’s hit my floor and I cradle my cell in my hand. Wiping my face with my sleeve in a bid to get ready to face her. I have no idea what the hell I’m going to say, or do. I can barely get my head together and I am still in my sweats and tee. All I can do is concentrate on breathing as the internal turmoil tries to consume me. All I can think about is what he said.
There is someone else……
She walks in smiling, carrying a bunch of roses that she obviously brought for the apartment. She is forever trying to add her touches, make her mark, and yet… Sophie never tried, it just happened organically. Sophie never ever tried to weld herself to me at all, it was always just a natural thing, the two of us merging. Natasha just tries so hard, all the time.
She will never be her. She isn’t her. She will never replace her.
Jesus, what have I done?
‘Hey.’ She smiles warmly, depositing the flowers on the counter and turns to me with a look of surprise. Taking in my appearance and then my face.
‘What’s wrong? You look awful?’ She blinks at me, all dark soft eyes and elfin features. Natasha is a pretty girl, she always has been, but if I am being honest with myself. I only ever saw in her, someone who looked nothing like Sophie. It feels like everything is just clicking clearly into place and with every little notch of the puzzle fitting, it just highlights how much of a complete jerk I am. How blind I have been to exactly where my heart has always been.
Soph’s the reason my life is falling to shit these past weeks. Sophie leaves and I fall apart. Isn’t that how it always goes.
Why didn’t I see this?
‘I……’ I can’t even find the words to say this. I have no clue how to tell a girl that it’s over, when all she has done is try to make me love her again, for weeks on end. Being the model of patience and understanding when really, I deserved nothing from her.
It doesn’t matter that Sophie is out of my reach now, she’s moved on. None of that matters. I can’t stay with a girl I don’t love and live in the memory of the one who got away. It’s not fair on her. I can’t give her something I don’t have to give. Sophie took my heart when she left, and I don’t want it back. It’s hers, it always will be. I gave it to her, and whether she knows she possess it or not, is irrelevant. I know it belongs to her and always will. I’m sorry it took me so long to figure it out.
‘Don’t say it…. Don’t!’ Natasha looks instantly distraught and the tears immediately hit her eyes, making me feel even shittier about this. She knows what I am thinking, she can see it written all over me and I can’t pretend anymore. I don’t have it in me to console her right now. There’s nothing left of me, but an empty gaping hole and a lot of ache.
‘We just need time… it’s still early days, there is so much we still have to fight for.’ She is floundering, panicking and looking at me like a wounded puppy. It doesn’t affect me the way Sophie’s tears always get to me, the way that look as she walked to her room that night ripped me in two. How I could never see the difference between them before now, really dumbfounds me. Sophie being hurt is like having my insides wrenched out from my body. Watching Natasha cry just makes me feel guilty, like a failure and a shitty person, but it doesn’t devastate me. The thought of my girl out there crying, now that is enough to end me.
‘I’m sorry…. I can’t. Time isn’t going to fix this….. I love her.’ I say it out loud, like I really am still trying to test myself, but it just makes it more painful. Because it comes out so easily, three little words I have always had a hard time saying to Tasha, to anyone. With Sophie, like everything with her… it’s natural. I wish I had said them to her when I had the chance. It twists my stomach even thinking about it.
‘You’re a bastard.’ Natasha screams at me and throws her bunch of flowers at me across the room, I dodge them as they splay across the couch, knock over some of the decor on the surface and watch as her face contorts in pain, tears flowing free.
‘I’m sorry.’ It’s all I can say, because my mind is made up. I’m tired of doing this, trying to pretend this is where I want to be, when it’s not. It’s always a struggle for me, to face her, to be around her, to try and touch her. Because my head is in the one place I think it will always be, even if I never see her again.
Wherever Sophie is… that is where my head will always be.