The Carrero Heart – Arricks POV
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
Sophie calls Arrick
‘I’m fucking doing it!’ I snap, throwing down my phone and pull the papers over to me to sign with a tad more aggression than is warranted. Almost stabbing my pen in the damn contract as I dot the I in my name and toss the pen down when I am done, aware of the eyes on me around the table, but I don’t give a shit. I feel shitty and pissed off and this is the last thing I want to be doing right now. Some crappy minor brief on one of our low tier businesses who want funds for a re-brand. I don’t actually care if they fold right now, they make less than a hundred grand a quarter anyway.
‘You are not too old to get a spanking.’ My dad warns across the walnut conference table, a hint of humour in his look and I just glare at him coolly. We have a good relationship and he has never spanked me in my life, but I wouldn’t put it past him today. He’s growing tired of my attitude today, my moods of the last few days have had more than a cool glare from him.
‘What’s with you?’ Adam, the current head of our legal department throws me a smile and I just give him the finger. Luckily, we are friends beyond work and he takes it with a grin. My father tuts and again throws me the glare, he doesn’t do overly friendly with the staff. Something his sons clearly never got the memo on, seeing as Adam and I have went on many a night out and Jake married his PA.
‘Soph’s and he had a lover’s tiff, and she’s in lock down… Arry is in the chill zone.’ Jake laughs, to my left, and I swear I have the urge to throat punch him in this moment. My personal business isn’t exactly what I want a table of six men to be discussing right now, even if he just hit the nail on the head. Only three of the men sitting here are even close enough to know who Sophie is, the other two are just suits for the legal brief and look confused as shit. I hate people talking about my business. Especially not about her.
Sophie won’t even take my calls, no matter how many times I tried. Texts, messages, nothing. She has closed me out and it’s been days since I got any sort of response from her. It’s driving me crazy, not knowing how she is, how she feels, what’s going on with us. I have felt constantly uptight, sick with worry over how she is and in an eternally shitty mood over the fact we have never gone days without talking. We have never closed down on each other or just ended shit. I’m pissed at her, yet at the same time, I’m just desperate to talk to her. To hear that gentle sweet voice that makes my day better and know that we can get through this.
I miss her.
‘Fuck off.’ I glare at my idiot brother and dodge the mock slap he throws at my head. So not in the mood for this bullshit. Sometimes he is a pain in the ass to have as a brother, often forgetting he is meant to be the older, more mature one.
‘What did you do?’ My father’s eyes are on me, annoyed that I haven’t spoken to him about this most likely. He is someone I sometimes confide in, but not about her. He’s too close to Sophie, he sees her as a daughter and this would just be awkward to talk about. He never sees Sophie doing any wrong, and this would all come back to being my fault somehow.
I mean, she told me she is in love with me. Not a sibling love or a best friend love anymore… sex, babies, marriage and love, love. The real deal. I have no clue what to even do with that. Sophie is an all or nothing kind of thing – I couldn’t just date her and see how it went. And then, what about my girlfriend?
‘Why is this something I did?’ I bristle defensively, even though it is. I told her I didn’t feel that way and can’t seem to stop obsessing over it, regardless. My heads so far up my ass, I literally haven’t slept in days. Right now, even eating is a chore. I broke up with said girlfriend, because I literally have not been able to touch her since I kissed my best friend. It felt like I was cheating on Sophie, the second I saw Natasha when I got home, even though it’s crazily absurd, and so back to front. I cheated on Natasha, by kissing Sophie, and haven’t even had the balls to tell her yet. I am so fucked in this.
‘It’s always the men’s fault. Have I taught you nothing?’ My father smiles softly and Jake nods with a huge patronising grin. I want to just bury my head in my hands and groan until they all go away, and stop looking at me.
‘Can we not do this right now?’ I glance around the table, drawing my so-called family to the fact we are in company, despite them not seeming to give an utter shit about the fact. Jake shrugs and yawns, covering his mouth to stifle it and slouches back in his chair. Seemingly not caring that we are surrounded by staff.
‘Think we’re done for the day… should wrap this up.’ He shrugs.
My father still has his eyes on me, dissecting me and probably trying to figure out what I have done to make Sophie hate me…. well, stay mad at me anyway. A little too intensely, and it makes me even more irritated with myself.
Oh, I dunno, broke her heart by rejecting her, yet kissed her anyway. I am an ass hole of epic proportions. I still do not know why I kissed her. Can’t even begin to analyse how it felt.
When I try to, I get this huge overwhelming heavy blackness, which is pretty damn close to an all-out panic attack and I am so not ready to face that yet.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about kissing her. That in itself has been driving me to the brink of insanity, and I wish I had never done this to myself. Opened that can of worms and let a million crazy feelings leach out from the recess of my mind. The pro’s and con list on either side of this dilemma are huge, and I cannot navigate it, it’s all too much right now. I just need her to fucking talk to me, help me find my bearings like she always does. She has no idea how calm she makes me, how still she makes my head when I get like this.
Sophie is the wild one, she’s the little live wire and the bundle of hard work… but she’s the one who brings me peace in my own head. She knows how to stop me from torturing myself. Always so direct and uncomplicated, she says it like it is.
‘I’ll get these down to legal, will get the team on the next steps and get back to you.’ Adam is on his feet, pulling all the papers towards him from the centre and I send mine sliding towards him too, the pages fluttering as it travels the expanse of desk. the two men in suits get up with him to move. Dragging my head back to the present and the matter in hand.
‘Great. Keep us updated.’ Jake watches them leave, my father still watching me and I have my eyes on the desk, staring at my cell and just wondering how long before she stops blanking me. I left desperate messages with her folks today, something I have never done. Sophie has me feeling all kinds of desperate. I already have plans to fly, or drive back there, if I haven’t heard from her by the end of the week. I’ll go walk into her bedroom and refuse to let her out until we talk about this shit. Until she helps me get my head back on a normal level.
I am so done with this agony. Sophie has never ever pushed me out – I’m the exception to all rules. I’m her go too guy, the way she is my go too girl. I hate this.
‘We done?’ I look at my dad and brother, both seemingly intent on staring at me silently, passing one another raised brow looks and I just sigh and eye roll. I am not in the mood for any lectures or probing. Jake knows what’s going on, he’s been a massive jerk about it and called me a wuss about twenty times this week already. He seems to think this is just a simple decision to make.
‘What’s the problem with Sophabelle?’ My father is on it again, now the room is vacant of any prying ears, and I strain my head back and let out an agitated sigh, sliding down in my chair, because I know this is futile. I feel about ten years old and about to get another father grilling on something I have done.
‘She told Arry she’s in love with him.’ Jake butts in, and I snap my eyes back to him, sitting immediately upright with a ‘what the fuck’ gesture. It’s suddenly open season on my problems today.
‘I see’ My father puts a finger to his lips and watches me carefully, shaking my head at Jake while he grins with that ‘you’re in trouble now’ face. Ass hole. I swear my brother is a fucking juvenile sometimes, and I miss the days when he and my dad did not get along. I glare at him and try not to get up and walk off, as I know it’s futile. They would just follow me.
‘You do not love her?’ My father actually seems surprised. Another one who seems to think this is a simple A or B type of thing.
For the love of god!
‘It’s not that simple.’ I say defensively, gritting my teeth and simmering the great Carrero temper deep inside. I get up, so not doing this with him. he is hardly the easiest guy to talk to when it comes to Sophie. He is as fiercely protective over her, as Jake is…as I am. Jake is smiling, looking smug and I just throw my pen at him as I push the chair away. Jake dodges it and just grins harder, obviously amused with my turmoil today. He seems to be liking the fact that I have been this way all week.
‘Arry is in the good old ‘over think, over analyse, and stress himself into an early ulcer’ mode. You know nothing we say will get his head together… he’s a stubborn ass hole when it comes to figuring shit out.’ My brother smirks at me, on his feet now too and shoulder shoves me as he walks past. Straightening his tie before losing patience and pulling it off. I didn’t even bother with one today, after wrestling in the mirror with one this morning for twenty minutes I threw it across the couch and left it at home. Agitation is becoming my new best friend.
‘None of any of this is any of your fucking business.’ I snap, annoyed that he is still going on at me, after days. Jake has this idea I should man up, give Sophie and me, a chance and just be done with it. No cares about hurting Natasha, how wrong this is, how huge a deal it would be if we didn’t work. The list of things in our way mean very little to him and sometimes his self-centred attitude drives me crazy. Jake is a guy who pursues what he wants, and doesn’t care who it affects. We are like chalk and cheese sometimes.
‘Tetchy this morning, Buttercup…. losing that cool demeanour an awfully lot lately.’ He tweaks my cheek and impulsively I raise a fist and slide into fighter mode, so ready to take the shit, head on, in this mood. He slaps my clenched fist with his palm, dancing around ready to spar and laughs at me, while lifting defensive fists in readiness, our childish sparring we do a lot. Lightening my mood a little, at how much of a dumb ass he is. He makes a couple of mock jabs in mid-air which I dodge expertly.
‘I will fuck you up.’ I growl at him, no longer feeling serious, but still just feeling messy inside. Sophie really knows how to fuck me up without even trying. Going to fight training is the only thing keeping me from self-imploding with all this shit inside of me.
‘I will beat both of you if you do not stop this nonsense and get back to work. Arry, we will chat later.’ My father’s heavy tone and narrowed gaze alerts us to the audience at the glass panel doors. Seems like a lot of staff are wandering around up here and we are apparently entertaining. I drop my stance and sigh. Scooping up my cell and impulsively check the screen. I won’t be having any heart to heart later. I have training at six.
No calls, no texts…. no Sophie.
I feel it hit me low in the stomach and this churning weight that has been with me since I walked out of her bedroom. I hate that she has this power over me.
‘Yeah little bro, go lock yourself in your office and cry into some Ben and Jerry’s before our three o’clock meeting.’ Jake winks and gets a shove from me as I pass him, with a cool look – not amused. Eager to be out the door; I intend to call the Huntsbergers again and see if she is home yet, her housekeeper said she was out shopping and I just keep hoping I catch her. I don’t know what else to do.
I’m stalking through the busy hall, trying to put distance between my brother and father, who will be hot on my heels when my cell starts vibrating in my hand. Looking at it quickly my heart almost stops, a double take of disbelief when I see Sophie’s name on the screen flashing back at me. It takes a second to register that I am not imagining it and I don’t hesitate to answer, despite where I am standing. My stomach in my mouth now and heart rate elevating as my palms get clammy in a Nano second.
I sound crazily breathy, but I am just so happy to finally have her call me. The rush of Adrenalin and warmness that flow through me have stopped me in my tracks, standing in the middle of the hall as people push by me with small smiles and nods. I look back over my shoulder and see my brother and father are heading the other way and relax a little, not needing an audience for this.
‘You need to stop calling me.’
She sounds like my girl, strong and beautiful, and a little irritated. She sounds perfect. I feel that inner knot in my stomach at finally hearing her voice again, even if it is to tell me to leave her alone. I won’t be agreeing to that shit any time soon.
‘You can’t hit me with a love confession, then cut me off, Sophie. I told you we needed to talk about this.’ I answer her, half listening, half looking around for somewhere private to go to talk to her; seeing nowhere else, I head back to the board room from where I just came from. It’s empty now and I need some quiet.
‘Yes, I can, because I need too, and nothing can fix this, except space. What is talking going to do Arry? Huh? Are you going to suddenly not love Natasha anymore and ask me to settle down and be your girlfriend?’ Sophie sounds defensive, hurt and her words cut me to the bone. Last thing I told her was that I didn’t feel that way about her, I haven’t told her that I don’t even know what I feel at all. That since I left all I have done is think about her.
‘Sophie, I can’t just stop giving a shit about you like that. It’s not that easy. This whole thing is killing me, I don’t know what else to do but talk to you about this. Your head is not the only one which has been fucked up by this.’ I push open the door and head into the room, shutting it fast and latching the lock. I move to the table and perch on the edge, trying so hard to keep myself together and hold the cell close as I can to be able to hear every single sound from her. I visualise her in my head and sigh at the fact she is finally talking. Bittersweet as hell.
Finally talking to her and yet she is trying to cut me loose.
Hearing her only reminds me of how much I have been missing her. I can’t deal with Sophie closing me out. I hate it. I can’t imagine anything worse in my life than more of what I have endured this past week.
‘There’s nothing you can say. Just leave me be and let me move on, Arrick. I’m begging you. Stop calling me, stop texting and just leave me alone. Let me just get over you and get some sanity back. Maybe after that we can see one another… But not until then.’ Again, she just sounds strained and emotional, she’s doing what she thinks she needs to do. She doesn’t know that I might actually feel that way about her too, but I can’t tell her when it’s all so messy. Panic is gripping me at the thought of her cutting me off again, for longer than days this time and I can’t let that happen. I need Sophie in my life. She’s my sanity. I don’t want her to move on and get over me.
She’s MY Sophie.
‘I can’t do that… What if you need me? What if I need you?’ I am trying to be honest because I know I’ll need her. Sophie is the girl I call or text when I need someone. She’s the one who can keep me up half the night with pointless funny texts about nothing when I need a mood lift. Sophie is the calm in the crazy, the sun in the dark. Even when I met Natasha, Sophie has always still been there in the foreground.
‘You never needed me Arrick, and I need to learn to stop needing you. I won’t be going back down that route of self-destruction and booze, so you can be happy in the knowledge that I’m sorting my shit out. I am trying to be a better person, for me, and I am trying to just find a way to get on in life. I can’t do that if you keep pulling me back to you. If you care about me, like you say you do, then let me go. Let me do this on my own.’ her voice wobbles and breaks subtly, tears in her normally angelic tone and it rips me apart. I hate making my girl cry. I feel like a shit head. I admire how grown up she sounds, how sure she is that she can do this – I want to be able to support her decisions, but I can’t. I cannot let her make a choice that leaves me in her dust. I won’t survive.
How can she believe that I don’t need her?
‘Sophie please. Just meet me, let us talk about this. Don’t do this to me.’ Don’t do this to us. We need each other. I know I can talk her round if I just see her again, I want to see her. We have years of friendship and co-dependency, we can’t just let that go.
‘I made up my mind. Now respect my decision to be a grown up about this. Don’t call me anymore Arry, don’t leave me messages. I love you…… But I need to just let you go.’ The strength in her tone cuts me to the core, as do her words. The same strength I have witnessed when she was dealing with her demon’s head on. She’s closing a door on me and I won’t let her.
The weird silence on the phone is suddenly overwhelming and instinct makes me look at my cell, realising she has hung up on me. That swift kick to the gut again and I redial her cell immediately. I am not done with this, we are not done. I will never be done with her. Panic grips my throat and my blood runs cold.
There are three beeps and I know she has done it again, re-blocked my cell so I can’t call her, and I let out a massive ARGHHH, kicking a chair away from the table with the full brunt of my frustration as rage and heartache soar through me in a huge weight of overwhelm. I can’t breathe.
‘For fucks sake, Sophie’ I yell into the air and try again, despite knowing the outcome will be the same. The three beeps kill me. My heart and stomach twisting and collapsing inside of me.
I won’t let her do this. I will fucking leave right now and get on the jet to go see her. I love her, she’s my best friend and I won’t let her just cut me out of her life.
I get up and pace the room, dragging my fingers through my hair and realise people are staring at me through the glass. The office seems eerily quiet out there and I am more than aware they probably just all saw me kick a chair, ten feet across the floor before cursing out the girl who has fucked my head up.
I’m not angry with her. I’m angry at this situation, pissed that this is the way it is. I can’t just throw everything aside, caution to the wind, and sweep Sophie off her feet into some crazy love affair. There are too many things standing in the way. Too much to lose.
I have responsibilities, a life with another girl; families so intertwined that makes this so fucking wrong…… but then there’s Sophie. My whole sole reason that I pulled my shit together at seventeen and grew up. The person I became was because of her, because she needed me. She gave me a purpose that was more than how I was living.
I cannot lose her.