After Us (Next Generation #6) - J.M. Walker Page 0,1

new. Fresh. Fun. Intense. So damn intense, one look from him and I was putty in his hands. He could tell me to jump and I would always give in. He knew it too. There was no sense in denying it. From the first look to the last kiss, I was his. He let the world know as well that I belonged to him. In every sense of the word. But even though that had been the case, we didn’t know each other. Not completely. Maybe we never would. But I wanted to at least try.

It had been so long since I had seen him, I wasn’t sure where we went from here. Whether we could make it as a family or even a couple. Could we move forward? After everything that had happened in such a short amount of time, could we finally be happy?

Leaning against my car, I waited. I checked the time on my phone, glanced around me. And waited some more.

My eyes flicked to the large sign sitting on the side of the building.

State Penitentiary.

Just the name gave me shivers. I never once in my life thought I would end up picking up a guy here. Let alone the father of my daughter and the man I was in love with.

I sighed, checking my phone again.

Sammy: He out yet?

Me: Do you see him anywhere?

Sammy: Geeze, girl. Just asking.

My cheeks burned.

Me: Sorry.

Cyrus: Ignore him. You can have as much attitude as you want.

Me: I love you guys.

Cyrus: We love you too, kiddo.

I stuffed my phone back into my pocket, ignoring the text coming into the group chat I had with the brothers. Cyrus and Sammy Butcher were twins and a few years older than both Jaron and me. They were his family and now they were automatically mine as well. They were good to me and my daughter. They didn’t have families of their own and at times I felt like I was taking them from having their own happiness, but they never complained. I often suggested they go out, have a good time, and not worry about me, but they shot those suggestions down rather quickly.

“Jaron asked us to look after both of you, so that’s what we’re doing,” Cyrus told me.

“Truth.” Sammy nodded. “Besides, I’m boycotting pussy at the moment anyway.”

I frowned. “What do you mean?”

He scowled but he never responded.

“It means that there’s a woman he wants but she doesn’t want him back,” Cyrus explained.

“She’s delaying the inevitable and I don’t know why.” Sammy shoved to his feet and stormed into the kitchen.

That conversation had been a few months ago and I hadn’t heard of this secret woman since, but whoever she was, she clearly got under Sammy’s skin. I couldn’t wait to meet her.

My phone dinged again, making me jump.

Cyrus: You got this.

I put my cell into my purse and threw the bag in the back seat of my car.

Waiting for Jaron was enough to drive me mad. My body vibrated, my heart raced, my thoughts ran a mile a minute. So many questions bounced around in my head.

Did he change at all?

Did he still look the same?

What if we no longer got along?

Was he still as grumpy or worse?

Did he still love me?

What if we couldn’t make this work and had to go our separate ways?

Letting out a hard sigh, I opened the back door and reached for my purse. I was antsy and needed to check my phone to see if there were any updates. When I saw that there weren’t, a lump formed in my throat. I just wanted him. I wanted him to come out, smile at seeing me and we could drive off into the sunset and live happily ever after. But I knew none of that would happen.

As soon as I closed the door, the hairs on the back of my neck tingled.

I inhaled a sharp breath, slowly turning around.

Jaron stood just outside the jail, watching me. Waiting for that invitation he never needed. Ever.

My eyes welled, my throat burning over the hard lump that had taken up permanent residence there so long ago.

His dark eyes searched my face, studying me.

I took a step forward.

He did the same.

We continued walking toward one another until we finally stood a foot away from each other. I expected to crash into him, but I was hesitant. So many questions bounced around in my head. I wasn’t sure if he felt the same. I needed to know.

I couldn’t move. I tried