Home > Stay With Me (With Me in Seattle #9)

Stay With Me (With Me in Seattle #9)
Author: Kristen Proby

~Amelia~

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

I sit and stare at my attorney, watching her thin, painted-pink lips move, but I’m definitely not understanding what the hell she’s saying, because I’m pretty sure she just said “your divorce isn’t actually final” and that just can’t be right.

It can’t fucking be right.

“—sorry.”

She’s folded her hands over my file on her desk and is looking at me with sympathetic, blue eyes.

“I apologize, Pam,” I begin and shift in my seat. “You’re going to have to repeat that because I think you just said that I’m not divorced, and that can’t be right.”

“That’s what I said,” Pam replies with a nod. “He contested.”

He motherfucking contested.

“I sat in a courtroom two months ago, and a judge granted the divorce. I have signed papers.”

“I know,” Pam says with a nod. “But because he didn’t appear in court, and he wasn’t pleased with the settlement amount, his lawyer filed contest papers, and the judge granted it.”

“This is bullshit.”

“I don’t disagree with you.”

“I worked for two years to make this divorce happen, Pam.” Two years of panic attacks. Two years of stress. Two years of worrying, every single day, that this divorce would never happen, after five years of mental and emotional abuse. I’m done.

“I know, I’ve been with you for those two years.”

I sit back and stare at her, struck numb. “What now?”

“Well, you’ll have to either go through mediation and reach a settlement between you, or we go to court. Again.”

“Jesus,” I mutter and rub my fingertips over my forehead, trying to wipe away the headache that seems to be permanently housed behind my eyes. “He’s trying to suck me dry. This is just about the money, Pam. He’s not trying to keep me, or save a marriage that has no chance in hell of being saved.”

“I agree with that, as well.” Pam sighs and reads over the letter I received from the court for the third time. “We’re going to get this handled, Lia.”

“I know.” I blow out a breath, determined not to cry. I will not give Vincent Borgen another tear. Ever. “So, what now?”

“I want to have him served with failure to appear papers, and I have a hunch that he’ll have you served with lawsuit papers.”

“A lawsuit?” I stare at her, again, as if she’s grown a second nose. “What in the hell could he possibly sue me for?”

“Oh, about a dozen things, all just to make this process more painful and slow.” She leans forward again. “So, here’s what I want you to do. Get out of town.”

“You want me to leave L.A?”

“Immediately,” she says with a nod. “We want him to be served first, and I don’t want you to be served at all. In the meantime, I’m going to take care of this here.”

“Where am I going to go?” I frown. “I guess I could go to my parents’ in Seattle.”

“No.” She shakes her head. “Your parents’ address is on record, and they’ll try to have you served there. Go to Seattle if you want, but don’t stay with them.”

“For fuck’s sake,” I mutter and go back to rubbing my forehead. “Okay, I have other family I can call.”

“Good.”

“This is really bad timing. I’m launching my new makeup brand next month, and all of my meetings are in L.A.”

“I’m sorry,” she says and finally offers me a small smile. “I truly am. I know this is inconvenient and just mean on his part.”

“Typical. He’s got a mean streak the size of Texas.” I rub my forehead again. “I can’t believe I’m not divorced from the jerk.”

“We’ll get it figured out. For now, go on vacation for a while, and I’ll keep you posted as to what’s happening here. If I need you to appear, we’ll arrange it.”

“Okay.”

“And, Lia, you will want to postpone the launch of your brand. Making that kind of money when you aren’t divorced yet will only complicate things.”

“And he could get a cut of it.”

“He could.”

Mother fucker.

“Understood. I’ll be in touch.”

I walk out of her office and to my car, where I sit and stare unblinkingly at the traffic driving by.

Did that just happen? Am I dreaming?

I pinch myself and then frown at the pain. Not dreaming.

So, I need to go somewhere. Not to my parents’. I’m certainly not going to stay with my brother. Archer has more women coming in and out of his bedroom than, well, anyone should. Gross.

And my sister, Anastasia, is just getting ready to move to Seattle for her new job. She is way too busy to add this to her plate.

I bite my lip and pick up my phone, remembering what my cousin Jules said the last time I saw her. That if I ever need anything, all I have to do is call.

Here’s hoping she meant it.

She answers on the third ring.

“Hello. Oh crap, hold on.” She pulls the phone away from her ear. “Nate, can you take that away from Stella? She could kill herself with that.”

I smile, the sound of her voice making me feel a little better.

“Sorry,” Jules says. “Toddlers are adorable when they sleep. When they’re awake, they’re little terrors.”

“She’s a beautiful terror,” I remind her.

“True. What’s up, Lia?”

“I need your help.” I clear my throat. “I need a place to stay.”

“What’s going on?”

I fill her in on the divorce, and how I’m suddenly not divorced, and how my attorney wants me to lay low for a while.

“I know it’s a lot to ask, but I can’t stay with my folks, and I don’t like the idea of my name being on a lease somewhere. He’ll just figure out where I am.”

“I never liked him,” she mutters, and I can only nod in agreement. “We will figure this out.”

“Are you sure? I know you have a lot on your plate, and I don’t want to make things difficult.”

“Oh, girl, this is not difficult. You get your beautiful self up here, and we will get you settled. I think I already know of a great place, I just have to call Natalie. Oh, and I’ll talk Nate out of kicking Vinnie’s ass.”

“He can kick his ass. I don’t have an issue with that.”

Jules laughs, and I hear a commotion in the background. “Shit. I have to go. Just text me when you have details.”

She hangs up, and I immediately begin making plans to fly to Seattle.

Today.

~Amelia~

“Are you kidding me?” I’m standing in the middle of a beautiful home that has views of Puget Sound, an open-concept living room and kitchen, and a freaking pool in the backyard. “When you said that you’d find me a place, I didn’t expect this.”

“Oh, trust me, I’m not kidding,” Jules says and nods, like it’s no big deal. “Natalie and I used to live here when we were single. Then Brynna and Caleb lived here for a while, but now that they’ve moved into their place out in Bellevue, it’s just been sitting empty.”

“Nat and Luke talked about selling,” Nate adds. Jules’ husband is something to write home about. I can’t look directly at him, or I might embarrass all of us by drooling. With his long hair, dark features, and the sleeve tattoos, he might be every woman’s wet dream. “But they haven’t yet, so it’s the perfect place for you to crash for a while.”

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