He thought about numbing himself to the emptiness inside of him with a drink, and he said reluctantly, “Fine.” Amelia’s doctors at the clinic had said liquor was alright, anyway, as long as it was consumed with moderation.
Acheron took them to a nearby pub, and after ordering her drink Amelia excused herself to go to the ladies. She made a call as soon as she had placed enough distance between her and Acheron, tipping the press about their location and promising them a money shot if they came within half an hour.
It should be enough to pretend that she had gotten herself drunk, Amelia considered, and with it she could make her move.
And so everything fell into plan, with Amelia pretending it had been so long that a single beer was enough to intoxicate her.
“That’s enough, Amelia.” Acheron’s voice was tired but firm as he took the bottle out of her hand and placed it out of reach. He saw her body start to slump, and he swore under a breath even as he swiftly reached for her.
Amelia’s arms went around his neck, and the strength in her grip took Acheron by surprise. He looked up, and her mouth immediately covered his.
What the fuck?
He pushed Amelia away, and the moment he saw the look in her eyes —
“You planned this. Didn’t you?” Fuck. Fuck. FUCK. All of a sudden, he remembered Pippi’s words, warning him about Amelia doing whatever she could to keep him with her, and he realized with a jerk that Pippi had been right. Even worse, he realized how successfully she had played him for a fool, deliberately feeding his fears to force him into breaking up with Pippi.
Amelia refused to look away when she saw the anger and disappointment on Acheron’s handsome face. “I love you.” But when the words once were powerful, she was horrified to see that now they did nothing. “Acheron—” It was finally beginning to dawn on her, just how much she had lost, and that this time it was the end for good. “Acheron…” And this time, her voice broke. “I just did it because I love you. I had to do it—”
“Even if it meant hurting someone who had never done anything to you?” he asked hollowly.
God, he had been such a fucking fool.
Pippi had told him…
Pippi had fucking told him…
“I will never forget how you saved my life, Amy.”
She had always dreamed of him calling her that, but now it only made her start to cry. Because now she knew – now she knew that him calling her like how everyone else called her – it meant she had truly lost him.
“But these days, it only seems that you saved me just to kill me over and over.”
They looked at each other, both of them remembering —
Amelia thrashing his library, accusing him of thinking she was stupid, when he had been the only one to love and respect her.
Amelia nearly bankrupting him, wanting Acheron to join her in hell when all that time he had begged for the chance to take her to heaven with him —
“I don’t want to hate you, but that’s how things are going to end up if we don’t part ways now.” Acheron closed his eyes, and the memories – the few good memories he had of his childhood came sweeping back in, and they were all of her.
Because once, she had been his reason for living.
Because once, he had loved her.
And he liked to believe that she had loved him, too.
He opened his eyes, and it was only then he realized that she was gone.
Pippi: Please answer the phone.
Pippi: Please. Let’s talk.
Pippi: I love you.
But her phone remained silent, and the tears wouldn’t stop falling. Pride begged her to give up, to cut her losses and consider the possibility that she could be wrong.
Acheron Simonides was a billionaire.
A drop-dead-gorgeous, incredibly sexy Greek billionaire!
Was it truly possible for a man like him to fall for a girl like her?
She stared at the messages she had typed, wondering how it would feel if Acheron turned out to be a jerk and made his own cruel viral post. How Pathetic Women Can Get, Exhibit One.
Just imagining it made her want to throw up.
So give up.
But her heart refused to heed the words.
Love was supposed to be about taking risks together, and if she wanted to be with Acheron, she needed to find the courage to face these risks.
Pippi: I’m not going to give you up without a fight.
After taking a deep breath, she hit Send, and her heart skipped a beat.
Oh, the things she did for love.
To distract herself, she clicked on her phone’s browser and started searching for the latest news about Acheron. Falling in love with a billionaire meant learning how to handle the rumors —