Home > The Beat of My Heart (A Broken Hearts Series, Book #2)

The Beat of My Heart (A Broken Hearts Series, Book #2)
Author: Avery Maxwell

Prologue

 

 

-Bed of Lies, Nicki Minaj featuring Skylar Grey

 

 

Julia

 

 

Stepping into the sunlight, my body rejects its warmth. Instead of raising my face to the sun, I look down and shiver from the inside out. The granite steps of the courthouse reflect my every step.

“Julia,” I hear Cora yell. I pause so she can catch up, “We did everything we could, I’m sorry. I know this isn’t the judgment you were hoping for.”

“I get it, Cora. Honestly, thank you for all your work. The truth is, I do this for a living, I should have seen it coming,” I tell her.

“Jules, he conned you. He cleaned you out and ran a debt so high it’s crippling. Plus, you loved him. No one would have seen this coming,” she says, attempting to comfort me.

“I should have, I watch for this shit daily. God, if this gets out, I’ll lose my job, then I will never be able to repay his debt.”

“We will file an appeal, but I will implore one more time, Jules. I wouldn’t be a good attorney or friend if I didn’t. Your parents are literally two of the best attorneys on the East Coast. Confide in them and ask for help. If anyone can find a way out of this, it’s them,” she says.

We’ve had this conversation once a week for the last year, at least. My parents owned a highly successful firm in Boston right up until they had me. Once I was born, they decided they wanted a slower life for me. They sold McDowell & Co. and moved us to Vermont where they opened up a much smaller firm.

“Cora, please drop it. I can’t and won’t do that. This is my mess, not theirs. I’ll fix it,” I tell her more firmly than is probably acceptable.

“Julia, you will be paying off this debt for years. Your life will be put on hold because you won’t be eligible for a line of credit for almost ten years,” she says.

I’ve explained this to her so many times, I don’t feel like doing it again. This will affect my lifestyle for the next five or so years. I get that, but I make good money and I’ll take care of it on my own. I’m done relying on anyone.

“Cora, it isn’t like I’m hanging out at the Packing House bar riding the bull every night. I haven’t even tried to take a vacation since spring break in college. Let’s just put in the appeals and go from there, alright? If the judgment falls to me once again, I’ll figure out how to deal with it. On my own. I appreciate everything you’ve done, but I’m exhausted. I’m going home, I have so much shit I need to clear out.”

“Erick’s stuff?” she asks, cringing slightly.

Nodding, so she doesn’t hear my voice waiver, I turn to go.

“Jules?” she stops me, “Is Lanie going to help you? I can come over too if you want? We can burn his shit in the fireplace.”

I laugh. “No, thanks, Cora. I’ve got this too. I appreciate it, though.”

Giving me a hug, she says, “Just call if you change your mind.”

“I will, thanks.”

Walking to my car, I’m thankful she could stop the creditors from putting a lien on my house and my new car. That would have made it impossible to handle this mess myself. As it is, I hated having to tell Cora that Erick left me. Not only did he leave me, but he wiped out my savings right after he racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. In my name.

Lanie: Hey, lady! Wanna wine and Netflix tonight?

I haven’t told anyone that Erick won’t be returning, but after so much time, I assume everyone knows. I don’t know why I’ve been hanging onto something that never existed in the first place. I’ve been putting it off, too embarrassed to tell the truth, but the time is coming. What’s one more lie, right?

Julia: I can’t tonight. Erick is coming over to talk.

Lanie: The jerk. Want me to come give him a piece of my mind?

That actually makes me laugh. Lanie hasn’t sworn out loud since she was ten years old. Her idea of giving someone hell has a lot of PG-rated vocabulary and even some made-up swear words that are just so Lanie.

Julia: I got it covered, but thanks. Raincheck? Maybe tomorrow?

Lanie: You got it! I’ll be over with pizza around 6 pm. See you then. Luvs.

Lanie: Call if you need backup tonight.

Julia: I will. Luvs.

Stopping by Golden City on my way home, I order a giant to-go bag of General Tso’s chicken, pork fried rice, scallion pancakes, wonton soup, and egg rolls. It’s more food than I can eat in a week, but I figure I will need it to get through tonight. I already had my wine delivered a few days ago, so now I officially have every break-up-cleanout item necessary. Except for your friends, you twit. My conscience often sounds a lot like Lanie’s grandmother, GG. It's annoying as fuck.

The second my front door closes behind me, I unhook my bra and pull it off through the sleeves the way us girls do and toss it on the couch. I head straight for the kitchen but have to pass the mantel on the way, and what I see stops me in my tracks.

The framed picture of Erick and me from graduation stares at me mockingly. “Goddamn it,” I say, swiping at a stray tear angrily. Hefting the bag of food to my hip, I grab the picture and storm off to the kitchen for a garbage bag.

Placing the food on the counter, I reach under the sink and pull out a giant green contractor bag, then chuck the picture—frame and all—into the bag with such force, I hear it crack when it hits the ground. I quickly realize the sound is cathartic, and I’m ready to do it again.

“Alright, Jules. Let’s do this.” Pushing up my sleeves, I strip out of my skirt too. It’s my house, and if I’m going to rid my home of my ex, I’m going to do it in comfort. Running to my room, I toss my tank top aside and grab my extra-large Red Sox t-shirt. I pull it over my head and sigh. What is better than giant cozy t-shirts? It’s so big, it comes down to my knees, which is probably more acceptable should someone stop by.

Rubbing my hands together, I take the garbage bag with me and start at the front of the house. I am going through every nook and cranny of this place until I’ve destroyed every last memory of Erick. Just like he did to your life. “Oh, for fuck's sake, shut up, GG.”

Once I finish in the entryway, I’m a little sweaty. Who knew emotional stress could affect your body so much? Dragging my hair into a ponytail, I walk to the kitchen for a bottle of wine. I glance at the wine glasses and say, “Screw it. Who needs the added clean up? Not this girl!”

“Glad we are on the same page then,” Lanie says, scaring the living shit out of me.

“What the hell, Lanes?”

Grabbing her own bottle of wine, she uncorks it and clinks her bottle with mine. “Cheers,” she says.

“W-what are you doing here?” I ask, embarrassed for being caught in a lie.

“Jules, how long have we known each other? I know the second you’re even thinking about lying to me, so as your best friend, I’m here. You don’t have to tell me anything, but by the looks of the bag I just stepped over, we’re cleaning Erick out of your life tonight, right?” she asks, taking a very unladylike gulp from her bottle.

“Yeah, we’re done,” I say without looking at her.

“Okay then. Let's get started.” She doesn’t question me, just gets her own bag from under the sink. Standing upright, I watch as she unhooks her own bra, slides it out from her armhole, and tosses it onto the kitchen chair. “Sisterhood and all,” she says with a wink.

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