Hearts of Sacrifice

Hearts of Sacrifice

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Summary

Bad boy Hunter Cartwright always has been the black sheep in his loving but prosperous family. He's overshadowed by his big brother Billy who everyone loves and looks up to. When tragedy strikes, it is a wound that cuts deep and one that separates Hunter from everyone who loves him. Eight years after his abrupt departure, Hunter makes his return home to Oregon. Much has changed including the girl he grew up with Sophie. She's always been around as his sister Michelle's best friend and his friend too once upon a time. Sophie dates his younger brother Evan now. The fiercely competitive Evan is none too thrilled with his return just like Sophie. Can Hunter make amends to his family and regain all he's lost including the friendship of the one girl Sophie who means more to him than he ever realized?

Summary

Bad boy Hunter Cartwright always has been the black sheep in his loving but prosperous family. He's overshadowed by his big brother Billy who everyone loves and looks up to. When tragedy strikes, it is a wound that cuts deep and one that separates Hunter from everyone who loves him.

Eight years after his abrupt departure, Hunter makes his return home to Oregon. Much has changed including the girl he grew up with Sophie. She's always been around as his sister Michelle's best friend and his friend too once upon a time. Sophie dates his younger brother Evan now. The fiercely competitive Evan is none too thrilled with his return just like Sophie.

Can Hunter make amends to his family and regain all he's lost including the friendship of the one girl Sophie who means more to him than he ever realized?

Chapter36 (v.1) - Making Up’s Hard to Do

Author Chapter Note

Hunter has had enough... <br /> <br /> “Honor and vigilance are what our nation’s armed forces represent. <br /> An act of valor…their willingness to answer our country’s call <br /> is a constant reminder of duty, honor, and sacrifice.”<br /> --Unknown <br />

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 25, 2018

Reads: 430

Comments: 1

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: April 25, 2018

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CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX – Making Up’s Hard to Do

 

Evan had been a hell-raiser without interaction with Sophie in the last three weeks.  Certainly not from his lack of trying to speak to her in the first week they separated since the marriage proposal debacle.  Or in the second week, he tried without success to reach out to her in person.  By the third week, he tapered off his attempts at seeing her.  He failed at every turn to contact her at all. 

Instead?  Evan cracked the whip at all hours of the night.  He made unreasonable demands of his staff, and they hated him for it.  After the second week of his tyranny, they protested that they had lives beyond CI.  When the third week arrived, the staff were at their breaking point for coping with his sheer madness. 

Hunter did not seek to interfere.  However, this had gone on long enough.  Everyone around them was suffering because of it, and it had to stop.  One way or another he would resolve the matter once and for all. 

The president made arrangements for a meeting with Sophie in the conference room.  A breach of contract in the Netico deal was cited as the reason for the urgent meeting.  Since this involved operations, Hunter also called for Evan’s input into the matter.  Neither party, of course, realized that the other would be present at the meeting. 

Sophie arrived first as she pulled her thick file of the Netico deal and agreement from her briefcase when the door of the conference room opened.  She saw the dark curly hair of Evan as his azure eyes fell upon her in shock.  His mouth dropped open at the sight his girlfriend in a cranberry suit with a flared skirt that came adorably to her knee.

“Sophie?  What are you doing here?” Evan asked as his dark brows drew together.  He pulled at the cuffs of his white shirt he wore with his slim-fit pinstripe suit.

The counselor stood straight with the lift of her dark eyebrow.  “I’d ask you the same, but--”

Hunter entered the conference room that was fully enclosed and private.  No one could see in or out of it except with the video conferencing equipment which would not be in use for this meeting.  Wearing a rather smart blue suit, the president of CI smiled pleasantly at his guests at the large maple table.  “Good.  You’re both here.”

Evan narrowed his eyes at him.  “What’s the meaning of this?”

“You two are going to work this out,” he responded with the clap of his hands while looking very pleased with himself.

“The hell we are,” Evan clipped, seeking to walk out.

Hunter backed against the conference room door, blocking it.  Without a smile, he looked sternly to his brother.  He folded his arms over his chest.  “I did not say this was a request, Evan.”

The curly haired man glowered at his older brother in growing offense.  “What?!  You’re gonna hold me fucking hostage here?!”

Hunter cocked a dark eyebrow at him in challenge.  “If that’s what it takes.”

Evan snickered without humor and tried to move by Hunter.  The man refused to budge.  “Out of the way, Hunter.”

The president plucked his brother’s hand from him with expert ease in the twist of his wrist that had the younger man yelping before he was promptly released.  “Not until you resolve this, Evan.”

Sophie said with alarm that swelled her teak brown eyes, “Evan’s right.  You cannot hold us here.”

Hunter glared at her with determination.  “Watch me.”

“Move out of the fucking way, Hunter!” Evan shouted in a fury and tried to shove his brother without much luck.

“Neither one of you will leave this damn conference room until you resolve this.  Now sit!” he commanded with annoyance and pointed to the conference table.  In that moment, he embodied Dad Cartwright or Billy.  Stunned, Sophie and Evan obediently sat in the leather chairs yet grumbled under their breath.

Calm once more, Hunter said evenly, “It’s clear to everyone that you love each other very much, and it’s tearing us all apart to see you hurt each other like this.  So, I propose this meeting to settle the matter.”

“Netico—” Sophie began but was cut off.

“All is well with that.  It’s this relationship that’s in trouble.”  Hunter pointed between them.  “So fix it.”

Evan clenched his jaw as he cut his eyes at him.  “How can I?  You’ve ruined everything remember?”

“If so, what you do from this point has no bearing on me, brother.  Or do you choose to hide behind your fear and blame me for that, too?” Hunter snapped with a piercing look.

“I’m not afraid!” Evan denied with his eyes swelling.

“Prove it then by talking to her and being honest,” Hunter urged softly as he glanced at each of them.  “Both of you be honest about what you want.”

He turned and left the room.  With his back to the conference door, Hunter closed his eyes and released the breath he held.  He lowered his head hoping Sophie and Evan would do as he requested with the clench of his jaw.  The stubborn people just needed a push.  He hoped that they took advantage of it.

“Did Hunter put you up to this?” Sophie accused with eyes full of suspicion studying her boyfriend.

His azure eyes swelled, incensed.  “Hey, I had nothing to do with this!  I’m as surprised as you are.”

“Uh-huh,” she doubted.

“Yes, I am,” Evan said as he frowned at her suspicious tone. 

“So we’d better do as he says if we hope to get out of here.  Is that it?” she questioned, fuming at the door Hunter exited.

Evan nodded as with the cross of his arms.

“Dick,” she spat at the door.

“Yeah.”

“Overbearing, meddling jackass!” she yelled at the door hoping that he could hear her.

“Dido.”

Sophie laughed in spite of herself when she glanced at her boyfriend.  He chuckled with her, and already they felt the tension lift moderately.

“Is this the end of us, Evan?” Sophie asked suddenly.

The silence between them became deafening.  Evan swallowed down his worst fear.“Are you telling me it’s over?”

She snorted.  “Do you want it to be?  I mean how could you even ask me if I was sleeping with your brother?  Other than working on this deal Hunter and I had not spent time together socially.  You know that.”

Evan looked down in shame before he met her gaze.  He thought about it and realized how irrational that sounded.  With a shrug, he said what had been going through his mind, “I saw how close you’ve been lately, and I was jealous.  I didn’t like it.”

Her brow furrowed.  “Evan, we’re friends.  That’s all.”

Evan shook his finger at her.  “Not at first.  I mean you’ve been so cold to him.”

Her brow furrowed more.  “I know, but he’s changed.  Him trying to bring us together should prove that to you.  The old Hunter never would have done something like this.”

“You’re right, but I don’t want to talk about him.  It’s not really about him so much as it is about me wanting to marry you.”

She pushed to her feet.  “Why didn’t you talk to me about this?”

He stood as well and walked around the table to her.  “So let’s talk about it.”

She dropped her fists on her hip and stared at him flatly.  “No, I mean before, Evan.”

“It seemed logical to me,” he said with a shrug and paused where he stood some distance from her, “I mean you wouldn’t move in with me, and I can’t think of anyone else that I want more than you, Sophie.  I love you.  All I want is to be with you.”

“Are you ready for that kind of commitment?  Really?  Or is it you just want to get something over on your brother?”

He snapped, as he stepped closer, “Me and you has nothing to do with him!”

She lifted an eyebrow at him.  “But the proposal didn’t?”

“No.”

She cocked both eyebrows at him.  “You sure about that?  Because it sure felt that way to me.”

He closed the distance between them but stood out of reach.  “It wasn’t.  I wanted to ask you for a while now, but no time seemed right.”

“Why not?”

Evan shrugged and ran his hands through his curly hair.  “First there was Hunter’s return and then everything with Michelle and your mom.”

“I see.”

His eyebrows knit.  “So why don’t you want to marry me?  Is there…is there something wrong with me?”

Sophie shook her head with uncertainty.  “It has nothing to do with you, Evan.”

“What are you afraid of then?”

She looked at him and then shook her head again when she looked away.  For weeks she’d been asking herself the same thing.  She felt no closer to an answer for that.  “I-I don’t know.”

“Do you love me?” he asked, trying to see her face.  When she would not look to him, he lifted her chin with the curve of his finger.

“Very much, Evan.  You know that.”

He gazed into her warm teak eyes as he closed the space between them.  “Then we’ll wait until you are.”

“How is that fair to you?” she asked with a deepening frown with the touch of his lean chest. 

Evan sighed as he caressed her cheek.  “Baby, I miss you so much.”

Sophie looked up at him with worry.  “I miss you, too, but how can things go back to the way they were after all this?”

He caressed her arms with a sigh so glad to see any emotion in her eyes besides anger.  Then there was hope.  “Being away from you has been the worst.  I love you, Sophie, and you love me.  That’s all that matters to me right now.”

“For how long?” she wondered with worry.

“Until you’re ready for more like I am.”


© Copyright 2020 Amy F. Turner. All rights reserved.

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