Book cover of “The Carrero Heart: Happy Ever Afters“ by L.T.Marshall

The Carrero Heart: Happy Ever Afters

  • Genre: Romance
  • Age: 18+
  • Status: Completed
  • Language: English
  • Author: L.T.Marshall
Sophie Huntsberger and Arrick Carrero start their new life together in France, where Sophie hopes to follow her dream and finish her term at the Paris Fashion Academy. Everything seems too good to be true, and a happy ever after is clearly on the cards. Or is it? Unforeseen long separations and being cut off from family and friends halfway acros... 

Chapter 1

Arry leads me into the apartment, holding hands, fingers interlocked snuggly, and gives me a soft sexy smile as he guides me into our new abode’s wide, high-ceiling hallway. I’m tired from our journey, drained, achy, and need a long soak in the tub from being on a commercial plane for hours, but we’re finally here. I can push off the heaviness of my body and bones and sink into our home with a huge sigh of relief. It’s finally happening. After weeks of hard work, stress, and panic to get us here before my new term started. I’m drained and exhausted, yet tingly with anticipation.

Paris… our home for the next year.

Our little adventure while I go to school and take steps toward the dream I have in my sight. He’s moved heaven and earth to make sure this happened, and I couldn’t love him anymore for it if I tried. It’s our reality. It’s my future.

I glance around as he drops our flight bags on the floor with a gentle thud, both from one hand. They slump by his feet, practically sighing with the same relief of a tedious journey’s end, reflecting how we both look. We pre-packed and sent everything we wanted ahead of us and traveled light. All we have are two tiny bags, immense exhaustion from a long ass, an eight-hour flight from New York, and a desire to take it all in.

The flutter of excitement, the tingles at getting shown around for the first time since we bought this apartment, rise within me, stirring me from my travel fog. Peeking my attention as my lungs fill with renewed energy at seeing all the new and shiny for the first time.

We sent someone Arrick trusted to scope this place, a quick sale based on videos, pictures, and real estate inspector’s valuations. This is us seeing it fully decorated to our specifications, taking it in all its real glory, and seeing it in the flesh for the first time ever.

The grand entrance and ornate French moldings give me crazy excitement. It’s so quaint as you walk into the little half-closed entranceway, with its high ceilings, pale creamy walls, and highly polished wood floor the darkest color of mahogany brown. It’s reminiscent of a dream home in a romance movie set in a past era of Paris.

I can’t wait to see how it looks in its entirety now that our designer has made it ready for us to move into. Hours of showing her designs, ideas, and color palettes. Pouring over a million design brochures, Pinterest images, and endless sleepless nights while filling out mood boards for her. Furniture websites, soft furnishing samples, and art…

I blink as I take it all in, in one wide eye sweep as we turn into the open plan of our main living room and pause… Blink twice… blink again. My face is stilling as the visual turns me into a stony-faced statue of not impressed.

My face and heart drop spectacularly, like a lead weight, to my stomach as I take in the massive sitting room before me, and my mood completely shoots out of orbit. Excitement dead, happiness murdered, tears prickling because I am so damn tired, and this is not the sight I expected to see before me. This has the same effect as systematically being sucker punched in the stomach and head with great force.

It’s nothing like we agreed, or what we chose together, what we spent hours, days, and weeks picking and bickering about and giving to that overpriced, garish outfit wearing, so-called designer. I can’t believe I endured her smarmy obvious flirting with Arrick endlessly for all this shit I now see before me.

I slide my hand out of his as I stop, rooted to my spot, temper simmering irrationally, and spin around with a frown that fast overtakes my face. Feeling like bashing him over the head with anything I have to hand and cannot stop the bubbling of a “Sophie overreaction” at something Arrick did to upset her.

Yes, I need to get that crap under control, but he is so damn infuriating sometimes.

This is pretty much a replica of Arry’s apartment before I moved in with him. Same neutral tones and a comfy casual vibe. Masculine, New York apartment in a French building, and nothing at all of the things I chose. He has eliminated the “Sophie” from the “Arry and Sophie” love pad. And I’m on the verge of sobbing my little broken heart out. I want to bawl in a “my boyfriend’s such a mean dickhead” kind of heartbreak. This apartment doesn’t feel like my welcoming new home, which I expected to embrace me with delight. Instead, it feels like a bachelor pad and a zone made just for Arry alone.

Where are my sparkly fairy lights, fluffy throws, and romantic scatter pillows? Where are my oversized lanterns filled with candles and cute things on the shelves? My choice of prints on the walls or even the couch I chose? Where are my goddamn silver Unicorn sculptures?

“What’s wrong?” Arry turns and appraises me, bewildered, and does a double take around the room as if he is looking for the thing that makes me unhappy. He is clearly blind to what’s missing and sees only something he obviously likes.

Asshole!

I’m pissed that he doesn’t see it at all. That he looks completely surprised that I would have this sort of reaction to the bland man pad laid out before us in all its minimal, stark, and unhomeliness glory. I’ve never seen grey look so boring.

“This isn’t what we chose?” I wave my hand around the room snappily, disappointment filling me up inside, and I know it’s such a dumb thing to get upset over, but this is supposed to be our first place together. Not just one I moved into and added my stamp.

This was ours. A half and half of us both. Our first real ‘let’s choose everything together from scratch.’

I spent nearly three weeks scrawling pictures of rooms and accessory catalogs to give to the stupid designer and bugging him at every opportunity with options. My cell and WhatsApp are jam-packed with the five thousand images I sent him at work daily and the ‘please kill me now and just choose whatever you want’ replies I got back from him. He kept telling me to go ahead and choose for us. He didn’t seem to care all that much and offered minimal input.

He clearly never fucking meant that, no matter how many times he sent it!

“Sure, it is… Pretty sure we told her to stick with the style of our New York place.” He glances around again innocently as he comes back to try and catch hold of me, but I slap his hand down with a satisfying thwack noise and walk off towards the low coffee table abruptly. Irritation is not good for me, and the last thing I can deal with when I’m pissed is him trying to get all smoochy and touchy and smooth it over without realizing what he’s even done.

He’s so goddamn dumb sometimes.

“We said similar… We picked stuff together! Furniture, décor pieces, a color scheme. Soft furnishings and art. None of that is here… Did you sign off on this shit?” I turn and flash him an angry look, gritting my teeth to curb the swell of stomach-aching disappointment, and his face drops slightly too. Finally registering how seething hurt I am by this.

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