Admiration

Admiration Chapter 17 Jack

Love is a difficult thing. There’s nothing else in life where something could be so beautiful and hurt at the same time. There’s nothing in life that brings you such butterflies and fear at the same time. I didn’t know love until I met Isabella. It was one look at her, and I knew what love was exactly. I knew that I would never feel anything that was remotely similar to what I felt while laying my eyes on her beautiful body. And then when I reached her personality, Somehow, things even got better. For someone like me who always wanted to figure out why something worked, love drove me mad because I couldn’t understand how I could fall for someone so hard, so fast. How could someone like Isabella take control of my heart when I had guarded my heart for my entire life, not letting anyone in and not letting anyone get close? None of it made sense, yet I was in the middle, like standing in the center of a hurricane. It was a hurricane that I never wanted to end.

Just because love was amazing didn’t mean that the rest of life didn’t continue. Some parts of life needed to be handled and figured out. One of those things was my brother Leo. He sat in my office after telling me the news that I had brushed off like an asshole.

“I’m never going to forgive myself for that, Leo. You were coming to me in confidence, and I brushed you off. For that, I am terribly sorry.”

Leo had his eyes fixed on the piece of skin that he was picking on his thumb that he was picking with his index finger. “I’m not upset about that, Jack. I know the circumstances. I know what you were going through. It was a trying time, and anyone in your position would have emotions all over the place. I’m more concerned about what you’re thinking about the news of me wanting to transition.”

It was almost an absurd question to me. “You know that you don’t need to ask that. You’re my brother. And whether you’re my brother or my sister, I’ll always love you because you’re family. If I can still love all of her as my stepson, then come on. You know me. You know what I’m. I don’t care what’s in your pants or how you identify; you’re blood. And I would die for you.”

When Leo looked up, his eyes were filled with tears. He did his best to eliminate them before I could see them, but the damage had been done. We both got up from our seats, hugged each other, and then I said, “You let me know when the process begins, and I’ll be here for you, bro. Or sis. Whatever you want me to call you.”

Leo laughed. On his way out, he turned to look at me. “I’m happy for you and Isabella. It’s great to see you in such good spirits and thriving. You spend so much time looking after me and the brothers that you never took time for yourself, and I’m glad you finally are.”

I nodded. “Likewise.”

Leo had taken on more of a role in the human resources department. He took up for Oliver Slack as I scaled back all of his duties so that he could focus on himself a little bit more. The kid needed to grow. He needed to find his maturity and find his way in life so he could treat people a little bit better. Something told me that his story was going to be incredible with some time. Hopefully, that time will be sooner than later because I didn’t want to see my stepson making bad choices in his life.

All those facets secured my life; there was just one thing left. And that was my life with Isabella.

Since we had officially gotten together and dropped all the drama. The little bit of media coverage that we had dissipated because they had nothing to work with. The company had long moved on from my father after his scandal, and he was gone. The fact that Isabella and I had come out and announced that we were together, no one could use anything against us. When the news broke that Oliver had been the one who recorded it all, it just made him look bad. For us, we just look like a couple of people who are in love. And was the truth.

“So this all started because you admired me, huh? You admired your stepson’s girlfriend. All while you had a wife. You know I walk with a little bit of swag, right?” Isabella said as we walked through a park.

“As much as I’d love to credit you for breaking apart a dead marriage, my marriage had already been dead. All you did was essentially take a stick and beat it with it.”

Isabella, Jokes aside, I’m glad that Piper and I get along. Outside of you, she’s the only other one I really care about. I guess I say that because I get along with all of you other brothers.”

I nodded and thought about how well our family meshed. “I love that about you. I love that you’re able to get along with everyone. It speaks volumes about your type of character and how special you are. I know you don’t want to hear this, and I know you’re probably sick of me admiring you, but you’re a special woman. And I am lucky to have you.”

Isabella stopped us from walking for a moment and got in front of me. She went on her tippy toes and gave me a kiss. As the sun set behind us, I became aware of just how perfect my life had become. I had the most beautiful woman that’s my girlfriend. I was to see all of a thriving company. I had an entire future ahead that seemed like a totally different life than the one I had before I got together with Isabella.

Love may have been a complicated and scary thing at one point. But I was excited to love Isabella for the rest of my life.

**THE END**

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