Home > Stay With Me (With Me in Seattle #9)(3)

Stay With Me (With Me in Seattle #9)(3)
Author: Kristen Proby

I smile as I hit end on the camera and sit back to look through the video to make sure there’s nothing that I need to film over again.

I’ll splice it together tomorrow and get it ready to publish on YouTube on Friday.

I’ve made quite the name for myself as a beauty and fashion vlogger. With more than three million followers on YouTube, and close to two million on Instagram, I have an impressive following.

All because I love makeup and pretty clothes.

I’ve been told that the camera loves me, which is a bonus.

Now, I’ve been approached by one of the biggest makeup and skincare retailers in the country to formulate my own makeup brand. It’s almost ready to launch, but I’m stuck in this holding pattern. Again.

I thought it was over. I thought I could finally move forward with my life and leave my past where it belongs.

Instead, I’m waiting. Just like I have been for more than two years.

It’s ridiculous.

I shake my head as I wrap up the video, turn off the lights, and carry my makeup brushes into the bathroom to clean them and get them ready for the next recording.

The doorbell rings, and I roll my eyes, hopeful that Mr. Neighbor hasn’t decided that he needs a cup of sugar, after all. But it’s not Wyatt, it’s the UPS man with a delivery.

Day one, and the deliveries have already caught up to me. Which is fantastic.

I unbox the goodies from It cosmetics, and log the foundations, powders, and brushes into my spreadsheets. I keep track of everything that arrives, whether I’ve ordered it or if it’s a freebie from the company. I also keep track of if I try it, use it in a video or on Instagram, and what I think of the product.

With dozens of things arriving each week, there’s just no other way to keep track of everything. Not to mention, it feeds my organized soul.

My phone pings with a text from Jules.

If you’re free, I’m bringing Natalie and wine over at 6pm. Sit by the pool?

I grin, excited to see them both, and reply. Yes! Yay! I’ll order pizza.

I check the clock. I have two hours until they arrive. It’s the perfect amount of time to get in some yoga and a shower.

Just as I’m about to step under the hot spray, Jules texts back. Awesome. See you soon!

“I haven’t told my parents that I’m here yet,” I confide to Nat and Jules a few hours later. We’re sitting by the pool in the backyard, lounging on the most comfortable outdoor chairs I’ve ever sat in, sipping our wine.

We’ve already decimated the pizza.

“They won’t be happy,” Jules says, exchanging a look with Natalie, who looks fucking amazing for just having had a baby.

“I know.” I sigh, watching the water in the pool. “It sucks. My family has been under enough stress because of my divorce. I finally thought it was over, and we all celebrated. With a party. How do I say ‘oops! Never mind!’”

“I wouldn’t say it like that,” Natalie replies with a laugh.

“I know for a fact that Uncle Stan and Aunt Sherri would be totally supportive and angry on your behalf.” Jules takes a sip of her wine.

“I know. I’ll call them tomorrow.” I fidget with the button on the cushion of my chair. “Thanks for everything, Jules.”

“You’ve thanked me about forty times.”

“Well, I’m thanking you again. And you, too, Nat. Thanks for letting me stay here. It’s so beautiful, and perfect for what I need. I set up a studio in the upstairs guest room for my videos.”

“Oh, perfect,” Nat says with a smile. She might be one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. With long, dark hair, green eyes, and a calm soul, she’s always made me feel comfortable around her. “I want you to be at ease here. Well, as at ease as you can, given the circumstances. And if you need anything, Luke and I are just up the road a ways.”

“Thanks.” I blow out a breath. “Honestly, I’m a bit surprised that you’re both so willing to help. Not because I think you’re mean or anything, but, Jules, you’re a bit older than me, and we’ve never been close. I always looked up to you.”

“Well, when I was twenty, and you were fifteen, I probably didn’t want you around,” Jules admits with a laugh. “But you’re an adult, and you’re my cousin. I’m always happy to help. I would love to see more of you. I think we have a lot in common.”

“I watch your videos every week,” Natalie adds. “I get a lot of great tips from you.”

“Me, too,” Jules says with a nod. “We’re girly girls, through and through.”

“I love that,” I reply. “I’d love to go shopping with you guys.”

“Hallelujah,” Natalie says, throwing her hands into the air. “I’ve been pregnant forever, and now that Chelsea is a couple months old, I can leave her for a few hours at a time. So, yes. Please, let’s go shopping soon.”

“We could invite all of the girls,” Jules says, her brain working. “Make it a shopping day-slash-girls’ night out.”

“Oh, yes,” Nat says, nodding vigorously. “You probably haven’t had a chance to get to know everyone.”

“I haven’t been home since Dom’s wedding.”

“That was three years ago,” Jules says. “We definitely need to get all the girls together.”

“Awesome.” I high five both of them, excited to spend time with all of my cousins and their significant others “Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask, what’s in that building?” I ask, pointing to the small structure behind the house.

“My studio,” Natalie says. “Just so you know, I’ll be in and out sometimes with clients, but we’ll walk around the house. I take photos in there.”

“Oh, how fun.”

“I should do some photos for you,” Nat says. “You’re absolutely stunning.”

“She does boudoir photos,” Jules warns me.

“Actually, I could use a bunch of shots for my new brand. I can’t be in L.A. for the sessions, but I bet we could do them here.”

“I’d be happy to,” Natalie says, her face lighting up with a smile. “Just let me know what you need, and we’ll make it happen.”

“Thank you. I could also use some shots for social media. I had a girlfriend in L.A. who did those for me, but—”

“Say no more,” Natalie says, holding up a hand. “I’m your girl, and I’m ready to get back to work part-time. Let’s set something up for later in the week.”

“This is amazing.” I stare at both of them as they smile back at me. Wide, happy smiles. It feels so good to be back with family. “I can’t wait.”

“Me either,” Natalie says.

“I want to come, too,” Jules adds.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”


So, she wants the cabinets on the other side of the kitchen. I stare at the blueprints and scowl.

There isn’t even a fucking wall there.

My phone rings at my elbow.


“What has your panties in a twist?” My brother, Jace, asks on the other end of the line.

“Difficult client,” I reply and drag my hand down my face before looking out my office window, which faces the mysterious woman’s house just across the street. Another delivery truck has pulled up, and just ahead of that, a dark-haired woman climbs out of her luxury SUV, along with a young couple.

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