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Five Lessons Every Girl Should Know

Five Lessons Every Girl Should Know
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FIVE LESSONS EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW

By

Mary Eason


© Copyright Mary Eason, November 2011

New Concepts Publishing

Lake Park, GA 31636

www.newconceptspublishing.com

This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author’s imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.


My Lesson One:

 

Be careful what you wish for...

It’s been said that life is just a series of events with consequences. On their own, they don’t add up to much. But when you put them all together you never know where they’ll end up taking you or what the outcome of your journey will be.

For me, Ava Sanchez, the first major event to occur in my life that would end up having unbelievable consequences was when I took the job at Riley Publishing in the accounting department of all things. A job I couldn’t have been less qualified for had I actually counted with my toes during the interview.

But apparently Reva Alexander, my new boss saw something of promise, or more likely desperation in me, because Reva hired me right there on the spot. It was at this stage in my life that another key event took place; the ending of my yearlong relationship with good old, reliable Donald Patrick.

Donald worked for Riley as well and was the perfect boyfriend. Kind, considerate, and nice looking in a bookish sort of way. Donald had only one flaw. He was boring as hell!

In my opinion, Donald would never let me down. I actually believed all those things until two days, (yes, you heard me right), two days before my thirty-ninth birthday.

Donald had returned from a business trip to announce he’d met the girl of his dreams.

“What are you saying?” I somehow managed to ask with an all too familiar clueless look plastered on my face.

“Ava, I’m sorry. I know how hard this must be for you, hearing it like this. Please believe me when I tell you I didn’t mean for it to happen, but I’ve never felt so alive before. I think I love her. She’s the most exciting woman I’ve ever met...not that you’re not exciting.”

Donald skillfully added when he realized his blunder.

“You just met her? The trip you just got back from?” I forced the words out when I could actually speak again after hearing the worst possible insult any woman could ever hear.

“Does it really matter?” he asked in his best patronizing Donald voice.

Right before I could actually answer, a little voice in the back of my head reminded me that maybe I’d just made another narrow escape. I’d gotten away from Mr. Wheat Toast here before I became just as boring as he was.

“Ava, you were stifling me.” I think it was at this point Donald realized how close to violence I truly was. He was halfway out the door when I slammed it as hard as I could, thoroughly enjoying the sound of his painful yelp.

I grabbed the pint of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream I’d hidden in my freezer. With spoon in hand, I reached for the phone.

“Do you think I’m boring?” I yelled those words at my best friend before realizing it was almost midnight. “Reva, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it was so late. I’ll talk to you tomorrow at work.” I mumbled as I lowered the receiver without waiting to hear her answer.

I was just finishing off the pint when my doorbell rang and I feared a repeat visit from dear old, now unreliable Donald.

I was relieved to find Reva standing before my peephole holding up a large bottle of Southern Comfort.

 “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have called so late. I had no idea it was so late when I called. What are you doing here anyway? I wasn’t expecting to see you tonight.” While I rambled on, Reva pushed me back inside the apartment and closed the door before walking to my kitchen cabinets and producing two glasses. One of which she poured half

full and the other all the way to the top with Southern Comfort. Reva handed me the overflowing glass.

“Okay, sister--spill it. What happened?”

Reva Alexander had to be the most in-control, yet contradictive woman I’d ever met. Not only was she smart, she was drop dead gorgeous to boot.

“Spill it, Ava.”

“Donald just broke up with me!” I pretty much wailed only to see her roll her eyes and push me down onto the sofa before refilling my empty glass.

“Good riddance and congrats on a very narrow escape I say.” When she spotted my unhappiness she asked, mostly out of politeness, “What happened?”

“He told me he found someone else. Can you believe it? Donald found his dream girl. How could he find his dream girl so fast? I thought I was his dream girl. Can you believe he actually had the nerve to tell me I was too boring for him?” I took another slug of whiskey and looked to Reva for reassurance. She didn’t hesitate for a second before giving it to me.

“Please. Ava, you were lucky to get rid of him. Donald’s all but dead and no one has bothered to tell him about it. Of course, you’re not boring. Trust me, you have no idea how better off you are going to be without him in your life. You’ll find someone else.”

 “Yeah, well, you don’t have to worry about that again, because I’m finished with men! They’re all a bunch of losers as far as I’m concerned. And don’t look at me like that. You know it’s the truth.”

“You don’t mean that, you’re just upset. You know as well as I do you weren’t in love with Donald. If you’re being honest with yourself, you only went out with him in the first place because he was safe. A.K.A. boring!”

“Yeah, well, he must not be too boring, because he’s in love! He’s met his soul mate! Oh God, I think I’m going to be sick!”

By the time we’d killed most of the Southern Comfort, I was close. The room was spinning and I couldn’t remember what I’d been saying. It was then that my good friend hauled my butt off to bed.

 

My Lesson Two:

Even Cinderella had to leave the ball eventually...

Inside the taxi, we jostled our way along the busy city streets before finally

coming to a stop in front of one of the most expensive hotels in town. I’d only been by this place on a couple of different occasions. Tonight, it was all ablaze with lights. I turned to Reva and asked, “What are we doing here?”

“We’re going to a party, princess. A masquerade ball fit for your birthday

celebration, Cinderella.” Reva actually had the nerve to laugh at my shocked expression

“What masquerade party?”

“The one that’s going on inside this hotel right now.”

“Do you even know whose hosting this party?” I asked even though I knew what her answer would be.

“Sure I do.” She named off one of the most talked about names in all of New York City.

“You know this person? They’ve invited you to this party?”

By this time, I had a terrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew that nothing could be further from the truth.

“No, that’s why we’re crashing it.”

I wanted to cry. This was not how I’d envisioned spending my thirty-ninth birthday. Being locked away in a jail cell for disorderly conduct, or whatever the police chose to call what Reva was suggesting we do.

 “I’m going home,” I told her and was all set to tell the cabbie to take me home when Reva stopped me from doing so by pulling me out the door along with her. “Now listen here, Ava Sanchez,” she began and then remembered the driver was listening intently to our conversation while waiting for his money. Reva paid the man and sent him on his merry way before turning back to me.

“Life is too short to play it safe all the time, Ava. Its time you started having some fun before you shrivel up and become another Donald. So, you and I are going to smile and walk into this hotel and we are going to have the time of our lives. Which includes

drinking too much and hopefully, if we’re lucky, getting you laid.” She stopped for a second and waited for me to recover.

Reva handed me a small velvet mask and slipped the other one on. “You can be anyone you want to be tonight. So be someone who has the time of her life.”

Two days ago, I would never have let Reva talk me into walking through those doors. But tonight, on my thirty-ninth birthday after finding myself unattached and coming off a breakup from a guy who actually told me I was more boring than I imagined him to be, well, I was restless and ready for something...anything.

“This is the only way to live,” Reva whispered next to my ear.” She was right. I’d never seen or imagined anything quite this fantastic before. “Come on, let’s mingle.” She gave me a little push out into the sea of people where I got lost in the beauty surrounding me. That was the last time I saw Reva that night.

Just before the clock struck midnight, the next fateful chain of events in my life happened.

Across the room, I saw him watching me. All of my fantasy men rolled up in one real life person.

There was something about the man coming towards me now that reminded me of past mistakes. He would be nothing but trouble, surely. Unfortunately, I only managed to turn and pretend to move away when he reached me.

Without so much as a word, I was in his arms and he was dancing me off to a quiet corner of the room. I never left his arms again that night. For the rest of the party, we didn’t talk. We simply danced. When he did finally speak to me, he had the sexist voice I’d ever heard. He asked me where I lived. I told him without even considering it. Then he asked my name.

“It’s Ava.” I was expecting him to tell me his, but he didn’t, not that I minded. It didn’t matter because he was strictly a fantasy for me.

Later as we stood inside my apartment facing each other in the darkness, I refused to turn on even a single light. This was my fantasy remember. I didn’t want to see that he was as human and as predictable as all the others were.

“Do you want me to leave?” he asked in that infinitely seductive voice.

“No.”

He took another step closer. “Don’t you want to know my name?”

I tried to focus on the details of his face behind his mask, but it was hard because I wanted him like crazy. I just didn’t want to get to know him.

“No...” Behind the mask, he had the most amazing blue eyes to match the most amazing man. Ice blue eyes the color of a glazier. “No, I don’t want to know who you are.”

 “Then what do you want?”

“I only want sex. I don’t want to know anything about you. I only want you to be my fantasy. You see, I’m not interested in reality at the moment.”

I’m sure for him reality must be far more satisfying than any fantasy. But in my present state of mind, reality sucked. “What about what I want?” he asked and I tried once more to read his expression behind the mask. I didn’t really care what he wanted. He was just here to fulfill my fantasy for the night. That was it. I’d never see him again.

He was my birthday present to myself.

“I don’t care what you want.” His reaction was easy enough to read. In the back of my mind, my thoughts drifted over all those warnings my mother had drilled into my head growing up. You know the ones about never talking to strangers.

For the first time since I’d walked into that hotel tonight, the old Ava returned to remind me of how much trouble I might be in by inviting a stranger into my bed.

I think he saw all of my doubts the second they surfaced. Right before he took the decision out of my hands. My fantasy became a reality at least for one night. The man in my arms touched me a way that no other man before him ever had, including the ones who had claimed to love me.

When I awoke the next morning, it was later than it had ever been before. And my fantasy? Well, it was all but over.

 

My Lesson Three:

Mind your manners, sit up straight, and don’t wipe your hands on your pants...

It was a long time before I could actually get out of bed the next morning. Even longer before, I looked myself in the eye. My body ached in ways that reminded me of every single place my fantasy had touched me.

I showered and dressed then began downing as if it was going out of style. I was half way out my bedroom door when I spotted his note next to my bed.

Just a single piece of paper, written in handwriting that I didn’t recognize, but knew instinctively belonged to my fantasy. He was thanking me for the time of his life and promising he’d make all my dreams come true tonight.

I walked into my office building expecting everyone to stop and stare, but it was business as usual at Riley Publishing. Only dear, sweet Ronald my assistant saw the invisible proof of my sins.

“You’re late, Miss Texas. “I don’t know what you’ve been up to, but that’s defiantly not Elizabeth Arden’s work. You look fabulous, like...” I knew exactly where Ronald was heading with this line of questioning and I decided if I didn’t relish headlining in the office gossip pool then I’d better squash this line of questioning now. “Never mind. What’s my schedule like today?” Poor Ronald. This had to be the first time ever he wasn’t able to get the goods out of me. He looked insulted. Ronald simply handed me my calendar before dropping a bombshell.

“You have a ten o’clock meeting with the new boss, Miss Texas. So you’d better get that freshly, UN-huh look off your face.”

That stopped me from retreating into my office. “What? You mean the big boss, Junior Riley. What does he want with me?”

“John Riley,” he corrected. “And I don’t know, honey. Maybe he’s heard your reputation is currently leaning towards loose.”

“Ronald!” I knew this was payback for keeping secrets, but still. “I don’t know what he wants with you. All I know is his henchwoman called yesterday while you were out doing, whatever it is you’ve been up to lately. I managed to keep the woman in the dark until today, but she took the first thing I had on your calendar this morning.”

“Is Reva in? I’m sure she must know something about this?”

“N-O. Un-uh, doll. Reva’s out with the flu, or more likely, the same thing that’s been screwing with your head lately. She won’t know a thing about it. No, the henchwoman specifically asked for you. Reva’s name never came up.”

That had me even more frustrated. “Are you sure? What would the new boss want with me, anyway? How does he even know about me? I’m nobody?”

“Don’t know that either. But if you don’t get your ass up there soon, you’re not going to make a very good first impression, now are you? Go!”

As Ronald shooed me out of my own office I wondered what exactly I walking into. I should probably me be prepared for...something? As an after thought, I grabbed a pen and notebook from Ronald’s desk so that I would look somewhat professional and a pack of Tic-Tacs, (you can never be too prepared).

The executive offices were located on the thirteenth floor of the Riley Publishing

Building. Unlucky thirteen. Never in all my years working for the company had I been beyond the twelfth floor. The place was just as impressive as Reva had described it.

I stepped off the elevator and into an open area that housed the office of what I guessed would have to be Mr. Riley’s henchwoman.

The second I walked up to her desk, I knew I was in the presence of greatness.

This woman could skillfully accomplish whatever she set out to do with a single scathing look.

The one she gave me now sized me up from head to toe, and let me know that she didn’t find my perfectly fitted, black pantsuit in the least bit impressive.

“Have a seat,” Ms. Stella Sampson informed me with only the slightest movement from her thin lips. I had to focus hard just to make sure she had actually spoken at all.

Maybe the real Stella Sampson was behind one of those numerous doors and this was just a poorly disguised puppet? She gave me another look that sent me scurrying for a chair. My ten o’clock meeting time shot ten-fifteen to hell and was working on ten thirty when Stella’s phone finally buzzed. She eyed me sternly while speaking into the receiver.

“Right this way, Ms. Sanchez.” Stella was on her feet and walking purposely in the direction of a door that I’d noticed right away because of its impressive size. I guessed this was where the big guy’s office would be.

Suddenly I found myself so nervous that my hands were actually sweating. I waited while Stella knocked once and a decidedly masculine yet familiar voice asked us to enter.

Where exactly I’d heard this voice before? My imagination perhaps or maybe it was just my fear working overtime. Or maybe I was simply remembering all those things I’d been up to lately.

“Mr. Riley, Ms. Sanchez is here to see you.” Stella announced again without moving her lips.

When I realized Stella was leaving us alone, I forced a smile on my lips and turned to look at John Riley for the first time. The smile left my face the moment I got a good look at him. For the life of me, I couldn’t move. This was not what I’d been expecting. From all the pictures, I’d seen of the senior, now retired, Riley, I was expecting someone short, balding, and decidedly plump.

This man was none of those things. But he was holding out his hand and mine were still sweating like crazy.

I forgot my manners and actually wiped then across my pants like a naughty child before taking his hand.

Behind me, I heard what sounded like a harrumph from Stella before the door clicked shut on my future. I was being left alone to either sink or swim.

“Please sit down, Ms. Sanchez.” It took a few minutes for those simple words to register to my befuddled brain. Once they did, I plopped down into the chair he’d indicated in a manner that probably had him doubting Reva’s decision-making abilities.

The man was breathtaking, if you could use that word to describe a man. John was taller than me by a good foot and he had that particular shade of dark brown hair that I’d always found attractive on a man. You know, full of highlights, all of which I was certain had to be natural. He had the perfect body, tailor made for...best not to go there while I was sitting in his office and he was watching me with a somewhat amused expression on his face. The most amazing, and frankly, shocking thing about him, was his eyes. They reminded me of things I had no business thinking about in a meeting with my new boss. They were the shade of an ice blue glazier warmed by a touch of amusement. They were also very familiar blue eyes...

“Ms. Sanchez?”

I came back to reality in an instant at the formal sound of my name. He’d just asked me something. I had no idea what.

“I’m sorry?”

“Would you like something to drink--coffee, tea?”

“Oh, no.” I smiled at him out of sheer relief. I was so certain he was going to ask me what I’d been up to that was making me look so guilty.

As I watched, John grinned at my embarrassment, the tiny lines around his eyes fanning out giving the impression of someone who liked to smile a lot.

“You wondering why I asked you here this morning, aren’t you, Ava...may I call you Ava?” Was that just my imagination or was he finding me a little too amusing for a simple business meeting? John Riley looked like someone playing a nice little game of cat and mouse.

“That’s fine,” I told him, trying to understand why my name, coming from a man I’d just met, sounded so familiar.

“Good. Relax, Ava, I’m not firing you. In fact, I’ve heard some very good things about your work from Reva as well as several of your co-workers.” That got my attention fast enough. I forced my gaze back to his. He had the type of eyes that you could get lost in. A little shiver of uneasiness trailed down my spin at that thought.

“I thought it would be a good idea for us to get better acquainted.” The warmth in his voice washed over me so seductive that it was easy to lose sight of what he was actually saying. I mean who cares, right? I just wanted him to keep talking.

When I glanced at John again, I saw that he wasn’t taking any longer. He was watching me with the same odd amusement I’d seen before, since I’d walked into the room in fact. I wiped my hands on my pants once more. I never really realized I was so amusing.

“Sorry?”

“I was saying that I’m making time to meet all of the middle management team members this week. I think it helps to put a face and a voice with a name. Wouldn’t you agree, Ava?”

John sat back in his chair and watched my reaction. Against my will, my thoughts went back to the fantasy. The one that made me want to run home this very minute and wait for him. Even more reason to be embarrassed.

By the time he finally dismissed me, I was so relieved I was actually considering hugging him. I probably would have too had the man not made me so nervous. Instead, I made my escape as quickly as I could gracefully mange, back to my second floor hideaway where I found Ronald waiting impatiently for my return. “Well?” He hit me with the first question as I breezed past him and told him to follow.

Protocol aside, I didn’t have time to be nice. I was in serious trouble here.

 “Okay, tell me everything you know about this new guy?” I all but screeched at Ronald because I was now scared to death. John Riley was as intimidating as he was attractive.

“That bad? Oh, lord. What have you been up to, missy?”

“Ronald! I haven’t been up to anything. But something’s definitively going on, that’s for sure. So sit down and tell me what you know.”

“Well, it isn’t much.” He took his usual seat across from me. “All I know for sure is the youngster up there, and I call him that because he’s what--twenty-seven, twenty eight tops, didn’t want the old man’s job in the first place. Apparently, the old man didn’t give him any choice in the matter. He is the old man’s only natural child--there are a couple of step-kids from a later marriage floating around I believe, but they don’t really talk to the old guy and definitely have no interest in following in his footsteps. Too busy spending his money, if you ask me.”

At my impatient glare, Ronald put his personal opinions aside. “Anyway, the old guy must have threatened to write junior out of the will or something to get him back from London. Rumor has it that junior up there, was just getting out of an ugly divorce and already sowing quite a few wild oats when the old man called him back.”

I never questioned Ronald’s sources. He knew every single secretary’s name and personal history by heart. Ronald knew how to get the goods.

It surprised me that John Riley had been married. I wouldn’t have pegged him for the marrying kind. “Tell me about the business. I don’t care about him personally.” I lied and tried to mean it.

 “Uh huh, well you’d be the first woman in history to feel that way. I love you, honey, but you’re not that special.” Ronald glanced my way, saw my reaction, and decided he’d gone too far again. “Anyways, there are definitely changes in the works and I don’t mind telling you, I’m polishing up my resume...tonight.”

 

My Lesson Four:

Sometimes great sex is better than a good relationship...

When I unlocked the apartment door, my little puppy Buster greeted me along

with the unmade bed. I decided tonight was the night to find out some answers from my fantasy. At the very least, I needed to know his name.

But as hard as I tried, when he walked into my bedroom, I couldn’t ask any of the questions I needed to ask. As I lay in his arms, exhausted from his touch and emotionally drained from the battle I’d fought with my conscience all day, I couldn’t stop the tears when they came.

When he turned me to face him, I couldn’t answer the questions in his eyes. “Don’t go. Please, don’t leave.” Even as those words left my lips, I regretted given into such foolish emotions.

“Shh...” he whispered tenderly against my hair. The gentleness in his voice was my undoing. The soft stroke of his hand brushing away my tears made them even more difficult to control.

When I awoke the following morning, it was to a gentle caress against my bare skin. My fingers searched behind me, expecting to find an empty bed. Instead, they met the warm, living flesh of my fantasy here with me in the real world.

I turned around quickly, shocked fully awake by the sound of his laughter. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t believe what I was actually seeing. This was not the person I was expecting to find in my bed.

My fantasy had now turned into a very ugly nightmare. The man lying next to me was none other than my new boss, John Riley. My twenty-eight year old boss.

I couldn’t seem to find my voice. Not that it mattered. The way he was now looking at me told me that words would not be necessary.

I struggled to grasp what was happening. My mind suddenly felt as if it were somehow trapped in a fog.

“You look surprised?”

“What...what are you doing here? What do you think you’re doing here? Get out!”

“Don’t you remember? You invited me here. You begged me to stay with you last night. So relax, I’m not going anywhere.” As he said those words, John moved closer. I was trying to put as much distance between us as possible, without actually getting out of the bed. I wasn’t wearing a thing, after all, and he was my boss.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

“I’m...” Now, I wasn’t sure where I was going. I was still in shock. As I looked into the blue eyes of my fantasy turned reality, the man that should have been sending warning signals out to me from that very first day, I found I couldn’t breathe, much less thing coherently. “I can’t do this. I can’t do this, John!”

I added that last part in a rush, because he was pulling me closer, his hands doing dangerous things to what was left of my composure.

John stopped when he saw my reaction. “You didn’t know did you?” he added slowly.

I shook my head, even more embarrassed it had taken me so long. “How long...” I cleared my throat and forced the words out. “How long have you known?”

 “Since last night.” I realized John was no longer interested in what I knew or in finishing this discussion for that matter. He closed the last few inches of space between our bodies before he kissed me and I no longer cared either.

I didn’t actually become aware of the world around me again until late Sunday morning, when the smell of fresh brewed coffee coming from close by finally brought me back to life.

“Good. I was beginning to think I’d killed you.” John told me as he sat down on my bed close to me. I ignored his words entirely and took the coffee he offered. “You’re leaving?” I tried to keep the disappointment out my voice, but I wasn’t quite successful. John might not believe it yet, but I wasn’t the kind of woman he imagined me to be.

I couldn’t bring myself to look at him so I pretended to be engrossed in my coffee, which in part was the truth. It was the only thing keeping me going. Unfortunately, John’s laughter did terrible things to all my focused concentration. “I have to, Ava. I have a meeting in a few hours and I have to go home to change before I can go into the office.”

“It’s Sunday...Why don’t you just tell the truth.” I tried to keep my voice steady, while still not looking at him because frankly, I didn’t understand this disappointment I was feeling right now.

Maybe it was in learning my fantasy was as real as any other man I’d met. Or maybe it was because said fantasy had now turned into an ugly nightmare as far as I was concerned. John was not my fantasy man. He wasn’t even in the same league in my book. Wrong fantasy and definitely the wrong man to fulfill the fantasy.

 “Yes, I realize its Sunday, but I still have a meeting. But I promise I’ll be back tonight.”

I felt sick. Did he think I had nothing better to do than sit around and wait for his return?

“I meant I would like to take you to dinner, Ava. Its time we stopped playing games with each other and really talked, don’t you think? But in the mean time...” He took the coffee cup from my unresisting hand and forced me to look at him.

“In the mean time, you need to eat something and get some rest. You look tired.”

And just like that with a simple little kiss that didn’t come close to resembling the passion we’d shared before, John Riley, my fantasy turned ugly reality, walked out my door.

For longer than I cared to remember, I sat watching my bedroom door hoping...well, part of me hoped I’d seen the last of him, while still another part prayed I hadn’t.

I sat in bed, wearing nothing but a sheet, crying into cold coffee for what seemed like most of what was still left of the morning.

Then, I walked into my tiny kitchen to the enthusiastic yelps of Buster and found John had made me Starbucks coffee, ignoring my old standby Folgers. He had also managed to come up with fresh bagels from somewhere.

With Buster happily sleeping, I went into the living room, sat down on my couch, and contemplated my sanity.

How was it possible that someone, no—correction, how could a thirty-nine-year old woman who knew how to survive in New York, manage to get herself caught up in such an unbelievably dumb situation? With a twenty-eight year old man, who was her boss to make matters worse?

What had I been thinking? And why hadn’t I noticed all the signs earlier today? John Riley was the living, breathing impression of my fantasy, right down to the same startling blue eyes. There probably wasn’t another man in the world, much less New York with the same shade of eyes not to mention the same beautiful body. So, why hadn’t I picked up any of those things? That was simple enough to answer. I’d been living in a sexual cloud all day. Nothing would have gotten through to me.

 

My Lesson Five:

If you play with matches, you’d better be prepared to deal with a few fires...

I awakened some time later to the sound of Buster barking fiercely. Buster had apparently been trying to get my attention for quite some time. Someone was knocking, rather loudly on my door. When I didn’t make a move to answer, John simply walked inside and closed the door.

“Aren’t you going to say something?” he said when he spotted me on the couch.

“I don’t know what to say.”

He took a step closer. “Ava, we need to talk.”

“Maybe so, but I don’t want to. Look John, I’m fine. I’ll be okay. You don’t have to worry about me. We had some fun together, but I think we should call it quits now, don’t you?”

“Is this because of work? Are you worried what people will say when they hear we’re dating? Ava, who cares! I certainly don’t.”

“It’s not about work, well not entirely. John I’m thirty-nine years old. You’re twenty-eight. We have nothing in common!”

“I’d say we have a lot in common. Look, I know this is hard for you, but dammit, Ava, I’m crazy about you. I don’t want to walk away from this. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you sooner, but I thought you knew.”

I looked away. God, I wanted to believe what he’d just said. Wanted to believe John Riley really might have feelings for me. How could I trust that I wasn’t making the biggest mistake in my life by asking him to become part of it?

 “Ava, I care about you.” He took another step closer. “You care about me. How could you think this was all about sex?”

“I don’t believe you.” I struggled to get those words out through my tears. “It’s true. I care about you.” Another step closer, but this time I wasn’t looking away. I was listening to everything John said.

“I know you don’t believe me. Please, give me a chance to prove it to you.”

“I don’t believe you,” I told him quietly. “But I want to.”

“Then let me prove it to you. Give me the chance to prove I’m serious. Please, Ava. Give us a chance.”

As I looked into his eyes, I felt the beginning of trust. I saw something in John that had been there many times in his touch. Now, at last, I saw the real man behind the fantasy.

Tonight with John, I understood what the outcome of my fantasy would be at last. It would be my reality.

When it’s right, you know it, even before you can admit it to yourself. Even if you come close to screwing it all up.

But sometimes, if you’re lucky, someone will be there beside you, sticking with you through it all and making all your little screw-ups work out somehow.

 

About the Author

Mary Eason grew up in a small Texas town famous for, well not much of anything really. Being the baby of the family and quite a bit younger than her brothers

and sister, Mary had plenty of time to entertain herself. Making up stories seem to come natural to her.

As a pre-teen, Mary discovered romance novels and knew instinctively that was what she wanted to do with her over-active imagination.

She wrote her first novel as a teen, (it’s tucked away somewhere never to see the light of day), but never really pursued her writing career seriously until a few years later, when she wrote her first romantic comedy and was hooked.

Today, Mary still lives in Texas, and still writes about romance. In fact, she can’t think of anything else she’d rather do.

 

 

 

 

 

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