I am a runner. Not an actual runner, like with shoes and sweat. Instead, I specialize in leaving uncomfortable situations with alarming speed. Some people need closure; I need space. When I need this space, I do it in style. I keep a variety of emergency credit cards at the ready for such an occasion. This one…was going to require the black card…and my BFF.
“What are you doing?” I asked, confused and concerned. This could go very badly. I may have misjudged him completely.
“Relax,” he urged. “I just have one very important question to ask you. And these things are better said with jewelry than I ever could with words.”
I started to take a second step back. I’m a runner. Only he grabbed my hand and halted my escape.
“Will you be my wife for the week?” He asked. Then he batted his eyelashes at me.
It really took all the pressure off. Throwing my head back, I let out a huge laugh…a combination of relief and pure joy. “Are you sure you don’t want to date me? I hear there’s a lot more sex in dating than there is in marriage?”
“Well, that settles it,” he murmured against my cheek. “Looks like you are staying with me.”
I sighed. “Somehow, I think this is going to be a horrible idea. Promise not to fall in love with me,” I said seriously in a sad quiet voice.
He laughed. “I promise.”
“One last thing. Promise you won’t make me fall in love with you,” I added. I was more afraid of falling in love than anything. For some people, it was heights or snakes or spiders or the number thirteen. I feared love. People did some stupid shit in the name of love. Happened all the time. It made one party or the other believe in a permanence that simply didn’t exist. I sure as hell wasn’t going to fall prey to that way of thinking. Ever.
He turned my face to his. “I promise,” he said quietly and punctuated that claim with a kiss.
“Wow. I really haven’t thought this through. We’ve never moved so quickly before. I mean, I have to call the realtor and have them find a renter for the house. I have to call PODS and get a few storagecontainers. Then there’s turning off all the utilities, returning the cable box, putting a hold on the mail.” I shook my head it was
spinning so hard.
Chuckling, Jolie calmly pulled out her iPhone. “Let’s make a list,”she said simply.
I marveled at her, sounding so calm when I felt like my head might just freaking pop off. “Look at me. I’m a wreck. This isn’t me. What happened?” I raised my hand, exasperated and utterly disgusted with myself.
“Love,” she said seriously. “My baby finally found love.” With that declaration, she turned her attention to the new note she was creating.
Something in me calmed down. I could do this. We could do this. In a week, I’d be starting a new life in Vegas. If he kept his word, Mr. BE would be there, with me, a part of this new life. That…that waswhat had me all unhinged.
I don’t do love. Only now…with BE, maybe I did. All I knew for certain was that one week wasn’t enough. We had more story to tell, more life to live, more experiences to be had. He made me feel things in a way I never had before. He made me want things I had never wanted…like permanence. Shoot, I might even consider breaking all my rules for him.
For this man, I would settle down because I sure as hell didn’t feel like I was settling. He was everything I never knew I always wanted. We knew practically nothing about each other and yet…we made sense. Somehow, I didn’t care about his past. All I thought about now was our future. I just needed to survive this week. A lot of that was going to depend on the list.
Slowly, I inhaled and exhaled a few times. I set the cruise control on the SUV. Finally, when I felt more relaxed, I spoke to Jolie once more. “So, how is that list coming along?”
Nodding, she looked up at me and smiled widely. “We’re good. It’s all good. You know how this works. We’ve done this so many times before. It doesn’t even matter that we are on a time schedule. We’ve got this.”
Without saying another word, Jolie picked up my phone and started to place a call. “Here,” she said, “tell the nice lady about your house.”
Blowing out another breath, I reached for the phone and began the conversation that would start it all. We were really doing this. We had done this before, but this time…it was more real. This move was the scariest move ever.
A server stopped by the table then. The guy was cute, I guess. From his actions, I was certain he was used to women falling all over him. Poor guy. He wasn’t going to be able to flirt his way to a fat tip tonight. I was impervious to the charms of other men and
“What can I get for you, gorgeous?” He asked, flashing a huge smile
that exposed perfectly white straight teeth.
“Just a Coke for me,” I said. Then I turned my attention once more to Jolie.
She rolled her eyes so hard, her entire head bobbed. “Please. And we need some Irish Nachos…extra sour cream.” She studied the appetizers a moment more before shrugging and conceding. “And that should do it…but I reserve the right to order a brownie sundae later.” She nodded and smirked.
My eyebrows rose. “A brownie sundae? Since when?”
“Since you are in mourning,” she announced.
“I’m not in mourning! What do I have to be upset about? We just returned from an amazing cruise. I had some of the hottest sex of my life. And I’ll be seeing him again in a week!” I crossed my arms over my chest. “We’re starting a new adventure. Life is good.”
“Yes, life is good, but you don’t really believe that. This is why you are so out of sorts. You are having doubts. I can see it.” She frowned at me.
“How would you know?” I sniffed. “I never have doubts. I am the picture of confidence.” I leaned back in the booth in an attempt to project a picture of calm and cool.
She laughed at me then, a big hollow sound, the mocking one. “I’ve known you forever. The last ten years it has been the two of us and your flavor of the month. This guy, BE, he’s not a flavor of the month. BE is the spice of life. You know it, and I know it. I know how unsettling this is for you. Just know that he won’t let you down. He’s not going to stand you up. You can focus on doing what needs to be done and soon, you will be together again.”
“We’ll see,” I said with a shrug, trying to brush it off like it didn’t matter. Oh, but the girl in me wanted to beg Jolie for more…more reassurance, more pretty words that would soothe my tortured
The water was just starting to boil when my phone rang. I rushed to the bedroom because…well, how often does a phone ring jut after 4am? It could be an emergency. It could be a prank call. Or, according to the picture that glowed on my screen, it could be Jolie calling to cheer me up. That warmed me instantly.
“Hey, girl,” I said, all out of breath from my sprint for the phone. You may recall, I am not a jogger.
“Hey, sexy,” he breathed into the phone.
It took me a minute to process just whom I was speaking to. Then the tears started. Actually, it was more of a waterfall effect. Then came the snot. “Oh my god! It’s YOU! And you’re on Jolie’s phone!” I started sniffling while I wiped away the tears and tried my best to hold myself together.
“Yes, babe. It’s me. Jolie called me. It’s a three way. You know. Again,” he joked.
“Are you crying?” He asked concerned.
“No,” I lied. “Must be a cold.”
“Good, I don’t want you crying, especially when I can’t be there to comfort you.” He spoke soothingly into the phone and it reminded me of all those nights snuggled in his arms, talking, and making love. “What’s going on? One day apart and you’ve already decided not to meet me?” He asked.
My chest constricted. It hurt so much. My voice caught in my throat. “I don’t know how to do this. I’ve never done this before,” I whispered hoarsely.
“What? You’ve never made plans a week in advance? You’ve never moved?” He asked questions he already knew the answers to just to make me think.
“I’ve never been in love,” I admitted. “I’m scared of losing me to be with you.” I was silent after that admission. It took a lot for me to share that.
“Well, if it makes you feel any better…I don’t make a habit of falling in love. I tried it once. It didn’t go the way I expected. I’ve been a little gun shy ever since. For you, I’d take a bullet. You are a once in a lifetime kind of love,” he said quietly. “Promise me,
you’ll meet me.”
This conversation was what I needed. Jolie had found the perfect way to soothe my soul and settle my nerves. No wonder she was my BFF. “Hmmm. I suppose I could promise you,” I began playfully, “but what good are promises with you? Here we are, talking on the phone…”
“I’ll have you know I thought this through. I’ve broken no rules.You don’t have my name or my contact information. Jolie does. So there.” He chuckled at his own cleverness.
I couldn’t help but laugh. “And you think this information is safe with Jolie? You think I couldn’t get it from her if I wanted?” I asked.
His deep sexy voice responded, “Yes, that is precisely what I think. Jolie loves you. Jolie even seems to be rather fond of me and she thinks we make a phenomenal couple. So let’s stick to our rules for now. And when I see you on Saturday, you’ll discover what a big, bad rule breaker I am. Just wait for me until then. If one of us needs to, we have Jolie to reach out for us.” He was silent for a moment. So was I as I considered all he had said. “I love you, baby,” he said. “Saturday, I’ll be waiting for you.”