Class Of Desire (Contemporary Romance)

Class Of Desire

by

Clara James

 

Copyright ©
2013 by Linda Wilson

This is a work
of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of
the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any
persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is
entirely coincidental.

Class Of
Desire

All rights
reserved.

This book is
protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America.
No part of this work may be
used, reproduced, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or
mechanical, including photocopying, recording and faxing, or by any information
storage and retrieval system by anyone but the purchaser for their own personal
use.

This Book may
not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Linda
Wilson, except in the case of a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages for
the sake of a review written for inclusions in a magazine, newspaper, or
journal—and these cases require written approval from Linda Wilson prior to
publication. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material or
artwork herein is prohibited without the express written permission of the
author.

Prologue

Elizabeth scanned through the various television stations
mechanically searching for something,
anything
to watch as she tried to
relax in her quaint little apartment. “This sucks - 120 channels and still
can’t find something good,” she muttered to herself, yawning while stretching
her hands above her head in frustration.

The distinctive smell of burgers, smoke and soda seemed to
linger upon her even after she’d left the small fast food restaurant where she
worked. If she could only find the strength needed to make it to the shower she’d
feel much better. Just thinking about the warm water gently cascading down her
body should have been enough motivation, but it wasn’t. Her muscles were sore
and her feet were nearly swollen from the long day at work.

“Are you sitting on your couch all day thinking about going
back to school...Why think about it? Just do it. Stop making excuses! Your time
is now, get back in school and start a rewarding career. Do it now, don’t
wait... Call the Bregor Allen College
Today!
That’s
1-800-Get-There.
Advisors are waiting to talk to you right now. Financial aid available
to qualified students.
So stop procrastinating. Call now...”

The young Hispanic woman in the television commercial spoke
with such vigor and passion that she immediately caught Elizabeth’s attention.
Her words seemed to stir up something in Elizabeth like fuel on a fire, moving
her into action.

Leaping to her feet Elizabeth almost forgot about how tired
she was, as she rushed to her bag in search of a pen and paper. For a while she’d
wanted to go back to college; however, for some reason or another she would
always put it off. This all stopped today. As she rushed back to the couch, she
leaned in closer ensuring that she wrote the accurate phone number on the tiny
slip of paper.

Nothing would stop her now, she guaranteed herself, as she
dialed the number to the school anxiously waiting for someone to answer her
call. “Hi my name is Elizabeth Carter, I’m 31, a single mom and I want to learn
more about your college.” She informed the gentleman on the other end of the
phone line.

“I’d be happy to help you get back into college Miss Carter.
Tell me what major you’re interested in pursuing.”

“I think I would enjoy something related to legal studies”
she replied.

A smile touched her face as she spoke candidly to the
college representative, who was more than happy to advise her on her options and
how she could begin the enrollment process.

Chapter One

Escape

E
lizabeth
or Lizzy as she liked to be called, had spent the earlier part of her day at
the local store purchasing the books for her classes. When she was presented
with the bill for the three books, she almost suffered a mild heart attack. “
$575
,
you’ve got to be kidding me...
Do I get a discount
?” she remembered
blurting in shock to the cashier. That was almost half her entire month’s
salary. She was thankful she qualified for federal financial assistance with
her college expenses. The thought of her having to choose between books and
rent was a scary one.

***

“I swear I’m so nervous Cathy, I can feel my stomach
churning,” Elizabeth sighed taking a deep breath in as she tried to calm
herself.

Her co-worker Cathy seemed somewhat uninterested in what
Elizabeth had to say. Without a word she proceeded to the front, attending to the
long line of impatient customers. Had she not known Cathy any better, Elizabeth
would have thought that she was a little jealous. Most people in their line of
work dreamed of going back to school, but only a few of them actually did.

Physically speaking, Elizabeth could not have been more
different from Cathy. Her long dark hair was usually pulled back neatly into a
ponytail, while Cathy’s blonde hair was cut low in a boy cut and looked as harsh
as dried grass. There was another notable difference between the two; Elizabeth
was a stunningly gorgeous woman, the epitome of classical beauty. Yet
surprisingly she seemed oblivious to the fact that she was so attractive.

Cathy on the other hand was a cocky, loud spoken brute. Short
tempered, with a crude southern accent. She had moved to New York in the early
nineties from a small town in Southern Texas. Often she used the fact that she
was the oldest employee on staff to boss her co-workers around. Although Elizabeth
didn’t agree with her actions most of the time, there was an undeniable level
of mutual respect between the two women.

Perhaps she got along with Cathy because she was never
really perturbed by the older woman’s authoritative behavior. Elizabeth usually
kept to herself in a desperate effort to avoid confrontation. In the back of
her mind she always knew that she was meant to be more than just a low level
fast food worker. She dreamed of being in a court room presenting convincing
evidence that would help a jury or judge put some jerk in jail for his criminal
offenses.

“Don’t worry about her Lizzy; it’s been a rough morning here.”
Allen stepped up to the order window, a few inches from Elizabeth and picked up
his ear piece. “Welcome to Jimmy’s Burgers may I take your order?” he spoke
with such flamboyance and flare that one would think he made thousands per hour
and was very content with his job.

“So how are you going to do school, work, the kids?” Allen
asked with a doubtful expression on his face.

Lizzy shot him a pensive look as if trying to decide whether
she should even answer his question. Was he being sarcastic or did he genuinely
care? She couldn’t tell.

“I’ll be going to night school for now, and I’ll see how it
goes from there. My neighbor will watch the kids for me...” she paused for a
second before finishing her statement. “As for work - well, I hope Sam goes
easy on me with the schedule. I really need to get the day shifts from now on.”

“Wow,
work during the day, college at nights
. You
sound like you’re about to be a very busy woman Elizabeth Carter.” The young
man chuckled lightly, cutting the air of tension between them.

A soft smile touched Lizzy’s lips as she elbowed her
co-worker, playfully referring to herself as “superwoman” in the process. Allen
Cryer was the youngest guy at the restaurant, yet he’d been the one to warm up
to her the most. Surprisingly he was very mature, even more mature and
intelligent than some of the other employees who were twice his age.

The sound of keys jingling caught their attention and
immediately they straightened up and grew serious, like two children caught in
some act of foolery by their teacher. Sam approached them stealthily with a
crossed look on her face.

Lizzy’s heart pounded as she feared what her supervisor Sam
Locke would say to them. Sam was huge, and although she was not much older than
Lizzy, her manly stature made her seem very intimidating.

“Where’s your hair net Allen? You know the rules; don’t make
me write you up.” Her voice was stern and it sent a shiver through Lizzy.

Thankfully Lizzy had always been one to follow the rules and
so she never forgot to wear her hair net or gloves, and she always washed her
hands before service. Lizzy moved away quietly to the back of the kitchen, busying
herself with an order of 2 burgers, fries and a small drink. In the background
she could hear Sam and Allen’s voices growing louder and louder. They were now
having a heated argument right there on the job.

 “You’re dispensable. Don’t you EVER forget that!” Sam
barked at Allen, brushing past Lizzy with so much rage, that she almost knocked
her over.

Lizzy gripped unto the counter instinctively in an effort to
steady her body and avoid what could have been a really nasty fall.

“Oh yeah, I’m
dispensable
huh! Well I’m gonna make
this
real
easy for ya,” Allen’s voice cut through the air like a knife.

Turning to him, Lizzy watched with curious eyes as he
furiously ripped the pair of latex gloves from his hands and tossed it into the
garbage bin to his right. The crumbled ball of plastic went sailing in mid-air
like a basketball launched into a hoop.

An uneasy feeling swept through her, this was like déjà vu. She’d
seen it all before; the argument, flared tempers, heated words exchange and
bruised egos. In the back of her mind she knew exactly what would happen next.
Ten years working with Jimmy’s Burgers and every other week or two an employee
would either quit or get fired. It was a painful reminder that apart from the
fact that this job paid minimum wage, there was no job security. She hoped that
now she was in college again, she would finally graduate, go on to Law School
and become an attorney.

In that moment her two children crossed her mind. Lizzy had
been in college when she met her ex-husband Luke Johnson. They had been madly
in love and shortly before her junior year of college, she discovered she was pregnant.
At seven month’s pregnant Luke proposed and a few weeks later her daughter
Molly was born. Luke and Lizzy got married several months later and their
ceremony was held at a small Baptist church in New York. The wedding was small and
only a handful of their closest friends and family were present.

Lizzy tried going back to college after the baby was born, but
over time it became harder and harder to do. “I can take care of you both, I
promise,” she recalled, Luke telling her one day. At the time she was very
young and naïve. She believed that she’d met the love of her life and become content
with being a stay at home mom at the age of 20. Everything was okay until her
second child. Nathan was a bouncy little baby boy, a preemie yet very active
and full of life. His cries were so loud that one of the delivery nurses said
it left her ears ringing for hours.

It seemed that perhaps she would have her fairy tale life
after all; she was married to her college sweetheart and had two beautiful
children. However, a few weeks later her perfect life came crashing down. Luke
wanted a divorce and he
didn’t
want to talk things over. He’d hired
several movers and a bulldog attorney to take care of everything for him, while
he moved to Europe with his new girlfriend. After a nasty divorce she’s never
seen or heard from him again. Eventually the child support payments stopped
coming and Luke could not be reached. After a few years of trying to find him
she gave up and was on her own to raise her two kids.

***

A loud buzz alerted Lizzy that there was a customer at the
drive-through window. Hastening her steps Lizzy rushed to the window, ready and
willing to serve. Life had not been fair and while other employees could easily
walk out the door in frustration and rage, this was not an option for her. This
job had helped her put food on the table for years, it was her only means of
survival and she could not afford to lose it.

“Welcome to Jimmy’s Burgers how may I take your order?” she
greeted a young woman in a white Chevy with a smile.

As she attended to the customer a young man approached her
from behind. “I’ll see you around Lizzy... It was nice working with you,” he whispered
in her ear.

“Okay kiddo,” she replied in a low voice. A doleful
expression swept across her face, as her heart went out to the guy stepping out
of the door. She knew that she would never see him at work again.

Another one bites the dust,
she thought to herself
with a heavy heart, as her co-worker Allen left the restaurant. The saddest
part of it all was that she was already missing him.

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