Authors: Carlie Sexton
After Kate left his apartment, all Roger could do was imagine her becoming his. She wasn’t only smoking hot, she was sweet and kind. She showed genuine concern for people she hadn’t even met. He really liked that about her. The only problem was that he already had a girlfriend. He had told her about Rose before he was ready. But she had asked about the painting and he somehow found himself having to explain why he had a giant rose painting in his dining room. It wasn’t exactly masculine. Now he had to figure out if he wanted to keep Rose around or pursue his enticing new interest. He had already fantasized about undressing Kate and exploring every inch of her tight body. Of course, if Rose was in the picture that wasn’t likely to happen. Kate didn’t seem like the kind of girl who would go after another woman’s man. She made that clear with her statement about cheating and marriages breaking up. She had integrity. He had a lot to consider.
He had been dating Rose for almost a year. She was loyal to him no matter what happened. She had stuck by him through all of the messiness with his best friend.
Rick and Darcy were separated and fighting over custody of their two children. Rick knew that Darcy was having an affair and planned on using that information in court to prove that he was a better parent. The last time Rick was seen alive was at Roger’s apartment. Rick had disappeared in May. Even though the police had questioned him about Rick vanishing, they didn’t have any evidence that he was involved in his friend’s disappearance. Rose had stood by him through the whole ugly mess and had defended him when Darcy accused him of making her husband disappear. Darcy had even told Rose that he
had cheated on her, but she wouldn’t disclose who the woman was that Roger had been unfaithful with. Rose chose not to believe a single word that came out of Darcy’s mouth. She never even considered that he could have killed his best friend let alone been unfaithful to her. That was unfathomable. She had blind faith in him. This was one of his favorite qualities about her. She believed in him.
The downside to Rose was that she had two daughters, ages eight and ten. Rose’s ex-husband had been physically abusive, making the girls painfully shy and timid around him. The older girl had scars on her back from her dad’s abuse. Roger didn’t feel comfortable being around the girls. He viewed them as damaged goods. He couldn’t see himself being their step-dad or being responsible for them in any way. Since they were a package deal with Rose, he had a tough time envisioning a future with her even though she was good in bed. The question was, could they have a clean break-up? Only time would tell. Meanwhile, the thought of getting to know his new next-door neighbor was increasingly enticing. Rose would serve his needs until he could get Kate between the sheets.
It was Wednesday. Kate had managed to avoid eye contact with Mark the womanizer. It wasn’t too difficult since every other girl in class had set their sights on him. He had his choice of many beautiful girls. Oddly, it turned out that they had the exact same class schedule. She would see him every day of the week for the entire semester. She had become a pro at ignoring men over the past few years and told herself not to waste her time and attention on him.
After class, she walked across the campus to the conference room that had been set up for new students to meet an alumni mentor. She signed in with the short guy holding the clipboard. He directed her to find her seat. She noticed her nametag at a table for two with the alumni’s nametag, Neil Statton. That’s a strong sounding name. For a brief moment, she thought it would be nice to meet a good guy. What if this Neil Statton was a good guy? She quickly put the thought out of her head. Guilt sprang up, flooding her with emotion. Emotions she wanted to suppress into the deep recesses of her mind. She rubbed her forehead for a moment. Other students and mentors began sitting down, but she realized that Neil Statton was nowhere to be found. After waiting for ten minutes, she checked in with the guy holding the clipboard again. Her mentor had not called to cancel, so she sat back down figuring that he must be having trouble finding parking. The man at the table adjacent to hers introduced himself.
“Hi, I’m Mac Jacobson. I see you are waiting for Neil. He’s a good buddy of mine. He isn’t here yet?”
“I’m Kate Simmons. It’s nice to meet you,” she said, reaching out her hand to shake his. “No. He hasn’t shown up yet.”
“Wow, he’s going to be sorry that he missed you,” Mac said with a devilish grin, letting go of her hand.
“Well, I’m not going to be able to wait too much longer,” she said ignoring Mac’s flirtatious statement. “I need to leave in twenty minutes for work. I see that your mentee has already come and gone.”
“Yeah, she didn’t have very many questions. She seemed a little flaky. I’m not sure why she signed up. So, you said you had to leave for work soon. Where do you work?”
“I work at Nordstrom.”
“Really, which one?”
“Oh, what department do you work in?”
“The children’s department,” she said, a little annoyed that he was asking so many questions.
“Well, that sounds like a great place to work. I love to shop at Nordstrom. They have great stuff.”
“Yeah, they do.”
“Well, it doesn’t look like Neil is going to make it. He’s usually never late,” Mac said, his head cocked to one side. He had boyish good looks and was very charming.
“Well, that’s okay. I’m very resourceful. I can figure things out and anything that I don’t know I’ll just ask. I better get going. Tell your friend Neil thanks a lot for standing me up. It’s a real ego boost,” she said sarcastically.
“Don’t worry. I’ll be sure to tell him.”
She walked out, but little did she know that before Mac had introduced himself he had covertly snapped a picture of her with his phone. After she walked out the door, he sent Neil a text along with her picture.
Mac Jacobson: dude, you blew it. this hot, sexy woman was waiting for u. if i were u, i’d track her down. i got the 411. She works at Nordies Fashion Valley in kids dept. Her name is Kate Simmons.
When Kate arrived at work, Maria asked how her meeting went at school. “My mentor was a no-show. I waited for twenty minutes. But what can you do? I met his very cute friend, Mac, who was polite and took up some of the time waiting.”
“Oh, well, it’s not like it was an actual date that he stood you up for. Maybe he got caught at work and couldn’t leave to meet with you,” Maria said.
Just then, the phone rang. Maria answered it and then handed the phone to Kate saying, “It’s for you. It’s a man.” A sly smile stretched across her face. Kate figured it was her brother. Only one other man besides her brother had ever called her at work and she knew she wouldn’t be hearing his voice again.
“Thanks for holding. This is Kate.”
“Hi Kate, this is Neil Statton,” a very deep sexy voice said. “I’m your alumni mentor. I tried to get word to the alumni coordinator that I got held up at work and couldn’t get away, but I couldn’t get through. I’m a lawyer and we had a break in the case I am working on. I would really like to make up for my rudeness for standing you up. Do you think that I could take you out for dinner one night this week?” he said very smoothly without skipping a beat. She could tell he was accustomed to women being putty in his hands.
“That won’t be necessary, Mr. Statton. Your friend kept me company. He’s a very sweet guy. He answered a few questions for me when he was done with his mentee. Besides, I’m very busy and I’m working right now. I really need to go. But thanks for the call, Mr. Statton,” she said sharply. Then she hung up the phone.
“Was that the guy who was supposed to meet you?” Maria asked. Nothing got past her.
“What did he want?”
“He wants to take me to dinner to make up for standing me up.”
“And you said no? You haven’t been on a date in such a long time. Don’t you think it is time to get back out there? You
are young and beautiful and life is meant to be lived. I
don’t think what you are doing is living. You should go out with him.”
“I already said no and that’s that. Besides, do I really want to see someone who is too rude or immature to keep his appointments?”
Customers walked into the department and Kate and Maria each had someone to help find a baby present for. It took Kate’s mind off of her conversation with Neil to put together a basket of baby supplies for a shower. She always loved selling the baby clothes. About an hour later, a delivery guy walked up to the counter with a beautiful arrangement of flowers. He asked for Kate Simmons.
“I’m Kate Simmons,” she said, wondering who the flowers were from.
“Please sign here,” he said, handing her his clipboard.
She signed for the flowers and thanked him. By now Maria, Brenda, and Natalie had congregated at the counter to find out who sent the striking bouquet.
“Maybe you have a secret admirer,” Natalie said with a giggle.
“I don’t know,” Kate said as she slid the card out of its envelope. She read it to herself first while her co-workers waited impatiently.
“Well, are you going to read the card to us?” Maria asked exasperated.
“Absolutely,” Kate responded.
Dear Ms. Simmons, Please forgive me for standing you up today. I can assure you this has never happened before. I would like to make it up to you by taking you out for dinner. Please call 619-299-7140.
Needless to say, she was flabbergasted. Who did this guy think he was? She had already refused his invitation over the phone. Looks like he has a hard time hearing “no.”
“This is so romantic,” Brenda said with her hand on her chest.
“It’s kind of like having a secret admirer. You haven’t met him before?” Maria asked, her eyebrows raised. She couldn’t hide her “I told you to go out with him” smile.
“No, I haven’t,” Kate said, shaking her head.
“When we go to lunch, we can Google him on my cell phone. I can hardly wait to see this guy,” Natalie piped in. Natalie and Kate were working the same shift, so they would be going to lunch together at 4 o’clock. They only had to wait an hour to learn more about this Neil Statton, aka Mr. Pushy.
Time went by quickly because the department became busy. It seemed like 4 o’clock arrived instantaneously. She decided that she would find out more about Mr. Neil Statton before calling him to thank him for the flowers. This was a case where the benefits of modern technology knew no bounds.
Kate and Natalie entered the employee lounge. There were tables and chairs in the middle of the room with cushy sofas along the walls. The first thing that Natalie did was sit at one of the tables, whip out her cell phone, and Google Neil Statton. Kate sat at the table while her frozen dinner was heating up in the microwave. A whole list of sites came up with Neil’s name on them. Natalie clicked on the first one. It contained a picture of Neil. Both of their jaws dropped. He was one of the most mouthwateringly
handsome men either of them had ever laid eyes on before. He was the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome. He was a ringer for Aidan, a character on her all-time favorite soap opera,
All My Children
. She never missed an episode until the show was canceled. Like Aidan, Neil had jet-black hair, hazel eyes, and a Hollywood smile. His cheekbones were high and his jaw was firm and chiseled. Kate was speechless.
“Wow, look at that face! He is the most beautiful man I have ever seen,” Natalie exclaimed.
“Yes, he has a face that only every woman could love,” Kate replied.
Natalie began to read the article. “Neil Statton attends charity fundraiser with his parents, Sophia and Magnus Statton. The black tie gala raised $3 million for the San Diego Children’s Fund.” Words still failed Kate. Natalie noticed her silence.
“Are you okay? I’ve never seen you at such a loss for words,” Natalie said, grinning at her friend.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” she said, scrunching up her nose. Neil Statton seemed too good to be true. He was gorgeous and a philanthropist. He helped raise money for children. And he was a lawyer.
Kate asked Natalie to click on another page. They ate their lunch and read more about the impressive Neil Statton, corporate attorney, humanitarian, and Greek god. He was from a wealthy family of lawyers and he was a junior partner in his dad’s firm.
She realized that this man was going to be persistent. He’s most likely used to getting his way. She wasn’t quite sure what to do.
“It would be rude of me to not call him and thank him for the lovely flowers,” she mumbled to herself under her breath. “Nat, I’m going to call him right now to thank him for the flowers,” she said firmly.
“Are you going to go out with him? If you don’t, I will,” she said, probably a little to eagerly. “He’s a whole lot of scrumptious.”
“I’m not sure. I’m going to see how the conversation goes.”
She dialed the number on the card. His phone rang, but the call went straight to voice mail. A busy lawyer probably doesn’t answer calls from numbers that he doesn’t recognize. She left a brief message thanking him for the flowers and ensuring him that he was forgiven and off the hook. No need to go to dinner. Part of her hoped that would be the end of it, but the other part longed to be pursued by him.
“I hope that he calls you back tonight,” Natalie said with a gleam in her eye.
“He’s not going to call me back. I think I made it clear in my message that there was no need for him to take me to dinner.”
“Somehow, he doesn’t seem like the type to give up that easily. He sent you a huge bouquet of flowers to get your attention. Do you really think that your message is going to be the end of it?” Natalie asked.
“Well, I guess we’ll see what happens. But, honestly, I’m not sure that I want him to call me back. He seems very intense. I don’t know if I can handle someone like him.”
“Kate, it’s been a long time since things fell apart in your life. You need to move on. It’s time. Give him a chance,” Natalie said, great kindness showing in her eyes. She was a caring and a devoted friend.
“I know you are right, but it is so hard to let go. If I move on, I feel like I am betraying my past. I should be ready, but sometimes I just feel stuck.”
“No, Kate, it’s not a betrayal. He would want you to move on. We all want you to move on and be happy. Try to be a little open and see where this leads. You never know what’s going to happen. Life is full of mysteries and things that we can’t understand. Please stop beating yourself up,” she added encouragingly.
“Thanks, Nat. You are a good friend. I appreciate your advice. I know that you are right. I’ll try to be more open.”
“Good! Oh, our time is up. We need to get back to work.”
They returned to the department. Maria and Brenda went home for the day, leaving Kate and Natalie in charge for the evening.