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Authors: Susan J. Graham

Isn't It Time

BOOK: Isn't It Time
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Isn’t It Time

Susan J. Graham

 

 

Copyright 2013 Susan J. Graham

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any manner whatsoever without written
permission from the author except in the case of brief quotations in articles
or reviews.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

I was vaguely aware that Jimmy was speaking, but the part of
my brain charged with processing such things was currently floundering, shrouded
as it was in a post-orgasmic fog.

“Angie!” More insistently this time.

“What?” Getting that single word out expended most of my
energy and I felt myself drifting off.

“This is done.”

Sighing and wishing he would just be quiet and let me sleep,
I cracked open one eye and asked through a yawn, “What’s done?”

“Us. This relationship.”

Shit. Now I was going to have to wake myself up and pretend
to care.  I rolled from my stomach to my side and looked at him.  He was lying naked
on his back, his right arm cocked casually behind his head, legs crossed at the
ankles. 

“Seriously?”  I asked, the extent of my pretending to care.

“Yeah.” He scratched his chest and shifted only his eyes in
my direction.

I digested that for a moment then rolled to the side of the
bed, reaching down to retrieve my tee shirt from the floor.  Pulling it over my
head as I exited the bed, I walked around to his side, fisted my hands on my
hips and looked at him. “Well?”

“Well what?”

“Well, go home.”  I glared at him and waited for him to get
moving.

He blinked, uncrossed his legs and pushed himself up on his
elbows.  “That’s it? Don’t you even want to know why?”

“No.”  His reasons didn’t matter to me one way or the other.
We weren’t exclusive, so it would be my guess there was another woman involved
- and I wasn’t in the mood to hear about it.  “But I will say that making sure
you got laid before you dumped me was pure class.  And that’s the last thing I have
to say to you.  You have two minutes.  Get out.”

And with those ridiculous words (because, really, what was I
going to do if he didn’t leave in two minutes?), I turned around and strolled
to the bathroom.  Shutting the door quietly behind me, I flipped on a light and
stood there with my back against the door, wondering why in the hell I hadn’t
walked out to the kitchen instead.  Or, rather, why I hadn’t first put on my
panties and
then
walked out to the kitchen.  Now I was more or less
trapped in this small room, panty-less, my pride stopping me from returning to
the bedroom where I would be able to keep an eye on the big jerk.

With nothing better to do, I used the allotted two minutes to
examine my feelings about being dumped, especially by someone as unexceptional
as Jimmy.  Frankly, I wasn’t the slightest bit upset about the whole thing.  Relieved
would be the better word.

Even though we had been dating pretty steadily for the past eight
months, I had never felt any kind of real connection with Jimmy. It was stupid
of me to even bother to maintain the relationship at all. He wasn’t soul mate
material - not by any stretch of the imagination.

He wasn’t my type - and mostly I didn’t even like him all
that much. Oh, he was quite good looking but, it must be said, the hotness
factor was significantly diminished whenever he opened his mouth. 

He could be funny - and not always unintentionally - and we
had some good times together. But that was overshadowed by the fact that he was
a bit of a Neanderthal, prone to grunting his responses and making outrageously
crude comments at inappropriate times. The only thing he really had going for
him was that the sex was a couple of steps above decent.

I knew all along he didn’t even come close to being
the
one
– and, if I was honest with myself, I also knew that was really the
main reason I kept him around. With him, I could be emotionally alone without
having to be physically alone, and that suited me just fine.

So, really, if I was upset about anything in this situation,
it was that I would have to make the decision to either stay on my current path
of dating men who would never be right for me, or to get serious, put my fears
aside and find the guy who was. Settling in to a going-nowhere relationship
with Jimmy had allowed me to delay that decision for a while, but maybe the
time was right for me to grow up and start acting like an adult. 

I was 28 years old and already feeling that biological clock
ticking.  I knew I wanted to have a family of my own someday and I knew I
wanted to have that family with a man I considered to be
essential
to my
very existence.

And I knew that man was out there,
I knew it
– and
that man was definitely not Jimmy.

My lovelorn ponderings were interrupted by a light tap at
the bathroom door. 

“Aren’t your two minutes about up?” I inquired through the
door.

“Uh, yeah, but I really need that thing back that I gave
you.”

I sighed and rolled my eyes, trying to remember if he had,
in fact, ever given me anything at all, let alone something so big it would
require my returning it.  I drew a complete blank.

“What thing?”

“The commemorative beer mug.”

Shaking off my shock that he had just used a word of more
than three syllables, I asked, “You mean the plastic cup you got at that football
game we went to?”

“Yeah.”

God, what an idiot.  Feeling better about this breakup by
the minute, I directed him to the kitchen.  “It’s in the cupboard above the
coffee pot.  Please get it quickly and then leave. And don’t take anything
else.”  I added that last bit just to be pissy.

I heard a grunted response as he walked away.  Seconds later
I heard my front door open and then close.  Cracking the bathroom door open an
inch, I listened until the sound of his truck starting and then driving off
confirmed that I had probably, if I was lucky, just seen the last of Jimmy.

Walking back into the bedroom, I picked up the previously
forgotten panties from the floor and wiggled into them.  I went to check the
front door in case the idiot hadn’t locked it behind him (he hadn’t), then
turned off all the lights and climbed back into bed.

I rolled onto my back and stared up at the ceiling. Now that
I was wide awake, but too lazy to get up and find something worthwhile to do, I
laid there and contemplated my love life - or lack thereof. 

My history with relationships had started out normally, took
a turn toward ugly, and slid right into bizarre.  I wanted what most everyone
else wanted. A normal relationship. Marriage. Kids. The whole shebang. But the
fear was still there. I couldn’t get rid of it. Even if Mr. Right came knocking
on my door right now, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to trust him enough to let him
in.

My phone rang, startling me, and I rolled over to the side
of my bed to retrieve it from my purse.

“Hey, Jack,” I answered.

“Hey. Were you sleeping?”

“Unfortunately, no.  I was just lying here, wide awake,
wishing I had someone to talk to. And there you were.”

“Here I am,” he agreed. “So you’re alone? Jimmy’s not
there?”

“No. We just broke up.”

There was a brief pause before he asked, “Seriously?”

“Yeah.”

“For good?”

“Yeah, definitely for good.”

“Oh, thank God!” he exclaimed with a relieved exhale of
breath.  “I thought you were never going to cut that asshole loose.”

I was surprised by his reaction. Jack had never said one derogatory
word to me about Jimmy.  He never said anything complimentary about him,
either, but I didn’t know his dislike was so intense.

“Um, actually, he broke up with me,” I offered.

“You have got to be kidding me.  God, what an idiot.”

“Well, he is that,” I agreed.

“Are you okay? I’ll come over.”

“No, I’m perfectly fine. Truthfully, I’m relieved.” I made
sure to put a smile in my voice when I responded.  If Jack thought I was hurting
in some way, he would worry about me – which meant he would be calling and
stopping by more frequently than he already did. That wouldn’t be a bad thing,
I just didn’t want him to feel obligated to do it.

“You’re relieved?” He sounded like he didn’t believe me.

“Well, yeah. I think we just agreed he’s an idiot.”

He laughed. “Well, I can’t say I’m not happy to hear it. I
could never figure out why you kept him around so long.”

“We all do stupid things.” I shrugged, even though he
couldn’t see me, and changed the subject. “Was there a reason why you called?”

“Actually, yes. I had dinner with my parents tonight – “

“They’re back already?” I interrupted.

This surprised me.  Jack’s parents, who had the unfortunate
names of Al and Peggy, were usually in Florida at this time of year and weren’t
due to return for at least another month.

“Yeah,” he confirmed.  “They came back last week. I forgot
to tell you.”

“That’s odd,” I said.

“Yeah, they didn’t really say why and I didn’t ask.  Anyway,
we were discussing some things that were going on at work, and they had an idea
that made a lot of sense to me - how do you feel about being promoted?”

“Promoted?” I couldn’t imagine where he thought he was going
to promote me to. Our accounting department was very small and I wasn’t
qualified to do anything else.  “Promoted to what?  There’s no place to be
promoted to unless Frank retires and…oh my God!  Is Frank retiring?”  Frank, my
direct supervisor, was not my favorite person and I began to do a little happy
dance in my head.

“No, sorry. He’s not going anywhere,” Jack laughed. “I’ve
got something different in mind.”

“Oh. That’s disappointing.”

“Yeah, I’m sure it is. What I’d like to do is re-assign some
responsibilities between you and Frank and then move you into position as my
personal assistant.”

“Personal assistant?  That’s a promotion?”

“It is when it comes with a fifteen percent raise.”

“Oh. Well, now you’ve definitely got my attention.”

We both laughed and he said, “Yeah, I thought that might do
it.  So what do you think?”

“I think I have no idea what being a personal assistant
means.”

“Does it matter? I know that you’re not all that fired up
about accounting in the first place,” he said.

This was true.  When I was in college, trying to decide on a
major, I picked accounting mostly because my father is a CPA.  Although my
right-sided brain wanted to rebel against the choice, it seemed the practical
thing to do.  And I did like how numbers were just numbers – there was nothing
subjective about them.  They were what they were and they went where they
went.  But the truth was, overall, I found it tedious and dull.

“True,” I said.

“But you do have great organizational skills – and you may
have noticed that’s a weakness of mine.”

“Yes, I’ve noticed,” I said dryly.  Jack was very neat when
he was at home, but his office was a nightmare – and probably a fire hazard.
There were stacks of papers and random files everywhere. I shuddered a little
every time I looked at it.  But I also knew it was in that condition because he
had a great deal of responsibilities and often spent much of his day putting
out fires that pulled him from whatever more important project he should be
working on.

“If you’re interested, we can work out the details later,
but mostly I just want you to keep the minor problems away from me.  I would
like for people to come to you with what they need, and you can handle anything
that doesn’t really require my attention.  Then if you could summarize and
prioritize the rest for me, I might be able to be a little more productive. What
do you think?”

This was definitely sounding good.  It would mean a break
from the interminable sameness of my days.  And the cherry on top of that
sundae would be working with Jack instead of Frank.

“I wouldn’t have to drop off your dry cleaning or walk your
dog, would I?”

“No,” he laughed. “But if I ever get a dog, we might have to
renegotiate.”

“Then okay. That sounds great.”

“Good.  I know it’s late, but I just wanted to run it by you
and see how you felt about it.”

“I feel good about it. But Frank isn’t going to be happy.”

“Don’t care. He’s put too much of his work off on you as it
is.  It’s time he got some of it back and did what we pay him to do.”

“Sounds good,” I said with a yawn.

“Go to sleep and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Okay.” I stifled another yawn. “See ya, Jack.”

“See ya, Ange.”

I dropped my phone over the edge of the bed and returned to
staring at the ceiling and thinking about relationships. Life would be so much
easier if there were more men out there like Jack. Outside of my father, he was
the only man I could still trust completely.

And I loved Jack.  I mean, I seriously, honest to God, loved
him. I met him six years ago on my very first day on the job and we had been
friends ever since. This new position he was offering would mean for the first
time, I would be reporting to him directly. Technically, though, he had always
been my boss, since he was the CEO and majority owner of Great Lakes
Construction, my employer. His father had retained thirty percent ownership
when he retired early, but he was rarely in the office and Jack ran the show. 

He was young for that position, only two years older than
me, but he took it seriously (and it was about the only thing in his life he
did
take seriously) and he handled it well. When he graduated from college, his
father had insisted he work his way through the ranks, spending a little time
in every department, before the company was turned over to him. That’s what he
was doing when I first met him and it seemed our paths were always crossing. 

We shared a similar sense of humor and, as our relationship
progressed, we discovered we also had almost identical interests and personal
goals. I paid his bills as part of my job, so I had firsthand knowledge that he
was loaded (nowhere near billionaire status, but he did quite well for
himself), yet he totally lacked pretention. He was fun to be around, and also
caring and considerate, affectionate and playful, and sharp as a tack – not
much got by him. In a nutshell, he was a great guy. There wasn’t a single thing
about him that I didn’t like.  I considered him my closest friend and he felt
the same. 

BOOK: Isn't It Time
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