Monique McDonell Day 3


Lucy called me the next day. I was unlocking the door to my office. I was juggling keys, a folder,
a latte, and an open house sign but I still managed to take the call.
"What's up, buttercup?" I said.
"Not much . . ." I could visualize her on the other end in kitchen whites and a hairnet trying to
come up with a witty reply. "You sound perky today. Piper said you were exhausted
last night."
"I was. Still am, actually." That wasn't a lie. I barely slept, tossing and turning all night with sexy
and angry thoughts about Luke. "Your call perked me right up. Oh yeah, and
I'm about to down my third coffee."
"Oh, I hope you're okay."
"I'll be fine. What's happening there?"
"Well, you met the hottie corporate sent to help us with branding."
"Don't you have a fiancé already?" I tried not to let jealousy seep in. Keep it light, Cherie.
"A girl can look. Anyway, you don't have a fiancé . . ."
"Yeah, well, I don't want a fiancé, and even if I did, I wouldn't want that guy."
"He seems pretty cool."
"Not my type." I needed to shut this down. “Anyway, he's probably married. How long is your
new eye candy in town anyway?"
“He’s not, married I mean. A week or two, but he'll be back and forth." Great. "Maybe you two
could . . ."
"Thanks for pimping out your new colleague, but if I wanted
a guy, I could find my own." I tried to sound haughty. "Anyway, Lucy, I have to run. I have about
a million calls to return. "
I dropped my bundle, minus the coffee of course, on the office sofa and turned at the sound of the bell above my front door tinkling. There in resplendent glory -today in chinos and a
white shirt with sleeves rolled to the elbows, offsetting a killer tan- was Luke.
"Not your type, huh?" he said, closing the space between us
a little.
"First of all, don't you know it is rude to eavesdrop and second, definitely not."
"I used to be," he said, one hand shoved in his pocket and the other gesticulating.
"Well, we all used to be different, didn't we?"
"I bet we're not all that different, you know."
"That's hardly a ringing endorsement for either of us." I leaned back against the edge of my desk, using it to balance me, and took a long sip of my latte. Some days there just wasn't
enough coffee in the world.
"I don't know, I thought we were decent kids back then . . ."
"Until at least one of us wasn't."
"And which one was that?" he asked as if he didn't know.
The bastard.
"What brings you here, Luke? I kind of have a lot to get done today."
"I wanted to see you."
"You've seen me." I sounded like such a cold bitch. He would have no doubt that I had changed
by the end of this conversation. It wasn't that I didn't want to be that sweet
young girl again, but he'd changed me and anyway, I was not her.
I was an independent thirty-year-old woman.
"And I wanted to say obviously I had no idea you had any connection to Piper, and I'm sorry
we were both blindsided that way last night."
"It's okay. Small world and all that." I tried to take another sip of my coffee but, sadly, the well
was dry.
"It was really nice to see you, Cherie. I've often wondered
how you were, what you did . . ." his voice trailed away.
I wanted to say, Dude, you could have called or written or maybe not just vanished back then,
but I didn't.
"You're obviously keeping well."
"Can't complain." He shoved his second hand in his pocket.
"So, do you want to still act like we don't know each other?  These are your friends; this is your life . . ."
That was nice at least. "I kind of assumed yes. Then again, I don't like lying to them . . ."
"How about I say that I realized I recognized you from the neighborhood? Nothing more."
"Okay, but they're pretty nosy, so if they wise up or it feels weird for me, I'll tell them, and I'll let
you know. Lucy and Piper can keep a secret."
"I don't suppose you want to have dinner or a donut for old-time’s sake?"
"You know what, I really don't. It's nice to see you're happy and doing well, but . . ."
"Okay." He turned to leave. "As you wish."
He did not just quote the Princess Bride to me. Oh yes, he freaking did!

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