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Married to my Dad’s Best Friend
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My first crush wasn’t some celebrity or a movie star. My heart throbbed for someone much closer to home.
Yes, this is a wild, intense love story about a younger woman and an older man. What can I say? There’s just something about those refined, experienced guys… but make no mistake, our heroine is a strong woman who knows what her heart wants! Enjoy a classic trope I’m personally obsessed with!
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The same jazz tunes play over and over in The Coffee Grind, the little coffee shop where I work. I know the songs by heart. They get stuck in my head every night, but I can’t tell you the artist who plays them. It’s just background noise. The smell of brewing coffee, the hiss of steaming milk, and the chatter of customers is the soundtrack to my nine-to-five day. I’ve been here for six months. The job was supposed to be temporary. The entire time I’ve worked here I’ve been sending out résumés. It’s an impressive résumé, if I do say so myself. I’ve been valedictorian of every school I’ve ever attended, going all the way back to middle school. The same for university. I have glowing recommendations from all of my law school professors. So why is getting a job with a law firm turning out to be so incredibly difficult?
I don’t know what else to do. My parents are lawyers, but I don’t want to ask them for help, and they’ve never even volunteered. I want to show them I can do this on my own. There’s no one else to ask for help from, and even if there were someone, I honestly don’t know if I would ask. It’s a pride thing. I got into law school on my own, and I’ve done everything up to this point without any help.
I was on my way up. You wouldn’t know it by looking at me now, though. This job pays minimum wage and the tips on coffee are pretty lousy. I’m barely getting by. Now that I’ve graduated, the banks are starting to reach their hands out for loan repayments. If I don’t find a decent job soon, I’m going to lose what little I do have. People who graduate with honors from prestigious law schools aren’t supposed to contemplate bankruptcy at the age of twenty-five.
The line at the counter starts to stretch out the door. The lunch rush pounces on me and I’m falling behind while stressing out and thinking obsessively about my financial troubles that seem to be mounting by the hour. People start to complain about the slow-moving line which doesn’t help matters. One lady complains about her coffee not being hot enough; another says it’s too hot.
I plaster a smile on my face and redo their orders. If I can’t handle the stress of a coffee shop, there’s no way I could handle a courtroom. But that’s not going to happen. I am a stone. Nothing can break me. Especially not a bunch of whiny over-caffeinated customers. I may just be a barista, but I’m going to be the best damn barista this store has ever seen.
I finally start to catch up. When I get back to the cash register after making a soy latte, I see a tall man, about a foot taller than me, standing there with broad, muscular shoulders, double the width of mine. He’s looking down at his phone, tapping out a text message. I hesitate at the register as I study the familiar stature. With his head down, it’s hard to tell at first why he looks so familiar. He’s an older man with hair graying at the temples, but he’s built like a man half his age, like he’s been working out all his life, but not bulky like someone who spends all their time in a gym. He’s stunningly handsome and my body instantly reacts to him. I desperately want him to look up. My heart lifts into my throat when he finally does, and recognition sets in.
“Lonnie.” My voice is barely a breath of air when it comes out. The sound sticks in my throat.
“Savanna, is that you?” he says. His eyes travel up and down my body, respectful enough not to linger on anything below my neck longer than a few seconds.
His grin when he recognizes me takes me to when I was a teenager with my first major crush. Lonnie is my dad’s best friend. I haven’t seen him since high school graduation. I was obsessed with him. I was never all that into boys my age. They were so immature and annoying. All they ever talked about were video games and sex and sports. With Lonnie, there were nights when we would talk for hours about politics and all the things I cared about. He was smart and deep, but he could also be silly and adorable.
I used to flirt with him relentlessly. He was flattered by the attention, I could tell. Whenever I’d comment on how handsome he was or touch his arm while laughing at his jokes, his face would turn the most adorable shade of red. He’d always politely dodge my advances. I know he didn’t want to hurt my feelings, but hurt feelings were inevitable. At least they were on my part. When you’re young and not experienced in heartbreak, emotions are stronger. Every feeling is magnified, and if you’re not careful, you can burn up under the flare of those emotions. Like what happened to me. I was completely infatuated with him, then one day he just moved away and never came back.