Valentines on the Edge by Carol Maloney Scott by Carol Maloney Scott - Read Online

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Valentines on the Edge - Carol Maloney Scott

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Valentines on the Edge

A Short Story Collection

Carol Maloney Scott

Smashwords Edition

Copyright Carol Maloney Scott 2016

Formatting by Rik - Wild Seas Formatting

To those searching for true love,

May your path be smoother, but just as much fun

Justin’s State of Denial

"You’re taking her to meet your parents for Valentine’s Day? You’re either brave or…oh my God, are you going to propose?"

Claire covers her mouth, which is full of chocolate truffle. These are delicious, by the way. How did you know white chocolate raspberry is my favorite? You really shouldn’t have.

Even with her cheeks stuffed with candy, like a chipmunk saving nuts for the winter, she looks beautiful. But I am so over this crush on Claire now.

I smile and reply, It was no trouble at all. And it’s your birthday.

I actually picked them up while I was selecting Marissa’s Valentine’s Day treats. Hers are blood orange dark chocolate. I pay attention to details.

And as for Marissa meeting the Scotts, it’s a family tradition. We all bring our serious girlfriends to meet the family on this holiday. My mother is obsessed with Valentine’s Day. It’s when my father proposed, just like you and Brandon. BUT I am not proposing—we’ve only been dating for a few weeks.

Meeting Marissa in the coffee shop was a magic moment. It was a snowy day after the ‘almost as magical’ business trip Claire and I enjoyed in January. But Claire is a married woman, and it was high time I gave up my crush on her and moved forward. Marissa’s blond hair and brown eyes drew me in, and I really think it’s possible she’s the ONE.

Well, that’s a relief. Claire swivels in her office chair and tosses her multiple truffle wrappers in the trash. Hey, you still haven’t shown me a picture. Do you have one?

I haven’t been avoiding showing Claire a photo of Marissa. Really.

I sigh and say, Sure, let me pull one up on Facebook on my phone. As The Chief Information Officer, I can’t ask you to violate company policy and pull it up on your computer.

Yes, and we know we can’t expect privacy on the company network. That’s probably how you know all of my preferences—you’re still reading my e-mails.

She smiles and her brown eyes shine. Ever since she and her husband, Brandon, adopted their second baby last month Claire has been much happier. More peaceful. They had a rocky time for a while a couple of months ago, but she seems at peace now. Since the baby is only a few weeks old, Claire’s trips to the office are scarce. I was glad she decided to pop in for her birthday, but I think it’s only because our Editor-in-Chief and Claire’s friend, Gina, prompted her to show up. She has a lunchtime party planned in the conference room.

Claire, you know I stopped reading your e-mails a long time ago. You’re a boring wife and mother now.

I duck in anticipation of getting beaned with something. Claire and I have a history of her getting a little perturbed with my teasing.

"Yeah, and now I am not only much too old for you, but I am celebrating the first anniversary of my thirty-ninth birthday. Next year if anyone says that ‘F’ word, I am wearing black and taking to my bed with a bottle of gin. So let’s see that picture." She waves her fingers towards herself in unison to signal her desire to grab my phone.

I hand it over and watch Claire’s face.

Wow, she’s so pretty. Younger than you, right? She stares at the phone a little longer and her expression changes. She glances at a framed photo of her and her family—Brandon (who at eight years her junior is also much younger, but who’s counting the years), her toddler Aidan, and baby Aurora.

Is something wrong? I ask this question but have a good idea of what’s going on in her pretty blond head.

No, it’s just…she could be my younger sister. She closes my phone slowly and looks down at her desk. Anyway, I hope you have an awesome weekend. My boneheaded husband is playing that out-of-town show with his band on Saturday.

Grateful that she’s changed the subject back to her husband’s bad judgment, and diverted it from mine, I say, "Aren’t you going? It’s Valentine’s Day, your birthday and the anniversary of his proposal."

No, my mother is exhausted from helping me with the little ones during the week, and even though I didn’t give birth, I am worn out, too. He’ll just go with the band overnight and come home on Sunday morning, which is the fourteenth anyway. And I’m sure if he values his life, he has something planned for my birthday tonight. She laughs and purses her lips. You know I’m kidding, right?

I guess my face must have shown fear for her clueless husband. He apparently planned this gig during their rocky period, and Claire lumped this stupid move in with her overall forgiveness package. This guy has done some dumb things, but I think he’s well-intentioned—if not a tad selfish.

Of course I know you’re kidding. Well, if I don’t see you before you head out today, have a wonderful triple celebration palooza weekend.

We will, and hey—don’t put too much pressure on this visit. You don’t want to scare this one away. Not that I’m saying you scared Jenna away, but…well, you know what I mean.

Her eloquence is one of the things I love about Claire.

As she tries to pull her dainty, stiletto clad foot out of