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Warning: heart Romance novel heart
Just Two Average Joes
Lord Richard looked at Sarah as if she was the most irritating woman on Earth and said simply , “ How can you be so blind? Of course I truly love you. Why else would I go through all of this trouble to ask you to marry me?” Sarah wept with happiness and said-
“Miss Josie! Miss Josie! Look at this!” came the cry from an impatient three year old.
Sighing, Josie Adams resigned from her book and braced for another day at the daycare center. She really enjoyed reading. It was her escape from the world. She needed the escape sometimes. It helped her forget unwanted memories.
It also made her forget why she needed to work two jobs. One job to pay off an outstanding student loan, and one job to pay the bills and buy groceries. Of course, her parents would help her if she needed it, but she didn’t like to rely on them too much. They had enough stress of their own to contend with.
“What is it Amy?”
Amy made a face and yelled, "It's an Amy!"
She ran to hug Josie's legs. Laughing, Josie picked her up and remembered why she loved this job so much. Too bad her second job wasn’t going as good. Maybe she could look in the newspaper later to see if anyone was looking for a new secretary. Louise, a co-worker, gave Amy a smile and was rewarded with a sloppy kiss. Amy ran off to play with the other children arriving.
“Quite the handful, isn’t she?” remarked Louise. “I just hope none of the kids caught the flu that has been going around the school. Half of my son’s class is out sick, including the little man himself.”
“Ugh, I hope not. That would be just perfect.”
“So, Miss-I’d-Rather-Read-a-Book, any plans this weekend that don’t involve sitting around all day reading romance stories or watching movies where the prince has his way with the virgin princess at the end after saving her from some unnamed turmoil in her life?”
“No, Miss-I-Can’t-Mind-My-Own-Business. No plans. And I don’t plan to have any plans either.” Sticking out her tongue, she turned around and made her way to the rapidly-filling group of children.
“You need some real romance, Joe. Not just the stuff in those books of yours. A real guy to come in and save the day.” Smiling, Louise followed behind. “Can’t you come out with me? I have a really nice guy I’d like for you to meet.”
“Louise, please. Tell me this isn’t like the last guy. He turned out to be the exact opposite of my type.”
“I can’t help it if you aren’t into outrageously gorgeous and successful guys who happen to own a photography studio.”
“It’s not that. I just didn’t feel comfortable with him. I don’t know. He had a slime-ball aura or something. And he wasn't exactly gorgeous. Mildly attractive, maybe.” She gave Louise a grin.
“Well you can feel comfortable with this one. He’s professional. He’s a therapist.”
“Your way of telling me I’m crazy? I can see it now, our first date. We're walking in the park when we happen upon a bench. He tells me to lie down for a moment and starts picking at my brain until he finds the twisted little whack-job at the center. That's all I need.”
“Hmmm. Maybe it is. You know, Joe, you're hard to figure out sometimes. But I promise, he's a looker, I suppose.”
"You suppose? What does that mean? Is that supposed to be some kind of joke? If it is, I don't get it."
"Doesn't surprise me. Ha ha!"
Joe punched Louise’s arm and quit the conversation once they reached the kids. It was going to be a long day even without her friend trying to play match-maker. She just found it hard to trust a guy, let alone date him. That didn’t stop Louise or her mother from trying to set her up with every single male they came across that didn’t look like a serial killer.
I wonder if I'm even meant to find someone that can sweep me off my feet or if he truly did ruin it all for me. Am I broken?
"All right, kids! Miss Louise and I have hidden some objects around the room and it is up to you guys to find them and put them back where they go. Are you ready? Go!"
The last child made an ungraceful run to his mother at the end of the day. Glad the day was finally over, Josie got her stuff ready to head into the office one last time. She had been given notice last week that they were cutting her position and moving one of the main desk assistants to cover her area. Today was her last day.
“So can I expect to see you Friday night?” Louise asked on the way out.
“I will think about it, Louise. I have a lot of work to do and need to find a replacement job."
"What if I said that this guy also has a secretary position opening up because his current one is retiring?"
"I'd say you're pushing it."
"It's true though!" Louise laughed a little. "Joe, lighten up. I'll talk to him later to gauge his interest, okay? You may not need to worry. He may not be ready yet."
"Okay. Curiosity has peeked its nasty little head out. Just who is this guy?"
"You'll see soon!"
"Call me and let me know what he says." Josie slipped on her coat and headed for the door.
"Is that interest I detect in that voice? Woo hoo! Score one for Louise!"
Josie grinned and got into her car and began the drive across town to her desk job.
When she got there, the busty blonde from reception was already making herself at home in front of Mr. Meyer's office. Gritting her teeth, Josie got ready for her final day. She would be spending the shift packing, showing the new girl some of the daily routines, and then leaving before Mr. Meyer got in from his meeting.
How hard could it be? She can't really be that hard to work with. She was in reception after all.
As if on cue, the new girl turned and waved at her. "I hope you don't mind. I moved some of your things when I was bringing my stuff up. How can you possibly get anything done with all of that junk? By the way, I'm Jane."
With all things considered, the rest of the shift didn't go nearly as bad as she thought that it would. She had her things in her bag and was on the way out of the building when she realized she would be royally screwed if she didn't find another job soon. She glanced back at the building one last time and then got into her car to leave.
"Am I crazy or am I really considering going on this date because it might land me another job? Ugh! I don't want to have to call Mom and Dad for help so if that's the only way, so be it. I just really have to spread my net further. I can find another job."
“No, Mrs. York..... Yes, Mrs. York..... Talk to you tomorrow then..... All right.... You don’t say?.... Okay.... Bye then.”
Hanging up the phone, Joseph McAllister began to shuffle through his paperwork as he got ready to leave for the day. Getting a secretary was on the top of his list. Finding someone competent at the job, however, was proving difficult. His current secretary was retiring and today was her last day on the job. Joe let her go home early to take care of her husband.
A replacement wasn't easy to find. How hard was it to find someone nice that could answer phones, file paperwork, schedule appointments, and get him coffee? Not too long a list considering some of the other menial tasks secretaries sometimes had to do. These were just the ones he wanted.
“Good help is difficult to find,” he mused.
His daughter would be starting at his cousin's daycare soon. Amber was only a year old but she still needed to have more than just her grandparents. His mom and dad wanted to be able to go and do some things during the days too. Being a single father and full-time therapist was hard but fulfilling work.
Sighing, Joe got up from his chair and decided he would call it a night. He could finish filing papers in the morning. He wanted to see his baby girl before dinner. The drive home was long, as usual. He picked up some his daughter’s favorite dinner, canned ravioli and made his way to his parents’ house.
He pulled up the driveway just as his cell-phone began to ring. It was his cousin. "What's up, Lou?"
“Hey, Joe! Got a question for you. Wanna double date this weekend? I know the perfect girl for you. I was thinking we could go out on Friday night. She hasn't said yes yet, but I know she will!”
“ Whoah. Slow down Lou. Can you tell me about her, so I’m not totally in the dark?”
“Umm she works with me at the daycare. She also works as a secretary, but her pig of a boss is dumping her sometime soon. Not that they were dating. I just meant that she’ll be out of a job, hint hint.”
“Ah so you were thinking about me dating her, then hiring her as my secretary, and then us breaking up in the future and me having to fire her for purely personal reasons?” he quipped. "Honestly, Lou, I'm ill-equipped for such cold mannerisms."
“Who says you’ll break up?” she fired back.
“You were always the optimistic one.”
“Since you can’t see me, I stuck my tongue out at you.”
“And always the child. But since you can’t see me, I just cut your tongue off.” He laughed. “I have to go get Amber and feed her dinner. I will think about Friday.”
“Think hard then! I'll talk to you later. I want a 'yes' by then!"
He hung up the phone and walked up the front steps. When he rang the doorbell, he heard a little girl’s peel of laughter coming from the living room. He sighed. She was getting so big. She looked just like Lauren some days. She was fifteen months old and the tiniest terror ever. He loved her more than he ever thought he could love someone. He never loved Lauren. They barely knew each other.
The door opened, pulling him out of his memories. His mom stood in the doorway holding Amber on her hip. “She hasn’t eaten dinner yet. I don’t want to see you filling her up with that canned junk all the time. What were you going to have for dinner?”
Grinning sheepishly, he held his arms up, “Caught me, Ma. What are you planning?
“Lucky for you I have a roast in the oven big enough for all of us and then some.” She grinned. “Just like your father, never could find the time to cook a decent meal for a growing child.”
They shared a laugh and Amber joined in just for fun. Joseph told his mom and dad about Lou's new-fangled idea of a double date with her, her husband, and some girl she knew from work.
“Joe, you work too hard. Go out and we’ll watch Amber.” His father grumbled.
“Yes, Louise is right. Her friend sounds decent enough. At least she likes kids,” his mother smiled. “Just don’t get yourself in another predica-“
“Mom! I haven’t even met the girl. I am not going to plan sleeping with her. And even if I am, that is not something to discuss at the dinner table. Especially not with my daughter here. It’s just too, I don’t know, uncomfortable.”
His parents looked at each other and laughed. "Don't make him blush too much, dear. He won't have the stomach for dessert."
Joe groaned inwardly. He knew he owed so much to Louise. Especially after- Best not to think of that right now. He resigned to call Lou later and tell her he was going to take her up on the date offer. Even if they didn't hit it off, there was no reason to blow off someone who may be an employee in the future. The least he could do was give her a chance.
Later that same night, he tucked Amber into her crib. He kissed her forehead and whispered, “Goodnight, my little angel.” He had been doing this every night for a year today. He pulled the picture of Lauren closer to the edge of the dresser. He hoped where ever she was, she could see how wonderful Amber was doing. He didn’t want her to be worrying.
Joe went downstairs to the living room and sat on the couch. He hadn’t been on a date in two years. Not a real one anyways. Not since Lauren got pregnant. He hoped he wouldn’t mess this up. Everyone thought it was well past the time he put himself out on the market. He had been a doting father and a workaholic since the night of the accident.
He made his decision. Or rather, everyone made it for him and convinced him they were right. Might as well stop delaying the inevitable. He called Louise.
“Hello?” She answered.
“Hey Lou. Count me in for this weekend if she’s in.”
“Really? Okay great. Now I just have to pester Josie into agreeing.”
Joe smiled to himself and said, “Josie? Hmm. Joseph and Josie. Your idea of a joke? Matching names. A personal secretary. Hmmm, potential office rendezvous in the future? Lou, you're such a perv. Ha ha.”
“Hey! She’s really nice. I don’t know too much about her. She’s twenty-three, really sweet, loves kids, and one of my best friends.”
“Okay. Sounds good. What shouldn’t I do on our date. Any pet peeves?”
“Yeah. Look at her face. Don’t stare at the chest.”
Utterly annoyed now, Joe retorted with, “What do you think I am some teenager with raging hormones? Seriously, I have a daughter and I don’t plan on adding to the collection any time soon.”
“Yeah, I know. Love ya, cuz. Talk to you later.”
“Love you too. Later.”
The worst part over and dealt with, Joe made his way up the stairs to turn in for the night when a load wail changed his direction. It looked like it was going to be another long night. He walked into Amber’s room and looked down at her crying and tugging on her ear.
“Joy. Looks like you have an ear infection. Ah well. A trip to the doc’s before I go to work tomorrow. How would you like to come with Daddy tomorrow? I don’t have another appointment booked until Wednesday.”
Amber continued to wail perched on her father’s hip. He went to the medicine cabinet and took out some medicine. He gave her a dose and then brought her into his bedroom with a sipper of warm milk. They cuddled together in the dark. Once Joe heard Amber’s breathing slow to indicate she was fast asleep, he gave in to sleep himself.
· Fri Jul 06, 2012 @ 05:38pm · 0 Comments