Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I know I know.  It is Wednesday and the book came out on Sunday.  I am super late to write this review, but I have had a sick kid that I was taking care of.  I just finished it though!  So this post can commence!  BTW this is NOT A SPOILER!

I learned something today.

Benkinersophobia: is the fear of not receiving a letter from Hogwarts on your 11th birthday!

Harry Potter holds a very special place in my heart (“After all this time?  Always.”). I read each of the books cover to cover one right after the other.  I was swept up in the magical world of Hogwarts and I never wanted to leave.  I was over the age of 11 when I started reading the books (the 1st time), but I still wanted a letter to Hogwarts!  (I am still waiting because it is never too late to follow your dreams)!  I was worried, to say the least, when I found they were releasing a book based on the play, but I was still intrigued enough to run out and pick up my copy last Sunday morning!

I was unsure when I started reading the book.  Was I going to like it?  Would it give me all the “feels” again?  Would I be disappointed?  well, it took the whole book for me to figure all of that out!

It is written in the form of a play (I knew this before I bought it, but I don’t think it fully registered), but after a couple of pages I realized that it was a very easy read!  The dialogue between all the characters flowed smoothly while also creating a vivid picture for readers. This was a good sign!

The book takes place where the last book/movie ends; with all the characters standing on Platform 9 3/4 sending their children off to Hogwarts for another year.  The story follows the main characters, Albus and Scorpius, as they try to find their place in the wizarding world as the son of “The Chosen One” and as the son of a famous “Death Eater”.  This book seamlessly jumps between the present and the past while also giving the readers a glimpse at how different the world could have been if Voldemort was not defeated in the Battle of Hogwarts.

While I do absolutely love the new character development and how well they tied in with all of the characters from the original Harry Potter books, this was a very ballsy move (turning the play into a book).  It could have gone very bad, but I think the authors tiptoed that very fine line between giving us what we wanted and taking it a step too far!  So long story short, this book was worth the read to me.  It was cute, nostalgic, endearing and funny, but it is NOT the next book in the Harry Potter series.  It was good, but I am sure the play is SO MUCH better!




Your Book, My Book, Our Book…

I was recently given the opportunity to read a friend’s book that she wrote (it is not published yet, but look for the review soon) and it really got me thinking about my book again…  I posted a few months ago the first couple of chapters from that book and decided it was time to post some more of it!  So without further ado…

BTW if you haven’t read the first couple of chapters you should probably do that first!



Chapter 3

The next morning I wake up, but don’t get out of bed. I need to plan my day. I want to get all the thoughts from the previous night out of my mind. I just need to will myself to happiness. There is nothing I can do about it anyways. After a few minutes, I finally get up and walk out into my living room. The sight before me is a combination of love and hysterics!  Brooke is sleeping half on and half off of my couch and poor Brandon is sprawled out on the floor. That can’t be comfortable. I don’t have carpet so he is sleeping on the hard wood floor with only a small couch pillow to separates his head from the ground. I try to be as quiet as I can as I head into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. When I turn the water on though, they both start stirring around.

“Anyone want some coffee?” I say extra upbeat.

“Yes.” Both Brooke and Brandon grumble under their breath.

“Coming right up!” I am still very peppy. I am hoping that if I just stay in a really good mood that neither of them will bring up the events of last night and we can all just move past them.

“So what would you guys like to do today?” Trying to get them to wake up and join in on the conversation.

“Oh, I don’t know.” Brooke sits up and stretches and blinks repeatedly to try and wake herself up. Brandon still has yet to get all the way up.

“How about we go to the beach. It is supposed to be really nice and I could use some sun!” I really do need some sun. For living in California, I think I am one of the palest people in the entire state.  I would give casper a run for his money!

“That actually sounds perfect!” She seems relieved. I think she is hung over. I can’t help but laugh a little thinking about how she must be feeling right now!

After we have a couple cups of coffee and get our stuff together, we make our way to the beach. Brandon leaves most of his beach attire at Brooke’s place since we live so close to the beach. We walk the five blocks from our apartment and across the hot sand. I love the feel of sand on your bare feet. It is a natural pedicure and after being in those heels all night I need it! We find a spot that is not too crowded but that is still a little close to the water so we can watch Brandon when he goes out to surf. We all place down our beach towels and start to strip off our outer clothing. I am wearing a halter-top blue and yellow striped bikini, but my bathing suit may as well be a one piece compared to Brooke’s suit.  She is also wearing a bikini but her top is little triangles that barely covers her boobs. The bottom is curved around her butt cheeks and scrunched together at the top. It is just barely over the top of her butt crack. We both lay down on our towels as Brandon is peeling off his shirt. He has a really nice body. The rigid outline of his abs are etched into his stomach and he has those “V” muscles that sit right on his hips. I am blushing as I stare up at him through my sunglasses, but then he turns and is off to the water with his board.

Back on the beach, I take my iPod and lay it between Brooke and I. I give her the left headphone and I take the right one. We each put them in one of our ears so we can listen together. The humming of Katy Perry’s “California Girls” is already playing when I hit the play button. How appropriate! You gotta love this song though! After about 10 minutes of lounging I am on the verge of sleep. There is nothing better than laying on the beach listening to the music with the crisp heat of the sun beating on you while the water provides you with just enough of a cool breeze.

When I open my eyes again, I have to find my phone to check the time. Holy Moly, I slept for an hour. I look to my right and Brooke is still passed out. I shake her and tell her to turn over so she does not burn on her front. As she falls back asleep, I get up from towel and walk down towards the water to dip my toes in the surf.  I skim the surface of the ocean to see if I can find Brandon, but there are a lot of surfers out there today so I don’t immediately find him. The waves are pretty big actually, not really normal for this area, but you take it when you get it. After a couple of minutes, I finally spot Brandon’s bright green board shorts. He is just sitting on his board waiting for a set to come in and after a couple of minutes I see him start to paddle towards the shore. Once he reaches the peak of the wave he pushes down on the nose of his board and before I know it he is to his feet, pushing his board from side to side and weaving up and down the wave. After the wave dies he lies back on his board and paddles the rest of the way to the shore.

When he reaches the shoreline, I can’t help but stare at him while he picks up his board. He is dripping wet and he shakes his head to one side so his hair flips back and out of his face. I literally can not take my eyes off of him.  He looks so hot right now. All of his muscles are expanded from being used. You can see the silhouette of every single one on his body! It has been a while since I have seen him naked and he is looking better than ever! My insides start to get excited just as he reaches me. He must see the cheesy grin on my face because he flashes one right back at me.

“Like what you see?” He smirks at me. Luckily I have sunglasses on so he cannot tell where I am looking.

“I do! The waves looks extra good today!” His smile fades as he turns to admire the view of them. “But you are not too bad yourself!” He turns back to me and smiles again. His eyes light up with excitement as he shoves the end of his board into the sand and walks towards me. All the water droplets on his body are glistening in sun. He looks like a Greek God. When he is about a foot from me, my pulse kicks into high gear. I lick my lips anticipating the kiss that is to come, but just as he leans forward, he runs his fingers through his wet hair and splashes water all over me.

I can’t help but scream because of the shock.  “Oh my god that is freezing.” I yell as I jump back away from him. “You suck Brandon.”

“Yeah sometimes I do.” He says and winks at me! Cocky bastard. He thinks he is so hot and smart. I mean he is, but that is not the point. I turn to walk with him back up to our towels and Brooke rolls back over just as we get there. She has a hint of a smirk on her face as she sees that I am wet. I sit back down on my towel between the two of them. Today was exactly what I needed. It was very relaxing and it took my mind off of the drama from earlier. It is so nice spending time with Brooke and Brandon just the three of us.

After a couple more hours on the beach, we decide that if we don’t want to burn that we should head back shortly. We start to gather our stuff and make the trek of 5 more blocks back to apartment. After about a block Brandon breaks the silence and asks how I am doing. Shit, I really thought I was going to make it through this whole day without having to answer that question.

“I am good. There is nothing I can do about it. It means nothing to me and I don’t want to dwell on it any longer.” Straight and to the point. Brooke gives him an irritated glare.

“Ok just making sure.” He smiles apologetically. He has his left arm wrapped around his Reef surfboard so I put my arm through his right arm and walk the rest of the way back to apartment like that. We all walk into my apartment and throw our stuff on the floor by the door to contain the sand in one spot. We are all trying to decide on what to do for a late lunch. Who wants to cook? Do we want to go out? Eventually we decide on ordering Chinese from our local restaurant. Brooke says that she will go pick it up and then she can go grab some drinks from the store as well.

“Well, I am going to go shower and then I will go get the food.” She looks at Brandon and I curiously like we are plotting something. Why is she looking at me like that? “Ok well I’m leaving, so I will be back in an hour.” And with that she is out the door of my apartment.

“What was that all about?” Brandon asks.

“I was thinking the same thing!” I shrug and laugh a little. “Ok well I am going to shower and then you can if you want.”

“Sounds like a plan.” He says and then I leave the room and head for the bathroom. I turn the water on so it can start heating up. I like to take really hot showers. I always have to wait at least twenty minutes after a shower for the mirror to defog itself. I take off my bathing suit and throw it on the bathroom floor and step into my steamy shower when I hear my bathroom door open. My heart almost stops. I don’t know why I still get nervous, I know who it is, but my stomach is in knots. I am excited and nervous all at the same time. I am facing the front of the shower and letting the water fall over my body when I feel his finger trace down my neck and down the crevice of my back all the way to my ass and then back up. I turn around and Brandon is standing completely naked behind me and before I can take a breath he already has his hands in my wet hair and pulling me towards him.

He is exactly what I need to take my mind off of last night.  He will make me forget about it all.  I take a deep breath as he brushes his lips against mine. He smells of salt and sunscreen. It is absolute heaven. I wrap my arms around him so my chest is pushed into him, kissing, and biting his lip; he pushes me back into the water so it is spilling over us both. As the water runs down my body, it is making me wet, which only entices him more. When i finally lock eyes with him, that is all the permission he needs to continue his assault on my body.


Looking down at me, he kisses me on last time and I can’t help but smile at the unexpected activities that have just unfolded in my shower. We both finish showering, getting dressed and ready about 10 minutes before Brooke returns with the food.  I don’t know if she knows that Brandon and I engage in these hidden behaviors. She knows we have messed around on occasion, but I don’t think she knows that we have sex.  I am not sure that I want to have that conversation with her. We both trying to act like nothing happened, but Brandon keeps staring at me smiling like a goofy bastard! SHIT.

“What is wrong with you two?” Brooke is staring at both of us now. Shit she knows. Think, think. What should I say?

“We were just talking about this guy that was out in the water with me. He was trying to impress some girls he came with and he could not even get up on his board.” Brandon says right to her without even hesitating. Thank god because I could not come up with a believable lie that quick!

“Oh. Some guys will do anything!” She says as she takes the food out from the bag.

Without missing a beat, Brandon looks at me and smiles, “yeah some guys will do anything.” Really did he just say that? I just shake my head and roll my eyes. At this point I am starving and the food looks so good.  After we each grab some food, we move into the living room and lounge around watching TV for the rest of the night.

Monday morning, bright and early, and Madison has already given me a list of local professionals that I need to interview this week for the magazine. I make my way through the list of people in LA and start making calls to set up meetings with them. When I get to the sixth name down the list it is Rich Boards, they make custom surfboards. When I call to set up a meeting, I find out that the owner, Mr. Richardson, has some free time this afternoon. I agree to a time and hang up the phone.

I finish calling everyone on my list and grab my pre-approved questions from Madison before heading over to Rich Boards. I grab my car out of the garage and make my way towards Venice beach. The weather lately has been beautiful and I immediately open my sunroof and let the cool ocean breeze blow through my hair. As soon as I turn on the radio,  Carly Rae Jepson greets my ears and I  sing along to “Call Me Maybe” as I drive.

When I pul off the road and into the parking lot I am immediately surprised to see a very simplistic building sitting in front of me. As I walk to the front I can see that the view must be why they chose this location.  The building has an unobstructed view straight out into the ocean. The front of it has big plate glass windows with surfboards on display for all to see. The outside is lined with palm trees and hibiscus plants and t he smell coming from the flowers as I make my way to their door is absolutely enchanting.

When I walk in the front door, I am greeted by a perky teenage girl that is manning the cash register at the front. “I have a meeting with Mr. Richardson.” I state.

She asks my name and retreats through a door to the back of the building. While I wait, I  walk around the shop looking at the custom boards that surround me. They have everything here from your typical short boards and long boards to some fancy hybrid models that I know nothing about. I can tell you pretty general knowledge about surfboards and I know the basics of surfing and from time to time you will catch me out in the water on a board but I am by no means a great surfer

When I get to far wall, I run my hand across the top of a fish board and feel the slick fiberglass beneath my fingertips. This board has an intricate design of a mermaid along the side intertwined with some tribal swirls.  As I am admiring the wonderful craftsmanship I hear someone walking across the room towards me. “I just finished that one yesterday,” an all too familiar voice states.

I turn around to meet him, “it’s… ummm… I.. Ugh…” I stammer.

“I’ll take that to mean you like them Layla?” I stand there for a minute a little confused.

I thought the company sounded familiar, but I just never put the two together. “I’m sorry Derek. I am just a little thrown off.” I try to laugh it off. “I didn’t realize you owned Rich Boards.”

“Yeah I started it when I got out of college.”

I try to just relax a little bit. I am here for work. I need to focus on my job and get this
interview done. Nothing else matters. He motions for the door, “would you like to come back to my office?”  He is so different than I remember him. In college he was the frat boy and full time surfer. I didn’t think he went to any of his classes let alone enough to get a degree that would allow him to run a business.  I shouldn’t really be surprised that he started a surfboard company though, I just didn’t think he had the business sense. I guess a lot of things change.

I follow him back to his office and take a seat in his cream leather and cherry wood chair adjacent from his desk. There is a large window behind his chair that showcases his workshop. There are large pieces of foam, that almost look like wood, stacked up around the shop. The tables, in what looks like his warehouse, are covered with sanders and saws. The back of the room is much like the front of the building with it has large plate glass windows that not only allow in a ton of natural light, but give the room a beautiful and wonderful backdrop of the lush urban garden that is situated behind the building.

While I am busy staring at the warehouse, he sits down, across from me, at his desk and I am forced to bring myself back to the topic at hand.  I set up a recorder on his desk and begin to ask my questions and take notes. I am surprised that I actually learn a lot of things about Derek that I never knew. The interview lasts for about 30 minutes and then I pack everything back up and am ready to leave.

As he walks me out of his office, he stops, “I almost forgot. I will call you later this week to set up a time for a photographer to come over an get some pictures of you in the shop.” He nods politely and opens the door. As I move to step forward out of his office I almost run right into him again.  How can this keep happening?

He comes from around the corner moving towards Derek’s office and when he looks up from his phone to see me almost run into him, he looks as surprised as I am. We both just stand there for a minute staring at each other confused by the others presence.  From somewhere behind me I hear Derek speak, “Layla, I would like you to meet my silent business partner and financier.”

Logan stands in front of me stock still and flashes one of his remarkable smiles. I am so completely mesmerized by his smile and the fact that he is again standing in front of me, that I forget to talk. I just stand there for a couple of minutes trying to process once again the events that are taking place. Once I finally manage to piece together some words, all I can come up with is, “You two are business partners?”.

“Well I get financing and Logan gets free boards! It’s a win-win situation.” Derek chuckles as he makes his way past me towards Logan. Logan and I have still not taken our eyes off of each other. He is no longer smiling, as we both stand there daring the other to make the first move, but neither one of us does. Derek finally is the one to break the silence and nudges Logan’s arm to steal his attention away from me. “We really should get going. We are going to be late.”

He turns to look at Derek from the corner of his eye before turning back to face me. “It was great seeing you again Layla.” He leans forward and gently kisses my cheek and I am frozen in time. I cannot move any part of my body. I end up just standing there and watch as he walks away from me again without another word.

Two times in one week I have been caught off guard by him and have been unable to speak or move when I am in his presence. After this long apart you would think that I have this all worked out in my mind, but clearly I don’t. There is so much that was not ended with us. I never got closure and seeing him again just opens up all the old wounds.

I manage to make it back to the office without running into him again. Thankfully. I take my seat at my desk and try to finish what is left of my workday, but all I have left is just  enough time to send a few more emails and shut down my computer for the day.

Once my computer is shut down, I sit in my office and try to clear my head of my thoughts of Logan. I can’t go home to see Brooke and Brandon while I am still thinking about him, they will know something is up and after the weekend and seeing how they both reacted to him showing up at the club, I really don’t want to relive all of that all over again.  Before I leave my office I will get my shit together.  I hope.

Chapter 4

My next two weeks of work seem relatively uneventful compared to my previous weeks. My boss, Madison, has been traveling back and forth between LA and New York working on an ad campaign for the upcoming fashion week. Since she has not been in, I have had to pick up some of her slack and go over some smaller projects around the office, which has been great.  All the extra distractions really helped to take my mind off of Logan.

When I got home from work a couple of weeks ago I was so worried that Brook was going to know that I was stressing over Logan that I completely missed the fact that she was completely dressed up and ready to go out.  Turns out, when I thought that I had forgotten we had plans, that Brooke actually had a date!

So now Brooke has been dating a guy named Ryan for a couple of weeks now. She told me that she met him at a coffee shop. They had accidentally stolen each others drinks and he realized it as she was walking out and caught up with her to switch them back. Ryan insisted on making it up to her by taking her to dinner. Can someone say cheesy?

They seem to be hitting it off pretty well. He seems like a nice guy even thought I have only meet him twice when he has come by to pick her up from her apartment, but so far they seem to be into each other. I am still having to get used to Brooke dating one guy.  She tends to date around and juggle between three or more guys rather than sticking with one guy.

Since Brooke has been going out so much, it has given Brandon and I some more time to spend with each other alone, but in that time together I have also realized that he does not like Ryan. I know he is just being the typical big brother, but can’t he just be happy for her?  Geeze!. Brooke has also started asking more questions about me and Brandon lately.  She knows we are spending more time together since she is not around as much and now I think she suspects that we are messing around. I have tried to tell her that is it nothing serious and that we are just keeping it casual. Sexual, but casual!

On my way home from work on the following Tuesday I stop and pick up a pizza for the three of us. When I walk into the pizza place to pay for our food, they open the box to make sure it is correct. Pineapple with extra ham. Yum! I take the pizza and head back to the apartment and when I open the door to Brooke’s place, Brandon is sitting on the bar stool at the counter working on his laptop and Brooke is in her closet rummaging through her clothes

“Dinner is served.” I say and sit the pizza on the counter next to Brandon. I look around for Brooke, but I don’t see her, I can only hear her. “What is she doing?” I ask him.

“She has another date tonight.” He mumbles without looking up from his computer.

“Oh well. More for us!” I am trying to diffuse the situation because I know that he still doesn’t like Ryan.  If food isn’t going to make him happy I need to try a different approach. I lean forward and whisper into his ear, “maybe we can figure out something for dessert after this pizza is done!” That got his attention.

“I am sure I can think of something appetizing!” He jokes as he finally looks away from his computer.

At that moment, Brooke comes into the living room to ask what I think about her outfit. She is wearing a tight purple mini skirt with a black tank top, her hair is curled and tussled so that it falls over her shoulders. If looks could kill! I glance at Brandon who is eyeballing her from where he sits. He is such a brother, acting like he is about to yell at her like he is her father, but before he ruins her mood and can tell her she should change I blurt out, “you look hot!”

“Really? It’s not too much is it?” She says while pulling her skirt down a little and shifting her weight from one foot to the other.

“No it is great. Your hair looks really good too!” Trying to emphasize that everything is perfect. I have never seen her this nervous before, she must really like this guy. She is never this worried about how she looks. Just then, there is a knock at the door. Brooke runs back towards her room, for what I assume is her last minute touchups and I head to cut Brandon off and answer the door.

“Hey Ryan.” I gesture with my hand, “come on in. She is almost ready.” He is dressed in jeans and a light pink shirt. He has really nice tanned skin and dark brown eyes that almost match the color of his hair.

“Thanks.” He steps over the threshold and walks towards Brandon and nods his head. “Hey man how’s it going?

“Not to bad, thanks.” And with that Brandon is done.  No more polite conversation will be coming from him. He just leans back against the counter glaring. So, I walk over and lean up against the stool between his legs to try to calm him down, but when I rest my arms on his thighs, I can feel how tense he is.  This isn’t going to go well.

“So Ryan, what do you guys have planned for the night?” I try to make polite chitchat because you can feel the tension in the room.

“You know, the whole dinner and dancing thing.” By his uneasy tone I would guess he could feel the tension as well. Luckily for all of us, Brooke walks out to greet him and she has since paired her outfit with some studded black stilettos

“You ready to go?” She smiles at Ryan and he nods. They walk toward the door and while she turns to shut it behind her she points and declares, “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” And with that she is gone.

“So how about that dessert?” Brandon grabs my hand and leads me back to my apartment before I can even answer. I feel like my heart is going to beat out of my chest. The excitement is too overwhelming. I wonder what he has planned? Once he closes the door behind us, I decide that this is going to be my game, not his. Before he even knows what is happening, I push him up against the back of my door, grab his face with my hands and kiss him with every ounce of passion that I have. His lips are so strong and masculine and I can fill his scruffy facial hair rubbing against my face as we make out. Making sure not to break our contact, I find his hands with mine and pull him towards my bedroom, trying to maneuver between the furniture and doorways. When I feel my bed behind the back of my legs, I turn around and shove him onto it.

While he is lying on the bed smiling and out of breath, I slowly climb onto the edge of it, placing my legs in between his. I lean over and undo his belt and buttons on his jeans and begin slowly tugging them off of him, making sure not to pull his boxers down as well. Once I have successfully gotten them off, I make my way back up on top of him, placing my hips directly on top of his. I start to slowly rub back and forth, building up the sensation throughout my body and his. I can feel him beneath his boxers growing larger and harder with every movement that I make. When he reaches up and squeezes my ass cheeks, he tries to roll me over so he can be on top of me, but I reach up and pin his shoulders back down to the bed. Guessing what I want, he relinquishes control, places his hands behind his head and gives me a smirk, “Go to town sweetheart, I am just along for the ride.”

A couple of well spent hours later every muscle in my body is completely satisfied.  Brandon rolls onto his side and pulls me over so I can put my head on his chest.  The thumping of his heart instantly lulls me to sleep and the thought of pizza has since been driven out of my mind

The next time I open my eyes it is morning and Brandon is sleeping on my pillow, facing me. I can feel his shallow breath against my nose. He looks so peaceful in the morning. His hair is still disheveled from out sex-capades the night before, but he manages to still look amazing.  I am sure the same can not be said for myself.

“Hello.” He murmurs as he slowly opens his eyes. His eyes are a gorgeous sea foam green in the early morning hours, but by night time than have transformed into a Kelly green that is equally just as memorizing. As he leans forward to kiss me I can feel something else “gorgeous” rubbing up against me!

“Hello yourself!” I kiss him back but then roll over and get out of bed. “I have to get ready for work or I am going to be late.”

“I wasn’t going to do anything!” He chuckles from behind me. “I was just saying good morning!”

“I know your tactics and I cannot give in this morning, I am going to be late.” I turn to say to him, noticing he has a devilish grin on his face. “I knew you had something planned!

“I can’t help it!” He pleads. I can’t help but smile back. .

When I get out of the shower and finish getting ready I head to the living room to find Brandon sitting on my couch with Brooke. She is going on about her date the night before with Ryan, but Brandon could not seem less interested. When they notice me walking in, he gets up to grab a travel mug from the counter and hands it to me

“I made coffee.” I take the cup from him. “Now I am going to get ready.” He kisses me and goes to walk across the hall to Brooke’s apartment where the majority of his clothes are. “Have a good day at work dear!” I blush knowing that Brooke is sitting five feet from me and when I look over at her, she is smiling from ear to ear, exactly as I expected her to be.

“Did you have a good night?” She inquires with a shit eating grin. Little does she know that I have no intention of getting into a conversation about my sexual relationship with her brother. So a quick change of subject is needed.

“I did thanks. How was your night?” I question, trying to reel her back in to her date night.  Without missing a beat, she then proceeds to tell me about their dinner and dancing. She can’t seem to hide her excitement about the next part when she insists on telling me how she had sex with Ryan last night for the first time. After about 10 minutes of catching up on her life story and whole incredible Ryan is in bed, I leave for work and as I drive I can’t help but reminisce about my own fun night last night, so I decide to send Brandon a text message.

“I had a great time last night. I hope we can do it again sometime!!!” Send. Within 1 minute I have a response

“Last night was pretty amazing and if I get my way we will do it again many more times.” Typical guy.

“Well I might be okay with you getting your way, but just this one thing.” Send.

“Well it’s either my way or the highway! Have a great day at work, I’ll call you later babe!

I am not referred to as BABE. That is something new.  Clearly things may be getting more serious for him as well.

I get to work and pull into my normal parking spot. I usually park next to Madison but she is still out of town so there is just an empty space next to me. I head into the office to start my day and am busy from the time I walk in until the time that I leave. Later that afternoon as I am walking back to my car, I notice my back passenger tire is completely flat. Shit. When I walk up to inspect it, I notice there is a large nail stuck into the tread. I must have run over it sometime this morning. Not wanting to deal with changing a flat tire, I take my phone out to call AAA and that’s when I hear a voice behind. A voice that is only too familiar to me. One that is unmistakable. It is him. I turn around and there he is. Just standing there looking at me with his hands in his pockets.

“What the hell are you doing here Logan?” He looks so good, but he seems distant.  “Are you stalking me now?”

Completely ignoring everything I just asked, he points to my tire and asks his own questions.“Do you need help with that?” He walks straight over to me and continues, “Do you still have your spare tire in the back?”

“Why are you here?” I ask again as I continue to stare at him with a million thoughts running through my mind.  Why is he in my parking garage?  Why is he in California?  Why do I keep running into him?  Why does he still look so good?  Why does he still affect me?  Why do I still want him?

“Give me your keys so I can get your spare and I will tell you while I am changing your tire.” He moves even closer to me and sticks his hand out as if asking for my keys. I cannot think. I automatically grab my keys and hand them to him, never even thinking twice about it. He takes my keys, opens my trunk and pulls up the bottom mat and proceeds to take out my spare tire. He the grabs the tire iron and starts taking off the lug nuts of the flat.

Third time’s a charm. “Why are you here?” I need to know. I deserve to know and he is just annoying me now.

“I came to talk to you and I wanted to see you.”  He pauses and takes a deep breath before he continues. “I have not stopped thinking about you since I saw you the other day and I came to see if I could take you to dinner so we could talk.” He glances over his shoulder when he says, “I had not gone in to your office yet, because I was not sure what I was going to say.” Without another word, he turns back around and continues working on my tire. He is dressed in jeans and a button up shirt with his sleeves rolled up and he seems so cool and collected, but he forgets that I know him and I can tell something is off.

“Why do you want to talk? What could you possible have to say after all this time?” I have a hint of anger in my voice that I cannot seem to hide.

“Dinner?” He turns to look at me again.

“I don’t want to go to dinner.”  I can’t help but raise my voice now.  My anger is no longer in check.  “Just tell me what you have to fucking say.”

He continues our conversation without any hesitation.“I don’t want to talk about this here, in the middle of a garage, Layla. Please go to dinner with me.” He seems so smooth and sweet when he says this, almost like he still cares about me, but if he cared he would not have left me the way that he did three years ago. He turns back to finish changing my tire and leaves me to think it over. I can’t go to dinner with this man. After everything he did to me. What could he possible have to say? Do I honestly care? Of course I care. But why do I care? I don’t owe him anything. I could just leave. While I am standing there speechless watching him as he finishes, he puts my flat tire into my trunk and turns back to me

“I can see you are still mad and honestly I don’t blame you. I probably should not have come. It was great seeing you. You look great. Maybe I’ll see you around.” He comes closer to me, hands me my keys back, leans in and kisses me on my cheek. When he brushes his face against mine, my body completely melts. I close my eyes to take him in and the smell of him brings back every memory that I have tried so hard and so long to suppress. He pulls away just slightly and whispers in my ear, sending pulses shooting down my spine. “I’m sorry.”

As he turns and walks away from me for yet again time, all I can do it stand there and watch him head back to his car. Tears have started welling up in my eyes and I am now forced to confront my feelings for him all over again. Why do I still care? How can he still do this to me? I can’t open this door again. I can’t let him back in. He destroyed me… I have to know though… I have to know what he came here to say…  I can’t keep watching him walk away from me and not know why.

“Logan, wait.” My legs have finally seemed to receive the signals from my brain to move, and I rush to catch up to him. “I am not very hungry, but I could go for a drink.”

He smiles, “that sounds great. You can ride with me.” And just like that Logan was back in my life.

Chapter 5

We arrive at a bar that I have never been to before. It is in a really nice part of town and when we walk in, it takes us a minute to find an empty table because it is already pretty busy for it only being six-thirty. Once Logan spots a table, I follow him over to it. It is a high top table against the side wall. When our waiter walks over, Logan orders a rum and coke while I order a vodka and sprite and then we just sit in silence staring at each other until our waiter finally reappears.Logan takes a big swig of his drink and then finally speaks

“So how have you been?” That’s what he wants to talk about? Seriously?

“I have been great Logan. Thanks. But what did we come here to talk about? What did you want to tell me? Why are you here?” I spew out every question that is running through my mind. I almost feel bad for being so abrupt, but I am here to find out what he has to say and that is it.

“I am back in town on some personal business and I wanted to see how you were doing.” He stares me right in the eyes as he finally asks, “How are you doing?” He genuinely seems concerned, which is weird since I have not heard from him in over three years. I can feel myself growing more angry and impatient by the minute. ‘

“I am doing great. Did you think that I would just crawl into a hole and die after you left me?” A little harsh, but who does he think he is?

“That is not what I meant. I am glad that you are doing so well. I… Uh… Wan…I just wanted to see you and since I was in town I figured I should at least try.” Glad to see I am not the only that is at a lose for words during this conversation.

“Well mission accomplished. Now you know. I guess since you have now marked that off your list you can now go about your personal business.” I am so mad inside. He didn’t come back here to check on me.  He could have check on me for three years.  Not one phone call.  Not one email.  Not one letter.  Nothing… and now I am even more pissed.

“Damnit Layla, my personal business that I came here for is you.”He breaths all the air out of his lungs while he says this and then looks out the window beside him. My mouth literally drops open. I was totally not expecting that. He is dead serious and he actually seems mad now. I am stone cold and speechless. Say something stupid… I open my mouth to speak but I immediately close it again.  What the hell am I supposed to say to that?

He takes a deep breath and then turns back to look at me again, “I had come here to see you and tell you what happened and why I left.” He takes another large sip of his drink. “I left because I was scared. I was scared for you…” Another sip.  “I loved you so much. I just did not know how to deal with those feelings. We were so young, we were graduating college and I did not know what was going to happen with us. I didn’t want to hold you back. I wanted you to get the chance to live your life.” He pauses for another moment and I take this chance to jump in

“You were my life Logan. We talked about getting married. I know we were young but we had plans and dreams and you ruined it all.” Oh shit here come the tears. “You destroyed me. You destroyed us.” It is my turn to take a sip and stare at him. He seems to be thinking about what I said.

“I love you.” The look on his face is as surprised as mine. He could not have meant to say that, but he doesn’t try to correct himself either. Instead he says it again. “I love you. It’s true, I always have and always will. I know that does not change what happened. I don’t expect it to, but I need you to know that I did it for you. For us. What we had was so perfect and great and I did not want to have it any other way. If I went to New York and you stayed here, I didn’t know if it would last. I was scared and stupid and I am sorry that I hurt you.” There is pain in his eyes. The same pain that I felt for months after he left.

“I don’t know if I love you anymore. I don’t know if I could ever love you again.” I try to hold my tears back, but they fall down my cheeks and into the corners of my mouth. When I see the waiter pass by me, I order another drink. “I’m sorry.” It’s all that I can say.  I really am sorry for the way everything turned out.  I know it was my fault, but I am sorry for the loss of our relationship.  What we had was special and I don’t think it is something that we will ever get back.

“You have nothing to be sorry about. Please stop crying. I hate to see you cry.” He scoots his chair closer to mine and wraps his arms around me and pulls me against him. I instinctively wrap mine around his neck and cry even harder. When the waiter returns with my drink, I try to compose myself and guzzle it down.  An alcoholic induced haze seems like the way to go right now.

For the next hour we sit and talk about our jobs, doing everything we can to take our minds off of the conversation that we just had. He has been working for his dad in their New York law firm and finishing law school. His dad had opened up another firm in New York while we were still in school. He traveled bi-coastal since Logan and I had been together.
After I consume two more drinks, I decide that it is best if we leave. We pay our tab and then go. He takes my hand and walks me back to his car. I don’t try to refuse because I am doing a horrible job of walking straight and I still have on my heels from work, which is not helping. As we drive back to my apartment I think over what we said to each other tonight. So much has happened. I thought I was moving on and in a better place since him, thanks to Brooke and Brandon. Oh shit. Brandon. What am I going to do about Brandon? What am I going to tell him?… We finally pull up to my place and Logan gets out and walks around to open my door and help me out. He walks me to the front door of my building and then releases my hand.

“Thank you for agreeing to come tonight.” He shyly smiles at me.

“Thank you for the drinks. It was good seeing you.” As I turn to walk inside he throws me off guard again.

“I was planning on staying in town for a while. I was wondering if I could see you again. As friends. No pressure. We can keep it casual.” I turn to look at him over my shoulder and I can see his eyes begging me to say yes. There is no harm if we keep it casual. Right?  We could catch up on things with each other. Who am I kidding? I am opening up a world of hurt if I agree, but I don’t think my heart will let me say no.

“Sure we could do that.” I ask him for his phone and enter my number for him. “Give me a call or text me sometime.”

“You got it! Have a good night.” Then he turns and walks back to his car.  As I stand there watching him walk away from me again, which seems to be the story of our lives, I try to convince mys mind that I can handle this friendship, but who am I kidding?  I know better than to believe that.

Inside my apartment I would love to just sit and take all of this in, but the room is starting to spin so I decide on just getting into bed and going straight to sleep. I am going to have to explain to Brooke tomorrow, extra early in the morning, because she will have to take me to work since that is where my car still is. That is one conversation I really don’t want to have. What have I agreed to with Logan?

I wake up the next morning almost in a fog from the amount of alcohol that I consumed the night before. It almost feels like I dreamt everything that happened. I, of course, know that it is not a dream. I decide not to dwell on things for too long and start getting ready for work. After I finish getting ready, I head to the kitchen and make coffee for both Brooke and myself. Since I am going to wake her up this early, it is the least I can do. I unlock her door and make my way to her bedroom. I try to wake her by shaking her back gently and whispering her name, “Brooke…”  Nothing.  “Brooke…”  Again nothing.

“Brooke, can you give me a ride to work?” I am trying to be quiet and let her have a minute to realize what is going on, but she is such a heavy sleeper, that I am forced to be a little more aggressive with the shaking.

“Why can’t you drive? Where is your car?” She mumbles while still half asleep and with her eyes still fully closed.

“My car is still at work. I had a flat tire and got a ride home last night.” Not a complete lie, but enough to get her up. I will tell her the whole truth when we are in the car.

“Fine. Give me a second.  Can I at least brush my teeth?” She rubs her eyes and makes her way to the bathroom. After five minutes we head out the door and make our way to her car.

“So how did you get home? Why didn’t you just call AAA?” Here come the questions.

“I have to tell you something and I need you to hear the whole thing before you talk.” She eyes me questioningly and then drinks some of her coffee so she is awake for what I need to say. I go through the story of how Logan showed up at my work, the flat tire and then going out for drinks. I do my best to remember every word that was spoken at the bar so she can have the whole story and when I finish she does not even hesitate.

“Are you fucking kidding me? You went out with him. After everything he put you through?” She stares right at me. “You don’t believe a word he said do you?” She stares right at me again, but I just shrug.

“I don’t know what I believe. I thought that I had put it all behind me.” I did put it all behind me, but I was drawn to him from the moment I met him and that pull is still there, no matter how much I don’t want it to be.

“Please tell me you don’t want to get back together with him.” Her eyes narrow at me. She looks like she is ready to cut somebody.

“Of course not! I am not stupid, but I still have questions that are unanswered and maybe we can learn to be friends. I don’t know.  It is confusing.  I am confused.  I don’t know what I want anymore.” It is true, I don’t know.

When I get to work I am so thankful that it is Friday. I head straight up to my office and when I get there, there are flowers sitting on my desk. Shit. And so it begins. I pull out the note that is sitting in the middle of the flowers and pull the little piece of paper out.

“Just Because! Happy Friday! XOXO Brandon!”

Crap.  Brandon.  I mean I am excited that they are from Brandon because that means that they aren’t from Logan, but how am I going to explain all of this to Brandon?  He is going to be just as pissed as Brooke. I sit down at my desk and pull out my phone to send a quick text.

“Thanks for the flowers. They are beautiful!” Send.

“You are welcome Babe! Plans tonight?

“None yet.” Send.

“Ill meet you at your place! Until then…”

“Until then!” Send.

Brandon is exactly what I should want.  I mean I do want.  I don’t know what I mean anymore. I really am starting to get feelings for him. He is so sweet. He is so uncomplicated, but now that Logan is back in town my emotions are all over the place.  Even if Logan and I stay friends that is going to cause problems with Brandon.  Why do I feel like this is all going to be over before it even gets started?

I finish up my day a little early and head back to my place. When I open my door there is another bouquet of flowers on my counter. I pull the card out again and read.

“Just because you are you! XOXO Brandon!”

More flowers. I should be excited that I have more flowers.  Girls love getting flowers.  The problem here is I am getting flowers from someone who I am not exactly sure I am ready to get serious with and once he finds out about my meeting with Logan he is going to be pissed.

I am not even sure what we are going to be doing tonight, but I decide to go ahead and get ready. I have curled my hair in big waves so it is full and bouncy, I get on my skinny jeans and a black sparkly tank top. I even wear the red stilettos from Brooke’s birthday party. While I am still finishing my makeup, I hear my door open and Brandon walks around the corner.

“Hey you… Wow…You look great!” He walks up behind me, wraps his arms around my waist and then kisses my neck.

“Why thank you Mr. Allen!” I turn around, keeping his arms around my waist, and look up at him. “What are we going to do tonight?”

“I figured we would go to dinner. Are you hungry?” He lets go of me so I can grab my purse and wallet.

“Famished!” We walk out of the apartment and into the garage to his car. Just like Brooke, Brandon also drives a BMW but he drives a silver one instead of black. We don’t drive very far and as we pull up outside of a very nice beachfront restaurant I realize it is the kind of place that you won’t get in to unless you have a reservation. Apparently, we do have one. The hostess walks us to our table and Brandon pulls my chair out for me and then takes his seat. We order a bottle of wine and then our dinner; Brandon chooses salmon and I opt for chicken.

“Thank you again for the flowers. They were both beautiful! You really did not have to do that though.” I give a big smile and then take a sip of my wine.

“I know I did not have, but I wanted to.” He grabs my hand from across the table and rubs his thumb over my knuckles. “You know the past couple of years have been great. I have been so lucky to get to spend all this time with you. You are a great woman and I care about you a lot.”

“I care about you too!” I smile politely at him, but it doesn’t quite reach my eyes.  . Our food arrives and we continue with casual chitchat. I know that I need to tell him about the Logan situation before he finds out from Brooke, but I don’t want to ruin tonight and I can’t seem to think of a good time. He will probably react worse than Brooke. I have to tell him though. It will be worse if I don’t. When we finish eating, we sit and finish drinking our bottle of wine.

“I have something that I want to tell you Brandon.” I am trying not to be too suspicious, but it the worry has to be written on my face.

“There is something that I want to tell you also.” He takes a drink of his wine.

“You can go first.” Maybe he already knows. Maybe he wants to tell me how stupid
I am and how mad he is at me.

“Okay. “ He takes another drink and he seems so nervous. “I think I am falling in love with you Layla.” A look of relief comes across his face. He looks almost relieved to have finally gotten it off of his chest. “You don’t have to say it back. I just had to get it out there.” I am almost a little shocked that he said it first. I mean, what guy is ever the first one to say it, but deep down I think I am falling for him as well. He is one of my best friends.

“I feel the same way and I am not just saying that. I really do think I am falling in love with you. You have been so great over the years and I am lucky to have you in my life.” I am so in the moment that I almost forgot about the Logan situation. Brandon gets up and comes to sit on my side of the table with me.

He places his hands on my face so I am looking directly at him,“I want to have you all to myself. I want everyone to know that we are together.” He kisses me softly and then waits for me to respond.

As I rub my hands over his, I can feel mine shaking, “Brandon, I have had such a great time tonight. This could not be more perfect, but there is still something I still need to tell you.” This is going to be so bad. I turn to grab my glass of wine so I finish it off. “I saw Logan yesterday.” Brandon immediately backs away from me a little bit. He is completely in shock at what I have just said. “He just wanted to see how I was doing. He told me he still loves me. I told him that I did not feel the same way. He wants to hang out and catch up just as friends.” I am sitting in front of him so vulnerable. He looks pissed and hurt. He just sits there not knowing what to say and with those words I know I have just ruined everything.

“We should go.” He flags down our waiter to pay the bill and then leads me out of the restaurant and back to the car. Why did I have to say something? Why did I have to tell him tonight? The car ride is very quiet on the drive back home. He does not hold my hand or even glance over in my direction. When we park in the garage, I don’t wait for him to open my door, because honestly, I am not even sure if he is going to. We head back up into the apartment and he stops at my front door.

“I have been thinking about what you said since we left. I can’t believe that you went out with him last night. I can’t believe he is trying to get back in your life. I also can’t believe that he is acting like he still cares about you.” He leans up against the wall outside of my door. “My feelings have not changed. I still love you, but I hate him for what he did to you. I could kill him Layla and I will if he hurts you again. You are a big girl, so I am not going to tell you what you should and should not do and I am not going to tell you who you should be friends with, but I hate this.” He rubs his hands over his face. I can tell that I have hurt him.

“I am sorry that I ruined tonight. I didn’t know when to tell you and I did not want you to hear it from Brooke first.” I walk up and stand directly in front of him and grab his face. “Please don’t leave.” I lean up to kiss him and I can feel his tense up. I pull back and grab his hand and pull him into my apartment. “Please…” We finally make it to my bed and both lay down, but he doesn’t move.  Instead he just lays there with me wrapped in his arms.  I am afraid if I say something or move that he will leave, so I just lay there and eventually fall asleep.

I wake up the next morning to see that Brandon is already awake and staring at me.“How long have you been awake?” I grumble at him.

“About an hour. I have just been watching you sleep.” He says quietly.  The pain and hurt is still evident on his face.  “I did a lot of thinking last night.” He breathes out a long sigh…  I know what is coming, but that doesn’t make it hurt less. “I think we need to take a little step back from each other.  I want you to have time to figure out what you want.”  He breaks our eye contact and runs his hand up his stubbly face. “I am not going anywhere, but we can’t be together as long as he is in the picture.”

I lay there taking in everything he is saying and know that he is right.  I knew this was going to happen.  I knew Logan was going to cause problems between Brandon and I, but I still need to see him.  I need to see if we can be friends and see if I can get some kind of closure before I can ever really move on from him.

So instead of responding to him, because honestly I don’t even know what I should say to that, I say something to completely change the topic and take the cowards way out. “I think we should go to the beach. I heard the waves were supposed to be good.” I am not ready for him to leave me completely so maybe I can get a little more time with him to smooth things over.

“Alright.”  He is a little hesitant, but I know he can’t turn down good surf. “I am going to run across the hall and grab some clothes and my board. I’ll see if Brooke wants to go with us!” I then watch as he gets out of my bed and walks to Brooke’s apartment.

I decide to go ahead and get out of bed as well. I brush my teeth and start raiding my closet
for something to wear. Living at the beach, I have about 20 bathing suits to choose from so after a couple of minutes of trying to find two matching pieces, I come up with a solid pink bikini with a brown trim. I throw on some shorts and a tank top and make my way to the kitchen. I pack a small cooler full of water bottles, and some snacks for later. When I am almost finished, Brandon walks back into my apartment carrying his board.
“Brooke is getting ready. Ryan is coming too.” He doesn’t seem thrilled and he actually looks a little more mad than when he left earlier, if that is possible.

“Ok I will pack a couple more drinks.” I open the refrigerator again and pull out a couple more waters. Brandon walks in my bathroom and changes just as Brooke and Ryan walk in. Now I see why Brandon was so pissed when he came back in, Ryan must have stayed the night at Brooke’s place. Brandon makes his way back into the living room and we grab our stuff and walk down to the boardwalk. We get to the beach early enough that we don’t have a hard time finding a place to lay out. We all place our towels down. Brooke and I have our towels in the middle next to each other with the guys on either side of us. I take my sun tan lotion out and rub it all over myself and then rub Brandon down. When I finish he grabs his board and heads straight for the water without looking back at me.

Since I am not really in the mood to talk, I grab my iPod and place both headphones in my ear. Brooke is here with Ryan so I get the whole thing to myself. When I hit the play button I am thoroughly pleased to hear Britney Spears “Till the World Ends” starting. I love this song. Britney never gets old. As I lay there listening to my music, I turn my head to the side and can see Brooke and Ryan talking and flirting. I prop myself up on my forearms to see if I can spot Brandon in the water. He is out there just sitting on his board talking to some of the other surfers so I lay back down and doze off to sleep.

While I am lying peacefully on my stomach I can see that there is a shadow around me from someone standing above me. I can feel the water dripping on me from their body.  I roll over to my back expecting Brandon to be standing over me, but when I put my hand over my eyes like a visor, I see Logan standing above me holding a surfboard. I immediately jump up to my feet. Brandon is going to be pissed. I look over to where Brooke and Ryan were, but they are gone. When I look back at Logan, I can see Brandon is walking up behind him.

“Look who found me in the water.” Brandon says with sarcasm.

“What are you doing here Logan?” I cannot believe this is happening.  I really am not ready for this show down between the two of them.

“I heard the waves were going to be good today!” He used to spend almost every morning on the beach when we were in college, but why did he have to pick this beach? Brandon has made his way over to me and shoves his board in the sand next to his towel. He is watching Logan like a hawk. “I saw Brandon out in the water and figured I would say hey.”

“Oh.” I don’t even know what to say, but I can feel Brandon still watching us.

“Well I’ll see you around. Later Brandon.” He nods and walks up to the boardwalk. What just happened? I turn to find Brandon is now lying down on the towel next to me.

“Did you tell him you were going to be down here?” He asks deadpan.

I can’t even believe he just asked me that.  “Of course I didn’t tell him we would be out here. Why the hell would I do that?”  Already we are fighting over Logan.“What the hell did you guys talk about out there?” The conversation must not have been too detailed or bad because neither one of them was drowned while they were out there.

“Nothing really. He saw me out there, swam over said hey, asked how I was. I told him I heard you guys went out the other night. I also told him that I would kill him if he hurt you again.” He seems very calm for threatening bodily harm to someone and with that he lays down on his towel and closes his eyes so I do the same.  Clearly he is done talking about this.

When we all return to our building later that afternoon, Brandon and I decide to just hang out.  Somehow when you are outside at the beach, the sun literally drains all the energy out of you and currently none of us have the energy to do much of anything.  Brooke and Ryan decide that they are going to “hangout” at her apartment instead, which I am sure makes Brandon happy.  

As I sit on the couch by myself, I can’t help but ask him that nagging question that is on my mind.”Why do you not like Ryan so much?”  I really feel like they have not been dating long enough for him to hate him already, but sometimes that’s just how guys are I guess.

“I don’t know, he just rubs me the wrong way.  There is something off about him, but I can’t put my finger on it.” He replies from my chair that is next to my couch.

“Okay fine.  Whatever.  You pick a movie.” I don’t really need to know what his problem with Ryan is when we have enough problems of our own.  

He gets up, walks over to my movie shelf and starts thumbing through the movies before he finally settles on something. “Avengers.” He smiles and holds it up as if he is taunting me.

“No.  Pick anything other than a Marvel movie.” I beg.  I plead. Hoping with all that I have that he will change his mind. “You always pick Marvel movies.”

“You shouldn’t have let me pick then!” The discussion is now over and the movie now begins.  I need to remember to make him watch Pretty Woman next time.  Jerk.

Sometime after Thor and Iron Man get into a fight, I fall asleep on the couch and I dream of us at the beach. I dream of what Logan and Brandon said to each other out in the water. I can hear them talking from the shore. Logan is telling Brandon that he is going to win me back, and Brandon saying over his dead body. They both seem pretty pissed, I go to swim out to them. I get pounded over and over by the waves, but when I finally make it to where they were and lift my head out of the water though, they are gone. I look around frantically trying to find them, but no one is around. The beach is empty, the water is empty, and I am alone in the middle of the ocean.


Alice Clayton

Proper Noun

1. Author

    “Alice Clayton is such an entertaining writer!”

Amazing, witty, hysterical, delightful, amusing, blonde, brilliant, fabulous…

The list is endless and could go on forever.  Alice Clayton is simply gifted.  Her books are some of the funniest books I have ever read.  I literally laugh out loud when I read them, I just can’t help it!  I recently got my hands on one of her latest books called Nuts (the title alone should make you LOL) and L O V E D it!  I have read all of her other books before this series and I could not get enough.  I started off with one of her first books, Wallbanger (again with the catchy title), and I cried from laughing so hard. Anyone that can write a book from the perspective of a cat and can make you laugh that hard has some serious talent!  Her books live up to all the hype that I have built up in my head and she will continue to stay on the pedestal that I have put her on!


Roxie Callahan has just started to make a name for herself in Los Angeles, literally catering to the rich and famous, when one skinny, carb-counting Hollywood wife takes her down with butter!  That’s right… Butter…  After her career is stalled she decides to help her tree-hugging mother run their diner in upstate New York.  When she arrives back home, to her small town, she goes “nuts”for the local farmer, Leo.  They are two peas in a pod.  She is the peanut butter to his jelly.  The apple to his orchard.  (You get where I am going with this)… Will their chemistry last longer than the summer or will they be left out to pasture?

Maybe I put one too many puns in that summary, but I just couldn’t help it!   This is a MUST read!  I have already recommended it to everyone I know and my copy of the book is making it’s way through my closest friends.

If you are reading this Alice, we need to be friends!  Anyone that can make me laugh that hard and loud from a book needs to be in my life!  Although the two of us being in the same room with each other could end with us crying or peeing our pants, I am still very much interested!

What are you waiting for? Go read her book!



One True Loves


As you all know, I read a lot of books, but very rarely do I read one that I find profound.  Taylor Jenkins Reid gave me all the feels with her new release One True Loves.  This book was just released last week (June 7th) and was picked as the “best book of the summer”, so of course I jumped right on it!  I was rocked to my core after reading this and I am still not sure how Emma and I both survived. This book will leave you emotionally raw from the twisted love triangle of the main characters and is only intensified by the real life experiences that no one should ever have to go through.


Emma Blair and Jesse Lerner were high school sweethearts.  They grew up, got married and have been traveling the world while photographing and writing about all the top destinations on everyones bucket lists.  Emma’s life was perfect, that is, until her husband goes to Alaska to photograph the icebergs and never returns.  This story goes through the turmoil that Emma felt while trying to overcome the lose of her husband and pick up her life.  

After two years of grieving and just trying to get through each day, Emma’s life takes an unintentional turn.  She runs into her best friend from high school, Sam, and they immediately hit it off.  Emma never thought she would be able to love again, but Sam is able to show her to not only love again but to also start living her life.  It doesn’t take long before they are engaged and planning their big day, but all of that she has built will soon be questioned when her husband, Jesse, is found alive.


Do you ever truly get over your true loves in life or do you just simply move on while still loving them?  Will Emma be able to decide who she is supposed to be with before it is too late and she is left with no one?  This book will make your heart ache for every single character.  I was happy and then I cried and then I was happy again.  I didn’t quite know who I wanted her to be with, but around every corner was some new kind of heartbreak.  Someone was bound to get hurt.  They always say, three’s a crowd, and in this case that is correct.  Emma can’t be married and have a fiancé.  It isn’t about who she loves more, but who the best person for her is.  She became a different person after Jesse died and maybe the Emma he knew died that day with him.

This book lived up to all of the hype.  I 100% recommend you all to read this book sooner rather than later.  I could not put it down!  I hope you all love this book as much as I did.  





not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others.

I read a book not that long ago by, you guessed it, Colleen Hoover, called Confess.  It was about an artist that ran a studio called Confess.  Random strangers would write anonymous confessions and drop them into his mailbox and then he would make art pieces based on their confessions and secrets.  

Everyone has a secret or a confession, even if it is small and unimportant.  Secrets are what make the world go round. Secrets are the reason that Hollywood has such a cult following.  Secrets can make countries go to war and make families break up.  In my life alone I have had enough secrets that could put a soap opera to shame.

Sometimes secrets are hurtful to others and sometimes they are hurtful to you.  Sometimes secrets are good and sometimes they are bad.  Sometimes secrets are so big that you can’t tell anyone.

I have a secret that I have carried around for years.  Some people know my secret and some people don’t.  I have been judged and shamed when I said it out loud and I have even been called a liar.  People have felt sorry for me and treated me different when they found out.  The funny thing is, the only reason I even told people was because I thought they could handle it.  Instead all it did was create more stress and drama in my life.  

I didn’t want their sympathy.  I didn’t want them to judge me or treat me different.  I just wanted them to know and be there for me if I needed them.  I didn’t/don’t need them to understand.  It is hard to understand unless you have the same secret.

In the book that I read, the people wanted to get their secrets out there.  They didn’t want their secrets to eat away at them.  They wanted to be able to tell their stories without be judged and shamed for it.  Being able to confess your secrets in an anonymous way makes you less vulnerable.  When thinking about it, if I was in the book, I would totally write my secret down and put it into the box.

So, if everyone has a secret, what’s yours?



Your House or Mine?

I know that I tend to write blogs and reviews about romance novels, but I am going to change it up a little bit!  I do like to read other genres as well.

Christina Lauren has some amazing romance books out there that I highly recommend. The Beautiful series(another must for the Fifty Shades lover out there) and The Wild Seasons series are both amazing (13ish books in all).  I have read them all and couldn’t put them down!  When I first heard that they (Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings… Get it!) were writing a young adult book I was immediately interested.  I love when writers are able to tackle different genres.  So I added The House to my reading list and I have finally read it.  Let me just say that it did not disappoint!

As a child we all came up with scary stories about the house at the end of the street that some creepy old guy lived in.  We all believe that the house was either haunted or the old man would kidnap us if we walked past it.  ::If you didn’t ever come up with a story like this then I know you read a Goosebumps book that gave you nightmares about a haunted and/or creepy house!::Anyway…  The author(s) dove right into your childhood fears to give you a book that would bring back all those fears!

Delilah is the girl who wants the bad/weird boy.  She is drawn to him.  Gavin is the quiet anti-social boy who doesn’t want to draw attention to himself.  Gavin really never had a chance when it came to falling for Delilah though, she was too head strong and knew exactly what she wanted, which just so happened to be Gavin.  What Delilah didn’t understand was that Gavin was hiding a scary truth that would put her in danger and test their true feelings. What would you do in order to be with the one you love?  Would you die for them?  Would you kill for them?

This book is so different from anything I have ever read.  Turn the movie Monster House into a book and then throw in some young love.  I know that may not sound super appealing, but trust me, you will not want to put this book down!

You may never walk past a creepy house ever again!  ::BEWARE::



Bared to Who?

One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to a book is when I start reading it and find out that it is part of a series.  

I know you know what I am talking about.  You are reading your book, minding your own business, you get more and more invested with every passing moment, all the while never knowing what is actually coming.  You think you have a standalone book (or at least all the books in the series) and then B A M…You get to the end and you have absolutely no idea what has happened. What is wrong with the main character?  Why does he always push people away?  What is the secret he is hiding? You want to know so bad it is killing you and now you are forced to wait for the next book,  which isn’t coming out until next year?  You have got to be kidding me…!

No one has done this to me better that Sylvia Day with Bared to you.  I was so excited for these books.  I was coming off of the Fifty Shades of Grey high and these books were right up my alley.  The Bared to You books were better written than Fifty Shades, I didn’t have an inner goddess jumping off of every other page (I still love you E L James), and I read the first 3 books back to back, not knowing that there was no ending in sight. Book 4 finally came out a year later and I thought I am was going to find out what happened and again I was WRONG.  Then finally the 5th and final book was announced and has now come out (April 2016) but now the problem is I have completely forgotten what happened in the other books.  I have read about 30 books since then.  Do I go back  and reread them or just stop and say screw it and move on.  Can I really do that?  I feel like I have invested so much time into these books and I still want to know what is going to happen.

Secretly I know the answer to this question.  I am going to suck it up, skim through the other books and then go buy the 5th book so I can read it and finally figure out what the hell is going on with Gideon Cross.  Well played Sylvia… Well played…

So here is my official concession.  Look for my review in the next couple of days!



November 9

I swear I am not paid to endorse Colleen Hoover, but I just can’t get enough.  November 9 is another book that I could not put down.

We all know the saying… If you love something set it free and if it comes back then it was meant to be.  Well, I think I just made the new tagline for Colleen Hoover’s book!

Imagine you finally have your life figured out.  You are about to make the biggest move of your life and then, the day you are leaving, you meet the perfect someone.  You have that instant connection (that you only read about in books)!  You hit it off immediately, spend the rest of your time together, but you are still leaving after all…Then the perfect plan… Every year for the next 5 years, on the same date (November 9th), you will meet back up at the same place.  If it was meant to be then you will both show up and get to spend the whole day together.  The catch?  There is no communication aside from November 9th.  You are supposed to live your life and then see, when November 9th comes around, if that other person is still special enough for you to meet up with them.  What could go wrong, right?

This book was very interesting and different from most of the other books I have read.  I loved it and then I hated it and then back again. Just when you think you have it figured out, Colleen throws a curve ball that confuses you more than ever.  Will true love be enough to overcome the distance between these star crossed lovers or will life catch up with them?



Writing a book is easy… Right?

Remember that one time I decided to write a book?  Oh you don’t?  Oh yeah. Duh.!  That would be because no one even knows that I tried to write a book!

Have you even been binge reading all your favorite books and then stopped to think, “I could T O T A L L Y write a book.”?  Well that is exactly the thought that I had about 3 years ago.  I thought, WTH I would give it a try… Well let me just say, writing is hard.  I have so much respect for all the writers out there!  I don’t really consider my blog “writing” so to speak (so this does not count)!  Sitting down and writing a whole book that is like, what?  500 pages?  Ummm…  That takes some skill.  BRAVO!

So long story short, I wrote a book.  The whole dang thing, because once I started I was too stubborn to stop. No matter how hard it was!  So I have attached below the first couple of pages that I wrote.  I am not looking to get published I just wanted all you other potential writers out there to see that you can do it!  It may be hard and you may want to quit, but don’t!  It is so rewarding at the end, even if you never get it published and even if you think it is not that good!




Chapter 1

1:52 on a Thursday afternoon and all I can think of is how I am so ready for this week to be over. It has been one of those kinds of weeks where you feel like nothing you do is right and no matter how hard you work, you never seem to make a dent in your on going to-do list. Tomorrow will be better though, Brooke’s birthday dinner is tomorrow and then we are going out for a night on the town.

Brooke is a friend. Who am I kidding; she is my best friend, one of my only friends. She is that girl that you can’t help but stare at. She has long mocha colored hair that is so perfect it should be in a shampoo commercial. She is tall, but not Amazonian, with legs that are to die for. She could easily have been a model if she put in a fraction of effort. She is more of the Levi’s and flip-flops kind of girl, which is probably why we get along so well. That is one of the few things we have in common, because I am completely opposite from her, being at least 4 inches shorter than she is and having long blonde hair. We both have green eyes, hers being that bright

almost see through green while mine are a deep and dark green. Whenever we are out, people look right past me and straight to her, especially the guys. I am okay with that though, I would prefer not to get all that extra-unwanted attention, she can take it all.

Our mothers went to college together. They are about as similar as Brooke and me. They were sorority sisters in Kappa Kappa Gamma and have been friends ever since their college days. They seem to have drifted apart some since then, but that is understandable when you look at how different our families are. Brooke’s mother Alison finished college and met a rich business man who swept her off of her feet, she of course married him and had Brooke and her brother Brandon. Mrs. Allen has never worked a day in her life and spends most of her time at social events and tennis clubs, but who can really blame her. When you think about it, how many women do you know with rich husbands that work?

My mother, Diane, is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. She met my dad at a teacher’s conference. They were both teaching high school science, and were there to listen to some Dr. talk about some new chromosome abnormality. I don’t know how I can be their child because I am horrible at anything to do with science. You would think that having two parents that are science teachers that I would have picked up some of their genes, but I missed every one of them. My father has gone on to be a college professor and my mom is still a high school teacher. She loves it though and says she will do it until she dies. We are just your typical middle class family. We never really struggled, but we are nowhere near as well off as Brooke’s family.

I still don’t know what to get Brooke. I really need to get on that, since we are going out tomorrow. Maybe I will call Brandon and see if he will go help me pick something up today after work. He knows her almost as well as I do. I pick up my IPhone and dial his number.

“Brandon Allen,” he says assertively into the other end of the phone. He works with his father, trying to learn the ropes of the business enterprise.

“Brandon it’s Layla, are you busy?” He sounded busy. Crap maybe I should have waited to call him after work.

“Layla! What’s going on?” I have known Brandon since I was a child. He is a couple of years older than Brooke and me, but we have all hung out together since we were kids.

“I wanted to see if you would do me a huge favor and come shopping with me for Brooke’s birthday present after work tonight?” Since Brandon is another person that hates shopping as much as I do, this should make for a quick yet interesting shopping experience!

“Hmmm…… Ugh….. You know I hate shopping,” he sounds less than enthusiastic. “Can’t you just get her a gift card for somewhere?”

“Brandon, you know I can’t.” Brooke hates gift cards, she says they are so impersonal and it is like passing money back and forth between people. “Please oh please don’t make me endure this all alone.” He has to feel bad for me because the begging has worked!

“Fine, you owe me big time. I will pick you up around 6:00 from your place. We can go to the Beverly Center.” If you can’t find something there, you will never find anything.

“Thanks Brandon, see you later!” As I hang up my phone I walk back into my office.

I work as an assistant to a designer of a magazine called The Boulevard. Madison Wells is an attractive 30-year-old upcoming designer. She is teaching me so much. I love working for her. She is 5 years older than I am, but she has so much experience under her belt. She used to work for Allure, the magazine. She did multiple spreads on fashion week and you can tell by her

previous experience with clothes that she knows about fashion. She screams fashionista. She reminds me a lot of Brooke. It is unnatural for two people that I know to look this good all the time.

When we reach the Beverly Center, it never ceases to impress. This eight-story structure fitted with close to 200 stores is nestled into the heart of Los Angeles. It is a must see among tourists and residents alike. As we strut through mall the amount of people is overwhelming, Brandon and I continue to bump into each other in order to avoid being trampled by the crowds of better shoppers than us.

“Tell me again why I agreed to do this?” He eyes me speculatively. It is very clear that he does not want to be here anymore than I do.

“I will try to make this as quick as possible.” I try to reassure him, but I don’t think that I have succeeded.

He tries to act like he is really mad at me, but I can tell deep down that he is fighting to crack a smile as we people watch while we walk. This is one of our favorite past times. Brooke, Brandon, and I used to make up stories about people we saw out in public and would just about die laughing as we tried to mock and mimic them. I really miss those days, back before we became adults and were thrust into the real world.

After about 2 hours of shopping I finally decided on getting Brooke a white gold plumeria flower bracelet. The flowers are connected on a chain with small diamonds at their centers. Plumerias are one of the sweetest smelling flowers in the world. They remind me of tropical paradise. She will love this.

We practically live at the beach. Our apartment is located only a few miles from the ocean. Brooke and I live on the 3rd floor of one of her parent’s apartment buildings. We live across the hall from each other. We decided on separate apartments because when we moved in we were still finishing college and I would not let her have parties on weekdays while I was studying. This probably saved our friendship, but now that we are out of school, we are always in each other’s places. We have keys to each other’s apartments and come and go between the two as if they were one big one. We pay practically nothing to live in them. If it was not for her parents letting us live here we would not be able to afford these apartments on our own.

Brandon and I leave the mall and head back to the garage where we parked. I slide into the passenger seat and enjoy the ride. On the drive home we talk about Brooke’s upcoming party and things that have been going on with our lives. When we get close to my apartment Brandon changes the subject to something much more interesting than Brooke.

“So are you going to the Brown’s Annual Scholarship Gala in a couple of weeks?” He asks.

“Has it really already been a year? Wow, time flies. Umm. Yeah of course I am going. Are you?” I question back.

“I don’t think I have a choice in the matter.” He unenthusiastically states. “So to make my night better, would you come with me?”

“As your date?” I interject.

“Yes. I guess you could say that.” He nervously says while shifting his weight in his seat.

“Sure. I would like that.” I happily answer and secretly smile on the inside.

After a few more minutes of driving, Brandon drops me off at my place shortly before nine and I immediately go and wrap her present. Just I am placing the last piece of tape; Brooke bursts into my place hollering about her party the next day. She seems overly excited for turning 25. I know next month when I turn 25 I will not be acting this excited.

“Is that my birthday present?” She asks inquisitively. She clearly knows that it is though.

“Yes, who else would it be for?” Like I have other people that I buy presents for.

“I cannot wait for tomorrow it is going to be so much fun. We have a private room at a new restaurant called Someplace Else.” Still acting very enthusiastic as she plops down on my couch..

“Are you serious? The restaurant is called Someplace Else?” I actually find it pretty amusing. I imagine someone asking where we are going and we simply say Someplace Else and everyone seeming very confused because they think we are actually going to some other place but just won’t tell them where we are going. I actually giggle out loud at this thought.

“Can we ride together tomorrow, I don’t want to drive on my birthday.” Obviously she is insinuating that she is going to be drinking a lot!

“Yeah that’s fine.” I am not a big drinker anyways. I never really saw the point in drinking and making yourself feel like crap the next day. Why would people willingly do that to themselves I will never know.

While I am in the kitchen trying to find something quick to eat for dinner, Brooke continues to talk about the next night; what she is going to wear, what she thinks I should wear, what she wants to do after dinner, and who is coming to dinner. I am just barely listening to the conversation when I hear her say the names of some people that will be attending the dinner “Sarah, Lisa, Derek…”

“Wait, wait, wait….. Did you say Derek?” I cannot believe that she just said his name. He is the roommate of my ex boyfriend, my first love. The guy who ripped my heart from my chest and stomped all over it.

“Yeah I thought I told you.” She looks at me puzzled. “He is back in town and Brandon ran into him the other day and accidentally invited him. It is not big deal Layla.” She says this through her pursed lips.

“I really don’t want to see him.” Why would I want to be reminded of the one guy in my life that hurt me so much. Seeing Derek would bring back memories of Logan. Of what he did to me. Of how he hurt me.

“Please don’t be mad Lay, I didn’t invite him, and I don’t want to uninvite him now.” She seems to have noticed that my mood has changed. “It will not be that bad, it is not like Logan will be there.”

“I know, but he is was the closest person to Logan…. I am sorry, I will try not to think about it.” Maybe it will not be that bad. After all she is right, Logan is not coming. Maybe we can just bypass the whole Logan situation while we are all together tomorrow night. Of course we can, we are adults and no one will want to ruin Brooke’s day…I hope.

Chapter 2

That night, for the first time in a very long time, I dreamt of Logan. I remember the first time I saw him. He was in my Biology lab class my freshman year of college. He had one of two open seats next to him. It was either next to him or next to a hippie kid that looked like he was already baked at 10:00 in the morning, so I decided it would be best to take my chances with him. He had this blonde hair that flowed so freely on his head, it was messy yet still tamed with each hair in its place. His eyes were so blue that I felt that they could almost see through me and he had these long dark lashes that were so perfectly curled that it would make girls envious. I remember being so nervous to sit next to him because I had never seen someone so good looking.

He didn’t even notice when I sat next to him. He was too consumed by the phone in his hands. I couldn’t help but stare at him from the corner of my eyes. The teacher had entered sometime while I wasn’t paying attention and began to take role. After the teacher called my name, we made eye contact for the first time, he looked at me after I announced my presence to her. From that moment on his eyes watched me fidget next to him. Why was I so nervous? It was just another guy. I had dated before. Why was he so special?

“Logan McMann?” Our too tall, too skinny red headed teacher called out.

“Right here,” he said with his slightly deep and erotic voice that woke every nerve in my body. Logan McMann what a great name. It suits him. He looks like a Logan…

“Layla, something is beeping,” he is shouting to me. “Layla….”

“Layla, Layla…. Wake up…” Brooke is shaking me awake, “your alarm is going off. Get up.” Crap, why is she waking me up. Better yet, why am I dreaming of Logan.

“Ugh.. I am getting up.” I am still half asleep and still half engulfed in my Logan delusion. “Wait, why are you here in my apartment?”

“I ran out of milk, and I need it for my coffee. It is a good thing I came over or you would have never woken up. You must have been dead to the world. What were you dreaming of?” She seems very inquisitive for eight in the morning.

I try to just brush it off, “I don’t remember you woke me up so quick I forgot.” Hopefully she buys that because I don’t want to admit what I was really dreaming about.

“Oh, well… I have to go get ready to meet my mom. We are going out for breakfast for my birthday! I will see you later after you get home for work, then we can get ready together.” She is walking out my door and back to her apartment.

“Happy birthday!” I yell at her. “Tell your mom I said hi!” I close my door and try to forget my dream and head to the bathroom for a shower.

I try to drown myself in work for the rest of the day so I don’t have time to dwell over the dream from last night. I also don’t want to think about seeing Derek tonight either. I just want to have a good time at dinner and then go out with Brooke afterwards. I have meetings throughout the day and I have a spread that my boss wants me to work on for a campaign for a local artist. He is having a show in a couple of weeks and we are advertising and marketing it. The artist is some guy with morbid tastes. All of his paintings are dark colored abstract pieces that are illegible to the latent eyes. Of course that means me because when I look at them all I see is a large mess.

After work, I head back to my place. I park my 2007 Honda civic in the parking garage. Brooke and I always park in the same spots event though we don’t have assigned parking, no one else ever seems to park in our spots. She drives a fancy new black BMW that her parents bought for her a couple months back. Must be nice to have everything paid for and not have to worry about making monthly car payments, like I am. I am not jealous because I get some of the perks that she gets, like this apartment being so cheap, but I can’t imagine my life every being that privileged.

As I step off of the elevator onto the 3rd floor, I can hear music beaming from Brooke’s apartment. She must already be in party mode! I decide on not even trying to bypass to my apartment and just go straight to hers. She is dancing around her apartment to “Where Them Girls At” by David Guetta. I have to admit, this song has a way of making you want to move around!

“ So many boys in here, where do I begin, I see this one I’m about to go in….Where them girls at… ooooooooooooo…” She is spinning around catches me standing and staring at her… “Layla, hey! Time to start getting ready! Just getting into the mood to party!” She chuckles and then turns it down a little so I can hear her better.

She has about ten outfits out on her bed, all with matching jewelry and shoes. I look over them all thinking that there was no way she was going to get me into any of those. Half of the dresses are strapless and are not even possible for me to wear because I was not graced with boobs big enough to hold them up. The other half of the dresses are so short that if I sat down at any point in the night, the dress would slide up to my belly button.

Brooke has obviously seen me eye balling them because before I can say anything she is already trying to make me feel better about them.

“They are not as short as they look, I promise. You will like them better after you try them on.” She smiles devilish at me.

“I was just going to wear some jeans. I am not a huge dress fan.” I try to say sympathetically.

“You are wearing a dress. It is my birthday so you have no choice.” As she hands me the first pink sparkly strapless monstrosity, I take it and glare at her so she knows that I am not happy about this.

After trying on about 7 dresses I think we have finally found one that both Brooke likes and that I agree to wear. She was right this dress is not as short as it at first seemed, but I will still have to watch out when I sit down. It is black dress with some metallic beads on the front of it. It has sleeves that barely come over my shoulders and has this scrunching on the sides around my hips and thighs. Brooke better be grateful that I am even wearing this. She so owes me.

“You can wear these, they will give you a pop of color.” She is handing me a pair of shiny red BCBG platforms stilettos. Shit I forgot about the shoes.

“I will brake my ankle, you know I can not wear those.” I say showing my sheer concern for my health.

“You will be fine. I will make Brandon hold you up all night if I have to.” There is a hint of sarcasm when she says this.

I think Brooke has always wished that Brandon and I would date exclusively. Besides Brooke, Brandon is my closest friend. Well he is a little more than a friend. We have had our share of “flings” with each other. I remember the first time was about 4 months after the Logan

incident. Brandon and Brooke had been trying to cheer me up for months, and he had come over to order pizza and watch the latest episode of Nip/Tuck with me. Nip/Tuck was our thing. Brandon, Brooke, and I would pile in to each other’s places and watch it every week. We were obsessed. Brooke had a date that week so Brandon and I had decided to watch it without her. Of course while we were watching, Dr. Christian Troy had his infamous kinky sex scenes and although the show did not show much because it was on TV, it was still kind of a turn on. I had been so miserable the past couple of months and I just wanted to forget about everything and move on. You could say that Brandon was my therapy. I crawled over onto his lap and placed my legs on either side of him so I was straddling him, catching him completely off guard. I looked deep into his eyes as if I was asking permission to continue and that is when he grabbed my face, wrapping his fingers around the back of my head and kissed me for the first time…I can’t believe I still get that sexual feeling deep down in my stomach when I think about it. I need to stop thinking about this right now… Brooke is staring right at me as if she is questioning what I am thinking about, so I quickly make an appalled face at the fact that I would need Brandon to hold me all night!

“Fine, whatever you want, you are the birthday girl!” I say with an eyebrow arched and a half serious face.

“Great, now lets do something about your hair and makeup.” She smiles and laughs at the same time acting like she enjoys torturing me.

“I am going to need alcohol.” I walk to her kitchen and open a bottle of wine. After pouring two glasses I walk back to her bedroom and let her proceed in the torture.

An hour and a half later, we are making our way to the restaurant. Everyone should already be there waiting for her grand entrance. We pull up outside of Someplace Else and let the valet take my car to park it. When we walk into the restaurant, 20 of Brooke’s closest friends are sitting at the table and greet her with multiple happy birthdays. Brooke walks around the table to welcome each guest and to thank them for coming. I walk straight over to my seat next to Brandon and next to Brooke’s head of the table seat. As I sit down at the table I notice that Brandon is gawking at me. Why is he staring at me like that? Has he never seen someone in a dress before?

“What are you staring at?” I ask inquisitively.

“You.” He pauses for a minute. “Have you seen yourself?” He stares at me and then looks me up and down.

“Of course I have seen myself.” Where is he is going with this. “Why?”

“Because you look weird!” He says playfully and then a large Grinch smile comes across his face.

“Geeze, you know all the right things to say!” He runs his fingers nervously through his hair. Although it is longer on top than on the sides it is still perfectly in its place. He looks really good tonight. He is wearing dark fitted jeans with a green collar shirt with the top buttons undone.

Brandon reaches over under the table and places his hand on my leg. It startles me because no one around us knows that we are more than friends, but I place my hand on top of his anyway. Between my joking banter with Brandon and ordering drinks and food, I had completely forgotten that Derek was even at the table. He is sitting across the table and down 4 chairs to my left. He is sitting between two of our friends Kyle and Steven. They are talking and joking around like everyone else at the table. I try to not think about all the good times that I spent with him and Logan in college, but it is impossible. The memories of frat parties and bar hopping pop into my mind quickly. At some point while I am reminiscing Derek glances my way and I accidently make eye contact with him. I quickly turn my head to face Brooke and pretend I am listening to her talking about what she got for her birthday. Crap. I can’t believe he was looking at me. Maybe he wants to talk to me about what happened that night 3 years ago. I try to push the thought out of my mind but I can’t help but to think about that night. The night my life fell apart. The night that Derek tried to explain to me what happened. To tell me what happened to Logan…

“I would like to propose a toast.” I am knocked back into reality as Brandon is standing next to me saying how great Brooke is and wishing his sister a very happy birthday. We all raise our glasses of whatever we are drinking and cheers to Brooke. Everyone continues polite chitchat as we all finish dinner and pay our tabs. I get up and go to where Brooke is standing and talking to our friends Lisa and Sarah.

“Do you care if Lisa and Sarah ride with us to Peabody’s?” She is more or less telling me that they are going to ride with us rather than asking me.

“Of course I don’t care. We are going there either way!” I really don’t care. I am almost always the DD so I am used to everyone piling into my car at this point.

I wait for Brooke to finish saying goodbye to everyone and to ask them if they will be joining us at the bar. I am standing far enough away that I do not have to join in on the conversations but I am still close enough that I can hear what they are all saying. She gets to Derek and he of course tells her he would love to join us. Why can’t he just go home? I have managed to avoid him all night but apparently our night’s interactions are not over with yet.

We walk outside just as the valet is pulling up my car. We all pile in and start our journey of 20 minutes to Peabody’s Bar. Brooke immediately starts going through the radio stations to try to find something to get us all pumped and ready to dance! Finally she find something worthwhile.

“Cuz I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it… Sex in the air, I don’t care I love the smell of it! Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me!” We all belt out singing Rhianna’s song S&M. After a few more dance worthy songs such as “Starships” by Nicki Minaj and “Good Felling” by Flo Rida, we finally pull up outside the bar and let valet park my car again. We are some of the first from our group to arrive so we walk up to the bar and order a round of drinks and proceed to the dance floor.

I must admit, I am very much in the mood to go dancing, but just not in 5-inch stilettos. I do my best once I am out on the floor though. I know the longer I stay on the floor the less likely it will be for me to talk or run into Derek. You cannot hear anything other than the base from the DJ’s speakers out on the floor. Brooke and I have to literally scream into each other’s ears so the other one can hear it.

While we are dancing, our friends from dinner and other friends that just came to meet us at the bar start showing up and making their way to the dance floor. Even Brandon has managed to make his way out to dance with us all. I try to keep Brandon relatively close to me as to keep Derek away from me. I can see Brooke is on the other side of the dance floor trying to talk, or rather scream, at Derek. Why the hell would they try to talk on the dance floor? It is impossible to hear each other. I spin around so that I am facing Brandon, and try to mouth that I need water.

He seems to get my hand signals because before I know it, he has grabbed my hand and we are off to the bar.

“Two waters.” He says to the bartender and then turns to me. “You are sweating!” Isn’t he Mr. Obvious!

“Yeah it is a little hot in here, and it doesn’t help that there are about 500 people in here.” I say sarcastically. “I am going to run to the bathroom really quick. I will be right back.”

“Ok I will wait here for you.” I turn and walk away and as I do I can feel him staring at me.

As I am walking to the bathroom, dodging in and out of people, I get shoved by a guy walking past me in the other direction. Before I can stop myself I turn to yell at him. “Excuse you!” That will show him! As the guy turns around my mouth is instantly dry. I am completely shocked. I should not have had that last drink. Am I drunk? Am I seeing things? Logan? No this can’t be right. He left, he moved. He looks as good as he ever did. Stop. I am floored at the fact that he is here. I don’t know what to even think or say. He looks almost as shocked to see me as I am with him.

“O…Ugh…I’m sor… I’m sorry Layla.” Logan says with a stutter.

I can’t even respond. I stand dumbfounded by the situation that is occurring all around me. He turns and walks towards the dance floor and before I even get my bearings back I have lost him. I cannot see him anymore. Where did he go? I try to follow his footsteps and head to the dance floor. Brooke catches my eyes and knows what has just happened. When I left her she was still talking to Derek. Wait where is Derek? I glance around quickly, but I don’t see him. Brooke runs up to me to ask what is wrong.

“Why?” Is the only word that I can manage to get out.

“I guess he came to get Derek. He walked past me to Derek, they said bye and then were gone. I swear I did not know he would be here.” She seems almost as upset as I am so she must be telling the truth about not knowing. Why after all this time? Why now? I have not seen him in 3 years. I am in a good place now. I can’t do this. While the thoughts are running through my head, that feeling comes back into my stomach, but this time it is the feeling of sickness. Before I know it, I am running for the bathroom and storm into one of the stalls and heaved into a toilet. I can hear Brooke behind me asking if I need some help.

“Just give me a minute.” I mumble.

When I open the stall door, she is standing there with a towel. She hands it to me asks me if I am ok.

“No I am not.” I walk to the sink and rinse my mouth out and splash some water on my face. “Why now? Why here?”

“Like I said, I think he came here just to pick Derek up.” She looks upset and confused for me.

“Was he just not going to tell me he was here? Was he not going to talk to me?” I am almost yelling at her. “He can’t do this to me.” I almost start crying. Why is this happening to me?

“Come on let’s get out of here.” She puts her arm around me and walks me to the bar to get Brandon, who looks extremely confused. He doesn’t try to ask what is wrong, but I know that he wants to. Brooke asks him to drive us home in my car since he rode to the bar with some of the guys.

When my car pulls up, I jump into the backseat so I can just lie down. On the twenty-minute drive home I try not to think of anything. I just want to get home and go to sleep. I want to pretend like tonight never happened. I can hear Brooke in the front seat telling Brandon what happened. He doesn’t say a word when she is done. For the rest of the trip the car is completely silent.

When we get home, Brooke and Brandon walk with me into my apartment. I know that they are concerned, but I am in no mood to talk. Brooke sits with me on my couch. I lean over and lay my head in her lap so she can play with my hair. It is very soothing and it feels really good. Brandon is pacing around my apartment as if he does not know where to go, what to do, or what to say. Finally he just can’t hold it in anymore.

“He is an asshole.” He blurts out very abruptly. “You should not be sitting here upset because of him. You spent long enough doing that.” He is looking right at me when he says this but I can’t say anything. He is right. He would know of all people. He and Brooke were with me picking up the pieces and dealing with the aftermath. He walks over and sits on the chair across from Brooke and me. I know I should say something, but I just don’t know what. I do hate him. I am just as mad at him as Brandon, but I do still love him. That will never go away. He really is an asshole for doing this to me. He knew I would be there. How could he not know that I would be there with Brooke?

“I really don’t want to talk about him anymore.” I say very serenely. “I just want to forget that this ever happened and continue my life like I was doing.” I look up at them. They are both staring at each other as if they are silently agreeing to drop it.