Mid Life Love Epilogue
Eight months later...
“I need three hundred of those granite tiles here by tomorrow afternoon. Can you make sure that happens? Oh, and could you see if those doorknobs I designed for Mulholland were approved yet? Okay. Thank you very much.” I hung up the phone and swirled around in my chair, smiling at the red and white entwined “C” letters that hung over my door.
I was sitting in my office at C & C’s Charming Designs, my own interior design company. I’d quit my job at Signature weeks after Jonathan and I got back together, after he demanded that I accept his money and start my own company.
Business was extremely slow at first—especially since he kept showing up in the middle of the day and preventing me from getting anything done. But after about four months, I started to pick up client after client, and word of my services began to spread like wildfire.
I now had a six month waiting list for design projects, and I was in the process of expanding my store to include small home furnishings.
I adjusted the picture frames that were standing proudly on my desk: Jonathan and I smiling on his favorite yacht. Him and my daughters jumping into the ocean. And the most recent one—him kissing me onstage after receiving another prestigious award.
“Miss Gracen?” My secretary buzzed my office. “I’m off to lunch, and your twelve o’ clock is upfront waiting.”
“Tell the client I’ll be right there.” I slipped into my jacket and headed down the hallway. Since I’d picked up so many clients, I was never able to get more than five minutes alone.
“Caroline?” I walked around the front desk. “I told you that you and Ashley don’t need to make appointments to see me. You could’ve just called.”
“Yeah, right.” She rolled her eyes. “You practically live here.”
I shook my head. “What do you want?”
“I need thirty dollars.”
“Actually, I need fifty dollars. Ashley does too, but thirty each will do.”
“Did the airport stop giving out paychecks all of a sudden? Where is your money?”
“What’s going on?” Ashley walked into the store and stood next to her, not even glancing my way. “Did she give you the money yet?”
“No.” Caroline sighed. “She still thinks we save money from our jobs...”
“How do the two of you expect to go to college this fall without knowing how to save money?” I was tired of going over this with them. “Do you think it grows on trees? Do you think it falls out of the sky whenever you need it?”
“So she’s not going to give us the money?” “I think that’s what she’s saying.” “Did you tell her it was for summer-senior-night and everyone who’s anyone is going to be there?” “No, I just asked for the money. I didn’t think I needed to explain why.”
I sighed and prepared to re-start my lecture, but Jonathan walked in with a large bouquet of bright pink roses. “Good afternoon, ladies.” He looked at me and then he looked back and forth between Ashley and Caroline.
“Good afternoon,” they said in unison.
“Can we have fifty dollars—each?” Ashley smiled at him.
“Of course.” He pulled out his wallet and handed them both a hundred dollar bill. Just like that.
“Why don’t we just do that every time?” “I don’t know...Maybe we like the challenge?” They both laughed and rushed outside.
I watched as they climbed into two separate white Range Rovers—Jonathan’s ridiculously over-the-top birthday gift to them.
“You have to stop doing that.” I took the flowers from him.
“Giving them money whenever they ask for it.”
“Because they don’t need it. And they’ll never learn how to save their own.”
“They make nine dollars an hour and they work fifteen hours a week. How much do you honestly expect them to save?”
“I give up.” I rolled my eyes. “Thank you for the flowers—and for the ones you sent this morning. You know, we’ve been together for a while now...You don’t have to keep sending me flowers every day. I’m sure the cost has to be adding up and I don’t want you to feel like you have to do that.”
“Shhh.” He kissed me, making me forget whatever I was going to say. “How’s your day going?”
“It’s okay. It’s been a bit busy.”
“It doesn’t look busy...” He looked around the empty store.
“Where’s your secretary?”
“On break. Why?”
He smiled and pulled me closer. “No reason.”
I saw the familiar ‘I’m-about-to-pull-you-down-to-the-ground’ look in his eyes and immediately stepped back, rushing behind the counter.
He laughed and moved close to the counter’s edge—ready to join me, but I hit a button that made a clear panel drop down from the ceiling, completely blocking his way.
He raised his eyebrow. “What the hell is this?”
“This is what I had the engineer build for me last week, after you interrupted a very important meeting with your distracting sex and cost me two hours’ worth of design time.”
“You think I’m a distraction?”