Home > Take A Chance On Me(4)

Take A Chance On Me(4)
Author: Weston Parker

Ever since Austin’s mother died three years ago, Christmas had never been the same. She had passed away from an aggressive form of skin cancer that she was diagnosed with only three months prior to her death. She died two days before Austin’s first Christmas.

Since then, it had just been me and Austin. My mother helped a lot, watching Austin while I was at work. He often spent the nights over there when I’d to work late. Between Austin and work, I’d no time to be interested in women. I’d a feeling that was all about to change

Chapter 2

Tiffany

I stared at Cayden from across the large oak meeting desk. He was heading up our Tuesday morning meeting and, as usual, he was calm, collected, and in control.

I could not figure him out. No man that attractive had ever pursued me before. Sure, Brad was gorgeous, but we also grew up together. Brad knew me before I gained all my weight after high school. I think one of the reasons that he stayed in our relationship was because he hoped that I would shed the extra pounds.

The fact that Cayden seemed to like me despite me not being thin threw me for a loop. Who knew, maybe he wasn’t even hitting on me. Maybe he was just trying to be friendly and I was taking it the wrong way? That had to be it. There is no way that someone like him would want to date someone like me. He was a ten and I was a three, on a good day. His eyes caught mine and he smiled as he continued to talk to the rest of the group.

Seriously, that damn smile. It was like a movie star’s smile. He had those type of looks, the pretty boy looks. He was tall with dark hair and dark eyes. His hair was always slicked back, and his skin was perfect. I almost wanted to ask him what his skin care routine was.

I did want to take him up on his numerous offers to do something outside of the office. I would have loved to go to the beach, if I wasn’t so self-conscious about my body. If I went with him, we would be surrounded by fit, tan women wearing thongs to showcase their perky little asses. They would probably wonder what someone like Cayden was doing with someone like me. Just like people had probably questioned why Brad was engaged to me.

I still couldn’t believe it had been a year since he had dumped me. I’d thought I was doing okay until we ended up at that sports bar yesterday. What a cruel joke that I would end up at the same bar where we had our last date on the anniversary of our breakup. Needless to say, Ben and Jerry’s comforted me last night as I cried myself to sleep.

I often wondered about Brad’s relationship with Jessica. Due to my Facebook stalking skills, I’d figured out that they moved to Tampa about six months ago to open a gym together. While most of their profiles were on lock down, I was able to see a few pictures. They looked like the perfect couple. They were both beautiful, fit, and happy.

I wondered if he ever thought about our relationship. Up until the end, I never thought he was unhappy. I thought I satisfied him in the bedroom. I would even go over to his apartment and clean and cook for him. Apparently, that wasn’t enough. I did not blame him. If I’d my choice between a fit, beautiful woman and me, I would choose Jessica, too.

Brad and I’d been in each other’s lives since sixth grade. Brad’s family moved in next door to mine during the summer of 2004. We were inseparable for years, but just as friends. Brad didn’t grow into his good looks until after high school. Looking back, it was almost comical. Growing up, I was the attractive, popular one and he was the unattractive, quiet one.

Even though I was popular and outgoing, I always tried to invite Brad to all the events I went to. People would ask why I was interested in someone like him, but I would always brush it off as a “just friends” thing. We really were just friends up until the fall of 2011.

Everything changed a few months after we graduated. My father unexpectedly passed away. A few months later, Brad lost his dad, as well. The loss of our fathers brought us together as a couple. Everyone said they knew we would end up together, they just didn’t know what would bring us together.

Our ways of mourning were much different from each other. Brad started running, losing the little bit of chunkiness that he always had. He felt that running was therapeutic. My therapy was sitting on the couch, watching episode after episode of Friends. It was the one show that my father and I’d watched together, and it helped me to keep his spirit alive. Unfortunately, I ate when I watched TV. I ate a lot and over the span of a few months, I’d gained nearly 60 lbs.

Brad was sympathetic at first. Our mothers still lived next door to one another, so he would come by before his runs, asking me to join him. I would always decline, blaming it on my ankle issue, which I made up. Eventually, he stopped asking. He continued to run, and I continued to eat. We were heading in completely different directions in life, despite building a relationship together.

I often wondered what would have happened if I went on those runs with him. Would I have lost the weight? Would we have still been together? Would we have been married? These were the kind of “What If?” questions that kept me awake at night.

“Earth to Tiffany,” Cayden’s voice interrupted my thoughts. I quickly jolted out of my seat. He and I were the only ones left in the room. I must have zoned out and not noticed the end of the meeting.

“Was my meeting really that boring?” he teased.

“I am so sorry, Cayden,” I said. “My mind was elsewhere.”

I started to gather the folders from in front of me. I wanted to run back to my office quickly to escape my embarrassment.

“I’m actually glad that it’s just me and you,” Cayden said. “I wanted to ask you something. Would you like to go out to dinner with me tomorrow night?”

“Just you?” I asked.

He nodded, and my heart fluttered. While he had asked me out before, it was always with a group of people. I’d a feeling that he was asking this time as a date. But why would he be asking me on a date? It had to be some sort of a weird joke between him and Maurice. Things like this didn’t happen in real life.

“I’m busy,” I replied. I wasn’t busy. I’d no life, except going home after work, making dinner, watching TV, and going to bed.

“Come on, Tiffany. It’s a Wednesday night,” he said with conviction in his voice. “Whatever plans you have for a Wednesday night can’t be that exciting.”

He was on to me.

“I have yoga class,” I lied. Although I’d always wanted to join the studio across from our building, I never had.

“Ah, Lotus One, right across the way?” Cayden asked. “I’ve been there a few times. I can go with you.”

Shit, I cursed myself.

“Fine, dinner it is,” I said. There was no way in hell that I was going to a yoga class with Cayden.

A huge smile formed on his face.

“Great! Do you want to go to Little Havana?” he asked.

I was a sucker for Cuban food, so I nodded enthusiastically.

“I will pick you up around 7:30, does that work?”

“Sure,” I replied. Luckily, I knew Mandy was working tomorrow night, and I wouldn’t have to introduce them. While Mandy was my best friend, she also had a very loud mouth. I’d spoken to her about Cayden quite a few times and I knew that she would say something to him if they met.

After I gave Cayden my address, I walked back to my office in a daze. I was going on a date. My first date in over a year. My first date in several years. What would I wear? What would I say?

I nearly ran into Nikki, who was walking into our office at the same time.

“Whoa there, space cadet,” she said. “I saw you zoning out in the meeting and now you aren’t even watching where you’re going? What is going on in that pretty little head today?”

“I am so sorry,” I apologized. I let her enter the office before I did. Once inside, I shut the door.

“Cayden asked me on a date!” I revealed. I’d hoped for some sort of shocked reaction from Nikki, but there was none.

“You knew, didn’t you?” I asked. She nodded.

“Maurice told me,” she confessed. “Plus, I saw the writing on the wall. I am pretty sure the only reason we all went out yesterday as a group was because Cayden wanted you to go.”

Her logic wasn’t wrong, but it still didn’t make sense to me.

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