Push Me (To The Edge series, #1)

BOOK: Push Me (To The Edge series, #1)
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PUSH ME

(To The Edge series
#1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jill Macintosh

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014
by Jill Macintosh

All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written consent of the Author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

 

Chapter One

 

My relationship with
Ian would end in three days, but as I arrived at the airport on a late spring Monday morning, I still had no idea how I was going to do it.

LaGuardia
was buzzing with the usual frantic business travel. My limo—actually one of Ian’s limos—pulled up to the sidewalk, and I didn’t wait for Benson, the driver, to open my door. I got out and walked to the back of the car, and when he opened the trunk, I reached in for my luggage before he did.

“I got it,” I said, with a little more of an edge in my tone than I had intended. It wasn’t
his fault that I was so aggressive, and it certainly wasn’t his fault that I was getting tired of being treated like I couldn’t do anything for myself, that I needed to be pampered and, worse, watched after. I was going to do something about that presumption when I got back to New York, but at the moment the only important thing was this business trip.

Benson
said, “You sure, Ms. Frye?”

It was just one bag, with
wheels, and it contained only three days’ worth of clothing and other necessities. “Yeah. And Benson? How long have we known each other?”

“Almost a year, ma’am.”

“Right. So do me a favor. When Ian’s not around, call me Dawn, okay?”

He nodded. “As you wish, ma’am.

“And
you don’t have to call me that, either.” I gave him a smile to make up for my attitude.

“Understood.”
He tipped his cap as if he were a character from an old movie. And he looked the part. In all the time I’d known him, I’d never seen Benson wearing anything other than what appeared to be a limo driver’s uniform right out of a Hollywood costume department. He was in his mid-sixties, and I suppose you’d call him portly—short and round, seeming almost as tall as he was wide. I was pretty sure he was completely bald, but I’d never seen him without that cap on so there was no way to be sure. Sometimes I wondered if he owned any other clothing, and I’d picture him going to the grocery store dressed like that. Talk about a weird mental image.

I was cool with
the formality when I first started dating Ian, but my view on that, like so many other aspects of our relationship, had really changed over the last month or so.

Benson
closed the trunk. “I’ll be here to pick you up on Thursday afternoon.”

“I’ll see you then.” I turned and made my way across the sidewalk to the airport’s entrance.

Wheeling my suitcase across the sidewalk, approaching the revolving door, a crush of people suddenly materialized as if they were sent here deliberately to block my path and slow me down.

I decided I was going to barrel forward and be a real New Yorker, forcing my way into the crowd. I pulled my suitcase along behind me, feeling the handle shift from side to
side as people bumped into it. Or maybe I was bumping it into them. Either way the result was the same.

I moved with the crowd and found myself entering one of
the revolving door’s compartments, just behind a guy wheeling his own suitcase, a suit bag slung over his shoulder.

I don’t remember if I felt the jolt or heard it first.
Either way, the noise was kind of a
thunk
and the revolving door stopped at the same time.

My rolling suitcase had gotten stuck. I hadn’t pulled it far enough into the compartment to keep up with the revolving door swinging around behind me. It jammed the
door, stopping its movement entirely, causing everyone trying to use the door to come to an abrupt standstill. All of whom, by the way, wasted no time banging on the glass and yelling unintelligible and in all likelihood highly uncomplimentary things in my direction.

It probably only lasted a few seconds, but it felt
more like fifteen minutes. I even thought I felt the temperature in there rising a bit as my face flushed. Totally embarrassed. Stuck. Right there. With people pointing at me.

“I got it,” my revolving door partner said.

I looked up at him but didn’t move.


Here.” He stepped around me, pushed the door back a little, then pulled my suitcase in with us. Once it was free, the door started to move again and he looked at the angry people in the other compartments and said, “Calm down, folks. You only lost about fifteen seconds of your precious lives.” He looked at me, cocked his head toward the inside of the airport. “Let’s go.”

I walked
in front of him, and I felt like an idiot with him holding his suitcase and the suit bag, in addition to pulling my suitcase behind him.

The yelling and the banging on the windows stopped. People were just glad to get moving again. But I still felt like hundreds of pairs of eyes were on me.
Like I was in a spotlight, but not in a good way.

I’m sure there’s some good engineering reason for the existence of revolving doors, but
after getting stuck in one, I didn’t care if there was. What’s wrong with normal doors? Big doors that automatically slide wide open and get out of your way when you approach them?

I stopped thinking about doors when
I turned around to face the guy who had rescued me, and suddenly recognized him. It was Sam Poole.

He
shook his head. “New York. Gotta love it.”

Sam wore blue jeans and a fleece jacket
, casual as always. Though it had been years since I’d seen him, he looked the same—dirty blond hair long enough to have some curl on the edges, but not too long; broad shoulders; an angular jawline with high cheek-bones, a look that would have allowed him to be a model if he hadn’t become a professional baseball player instead, especially with him standing at least one inch, maybe two, over six feet tall.

He pulled my suitcase between us and I took the handle. “Thanks,” I said, with a heavy sigh. I put my hand on my forehead and looked down. “So embarrassing.”

“No problem,” he said. “I’ve seen it hundreds of times.”

“Really?”

“Actually…no.”

I managed a
minor laugh and almost started to say something about knowing who he was. But he started to open his mouth, and I thought he was about to say he recognized me, too.


Are you okay?” he asked. “You look really—”

“Tense
. I know. Thanks for bringing it up.”

I looked at his eyes, which I hadn’t seen in years, and suddenly remember
ed thinking back then that one looked blue and the other sometimes looked gray, depending on how the light hit it.

He looked at his watch. “
Do you need some—”

I cut him off again. “What? Help? I’m
fine
.” There was that tone again, the one with the sharpness to it that I’d given Benson just a few moments ago. I grabbed the handle and started to walk away.

Even the slightest hint that I couldn’t take care of myself was starting to ignite a fury in me. That, coupled with my jangled nerves, is what was causing me to act that w
ay. This guy—who I knew, but who clearly didn’t recognize me—had probably saved me from further embarrassment in the revolving door just minutes ago and should have been on the receiving end of my effusive thanks. Instead he got Bitchy Dawn.

I guess it was understandable that he didn’t remember me on sight. It had been eight years since we were last around each other
. In that time, I’d lost weight, almost thirty pounds. My hair was shorter back then, a little darker brown, and now it was down to my shoulders and had highlights. I also no longer had to wear glasses thanks to Lasik surgery, courtesy of Ian.

I wasn’t about to stand there and beg him to remember me
, and I needed to get to my flight, so I didn’t bother saying anything more to Sam. Walking away from him, suitcase rolling behind me, I heard him say, “Have a safe flight.”

I kept walking, turned my head toward him and said, “Thanks, you too,”
forcing a smile, then continued on my way.

I was probably about twenty feet away when I heard him say,
“Nice nipples!”

I stopped, shocked. My eyes darted back and forth to se
e who else might have heard it and stopped to look at me for my reaction, but people just kept moving as if a crazy person wasn’t standing in the airport on a Monday morning shouting about nipples.

I turned to face him, and saw the corner of his mouth turned up in a partial smile. I looked down at my
tunic tank, and with my free hand tried to grasp my leather jacket and cover myself up.

“What did you say?”

People walked between us. I saw the smile disappear from his face and his eyes grew bigger. Busted. Now he was the one who was embarrassed, watching me cover the front of my shirt. Which, now that I thought about it, wasn’t thin enough for anyone to see my nipples. Especially with a bra on.

“That’s really crude,” I said
, walking back to him. “Who says that to someone? Are you that hard up?” I pulled my jacket tighter across my chest.

“What?
Oh, Jesus. No, no, no. I said
dimples
.”

Oh shit. Oh shit!

I didn’t say anything. I just shook my head back and forth quickly, as if I were trying to shake the memory of the last thirty seconds of my life out of my head. I spun on my heel and started away from the area as quickly as I could, weaving my way through fast-moving groups of people wheeling their suitcases with one hand and holding cell phones with the other, some talking, others trying to text or email.

Thank God he didn’t follow me. I had created two colossally embarrassing moments for mys
elf, both involving Sam Poole in the last ten minutes. I was glad to get out of the situation without any further humiliation, and was now grateful that he hadn’t recognized me.

 

.  .  .  .  .

 

I got to the gate and discovered that my flight was delayed, thanks to a line of storms rolling across the southeast, so I decided to kill a little time by roaming around the terminal. There was a bookstore—more of a newsstand, really—but they carried all the current bestsellers, none of which appealed to me. I picked through the magazines, finally settling on a copy of
Vanity Fair
, a longtime favorite of mine.

I paid for the magazine and moved on to the coffee
shop, where I got lucky and managed to snag the last free table after getting my coffee. Sitting down, I took a few sips and looked out at the other travelers.

I skimmed a few articles
in the magazine, looked at some pictures, then got out my cell phone and looked at the time. I’d only killed twenty minutes.

My coffee was cooling off quickly so I finished it as I watched people walk down the concourse
. I listened to two guys at the next table trade competing complaints about the President and new regulations on Wall Street. They sounded a lot like Ian.

I flipped through the magazine once more, but nothing interested me enough to stop and read, so I got out my
iPad and tried to read an e-book but couldn’t concentrate on that, either.

Bored, I
decided to turn my thoughts to Ian and what I planned to do when I got back to New York in a few days. I’d even prepared a mental outline of the things I would say to him, but I rarely got through it without getting stuck on the images my imagination conjured up of how he would react to what I had to tell him.

That’s where my thoughts were when
Sam Poole entered the coffee shop.

Great.

I held the iPad up higher, trying to shield my face, leaving only my eyes visible to anyone who looked at me.

I glanced up once more as I sank a little lower in the chair. He turned around and our
gazes locked. Thrusting the iPad higher would have made me look even more ridiculous than I already did, so I didn’t try. I watched in dread as he walked toward my table. He didn’t sit down, thankfully, but he stood next to the chair directly across from me.

“Sorry about that misunderstanding back there,” he said. “For the record, I would never say something like that. Well, I take that back. I wouldn’t say it to a woman I didn’t know, and certainly not on the first date.”

But you do know me
, I wanted to say. Instead, I remained silent as I looked up at him and noticed that he hadn’t shaved in a couple of days. Short, dark brown whiskers, with what looked like a dusting of a little gray around the chin area, despite the fact that he was only in his early thirties. Maybe it was blond. Hard to tell from a distance. Either way, I liked it.

I remembered thinking he was handsome back when we knew each other. The more I looked at him, the more I realized if he had gone into modeling, he would have been one of the rugged ones, not one of the pretty boys.

“Not that we’re on a date,” he continued, breaking me out of the beginning of the trance I was about to go into as I took in his appearance.

“No, of course not,
” I said. “We’re just two people in an airport. Two strangers who don’t know each other.”

BOOK: Push Me (To The Edge series, #1)
9.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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