Authors: Beverly Farr
Tags: #love, #pregnant, #sweet, #sweet romance, #bride, #music, #clean, #wedding, #baby, #clean romance, #friendship, #Chick-Lit
Copyright 2012 Beverly Farr Giroux
This book is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely
coincidental. This book is for entertainment purposes only and not
for the purpose of providing legal advice.
All rights reserved.
Cover design by Rita Toews
Cover image by: Jason
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
“I beg your pardon?”
Brenda Williamson sat on a park bench,
resting her head in her hands. She looked up to see a stocky man
with a beard, standing ten feet away from her.
She’d been crying and it took a few seconds
to process what he was saying. Her first reaction was to snap, “Go
away,” but then she recognized him as one of the bank’s regular
customers, and professional courtesy took over. She hastily wiped
her eyes. “Can I help you?”
“May I sit here?”
He had a slight European accent. Not German,
but something similar. She said, “You want to sit here?”
“Yes, please. If you don’t mind.”
She did mind, but it would be rude to tell
him to find his own bench. She looked around the park. She’d never
noticed how few benches there were. There was one close to the
playground area, but a young mom with several children sat there.
It didn’t look as if there was another place for him to sit.
Brenda sat at this bench so often during her
lunch hour that she’d thought of it as her bench, but she’d need to
rethink that. In the future she might have to find another place to
eat her lunch in peace.
Belatedly she realized that the man was
waiting patiently for her response.
“Yes. Fine,” she said quickly. “You can sit
He nodded. “Thank you.” There was a melodic
lilt to his words. He quietly sat at the other end of the bench.
She noticed that his clothes, although clean and neat, were faded
and worn. He wore a metal clip around his pants legs which meant
that he rode a bicycle.
Brenda wondered how long she should sit there
before getting up to leave. If she got up right away, it would look
like she was trying to get away from him, which could be rude. But
in a few minutes, she could glance at her watch and say something
cheerful like, “Got to go.”
He said, “He’s not worth your tears.”
She frowned. “What’s that?”
“A woman as beautiful as you shouldn’t be
crying over a man.”
Brenda stiffened. “What makes you think I’m
crying over a man?”
This conversation was growing weirder by the
moment. She bristled. “That’s really none of your business.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry to distress you
He sounded sincere, and she regretted her
sharpness. “I’m fine,” she said quickly. “I’m just having a bad
A bad year was more accurate, but she wasn’t
so desperate that she’d dump her woes all over a stranger. She
gathered her purse and the brown paper sack that held her lunch.
She stood. “Everyone has a bad day now and then.”
He nodded. “I hope yours becomes happier.” He
She paused for a second, appreciating the
friendly warmth reflected in his brown eyes. He wasn’t making a
pass; he was merely wishing her well.
She felt herself smile briefly in return. The
first true smile of her day. “Thank you.”
His smile widened, displaying straight white
teeth, but he didn’t say anything more.
What a nice man, she thought, as she walked
back to work. It was good to know that they still existed.
TEN MONTHS LATER
“So, what are you doing this weekend?”
Deborah, one of the tellers asked. “Isn’t your friend Kelly getting
Brenda didn’t glance up from her stack of
deposits. “No, that’s next weekend. This weekend I’m going to keep
it simple. Just watering my plants. Buying groceries.”
Deborah persisted. “Is Steven out of
“Out of town. Out of my life.”
Deborah whistled. “Don’t tell me you’ve
broken up with him again.”
Brenda knew no one would believe her. She had
a difficult time believing it herself. Steven had been in and out
of her life for more than two years. She purposefully kept her tone
light. “They say third time’s the charm.”
“What did he do this time?”
“His wife called me.”
Deborah grimaced. “I thought she was out of
“Me, too,” Brenda said flippantly. “But she’s
When she first met Steven, she didn’t know he
was married. He didn’t wear a ring, and he seemed so open, so
honest, so totally attracted to her.
Within a few weeks, he said he was falling in
love with her.
He was everything she was looking for: tall,
good looking, smart and sophisticated. He treated her like a queen,
taking her out to eat at good restaurants and buying her gifts.
“Move in with me,” he begged one morning as
he was heading off to the law firm where he worked long hours as a
successful trial attorney. “Trying to live in two places is killing
She’d held out for a few months, but when her
apartment lease ended, she moved into his beautiful condo in
downtown Dallas. In hindsight, she should have noticed that it was
sparsely decorated: he had little memorabilia or pictures. But he
convinced her that he wasn’t the sentimental type and told her she
could decorate it anyway she liked.
She thought that meant that he trusted her.
She’d enjoyed picking out a new couch and better towels. She
thought that down the road, they’d get married and buy a house
Start a family.
A year later, she discovered that he was
married. She moved in with one of her girl friends.
“We’re separated,” he said and she believed
him. He showed her divorce papers that were going to be filed.
Within three weeks, she was back at his condo.
Brenda didn’t know why it had taken her so
long to read the signs. Sometimes she thought she should have a
capital “G” for Gullible tattooed on her forehead. She was a sucker
for his handsome face and smooth line.
But no longer. She was determined to get over
The problem was, she’d felt the same in
March, three months ago. How brave she’d been, declaring her
independence. She’d moved out of his condo and into an investment
house she’d bought with the intention of renovating it and turning
it into rental property.
But by April, he’d talked his way back into
her life. She hadn’t moved in with him again, but she let him spend
the night at her place.
It was humiliating to realize how quickly her
good intentions slipped away.
This time, she had to stand firm, or she
would lose all her self respect.
A bell on the front door of the bank
“Here he comes again,” Deborah said in a
stage whisper. “Be still my racing heart.”
Brenda startled, fearing for an instant that
it was Steven, but when she looked up at the double glass doors,
she saw Marius Jaworski. She relaxed. He was the man who had been
so nice to her in the park, months before. Since then, he hadn’t
spoken more than a handful of sentences, but he always smiled at
her, and she appreciated that.
She watched as he walked over to a side table
and filled out a withdrawal slip.
“Beautiful,” Deborah whispered. “Watch the
way he walks. Like a well-oiled machine.”
Brenda shook her head in amazement, wondering
what her co-worker saw in him. He was thirtyish, a little over
medium height, broad through the chest, with thick dark curling
hair that brushed his shoulders-- too long in her opinion -- and a
neatly trimmed beard and moustache. She’d never liked facial hair.
Today he wore jeans and a pressed cotton dress shirt, with the
sleeves rolled up to display muscular arms. He was nice looking,
she supposed, but she preferred Steven: tall, blonde, and sleek in
his expensive Italian suits.
Steven the rat.
“He looks like a bear. A Hobbit,” Brenda
“Dwarf,” Deborah corrected. “Hobbits don’t
“Whatever,” Brenda agreed. Deborah was more
of a Tolkien fan than she was.
“Can you imagine waking up next to him every
morning?” Deborah continued in a low tone.
Since her friend had been happily married for
twenty-six years, with a grandchild on the way, Brenda didn’t take
her comment seriously. She asked, “What about Phil?”
Deborah laughed. “He could use the
“Shh,” Brenda hissed. “He’ll hear you.”
“No such luck,” Deborah returned.
“Unfortunately, he always comes to your window.”
As the assistant bank manager at a small
branch office, Brenda often filled in for the tellers during their
lunch breaks, but she’d never noticed whether Mr. Jaworski
preferred her window. “Maybe he likes to be treated professionally
instead of having someone drool over him.”
Deborah raised her eyebrows mockingly, but
said nothing, as Mr. Jaworski approached.
Both their windows were open, but he walked
to Brenda’s window. Deborah flashed her an I-told-you-so
“Good afternoon, Ms. Williamson,” he
Brenda refused to let her friend’s teasing
make her self-conscious. She kept her voice even and matched his
formal style of greeting. “Good afternoon, Mr. Jaworski.”
“It’s a lovely day today.”
She’d grown accustomed to his faint accent
and the only difference she noticed now was something in the tone
of his vowels. The ‘o’s sounded a little different to her, but she
was no linguist.
“Yes,” Brenda said automatically, realizing
that for all she knew, it could be raining. Since she’d broken up
with Steven, she’d gone through the past few days in a miserable
fog. But she still had a job to do. “How can I help you?”
“I’d like to make a withdrawal.”
“I’m happy to help you,” she said. “But you
can use our automated teller machine as well.”
He smiled. “I prefer the human
She smiled in response to the compliment.
She checked his account balance -- several
thousand dollars -- and counted out his withdrawal. He thanked her
and smiled again.
As he left, he paused to hold the door open
for another bank customer.
He had nice manners, without being
Deborah waited until he was out of sight to
murmur, “I’d like a little human interaction, too.”
“Oh, shut up.”
“You know what they say: off with the old, on
with the new.”
Brenda stiffened. “I have no interest in
“Too bad,” Deborah drawled. “He could use an
American girl-friend right now.”
Brenda frowned. “What are you talking
“His student visa. It’s about to expire.”
“How do you know that?”
Deborah tried to look mysterious. “I have my
“You’ve been spying on him?”
“No. There was an article about him in the
neighborhood paper a few days ago. I’m surprised you didn’t see it.
Everyone else was reading it and talking about it in the lunch
At that moment, another bank customer
approached Deborah’s window, cutting short their conversation.
Brenda was grateful for the interruption.