Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Love Notes Chapter 1

by Ellie Mack

This is insane.’ Stephanie combed her fingers through her hair as she milled about the bookstore at the airport. ‘What am I thinking?’

I’m not thinking, that’s the problem.’

She glanced at the selection of books, not really seeing them. She paced about the store before settling at the magazine rack. Thumbing through the choices, she continued her inner dialog. ‘Just go back to your steady job and forget about Rob.’

Yeah, my miserable excuse for an existence. Divorced, dumped for a thin blond with fake boobs.’ She glanced in a mirrored column at her too large behind, wishing she had the discipline to spend more time in the gym.

It doesn’t matter, he’s not going to like you. As soon as he sees that ass, he’s going to bolt.’

Probably right.’ She eyed herself, scrutinizing her thighs, her stomach, hips and her full round bottom. ‘Though, he did say he prefers his girls with more meat on their bones.’

‘Yeah, but he ain’t seen that.’

She sighed and moved away from the column. There was still time to back out, still time to get a refund for her flight and cancel this whole crazy trip. She made another loop around the small bookstore to the back wall which held pens, book lights, e-readers, and a variety of journals.

A dark brown leather journal caught her eye and she felt compelled to run her fingers over the surface. She loved the scent of leather, the feel of it. She opened the journal and the paper inside looked like parchment, a slightly yellowed mottled appearance, with fine lines to write on. Her fingers traced over the surface of the page.

“Hmmmm.” Stephanie glanced at the man behind the counter that had been keeping his eyes on her the whole time. He looked questioningly at her when she made the audible noise.

Stephanie closed the journal and selected a nice pen. She went back to the front where the trade romance books were placed and selected two that had nice cover art. With a huge sigh, she placed the items on the counter and looked the young man square in the eye. “I’ve decided. I’m going through with it, and I’ll need these.”

The part of her that longed for more, the part of her that was dissatisfied with the plain vanilla life she’d led had lit up when she spotted the journal. She would record everything that happened on this adventure. If there was a chance for true love with Rob, she would take it. If not, well. . . at least she took the chance.

It was one of the things that Trevor had complained about, that she was boring. He had told her that she was ‘boring in bed, and boring in life.’ She never took chances, but played it safe.

                That was the day he walked out of their 3 year marriage for Brittany nearly a year ago. Her divorce had been final for almost six months, and the only guy that expressed interest in dating was Derek, one of the new hires at her firm.

As a successful architect, she wore her hair in a professional up do most of the time, and wore stuffy business suits. She knew how to handle herself in the boardroom, but apparently not in the bedroom.

Remembering Rob’s words “Come on baby, live a little.  Give yourself a chance. Give us a chance” was the final straw to tip her scale towards following through with this crazy idea. Stephanie Colson was determined to shed her boring Midwestern image. She would embrace this daring adventure whole heartedly. She grabbed a bag of Skittles and a pack of mints and added them to her purchase. She flashed her smile at the cashier as she presented her credit card to him. “I’m going on an adventure!”

He nodded, as if to amuse her.

Day 1 - June 20

Well, I did it. I got on the plane and I’m heading to London. This will be the first time I’ve traveled outside the U.S.  I pray that you’re happy to see me.  Otherwise, this was all in my head and I’m ten times the fool.  But, I’ve determined to at least try if there’s a chance that we could work.

I bought this journal at the airport as I debated whether to go through with this or not. It caught my attention, and helped me to decide. I’m going to record everything. This is the new Stephanie. The one I want to be. The Stephanie that embraces life and doesn’t shrink back, and let others run all over her.

Having said that, I have to say: I’m shaking in my shoes! My stomach is jittery, and I’m so afraid that you’ll take one look at me and run. I think though, I’d like to know for certain.

Rob, I’m going to write in my journal as if it’s to you. I can talk easily to you, share my heart with you. Maybe someday I’ll read you some excerpts from this thing. If not, I’ll keep it as a reminder for myself.

A reminder of what exactly?  Hmmm, everything. The day Stephanie Colson got brave. The day she took a chance on love.  The day that my life will be forever changed, or maybe the first day in a series of bad days. Is this a bad decision only to be followed by more bad decisions?  I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my entire life.

Stephanie took out the pictures of Rob Taylor, the man she was going to see.  She traced the line of his strong jaw on the first picture. His eyes were electric, a magnificent blue-green that reminded her of the ocean. His light auburn hair was sleeked back in a very European style, but she knew from the other pictures that it hung to his back and was full, and somewhat curly. From the other picture, he resembled Eddie Vedder, the lead singer for Pearl Jam. His nose was narrow, but it suited him perfectly.

His expression in the first photo was serious, and somewhat stern. It gave him a hard edged look that was powerfully seductive. Rob didn’t see it in himself.  It was one of the qualities that made him attractive to her. She swapped the photos, the second was her favorite. It was one of Rob in a candid moment with a genuine smile, with his hair unbound, a strand blowing across his face. It made her smile every time she looked at the photo.

She stared out the plane window, recalling their previous conversations. He’d said ‘I love you’, and that he wanted a chance with her. All she had to go by was his words on the screen, and that made her nervous because it was hard to judge the emotions behind them. At first, she thought he flirted with everyone on-line, but this had been going on for nearly a year now. Stephanie had been searching the net for some information, and asked some questions in a forum for the medical center she had been contracted to design. Rob had been the one on the other end answering the questions. That first night he’d been extremely helpful and offered to send her pictures and dimensions of their state of the art facility.

There was a sweet note with the e-mailed information, and soon they were chatting almost daily. He offered her emotional support through her divorce, and sent her flowers the day it was final. He’d sent her many presents in the time they had been chatting, never asking for anything back. Still there was the nagging doubt in her mind that when they met, he would find her unappealing.

She looked back at the two photos, swapping them in front of each other, then holding them side by side. She had to know. “This is crazy!”

She clipped the photos inside the front of the journal and began writing some more.

Why is nothing ever simple? I couldn’t just meet a great guy in my own town, or country even. GEEZ! No, instead I fall for you - halfway around the globe. I know, not technically, but it may as well be, right? I mean, all those nights when we talked, chatted, whatever you’d call it. I longed to be in your arms, feel your lips on mine, hear your voice saying the things you said on screen to me. Am I just a fool? Are you just a charmer that romances a bunch of girls on-line? It doesn’t seem so, and I don’t know how you’d have the time with as much time as we’ve shared on-line. Unless, you’ve inherited a ton of money and don’t have a real job.  But then if that were the case, what were you doing on the forum that first night?

I’m well aware that you could be doing many other things while you’re talking with me. But, you don’t really seem the type. Confession No. 1: when you said “ I love you Stephanie. I want us. I want to have a chance at us.” I was so happy, I cried and did the happy dance at the same time. I’ve felt for the past few months that I am falling in love with you. I can’t stop thinking about you, wondering what you’re doing throughout the day. Wondering - yeah just about everything, nearly obsessed with you. I feel like a Junior high girl with her first crush.  I worry that you might not like the real me once we meet.

Will my sense of humor annoy you? Will you be turned off by my big butt? Will you think I’m ugly, boring, annoying? WHAT???? I have to know, once and for all if we actually have something together, because I’ve already fallen head over heels in love with you and I haven’t even met you yet!

In 30 minutes we’ll be touching down in London. I’ll get settled in tonight and contact you tomorrow. I still can’t believe I’m actually doing this.

Day 1 - entry 2

OMG! This hotel is fantastic! I expected a cramped little affair, with barely enough room to move around and I have a suite! I’ve already taken several pictures, including a couple of me from the bathroom mirror. I’m so excited I can’t even begin to sleep! I’m going to get on my laptop and see if you’re still awake seeing as you’re such a night owl. Here goes!

Day 2 - June 21, a.m.

I’m so happy you were up last night! I thought I’d just try to connect with you today, and see if maybe we could meet for dinner, some place neutral where we could get acquainted. Would it be getting acquainted? I mean, I feel like I know you even though we haven’t physically met yet.

WOW! Your voice is incredibly sexy. I love your accent. I Hope you don’t think mine is boring. When you called my hotel room, I was ecstatic. Your voice is deeper than I imagined. I like all the plans you’ve made for us babe. I’m so excited! I’m going to embrace every experience while I’m here. I left the old Stephanie at the airport in Chicago, and this new Stephanie is hungry for life.  I’m going to have a long soaking bath, and hit the salon to look my best for you.