Monday, January 30, 2012

Tuesday Tales – Save

Billy turned off the oven and plopped into his brown overstuffed chair across from the television. He rested his black designer sneakers along the side of his oak cocktail table. Today he made the biggest decision of his life. Thank God, Alexandra gave him a chance to explain.

He hadn’t planned on exposing the trouble he had gotten himself into over the years. It was a thing of the past, and that’s where he wanted to keep it. But when Ralphie came knocking on his door, his past had come back to haunt him, once again.

With all the banks in New York City, it would figure he picked the one that Ralphie’s daughter worked at. This time, she was married. He remembered when he first borrowed the money, Ralphie wanted him to take out his daughter. If he had done that, Ralphie would have seen it as an investment into his daughter’s future. The trouble was, Billy never liked her. He could never forget Alexandra. She was his first and only love. How many times was he going to pay for this mistake?

Reaching into his pocket, he took out a small red velvet box. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, he wanted to make sure he had the perfect gift for Alexandra, even if he decided not to give it to her. Losing her again, would be one of the biggest mistakes of his life. Telling her the truth about Ralphie saved their relationship. But was it enough? Ralphie threatened to tell Alexandra about his arrest and time he spent in jail. Now that he told her, there really was no reason to worry about Ralphie.

Billy stood and put the box into the drawer in his bedroom before going into the kitchen. He had promised Alexandra earlier he was going to make her a dinner of samplers that he’d like to have at the café.

Secretly, Billy had started to compose a menu when they first started discussing it. The menu was more important than the actual building. Any building could be spruced up, but the food, it had to be perfect. People wanted quality, yet they want to watch their fat and calorie intact. He would make certain everything remained tasty and healthy without turning into a health food place.

Checking the clock, he had to work fast. He had told Alexandra to come for dinner at seven. Earlier, he had prepared all the food. He opened the oven and took out the homemade whole wheat and semolina loafs, one of his specialties. A blueberry tart sat in the refrigerator, along with raspberry and blueberry scones covered in a navy blue napkin in a wicker basket on the counter.

The whole evening was planned. He had purchased a set of navy blue square dishes earlier, ones that he wanted to use at the café along with a navy blue tablecloth and matching napkins.

Billy prepared a quick salad with baby arugula, spinach and romaine lettuce. Then added tomatoes, sliced black olives, fresh mushrooms and red onion and his special seasoning mixture. A light balsamic vinaigrette complimented the salad. Putting the salad into the refrigerator, he sliced fresh mozzarella and tomato and placed it on a navy blue rectangular dish. He also made mini veggie burgers, broccoli rabe and farfalle macaroni with a light garlic and oil. The last thing he made were mini stuffed artichoke.

Everything was ready when Alexandra arrived. A bottle of merlot chilled in a crystal ice bucket. Alexandra loved her wine chilled, not liking ice cubes diluting it. Billy placed a small navy blue bowl on the table with seasoned oil, complimented by his very own variety of spices to give the oil just the right taste to dip the bread in.

Just as Billy placed the ice bucket on the table, Alexandra arrived. To his surprised, she stood at the door holding the matching serving platter with large serving bowl sitting on top wrapped in cellophane, matching the set of dishes he had bought.

Alexandra handed him the platter and greeted him with a kiss.

“How did you know?” he pointed to the gifts.

“I stopped in the store earlier and your neighbor Cathy waited on me. She told me you were in earlier to pick up a place setting for four, so I thought I would compliment it with the accessories.”

“You shouldn’t have.” Billy placed the gift down on the cocktail table.

“My mom always told me when you are invited to someone’s house for dinner you should always bring wine and cake. I knew you already had both, so this is the next best thing.”

“What else did Cathy tell you?”

“That I have a surprise dinner in store for me tonight.” Alexandra placed her pocketbook on the table and unbuttoned her coat.

“I wanted everything to be perfect tonight.” He brushed her hair off her face. “And you’ve already made it that.”

“I should buy you more platters.” Alexandra wrapped her arms around his neck. “If I knew that dishes were the key, I would’ve bought them for you a long time ago.”

They shared a tender kiss before Billy led her into the dining room. He also worked just as hard on preparing the room as he did the food. Earlier, he had bought red roses and white lilies, which sat in a spiral vase in the center of the table.

“Everything smells great. What can I do to help you?” Alexandra released her arms from around his neck and took a step back.

“Nothing. Tonight you are my guest. To me, this is the start of our lives together.” Billy didn’t take his eyes off her. “I want you to sit and relax. Chef Billy is at your service. I’ll be back with your first course.”


Billy walked into the kitchen, placed his tall chef hat on and prepared their salad dishes. Before bringing them into the dining room, he added chopped pecans and fresh cranberry’s to add the final flavor.

With a dish in each hand he returned into the dining room. He placed her dish down in front of her. As he was ready to sit, he looked at Alexandra who had removed her coat and sat dressed in a black lace dress.

“Wow. When did you get the dress?” His eyes scanned her from head to toe. Alexandra looked absolutely gorgeous. He wasn’t use to her being all dressed up.

Alexandra stood up and twirled on a stiletto black boots. “I bought it at Linda Lingerie Boutique after I got the dishes. “ Pointing at him, “I love the hat. It’s kind of a turn on,” she said, her voice low and seductive.

Billy reached his hands out and Alexandra slipped hers into his.

“How hungry are you?” he asked pulling her body against his.

“As hungry as you.”

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tuesday Tales - Game

The next morning, Alexandra did something she hadn’t done since she was a teen. She sat at her kitchen table, with a mug of coffee and her house and cell phone, sitting on the chocolate brown linen napkin, waiting for it to ring.

The night before she hardly slept. Words kept floating through her mind all night long. When she spoke to Billy, she had to have all her thoughts and emotions flowing in the same direction. She hadn’t given Billy a chance to explain the encounter that she had heard. Their relationship was built on trust and love. There was no doubt the love was there, but the trust, she couldn’t get past that.

There were so many questions she wanted answers to. Glancing down on the piece of paper towel, which she had folded in half and written on, she looked over the questions she wanted to ask him. She made certain her favorite red pen sat on top of the paper. This was the last time she wanted to go through this.

At eight o’clock, her phone rang. Billy’s number flashed on her caller ID. She answered and instead of asking him the questions over the phone, she asked him to stop by for hot chocolate. After she said it, she felt like an idiot. Why didn’t she just say don’t forget the marshmallows?

Billy arrived, with a bag of marshmallows and apricot scones, lightening up the mood. He kissed her hello and walked directly into the kitchen.

“I’ll be with you in a few,” he called from the kitchen. I just want to make the hot chocolate and put the scones on a dish. They’re still warm. Sit down and I’ll be right with you.”

Alexandra sat and took her paper towel and slipped it under her cell phone, making certain that the questions were still in eyes view for her. She didn’t want to forget to ask him anything. This would be the only chance she had. She couldn’t keep on dwelling on his forgetting to tell her things that were important. Damn, they were about to open a café together, which meant they would be spending most of their day together.

“Here you go.” Billy placed the black and white over-sized mug of hot chocolate in front of here with a half dozen mini marshmallows floating on the top.

“Thank you.”

“I hope you like the scones. I thought apricot might be a good seller, since people love that filling in seven layer cookies.” Billy cut the scone in half, and placed it in her dish.

The scent of the scone overpowered the vanilla candle that she had lit when she first came down in the morning. Lifting the scone, she took a bit. She eyebrows rose in amazement and she licked her lips. Billy stood next to her, his eyes peering down on her waiting for her reaction.

Looking up, she nodded her head. “The taste is incredible, just the right amount of apricot. And I think I taste a splash of cinnamon.”

“You’re right on the money.” Billy touched her shoulder and kissed the top of her head. “I thought it could be one of the scones on our menu.”

“We should start with the scone of day. Try different flavors to see what sells, what the customer likes.”

“That’s a fantastic idea.”

“Yes it is. But first, we need to discuss a couple of things.”

Alexandra took the last bite of her scone and pushed her dish to the side. Leaning her left elbow on the table she motioned for Billy to sit down. He sat next to her, not taking his eyes off her.

Before getting lost in his eyes, Alexandra dropped her gaze and took a moment to collect her thoughts before beginning.

“I want us,” she pointed from him to herself, “to work. I love you Billy and I don’t want us to have secrets.”

“I …”

“Before you say anything, I realize what happened before we were together shouldn’t matter. But the foundation of our relationship is trust. I’m not going to ask about your past girlfriends, I just want to know what the secrets are all about.”

Billy stood and paced the living room before playing with the wood in the fireplace. Alexandra wanted to tell him to leave it alone, that she already had the fire going, but she decided to give him this time to collect his thoughts.

“I know you have a lot of questions, and I’m prepared to talk.” He took her hand and led her to the couch. “Sit down and get comfortable. I’ll get us a refill on the hot chocolate.”

Billy disappeared into the kitchen, and returned within a few minutes. Once again he place the mini marshmallows in her mug. He placed her mug on the cocktail table and sat sideways on the couch to face her.

“About fifteen years ago I got myself into a bit of trouble. I was short on money, could barely pay my bills and needed money quick.”

“He’s a loan shark?” Alexandra’s voice rose.

“No. He’s a friend of the family.”

“You owe him money?”

Billy shook his head. “No. I made the mistake of going to him for money. He gave me what I wanted, in exchange, he had me to do some illegal things.”

“Are you kidding me?” Alexandra rested her hand on his. Billy seemed to be uncomfortable talking about it.

He leaned on the sole of his right foot, and started shaking his leg. Alexandra kept her eyes on him and waited for him to finish the rest of his story. She wanted to know everything. She wanted things back to the way they use to be.

“The reason why I fought with Ralphie was because he still feels I owe him for bailing me out.”

“But that was a long time ago.”

Billy played with the marshmallows in his mug with a thin red straw. “Baby, he wants a piece of the café.”

“No way. And how did he find out?”

“I went to the bank for a business loan. It would figure his daughter would be the one to wait on me.”

“His daughter? Didn’t you see her?”

“Babe, I haven’t seen his daughter since we were kids and besides, her married name was on the name plate. I still can’t believe she recognized me.” Billy stood, and folded his arms. “Ralphie is playing games. I just wanted to protect you. I don’t want you involved in the mistakes I made.”

“Well, I’ll you one thing,” Alexandra stood, walked over to Billy and took is hands in hers, “I’m not letting this Ralphie character get involved in our plans. This is our business and he isn’t get a single cent from us.”

“How are we going to do that? He’ll come to the café everyday and harass us.”
“Not if I take out the loan.”

“No,” he shook his head. “I can’t let you take that whole financial burden on yourself. We need to do this together.”

“But we will be. The loan is just going to be in my name only.”

“We’re not doing this. The time has come for me to stand up to Ralphie. I don’t owe him anything. I have paid for that loan he gave me time and time again.” Billy let go of her hands and rested them on her waist. “I have to come completely honest with you.”

“That’s all I ask.”

“I got involved with Ralphie because I needed money to hire an attorney to bail me out of jail.” Billy backed out of their embrace, walked back across the room and sunk into the couch, rubbing his forehead with the palm of his hand. “I messed up. I got myself involved with the wrong people and got arrested for possession of prescription drugs. That’s the real reason why I go under a pen name.”

“I’m sorry, Billy. But the truth be told, all that happened a long time ago.”
“Yes, but he has threatened to reveal the truth.”

“What’s the difference?” Alexandra sat down and ran her fingertips along the stubble on his cheeks. “Let him tell. Because what he’s going to do is incriminate himself too.”

“You’re not upset with me?” he asked tilting his head to the side.

“No. The only thing I’m upset about is that you didn’t trust me enough to reveal the truth. Do you have other secrets?” she challenged him.

“Of course. And I’m sure you do too. But before we reveal anything else, there’s something I want to do that I’ve missed for the past two week.”

“And what might that be,” she giggled.

Billy didn’t answer. Instead he took her into his arms and kissed her lips.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Tuesday Tales - Broken

When the Bee Gee’s song, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”, played on the radio, Alexandra turned it off. If she would have listen to it, she’d be crying all over again.

The past two weeks have been hard on her. She hadn’t spoken to Billy at all. He continued to call her every day, leaving her a message on her cell phone, but she refused to talk to him. There were just too many unanswered questions.

Alexandra should have known better than to get herself involved. But it was too late to second guess her decision. She could kick herself in the ass for trusting him. It wasn’t that he lied to her, he just chose to leave out the finer details of his life, the important things, which led her to think about what else he wasn’t revealing.

Wandering around the house, she couldn’t relax. Damn it, she missed him. She wanted to believe in him. She wanted him. Her cell phone rang and she ran across the room for the phone, only to be disappointed to see the word unavailable scrolled across the screen. It was almost eleven o’clock at night. Billy wouldn’t be calling anymore.

She was torn between wanting to give him another chance and then dreading another situation like this. This emotional roller-coaster was taking a toll on her. A decision had to be made on what she would do. Maybe she should give him another chance, put her cards out on the table.

Why did she let herself fall in love with him? He broke her heart. Not because he cheated on her, but because he wasn’t honest and upfront.

She wanted to call Dee and get her advise, but decided against it. This was a decision she needed to make without anyone persuading her either way. Whatever she decided, she had to live with.

And then there was the café. This was a project that she wanted to be a part of. At this stage in her life she was tired of working the eight to four job. She was always a people person, and at her job, all she did was sit at her desk, shuffling papers, making phone calls and telling people what do to. She was ready for a hands on job, one that was constantly evolving, one that she would be working with Billy by her side.

Searching herself, these past few days, she realized she had to stop trying to sabotage her relationship with Billy. She was always afraid get hurt. Billy owed her an explanation, and this time she wanted to hear it all. She didn’t want him to hold back. What could he possibly be mixed with that he didn’t want her to get involved in?

Alexandra didn’t want to give up on her relationship with Billy. Tomorrow, if Billy called, she would meet with him. She wanted to iron out the problems in their relationship. But it would be the last time she’d give him a chance to explain. She would make it a point to tell him, no more secrets. Just that he called her every day, multiple times a day, proved to her that he really loved her.

Tomorrow, she hoped would answer all her questions and reunited her with Billy.

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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Tuesday Tales - Lies

Yes, their adventure began. Over the course of the next few weeks, Alexandra and Billy searched for possible locations for their business venture. Out on her own, Alexandra found a store front, which stood vacant between a hair salon and dry cleaners. From the outside, it looked like a shoe box, but inside there was over a hundred feet of open area. To the right stood a long mahogany bar and the kitchen was located in the back of the cafe. The highlight of the place, the selling point was the brick oven, in the basement that had been dormant for years.

Excited with her find, she raced to Billy’s house, thrilled to see his black BMW sat in the driveway. She wanted to bring him to see the property. She had placed a thousand dollar binder down earlier to hold it. This was a rare find and she would be damned if she’d let it slip through her fingers.

Ring…ring….ring Why wasn’t he answering the door? Quickly she tapped his number into her cell phone, not one, not twice but three times. She had the touch screen. Everyone told her she’d get use to it, but she would be happy with her original flip phone.

After calling and ringing the bell for close to fifteen minutes, Alexandra started to walk back to her car when she heard yelling coming from the house. Alexandra tried her best to make out whom the other voice belonged to besides Billy and didn’t recognize it. The other man words were loud and muffled, making it impossible for her to hear what he was yelling about.

Alexandra got back into her car and sped down the street, almost hitting the tail end of the car at the end of his driveway. What the hell was going on? It wasn’t like Billy not to answer the door, let alone the phone. She had an eerie feeling about this. There were still so many unanswered questions. Something told her that Billy wasn’t being completely honest with her about a lot of things. And there were still those a few years left unaccountable for. It seemed that every time she asked him a question he would put her off and change the subject. Alexandra would be damned if she didn’t find out what the hell was going on.

She was home for just a few minutes when the phone rang. Billy’s name showed on the screen. Hesitating, she decided to let it go into voice mail. Taping the numbers one, two and three onto the screen she sighed when the voice said she had six new voice messages. Rolling her eyes, she listened, pressing the number seven after only hearing a couple of words. Funny how she was on the do not call list, yet still got calls constantly on her cell. She made a mental note to call the cell phone company later on.

Just as Billy’s message played, the doorbell rang. The last message was from Billy letting her know he was on his way. Alexandra pressed end and opened the door. Billy stood with a dozen pink and white roses and a bottle of champagne.

“Here you go honey.” Billy handed her the flowers and kissed her on the lips.

“What are the flowers for?” Could it be guilt?

“For your find. I stopped by the place you told me about and made an offer.”

“You did? I thought we were in this together.”

“We are. You found the perfect place and I signed the contract.”

“I thought we were signing it together. I thought we were partners.”

“We are.”

“Then why didn’t you call me to meet you there? And why didn’t you answer your door when I stopped by earlier?”

“Probably, I wasn’t home.”

“Don’t lie,” Alexandra lashed out. “I was at your house. I called you and rang your bell. You were in the house arguing with a man. What the hell is going on with you?”


“Don’t give me that shit. I’m not stupid. I’m tired of all the secrets. You have turned into mystery man. Just when I thought things between us couldn’t get any better, things have gone down hill.”

Alexandra walked into her kitchen and placed the roses down on the kitchen counter. Billy hadn’t followed her into the kitchen. At least this gave her a few minutes to get her thoughts together and stop the tears from flowing.

Where did she go from here? Does she trust him? Let him explain like the last time. But he swore to her there were no more secrets. And there he stood in front of her saying he wasn’t home.

Billy’s hand touched her shoulder. Taking a deep breath, Alexandra turned to face him. Keep your cool.

“I’m sorry baby. I don’t want you to get involved in certain things.”

“No.” Alexandra shook her hands. “I’m not letting you do this to me. Whoever was in the house with you was pissed. I couldn’t make out what was being said, but I heard him cursing you out, calling you a loser.”

Billy leaned against the kitchen counter and covered his face with his hands. “I believe in us. I have never betrayed us.”

“I’m having a hard time believing you. I think it will be best if we part ways.”

Billy’s eyes narrowed and stepped closer to Alexandra. “You don’t mean that.”

“I do.” Alexandra bit her top lip, trying her best not to shed a tear. “I think it would be best if you leave.”

“Give me a chance to explain.”

“There is nothing to explain. This is the second time I have caught you in lie.”

“But the café. That’s our project.”

“It is. But for the time being, I need time to think and figure out what I have to do.”

“I love you Alexandra.”

Billy lifted her chin and she stepped back. “I love you too, but this isn’t about love. It’s about trust. So please respect my wishes and give me some time to access this latest event.”

“But the café…”

“I have nothing more to say now.”

Alexandra walked to the door and opened it as Billy followed behind her.

“Can I call you tomorrow?”

“I’d rather you just give me time.”

Alexandra closed the door behind Billy. Leaning against the door, she covered her face with her hands and let her tears flow.

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Monday, January 02, 2012

Tuesday Tales - Kiss

Alexandra left the front door unlocked and sat on the floor, staring into the blazing fire waiting for Billy. Last night she barely slept as thoughts of what to say to Billy irked her. A white legal pad sat on her lap. Earlier, she had separated the page into two columns: positive and negative. The list of positive’s outweighed the negative side, with the first thing on the negative side, liar. Beneath liar, listed the usual things that annoy most women; not putting down the toilet bowl seat, eating and leaving his mess on the table, having to be told a half a dozen times to throw out the garbage and falling asleep immediately following making love.

Pulling her knees into her chest, she bit her tongue, holding back her tears. No way would she shred a tear in front of Billy. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing she was upset. But Dee was right. She needed to give him a chance to explain before she went over the deep end. Not showing an ounce of vulnerability would be Alexandra’s main objective. This had nothing to do with her feelings for him. It had to do with honesty and trust.

With a spoon, she played with the mini marshmallows floating on top of her hot chocolate. This was all surreal, a nightmare coming alive. She didn’t plan on meeting someone, and especially falling in love. Letting the walls down she had perfectly built was another thing that wasn’t in her game plan. Finally, when she felt good about herself and her life, bang, an enormous complication.

Knock, knock. “Hey Alexandra, I’m here. You left your door open.”

Alexandra didn’t budge. “I’m sitting by the fire.”

Billy leaned over and kissed her forehead. “I tried calling you all morning to see what you wanted me to bring you for breakfast. You’re phone is dead.”

“No it isn’t. I turned it off,” she said in haste.

Billy sat next to her and took her hand. “Something’s not right. I feel it.”

After a long beat Alexandra spoke. “Billy, I’ve been so blind sighted by you and me. I went along with the adventure, never looking at the broader picture.”

“What in God’s name are you talking about?”

“You. Everything you have done since we were kids.”

“Let me grab a cup of coffee and I’ll tell you anything you want to know,” he stood.

“Why don’t you start by telling me why I can’t find you on Classmates or any of the other social media sites for high school? Does Billy Davidson even exist?”

Billy sat back down and his eyes shoot wide open. “Oh course I exist. Did it ever occur to you I chose not to sign up to any of them?”

“Why wouldn’t you?”

“Because I hated the people I went to school with twenty–five years ago. Why would I want to talk to them all these years later?”

He had her there giving her a perfectly good explanation. The only reason why she joined the websites was to try and track him down. She made a mental note to delete her accounts from those sites. She felt exactly the way he felt.

“Does that work for you?” he asked in an irate voice.


“Don’t you trust me?”

“I want to but there are so many unanswered questions. We aren’t the same people we were when we were kids.”

“Oh really.”

“Don’t take this the wrong way. I am not the jealous type and what you did in the past, is in the past, but what I have a hard time dealing with is why I can’t find a single thing about you on the internet. And why is it that you don’t work on Saturday nights, the biggest eat out date night?”

“That’s because I’m with you.”

“Yes. But you told me you were some big time chef. Wouldn’t you be working in some five star restaurant, which lead me to wonder why all of the five star restaurants list their chefs and you aren’t listed at all?”

“You’re asking a lot of questions.”

Alexandra kept her eyes on Billy. He didn’t squirm or show an ounce of nervousness like one would show if they were lying. If anything, he sat relaxed and willing to answer her questions.

“Yes I am.”

“And I have answers to all your questions.”

Reaching her hand out, she said, “Okay, proceed.”

“The reason why I’m not working on Saturday nights is because I’m working in the early morning through afternoon creating the day’s deserts. I finally found my niche. I’d rather bake then cook a gourmet meal.”

“Then why aren’t you listed on any websites? I couldn’t find a single bio on you at all.”

“And that’s because I’m not listed under Billy Davidson.”

“Are you kidding me? My real name is Stefano William Davidson. My parents called me Billy because they didn’t want to kids to make fun of me at school.”

Alexandra dropped her eyes down to her lap.

“And the reason why you couldn’t find me under Davidson is because I used my mom’s maiden name, Innocenzio. I am known throughout the industry as Stefano Innocenzio.”

Alexandra bit her bottom lip. Could it be? She could always excuse herself and check it out on her cell phone. Stop. Why would he lie after being confronted?

“I still have unanswered questions. Why didn’t you tell me?” Alexandra’s voice raised a notch as she slowly pronounced each word.

“I didn’t think it mattered.” Billy pointed to the dining room table. “Go ahead, get your laptop and look me up now. I’m sure you’ll be quite impressed with my resume.

“I think I will.”

Alexandra stood and retrieved the laptop. If he were right, then she went out of her mind for nothing. Last night she drove herself crazy questioning Billy’s character and driving herself crazy in the process.

Opening it up, she tapped on the spacebar until the Google search came up. She typed in Stefano Innocenzio and within seconds restaurants showed up and well as other websites with were affiliated with his name. Randomly she selected a page which brought up a magazine article with a picture of Billy wearing his chef’s hat holding a pastry bag in his hand. She closed the top and laid the laptop on the cocktail table.

“Sorry I doubted you. I guess I just have too much free time on my hands. I should have just asked you.”

“I’m guilty too. I should have told you. Our relationship is based on honesty. I didn’t even give it a second thought to tell you I went under an alias.”

No words came from Alexandra. She was too humiliated. Good thing she listened to Dee and didn’t attack Billy the moment he stepped through her front door. If she had, she would have ruined everything Billy and she built.

Billy slid his arm around her shoulder and kissed the top of her head.

“I love you, Alexandra. Please believe me when I say I would never do anything to hurt you. I see our business adventure as that, a business adventure. Are you still aboard?”

Alexandra thought for a moment. What did she have to lose? She’d take a chance and see where it led her. If they could start up a business together and keep their relationship in tact, then it would all be worth it.

“Before I answer, do you have any other secrets that you’ve kept from me?”

“My secret is that I’m madly in love with you and I’m ready to get started.”

“You know something, so am I.”

Billy lifted her chin. “Sealed with a kiss.” Their lips met, and their adventure was about to begin.

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