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STORY 1 hurt you Things took unexpected


Story 1

Mike and Heather haven’t spoken for almost a month. When they’ve bumped
into each other, one usually left the store, leaving everything, and the
other behind. This isn't the first time they’ve avoided each other, but it
is the longest. They have had a rough five years, but always managed to
work through it before. This time, however, is different. It all started
about a month ago. Mike had run into an ex-girlfriend he hadn’t seen in

“Michael? Is that you?” Mike turns around and sees Julia standing
there. “Julia?” She nods and runs over to Mike. He opens his arms and
gives her a big hug. “Hey, how are you?” He lets her go and she looks up
at him and smiles. “I’m good. Doing well. The company has been sending
me out on a lot of business trips. How about you?” “Doing well. Haven’t
been traveling too much, but I don’t mind. It allows me more time with my
girlfriend.” “That’s good.” She looks down at the ground. Mike lifts her
chin with his finger. “I heard you got married. Ben Dinkler, right?” She
looks at him and smiles. “Yep, but he’s nothing like you. I mean, he even
got a job with Camcorp so he could travel with me.” “Julie, you know I
couldn’t do that.” She nods, then looks at the street again. “Yeah, I
know. But that’s not what I meant.” She looks at him, “He is nothing like
you.” He looks at her slightly puzzled. She touches the side of his face.
“Nothing like you.” He takes a step back, finally realizing what she means.
“Julie, I...I...”, he closes his mouth and looks away. “Mike, I’ve dreamed
of this day.” He looks back at her. “I’ve hoped for one last chance Mike.
Just one more time. She places a hand against his cheek and leans towards
him. “Julie, I can’t.” She moves closer, feeling his warm breath on her
lips. Not realizing it, he wraps his arms around her as they kiss.

Heather, standing across the street, drops the bag of groceries as she
watches Mike kiss some girl she doesn’t know. She starts walking across
the street, not even pausing for traffic, and walks up to Mike. Mike turns
and looks at Heather, feeling panic run through his body. Heather looks at
Mike, then Julie, and then back at Mike. She opens her mouth, then closes
it, only to raise her hand and slap Mike across the face. Mike stands
there, feeling his face turn red, and watches as Heather storms off. He
watches as she walks past the broken bag of groceries and through the
parking lot to the car. As he watches her drive off, he feels someone
gently grab his hand. He turns and looks at Julie, pulls his hand away and
starts walking up the street. “Mike, I’m sorry.” He waves back at her.
“Please, let me at least give you a ride home.” Mike stops and turns
around. “Thanks Julie, but you’ve done enough for me today.” He turns
around again, and continues to walk home.

Mike touches the side of his face as he replays the memory through his
head. He picks up the phone and dials Heather’s number. It rings twice,
then he hears someone pick up the phone, then hang up. “Damn caller-ID.”
He mutters. He tries calling again using his cell phone. Again, he is
hung up on. “Please God!” He yells, feeling his heart sink and fill with
pain. He raises his hands to his face and rubs his eyes. He hasn’t slept
in two days, and when he does happen to doze off, all he sees is Heather.
He drops his hands and stares up at the ceiling. He picks up the phone and
tries calling Heather again. This time he just listens as it rings. After
the twentieth ring he hangs up, then hits his fist against the arm of the
chair. He covers his face with his hands again, just now noticing the
rough stubs of a beard starting to grow on his unshaven face. He stands up
and walks over to the mirror hanging on the wall. He rubs his chin and
neck, debating on whether or not to shave. He turns to walk upstairs and
hits his knee on the corner of the computer desk. Without emotion, he
bends down to rub his knee, then sees the phone jack connected to the

His heart begins to race as he pulls the desk away from the wall. He
then disconnects the phone line from the computer, then walks over and
picks up the phone. He unplugs it then reaches for the phone line to the
computer, pausing before reconnecting it to his phone. He listens for a
dial tone, then starts dialing Heather’s number. As he’s pushing the last
digit he whispers, “Please God. Let this work.” He counts the rings,
thinking she has caught on. One ring, two, three...then silence. Mike
holds his breath as he listens. “Hello. Anyone there?” Mike can’t believe
what he’s hearing. “Hello?” Mike opens his mouth to respond. “Hello?”
Mike swallows hard, then responds. “Heather, is that you?” “Mike? Michael
is that you?” He can hear the tension building in her voice. “Yes Heather,
it’s me.” “I have nothing to say to you. Goodbye.” “Heather wait.
Please...” He listens intently, expecting to hear the phone slam down,
followed by a dial tone. “Heather. Are you still there?” He hears
movement at the other end, but nothing is said. “Look, all I want is a
chance to apologize and make things up to you.” Still no response. “I know
that I hurt you. Things took an unexpected turn that morning and I don’t
blame you for being upset.” Still nothing. “How about this. I’ll make a
big dinner, like I use to when we first started dating. You come over, if
you want, and we’ll try to iron things out. How does that sound?” Heather
still refuses to speak, although she is listening to every word. “Heather
please. I can’t live like this. I can’t live without you. I have no
meaning without you here by my side.” She lets out a sigh. Mike feels his
heart begin to sink. “Well, if you are at all willing to give me a second
chance, dinner will be at five.” He pauses for a few seconds then hangs up
the phone. He disconnects the phone from the computer’s line and connects
it back with the regular line. He then reconnects the computer to its
jack, moves the desk back against the wall, then heads upstairs to shower.

Heather slowly hangs up the phone, then wipes a single tear away from
her eye. The sound of his voice brought back so many memories. The good,
the bad, and the ugly. But most of all, the memories of how good it felt
when they worked through their problems and were together again. The
feeling of rightness, like it was meant for them to be together. And
although she is still angry for what happened a month earlier, she longs
for that feeling again. She knows exactly what he means about not being
able to live without her. She has been feeling incomplete too. She had
gone on a few dates, to distract her mind from thoughts of him, but it
didn’t fill the void. She had often thought, ‘maybe we were together too
long, maybe no one can compare to him after all these years together,’ but
she knows that isn’t the reason. Deep down inside, no matter how much she
tries to deny it, she knows she and Mike are meant to be together.

As the hot water beats down on Mike, he can’t help but to replay her
voice over and over in his head. He soon starts thinking of all the things
he did, or didn’t do, throughout their relationship, that he wishes he
could change. The night he lost a large account with his company and spent
the night drinking at the bar, rather than being home with Heather, on
their second anniversary. The time he spent the whole weekend entertaining
a high profile client just to get her account. This beautiful client later
ended up explaining to Heather herself that Mike did not nail her to nail
the account. Mike slams his fists against the wall of the shower. How
could he have been so stupid? Granted, this last event wasn’t really his
fault, but still. Who had always been there when he needed support, when
he lost his father in an auto accident, whenever he needed a shoulder to
cry on? And who was it that he always ended up hurting first with his
selfish acts? He doesn’t deserve a second chance, but he knows he needs
her all the same. He leans against the wall and raises his hands to his
face. He begins to hope and pray that Heather shows up for dinner, and
begins to weep at the thought of losing her all together, if she doesn’t

Heather dries her hair with a towel then walks over to her closet. She
has all intentions of going to this dinner, listening to his apology and
leaving, ending everything in the same spot it all started five long years
ago. She selects a V-neck sweater and a pair of khaki slacks, topped off
with a pair of leather dress shoes. She pulls her hair up in a loose bun
and reminds herself that she has had enough and the relationship is over.
Although all the same, she knows he has never been unfaithful to her. It
has always just seemed like it at times. As she reaches for her purse, she
accidentally knocks over a picture. She picks it up and sees that it’s a
picture of her and Mike on their third anniversary. She remembers it like
yesterday, and is slowly taken back in time.

They had just gotten off the plane in the Bahamas. They had spent the
night before in Las Vegas and were still just getting started with their
vacation together. No sooner had they stepped out of the airport, a limo
pulled up to chauffer them to their five star hotel. It was beautiful. It
overlooked the ocean, and had the most romantic sunset one can imagine.
They had spent the entire week together, without any interruptions, and did
just about everything possible in that amount of time. The picture was a
gift from the hotel, and was taken just before they left. She can’t
remember the last time she had that much fun and you could see it on their
faces in the picture. She gently sets the picture back on the table, picks
up her purse and heads out to the car.

Mike is just finishing up the salads when he hears the doorbell ring.
He quickly lights the candles on the table, takes a peek in the mirror and
goes to the door. He takes a deep breath, then opens it. He feels his
heart skip a beat when he sees Heather standing there. He quickly looks
her over and smiles. “I’m glad you could make it. You look beautiful as
always.” She smiles, “Thank you. You look pretty good yourself.” She looks
him over again. ‘Very good indeed.’ She thinks to herself, although he
always looks good in a blazer. But this time, for some reason, he just
looks better. Maybe it is the combo he is wearing: Blue blazer, white
shirt, white pants, black shoes, cleanly shaven, and not a hair out of
place. “I made your favorite. Hope you’re hungry.” He reaches for her
purse and gently places it on the table with his wallet and keys. “Yes,
thank you. I’m surprised you remembered.” Mike turns a slight shade of
pink and leads the way to the kitchen. He pulls out her chair, then
reaches for a bottle of wine. “Would you care for a glass?” She nods and
smiles. He pops the cork and slowly fills their glasses. Then he sits
down so they could eat.

Dinner went very quiet at first. Neither was sure what to say, nor did
they want to upset the other. Finally Mike breaks the silence. “I
wouldn’t have blamed you had you decided not to come.” “What do you mean?”
Heather replies as she sets down her glass. “Well, when thinking back, I
don’t really deserve a second chance. After all the mistakes I’ve made.”
“I really only have one question Mike. Why did you kiss her?” “I didn’t.
She kissed me.” Heather frowns and places her napkin on the table. “As a
matter of fact, I was asking about her marriage. But all she kept saying
was how he was nothing like me. Then she told me how she ‘had dreamed of
this moment’ and how she wanted one last kiss. I was backing away at the
time, then it happened.” “So you had nothing to do with it. No feeling, no
emotion, no nothing. “Right.” He nods. “I don’t believe you Michael.” He
is surprised by her tone of voice, then asks “why?” “If you felt no emotion
what so ever, then why were you holding her?” Mike opens his mouth to
reply, but nothing comes out. “Why were you holding her the way you held
me whenever we kissed?” “It was my natural reaction. I’d show you what I
mean, but I’m positive you won’t let me.” “It wouldn’t be the same if you
used me as an example Mike. We are, were together. Of course you would
hold me.” Mike sighs, then looks down at his plate. He looks back up at
her, “So what does this mean Heather?” She looks at him, then looks away as
she replies. “It’s over Mike. I can’t deal with these things anymore.
Even if this is the only time in five years you have actually cheated on
me. It’s over.” She feels her own heart sink as the words linger in the air
around them. Mike slowly gets up from the table and starts clearing the
dishes. Heather sits there at first, watching him, then gets up and brings
the remaining dishes to the sink. She begins rinsing the plates off as
Mike puts everything in the dishwasher. She looks over at him as she dries
her hands. “I believe you.” He turns and looks at her. “What?” “I believe
you. About the holding her thing. I’ve noticed that about you with me.
If you weren’t expecting it, you naturally put your arms around me. If you
were, you moved your arms first.” Mike nods and reaches for the towel in
Heather’s hands. He dries his own hands, then hangs the towel up on the
rack. “So what now?” He asks. “No, cancel that question. Why then? Why
is it over?” Heather looks at him. “Because I can’t trust you anymore.” He
looks at her, slightly taken aback. “Can’t trust me?” “All right, you want
to know why? Because I can’t take you hurting me anymore. I have always
been there for you. I have always supported you. But you weren’t always
there for me, or should I say, for us.” Mike not only feels a knife drive
through his heart, he also feels a bit of deja vu. “Heather...” “What
Mike?” “Heather, that’s not fair. I only missed one anniversary. They
were stupid reasons behind it, but I only missed one. But what about last
year’s anniversary? Who missed that one?” She turns away from him. “And
why did you miss that one Heather?” “I didn’t miss our anniversary, I just
left early.” “Okay, but why?” “Because my mom’s next door neighbor was
having a baby and needed someone to watch her kids.” “So what is your real
reason for wanting to break up Heather?” There is no anger left in his
voice. “Because what you did last month hurt me more than anything else
you have ever done. The rest was nothing compared to last month.” Mike
takes a step towards her. “Why is it different?” “Because, at one time
Mike, you did love her, you did sleep with her, you did want her.”
“Heather, she comes nowhere near you. Comparing the two of you is like
comparing apples and oranges. It can’t be done.” “Mike, where is our
relationship going?” “I don’t know Heather. Where ever we take it.” “Where
do you want to take it?” Mike tries to answer, but can’t. Somehow that
question always turns men into blubbering fools. “That’s what I thought
Mike.” She walks out of the room over to her purse. As she reaches for it,
she sees the same picture as before sitting on the table. She remembers
the trouble they went through to get that reprint. She begins to regret
everything she just said and considers apologizing when she senses someone
behind her.

Mike has realized what Heather and Julia had been trying to say all
along. He has never taken their relationships seriously. As far as the
future of them is concerned anyway. And, he has taken them for granted.
He has used them for what they were worth and not what they could be. And,
he has decided to change that, starting now. He walks up behind Heather,
somewhat afraid to touch her though because of what she had just been
saying. He stands there, smelling the sweet scent of her hair. She looks
up, not turning around, but obviously sensing he is there. He reaches up
and gently touches her hair, feeling the softness of it. He gently pulls
the tie out of her hair and watches as it falls down upon her shoulders.
Heather places her purse on the table, not sure what to do next. Mike
gently places a hand on each of her shoulders and begins to rub them. He
slowly caresses her neck, then rubs her shoulders again. Heather turns
around, meeting Mike eye to eye. “Mike, don’t do this.” He moves a strand
of hair behind her ear and places his hand against the side of her face.
Heather feels her heart begin to beat faster. “Mike, please don’t.” Mike
raises his other hand and gently places it against the other side of her
face. He quickly moistens his lips and moves closer, holding her head with
both hands. “Mike...” He gently places his lips against hers. She leans
against the table behind her as he kisses her again. He moves up against
her, and slowly slides his hands down her shoulders and arms, then slowly
around her waist. As they part their lips and kiss again he pulls her up
against him, longing for the feel of her against him. As they begin to
kiss more passionately, a tear slides down Heather’s face. She moves her
hands up under Mike’s blazer and slowly up and down his back. He bends
down slightly, and picks her up, sitting her on the table behind her. Her
purse and the picture are pushed against the wall, and his keys fall to the
floor. As he moves her legs around him, she pulls herself to the edge of
the table and against his body. She moves her hands around his waist then
up his chest. She slides them over his shoulders and down his arms, as he
lowers them, and the blazer falls to the floor. He wraps her legs around
him and picks her up. He walks over to the stairs and slowly carries her
up, still kissing passionately.

The next morning Heather wakes up and sees Mike lying next to her. As
she begins to remember what happened the night before, she smiles and
reaches out her hand. She gently places it on Mike’s bare shoulder and
leans over to kiss his cheek. He stirs slightly and mumbles something in
his sleep. She smiles again and lightly runs her fingers down his arm,
then turns to get out of bed. She walks to the left of the bed and enters
the adjoining bathroom. After relieving herself, she reaches into the
shower and turns on the water. She walks towards the door and glances over
at Mike, still sleeping peacefully, before closing the door. As she walks
back to the shower, she stops to look in the mirror and notices a face she
hasn’t seen in almost a month. As she pointlessly touches up her hair, she
smiles back at the face of someone who is completely content with the love
of her life.

About fifteen minutes later, Mike wakes up and sees the clothes
scattered about the floor. He scratches his head, still thinking he only
dreamed the entire evening. Just then, the bathroom door opens and Heather
walks out wearing a towel around her head and his bathrobe. He watches as
she walks over to the bedroom window, humming happily. As he goes to get
out of bed, she notices that he is awake and starts over to him. As they
meet halfway across the room, he slips his arms around her waist and pulls
her close. “Good morning my dear.” “Good morning Mike,” she says while
touching the side of his face. They lean closer and kiss briefly, then hug
each other tightly. “I missed you so much Heather.” He says as he presses
his face against her neck. “I know,” Heather says, as the emotions begin
to overwhelm her. “I missed you too.”

They are still standing there holding each other when the phone begins
to ring. Heather pulls her arms away as Mike turns to answer the phone.
“Hello.” He looks at Heather. “Yes, she’s right here. Hold on for a
minute.” Heather walks over to him as he hands her the phone. “Hello?”
Mike picks up his boxers and pulls them on. “Oh, hi Rachel.” Mike meets
Heathers’ stare. “Yes, everything is ok.” She pauses. “Yes that’s fine.
By the way Rachel...” She pauses again. “Yeah, but how did you know I was
here?” Mike leans close to the phone. “Oh. Oh, okay. Well, I’ll talk to
you later. No, I have to go. Mike is waiting for a call.” She holds up a
finger before Mike can argue. “Ok, I have to go. Talk to you later.” As
she hangs up the phone, she sighs in relief. Mike looks at her, “What was
that all about?” Heather sits on the bed and looks up at Mike. “She wanted
to make sure everything is okay. She said she called my house several
times last night and started to worry when all she got was the machine.
Then this morning she tried again. When I still didn’t answer, she thought
she’d drive by to see if I was home but not answering because something
happened.” Mike begins to smile. “Let me guess. She thought she’d drive
by my place to see if you were here.” Heather reaches for his hands and
pulls herself up. “And she is just thrilled that we are back together,”
she says before kissing him. “Oh, and you’re not,” Mike says as he hugs
her tightly. She smiles. “I did not say that at all. In fact...” She is
cut off by Mike’s passionate kiss. “In fact,” she says as she sits on the
bed and pulls him with her. “I don’t want to leave again.” He smiles sits
down next to her.

As she positions herself on the bed, Mike slowly pulls on the belt of
the robe. Heather removes the towel from around her head and tosses it
onto the floor. As Mike kisses her, his hand opens the robe and begins to
caress her body. She moans slightly as his hand moves its way down the
inside of her thigh. She reaches around him and rubs his back as he begins
to kiss her firm breasts. After taking his time to arouse each nipple, he
slowly kisses his way up her chest, nuzzles her neck, and finally reaches
her sweet, awaiting lips. They kiss passionately and as he moves on top of
her, she runs her hands down his back and into his boxers.

Two hours later, Mike is sitting at his desk flipping through the files
of the next client. “Mr. Lawson, you have a call on line two.” Mike
presses the button on the intercom, “Thank you Jeanie.” “You’re welcome Mr.
Lawson.” He picks up the phone and pushes the button for line two. “Hello,
this is Mike Lawson.” “Hey honey.” Mike leans back in his chair and turns
facing out the window behind his desk. “Hey Heather. What’s going on?”
“Oh, not much. How about you?” “Nothing really. I have one more client
then I’m pretty much done for the day.” “Oh, well. Do you have plans for
lunch?” “No, not yet. But I’m not sure how long this next client will
take. He is known to take hours to discuss minor details, which is why
Jeanie didn’t schedule anyone for this afternoon.” There is a short pause.
“I should be home early tonight of you want to go to dinner.” “I can’t do
dinner tonight. I have a five o’clock hearing to go to tonight.” “Really,
why so late?” “He jumped bail two weeks ago and they just caught him Los Angeles.” “Wow. Well, I’ll see what time I get out of
this meeting, and if it’s not too late, I’ll give you a call for lunch.”
“Sounds good. I’ll talk to you later.” “I love you Heather.” “Love you too
Mike.” Mike hangs up the phone behind him and buzzes Jeanie with the
intercom. “Yes Mr. Lawson.” “Jeanie, could you do me a favor?” “Sure Mr.
Lawson.” “Could you order a bouquet of flowers and have them sent to the
DA’s office?” “If I may say so sir, what took you so long? They should
have been delivered this morning.” Mike chuckles realizing that Jeanie must
have spoken to Heather when she called. “And Jeanie, you can have the
afternoon off...with pay.” “Why thank you sir! And I’ll have the flowers
sent right away!” “Thank you Jeanie. Have a nice day.” He folds his arms
behind his head and turns the chair as he smiles out the window.

Heather hangs up the phone and walks back to the conference room where
co-counsel is prepping a client for a case the next day. “Ok Mr.
Anderson. We will see you in court tomorrow at 9 AM.” “Thank you sir,” he
turns and nods at Heather. “Ma’am.” Heather smiles and watches Mr.
Anderson leave, then sits down in the closest chair. Alan looks at her,
then folds his hands and rests his chin on them, in deep thought. There is
a long moment of silence when Alan puts his hands down. “Heather are you
alright? You seem a bit distracted today.” Getting no response, he says
her name louder. She jumps, as if just woken by a loud noise and looks at
Alan. “Are you alright?” “Who, me? Yeah, I’m great.” She says as a smile
spreads across her face. “Ok, what’s going on? You are too distracted.”
“Oh nothing.” She says as she continues to stare at something in her minds’
eye. He continues watching her while trying to figure out what could be
going on. He remembers her telling Sarah, their secretary, that she had
left Mike a month ago, and although he liked her mood better now than
during that month, he was still puzzled at what it could be. She had made
it quite clear that they were through too, and had been staying at the
office till about nine o’clock every night since the breakup, so he only
assumed she hadn’t met anyone. Actually, he was secretly hoping she would
bounce back soon, for he had been interested in her since he started with
them two years ago. Just as he was about to give up, Sarah walks through
the door carrying a bouquet of flowers. His heart begins to sink as Sarah
hands them to Heather, her own face lit with joy. Sarah nudges her on the
shoulder, then leaves the room. “So who are they from?” Alan asks with
little delight.

About ten minutes after the appointment with Mr. Bowdoin had started,
Jeanie buzzed Mike with a phone call. “Thank you Jeanie. Have a good
afternoon.” “You’re welcome Mr. Lawson. And please do the same.” Mike
smiles as he releases the intercom button and reaches for the phone. “This
will just take a moment Mr. Bowdoin.” He pushes the button for line one
and smiles. “Mike, they are beautiful. How about dinner around
six-thirty?” “Same place as usual?” “I’ll be looking forward to it.”
“Sounds good. And don’t rush, if you run late it will only make the night
more exciting.” “You must have a client with you. I know you can describe
it better than that.” They both smile then hang up their phones. Mike
looks over at Mr. Bowdoin and the peculiar look on his old wrinkled face.
Having seen him in his prime, when he was just a kid, he knows that Mr.
Bowdoin should fully understand the matter. “I’m sorry sir.” “No need to
apologize Mr. Lawson. Any man can tell when another is head over heels in
love. However, if she is a keeper, I suggest you take full advantage of
what you’ve got son.” He points at Mikes’ bare hand. “Don’t wait until
it’s too late. Lord knows I’ve lost many that way. And I still regret
them to this day.”

“What’s wrong with Alan?” Sarah asks as Heather hangs up the phone.
Heather sighs and looks at her secretary. Sarah, who is in her early
twenties with golden curls of blonde hair covering her head, stands there
chewing her gum and patiently awaiting an answer. “I thought you’d know by
now.” Sarah shifts her weight. “Just because I know the gossip around the
office doesn’t mean I know it all exactly when it happens.” Heather looks
down at her hands. “I’m sorry if I offended you.” “No Heather, not at all.
I’m proud of knowing all the gossip. It’s just that with Mr. Moody over
there,” she pauses as they both glance in his direction, “it could be just
about anything.”

Mike opens the door and sees Mr. Bowdoin out. “Thank you so much for
the advice sir. I really appreciate it.” “Just promise me you’ll let me
know how things turn out.” He looks down at his hands. “That’s probably
what I regret the most about not having any children of my own.” “Well sir,
I am honored that you are close enough to my family to feel comfortable
guiding me in the right direction.” He smiles and pats Mike on the back.
“I’m sure you will have some news to tell me the next time I come in.” Mike
nods as Mr. Bowdoin turns to leave. He waits until he gets in the
elevator and the doors close behind him before walking back into his
office. He puts his hands in his pockets as he approaches the large window
behind his desk. He watches the people walking the streets down below and
begins to smile as an idea pops into his head.

“Hey Sarah, what exactly do you know about Alan?” “Like what?” Heather
shrugs and motions in the direction of her office. Sarah follows her and
closes the door behind her as Heather sits behind her desk. “Well, let me
tell you what I know and have noticed and then maybe you can fill in the
blanks.” Sarah nods and pops her gum as she sits in a chair in front of the
desk. “Ok, everything seemed fine from the time he started here until
about a month ago. Then I noticed a change.” “How so?” Sarah says as she
repositions herself in the chair. Heather leans back, “well, for one
thing, he was always quiet and not very outgoing; at least not around me.”
Sarah nods. “Then, when Mike and I stopped talking, well basically broke
up, Alan became very outgoing. He always asked me to lunch and often
brought me coffee when we were meeting with a client. Looking back, I
guess he may have been interested in me, but at the time, I figured he was
just trying to cheer me up. I wasn’t handling things very well, and well,
I guess it showed more than I thought it did.” Sarah just nods in agreement
then continues to chew her gum. “Anyway, I just thought he was trying to
be a friend, until today?” Sarah stops mid-chew and asks, “Why?” “Well,
after you brought the flowers in, he asked who they were from.” Sarah cuts
her off. “There is nothing wrong with that.” “I know, and didn’t think
twice about telling him. But when I did, he slammed down his papers and
stormed out of the room.” “Now that’s odd. You would think he’d be happy
for you. I mean, you only dated the guy for what, five years, before the
incident happened.” “Yeah, that’s what I thought.” “I’m not sure what to
tell you Heather. I knew practically everything you told me,” she pauses,
“but I will find out for you.” Heather can only open her mouth before the
door closes behind Sarah. “But I’m not sure I want you to find out,” she
says aloud to no one but herself.

Mike flips through his Rolodex and finds the number for Scaletta’s, a
fine Italian restaurant that he and Heather had visited regularly. After
dialing the number, he waits briefly before the phone is answered.
“Scaletta’s.” “Yes, this is Mike Lawson.” “Hey Mikey, howya doin’. Long
time no seeya.” “Hey Vinnie, how’s business?” “Ah, same as usual Mikey. So
where ya beena?” “No where in particular. Just busy with work lately.” “So
what can I do forya?” “Well Vinnie, I need a special place for Heather and
I. I want tonight to be extra special.” “Ah, I’ve got just the place for
you. Anything else my friend?” “Just a bottle of your best wine.” “Ah, I
see my friend. The very best and on the house.” “Why thank you Vinnie. By
the way, how does 6:30 sound?” “For you Mikey, anything. See you at 6:30.”
“Thanks Vinnie, I owe you one.” “Never,” he says as Mike laughs and they
both hang up.

Sarah knocks briefly, then barges into Heather’s office. Heather looks
up from her paperwork, then places her pen down on the desk. Sarah leans
against the door trying to catch her breath. “Well?” Heather asks while
leaning back in her executive style chair. “You need to talk to Alan. I
know it wasn’t intentional, but you hurt him.” “How did I hurt him? I
never led him on in any way, shape or form.” “Exactly. But that’s what he
was hoping for. He has had a major thing for you since he started here.”
“If I may ask, who did you find this out from?” “Everyone but him, if it
makes you feel better. I rarely ask the actual person unless everyone
else’s stories contradict. No ones’ has.” Heather nods and motions for her
to go on. “Anyway, when you and Mike stopped talking...” “You mean broke
up.” “I refuse to call it that Heather. But anyway, you did make it sound
like the two of you were through...for good.” “That’s how I felt.”
“Exactly, that’s how you felt. Look, I may have only been eighteen when I
started here, which is when the two of you started going together, but I
knew you two weren’t through. I could see it in your eyes.” Heather looks
up at her with the same glisten in her eyes that Sarah had seen so
frequently over the past month. Sarah sighs. “Anyway, Alan thought that
was his best chance to move in.” “And when he saw the flowers, he knew even
before asking...” “That you two were back together.” “Oh boy.” Heather says
as she begins wringing her hands. “Would you like me to go find him and
send him in?” Sarah asks while reaching for the doorknob. Heather nods,
then turns her chair to face out the window.

Knowing he didn’t have any more clients for that day, Mike starts to
relax and plan out the upcoming evening. After writing a brief list of
errands to run, he picks up the phone and dials the direct line to
Heather’s office. After the third ring, the phone is picked up. “Hey
babe, how’s my favorite woman doing?” “Oh, hey Mike. Alright I guess. How
did your meeting go?” “Great, thanks to you calling. He made it real short
for a change. But I did see a new side of him today.” “Good. I’m glad it
went well.” “Honey, what’s wrong?” “Oh just something here at the office.
My co-counsel got upset with your flowers this morning.” “Why?” “It turns
out he was hoping we wouldn’t get back together. I just thought he was
trying to cheer me up last month.” “So you did miss me.” “Oh Mike, I missed
you so much it hurt.” She says as her eyes fill with tears.

Chapter Two

About half an hour later, Sarah sees Alan walk through the door going
into his office. She waits a few minutes, to see if he comes back out,
then heads towards his office door. She knocks lightly on his door, and
after hearing a mumbled ‘come in’, opens the door and walks in. “Alan, how
are you?” He looks up from a paper on his desk. “Just dandy, why?” Sarah
frowns at his roughness in tone. “Heather wants to see you...immediately.”
She doesn’t wait for his response, she just walks out.

By four o’clock, Mike is locking up the office and heading towards the
elevator to go home. “Have a good night,” he says as he passes the
security guard downstairs and heads out the door. As he heads down the
block to the nearest subway station, he stops in Anthony’s. When he leaves
twenty minutes later, he slips the small bag into the pocket inside his
coat, and continues down the block. He approaches the corner, walks around
the railing and down the stairs. As he approaches the attendant, he slips
a token out of his pocket and into the outstretched hand before walking
through the turnstile, without breaking stride.

Heather hears a knock at the door and looks up. “Come in.” She says as
she lays her pen on her desk. “You wanted to see me?” Alan asks as he
closes the door behind him. “Hello Alan. Yes I did. Would you please sit
down?” She points towards one of the chairs in front of her large mahogany
desk, then stands up and walks to the right of the window behind her desk,
towards the mini bar next to the bathroom door. “Would you care for a
drink? I only have water and soda until six, and then the hard stuff is
available.” They both manage a smile. “Just a water please.” Heather nods
and brings them both a bottle of water then sits behind her desk. “Alan, I
noticed you were quite a bit upset about the flowers I received this
morning.” He lowers his head. “Is there anything you would like to discuss
with me?” He shakes his head from side to side. Heather leans back in her
chair and folds her hands in her lap. “I’m sorry. I overreacted.” Not
moving Heather asks, “Why?” “I guess I was hoping you wouldn’t get back
together with him.” He stresses the word him, unintentionally, but with
feeling all the same. “I was just being selfish. I just kept thinking how
lucky I would be if you went out with me. I never really found out your
history until today.” “What do you mean by that?” “I didn’t know you two
had been dating for so long...five years, I think.” She nods silently.
“Now I know why you had such a hard time last month. I hope I didn’t upset
you, I just didn’t know.” “No, not at all. Actually I’m kind of flattered.
I was just afraid I hurt you.” “Well honestly, I was until I found out the
situation. But afterwards, I was more afraid because we are co-counsel.”
She smiles and sits forward. “Well, if you don’t object, I’d like to keep
that the way it is...but it will be strictly professional.” “It’s a deal,”
he says as he leans forward to shake her hand.

By 6:15, Mike is back on the streets of Manhattan, having been home,
showered and changed, and is heading toward the courthouse in hopes of
catching Heather before she leaves for dinner. When he reaches the
courthouse, he finds that the hearing was cancelled due to the suspect
committing suicide. ‘Guess he knew he would be found guilty,’ he thought
to himself while hailing a cab. “Rockefeller Center please.” He says as he
closes the door of the cab. He hears a song by Roxette on the radio and
tries to think of the name. ‘It must have been love, that’s it.’ He thinks
to himself while hearing the end of the question the cab driver was asking.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?” “This was a great movie wasn’t it? I just
love the soundtrack. Guy gave it to me as a tip.” “Yeah, that it was.” “I
swear man; Julia Roberts and Richard Gere should be a couple for real man.
They look so good together.” “Yeah, they should.” ‘When was this song in
the movie?’ He thinks to himself, while pushing away the thoughts of last
month when he listened to the song repeatedly when thinking of Heather.
“Here we are pal. That’s ten fifty.” Mike looks at the driver for the
first time during the entire ride. “That’s a little cheap isn’t it?” He
asks the first American cab driver he has seen in ten years. “Nah man. I
know who you are. You helped my brother out, with his small business.”
Mike looks at him in disbelief. “Mr. Michael Lawson is a bigger name that
you think. Now go get your girl before she gets away again.” Mike hands
him a twenty and insists that he keep the change before closing the door
and watching the cab drive off.

Mike watches the people ice skating as he passes Rockefeller Center and
heads down the block, and past NBC’s Rainbow Room. A couple of buildings
down, he turns and enters a small branch office of the DA. Since Heather
ran her own firm before being asked to join the DA, they allowed her to
keep her original office. He heads for the elevator and pushes the button
for the third floor. Checking his tie, and brushing his jacket for lint,
he straightens up just as the doors begin to open.

Heather presses the button for the elevator as she continues to discuss
a case with Alan. As the doors open, Mike and Heather’s eyes meet,
followed by the expression of pleasant surprise. “Mike, what are you doing
here?” They reach for each other. “I thought I’d meet you here and walk
you to dinner.” They kiss briefly yet firmly. Heather steps back. “Alan
this is my boyfriend Michael. Mike, this is Alan, my co-counsel.” She can
see the shock spread across Alan’s face, but he soon relaxes and holds out
his hand. “Pleased to meet you Mike. I have heard a lot about you; both
here and from friends. I just didn’t realize it was you that Heather was
with. You are both very lucky.” “Thank you Alan. It’s a pleasure to meet
you too.” He takes Alan’s hand and shakes it firmly. “Well Heather, I
really must be going. Besides, you two have dinner plans.” He enters the
elevator then looks back at Mike. “Again, nice to meet you.” Mike nods as
the doors close and turns to look at Heather.

Heather presses the button for the elevator and wraps her arm around
Mike’s. “So that was the jealous one?” He asks cautiously. She nods, “He
said he didn’t realize how long we had been together. I guess he wouldn’t
have tried anything had he known.” “He seemed surprised that it was me.”
Heather shrugs. “I guess all I have ever mentioned of you is your first
name. Why, does that bother you?” “No, it’s just weird.” The doors open
and they walk into the elevator.

“What’s weird?” “Well, the cab driver gave me a discount saying that I
helped his brother with his business. Then he said my name and told me
it’s bigger than I thought.” Heather begins to smile. “Then he told me to
hurry up and get you before I lose you again.” Now Heather looks puzzled.
“Well, Alan knew your name was Mike...” “But he didn’t know I was the
Mike.” Heather nods and hugs him. “So how does it feel?” “How does what
feel?” She playfully hits him. “Don’t be so modest. All of New York City
knows who you are.” He continues to stare at her blankly. “Didn’t Jeanie
give you the letter?” “She gave me a lot of papers last month...” Heather
holds a finger up and reaches for her briefcase. “I asked her for a copy
when she told me about it over a phone call last week.” (He knew they had
become good friends over the years, so hearing now about the phone call
didn’t bother him.) He takes the paper.

To Mike Lawson. On this day, October 21, 1999, on behalf

of the New York Stock Exchange and New York City, we

congratulate you on your achievements on an outstanding level

in our business community. We also would like to acknowledge

that your company, Lawson Consulting Firm, has earned high

enough marks to be entered into the stock exchange as LCF. Best

wishes for your continued success. He hands the paper back to Heather.
“So I guess we are celebrating tonight.” She says as she slips the paper
back into her briefcase. He remains speechless until they are out on the

“What time is it?” He asks while hailing a cab. “6:20.” “Well, we may
be a little late.” He says as they climb into the cab. “What are you
thinking?” She asks while taking his hand in hers. “I’m wondering just how
out of it I was that I didn’t see that letter.” She smiles and kisses his
cheek. She squeezes his hand, then turns to look out her window. “Hey
Mike, look!” She pulls him over and he leans over her to look out the
window. ‘Need help getting your business started? Go see Mike Lawson and
his business consulting firm. Rated number one in the city. Located on
Wall Street across from Charles Schwab.’ Mike looks from the advertisement
to Heather, who takes his head into her hands and kisses him passionately.
“Congratulations honey.” She says when they break the kiss. “I just can’t
figure out how this happened. I mean, it’s totally awesome, but wow.” She
kisses him again. “Well, how long have you been here, with your business?”
“I started about a year before meeting you. As a matter of fact, that’s
how we met.” She leans against him. “Then it makes sense. As long as you
had profit over the years...” “Yeah, I know. But I guess I never really
believed it could happen to me.” “Mike, look at the family you come from.
You were not bred for failure.” He smiles and kisses her briefly before
paying the driver their fare.

Mike closes the cab door, then places a hand on the small of Heather’s
back and leads her into Scaletta’s. As they enter the restaurant, they see
Vinnie practically run from across the room to greet them. “Ah Mikey and
my dear Heather.” He shakes Mike’s hand then gently kisses Heather’s.
“Longa time no seeya. Right this waya.” “So how have you beena?” He asks
as he pushes the chair in for Heather. “Good. And you Vinnie?” “Ah, same
old stuff different daya.” He looks at Mike. “I’ll be right back with your
wine. Only the best.” In a flash he is gone and Mike pulls his chair in.
“So,” he says as he takes her hands in his. “How have you been?” She
smiles, “Well, last month was hell. I couldn’t concentrate for nothing. I
mean, every little thing I saw reminded me of this guy I was with. Then he
called.” She leans over the table. Seeing that they are totally alone in
the room, he leans closer to her and watches the light from the candle
flicker against her skin. “Then what happened?” “Well, he made me dinner.
We talked; we argued; and then we made passionate love all night long.” He
sees her blush slightly and leans a little closer. “And when you woke up,
you thought it was nothing but a dream.” She nods, then they kiss briefly.
They kiss again, more passionately, then break apart when they hear a door

“Oh no, don’t let me interrupt anything. You two have been apart for
too long. Why doya think I gave you the romantica room? One couple at a
time. Nothing but candlelight.” They laugh as he places the bottle of wine
into a bucket of ice. “Hey Vinnie, how did you know we were apart?” He
looks at them matter-of-factly. “Bad news travels faster than good news.”
“That doesn’t quite answer the question.” “Ok, the plain and simple of it
is, you two were regulars. Almost every nighta you two are in here.
People notice. People see froma your actions, you must be together. Then
youa stop coming. Youa do the math.” “Ok, so what’s the other version?”
“You come from big family; important family to this city. But more
importantly, you two are the biggest names right now. Even without being a
couple. You two have celebrity status, without the publicity. Again,
people notice. Now enjoy the wine and I’ll go get your usuals.” They look
at each other blankly. “Wow,” Heather says. “I didn’t tell anyone that I
had one more case to win before breaking the record.” “What record?” “For
the most cases anyone in the DA’s office has won; ever; in all history.”

About an hour later, they are leaving the restaurant arm in arm. “I
forgot how good the food is there.” He rubs the small of her back, “Yeah,
it’s been awhile since we’ve been there.” They continue down the block to
the subway station, making small talk and pointing out places they have
been to lately or want to try. When they reach the subway, he pays the
tokens and they walk to the waiting area. “When is the next train due?”
Mike looks at his watch. “Should be here in five minutes.” She nods as he
wraps his arms around her and pulls her close. “I’ve missed you so much.
You have no clue how hard it was for me.” “Well, if Jeanie always tells the
truth without exaggerating...” He smiles and leans down to kiss her. She
runs her hands up his back as he kisses her again, then makes his way down
to her neck. “Hmmm, don’t start something you’re not willing to finish.”
He whispers in her ear, “Since when have I not finished what I have
started?” She kisses his cheek as the train begins to pull into the

As soon as they are seated, Heather rests her head on his shoulder.
Mike smiles, knowing from the past, that she cannot help but to doze off
when leaning against him during the fifteen minute ride. He also knows
that after sharing one and a half bottles of wine, he will have to fight
off sleep himself. He watches the city go by as the train heads for Long
Island. He listens to the light conversation between other passengers, but
listens most intently to Heather’s breathing as she rests against him.

As the train begins to pull into their station, Mike gently shakes
Heather awake. “Honey, we’re here.” “Sorry Mike. I can’t help but to doze
off when I’m with you.” “No problem.” He follows her off the train and
through the station. “So what are your plans for tonight?” He asks as they
climb the steps to the parking lot. “Oh I don’t know. What do you have in
mind?” They reach her car and stop. He shrugs, “I had a few things in
mind, but that’s up to you.” She shivers slightly and leans against her
car. “Are you cold?” “A little.” She says as he leans against her while
wrapping his arms around her and rubbing her back. “What did you have in
mind?” She asks with a smile. He takes his hand and moves a strand of hair
the wind gently blows around her face. “I was hoping it could be like old times.” “Oh really.” She says while moving her arms around him. “And what
would they be?” She asks while leaning closer to him. He stops rubbing her
back as he feels her chest press against him and the soft beating of her
heart. He looks into her eyes and is temporarily lost in her beauty. “I
forgot.” Being more serious than she thinks. She smiles, “Let me help
remind you.” She parts her lips and kisses him, slowly slipping her tongue
into his mouth. He pulls her closer while returning her kiss. Her hands
move down his back and he lifts her onto the hood of her car. His hands
slide under her jacket and up the back of her shirt as she spreads her legs
and pulls him closer. He begins to kiss her neck and hears a sigh slip out
from between her parted lips. “Whose house are we going to?” “Would mine
be alright?” He whispers in her ear, then kisses her neck again. She nods
and holds his head closer. He gently nibbles her ear as his hands find her
breasts and begin caressing them through her blouse. “Oh Michael.” She
says. He looks into her eyes, seeing the passion in them and feeling it
run through his body. “See you in ten,” he says, then kisses her and

Within the next fifteen minutes, they are at Mike’s house and in the
bed. Keys and purse are tossed carelessly on the table with the picture from the Bahamas; clothes thrown on the stairs and over the floor of the
bedroom, tracing every step they took. “Oh my God,” she moans as he kisses
her chest and begins sucking on her breasts. Her hands pull and push the
sheets, then slide up under the pillows on the bed. Her hand pauses as it
hits something under the pillow. She places her hand around it and pulls
it out as Mike realizes what she has found and lies there watching her.
She looks at the box and then at Mike. “What’s this?” He smiles and sits
up. “Open it.” She sits herself up and pulls the sheets up and around her
chest. She opens the box and gasps at the sight of the huge rock inside.
“Oh my God! Michael!” “Do you like it?” “Mike it’s beautiful.” She looks
at him and watches as he slips out from beneath the sheets and kneels on
the floor. She begins shaking her head. “No you didn’t.” He smiles as he
reaches for the box and removes the ring. She continues shaking her head
in disbelief as he takes her hand and slides the ring past the first
knuckle and pauses. “Heather, my love, will you marry me?” She raises her
other hand to her mouth, then starts shaking it in front of her as if to
wave away the emotion. She nods her head and watches as he slides the ring
onto her finger and climbs back into bed. “I don’t ever want to lose you
again.” “I love you Mike.” “I love you too.” He says then they kiss three
short times, then slip between the covers. They kiss passionately, pulling
each other closer. “I wonder what Jeanie and Sarah will say,” Mike says as
he reaches to turn out the light.


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