Playing in the Rain

By: Jane Harvey-Berrick

Dedication

This book is dedicated to Sheena Lumsden.



For everything.





The reason I’m standing here with my boarding pass in my hand, waiting to fly 7,000 miles to an adventure in a new country, is because of him.

He crashed into my life, like an ocean wave out of a millpond sea. He changed everything.

I’m gripping my boarding pass for dear life, and I’m choked with nerves by what I’m about to do.

But then I see him. I think I see him. Across the crowds of people, swirling among the human river, a flash of blue eyes. That smile, that love of life, a shock of black hair. I see him and then he’s gone, lost somewhere in the sea of faces.

And I smile.





Thick, heavy drops of greasy rain, funneled by the windshield, bounced off the hood, streaming in rivulets down the misty glass.

I couldn’t see out. My brand new Prius, my energy saving car, didn’t believe in wipers that worked while the car idled.

The car may have been stationary, but I was fizzing with angry energy.

I thumped the steering wheel in sheer frustration. Not normally a road rage person, I was mad beyond belief.

What a complete and utter fiasco. I could not believe that just happened. Being an intern at Wallman & Wallman was my dream job. Had been my dream job. But that douchebag made it perfectly clear that he’d only given me the position if I gave him the position he wanted, which was me on my knees. Which turned out to be blowjobs in the Boardroom, because it was his company and he was the boss.

Yeah, there are laws against it, but who’d believe me? No one. Absolutely no one. I’d been played by the ultimate player, and I’d lost.

I told him where he could stick his job, blow or otherwise, and it was in a place where the sun didn’t shine. He fired me on the spot, because unlike him and his subtle, solo harassment, I told him where he could go in the main reception area at work.

I told him he was a delusional asshole and he fired me.

Not only was I now jobless, I had rent due on my new apartment, and no friends to turn to in a city where I’d lived for only four weeks. And now I was stuck in a traffic jam, with my gas tank perilously close to empty. Stuck in a line of cars, shiny metal boxes going precisely nowhere. In the rain. In the pouring, pounding, lashing rain.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. None of it was supposed to happen. This was southern California, for crying out loud. It wasn’t supposed to rain at all. I’d seen the movies—wall to wall sunshine.

But oh no. God hated me so much that my life had crapped all over me and now it was freakin’ raining.

I’d been so excited when I’d been offered this position. All my hard work throughout four, dreary years of college, working towards my goal of becoming a Certified Public Accountant. I’d hoped to start paying off my student loans as soon as I’d got my license; planned a stable future, a secure life on my own terms and my own merit. Finally, I’d be able to do something that made my dad proud. It wasn’t easy being the youngest in a family of over-achievers, and he’d always regarded me with an air of faint disappointment. That, along with low expectations.

Dad had been reluctant for me to move so far from home, so far from his influence and that of my older sisters, but I’d ignored all his well-argued concerns. And even though he thought it was a mistake, he’d paid for me to fly out here; and for the deposit on the expensive apartment with the good security, video entry and 24/7 doorman that he’d insisted on; and my shiny eco-car car that he’d paid for. It was supposed to be an exciting new world. It was supposed to be my time. My turn.

I’d never felt so miserable. And it was still raining.

That’s when I saw him.

A blur of movement caught my eye as the rain on my windshield gave the illusion that I was underwater. He was running, which I suppose is what people do when they’re caught in the rain. A huge furry dog was running next to him, matching his long, even strides, both of them drenched and dripping, their feet splashing through puddles, raindrops running off their faces.

His white t-shirt had become transparent and clung to his muscled chest, and I could see the rapid rise and fall of every breath. He raised his hand, the tendons flexing in his forearm as he pushed his dripping black hair out of his eyes. And then he’d passed me, leaving a glimpse of his tight butt in a pair of running shorts, and long muscled legs striding out. All of those things caught my attention, but what totally captured and held it so I couldn’t look away was the huge smile of pleasure on his face.

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