Good Girl's Bad LessonsBy: Carmen Falcone
To all the good girls out there who could use some bad lessons. Cheers!
“Would you like to see the wine list, mademoiselle?” the waiter with a thick French accent and handlebar mustache asked.
“Not yet. I’m waiting for my fiancé,” Emma Cavanaugh said. God, two months of engagement and she still smiled every damn time she said the word. Suppressing a giggle, she nodded to the waiter when he flashed her a smile and poured more water into her glass. Slowly. Very slowly, as a reminder she occupied a corner booth during weekend dining primetime.
Emma rubbed her palms together. Simon would be here at any moment. He’d texted her he was running late; not that she complained about having to munch on warm bread made from scratch at the exclusive restaurant.
She stretched her hand on the pristine linen, glancing down at the sparkling diamond ring. Would he finally decide on a wedding date? A couple of weeks ago, she had used her brother Zaine’s upcoming wedding as an excuse to cement the topic.
She’d been dating Simon for almost two years, and the timing was right. He’d asked for her hand in marriage, and why wait around? If losing her brother Zachary a few years ago had taught her something, it was to live the life you want to live. Go after what you want, because tomorrow’s not promised.
Sure, maybe some people would say twenty-five was too young to get married, but she had big plans. Her career as a translator and interpreter was thriving. An old, dear client recently invited her to be the project manager of an animal sanctuary he intended to build overseas. Not only did she adore animals, but the job would fund her dream wedding. Her life was on track. Waiting till her thirties to do what she could now was a waste of time. Besides, she wanted to have kids while she could enjoy them, like her parents had done. When you know, you know.
Simon had a volunteer trip to Venezuela in a couple of days. It made sense for him to set the date before he traveled. They’d iron out the details later. Yes. Simon was the sound choice for her. An up-and-coming dentist, and a great partner—reliable, smart, and they shared plenty of hobbies. Her parents had taken many activities together, or so she heard—her father died when she was a child, but they’d had a great marriage by all accounts.
“Am I late?” The rustle of a chair made her straighten her shoulders and glance at her hubby-to-be.
She winked at him. “You’re right on time.”
Simon shrugged. God, he seemed nervous. The strand of blond hair that usually fell neatly on his forehead was pushed back, which meant he’d been running his fingers through his smooth hair. A couple of buttons on his striped shirt hung open, and she didn’t need a magnifying glass to see the rapid pulse in his neck.
Maybe he’d realized he’d be away from her for a few weeks and wanted to set a date before his departure. A shiver of anticipation rolled down her back, and she wiggled in her seat. Should she go ahead and make things easier for him? “Simon, whatever you wanna tell me, you can go ahead and say it.”
He reached for her glass of water and took a swig of it. “Emma, we’ve been together for two years. And engaged for two months.”
“Yes.” She stretched her hand and caressed his. Oh, the poor fool.
A nervous laugh flew from his lips, and he withdrew his hand from under hers. “Right. Lately I’ve been thinking. I know you’ve reached the time in our relationship where—”
“Would you like to see the wine menu?” the waiter asked, bringing a small leather-bound menu.
Seriously? She crossed her legs and drew in a breath to calm her nerves. No. Not happening.
“Thanks.” Simon nodded at the waiter and grabbed the menu, but kept it closed tight.
“Go ahead.” She brought her hands to her lap and played with the hem of the linen napkin.
He shifted in his seat, his baby blues studying her face. “Well, you’re amazing, and you deserve to fulfill your dreams and hopes. I proposed because I really believe that. And I know you’ve brought up the dates, and I sort of dismissed the subject.”
Yes. She clenched the napkin hard. Oh God. Yes, yes, it’s coming. A wave of warmth bubbled up in her throat, and she clamped her lips to keep from shouting too soon.