“A friend of mine. He decided I needed to get back out there and that Leia—that was my wife—she would have wanted me to. It took some time, but I eventually realized that he was right and I couldn’t mourn forever. Eventually, I owed it to myself to move on. But I still think of her all the time. I will never have a love like that again. I know it’s cynical to say that, but I feel it in my gut. It’s true.”
As I rubbed him and those words came out of his mouth I almost believed them. If I’d been anyone else his words would have won me over. He sounded every bit the grieving husband who was just trying to move on with his life and get over the tragedy of his wife’s death. He really had no soul at all. I was sure of it.
I finished up his massage and then I drove home. When I arrived back at Taylor’s mansion he was working on his book in his office.
“Hey, honey,” Taylor said as I entered. I kissed him quickly and tried not to disturb his work.
But he stopped and turned to face me. “How was the day?” He asked with a wide smile.
I told him everything about what had happened. I almost expected him to be mad at me for letting things go that far with the massage. In the moment I was so caught up in continuing the ruse and progressing with the plan that I didn’t think what Taylor might feel about how inappropriate things were getting. But on the way home, the guilt started creeping into me.
“Hey, don’t worry about it,” Taylor said. He stood up and hugged me softly against his hard body. “It’s ok. You are doing what you need to do. I trust you implicitly. I don’t trust that cretin any farther than I can Frisbee him.”
I laughed. “Thanks, honey. You are amazing, you know that? Sometimes I think I don’t tell you that enough.”
Taylor rolled his eyes playfully. “Well, it never gets old to hear that.”
He turned back around to his book where he finished a few sentences, saved the work, and then shut down the computer.
We spent the next few hours relaxing in front of the television, which neither of us had done for a long time.
As we sat there I realized just how much I loved Taylor. I saw us spending the rest of our lives together. There were no red flags like there had been with Ted. Of course, I hadn’t picked upon those warning signs the first time, but I was no longer that naïve young woman I’d been when a dashing stranger swept me off my feet. No, I was a strong, independent woman who had been through hell and back. I knew real love when I saw it. And what Taylor and I shared was real.
I ended the call and threw my phone across the room where it landed on the couch (thankfully) and bounced to the carpeted floor in the living room. The rage was welling up within me and I felt like I was about to go completely bonkers. Everything I’d worked for had once again blown up in my face and it was all the fault of some damn imbeciles who would not do what they were told. I preached until I was blue in the face to those marketing assholes that the current campaign was the wrong way to go. They came back at me with a bunch of stupid charts and statistics and eventually proved to me that they were right.
Well, I’d just proved to them that they didn’t know their asses from a can of shoe polish. I’d lost a bundle. The stock in my company had taken a huge nosedive and I was heading towards being completely out of business. The bikes weren’t selling, and the racers I’d been sponsoring were all losing and dropping out of the sport. My name was buried so deeply in the mud that I couldn’t have gotten it out with a forklift. I was finished in the world of motocross.
My dreams were starting to implode. And I was definitely going to have to sell the baseball team. It had proven to be a big loser. Attendance was way down and even merchandising was in the gutter.
I was just so ready to give it all up and live the boring life of a widowed billionaire. It sounded like a no brainer when I thought of it like that, but I wanted more out of life. I wanted to make something of myself on my own merits and not just piggy back off someone else’s achievements. That was fine for getting yourself into the game, but now it was time for me to spread my wings and fly.