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McKenna

Today is my anniversary, and I plan to celebrate in style.

I slide into my favorite skinny jeans, grab my lucky Michael Kors bag, and cinch on a slim rose-gold bracelet my sister gave me.

Boom. I twirl in front of my roommate. “Everything look good?”

Ms. Pac-Man raises her snout from her dog bed, one of many in her collection.

“Can I take that as a fashion hound sign of approval?”

She wags her fluffy yellow flag of a tail.

“Excellent. I thought you’d agree.” I bend and give her a kiss on the nose, and she places a big paw on my leg. “Yes, I love you too.”

And I’m off to a solo Monday breakfast that happens to mark a special occasion.

I head downstairs to the garage, into the car, and onto the street, driving past a local organic grocery store, a hipster cafe, and a cake shop I believe uses alchemical powers in its batter. One evening many months ago when I was feeling particularly blue, I stumbled in and tried to erase my sorrows with a marble chocolate cake that I was sure would cure my broken heart with its magical elixirs. Alas, the owner handed me a napkin, told me there, there, and said my tears had probably ruined the slice, so I should try another tomorrow when she baked a new cake. On the house.

You bet your ass I went there the next day for my free sympathy slice. Admittedly, I felt a bit better. Go, cake.

Today, I’m not crying in my dessert. No chance. No way.

I’m officially done mourning the death of my almost-marriage.

As I drive, I turn the radio up louder. I sing along to the music—Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”—as I motor up steep hills then down a roller-coaster dip on my way into Hayes Valley. The station shifts to playing the King, another favorite of this retro music–loving girl, and he’s now crooning “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

My favorite song ever.

The song Todd didn’t want to be our wedding song, since he’d insisted on “Have I Told You Lately”—the perfect tune, since that was how he felt about me, he’d claimed.

And you know what?

I turn it all the way up and sing along like I’m getting paid.

He can’t get me down anymore.

I love this song. It’s mine. It belongs to me and only me now.

A red Honda scoots out of the prime spot right in front of a restaurant coolly named Madcap, next to the diner where I’m going. As I glide my orange MINI Cooper into the space, I mouth a silent thank you to the parking gods. I happen to have excellent parking karma and my ex has the shittiest, which simply reaffirms my belief in, well, karma.

Then again, it would be awfully hard to have good karma if you’re, say, the kind of person who dumps your fiancée via voicemail the day before your wedding.

“Listen, I’ve had a change of heart. I met someone else, and as much as it pains me to do this the day before, well, hey, better than the day after! What do you say we call the whole thing off?” he’d said in his phone message.

One year later, I’m most decidedly not celebrating the anniversary of our loving union, but I am celebrating this fantastic parking spot. And all things considered, especially given how ridiculously hard it is to find one in this city, I’ll take the sliver of space for my auto, thank you very much.

I open the door and snatch my bag from the seat. I consider this purse lucky because the same day I bought it, a new investment group contacted me with an offer. And it can’t hurt to have some luck on my side today. When I reach the sidewalk, I catch a glimpse of a familiar figure, a tall, dark-haired man. I don’t know his name, but I see him occasionally, and I think he works at Madcap. Every now and then he’ll say, “Hey there” or “How’s it going?” He’s friendly and has excellent taste in clothes. His charcoal slacks and navy-blue button-down look like they came from Barneys. He’s chatting on his phone, pacing in front of the restaurant. He looks up, notices me, and shoots me a smile.

It’s kind of sweet and sexy at the same time, and I feel a little flurry of, dare I say, butterflies in my belly.

That’s interesting. Hmm. I haven’t felt those in a long time.

And you know what? I welcome their return. Not with a parade or anything grandiose, but maybe a banner and some glitter, and hey, glitter can be cool.

I give a small smile and head next door to The Best Diner in the City, which I suspect was named for Search Engine Optimization. It also happens to be completely accurate so I come here once a week and have for the last year.


Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance
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