“I love you, too,” I said, kissing her face gently. “I’ve discovered just how little meaning there is in my life in the time that we’ve spent apart. One of the things that I find most attractive about you is your fire and ambition. It’s actually inspired me to do more in my life.
I take a deep breath and admit something I haven’t voice out loud, but an idea that’s been festering in the back of my mind. “I actually want to go back to college and do something more with my life, but I kind of feel silly about it all considering that I’m already wealthy and have a career. I don’t need a new career. Plus, I kind of feel like I’m too old to be starting down a new career path.”
“It’s never too late to follow your heart,” she said softly, caressing my cheek, smiling at me.
Her smiles were like rays of sunshine.
I smiled, feeling more hopeful.
“I’m working on it,” I replied, pulling her into my arms.
I’ll follow you anywhere, I thought.
The ringing of my phone woke me up the next morning. I almost forgot where I was. I opened my eyes and remembered that I stayed the night at Elliot’s place.
“Hello?” I said sleepily.
“Hey, Tammy,” an eager voice chirped in my ear. “I know it’s early, I’m sorry, but I just had to call you to tell you the good news. We earned more than enough money to buy the building! We can officially outbid Jim and give a better offer. I already called the real estate guy!”
I perked up, waking up right away at the sound of those words. I scrambled out of bed, telling her that I would meet her at the real estate office in an hour. I hurriedly rifled through the clothes on the floor, trying to find mine.
“Where are you going?” asked Elliot, yawning. “What’s going on?”
“That was Tammy,” I explained. “We did it, the auction made enough, we can buy the building! So, we’re going to meet at the real estate agent’s office in a little bit to do just that.”
“Wow, how exciting, congratulations,” said Elliot, propping himself up on one elbow. “I can drive you down there to meet Tammy so that you guys can buy the place.”
He got up and started looking for clothes to put on, and in a wild whirlwind, we were in the car within ten minutes. I was so excited. This felt just like it did when I first started the bakery. The air felt electric, magic, and I was on top of the world. I couldn’t wait until we were standing in our new building.
When we got to the real estate office, Tammy was already there, waiting by the curb in front of the office. She jumped and clapped excitedly when she saw me.
“Can you believe that this is happening?” she squealed. “I never thought it would really happen, I couldn’t bear to get my hopes up.”
“I know what you mean,” I agreed, walking with her into the office.
“Ladies, I’m happy to see you here,” the man greeted us, standing at the open door already. “I have the papers drawn up and ready for you to sign.”
We had been in the office, talking and joking for a few minutes when the door swung open.
It was Jim and he was furious. He stormed into the office and up to the agent’s desk, evidently not even noticing us in his rage.
“What exactly do you think you’re doing, Frank?” he screamed in the agent’s face. “I made you a good deal and you turn it down? What exactly do you think will happen if I walk away from this deal?”
Then, Jim looked around the room and finally noticed Tammy, Elliot, and I sitting there. I could almost see the lightbulb go off in his head.
“You again,” he snarled at me, “You stupid bitch, I wasn’t good enough for you, now you have to come stick your fingers into my plans and fuck everything up?”
He walked around the agent’s desk and stood right in my face, his fists clenched. I started to sweat, feeling those old feelings welling back up. I wanted to run out of the room and hide. I had hid from Jim so many times before it would be just like old times if I did. I just sat there, pressing my lips together in silence.
Before I knew what was happening, Elliot had stepped in front of me until he was standing toe-to-toe with Jim. Elliot reared back like he was going to punch Elliot in the face. “Don’t!” Tammy suddenly stepped in front of Elliot, stopping him from punching Jim, to my shock.
She turned towards Jim and instead, wound up and socked him in the face herself. I let out a whoop of shocked delight. I couldn’t think of a more deserving face to take that right hook. The punch knocked him flat on his back. He scrambled to his feet, holding his face in shock. He couldn’t believe that she had hit him, either.