Sally Overby sat at her desk staring out over the Atlanta skyline as she did most days. As an attorney, she spent many of her days knee deep in paperwork rather than making long, elaborate speeches in a court room as she had assumed when she chose this career path. She’d imagined herself concocting speeches that would make the judge gasp and the jurors applaud, and she would bow at the end thankful for their praise. She would release innocent people and lock up criminals, and maybe even win the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts one day.
But, no. She just did a lot of paperwork, it seemed. She did boring real estate closings, the occasional divorce and, once in a while, child custody cases. Other than that, she just did a lot of reading and a ton of typing.
“Sally?” her co-worker and fellow attorney, Taryn Miller, called from behind her.
“Oh, hey, Taryn,” she said smiling.
“I told you facing your desk toward that window was only going to result in more day dreaming,” Taryn teased.
“I was just taking a little brain break. What’s up?”
“Well, the Dottard case is settled. Mr. Dottard decided to agree to joint custody after all, so no court date needs to be set on that one.”
“Oh. Great. Glad to hear it. I know Mrs. Dottard is relieved. That man was very difficult to deal with. Wonder what made him change his mind?”
“New girlfriend who wanted him to spend his time with her and not the kid.”
“Well, that’s pretty sad,” Sally said rolling her eyes.
“You know some men will do anything for a piece of…” Taryn was interrupted by the ringing of Sally’s cell phone.
“Hold that thought,” she said laughing. “Hello?”
“Hi, Mommy!” her son’s squeaky seven-year-old voice said.
“Baby! How are you?” Her son, David, was spending the summer with his grandparents on the other side of the country in Arizona.
“I’m good. We just got back from the pool. We have to eat lunch and then we’re going to the carnival!”
“Wow. That sounds like a lot of fun, buddy. I miss you so much!”
“I miss you too. Well, gotta go!”
“David, make sure to ask grandma to let you video chat with me tomorrow, okay?”
“Okay. Bye, Mommy!” he said as he hung up the phone. Sally held it there for a moment before clicking the end button as if she was waiting for him to say something else.
“You okay?” Taryn asked.
“Sure. It’s just hard. He’s all I have since his father died,” Sally said as she put the phone back on her desk.
“You really should start dating, Sally. It’s been almost five years, sweetie.”
“I know, but it’s hard to think about bringing someone else around him. Richard was his father, and I don’t want to confuse him with some other man coming around him.”
“Richard would want you to find love again, right?”
“Of course. He always wanted me to be happy. He was a good man,” she said, her eyes filling with tears. “Ugh, look at me. I shouldn’t still cry about him all these years later,” she said pulling a tissue from the box on her desk.
“Yes, you should. He was your husband for four years, Sally. You loved him.”
Sally had met Richard in college, and they’d had a whirlwind courtship culminating in their marriage after only knowing each other six months. Just after turning twenty-two, she’d married him. They were only married four years when he was tragically killed in a boating accident one July 4th weekend. David was only two years old at the time, and she was faced with being a single mother and brand new attorney. It had been a long, hard five years, and dating was the last thing on her mind until recently.
Now, she was tired of going to bed alone every night. She was sick of not having a man hold her when she was scared, or care for her when she was sick. She wanted that closeness again, but part of her still felt like she’d be cheating on Richard if she started dating. At thirty-two years old, she wasn’t getting any younger.
“Day dreaming again?” Taryn said waving her hand in front of Sally’s face.
“No. Just tired today. I think I might get out of here a little early. Go home, take a hot bath and start my weekend early for once.”
“Why don’t you let me take you out for dinner and drinks tonight since you’re alone? We can do a little dancing, a little flirting…”
“No thanks. Maybe some other time. Right now, I just want to soak in a nice bubble bath, drink a glass of red wine and read a filthy romance novel,” Sally said grinning.
“Hmmm…. Sounds like a plan. Well, I’d better get back to my desk before Mr. Allen sees me in here chattering away. See ya Monday!”
The truth was Sally was awfully tired of being alone. As a teenager, she’d been as lonely as she could have ever imagined, but this was worse. Way worse.
She was a nerdy kid, always interested in school and not makeup or dating. The unfortunate target of bullies, she’d spent her youth waiting to get out of Mill Crossing High School so that she could go to college and become an attorney. She’d spent four long years being called a nerd and having her locker glued shut. It wasn’t a fun time, and she was glad that part of her life was over.
But as lonely as she felt back then, it was lonelier now that she knew what real love was. After moving off to college, Sally was suddenly popular. Gone were the pimples and frizzy hair that had plagued her in high school. She learned how to style her naturally curly hair, put on makeup and choose the right fashions for her thin frame. Boys started to notice her, and she was totally unprepared for it.
When Richard became her study partner in one of her law classes, she fell hard and fast. He was nice to her, and she certainly wasn’t used to a man being kind to her. Having grown up in Mill Creek Crossing, a tiny town in the north Georgia mountains, she wasn’t very worldly at all. He took her places she’d never been, such as the museum and the beach. They had a whirlwind romance and ended up getting married on the spur of the moment in front of the justice of the peace. And her mother was not at all happy about it.
Sally was raised by her mother after her father died from a drug overdose when she was three years old. Her mother was a force to be reckoned with, and Sally didn’t like to upset her. But she loved Richard and the attention he gave her, and so she did what she wanted for once in her life.
As she looked through her emails before leaving the office, she saw something interesting from her old high school. Opening the email, she realized it was an invitation to their fifteenth high school reunion. Had it really been that long? One thing was for sure, she’d never go back there. It’d been years since she had gone to Mill Creek Crossing, and she had no intentions of mingling with those people ever again.
She gathered up her briefcase and turned off the lights in her office before locking the door. She needed that hot bath more than anything right now.
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Genre – Romance Contemporary
Rating – PG