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WE CAN’T BE FRIENDS

Prequel to I Can’t Forget

&

I CAN’T FORGET

The Andersons

CASAMORE JONES

Copyright 2014 Casamore Jones




Smashwords Edition, License Notes


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Back Cover


Fran’s best friend Greg is coming to visit. They have been friends for nineteen years, she intends to have fun and just chill. But the night they spent together a few years ago still lingers in her mind and she hopes they can be more.

Greg can’t wait to see Fran, spending time with her is always fun. He can’t forget the night that they spent together but he knows that he is not who she needs. But will he be able to keep his hands off her?











One



Francine Thomas pulled her car to a screeching halt in the arrival terminal at the airport. As soon as she saw her best friend Gregory Anderson, she hopped out the car and raced over to him. As he walked toward her she noticed the envious stares she received from some of the females in the pick-up area. She totally understood their envy because Gregory Anderson knew how to put a woman’s heart on pause. His complexion was dark chocolate personified. His six feet four inch frame had a medium build most women dreamed about. His strikingly handsome face was further accentuated by deep dimples in each cheek. His chipped tooth provided a mysterious edge to his polished features.

“How was your flight?” She asked

“It was bumpy, I felt nauseous the whole time.” He responded with a sick expression on his face.

“Awww, poor baby. You will be fine.” She said with a smile.

“I guess…” He placed his small duffel travel bag into the trunk then got into the front passenger seat.

“I can’t believe you’re here!” She squealed.

“So what do you have planned, are you going to show me around town?”

“I thought we could hit up the theme parks and then check out downtown Orlando and International Drive.”

“No roller coasters! I can’t deal with the height.”

She laughed, “I know, we won’t be going on anything crazy, so calm down.”

Fran made her way through the busy evening traffic to her apartment. She was so excited even though she and Greg spoke on the phone every day. She had not seen him in two years. He was busy with law school and she had just started working as an accountant after completing her Masters in Accounting a few months ago. He being here brought back so many memories of when they were younger.

They both grew up in Jamaica where they developed a close friendship. They had been friends for nineteen years since she was six and he was eight. A lot of people thought they were more than friends but apart from a brief childhood romance when she was eight and he was ten, they were just great friends. He had moved to New Jersey when he was fifteen and they had lost contact for four years. But thanks to social media he was able to reconnect with her when he turned nineteen. They picked up their friendship right where they left off. They were always on video chat and instant messaging often filling each other in on their day.

She moved to Daytona Beach, Florida to live with her dad after completing her undergrad in Jamaica. Greg was also living with his mom in Florida when she migrated which was roughly two hours from where she lived. They were both excited that they would be able to see each other. Even though they claimed that the relationship was purely platonic. They had this perfect bond where they understood each other completely except for when it came to the feelings they had for each other. However they both had to admit that the long history they had and the memory of one visit in New York indelibly changed their relationship. They had both given into their feelings and had gotten a taste of each other. It was one night of soulful surrender that they both could never forget. They had both decided that they did not want to ruin their friendship but the moments still lingered in the back of their minds.

Greg looked across at Fran, her face was exactly as he remembered but her body was that of a voluptuous woman. When he saw her getting out of the car at the airport, he struggled for air. The sun dress she wore displayed her curves. She was thick where it counted and he definitely remembered all the places. Her lips were bright red which drew attention to her mouth. It’s bad enough that he remembered what they felt like but to have them on display in his presence was a temptation that was sure to defeat him.

Two


Fran twirled around her tiny apartment showing Greg where he could find everything during his two week visit.

“So what do you think?” She asked.

“It looks perfect,” said Greg but he was staring at her face. He felt the need to close the distance between them.

“You haven’t hugged me since I got here,” he said with a mischievous smirk.

“I’ll hug you Greg, but no funny business.” She said with a smile. As his arms closed around her they both felt it. The undeniable chemistry running like electricity between both their bodies. He looked down into her eyes and whispered,

“You are so much trouble…” then he dropped his gaze to her lips. Fran trembled in his arms as he leaned forward and covered her mouth with his. He took her mouth with great urgency, dispelling years of pent up emotion. After what seemed like an eternity, he broke the kiss. They were both gasping for air.

“We can’t keep doing this,” she whispered against his ear. However she didn’t feel as convinced about it as she felt she should. Greg tilted her chin upward towards him and he responded,

“Just a kiss between old friends.” He knew he had just opened Pandora’s Box because the sexual tension between them was so intense you could cut it with a knife. Fran left the room to recompose herself and to put some distance between them. This would be an exceptionally long two weeks.

Greg watched Fran as she walked out of the room. She was a forever kind of girl and he could not make forever promises. He didn’t want to get married or have kids. If the relationship with his father was anything to go by, he didn’t think he would be a very good fit for the kind of man she deserved. He knew Fran would never go for a fling and that sort of thing would mess up their friendship. But if the chemistry that just sprung to life was anything to go by he would have an exceptionally hard time keeping his hands off her.


* * * * *


Fran walked into her apartment extremely tired from a long day at work. She was in no mood to take Greg sightseeing this afternoon. She hated that she was being such a poor host. However she would make up for it starting tomorrow. She was off from work over the next ten days that he was here. She was so lost in thought that it took her awhile to notice the wonderful smell coming from the kitchen.

“Hey, what’s all this?” She asked as she looked around the kitchen. Parts of the meal were displayed on the granite counter top. It looked like he used all the pots she owned. She hoped he intended on cleaning up too, it looked like a hurricane came through there.

“Hey…you, I figured I’m here so I might as well make myself useful.” He said with a smile.

“It smells great.” She responded.

“What’s on the menu?”

“Steamed Fish, vegetable rice and a tossed salad.”

“Whoa, you went all out. You didn’t have to do it but I’m honored. It smells delicious I can’t wait to taste it.”

He waved his finger at her, “Not until you get in the bath I drew for you. Tonight I just want you to relax.”

“Ummm…,” she was rendered speechless. No guy she had ever dated had ever done anything like this for her. It was so romantic and she could really use that bath. But this wasn’t a date and he wasn’t a guy she was dating. She had to be careful with her heart and try to remember that this was her childhood best friend. It was just a nice gesture for a friend.

“I know your job is pretty stressful and you probably just needed a night to relax.” She really couldn’t be mad at that. He literally read her mind. Why is he still single? She could definitely get used to coming home to this kind of treatment.

“You definitely know how to treat a girl.” She said with a smile.

“Only for the best, now get in that bath.” He said with a wink.

“Ok sir!” she said in a mock attention stance. She went upstairs in a better mood than when she came home. She walked into the bathroom and tested the water with her fingers. It felt just right. And what was that heavenly fragrance coming from the water? He sure knew the art of seduction.





Three


Greg hoped she would relax, he had an idea and he wanted to see if she would go along with it. Hopefully the romantic gestures would be enough to persuade her at giving it a shot.

Fran made her way to the dining table which was set for two with lit candles. It was an intimate setting. There was wine chilling in the ice bucket in the center of the table. This just proved that her best friend still had the power to surprise her after nineteen years.

She was glad she changed her mind about putting on her pajamas and chose a simple maxi dress instead. She had put on some perfume and run a brush through her hair too. It was silly, this was her best friend. Why was she so concerned about her appearance?

He pulled out her chair and waited for her to sit then he pushed in her chair.

“You smell nice, how was the bath?” He asked as he took the seat across from her.

“It was lovely,” she said with a whisper. Why was she whispering this was Greg her best friend.

“I’m glad you liked it, dig in.” She took a bite of her fish. It melted in her mouth.

“Mmm…this is great. What kind of sauce is it in?” She asked. For a moment it was difficult for him to respond. After watching her mouth across the table he was done. Seriously who gets turned on by a woman eating fish? But that was exactly the problem. He was turned on by everything she did and the shit wouldn’t go away.

“It’s in a coconut sauce.” He responded in a husky tone.

“It’s good,” she responded barely above a whisper. If he kept looking at her like that the fish wouldn’t be the only thing that’s good. He cleared his throat.

“So I have a proposition for you.”

She let out a sigh. “I should have known that all this came with a ball and chain. Let’s hear your proposition.”

“What if for the remainder of the time I’m here we just explore our feelings?”

“What do you mean explore?” She asked in a tone that gave a soft warning. She decided to hear him out before assuming anything.

“Well we have always shied away from hooking up apart from that time in New York where we totally indulged. I can’t forget the experience. What if we make this time together about us with no expectations, just us living in the moment?” He anxiously awaited her response.

Fran sobered up quickly. This was a real mood killer. Of all the people he should have known that she could never be so cheap and frivolous with her emotions.

“You know what I don’t get, how you would go to all this trouble to ask me for a roll in the sack. And then when this is over then what? We know practically everything about each other. Would it be so bad for us to try at a relationship?” She got up from the table to leave the room. He held her arm to stop her from leaving.

“Fran, I wasn’t trying to insult you. The fact is I don’t feel I’m worth what you deserve.” She pulled her arm away.

“What you are afraid to admit is that you feel that the minute we get together it will crash and burn. Then you will lose your closest friend. Living in fear like that will let you miss the love of a lifetime!” She walked towards the stairs then paused on the first step.

“This was a perfectly good evening until you ruined it with your bum ass proposition. Be a man.” With that she quickly went upstairs to her bedroom, so he wouldn’t see the tears streaming down her face.

Greg thought about going after her but decided against it. She probably needed some space to cool off. He decided to clear the table and clean up the kitchen.










Four


Fran tossed and turned in her bed. The clock on her bedside table displayed 3:15 am. Her stomach rumbled. She remembered her unfinished dinner and the argument with Greg. Did she overreact? It would be devastating to them both if their friendship deteriorated because of the unresolved feelings between them. She guessed she could sort it out tomorrow. Right now she needed food. She hoped he hadn’t tossed the rest of the meal. Hopefully he was asleep in the guest room and she wouldn’t have to settle this until later in the day.

As she made her way down the stairs toward the kitchen she heard the television. It was turned down to a low volume. When she got to the landing she could see him faced down on the couch in basketball shorts. He didn’t have his shirt on. She hurried pass him before he caught her staring.

The kitchen looked spotless, it no longer looked like a hurricane had passed through it. She checked the fridge and noticed he had covered her plate and wrapped up the remaining goods. There was even dessert. She felt bad, that she didn’t finish the meal. She owed him an apology too. After closing the fridge, she saw him standing by the door.

“Ummm…hey, I had midnight cravings.” She said with a small smile.

“Well that’s why it’s here. I did it for you.” He said with a tinge of anger.

“Greg, I’m sorry I didn’t finish the meal. It’s just that you got me so upset and I was hurt…”

He touched her hand and said, “I also owe you an apology. I don’t want you to think I don’t value you. I really do and that is what makes this so complicated. Forgive me.”

“I forgive you.” She laughed.

“Alright pass me a plate that fish came out better than I expected.” He said excitedly.

Over the next few days they went to theme parks, museums and clubs in Orlando. Fran was really getting used to his physical presence. Not just for the extra company but because somewhere over the past ten days she realized how much she loved everything about him. Maybe she was in love with him all along and had been denying her feelings. Their bond was incredible, she hoped he felt the same.


* * * * *


Greg had one day left in his trip. They were able to keep their hands off each other all this time. However they were both struggling at this point after being so close to each other. The chemistry that cackled between them was becoming intense. They were also burnt out from all the hectic activities. They decided to spend his last night watching movies. He had an action adventure selection. She had a romantic comedy selection.

Greg allowed his mind to wonder awhile. What if he really gave the relationship angle a chance? He could definitely get used to seeing those legs all the time. And the taste of her lips. He definitely wanted to taste her core. She got up and went into the kitchen. He watched the sway of her hips as she walked away. Yeah he could definitely get used to it. He switched off the television and went into the kitchen after her. Play time was over. It was time for him to get rid of the sexual tension buzzing between them.








Five


Fran needed some water because after two hours on the couch with Greg. She needed to save herself before she did something stupid. She looked up from the counter and saw him coming towards her. She was so lost in thought that she didn’t hear the television go off. She looked into his eyes and knew the movies were over for the night.

“Greg that’s not fair, you promised me you would watch my romantic comedy.” She said mockingly towards him.

“Don’t worry we’ll be making our own romantic comedy.” She looked at him with a blank stare. He took the glass from her hand and placed it on the counter.

“Come Here.” He said in a husky voice. She went willingly. He tilted her chin up towards him and covered her lips with his. She broke the kiss and whispered,

“What are we doing Greg?” He pulled her closer and whispered against her ear,

“Something we should have done from the beginning.” He lifted her into his arms and carried her upstairs to her bedroom.

Fran looked at Greg through aroused eyes as he gently placed her on the bed. He pulled his shirt over his head.

“Undress for me baby.” He whispered. She pulled off her leggings and her cami. She didn’t have on a bra, so the only thing that was separating them was the black thong she wore.

He let out a low whistle.

“God damn you’re beautiful.” He said with much appreciation. She blushed. He leaned his body over her and kissed her neck.

He whispered by her ear, “You’re the definition of fine wine. You have aged to perfection.” He then covered her mouth with his.

She opened her mouth immediately for him, their tongues wrestling together. Small sounds of pleasure escaped from the back of her throat as he continued his assault on her mouth. She arched her body up to his to reduce the distance between them. Rubbing her core against him.

“Not yet baby, I need you wet.” He whispered as he made a trail of kisses between her breasts all the way pass her navel until he got to her core. He slowly removed her thong. She opened her legs wider and he tasted her. She screamed in pleasure. The sensations rippling through her body as she got multiple orgasms. He reached over to the night table and retrieved the foil packet he had placed there when he undressed. Her eyes widened as she watched him roll the protection over his thick shaft. He climbed over her and gently lowered his body to hers.

“I’ll try to be gentle.” He whispered. She nodded while holding his gaze. He positioned himself and gave a hard thrust. She gasped. He then found an easy rhythm which she matched perfectly.

After that first thrust he knew that the effect she had on him was uncontrollable. This night changed everything and it felt like they gave each other their hearts.








Six


Fran opened her eyes slowly as she remembered the events from last night. She looked at how sexy Greg looked sleeping beside her. Then again, he looked sexy all the time. He never had off days. He was still naked and her eyes drifted down his ripped body which was getting her aroused.

“Like what you see.” Came a low grumble from him. She didn’t realize he had opened his eyes.

“Good Morning to you too.” She said with a lazy smile. He reached over and kissed her. She sighed with contentment. Eventually they broke the kiss.

“So, where do we go from here?” She asked.

“Definitely, not back to friends. We’ve been way beyond that for a while.” He replied and kissed her on her forehead.

“So do you think we should give us a chance?” She asked eagerly.

“I want to get myself together first with my career and my finances. There are certain things that I want to do in a relationship that I can’t do now.” He replied. “If I wanted to take you on a date right now. I can’t do that because I’m broke. I just really need some time to get my life together.” She thought it sounded like a cop out. They both understand each other so she would have understood if he couldn’t take her on a date now because he is a struggling law student. She decided to not push the issue.

“I can respect that.” She replied and looked at the window. Dark clouds had already started to roll into the sky. A few minutes ago it was a perfectly blue sky, it was kind of how the mood in this room was going.

“That does not mean that I don’t want you or that I would never date you. You have a lot of the qualities I want in a woman and you have your life together. I just don’t have my crap together yet.” He replied then got out of bed. “I’m going to take a shower, I need to be at the airport an hour before my flight leaves.” She knew he had just dismissed the conversation.

“Okay, I know your showers are like almost an hour. Don’t use all the hot water.” She said with a laugh. He smiled and waved her off and went into the bathroom.

Twenty minutes later her cellphone rang. She looked at the display but didn’t recognize the number. The area code looked like it was from West Palm Beach. Maybe it was one of Greg’s brothers trying to find out about his flight. She decided to answer it.

“Hello,” there was a long pause then a female voice came on the line.

“Hi…uhh Francine?” She didn’t recognize the voice.

“Yes, this is Francine. Who’s this?” she asked almost sitting on the edge of her seat because the call seemed strange.

“This is Christina…Greg’s friend.”

“Oh, the one from Washington?” asked Fran. There was a brief pause then she replied.

“Yes, he told you about me then?” Christina asked. Fran was leaning on the edge of her seat now because this sounded like one of those ‘I’m calling the side chick call’ and she was ready to lay a bitch out.

“What exactly was he supposed to tell me Christina?” She asked in an unfriendly tone.

“Well, about me and him.” She replied then asked, “What exactly is the nature of your relationship? I’ve known him for ten years but I’ve only found out about you over the past two years.”

“Bitch, I have nothing to say to you.” Replied Fran then she asked, “How did you get my number?”

Christina laughed mockingly and said, “That’s not important. I’ve been trying to get him to commit to me and every time I bring it up, your name comes up. So I’m trying to get to the bottom of it.”

“Well, I have nothing to say to you. I’d suggest you talk to Greg and bitch don’t call my phone again.” Said Fran in a furious tone.

“I guess I’ll just ask him when I pick him up at the airport.” She said in a menacing tone and the line went dead.








Seven


Fran waited on the edge of the bed for Greg to come back into the room after his shower. He walked into the room smiling.

“Why does Christina know my number?” Fran asked as he approached her.

“What do you mean? She doesn’t have your number.” He replied casually. She was so incredibly mad with him but still found him so attractive.

“Well she just called me asking me ‘what’s the nature of our relationship.’ Is there something you need to tell me?” She asked her blood pressure elevating with each breath she took. She needed him to take this seriously. This situation was a real game changer. They were sort of trying to be together, now this bitch enters the picture.

“Wait, she called you?” He asked with a puzzled expression.

“Yes, she did and she was trying to figure out, why every time she tried to get you to commit to her, you bring me up in the conversation. It’s like you were discussing me with this bitch. What’s going on between you and Christina?” She asked angrily.

“She’s not a bitch and there’s nothing going on between Christina and I. We’re just friends.” He replied then turned to grab something from his bag.

“No you’re not dismissing this, you’re defending this bitch. Did you sleep with her?” She asked. He busied himself with getting dressed then replied, “There’s nothing to tell.”

“You didn’t answer the question.” She said with an accusatory stare.

“I slept with her, a long time ago. And she’s probably carrying a torch for me. But I’m not trying to be with her like that.” He replied. He showed no emotion and acted like it was no big deal.

Fran shook her head and said, “You liar, were you even going to tell me that she was the one picking you up from the airport?” She asked angrily. “And how long has Christina been in West Palm Beach? I thought she was still in Washington.” She shouted

“Well she has been there for the past two months. She’s staying at my house. You know she got a good relationship with mom. She’s waiting until the housing at the university is ready.” He replied in a nonchalant manner. She walked over to him and looked him in the eye and said,

“You must take me for a fool. All these details just slipped your mind in all the conversations we had? I just can’t wrap my mind around the purpose Christina serves in your life. You said there’s nothing going on but you used to screw her, she’s been living with you for the past two months and she’s basically calling me up to let me know the she’s the main girl in the picture. You need to dig yourself out of this one because it’s deep.” She said furiously. She was so freaking upset with him. It’s like he wasn’t the same person she knew all these years.

Greg knew he messed up not telling Fran about the situation with Christina. There really was nothing going on with him and Christina but this argument really showed how much he was way less than what Fran deserved. He knew she wanted to settle down and have a family and he didn’t think he would ever be able to give her that. He wasn’t cut out for loving anyone. This was fun for the short time it lasted but it was better to cut ties now than to try at something he knew he was going to fail at and cause her more pain.

“I have no control over the actions of others Francine. And I don’t feel I owe you any explanation because we’re not together.” He said in a matter-of –fact way.

“Oh really, you don’t feel you owe me an explanation!” She shouted. “Who was it that I just laid on my back and spread my legs for the past few hours…hmmm. It sure was not the invisible man.”

“I think its best I just leave now. I’ll call a cab.” He said and turned to finish packing his bag.

“So that’s it then. You destroy nineteen years of friendship and what we started a few days ago for a bitch you don’t even want. Was any of it real? Were you even going to try to make us work? Or were you just telling me all the right things to get in my pants? She asked, tears streaming down her face. For a brief moment she saw a flash of emotion in his eyes. Then it was gone, replaced with cold, hollow, emotionless eyes.

“It wouldn’t have worked out anyway. I can’t give you what you want. You want to get married and have kids. I don’t want to bring another human being into my screwed up dysfunctional life. Maybe it’s best we part ways here. Maybe we can’t be friends since you always want more than I can give.” He said with resignation.

“Things don’t work out when there is no effort put into it. But I guess that’s it then. I don’t even know who you are anymore.” She said through her tears. “I guess this is it.” She left the room so he could finish packing his stuff.








Eight


The day started with such promise but had quickly disappeared. It was clear from the argument that everything was over. Their friendship and their fledging romance. She felt like her world was crumbling. He had hurt her to the core. There is just no way she could recover from this kind of betrayal.

The cab came forty-five minute later. He didn’t even look at her as he walked to the door. He mumbled “bye” as he walked through the door. She watched from the window as the cab pulled away from the curb. At that moment the rain started to pour heavily outside. It was as if nature grieved with her for her severed relationship.


Two months later…


Fran had just started to put the pieces of her life back together. She was pretty much grieving over the past few months. It was as if a family member had died. Over the years she had been friends with Greg she had fallen in love with him and the visit made her admit to herself how she really felt about him. She was just getting over the whole mess when she started to get anxious and depressed for another reason.

Her period was late. She was always on time but when she thought about it, the last time she had a period was the week before he came in June. It was now the end of August. Her stomach was upset a few days ago when she had her breakfast but she thought nothing of it. Now as she walked through the aisles of the drug store in pursuit of a pregnancy test she thought she was overreacting.

The five minutes she had to wait for the stick to change were the longest. She walked over to the counter and picked up the test exactly five minutes later and looked at the sign.

“Oh shit!” she mumbled to herself. Then fell to the floor in the bathroom as the tears came, her shoulders racking as she sobbed heavily.


THE END

Keep reading for The Andersons Book 1 - I Can’t Forget.




I CAN’T FORGET


The Andersons – Book One


__________



CASAMORE JONES


I CAN’T FORGET

Copyright © 2014 by (CASAMORE JONES)


This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher except in the case of brief quotation embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Back Cover

Gregory was always the “love em and leave em type” or maybe his heart just couldn’t get over his best friend Francine. A new location and needing a break from his job may just have him changing priorities.

Francine has had her fair share of bad break ups and broken relationships and is not welcoming to one of those contributors from the past.

After secrets are revealed will the friendship between Francine and Gregory be able to overcome its past and blossom into the future with a happy ever after? Will love conquer all when Francine’s life is in danger?



“You have a headache?” He asked with concern. She looked at him confused.

“Yes, I have a hangover from last night. How’d you know?” She asked.

“Every time when you had a headache you would rub the sides of your head that way.” He replied then got up and walked over to her.

He massaged her neck in upward strokes easing the tension to her head. Her body reacted instantly to his touch. It was so heavenly, just made her want to curl her toes.

He leaned forward and kissed her on the top of her head. It was so tender, so seductive.










One


The hot Caribbean sun streamed through the classroom windows of Mrs. Fullerton’s third grade class, it was the onset of summer. All the kids kept checking their watches for the sound of the bell for school dismissal. Fran Thomas turned towards the light tapping sound on the classroom window. Her best friend Greg Anderson held a note:

Me and Leanne are waiting for you at the big tree behind school :)

Fran nodded her head with a smile then turned back to face the teacher before she saw her talking through the window. Five minutes later the bell rang and the kids streamed into the courtyard. Fran raced down to the Big Tree to meet up with Greg and Leanne.

“Hey guys I can’t stay long, I’m going to miss my ride home.” Said Fran.

“We can walk home together.” Said Leanne

“Yeah, just tell your aunt you had to stay back after school.” Said Greg as he climbed the mango tree.

“She will kill me if she knows I lied to her.” Said Fran

“Not unless you tell her you lied.” Said Greg. Fran shrugged her shoulders “I guess…”

“Great I saw this really cool bird’s nest on my way home yesterday and I have to show it to you guys.” Shouted Greg…

The shrill of an incoming message to Fran’s office inbox broke her trip down memory lane. She had been having a lot of those lately. But how does one simply erase over twenty years of memories of Gregory Anderson. It just would not go away and she couldn’t forget him even if she tried. The last time she saw him was five years ago right before their falling out. She actually had begun to see a future with him. But he turned out to be a liar and a cheater. She wasn’t sure if she could ever forgive him.

She clicked on her inbox to see what the email was about. Hopefully it wouldn’t take long, it was just about time for her to leave the office. She was having a girl’s night out with her friend Tamika Barnes and her cousin Kristy Randall. She hadn’t had one of those in a long time, maybe years. Her weekends were filled with entertaining her very active four year old Shayla. It was filled with playdates, birthday parties and huge piles of laundry.

The email was from Harper Wentley co-chairman of the board for the company. It was intended for the CFO - Fraline Tomas. Every now and then she would receive her emails because their names were similar. The company was currently up for bids for an acquisition, she was sure that these emails would be highly confidential since they were discussing the company share prices post-merger. She decided to send him a quick response email notifying him of the error.

Her phone beeped from an incoming text message. It was from Tammy.

I’ll meet you at your house at 9:00pm

Fran sent a reply text. Okay, see you then

She checked the time on her phone and jumped out of her chair. It was 5:45pm, she couldn’t believe it took her forty five minutes to respond to the email. She raced for her pocketbook and headed for the door. Crap, if she was late again picking up Shay, Mrs. Rogers would give her the ‘I’m a bad mother stare.’ She couldn’t wait for this day to be over. She was really looking forward to the evening out.


* * * * *

Kevin stuck his head in Greg’s office, “Hey we’re hitting up Pulse Night Club later, you in?” Greg looked around his desk at his paperwork.

“No, I’m just going to finish up here.” He replied and then looked back at his case log.

“You have worked late every day this week. You earn at least one night off. It’s Friday night!” He said

“Well baby brother somebody has to do the work around here. If we all go off partying, does the firm run itself?” He asked.

“It was cool when you were like this getting the firm off the ground but it has been four years. I’m sure the firm wont crash and burn with one night off. What exactly is the real problem? ” Kevin asked.

“I’m not going Kevin, have a good night.” He said dismissively.

“You just need to get laid.” Kevin said with a laugh as he left the office.

Greg threw the pen unto the desk, these days he was feeling unfulfilled like something was missing. He really didn’t feel like socializing. And he knew what was missing too. The truth was that the last five years have been hell. He screwed up his friendship with Francine in a major way. She changed her number and severed all communication between them. He missed his friend and he also realized that he may have been in denial with his feelings for her all along.

He and Kevin had moved the firm’s main office to Orlando a few weeks ago. He knew she still lived in the Orlando area, he just wasn’t sure where exactly. He asked his friend who was a private detective to run a background check so he could get her address. He looked at the paper on which he wrote the address and wondered if he should just show up unannounced. He knew she wasn’t married but didn’t know if she had a boyfriend. He decided to worry about that later, its time he tried to mend their relationship.


* * * * *

It was 8:00pm before Fran got Shay settled and she got a chance to start getting herself dressed. Her sister Brie would be here shortly to pick up Shay for the night.

Fran had just gotten out the shower when she heard the doorbell ring. She looked through the peephole and saw Brie and Kristy. She opened the door.

“Why aren’t you dressed?” asked Kristy with assessing eyes.

“I’m running behind with Shay. I wanted to make sure she was asleep, so that she wouldn’t cry.” She replied.

“I guess that gives her a pass,” said Brie to Kristy. Brie looked around and asked, “What are you wearing?”

Fran invited them up to her room and she pulled a short burgundy cocktail dress from the closet. The material was slinky and the cut very feminine.

“Whoa, sexy, sexy!” said Brie “My sis is getting a man tonight.”

“She sure is.” Said Kristy with a nod of approval. “You did good.”

Fran laughed, “I’m not looking for a man, just looking to have a good time. Now Kristy on the other hand looks like she’s trying to catch a man with that dress. Girl, I can almost see your butt cheeks.”

Kristy laughed, “Well I have to keep options at my disposal.”

Brie turned to Fran, “Okay, go get ready. I’ll start loading Shay’s bags into my car.”

“Okay her bags are on the sofa and remove the car seat from my car.” She shouted as she headed into her bathroom to put on her make-up.

Fran got dressed and got shay from her bedroom and took her downstairs. She gently passed her to Brie who whispered,

“Have fun, don’t worry we’ll be fine. I have all the numbers.”

Fran kissed Shay on her forehead, then Brie headed for the door. Just before she stepped outside Fran said a little above a whisper, “oh we’re going to Pulse Night Club. Please call if anything happens.”

Kristy giggled in the background trying not to wake Shay. Brie replied, “Do you seriously think I’m going to call a nightclub to contact you? I can just call your cellphone. Have fun, don’t worry.”

Fran watched as Brie backed out the driveway. She didn’t know why she was so emotional. Shay had spent the night before at Brie’s house. Tammy arrived a few minutes later and she soon pushed her worries aside.

They stepped into the popular nightclub in Downtown. Ready to have some unadulterated fun. This club typically was packed on a Friday night with adults from their mid-twenties to mid-thirties. And tonight was no different. Tammy and Kristy held unto Fran’s hand as they walked through the troves of people, trying to find their own spot to dance and have fun.

Music pumped from the speakers as the sexily clad women and liquored up men gyrated to the music. They found a spot by the wall in the back.


* * *


Kevin was just about bored with Justine from the office. He normally rotated his women every fourteen days. That is around the time they normally lost their mystery or they ran out of tricks in the bedroom. Justine lasted a whole month because she had a few extra tricks in the bedroom. But he was ready for a change of scenery. And he was pretty sure it was the sultry caramel colored beauty that just sauntered pass his eyes.

She was hanging unto two other beauties as they made their way through the club to the back wall on the dance floor. He would wait for her to leave the pack and make his move. Every guy knows that if you see a girl rolling with her home girls they are some serious cock blockers.

She looked like she was heading for the bar. Perfect timing. He finished the drink he was holding and headed for the bar. Game time.









Two


A long island iced tea for the beautiful lady.” Came a deep voice from behind Tammy. She turned around and faced a hard chest. She looked up into chocolate brown eyes.

Uh, Hi…” She said with a slow smile. He was handsome, just breath-takingly gorgeous. But he wreaked of commitment phobia.

A strong drink for a strong woman, I’m Kevin.” He said in a cool voice with a smile.

Thanks for the drink, I’m Tammy.” She responded with a smile as she took the drink from the bartender.

Fran walked up to the bar in the same moment. “Tammy, what’s taking you so long, you’re missing the douchebag hitting on Kristy.” She said with a laugh.

“I was just thanking this gentleman for the drink he bought me.” She said as she looked at Kevin with a smile.

Kevin looked at Fran and shouted, “Francine?! I can’t believe I didn’t recognize you. ”

“Kevin Anderson?!” She responded with similar surprise. “Wow, I didn’t recognize you outside of your brother’s shadow.”

“So, I take it that you two know each other.” Said Tammy with a smirk.

“No, we don’t know each other like that.” Fran responded with a laugh. “He’s like my brother. He is the brother of someone I used to know.”

“Ouch, someone you used to know. We all know you were in love with Greg what happened?” He asked.

Friends grow apart but I won’t damper the mood with old friendships. I see you like Tammy.” She said changing the subject.

Oh no don’t try to include me now. This conversation is much more interesting, who’s Greg?” asked Tammy with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.

“My brother, who you may probably see around town sometime since we both live here.” He said with a smirk.

Greg lives in Orlando?” Fran asked her voice slightly elevated.

“Yea we moved the head office for the practice here.” He said pretty smugly.

“Interesting…” said Tammy with an amused face as she looked between the two of them.

You should come see us sometime, we’re at the corner of N Orange Ave and E Washington St.” He said then handed a business card to both Tammy and Fran.

“Uh…yeah sure. I’ll stop by some time.” Said Fran in a nonchalant manner as she slipped the card into her purse.

“So Tammy do I get one dance?” He asked with a wide smile that showcased his dimples.

“I guess one dance wouldn’t hurt. But one dance only.” She responded in a semi serious tone.

“One dance is all it takes.” He said with in a charming voice.

Don’t get your hopes up, I can’t be bought with a drink.” She said then led him unto the dance floor.

Fran took a seat at the bar and signaled to the bartender.

Hey, let me get a cosmo.” She said to the bartender. He nodded and proceeded to make the drink. She couldn’t believe that Greg was living in the same city as her. She knew she still cared about him but there was so much hurt they would have to get over to re-establish the friendship. She had to think about what was best for Shay and she really didn’t think bringing Greg back into the picture was a good idea.

The bartender handed the drink to her.

Thanks!” She shouted over the loud music. She had only taken her first sip when someone walking behind her hit her hand which sent half the drink flying across the counter.

“Oh!” She exclaimed as she tried to dab the excess liquid with the napkins.

I’m so sorry,” came a velvety smooth voice from beside her. She turned in her chair and saw a strikingly handsome guy standing beside her.

She was rendered speechless as she looked up into his grey eyes. She struggled for a response.

“Please let me buy you another one?” He asked with an apologetic look in his eyes.

“Uh huh.” She managed to reply while nodding her head.

“Let me get another drink for the lady.” He said to the bartender. He then turned to her and extended his hand, “My name is Richard and I’m really sorry about your drink.”

It’s no problem, thanks for ordering me another one.” She shook his hand and said, “I’m Francine.” Her heart had finally slowed its rapid pace and she could breathe much easier.

“So what are you celebrating tonight?” He asked his eyes twinkling with amusement. “Because I’m sure such a beautiful woman like your self could not be single.”

No I’m single,” she said with a laugh. “I’m just here having a night out with my girlfriends. Is your lady close by?”

No I just came here to support my friend, he just went through a bad break up. But he seems to be over her.” He said as he looked towards a guy who looked really into the girl with which he was dancing.

Oh, well would you like to dance?” She asked with a very bright smile.

“Sure.” He replied and took her hand. She hurriedly finished her drink and followed him unto the dance floor.








Three


The sun glistened off Greg’s Audi as he turned unto Fran’s street. He was still trying to figure out what he should say. ‘I’m sorry’ should probably be one of the first things.

He came to a stop at the last house on the street. It was modest, nice at best. He hoped he would not be interrupting. He checked his watch for the time. It was almost 11:00am. He grabbed the flowers off the passenger seat and got out the car. He started to walk up the driveway and he kind of paused mid-way. This visit could go two ways; either she would be really happy and decide to forgive him or she could be really upset that he tried to contact her.

The fact was he messed up the relationship between him and Fran. He felt he could not measure up to the man she needed. He didn’t think at the time he could have provided the kind of life she deserved. He looked back at his luxurious car at the curb. He could definitely provide the way a man should in a relationship.

His firm had developed a successful reputation in the past three years for handling huge corporate mergers. This was all thanks to the first merger and acquisition he did for his brother Michael when he decided to use his multi-million dollar company Anderson Healthcare to acquire Milton Health Group. In three short years he had amassed a small fortune and was a millionaire in his own right.

He and his brother Kevin had started the practice Anderson and Anderson four years ago. Kevin’s specialty was representing investment banks in M&A transactions and private technology M&A acquisitions. Greg’s specialty was corporate/strategic acquisitions. The practice had been named in their category the winner for M&A deal of the Year, Corporate/Strategic Acquisition of the year, Consumer Services, Consumer and Retail Products Deal of the Year. They had so many new clients they had eventually started to turn down cases. They had recently moved their location to Orlando, Florida and expanded by hiring more associate attorneys to assist with the increased workload.

The problem was that the one person he wanted to talk to about his successes was no longer in his life. It was time that he fixed it. This was long overdue. He walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell.








Four

The sound of the doorbell broke through Fran’s light sleep. She had a massive hangover which she was trying to get rid of for the pass two hours. She had taken an aspirin but was still awaiting its effects. Brie said she would be dropping off Shay later in the afternoon and she wasn’t expecting anyone. She looked through the front blinds and saw a sleek black sedan parked at the curb. She definitely did not recognize the car. She really was not in the mood for pleasant conversation with anyone soliciting. She was about to walk back to her bedroom when she decided to answer the door.

She opened the door with the chain still hooked and came faced with a hard chest. And toned arms. Very toned arms. She slowly looked up at the rest of him and almost jumped out of her shorts.

“Greg,” she said with confusion. She must still be sleeping. That was some aspirin. It was probably making her hallucinate.

Hey, I came with a peace offering, are you going to let me in?” He asked with his breathtaking smile.

Why would I let you in, as far as I know you are a complete stranger. How did you get my address?” She asked. Fran thought about how she still was very much attracted to him after all the hurt and the few years that had passed.

“Look I know I don’t have the right to be talking to you. I know I have been an asshole. But I think we need to bury the hatchet.” He said in a more serious manner.

She thought about how easy it would be to just forget about what happened between them. But some changes had taken place in her life. The biggest change of all was having Shay. She honestly thought she would never cross paths with Greg again. But now she had to decide whether she should forgive him and tell him about Shay. She really didn’t want to introduce him to Shay and then he walks out their lives again.

“You know Greg, life is not that easy. You can’t honestly think that you can waltz in here after five years and everything just returns to normal. Life is just not that simple.” She said angrily. She was more upset with herself than him because he almost had her.

“Well at least give me a chance to apologize.” He said his voice now sad and distant.

She nodded her head, unhooked the chain and pulled the door wider so that he could enter.

Greg waited as Fran closed the front door. He then followed her to the living room area. He would have looked around more if he wasn’t so distracted by the sway of her bottom in her shorts. And the legs. He remembered those legs well. Her body looked more rounded. Her bottom and hips had definitely increased and this was a great view.

Fran hoped Shay’s toys were not hanging out in the area because that would probably start questions. And she was not ready to give him that kind of information.

He sat in the love seat across from her.

Fran, I’m really sorry. I know I was a complete asshole to you and you really didn’t deserve that. I was stupid and immature and still trying to find myself. Will you please forgive me?” He asked.

Fran looked at him and didn’t say anything for a while. She was getting emotional and couldn’t understand why.

“I called you for almost twelve months, not once did you return my call. I know you sometimes had your moments and needed to be away from everyone. But you deleted all your social media and eventually changed your number. You pretty much dismissed me from your life and now I’m supposed to let you back in?” She asked aggressively.

“I know this was a major screw up on my part. But I realized that my life was nothing without you in it. Even if it is just us being friends.” He said.

“I get it you’re sorry. I accept the apology but I don’t think we will ever be more than mere acquaintances.” She said exhaustedly as she leaned back into the sofa and massaged the temples at the side of her head.

“You have a headache?” He asked with concern. She looked at him confused.

“Yes, I have a hangover from last night. How’d you know?” She asked.

“Every time when you had a headache you would rub the sides of your head that way.” He replied then got up and walked over to her. He massaged her neck in upward strokes easing the tension to her head. Her body reacted instantly to his touch. It was so heavenly, just made her want to curl her toes. He leaned forward and kissed her on the top of her head. It was so tender, so seductive.

His keys fell out of his pocket breaking the moment. She eased out the chair to get away from his intoxicating hands.

Uh…thanks for that but let’s not get anything confused.” She said huskily. Her body still humming from his touch. She had to remember the hurt and what was best for Shay.

“I understand you need time.” He said sounding hurt.

“No not time. I’m closing a door. This ship has sailed.” She replied.

I understand.” He replied then said, “Friends.” He extended his hand. She shook his hand and said,

Friends…from a distance. I’ll walk you to the door.” He knew she had dismissed him. He may have lost the argument now but he intended to try again. He saw how her body reacted to his touch. This was not the end only the beginning. He followed her to the door eager to prepare his strategy.








Five

Greg pulled into the driveway of his mother’s quaint one story house. Kevin’s and Michael’s cars were parked off to the side indicating they were already there. He was late. And Janet Anderson would give him an earful.

“Gregory Jacob Anderson! You are late!” Shouted Janet Anderson as he walked through the front door.

“Sorry mom, I got a little caught up with work. How are you?” He asked after hugging her.

“It is a Sunday, why are you working today. I would be fine if you were here on time. Instead you have my blood pressure going up from worrying for you.” She replied in a stern tone. He knew she was not scolding him that was just Janet Anderson. Then again aren’t all island moms like this he thought to himself.

Well at least I’m here, that’s all that matters. Besides I could not afford to miss your awesome Jamaican cooking,” he said with a laugh.

His mom had moved to West Palm Beach a few years after they had migrated to New York from Jamaica. He suspected it was to get a change of scenery and to separate from his dad. Even though he loved his dad they didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things. The main issue being his infidelity. Even while being married to his mother. He had openly carried on his infidelity in front of them. He remembered when they first moved to New Jersey, his dad would come home once a week. His explanation was that he stayed on the job overnight to cover different shifts. This had worked for a while until he saw him kissing a woman four blocks down while holding groceries. It looked like he was going home to his family. He remembered the hurt and confusion he felt at fifteen not understanding why his dad did not want to come home to them. He had confronted him about it and he had denied it stating he had an overactive imagination.

But he had long ago identified his dad’s wandering ways when he was much younger. His sister Laylah was born five years after him and lived at the end of their street with her mother in Jamaica. Even then his mother still loved his father because a year later they had Kevin. Eventually she moved out of New Jersey and came down south to West Palm Beach. His activities became too much for her over the years. When she moved here was the first time he really saw her happy and he hoped it stayed that way she had sacrificed a lot for them.

Regardless of the struggles they had growing up they had all found their way. His older brother Michael was now thirty four and had founded Anderson Healthcare which was one of the top pharmaceutical companies in their industry. He was now thirty-two and Kevin now twenty-six started the law firm four years ago which had taken off within a few months of its opening and placed them in financial security for a very long time. His younger sister Laylah now twenty-seven was the manager of a five star resort in Jamaica. They had really battled the odds.

He walked into the dining room where Michael and Kevin were already sitting at the table.

“About time you showed up.” Said Kevin with a smirk. Greg nodded his head in greeting to Michael then said to Kevin,


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