Running into Ace in Boston was a shock. I didn"t know he was back from Kuwait. When I came home from my position as an overseas correspondent, I"d expected I"d never see him again.
And that was the way I"d wanted things to be. After all, I couldn"t let him know about my daughter.
I couldn"t help my feelings for him, though. I"d always been drawn to him.
But he had never wanted children. I had to respect that.
But he wasn"t the same man I"d met in Kuwait, and I wasn"t the same woman either.
I knew sooner or later he would find out my secret and sh*t would hit the fan.Books by Author:Claire Adams Books
To say that my morning had been hectic didn"t even begin to cover it.
Things had been different ever since Ava arrived. Where once I could spend twenty minutes fixing my hair and makeup and getting dressed, plus maybe grabbing a quick breakfast if I had time, I now had to plan on at least an hour to get out of the house. I not only had to dress myself, but I had to get Ava, my squirmy three-year-old, into clothes. No breakfast wasn"t an option anymore; I had to feed something to my daughter. And usually, my hair had to be done at least twice since Ava was still in that hair-pulling phase that I"d hoped she"d grow out of.
It was exhausting. But she was my whole world, and no matter how much work having a daughter was, I was happy with my life.
There were some mornings I really wished there were someone else to pick up the slack. It was hard to juggle a career and a toddler, but I was managing.
"Do you want to come in for some coffee"" Maisie asked as I dropped Ava off with her.
I laughed and shook my head, tucking a stray strand of curly, dark hair behind my ear. "No, don"t have time for that today. Sorry!"
Maisie gave me a sympathetic look. "Lots of work today"" she asked.
"Just a meeting with my editor," I told her. "I"ll be back to pick up Ava right afterward, like we talked about." I had an interview that afternoon as well, but Maisie couldn"t watch Ava for the whole day. It was enough that I didn"t have to bring her into the office with me. At least the interview would be outdoors, and she could run around and entertain herself. I was always worried about bringing her into the office with me; I could just imagine her deciding to color on the expensive furniture or something like that.
I glanced at my watch. "Shoot, if I don"t hurry, I"m going to be late! I"ll see you later, okay""
"Don"t worry about us," Maisie said, balancing Ava on her hip, bouncing her lightly to keep her calm. "We"ll see you later."
"Bye, baby girl! I"ll see you later!" I gave Ava a quick kiss on the cheek and then rushed down the stairs. I was tempted to take a taxi to the newspaper office, but I knew there wasn"t enough money left in the budget this month for it. If I pushed it, I could make it on time to my meeting anyway.
I could take the T, too, but I knew that a couple of the stations were closed due to station updates, and I didn"t want to mess around with walking the blocks in between the closed stations. It would take me in a circuitous route anyway. Best to take the quickest route possible, even if it meant ducking in and out of pedestrians on their way to see all Boston had to offer during the summertime.
I still didn"t know why my editor had asked me to come into the office that morning. I"d gone freelance a couple of years earlier to make it easier on me while I was raising Ava. It meant that I could usually count on working with the same companies, but I had the flexibility to pick which articles and how many I worked on rather than feeling like I had to pick up certain pieces. It gave me the flexibility to pick my hours, even though I ended up working most days, both trying to keep my editor happy and in an attempt to make enough money to pay the bills.
And also just because I liked the work that I did. I was lucky to have found the perfect career for me.
As a freelance contributor, usually I scheduled my days in the office, and they were few and far between. I filed most of my stories remotely, and things were going fine.
I had to wonder if the paper was downsizing and they"d decided to cut my articles from here on out. But it wasn"t as though I was under contract with them. They weren"t firing me either way. If they were downsizing, they could just let me know that over the phone. Maybe they were just being polite.
I shrugged. I wouldn"t know what they wanted until I got there. And as I glanced at my watch again, I began to have serious doubts about my ability to get to this meeting on time. I gave a cursory look each direction and barreled into the street, darting around other pedestrians.
It was one of those things that I never understood: if you were moseying along with your friend, why did you have to spread out across the whole pedestrian crossing" If other people were moving faster than you, it was only polite to give them some space to cross. Instead, it felt like I was playing some weird game as I dodged left and right to pass each new group.