Romance Fiction Teens & Young Adult

“Why do you want to see him again? We’ve been going out for six months and now you’ve arranged to meet with your ex? I just don’t get you, Verity. Everything is going so well between us.”

Verity twisted in her seat. She had never said anything nice about her ex, Laurence. “He pleaded with me to have dinner with him. Wouldn’t take no for an answer. I told him to meet me at Healthy Cravings, where you work. He doesn’t even know about you. I’ll feel perfectly safe if you are there.”

“What about him? If he upsets you, I’ll want to go over and knock his block off.”

“Whoa, Terry. I’m the one who is supposed to hate him and worry about getting upset. In fact, that’s why I said ‘yes’. I want to test how I handle it. I don’t believe I hate him anymore. I don’t feel anything for him.”           

“I just don’t believe it will be that easy. I’ll remind you of all the complaints you made about him. Too good looking, for starters.”

Verity laughed out loud. “And that upsets you? You are too good looking as well. It doesn’t bother me anymore. Proves I’m over Laurence, doesn’t it?”

Terry spluttered and continued. “Slovenly bathroom habits. Never came home in the evenings. Refused to hang his clothes away. Expected you to gather the laundry from random places and find his stuff after he left it lying around.”

“Seems pretty pathetic to bring it up now. Laurence was such a child. I didn’t want to be his mother anymore.”

“Exactly. He didn’t want to eat meals with you and stayed out late until you’d gone to bed.”

“I guess he couldn’t help it that he’s a night owl.”

“Verity! Stop making excuses for him.”

“We were totally incompatible. Ships in the night. He was never up in time in the mornings. Never up in the weekends, except when he went out without me. But he did sometimes wake me up and spend time with me when he finally got home at night.”

“Damn. Only when he wanted an active bed partner.”

Verity blushed and cast her eyes down. “Sometimes he wanted to talk.”

“Not romantically, though.”

“He spent way too much money and time on his car. It was his ‘baby’.” Verity remembered the conclusion she’d arrived at all those months before. How relieved Laurence must have felt that he didn’t have to buy a more family-oriented car. He had definitely not wanted to talk about marriage or a baby. You’d have thought she had suggested they adopt an elephant and stash it in his flash two-seater Mazda MX 5.

“He does love his car. I remember you had a real issue over it, Verity.”

“Yes, I did. He didn’t want to discuss marriage or children which showed me how futile the whole thing was. But we haven’t talked about those things either, have we? "

Terry swept his hands through his black hair with his eyes closed. “Verity! You wanted me to give you time to get over Laurence and I respected that.”

“I’m sorry you’re upset. The thing is, Laurence pleaded with me and I thought it would be ok, especially if you are around.”

“You already gave him more time than most others would’ve. This is ridiculous.”

“Are you jealous?” Verity looked at Terry with her green eyes wide open.

Terry sighed. “Of course not. How can I be jealous of such an infant.”

“Then why are you being difficult about it?”

“Because you are my girl, and he upset you. What do you want? Friendship with him?”

“No, no. No way. I just couldn’t say ‘no’ when he pleaded and sounded so sad.”

“Well, how about I tell him to butt out?” Terry’s dark eyes glowed dangerously.

“No, I have to do this myself. Prove I can stand on my own two feet and not be used by him anymore.”

“As you said, I will be there. I certainly won’t allow you to be swayed by that punk.”

“Don’t worry, Terry. I do appreciate you spending whatever time you can, with me. You always plan nice trips and outings. You’re amazing, considering you’re at Law School during the day and work at the restaurant most evenings. I don’t know how you do it.”

“I love you, Verity. I enjoy having you in my life. And you respect that I am busy.”

Later that week, Verity and Laurence met at Terry’s work. 

‘Healthy Cravings’ was a short walk from Verity and her friend Marie’s flat. It’s the classy, reasonably priced, newly renovated, restaurant where Verity first met Terry. They had their first date there earlier in the year and had been dating ever since. The staff would be mystified about Terry serving the table of his girlfriend as she dined with another man. It seemed wrong.


The pair sat at a table for two in an intimate alcove. Bushy plants added greenery and privacy. Terry their waiter stood at the table dressed immaculately in his black with a white shirt and black tie, not a hair out of place.

He took their orders for drinks and meals without batting an eyelid, or allowing any flash of recognition to escape. When he returned to the kitchen, he held his finger up to his lips in a gesture that meant no comment was to be made. The Chef, his helpers, and wait staff had peered around the corner of the door to stare at both Verity and Laurence, seeing what they could through a shield of plant fronds. Open mouthed gaping screamed of shock.

“I know about this. Just keep it cool,” whispered Terry.


“It makes a change, eating a meal with you,” said Verity. “I can’t remember when we last ate together.”

“Are you getting at me?” Laurence had a stern expression on his face.

“No, just an observation.”

“I really appreciate your seeing me. I promise to make it worth your while.”

Verity looked him in the eyes. “Worth my while?”

“I first want to say how sorry I am for how I treated you.”

“How you treated me?”

“I take all the blame for our breakup.”

“I heard you were living with your new girlfriend.”

“Not any more. I realize how much I missed you.”

“Did you tell your girlfriend that?”

“No, of course not. But she did nothing but complain. And talk about bossy!”

“Oh. So, you didn’t get away with things.”

“I don’t know what you mean. She worked less hours than me and you should’ve seen the state of the flat when I got home. She left so much dirty-washing, lying around. All her laundry was washed and clean but most of my stuff she didn’t notice.”

“Mmm. On the floor, on the couch, under the bed?”

“Exactly. She could have put it in the washing machine as well. And she made me take turns cooking dinner, and cleaning up afterwards. What a nerve. When I wanted dinner out, she expected to be with me every time and pay for her as well.”

Verity looked him in the face and did her best to retract her smile. She slowly shook her head and tried to purse her lips into a sympathetic grimace.

“I didn’t come here to talk about her. I came to apologize to you. You were marvelous.”

“Thank you for that, Laurence. Nice to know. What do you want me to do? Seek out your ex and tell her what you expect of her?”

Laurence looked crestfallen. “I already tried that . . . She said, ‘Like hell!’ and left me. Can you believe it?”

Verity sighed. “Sounds like she values herself, Laurence.”

“Made me realize how much I value you.” He fished around in his pocket and drew out a small box. He opened it and held it out to her. She looked down at an exquisite diamond ring.

She had a coughing fit and quickly downed some water. Terry walked over with their meals.

“Are you alright my dear?” he said. Verity looked up at Terry. He glowered at her. The meals were put down. Verity’s, gently. Laurence’s, with a thump that splashed gravy onto his shirt.

“I’m so sorry, sir,” Terry said, whacking at the mess with a serviette.

Laurence pursed his lips and blurted, “It’s ok. Leave it.” He pushed Terry’s arm away.

Laurence tried to recapture the moment. He held the box with the ring out once more. “Verity. Please marry me. I don’t know what I was thinking when we broke up.” His eyes glistened with tears.

Verity stared at him with her mouth open. This was unexpected and unwanted. It didn’t sound like he had changed at all but now this? She knew that despite his sincerity, if she accepted him, her life would go back to the same hell she had put up with when they lived together. Neither did Terry deserve to be cast off.

“L-Laurence, I’ve moved on.”

He stared at her. “But you have to give me a chance. You don’t need to say ‘yes’ right away. I still mean something to you, don’t I?”

“I am happy with my life. I don’t need this.”

“But I need you. . . Is there someone else?”

“Yes, Laurence, there is.”

“How can you pass up someone as good looking as me?”

Verity stared at him, trying to digest his shallowness. “Relationships are not about good looks or not . . .let’s eat our meals before they get cold, shall we. We’ll talk later.”

Verity looked down, grabbed her knife and fork and started her meal. Delicious Spaghetti and Meatballs with cheese topped marinara and a side salad. She restrained herself from walking out and thought frantically about what she could say to help the situation, help Laurence.

 Laurence dug into his Roast Beef with baked vegetables and gravy. He seemed to cheer up after the meal.

“Verity. I really am sorry we broke up. You were so good for me.”

Verity sighed. “But it was bad for me. I became your mother, your washer woman, your lover, and a decoration hanging off your arm when you needed a plus-one. It wasn’t good for me at all.”

“I can change. I truly can.”

“I don’t expect you to. Let’s forget the little things that used to upset me. Strangled toothpaste tubes and leaving your washing everywhere. Let’s forget about how important your car is to you. It’s the big things that matter and we are so incompatible. You are a night owl and sleep in as long as you can. I am an early riser and need a long night’s sleep. We passed like ships in the night. We saw each other if you woke me up when you came home at night, and first thing in the morning when I brought you your coffee before leaving for work. You can’t change that about yourself. You never wanted to get married and you didn’t want children. Our life goals are too different. It can never work. You will hate the life you end up in, with me.”

“Are you saying you won’t even give me a chance?”

“I can’t Laurence. Your timing is all wrong. I love someone else. He’s handsome too. But that’s the least of his qualities.”

“He’s better than me?”

Verity looked at him, her eyes glowed with kindness. “I’ve moved on. You already broke my heart. You are grabbing hold of me because of your recent breakup. You need to give yourself time. We were never meant to be.”

Laurence looked down and closed the ring box. He sighed.

“Laurence, I so much appreciate your kindness. I wish you all the best.”

“I wish you all the best too, Verity. You deserve it.” He slipped the box back into his pocket. “Let me pay for the meals, please. It’s the least I can do. I guess I should go.”

“Have a happy life, Laurence.”

After he left, Verity reflected on how she had handled Laurence. She didn’t hate him anymore. Instead, she felt pity. He would never succeed with the self-centered attitude he had about relationships. Verity realized her kindness and patience over the five years they had lived together had not taught Laurence anything worthwhile. She had to admit that if he had asked her to marry him, straight after the huge row they had when she packed up and moved out, she would have said, ‘Yes’. She shuddered.

Terry came over, bent and kissed her cheek, and sat in Laurence’s place with two coffees.

“This is my break. I see he has left. How did it go?”

“Thanks for the coffee, Terry. I discovered I don’t hate him anymore.” In Verity’s mind this spelled the end of Laurence and a real resolve to move on.

Terry looked at her seriously. “I saw the ring he offered. Does he want to marry you now?”

“Yes, he does. Funny isn’t it, after all this time.”

“The scum! I think I want to thrash him.”

“Please don’t do that. He’s been through a lot.”

“So now you are defending him?” Terry frowned and pursed his lips. His eyes looked like a storm about to break. “He talked you around.”

Verity stared at him. “Oh, Terry. I said no. Definitely, no.”

Terry sighed. “You really had me going there. Are you sure he knows you mean it?”

She nodded her head. “I was kind but firm. He knows it’s over and that I have someone else – someone very good looking. We left on good terms but he has a lot to think about.”

Terry positively beamed with happiness. “You were way too good for him.”

“No, I wasn’t. I encouraged his bad behavior. That’s why he wanted me back. His last girlfriend was teaching him, but it made him want the life he had with me. I did him a great disservice. There is wanting people to change. And there’s letting them get away with blue murder. I enabled Laurence. It took today for me to see how I failed him.”

“You’re not a failure to me, Verity. But I guess I’m going to have to be on my best behavior from now on.” He smiled and his eyes twinkled.

Verity laughed. “You better believe it. I think it’s time to make some definite plans about our future.”

“Do I have Laurence to thank for this?”

“You just swore! Don’t mention his name ever again. What’s more, I won’t make any decisions because of my past with him. Not, anymore.”

“Whatever you want, Luv. You’re the boss.” He smirked.

Verity smacked his hand in a reprimand. “That also means, not quoting him.”

“But this is different. I truly mean it.” He saluted for emphasis. “Gotta get back to work now, love. I’ll see when we meet for breakfast before your work.”

“I’ll be there. I’ll go home after I drink my coffee.”

Verity stayed sipping her coffee. She loved the way Terry teased her. They always had such fun together. She admitted to herself that he may be too good for her, but he had chosen her all those months before, and gone out of his way to care for her. He had been upset at the thought of losing her. Now, thanks to finally getting over Laurence, they would talk about their future together. It made her feel warm all over.


November 14, 2023 06:21

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Marty B
00:18 Nov 21, 2023

'“Are you jealous?” Verity looked at Terry with her green eyes wide open.' Did Verity see Terry's 'green-eyed monster' eating at him? And did Verity meet Laurence at Healthy Cravings on purpose, dangling her ex- in front of Terry to encourage him to 'talk about their future together'...? If was hesitant to commit, then she did a good job of showing him how easy he could lose her, even if was too good looking for her. Thanks!


01:07 Nov 22, 2023

Thanks for reading. Interesting take you have. The truth is, Verity hadn't got over her feelings for Laurence and wanted to take things slowly with Terry. After meeting with Laurence in this story, because she couldn't say 'no', she was finally able to make a complete break and focus on Terry. If you read an earlier story 'Who is this Girl' it explains how Terry became her boyfriend in the first place.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Hannah Lynn
14:07 Nov 15, 2023

Good for Verity! She realized her ex was not going to change and she deserved better! :)


20:27 Nov 15, 2023

Thanks Hannah. I also wanted to suggest the old adage to do with 'it takes two'. Verity didn't stand up for herself during the relationship with Laurence until the acrimonious end. During this story she could see where she went wrong. Still didn't let Laurence off the hook. Will he ever learn? You may want to read 'Who is this Girl'. Verity tells her own story.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Mary Bendickson
17:45 Nov 14, 2023

Wow, is it really possible to end a relationship so civilly?


20:43 Nov 14, 2023

Thanks for reading. LOL. They did have a big bust up. An earlier story, 'Who is this Girl' (Don't know how I missed submitting it properly, so not many read it) explained how Verity felt after the split and what happened up to meeting Terry. Funny how this story happened as I never intended continuing their tale.


Mary Bendickson
04:23 Nov 15, 2023

Oh, it is probably me that missed it or don't remember. I have been focused on getting my manuscript out to someone who requested it from a query I sent so WoW! it takes time. The forgetful part is my age or trying to read so many in short order.


07:27 Nov 15, 2023

No I actually think I submitted it too late and it didn't go through and just stayed among my stories unsubmitted. I was miffed. I am just as forgetful too. I thought I made a point of reading all your stories but seem to have missed some or forgot to 'like' them. Silly me. Hope all goes well with your manuscript. That will certainly be your focus at the moment. Exciting and nerve wracking.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.