Nikki lightly smacked her forehead to try to knock the crazy thoughts out of her head. She knew she shouldn’t let herself even have these thoughts. Life had already served it’s fair share of heartache. The words her mom always preached rang out loud and clear in her head. “You made your bed, now you have to lay in it.” Was this true? Are there no second chances in life?
Rising from her too cozy bed, she shuffled into the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee. While the steam rolled over from the top of the cup, she once again was swept up into her cloudy thoughts. Being alone and single isn’t so bad. In fact, it was much better than living with a man who was unfaithful.
Even though it had been three years since the divorce, the pain was still very fresh. Forgiveness was given too many times to remember. So the decision was made to move back home with hopes of getting support from her family. It was a scary move, and she continued to remember the words her mother had always preached.
Driving back into her hometown, with tears streaming down her face, fear clenched her stomach. The memories came rolling in with a vengeance. Memories of laughter and good times was all she could remember of growing up in this quaint town. Had there been bad times? Why couldn’t she remember? And if it was so wonderful, why had she left? Thoughts of Matt kept creeping into her head, and she pushed them back as far as she could. She knew without a doubt that he would never forgive her.
Matt had been her high school sweetheart. They were everyone’s favorite couple. There was no doubt they would be together forever. At least, that’s what everyone thought. His biggest dream was for them to get married and raise a family. And didn’t she want that too? However, that dream job offer came in and life whisked her away to Georgia, and to Jake.
She let her mind take her back to that moment in her life when everything changed. Her boss had formed his “power” team, which consisted of herself, Julia, Adam and of course, Jake. Those long nights of brainstorming that started with all four of them had somehow always ended up with just Nikki and Jake. That’s how her life took that unexpected turn. The next thing she knew Jake was down on one knee, holding that amazing diamond ring and she heard herself say yes.
Married life started out wonderfully. There wasn’t a quaint little house with a white picket fence as she had always pictured. Instead, her new life started out in a beautiful suite looking out over the city. Galas, eloquent parties and lavish dinner parties became the new norm.
How long did it take her to catch on to his infidelities? Was everyone in the room at every event laughing at her unworldliness? Why hadn’t anyone had the decency to fill her in? The embarrassment of her naivete still made her face flush. It took a while, but reality finally set in, and she knew what she needed to do.
It was now time to put that behind her and begin life anew. Nikki settled into a small apartment and quickly felt encouragement. Life wasn’t over! The first evening, while dining on pizza and beer, she perused the classifieds. Using a pink highlighter, she circled every job that seemed remotely interesting. Within two hours she had five resumes and cover letters ready to mail out in the morning post. She decided she would hand deliver the one she was most interested in.
The next morning, Nikki stepped out of her apartment looking very professional with her hair swept up in a loose bun and wearing the chic blue suit that always gave her confidence. She decided to walk the short distance to EJ Marketing. She had done research, and information was fairly limited about this small company, however, it had become an overnight success not long after she had moved away. In fact, the owner of the company seemed to be a complete mystery.
She opened the heavy glass door and felt like the wind was knocked from her as she entered the building. Standing directly in front of her and looking more handsome than she remembered was Matt. They both stood in silence for what seemed like a lifetime, each of them trying to collect their thoughts and find their voices. It was Matt who spoke first asking her how she had been doing. They made small talk for a few minutes, and in that short time she discovered he was the brains behind this successful organization.
In all of her research, how had she missed the obvious. EJ Marketing had been named after Elton John. Her mind raced back to the two of them sitting in his red mustang and him singing The Way You Look Tonight in that husky voice of his. She had always loved when he serenaded her, especially with “their song.”
She didn’t feel like she deserved his kindness, but there he was talking very openly with her about the company. He spotted the large manila envelope in her hand and inquired about it. She nervously explained that she had come in seeking employment. She expected nothing but laughter at her expecting to work for his company, but instead he invited her into his office to discuss her experience in the industry. Their hands briefly brushed each other as she handed her resume to him. Did he feel that electric shock too? She laughed silently to herself that she even allowed herself to think that he would have any feelings left for her.
As she sat in his office, an auburn haired girl entered the room. She was dressed in a fashionable red dress that while professional still managed to accentuate her beauty. Trish was quickly introduced as Matt’s assistant. He explained that he didn’t know how he could have managed without her. Nikki didn’t miss the look that passed between Matt and Trish.
She had no right to feel jealousy, but she did. She quietly cursed herself for even thinking that she had any place in Matt’s life either professionally or personally. As she was working all of her thoughts out in her head, she heard Matt asking Trish to look over her resume.
Trish asked Nikki to join her in the conference room. Even though Nikki felt a bit unsteady on her feet, she found herself quietly following Trish. After sitting down in the oversized black leather chairs, Trish slowly took her in. “So, you’re Nikki,” she stated in half question and half statement. Nikki shook her head lightly acknowledging the statement and waited for the next comment to be hurled her way. Instead, she was shocked to see Trish jump to her feet, come around the long table and hug her with a force that was completely unexpected.
Trish explained that she had married Matt’s brother, Michael, two years ago. She explained how she had watched numerous women throw themselves at Matt’s feet. Afterall, he was the most desired bachelor of the town. She went on to explain that it didn’t take long for her to understand that no one would ever fill the shoes of his long lost love. She had watched Matt throw his sadness into this company. She had always known that as successful as the company had become, it was always missing one final piece. She smiled brightly at Nikki and said, “I have just now figured out what that missing piece is. Welcome home!”
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