Today’s topic is break-ups. It wasn’t very hard to figure out what to post. I have a book where the hero dumps the heroine in the first scene. I know it doesn’t sound romantic, but I think it works. The book is RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.
“This isn’t working.”
There they were. To Gabrielle Pearson the phrase stood second only to “it’s not you, it’s me” as the most lame male excuse on the planet for cutting out of a date before the dessert menus hit the table.
She glanced around the upscale restaurant looking for reinforcements. If anyone heard Reed Larkin’s big kiss off over the rumble of conversation and clanking of silverware, they were not letting on. No one held up a roll ready to lob it at Reed’s fat head. A shame, really, since his over-inflated ego made it the perfect target.
“Gabby? Did you hear me?” Reed asked with his suddenly not-so-kissable mouth turned down in concern.
“I’m not deaf. I was thinking.” Thinking that a woman never had a vial of strychnine when she needed one.
He frowned. “I was-”
“It’s interesting, don’t you agree?”
He switched to squinting. “You lost me.”
“Obviously.” She lowered her fork to the white tablecloth, but not before toying with the idea of stabbing Reed smack in the center of his perfectly angled chin. One hit of the sharp prongs and no woman would ever be lured in by his inviting sexy smile again. “I’m talking about your timing, Reed. You waited until you were done with your meal to make this announcement. You skipped the appetizer course and choked back your undercooked steak without taking a breath.”
Now she knew why. Reed was a man on the run.
The big weasel.
Here she thought tonight, formal date number nine, might be the date. The one to capture all the heat pulsing between them with a bedroom ending. Hell, she’d be lucky to get cab fare out of him now.
Reed took a long swallow of water and when he didn’t choke, Gabby cursed life’s unfairness.
“I’m assuming I’m the part of the relationship that’s not working,” she said.
“Look, it’s not you. It’s-”
Oh, no, no, no. “Don’t finish that sentence.” If he continued down that road the half of the salmon filet she did manage to swallow would make a repeat performance all over his expensive navy suit. Tempting but not going to happen.
“What’s wrong with you?” he asked as if he actually did not know.
“Just don’t.” She pointed a finger in the general direction of Reed’s heart to back up her threat.
Those ice blue eyes that were so attractive up until five minutes ago blinked several times. “Gabby, we should-”
“Stop talking before someone loses a body part.” Her gaze dropped to her fork. “Preferably you.”
The sexy sparkle behind his eyes faded as the grin on his full mouth fell flat. For the first time since they sat down to eat, Reed’s usual assurance slipped. Nice of him to show some reaction.
She learned long ago to control her emotions. To keep her reactions neutral and her anger at bay. No matter how fast that ball of anxiety started to spin around in her gut she held it all in. Forced her outside to defy her insides. She had been through far worse than a broken relationship, weathered much and never broke.
But something about the silliness of the scene, of Reed cutting her off at the same time she mentally planned his seduction, broke open the dam inside her and sent anger spewing in every direction. Pissed. She was down-to-her-bones pissed. A new sensation and one she chalked up to a build-up of stress without any release. One that refused to go away quietly.
If Reed intended to hand her a relationship pink slip, then she planned to give him an ending to remember. “Tell me something.”
He smiled at the older couple sitting at the table next to them. “Sure.”
“Where did it go wrong for you?”
Their relationship didn’t take any wrong turns for her. They cruised along just fine with her getting more interested and attracted every single day. Then the waiter put the entrees on the table and everything went to hell.
“The ‘it’ is…?” he asked.
“For a smart guy, you seem to be experiencing some trouble with small words.”
He stopped glancing around the restaurant and focused on her instead. “Talk slow and I’ll try to keep up.”
“Fine.” Actually, the scene was anything but fine, but she clearly did not get a vote. “Us. You and me. The relationship. Since we never even had sex, I mean.”