Amelia Radley thought she had it all when she met a man in a bar and he ended up being royalty. Their love affair was anything but boring, and yet he dumped her almost exactly a year after asking her out to their first dinner date. While the wound was deep and fresh thirty days after their separation, she picked up the morning paper only to see that the man she thought she loved had already become engaged to another woman.
Her best friend, Tina, suggests the only thing she knows would make her feel better. Amelia should start dating any man she meets that she likes so that she can get over her ex. The idea is ludicrous, and yet Amelia agrees to a date with a man she has never met before. All the while, she considers herself nothing more than the prince’s ex, a woman who could not hold the affections of every woman’s dream.
When she finds love in an unexpected place, it’s challenged by the past and the future looks rocky. Amelia’s insecurities might get in the way of her finding true love, in more ways than one.
“And raise your leg to the air gently! As far as you can!” Amelia grunted and huffed as she tried to get her leg to straighten out above her from behind. Her butt was screaming for her to stop, and her leg was starting to shake from the exertion. To make matters worse, one of the women in her sixties was outdoing her on every pose. It was shameful.
“Come on, Amelia. You’ve got to stretch out those leg muscles if you’re going to pick someone off my list for tonight! They expect flexibility, sweetie.” Of course they do. They sleep with you most of the time.
Amelia kept the comment to herself, almost.
“I don’t think they’re going to care how far I can stretch my leg behind me, or if I can touch my heel to the back of my head.” The thought made her legs ache worse.
“They do.” The old woman next to her assured her. She didn’t think she could get redder than she already was from trying to hold poses that were kicking her butt, but it could. It most certainly could surpass the shade of red into the purple area. Then again, that might be because her hip had made a strange popping noise. Was that her joint coming out of the socket?
“Tina, I think I’m gonna hang out in the locker room for the rest of the class! Broke my leg or something.” Amelia tried to keep the comment quiet, but the other students in the class overheard. Some of them grumbled that she might be right, but the only male in the class grinned from ear to ear as she retreated. Was he one of the guys on Tina’s naughty list?
It was most likely why he was there.
The locker room was pleasant enough. Meaning it had a bench in the center of each cluster of lockers, a shower, and some sinks. All were a shade of pink or white, and made her feel like she was back in her high school gym locker room again. Amelia had taken advantage of the shower before she slipped on her regular clothes. Then she stretched out on the bench as she thought about what she was going to do.
One month and four days ago she would have known where her future was leading. She knew that she would be marrying a man who had a small fortune, and she’d actually carry the title of princess. The title was undoubtedly a perk, but she had actually enjoyed Simon’s company. He had been a careful and considerate lover, and he had money. Amelia thought she could trust him, so what more could a girl ask for? No, it hadn’t been love. She was sure of that now, but it was still comfortable.
These past thirty days taught her a lot about herself, and she was afraid that there was much more to learn. She had found out that she was considered selfish by most men and women alike because she cared about her own future, and she had not found someone she cared enough about to wonder about theirs. Well, there was Tina, but that was different. Tina was female and she was one of the most selfish people Amelia knew.
One of the other things she learned is that working to earn enough money to pay for an apartment with two bedrooms was out of her league. There was not enough money in the world for a single, young woman in the city to afford a two bedroom apartment. She had to settle for a one bedroom apartment with a kitchen combined with the living room, almost. The only thing between them was a countertop. It was shameful compared to where she lived before.
The old woman burst through the locker room doors and startled Amelia into sitting up straight. By fiddling with her sneaker, she made it look like she was finishing getting dressed, but her butt remained planted on the bench. Tina might have a decent idea. Maybe it was time to get out of this sexless rut and find an easy, no strings attached piece.
“You’re still here.” Tina sat down next to her and pulled off her own neon pink sneakers. She would never be caught dead outside of the building with sneakers on, even if they were pink.
“I’m still here.” They sat in silence as the other patrons of the tiny gym dressed and slowly filed out. The old woman stayed behind for the longest, but she finally gave in and left. It disturbed Amelia how much the old woman wanted to hear more about her sex life. What was it with people listening in lately?
“I’m going to leave my cellphone here for you. Pick out a few guys and I’ll tell you about 'em.” It was Tina’s way of giving her privacy while she seriously thought about a booty call. Wasn’t it usually the man who had a list in his phone? Sometimes Amelia wondered if Tina was internally a man. She unquestionably had a preference for men, but she acted like she was one of the guys, except for the pretty, sassy, adorable part.
That just wasn’t right and didn’t make sense. Amelia discarded the thought.
There was Hank, the guitarist who probably had calloused hands. They most likely were very skilled with strumming over instruments, too. Amelia felt her face turn that peculiar shade of purple and rolled her eyes to the ceiling at her behavior. She was not a nun, but she was not exactly what a lot of people might consider experienced, either.
Simon had been her third.
“Hank’s alright, but he has that dude swagger going on. If you can handle it, he’s great in the sack.” Tina leaned over her shoulder and Amelia caught a whiff of her sweet, enticing perfume. She would have to look for some on her way home.
“What about David?” Her thumb hovered over the name, and she clicked it before Tina could answer. His picture popped up, and she grimaced. “Seriously, Tina? I think his nose has been broken at least five times.” Possibly more, Amelia added silently.
“Yeah, but that guy really knows how to please a woman. I mean he’s, he's-” She made a wanton sound and shivered all over. Amelia’s laughter was a little forced and uncomfortable. Tina gave her a soft shove on the shoulder to try to abate the uneasy feeling, but it didn’t work.
“I don’t know. Maybe it’s a bad idea for me to be going out with guys you’ve already dated. Wouldn’t it be a little weird? Kinda like double dipping or sharing a water bottle? Except it’s with our bodily fluids and-” Tina clamped her hand down over Amelia’s mouth to stifle the flow of words. Her eyes sparkled as she laughed and she reached down to take the phone.
There was a name on there that caught her eye, and Amelia snatched it out of reach to click on it.
“Oh my God! Is that Peter from the coffee shop? You’ve done Peter Brunshaw?” No wonder he was always smiling and so affable to Tina and her. He was probably thinking about bending her best friend over the counter and asking her what size ding dong she wanted that morning.
“What? He’s easy on the eyes, and he’s young.” Tina tried to defend herself with little hope of succeeding.
“He’s got to be maybe twenty, at best!”
“We’re only twenty six! It’s not like I’m old and crusty.” Amelia let her friend take the phone back, and leaned her elbows onto her knees. There was no way she could sleep with any of Tina’s guy friends. It would be weird, and the entire time she would wonder if they were comparing her to the tall, lanky woman beside her.
“You’re right. I just don’t think this is a good idea. I don’t think I’m ready.” It had been a month, but it felt like yesterday that he had told her it would never work. Perhaps it was because he had never told her why.
“Honey, you’re never going to be ready. It’s like riding a bike or driving a car after a few years. You just have to get on it or in it and go.” They paused as they both thought about her wording, and after a few minutes of snorting and giggling, they got themselves under control. “You know what I mean.”
“I do. I just don’t think I can put myself out there yet.” She was still on the relationship train track, and there was nothing Tina could say that would bring her off it. Amelia had to switch off onto the other track on her own.
“Listen, why don’t you let me set you up with someone tonight? I promise he’ll be a gentleman, and if you don’t want to go home with him, then don’t. Does that sound okay?” Amelia thought about it. A date with a man who might get the door for her and pull out the chair. Someone she could tell her woes and not feel guilty about it because she wasn’t going home with him. It could be fun, or it could be a disaster. She took a deep breath, looked at Tina’s pleading face, and changed her mind.
“Fine.” She drug out the word like a kid and ran her hands through her hair. “But he’d better take me somewhere nice!” Tina was already scrolling through her contacts, and Amelia chose her moment to exit the building. A few seconds later, she had a text on her cellphone screen.
It was a name, an address, and a time.
Now if only she could figure out what the heck she was going to wear. A month ago she had thrown half her clothes away just so she could downsize into her current apartment. It didn’t help that she had to share the space with a feline who had more toys than most toddlers.
“I guess I could wear my fallback.” She muttered to herself as she hailed a cab and headed for home.
Nadene Seiters has been on Amazon’s Top 100 Sellers List with seven of her ten books since the beginning of her career in February of 2013. She’s proud to be an independent publisher and encourages others to follow their dreams, whether it seems conventional or not.
As of late, she lives with a clowder of cats, two dogs, and a few caged animals. Her passions include reading, writing, caring for her furry and feathery pets, and cooking. You can find and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ by searching for ‘Nadene Seiters’.