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One Perfect Night

Written by Teresa Southwick

Chapter Eighteen

"He's thinking about it? Being a father to her baby?" Katie stared at Julie as she held up the four-inch spiked heel she was getting ready to try on.

It was Saturday and Julie had jumped at the chance to go shopping when her friend had called. While they were sitting in the shoe department of Fashion Show Mall's Nordstrom, she'd blurted out what had happened with her and Ben the night before.

"He won't do anything that will upset me," Julie added.

"How could it not upset you? He'd be spending time with another woman and her child. Becoming a family unit with them. Taking time away from you. Dropping everything when she calls with a kid crisis."

"Wow." She picked up a shoebox from the stack her salesman had brought. "I never knew you were such an optimist."

"Tell me you didn't think about all of that."

Julie nodded. "But hearing everything out loud and in a hostile tone sounds even worse than it did in my head."

"Good, because it is worse." Katie sighed and put the black patent-leather shoe back in the box and folded the tissue paper over it. "You couldn't wait until lunch to dump this on me? Man traumas take all the joy out of shoe shopping."

"I thought retail therapy helped put man problems in perspective."

"And I thought I trained you better, little grasshopper." Her friend gave her that Katie look. "Take-that-you-jerk talk happens over wine and chocolate."

"I'll stitch that on a sampler and hang it in my kitchen."

"Your bedroom would be a better place," her friend warned.

"The thing is…" Julie rested her hands on the shoe box in her lap. She understood now that Ben had put a hold on their relationship because of all the reasons Katie had just ticked off. He really had been trying to protect her. "Ben isn't a jerk. The fact that he's even considering this makes him one of the good guys, it's one of the reasons I love him."

"And because he's a catch, this is a classic ploy to steal him from you." Her friend's scowl turned into a proud smile. "Good for you, by the way, owning your feelings for him."

"Thanks. And I think you're wrong about Penny."

Katie arched an eyebrow. "You met her?"

"Right after you lectured me in my office yesterday. I went downstairs to tell Ben that I love him and not waste any more time."

"Good to know my words didn't fall on deaf ears. And?"

"She was there with the baby. Ben introduced us. She's nice." Julie met her friend's skeptical expression. "I don't know what made her do what she did and lose Ben, but she loves her baby. If she were a witch, this would all be so much easier."

"You're too trusting."

"Maybe. But my childhood gives me perspective. I was raised by a single mom. No one knows better than me that another pair of hands would help. Maybe if I'd had a strong father figure in my life, I wouldn't have wasted so much time picking the wrong guys and resisting love."

Katie sighed in defeat. "Does Ben know any of this?"

"No. Because until now I didn't have my best friend to help me work it through." Julie smiled, suddenly looking forward to later. "Ben and I are going to talk more tonight."

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About the author

I discovered my love for books through being lazy. In a high-school hi...

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Teresa Southwick

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