My mom likes to say that good things come in threes. “Remember that time we went to see the Phantom of the Opera, Paige?” she always says to me. “Not only did our seats get upgraded for free, but we won those tickets to go see Wicked and we met Mariah Carey!”
By met, Mom meant, “saw from a distance” and to this day, I still swear it was not Mariah Carey.
And if it was her, then I really feel the need to tell her that cornrows are not a flattering hairstyle for her.
I’m curious what Mom would say about my current situation. I really don’t think I am looking at three good things.
Maybe three confusing things.
But not good things.
“Well?” My boss, Mark Lawman, is sitting in front of my desk, looking at me expectedly.
I don’t know what to say. I stare at the paper he gave me that laid out a new job description of what I did, the biggest difference being the huge raise he is offering.
On the one hand, I am excited about the prospect of more money. Saving is kind of a high priority for me at the moment after a few lean months, thanks to saying yes to too many things.
On the other hand, it will solidify my role in this adoption agency as a secretary for life.
I don’t necessarily like the mental image I have of myself at ninety-four, sitting at this same desk, answering this same phone in a warbling version of my voice. “Lawman Adoption Agency, this is Paige.”
Mark must see something in my expression because he clears his throat and stands. “Just think about it, Paige.” Then he hurries down the hall to his office, leaving me with the paper and my cluttered desk.
I reread the new job description. Basically, all he did is include transcription work, but that is something I already do thanks to a much extended maternity leave our regular transcriptionist has been taking since about two years ago.
I figure we can pretty much consider her retired.
I set the paper down with a sigh and go back to my lunch of bagged salad and the text message I was reading when Mark had interrupted my lunch break.
IT’S JUST DINNER BETWEEN OLD FRIENDS, PAIGE.
Luke Prestwick, my best friend Layla’s older brother, has a very skewed view of the past apparently. “Old friends” implies that there is an ongoing friendship.
Something he ended nearly five years ago.
Right then my phone buzzes again and I look at the message, worrying that it is Luke again.
HI PAIGE! JUST THINKING ABOUT YOU. HOPE YOU ARE HAVING A GOOD DAY!
It is from Tyler Jennings.
“Well, that’s a pretty smile.”
I look up to see Peggy, one of the two counselors who work at the agency. She is standing in front of my desk holding a microwavable cup of chicken and rice soup and a spoon, grinning at me.
I shrug and try to wipe my face clean of emotion. “Soup day?” I ask her, trying to change the subject.
“I’m not that easily distracted, Paige, and yes. It’s cold out.”
Cold is a relative term in Dallas. Particularly in March. Really, what she means is that it’s raining outside.
I peer out the front window and sigh. Nothing like a drizzly day to make you wish you were home watching HGTV shows in fuzzy sweatpants instead of sitting in an office chair in a skirt.
My phone buzzes yet again. Peggy smirks at me. “Look who is Miss Popular.”
It’s Luke again.
REALLY, PAIGE, I JUST WANT TO CATCH UP AND FIGURED THIS WEEK WOULD BE A GREAT TIME SINCE IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY ON FRIDAY. :)
I can’t decide if I am flattered or confused by Luke Prestwick remembering my birthday. Four years ago, I would have been overjoyed.
“So?” Peggy taps my desk with the end of her spoon.
“What are we so-ing about?” Candace walks in from the hallway leading back to her office. She is absently crunching a celery stick, which means there is yet another wedding or baby shower or some milestone coming up in her ridiculously huge extended family. Candace crash diets before every event.
“Nothing.” I shake my head. These two are way too curious about my personal life, and having been shrinked by them before, I am in no hurry to have it happen again.
Last time they were critiquing my innate need to say yes to every single thing anyone asked of me. It got to the point where I didn’t even have time to do my devotions I was so busy.
So, yes, they were right about that, but there isn’t anything to tell right now. Tyler and I have been on one date. Apparently, this is the prime season for software developers so he is slammed at work.
I shrug Peggy and Candace off and they finally exchange a look. “Okay, fine,” Peggy says. “We’ll do this your way.” Then they look at each other again and go back down the hall to their offices.
I glance at the clock. I have five more minutes in my lunch break, so I text Tyler first.
THANKS! HAVING A PRETTY GOOD DAY. I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING A GOOD DAY TOO!
It sounds horrible. I stare at it for three of my five remaining minutes before finally just sending it because I can’t come up with a different way to word it without sounding even more like a chirpy little girl.
Then I click over to reply to Luke and just stare at the touch-screen keyboard for the next ninety seconds.
I WILL THINK ABOUT IT.
I push send. No smiley face, no exclamation point. Maybe he’d get the message and recant his constant pleading over the last two weeks.
That is another thing. He can’t bother to visit for two years and now that he’s come back for his parents’ anniversary party two weeks ago, he can suddenly stay in town? He tried to talk to me the whole night of his parents’ party, but things just got crazy.
And I’ve been doing a great job of avoiding him since then.
I’ve been doing a great job of avoiding a lot of people.