“People like you don’t fall in love with people like me.”
Meet Holly Hughes, a moderately successful teen advice columnist living in a studio apartment on the Upper East Side with her boyfriend Stephen. She has it all, but at the ripe age of thirty-one, she wants more. She wants to be married, she wants a family, and she’s going to have it all with Stephen.
At least, that’s what she thought until Stephen announces he’s gay, and the domino effect of unfortunate events begins. She soon finds herself unemployed, single, and living in her sister’s house on Long Island, working as her niece’s babysitter for less than minimum wage. She’s pretty certain she’s destined to live in the Land of Mediocrity forever.
And then, her niece runs face-first into a tall, handsome man at the bookstore.
Standing outside the door, I inhaled and exhaled slowly before knocking, making a conscious effort to clear my brain of anything but excitement for the night ahead. I told myself that Brandon didn’t want me, Brandon was only a friend, and with a final deep breath, I knocked.
As if he had been waiting right on the other side, the door flew open. There to greet me was Ben and three large tail-wagging Labrador Retrievers, two black and one yellow. The three beasts pushed past Ben, tripping up his legs as they rushed toward me; pushing against me with their huffing black noses and slobbering mouths.
One of them, the biggest of the black dogs, jumped up to rest his heavy paws against my chest. A thick tongue lapped out of his wide mouth to slurp over my face. My eyes squeezed shut through the sloppy assault, hovering somewhere between amusement and panic. After regaining his balance, Ben grabbed the dog by the collar and gently pulled him back to the ground.
“Jesus, Rocky, that’s not how we make friends,” Ben told the dog, crouching next to the excited animal, mushing his snout affectionately with his hands before standing to flash me a genuine grin.
“Hey, I’m sorry about that. We don’t get too many strangers around here. I hope you’re not afraid of dogs,” he said, apparently noticing the way I clutched my hands to my chest in an attempt to guard myself from the watering mouths of his hellhounds.
“O-oh, no, I, uh, I-I …” I closed my eyes, taking a deep controlled breath. I opened them again to Ben scratching the ears of the dog named Rocky, and I smiled then. “Let me try that again. No, I’m not afraid of dogs. I just wasn’t really expecting that to be the first kiss I got tonight, but you know, here we are.”
“Rocky just has a thing for the ladies, but here, let me make it up to you.” And before I knew what was happening, he was standing and snaking an arm around my waist. He pulled me into him to press his lips firmly against mine for all of a couple seconds before backing away with a dimpled grin. “Better?”
“Much,” I said with a relaxed smile.
is a writer of short stories, poetry, and novels, primarily centered around romance from both the perspective of men and women. She prides herself on being both witty and depressing but finds it easier to be depressing for some depressing reason.