I'm going to start a new thing - once a month, I will post an excerpt from one of my books. Today, I'm going to post from Dragonfly Moments, my Ubuntu Line book.
Ryan was standing a foot from her again. His woodsy, manly scent drifted into her senses.
“Do you always listen in on other people’s conversations?”
“Don’t settle for less.”
Her vision blurred for a moment. What did he mean by that? Was he referring to Mark? How dare he? It was her decision. How dare he come back out of the past and start assuming things about her.
“I don’t know what you mean, and you’re starting to upset me.”
“You know what I mean.”
“No, I don’t. Look, I think you’d better go.”
“Kicking a customer out.” He winked. He never used to wink like that—that much she remembered.
“Are you really intending to buy anything?”
“Paint me something from your heart. Truly from your heart, and I will buy it.”
What? Goosebumps ran up her arms. Paint something specially for Ryan? It was as if he’d touched a chord inside her that was only hers. She knew what painting from the heart implied. The proof was at home in her cupboards. But Ryan mustn’t know that.
“I don’t know what you mean,” she said again.
“Yes, you do. Let me know when you’ve done it.”
“I don’t even have your number.”
“Here’s my business card.”
He handed it to her, and she dropped it on her desk like a hot coal. So she wasn’t going to get rid of Ryan and all the memories so easily. Business was business. Having someone commission a painting was a first for her.
“Thanks.” She let out a shaky breath and looked down at the papers on her desk, desperate to find something to busy herself with. Too much intense emotion for one day. At least her evening with Mark would be calm and ordinary.
Ryan left, and she walked to the door, intending to lock it, but no, it was still working hours. The relief of him leaving was short-lived. Now she had to face up to the empty gallery and her crazy thoughts about Mark leaving. But, everything would happen for the future good. She had to look to the future, not be swayed by silly current emotions.
She padded to the painting with the red roof and studied it. It would have looked wrong with a brown roof. His attention to detail was commendable yet not good enough to have noticed how much she loved him all those years he visited them. And he hadn’t been clever enough to dump Annie and date her. All his fault.
A muffled groan escaped her lips. Just when she’d moved on with her life and forgotten about Ryan, there he was, back in it.
Too bad. He could stay in but at a distance—a comfortable distance. Given how she’d made it through art college working part time until late most nights, she could stop him from swaying her. He wasn’t going to get in the way of what she wanted and needed. He couldn’t offer her the guarantee of forever or have her need for a family met.
Running to her desk, she pulled out the baby magazine from inside a drawer and let her fingers slide over the glossy pictures of the soft little bundles of humanity displayed on the pages. She would make a good mother, that was one thing she knew. Anyone who wanted a child as much as she did would be the most devoted mother in the world.
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