Tempt Him

By: Olivia Jaymes

CHAPTER ONE




Mia


I was late again. It wasn’t unusual and my friends were used to it. For all I knew, they had told me a meeting time fifteen minutes early so I wouldn’t be tardy. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be punctual. I did. It simply never seemed to work out. I was born at forty-two weeks and have been running late ever since. A fact my mother hasn’t let me forget in all of my thirty-one years. As far as she is concerned, I ruined Christmas and New Year’s.

Take today, for example, this was an outing I’d been looking forward to all week. I don’t get to spend near enough time with my friends these days and we’d planned a long, leisurely lunch in one of the trendy bistros in the downtown area. I was planning to blow a weekend’s worth of calories on dessert alone. The chocolate cake was already calling my name.

I had dressed in plenty of time but then my neighbor stopped me on the way to my car to talk about how I felt about the new sidewalks they were putting in. Was I for or against? Which is why I was jogging down the sidewalk in my lime green Converse tennis shoes and sweating in my white cotton sweater and denim jacket.

It was autumn and there was a definite nip in the air. Fall was my absolute favorite season. Even in a little university town like Arborville – smack dab in the middle of corn and cows – there was charm. The leaves were beginning to turn and thoughts of summer fun were fading quickly.

I made my rushed apologies to my sister Shelby and our friends Emmy and Ashlyn. I wasn’t sure just how long we’d all been friends or how we all became a group, but of course Shelby and I were sisters, so we were sort of forced to be friends. Shelby and Mia Kelly, the two redheaded girls on the block. We’d taken a lot of shit about our hair color.

Shelby and I met Ashlyn in a yoga class years ago and Ashlyn and Emmy have been friends since childhood. Somehow that translated into our tight-knit little quartet of cozy estrogen.

My friends had ordered me an iced tea which I gratefully gulped after sitting down.

“We knew you’d be late, Mia,” Shelby said with a roll of her eyes that would have made a teenage girl proud. “But now that you’re here I can tell everyone my amazing news.”

“News?” I parroted. What other news could she have? She’d already announced her engagement a few months ago. Was she pregnant, too?

My sister reached into that oversized handbag like Mary Poppins and pulled out a three-ring binder. “This is it. I finished it.”

“It?” I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. Shelby was always talking. I couldn’t remember every single thing she’d ever said. I wouldn’t have room in my brain for things like weather and which fork to use.

“My book,” she said excitedly, flipping open the plastic pink cover. She was practically vibrating in the chair. “I finished my book. The one about relationships and finding the right man.”

I leaned over and scanned the title page.

How to Trap a Man by Dr. Shelby Kelly.

I looked up at my sister in disbelief. “A man trap? It sounds…archaic. And misogynistic.”

“It’s supposed to be a fun title, not serious. I guess it could change.” She had a pleading look on her face that usually melted any resistance. With other people, but not me. “C’mon, you all swore you’d help me if I ever finished. Well, I’ve finished. Now I need testers for the assignments that I give the readers.”

No way. We had no way of knowing when we’d made that agreement that Shelby would ever finish. In fact, I was pretty sure we were all counting on her being far too busy to ever complete an entire book.

“I know what happened to your last guinea pig. He’s buried under Mom’s rose bushes.”

Shelby huffed her disapproval. “He died of old age. It was nothing I did.”

“Old age? He lived with us for six months. Hardly a geriatric.”

“He was old when I got him. So you’re not going to help me? Even though you promised? I can’t believe this. I think I need new friends. I completed the biggest project of my entire life and this is the response I get? I’m disgusted with all of you.”

We weren’t being very nice but everyone sitting at that table knew what was going to happen. We were all going to say no and then Shelby was going to mention it every time we were together until one by one we all gave in. I was convinced that my sister enjoyed the dance and that if we all just said yes, she’d be slightly let down.