WHO GETS THE FRIENDS? by Tim Smith
Two lonely souls get a chance to make their Christmas wish come true.
When Tom Harris won back his freedom after a bitter divorce, he looked forward to getting a fresh start in life. What he didn’t realize was that his former wife had taken their mutual friends as part of the settlement.
He feared that he’d be alone forever until he met Jessica Mays, who was recovering from the loss of her one true love.
Can these two broken souls find some common ground to make a relationship work? Will Tom discover that there really is life after divorce?
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Tom entered Boston Stoker a little before 3:30 the following afternoon and looked around. Jessica wasn’t there yet so he eased himself into a booth to wait for her. I didn’t think to get her phone number last night. I hope she shows.
A few minutes later the door opened and Jessica stepped in. She spied Tom and approached. He stood and smiled, looking her over. She had on a pair of cream-colored slacks and a lime green shirt with the hospital logo embroidered on the left side. She surprised Tom by giving him a hug before she sat.
Tom resumed his seat. “How was work?”
Jessica groaned and rolled her eyes. “Not worth talking about. I had to work the geriatric ward today and those old folks were cranky.”
A server came by to take their orders. When she departed, Jessica continued. “What have you been doing today?”
“Not much. I found an old movie on TV I hadn’t seen in a long time.”
“The Big Sleep. Ever seen that one?”
“Is that the one with Bogart and Bacall?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“Surprised you weren’t watching football.”
“I’d rather watch a movie. I’m not a real big sports fan.”
Their coffee and biscotti arrived. Jessica took a sip, then picked up one of the biscuits.
“I don’t meet many men who aren’t into sports.”
Tom took a drink. “Disappointed?”
“No, not really. I’m not much into it, either, except for NASCAR.”
Tom raised his eyebrows. “That’s interesting. What about NASCAR fascinates you?”
“The skill of the drivers. What really hooked me was the first time they flashed a close-up of Dale Earnhardt.”
Tom laughed. “Is that the type you go for, the bad boy?”
She giggled. “Not necessarily.” She sipped her coffee. “What about you?”
“What about me?”
“What type do you go for?”
“You’ve got me stumped. I’ve never really thought about it.”
“Then let’s make it easy. How do you feel about busty bleached blondes?”
“I could take ‘em or leave ‘em.”
Her eyebrows arched. “That’s a first. What about tall women who could look you in the eye?”
“As long as they aren’t looking into my soul, they’re okay.”
“You’re turning into more of a puzzle than I figured.” She paused. “What about redheads?”
Tom grinned. “At the risk of getting slapped, I’ve always heard that red hair is indicative of intense passion. Is that true?”
A teasing smile played across her lips. “Maybe.”
“You aren’t going to make this easy for me, are you?”
She patted his hand on the table. “Down, boy.”
Tom sipped his coffee. I’m thoroughly enjoying her company. She’s so easy to talk with. “What made you decide to go into nursing?”
“I helped take care of my grandmother before she died and when I saw how the nurses took such good care of her, I decided it was what I wanted to do.”
“Why did you choose the finance industry?”
“I’ve always been good at math and thought a business degree would ensure me a solid career. Nothing glamorous about it.”
“At least you’re honest. A lot of people wouldn’t admit that they only got into something for the money.” She took a drink. “So what’s the story behind your newfound bachelorhood?”
Tom looked at her for a moment. “Do you really want to talk about that?”
“Mm-hmm. I’d just like to know what pitfalls to watch out for.”
He laughed. “Okay, I’ll give you the Cliffnotes version. Things were going okay until one day I did the unthinkable.”
Jessica held up her hand. “Don’t tell me—you forgot your wedding anniversary or your ex-wife’s birthday.”
“Close. I remembered her birthday, I just forgot to take out a second mortgage to get the gift she expected.”
“You said expected.”
“That’s right. Why?”
“You didn’t say wanted. That tells a lot about a person’s character.”
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