Blueprints Of A Happy Lifebyflameinacorset©
My thanks to my wonderfully supportive and talented editor, NaivelyWandering!
This story could be in the Mature category also, but it's kind of the whole point of this story, that love is more important than age, so I put it here in the Romance section. I hope you enjoy!
"Thank god this day is over!" I mumbled to myself irritably while watching the scenery pass me by outside the bus window. "Now I can finally go home, watch some crappy tv show and eat icecream straight from the container; I've earned the right." The day started badly; my alarm clock's battery had died and obviously my inner clock doesn't work at all, so when I finally woke up I was already running late. Because I was in a hurry I managed to spill a cup of coffee on my blouse and after changing I knew I was going to be quite late to work. You'd think that would be enough bad luck for one morning, but no, fate had other plans for me. When I ran out of the house the first thing I noticed was that my car had a flat tire, so I had to wait for a bus. By the time I made it to the office I was an hour late and my boss, Bill Johnson, wasn't happy. I apologized and tried to explain what had happened, but he didn´t care. I like my job very much and my colleagues are a fun group of talented people, but our boss is a real stick in the mud. He just glared at me and said snidely, "I guess it's too much to expect an adult to be responsible and arrive on time for work. You better be prepeard to work an hour later today, missy."
God! That made me angry! I've never been late from work before and he makes it sound like it's a regular occurrance. All the women in the office hate the way Bill speaks to us, like we're stupid and just out of our teens. I mean, I'm a woman of 37 years! Thank god that old chauvinist is retiring in a couple of months. The day was busy and by the time I was sitting in the bus on my way home, I was totally knackered and I still had to change the flat tire so I could get to work the next morning. After such a horrid day all I wanted was that ice-cream and bad TV.
When I got home I noticed my neigbour, Matt, fixing the flat tire on my front yard. Oh! That blessed sweetheart!
"Hey, Matt. You don't have to do that!" I called, walking up my front lawn.
"I know I didn't have to, but I wanted to help. It's not a big deal, Charlotte."
"Well, it is to me. Thank you very much! Can I offer you coffee as a thank you?"
"You´re welcome! I would love a cup of coffee, but give me a minute and I'll go wash my hands and change into cleaner clothes."
" Of course. I'll go and make the coffee," I smiled, pointing at my front door. "just let yourself in when you're done."
"Okay, see you in a minute."
When I moved into my house after my divorce four years ago Matt had just moved into his a month earlier. We were both new to the area, and didn't really know anyone. Despite the age difference we became friends. It was nice to have someone to talk to and have a cup of coffee with sometimes. Matt, of course, found friends at the university and even got a girlfriend quite quickly, and I befriended some people from the office. But even after we had found our separate circles of friends we kept in touch, and Matt was the best neighbour you could ask for. Matt would often mow my lawn after finishing his and even helped with the snow shoveling. I offered to pay him, but he adamantly refused to take money from me, so I took up the habit of baking cookies and other goodies for him. I don't really know how a student can afford a house in our neighbourhood, and it's not my place to ask, but I remember him mentioning something about an inheritance. Now at the age of 25, Matt is at the finishing stages of his education; he is majoring in architecture. I hope he finds a job somewhere close by so he doesn't have to move, I would hate to lose such a good friend and neighbour.
Just when I was finished setting the table, Matt walked in and I couldn't help but notice how good he looked in the faded jeans that molded to him perfectly and the T-shirt that hugged his broad shoulders.
"You clean up well." I said with a smile.
Matt smiled back at me a bit awkwardly, blushing slightly. "Thanks."
"I'm sorry, I didn´t mean to make you uncomfortable."
"Don't worry, I'm just not used to compliments like that," he replied, shrugging.
"What? The girls at the university don't appreciate a good looking athletic young man?"
"I don't date that much, so I wouldn't know. I get asked sometimes, so I guess they do appreciate."
Now that he mentioned it I really couldn't remember seeing any girls coming in or out of his house after his break-up from Jennifer a year ago.
"What about that Jennifer? She must have complimented you. I mean, I don't want to embarass you, but clearly you have a body that most women find pleasing."
"Well, I dont think she would have dated me if I wasn't envy-causing enough. Impressing her friends was important to Jennifer, but she was more focused on what she looked like all hours of the day."
"Oh, I'm sorry. Is that why you broke up?" We'd never really talked about our love lives and I suddenly found myself very curious.
"Yeah, she's a nice girl, but too obsessed in appearances and what people think of her."
"I think it's a common problem with younger women."
"I guess so, I just don't understand why someone would want to live her life for someone else."
"It's about insecurity and needing the acceptance. Most people grow out of it, but some don't. It's sad."
"Yeah, it's not like I want to offend or hurt people, but I want to live my life in a way that makes me happy. Follow your heart and stuff like that."
"Don't ever lose that attitude, it will take you far in life." I couldn't help but smile at Matt's words; at the same time he sounded very young and very mature. His passion for life is something many people lose under their responsibilities, but the simple truth in Matt's words was undeniable.
"But to return to our earlier conversation, why haven't you dated much after Jennifer?"
"Well, I noticed a lot of girls are like Jennifer and I didn't want a repeat performance."
"There must be some smart, confident girls you know?"
"Of course, but I just haven't met the right one." Matt looked like he wanted to say something more but was hesitating. "I... I actually have a crush on someone, but the situation is, well, it's complicated."
"We're good friends and I'm not sure she would react well if I told her that I want to be more than friends."
"That's a risk of course, but a friendship is a very good place to start a relationship."
"I know, I'm just worried I'll lose her altogether."
"But can you be just a friend to her?"
"Not any more."
"So, I guess that's the answer to your problem."
"Yes it is, now I just have to work up the courage to actually tell her." He said with a laugh.
"So, tell me. What is she like, this dream girl of yours?"
"Oh! She's wonderful, really smart and sexy. I feel comfortable talking to her just about anything, and her smile brightens up my day. She's the most big hearted person I've ever met."
"Sounds like a keeper, Matt. I hope that everything works out for the two of you." I replied softly, biting my bottom lip.
"So do I, Char. So do I..."
After Matt left, I changed in to my pyjamas and sat on the sofa eating the long awaited icecream and wondering why I felt a little jealous after hearing Matt's news. I mean it's great that he has finally found someone, a guy like Matt is an absolute treasure and shouldn't be alone. I guess I just feel like the last single person in the world though technically the word is divorcee, but that sounds even more depressing. I've been on a couple of dates since the divorce, and they were all okay (no horror stories) but I wasn't really interested. I don't like to be alone and I would love to find someone and fall in love, but I'd rather be alone than be with someone who I really didn't care enough about. I refuse to settle.
My ex-husband Ben, is a good man who treated me nice, I have no such complaints that many women have about their neglectful husbands. The problem was that he wasn't that passionate, and I don't mean just the sex, though that department was also lacking. What I mean is his attitued for life. He didn't want to learn new things or experience something new and inspiring. Most of all I missed meaningful and deep conversations, really getting to know each other. With Matt we have a habit of taking the cookies I baked for him and eating them on the porch, all the while talking about anything and everything under the sun; what we want from life and things like that. Ben was always just happy watching tv, and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with tv, I love to just hang out, especially on days like this, but I needed something more. I wanted a more active life and I was growing unhappy in our marriage. I felt guilty leaving a good man who really hadn't done anything wrong, but I knew I would become bitter if I didn't get out. Ben didn't really understand, but he had noticed how I had become short-tempered with him and in the end our separation was amiacable.
After the divorce I filled my life with hobbies, with things I always wanted to learn, and was actually quite pleased with how things were, but once in a while I got lonely. Like right now when I could see how infatuated Matt was with his lady.
If I was fifteen years younger, I would give that mystery girl a run for her money.
Whoa! Since when did I consired Matt as someone I would want to date? I didn't, of course. He's twelve years younger than me, for Christ's sake. But to be honest, Matt has many of the qualities I'm looking for in a man and he's certainly easy on the eyes. Matt is tall and has a trim body, not overly muscular, more lean looking. His eyes are startlingly green and his dark, slightly wavy hair falls beautifully on his shoulders. The best feature in Matt, however, is his warm smile that absolutely lights up the room. I really hope that girl is smart enough to really apprecate him.
Before I went to bed I stood in front of the mirror and looked at myself. Not too bad in my opinion, especially if I sucked in my stomach a little. A bit too much flab in the thighs, but otherwise everything looked pretty fine. My breasts are smallish, but perky for a woman nearing her forties and my round ass has always been my favourite part of my body. My hair is almost to my lower back and I like the chocolate brown colour that has a hint of copper in it. My eyes are hazel and I have long dark lashes that really don't need mascara to look good. So not too bad, but I'm not in my twenties anymore, that's obvious. And after thinking about Matt, for a moment I really wanted to be in my twenties.
Stupid dreams from a woman approaching middle-age.
I didn't see Matt for the next couple of days; I figured he was busy with his studies, and I was secretly happy that I had time to bury my stupid fantasies before seeing him again. I didn't want to embarrass myself and I was sure he would see that something was wrong. Finally on Friday he came by and we sat in the kitchen eating muffins. We were talking about how our weeks went, I complained about my boss, very basic, easy stuff. Suddenly Matt changed the topic and asked, " How should I tell her, my dream woman, about how I feel?"
"I think it's important to wait for the right moment."
"How do I know when it's the right moment?"
"You have to create it, of course. Invite her to dinner, give her some flowers to hint about your intentions so your announcement doesn't come totally out of the blue. She has time to think about it and doesn't feel cornered when you declare your feelings and you can read her reactions to try to find out how she feels about you."
"Sounds like a good plan. Thanks for your help, Charlotte."
"That's what I'm here for, to give some advice from the older and wiser."
"You're not that much older."
"Enough that I can call myself wiser." I said with a laugh.
After Matt left, I was doing the laundry when the phone rang.
"Hello, am I talking to Charlotte Lewis?"
"Yes, that's me."
"Wonderful, I'm John Marvin. Hope I'm not calling at a bad time."
"No, not at all." I knew John of course, he is the boss of my boss Bill, but I couldn't figure out why he was calling me.
"Great. You're probably wondering why I´m calling, so I'll get straight to the point. You know about Bill Johnson retiring, I presume?"
"Yes, of course."
"I have been looking a replacement for him and I want it to be someone who's alredy part of the team and familiar with our work instead of bringing in someone from the outside. "
"That makes sense, Sir. We're a very close knit group and more productive because of it."
"Yes, though I doubt Mr.Johnson understood that."
I held my tongue, not wanting to sound unprofessional.
" I see from your file, you've been with our company for many years and you are highly respected, so I wanted to ask you if you would be willing to step up and take the job."
"Yes, I don't know anyone who would be better suited for the job - we need someone with fresh ideas and a more modern way of thinking. Would you be interested?"
"Yes, very much so."
"Wonderful. I have to ask you to come in for an interview first thing on Monday morning, but after the glowing recommendations of your co-workers, it's really just a formality."
"Thank you very much, Sir."
"See you on Monday, Miss Lewis."
I was so happy I could scream. Finally I was getting recognition for all my hard work.
I was so excited about my promotion that I hardly slept at all. I decided to go for a jog to get rid of the ecxess energy. Jogging felt good and helped me to relax and get my focus back. After the jog I took a long bath and had a glass of white wine; I figured I had deserved a bit of pampering and I didn't really have any plans for today. That changed though when Matt called an hour later.
"You busy tonight Char?"
"Not really. Why, what did you have in mind?"
"I feel like going out, so I wanted to ask if you'd like to go out and have a dinner, my treat."
"Sounds good, where do you want to go?"
"That great Italian place we talked about."
"Fancy! Well, why not, gives me an excuse to wear something really pretty. And I actually have some great news and a reason to celebrate.What time?"
"I have something I wanted to talk you about, too. I'll pick you up at your door at seven thirty. "
"Okay, see you then."
I selected my outfit carefully for reasons I didn't want to think about too closely. After long consideration I chose my favorite red dress that had a plunging neckline and hem that only reached mid tigh, though it felt a bit too much. But I reasoned away my self-consciousness, I was going out to celebrate my promotion with Matt and I wanted to look good; look good for Matt. I curled my hair, shaved everything that needed to be shaved, put my highest heels on and added a touch of make up before inspecting my image from the mirror with a critical eye. Ah! I almost forgot the jewelry. I was just putting the tear shaped pearl earrings on when the doorbell rang. I checked the clock; it was precisely seven thirty.
I opened the door and had to stifle a gasp as Matt looked edible in his black suit. I'd never seen him in a suit before and he looked really elegant and mature in it. Soon, however, my eyes darted to the bouquet of red roses he was holding in his hand and I got a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach.
"Charlotte, you look amazing!"
"Thank you, kind Sir." I said with a curtsy. "You look quite handsome yourself." I realised I was flirting with him, but told myself it was harmless. I can indulge myself and live part of the old woman's fantasies. Anyway, I was besides myself with the excitement about my promotion, and along with the sight of Matt looking flawless on my doorstep, I was practically bursting with all this attention.
"Here, I got you some flowers." He said and handed me the roses.
"Thank you, they´re beautiful. I´ll put them in water and then we can get going."
The restaurant was gorgeous, you know the type, very expensive looking, dim light, the works. After we had ordered our food and drinks I couldn't contain myself any more and told him about the promotion. He was very happy for me, very supportive, he knows how much I enjoy my work. I was excited to be able to share this with him and babbled on for about half an hour when I realised he had become quiet. He was listening to me but clearly there was something on his mind, and I remembered he said on the phone that he had something he wanted to talk to me about.
"I'm sorry Matt, I got carried away. You had something you wanted to tell me?"
"It's okay, you're excited about your new job, you're entitled to get carried away."
"Kind of you to say so, but what did you want to talk about?"
"Well, I wanted to talk about us. We have been friends for four years now..."
"I know, the time just flies by. I remember how young you seemed. You were just 21 when we met, almost innocent looking, but already smart and opinionated." I said laughing, picturing him in my mind the way he looked when I first met him.
"Like you said, it was a long time ago. I'm all grown up."
"That's certainly true, you look very grown up tonight."
"Remember when I told you about the woman of my dreams?"
"Of course." I cringed mentally; I had hoped he wouldn't bring her up today.
"That's you Charlotte. I've had a crush on you for so long, but I didn't want to ruin our friendship, so I didn't say anything. But I fell in love with you and I can't keep quiet any longer."
I couldn't have been more suprised if he'd told me he was from outer space. I've had my fantasies about us, but they were just that, fantasies! I never suspected he had feelings for me.
"Charlotte? Say something, please."
"I'm just so shocked..."
" I thought the flowers were supposed to give you a hint, so this wouldn't come as a total surprise."
"That was the theory. I guess I'm just a bit slow. I didn't realize..."
"Just tell me are you attracted to me?"
"Well, of course. You are very attractive. But I'm twelve years older than you!"
"What does that matter? We are good together, best of friends. If the attraction is there as well, what's stopping us?"
"But what will people say? I'd look like some sad, pathetic woman hanging on to her youth by dating younger men and everybody would look at us and think how you could have someone much better. I just can't, Matt. It wouldn't work because of the age difference. I'm sorry"
"I could understand if you just didn't have feelings for me, but this, you wont even give us a chance?"
He looked sad and angry, like he was disappointed in me, and that look nearly broke my resolve, but I stayed firm. I was strengthened by my conviction that I was doing the right thing for him.
"I'm really sorry, Matt. You'll find some wonderful girl your own age."
"I don't want anyone else but you, Charlotte. Can't you see how well suited we are to each other? That doesn't come along very often in life."
I sighed inwardly, willing my voice not to tremble when I made my next statement.
"I think it would be better if you took me home now."
Matt summoned the waiter and paid the bill. The ride home was quiet and Matt never took his eyes off the road. He walked me to my door, but when I opened it and tried to go in, he stopped me with a hand on my forearm.
He looked at me intently, his feelings shining out of his eyes and said, "I really love you, Charlotte." Then he kissed me gently. Before I had time to react in any way, he had already turned away and was walking back to his house. I could still feel his lips on mine and the memory of his words brought tears to my eyes.