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byHopelesslyAddicted©

Maria Lopez always thought she had the perfect life. She had always believed she had it all, a big beautiful home, a luxurious Mercedes, beautiful twin boys, and a wonderful husband. Maria never thought that she could want anything more. Lately however, something had changed her opinion about her perfect little life. Well, not something. Some one. Jason, Jason Herring, one of John's best mates. Sure, what happened at the chance meeting was innocent enough, but something just changed.

Ever since Maria had found out that they were going to have twins, John had worried that there wouldn't be enough money to support them, so Maria had taken up working from home designing business cards and such. She had also started selling Avon, which didn't really earn her that much, but every little penny counted. Each pay she would put no less than Ten percent of it away into a savings account for her boys college fund. Then when the boys turned 16 and they got their first real jobs, they each gave her some money for room and board out of each pay check. Now some people criticized her and her methods of retaining rent money from her kids, but she did have a method to her madness. The boys were turning 18 this year and graduating High school. The money she collected from them she had in a separate account that would be drawn from to buy them each a nice little used car. Being as computer savvy as she was, Maria, was able to find a few possible candidates in a small neighboring town. It was on her trip to visit these cars that she bumped into Jason.

Maria was bent over at the waist looking under the hood of the Camry she had though would interest her son Zac when she spotted a tall man with dark hair sitting at a near by café. There was nothing very remarkable about this man, but something drew her eye to him, no matter how hard she tried to concentrate on the engine in front of her. When she finally weaseled the information she wanted out of the owner, she handed him her business card and told him that she would call him later in the afternoon so that she and John could take it for a test drive. The man nodded, got into the car and pulled out of the lot. As she watched him drive off noting that the car sounded like it had a turbo kit in it, the man drew her attention yet again. Maria let curiosity get the better of her and she ambled over to the café and ordered herself a sandwich and sat at a table a little bit away from his. She was able to get a good seat and see his profile, but she couldn't place his face. Something about the man looked familiar, but she couldn't for the life of her place where she knew him from. She had just taken a sip from her iced tea when he looked up and his eyes caught hers. She almost choked on the now frozen liquid in her mouth. His eyes were a deep concentrated blue and they seemed to stare directly into her soul. His stare never faltered even as the little serving girl dropped a glass of water a few tables over. Maria could feel her face redden as his eyes got a mischievous glint to them and a slow smoldering smile came to his face. There was a strange wave of what can only be described as giddiness started to burn slow and low in Maria's stomach.

The man stood and grabbed his tray of food and came to stand directly behind Maria, where the garbage bins were. "You do know that it is impolite to stare?" the deep rumbling voice came from behind her and sent shivers down her spine. She finally gulped down the tea and turned to apologize to him, but he was gone., but sitting there on the edge of her table was a business card. Jason Herring Photography. Maria was floored. She read the card twice before it sank in who he was and why he was so familiar to her. He was in her wedding all those years ago. He wasn't her husband's best man, but he was there. That odd sensation was replaced with something of shame mixed with dread. Did he know who I am? Ohmygod! What if he tells John? What would he tell him though, Maria? He caught you staring at him? Maria almost laughed out loud as she warred with herself. This must be what insanity felt like.

The whole thirty minuet ride home, Maria could think of little else except the strange meeting. She thought back to the days when her and John just started out as a couple. Those days seemed to be so distant and far away that she could only remember bits and pieces. It was hard to picture John's childhood friends, there was a lot of booze and the occasional drug or two when they were rebellious. She remembered Jason, he was always a little shorter and pudgier than the rest of the group. He never did seem to fit in well, but he had an incredible taste in music. After their wedding, Maria and John moved a few towns over and rarely saw their childhood friends, but there were lots of phone calls and e-mails passed arround. Maria pulled into the driveway to see her husband's car also there.

"john?" Maria asked as she walked in and saw him sitting at the dining room table going over some paperwork. "you are home early dear." he glanced up and smiled.

"Yes, the meeting went better than we hoped and the client decided he wanted to go all in with the project. I turned it over to Michael to finalize and gather the crew. We should start to break ground here within the next few weeks." he smiled, his face flush with excitement. Maria almost frowned when she realized that she didn't feel the same giddy feeling that she did when Jason smiled at her. "So, I was able to come home and spend some time with my wife, who happened to not be home. "

Maria ducked her head and stared at her feet. " I was checking on those cars over in Murrysville. I told you about them."

"Yes, you did. I completely forgot. So what did you find?" He was all business now. He scooted the paperwork that he was riffling through into the file folder. He leaned back in his chair and glanced into her eyes.

"well," Maria spoke as she turned and reached for the fridge. "Out of the three only one I think would be suitable." She pulled out a bottle of water and twisted the cap off to take a long drink. "The Taurus was a bust, the engine sounded like it was slipping and the tires did not look safe. I had high hopes for the Pontiac, but it was a rust bucket, it would have needed a complete overhaul. The Camry, on the other hand sounded good, and looked better. There was a rust spot or two on the one fender, but Other than that, it looked top notch. The gentleman said that the car was bought for his son, but the kid had gotten himself into a lot of trouble with his dad's car and they had to pay some heft fines. So the car was a little under market value so that they could sell it and make up some of the money. I defiantly think that it is beyond worth it. Zac would love it. "

John nodded, "did you get a test drive or were you waiting for me?" She looked at him innocently and he laughed. "You waited for me. I see. Well, you know your cars honey, if you think that it looks good and sounds good go ahead and get a good feel for the car."

She nodded. "I told the man that I would call him to set up a test drive." He smiled at her and nodded as she sat across the table from him. "I was thinking about calling him later.|

"While you were out, Jason called me." He commented as he got up from the table and headed over to the kitchen cabinet that held the snacks. "You remember Jason don't you? Jason Herring?" Maria was glad that her husband was turned away from her and could not see that her face was pale and that she couldn't breathe. "He was at our wedding, I believe that he walked Danielle down the isle behind Marc and Lena." He turned after that with a package of crackers.

Maria nodded slowly, regaining her composure. "I think I remember him. He was the chunky one right?" she looked down at her hands as her husband re-took his seat.

"yes" he laughed and nibbled on one of his crackers. "I have heard that he lost most of that years ago and has grown into himself a bit. Anyway," he shook his head as if to clear it "He called to say that he has recently moved into a nearby town and wanted to invite us out for dinner to get reacquainted." He looked over the top of the cracker box at Maria. "I told him I thought it was a great idea and I assured him that we could escape for a few hours for dinner and some drinks."

Maria swallowed hard and met her husband's stare. "Oh, well, of course we could get away for a few hours if we planned when does he want to get together?" It was hard for her to say, but the pained look on her husband's face was enough to make her swallow hard again. "John, what did you do?" she managed her angriest voice, but there was little to no force behind them, in fact she was worried that she sounded breathless.

"well," he drew the word out and that worried her more. "he asked if we were available tonight..." Maria gasped. "and I told him that it sounded like a great idea because we hadn't been out in the longest time, and we need some adult time.... So we are going out tonight. I'm sorry sweetie," he was staring at Maria's open mouth and pale complexion apparently thinking that she was angry at him. She would be under normal circumstances, but this was not a normal occurrence.

"John, I haven't a thing to wear out for dinner and drinks. I barely leave home anymore in anything more dressy than slacks and a t shirt. Oh, what am I going to wear?" She stood up and started to pace around the kitchen pulling at her hair and chewing on her bottom lip. John came up behind her and placed his hands on her waist, stopping her forward motion.

"Dear, why don't you just go buy something new?" she turned and looked at him. She opened her mouth to argue but he put a finger to her lips. "I know its not something that we need, but I think a quick, small splurge on an outfit or two for going out and doing adult things isn't out of order." She opened her mouth again. " Before you tell me that you wouldn't know what's in style, take the boys with you. They are teenagers, they will be home soon, and they will give you their honest opinion about the clothes and whether or not they make you look like an old lady." He leaned in and kissed her softly on the mouth. It effectively silenced her protests.

"Do you think that the boys would do that for me? And what are we going to do with them tonight?" She was back in panic mode and John had to hold on to her again before she began pacing again.

"Honey, they will be fine. They are turning into very responsible adults I am fairly sure that if we were to leave them alone for one night it couldn't possibly be a total disaster." That was the moment when the front door opened and slammed behind loud footfalls and loud voices.

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