Two roads. One choice.
Anabella Anthony found she was alone in the world at eighteen. Early on, she made a choice; to live an ordinary life away from the lifestyle her parents preferred. However, they had plans for her; they wanted her to become a part of their choices.
All she wanted was a regular household, with normal day to day issues like her peers, parents she could respect, and who above anything else would accept her for the person she is. Torn between dreams that filled her mind with alluring effects and uncomfortable events which tried to sway her, she had to come to a resolution: find peace and stay true to her convictions.
Through it all, she excelled in her sport; a dedicated student who falls in love with a much older man. Will she give in to her body's desires, or will she remain steadfast in her own choices? Can she find the courage to stand amidst the turmoil wanting to drag her down? And most importantly, will she ever forgive those who meant to harm her?
Aldrich Hagin, a lawyer, is ready to settle down. After a tragic loss he experienced right after university he is now, more than ever, ready to move on and start a family. And then he meets a young, energetic, lively woman who turns his life and heart around. Will he be willing to sacrifice his own desires and wait? Can he help her and be the anchor she so desperately needs? Confronted with his own decisions, the choice is his as to whether he’ll stay or leave. What will he decide?
A love story filled with decisions both have to make; to stand against all odds and remain true to oneself.
About the Author:
Lynelle Clark lives in Gauteng, South Africa. Her writing career began in 2010. Lynelle has always loved to read books, in which she discovers new worlds. Meeting new people and travelling is one of her passions. So far, the writing journey has been exciting, but it helps that she loves the whole process from beginning to end.
Connecting with readers is important, so feel free to get in touch with Lynelle on any of the following links:
Connecting with readers is important, so feel free to get in touch with Lynelle on any of the following links:
TWITTER : https://twitter.com/LynelleClark1
Everyone turned and made their way out to the patio. Aldrich and Anabella found themselves at the back of the group, waiting patiently for them to go through the patio doors. He moved forward, pressing against her. His body heat surrounded her and Anabella could pick up his cologne; spicy with a hint of sea breeze. She inhaled with pleasure, fully aware of the man directly behind her.
Aldrich himself found it hard to think of anything else for some reason. He was attracted to the young girl. It was just not his style to be interested in a mere child, but she intrigued him. Her innocence was a thing of beauty. There was also something else, a sadness she carefully hid from everyone, but it drew him to her.
He wanted to shield her, his hands almost reaching to touch her and hold her safe. The last time he felt this kind of protectiveness was when he’d been married all those years ago. Since then, he hadn’t felt it with any other woman. She was a young girl trapped in a woman’s body, with no idea of where she belonged.
Instead of giving in to the need to touch her, he bent over and asked in a low voice, “How old are you?”
“Eighteen.” She was self-assured but careful. She turned and saw his lips up close and wondered how they would taste. As he talked, a mere thought flashed through her mind, images of other lips throwing kisses her way invaded her head. She closed her eyes, willing the visions to disappear.
When she looked up, his eyes held a question, and she knew that she was staring. A blush formed over her cheeks with the shame and guilt she felt over the thoughts she was conjuring about him. He is not like my parents, she reminded herself impatiently.
He gave her a broad smile, but asked her ordinary questions. Her age was not an issue at that moment. She relaxed. She hadn’t realized how nervous she was, and it helped that his questions were calming, deflecting her knotted nerves.
“In what events will you compete?”
“The two-hundred meter backstroke, butterfly, and relay.”
“I will definitely make some time to watch, sweetheart,” he said softly, touching her arm as they moved forward.
“Thank you.” She liked the endearment and smiled, turning back to step outside.
Yes, I will definitely make some time. He watched as she walked in front of him with a gentle sway to her hips, appreciating her slender body.
Once outside, he led her to an unoccupied chair where she sat down, bending shapely legs under her. He sat directly in front of her, his eyes never wavering, even though it seemed she was not aware of him.
Anabella was aware; the butterflies in her tummy told her he was watching her every move. Even when Mr. Richter and Tim spoke to him, she could still feel his gaze on her, sipping away at his drink. His posture was relaxed and at ease. He knew the family well she realized as she watched him listen to Mr. Richter with keen interest.
Sometimes, she turned to Monica and her other friends to talk to them, only to look back at him. Each time she found his eyes on her and a smile playing on his lips. She wasn’t uncomfortable under his stare; she rather enjoyed his blunt way of looking at her.
Anabella wished she was a bit more outgoing in order to speak to him, but she didn’t know what to say. She knew he was a lawyer at a successful firm, but other than that she knew nothing about him. This was something she wanted to change, but her shyness prevented her from speaking freely, and then there was the age difference.
He was out of her league; no way would he find her fascinating. She couldn’t understand why she felt so uneasy about it. There were many couples whose age difference wasn’t a problem. Her parents were an example. Her mother and father differed in age by fifteen years and they had a ‘happy’ marriage. If you could call what they had a marriage―it worked for them.
So far, he was keeping his distance. On the one hand, she appreciated it but on the other, she loved the idea of getting to know him better.
What could I offer a man like him? Her attention was drawn to him regularly, distracting her from her own conversation. He looked intelligent, sharp, missed nothing and was almost intimidating as she watched him casually. He was surely a worthy opponent in the court room. His confidence held great appeal to her. There was something about him that captivated her curiosity.
Aldrich was also lost in his own thoughts. He was thinking of their age difference and the obstacles it presented. Eighteen was still very young. At thirty, he was ready to settle down. He watched her chatting with her friends. They had nothing in common, and her entire life was still in front of her. Yet he found himself intrigued, especially by the sad look he’d seen for a fleeting moment. Then, of course, there was the whole innocence factor. She was untouched by a man. The way she blushed at his remarks, her loss for words; if he wanted to know her better it had to come from him. The question was: did he need that in his life?
When he looked at her once again, his eyes taking in the full splendor of the young woman, the decision was very clear to him. He would make the effort. There was something about her that kept his interest.
However, he would have to be patient. Although her innocence was appealing to him, it could create problems. She was not like the typical girls her age. Her eyes gave away a sense of maturity he didn’t expect from a girl this young. She had a look that said she had seen it all before and it made him curious.
Her actions said she was new to love from a man. Maybe it was his lawyer instinct, but he could pick up that all was not well with her.
Monica made sure everyone had a good time. She was always the heart of any party, and as a good host her timing was impeccable.
She turned to Tim and motioned for him to put some music on. Almost immediately, Butterfly Kisses filled the night sky from the speakers in the corner. Monica made her way to Aldrich, and asked him for a dance. She knew him well and really liked him as a friend. It was why she’d known she just had to arrange a party for her two friends to meet. When she mentioned it to Tim, he agreed that it would be a splendid idea, but he also offered a warning. She would need to tread carefully and not push anything. Allow them to find themselves without any pressure from her. Reluctantly she had agreed, and so far it was working out wonderfully.
He smiled when she stood in front of him asking for a dance. He stood up, accepting her invitation. She led him to the floor and he followed, taking her in his arms―not too close―but with a comfortable space between them, simply enjoying the song. At one point, when they were next to Anabella’s chair, Monica reached out to grab her friend’s hand.
Startled at the sudden touch, Anabella looked at her, then at him.
Monica pulled her up, placing her hand in Aldrich’s and smiled.
Aldrich immediately picked up on what Monica was doing and took over with a grin. He really didn’t need help from an eighteen-year-old in this department, but appreciated the gesture. He pulled Anabella closer to him, one hand lightly touching her lower back, the other engulfing her right hand as they danced away.
They were both good dancers and their feet moved in synchronization with the music, melting together. At first, she was surprised but didn’t mind the closeness. Willingly, she drew closer as they danced, her lips close to his neck where she could see his pulse beat in the hollow of his neck. He smelled so good.
She wondered how it would feel to kiss him there. Heat rushed through her whole body. As if he could hear her musings, he pulled her in closer. She fitted perfectly in his arms. Her hand on his shoulder held him gently.
As the second song continued, they didn’t part. If someone had asked them what the song was called, they would not have been able to recall it. Anabella tried hard not to think too much; simply enjoying the closeness and the feeling of safety he created. His heat was intoxicating, and she couldn’t help but brush the part of his skin just above the collar of his shirt with her fingers.
He looked down at her, her emerald eyes were glowing. He leaned in, their cheeks touching, and she sighed softly, laying her head on his shoulder. It was amazing how comfortable they felt with each other, no words necessary to break the silence.
His hands were warm and gentle, the one on her lower back caressing her softly; the same soft, gentle touch she bestowed on him was evidently being returned. During the last song, he encircled her with both his arms, surrounding her.
Through hazy eyes, she looked at her arm around his neck, noticing the time on her watch. It was already nine-fifteen. She had to leave, but her body was sending out different messages than what her mind told her. Finally, she whispered in his ear to let her go as she needed to leave.
“I must go,” she said softly. He turned and looked at her, his blue eyes darker yet soft; she could melt into them. She would love to explore this more, but it couldn’t be, not now anyway.
He pulled her in even closer, and in a husky voice whispered, “I would love to get to know you better.” Reluctantly, he released her.
She wasn’t sure she had heard him correctly, but the mere idea of him wanting to know her caused her heart to skip a beat.
The few minutes they shared together were overwhelming. He’d never thought this could happen to him.
In wonder, she looked at him. You are silly, Anabella. What do you have to offer him? Nothing. Especially the love part. I don’t know what love is, and why would he want to know me?
“But I understand you have to leave. You have a big day tomorrow, and you need your rest,” he concluded with a smile.
When he released her, a void filled her heart and body, a void she had never experienced before. She knew there had been something missing in her life and now that she had found it, she didn’t want to let go. She stepped closer to him, kissed him in the crook of his neck and walked away. Making her way over to Monica and her parents, she thanked them for a great evening, said her goodbyes to the other guests and walked out the door.
Aldrich was still standing in the same spot where she had left him, still feeling her lips on his neck, shocked at her tender display, when Tim walked over.
“She impressed you, my friend.” Tim gave a chuckle, patted him on the shoulder and walked away, saying, “Monica was right about how much you would like her.”
As if that brought him back to reality, he quickly took a card out of his pocket, scribbled on it and ran to her car, reaching her as she was about to get in.
She felt a piece of paper being pressed into her hand, and looked up to find it was Aldrich. The message was clear―he wanted to see her again.
Once home and in her bedroom, she unfolded the paper still in her hand. It was his business card.
Telephone number: 555 444 0000
She turned it over, and it read: Until we meet again.