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Rea was beginning to enjoy her new relationship that was just starting to bloom just after four weeks. It wasn’t the perfect relationship and she would have wanted more but she was content with what she had presently. He wasn’t the perfect guy either and he wasn’t as handsome as Ryan had been, but he was amazing in his own way. He was a liberal guy. He wasn’t a Christian but he respected her views and told her he didn’t mind at all, even her decision not to have sex yet even though they were adults in a relationship. He was funny, had an amazing accent proving he’d spent most of his life growing up in France but his English was wonderful.

He took her on dates, spoiled her with gifts, called and sent her texts , dropped her off at home after dinner dates and confessed to her how much he liked her spunk and her sense of humor.

What else could a girl wish for?

She was very grateful to God that she could move on, and Sue for setting her up with a rare guy like Mike who liked her for the idiot that she was.

He made her forget about Ryan…, or was she the one trying so hard to make herself forget about Ryan?

But something else nudged at her heart and she knew it wasn’t God’s will for her to just move so fast with Mike. It was like she wanted to take the bull by the horns and help God out. Ever since her growing relationship with God, she had come to realize that most things didn’t work that way and surrender was important.

But how long was she going to keep waiting while God kept silent

The next day when Mike suggested they go for a stroll, Rea didn’t hesitate and took her jacket along with her trying not to remember nights upon nights when she loved snuggling in Ryan’s jacket that carried his scent. she would pull it so close to herself and after the night was far spent with eating, laughing and talking, she would cuddle up to him and allow him whisper into her ears while he played with her hair. Sometimes, if they didn’t make love, they would share intimate kisses and embrace each other talking about college life and the challenges they faced.

She shook her head of those thoughts that made her feel filthy and guilty and smiled when Mike kissed her briefly on the lips before finally heading out.

She hoped the work would do her good. She accused Scarlett whereas; she was still secretly hurting inside.

For crying out loud, it was already three years they’d gone their separate ways, although now, he seemed to have found way back into town to taunt her with his new relationship status.

“God help me.’’ she prayed and wish she could really understand everything that was going on In her life.

 She noticed Mike was quiet as well and asked. “You okay?’’

He nodded.

“You don’t look okay to me.’’

He stopped to look at her then and touched her cheeks slightly. ‘’you’re beautiful do you know that?’’

Rea scoffed. ‘’well, Yea! I know that…, but that’s not gonna make me forget the real question I asked.’’

He laughed and took her hand in his, raising it to his lips.

“there’s something I want to confirm from you before we move on and I really need to know where I stand.’’

“okay.’’

“I feel you’re holding out on me’’

Rea was quiet.

“you don’t like talking about your last relationship and I feel you’re still in love with your ex-boyfriend’’

“no, I’m not. It’s been three years anyway.’’ She laughed nervously.

“I just want to tell you that I’m ready to listen to you if you wanna talk about it. I want to take this relationship to a whole new level and I really need to know where I stand.’’

“He broke up with me. the only thing that matters is that he had his reasons and I cant crucify him for it.’’ she tried to sound non nonchalant and shrugged. ”He was my first and we dated for about 6 and a half years. It wasn’t easy for me but I survived.’’

Mike smiled and squeezed her hand. ‘’I love your honesty and the fact that you’re not so bitter about it.’’

“well, he wanted it to end and I couldn’t object neither did I want to be his stalker. I’m getting too old for stuffs like that don’t you think.’’

“I can tell you liked him a lot.’’

Rea got frustrated. ‘’look Mike!.i don’t understand this whole talk about my ex and me. it just doesn’t add up. I’ve been going out with you and its not like I ever discussed about him…, okay.., except for that time in the bar when I got drunk and I apologized. I didn’t know what I was doing. But right now, I’ve made a choice that I wanna be with you and that settles it.’’

“okay…, I’m sorry.’’ He raised his hands in surrender.

“its okay.’’

“I’m having a barbeque party tomorrow night. Would love to introduce you to my friends. would you be up to it?’’

She blinked. ‘’why not?’’

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When Scar finished with Gavin’s lesson, it was already evening. 6pm in fact and she knew she had to leave immediately since Josh was home today. It was Friday night and so Gavin kept telling his father today was the slumber party at his friend’s house and he most definitely wanted to go early.

And so Demi had packed his things while Josh insisted He wanted to have a word with Scar before she left.

“will you take anything?’’ he began heading to the fridge. ‘’I have loads of Juice and lemonade if you want..’’

“no thanks.’’ She smiled knowing he was trying as much as possible to make her feel comfortable by not offering her any type of beer or wine.

“look…’’ he faced her squarely this time around. ‘’I know we began on the wrong foot and I apologize and you don’t need to stop being angry at me if you wanna, but please, for Gavin’s sake, lets put the past behind us okay.’’

She nodded slowly. ‘’okay.’’

“Good. So what will you have?’’

“a glass of ice tea would do.’’

“Coming right up.’’ he smiled at her and her heart did the galloping effect again. “so, how have you been holding up with my son?’’

“He’s an intelligent kid, I must say. Sometimes I get scared he might even out run Me.’’ her laughter reached her eyes and it was at that moment Josh knew she loved the boy. “he has a beautiful soul and even if he tries to hide it sometimes by playing tough, it’s still obvious.’’

“You can guess who he got that from.’’ Josh winked at her but she lowered her head once more as if afraid that his eyes always did a good job of exposing her true feelings for him which was still there in one side of her heart and she had never begun to realize it till now.

“I saw a piano in the living room the first day I came over here.’’ She decided to change the topic. ‘’do you play?’’

‘’sometimes.’’ He gestured towards the living room. ‘’you wanna try?.., I could learn a few notes from you”

 She laughed and received the glass of ice tea from him while heading to the living room together. he went over to open the instrument and told her to settle

Soon they were sitting together and Josh watched her running her hands on the instrument smoothly that he wondered if she had been doing this for a long time.

Well, who knew, ten years was a pretty long time.

And then he suggested they play together and their rhythm flowed simultaneously and Josh had never felt happy all his life. here was a woman who knew not only the right keys on his piano but she knew the right keys to his heart and yet didn’t want him because she was getting married to someone else in about four months’ time.

They stopped at the same time and Scarlett giggled and her shoulders sagged in resignation revealing their time together was over and she was bound to leave.

He could sense part of her wanted to stay.

The mistake she made was looking into his eyes. ‘’I have to go. It’s getting late.’’

“yea.’’ He swallowed. ‘’you should.’’

But neither of them moved.

And then before she could say anything further, he was already kissing her and she didn’t object. His hands went to her dress and she broke free.

“Josh..’’ she swallowed. ‘’please…’’

But he was too blind to notice how much she resisted him and he kissed her again.

‘’what about Gavin or Demi…’’ she continued when he began nuzzling her neck and she felt she would melt if he continued. Her hands were splayed on his chest and she could feel the strong rhythm of his heart beating profusely the way hers was. Her resistance weakened and she dropped her hands to his side pulling him closer to her.

“they took the back door.’’ Was all he could mumble before his lips found hers again.

“I’m getting married.’’ She managed when she came up for air but gave in to him when he kissed her again and allowed his hands roam over her blouse

“you love me, admit it.’’

“oh Josh….’’ Was all she could mutter when she saw she couldn’t fight their passion anymore.

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When Scarlett opened her eyes, she saw Josh smiling down at her and she smiled back thinking it was a dream.

“hello sunshine.’’

She felt his finger stroll down her cheeks and she realized it was real.

She jerked from the bed and realized she was naked and this was as real as it could get.

“oh no!’’ she shook her head and sat up, covering her face in shame. ‘’this isn’t happening to me.’’

Josh was confused and shifted closer to her underneath the sheets. She didn’t need to ask if he was naked as well.

She could remember fully well what had happened between them.

“hey…, its okay.’’

Scarlett turned and tears had already started streaming down her face. ‘’its not okay Josh. Its so not okay.’’ She tried as much as possible to cover her shame by pulling the sheets around her to prevent him from seeing her again and hurriedly started picking her underwear and her clothing from the floor since they were scattered everywhere.

“Scar…’’

“don’t touch me!’’ she cried when He came close to her and tried to hold her.

“its midnight Scar, where are you going by this time of the day?’’

She didn’t listen to him and hurried into the bathroom to complete her dressing. “just leave me alone.’’

“Scar!, there’s no way I’m letting you out of this house by this time.’’ He knocked on the bathroom door but she obviously ignored him.

“I’m sorry.’’ He resigned. ‘’if it’ll make you feel better, then I’m sorry about everything.’’

After an hour had passed and he was sure she’d cried sore, she came out of the bathroom and sank into the bed.

“it was my first time.’’ She barely spoke but Josh was smart enough to understand what she meant. He’d known it was her first time when they started but they were just too engrossed in each other to stop.

“if it’ll make you feel better, I’ll drive you home.’’ He offered.

She nodded and sniffed turning to pick her bag.  He came to hold her and she fell into his arms weakly. ‘’I didn’t bargain for all of this.’’ She sobbed.

“its my fault.’’

“no, it was mine. I’d always dreamed this would be a special night.’’

He cupped her face in his hands then and looked into her eyes. ‘’well, it was for me.’’ And he kissed her tears away. She sighed and released herself when she saw it was of no use and since Josh didn’t understand how she felt.

How could he? She was the one at loss. She was the one who’d claimed to be a Christian and had indulged in pre-marital sex. She was the one who had cheated on Gabe and was having sex with a different man. She was the one who would bear the guilt afterwards if they got married.

And she was the one who had her heart for someone else.

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Scarlett didn’t tell Rea or Sue about what had happened and hoped she could face Gabe.

Rea would gloat that she told her so and she dreaded hearing those words after her friend had warned her about the whole Josh parade. But why did she feel so connected to him in such a strong way? Why did she feel He had her heart right in his hands and he could leave her begging for mercy?

She knew she shouldn’t feel this way but she couldn’t even help herself anymore.

Most importantly, she didn’t know how to face God and so she kept the guilt inside and continued like nothing had happened and still went on dinner and Lunch dates with Gabe.

Josh was proving stubborn and She wished He wouldn’t call her or come over to the school to check on her as she was already getting curious glances from colleagues and a little gossip was passing around that she was dating her student’s father.

Josh understood things like this and stopped coming for a while but Gavin missed his classes most especially now that she informed him she couldn’t take him his classes anymore, be it in school or at home.

Her mind could not contain it. she felt like she had betrayed the kid too. How could she sleep with his father and pretend like everything was okay? How could she even keep teaching the bible stories she did when she wasn’t in right standing with God. The boy saw her as good and loyal which she was far from now that she’d given in to Josh.

Gavin wasn’t happy, no doubt, and although he still did well, Scarlett knew it wasn’t his best. He had even gone as far as asking if she was angry with his father but she would smile briefly, rub his hair and tell him No. He would try making conversation with her but she would look for a way to prevent them from having their usual time together and after a while, the boy was smart enough to notice and kept his distance.

Scarlett felt terrible.

 She was through for the day and was on her way to catch the Train when she saw Josh’s car parked outside the school. She pretended she didn’t and hurried off but he caught up with her in time.

“can we talk, please?’’

“there’s nothing to talk about Josh.’’

“please, even if its not for me, but for Gavin. He’s getting worse at home and He feels I’m responsible for everything.’’

Scarlett closed her eyes and sighed. This wasn’t going to be easy for her but she had to be strong.

She finally gave in and headed to his car while they drove to a place far away from school.

He began. ‘’Scar, why are you doing this to me. It’s been weeks and you won’t even pick my call or give me a glance. And you’re taking it out on my son. I thought you were better than this.’’

“you’re right!..’’ she tried to prevent herself from shaking. ‘’I’m not a better person. I’m just a woman who sees it fit to sleep with her student’s father.’’

Josh closed his eyes. ‘’Scar, why do you keep doing this to yourself?’’

“because I’m not meant to feel this way about you.’’ The tears strolled down to her neck. ‘’I’m getting married to someone else…’’

“but you don’t have to marry him.’’ Josh blurted out suddenly reaching for her across the passenger’s seat. ‘’I love you Scarlett. I’ve never stopped loving you and I’d be a fool if I let you go this time.’’

Scarlet could only stare back at him in shock and she was lost for a while before he brought her back to the present. ‘’Scar?’’

“we can’t do this. It’s wrong. So wrong. Our beliefs are different and I feel like I betrayed Gabe.’’ She looked at her palms nervously. “that night, I didn’t know what I was thinking…’’

“but now, you know and you cant deny you love me too.’’

“oh goodness, this is hard.’’ She sighed and closed her eyes and before knew it, Josh was kissing her again. When she didn’t object, he pressed further till it was intense and she broke free again.

“I have to go.’’ She gulped and quickly reached for a Kleenex before stepping out into the street.

Josh could only watch her walk away.

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