A Matter of Patience: A Second Chance Romance Novella
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This was such a sweet romantic novella! I read it in one go as I couldn't put it down! Beautifully written.Bookbub Reviewer
They say Patience is a virtue, for me it not only happens to be my name but also my curse.
A year ago, I crossed paths with my best friend's brother, the delicious man known as Gavin Rose. My curse stopped me from enjoying the fruits of this sweet man who has taken hold of my dreams ever since.
Now, fate has delivered me a second chance. My best friend is getting married and Gavin is the best man. This is my opportunity – the time for patience is over.
My wait is about to end.
Release date: July 9, 2020
Print pages: 106
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A Matter of Patience: A Second Chance Romance Novella
Chapter One: PATIENCE
Most women dream their whole lives about their wedding day. However, for me, the last thirty days, I’ve only dreamed about the wedding of a woman I barely know. It’s not what you think. I’m not a stalker, well, let me clarify - I wasn’t stalking her.
Meredith Parker and I have barely crossed paths in the five years she has lived in Clinton Castle. Yeah, it sounds fancy, but it’s not. I’m sure if challenged, she would be at a loss to name three things about me other than my name, what college I went to, or the car I drive.
You see, the most exciting thing about Meredith Parker is the man she is marrying - Damien Rose.
Don’t jump to conclusions.
Damien Rose is a sweet man, nearly as sweet as his last name, and yes, he’s a looker, having transformed from awkward man-child to hunk in the span of our college careers. Luckily, I recognized his greatness early - before the bandwagon filled. We are friends through and through, really. That’s why I was one of the first to RSVP to his wedding.
At least that’s what I told myself at the time.
I poke my head up from the hard church bench and scan the sparse crowd. I’m sitting strategically on the bride’s side of the church, center aisle, five rows back, just beyond the immediate family section.
It is the perfect place to not only see the happy couple at the front of the church but also scan the entire church without appearing too obvious. I can hear the buzz of excitement from the growing crowd as the majority of attendees are waiting just outside the church doors on the steps, enjoying not only connecting with their friends and families but also partaking in the beautiful sun-drenched day.
Of course, the beautiful people would have a perfect day. Me? I’ve already picked out the matching umbrellas for my wedding day rain. You see perfect and I have an agreement - we stay far away from each other.
I know it may look odd I arrived at the church first, only the priest coming before me, and that’s only because he lives on the property. But there is a method to my ways, and please don’t call it madness. Since arriving, I’ve waited and waited, counting the seconds. Trust me, this is a lot easier than counting the months, weeks, and days leading up to today.
Now, however, with the moment nearly here, the tapping of my feet and the matching staccato of my heartbeat are telling me the time for waiting is almost over. I’m usually a very easy going girl, too patient by most accounts. Hell, my parents even named me Patience. I’m sure they took their time on that one, too.
I pull out my phone, open the camera, and flip it to selfie mode, merely to check out my makeup and hair for only the thirtieth time since I’ve sat down. Three hours in a beauty salon chair, sleeping upright propped up by pillows, will have you a little nervous about your hairdo. It thankfully has decided to behave. At least for now.
Ever since Damien and Meredith’s engagement, I’ve been counting down the days until the wedding. I knew it would be the one guaranteed time I would cross paths with Damien’s brother, Gavin Rose, again.
This time will be different.
I’m no longer the tongue-tied, star-struck college coed who could barely mumble my name in his direction when we first met on campus my junior year. Nor am I the girl who needed the wall to support her for three hours during the engagement party last year as I watched Gavin glide around the room and dance with every girl in town.
That is every girl except me.
The squeaking of the church doors causes me to turn toward the laughter and noise of a crowd entering. At the center of the fray, standing tall and proud, is a beaming Damien Rose. I have never seen him dressed sharper or looking happier. My smile grows with the thought of his future happiness. He is a great guy and truly deserves it all. Meredith and I may not be best friends, but that’s only because we run in different circles. I may not know her most intimate secrets, but I do know she knows how to take care of Damien, and at the end of the day that’s all that really matters.
I blow out a deep breath as I recognize his groomsmen - many of them our college classmates. My eyes scan each, in search of the one that matters most, or should I say, matters the most to me. His best man, his brother, and the man whose crush I’ve carried for over two years – Gavin.
I curse silently as a flood of guests enter the church and surround Damien and the groomsmen. The women give him hugs and kisses while the guys slap his back so often I wonder if they’re going to leave a mark.
I push up in my seat as if I am merely stretching, but the entire time my eyes remain glued to the assembly of groomsmen. A wave of anxiety rolls over me as I come up empty. Did I miss him? Is he already in the church? Did he get bumped from his flight? A million thoughts race through my head as I search the church, hoping my face is calmer than my heart.
I debate walking over to Damien in hopes of crossing paths with Gavin, but decide, as usual, to wait. I won’t risk losing this seat. From here I have the perfect sight lines to where the best man will be standing; those geometry classes are finally paying off so many years later.
Don’t laugh. I did find the blueprints of the church on the internet. It took me two hours to locate my dusty protractor, and another thirty minutes to remember how to use it, but I figured it out. The placement of the best man, the perfect viewing angle, all leading me to this seat.
I pucker my lips as I picture him. Feet planted, those broad shoulders pushed back, beaming with pride. I’ll get lost in those dark eyes which a girl could dive into and take a midnight swim. I’ll run my bare feet across his sandy brown skin, imagining making circles at the beach. I snicker to myself as visions of nearly thirty minutes of uninterrupted gazing at the wonder of Gavin float through my mind.
My trance is broken, however, by an older couple stepping past me in the pew.
“Excuse us,” the older man states as I shift sideways, praying he doesn’t step on my brand new Adrianna Papell shoes. They are half a size too small, and my feet are already hurting, but they look cute, and there was no way in hell I was going to risk waiting for them to order them in my size and not have them arrive in time for the wedding.
As the couple settles next to me, I cross my right leg over the left, tilted at a forty-degree angle. I square my shoulders, satisfied that I’ve achieved the perfect perch. A sniper would be proud.
“So you must be a friend of Meredith,” the lady states, pulling me from my self-congratulatory celebration.
“Meredith?” I mutter to myself but apparently not low enough.
The woman rocks back and steals a glance at her husband, who has lost himself in the wedding program. “You know? The bride. You are sitting on the bride’s side of the church, I figured…”
My feet begin tapping again, a habit no matter what I do I can’t break, “Oh, yes, of course, Meredith. No. We’re not friends.” Shut up Patience. “What I mean is, Meredith is wonderful, but I’m actually a friend of the groom.”
Her eyes flash surprise for a second as she squints toward her husband as if seeking support. “Oh, in that case”—she elbows her husband—“do you mind switching seats with my husband, he has an arthritic knee and could use the aisle seat to stretch out his leg.”
The elbow apparently has the desired effect as the man props himself up and turns toward his wife. “Dear, that’s not necessary. It only bothers me after fifteen minutes or so. How long can this service possible last?”
“I don’t know, but it will certainly be longer than fifteen minutes.” She turns back toward me, irritation written across her face; I’m not sure if it is directed at her husband or me. “So how about switching? You seem like a nice young lady.”
I bite down on my tongue. Every fiber of my being battling. My head screaming respect your elders; treat others as you’d like to be treated. Decades of proper upbringing kicking in as I began to shift in my seat. That’s when my heart returns a volley. They should’ve come early; there are other aisle seats available if they move quickly; girl, this is your moment do not let it slip away.
I find myself standing. “How about this, we switch, but when the service starts, we switch back? I want to get a clear picture of the nuptials. You can then have the aisle back once it is over.”
The lady pokes her husband once again, I’m pretty sure his left rib cage must be discolored. She barks in his direction, “Move. She’s giving you the aisle.”
I don’t think she heard a word I had said. I began to correct her when her husband stands. He rises like an injured pro wrestler, one body part at a time slowly expanding, his back never achieving straightness. On a reflex I step into the aisle to make room.
Just as I begin to step into the pew, I feel a tap on my shoulder. My heart skips a beat with visions of Gavin on the other end of this tap. As I turn and see who it is, I try to mask my disappointment.
“There you are. What are you doing over here? You’re on the wrong side of the church.” The rapid wave of words could only come from one person.
“Hey, Emily.” Emily Quaid and I are friend adjacent. Both of us friends of Damien, not really friends of each other. In fact, during a snowstorm junior year, I recounted Emily and I had never hung out together without Damien. Not once. After graduation our friendship, if you could call it that, had primarily been via online posts. Facebook makes it really difficult to lose touch with certain people.
However, all of that seems to have changed about two weeks ago. A flurry of messages from Emily, Facebook posts, Instagram likes, and text messages. It all culminating in a nearly twenty-minute phone call last week. I’ve had more contact with Emily in the past two weeks than the previous two years.
Damien solved that mystery when he let it slip he had assigned her to the same reception table. He told her it was so she could babysit me while he told me it was for me to babysit her since her boyfriend couldn’t attend. Why he matched me with the nearly engaged, always perky, never quiet Emily was beyond me.
“I just got here. You know me, perpetually late. Come and sit with me. The pews are filling in fast, but I think we can squeeze in there in the back. Come.” Emily never bothers to wait for a response as she takes me by the hand and leads me away like a stray puppy.
I steal a glance back at the older couple. The woman glaring at me, shaking her head in disapproval as she whispers in the ear of her husband. I can only imagine what she says as he extends his leg into the aisle and stares down into the program once again.
Emily leads me to a seat on the groom’s side, nearly thirty rows back and in the center of the row. Before I sit, I stare toward the front of the church at the old couple. They have a perfect seat, thanks to yours truly. Like I said, perfect and I have an agreement. The two of us will never share the same space.
Chapter Two: GAVIN
“Stop it,” I state, humor in my voice as I extend my hand, helping my dad out of the Limo. “That’s the one-hundredth time you’ve made that joke since yesterday, Dad. “
He stands and straightens his tie, a proud smile on his face. His salt and pepper short afro perfectly groomed. I pray I’d look half as suave when I reach his age. “Well, one last time won’t matter then. I always knew Damien was faster than you, but I would have thought you would have beat him to the altar at least. Hell, I gave you a two-year head start.”
I keep the smile on my face as I bite my tongue, he has no clue how piercing the words are. I love my brother, and Meredith is terrific, just the life partner he needs. But I seem to be on a different path in my search. It’s not that I’m anti-love, hell my family is engulfed in love. My parents celebrating thirty-five years together, my cousins, uncles, aunts, all with incredible love stories.
But they might as well be fantasy bedtime stories for me. Their tales taking place in a universe that has proven foreign to me.
Dad beats me to helping Mom out of the limo, always the gentleman. He kisses the back of her hand as he bows. “My lady.” She blushes, a thing most sons would rarely see, but my dad has been making her blush for as long as I can remember. I will never measure up to the standard he has set for Damien and me, although Damien is certainly trying.
She adjusts her best Sunday Church hat, its angle now matching the tilt of her smile. “Now, Harold, stop ribbing Gavin. Everyone has their own clock. In due time.” Mom puts Dad back in his box. “Let’s go enjoy this wonderful day.” She pivots, pulling a Jedi master move on Dad, placing the focus right back where it should be, on Damien.
I follow behind them as they are immediately swarmed by well-wishers. My mom is beaming like I’ve never seen before. And Dad, as always, happiest when those he loves are happy, which makes today one of his best days ever.
I take a moment to scan the crowd. My gaze floating past the neighbors and friends of the family, I come up empty in my search. I’m still not sure why I expect her to be standing outside the church waiting for me. It’s not like anything in our past would lead me to believe she has any interest in me. I push the thoughts out of my head and remember today is about Damien.
I feel a pat on my shoulder, the smell of Aramis hitting my nose, “Son, your always and forever is out there. Don’t fret.” My dad once again in tune with those he loves.
I nod as I place my arm on his shoulder. He takes my mom’s hand, and we head up the steps into the church as a family. I adjust the envelope in my inside pocket as I take one last glance over my shoulder and wonder when my day will arrive.
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