Troubled Paradise

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Chapter 2

The morning sunshine flutters through the thin cream drapes hanging up over my bay windows, overlooking the San Fransico skyline, stirring me awake. I roll over and begin to get ready for a nice morning run. I throw up my hair in a tight pony tail letting small baby hairs fall out as I strip out of my cotton baby blue booty shorts into a pair of fresh dark blue athletic running leggings. While searching for a supportive sports bra I strip off my oversized graphic sleep tee and into one of my new dark blue supportive but sexy running sports bra to throw a white tight fitted long sleeve workout shirt overtop. Quickly throwing the comforter back over the bed and loosely placing the pillows into their place I pick up a pair of socks from the dresser where I found my other clothes and begin looking for my headphones and running shoes. After I found my headphones sprawled out on the coffee table and my running shoes thrown by the front door I take my keys and slide them into my front jacket pocket and head out the door.

As my feet hit the pavement and my ears fill with remixes of Sam Fisher the autumn breeze whisks my hair as I push myself forward, letting myself be completely encased in the environment that I am in. Jogging along the main street and onto back roads leading into different areas of park and sidewalk I see moments of passerbyers life whether it was this older couple sharing a jelly doughnut on a park like they have done it for years. Or church goers rushing to make it on time to the morning service, a group of yoga enthusiasts and small children running around with all the energy of life. I smile at these different moments at life I am able to peek into knowing that truly everyday is what you make it to be. Turning my music down slightly I really begin to ponder about what I want from this new chapter in my life.

Hurt builds up in my chest as I think of everything that has lead me up to this point. I have never been a complainer about things because I know I am beyond grateful for the life I have but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have my own pain. Not being able to have a dad growing up and knowing my mom’s preference with my sister made me have to grow up fairly quickly and made me miss out on a lot of carefree years. It has always been Ibby and me through everything whether it was getting pizza after a hard day at school or going on a drive because mom was crying again in her room and the feeling of somber was too heavy in the air. Not feeling that level of comfort or a place where I felt it could be my safe place was hard because even though I love Ibby with everything I was the older sister so I always felt like I needed to protect her more than the other way around.

Continuing to jog in place at a streetlight I think about how that need to chase for a place where I felt comfort lead me to him. I shutter at the thought of how he manipulated me in the ways he did and ignorant me just thought that’s how love was suppose to be. I start jogging again along the street to find a small park area that overlooks the skyline and has a good view of the Golden Gate bridge. Coming to a stop to take in the sight and get a moment to catch my breath I feel my cellphone buzz. Looking down I see it’s a group text from two of my closest friends Dixie and Trace.

D : T and I are currently at our favorite little brunch place but it just isn’t the same without our Finley :(

T : yeaaa :( even the cute waiter isn’t able to liven the mood! Even though if I am able to get his number later it’ll definitely help ;)

A small smile forms across my lips at the idea of D and T being at our favorite brunch place known as Brunch Crunch. Already knowing that they ordered the unlimited mimosas and the more T drinks the flirtier she gets and D has to start restricting her before she goes home with the janitor. I laugh at the image of D having to force T into the car without having another name in her list of men in her phone. Quickly typing back a response.

F: Sad to be missing out on the girl talk
:( but I will say the view helps!

Lifting my phone up to snap a picture of the view overlooking my new city and sending it with just a touch of a button.

D: Wow Fin way to make us jealous!

T: I was expecting more of a tall dark and handsome but that definitely works too.

Trace’s response is typical of my wildly gorgeous and adventurous best friend. I have known T ever since grade school and with her fire bouncy curls and model esq body she was always been a sight to be seen. Trace has always been one to follow her heart and not care what anyone else thinks she has the heart of a angel but fire runs throughout her body when anyone tries to make her believe she couldn’t do anything. She got a philanthropy degree from the same university as I did and is currently working on developing a non-profit organization to rescue koalas in Australia. Trace was always someone I could rely on to put a smile on my face whether she knew a new hot spot in town or more of her wild stories she is a bright light in my life and is always pushing me to be more confident in who I am and my own ideas.

Dixie on the other hand I have known her since diapers, our moms met each other at a birthing class and stayed in contact ever since. Dixie is more of a badass but definitely more in tune to her own emotions and being able to understand them and help others do the same. She got her degree in psychology and does a bit of therapy on the side of being a caretaker to her grandparents. D has always been the one to have a level head and the shoulder to cry on, which I definitely took advantage of a lot in the many years of friendship. She knows more of the intricates of my pain from my past relationship and the struggles Ibby experience with my mom. Maybe it’s the fact that Dixie has mid length dark brown hair almost black and these light bright blue eyes to compliment her fair complexion and her cheer leader type body but whenever you look at her it’s like you just wanna pour your heart out to her.

I am extremely grateful to have these two amazing beautiful women in my life and knowing that D and T are looking out for Ibby while I am away makes me at least be able to relax a little. The grumble of my stomach brings me back to reality and I type something back about needing to catch up on the gossip later and to make sure T doesn’t go home with another farm hand. I laugh at the slight snippy reponse Trace sends back and we exchange I love you’s only for me to slip my phone back into my pocket and take off in search of a small cafe or morning brunch spot.

Finding a small hole in the wall joint with the smells of morning coffee and pasteries floating through the air I decide this is definitely where I want to be eating for breakfast. I head inside the small but cute little cafe that almost feels like you are standing in an Italy cafe with the light blue colors and contrast of brick and wood with the rustic appeal but greenery throughout the place. If the food and coffee is as good as the aroma and atmosphere of this little cafe then I will definitely be making this a regular place. Stepping into the line and looking over the menu I decide I will have a hot caramel macchiato accompanied with two eggs white bites. As I proceed to recite my order to the older cashier lady with a nice smile and round rimmed glasses seeing her write my name along the cup and telling me it’ll be out in a moment I move out of the way as the next customer moves to state their own order.

About 8ish minutes later I see the barista putting my order on the counter while stating it loud and clear. My stomach grumbles in excitement for my first bit of food all morning. Steps before reaching and grabbing my steaming ready made breakfast I see it being snatched away by hands that definitely don’t belong to the food’s owner. My smile slipping from my lips as my hangriness starts to take over I quickly run over and tap the shoulder of the food snatcher and start to explain “hey, um... excuse me you have my....”. Just as I am about to finish my sentence the food snatcher turns around revealing a chiseled face with a clean but slightly scruffy 5 o’clock shadow accompanied by roughly scattered dark brown hair poking out from under a backwards ballcap and dark devilish brown eyes which were scowling at the intrusion of his morning routine.

The snatcher raises an eyebrow at the sight of 5’ 5” me in front of his 6’ 1” muscular frame covered in a tight fitted shirt around shoulders of a guy who definitely likes his time at the gym with the slight outline of his who knows how many pack of abs leading down into a pair of black sweatpants leaving little to the imagination. “Once you stop drooling do you wanna know tell me why you stopped me from enjoying my breakfast” the snatcher grunts out with an annoyed expression across his face. The ego dripping from this guys stature quickly snaps me out of my daze and the hangriness comes back to life. “Well you see you wouldn’t be enjoying your breakfast you would be enjoying MY breakfast” I huff out as I place a hand on my hip trying to gain some ground from this hunk of a man standing in front of me.

With a swift eyeroll he lets a slow exasperated sigh and quips “Listen if this is some type of ploy to get my number or something this isn’t the best morning even though...” stopping only to have his eyes trail over every part of my body making me fully aware of how cold it actually is this morning with my nips noticeable through the thin fabric. He finishes as I cross my arms over my chest and a slight blush spreads across my face “you do look like you would be a nice lay” he says with a devilish grin. A gasp escapes my lips bringing the desired satisfaction to my food snatcher’s face and that is when my heart begins to race. Taking a quick breath I hold my stance and quip back “Thanks for the offer but being that I’d rather watch paint dry than spend another moment with you, you do have my breakfast my name is written on the order”. His eyes shift over to the now warm coffee and little white bag containing my now cold egg bites he moves his hand up a little farther to reveal my name, well sort of, stated in a black sharpie. “Fennel?” he states with a questioning look in my direction.

“It’s Finley but see” I throw my hands up in the direction of the items “it’s MY breakfast”. The man lets out a small laugh as he realizes the exasperation that he struck up from within me and smirks as he hands over the breakfast. Just as he is handing me my order our fingers brushing lightly I feel a strike of sparks electrifying through my body and into places that haven’t been awoken in a long time. Quickly snatching my hands back with my order in hand trying to hide any apparent effect his touch had on me I see his eyes analyzing me in a intricate way and the same devilish smirk returns to his face. Our eyes meet for a moment that almost felt like forever and I could feel again this sort of spark running through my body just from being around this man an effect no man has ever had on me before.

The call of the barista stating his order breaks our intense eye contact and he lets out a small grin and gives me a wink as he begins to pass by me to retrieve his real order. Not before he whispers close to my ear that sends chills throughout my whole body at the enticing smell of his aftershave and the heat of his breath hitting the nape of my neck. In a deep tone the words “See you around Fennel” become the thing that sets my whole body on fire.
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