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All The Things We Didn’t Want

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When it rains, it pours... Charlie James Lane is in a heap of trouble without a dime to her name. So when she sees a job listing that includes a room at a new Bed and Breakfast, she has to go for it. When she shows up, her boss Ben Baker is stunned to find that Charlie is a woman and not one bit happy about it. Feeling deceived and refusing to be burned twice, Ben puts Charlie on a trial. Hoping the harsh challenges will scare her off. What the guarded, stubborn man doesn't realize, is that the tough feisty woman doesn't back down from anything, and she's got more to fight for than he realizes. As they are forced to work and live together, will they find all the things they didn't want might be exactly what they need?

Romance / Humor
Heidi Mae
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Eastland, Inlandia

Two pink lines.

There was no mistaking it, no denying it. They say when it rains, it pours. Well, this was a fucking monsoon.

The distraught brunette made her way out of the small bathroom, clutching the test in hand.

Her apartment was full of half-packed boxes, clothes, and random clutter. Kicking her way through the mess, she headed to the kitchen.

The notice to vacate paper was on her table, with her name, Charlie James Lane, scrawled across the top. Yes, someone was cruel enough to give her not one but two boy names. She had no idea who, as twenty-five years ago, baby Charlie had been left at a fire station with nothing more than a blanket and a piece of paper with her name scrawled across it.

She set the positive test atop the eviction notice and snapped a pic.

She sent the photo as it was; no context was needed. The message was clear. He ditched her, left her without rent money, and now she was knocked up.

Thanks, asshole.

The dot dot dot came right up, indicating he was typing; she sat and waited impatiently for his response.

And then it went away, nothing.


She dialed his number instead, and it went straight to voicemail.

“Matt.. call me, please.” She pleaded after the greeting.

Of course, he’d do this; did she expect anything less?

Talk about a whirlwind romance; he’d started off so devoted to her. Texting her all the time, coming to her work every night, he’d brag to his friends about what an amazing chef she’d be someday. Matt Davison was her biggest supporter, until he wasn’t.

She supposed the trouble started when he moved in and and all that loving gushy stuff came to a fast halt. It had to when she had to deal with his parties, messes, shorting her on rent and everything else. They started to bicker all the time and Matt started acting shady, or maybe he always was and she didn’t see it.

Whatever it was, when that random girl called in the middle of the night, instead of giving Charlie an answer, he took off and hadn’t come back since.

He never replied when she told him she lost her job last week and wasn’t sure she’d make rent.

Then she sent him a picture of the eviction notice she pulled off her door just a few days ago.


So when she saw a chef job listed online all the way out in Breezy Falls she went ahead and applied at it, it would be perfect, even included a room. But, it was three hours away and was one of a handful of candidates. Still, she sent the listing to Matt after she interviewed, and when that went ignored she knew. He didn’t mind if she moved away. That was her proof he was over it, over her.

She’d been ghosted.

Fine, she begun to pace. He didn’t have to be with her, but he had to talk to her about this, he had too. Nonetheless, she tried his phone again, and a disconnected sound taunted her.

Wow. He shut it off that fast?

Well, shit, if there was any question left, that answered it. He wasn’t even going to talk to her about this?

“I’m all alone.” Alone, broke, jobless, almost homeless, and now pregnant.

Resting a hand on her stomach, a sob escaped her throat.

“What am I going to go?”

Breezy Falls, Inlandia

They say don’t answer calls after two in the morning; it’s always bad news.

But as the sleepy dark-haired man drove through town, he didn’t think he had a thing to worry about. His fiancé was alone in their Bed and Breakfast and when she called and asked him to come, he assumed she got lonely in the empty place all alone.

They decided to have her stay the night away the night before their wedding, for traditions sake, but it was silly. They’d lived together for years now.

The large three story brick manor place that would soon be a dream fulfilled greeted him as he pulled up the gravel driveway. The sign, The B&B’s bed, and breakfast reflected in the moonlight.

A play on their names, Ben and Brooke, although they had toyed around with calling it Baker’s B&B for his last name. In the end, Brooke insisted the first was catchier.

They’d been here every day for months getting it ready, and now it was almost time.

Ben stepped inside the back entrance, which led right into the large kitchen on the east wing.

The private living quarters were up the stairs from the door just inside the kitchen and contained two bedrooms, a bathroom, and small living room.

He was surprised to find his fiancé sitting at the kitchen island, fully dressed. Next to her sat a stack of papers.

“Brooke?” He questioned as his stomach clenched; something felt very wrong.

“Hey, Ben,” she looked up at him with remorseful eyes.

“What’s going on?”

Her mouth opened and then closed, she ran a hand through her blonde hair, pushing it from her face.

“Brooke, talk to me.” He found himself growing worried.

“I can’t do it... I.. I’m sorry. I can’t marry you.”

“Wh.. what?” Ben was bewildered. “The wedding is tomorrow! We open this place in two weeks... we.. what!?”

She looked down guiltily at her hands.

“Is this some kind of prank?”

As she glanced back up, her eyes told him she was very serious.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” she whispered in a broken tone.

“I... I don’t get it; we’ve been planning this forever. We’ve been together forever.”

He was blindsided, his stomach was a knot, and his heart started to race.

Was this a nightmare? It had to be.

“I kept trying to talk to you. For months,” Brooke continued. “You were always too busy.”

“Renovating this place. Making our dreams come true,” he defended.

“That’s the thing, Ben,” she said sadly, “it was never my dream. It was yours.”

“You have been with me every step of the way on this,” he argued. “You designed this entire kitchen for yourself to cook in. you were just as excited as I was.”

“I was... for a while,” she spoke quietly. “Then the more and more work we did, the closer the launch date got, the more I felt...like..”

“Like what?”

“Suffocated,” she blurted out. “I want to be a famous chef, Ben. That’ll never happen in this tiny town. I want to travel; I don’t want to be stuck in one place.”

“Since when?”

She’d never once shown an iota of interest in traveling. He took a breath.

Getting angry wasn’t going to help here...

“I don’t know. The more we worked here, the more trapped I felt, and that’s when I realized it.”

He glanced down and noticed a suitcase at her feet.

“Brooke...” his voice broke, and tears filled his eyes. “Don’t. We can make it work. I’ll sell it. I’ll work two jobs if I have to, so you can travel, whatever you want.”

“I can’t ask you to do that. This place is your dream.”

It was supposed to be hers too. How did that change so fast?

“My name wasn’t on the loan, and my dad already had the paperwork worked out to take me off the house. You have to sign and file it.” She pushed one of the papers toward him. “Since I didn’t contribute to the down payment, you don’t owe me anything. The B&B is all yours.”

“I don’t want it without you!”

“Of course you do,” she rested a hand on his. That was all it took for the tears to fall from his eyes.

“Don’t do this. We’ll find a way,” he begged. ”Please, Brooke. I love you.”

“It’s not just... I met someone.”

He snapped his hand away as if she’d burned it. “What!?”

“Not like that. I’m not a cheater, but he made me realize what I’m missing and need.” Brooke explained. “I’m only twenty-six, and I’ve been with you so long I have no idea who I am. I need to get out, find myself, see the world.”

“Talking to some other guy about your wants and dreams is cheating.” Ben gave her a hard look. “Especially when you have a suitcase packed to meet him, I assume? Come on, we’ve known each other our entire lives and this is what you do?”

“I know how it looks, but it’s not like that,” Brooke insisted. “It’s what you just said, all I have ever known is you. I need to know who I am aside from Ben and Brooke. B and B.”

“The name was your idea,” he pointed out. “It’s this guy online, isn’t it? He’s talked you into this.”

“No he’s just someone, I have been able to talk to all this. It’s all me, I need to go and you need to let me go.”

“This is cold feet that’s all! The wedding is tomorrow, Brooke!”

“It’s not, I already set things in motion, Ben. I knew for a while I was leaving.”

“Why didn’t you talk to me?”

“I don’t know,” she whimpered. “I didnt want to hurt you.”

He scoffed at that.

“My dad’s making the calls, don’t worry about informing anyone about the wedding being off.”

Of course, he is; Brooke’s dad never liked Ben much. He was probably thrilled.

“I can’t open and run this place by myself,” he ran a hand through his messy hair. “I can’t cook.”

“I told you I put things in motion. I put an ad up online for a chef, and I even did the interviews, we did a preliminary online chat and then a final phone interview. I narrowed it down to those ones, and put what you should offer for salary.” Brooke pushed more papers toward him. “I printed out the best ones for you. All you’ll have to do is send the job offer.”

“I can hardly afford the one housekeeper we hired. How am I going to afford a chef’s salary!?”

“By offering a room and board. It was part of my offer and discussed with all of them. They are all willing to move.” Brooke motioned to the room on the other end of the kitchen. “Everyone lives to far to have talked to in person, but I got a good feeling on all of those.”

The room she’d motioned to was meant for a live-in staff member, likely a cook being close to the kitchen. They’d talked about hiring on an on-site manager, but someday. She’d gone through an entire hiring process?

“You’ve been planning this a long time... why, why didn’t you talk to me?”

“I just - I’m sorry.”

“Not good enough.”

“You’ll be okay, Ben,” Brooke offered as she rose. “I know you will.”

“That makes one of us,” he muttered and his heart dropped as she picked up the suitcase and reality set in.

“Don’t.. please don’t go,” he begged.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered one more time, and then just like that, she left.

The click of the door as it fell shut behind her felt like a direct hammer to his heart, shattering it into a million pieces.

He dropped to his knees as he stared dismally at the closed door.

“What the hell am I going to do?”

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