Chapter 1: Arden
My final client for the day leaves my office. Signalling the end of my work day. I sigh as I rub my temples. To ease the headache that's coming on.
I look at the time on my phone. It's already 6pm in the evening. I should have finished an hour ago, but a late walk in. Kept me here a little longer.
Working as a social worker. In New York's lower class part of town. Can be very challenging most days. My clients range from children of addicts, abuse victims and gang members. Who are trying to clean up their act, and turn a new leaf.
It's Friday so the weekend is here finally. Time to relax and spend some time. With my long suffering fiancee Ashton.
I smile as I think of the man I'm going to marry. He is a junior partner. At one of the biggest law firms in town. He works hard to give me everything I need. I tell him all I need is him, but the little perks don't hurt either.
A photo of us on my desk catches my eye. It was taken a year ago, when my fiancee surprised me. With a weekend away in Morocco. We were so happy back then.
My smile drops, as I think of the last few months together. Something has shifted between us. I still love him deeply, but there's a tension. That I can't figure out the reason for.
Everytime I have brought it up. He just waves it off, and tells me in being silly. I don't bother bringing it up anymore.
I check the time again 6:30. I have an hour to get home, and change for a date with my handsome man.
Grabbing my bag and keys. I leave my office. Locking the door I walk to the lift. That leads to the staff carpark. I see Cheryl, my team leader still here as well . I say goodbye to her. She smiles and tells me to have a good night.
I really hope it's a good one. Ashton and I haven't had sex in months. I really hope to get some tonight.
Stepping into the lift. I ride down to where my car is. My phone pings, with a message from my best friend Alana.
I smile when I think of the bubbly blond. Who is more like a sister to me. We met six years ago, at Harvard in a psych class. She asked to borrow my notes. We've been friends ever since.
I read the message. She says to call her as soon as I can. She needs to tell me something urgent. I laugh as I get into my car. Remembering the last urgent message. She was out of tampons and ice cream.
Opening my car door. I throw the phone on the front passenger seat. Reminding myself to call her later. As I climb in, a twinge in my chest has me gasping. I've been having some pains in my breast. I made an appointment, for a mammogram in a few days. Hopefully it's nothing serious.
I drive the 30 minute drive home. Deep in thought about my date tonight. It's been a long time. Since Ashton and I have gone out. I must say I'm really excited.
When I pull in to my driveway my phone rings. I smile when I see my fiance's name pop up on the screen.
"Hello honey, I've just got home. I may be a little late meeting you " I hear him sigh heavily. My heart drops when I hear him speak.
"Arden baby I'm sorry to do this to you. A big case has just landed on my desk. I'm going to have to stay behind, and review it. Please don't be mad. I'll make it up to you. We'll go out for breakfast tomorrow. Are you there? Arden you're upset aren't you?"
I sigh, this is the third time in a month he's cancelled. Each time he promises me to make it up. He never does.
"It's fine I understand. You have to work. I guess I'll see you later?" He sighs again. For fuck sake what now?
"I'm not sure what time I'll be home. Don't wait up. I've gotta go I'll see you tomorrow morning. I love you" the line goes dead before I can respond.
I sit in the car contemplating what to do. when an idea hits me. Alana has something to tell me. I start the car, reversing out the drive. Turning around I head off towards my best friends house.