After he left Emma's, Darren couldn't stop himself from hating jumping the gun and sleeping with her. He knew he should have taken it slow. Wined and dined her, made her fall back in love with him the way he never fell out of love with her. She was his everything and he just wanted to be hers. Darren wanted to marry her and raise their family right here where they grew up. None of that seemed to be what she wanted.
Cursing to himself Darren drank himself to sleep that night, unaware of just how much Emma needed him right that moment.
Darren woke to his alarm and a splitting headache. He didn't think he could muster the want to open the store and work all day, but he pulled himself out of his chair and showered and did just that.
As he went threw the day his thoughts wandered constantly to Emma and how rejected he had felt. All the times he had dreamt of their reunion, he never thought she would turn him away so readily. How could one mistake, years ago, cause her to just sleep with him and be done? Darren couldn't shake the feeling of being used. As if she just wanted him to take away her virginity so she can move on to the next finally. Darren desperately tried to shake off his thoughts, before he let the anger in him spread any further. He didn't want to be angry with Emma. His Emma. How could he not though. Why sleep with him, if she didn't want anything past that?!
"I'm sorry sir," Darren looked up at the voice, which he found belonged to a woman. "I didn't want to interrupt you, or your thought process, but I was wondering about your furniture here." Darren knew he shouldn't have opened. He wasn't even close to in the mood to deal with anything, but his inner turmoil.
"Yeah, what about it?" Without meaning too, the words came out venomous. The woman looked a little taken aback by them. Or more likely the way he said them. Instantly Darren felt bad. It wasn't this poor woman's fault he was angry with Emma.
"Maybe i should come back another day. Or I can just take my business elsewhere if you would prefer?" Her voice, started small, gained confidence as she went on. Darren tried his best to offer an apologetic smile. He sure didn't want to send business away.
"I'm sorry ma'am. It's no excuse, but I'm just dealing with something a little tough right now. Got lost in my thoughts. Now, what would you like to know." Darren walked around the corner and stood next to the customer. She smiled small before speaking, Darren just hoped she understood.
"It's fine, I get it, we all have those days," She patted his arm and continued as she walked towards the furniture and he followed in suit. "It says this is all handmade?" She ran a dainty hand over one of the rocking chairs on display and seemed to marvel at it's quality. Darren couldn't hide the smugness he felt at this.
"Yes ma'am. I crafted all the pieces here. I have the wood shipped in and it takes a minute or two, but i enjoy it." Darren loved nothing more than turning on some music and cutting, sawing and grinding away his frustrations. He began doing it trying to forget Emma.
"You can tell. They are all beautiful," Darren took a second with this woman as they both admired his work. He knew plenty of people who loved his work and it sold well, but she was the first to really seem to appreciate and admire it. "I was wondering if you do other woodwork?" With this she turned all business. Darren rubbed his neck. He dabbled doing a few things, but never really had time with the store.
"I mean, I can I'm sure. What did you have in mind?" It would be good to have a distraction. An outlet to get Emma out of his thoughts.
"Cabinets." The woman crossed her arms and waited. Darren had always wanted to do some. Even thought about replacing the ones in his own home, just never got around to it.
"Sure, why not? When would you want them done? And where do you stay?" Darren lead the woman back to the counter. Once they were back at the register, he looked at her. He couldn't help but to compare her to Emma. She was a tad shorter, but filled out slightly more than Emma was. The woman was beautiful, that Darren couldn't deny, but she was no Emma.
"I already have the wood, used to have somebody that was going to do it for me, but they changed their mind," Her eyes glazed over slightly as she surely thought of whoever it was was supposed to do it. Before she shook her head and turned back to Darren. "But honestly as soon as you would be available. I don't live here in town, I stay a few towns away."
"If you don't mind my asking, how did you end up here looking for a carpenter?" Darren knew he was probably pushing into personal business, but couldn't stop the curiosity.
"I actually have a friend who recommended you. Said you did beautiful work, what she didn't say was how handsome you were." Darren was a little taken aback by her comment and decided to brush it off as it hadn't happened.
"I'm glad my work has reached farther than just my little town here. So, I can follow you out to your place and look everything over and give you an estimate if you'd like, bring the wood back in my truck and get started." The woman blushed freely, and met his eyes. They were a beautiful deep blue and seemed endless.
"Sure, but I want to let you know if it would be easier, I do have all the proper equipment and a place for you to sleep and work, and before you say anything, its a barn and there is a loft in the barn, so you wouldn't feel uncomfortable staying with a strange woman. I can feed you while you are there as well. If you would like that is. I mean unless your girlfriend wouldn't want you to." She was fishing and Darren knew it. She was a beautiful woman and he was flattered. It's not like he did have a girlfriend or wife that would oppose to any of this, so Darren didn't see the harm. It was just the thing he needed. It would take a few weeks, he could always ask his parents if they minded coming to town while he was gone and watch the store. At least by the time he came back Emma would be gone and back to her big city life.
"No girlfriend. I don't see why not. You could over see the designs better if it was there. Just leave me your address then and let me make the arrangements and I'll be out there tomorrow. The sooner we get started the better." With a smile the woman wrote her address down.
"My name is Emily, by the way." Emily grinned as Darren stuck his hand out.
"Darren, nice to meet you and it will be great working with you." Darren took her hand feeling the softness against his rough one and secretly liked the blush creeping up her cheeks from his touch.
The rest of the day went by in a blur. Not wanting to close early two days in a row, but having too many things to get in order, Darren closed around four that afternoon and was on the phone with his father on the drive home. He couldn't stop himself from looking over at Emma's parents place as he passed by and noticed her car was gone and thought to that morning and wondered if it had been gone then too but couldn't remember.
With everything in order, his parents were going to be there later that night and would stay in their family home until his return. He knew he could trust them to run his business while he was gone. The only thing he regretted as he left town, was not talking to Emma one last time, but her car was still missing as he drove by. He never had gotten the chance to get her new phone number either. Shaking it off he drove to his destination, having no idea just what he was in store for.
As he pulled in to Emily's property he was awestruck. It was beautiful. Had to be at least ten acres or more. A beautiful country home, and large barn behind it. Emily stepped out of the house with a grin on her face.
Emily showed Darren to the barn and the loft where he now sat alone thinking again of Emma. He just couldn't stop himself from thinking of her and wondering if getting away was the right thing to do. Especially since where he got away to consisted of a beautiful woman.