The Mistake

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Chapter 2

It doesn’t matter how much I preen myself; I still look every inch of forty-three. My pale blue eyes stare back at me from the dark kohl liner I’ve drawn around them, and my soft blonde hair falls in curls around my neck. I prefer it midlength, so I can wear it up or down depending on my mood. The plaid blazer coat and drawstring pants complimented my curvy figure, and the low neckline gave my breasts the oomph they needed to be seen.
I didn’t mind having smaller breasts, but sometimes I wish they were closer to my nose than my toes.
Sighing, I lean forward to dab my lip gloss on my lips, admiring my reflection as I do.
Johnny still hadn’t called back.
I sent Jodie a text, and she sent me a photo of Johnny passed out on the sofa, claiming he’d fallen asleep during the third episode of Gilmore Girls.
A smile curls on my lips as I grab my handbag, slipping my feet into the only stilettos I own.
Do I look like a Mom?
Yes.
I should be proud.

Spritzing my perfume around me in a cloud, I take one last look at my reflection.
“Be yourself,” I whisper, forcing a wider smile.
I wish I were confident enough to hang with supermodels more often.
The elevator ride down is uneventful, and when I step into the lobby, I’m greeted with soft jazz music from the bar to my left.
The lobby is even more beautiful in the evening, lit up by subtle lanterns and candles that lead to either the restaurant, the bar, or the exit.
I’m about to opt for the restaurant when I hear a voice call my name.
“Jenna!”
It’s Grace, and she looks amazing in a strapless navy gown.
“Wow.” I whistle as I meet her, air kisses all around. “You look great!”
“Hey, I’m on the rebound,” Grace says, giving me a wink. “You look gorgeous; I love the look.”
She seems surprisingly sober, considering the reek of alcohol coming off her in waves.
“Bethany has a migraine, so she’s giving tonight a miss,” Grace says, raising her eyebrows. “But everyone else is late. Let’s drink, hmm?”
“Sure.” I sigh with relief, glad I’m early rather than the last one here. The bar is pretty empty except for the group of men across the room, who seem to be paying us attention.
“Gorgeous looking guys, huh? Shame I bat for the other team.” Grace rolls her eyes as I order a drink.
“Can I get vodka, lime, and soda, please?”
The bartender nods and grabs a fancy glass as I watch, mesmerized.
“You’re a vodka girl!” Grace chuckles, leaning back on the bar and gazing out of the window.
“I am, but can I be honest? I’m more of a coffee girl.”
“Yeah? I drink vodka instead of coffee. Somehow, it makes the days easier.”
I open my mouth to respond, but I have no idea how to reply to that. Is she serious?
“Let’s grab a booth. Near our friends or further away?” Grace tilts her head in the direction of the boys.
“Here’s fine,” I say quickly, as the man called Edward fixes his gaze on me.
He probably recognizes you from the elevator, dummy. Hardly checking you out.
Maybe you remind him of his mother.

I snort with laughter as Grace grins.
“Here they come!”
I follow her gaze to see the girls strolling in together, all diamonds and tight dresses.
They don’t look trashy though, they look good.
“Hey, guys!” Zara trills, leaning down to kiss me on the cheek. “I’ll grab some more drinks!”
It doesn’t take long for the boys to join our friends at the bar, but I remain firmly seated, ignoring the laughter and guffaws.
“I’m married, but Christ, have you seen the one in the grey suit?” I turn with surprise to find one of the women, Tamara, I think, gawping at Edward. “He’s got that Charlie Hunnan thing going on, don’t you think?”
I gulp at my vodka as Edward’s gaze meets mine, holding it for what felt like forever until Tamara spoke again.
“You lucky devil, you know him?!”
“What?” I choke out, shaking my head. “No, I just—”
He’s walking over here.
No, he isn’t; he’s fucking striding over here like a God would on water.

“Jenna.”
Tamara inhales sharply behind me, her eyes wider than saucers as she flicks her hair over her shoulder.
“Hey, I’m Tamara.”
Edward’s gaze flickers over to her briefly before giving her a polite nod.
“Can I buy you a drink?”
He directs this to me, but I shake my head.
I’m married.
Why is he offering to buy me a drink?

Maybe he’s gay, and I’m the least attractive here, so he’s trying to make friends with me.
My stomach settles a little with that idea, and I smile.
“No, thank you, I’ve got one.”
His eyes move to my empty glass, and I laugh hollowly.
“Vodka, right?” He doesn’t wait for an answer, lifting my empty glass as he makes his way to the bar.
He commands attention as he does, and I catch Zara fanning herself as she checks him out.
Zara is single and much more his type.
Let Zara deal with him.
“He likes you,” Tamara announces, turning to grin at me. “God, what I wouldn’t give for a night between the sheets with that.”
I smile faintly as he jokes with the bartender, completely ignoring Zara’s advances.
Edward turns, strolling toward me with a smirk on his lips that’s so faint I almost miss it.
“Vodka, lime, and soda.”
I’m stunned.
“Thank you, but you didn’t have to,” I say as Grace shifts over so he can sit beside me.
I stare at her in horror as she winks, heading over to the bar.
Tamara, the bitch, follows her, leaving me with this...man.
“I’m sorry,” I say, shifting so I’m further away from him. “I’m married.”
Edward nods, shrugging his shoulders.
“I didn’t ask.”
I half-laugh, lifting the drink to my lips.
What the hell?
“My husband wouldn’t like to know I allow random men to buy me drinks.” I smile tightly as he chuckles.
“Where is he?”
The way he asks is almost possessive.
“With our daughter,” I shot back, putting him firmly in his place. “You know, I have a family.”
Edward smiles, leaning back and gazing at me.
“I don’t. I’m selfish; I like time to myself.”
“Yep, well, you don’t get much of that when you’re a mother.”
Shit, what am I saying?
“But it’s worth it,” I add hastily.
Edward nods slowly like he hears my words but doesn’t understand a word.
“Another drink?”
I glance down at the empty glass in my hand.
I’d finished it.
“No.” I shake my head firmly as he raises an eyebrow. “I need to eat.”
Zara is watching us intently from the bar, and I beckon her over desperately.
This guy is trying to get me drunk, and I have zero intentions of doing so.
“You two look cozy,” Zara says with a quizzical expression on her face. “Do you know one another?”
Edward says nothing, and I laugh.
“No. We met in the elevator, that’s all. Are we eating anytime soon?”
Zara is too busy checking Edward out to pay attention to me.
“They do burgers,” Edward says, handing me a bar menu.
“Oh. We’re not very hungry, do you mind if we skip dinner? Like Edward says, they do bar snacks?” Zara looks at me pleadingly, her eyes darting back to the bar and Edward again.
At that moment, my phone rings, and I'm grateful for the interruption.
“Excuse me,” I say, rising to my feet as I hear Zara behind me.
“Is it Johnny? Tell him I said hey!”
“Hey,” I say into the phone breathlessly as Johnny yawns.
“Hey, baby. You ok? Sorry, I missed your call earlier; Gilmore Girls bored me to sleep.”
The ball of anxiety in my stomach eased at the sound of my husband's voice.
“I’m good. Just on my second vodka of the evening,” I say, glancing back to see Zara and Edward in conversation.
Good.
Except he keeps looking at me, his gaze traveling down my body so subtly I feel I imagine it.
“Yeah? I’m in bed. Rock and roll, sweetheart. I miss you, but I have to sleep. Violin practice tomorrow.”
I giggle into the phone, leaning against the wall.
“I miss you too.”
“It’s good for you to have a break. Enjoy it; I love you.” Johnny yawns again, and we say goodbye, my unease creeping back as I move toward the bar.
No way am I sitting with Zara and Edward.
“Oh, hello,” Grace slurs from the barstool, pushing some nuts toward me. “Are you hungry?”
I nod gratefully, grabbing a handful of the nuts.
“Is anyone ordering any food?”
Grace makes a face at me.
“Supermodels? Eat? No.”
Zara isn’t a supermodel, but she’s always on some diet.
“Oh.”
Sliding onto the seat beside her, I ordered another drink from the bartender.
Vodka will help, and I need to relax.
Guys talk to girls at bars all the time; he was just being polite.
Except…
I can feel his eyes on me, and it's making me heated.
Down there.
I clamp my thighs together and curse myself, hating the fact I was lusting over some young guy at a bar. It’s pathetic really, he shows me an ounce of attention, and I’m like a cougar.
Ugh.
An hour later, I’m still at the bar, but this time I’m not just talking to Grace.
I’m talking to Thomas and Fred, and they’re telling me all about their business.
“So you’re rich,” I say, finally, feeling relaxed.
Tom laughs, glancing at Zara, who’s joined us.
“I have a boss. Fred has a boss.”
I’m confused.
“So...you’re not rich?”
Thomas grins.
“It depends on what you deem as rich. I’m comfortable.”
“What about Edward?” Zara asks, nodding back to the table. “He’s not giving much away.”
Disappointment fills her voice, and she avoids my gaze.
“Yeah, he works with us.” Thomas waves Edward over as I catch the bartender’s attention.
“Excuse me, can I get a burger and fries, please?”
Grace cackles beside me as Claire and Tamara exchange disgusted looks. Hannah is too busy talking to Fred to care what I’m doing, but I don’t care anymore.
“With mayo,” I add as the bartender grins.
“Onion rings too?”
I moan as he laughs.
“Coming right up.”
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