A year after her dad’s death, Laurie is feeling stuck in life. When her best friend Mace takes a job in New York, she convinces Laurie to join her. Laurie has always wanted to work in publishing, and she decides to seek out her dream job in the big city. At a party she winds up having a sexy encounter with a man, only to meet him again at a job interview—where he’s the one hiring. She’s determined not to work for him, but he arrogantly assures her, “You will work for me, little kitten.”
Age Rating 18+
Meeting Him in Between by Cristina Cools is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.
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“Do something with your life,” my dad had said to me. What was the meaning of that? How could I live without him? So many questions with no answers. I couldn’t live like this anymore.
Waking up, washing, and dressing. Opening my dad’s small bookstore to greet the regular customers. Sounded like heaven for some people, but this wasn’t the life I wanted to live anymore.
I was unhappy with my life. So many dreams washed away when my dad passed away a year ago.
“I’m so proud of the woman you have become, Laurie. You are strong and passionate. Don’t let anyone take that strength away. I’m dying. That’s my path, but it isn’t yours, sweetheart.
“You don’t have to stop living because of me. I want you to sell my bookstore and follow your dreams. You will be unhappy if you stay here.
“It’s going to be hard to let you go, but I will always stay by your side every step you make in life. That’s a promise, my sweet girl. Come and give me a big hug. I will love you forever.”
These were his last words before he silently passed away in his sleep, right in my arms. I cried for months. Didn’t know how to live my life without him.
Now, my life was an automatic impulse. I did everything because I must, not because I liked it or wanted it. I just did it without complaining, because that’s how my dad raised me.
I was a strong and independent woman.
I was looking through the large window of the bookstore when somebody walked in. A big smile appeared on my face. Yes, she was my sun for sure.
“Hi, Mace,” I greeted her from behind my desk.
“Hi, girl. Oh, what are you wearing?” she complained.
“Leggings and a sweater; what’s wrong with that, anyway?” I asked her with a frown.
“The leggings are great; you have the ass for those, but the sweater is way too large for you,” Mace informed me with a smirk on her face.
“You are a bitch. You know that, right?” I laughed.
“Yes, I am,” she laughed at my response. “So, I have some good news and some bad news,” she said, excited.
“Okay, give me the good news first.”
“You know I had a lot of interviews the past few weeks, and I got a response from my first choice, actually.” I nodded so she could continue talking.
“Well, they want me as their new employee,” she said with a wide grin.
“Wow, that’s awesome babe. Congratulations!” I squealed while hugging her. “So what’s the bad news then?” I questioned her quietly.
“The company wants me to move to New York. They have opened a new business there, and they want me to work there,” Macy murmured.
“Oh, okay, yeah. I don’t know what to say.” I was silent for a moment. New York was so far away. But she needed to follow her dreams. “I’m happy for you, Mace, but I’m going to miss you.”
“I have been thinking a lot lately, and I know you aren’t happy here. Why don’t you come with me? We can live together, you know. You can get interviews there.
“I’m pretty sure you will get a job there, with your degree.”
“I don’t know, Mace. I can’t leave the store behind. Dad worked so hard to build it up from scratch. Isn’t it selfish to sell the last thing I have from him?”
“Of course not, Laurie. How can you even think that way about yourself? You are the most genuine, caring, and hard-working girl I’ve ever met. I just want you to be happy.
“You gave up so much when you took care of your dad. And even now he’s gone, you are still caring for his store. This isn’t what he had wanted for you,” she explained to me carefully.
“I don’t know what to do, Macy. I miss him so much,” I said while my tears made their way down.
“I know girl, I know, but eventually you will be feeling better. Just come with me. At least think about it, okay?” She caressed my arm gently.
“Okay, I will. Thanks for being my best friend. I love you so much,” I said with a small smile. I hugged her one last time, and Macy left, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
What should I do now? She’s everything I have here. My mother passed away when I was two years old. She had had a heart attack. My dad had raised me on his own, so I’d only had him and Macy.
I hadn’t had other friends back at school. Macy was the only one who truly knew me and accepted me for who I was.
Macy was very tall and slim. With her long blonde hair, men were regularly falling at her feet. But she didn’t want a relationship.
Why have a commitment when every weekend you can have a new, hot guy in your bed, she had said to me with a wide grin.
I had been such a prude. Instead of partying on the weekends, I worked in a small bakery and worked for school. After a few years of hard work, I received my degree.
I always loved writing, reading, exploring unfamiliar words. I was very good at finding new authors with promising stories. I always helped a few classmates with their tasks when they needed help.
That was just me, always seeking the good in people. Always wanting to help where I could.
My teachers had told me I should work for a publisher, because I could recognize talent early. I was even a very talented writer, but I never had enough time to write my book.
Maybe someday I could try it again, but for now, I needed to make a choice.
This wasn’t what I wanted for my life. I’d studied so hard because I wanted a career of my own. Working hard for what I wanted to be had always been my goal.
Macy was right. My dad wouldn’t have been happy to see me this way. Maybe I had to find someone for my dad’s bookstore who would care for it, just like I always had.
Maybe then I could start my life over. I was twenty-eight years old, but I often felt a lot older. Before you know, life will be over, my dad had always told me.
I had to listen to my dad’s wishes. He knew me better than I knew myself. It would be scary as hell, but I would take the step and move on with my life.
It was time to think about my happiness now.
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“Wow, this is just amazing! Look at that view! The apartment is so big!” I gushed while walking in and out of the rooms in our new apartment.
“I know; it’s perfect for us. Thankfully, my dad picked this one. He knows how I love the modern interior.” She laughed.
“Your dad is the best. Tell him thank you for me,” I said with a smile.
“You told him thank you so many times back in California. He knows you appreciate this.”
“Yeah, I know, but thanks to him, we can afford this apartment,” I answered her.
“That’s true. Oh, I’m so happy. We are going to start a life in New York. How crazy is that!” Macy gushed.
“Yeah, it’s almost unreal.” I smiled at her while placing my bags on the floor.
Thanks to Macy’s dad, who had a big company in California, we’d gotten this apartment. He worked in real estate, and he’d bought this apartment for us.
We still needed to pay for the rent, but it wasn’t too much. He wanted us to learn to have responsibilities, but he’d also told Macy he would keep the money until we wanted to move out.
He’d give us the money when we wanted to buy a house of our own. When Macy had told him about her job interview, he was at first not so happy about it.
He’d always hoped she would join him in his company, but she wanted a career of her own. A fresh start in a new company.
Macy loved interiors and buildings; that’s what she had inherited from her dad. Her mom was always at home caring for her children.
Macy had one younger brother; he was thirteen years old. Eric was very smart, and he already wanted to take over his dad’s company when he graduated.
I was putting away my clothes in my closet when Macy cleared her throat.
“Hi, girl. Do you mind if I go to grab a coffee with Michael? If you don’t want me to go, I can call him back,” she said.
“No, no, it’s fine; just go. You must learn more about your work environment,” I said with a small smile.
“Thanks, Laurie. I won’t be away for long, I promise,” she said with a big smile.
“It’s okay, Mace; just go. I will order pizza when you get back; is that fine for you?” I asked her.
“Great. See ya.” And then she left.
The silent room gave me energy and a new feeling inside. “Who would have thought I would live in New York, Dad?” I said to him while holding my necklace in my hand.
They’d melted his ashes into a heart-shaped silver necklace so I could have him with me every step of the way.
I’d sold the bookstore to a regular customer of ours.
Rita was a single mother in her forties, and she had been so enthusiastic about buying my store. I couldn’t have been happier that she bought it.
She loved books, maybe more than I did. She was the perfect match. I was certain my dad would have been happy with my choice not to sell it to someone random.
I’d sold the bookstore in a week, so Macy and I had started planning our move to New York. Her dad had found this apartment, and two months later, we were here.
Mace worked Monday, and I had an interview at a large publishing house a few blocks away from my apartment.
Wells Publishing House was one of the many large companies in New York. It would be difficult to get accepted for the job, but I had a pretty good résumé and a nice degree, so maybe I had a chance.
I had to be patient and strong, just as dad had always told me. Everything came on your path when the time was right. He’d always assured me with those words when I wasn’t courageous enough.
I was going to live from now on and enjoy life as I was supposed to.
After two hours, I had showered, and all my bags were empty. I was sitting on the big white sofa, watching some television when the door burst open. “Hi, girl. I’m home.”
“Hi. How was the talk with Michael?” I asked her with a big smile.
“Great. He will be my guide and help me when I need it. He’s awesome, actually,” she said with flushed cheeks.
“Oh my, Mace; you do like him!” I squealed in laughter.
“Shush. You are being absurd. He’s handsome, and his character is nice, but that’s all. You know I don’t want commitment,” she said.
“I know; maybe not right now. But feelings can grow, you know?” I asked playfully.
“Not going to happen, girl,” she told me with a smirk. “I will call for pizza, because I’m starving. What do you want?”
“A margherita, please, with lots of cheese.” I smiled.
“Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, but Michael has arranged tickets for us to go to a masked ball. Isn’t that great?!”
“Really, when is that?”
“Tomorrow in the Wilson hotel,” she said to me.
“Wow, okay. I don’t think I have anything in my closet to wear for those occasions, and I don’t have a mask,” I said in an uneasy tone.
“That’s fine. I need to shop anyway. We will go tomorrow, okay?” she asked with a wide grin.
“Okay, it’s a deal.” I smiled.
“Good. I will call for the pizzas now, and then I will text Michael that we will be going with him.”
“Mmm, this pizza is delicious,” I murmured.
“Yeah, it’s the best I’ve ever tasted before,” Macy said with a big smile.
“So, Michael—” I began. “How come he can arrange tickets for a fancy party?” I asked, trying to encourage her to loosen up and tell me more about him.
“His dad is a rich man, he told me. He has a large company, and because they were opening a new office, they wanted to have a big event for their customers and their employees.
“There will be a lot of rich people there. Most of them have lots of companies. So isn’t it crazy that he invited us to go to such an event?”
“I don’t know. If you put it that way, we don’t fit in, don’t you think? We aren’t rich, and we don’t have any connections with his dad’s company.” I silently continued chewing after my response.
“No, no, no, Laurie. You will not do this now.
“You are a strong and sexy woman. We deserve to be there. We were invited, so we belong there just like those other people. Do you hear me?” Mace asked with a frown.
“You know I have low self-esteem. I don’t have the money to buy an expensive dress. All those people will be dressed like royalty, for God’s sake.
“The women with their long, thin legs—have you seen mine? I’m a Latina; I will not fit in there, for sure.”
“So what? Who gives a damn about what they believe and think? You are sexy as hell. Everyone wants those curves of yours. Those men will fall at your feet.
“We always worked hard for our money. We can be proud of ourselves. Tomorrow, we are going to have fun, I promise. And if you want to go home, then we will return, but at least you have to try.
“You owe it to yourself. Try new things, Laurie; it will benefit your entire career, you’ll see. Maybe you’ll meet someone in the publishing world, who knows?” she said with a smirk on her face.
“Okay, okay, you win. We will go.” I smiled at her. I hoped I would find myself a dress that could fit in there.
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