Valentine's Challenge/Newsletter Free Read

When you join my newsletter, I send you a free short story serial called Valentine's Challenge. So far we are up to three parts. Today I thought I would share some of Part I. If you'd like to read more just send me an email at and I will add you to my subscriber list and send out Parts II & III.

Valentine's Challenge (Part 1.1)

I don’t know who it was who started the idea that if you’re still single when thirty is staring you in the face you have to ‘put yourself out there,’ but my friend, Lana is convinced of it. She is constantly telling me, “Evi, you have to put yourself out there…put yourself out there.” Well, I am out there. Is it my fault that no one seems to be a taker?

Case in point—I was at my cousin’s wedding, alone, of course. There were plenty of opportunities to ‘put myself out there.’ I stood in line for food, sat in my seat as I watched everyone else partying, and reclined against a wall as I observed the funky chicken out on the dance floor. But I was there, wasn’t I? Isn’t that close enough to ‘putting myself out there?’

I knew I was going to hear it all over again as Lana sat across from me at the local steak house while we celebrated the end of yet another week of work for Murray Industries. I’ve been busy working my way up in the secretarial pool while Lana is now a supervisor in her department. A point she relishes in reminding me more times than I like to admit.

“Evelyn, you can’t possible expect me to believe that you really try to put yourself out there. The problem is that you’re too comfortable with your life.”

I sat forward in my seat almost knocking over my iced tea as I stared back at Lana, defensiveness bristling all over me. “How am I too comfortable?”

She smiled at me with her spectacular grin. A grin I might add that was the whole reason she had no problem putting her self out there.

“You’re comfortable in your job. Nobody bothers you and you go about your daily duties not ever working for anything better, more challenging, or exciting. You do the same thing in your personal life. You don’t want to risk moving out of that comfort zone.”

My comfort zone? Okay maybe she was right. I liked my life. I liked things organized and planned. Why mess with what works.

“You need to do something spontaneous. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you do something out of the blue. I guess it’s just not in your character,” she said with obvious mock resignation. Is she trying reverse psychology on me?

“I can be just as spontaneous as the next person,” I declared, falling into her trap despite my previous suspicion. She knew exactly how to play me.

“Prove it.” She sat back in her chair and folded her arms in front of herself as her blue eyes twinkled at me—the same blue eyes that had gotten me into trouble from time to time.

For example, one time she hinted to an adorable VP on the third floor that she knew of someone who would love to go to dinner with him. Of course, thinking she was speaking of herself, he agreed. When he found out it was me she had been referring to, he was too embarrassed to say no. Let me just say that was the worst two hours of my life which ended with me taking a taxi home and never haunting the halls nearby his office ever again.

Looking back at her as all these thoughts played through my mind, I knew I was in for it. “I…I can prove it,” I stammered oh so gracefully. “I need more sweeteners. How about I take some of these blue packets home?” I discreetly grabbed a couple and stuffed them into my purse. Peeking up, I hoped against all hope that this spontaneous action would suffice for today. But as my gray-eyed gaze fell onto her face I knew it was not to be.

She gave me a discerning half smile and then her glance swept across the room, examining every crevice it seemed. When she looked back at me, there was a sinister glow about her. My fight or flight mechanism was just about to kick in when she spoke.

“If you’re really serious about proving your spontaneity, I have the perfect solution.” A playful smile graced her lips. I knew this was going to be bad, very bad.

“See the dark haired hunk at the table across the room.” She motioned with her head to a booth at the opposite side of the restaurant near the bar. There sat two men—one dark and one fair.

My heart began racing, knowing exactly where this was going. I glanced at the booth again. The dark haired one noticed my perusal and smiled before turning back to his dinner companion. There was no way I was going to go through with whatever evil and diabolical plan Lana had premeditated.

She cleared her throat and sat forward, folding her well-manicured fingers on the table in front of her. In a low tone she began, “You go over there and ask him to accompany you to the Murray Industries charity benefit next month and then I’ll agree that you can be spontaneous.” As she finished talking, she sat back in her chair, reveling in the torture she very well knew she was putting me through.

Even if I didn’t have high placed goals and ambitions, I hated being dared to do something. And that is exactly what this was. She had dared me to go ask that delicious looking man out on a date.

My hands trembled as I tried to force myself up out of my seat. I looked at her with what I hoped was determination, but I’m sure she only saw that I just wanted to be pitied and let out of this farcical situation. I finally moved about an inch out of my seat when I plopped right back down. Lana could be reasonable. I’m sure there was some other way I could prove myself to her.

She could sense exactly what I was thinking. “Evi, just say the word and we can just go back to having a nice relaxing Friday night dinner.” She moved up near to the table and leaned her head as close to mine as possible. Her eyes flashed with amusement. “But don’t you dare even attempt to tell me that you’re putting yourself out there ever again.”

She sat back and took a sip from her glass as she managed a relaxed pose. I, on the other hand, felt like I was sitting on pins and needles. Her attitude, however, had restored my resolve. I had to prove to her that I could do this. I just hoped I didn’t suffer the worst kind of humiliation at the hands of the gorgeous man mere feet away from me.

To Be Continued…

© Cindy K. Green, 2008

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