Just a Number is one of Jamila Jasper's quirky romantic comedy novels. This story is one of our best contemporary romance novels and one of Jamila's best steamy romance novels.
This is a story about Jasmine Johnson who is an independent black entrepreneur who has found financial success but at the same time managed to find herself in a boatload of trouble. She's returning to her small Vermont town after a much needed three week vacation and problems just keep piling up.
Her "best friend" and business partner Marshall Lauren is determined to have his way with her despite her constant attempts to rebuke his advances. She's worried about money and she can't put her income at risk by being more aggressive in her refusal.
Even if Jasmine doesn't want Marshall, she's desperate to really connect with someone. She's starting to wonder if it's time to stop believing in love and give in to the casual disconnectedness of the modern world.
Jasmine starts to believe that her troubles are over when she meets a sexy slightly younger white man on the plane ride home. Vince is thirty and appears to be the perfect guy. They click instantly.
There's just one problem…
Vince isn't thirty. He's twenty-one. And while he is filthy rich, he's still in college and has more baggage than Jasmine could have imagined.
When she finds out Vince's secret she wonders what else he's hiding and if this whole relationship is worth all the trouble. As Jasmine ponders her options, it becomes clear to her that she and Vince are meant to be.
The only questions are: Does he feel the same way? And when he finds out what Jasmine's been keeping from him, will he still want her? The final question remains: Will Marshall let the love of his life get stolen away from him?
Jasmine knew she was cutting it close. She had been sitting at the wrong gate for a full hour and a half. When she finally realized it, Jasmine had to sprint across the airport faster than she’d ever run in her life. Ironic. She had to pick up her feet to return to a life she wasn’t looking forward to. Jasmine had been distracted by the usual: some silly dating article with an attention grabbing title. This one went on and on about age differences and why women “of a certain age” should open themselves up to dating younger men. Jasmine thought the whole thing was ridiculous. She was a strong, independent woman in her thirties. Why should she look for validation in some man who probably didn’t even have a car or gainful employment? Jasmine wasn’t buying into it.
The plane back to Burlington was filling up fast with the usual red-eye crowd. There was always a baby with a mother that looked too young and a father who looked overwhelmed and disinterested at the same time. There were the old businessmen who coughed too much and loudly discussed boring events like boardroom meetings as if they were engaging in the most fascinating subject matter in the world. Then there were the students. Vince Lyman was returning from “winter break” with his family in Florida. He was a day late for the short four-week semester in January but his mother had called the dean’s office so Vince had an excuse. He would have loved to skip the entire semester and taken the time to ski with his older sisters in Aspen, but that wasn’t an option this time around.
Of course, Vince was sure his mother would not have been so forthcoming with her assistance if she saw what Vince was hiding from her. Vince snuggled into his thick black Patagonia fleece and pulled the letter out of his breast pocket. He read the letter over and over again as if the hundredth read would change the overall message.
Dear Mr. Lyman,
Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you the Watson fellowship at this time. While your application was strong, the competition this year was tougher than most. We wish you the best in your post-graduate endeavors.
That was it; they’d wasted an entire piece of paper to print the succinct rejection. Vince’s hands trembled in anger again even if this was far from the first time he’d read the letter. When his parents found out, she knew that they would be furious. It’s not like Vince hadn’t tried either. He’d burned the midnight oil writing those applications – it was all for nothing. Vince had received the letter just three days before the vacation ended. He’d snatched it out of the pile of mail and stuffed it away out of sight. The last thing he needed was a gaggle of Lyman girls standing over his shoulder while he received the best news of his life. Except it wasn’t the news Vince had been expecting at all. Vince had continuously lied to his parents and sisters about the fellowship, pretending like he hadn’t received a thing. They were all so wrapped up in their own problems that lying to them had been startlingly easy. Vince ran his hands through his short cocoa brown hair. His skin was a deep tan color from his Florida vacation; he knew his friends would be jealous.
Then the day before leaving Florida, he’d locked himself in his suite and slowly peeled the letter open. Browned hands clasped the paper tightly as he whispered the words of the letter out loud to himself. Rejection. Vince wanted to cry or slam his fists into a wall, but doing so would mean revealing to his family that he was a failure. Vince couldn’t handle it. He’d spent his entire twenty-one years in Zoë, Suzanne and Madeline’s shadow.
Vince’s older sisters had all made their parents proud. They’d attended Harvard, Yale and Princeton respectively. Vince hadn’t even managed to attend an Ivy League. Sure, his private liberal arts college in Vermont was well ranked but it didn’t have quite the same ring to it. Vince’s grandparents were convinced that he was coddled for being a boy and multiple miniature wars had broken out over why Vince couldn’t “perform” like his siblings. It was all bullshit. Vince could hardly get a moment of his parents’ attention; he’d resigned himself to forging his own path. He lived for himself – not the Lyman family name – much to his parents chagrin.
Of course, it wasn’t enough that he’d failed to attend an Ivy League school; now Vince had been denied the same fellowship that all three of his sisters had managed to win. Just thinking about it made Vince upset. He stuffed the letter back into his pocket and tried to distract himself by listening in on the conversations around the plane. Vince was thrilled that he had two seats to himself. The plane was filling up and so far, the aisle seat next to him was unoccupied. Vince was a tall six foot five inches and sharing a seat with someone always meant having to scrunch his hulking body into a nearly fetal position.
Vince looked at his reflection in the window of the plane. He hated to be vain but he realized that he looked better than ever. His robust tan certainly wouldn’t fade until at least March. His eyes were a vibrant cerulean color and the stubble that prickled over his face gave him a rugged look for a man who had only attended private school. While Vince was a certified loser in his family, he had a reputation to uphold at school.
He knew how pathetic it was to cling to “social status” at a college so small and insignificant, but it was Vince’s way of keeping people at arms length. Guys and girls looked up to him because his father was a big CEO; he was the captain of the hockey team and his parents had three homes. The past two years, Vince had invited the entire hockey team –men and women’s — down to their house in Florida to drink and party. That had helped his reputation quite a bit. It also distracted from the fact that Vince was a virgin.
At least that’s how Vince saw his sexuality. He’d performed oral sex on women before and had the same done to him but he had never really been with a woman. It wasn’t because women weren’t interested in Vince. It’s just that all the women interested in him seemed so bland. Every once in awhile, Vince would be coerced into taking out some simple, air-headed girl that reeked of granddaddy’s money. He would then “respectfully” decline her aggressive come-ons, saying that he preferred to have sex with someone he loved. That at least kept his reputation in tact – in fact, women saw Vince as more desirable because of it. In reality, Vince didn’t see himself as honorable. He just couldn’t force himself to be attracted to the typical bulimic blondes that populated his campus. The women who Vince found himself attracted to were just out of reach. He refused to settle.
Vince’s demeanor on dates with the various women whose hearts he’d broken left them thoroughly confused. They were so egotistical that they would interpret Vince’s company alone as a come on. Vince didn’t want any of them at all even if his friends resented him for turning down all of the hottest prospects. But the people he did want were off limits. Vince knew it was ridiculous for this attraction to be so taboo, especially in his family. But if he tried…And if his parents found out… They would accuse him of desperately grabbing for attention or something. They often accused Vince of having an “inferiority complex” over his college choice and Vince knew they simply wouldn’t believe that he could actually love someone who wasn’t a part of their circle. Worse still, they might cut him off financially or exact graver consequences still. Vince had no interest in any of these things happening.
Just when Vince was sure that the doors of the plane were about to close and he would remain unperturbed for the rest of the flight, a small and slender woman burst in huffing and puffing. “Good evening!” She loudly proclaimed to either the flight attendants or the whole plane. Vince couldn’t tell which. He started engaging in silent prayer hoping this klutz wouldn’t sit next to him… Which of course she did.
“Hi! I’m Jasmine!” The woman said as she plopped down right next to Vince.
Vince was tempted not to respond but her lifelong training in politeness urged her to do otherwise. Plus, she was gorgeous.
“Hi, I’m Vince,” He muttered.
Jasmine smiled brightly, “Late night flight huh? Where are you headed?”
“Oh I live near Burlington,” Vince lied.
He wasn’t in the practice of telling strangers every detail of his life.
“Wow! Surprised I haven’t seen you around much. How old are you?” Jasmine asked.
Vince plied her with another lie, “I’m thirty.”
“You look good for thirty!” Jasmine said.
“Thanks,” Vince muttered again.
Jasmine wondered if she was coming on too strong. She was never too good at reading people but something about this thirty-year-old who looked twenty made her think that she was being too aggressive. All of Jasmine’s former lovers had launched that same complaint. Jasmine was about to ignore her insecurities and plough ahead in getting to know her seatmate when the flight attendant began making announcements and quieting down the plane to listen to them.
Jasmine didn’t need to listen. She’d heard the same pithy announcements over and over again. Jasmine flew around the country nearly every month and she didn’t need to pay too close attention to the boring “how to use a seatbelt” lecture every single time. It was easy for Jasmine to get lost in thought considering what she was going back to. She was headed back from her vacation to continue working at the company she’d started with her best friend. The only problem was seeing her best friend again. Marshall Lauren had been Jasmine’s best friend for years; when they’d decided to go into business together, Jasmine was confident that it was a good move. Now she wasn’t so certain.
One evening after work, Marshall had confessed his feelings to Jasmine. He’d told her how beautiful she was and how much he loved her. Then he’d pinned her against a wall in an attempt to show her exactly how he felt. Jasmine had begged him to stop and pleaded with him. But Marshall was different; he was someone else entirely. Jasmine had to push him off her hard to get him away. She’d run out of their office while Marshall shouted apologies after her until she was out of earshot.
Then, Jasmine had sent in an email letting everyone know she was taking a three-week vacation. She’d spent the next three weeks dodging Marshall’s texts and calls. The damage had been done. She didn’t know if she could ever really trust him again; she just knew that she needed space. Jasmine had never been forthcoming about her sexuality with Marshall before but she didn’t think it was necessary. The “don’t ask don’t tell” principle worked well for Jasmine. She hated sharing her romantic life with her friends anyways. Of course, Marshall had misinterpreted her silence to mean interest in him.
Jasmine would have never expected Marshall of all people to have her pushed up against a wall and force himself on her. In fact, Marshall had always struck her as unassuming and quiet. He had a shock of curly red hair and a square jaw. He was only five feet six inches too; his strength had surprised Jasmine that day. Now that she was going back to Burlington, they would either have to ignore the entire incident or confront it. Jasmine wanted none of it. She longed to go back to the time before Marshall had confessed his feelings for her. Even in her memory, the thought of being in love with Marshall made her shudder. He was a great friend but that was it. Why did men have to ruin everything?
Jasmine was much more interested in finding a man who she had a real connection with than trying to force a relationship with some guy just because he’d been kind to her for a few years. Jasmine knew she still had her chance. Youth was commoditized and overrated. Jasmine sometimes felt self-conscious about the fact that all the men her age seemed to be desperate to get attached to women in their twenties. Jasmine had to remind herself that she was beautiful. Jasmine had rich walnut colored skin and long black hair that she sometimes relaxed, sometimes wore curly down the middle of her back. She’d been blessed with hair that remained long no matter how many times she burned it up with chemicals. Jasmine also had a phenomenal body. She loved food and eating and her curves filled her out in all the right places. Jasmine hoped that all her positive traits would make up for the fact that she was thirty-five and still unmarried – which apparently had become sinful.
Jasmine’s past boyfriend was in his forties and married to a fat, balding woman with a beer gut bigger than the state of Vermont. Jasmine couldn’t believe that her boyfriend would do anything other than leave his wife. He’d promised to do so countless times. Of course, Jasmine had held onto the false hope and filled her own head with dreams of them making off together and having a big fancy wedding. Wrong. As usual, he was just another bored husband looking to experiment. His heart was at home. Jasmine always seemed to attract the wrong type. Perhaps they were drawn to Jasmine because of her confidence in her sexuality. Perhaps they saw something in Jasmine that screamed, “use me!”
Whatever it was, Jasmine was tired of being lied to and used. She had determined that if her next catch didn’t work out, she would resign herself to banging any and everything in sight. Maybe then Marshall would have his chance. She thought glumly. Jasmine pushed the long strands of her black hair out of her face and put her tortoise shell glasses on. Jasmine wanted to meet Marshall looking as disinterested as possible. Of course, he’d insisted upon coming to the airport to get her, ignoring her reassurance that she could get a taxi to her house on her own.
The flight attendant went silent and soon the plane to Burlington was in the air. Jasmine looked over and her gorgeous seatmate and was instantly curious about him. The guy was definitely sexy; he gave off this aura of being above it all that Jasmine found herself oddly drawn to. He didn’t look thirty at all but he’d been so confident about his response that Jasmine had no choice but to believe him. Jasmine had so many questions of the youthful yet rugged looking man next to her. Despite his bundles of clothing, Jasmine could tell his was quite athletic from the size of his biceps, which were bulging through his fleece. Jasmine knew that thirty was a little young for her but she was still intrigued. Jasmine wondered if was interested in black women… Or if he was gay… Now that would be a bummer.
Jasmine searched for clues. Vince reached into his black backpack and reached for his wallet. On the inside was a crumpled pamphlet from the Black Lives Matter march that had happened earlier the previous year.
“So you’re into protests?” Jasmine blurted out.
Shit! That was so not a smooth opening. Jasmine chastised herself internally the moment she’d blurted out the comment.
Vince turned to her right and raised his eyebrows. Jasmine realized that she’d probably come across as weird.
“Excuse me?” He said.
“Sorry… I’m the most tactless person ever. It’s just I saw the pamphlet in your wallet. I get ‘foot in mouth’ syndrome when I encounter a really attractive guy,” Jasmine said.
Vince tried to obscure a wide grin and Jasmine knew that she had her in.
“Don’t worry about tact,” Vince said with a smile.
He realized that he was being a tad harsh towards the woman sitting next to him. After all, she was just trying to be friendly. Vince knew he could use a friend. Everything in his life seemed to be falling apart and this stranger was already a step closer to understanding Vince than most of his friends at school. His friends on the hockey team didn’t exactly admire his participation in pro-black activism. Sometimes Vince couldn’t believe he hung around such boneheads.
“I’m Jasmine. Did I already say that? Vince, right? I love this flight. It’s so peaceful and brief. I just got back from a three-week vacation from work. I know, rare to get a three-week vacation but I’m actually self-employed. Well, I have a company. Part of Vermont’s entrepreneurship right here. Hah. I’ve been at it for a few years. Used to work for a local company but I figured I could do something a bit better on my own. I’m in business with my friend… I’m sorry… I’m talking too much aren’t I?” Jasmine said.
Vince just smiled. He was relieved that he wasn’t expected to hold up the other side of a conversation for once. Sure Jasmine was certainly babbling but it sure beat having to reveal any bits and pieces about his own life. Her energy was infectious too. Vince instantly felt his mood lifting from when he’d been musing over his rejection letter earlier. Jasmine’s eyes were alight with excitement and her thick black hair bounced as she spoke.
“No, I don’t mind. I love hearing about people… What sort of business are you in?” Vince asked. He tried to maintain more of an approachable demeanor after that.
Jasmine was pleased to continue, “Well it started out as social media marketing but I guess it’s more along the lines of public relations now. We consult with companies and teach them what they’re doing wrong and how they’re alienating customers of minority groups… the LGBT community, black people, Latinos… You get the point. Well it’s funny how I landed in this business considering I’m an old fart but enough about me. Where do you work?”
Great. Vince had barely remembered that he had lied about his age. He pulled out the best lie she could come up with.
“Uh… Well I work for a family business. My dad is kind of… in finance… you know… stuff like that,” Vince replied.
He was shocked that his terrible lie had held up to Jasmine’s scrutiny.
“Wow. Daddy in finance. That sounds fancy. Lucky you aren’t some kind of deviant from the New England norm aren’t you?” Jasmine said.
Vince was glad she didn’t wait for an answer.
“Anyways Vince I don’t mean to be aggressive but you’re one of the coolest guys around thirty I’ve met in Burlington like… ever. I’m sorry but we’ve got to meet up some time. I’ll give you my number. Not to mention you’re not hard on the eyes. I just can’t believe this. I hope I’m not overwhelming you or anything. But… just wow. Do you do anything in your free time besides work?” Jasmine continued.
Vince nodded. Finally he had a chance to be honest.
“I play hockey,” She said.
Jasmine let out a little laugh. Vince wasn’t sure if she understood the intent behind it.
But of course Jasmine filled her in.
“Wow! In finance and you play hockey. Let me guess you’ve been to private schools since you were three… Don’t answer that I’m just teasing. What about tennis? Can you play? When it gets cooler out we should meet each other on the court,” Jasmine said.
Vince continued, “I’m not as good at tennis but I definitely play. Here, why don’t I give you my number?”
Vince didn’t know what took hold of him but he wrote his number out on a piece of paper and handed it to Jasmine. In turn, Jasmine handed him a business card. Shit! Vince was sure that Jasmine would realize he’d lied about his age. Of course a thirty year old would use a business card to exchange numbers instead of some shreds of paper. Vince could have kicked himself for the foolish mistake.
Jasmine seemed blind to what Vince was sure would be an obvious gaffe. There wasn’t much time left on their flight to Burlington; Jasmine filled in the gaps of silence by sharing more drama and information than Vince could have possibly cared for about the dating scene in Burlington.
When the flight landed, they said good-bye to each other and bustled at different paces towards the baggage carousel. Now that the flight was over, both Jasmine and Vince had to focus their attention on the messiness they were about to face in their lives. Jasmine was moments away from meeting Marshall and she didn’t want the attractive gut she’d just met to know that there was drama with another man. She’d given it her best shot and she didn’t want to ruin her opportunity with Vince. Vince himself was praying that he wouldn’t run into anyone from school that would reveal that he’d lied about her age by a crucial nine years. He found Jasmine more gorgeous than any woman he’d attended school with, but of course she was off limits for a number of reasons. She was so put together that Vince was sure she would be repulsed if she knew how old he really was.
Jasmine felt relieved to notice that Vince was gone in a flash. She picked up her hiking backpack and then disappeared into a taxi. Strange. Jasmine never knew anyone so hot who didn’t have some gaggle of female “friends” to pick them up from the airport. At the very least, Jasmine knew this meant Vince didn’t have a wife.
Jasmine got her simple black suitcase and scanned the area for Marshall. He wasn’t hard to spot in a crowd. Jasmine was just about to celebrate the idea that perhaps he’d given up on her and hadn’t shown up at all when she saw him walking towards her. Marshall was smiling widely. His bottle green eyes were shining with anticipation as if he were greeting a long lost lover. Jasmine knew ironically that was exactly how he saw her. If only it could be easier to just tell Marshall the truth and shout from the rooftops: I don’t find you attractive at all! I’m more attracted to tall strapping men with dark hair!
“Hello beautiful,” Marshall said as he wrapped Jasmine in a hug.
Usually a hug from Marshall felt amazing and warm. Now, Jasmine felt like prey. And she’d just let herself back into her predator’s arms. For what? For the sake of the business? For the sake of their friendship? Jasmine wasn’t sure when her decision making had become quite so messy.
“Hey Marshall. Long flight. I just want to get home and crawl into bed,” Jasmine muttered.
Her best bet was trying to act normal.
“I bet you do. Well I’ll take you home Jasmine. How was your vacation?” Marshall asked.
Jasmine followed Marshall outside towards his car.
“It was fine. Very relaxing. Good to get a break from work for a bit and unwind,” Jasmine said.
“Meet anyone interesting?” Marshall asked.
“No,” Jasmine answered curtly.
On the plane, she’d been filled with energy to chat away. Now that she was back in her real world, Jasmine felt silence gripping her by the neck. Jasmine wondered if she hadn’t taken quite enough time off…
Marshall knew Jasmine just well enough to tell he’d made her uncomfortable.
“So Jasmine… What do you think about these employee reports I sent you? The new hires?” Marshall said.
No matter what, he could always get Jasmine to talk shop.
Jasmine perked up. As long as Marshall wasn’t trying to find an in to hit on her, she was more than comfortable speaking with him. After all, they had a long history as friends and business partners. Jasmine was especially chatty about the employee reports. They’d recently hired a few content writers and copywriters for their website and marketing materials. Not all of them were up to standard. Jasmine dove right into her analysis, grateful that Marshall was finally giving her a break.
After fifteen minutes of non-stop talking, Marshall pulled his car to the front of Jasmine’s house. Jasmine was about to get out when Marshall stopped her.
Jasmine turned around and looked at Marshall, waiting for him to say what he needed to.
“Go on a date with me… please,” Marshall said.
Jasmine couldn’t believe this. Was Marshall really trying to ask her out? Persistence was not going to win him more success.
“Marshall…Why?” Jasmine huffed.
“Because I owe you an apology. And more. Tomorrow night at eight I’ll pick you up,” Marshall said.
Jasmine knew she would beat herself up later for pitying Marshall. He had such a gentle look in his eye that he really did seem genuine about his apology.
“Fine Marshall. But don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” Jasmine said.
She slammed his car door and walked up to her house. Jasmine could have kicked herself for agreeing to the date but it was too late. Tomorrow at eight, she’d be on a date with her best friend.
Shortly after Jasmine entered her house, Vince’s taxi dropped him off at his dorm. To outsiders, the dorm looked more like a castle than a sardine can for young college students. Even Vince knew he lived in luxury. He was accustomed to luxury, but this was beyond what most college students had for accommodations. A $60,000 price tag worked wonders. He had a massive living room with a fully outfitted kitchen. All of his apartment mates had their own separate rooms too, all joined together by a common room. Vince’s favorite roommate Diana was waiting eagerly for his arrival in the living room.
Diana squealed and jumped into Vince’s arms the moment she saw him.
“Vince!! Vince!!” Diana squealed.
Vince loosely wrapped his arms around the girl and plopped down on the living room couch. Diana was one of the few women who’d shown disinterest in Vince sexually. Although that was a bit of an understatement. Diana made it clear that she was patently disgusted by the idea of Vince being sexual. He enjoyed having her around for that reason if none other.
“Could you carry my bag up to my room Diana? I’m so tired,” Vince begged.
Diana leapt into action. Vince was back in his world where people leapt at attention whenever he made a request. A part of him knew it was lame, but another part of him loved the power. This was one of the few places where Vince could be in control. At home, he was baby brother Vince. Here, he was the alpha of any room he stepped in. Even Vince knew this was ironic considering he was the most sexually inexperienced “alpha” to have ever graced the college’s halls.
When Diana returned, she caught Vince up on all the gossip involving their housemates. It was all perfectly trivial and insignificant. Vince loved how easy it was to keep himself distracted from her real problems here. College students were so caught up on their self-perpetuated drama.
“So did you meet anyone cute in Florida? I mean… Your house is so lovely Vince. You guys are so lucky,” Diana said.
Vince smiled. Diana was the perfect ditzy friend he could go to with her newest predicament. Not smart enough to turn him problems into a nasty rumor but loyal enough to be a good source of advice.
“Not really in Florida. But I did meet someone on the plane,” Vince confessed.
Diana bounced in her seat. “Was she cute? Does she go here or is she a grad student?” Diana said.
“Not exactly. Let’s just say I met someone older. Much older. Though it’s not their fault… For coming onto me I mean. I said I was thirty,” Vince said.
“Someone believed you were thirty?” Diana scoffed.
Vince continued, “I know right… The woman I met is thirty-five. I have her number. I guess I just don’t know if I should call or not. She is a little older.”
Diana looked aghast.
“A little? Vince, come on. Thirty five is old enough to be your mother,” Diana said.
Vince mused for a moment that Diana was lucky her family donated millions to the college’s endowment each year. Without that, she would be a lost duck.
“Don’t be such a prude Diana. I’m not saying I’m going to do anything. But it can’t hurt to go out on a date. Plus, age is just a number,” Vince said.
Diana’s eyes widened and she continued, “Wow. You’re so chill Vince. I just don’t think I could do it! Three years older is the oldest I would go.”
“I guess…” Vince began.
Before he could continue, Diana interrupted, “Well just think about the diseases! Someone that old has probably had sex with like sixty people. Women lie too, Vince. Plus, she could be married… Is she rich?”
Vince shrugged, “I dunno.”
“Well I’m sorry Vince but if she isn’t rich you shouldn’t waste your time. I know it’s like not politically correct or whatever but social status is important! Most couples fight over money and you just don’t want to be with an older woman who doesn’t have it together! Not to mention, she could be a gold digger. You don’t want to squander the Lyman fortune away like that. You know the Moores? Well Dave Moore – Andy’s uncle – married this much younger woman and she murdered him and tried to claim the insurance money.” Diana said.
Vince chuckled at her dramatic flair. Vince was trying his best to ignore all of Diana’s antiquated ideas about love and romance. He had no idea where that girl came up with some of these notions. But Diana did have a few good points.
“You might be right,” Vince offered. He was half-listening to Diana and off in his own fantasy world, wondering what it would be like to sleep with the woman he’d met on the plane.
“Well I just want to protect you sweetie. I don’t want you to set yourself up for disappointment,” Diana said.
She gave Vince a hug and then changed the subject. Vince had trouble focusing on Diana’s issues but he tried his best. He couldn’t figure out why Diana kept coming to him for advice; all he did was nod and listen to her and occasionally tell her that she was right. Is that all women wanted from their friends? Vince wasn’t sure. Diana’s last words rung in his head, an important warning he wasn’t sure he could heed.
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