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An excerpt from ANCHORED

Anchored

  Since children girls nights only happen every so often so when they do Aubrey  and her best friends like to pretend that they are twenty one again!   On such a beautiful, early fall night, Aubrey and her best friends Stephanie and Amanda enjoy a loud patio with umbrella drinks overlooking the Potomac.  The girls have clearly been drinking for a couple of hours.  Aubrey is standing by the table that the other girls are sitting at and dances to the background music.   Nothing can stop her from being in a wonderfully fun mood,
"I am so glad that school started back up!  I have a great class this year."
The girls nod in agreement and Stephanie replies,
"I just can't believe my oldest one is in first grade.  I am starting to feel old."
Aubrey doesn't like feeling old,
"We still got it Steph."
Amanda agrees,
"Yeah and I am the oldest here so you all don't need to worry. And Aubrey you don't even have children with brad.
Aubrey sits down and has a few sips of her water.  Stephanie making conversation,
"So is Brad on a trial now?"
Aubrey shakes her head NO,
"He is in a little over a month.  But it just keeps getting worse and worse, I never see him.  Be happy your husbands aren't in law, seriously this is why I think we have not gotten married or had children"
Amanda suggests,
"He is such a good guy though".
"I don't exist to him."
Stephanie says,
"I think all of our husbands forget about us, well maybe not Amanda's."
Aubrey has a slight tone,
"Yes Amanda's husband is amazing, and I'm not even married yet, you would think he might be a little more into me.  After I moved all the way over here to give this relationship a shot."
Amanda responds,
"Oh, come on, it can't be that bad?"
Aubrey replies,
"Seriously, between us..."
Both the girls nod in agreement.
"We haven't had sex in over six months.  Before that it was like another six months.  He isn't getting any kind of release from me, I think he's having an affair."
Both girls,
"What?"
"Honestly, I have talked to him about it and he denies it.  But there is no way that a guy can have no sexual drive.  I asked Brad to be honest with me and he's denying it.  He probably doesn't want to be alone."
Amanda is a little flabbergasted,
"You have got to be kidding.  He is so sweet to you."
"I am not saying he is not a great provider,  great friend, but he is not in love with me."
Stephanie suggests,
"Why don't you get a private investigator?"
Amanda is shaking her head, and Aubrey is liking the idea,
"I want to see  if he will be honest with me first, or if I can figure it out first."
Amanda is upset,
"You are serious about this then?"
Aubrey is slightly annoyed,
"I am not just making this up.  This is my life.  Why are you so upset about this?"
Amanda responds,
"You guys are some of our closest friends, I feel bad for you, the whole thing is bad."
Aubrey slightly smile,
"Thank you.  Unfortunately I have been feeling this way for a year now so I have had time to move forward on my own."
Stephanie is concerned,
"Why didn't you tell us any sooner?"
"I had to be sure.  And besides having a gut feeling and all the signs are right there I did find a smudge of lipstick on the collar of his dress shirt.  He said he was greeting his client with a hug and it happened, but I don't believe it."
Stephanie puts her hand out to Aubrey's,
"That bastard."
Aubrey thinking about it,
"You girls promised you are not going to tell anyone, that even means your husbands.  I don't like making you keep things from your husbands and that is partly why I didn't say anything before, but it could ruin a lot of things for me if they go back to him.  I need to be sure.  We once had the best relationship ever."

  Both of the girls agree.  Aubrey changes the subject and tries to act like none of this is effecting her.  She gets the other two girls up to dance.  At this time the whole bar area is a full dance party.  Stephanie and Amanda don't want to press the issue anymore because Aubrey clearly wants to change the subject, especially because a hot, younger guy came up from behind and started dancing with her.  Instantly she is drawn to him.  Maybe it's because she doesn't remember the last time she had sex but she sure doesn't mind feeling his hard body pressed up against hers.  The music gets louder and their bodies seem to move together perfectly.  Aubrey found herself entranced by being in the moment with a perfect stranger.  He has such a strong built and yet his pale blue eyes and dirty blonde hair make his touch seem even softer.  The rest of the evening felt as though it almost never happened.  Aubrey spent the next two hours dancing with him and her friends had to pull her away when midnight passed.  Aubrey went to bed feeling like she was on top of the world.  She was not used to the attention and it made her feel young, alive and sexy.          

  The next morning Aubrey is waking up with a drill going right into her temple, or at least that is what it feels and sounds like.  Brad is grinding coffee beans in the kitchen.  Something is stirring inside of her making her uneasy and wanting to discuss it with him.  As she struggles to get out of bed she sees him grabbing his briefcase and yells,
"Hey Brad, I want to talk to you."
"Not now Aubrey, I have a client in a half hour."
"On a Sunday?"
"You know I work around the clock."
"Oh I know Brad, but we need to find time for each other and to talk."
"Honestly you need to get over the self pity and let me do my job."
Aubrey doesn't even know what to say so she just stays quiet.  And with that Brad is gone.  Thinking to herself,
"What creep.  What has he turned into?  Time for me to go for a walk."

  The nature trail that follows the Potomac is unusually quiet for a beautiful Sunday.  But Aubrey would never complain about that.  This is her refuge and one of the only places around the metro area that she finds peace and quiet.  The same kind of peace that she would find walking on the beach back home, or out on her dad's sailboat.  And maybe that is one of the reasons she enjoys the trail so much, it surrounds the marina where she occasionally rents a sailboat.  Being on the water is Aubrey's favorite thing and was one of the hardest things to give up on a regular basis when she moved to Washington DC.  Early fall was always beautiful on the Potomac.  The trees start changing into a fire top picture.  It is only Aubrey's second year living in the area and now she is deciding to move back home to Florida.  Aubrey hates what it would do to her record as a teacher and having to quit only after the school year just started.  But she will not stay with someone not interested, especially if they are cheating.  She can always move out and finish the school year and then move? But she really never wanted to move to the area in the first place and only came there because she fell in love with this guy who was finishing law school, had an amazing romance and got a job in DC.  When he asked her to come with him, of course she couldn't refuse.  Thinking that he was "the one."  Only to find that he cared much more about work, work happy hours, long hours and everything that came with being a lawyer in the DC area.  The job title was too important and all he cared about.  The further Aubrey walked the more she was making herself fume.  How could she have let herself get into this mess?!

  And there he was.  As she turns the corner he is bending down tying his shoe with his black Labrador retriever sitting right next to him.  Thinking to herself,
"What if he doesn't remember me?  Maybe I should turn around now."
His head lifts up and a little caught off guard he smiles and stands up.
"Wow, you are here."
"I am."  Aubrey replies, not believing that he actually remembers her.
He extends his hand to her,
"I'm Jake."
"Aubrey."
"I'm glad I know your name now, you all of a sudden left with your friends."
"I think they were all getting tired."  She wasn't quite sure how to act or what to say, looking around at the scenery she adds,
"So do you come out on this trail a lot?"
"Yep.  I live in the marina."
"You do?"
He nods.  Aubrey adds,
"Iv'e never seen you around the marina before."
"I moved there a few months ago.  I finished serving in the Navy and got a government contracting job and decided to buy a sailboat instead of a condo."
Aubrey smiles when she hears that he sails.
"Are you in the marina a lot?"  He asks.
"I don't own a boat here but I sail quite a bit."
"Well what are you doing right now?"
Aubrey knew what was coming next and the slight unsure feeling in her stomach made her ready for it,
"I was just running the trail."
"Well I am going to take my boat out for a sail, why don't you come?"
Aubrey is quiet for a minute and then he continues,
"I can make you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich picnic?"
An offer that she can't refuse,
"OK."  

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