Disclaimer: (CONTENT and LEGAL) All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

The one-shot of this story was my entry for the Taste of the Forbidden Contest.

Big thanks to Sunflower3759 for beta-ing for me, and for helping me write the summary!

This is the first part of the one-shot, so if you've read it already, I'm sorry it isn't anything new!

Beyond the Break Room

Tanya had a bit of a bad rep at work. She was extraordinarily beautiful, so I wasn't entirely surprised. The other girls got catty about her. Tanya had worked at Providence Portland Medical Center for four years, and I had been there for almost two and a half. She had trained me and we had clicked right away. Now, she was one of my closest friends. She had a foul mouth, a wicked sense of humor and a deep and abiding love for all things salacious and naughty. I wasn't quite as outspoken as she was, but she often pulled me out of my sometimes reserved shell.

Currently, we were eating lunch in the small courtyard located behind the hospital building where we worked. It was a gorgeous sunny day in Portland, and we were taking advantage of it. After being cooped up inside for an entire weekend studying, I was ready to feel a little bit of warmth on my skin. I was just about to take a bite of my veggie wrap when Tanya spoke.

"So, have you noticed the way Edward looks at you lately?"

"Edward who?" I tried to ask nonchalantly but it was futile. The idea that Edward Cullen might actually find me attractive was thrilling. I'd been eyeing him since I started working there.

"Cullen. Obviously. Edward Burton is old enough to be your great-grandfather." There were several Edwards who worked at the hospital, but they were all quite a bit older. Edward Burton was one of the other V.P.s who we saw fairly frequently in the office. He did appear to be approaching ninety years old. A very nice man, but hardly someone I was attracted to.

Edward Cullen however, well...attraction didn't even begin to cover it. He had been V.P. of Patient Relations since I started working at Providence, which made him my boss's, boss's, boss. The crush was entirely inappropriate really- I knew that- but it didn't make it any easier to watch him day in and day out and not act on it.

He said hello to me every single day when he came in, and if he left during the day for meetings or to run an errand he always made sure to say goodbye. He was unfailingly polite.

He was in his late thirties, and at twenty-two, I'd never been interested in guys that much older than me, but he was easy to make an exception for. He was a couple inches over six feet tall, fit, with a thick, healthy head of bronzed brown hair with just a tiny bit of grey at the temples. His voice was low and a little bit husky. He always looked me right in the eye when he spoke to me, and called me by my name. His eyes were a sparkling shade of green and he had the most fantastic smile ever. It was a little crooked, and made the corners of his eyes crinkle warmly.

He was unfailingly polite to everyone, but I wondered if maybe his gaze lingered on me a little bit longer. Or if his voice grew deeper and softer when he said my name. I had convinced myself I was imagining things until Tanya's comment.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean he looks at you like he wants to eat you. If only, right?" Tanya winked at me.

I sighed. "He is cute."

She scoffed. "Puppies and kittens are cute. That man is scorching."

I laughed and agreed before taking a large bite of my sandwich.

"You know, I wouldn't have pegged you for the older guy type," she mused.

"That's the thing, I'm not usually. But I'd make an exception for him."

She cackled and took a large bite of her sandwich. "You have it bad, girl."

I rolled my eyes. "It's a stupid pointless little work crush, it doesn't mean anything. It's not like anything could ever happen..."

She shrugged. "You don't know that. Maybe you could arrange to get locked in the supply closet with him."

I snorted. "Right, Tanya. Besides, he's married."

That made him doubly unapproachable.

"Not anymore," she sang, her blue eyes twinkling. She flipped a thick strand of strawberry-blonde hair over her shoulder and grinned at me.


"Do you not pay any attention to the office gossip? He and Heidi are dunzo!"

"What the hell? How did I miss that?" I felt my heart speed up in my chest, and then scolded myself for letting it affect me at all. Married or not, Edward Cullen was so far from being a possibility it was ludicrous.

"No idea. Clearly you have your head in the clouds. They've been officially over for months, although I think they've been separated for a lot longer than that. Supposedly, he caught her in bed with Felix."

"No way." Heidi was a stunning raven-haired woman who worked as the director for the hospital fundraising department. She was incredibly driven and successful, and every bit as beautiful as Edward was. Felix however was a member of the board of directors and someone I found incredibly off-putting. There was a slimy, weasel-y air about him, and I couldn't imagine anyone choosing him over Edward.

Tanya cackled. "Way. Check out his ring finger tonight when he leaves..."

Of course, that was the day he had an afternoon meeting off campus, so I didn't see him until the following morning. I spent the afternoon trying to focus on my work and failing miserably. At the end of the day I sat back in my seat with a sigh and Tanya gave me a knowing smile. The office was quiet and I took a moment to look around.

I worked in the patient registration department at the medical building right next to the main hospital. It was where all the doctor and hospital administration offices were located, and also where all of the outpatient testing was done. Registering patients for lab work and x-rays wasn't wildly exciting, but it was a steady job, with good pay and easy work when it came right down to it. Tanya worked there with me, along with Shelly Cope, Liz Harper and Amber Tripp. Shelly was an older divorced woman who had worked there since she was my age. She knew every inch of the hospital and had taken me under her wing when I started. I was much less fond of Liz and Amber. They weren't horrible to work with, but they could get pretty catty and gossipy. Liz was unhappily married and Amber was perpetually single. They spent most of their day whining about how men were assholes, and frankly I was sick of hearing it.

The ringing phone finally snapped me out of my thoughts and I got back to work. Every moment of down time I had though, my mind wandered to Edward. There was something about him that made my heart race and my palms sweat. I hadn't crushed that hard on anyone since I was thirteen and in love with my twenty-one-year-old neighbor. Okay, maybe I did have a thing for older guys, I realized.

Still, the seventeen-year age gap between myself and Edward wasn't insignificant. And despite what Tanya said, I had no reason to think that Edward actually thought of me any more than my hot neighbor ever had. There were plenty of attractive women closer to his age here, and I had no doubt that once news of Edward's divorce was made public, he'd have no trouble finding an equally stunning replacement for Heidi.

Despite my preoccupation with thinking about Edward, my day did finally end and I went home, grateful to be done. Unfortunately, going home didn't end the onslaught of thoughts about him.

In the morning, I thought about my conversation with Tanya and mentally reminded myself to check for a ring. I was sitting at my desk logging in to my computer when Edward got to work.

"Morning, Bella." Edward smiled at me as he passed by and I automatically smiled back, brushing my hair away from my cheek.

"Morning, Mr. Cullen," I murmured.

I was supposed to look for something, I thought dazedly as I turned and stared after him. It wasn't until he'd rounded the corner that I realized just what it was. Damn it, I was supposed to check out his ring finger. Not his ass. I stationed myself at the desk and barely left it for the rest of the day. I took a short lunch and practically sprinted to and from the bathroom. I was rewarded when he walked by mid-afternoon. Instead of looking at his face I glanced down at his left hand. It was sickening how fast my heart raced at the sight of his bare ring finger. He was pale, so there was no stripe from where he'd taken it off. But where a silver toned ring had sat, there was now just bare skin.

I must have made a sound because I heard him ask softly," Are you all right, Bella?"

I glanced up at him; my eyes wide, and his worried green ones met mine.

"Yeah, I'm fine," I said automatically. But I wasn't sure I meant it. Holy shit he wasn't married anymore, I thought. Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit. He glanced down to where my eyes had been trained on his left hand. When he looked back up, the corner of his mouth lifted in an almost imperceptible smile. Instead of continuing on, he stood by my desk, staring at me. Our eyes were locked on each other and it was like we couldn't look away. I felt my heart beat faster in my chest and I licked my lips, feeling the overwhelming urge to reach up and touch him.

Dimly aware of Amber and Liz sitting just a few feet away, I cleared my throat when he didn't say anything. "Is there something I can help you with, Mr. Cullen?" I said finally.

"Edward," he said absently.

"I'm sorry?"

"Please, call me Edward." His voice was soft, and warm sounding.

"All right. Is there anything I can do for you, Edward?"

His eyes flashed with a heat that surprised me; although it faded so fast I wasn't sure if maybe I had imagined it. After a moment he seemed to pull himself together and his voice returned to normal. "I have a meeting this afternoon and I just remembered I have some copies I need to make before it begins. Any chance I could get you to do that for me?" He gave me a lopsided smile that made my heart race in my chest.

"Uh, sure." I was surprised that he asked me, when he had an administrative assistant named Pat who normally took care of those things. Maybe she was out for the day or something. It wasn't really in my job duties, but it wasn't like I was going to turn down a simple request from someone who worked in Administration, particularly Edward. He slipped the paper from his soft-sided leather briefcase and handed it to me. "How many do you need?"


"I'll be back in just a moment."

But instead of staying by my desk or taking a seat, he followed me. The copy room was centrally located between the back entrance to the administration offices, patient relations, and HR. It was deserted at the moment, and I noticed my hands shaking as I put the page he'd handed me in the copy machine and entered in the number of copies. I could smell his cologne and I realized I'd never actually been that close to him before. I felt him lean close to me, and his scent intensified, filling my nostrils. It was light and crisp, expensive smelling, and it made my head spin. I could feel the heat from his body and the sleeve of his shirt as it grazed my hip.

"I think you have to push this." His voice was low in my ear as he leaned over me to reach the Start button. I flushed; embarrassed that I was so wrapped up in him that I couldn't even make copies properly.

"Uh, oh…sorry," I stammered.

"That's okay." He was still leaning over me and could feel his warm breath on my ear. I suppressed a shudder of pleasure and took a deep breath, my fingers tightening on the copier. He was so close I felt the rise and fall of his breathing against my shoulder blades. A shiver skittered over my body, making me flush hot and then cold. We both stood there for a long minute as the copier whirred and spat out copies. I shifted minutely, aware of how aroused his nearness was making me. The copier went silent as it finished and neither of us moved a muscle for several long moments. Eventually, he sighed and shifted back. I leaned down to grab the papers and I heard him groan quietly.

The paper was warm from the machine, but his fingers were even warmer as I turned and handed them to him. He set his briefcase down on the counter and slipped the copies into a folder inside, but not before I saw an identical stack of copies already in there.

What the hell? I wondered. Had he really asked me to re-copy something he already had?

Maybe he forgot he had them, I rationalized. Or maybe he realized he needed twice as many as he initially thought. There were a thousand logical reasons he could have had me make copies for him. In a daze I followed him out of the copy room and back to my desk. He left the office with a lopsided smile and I spent the rest of my day thinking of nothing but him.

The next day, I spent longer than usual getting ready. A soft, cream-colored v-neck sweater and a black pencil skirt with black heels were sexy without being inappropriate for work. And he definitely noticed it. He spent a little longer speaking to me in the morning than usual, and Liz and Amber gave me nasty looks when he left. I was floating on Cloud Nine and couldn't have cared less what those biddies thought. Unfortunately, he was in a hurry on his way out at the end of the day. We didn't talk, but he waved as he walked by with the Jasper Whitlock, director of Marketing. Jasper was a bit younger than Edward and quite handsome as well. He gave me a disarming grin as they passed and I smiled back, totally unaffected by it. Jasper's smile just didn't give me the same fluttery feeling in my stomach Edward's did.

The rest of the week passed in the same fashion. Edward was friendly, but not overly flirtatious. Still, there were subtle touches of his fingers against mine as I handed him the newspaper, his eyes lingered on my cleavage whenever I wore something even slightly low-cut, and if we passed in the hallway he would gently place his hand against my lower back to get around me. I lived for those subtle moments, reliving them over and over. I felt vaguely pathetic. I was a twenty two year old college student panting after a man old enough to be my father. But there was something about Edward that made my head spin and my heart beat faster. I'd been in relationships before, even been in love, but I'd never felt attraction like this before.

The problem was, it never seemed to progress any further. He didn't try to make any moves and sadly, neither did I. I wanted to. If he'd been a guy I'd met in the classes I took at UP, I wouldn't have hesitated to make the first move. I wasn't shy and I had no problem being assertive when it came to asking a guy out. But a University of Portland student was a far cry from an Executive at the hospital I worked for. Not to mention the fact that I saw him every day and my department reported to him. There wasn't a no-fraternizing policy for the hospital as a whole, but there was a very strict policy about relationships with power asymmetry, and sexual harassment, and Edward and I fell squarely in that category.

With a sigh, I mentally put my fantasizing about him aside and tried to remind myself it was all for the best. Maybe he did find me attractive, but there was no way he was interested in me enough to pursue something, and chances were he'd be dating a woman his own age in no time anyway. Not a twenty-two-year old student who was taking forever to finish her degree in marketing. It was disappointing, but I had to be realistic about it.

Weeks passed and I struggled to maintain my composure around Edward. The heated looks he gave me hadn't faded, and it seemed like he found any number of excuses to ask me for my help. They were small, inconsequential tasks that anyone could have done, but he always asked for me. I knew his administrative assistant, Pat, and she was very capable. There was no reason she couldn't have done everything I did for him. But I certainly didn't turn him down when he asked.

Amber and Liz kept giving me suspicious and hostile looks whenever Edward paid any attention to me, but I refused to even acknowledge it. Other than a few flirtatious glances, Edward and I hadn't done anything to deserve their judgemental stares.

Almost a month and a half after my conversation with Tanya I received a phone call. It was late afternoon and the rush of patients had slowed to a trickle. I was tidying up my desk when his name flashed on the display of my phone- E. Cullen- and his extension. With shaking hands, I picked up the phone and answered it.

"Patient Registration, this is Bella speaking, how may I help you?"

"This is Edward Cullen."

"Yes, sir, how can I help you?"

"Uh, well, I need you in my office." His voice was sounded strained and I had no idea how to respond.


"Uhm… I need you to come in my office," he said, his voice dipping lower, and sounding throatier when he said the word come, but he recovered quickly. "Shit, I mean, I need you to come to my office to notarize something for me."

"Of course, I'd be happy to help you out with that," I said, amused by how flustered he sounded. Was he really that flustered by me? "When do you need it to be done by?"

"Uh, well, whenever is convenient for you. I'll be here all afternoon."

"We have a couple of patients in line, and I should probably help with that, is twenty minutes all right?"

"Of course. Patients first," he joked. It was the hospital motto that we had drilled into us constantly.

I laughed. "I'll be there as soon as I can."

He hung up without answering and I let out a nervous chuckle, still completely flabbergasted by his phone call. Not to mention the unintentional suggestive statement he'd made. I managed to help a couple more patients before I excused myself. All I told Liz was that an executive needed my help notarizing something and she rolled her eyes and waved me off. I forwarded my phone and swung by the bathroom for a quick check to make sure my hair wasn't a mess and my lipstick looked okay. My heart raced in my chest as I straightened my black cardigan and smoothed down my grey pencil skirt. At least I looked good. I just had to try not to act like an idiot around Edward.

Pat smiled at me when I stopped at her desk. She was a grey haired grandmother who was Edward's assistant, and managed his schedule with a precision that only came with years and years of experience.

"Go right in, Bella," she said. "Mr. Cullen is expecting you."

"Thanks, Pat." I smiled at her and gently opened the door to his office. He was sitting at his desk, hunched over, with his fist gripping a handful of his hair. His head flew up when the door opened and he stared at me wide-eyed.

"Mr. Cullen?" I said softly.

"Ahh, yes, please come in, Bella." He stood and walked over to me, gently pushing the door most of the way closed. He gestured toward the chair in front of his large, wood desk. "Have a seat."

His office was warm and masculine, yet simple, and clean looking. His desk was cleared of papers and even the pens were all uniform. He had several diplomas on the wall, although the glare from the window obscured where they were from. He had almost no personal items in his office, though, and I found myself disappointed that I couldn't learn more about him being here.

I took a seat on the comfy chair and pulled my pen, stamp and seal from my bag. "What is it you'd like me to notarize?" I asked.

I leaned forward to fill out the notary log that I used to keep track of the documents I signed and looked up when he didn't reply.

"Mr. Cullen?" I said

"Edward," he said absently, still staring at me. I glanced down and realized that the black lace-trimmed camisole I was wearing had fallen forward, leaving a gap between it and my chest. From my angle, you could see to the tops of my black lacy bra, and if he could see half as much I thought he could, Edward was getting a great show.

"Edward," I said softly, hesitating just a beat longer, before sitting up. His eyes stayed locked on my body; heated, hungry, desperate. His jaw was clenched and I saw his hand curl into a fist on top of his desk. The hand in his lap moved, and although I couldn't actually see it, I imagined he was adjusting his cock.

The thought made me shift in my chair as an ache settled between my legs at the thought of him being aroused by me. I drew in a deep, shaky breath, feeling my heart begin to speed up. He awkwardly thrust a file folder over to me, and I shook my head, needing to clear my thoughts if I was going to do this without making a mistake. I scanned over the document and signed and dated it in the appropriate places. It wasn't until the second to last page that I made a mistake.

Edward let out a quiet groan of frustration as he looked at his computer screen, and for a moment I could imagine the way he'd sound in bed. The way his voice would go rough and low as he gasped out his pleasure. My hand shook as I began to scrawl my name.

"Are you all right?" he asked and I looked up at him. The pure, blazing desire in his eyes made my breath falter. I clenched my thighs together as we stared at each other. His body was tense and I could see the muscles in his neck and jaw clench. He wet his lips and the sight of his tongue peeking out made me shift in my chair. Jesus, at the rate we were going, he was going to make me come just from the look he was giving me, I thought.

"Yes," I finally said shakily. I looked down at the sheet of paper I'd been signing and realized that instead of signing Isabella M. Swan, I'd signed it Isabella M. Cullen. What the hell was wrong with me? I hastily scratched it out and turned it over.

"I'm sorry, I wrote down the incorrect date," I lied. "Can you print off another copy of page eleven?"

He nodded, his eyes still intently scrutinizing me. "Of course. Just toss it in the shred bin there."

He gestured to the one across the room. There were locked boxes located all over the building, used for disposing of confidential files. A company came around to pick them up and take them to a facility to be shredded. At least no one would see my idiotic mistake. Especially Edward.

"I'm…I'm sorry," I stammered, embarrassed for messing up in front of an executive, and more importantly, Edward.

He waved it off. "It's fine. Happens all the time to me. Every year, Pat has to fix my errors with dates for most of January and February until I get used to putting in the new year."

I gratefully disposed of the incriminating paper as he printed off another copy for me. Our fingers brushed when he handed it over. I sighed, and noticed the way his fingers lingered against mine.

I finished signing, and stamped and sealed all of the pages, giving it a thorough inspection before I handed it over to him. He smiled warmly at me. "Thank you so much for your help, Bella, I really appreciate it."

"It's no problem. I was glad to help," I said softly. I stood up to leave and he followed me to the door. He stood close behind me as I lingered there, not wanting to leave his office.

He stepped close behind me, and through the several inch gap in the door, I could see that Pat was not at her desk. It was nearly lunchtime, and about half of the other PA's had left as well. It was quiet, and no one was looking in our direction. I could feel the heat from his body and I shivered when a warm puff of air left his lips and hit the back of my neck. My hair was up in a messy bun and it left my neck bare.

My hand closed on the edge of the door, but I didn't move to open it. I felt his fingertips skim lightly across my upper arm, barely even touching the fabric there. They traveled down my arm, to hover over the skin the three-quarter length sleeves left bare. He wasn't even touching me, really, but it left a tingling feeling in its wake. His thumb curved around to the soft skin of my inner wrist and when his skin finally touched mine I nearly gasped. The simple touch of his thumb there made me feel like he was touching me everywhere. I could feel the ghost of his skin against mine on the curve of my breast and my inner thighs. I bit down on the inside of my cheek to keep from moaning.

"Bella," he whispered. I could hear the tremor in his voice and I leaned just a little, so my back met his broad, firm chest.


"I…" His voice cracked but he didn't continue. He softly stroked his thumb against my pulse point and I felt a shiver skitter across my body. We stood there for the longest time until he finally sighed and pulled away. My body ached everywhere, like it physically hurt to be away from him and I felt disappointment sweep through me as I walked away.

I hardly saw him at all in the next few days.

One evening after work, I was bent over, reaching for my lunch bag that had been pushed to the back of the fridge, when I heard a strangled voice calling my name.

I whirled around and my heart leaped in my throat at the sight of Edward standing in the doorway with a shocked look on his face and an impossible to disguise erection. My eyes lingered there, hardly daring to believe what I was seeing. Was he really that hard at just the sight of my ass? He flushed and cleared his throat, moving his suit jacket that was draped over his arm to cover himself. Forget all my reasons for not making a move on Edward, this was proof that he was attracted to me and I was going to take advantage of it.

"How did you know it was me, Edward?" I said huskily.

"Your..." He cleared his throat. "Your hair."

I didn't believe him for a moment, and instead of replying, I just smirked at him.

"You're here late," he commented after a moment.

"Yeah. I needed to sort through my desk and get things organized, but I never have time while the office is open."

"Are you still on the clock?"

"No, I punched out at my usual time."

"You should get paid, it's work related," he chided me.

"It's fine. I don't mind. I don't have anywhere I need to be right now."

"No boyfriend wondering why you aren't home yet?"

"Uh no, I'm not seeing anyone right now."


We were both silent for a moment until he cleared his throat.

"Be careful when you leave. It's getting dark out and I would hate for you to be walking in the ramp alone. The building is pretty much deserted."

"I will. Thank you."

"Or, I could walk you to your car, if you wanted."

"It's not necessary, but thank you."

"Please, I insist."

"Um, all right, just give me a moment to get my things together." I opened the refrigerator again and dug through the back of it to grab my food. Once again, when I stood up Edward's eyes were glued to my ass. Feeling suddenly bold I sauntered over to him. "I don't think it's my hair you were staring at."

"No, err..." He cleared his throat for the umpteenth time. Clearly I was making him nervous. "I wasn't trying to stare."

"I didn't say I minded." I stepped closer to him and he gulped and moved to step back but the edge of the doorframe was directly behind him. I reached up and lightly brushed my fingers across his blue silk tie as if removing a piece of dust.


"What, Edward?"

He drew in a deep breath and the hopeful, yearning expression on his face was suddenly gone. "We should go."


"Well, I'm sure you have plans for tonight."

"No, none at all." I straightened his tie and my fingers brushed against his smooth jaw. "You?"

"I...uh...no, I don't."

"I'm surprised," I said.

"Why is that?"

"I can't imagine you spend too much time without...companionship."

"You'd be surprised," he said bitterly. He turned his gaze on me. "I could say the same for you."

"I often find myself without someone...more often than not, really."

"I am sorry to hear that." His fingertips hovered around my waist, just millimeters from touching me.

I shrugged. "It's...frustrating sometimes. I don't mind being on my own most of the time, but there are certain benefits to having someone else around. Some things another person is just so much better at than I am. There are only so many times one can take things into one's own hand before it gets...tedious."

"I've found that too..." he admitted, the look of desire flaring in his eyes; hot and needy.

"Is there perhaps something I could help you out with, Edward?" I asked, a little shocked at how bold I was being. But I was so tired of the way we'd been tiptoeing around each other. I wanted him. Desperately. And even though I knew all of the reasons why it shouldn't happen, it suddenly felt thrillingly illicit, instead of a reason to stay away.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Much as I'd like to take you up on that, I'm afraid it wouldn't be advisable."


"I...I'm old enough to be your father, Bella."

"I don't have a problem with your age, Edward. Do you have a problem with mine? I am an adult after all."

"Well yes, I know you're an adult. It's just the difference in age."

"Is that really your best argument?"

"There is the fact that I'm your boss."

"Well, Emily is my boss, Jane is her boss and you are Jane's boss." I tapped the ID badge that he had clipped to his suit.

"Err, well yes. Still, I'm an Executive here, it wouldn't be appropriate to pursue anything with another employee, particularly since you report to me, and it would clearly violate the employee code of conduct." The stiff, formal tone belied the trembling of his hands and the way his eyes followed my lips with every word I spoke.

The look on his face was one of a man in conflict. His brow was furrowed his mouth turned down in a frown and the worry in his eyes was clear.

I sighed. "If you don't want me, Edward, by all means, say so. I'm certainly not trying to convince you to do something you don't want to do. I am trying to convince you to do something you seem to think you shouldn't do. But it is of course entirely up to you."

I brushed past him and gathered up my bag and coat, my hands shaking. It hurt more than I could say, to know that he wasn't nearly as attracted to me as I was to him. I knew how dangerous pursing anything was, but I couldn't fight the attraction any longer. Clearly, he could.

Before I could even get the coat on he was behind me, helping me with it.

"Thank you," I whispered, feeling suddenly foolish for how hard I had been pursuing him when he clearly wasn't interested in me. Or at least not interested enough. Humiliation warred with lingering desire.

He followed beside me silently as I walked to my car and he said goodbye quietly before gently shutting my door. I made it home and into my pajamas before I cried. I was a wreck after that. I felt humiliated for throwing myself at him. I knew he found me appealing, at least on some level, but obviously not enough, and that was bitter and hurtful. After devouring far more mint chocolate chip ice cream than was necessary, I curled up in bed and fell asleep, disappointed and frustrated beyond belief.

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