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As has been the case with my most recent stories, I want to thank my editor, Terry. I wouldn’t try to do this now without his help. His advice helps improve the stories and his eyes catch my mistakes. Thanks so much!
Staring out the window, Suzanne wished her mood matched the bright sunny day. It had earlier but her lunch date had been yet another in a long line of disappointing dates. She met him at a friend’s party over the weekend and when they discovered that they both worked down by the waterfront, they decided to meet for lunch. He was handsome enough for Suzanne to find interesting. At the busy party they had chatted for a while and he seemed nice too. Towards the end of the party, he finally asked her to lunch and she agreed.
Nothing had gone wrong at lunch. He was indeed nice and they had an enjoyable time. Dressed for work, he was just as good looking. Suzanne knew that if she brought him home, her mother would fall in love with him. The fact that he was a lawyer would just be the icing on the cake. And clearly he found her attractive. Being tall himself, he wasn’t put off by her height. At six feet, Suzanne was used to that being an issue. But to compensate for it she had a long sleek body. Her legs usually were the first thing that someone noticed, when she showed them off which wasn’t often. Even with a conservative knee length skirt like today, they still caught his eye. The rest of her body was nice but it wasn’t curvy the way most men liked. Suzanne was only an A-cup although that didn’t bother her. On her body, Suzanne didn’t think anything much more would look good. Still they didn’t garner her any attention. She had narrow hips that Suzanne often thought were more like a boy’s and her ass was nice and tight if small. Her face was pretty with dark brown eyes and high cheekbones framed by her long coffee colored hair. She let her hair cover parts of her face as if to help avoid notice. It didn’t work with her lunch date. He made it clear that he found her attractive.
But for Suzanne, without the assistance of alcohol, it wasn’t the same. While still recognizing he was a good looking guy, she just didn’t feel any spark. Despite really wanting to find one, Suzanne was honest enough with herself to admit it. Having felt it before, she wasn’t willing to settle for less. It may have been with she was 18 and in high school, but it didn’t change what she was wanted.
When he asked her to go out that weekend, she begged off with the excuse that she had plans for both Friday and Saturday nights. It was only a half lie. She had plans with some friends for Friday night, but nothing on Saturday. He promised to call early next week to see if she was free. Suzanne smiled non-committedly; secure in knowing it was always easier to say she wasn’t interested on the phone than in person.
It was just as well that Suzanne had not mentioned him to her mother when they talked on Sunday. She had been tempted when her mom started to complain that she was the only one of her friends without grandchildren yet. It was a familiar refrain. The height of her mother’s ambition for Suzanne was getting married and having kids. Suzanne’s graduation as one of the top three MBA students in her class didn’t carry much weight with her mother. If anything, she felt it inhibited her ability to attract a man.
“Honey, men want someone they can take care of, not someone who puts their career first. They want a wife who makes family and faith her priority,” she kept telling Suzanne. Those had been enough for her and her mother saw no reason it should not be the same for Suzanne.
At least her father was a little better. He recognized how hard she had worked in school and in finding a job with a fast rising start up. Even though she had fielded offers from the biggest high tech firms in town, Suzanne had decided to take a risk. It was paying off now. At only 26, she was the senior product manager with a fair amount of equity in a company that was likely to be bought in the next six months by one of the companies she had turned down. It had taken a lot of hard work. Most of the time, Suzanne was thankful she wasn’t trying to juggle a relationship while working 11 and 12 hour days, plus time on the weekends. But she wasn’t thankful all the time. Sometimes she was just lonely.
The last person that Suzanne dated for any length of time had been back in grad school. Even then she had known it wasn’t going anywhere. Gary was a fellow student and mostly it was just convenient. He was planning on going to New York after graduation. He would have liked it if she wanted to come, but he also wasn’t broken up about Suzanne’s decision to stay in Seattle. Even though he had lacked that spark she was looking for, at least Suzanne enjoyed his company. Since then she hadn’t met anyone with whom she had really connected. There had been a couple of one-night stands during the first year after leaving school, but she didn’t feel good about them. For Suzanne, sex was connected with feelings. Even though she didn’t love casino şirketleri Gary, she liked and cared for him.
As the dry spell lengthened, Suzanne admitted that she wasn’t trying too hard. What was the point if she didn’t feel that initial spark? Suzanne could not see herself really falling for someone if that was not there from the start. Her friends thought she was setting the bar too high but it had been that way in high school. Suzanne felt the spark and fell head over heels in love. It had been the best time of her life. It was why she was sure it could happen again.
Remembering always made Suzanne depressed. She did her best to push the memories to the side and get back to work. Experience taught her that it was the best way to get through the pain. Luckily there was always more work to do.
It was three hours later when Suzanne realized that someone had come into her little office. Engrossed as she was in the customer research report, Suzanne took a few moments to finish highlighting one more sentence. When she raised her head, she immediately flushed a little. It was her boss, the Vice-President of Marketing and one of the company founders. Suzanne was thankful that Jim was someone without too big of an ego. She didn’t mean any disrespect and was fairly sure that he wouldn’t think she had.
“Sorry Jim, I didn’t want to lose my place,” Suzanne started to say before he waved her to silence.
“You did right. This is no big deal. We finally replaced Peggy and I wanted to introduce her to you,” Jim said. Peggy had been his assistant but had to leave when her husband was transferred. Like everyone, Jim was used to having to wear several hats and replacing Pegging hadn’t been a priority. Having a vacancy meant he could hire another marketer. It worked until the CEO complained that the real work wasn’t getting done because Jim was spending too much time doing the things that Peggy had handled. Under strict instructions, Jim started looking for a new assistant.
Suzanne had been aware of all that. She just hadn’t realized that he was at the point of actually hiring someone. Suzanne hoped she would be good. Peggy had kept things running smoothly and her absence had been felt. Like a number of others, Suzanne breathed a sigh of relief when Jim was ordered to replace Peggy.
Jim stepped back out the door so that there was space. Coming into the doorway was a young woman. “This is Colby,” Jim said from behind her. Like Suzanne, Jim was tall and she could easily seem him towering over the new woman. “Colby, this is Suzanne. You’ve heard me talk about her. She’s our number one Product Manager. Employee number 12, isn’t it?” he said.
Suzanne nodded as she stared at Colby. She was extremely good looking. Suzanne guessed that Colby was a few years younger than she was. She had a perfectly shaped triangular face with high cheekbones and framed with lustrous curly black hair. Her full red lips curled upward into a genuine smile. She had brilliant blue eyes that lit up along with her smile, making it seem to touch her whole face. Colby was quite short and petite, although her breasts were fairly big for her size, and along with her hips gave her a classic hour-glass figure.
Looking at the gorgeous woman in front of her, Suzanne was struck dumb for a moment. She only had a reaction like that twice in her life. Finally, she stood up and reached her hand out. “It’s nice to meet you, Colby. Welcome to the family,” she said. Suzanne towered over the other woman. At six feet, she was used to feeling tall but she had to be close to a foot taller than Colby.
“It’s great to meet you. Jim has been telling me all about you in the interviews. You sure have done a lot!” Colby replied. Her voice sounded more grown up than she looked. It was strong but still with a potent sexy undertone. It sent a second little rush through Suzanne.
“He exaggerates. It’s the team that gets things done,” Suzanne said as she blushed. Both Jim and Colby thought it was from the praise. She let them think that.
“Well we should let you get back to work,” Jim told Suzanne. “Oh, but I was hoping that you would take Colby to lunch tomorrow. I want her to get to know the key people as soon as possible.”
Suzanne tried to keep her eyes on Jim as she responded. She didn’t want to stare any more at Colby. “Sure, I’d be happy to,” she said as she sat down. It didn’t normally bother her, but she felt relieved to no longer be standing. She was used to it, but today she felt awkward again, like back in high school.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Colby told her as she looked her in the eyes and once again Suzanne found herself trapped looking at her. If anything, Colby’s smile got warmer. When she turned to walk away, Suzanne’s eyes were caught by the sight of her heart shaped rear. Nervously she shifted her eyes back to the report and tried to pick up where she had left off.
Thoughts of Colby kept intruding and making it hard to concentrate. And they weren’t just thoughts of Colby. Long suppressed casino firmaları memories came back. Sighing deeply, Suzanne swiveled to face towards the window; while keeping the pretense that she was still reading. She wasn’t. Suzanne just gazed out the window, lost in her thoughts.
Growing up in a small town north of Seattle, Suzanne had always been expected to fit into the norms of the society there. Her parents were the pillars of their small fundamentalist church. God was part of their life on a daily basis. When she was young, Suzanne never questioned that. She attended Sunday school and learned all the Bible stories by heart.
Faith is the belief in something when there isn’t proof and until she was eleven, nothing happened to make Suzanne question her faith in God. Then her older brother was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver.
Suzanne had idolized her brother. David was seven years older and had always been a good guy. Very athletic and smart, he had been the captain of most of his sports teams. He was good looking too. Although he would have gotten dates with any of the girls in his high school, he had a steady girlfriend through most of it. Even though he took some ribbing from his friends, they had waited to have sex. He wasn’t sure if he has going to wait until marriage but he didn’t want to rush it. Like the rest of the family, Suzanne’s brother took his faith in God seriously.
When faced with a senseless death, a person of faith can emerge from the test strengthened; tempered by the ability to find solace in the knowledge that things happen as part of God’s plan. For Suzanne’s parents, this is what happened, especially her mother. She pulled herself through it by immersing herself in the church, surrounded by her friends there. If there was ever a moment when her mother questioned, Suzanne never saw it.
It wasn’t so easy for Suzanne. She was extremely bright. There hadn’t been a grade when she wasn’t the top student in the school. Her mind was already highly analytical and, to her parents’ dismay, rational. Before the accident, there had been nothing to cause her to examine her faith. But now that she did, Suzanne couldn’t help find fault with it. She wanted to understand why the brother she loved so much had been taken away. There had to be a reason.
For as long as she could remember, Suzanne had been told that her life was part of God’s Plan. He made all things happen. For the most part as a child, God had been a warm loving god. Little of what she had been taught up to then contradicted that. Now she faced the ultimate test of faith: why do bad things happen to good people.
With her parents struggling to cope, Suzanne couldn’t talk to them. In any case, they fell back on simplistic answers that didn’t satisfy Suzanne. She felt fortunate that the pastor of their church was a grandfatherly man who was very approachable. After Sunday services, Suzanne sought him out and asked if he didn’t have some time when they could talk. They agreed on Suzanne coming by after school the next day. When she told her parents, they were both assumed that she was turning to the church for comfort and were pleased.
The next day Suzanne met the pastor in the chapel. He listened patiently as she told him about not understanding how God could do that to her family. They had always lived their lives according to His rules. No one had a bad thing to say about her brother.
“How could God kill him?” Suzanne said in the end. The pastor was surprised at how calm Suzanne was. At her age he expected her to be more emotional, but she really wanted to understand. Unfortunately, his answers did not satisfy Suzanne any more than her parents’.
It wasn’t that she didn’t understand his point that God may test people so that they would be able to see how strong their faith was and to help it grow stronger. She already saw that happening with her parents. It was that it brought her no comfort for the loss of her brother. If losing her brother was the price, Suzanne could not see that it was worth the cost.
Nor did it help to hear the pastor’s assurance that while she couldn’t know God’s plan, she needed to know that in the end it was all for a greater good. In the pain of the moment, Suzanne could not understand how any good could come from her brother’s death. More than that, she didn’t want to. David had been a shining example of all that was good. What type of god would sacrifice him to prove a point?
In the end, Suzanne had mouthed the words her pastor said, but she couldn’t accept them. From then on, she found it increasingly hard to reconcile her feelings with the church. Because of her parents’ increased devotion, Suzanne kept her doubts to herself. And even with their belief, living with the loss was excruciating for all of them. Suzanne didn’t want to add to her parents’ stress.
About the same time, Suzanne was starting to notice that she felt different from her friends. While they were starting to notice boys, Suzanne’s feelings didn’t seem güvenilir casino to be changing. She didn’t grasp the crushes that developed and then changed as quickly as they formed. She still preferred to spend time with her girlfriends and felt uncomfortable in joining in the gossip about who liked whom.
If anything, Suzanne found that her attention was caught by some of the girls in her class in the same way that they talked about boys. It embarrassed her. Even more, it confused her. She wasn’t sure why she noticed them or what she wanted. And unfortunately there was no one that Suzanne could talk to about these feelings.
The more her parents found solace in religion, the more doctrinaire they became. They started to get active in pro-life groups. And they were vocal in deploring the emerging tolerance for gay lifestyles. In their minds, homosexuality was an abomination and accepting it as normal was an example of how America had lost its moral compass. While Suzanne didn’t quite equate her feelings with homosexuality, there was still no way she could talk to either of her parents about them. Plus she was going out of her way to make things as easy as possible for them. Losing their son took them almost to the breaking point.
There weren’t any other adults around that Suzanne felt comfortable enough with to talk to them. Their circle of friends mostly revolved around their church. None of the ones she knew well enough to go to for advice were likely to be any more open minded than her parents.
As for her friends in school, Suzanne lived in dread that anyone would think she was different. Like any school, cliques formed and they could be vicious to outsiders. And more than once, Suzanne had seen what happened to girls within the clique who violated the accepted standard for behavior. Suzanne was in with a group of popular girls and she didn’t want to do anything to lose them. Getting through losing her brother had brought her much closer to her girlfriends. It scared her to think about not having their support.
So Suzanne struggled through the confused feelings on her own, always hiding them. There were enough other changes for her. She was starting to get the growth spurts that would make her the tallest girl in school until she joined the much larger high school. She felt awkward and ungainly as she tried to adjust to her changing body. Then shortly after she turned twelve, she got her first period. Unlike some of her friends, at least it happened on a weekend and she was saved embarrassment at school.
Her body was changing in other ways as well. The most obvious was that her breasts started to get bigger. At least here she was relieved when they never got too big. While she didn’t get as busty as some of her friends, her whole circle of friends including Suzanne attracted the attention of boys. How welcome that attention was depended upon the girl. Still in her effort to be normal, it reassured Suzanne to find the boys paying attention to her. When she was with a group of her friends, Suzanne joined in the mild flirting that went on with groups of boys. None of them had taken it beyond that when fifth grade ended.
With her parents feeling more distant, Suzanne found herself spending more time with her friends during the summer break before starting middle school. Frequently that meant sleepovers. More and more the topic of conversation turned to boys. They went on and on about who liked which boy and which girl they thought each boy liked. A couple confessed to having had their first kisses as the summer progressed.
Suzanne tried to participate. To not to do so would have marked her as different. When pressed on which boys she liked most, she chose safe ones, who were the objects of much admiration while confessing that they would never be interested in her. Since the other girls also liked those boys, they didn’t try too hard to convince her that she was wrong. The rare times that anyone pressed her harder, she would bring up her brother as to why it was difficult to think too much about boys. That shut up her friends.
One night in early August, Suzanne was at a sleepover with four other girls. Most weren’t her best friends. A number of the girls with whom she was closest were on family vacations. Another girl named Dawn was one of the few really close friends who were still around. The sleepover was at her house.
They had stayed up quite late talking about boys as usual. The other three girls were all ones who had confessed over the summer to sneaking away to kiss boys. Most of the night they had been bragging about how much more grownup they were than Dawn and Suzanne. For the most part, they were good natured about it but every once in a while, one of them would make a snide comment. It didn’t bother Suzanne but Dawn seemed increasingly hurt by them.
When everyone finally crashed for the night, the other girls seemed to fall asleep without any problem. For Suzanne it was very different. She lay on her back wondering why she couldn’t get obsessed like her friends. The idea of kissing a boy seemed just as unwelcome today as it had in the third grade. Most of the time boys were rude and arrogant. While she recognized which boys were cutest, there was no strong natural attraction on her part.
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