Chapter 1-

Suzanne stopped by the old bookstand on her way home from shopping. The old man who ran the stand had always interested her; spotting interesting people was a skill imbedded in her from years of journalism school. The shop was old and musty smelling and it wasn't long before she found herself immersed in the sights and smells of books. She was brought back to the real world as her cell rang loudly, disrupting the peace of the quiet store. The old man at the counter looked up at her briefly, but when she looked at him again he was back at his work. Quickly she flipped open the phone.

"Suzanne!", the voice of her best friend Marie McCall. She sounded excited; this had to be good. "You'll never believe what happened today", Marie paused, letting the anticipation build.


"Ryan proposed!", Marie gushed. "He wrote a song to me about how much he loved me, and I could have cried."

"Marie im so happy for you!"

Ryan was a nice guy. He was 25, had his own apartment and was in a band. Not someone who Suzanne would pick herself but she picked Alex and look where she was now. Suddenly impatient she tugged her sweater around her thin shoulders and called a cab.

Her tall, almost mansion, home loomed against the darkening sky. Personally she hated its rich, stuffy look but Alex had been so excited about it and she had loved him so much. She payed the driver and walked inside. Her heels clicked loudly against the marble floor of the foyer. The house was empty because the maids left at 6. She missed the busy clatter of Molli, singing and cleaning happily. The house had an eerie feel about it, like something in a murder mystery. She shivered.

"Your letting you imagination run away with you again", she told herself and walked into the kitchen.

The huge windows and tall ceilings of the kitchen greeted her. At least it was light in here. Her chicken voila was simmering in the pan when the phone rang. It was James Murray, her boss. James was from England and had moved here when he was 18, to escape parents. His accent greeted her cheerily from the other end.

"Evening Washington, and how are you on this lovely day?"

She laughed. Hearing his voice and blithe jokes always made her smile, no matter how bad of a fight she had with Alex the night before. "I'm dandy Murray.", she replied, mocking his accent. "And you?"

"Never better"

James was tall and thin. He wore dress pants and a tie everyday but they didn't hide his muscles. He was 26, two years older than Suzanne, and married. Almost. Currently he was seprerated from his wife Raven, and in the process of getting a divorce. She sounded like a real nutcase to Suzanne but she kept her thoughts to herself because he seemed to really love her.

"I was wondering if I could come over for a while?", he asked. "Raven came over today and it left me feeling a bit under- the -weather"

He sounded depressed. "Murray, why are you seperated from this woman?" ,she asked.

"If I had my way, I wouldn't be" The phone went blank. Instead of being mad, she laughed as she hung up the phone. That was just like Murray to hang up without saying good-bye. She left her chicken and went into the office to print a "Congrats" card for Marie.

The doorbell rang at a quarter till 8 and Murray was there, grinning as usual, with flowers. She was glad to have company in this big house, especially since Alex wouldn't be home till late. They discussed the latest stories and gossiped about people at the office over Chicken Voila and wine. At about 10 he decided it was time to leave. She walked him to his car and was suprised to get a hug.

"Washington, thank you for everything. I really appreciate having somewhere to come tonight. ",he was serious for once.

"Anytime, really, I enjoy your company." She stood and watched his car drive down the driveway. Raven must be insane to leave a man like him.

She was in the office working on the story about The Presidents Meeting in town when she heard Alex come in. He entered the office and stood quietly in the middle of the room watching her.

"Hey honey", she said distractidly, without looking up.

"Whats with all the dishes?", he asked.

"Murray came over for dinner, office work", she replied, looking up. He sounded angry.

"The hell it was. That man is over here all the time."

"Alex, what is your problem?"

"I don't want him over here anymore! You hear?", he yelled. Her temper rose.

"Who are you to tell me who I can and can't see?"


She was silent. A tear trickled down her cheek. Sometimes she couldn't stand him. She had tried to leave him but everytime he begged her to come back, telling her that he loved her and everytime she believed him. Everytime it came back to this fighting. His anger cooled at her tears.

"I'm sorry baby, you know how much I love you, I just hate the thought of any other guy being with you." "Here", he handed her a tissue. Gently he picked her up and carried her into the bedroom, kissing her softly as they went.

The office was busy when Suzanne entered the next morning. She stopped by Murray's office to say hi before going to hers. He was impeccably dressed, as usual, but he was unshaven and looked tired.

"Morning Murray", she sang. "Long night?"

He grinned up at her roguishly. "I decided to hit the clubs last night after dinner."

She laughed. "You devil you!"

She lost herself in editing her stories that were due tommorrow for the better part of the morning. Her coffee was gone and the phone was ringing incessantly and her temper was at the end of its fuse. The cell rang again. "What?!", she answered angrily. Maries voice answered back.

"Well, Who spit in your coffee? I was just gonna see if you could make our Wednesday brunch but if thats too much for you ...", she trailed of in self-pity.

"Oh save it Marie, you know I wouldn't miss Wednesday brunch for anything", Suzanne retorted and clicked her phone shut.

Marie had already got them a table by the time Suzanne arrived. She exclaimed happily at the card and chattered on happily about Ryan and work for the first couple minutes. Marie and Suzanne had been friends practically since birth. They had played with Barbies together, been through their first boyfriends together and Marie had been the Maid of Honor at Suzannes wedding.

"So I was thinking either pink or purple for the bridesmaid gowns. What do you think?"

Suzanne snorted. "You know I hate pink... I would definatly say purple."

"How did I know you were gonna say that?" They laughed. It had taken them years to find this restruant. Though they were best friends, they never agreed on anything but they had been coming here every Wednesday since freshman year of college.

Marie looked over at her. "So enough about me, how are things with Alex? He still being the royal butt?" Suzanne laughed at Maries refrence to their childhood nickname for their enemys.

"Isn't he always?", she rolled her eyes. "He threw a fit because Murray came over for dinner!"

"Murray? The cute British one?", Marie asked interestedly.

"Don't look so curious", Suzanne laughed. "Hes married, and your engaged..remember?"

"Oh that doesn't mean I can't look!", she smiled happily, "You know I love Ryan."

Suzanne was happy to see her laugh. She had gone through alot in her life with her dad leaving and a struggle with depression. She deserved a guy who made her happy and would take care of her.

"Well I gotta get back or else Murray will get on my case." , she rolled her eyes again. "Call me later this week and we can look for your dress!"

"I'm not letting you pick it out", Marie yelled after her as she walked out of the building.

"I brought you a sandwich back", she set it down on the messy desk in Murrays office. He looked up. "Its a damn good thing you did too, your late and im starving." He ripped the cover open and stuffed the sandwich in his mouth. "mmm..oo hmmmehmm", he muttered through a mouth of sandwich.

"Swallow first. Didn't your mother ever teach you manners?"

He swallowed. "No"

She laughed and went back to her office.

Alex was already home when she got back, which was odd. He never got home early. The house was full of light and she could hear voices inside the dining room. They never ate in the dining room unless... she frowned, business. She went up to their room and changed into pajamas and started reading the newspaper. A couple hours later Alex came up to bed. He looked happy.

"What was that?", she looked up from her paper.

"A couple of important guys from a company whos buying for us.", he replied

"Oh, how'd it go?"

He smiled. She took it as a good. He went into the bathroom and she listened to the sounds of him getting ready for bed. They had been married for a year and half and the sounds were becoming familiar. He came back out.

"So how was your day?", he asked, friendly for once.

"Pretty good", she looked up, sparked by an idea. "Did I tell you that Marie and Ryan got engaged?"

"Mmm..whens the wedding?"

"Next month"

He choked on his coffee. "Didn't wait long did they?"

Suzanne laughed. "They love each other Alex, I think its romantic."

Alex sat his coffee down on his bedside table and turned around to look at her.

"Wasn't our wedding romantic?"

"Of course it was", she sighed. "Lets not fight again. Come to bed"

She turned out the light.

The next morning she was woken at 6:30 by the phone. Alex was gone, he must have gone to work early.

"Damn that phone", she muttered as she rolled out of bed. The room was cold and she hopped up and down on the hardwood floor as she grabbed the phone.

"Washington residence."

"Suz!", Maries voice was excited. "There having a sale at the bridal store! Get your lazy butt out of bed and i'll meet you at Panera for breakfast at 7." Then she added as an afterthought, "bye!"

Suzanne groaned. It was way too early to be alive. After a quick shower she dressed in a pair of cords and a gray knitted sweater. She grabbed a jacket as she ran out the door and climbed into her Lexus.

Marie's Honda Civic was already parked in front of Panera when she arrived. It was bound to be a long day. Noone except her was crazy enough to shop with Marie.

Maybe they could meet Murray for dinner tonight.