Another Life – Chapter 22

Two weeks before Christmas, I came home from the garage, to find two of my roommates at the kitchen table. Rose was holding Laurie’s hand.
They looked so serious – as if someone had died. I was about to say something stupid, then changed my mind at the last second.
– “What happened?” I asked.
Rose looked up at me. “Ronnie moved out.” she said.
– “What?”
Laurie seemed to finally realize that I was there.
– “Hey, Joe. Your cousin left me. He moved in with another girl.”
***
“I’m sorry that things didn’t work out for you and Barb.” said Laurie.
– “I liked her – a lot. We just didn’t …”
– “I know. But I really thought you two would be good together.”
Amazing. My dickhead cousin Ronnie had just left her, three weeks before Christmas, and yet Laurie was thinking about me. She got on with business, and worried about my love life.
I went over and gave her a hug.
– “What’s that for?” she asked.
I told her.
“What am I supposed to do? Curl up in the fetal position, and eat a box of chocolates?” Laurie pushed me away. “I’m a big girl, Joe.”
– “Listen, Laurie … I want to tell you something.”
– “Go ahead.”
– “I’m going to go to Ronnie’s Christmas party.” I said. “But I want you to know why.”
– “It’s a free country.” she said. “You don’t need my permission.”
– “Listen.” I said. It was important to me that she understand my reasons. “First of all, I want to tell Ronnie, to his face, that he’s an asshole.”
Laurie just nodded. That was a given.
“And second .. I sort of promised Eli that I’d take him. I must have made it sound like a big deal – he thinks that he’s going to meet the future Mrs. Eli there.”
That got me the ghost of a smile from her.
– “Go ahead, Joe. I understand.” she said.
So we went.
Ronnie must have known that I wasn’t thrilled with him: he didn’t come to the door to greet us. Instead, I found him in the kitchen with a couple of his douchebag friends.
– “Joe!” he said, coming toward me with outstretched arms and a beer in each hand. I let him come close, and awkwardly put his arms around me. He couldn’t actually hug me, because his hands were full. But he was close enough for me to say what was on my mind.
– “Not cool, Ron. Laurie didn’t deserve that. But you also took off on Rose and me – and left us with your share of the rent. Not cool at all.”
– “Hey – come on, Joe. It’s more complicated than that.” he said.
– “Not to me it isn’t.”
I left him standing there.
Eli followed me into the living room. Thankfully, he hadn’t felt the need to add his own obvious truths to what I’d said to Ron.
We met Christina, the girl Ronnie had moved in with. She was dark, with curly hair, and – I hate to admit it – much more attractive than Laurie. She seemed nice. I was polite, but no more. I didn’t expect to be seeing much of her after this.
Eli was scoping the room, looking for Ms. Right, or Ms. CloseEnough, when I felt the pressure of a very female body against my back. Then a cool hand covered my eyes.
– “Guess who.” said a voice.
– “Sid Vicious.” I said.
– “Close.” she said, with a laugh. I turned around, to find Tanya smiling at me.
Sam’s sister was about the same height, but where Sam was slender – almost skinny – Tanya was … full-bodied. She had really blossomed, and the flannel shirt she wore, with three buttons undone, made it abundantly clear. She was, as the Germans might say, all Titzenbum.
– “Eli, this is Sam’s sister – Tanya.” I said. I had been about to say ‘younger sister’, which I doubt she would have appreciated. “Tee – my friend Eli.”
Eli barely managed not to drool on her. “Very pleased to meet you.” he said. “If, for some reason, my friend Joe here doesn’t want to have sex with you, I would be very happy if you’d accept me as a substitute.”
Tanya laughed her ass off. “Oh – he’s awesome! Where’d you find him, Joe?”
– “Circus sideshow.” I said. “I lost a bet.”
– “I’ll be right over there.” Eli said to her. “If you need a change of scene, or someone with a sense of humor …”
– “I’ll get your number from Joe.” said Tanya.
Eli was already a good friend, but he won my eternal gratitude by making himself scarce at that point.
– “So … hey.” said Tanya, with a little toss of her head. She must have been mowing them down in the halls of her high school with that particular move.
In terms of facial features, Sam was prettier. But Tanya had a certain look. It’s hard to describe. She was still in her teens, but had mastered the sidelong glance, the smoldering look, the suggestive lip … and she had the voluptuous body to back them all up.
She had one thing in common with Sam: away from home, Tanya was quite different.
– “Hey back.” I said. “Nice to see you here. Ronnie invited you?”
– “How’d you know?”
– “Telepathic powers.” I said. I had to play it cool: as long as I’d known her, Tanya had little tolerance for earnestness or sincerity. Guys probably fawned all over all the time. This girl liked witty banter, and would chew me up and spit me out if I couldn’t keep up.
She just grinned.

 

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The Number One Difference Between How Men and Women Form Bonds in Relationships

How communication styles affect intimacy.

There are many differences between men and women, including in the types of communication styles they use to bond and create intimacy in relationships. And when couples aren’t on the same page, differences in men and women’s communication styles can cause unnecessary tension.

Unfortunately, this easily avoidable relationship problem is all-too-common.

As an example of how differences in communication styles can escale, take a conflict my client, Andrew, shared with me.

While his wife, Ceceila, was getting something for him, he jokingly said, “Don’t break it.” She came back with a fairly harsh, “What’s going on with you?” He reacted to her judgment of him, and it didn’t go well from there.

After a few minutes, they calmed down and talked about it. She understood why her tone upset him, but even though they had talked about this very issue over and over, he didn’t get why his joke upset her.

He judged her as being too sensitive and she ended up feeling even more hurt and unheard. She believed that his judgmental ‘jokes’ were passive-aggressive, and she wanted him to address this. However, he looked inside and when it came to the sarcastic jokes, he couldn’t find any aggression within himself.

This is when the importance of communication styles in relationships come into play.

I told Andrew that I, too, would not have liked the comment and asked him if he was open to going deeper with what was going on. He was on board.

The first thing he said was, “This is the way I and my guy friends are with each other. We are constantly sarcastic, insulting and ridiculing of each other. But only with my close friends. We make fun of each other a lot and it’s fun.”

“Andrew, is this the way you and your friends connect with each other?” I asked.

“Yes! It’s fun and it’s bonding. You know, guys don’t share their feelings a lot and this is a way of being close.”

“I understand. So it’s not actually passive-aggressive. But I know that you know that Cecelia hates it. Why do you do it with her?”

“I just forget. I slip up. I’m with guys a lot and we do this all the time so sometimes I just forget.”

“Would you be willing to share our conversation with Cecelia? I think it might help her to understand why you do this and to not get so hurt by it.”

“Yes, I’d be happy to talk with her. And I’m glad to finally understand it myself!”

Andrew later sent me a Reddit thread about this topic. One of the quotes on this page is interesting: “Men socialize by insulting each other, but don’t really mean it. While women socialize by complimenting each other but don’t really mean it.”

I think there is some truth when it comes to gender differences between men and women in communication styles.

Women often “compliment” each other insincerely or are “catty” behind each other’s backs. It’s one way the wounded self tries to connect when they haven’t learned to connect with their heart. And, for some men, the bantering can be hurtful rather than bonding.

The real issue is that many people never learned how to have an open heart and connect with their feelings when communicating.

Men likely learned in their families to connect with insults and sarcasm, and women learned to connect with compliments and gossip. Yet, these forms of connection can leave each person feeling empty and unsatisfied, if there is a lack of the authentic energy of love.

For both men and women, these indirect behaviors can be tricky, depending on the intent and context. If you are a person who has learned to relate to others this way — whether it’s “masculine” insult or banter or the “feminine “cattiness” — it is important to really examine how the behavior makes you and the people with whom you engage in these behaviors feel.

If you both feel a genuine sense of intimacy, ease, connection, caring, and fun, then great. If not, it is worth looking at the behavior to see if it might be one of the many ploys of your wounded self to try and feel in control or to keep others at bay (which is most likely), rather than connecting.

The only thing that truly fills us is love.

As you practice Inner Bonding and learn how to love yourself, you may find that you no longer enjoy the way the wounded self has learned to connect and communicate.

If you are a sensitive man, you may find that you have had to ignore your hurt feelings regarding the insults and judgments you might experience with other men and it no longer feels okay to ignore it.

Being true to yourself is always the important thing to do and often it takes some work to discover that truth.

Inauthentic ways of communicating often leave us feeling bad, while authentically sharing love and intimacy is always deeply fulfilling.

 

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If Your Relationship Is On Its Last Leg, You’ll Notice These 9 Signs

One from a female reader…

Read on to find nine signs that your relationship might be on its last legs.

1. BOTH OF YOU HAVE STOPPED MAKING AN EFFORT

If you’ve both stopped making an effort to connect, the relationship may be nearing the end. What’s a sign of making less effort? “When you eat meals together and can’t muster a conversation because you’re not interested in doing so, or you’re annoyed at the other person and the way they chew sends you into fits of annoyance,” Relationship and etiquette expert April Masini tells Elite Daily. Not making an effort to even chat over dinner could be a sign the relationship is on its last legs.

Maybe you start by telling small white lies, but pretty soon you’re giving your partner completely inaccurate accounts of where you’ve been all day. It’s OK to have secrets, but frequent lying could be a sign that you’re not comfortable in the relationship and want it to be over.

 

Bickering is totally normal, but sometimes, if it’s too frequent, it could mean the relationship is struggling. “Do you bicker all the time? Chronic bickering is a sign that more is wrong than right in a relationship,” Masini says. If you can’t make peace even over the small things, maybe there’s an incompatibility issue in the relationship.

4. YOU FANTASIZE ABOUT BEING SINGLE

It’s OK to have crushes, and even to imagine being with them (I’ve planned my wedding to Jesse Eisenberg through all my serious relationships). It’s also OK to fondly remember being single. It becomes an issue when the fantasies are constant, and you spend every moment thinking about how nice it would be to be single. If this is the case, it could be a sign that your relationship is coming to a close.

 

Maybe you used to discuss a future with your partner but now shy away from the conversation topic — this could be a sign that the relationship is winding down. However, just because you’ve stopped discussing the future, doesn’t mean you can’t start again. “Make a bucket list together, and make it one that’s a couples’ bucket list, not just an individual one,” Masini says. If you start planning around a future together, you could save your relationship.

6. SEX WANES

Your sex life could give you a sign about your relationship. “You don’t have much sex. It’s just not that important to either one of you,” Masini cites as an indicator that a relationship is coming to a close. However, it’s just a sign — many go through periods of increased or decreased sexual desires, and it doesn’t have to be unhealthy. If you’re unsatisfied with the amount of sex you’re having, consider opening up the communication with your partner to try to work through it.

 

Are you hiding that you have a partner? You don’t need to bring it up in every conversation (in fact, doing so can be annoying), but if someone is expressing interested in you and you wait weeks before mentioning you’re in a relationship, it could be a warning sign. Maybe you’ve already mentally checked out of the relationship and you’re starting to look for other options. This is OK, as long as you’re being honest with yourself about whether you plan to stay in your relationship.

 

Old problems may resurface from time to time in any relationship, but if it feels like nothing from the past ever gets resolved, it could mean the relationship isn’t in a good place. “One or both of you keep bringing up old baggage — like a best friend’s slight at the wedding (ten years ago), or an indiscretion that happened before you got married,” Masini says. Ask yourself why either of you is having trouble letting go of the past, and determine if you think your relationship might be coming to a close.

This is perhaps the biggest sign that a relationship is on its last legs. If you (or your partner) know that you want the relationship to be done, then it’s definitely coming to a close. Breakups can still take a while or one of you could change their mind, but once you start wanting it to end, it’s probably close to finished.

Do any of these signs ring true to you? They’re just warnings, so if you notice a trend but you want to save your relationship, then DW — it’s still possible. However, it could be time to look inward to see if the relationship is really bringing both of you joy. And if your relationship is on its last legs, don’t worry — there’s something more fulfilling for you out there, just around the corner.

 

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Tinder Is A Modern Day Whorehouse. I Said It.

Back when I was too small to see over the kitchen counter, I would often imagine the “Wild West” as an adventurous place, people traveling in covered wagons, panning for gold, building cities where no cities ever stood before.

But I didn’t daydream about whorehouses. Maybe I should have? They’ve been a part of human culture and countless civilizations since essentially forever. I’m sure T-Rex even had his go-to spots for his particular reptilian tastes. They’re not abnormal or historically rare, you just don’t like them.

The notion that a man’s sexual needs are no different or less important than his need for food has always been a business opportunity. It’s not called the world’s oldest sin, but the world’s oldest profession. Until we decided prostitution was somehow “wrong” and created laws and religious fist-shakes to shut it down. Because that would stop it, right?

I believe sex work should be legal. Not just legal, but strongly regulated. The health and safety of sex workers and their clients should be no less paramount than the health and safety of anyone else in a physically demanding job. We pay men millions of dollars to slam their bodies together, but we make them wear football helmets when they do it.

If sex work was legal, we could stop resting on an overstuffed sofa of “morals” that allows us some kind of mental comfort and superiority. Sex won’t be a normal, natural part of life if we say it shouldn’t be, right? That’ll change human behavior, right? If we could acknowledge that men pay women for sex anyway (and women pay men, too), then maybe the hungry men I deal with on a daily basis can get the fuck off Tinder,* where they think they can have anything they want for free.

Take this fine young man for example. He is a stranger. I’ve never met him before. That first message is the first thing I said to him. He only waited 22 words to mention his erection. I blocked him instantly and went on about my day, but the exchange bothered me, and I had trouble putting it out of my head. Maybe because it wasn’t the first, and I’m assuming (though hoping otherwise) that it won’t be the last.

Why did he think that was okay? What made him think that he could speak to a woman he didn’t know like that? What made him think he could impose upon her to sate his sexual need in that moment? What makes him not an exception, but one of innumerable men that think they’re being “forward,” when really they’re being inappropriate? Maybe it’s because Tinder is a modern day whorehouse.

Online dating apps are where (some) men go to get whatever sexual satisfaction they want. And it’s where (some) women go to provide it. Sound familiar? I’m basing this assumption on the fact that at some point this guy had his behavior rewarded, otherwise why try again? He was way too casual about it to be a newbie. The first guy to ever walk into a room and ask to pay for sex was either thrown out on his ass, or accepted as a customer. My money is on the latter.

I’ve already written on the topic of ethical non-monogamy. Married men seeking out more and different sex than they can have at home is also an activity best engaged in in a place where both parties enter for the same transaction. I use dating apps so that I can stop dating. Married men haven’t had to date in years. Call me crazy, but Ashley Madison was a brilliant idea. Keep all the sexually stifled marrieds in one pen, please, there’s no reason to have them mingle with the rest of the herd.

The specimen above however was really interesting to me. Single and busy, I totally get that. Maintaining a relationship or marriage at home when you travel more often than not would certainly be a struggle. But this guy wants contact. The company of a woman. In small doses. Do you see the goddamn theme here?

We are sitting ducks. Single women on dating apps are the most target rich environment on earth. Solicit, offend, entice, whatever her response, there are so many more where she came from. You can what do you want, consequence and debt-free. Anonymity, abundance, affordability. In ye olde days, you got your ass kicked if you left without paying. Now, you’re free to do and say what you like, to who you like, and nothing bad will happen to you. That’s where they get the nerve. That’s why men think they can open a conversation by asking us to text them through their morning masturbation. They need a different place to go. I did not sign up for this shit.

Some will argue, “But they do pay! Dating apps aren’t always free.” Fuck you and the delusion you rode in on. These men are paying more for Citibikes than what could mildly be described as phone sex. And I’m paying, too. I’m paying to be a maybe. Maybe she’ll sext me while I jack off. Maybe she’ll let me fuck her once a month when I’m home. And then say nothing, ask nothing, expect nothing at all. Least of all respect. And hey, if she won’t there are millions, literally millions more where she came from.

Do I have a solution to all of this? No. I simply crave honesty. Society lied to itself when it criminalized prostitution. It created a fantasy in its head and I’m old enough to see over the kitchen counter now. Wake up. Sex is free, but sometimes it shouldn’t be. If you’re using no more than a swipe of your thumb to instantly acquire it, that’s one of those times. We’re not restaurants you flip through on Seamless, we’re human beings. And single, female human beings looking for single, male human beings that conduct themselves with a modicum of respect do not deserve to be made to feel like they’re working in a profession they did not choose.

Let’s all stop imagining they’re “dating” apps, or just give me a place to interact with single men in a way that won’t make me want to send them a bill.

  • I use Tinder as a general reference to most dating apps. Much the same way you don’t call it a tissue, you call it a Kleenex.

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The Beach House – Chapter 14

“It was a harbor boat. I was hired to take care of a guy on his yacht anchored in the harbor. I fucked him, and then we went to the deck for a break. I was naked and pretty stoned. There were six of his friends waiting for me when we got up there. He told me I had to take care of all of them, and I refused.” She sighed. “He got a hold of my purse and clothes and told me I wasn’t getting them back until they were all satisfied. When I refused again, he threw them overboard and told me they would just take what they wanted. Luckily, they were more drunk than I was stoned. I was able to get on his harbor boat and break away. That was my lowest point, Dale. When I knew I didn’t want to go on anymore.”

“Now I know everything. I don’t want you to leave me.” I was afraid she hated herself so much that happiness was hell for her.

“I don’t have anywhere else to go.” It was a cop out. My frustration was rising, and I knew it wouldn’t help the situation.

“If you want to leave, I will give you whatever money you need to start over. Do you love me or not?” I couldn’t believe I had just drawn a line in the sand. I was angry, frustrated, and scared of how she would answer. She turned back to me with wet eyes and nodded.

“Yes, I love you. I just don’t know how you could love me.” I smiled as a warmth filled my soul. I hadn’t lost her. I wrapped her in my arms and pulled her lips to mine. She responded slowly then added passion to match mine. I rolled her onto her back and held her face in my hands.

“For now, just accept that I do love you.” I smiled and kissed her face all over. “No more secrets, no more lies. You are mine, and I am yours.” I was back at her lips as she folded her hands gently around the back of my head and engaged my tongue. She ran her thigh up along mine and quickly separated her lips from mine.

“You’re covered in sand.” There was desire in her eyes. “How about the pool?” She was breathing hard. I had no idea how she moved from “don’t touch me” to “how about the pool.” All I knew is that I wanted her badly. My arousal was evident as I pulled her to her feet. We almost ran to the pool, trying not to let the mood weaken. I dropped my suit and dove in. I turned and watched the most adorable striptease. She had to peel herself out of her suit which required a few sexy shimmies and made her all the more desirable. I gave a wolf whistle as she finally pulled it down her legs. I received a sexy runway pose before she dove in after me.

Our lips met again in the shallows. Her breasts pressed into my chest as I ran my hands over her body not knowing where to touch first and not wanting to miss a part. My inexperience was evident as I explored. Mia tenderly grabbed my hand and moved it between her legs. “This is yours.” She whispered in my ear. “I don’t want any other man but you to touch it ever again.” It felt like my dick was trying to grow larger. As I let my hand explore between her legs. The folds were sensual, soft and slick. I ran a finger along the slit carefully feeling for the entrance. She opened for me and I slipped my finger into the warmest and most inviting embrace.

“You feel so beautiful.” I was mesmerized with her pussy. I had never taken the time to enjoy a woman so completely. Mia moaned as I explored her with my finger. I liked being the cause of the moan. I felt her hand around my hard-on, and my hips jerked a bit.

“I want you in me,” she said, looking into my eyes. I felt a twinge in my groin at that and knew I wouldn’t last long. I didn’t want to disappoint her, but she was just too damn hot. I removed my hand and fumbled my dick into position. I was a bit over excited and had trouble finding my way in. Mia smiled, and I felt her grab my cock and guide it toward Heaven. Her feet left the bottom of the pool, and she encircled my hips with her legs. The most wonderful sensation enveloped my shaft. She slowly took all of me while watching my eyes. I was trying desperately not to explode. I never wanted it to end. She looked so gorgeous hanging on my shoulders. Her hips moved to meet mine.

“Do you love me, Dale?” She knew the answer to that. She just wanted to hear it again.

“I love you, Mia.” I felt her hips grind into my groin. Her head tilted backward, and her smile warmed deliciously. My experience was irrelevant. My words were her aphrodisiac. “I want you more than anything.” Her hips were grinding involuntarily. I was trying desperately to hold back just a moment longer. “You are in my soul. I will love you forever.” Mia’s whole body began to shake, and her muscles tensed. I saw the veins in her neck enlarge as her hips ground harder and more sporadically. A sexy growl came from her lips which sent me over the top. I emptied into her again and again. I thought I would never stop as pleasure coursed through my body into the love of my life.

Mia pulled forward as her spasms subsided. My legs collapsed, and we fell backward underwater, her lips locked on mine. I thought she was going to smother me to death, she was squeezing so hard. She separated from me, and we rose back into the air. It was the single best experience of my life. “I really love swimming with you!” I couldn’t even attempt to shrink my grin. Everything about her was so exciting. Mia laughed and wrapped her arms around and through me.

“You were beyond perfect!” She kissed me on the lips. “I am yours, you know.” She kissed me on my nose and moved to my forehead then my cheeks. I held her close and whispered in her ear.

“No more doubts?” I didn’t want to ruin the mood, but I had to know.

“None at all.” I felt her smile against my cheek. My plan had one more step. It was an insane step, but my life had always been a bit insane.

“Marry me.” I said it clearly. I didn’t whisper. I wanted her to know I meant it. She pulled her head back and looked me in eyes.

“You’re serious.” It was a statement that didn’t require a response. I gave her one anyway.

“Absolutely serious.” I didn’t let my eyes drift away from hers. Without blinking, the word formed on her lips.

“Yes.” Her expression didn’t change. I felt she was waiting for me to withdraw the offer. I just smiled and gave her a tender kiss which she returned.

“Mia, my wife… I really like the sound of that,” I said when our lips parted. I think it hit her right then. I wasn’t pulling her chain. I had no fear of her past and no fear of our future. She melted into me and screamed into the air. She released all her fears with mine, and we emotionally entwined our futures.

The sliding glass door slammed open and Dr. Williams came running out. He had heard Mia’s scream and thought the worst. He slowed when he saw a naked entwined couple in the pool with smile-laden faces. “Whoa! not quite what I expected.” He said trying to cover his eyes. I could see a grin hidden behind his hand. Mia started laughing. What a wonderful laugh.

“You want to be really blown away?” Mia said with sparkling eyes.

“Nothing you two do will shock me anymore.” He sat on a pool chair which allowed the side of the pool to provide the necessary modesty.

“Mia has agreed to be my wife.” I watched his expression go through three or four emotions and then settle on happy.

“That is many levels of insane, but with you two, it just seems to fit.” He was smiling at both of us. He started laughing to himself. “Monica is going to shit when she hears this.” He started slapping his knee. “She was so pissed at you for screwing up her anniversary. She made me promise to make you do the heavy lifting, and she gave the clinic a lot of your money to make sure it happened.” He was having a hard time trying to control the laughter. “She said you wouldn’t last a day.” He was hysterical at this point. “She’s been waiting for your apology. Called me twice wondering why you weren’t begging for forgiveness.” He pointed at me. “What I wouldn’t give to see her face when she hears about this.”

“Honey, we really should do something nice for her and her husband. After all, you did screw up their anniversary.” Mia pulled me close smiling. I was fine with her being my social compass.

“We certainly owe her something for putting us together.” I squeezed Mia. “We’ll put our heads together and dream up something special.” I looked back at the doctor.

“Well, my work is done here. It’s been an absolute privilege working with you two.” He smiled as he stood up. We had drifted to the edge of the pool so he didn’t have to hide behind his hand. “I am truly happy for both of you. I just never saw it coming.” He held out the palm of his hand. “I’ll show myself out.” He was still chuckling as he walked back through the house. Mia shouted thanks as he disappeared inside.

“Well Mrs. Tomlinson, or Perez if you prefer, would you like some dinner?” I was steering her toward the stairs.

“Mrs. Tomlinson is indeed hungry.” She smiled at me as she followed.

We had a wonderful dinner of frozen crap. Mia and I decided that grocery shopping was first on the list for tomorrow. As we were cleaning up the plates, my phone buzzed. It was Frank.

“Frank, I am going to put you on speaker.” I wasn’t going to hide anything for Mia anymore. I placed the phone on the table. “Mia Perez is here with me.”

“I’m not sure I understand Mr. Tomlinson.” Frank was a bit confused. He didn’t expect to be talking with anyone but me.

“Mia, Frank is the one who I had looking into your past. I suspect he has information about the boat incident to report.”

“Hi Frank.” Mia smiled at me. I think she was happy that I didn’t take the call privately.

“Hello, Ms. Perez.” Frank stuttered a bit.

“Frank, I hired you to clear up some issues between Mia and myself so I could talk her into marrying me.” I heard a cough on the other side of the line. “She has already told me what happened on the boat and has agreed to be my wife.”

“Ahh, congratulations!?” It sounded more like a question.

“I think we may have caught you off guard Frank. I told Dale everything. I am sure the gentleman on the boat may spin it a bit differently but, the gist will be the same.” Mia scooted next to me and gave me a peck on the cheek.

“Sorry, I am not used to working for couples with so much trust. Kind of comes with the job.” He was getting on his feet again. “The yacht is owned by a Walter Patterson. It was his son Thomas Patterson who hired you, Ms. Perez, for his evening’s entertainment.” He paused to make sure that I was fully aware of the events. “It seems that Mr. Patterson has a habit of renegotiating his agreements with his entertainers once he has them on his father’s boat. You are not the first one he has done this to.” He coughed a bit. “I apologize, Ms. Perez, but he calls them his ‘water bang parties.’ He has some like-minded friends who frequent the events.”

“What a bastard!” Mia had grim look on her face. “I thought it was a spur of the moment thing. You say he planned to share me with his friends?”

“Yes ma’am. A rather distraught young man, Kyle Gladstone, filled me in. He was on board and had no idea that you had not previously agreed. Mr. Patterson controls his job prospects. He spent a good twenty minutes telling me how ashamed he was for not telling the police.”

“Tall blonde kid, funny glasses?” Mia asked.

“That describes him pretty well.” Frank added. Mia looked at me.

“He got in the way of the other guys when I made for the harbor boat. I think he got in over his head,” Mia injected.

“That was my feeling also. Both Mr. Patterson and Mr. Gladstone work for a small chemical outfit called Gem Works.” Frank sighed, “I don’t think you should have bought him a new boat, Mr. Tomlinson. They would have dropped the charges just to keep the incident quiet and avoid jail time themselves.”

“How much did I pay for the boat?” I was beginning to devise a bit of payback. I heard paper shuffling on the other end.

“$33,781 according to the invoice Bob sent me.” I wrote down the number and a few other notes.

“Thanks, Frank. Your service has been very valuable to me.” I was getting use to thanking people.

“Thanks, Frank. I appreciate your careful choice of words.” Mia smiled at the phone.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that, Ms Perez. Congratulations on your engagement.” He disconnected. I really liked Frank. He was a no bullshit guy who seemed to care for his clients. I was hoping I could use him again in the future.

“I suddenly don’t like Mr. Thomas Patterson.” I said with a mischievous smile. “What do you say we try to put an end to his water bang parties.”

 

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If Your Relationship Isn’t Meant To Be, You’ll Notice These 4 Signs

If you’ve ever gone through a breakup, chances are a friend has tried to comfort you by saying, “It just wasn’t meant to be.” And while, sure, that may actually be the case, accepting that your relationship isn’t meant to be can be really hard. What does “meant to be” even mean? Simply put, not all relationships are meant to last forever. The cliche that some people come into your life for “a reason, a season, or a lifetime,” rings true. And if your relationship isn’t meant to be, you’ll know it.

1. YOUR DREAMS CLASH.

Victor Torres/Stocksy

It’s totally normal for you and bae to have different dreams – after all, you’re not dating yourself. But if your dreams are incompatible, that might be a sign your relationship isn’t meant to work out. If neither party is willing to compromise, it might be time for a more serious conversation.

“If your dreams clash, that means one of you will have to give something really important up in order to make the relationship work,” licensed marriage and family therapist Nicole Richardson tells Elite Daily. “If you really love your partner, you should want all of their dreams to come true and not encourage them to leave those things behind.”

Don’t forget: They should want those things for you, too.

Jovo Jovanovic/Stocksy

Working through conflicts together and trying to come to a compromise or solution can be really important when it comes to relationships. But caring and respecting each other as you work through an issue is just as important as resolving it, says Richardson.

“In happy, successful relationships that pass the test of time, roughly two-thirds of their conflicts don’t get resolved,” she points out. “The key to conflict is not resolving it, it’s communicating and caring about each other through it. If the relationship isn’t worth fighting for, how could it be meant to be?”

Briana Morrison/Stocksy

Sure, maybe you’re in charge of making dinner reservations and your partner tackles vacation planning. It’s OK to take the lead on things if your partner is taking the lead on others. But that’s the trick: You’re both contributing. If “one person has to be in charge or [in] control, that’s not typically healthy,” Richardson states. If your relationship has no space for both sides of an argument, a plan, or a conversation, then you just might not be compatible. “In a partnership, it is important that both partners have their perspective[s] heard and needs listened to.” It’s called a partnership for a reason, folks.

Sean Locke/Stocksy

If your partner has continued to break your trust repeatedly, that might be a sign they don’t totally respect you as much as a good partner should. If “you’ve confided very intimate things to your partner and they betray your trust, and tell anyone who will listen your deepest and most vulnerable secrets,” Dr. Brown says, it’s probably healthiest to part ways. Trusting your partner is the bare minimum. If you can’t trust them, there’s not much else you can do.

If any of this sounds familiar, don’t panic. Making an honest effort to resolve these issues and work on your relationship isn’t off the table. “You can try to work on them,” Richardson says. “Do your part to see if you can help switch up the dynamic.” But your partner should make an equal effort, too. It takes two to tango, and sometimes, accepting that you’re incompatible may be the healthiest option.

Try to remember that if a relationship isn’t meant to be, it’s probably because there’s something, or someone, better suited for you. It’s all a matter of knowing when to walk away, and looking toward the future.

 

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Celebrity Sightings – Jacqueline London

I’ve known Jackie for a few years now. She’s  lovely woman and just as nice as she is beautiful.

Emmy-winning journalist Jacqueline London joined NBC10 in March of 2013. She can currently be seen co-anchoring NBC10 News at 5 PM and 11 PM weekdays.

Prior to joining NBC10, London was with WKMG in Orlando, Florida, where she spent 10 years as an anchor and reporter. While there she was named ‘Best News Anchor’ by The Orlando Business Journal. She also earned two Suncoast Emmys while at WKMG, one for the program “Primetime London” which she wrote, produced and hosted.

With over 15 years of experience in broadcasting, London is known for her exclusive one-on-one interviews, from local newsmakers and celebrities to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. In late 2013, she interviewed Jimmy Fallon as he prepared for his new role as host of The Tonight Show, NBC’s iconic late-night program.

London got her start at ABC affiliate WQAD in Moline, Ill. During her two years there, she anchored the station’s weekend morning news and reported for the afternoon and evening newscasts.

Active in the community, London is involved in women’s issues and other causes close to her heart. She actively works to raise awareness for heart disease and diabetes. Since moving to Philadelphia she has emceed the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes, Philadelphia’s 2013 Heart Walk, and the 2014 Annual Heart Ball.

London earned a B.A. in journalism & mass communication from The University of Iowa. A native of Chicago, she currently resides in Philadelphia and enjoys exploring her new hometown.

 

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