“Eventually, out of options and out of time, I made a split-second decision that would seal my fate for years to come—if not forever. This was when I did the ‘very bad thing.’ Ironically enough, it was so easy to put into motion, yet impossible to stop once I’d gone through with it.” —Britney King, Anywhere With You
Some things one commits to are like the quote above… but, thankfully, most aren’t. Once upon a time I wrote here that I was going to stop with the more personal posts and focus on other things…one of those being reviewing the books I read. But I lied.
I realized that nope—that is not the direction I want to go in. At all. For starters, anyone who is the slightest bit interested in what I’m reading can check me out on Goodreads. Writing reviews here doesn’t really make sense.
That said, I have an idea of what does make sense… and yet I don’t have the spare time right now to (publicly) commit to actually following through with it. So, we’ll just see how it goes instead. :)
Lastly, my latest book, Anywhere With You, releases tomorrow and I thought I’d share an excerpt that really shapes the story. In many ways, it has to do with commitment— and the reality that few things in life are actually set in stone. Pun intended. There’s almost always room for a course correction. And some times that turns out to be the beauty of it.
“If you don’t want to go, then why are you going?” I asked as we pulled into the airport parking lot. I’d purposely waited as long as possible to ask in order to see if she might bring it up. I wasn’t going to push her to stay. It took forever for me to find an open spot and about as long for her to answer.
As I turned off the ignition, she finally did. She looked at me incredulously. “I have a job.”
“I have one, too,” I assured her.
“You don’t have a boss, Jack.”
“Sure I do. They’re called investors.”
She shot me a look that conveyed annoyance and then she shook her head. “It’s not the same.”
“You can take pictures from anywhere. Why not here?”
“Well, for starters, the magazine I’m employed by is based out of Boston. I have a home there—and a life—”
“I’m not asking for forever. Just a little longer…” And there it was. Even though I’d promised myself I wouldn’t do it. She’d forced my hand. I asked her to stay.
Amelie exhaled and focused her attention out the passenger window. “I’m just not in a place where I can walk away from it all.”
“I’m not asking for you to walk away.”
She turned then. “What are you asking for?”
I swallowed. “I don’t know. Just a little more time.”
“I do love him, Jack.”
“I’m sure you do.”
Her face fell. “Then why are you asking me to stay? Especially, when I’m the one who stands to lose the most?”
“If you want to get on that plane, then by all means go. But—if you’re doing it because you think you have to—then I think you’re making a mistake.”
She sighed then, and I knew the sound. It was a sigh of defeat, mixed with annoyance at my being right.
Amelie stared out the window and neither of us spoke for several minutes until suddenly, I had a brilliant idea.
“What if I drove you back?”
She glared at me, her mouth hanging open, and I recognized it instantly. She liked my idea. Although she wasn’t ready to admit it.
“We can take the long route—a detour.”
“I have to be in Hawaii in fifteen days,” she exclaimed as she pursed her lips.
“So we’ll take fourteen. Or thirteen. Whatever you need.”
“Ah, come on. A road trip…Think about it. It’ll be like old times…”
She cocked her head. “Where will we go?”
“Anywhere. Who cares?”
“Well, for one, my boss will.”
“Make it about work.” I could see her thinking, her mind working hard at fitting the pieces together. But Amelie was too pure to ever be as good a liar as I was. So I decided to just hand it to her. “Tell him we’re going to spread my dad’s ashes and that you’re going to do a piece on the best places across the US to do that sort of thing.”
She frowned. “Your dad was buried. In the ground.”
“Yeah,” I agreed. “But what’s-his-name doesn’t know that.”
She slapped my arm. “You’re crazy, Jack Harrison.”
“There are conditions, though…” I told her as I raised a brow. I said this only after I was sure she was in.
She ran her fingers through her long blonde hair, sweeping it away from her face. “Oh?”
“We are going to make a bet.”
I eyed her as she wrapped a strand of hair around her finger nervously. Then she grinned and eyed me expectantly.
I delivered my answer without skipping a beat. “On this trip, we’re together.”
Her face twisted and she released her hair. “What else would we be?”
“No, I mean we’re a couple. Full out. No bullshit.”
“I’m engaged, Jack,” she scoffed.
“Maybe so.” I shrugged. “But for the next fourteen or thirteen or however many days, we’re going to pretend that you’re not.”
She crossed her arms. “What does that even mean?”
“It means that we’re just together. Whatever happens, happens. We don’t fight it. And we don’t ask questions.”
Amelie threw her head back and laughed. “You’re funny,” she said and then she sat straight up and glared at me. “And then what?”
“And then, at the end of it—if you’re happy, well, then you’ll have the answer to the question you asked about marrying what’s-his-name.”
She watched my face for a moment and then bit her lip. “Do I have another option?”
“Yes,” I told her with conviction. “To get on that plane and spend the rest of your life wondering what might have happened if you hadn’t.