Love Incorporated
By Elena Lane
Date: August 13, 2021
Ch. 66

Tabitha waved goodbye to Jared from her porch as he got into his car. She touched her fingers to her lips, feeling where Jared had kissed her. He was a good kisser, that was for sure, but something just felt wrong as Tabitha looked back on the kiss. It was strange, but the excitement that Tabitha had for Jared died. She couldn’t deny that he was a great guy, but there was something missing. There was something about Jared that didn’t quite meet up with Tabitha’s fantasy. A spark was missing. Everything about Jared should have felt so right. He was everything that Tabitha wanted in a guy and met all her expectations. He was cute, reliable, and smart. Jared had a bright future and she already knew that he came from a good family. Despite filling the mold of Tabitha’s dream boy, romance just wasn’t there.

Tabitha stood on the porch, dumbfounded, trying to mull over what had just happened. She saw her phone light up and saw a text on her phone. She wasn’t surprised to see that it was from Braxton, but she was surprised at her response. When she saw the text, she didn’t feel annoyed.

Thinking about me, Tabby?

And for some reason, the text made a smile fill Tabitha’s face. She shook the smile from her lips; no, she couldn’t like Braxton. The only reason that she was smiling was because he was so persistent and such a jerk that it was humorous. Braxton wasn’t part of Tabitha’s dream boy fantasy and a relationship with him could never work. Ever. Tabitha deleted the text from her phone, ignoring him was the only option.

Tabitha walked into her house, sighing when she saw that her fathers were still in the living room. Had they moved the entire time she had been gone or were they just waiting her to return? Hopefully, the latter. They both seemed excited to hear about her date when she got home. Tabitha felt torn. Given their enthusiasm, she didn’t want to break it them that she didn’t see a future with Jared. So, to their questions Tabitha simply told them that Jared was very sweet and that she had a very good time with him. Though, this seemed to fuel her parents and instill in their mind that there could be a future in her relationship with Jared, but Tabitha hadn’t felt the feeling that she longed to feel in that kiss. Maybe she was over-romanticizing things, but Tabitha needed something more, even if she didn’t know exactly what. Even if it was something that she didn’t realize she wanted in the first place.

Tabitha settled into her bed, turning off the light and finding a romance movie to watch on Netflix. Then she saw text come onto her phone and then another one. The first one was from Jared.

I had a great time tonight.

Tabitha didn’t reply. Instead, she paid attention to the text from Carrie asking how her date had been. Normally, Tabitha told Carrie everything about her love life, but that night, Tabitha didn’t feel like dishing all the details because she was conflicted about everything. It was the type of inner turmoil that Tabitha just had to deal with herself. As she was typing out the vague, incomplete details of the date, another text came in. Tabitha never felt so popular, but when she looked at the text Tabitha never felt so confused. Of course, it was from Braxton.

Ready to go out on a date yet?

Even though it was a text and therefore, carried no intonation, Tabitha could practically hear the cockiness in his words. Strangely, his texts weren’t completely unwelcome. Braxton’s texts made Tabitha feel excited and maybe it was simply because they upset monotony of her everyday life, but regardless, Tabitha couldn’t get one thought out of her mind: maybe, like in many of the romance stories that Tabitha had read, opposites did attract. Maybe, just maybe, Tabitha liked Braxton.

Then, Tabitha surprised herself by replying to his text while still ignoring the one that Jared had sent her.

How’s two Saturdays from now?

That sounds perfect, Tabby.

That’s another thing about her interaction with Braxton that surprised Tabitha- being called Tabby actually brought a smile to her face. She would never give Braxton the satisfaction of knowing that though.

The name’s Tabitha, not Tabby, Decker.

I’ll call you Tabitha if you call me Braxton.

Tabitha laughed lightly and tried to type a smooth reply.

We’ll see about that, Decker.

I suppose we will, Tabby.

Two weekends later, Tabitha found herself with a slight conflict of interest. That afternoon, she had to go to a family function, which, unfortunately, was being held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jared Blakely II and as much as she hated the idea, Tabitha would have to talk to Jared Blakely III and gently explain to him that she wasn’t interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with him. The worst part was that Tabitha had been leading the poor boy on for almost two weeks. Since the initial postdate text, she had gathered the courage finally reply to him, but she hadn’t been completely honest. As far as Jared knew, he still had a chance, but there was no way that Tabitha could keep up the charade at the party. She would somehow build up her nerve to tell Jared the truth and then, leave the party early to go on her date with the enemy, Braxton Decker. If nothing else, it would be an interesting day.

Tabitha was standing awkwardly by herself in Jared’s backyard. Her parents were busy talking to some business associates, leaving Tabitha alone. She weighed her options; she could search around for Jared or absent mindedly tap at her phone, pretending that she was doing something important. Since Tabitha wasn’t ready to face Jared, she chose the latter, but despite this, a few minutes later she was interrupted by a familiar voice. “Tabitha! You’re here. What are you doing over here all by yourself?” he asked taking her arm, “My friends don’t bite. Come on, let me introduce you to them.”

Reluctantly, Tabitha said, “Yeah, sure. That sounds cool.” At least there were other people to act as buffers. That would make things less awkward, wouldn’t it? She followed Jared to a group of young people who were all around her age. She listened as Jared introduced them to her, giving each person a polite greeting and a smile. As she sat there with Jared and his friends, Tabitha tried to engage in the conversation, but was distracted by thoughts of Braxton. She was looking forward to their date more than she liked to admit. As the others talked, she texted Braxton, unable to contain the smile that came onto her face when he said arrogant yet sweet things to Tabitha. Sure, Braxton could be a jerk, but he was a lovable jerk.

Font size
Font color
Line spacing
Background color