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She was in love with him. He was bossy and overbearing; he liked to be in control. He was smart and powerful, a successful businessman with an edge. But he was sweet and romantic, too; he played the part of boyfriend so well, and she hadn’t been able to stop herself from falling for him. He liked to call her Beautiful and he was more often a gentleman than not. Her heart ached.

At seven o’ clock on the night of her birthday, she arrived at the bus station in the center of town. She called Star to pick her up but refused to speak about what had happened during her trip. Star, who usually pushy about details kept quiet. Kayla knew she had to look awful; she’d spent the bus ride drowning in her sorrows. But now she was all cried out. She needed to start to forget about Jamie Madison and maybe, just maybe, she could begin to heal.

Star had to work the overnight shift at her job, which was fine with Kayla; she needed some time alone to pull herself together. She spent the night watching cheesy romantic comedies and booed every time the heroine gave in to the hero. It just wasn’t fair, she thought to herself. So many movies portray romance as this easy thing, but the truth is that it’s one of the most difficult things out there.

Kayla took a deep breath after the second movie and prepared to go to bed. She couldn’t watch anymore of the feel-good movies; her life was so off track. She knew she wouldn’t be able to close on her house; she just didn’t have the money or the time to get the money together. She accepted this truth even as she mourned losing the house. It was a perfect place for her to live, but she wasn’t going to be able to swing it. She knew she was still young and buying a house was a big task for someone her age. But she’d wanted it, and now she was letting it go. On Monday, she would have to call the realtor and then start looking for her own apartment. Star wouldn’t mind her staying, but she needed her own space. And since she wasn’t going to get her house, she needed something.

There was a knock on the door just as she clicked off the television. She knew before she even pulled open the door who was on the other side.

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