A New Beginning:Book One The Starting Over Trilogy

By: Brenda Kennedy

Chapter One: A New Beginning

Mason

Do I really want to be here? No, not so much. I came to be social and to catch up with my friends. I have to be at the E.R. in a couple of hours for what I’m sure will be another crazy Saturday night. I can do this. Smile and be polite, I keep telling myself. Vincent called earlier, wanting us to get together. He said he had something to share with Donovan and me.

Donovan Martin is an attorney at a major law firm in Sarasota and Vincent Salvatore owns his own construction company in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. We have been friends for as long as I can remember. Living in the same neighborhood as children and going to the same schools until college, we have gotten and stayed very close.

I remember Vincent’s birthday one summer. His parents threw him a costume birthday party. Everyone had to dress up as pirates, even the adults. He had a pirate ship birthday cake, too. It was the coolest cake I have ever seen. The party was held in his backyard. Earlier that summer, his Dad had built him a huge pirate ship out of wood. Most kids in the neighborhood had wooden jungle gyms or wooden swing sets in their backyard, but not Vincent; he had a life-sized wooden pirate ship. Vincent’s Dad owned a construction company and built the ship by hand for his son. It had a Jolly Pirate flag, flying high on the flagpole, three different level decks, one deck had a cannon, and it even had a plank to walk on. Underneath the plank was a thick pile of mulch so you could jump off the plank and land in the mulch without getting hurt. Vincent and his Dad named the ship Vin-Ma-Don, the 3 Buccaneers, after us three boys — Vincent, me, and Donovan. I don’t think any other childhood memory I have tops that one. We were close then and we are still close to this day. They are like my brothers.

Ever since Julia and I broke up, my clubbing days are long behind me. I really don’t want to run into her and her beau any time soon. I guess I still hold some resentment towards her for the way things ended. Yeah, walking in on her and another man will do that to a person. That she is still dating the same man she cheated on me with still stings. What a bitch! Ok, so I still hold a lot of resentment towards her. I know she will do the same thing to him as she did to me, and damn if I don’t want to be there to see that go down. Yeah, I hope she gets what she deserves.

I walk inside the already too hot club and make my way to the bar. I can see Donovan and Vincent tossing back a shot. Weaving through the dance floor, I finally reach my destination. God, how I hate the club scene. Donovan sees me first as he nods his head in my direction and then Vincent turns to look at me and smiles.

“Been here long?” I ask.

“No, man, just got here maybe 15 minutes ago. Glad you could make it,” Vincent says, cupping his hand on my shoulder.

“The club’s hopping — sure you don’t want to call in sick?” Donovan asks

“As appealing as that sounds, I really can’t. One of us three has to work.”

Laughing, Donovan tells me he went ahead and ordered me a club soda with lime.

“Thanks, man,” I say, reaching for my drink and taking a generous gulp of it.

“We still on for tomorrow?” Vincent asks.

“What’s going on tomorrow?”

“You know damn good and well what’s going on Sunday. We’re taking the boat out, and Sara and Brea are fixing you up with the new girl in the office. Ring a bell now, smart ass?”

“Oh, yeah, about that, I’ve been meaning to cancel on that. I’m not really in the mood to be fixed up. I have a lot going on at work with getting my own practice started and the renovations being done at the beach house.”

“Still bitter after all that shit Julia pulled, I see. You need to start dating again. It’s been five months,” Donovan says.

“Easier said than done. I’m trying to move on, but it’s still pretty fresh in my mind. I don’t really want to spend the day on the water with someone that I may or may not connect with. It’s gonna be a long day if we don’t click.”

“There’s no way Brea and Sara are going to let you out of this, so you better suck it up now. You still have until tomorrow to get your mind ready for it. It’s gonna be fun. I searched using Google for a new reef for us to check out. Scuba diving always calms your nerves,” Vincent says.

Yeah, he’s right. We haven’t gone diving in months. Spending the day on the water has never been a bad time. Food, drinks, and friends — that’s what life’s about. “Ok, you’re right. It’s just a few hours with a woman I know absolutely nothing about. I’m gonna warn you now, if this is anything less than a great time for me, I will make you fucking miserable right along with me.”

“Fair enough,” Vincent says, before finishing off the last of his beer and ordering another round.

Trying desperately to change the subject, I ask Vincent what’s the news he has to share, before taking another drink of my club soda.

With a shit-eating grin, he says, “I’m gonna ask Brea to marry me.”

I spew my drink everywhere and look at Donovan who’s looking at me and looks just as shocked as I am. We both look back to Vincent like he just grew horns.

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