Traitorous Heart:Volume 1

By: Breena Wilde

Volume 1




ACKNOWLEDGMENTS





Special thanks to my awesome cover artist, Steven Novak. To my editor at Clean Leaf Editing, Mary Johnson Heiser. To Timi Heiser for the lyrics, and especially to my family. You’re all rock stars to me.





TRAITOROUS HEART

Volume 1





CHAPTER 1

Katie





I climbed the steps, swiped my bus pass, and slumped into a seat near the back. The driver pulled into traffic. I glanced out the window, not knowing where the bus was headed. Anywhere or nowhere, it was all the same. I couldn’t help but watch the skyscrapers rush by and wish for the hundredth time that I’d gone into something other than law. There were high rises full of people with a law degree. There were dozens of people walking down the street with the same fucking degree I had, doing the same fucking thing I wanted to do.

Yet I didn’t stand out. At least, not enough for the handshake and “Welcome To The Team, Katie” speech.

It was embarrassing.

It was unacceptable.

I had a plan, one that included marrying my fiancé, making partner by thirty-five, and then having kids.

Why couldn’t the Universe see how hard I was trying and give me what I wanted? That wasn’t too much to ask, was it?

The bus came to a stop, momentarily sucking me out of my misery. I watched as a couple of laughing teenaged boys got on. They looked like potheads. They reminded me of my parents.

And that pissed me off even more. I’d spent the last seven years putting space between them and me and their desire to raise a child that was just as hippy-dippy as them.

Every time I was forced to take a call from my mom she made sure to mention that I needed to chill, that life was too short, and that my plan was too big.

It was bullshit. I knew it. Someday when I had everything I wanted, they’d know it as well. Just like when I wanted to win the national spelling bee title, I studied my ass off. I spelled words in my sleep. And I won.

Effort plus hard work equaled success; that was how it’d always been, how it should be. So why the fuck couldn’t the law firms I interviewed with see that and hire me? I had all the credentials: straight As, extra-curriculars, even an article published in a law journal. I’d done everything exactly the way I was supposed to.

The bus came to another stop. The sun was setting, its dying rays pushing light between the buildings. They glowed directly into my eyes. I turned away, shading my eyes with the back of my hand.

The five-carat princess cut solitaire Reid gave me scraped against my forehead. I flinched. I wasn’t used to wearing it yet, but that little pain was all it took to push my emotions over the edge. Tears formed and spilled onto my cheeks. I dug in my bag for a tissue, but couldn’t find one. Part of me wanted to put the bag over my head; that way I could cry in peace.

The elderly lady carrying a bag covered in daisies sauntered slowly toward the back of the bus. I knew she was going to sit in the seat next to mine. The thought that I should put my bag there, efficiently telling the woman I didn’t want her to sit there, flitted across my mind, but I pushed it away. The woman was hunched over and needed a seat. So I waited. We all did, until the lady was situated.

“Hello, dear,” the woman said. The bus pitched forward and into traffic.

I wiped at my tears and nodded.

She reached into her big tote and pulled out a package of tissues. “Here. Keep it.”

Her kindness made the tears come faster. “Thank you,” I mumbled, taking the packet.

She patted my hand. “There. There. It’s okay, honey.”

I pulled a tissue from the package and blew my nose. Took another and wiped my eyes, then stuffed the remaining tissues in my bag. From my peripheral vision I noticed her smiling and turned.

“One thing I’ve learned in the past eighty-five years of life is that nothing is as bad as it seems.” She pulled a fifty-dollar bill from her wallet and pressed it into my hand.

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “I can’t take that.” She had on a faded shawl and a dress that’d seen better days. I tried to give the money back but she wouldn’t take it.

“Treat yourself to something nice.”

The bus stopped and the old woman pulled herself up.

“Wait.”

She turned and smiled. “You can do anything. Be anything. Have faith in yourself.”

Several passengers watched the woman with mild interest. Some snickered. Some gave her an embarrassed smile before looking away. One of the pothead kids heckled, “Go on, you old bat. We got places to be.”

“Hey!” I stood, giving the boy the most evil glare I could muster.

“Pssssh,” the boy uttered.

The woman made it to the stairs and was working to step down.

“Thank you!” I shouted.

She stepped off the bus without responding.

The bus pulled away. I kept watching the woman as she took measured steps, slowly making her way down the street.

“Sit down, please,” the bus driver commanded, his voice booming.

I did, tucking the fifty in my purse. The old lady was right. I needed to keep trying.

And I needed to have some fun.





CHAPTER 2

Griffin





“Haveyou thought anymore about my offer, Griffin?” My father asked the question as he indicated the chair across from his giant oak desk. I folded my long legs into the chair and placed one foot on my knee.

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