Chapter Thirteen

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"I don't know, Kim!" I cried into my phone, laughing, trying to sound far more confident than I really felt. I couldn't believe how far my life had come in just a few short weeks—if I really thought about it, it was incredible. Not so long ago, I was miserable, dejected, desperately unhappy. I had no one, sought no friendship, didn't care about anything at all. Now, I was on my way to a date with a gorgeous guy, and discussing it on the phone with my friend.

A friend, a real life friend! It was almost unbelievable.

I hadn't heard anything from Amy in a few days. I messaged her to say good luck with her new job, and she said thanks, but that was about it. I didn't mind though. If she couldn't handle all the weirdness surrounding me, that was fine. At least I'd tried. I did genuinely understand anyway, my situation was very complex and difficult to comprehend for those who had no experience in that area. I had Kimberly anyway—she'd already become like a rock. We talked all the time, and with every conversation we grew increasingly closer. She worked in the marketing department of a very exclusive firm in the city. She had a really stressful, high-up position that she worked extremely hard for, but she still managed to find a lot of time for me. I couldn't believe that I had her. I was unbelievably lucky—and I had no intention of taking her for granted.

"You'll be fine!" She bleated, excitedly. She was genuinely happy for me, and that shone through. "Just be yourself."

Myself. I have no idea how to do that.

I didn't say that part aloud though, I laughed loudly instead, trying to disguise just how much effort that was going to take. "Yeah, okay. I'll do my best."

I hadn't told Kimberly that I'd already slept with Charlie, not that I knew why I was keeping it to myself. I didn't exactly need it to be some kind of sordid secret, it just seemed a little inappropriate to talk about. Especially as she knew I was a virgin beforehand, and I was afraid that she'd look at me differently for giving my first time away so readily to someone I'd only just met. Even though I didn't think she would, I didn't want to be judged for that.

Maybe that was my own insecurities about my behaviour shining through... 

"Okay, I have to go, he's here." I hissed, quickly shutting off the phone. My heart hammered painfully against my chest and my nerves almost turned me to jelly at the prospect of what was to come—my first, real date, my first real time alone talking to Charlie. Sure, we'd been texting each other, but face-to-face was so much different, so much more daunting.

I watched him walk towards me, admiring him once more. He was wearing a red and blue checked shirt, dark denim jeans and surprisingly smart shoes. His dark, shaggy hair was still hanging in his gorgeous eyes, which was one of those features that I really adored about him—it made him look scruffy but sexy all at once. I actually found it a little hard to look at him, he was that good looking. My tummy was actually going funny with it all. Of course, I'd already seen him naked, so I was fully aware of his sex appeal, but something about seeing him dressed up just for me made it that much more obvious.

I suddenly panicked that I wasn't dressed appropriately myself. I chose my outfit on Kimberly's suggestion during a very lengthy phone call, but now I wasn't sure that my jeans, boots and strappy top combo were right. Especially not with my 'natural' hair and minimal makeup—I felt very underdressed. Oh God, had I made a huge mistake here? Should I have been wearing a dress, or something much fancier? Would he think me scruffy for coming like this?

"Hey Lara!" He cried out, happiness tainting his voice. The way he smiled at me sent butterflies flapping violently all around me, pushing my negative thought spiral right from my mind. Again, it had only taken a couple of seconds around him and I felt much better...lighter.

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