Layne’s Decision

“Olivia, I’m looking for a flat in Manchester. Can you help me?” Olivia was a friend and a real estate agent who lived in Yorkshire but worked at an agency with offices all over England. She alternated between their offices there in Yorkshire and Manchester.

When Layne emailed her on Wednesday to find out when next she would be in Yorkshire, she had promptly replied that she was there that week and arranged to meet him at his office that morning. He slipped out of the back of the building and walked down the alleyway where he waited for him. Five minutes later, she showed up. After they hugged, he stated his reason for wanting to see her.

“You want to move to Manchester?”

“Yes.”

“So, you don’t mind the daily commute from there to here?”

“No, it’s about 90 minutes by car and less by car.”

“Sure, I can help you and I’ll do so, on one condition.”

“And what’s that?”

“Have dinner with me tomorrow night.” Tomorrow was Saturday.

“Do real estate agents usually ask potential clients out on dates?”

“Not as far as I know. I, for one, don’t usually but you and I have known each other for a while and I’ve always wanted to ask you out on a date. So, what do you say, Handsome? Do we have a date or not?”

“Sure. Now, will you help me to find a flat?”

“Yes. Tell me what you’re looking for and I’ll send you the listings as they come in. And we’ll take a look at the ones you’re interested in until you find the one you want.”

“All right.”

“Why are you so anxious to move out of your family’s fancy mansion?”

He shrugged. “I just thought it was time to be on my own, that’s all.”

“So, how is life at the mansion?”

“It’s fine.”

“How are you getting along with your step-mother?”

“Fine.”

“I must admit when I first saw her, I was very surprised.”

“Why were you surprised?”

“Well, for one thing, she’s a lot younger than I thought and she’s stunning.”

“Yes, I suppose she is younger than we all thought but as long as she makes him happy, that’s all that matters, isn’t it?”

“Tell me the truth, Layne, do you find her attractive?”

“Who wouldn’t?”

“And if she weren’t your step-mother, would you and she be in a relationship right now?”

His shifted uneasily. “I don’t know.”

“She probably wishes that she wasn’t your step-mother.”

Layne stiffened. “Why do you say that?”

“If you were my step-son, it would be extremely hard for me not to cheat on my husband.”

Layne glanced uneasily at his watch. “I’m afraid I have to go,” he said.

“All right. I’ll be in touch.”

“I’ll look out for your emails.”

“Don’t forget that we have a dinner date tomorrow night.”

“I won’t.”

She smiled and squeezed his arm gently. “I’ll pick you up at the mansion at seven. See you then, handsome.”

“See you then.” He turned and walked away, thinking that Sable would have a fit if she knew that he was having dinner with Olivia and that he was planning to move out. He didn’t want to acknowledge that Sable was the reason why he had decided to move to Manchester instead of to London because it was closer to Yorkshire. He would be at a distance of 90 minutes from her instead of over three hours.

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