Skip to product information
1 of 1

Goodbye Lonely (The Bancrofts Book 4)

Goodbye Lonely (The Bancrofts Book 4)

Regular price $3.99
Regular price Sale price $3.99
Sale Sold out
Kylie was the shy Bancroft; the one who had to resort to going to confidence classes to approach her secret crush and faculty advisor Gareth Beecher. While she theorized that Gareth was her 'perfect pair,' the one she was meant to be with, she had to grapple with several issues surrounding him. There was his jealous ex-wife, Jackie Beecher, a missing colleague, Lauren James, and a hand that mysteriously appeared in his garden. Would she finally have her happily ever after with Gareth, and forever say goodbye to lonely?
View full details

Collapsible content


Chapter One

"Ladies and Gentlemen: we have come to that time of the evening again," the announcer said, in his booming voice, over the microphone, "when we give out the sectional prizes."
The audience was looking up at the stage with anticipation. Kylie was standing between Janet Garcia and Lauren James. They were clutching her hands tightly; their smiles were nervous, and so was hers.
"For the most socially inept, the sectional prize goes to Kylie Bancroft." The crowd was screaming their applause.
The announcer cleared his throat, and said, in the pregnant pause, "For the most likely to die a virgin and never ever experience being kissed by a man, the prize belongs, once again, to Kylie Bancroft."
The crowd was cheering wildly. Kylie felt the familiar feeling of inadequacy and aloneness as the crowd cheered, and she stumbled toward the announcer to collect her prize; it closely resembled the bouquet she bought herself last Valentine's Day.
"Kylie," a voice said near her ear. "I can't believe you are sleeping. Did you work out the code yet?"
Kylie slowly opened her eyes and realized that she had indeed fallen asleep around her desk in the computer lab. Janet Garcia was staring at her, concerned. "Maybe we should call it a night."
Kylie looked back at her blearily. "I guess we should. What time is it?"
"Ten o'clock," Janet replied, throwing herself down into the chair beside Kylie's and glancing at the screen in disgust. "When did Gareth promise to stop by and help us out with this stupid coding?"
"At eight," Kylie said faintly. She knew the time because she had worked herself up into a frenzy to see Gareth Beecher, their IT faculty advisor, tonight. She always did, but he always treated her as he does everyone else.
She was twenty-four, lovesick, and a case of arrested development. She was a girl who lived in her head.
"Sorry I am late," Gareth said, walking through the lab door. It was a small lab, which seated only twenty. It was mainly used by the master’s students and the privileged tech geeks who were friends with the lecturers.
"Where's Lauren?" he asked, glancing at Kylie and Janet.
"On a date," Janet snorted, "which is unfair because she is not pulling her weight on the project. We hardly ever see her anymore."
As usual, Kylie hung her head when Gareth was too close. She couldn't look him in the eye or look at him fully without feeling like a mass of nerves. She concentrated on her computer, pointing to the screen. "We have a problem with line 3. Can you help us?"
Gareth leaned over her and looked at her screen intently. She could smell his scent. He smelled like old spice with a hint of vanilla.
She inhaled deeply, and in mid-inhale, Gareth looked down at her curiously, his dark gray eyes laughing. "Are you okay Kylie?"
Kylie grimaced internally. She was caught inhaling the man. It was now or never. She could laugh it off coquettishly, even though she didn't know how to do any such thing, or she could ask him for a date, outright. She inhaled again. This time there was no longer a teasing look in his eyes. He was staring at her intently like she always dreamed he would.
But the moment was lost when Janet cleared her throat. "Come on you two; I have to teach class tomorrow, and I have a sick child at home."
Gareth looked over at Janet, breaking eye contact with Kylie, "I'll sort it out for you guys tonight."
He straightened up from Kylie and walked to the front of the lab, shoving his hands in his well-washed blue jeans, and leaned on the whiteboard, across which were scribbled lines of computer code.
His straight brown hair was streaked with light highlights. It was tousled and overlong with some of it flopping in his eyes. At this time of the night, he sported a five o'clock shadow that made him look even better than when he was clean-shaven. He gazed lazily at Janet and then at Kylie.
"You can check back with me tomorrow for the adjustments."
Janet got up. "When this whole Master's in Programming is over next week, there shall be great rejoicing in my household. I hope we solve this latest glitch in the code, and I dearly hope you are going to say something to the faculty head about Lauren James' lack of contribution, Gareth. She hardly comes to meetings, and when she does, she is always flitting off to meet somebody. She only comes when you are around, Gareth. Since lately we hardly even see her. It's as if she disappeared into thin air this last month."
Janet paused for breath.
"On one hand there is Lauren who doesn't pull any weight, and on the other hand, there is Kylie who would do it all. I don't know how you do it." She packed her laptop into her bag and looked at Kylie. "There is life beyond computer science, programming, and this lab you know."
Kylie shrugged, and said sheepishly, "Not for me. I love it."
Janet snorted. "Well, more power to you. Who am I to complain? You have been an exemplary group member. Night, guys."
She walked out of the lab hurriedly, and Kylie suddenly felt nervous again. She had worn her standard heavy, hooded jacket, which was a necessity in the lab, but she suddenly felt cold.
Gareth was now gazing at her with an indefinable look in his eyes. She glanced at him and looked away.
He cleared his throat, but his voice was still husky. He had a soft Australian accent that constantly sent shivers up her spine when he spoke. "So how is our project going?"
"It is going okay," Kylie said softly, looking at the computer again and chewing her lips. "I will be relieved when this group work is over, and I can give it my full attention."
Gareth walked over to her and sat beside her. "Show me."
Kylie's hands suddenly developed a nervous tick. This was nothing new; her hands were always trembling when Gareth was near. She hated the feeling and suspected that he knew; why else would he always come so close to her? She had never seen him do that to anybody else.
She brought up the program and then glanced at him, but he wasn't looking at the screen; he was looking at her.
"There is something different about you tonight; what is it?"
Kylie went from cold to warm, and then back to cold again in less than a second. She didn't know what to say when she was pinned under those gray eyes. "I am erm..."
"You are not wearing glasses," Gareth said, grinning. His grin showed off his even white teeth in his tanned face, and she glanced at him briefly, tabulating his handsome features in a flash. He looked like a carefree surfer dude, not a computer science professor who had his doctorate in the subject before he was even twenty-five.
Kylie nodded awkwardly and stammered out, "Yes, that's right. I swapped them for contacts." She rambled on, "Deidra made me do it. You know Deidra: she has that entertainment program on MFTV; she is pretty and popular."
Gareth grinned. "So you are running with the popular mass comm' crowd, and not us nerds in the Computer Department?"
Kylie wished she had some snappy comeback, but all she could think of saying was, ‘You are no nerd; you are gorgeous,’ so she kept her mouth shut, and only made an uncomfortable grunting sound.
She wished she could act as confidently as she imagined she could. Belatedly, she realized that Gareth was waiting for some response from her, so she said with a squeak, “I am not hanging out with the popular crowd."
It was obvious to her that that sounded inane and juvenile. Like a jackass, an idiotic and socially challenged jackass.
She got up unsteadily. She was terrified of how Gareth made her feel, and she was just not good at the social banter that people her age seemed to be so good at. She was the worst kind of introvert. "I have to go."
Gareth got up too. "Where are you going?"
"Home. It's late." She bit her lip while she gathered her papers. Gareth had his hand near her knapsack.
"How old are you Kylie?" Gareth asked, finally moving his hand and folding them over his leanly muscular torso.
"Twenty-four," Kylie said breathlessly. She grabbed her knapsack and started shoving in her papers.
"So, I have known you for a whole year," Gareth said, "and you still can't look me in the eye when you are talking about anything other than computer science and your programming. That's unusual for a twenty-four-year-old, you know."
Kylie gasped and picked up her laptop hurriedly. "Night, Gareth." She walked fast out of the lab as if a pack of dogs was at her heels.

Kylie arrived at her home and quietly let herself into the house. It was late. Even her father, who was usually the last one to arrive home most evenings, was already there. She could tell because his car was already in the garage.
Not for the first time, she wished that she had her own place. All her peers were either living on their own or had their own families. Not that she had any friends her age.
She had been home-schooled because of her asthma problems. She had literally spent more time in the hospital than school. Added to that, she was the world's shyest woman. She feared that if she lived on her own, she would truly be a recluse. Her family members were the only ones she usually talked to, but they had their own lives to live.
Her mother had a Golden Agers’ home to run, and her father had a university to manage. That took up much of his time, so he was hardly home.
Her brother, Micah, was also a recluse. He hardly came around, though she was seeing much more of him these days because Deidra was living there, and he would stop by on the pretext that he was visiting the family.
Her older, and favorite, brother, Adrian, had recently returned to Jamaica and had found out that he had a ready-made family, and was just getting reacquainted with the love of his life.
Her youngest brother, Marcus, was constantly away at some track meet or the other, and when he was in Jamaica, he rarely came home to visit. He always found excuses to avoid them.
Her little sister, Jessica, was so steeped in the youth culture it seemed as though they spoke a different language. Jessica could sit and discuss music and her favorite artiste, Khaled, all day and that usually bored Kylie.
She walked slowly to her room, which was at the back of the house near to Deidra's. She could see under the door that Deidra's light was on.
She had grown fond of Deidra in the last few months that she was staying with them. Deidra was fun and lively and knew everybody. Strange enough, though they were opposites in personality and temperament, they got along quite well.
She knocked lightly on Deidra's door just in case she was sleeping. Sometimes Deidra would fall asleep over her textbooks. Her final exams were just a few days away, and she was studying hard.
"Come in," Deidra said cheerfully.
When she went into the room, she marveled at the way Deidra had put her stamp on the place. She had decorated the place with her own sheets and curtains and had arranged the room to suit her taste. It looked a far cry from the bland interior, which had been the guest room in the past. The room even subtly smelled like jasmine. Deidra had developed an obsession with aromatherapy and knew what all the scents signified and how they worked together. She had even gotten her mother onto the bandwagon. Kylie envied that talent. In her opinion, Deidra would be a marvelous hit on HGTV.
"What's up?" Deidra asked. She was lying on her belly leafing through a textbook and listening to classical music.
"I wish I were you," Kylie said wistfully sitting in one of Deidra's rocking chairs and putting down her knapsack.
Deidra laughed. "You don't mean that. Remember, it's me you are talking about, former spoilt rich kid."
"I don't mean it in that way," Kylie said spiritedly. "For the first time, Gareth flirted with me today… I think. I really am not sure. If I were you, I would know, and then I would have some witty comeback or some other flirty things to say. Instead, I was stuck like a mannequin and made little squeaking sounds that came out of my throat, just like a rat."
"What did he say?" Deidra asked eagerly.
"He said, 'You are not wearing glasses,'" Kylie bit her lip and then giggled, "he noticed that I wasn't wearing glasses."
Deidra shook her head and snorted. "Men! What's wrong with him? He needs glasses! Didn't he see that you stopped wearing glasses three months ago?"
Kylie looked at Deidra dreamily, "But he finally noticed; that's a good thing. That's a glorious thing."
Deidra shrugged. "He probably noticed a long time ago and didn't say a word. You need to boldly tell the man that you like him and stop acting all timid."
"But I am shy and timid." Kylie hung her feet over the side of the chair. "I don't do well with people, and Gareth is so different, and I am not sure he likes me. What would he like? I am a geek."
"He's a geek too," Deidra shook her head, "and the two of you have loads of geeky things in common, and you have known him since he came here from MIT a whole year ago."
"I am not even pretty," Kylie said despairingly. "I am an ordinary girl who would not even stop traffic if I went outside naked. My boobs are too small to register on the boob scale, and I have no butt to speak of. You know what that guy from the cafeteria calls me? The one with the handlebar mustache who serves the soup: he calls me ‘the unsexy.'"
Deidra laughed. "You are not ordinary, and you are not unsexy. I think he calls you that so that you could pay him some attention. He's like a boy in the kindergarten schoolyard who thinks that the only way he can attract a girl is to hit her and run. You might be skinny, but clothes look so good on you."
"That's because I am a boyish size zero, and tall, and gangly."
"That's it!" Deidra said in exasperation and threw her hand up in the air. "You need to go to confidence classes with Miles Hebron. He is having a six weeks program at the Psych Center. I think your brother Taj is also involved as an associate presenter or something."
She got up from the bed and rummaged through her bag for a brochure. "I interviewed Mike Hebron today for a radio program. When he was describing what he was going to do, I instantly thought of you." She handed Kylie the paper.
Kylie took the paper and her eyes immediately locked onto a quote. "'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.' Come out and be confident with Dr. Miles Hebron."
I have always loved that quote from Marianne Williamson," Kylie said, looking over the brochure. "I even know it by heart; I used to recite it to myself. It hasn't done me a bit of good, though. Why should I expect that these confidence classes will be any different?"
Deidra sighed. "I am personally happy for the confidence classes because I was beginning to think that you are a lost cause. Your self-esteem is alarmingly low."
Kylie shrugged. "I am just not comfortable around people."
"You prefer computers and coding, and hiding away in your room," Deidra mused. "If I had not forced my friendship on you, I am sure we would never have become friends. You like this guy, Gareth, and you never give him any signal that you like him. What do you expect will happen? He can't tell by telepathy that you like him."
"Okay," Kylie said, bitingly, "I am a case of arrested development. I prefer writing to talking. I prefer my own company than that of others."
Deidra nodded. "That's right. Admitting your issues is the first step to a cure, and don't forget you dress like a boy, and you have your hair perpetually in a bun bungled at the back of your head. How long is your hair anyway? It's so black and shiny. Can I get at it? Style it? Take you shopping?"
"No! I am wearing contacts now, and I am smiling with people. Small changes, OK?"
Deidra shrugged. "Okay, but you need to go to these classes. Humor me."
"Nah, I am fine."
"If you don't go to the confidence classes, I am going to tell your mother that you are talking about suicide."
Kylie shook her head. "You wouldn't. That's a lie."
"Yes, I would. I am going to let her fuss over you, hire a doctor put you in a mental hospital. I can see her now with concern stamped over her face. Is it because of that guy, Gareth?" Deidra said, mimicking Kylie's mother. "And then I am going to say, 'Yes, Mrs. Bancroft. It's him. He's driving Kylie mad.'"
"Stop it!" Kylie said to Deidra sternly. "I'll go to your stupid confidence classes, which, by the way, is a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. Confidence is not something you can learn."
Deidra sighed. "Classes start tomorrow. Maybe you will gain enough confidence to ask Gareth to Adrian's wedding in a couple of weeks."
"You are a bully," Kylie said with a mock weariness in her voice, "an awful bully."
Deidra laughed. "I am looking out for your best interest; you will thank me one day."