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No Time to Love

No Time to Love

Garwin Silver did not do romance. He had never been in a romantic relationship in his life, and frankly, he had no time for any of that sort of thing. He was a busy chef with a full life. So why was he so obsessed with Silver Spoon’s newest hire, the beautiful and captivating Erin McMillan?

And better yet, why didn’t she like him? Everyone liked him, but Erin was determined to keep him at arm’s length. Which was too bad because he was thinking of making an exception for her in his stance on romance.

Erin was running from her ex-fiancé, Rafi Chan, and Crimson Hills seemed like the perfect place to hide out until she was sure that Rafi had moved on. Her only problem while she laid low was that Garwin Silver, her childhood crush, was not good for her peace of mind either. 

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Chapter One

There was something about Erin. Garwin didn't quite know what it was. He was thoroughly fascinated by her. It wasn't her looks. She was pretty with her cute button nose, generous lips, and almond-shaped eyes.
It wasn't her shape either. And Lord knows she was shapely, maddeningly so; she had generous curves, broad hips, and a perky chest area.
She did not emphasize her shapeliness at all. Their standard attire in the kitchen was jeans, a polo shirt with the Silver Spoon Restaurant logo, and a shapeless chef apron. He only got glimpses of her fabulous shape when she entered the restaurant in the mornings and when she was leaving at night.
It wasn't her hair. She always had it scraped back from off her face; there was a streak of orange-red in the middle like she had colored it. But what did he know? She didn't strike him as the type to dye her hair. She didn't seem as if she fussed over her appearance at all. She wore zero makeup. Not that she needed it; her skin was flawless. He had never seen her, not once, since she started working at Silver Spoon six months ago, check her appearance in the full-length mirror in the passageway. It was close to the locker rooms, where everyone in the kitchen inevitably checked that they were presentable before leaving the property.
She was a conundrum. She was unlike any woman he had ever known. She didn't seem vain or self-conscious around him, not even a little. She treated him like she treated Fred and Tammy, the prep cooks. There was no deference in her behavior toward him.
Didn't she know he was her boss? And that all the females who passed through the restaurant doors fawned over him in one way or the other?
He was good-looking, and he treated women with respect. Something his aunt Joy had drummed into him from a young age. Why wasn't Erin McMillan impressed?
What was wrong with her?
She was causing him to doubt himself. Had he lost his mojo? And was that why he was fascinated with her, because she was totally unimpressed by him?
He took his lunch and sat across from her in the courtyard. She was busy reading a newspaper. She looked up at him and smiled. It wasn't a come-hither smile; it wasn't an ‘I like you and have a secret crush smile.'
It was just a plain old friendly smile. Nothing special.
Garwin grimaced. Why didn't she like him? And why did he care?
“Hello, Chef.” Her voice was honey-sweet. He winced, though, at the “chef.” She always called him chef. He much preferred Garwin. He wanted her to say his name.
“Your family story is in the news,” Erin said, “Patti Sue wrote a story in three parts. The first part was published today, and it is juicy.”
“Oh yeah,” Garwin cleared his throat. “What does it say?”
Erin started reading; he watched her mouth moving, and for a minute, he didn't hear anything. She had on lip gloss with a faint hint of pink. He only tuned in after a while and realized he was lost. He didn't know what she was talking about.
“Read that again.”
Erin stopped reading and looked at him. “Which part?”
“From the top,” Garwin muttered.
Maybe if your lip gloss was not so distracting, he thought silently. Why was she wearing lip gloss anyway? Her lips were quite juicy looking on their own.
“Okay, focus,” Erin glared at him. “I am not repeating myself.”
He nodded. “Sorry.”
“Okay, here goes,” Erin said. “Every family has secrets, little pockets of information that, for some reason or the other, they are not willing to share with the world or even family members. A lifetime of deception can affect the bonds that hold a family together.
Anya Chan, my mother-in-law, was a woman of mystery and determination. When she was eighteen, she left the Chan family home in Montego Bay, Jamaica, taking refuge in the secluded Crimson Hills. There, she assumed a new identity, becoming known as Tina Boyd. It was in Crimson Hills that she crossed paths with Sterling Silver, former managing director of Silver Chemicals, who had lost his family business to the nefarious machinations of Leonard Crooks. Unfortunately, Sterling was broken by his loss and drank alcohol to soothe his pain.
Meeting Sterling would change Anya's life forever. Anya and Sterling fell in love, and their love bore fruit in the form of three children, my husband Gersham being the eldest. They lived in a quaint cottage nestled amidst the lush greenery of Crimson Hills, away from the prying eyes of their respective families.
Anya had hoped that her father and brother, known for their strict traditional values, would never find out about her new life.
However, fate had other plans. Anya's true identity was discovered one fateful day, and the news reached the Chan family.
Samir Chan, Anya's brother and the head of the Chan dynasty, was furious. He ordered his security to bring Anya home. In the process, they intercepted a fight between Sterling and Anya.
Unfortunately, that had become a regular event in the Silver household.
The situation escalated quickly; Anya fell and hit her head, and the security took her away from the premises and brought her home to Montego Bay. She was treated by a doctor, but it was too late.
Anya had lost too much blood while her brother Samir considered how best to punish her for her infractions against the family. Her death led to the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of Sterling Silver, who, to this day, doesn't remember any of those events.
Sterling Silver languished in prison for ten years, wrongfully accused of Anya's death. It was a period of darkness and despair for him, as he could not witness his children grow up.
But the secrets did not end there. Despite their grief over the loss of Anya, the Chan family kept the truth hidden from the world.
They never admitted their role in Sterling's wrongful incarceration, preferring to maintain their reputation and the façade of a united family.
As for me, I entered this intricate web of secrets when I was tasked to find Tina Boyd’s body along with my then ex-boyfriend Gersham Silver because of a clause in my aunt's will.
Uncovering these secrets brought Gersham and me closer, and we married six weeks after uncovering the mystery of Tina Boyd, aka Anya Chan. I was determined to uncover the truth about Anya. I have learned that family bonds can be both a source of strength and a web of lies that entangle those within.
So, dear reader, prepare yourself for a tale of intrigue as I reveal the secrets of the Chan family, the truth behind Anya's disappearance, and the impact of a lifetime of deception on the lives of those involved. This is a story of love, betrayal, and the enduring power of family ties, even in the face of the darkest secrets.”
“Ooh wow,” Garwin said when Erin stopped reading. “Patti makes it all sound so interesting.”
“Stop behaving as if you are hearing this for the first time,” Erin said.
Garwin grinned. “I am not. It sounds so interesting, though, like it's a fictional novel and not my family's story.”
Erin nodded contemplatively. “You should be happy you never grew up with the Chans.”
“I should?” Garwin raised an eyebrow. “You talk as if you know them.”
“I know Rafi,” Erin cleared her throat. “You two resemble quite a bit.”
“Ah,” Garwin said, “Patti and Gersham told me that. I should invite him to the restaurant to see if it's true.”
“Oh no,” Erin shook her head. “If I never again see your doppelganger in this lifetime, I will be fine. Quite fine.”
“What are you talking about?” Garwin asked.
Erin looked around. Tammy was heading to the courtyard with her tray in hand. She had her little television and would sit as far away from them as possible. She liked her lunchtime to be free from chatter while she caught up on her various shows.
Erin lowered her voice and leaned toward him.
Her lips were closer to his face than he was comfortable with. If she just leaned in a little closer…
“He asked me to marry him.”
“What?” Garwin pulled his gaze from her lips to her eyes. “He did?”
“Oh yes,” Erin said, “I would be Erin Chan right now if I hadn't taken a run for it.”
“But why did you run?” Garwin asked, puzzled. “And how on earth did you get access to Rafi Chan?”
“It's a long story,” Erin sighed, “but let me tell you, I am completely and utterly reviled by men who look like you.”
Garwin swallowed. “Say that again?”
“I am sorry,” Erin stood up, “it's not really you. You are a nice guy, Garwin; you are a good chef and boss. It's just that I have difficulty getting over your face.”


Garwin couldn’t wait to get home. He had stared in the mirror today, his confidence not very high. What was wrong with his face?
He looked good, in his not-so-humble opinion. He resembled that Arab guy they called the hottest man alive, with his chiseled jawline and limpid brown eyes.
In his twenty-eight years of life, he was never told that his face repulsed a woman, especially not a woman he liked. There was indeed a first time for everything.
He parked in front of his section of the house and stared at nothing. The lights weren't on at his father's place. Gersham had sent Sterling to a real rehab this time, the expensive kind where he was detoxed, counseled, and given a chance to rebuild his life. Sterling had been through a tumultuous journey, battling addiction and its demons for years. Hopefully, rehab would equip him to live a better life when he returned home. He sounded like it was working, but only time would tell.
Sterling had called Garwin two weeks before to ask for forgiveness. Garwin had been almost moved to say yes. Since Gersham and Patti Sue had found out who his mother was and that Sterling had not killed her, he had been more than willing to forgive him.
What he still struggled with was forgiving Sterling for terrorizing him as a child. The most heinous atrocities had been committed by a drunken Sterling when he was little. All because he looked like his mother, and at the time, Sterling had not been sure that Garwin was his son.
Drunkenness and jealousy didn’t mesh well, and whenever Sterling was in a drunken rage, he always sought him out. Sterling had broken his fingers, a foot, and both hands before he was seven. It was a wonder that he had survived.
His mother had protected Sterling by telling the doctors at the clinic that he was accident-prone. He played football, so that may have made sense. He was constantly mended and then sent back home, only to be abused again.
His earliest memories were of violence. He learned early on that he could depend on no one to protect him, certainly not the adults in his life.
His mother had been a doormat, a battered doormat. And he was the unfortunate one who looked like her.
He didn’t remember her fondly. He didn’t remember her much at all. She died when he was seven, but he could remember the anger and bewilderment that he felt because she hadn’t stood up to Sterling or taken them from the toxic environment.
That feeling still lingered. He associated his mother with a painful chapter of his life, a chapter filled with strife, neglect, and the struggle to survive in a household that had often felt like a battlefield.
He should seek counseling just like Gersham had done. His older brother had always handled their alcoholic father with compassion and understanding.
Garwin, on the other hand, could not forget Sterling's snarling face as he twisted his arm out of the joint or the madness in his eyes when he swung a machete after him, just missing his throat by inches.
Garwin could have lied and told Sterling on his forgiveness tour that he forgave him, but the truth was, there was a piece of him, that frightened little boy who would freeze when he saw him coming, who was not going to readily forgive.
Maybe he would settle with acknowledgment of Sterling's wrongdoing without prejudice. It wasn't quite forgiveness, but he would not let Sterling off the hook so easily. Sterling had traumatized him when he was developing his personality and nurturing his sense of trust and safety.
Those scars ran deep, and Garwin knew that true forgiveness was not something he could force upon himself. It wasn't about denying Sterling's efforts at redemption but rather about protecting his own well-being and healing at his own pace.
But things were working out for the Silvers beyond his issues with Sterling and the recent revelation by Erin that she did not like his face.
The lawyer Gersham commissioned to sort out the Leonard Crooks case related to Silver Chemical and Silver Manor, their former business and his father's former home, was in the process of getting it back for them. Gersham had inherited a huge sum of money and had given him, his sister Garnet, and his aunt Joy two million US dollars each.
Garwin had never had so much money in his life. When it landed in his account, he had stared at all the zeros, mesmerized.
His first order of business after his change of fortune had sunk in was to call Derrick Wiley and inquire about investments. Derrick had told him in confidence that he was so well off now because Nicky's brother, Dmitri, was a skilled stockbroker who had multiplied his money several times over. Garwin intended to do just that with some of his money.
The world right now was his oyster. He didn’t have to work so hard anymore. He could travel, buy a whole wardrobe, buy a much-needed car, start a restaurant or two, give a chunk to charity or anyone he saw in need; he always believed in paying it forward. But all he could think of this evening was that Erin had told him she didn’t like his face.
A car drove in behind him. It was Patti Sue. She and Gersham had gotten married four months ago, spent two weeks at a local hotel for their honeymoon, and then returned home to sort out their property before they went on a three-month vacation around the world.
They had decided to tie up loose ends first; they were selling Miss Enid’s property. Patti Sue’s aunt had left her house in the hills to both Gersham and Patti.
Maybe he should buy it. But what sense would that make? His tastes was more modern, and he didn’t want a place with so much land to look after.
“Hey,” Patti knocked on his glass.
He wound down the window and smiled at her. “Hey. Congrats on that piece you did in the paper today; it made for a good read.”
“Thank you,” Patti smiled.
“Tell me about Rafi Chan,” Garwin stepped out of the bus and locked it. “Does he look that much like me?”
Patti nodded. “You have a family resemblance.”
“So he is not exactly awful looking, then?” Garwin asked.
“I would say,” Patti said. “You are not exactly awful looking.”
Garwin grinned. “I wasn’t fishing for a compliment. Erin said she has a hard time getting over my face. Because of Rafi Chan.”
“Is that so?” Patti widened her eyes. “I didn’t know she knew him.”
“Yep. He asked her to marry him. She despises him.” Garwin sighed. “I have no idea why this distresses me so.”
“Maybe because you like her,” Patti suggested. “And she doesn't like you back. This might be a first for you. Females of all ages are always throwing themselves at you. You have good-looking genes on both sides of your family tree.”
“It can be a blessing and a curse,” Garwin shrugged. “Why do you assume that I like Erin, though? I may be a little taken aback that I work closely with her and she finds me repulsive all because of that Rafi fellow. You need to find out how I can fix this, short of plastic surgery.”
Patti grinned. “Is that so?”
“She talks to you,” Garwin said, “she was your friend in high school.”
“Okay,” Patti sighed. “I will talk to her, but the Erin I knew in high school is a different person now. She is a bit more guarded and secretive. I didn’t even know she knew Rafi Chan. Obviously, out of the two of us, you are the person she felt more comfortable telling that to.
“Maybe she only told me to cut me down a peg or two, to make me think about it all night.” Garwin gritted his teeth. “She is smart. Now I can't stop thinking about her and why she doesn't like me. It is driving me crazy.”
“I’d say,” Patti nodded. “Or she definitely had a thing with Rafi and genuinely dislikes him, and it spilled over onto you.”
“I don’t like Rafi Chan,” Garwin growled.
“You sound jealous,” Patti laughed. “So, how does it feel?”
“How does what feel?” Garwin frowned.
“Loving somebody, and they don’t love you back. It must be a novel thing for you.”
“Who said anything about love?” Garwin smirked. “I have no time for love.”
“I hear you,” Patti said, a healthy dose of disbelief lacing her tone.
“It's true,” Garwin said. “I am too busy, and with Gersham leaving for a couple of months, I think I will be even busier.”
“You can afford not to be so busy,” Patti said. “You don't have to be on a constant hustle anymore. So, I do not believe that excuse. If you like Erin, you should do something about it. You deserve to be happy.” 

Chapter Two

He deserved to be happy. Garwin thought about that while he was putting on his football gear. He had a coaching session with the Crimson Hill Prep football club that was under his tutelage. They were heading for the regional finals. They had a friendly game with Burberry Prep, which he and the Burberry Coach had agreed would be a learning experience. He should be thinking about that; instead, he wondered if he was ready for a serious relationship.
He probably was; he was beginning to find his short-lived flings tiresome. Not that he had that many of them. He had been short on time for anything romantic these past couple of years. His whole philosophy had been to hustle hard and make money. Then, he could give himself over to the finer feelings if he was blessed to find anyone who would be right. He hadn't been against romance; he just thought he had little incentive to pursue it. He had to want to; he had to be motivated.
His friends were coupled up and married—Derrick and Cindy, Camille and Leighton, Jack and Cambria, Nicky and Orandy, Mercedes and Charles. One after the other, they had tied the knot.
He would be lying if he said he didn't feel left out of all the love connections around him. Every other month for the past two years, he catered a wedding for one of his friends. It had even started to infect his family since Gersham was now married to Patti Sue. Patti had been the only woman Gersham had ever loved, and his fixation on her puzzled Garwin.
When they had broken up, Garwin had repeatedly asked Gersham, “Why don't you just move on? Replace her.
“Nobody is irreplaceable.” Gersham had stoically maintained. That kind of attitude had always baffled him until Erin walked into his life six months ago with her no-nonsense attitude, casual friendliness, and zero interest in him. He was feeling stirrings of feelings he couldn’t name.
He feared he had an obsession. Where did this feeling come from?
He remembered her from high school. She had been two grades below him. He had thought of her as Mercedes' little mousy friend who barely answered when he said hello and always seemed to be shrinking behind her friends when he showed up.
Mercedes had even told him once that Erin liked him a lot, and he had dismissed it. The girls who liked him didn't keep him at a distance. All the girls had found him fascinating in high school. On a whim, he had grown his hair long, which had been an endless fascination for them.
Admittedly, he had liked the attention that had brought him, but he hadn't taken advantage of the attention, he didn’t have a girlfriend in high school. He had been everybody's friend, popular, well-liked.
He talked to girls, they talked to him, but there had never been anyone special. On Valentine's Day, he was usually inundated with gifts, but he never got anyone anything; he had not wanted to give them the wrong impression.
He had played football for his school and was one of their star strikers. Football had occupied much of his time in the latter part of high school. Life was usually school, then after-school football practice, and the restaurant. He and Gersham had been responsible for cleaning all the pots and pans after the restaurant closed in the evenings. It was hard work.
His schedule had no place for romance; even if he had liked someone, he wouldn't have had the space or time for them. He couldn't invite them home either. Home for him had not been a refuge.
When his father came from prison, it had been especially awkward. Sterling would just sit and stare at nothing for hours, sometimes bursting into tears at the most random times. It had been depressing. His friends had found it unsettling. He went to their house instead or hung out at Crimson Hill Great House; Maud would allow them to use the gazebo as their hangout spot as long as they didn't get too rowdy.
He got into the restaurant van and made a mental note that he needed to pick up his newly bought vehicle from Montego Bay sometime this week. Having a personal vehicle was long overdue.
He turned on the radio and listened to music as he headed to Crimson Hill Prep. It wasn't a long drive, just seven minutes from where he lived. It was close to the restaurant, too; he would have left the restaurant to go to the school if he had remembered to carry his coaching gear.
He had gotten roped into coaching the boys at the prep school by his old coach from high school, Aaron Cole. He had said yes because he couldn't deny Aaron anything; he had been a stabilizing force in Garwin's life while growing up.
He groaned when he drove up to the school and saw Maura Hunt. She was a teacher there. She was a pint-sized beauty who was used to wearing sky-high heels so that she could look taller than her students. She was not interested in football, so she was there to see him.
They had an on-and-off situation for the past year. She had ended things with an ultimatum: marry me, or else we don't see each other anymore. He had taken the second option of not seeing her anymore.
He didn't want to marry her. He couldn't picture a long-term relationship with Maura. She had been a convenient outlet for his sexual needs. He hadn't made her any promises. In fact, they had agreed to just go with the flow. She was a divorcee who had claimed she never wanted to marry again. He had liked it like that. Her ultimatum had come out of left field. He didn't miss her; he hadn't even thought much about her since that time, especially since he was preoccupied with Erin.
She waved to him when he came out of the vehicle.
He waved back, grabbed his gear, and locked the van when she came behind him.
“I changed my mind, Garwin.”
“Huh,” he looked at her, dazed.
“I shouldn't have given you that ultimatum. I am sorry.”
“It's been six months,” Garwin shrugged, “I have since moved on. I hoped you had, too.”
“Wait,” Maura frowned, “who are you seeing now?”
“It's none of your business,” Garwin smiled at her to take the sting out of his words.
She walked behind him, “I am not seeing anyone.”
“Sorry to hear,” Garwin said, “I hope that changes shortly.”
“I want what we had,” Maura said, “I miss you; I miss us.”
Garwin stopped. “You told me you had too much self-respect to be with a man who only wanted you for sex. You said you wanted more. I didn’t want more, so I made my exit.”
Maura glared at him, “I didn’t expect you to leave! I’ve been waiting for you to come back to me. It’s hard to find the right person in these hills; all the eligible single men are taken.”
“It’s too late now,” Garwin said, “I am interested in someone else; I can't stop thinking about her. I think I may be a little bit obsessed.”
Maura opened her mouth in awe. “Say what? You don’t obsess.”
“I didn’t,” Garwin sighed, “apparently there is a first time for everything.”
Maura stared at him speechlessly. “I can’t believe this. She must be dynamite in bed.”
“I haven’t even kissed her,” Garwin said, “and she hates my face.”
“Now I know you are pulling my leg; no woman would say that,” Maura grimaced, “you could have just told me to get lost instead of concocting this story.”
She spun around and left him.

Erin's bicycle was there when he drove up to the restaurant. It was late, a couple of minutes after eight. His team had won the evenly played match, and all the players were treated to ice cream by the school. He was quite proud of them; coaching was not as boring as he had thought it would be but rather thrilling.
It was nice to be a role model for boys that age, like how Coach Cole had been for him. And now he was ravenous. He hoped for leftovers, but the dinner crowd was still sizeable, with a few minutes left until closing. Maybe there wouldn't be any leftovers. It was known to happen on some days.
He anticipated seeing Erin again; she was responsible for closing the store tonight, so she would still be there. She sat alone in the courtyard, staring at her device and giggling. The kitchen was winding down, and she was already wearing street clothes.
“Hey,” he sat across from her.
“Hey, Chef,” she grinned, “look at this video.”
It was a video of a drunken cat. Garwin frowned. “I've seen it. I don’t find it funny.”
“Oh, sorry,” Erin frowned, “oh no, I forgot about your aversion to drunks.”
“Not just drunks; it's cruelty to animals. Whatever they did to cause that cat to stumble around like that is not a laughing matter. That animal is in distress.”
“Oh yes, I never thought of that. It really is not funny when you see it that way,” Erin said, a mortified expression on her face.
“Don’t sweat it; I am extra sensitive to anything that looks remotely abusive to animals or humans, especially children.”
“Yes,” Erin nodded, “I can see how you can be extra alert to that kind of thing.”
“I am going to see if I can get some leftovers,” he said.
“Wait, were you playing football?” Erin asked, “You look remarkably unruffled for someone who was playing.”
“Not playing, coaching,” Garwin said. “I coach the Crimson Hill Tigers. And I must say, we are not too shabby.”
Erin grinned. “I didn’t know this about you.”
“There are a lot of things you don’t know about me,” Garwin said, “do you want to know more?”
Erin frowned. “Are you flirting with me, Chef?”
“I am,” Garwin nodded, “and my name is Garwin. I want you to start calling my name. I no longer answer to chef from you. As for Rafi Chan, we may resemble each other, but we are nothing alike. So you better start liking my face.”
“Okay,” Erin said weakly.
Garwin smiled. “I expected a rousing disagreement, not a meek okay.”
“I know you are nothing like Rafi Chan, and I have been calling you chef to put some distance between us,” Erin shrugged, “you called my bluff.”
“Good,” Garwin nodded. “Now I am going to scrape the bottom of the pots for something to eat. Wait for me; you can keep me company.”

“So what was it like being engaged to Rafi Chan?” Garwin sat down across from Erin; his plate was piled high with leftovers.
“I thought we were going to talk about you,” Erin said, cupping her hand under her chin, “you said you would tell me more about you.”
“My adult life is pretty standard and uneventful,” Garwin shrugged, “yours, on the other hand, sounds exciting.”
Erin chuckled. “But there are things I have always wondered about you that I need to know. For instance, why didn’t you ever date Mercedes?”
“She feels like family,” Garwin said, “when we were kids, we spent a lot of time together. I have never viewed her in a romantic light. I have never had a romantic relationship.”
“Lies,” Erin shook her head. “Garwin Silver has never had a romantic relationship. Not buying it.”
“It’s true,” Garwin said, “I understand romance to mean a deep emotional connection that goes beyond sex. I have never had that. You know that song by Bryan Adams, 'Everything I Do, I Do It for You'?”
“Yes,” Erin nodded.
“Well, that epitomizes romance for me,” Garwin said, “to say to someone, 'I'll fight for you, I'll lie for you, walk the wire for you, I'd die for you,' is true love.”
Erin raised an eyebrow, “So, you're saying you've never felt that for anyone?”
Garwin sighed, “Nope. Never.”
“Neither have I,” Erin said. “What you just described is what everybody fantasizes about for themselves. But it's just that—a fantasy. You make do with who you have around and pray they don't become monsters after they have locked you into a commitment.”
“Oh wow,” Garwin raised an eyebrow, “Rafi was that bad huh.”
“The worst!” Erin shuddered. “He has made me see people in a different light. I mean, I don't know if I'll ever be trusting people again. How can I take anyone at face value? I'll always be waiting for the other shoe to fall. I'd probably always hold my breath, waiting for the big reveal. Uh, I can't stand that guy.”
“Yikes,” Garwin said. “Are you ever going to tell me what he did?”
“Yes,” Erin nodded, “maybe, I don't know. I am trying to forget the whole thing. I am patiently waiting until he finally gets married. Then maybe I can breathe a sigh of relief. I am a little paranoid where he is concerned.”
“Why?” Garwin asked.
“Because I don't know, he might come after me,” Erin sighed. “He'll want to know why I broke it off with him; I only left him a note. I didn't tell him a proper goodbye. And if I see him now, I don't know what to tell him.”
“I am assuming he cheated,” Garwin said, “that’s terrible.”
“If only that was it,” Erin said. “I'd be quite happy with only that.”
“More than cheating?” Garwin widened his eyes. “What could be more than cheating that would make a girl hate you so badly that she doesn’t even trust people anymore? Mmm.”
Erin grimaced. “There are other things…”
“Mysterious, give me a hint,” Garwin said, “or I will be thinking about it all of tonight.”
“Erin,” Mabel called from the kitchen, “since you are the chef in charge for tomorrow, I need some guidance here!”
“Saved by the may bell,” Garwin murmured.
Erin chuckled. “That’s quite a play on words there.”
“That's my specialty,” Garwin smiled. “Something else you didn't know about me: I am the reigning champion in my family with the play-on-words game.”
Erin laughed and got up. “Is that so?”
“Yup, even Garnet, who reads four novels per week, can't beat me. I'll carry the game tomorrow night after work,” Garwin said. “Maybe then we'll pick up the conversation.”
“Okay,” Erin smiled.