Unlikely Romance Part 1 - The Clean Romance Chronicles by H.B. Barstrum

Unlikely Romance – Part One

  The Clean Romance Chronicles

  By H.B. Barstrum

  Copyright Text © 2014 H.B. Barstrum All Rights Reserved

  Check Out These Other Titles By H.B. Barstrum:

  Inspirational Stories of Faith (Book 1) – Sandwich Shop Miracle

  Inspirational Stories of Faith (Book 2) – Through Troubled Storms

  Inspirational Stories of Faith (Book 3) – Supernatural Gift

  Inspirational Books of Life Lessons (Book 1) – Secret Revelation from Beyond

  Inspirational Stories of Faith Trilogy Series

  Unlikely Romance (Part 2) – The Clean Romance Chronicles

  Seasonal Inspirations

  Simple Truths About Life- Haiku Poetry Collection (Book 1)

  Simple Truths About Love- Haiku Poetry Collection (Book 2)

  Simple Truths About Family and Friends – Haiku Poetry Collection (Book 3)

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  To the love of my life and partner Edward. Thank you for teaching me how to love without limits. In addition, a special thanks to you, the reader for taking the time to read this story. May this tale inspire you to open your heart and love with all of your might.

  Table of Contents

  Check Out These Other Titles By H.B. Barstrum


  Chapter 1: I’ve Got Better Things to Do

  Chapter 2: Unwelcomed

  Chapter 3: The Proposal

  Chapter 4: What Not To Do In Church

  Chapter 5: As A Matter Of Opinion

  Chapter 6: Lost In Translation

  To Be Continued

  Please Share Your Thoughts

  Chapter 1: I’ve Got Better Things to Do

  Oh my good Lord, make this misery end now, Jackie thought.

  She squirmed, feeling uncomfortable in the passenger seat of the cherry red mustang she was in. Jackie was in the midst of a failed attempt to scratch an itch where the tag of her pinstripe mini skirt brushed against her skin.

  As her date Tyler chatted away, driving down the road, Jackie’s mind wandered. She contemplated whether she would make it home in time to watch her new favorite television show Busted with a bowl of popcorn in her lap.

  She thought just about anything was better than spending another moment in the annoying company of Mr. Boring.

  Jackie remained congenial, nodding her head in agreement to what he said and smiled at him. However, her face felt like wax the more she looked at him.

  A few times, her eyes drifted down to the white sweat socks Tyler wore with his wore Converse sneakers. She found herself miffed with his total lack of fashion sensibility. His unkempt surfer hairstyle was just as bothersome. Jackie could also smell his overpowering cologne stinking up the whole car.

  It was as if he had just jumped out of bed and drove to Jackie’s house to pick her up for their date.

  Jackie was relieved as Tyler made the right hand turn into her neighborhood. Driving up to her spare parking space of the brown and beige townhouse complex, he parked the car.

  “So um, did you have a good time?” Tyler asked, trying to edge closer to her for a kiss.

  “It was fine,” Jackie replied in a rush. “I just got a lot of stuff going on.”

  “Think I can come inside for a night cap gorgeous?”

  “I don’t think so,” Jackie hesitated. “I have to get back to this project I have to present to my boss on Monday.”

  Tyler ran his fingers through his dark brown locks. He scanned her body up and down as though she was a five-course meal ready to be devoured.

  Jackie clutched her black leather handbag, unlocking the passenger door.

  “Come on,” Tyler said, putting his hand on her thigh. “I took you out for a nice meal and all I get is this. That’s so weak.”

  “Look. Thanks for taking me out. But I was not looking to do anything. I just wanted to get out the house for a few hours okay.”

  Tyler shrugged his shoulders. He rolled his eyes, adjusting his position in the driver seat. “Fine, suit yourself Jackie. Maybe one day you’ll loosen up a little bit. ” he retorted.

  “Have a good night Tyler,” Jackie said, exiting the car and closing the door behind her. She waved to Tyler as he drove away into the night.

  Jackie breathed a sigh of relief as she opened the door to her house. She kicked off her black wedge shoes. Taking down her hair, Jackie locked the door behind her and walked over to her grey sectional.

  Plopping down on the cushions, she opened her purse to take out her cell phone.

  “I can’t wait to tell Gwen what a train wreck this guy was,” Jackie said, scrolling for her friend’s contact information. Finding her mobile number, Jackie pressed the dial icon and waited for her to pick up the other line.

  “Hey lady, what’s going on?” Gwen greeted. “How was Tyler?” she asked, anxiously.

  “Oh my goodness,” Jackie responded. “It was terrible. I barely made it through the dinner. He just kept running his mouth. So annoying.”

  Gwen chuckled, replying, “Oh I am sure it wasn’t that bad.”

  “Yeah, it kinda was. If I didn’t like the carne asada tacos there so much, I would have bailed that table faster than third period French class,” Jackie ranted. “First of all, he totally looked like he had just gotten out of the bed. He had on some sweat socks, dirty black tennis shoes and a white dress shirt with some baggy blue jeans. I seriously don’t even think the guy combed his hair.”

  Gwen was in a full-blown laugh over the phone. “Oh boy. Wrong move on his part. I know how you are about a man being put together,” she giggled. “But still, it doesn’t sound too bad. I mean, after all, you just went to a casual dining place, not a fancy suit and tie restaurant.”

  “He could have at least tried Gwen,” Jackie disagreed. “That’s all I’m sayin’.”

  “Okay, okay,” Gwen relented. “So what else did terrible Tyler do?” she inquired.

  “Well,” Jackie continued, “All he kept talking about was some dumb sports thing he was working on for his radio show and interviewing the local hockey team. Like I have any interest in men skating around in big ol’ blocky crap hitting a little puck with a stick. After he bored me to death, he then had the nerve to put the moves on me. What kind of a girl does he think I am?”

  “Oh Jackie,” Gwen began, “Sounds like he was just being a guy. What were you expecting- perfection? Heck, don’t even worry about it. But I have to say, Tyler’s picture on the dating site was very nice.” Gwen paused for a moment, sighing before asking, “Oh, well, I guess you’re not going out on another date with him huh?”

  “No way on God’s green earth will that happen again,” Jackie answered right away. “He’s so not worth it. Tyler wouldn’t even be able to come close to what I need in a real man.”

  “Poor thing. I really think your ex Andrew screwed your head up pretty bad. Granted, you’ve always been a bit fussy. But even you’ve got to admit, ever since Andrew broke it off with you, you’ve gotten a lot worse.”

  Jackie gasped, surprised at her friend’s statement. “What? Are you trying to tell me I shouldn’t have standards?” she questioned.

  “Come on Jackie,” Gwen objected. “You know that’s not what I mean. Of course, everyone should have some kind of standards. But it’s like you expect every man to be one hundred percent perfect just because you took a chance on love and it didn’t work
out so great. So what if Andrew left- big deal. Don’t let him destroy your whole outlook on men. There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”

  Jackie grumbled under her breath in disapproval.

  She stood up and began walking into the kitchen. Opening up her pantry door, she pulled out a package of microwave popcorn from a box and removed the plastic wrap around the brown bag. Jackie threw away the wrap in the trash bin before going to her black microwave above her stovetop. She placed the bag inside the plate and closed the door.

  “I am not destroying anybody or anything,” Jackie said, pressing the automatic timer for the popcorn setting. “I am being careful. That’s all.”

  “Look, we’ve been friends since seventh grade. I know you. I know when you’re putting up a wall.” Gwen paused before continuing. “All I’m just saying is that there is life after Andrew,” she stated. “If it was meant for you two to be together, you’d still be a couple now. This could be a blessing in disguise you know.”

  Listening to Gwen on the phone, Jackie could smell the buttery scent of the popcorn starting to spread throughout the kitchen as it began to pop in the microwave. A smile crept over her face as she took in a big whiff with her nose.

  “Well my biggest blessing right this second is Orville Redenbacher’s theater butter Gwen. That man’s never disappointed me.”

  “Fair enough Jackie,” Gwen acknowledged. “Are you gonna meet up with me at church tomorrow for the yard sale?”

  “Of course,” Jackie answered, “I’ve already packed up the boxes of stuff I’m going to try and sell. They’re in the Altima. What about you?”

  “I didn’t have much that I wanted to get rid of. But I managed to get a couple of boxes of clothes and extra kitchen stuff together.”

  “Well I am gonna let you go. I got a show to catch. See you tomorrow morning Gwen.”

  “Okay,” Gwen said to Jackie. “Enjoy the popcorn and Busted. I think it’s just about to start.”

  “You do know me well my friend,” Jackie smiled. “Good night.”

  “Good night.” Gwen laughed, as she hung up the phone.

  Jackie heard a ding, letting her know that her popcorn was finished. She opened the chocolate brown cabinet next to the microwave and pulled a large Tupperware bowl to pour her snack into. Emptying the contents into the bowl, she walked back into the living room, placing her phone on the granite top breakfast bar on the way.

  Jackie grabbed the remote, returned to her couch and turned on her TV. The channel in which the program was set to air on was already preprogrammed on auto tune.

  She dipped her hand into the bowl, grabbing a handful of popcorn. Jackie shoveled some into her mouth and reclined her back against the pillows on the sofa. She began watching the show.

  As she continued to keep her eyes glued to her television screen, Jackie started thinking about her conversation with Gwen.

  “I love her, but she has no clue about how men really are,” Jackie quickly scoffed under her breath.

  After a couple of hours, Jackie walked upstairs to get ready for bed. Thoughts of her and Gwen’s chat were still burning like a smoldering flame in the back of her mind as she washed up and changed into her polka dot Minnie Mouse nightshirt.

  I hate it when she does that crap to me Jackie though as she brushed her hair, looking at the bathroom mirror.

  She stopped for a moment before putting her hair into a ponytail to examine her body. As Jackie stared at her reflection, she pulled the sides of her stomach. She was annoyed at the extra twenty pounds she allowed herself to gain after her breakup with Andrew.

  Jackie sighed for a moment and finished putting up her hair, turning off the bathroom light.

  Lying on her four-post canopy bed, she allowed the comfort of the bed to lull her to sleep.

  Just before closing her eyes, Jackie prayed in a hopeful whisper, “If Mr. Right is out there God, please bring me to him.”

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