Chapter 1:

There were all but two things I was sure of. One, Tim was never going to propose and two, I was doomed to a life of dissatisfaction and inadequacy. Oh, dearest Tim, always one for an adventure but never one for stability. In a way, I didn't mind. I rather enjoyed our follies and silent adoration. I find though, at times, that I am not content with that arrangement anymore.

I have been Tim's partner for a better of two years. What started out as casual sex became two years of restrained affection and unspoken tenderness. We fell into a pattern of life that suited our needs. He did not want to settle down and I didn't want to be alone. Tim was the first real boyfriend I ever had, and I eased into his life as gently as I could. I never questioned if it was good for me because frankly I didn't want to know. Here was a man, a handsome one at that, who had taken a keen interest in me; who wanted to share something with me. When Tim and I decided to accept that we had become more than just bed mates, he had made clear from the beginning that he was not interested in settling down. "I enjoy your company Eliza, but I'm not looking to become someone's husband. That's just not me," he said to me. I resigned myself to living the life he wanted because I believed that I would be okay with living my life in a unique and albeit interesting arrangement with a very handsome man.

I changed though and what Tim offered was no longer attractive to me and explains why I am sitting here in Abby's Coffee dreading lunch with Tim. I want adventure. I want thrills. I want passion. I want to be have my world rocked. I desire so much, things that I never knew I could possibly want. My twenty-five year old self is tired of being contained. I want more than I have had these last two years.

I swirled my coffee in the cup, listening to the soft swishing and praying I could find strength to bring up to Tim how I feel. I am not even sure of what he feels for me. He has never told me he loves me. It is against his nature I suppose. I made the mistake of saying it to him 9 months into our relationship, he was distant for three days. I never said the words again.

I sighed and tucked a strand of brown hair behind my ear. I glanced at the watch on my wrist and frowned. It was time for lunch. It has been our routine for the last year that we have lunch together on Wednesdays. I grabbed my cup, put my bag over my shoulder and walked out onto Tallis Avenue.

Arriving at the restaurant I spotted Tim right away sitting at one of the tables on the outdoor patio. Tim looked up from his phone and smiled as I approached.

"El, you look lovely today. I have to make this a quick lunch. I'm meeting with some clients today and I don't want to be late," he said. Tim worked in sales at some big shot advertising company. My job is nowhere near as glamorous as his.

"I don't mind having a quick lunch. I'm sure Loretta is just itching to give me an ass chewing for not updating the spreadsheet before I took off for my lunch break." I grabbed the menu and scanned the items. I silently debated whether or not if today would be the day I would release all my pent-up frustrations to Tim.

My damning thoughts must have crossed upon my face because Tim interrupted my thoughts. "Are you okay El?"

I looked up at him and politely smiled. "Yes of course," I answered.

Tim gazed at me inquisitively as if trying to discern my thoughts. Several wisps of his blond hair moved with the soft breeze and I imagined him on the beach, posing for some underwear calendar shoot. He sure looked the part in and out of his dark business suit.

"El, I've been thinking. Shawn has been mentioning the new office that's going to be opening up in San Francisco. They will need people in sales, it's a whole new market up there." I looked up from the menu. "I'm thinking of asking Shawn to transfer me there. It's a new adventure for us. It's right up our alley. Then you can find something better than just being a file clerk for Loretta's insurance office."

I bit my lip and coolly collected my thoughts. I was not expecting this. Tim smiled and his exuberance at the opportunity shown through brightly. I looked at the dimples in his cheeks and admired how they complemented his rich brown eyes. I was almost tempted to reach out and stroke his cheek. He looked so boyish yet so handsome.

'Tim," I paused, "you want to take me to San Francisco?"

"Of course El, you and I have been though a lot of adventures together. Remember when I took you with me to that business trip in Cabo? Well, here's another adventure for the books." The waiter came up and placed two glasses of water on the table. I stared at my glass with many thoughts rushing through my head at once while Tim grabbed his glass and drank from it.

"I don't know what to say Tim," I began. This was it. The moment I've been preparing for…

Beep, Beep.

Tim grabbed his phone. "Shit! El, I've got to go, I'm sorry. The clients moved up the meeting to 30 minutes from now. If I'm going to make it to the office on time I have to leave now. I am so sorry. Here, lunch is on me." He placed a twenty on the table and stood from his seat. He put his jacket on, kissed my head and left.

I pursed my lips. San Francisco. Wow. Tonight I have to tell him. I just have to.

Tim arrived home from work at 7 pm. I was sitting on the couch reading when I heard the front door to our condo open. He dropped his keys on the small table closest to the door. "El, our clients bought with us. Shawn was very happy with my presentation." He grinned and made his way to me.

"That's great Tim." I closed the book and put it down next to me.

Tim grabbed my hand and pulled me up off the sofa. "You looked very lovely today. I am sorry I left suddenly." He moved the hair from my shoulders and kissed my cheek.

"Thank you," I said softly. I began to feel heat pooling at my sensitive areas and I wanted to protest.

He pulled me along the hallway until we reached the bedroom. I fell back onto the bed and Tim began removing his tie. When he came upon me naked and slid in me, it melted some of the anxiety that has been plaguing me away; but not entirely.

When Tim had his release he touched my cheek. "Your eyes are like glowing emeralds Eliza."

I smiled at his words. They were as close to sayings of affection as I would get. He slowly moved away from me and sat on the edge of the bed. "I told Shawn about San Francisco. He is a bit bummed about losing me but agrees the new office could use me."

I sat upright and covered my naked chest with the sheet. "You told your boss that you wanted to transfer? But we haven't discussed the move at all or how it would impact us."

Tim stood up and pulled his boxers over his waist. "What is there to discuss El? My job has offices everywhere and I have worked out of many of them. This isn't any different than the moves we've done in the past."

"In the two years you and I have been together I have moved with you four times. Why do I have to uproot my life every time you need a change of scenery? I get nothing from this. Doesn't it matter what I want?" I got up from the bed and pulled my nightshirt over my head.

"I thought you liked moving around? You never said any of this before."

"That's because I was content with moving around. I understood that this was your life and I was grateful to be a part of it. But it has been two years Tim, is this all I'm destined to do? For how long are you planning to keep me your partner and not-."

Tim raised a hand to stop me and ran the other hand through his blond hair. "No don't say it. I know what you're going to say and just…just don't say it."

I clasped my hands nervously in front of me and shifted from one foot to the other. I spent months imagining this conversation. Now that it is finally taking place I want to run from it. I do care for Tim and I would miss him if we were to part ways but I deserve more than a man who doesn't see a future with me; who won't even acknowledge me as a girlfriend. I am his partner and I have come the hate that word. I want more than being someone's partner.

"I thought you were different El. I thought you were okay with this. All of this. I told you when we decided that we were going to be exclusive that I am not the sort of man to settle down. I don't do that whole putting roots down thing. I made it very clear what I wanted-no- what I expected out of this relationship between us," he said. He grabbed a pair of sweatpants from his dresser and put them on. "Why now Eliza?"

I shrugged. It seemed almost childish of me. "I grew up Tim." What else could I say? Tim lacked the passion I needed in my life and I suspected it had a lot to do with his stance on relationships.

"I have never been with a woman for as long as I have been with you. The others…" He sighed, "they wanted more than what I offered. They viewed me as a project. You didn't. You understood and accepted what I wanted and I can't begin to tell you the relief I felt in finding you. I just don't understand how you can just change your mind."

I sat on the bed. "Did you really expect me to follow your around for the rest of my life and not once ever want something official?"

He shook his head. "I don't know what to say Eliza. I won't tell you to go and I won't ask you to stay. The choice is yours. I enjoy having you around and I think we get along. The sex is great. But I won't offer you what you want. It is your choice whether you want to stay or go. I am sorry." He took a long look at me and walked out of the room.

I was not expecting the conversation to go like this. In truth, I am not entirely sure I wanted to work things out with Tim. So then what did I want?

I spent the following days thoroughly avoiding Tim. When he texted me this morning he asked had I made a decision. I answered no. Tim managed to casually announce last night that he had begun the process of being transferred to San Francisco and the choice was mine if I wanted to go with him or not. I feel torn that I have to choose between what it is I want and the fear of starting alone by myself.

"Loretta, I'm going to take my break early if that's okay with you," I looked over to my boss and she nodded. I shut the filing cabinet closed and swung my bag over my shoulder. I think a trip to Abby's is needed. I hate to admit that I'm a coffee junkie but it's better than picking up a bad habit.

I walked down the street to the coffee shop with crazy thoughts swimming in my head. Maybe Tim was okay with spending the rest of his life with no solid foundation and no one to call his own. But I needed more than that. I have made my decision. Tim would have to go to San Francisco without me.

Opening the door to the coffee shop I immediately collided with a strong body. "Oh, sorry," I grumbled.

I looked up to the most stunning pair of crystal blue eyes I have ever seen. I inhaled a strong musky scent. The lips that belonged to this perfect specimen were full and spread into a sexy grin. His dark black hair added a mysterious yet dangerous look to him. He wore a leather jacket and his focus was solely on me.

"I'm sorry," I said again. He looked at me inquisitively and I felt slightly disturbed but intrigued by his scrutiny.

"No harm done," he finally answered. His voice was cool and spread like velvet across my body and gave me chills.

We stood for several more seconds looking at each other. Once I regained my senses I cleared my throat and moved away from him. I must admit, I could stare at him all day but common sense overruled and I walked to the counter to place my order. I decided to sneak one more look at him and slowly turned my head. He was still standing where I left him and his eyes were focused on me.

I quickly turned away and ordered my coffee. I grabbed the cup when it was placed in front of me and went to the table that was furthest from anyone. I'm almost positive my face is flushed and the less people around me the better. I took my phone out of my pocket and placed it on the table.

"I would have pegged you for a latte type of girl." I looked up to see the hottie I bumped into standing by the table in front of me. I swallowed and fished for a reply. He pulled out of the chair across from me and sat down, leaning back once he was comfortable.

Moments of silence passed between us and I felt uncomfortable. It was almost as if his eyes could see inside me. I quickly found that I didn't like the feeling.

"Do you normally take a seat at the table of random strangers?" I asked.

He smiled. "Only the ones that interest me."

"I interest you?" I asked.

He tilted his head to the side and smirked. "What do you think?"

I looked down at my cup. I don't know how to respond. I have never met someone so forward and I am at a loss for words. I put a strand of my unruly brown hair behind my ear and look back up at him.

"So what are you drinking?" He asked. He put his coffee cup up to his lips and took a drink. I don't understand how someone drinking from a cup could be sexy but he made it sexy. I wonder what else he can make sexy. That's a whole different train of thought.

"I would have thought you'd guess. I must say I'm slightly disappointed you didn't at least try," I answered. My reply must have taken him by surprise because he laughed.

"You're witty," he said, "I like that. Name's Sebastian and yours? Or would you prefer I guess?"

"No need to guess. My name is Eliza."

"Eliza." He echoed. My name practically rolled off his tongue. "I like it. It suits you. What brings you to Abby's?"

"I come every day, I work close by so it isn't too much of a hassle to drop in and get something." I twirled my cup in my fingers.

"I've never seen you here before," he remarked.

"Maybe it's because you weren't standing right in front of the door when I walk in." I smiled and looked at my watch. "I should get back to work. I'm sorry. Nice meeting you though."

I stood up and grabbed my phone and my bag. "But you just got here," he said.

"Yeah I know, but I'm behind on work and my boss will just kill me if I'm gone too long."

Sebastian stood up and I took in his tall form. "When can I see you again?" He asked.

What do I say to that? "Excuse me?" He raised an eyebrow. "I mean, you don't even know me."

"I would like to," he said smugly.

A part of me wants to tell Sebastian that I will see him again but it would be wrong. Tim is still in the picture and even after he's out of the picture I just can't go chasing after the first handsome blue-eyed hottie I see. I feel almost honored that Sebastian is interested in me and yet… I look his form up and down. His black leather jacket fits snugly on his tight shoulders. His Adam's apple bobs with each breath and his eyes can hypnotize someone if he isn't careful. This man is sexy; he can have anyone he wants. Why is he so interested in me?

"Bye Sebastian," I announce. Before he has a chance to say more I take off. As soon as the fresh air hits my face the warmth that was pooling near my legs slowly dissipates and clarity sets in. That man is dangerous and I would be a fool to fall for his charms. Lord help me, I want to fall for his charms.