Home > Until May (Until Her/Him #11)

Until May (Until Her/Him #11)
Author: Aurora Rose Reynolds


Chapter 1


I SMILE WHEN my cell phone beeps, letting me know I have a message, and roll over in bed to grab it off my nightstand. Seeing it’s from Mike, saying, Good morning, beautiful, my stomach does a somersault.

A month ago, I decided I was ready to start dating, and as someone who is shy, I figured it might be easier to meet a guy online rather than out at a bar or grocery store. So I downloaded an app my best friend told me about, and that first night after setting up my profile, I got a message from Mike.

Not only is he seriously attractive, with dark, unruly hair, crystal-clear blue eyes, and a jaw that in every photo is covered with a layer of scruff, but he’s also super sweet. Since we’ve been talking, he’s messaged me each morning, then off and on throughout the day, and called when he’s had time to talk, which hasn’t been very often because he works a lot. The only downfall is he lives in Alabama, which isn’t exactly far from me, but it’s also not close, so we haven’t been able to meet in person.

But that should change this evening, since we’ve made plans to meet in Nashville for dinner—something I’m equal parts nervous and excited about. All I know is it will be good to reassure myself that he’s a real person, since as of right now he’s just a few photos and a voice over the phone.

Hearing my phone beep with another text, I come out of my thoughts and shake my head at the message from him asking me for a photo. Instead of snapping one of myself in bed, I send him one of my avatar with crazy bed hair, then set my cell phone back on the bedside table and sit up, tossing the comforter aside. The moment my feet hit the floor, I hear tiny paws on the dark wood floors that run through my entire house, and a second later, Cooper noses his way into my bedroom.

“Good morning, handsome.” I pick him up and accept good morning kisses from him while running my fingers through his short beige fur, laughing when he snorts in happiness.

When I moved into my house, my sister July, who is a veterinarian, asked me if I wouldn’t mind keeping Cooper while he recovered from surgery. He had been hit by a car and was brought into her office by the local pound, and they wanted him at 100 percent before they put him up for adoption. Of course I told her yes, but I also made it clear that it would only be temporary, because I have two cats, Blue and Bella, who do not love dogs.

Now, here we are months later, with Cooper one hundred percent healed… and all mine, which I’m sure was my sister’s plan to begin with. And even if Blue and Bella don’t exactly love him, they have accepted that he’s not going anywhere, so they tolerate his presence. After kissing the top of his head, I place him back on the ground, and head to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee.

A while ago, I decided the hustle and bustle of Nashville and its traffic wasn’t for me, so I moved in with my mom and dad and started applying for jobs at schools near where they live. Lucky for me, the librarian at a high school a couple of towns over from them was retiring, and even luckier, I found a house to purchase in a new subdivision just down the street from the school.

The only downfall was the house was only half complete so it took them some time to finish building, but it was worth the wait. Now for the last nine or so months, I’ve been settling in at my new job and in my new home which has been nice. Up until now, I’ve always lived with someone else, so I never had a chance to make a space besides my bedroom my own. But here, I’ve been able to surround myself with things I love, bright colors, all my books, art, and lots of photos.

With a stretch, I head down the hall that is covered on either side with pictures of friends and family between the doorway of my two guest rooms and one to a bathroom, then walk past the living room, which is across from the kitchen and dining area. Because I couldn’t afford a lot of upgrades for my house when I got it, I knew I would still need to do some work after I moved in. But with my dad and family working in construction, I was able to learn some stuff growing up, which means I was able to build floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in my living room around the fireplace all by myself.

It was a project that took me forever to complete but was so worth it in the end, especially with the matte black shelves blending perfectly with the black wallpaper with its dark-green and light-pink floral design. All of it pairing perfectly with the deep-seated forest-green velvet couch I got at a secondhand store and my gold, circular chandelier hanging from the ceiling over the glass-and-gold coffee table.

But even with how gorgeous my living room is, it still comes in second to my kitchen, with my white cabinets, cream marble counters, and gold accents on the handles, faucet, and lighting above the island that matches my backless barstools. The only thing I have yet to get for my house besides stuff for outside—since it’s winter now and too cold to hang out there—is a dining table. And that’s only because the piece I really want is sitting in an Amish furniture shop in my cute little town and costs about a billion dollars.

That’s an exaggeration, but only slightly, since I work for the local school system and get paid close to nothing. Then again, who cares about money when you’re doing something you love every single day?

Or that’s what I’ll keep telling myself.

After I start a pot of coffee and feed Cooper, Blue, and Bella, I walk back to my bedroom and check my phone, finding that Mike sent another text with a laughing emoji. Smiling, I shoot him a quick text, letting him know I’m excited about tonight, and he messages back a moment later, saying he feels the same. Then with a happy pep in my step, I head for the shower.

Even if I have hours before I need to head into the city, my hair is not just long, but it’s also thick, so it will need all that time to dry, and I want to look my best tonight. I’ve gone out on a few dates over the years, but my last serious relationship was when I was in high school, so basically forever ago. Which means there is a lot riding on tonight, because if this goes badly, it might just be years before I really try putting myself out there again.


AFTER PARKING MY car in one of the lots near the restaurant where I’m supposed to meet Mike, I grab my cell phone out of the cup holder so I can send my sisters a message in our group chat. None of them were really okay with me going to meet some guy I don’t know, and all of them made me promise multiple times that I would check in with them—when I got to the city, after I met up with Mike, and once I was on my way home.

It’s a little bit of overkill, but it’s better than what they threatened to do, and that is tell our mom, who would no doubt tell our dad. And even though I’m a grown woman who pays her own way and lives by herself, my dad would probably follow me downtown, then sit outside the restaurant until my date is over. And my mom would be right there at his side, but her reason for being there would be so she could scope out Mike, take all the information back to the women in my family, and dissect every inch of him over drinks.

As a slew of “good luck” and “be safe” texts come in from my sisters, I check my reflection. I never wear a lot of makeup, and tonight is no different—just bronzer, blush, mascara, and lip gloss. I kept my hair down like I tend to wear it since I grew it out and stopped dying it blonde. I’m sure my sister April would be disappointed that I didn’t wear something more revealing tonight, but I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable, so I chose my black formfitting turtleneck dress and a pair of boots that are both sexy and easy to walk in. I feel like myself, and I think that’s better than me pretending to be someone else for the night.

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