Illusions begin, p.18
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       Illusions Begin, p.18

           N.L. Greene
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  Chapter Eleven

  Becky absently set her purse on her desk and pulled out her chair as she read over her messages. They were all the same as usual. People seeking free advice from a big name attorney’s office that didn’t even except new clients unless they came highly referred. She felt bad sometimes for having to turn people away, especially if they really needed the help, but that wasn’t how this office worked. She crumpled the messages as she thumbed through them and tossed them in the trash. Helen knew she would and that it was a waste of time to even take the information down, but some of them insisted and it was Helens job to do so.

  The next message she pulled out caught her attention and made her heart stutter. The name Ethan Hopkins was scribbled on the top with a phone number. She knew instantly that it was not the number to the police station. It must be his cell number. She also noticed that it didn’t say Detective but his actual name. Why was he calling her so soon after leaving the station and why did this message seem less professional to her? It had to be her overactive imagination that caused her to think that way, but no matter how much she tried to convince herself of that, she couldn’t stop the butterflies that beat against her stomach as she picked up her desk phone and dialed the number.

  “This is Ethan,” his deep voice said into her ear. She was speechless. The sound of his voice over the phone felt like he was whispering in her ear, she could almost imagine him in the room with her and it made her quiver.

  “Hello?” he asked, sounding a bit irritated. It snapped her out of her ridiculous thoughts.

  “Uh….H…Hi,” she managed to squeak out.

  “Hi,” he chuckled softly. God! That sound was not helping to calm her nerves. “Who is this?” he asked with less irritation and more amusement this time.

  “Umm…its Beck…I mean Katherine,” she took a deep breath and tried to pull herself together. “I was, um, returning your call.” There, that was better, at least she didn’t stutter that time.

  “Oh, hi Katherine, how are you?” Now his voice wasn’t irritated or amused, it was deeper and way sexy! There was no way she was getting through this conversation without melting into a puddle right here on her office floor. Helen would have to come in and clean her up. It was so embarrassing; at least he couldn’t see her.

  “I’m fine Det…I mean Ethan. How are you?” she could hear the breathiness in her own voice, so she knew he could too. But she couldn’t help it, talking to this man made her more nervous than she had been in years. She just prayed she could continue to form coherent words and thoughts.

  “I’m good now that you called,” he said, his voice smooth.

  Oh. My. God! Was he flirting with her? She had no idea. She had never really done this before, not as a grown up and definitely not with a man like Detective Ethan Hopkins. She didn’t know what to say. Deciding to remain professional but friendly, just in case she was misunderstanding, she said, “Um, thank you? So, is there a problem? Did I do something wrong when I was at the station? Do you need me to come down there again?” Now she went from being speechless to rambling. She planted her face in her free palm and shook her head at herself. Thank God he couldn’t see her!

  He chuckled again. The warm deep sound traveled through the phone, into her body and all the way down to her toes. She sighed. “No, Katherine. You did everything perfectly. I was actually calling you for a personal reason. I hope that’s okay?” he still sounded confident but maybe with just a touch of nervousness.

  “Umm, okay. Yeah, that’s fine. Did you need legal advice or something?” She was feeling much better now that they were talking about work.

  “Uh, no. I was actually wondering if you would like to go to dinner with me some time?”

  “Oh.” She found herself speechless again. He wanted to take her dinner? He was asking her out on a date! A smile grew on her face before it quickly vanished. He was asking her out on a date! She didn’t know how to go out on a date with a man like him. She was already nervous talking to him on the phone. How would she get through an entire dinner face to face with him?

  While she was lost in thought, apparently Ethan was taking her silence as rejection. “Hey, I understand if you have a boyfriend or…”

  “No!” she blurted, cutting him off. “I mean, no. I don’t have a boyfriend or anything like that. I’m…um…I would...uh…sure,” she finally finished lamely.

  He chuckled again. “Listen, you really don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

  “No, I do. It’s just…well…I’m kind of new at the whole…you know…dating,” she finished, embarrassed at her admission. There was no way he was going to want to take her out now. Who admits to that anyway? she asked herself in disgust.

  He was silent for a moment and she knew he was trying to figure out a way to get out of his invitation. She figured she would make it easy on him. “You know, never mind. It’s okay. Thanks for asking though,” she hung up before he could say anything further.

  She could feel the heat in her cheeks and she wanted to cry. How was she ever going to meet someone and fall in love if she couldn’t even keep her mouth closed long enough to get through the initial invitation? She hadn’t even gotten a chance to ruin everything on the actual date! She stemmed the tears and pulled her shoulders back. Whatever. It was over now and she would just learn from her mistake. Next time she would simply say ‘yes’, maybe then she would at least get to go out on an actual date.

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