Trusting Hearts-Chapter 1- Book 2 of The Heart Series – Rachel’s Story- Coming August 2015

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Chapter One

I sat pensively in the ultra-modern waiting room of the law firm that my sister Gia works at: Feinstein, Warren and Licciano, LLC. Located in Center City, Philadelphia, it is a prestigious law firm with an excellent reputation. Since Gia is out on maternity leave, I have an appointment with Gia’s colleague, Carson Licciano. Carson is an old friend of mine and is also Gia’s best friend Maria’s fiancé. Carson, Maria and Gia all work together at the law firm. Carson is a really great guy and he just so happens to be one of the best divorce attorneys in town. He earned brownie points in my book when he saved Gia’s life about ten months ago from a physical attack when one of the other attorneys they work with, named Tom, tried to rape her. I am still reeling from the incident.

     Who does that? People in this world today are sick!

The secretary had not returned yet and I could feel my mind drifting into daydreams as I stare out at the Center City skyline. I am recalling the events that led up to the moment that I decided to call the divorce attorney; a decision that I did not take lightly. I didn’t call right away either. I waited an entire eight months before making the decision to ensure that I was making the right choice for myself and my children.

My husband of eighteen years, Vinnie Rossini, was cheating on me. Nearly a year ago, I discovered that he was fucking his secretary, Clara Pomodoro. After begging and pleading for me to take him back, I caved in to his will. In other words, I took his sorry ass back. Not long after, Gia caught him in a bar with another woman while we were on vacation down at the Jersey Shore. I was furious when I discovered that it was the same woman, Clara. Naturally, Vinnie denied that he had any feelings for Clara and begged for forgiveness. I called his bluff.

I feel if you continually cheat on your wife with the same ratchet, nasty airhead woman, you obviously have feelings for her.

Vinnie is a master manipulator and always knows how to get his way with me, but this time things are different. I feel so much stronger and more determined than ever to turn my life around and leave Vinnie in the dust. I hope my strength can stand up against his relentless charm.

I was distracted from my thoughts as the noisy clip-clop of the secretary’s designer heels paced across the floor. She pulled out her chair and plopped down. Suddenly, the secretary realized that she wasn’t alone. Even so, she did not address me. After a few moments of silence, I approached the front desk. How could she not have even bothered to ask if I needed assistance?

“Hi. My name is Rachel Rossini. I have a 12:30 appointment with Carson Licciano,” I said as nice as can be…Kill em’ with kindness.

“I’m sorry, what did you say your name was? I’ll let him know that you’re here,” the secretary said appearing distracted and confused.

How unprofessional. Gia’s going to hear about this.

“Rachel Rossini… I’m Giavonna Roberts’ sister,” I said, trying to keep her attitude in check.

“Oh… it’s so nice to meet you! How is she doing? Did she have the baby yet?!” Now I gather we are best friend.

“She’s getting ready to deliver the baby any day now.”

“That’s so great. Send her my love.”

“Uh sure… What’s your name?”

“Melissa… Melissa Wainwright.”

“I’ll be sure to tell her you said hi.”

I could not take another moment in the woman’s presence. The last name didn’t escape me either. Before hearing that she was a Wainwright, I had no clue how someone like her could land a job at a reputable law firm such as Rosenberg, Licciano, and Wainwright, LLC. That is when I realized that she was probably related to one of the partners.

There is something about the woman that I don’t like. I plan on asking Gia about her later.

I took my seat again. I thought about how much my life has changed in the last year. My sister Gia is happily married and having a baby.  My twin sons, Jay and Jeff, are now teenagers and as rowdy as can be. Vinnie moved out of the house, but he is still lurking around. I have been getting to know the sexy as hell Dr. Colin Hill better through an endless stream of text messages. He was the emergency room doctor that tended to Gia last summer when she fainted after hearing my declaration of love for Brad. My declaration turned out to be completely untrue. I realized I was in love with the idea of a man like Brad, but not Brad himself. I was going through emotional stress over Vinnie’s indiscretions and had momentarily lost my mind.

The ditzy secretary stood up from behind her desk and glanced in my direction.

“Mrs. Rossini… Mr. Licciano will see you now.”

Every time someone calls me by my married name, I always think of the crazy old lady from the 80’s sitcom, Who’s the Boss? I can’t wait to have my name changed after the divorce is final from my no-good, cheating, stalking soon-to-be ex-husband.

I walked down the long hallway towards Carson’s office just feet behind Melissa. Melissa thought she was hot shit. Her too-tight, too-short black pencil skirt rode up higher than was ever appropriate in an office setting. She shook her dry, over treated hair as she walked with her nose in air. I rolled my eyes at her as I followed behind.

     Oh, please. My stilettos are louder than your ugly shoes. Take that.

She led me to an oak door at the end of the hallway. She grabbed the door knob to open the door.

“This is Mr.Licciano’s office,” she said, clearly proud of herself.

“Thanks.” I probably could have found it myself considering that Carson’s name was hung right on the door in large letters on a gold-plated sign. I went to open the door, but Melissa insisted on opening it for me. I’m starting to believe that they have some really dedicated ass kissing employees at this place.

When I entered the office, I had a sense that everything was going to be okay. My anxiety seemed to wash away as I stepped over the threshold to Carson’s office. I had been so nervous leading up to this appointment.

“HeyRach…how are you?” Carson asked as a warm smile grew on his face.

“I’m good, considering…”

“Have a seat,” He gestured to the empty arm chair that sat in front of his dark mahogany desk.

“I know that we talked on the phone, but I want to make sure that this is truly what you want to do.”

I pondered Carson’s question just as I had for the past eight months. I knew it was the right thing to do for me and the boys. I am past the point of no return.

“I’m positive. I’m tired of Vinnie’s tactics. He cheated on me, but I was faithful. I’m also considering taking out a restraining order because I’m tired of seeing his face every time I turn around.”

“Maybe you should have Maria represent you. I’m doing this because Gia made me promise, but you know Vinnie’s my friend,” He said with a look of concern on his face. I knew he didn’t want a conflict of interest, but I needed him to represent me.

“Yeah, I don’t get it. He’s an asshole. You’re too nice to be his friend. Gia said you’re the best divorce lawyer around. I

have to have you.”

“Okay, I’ll help you,” He said with hesitation in his voice.

Something was bothering me. “I have a question for you. Did you know that Vinnie was down the shore with that woman when he showed up at the bar?”  I know by the look on my face, he can tell I’m serious.

“Rach…Really? Don’t you think I would have told him that Gia was at the bar? I was with her and Brad. I didn’t even know he cheated on you before that. Maria told me that night after everything went down. I left the bar before he showed up anyway. He wouldn’t tell me. He knows it’s too close. You could find out and with our history and all that…” He stopped and looked at me.

I stopped to think but I didn’t want to go there at the moment.

“So this stays between me and you?” The reason I asked this question is because I need to cover my tracks. There is always a risk because Carson and Vinnie are friends.

“Of course. I wouldn’t jeopardize my job, but I am jeopardizing my friendship with Vinnie because he’s going to be pissed when he finds out I’m representing you.”

“Don’t I deserve a chance to live again? With you on my side, I’ll get that chance,” I said with hope in my voice.

“Rach, I have a question…”

“Ask away…”

“Are you seeing anyone?”

I gulp. “No. Well, not technically. I’m sort of in a texting relationship with someone.”

Carson looked at me with a funny look on his face.

“What’s that? How the hell does that work?”

“I had one date with a doctor, but he lives in Wildwood so we don’t see each other due to our schedules. We text each other and occasionally talk on the phone.”

“Is this like the show Catfish?” He has a smirk on his face.

“Um… No… I met him.”

“I’m joking. But in all seriousness, I suggest you stop because we don’t want to give Vinnie any ammunition to fight back.”

“Great. He already took twenty-four years of my life and I have to give him more?”

“Rach, I understand where you’re coming from, but for now we have to make sure he has nothing on you until this is finalized.”

“How long is this going to take?” I was becoming impatient. This is one of my downfalls in life.

“That all depends on whether or not he contests, and I think we both know that he will.”

I want to scream. Vinnie somehow manages to rule my life without even living in the same house. When I kicked him out, he moved in with his mother, only four blocks away. I just can’t get rid of him.

“I haven’t seen him in a while. He usually stops by the bar to watch the Phillies game.”

“That’s because he’s too busy stalking me.” I said sarcastically, as I played with the strap to my purse.

“Are you scared for your life?” he asked with a serious expression on his face.

I desperately want to answer Carson’s question with a definitive and resounding yes. I would be lying, though. If Vinnie pushed me to that point, I knew I could take him down with one swift kick to the balls. He isn’t harmful to me on a regular basis, but when he starts drinking, that is another story entirely. He turns into a complete asshole.

“No, I’m not scared. I just want this to be over. How much is this going to cost?”

“I’m not going to charge you for my services. You would only have to pay your court fees.”

“I can’t let you do that.” I hate taking services for free. I don’t want people to think I’m some kind of charity case or  a battered woman.

“I’ve known you forever. We went all through school together. We even dated before Vinnie stole you from me. Then you had to go and fall in love with him.”

He had to go there.

“I know. Falling in love with Vinnie was the biggest mistake of my life. The only good thing I got out of it was my babies.”

A sad expression came over Carson’s face and the sight of it tugged at my heart. I wonder if he’s thinking of that day, so long ago when I broke his heart.

“I’m sorry for hurting you,” I said softly.

“It was a long time ago. It’s water under the bridge.” He was acting nonchalant, as if it didn’t still bother him. Maybe it doesn’t, but I still feel bad about what I did.

“It still matters, though.” I look down at the ground.

“Yeah, well you were always special to me. You still are. You will find someone who’ll treat you right and deserves what you have to offer.” I held back a tear.

“Thanks,” I reply, feeling touched that he shared his feelings with me.

“Hey, Carsy?” It has been a while since I used that nickname.

Smiling, he  replied, “Yeah?” I’ve always loved Carson’s smile.

“Now you can get your revenge on Vinnie. Do whatever you have to do to get him out of my life!”

“I tried twenty three years ago. He won then, too.” He looked like he had been defeated.

“I have faith in you. I’ll be in touch. Give Maria my love.”

“Well…” he hesitated.

“What? What’s wrong?” I eyed him up with concern.

“She went to stay at her mother’s house last night. She said she needs space. She doesn’t know if she’s ready to settle down.”

“Oh My God, that’s crazy. It’s probably just wedding jitters and stress. You’ll work it out.”

“I don’t know. I’m tired of her drama. She likes to go out and party with her friends. I like to stay home and relax. Don’t get me wrong, I go to the bar to watch sports and that sort of thing but that’s really it.”

The problem, which Carson doesn’t realize, is that she is too young for him. Maybe he is starting to see that.

“She’s still young. She may realize before the wedding.” I tried to give him hope about his relationship. I didn’t want to get in the middle of whatever was going on. It wasn’t my business. I cut it short. “I have to get going. I have to be back at work in ten minutes. I’ll give you a call tomorrow to follow up. Good luck with Maria.”

“Thanks…and Rach?”

“Yeah?”

“Maybe we can get lunch… or something next week to go over the paperwork?”

“Sounds like a plan. Call me.”

I wanted to get out of the office quickly. Old feelings were starting to stir. Carson was my first love. We knew each other growing up and went all through Catholic School together. We dated for two years in high school and even went to our sophomore and junior proms together. Everyone thought we would end up married one day, but then bad boy Vinnie decided he was going to pursue me. Vinnie always had a way of manipulating me, even back then. I ended up cheating on Carson one night with Vinnie and decided I had to end the relationship. I went right to Carson’s house after to tell him what happened. I could have never continued to see Carson and lie about what happened with Vinnie. Carson was completely heartbroken and I felt so guilty. He wanted to work it out but I thought Vinnie was the one for me. I started dating Vinnie and ended up falling in love with him. We were married at the age of twenty-four and had two kids by the age of twenty-eight. We were so happy. Sometimes in life, people make decisions that they regret. Leaving Carson was one of my biggest regrets. Seeing him today brought back so many memories for me. I should have listened to my mother when she told me not to break up with Carson for Vinnie. I am still kicking myself for making the wrong decision so many years ago.

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Blocking Out the Real World

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Did you ever want to just escape? Everyone does. You hear it everywhere nowadays. “If I could just go to an island all by myself.” This is due to the demand of everyday life that we sometimes put on ourselves. I wish there was a place that I could go to sometimes to hide away and take me to a time where bills and responsibilities didn’t exist.  I discovered that place exists within me. When I feel like escaping, I plug my earphones in and listen to New Kids on The Block songs. People laugh and joke about me still being a New Kids fan at 37 years old, but for me it is something more. As soon as I hear I’ll be Loving You Forever or Hangin’ Tough my brain takes me back to being an 11 year old girl who had no care in the world except to decide which New Kid was going to be my husband one day (obviously I didn’t marry Jordan Knight.) I remember sitting in front of my television waiting for the cartoon to come on or listening to the Christmas album on a cassette tape. Now I have the “album” on Spotify or ITunes…oh how the times have changed.

I still to this day get that feeling (the one we can’t explain) when I hear their name or one of their songs. I even act like that 11 year old little girl when I find out they are going to be coming back in concert. I turn into an animal. I start calling people and letting them know the date, time and hour that they will be going on pre-sale. Oh no…We don’t wait for the regular sale.  I have been to several concerts, I’ve lost track. When I’m there screaming and throwing my hands in the air like I just don’t care(my son’s favorite new saying)I’m at that place…that island all by myself.  I will be going on “vacation” again in June.  I’m sure a lot of us will be taking that same trip.  Until then…”Back to Life”…