Midnight Dreams(7)

By: Kayla Perrin



“I thought you were in Los Angeles.”

Cassandra nodded. “I was, but I’m back. Hey, you’ve got

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to meet Kenny.” She gestured to the attractive, well-dressed,

dark-skinned man sitting in the booth. “Jade, meet Kenny.

Kenny, meet Jade.”

“How you doin’?” Kenny asked, shaking her hand.

“I’m good, thanks.” To Cassandra she whispered, “Mmm.

He’s cute.”

“I know. And we’re engaged!” She flashed a big, sparkling

diamond for Jade’s inspection.

“My Lord,” Jade said, taking Cassandra’s hand in hers.

“Congratulations. I hope you’re both very happy together.”

“Thanks,” Cassandra and Kenny said in unison.

Cassandra returned to her seat—actually, to Kenny’s lap—

throwing an arm around his neck. Kenny placed an arm

around her waist. They were a beautiful couple and definitely

seemed happy together, Jade thought with a smile. But then

the thought hit her, she couldn’t help it. Was Kenny really who

he said he was? Were his feelings for Cassandra sincere?

Nelson had claimed to love her, and look what he’d done.

Kenny isn’t Nelson, she told herself sternly. She didn’t

have a right to think the worst of him; she’d barely met him.

Though thinking anything decent about members of the

opposite sex was a real challenge these days.

“So, girl, what are you doing here?”

Jade paused. The last time she’d seen Cassandra was three

years ago when she’d quit as her receptionist with plans to

move to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. Though sorry

to see her go, Jade had wished her well. That was two years

before she’d lost the salon, so Cassandra didn’t know what

had happened.

“I’m… I work here,” Jade finally said. What had happened

wasn’t her fault—she’d trusted her husband—yet she was

embarrassed by the drastic turn her life had taken.

Kayla Perrin

23

“Why?” Cassandra asked, clearly stunned. “Aren’t you

busy with the salon?”

“I wish I was.” Jade sighed. “Cassandra, I lost Dreamstyles.”

“What?”

Jade nodded. “And it’s a long story, so don’t ask.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Me, too. I lost everything.”

Cassandra’s eyebrows bunched together. “What do you

mean, everything? ”

“Everything. The salon. My home.” Her dreams. Her future.

“But you still have Nelson, right?You two are still together.”

“Nelson who?”

“Oh,” Cassandra said, then made a face. “Let me guess.

Don’t ask.”

“Now isn’t a good time. Maybe later.”

“God, that’s gotta be rough.” Cassandra glanced over a

shoulder at Kenny, as if for assurance that their marriage

would work. He nuzzled his nose against hers. She smiled,

then turned back to Jade. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I think it all worked out for the best.”

“Still, it can’t be easy.”

“No. It’s not.” She changed the subject. “What can I get

you two to drink?”

Kenny said, “We’d love a bottle of champagne.”

“You’re celebrating.”

He nodded, then smiled as he held Cassandra a little closer.

He didn’t need to say anything else. It was clear that for a

guy like Kenny, love itself was a cause for celebration.

She’d never had that kind of love with Nelson, though

she’d desperately craved it. In the beginning he’d been

charming and romantic, but the honeymoon phase had quickly

died. Nelson never held her at night unless he wanted to make

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love. She’d had to ask for good-bye kisses and for hugs. When

she’d sat back and thought about it one day, she’d realized that

she had to ask for even the smallest show of affection, so

finally she’d stopped asking. She’d come to accept that Nelson

just wasn’t the sweep-you-off-your-feet romantic type.

Jade brought Cassandra and Kenny a bottle of champagne

then gave them some privacy. It was nice to see Cassandra, who

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