Against better judgement

Kara-Lynne lives in New York City as a writer for People Magazine. Fresh out of college, writing for People has never been the job of her dreams. She's hardly given thought-provoking assignments and when Kara's given the task to publish a story on popular, pretty-boy and charming 'love expert' Ryan Barre, she expects it to be a simple assignment. However, she realises very quickly that things are far from simple with Ryan.

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9. Out of a Nicholas Sparks novel

"You look lovely." His hazel eyes absorbed her graceful beauty. She looked up at him with her doe eyes, an eyebrow raised. "Anyway," he cleared his throat, making sure the salad leaves were properly coated with the vinaigrette dressing he'd prepared earlier in the day as he mixed the salad in the bowl. "How's the article coming along?"

She reached into the bowl for a sample, her eyebrows raised as the delightful flavour coated her tongue. "It's going well. You'll be able to see it soon enough," she said matter-of-factly, preempting his follow-up question.

Their dinner went swimmingly, if Ryan dared to say so himself. When the Spotify playlist played a song that was a bit  inappropriate for the current mood, they shared a laugh and agreed on how sometimes Spotify nailed it or could completely miss the mark. He skipped the song and they continued their conversation with the ambience of soft music playing in the background.  He found out that her biological parents had died in a car crash when she was young. Her grandmother took care of her briefly before she passed away. Then, Kara was put into the foster system but was one of the fortunate ones as she was soon adopted by a loving couple who were told that they couldn't naturally have children. Nevertheless, when her younger sister Vanessa (or Nessa as Kara preffered) came along, they thought it was a miracle but their love for her didn't change. 

Meanwhile, Kara was told how Will was popular with the ladies when they were in school. He was well-liked by everyone because he was a genuinely good guy. He was once engaged but that didn't work out. When Ryan decided to change the subject, Kara felt that Will would appreciate Ryan not sharing why that relationship didn't work out.

They started discussing their preference for music. Kara mostly listened to indie music unless she was in the mood for something more energetic like Bruno Mars. Ed Sheeran was a go-to almost anytime. On the other hand, Ryan had a vast taste - he appreciated jazz, country and rock. He shared a mutual interest in the English ginger's music. 

Coincidentally, Thinking of You started playing which triggered the pair to erupt in a fit of laughter. After that died down, Ryan stood up and offered his hand.

"Would you like to dance?"

She appeared reluctant. "I don't really..." 

"Oh come on. Worst case scenario is you step on my feet," he encouraged, turning on his charm. "If you enjoyed your dinner that I cooked," he smirked," as much as I think you did," he glanced at her empty plate," then I hope you wouldn't mind accompanying the chef in a simple dance."

She rolled her eyes but took his hand. He twirled her around before pulling her close and leading. 

"Thank you for dinner," she whispered, her hand warm in his. 

He grinned. "I'm glad you enjoyed it." Her hand felt light on his shoulder. He swallowed, suddenly realising he had to search through his mind so he had something to say. 

"What time is your flight tomorrow?" Her warm breath tickled his chest, even through his dress shirt. 

"It's in the late afternoon. Don't worry, I've got most of my things packed. So I can stay out as late as I want to tonight."

"Oh?" Her inquisitive eyes stared into his. "Did you have something else planned for us after this?"

He shrugged and leaned in slightly. Kara became extra aware of his hand on her waist. "Perhaps," he whispered against her lips. Her cheeks were a rosy red against her fair skin. 

Kara could feel her pulse quickening, the butterflies in her stomach rising to her chest. 

"I'm sure either of us could think of something to make this night one to remember," Ryan murmured, his voice husky as he fixed his eyes on her lips. 

Something clicked. The tingling sensation faded from Kara's skin. "Is that what all of this was for?" She pulled away, her tone now approaching annoyance. She was offended to think that Ryan had gone out his way to prepare dinner so he could spend a night with her before he left to return to his homeland. "A night to remember?" She let out an unamused laugh.

"Wait-"

She held up her hand. "Thank you for dinner. Have a safe flight. " She retrieved her belongings off the table and hurried out the door.

Kara felt like a fool. She fumbled with her phone, hoping that there was an Uber nearby so that she could get back to her apartment as quick as possible. Soon, she realised she preferred a short walk, at least until her heart had slowed down. 

She hadn't gotten far and was walking along a stretch of restaurants and had passed a diner when she heard Will call out to her. He looked just as surprised as she did. 

Kara paused in her tracks as he jogged across the road to meet her on the pavement. "What are you doing here?"

She inhaled the cool night air. "I'm taking a walk."

She realised how out of place she probably appeared to be since he last saw her. 

"Mind if I join you?"

She had a feeling that if she refused, he would probably tag along anyway. She nodded. Will walked in a comfortable silence beside her, his hands in his pockets. 

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