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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15. Socks and Crocs

Ryan and Will led Kara to a quaint tea house that doubled up as a little library. There weren’t many people around so there wasn’t a risk of being shushed or glared at as the trio chatted.

“Mate, you don’t have to pretend to be interested in talking about socks and Crocs. What’s on your mind?”  

Will’s eyes flitted to his cup that he hadn’t realised he’d already emptied. “My girlfriend’s been acting different lately. More attention-needing...there’s no nice way to put that.  She texted me earlier from the doctor’s telling me that she really needed to talk to me.”

“I’m sure everything’s fine,” Kara’s gentle voice soothed Will, her eyes meeting his. 

The corners of his mouth lifted slightly. "I'll be seeing her at 7 so you two are going to have to go to dinner without me."

"Sure, don't worry-"

Kara was cut off by a pretty, young lady that had recognised Ryan from his videos. "Oh my god, I watch your videos. Could I have a picture?" 

Ryan, being the gentleman he was, gave her a hug and agreed. Kara smiled at the girl whose spatial awareness seemed to go out the window as she squeezed her way to Ryan and leaned in with her arm around his back. Will had gotten roped into the photo and Kara felt awkward standing there watching them since the girl's friend was the designated photographer so Kara wandered away into the aisles of the library.

She'd spent most of her childhood as an only child reading to engage her imagination and the hobby had stuck with her. It was also a hobby that she could enjoy alone which made it one of her favourite hobbies since she also really enjoyed alone time. She could faintly hear the men having a proper conversation with the couple. 

"Without your videos, I doubt I would've ended up with this lad." 

She picked up a book and pursed her lips at the torn edges of the cover. She'd always been one to keep her own books in tip-top condition, since they were some of her prized possessions. She ran her fingers through the yellowed pages and appreciated the way the familiar texture on her fingertips. Pretty soon, Kara's  was almost enraptured by the words on the page and she found herself on the floor with her back to the books and her book on her knees.

"What's got you so wrapped up in that one?" 

Kara shrugged, smiling sheepishly. "Words."

Will knew about her love of reading. It had inspired her love for writing.

"Hey, is everything really alright with Liz?" Kara had never met Will's girlfriend but he occasionally mentioned Elizabeth when Kara and he were on Skype.

Will sat down on the floor across from Kara. The aisles were close enough that their feet would have intertwined if he had decided to sit directly across instead of diagonally across. He stretched out one of his feet to slide over the book Kara was reading after she put it on down on the floor. 

"She's been more...passionate than usual, which isn't bad."

The auburn-haired lady smiled at her feet, appreciating Will's attempt to uphold his girlfriend's reputation. 

"But I don't know. Somewhere along the way...I just don't feel," he hesitated," the same." 

"It happens," Kara answered knowingly. "Still figuring out life and all that. It just takes time. Even then, sometimes we make bad decisions. But sometimes, we make good ones. Like socks and Crocs, who would've ever thought that those would go well together."

"They don't," Will stated. 

"Hey, they keep my toes warm." 

Will chuckled. "Alright, alright, no need to get defensive." Will slotted his hands in between his outstretched legs.  "Look at you. Younger but not any less mature." Will appreciated these small glimpses of her mind, when Kara would let him into it. 

She scoffed, tucking a loose lock of hair behind her ear. "Yeah well, don't be looking to me for any more life advice."

He liked being around her, she was easy to talk to. He could probably talk to her about anything in the world and she would probably offer some interesting insight or entertaining perspective, at least. Maybe that's why she was a talented writer besides having the ability to phrase her thoughts so eloquently. 

"We should go rescue Ryan before an impromptu meet and greet begins. Don't want a TanaCon repeat." 

Will got to his feet and offered a hand, pulling Kara up with a little too much gusto. 

"Thanks," Kara smiled without meeting his eyes, taking a small step back. She took back the book from Will's hand without looking, her fingers brushing against the his. 

Will cleared his throat, making way for her to walk first and letting her lead a few steps before he finally reeled in his thoughts and followed suit. 

The rest of the day was followed by the British duo showing the American some of their favourite spots to spend some time in. Kara found herself enjoying herself very much, not really worrying about work like she usually did. This was a well-needed respite from the usual word jumble that occupied her mind. Pretty soon, Will had to go off to meet Liz and it was just Kara and Ryan. 

"I hope you've worked up enough of an appetite for dinner."

"Definitely," Kara affirmed. Ryan grinned and led the way down the lane. "Jamie Oliver's? I like the decor."

Like a gentleman, he pulled out her chair. "Oh why thank you, kind Sir."

"You are very welcome, Miss."

"So what's good to eat here?" Her eyes skimmed through the menu, almost immediately zero-ing in on an American-inspired dish. 

"So far I haven't had anything I haven't enjoyed." He didn't have to go through the menu but did anyway so it wouldn't make Kara feel strange when he glanced at how she would chew on her lower lip while making her decision. 

"Ryan, pleasure to see you here again. You alright, mate?" The waiter recognised Ryan from all the previous times he'd paid more than his bill. 

"Yeah, how have you been?"

"Great, thanks. Ready to order?" He offered one of his few genuine smiles to Kara. 

After they ordered and ate their main meals as well as the complimentary bread, they decided to share some ice cream. Kara insisted on splitting the bill and Ryan relented, enjoying the 'don't you try to resist me' look that flashed across her face. 

"Thank you for showing me around today." Kara put her hands in the pockets of her coat, almost regretting the cold dessert over a cup of hot chocolate. 

"My pleasure. Hope you enjoyed yourself." He maintained a comfortable distance between them as they walked back to his car. This day had been very enjoyable for him too and he found himself more relaxed and himself than usual. He genuinely savoured her company.

"I really did." She took in the sights, smells and sounds of the city as he drove down the streets with windows rolled down, not knowing when she could visit it again. "By the way, let me know what you want me to talk about on the video, if you still want me to be in it."

"I will. And don't worry about the editing or producing. Just pick a well-lit spot to film, you already look nice on camera so we won't have to worry about that." He glanced at her from his peripheral view, making sure his eyes were always on the road. A cheeky grin spread across his face.

She rolled her eyes, scoffing. "Good to know." 

He dropped her off and wished her goodnight. She waved at him as he drove away with the doorman who had helped her into his car earlier and helped her out just not. 

"Have a good night, miss."

"Thank you, you too!"

Her phone started ringing as she walked into the lobby and pressed the elevator button.

"Hey, Will. Everything alright? What? Hold on, I can't hear you, let me get into my room." She fumbled to fish out her key card. "Okay. What did you say?"

She heard him clear his throat, repeated himself. "She's pregnant."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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