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Yeah, my mom is cussing me. She was raised hard, and she’s always been one to say it like it is. But the love she has behind the words doesn’t even let me question her. However, I do know I better not try to throw an “f” word back at her. I tense up just thinking about it. No doubt the woman would try to bend me over her knee for it.

“Ma, I’m not trying to mess it up. And she seems nice, but you have to let me live my life,” I tell her point blank.

She sighs loudly in the phone. “I just want you happy. You deserve this, Oz. You more than anyone else I know deserves to have love.”

“I know, Mom. I just need to work through a few things, that’s all.”

She’s quiet for the longest time. “Okay, I’ll stay out of it.”

She says the words, but I know it’s far from the truth. There’s no way she’s going to let something she feels so strongly about go. But I don’t want to argue with her about it. Not anymore. “Thanks, Ma.”

“Well, I’m still going to have lunch with her sometime next week. I mean, just because you don’t have any sense doesn’t mean I can’t be friends with her.”

I sit down on the couch and lean back, resting my head on the cushion. “That’s good, Ma. I’m glad you have a new friend.”

She snorts. “You act like I’m some middle schooler or something, but whatever.”

I know I shouldn’t ask. I should change the subject, but I have to know. “So, uh, what did you and Ginger talk about?”

“We talked about everything. She’s so beautiful, and I’m not talking just on the outside, she is on the inside too. We talked about her family and the store. We talked about you...”

She trails off, and I know the only way I’m going to get the answer is to ask. “What about me?”

She coughs into the phone. “Well, I told her everything. I told her the truth. I knew you wouldn’t, and I thought she had a right to know.”

She clams up after that, and I wait for her to go on. Every thought is going through my head. I’ll never see her again. She’s definitely not going to come see me again. I realize now that I had some hope that maybe she could see past it, but hell, if I can’t, it wouldn’t be right to ask her to.

“Good,” I finally say, breaking the silence.

“All right, I have to get back to work, but I need to say one more thing. Wait, two more.”

I roll my eyes. “What is it, Ma?”

“Number one, don’t let this chance pass you by. I don’t want you to lose her, and I don’t think you do either. Number two, I love you, son.”

I tell her I love her too and hang up the phone. It’s only then that I let her words sink in. Am I going to be okay just letting Ginger go and not knowing if we actually could have something good together? Yeah, I want her, there’s no doubt about it, but she’s not the type of girl that I can just fuck to get her out of my head. I do know that much. But I don’t know if I have anything else to offer.

I sit here, thinking about it all when my phone dings that it’s time for my next appointment. I do my best to put Ginger out of my head and go back downstairs. My plan is to get lost in my work and not think about anything else. I have three more appointments, and one of them will take me around two hours to complete. Now all I have to do is ignore all the thoughts of Ginger’s big dark eyes, her curvy body, and her laugh that makes goosebumps raise on my arms. No, I can’t think about any of that.

7

Ginger

Dancing is usually my thing. I do it at least once a week, and not only does it give me exercise, but it also makes me happy. So on the weekends I go to the Tipsy Cow and line dance with my friends. Tonight, I need it more than ever.

I’ve had a couple of beers, and I’m hanging with one of my old friends from high school. We were never really close, but she loves to dance as much as I do, and we meet up here around once a month. We are talking about our week, and I’m showing her my tattoo. She oohs and aahhs over it before she asks, “I love it. Did Ozzie do it?”

My gaze flicks to hers, and I hate the feeling of bile rising in my throat. Just hearing another woman say his name is upsetting. I have no right to be jealous or anything, but I am. I clear my throat. “Do you know Ozzie?”

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