All Grown Up - Vi Keeland Page 0,1

a full-blown push.

She ignored my attempt to change the subject. “How long? Two-and-a-half years, Val?”

“Actually.” I pushed the pasta on my plate around with my fork. “If we’re talking good sex, sadly, it’s more like ten years. Ryan wasn’t exactly passionate toward the end.”

The very handsome (and very young) waiter came back to our table. “Can I get you ladies anything else?”

When he spoke, he looked directly at me. I might not be up on the dating scene, but I could swear that was flirting.

“Some dessert? Something sweet, maybe?”

He really is adorable. “Umm…I’m pretty full, actually. But thank you.”

“It’s on me. Can’t I tempt you even a little? Let me surprise you. You never know, sometimes a little taste is all you need to get your appetite going again.”

I looked at his forearms—corded and tattooed. You can say that again. “Umm…sure. Maybe I’ll take one home for Ryan.”

The waiter’s smile disappeared right before he did.

“What the hell did you do that for?” Eve scolded.


“Mention a man’s name to a guy who was hitting on you.”

“I meant Ryan, my son—he might be coming home from college this weekend—not my asshole ex-husband. ”

“I knew that. But hot-ass waiter didn’t.”

“So? You don’t seriously think I’m going to hook up with a twenty-year-old, do you?”

“Why not? You don’t have to marry him. You just need to get back out there, Val.”

“I am out there. I just haven’t met anyone.”

Eve’s face screamed bullshit. And she was right. Since my divorce, I hadn’t even attempted to meet anyone. Honestly, the thought terrified me. The last date I had was in eighth grade when Jimmy Marcum took me to the middle school graduation dance. My ex-husband Ryan and I had been together since high school.

“I’m nervous about dating. I never really did it.” I grabbed the napkin from my lap, feeling a sneeze coming on. “Achoo!”

“God bless you.” She leaned forward and covered my hand with hers. “I know, sweetheart. But the longer you wait to get back out there, the harder it gets. You’re overthinking it.”

We paid the bill and walked to our cars with our arms linked. When we arrived at my Volkswagen Routan, Eve shook her head.

“You need to get a different car.”

“What? Why?” My silver SUV was in great shape. “Volkswagens are cool.”

“Yes. The one Lara Meyer’s older brother drove to high school was cool. A hippie bus or a little bug convertible, maybe. That thing…is a minivan. It looks like you’re driving around a car full of kids to soccer practice before going home to make your husband dinner.”

“That’s exactly what I used it for.”

“Used it for. You’ve had that thing for ten years. Your kid started driving his own car almost three years ago, for God’s sake. I don’t think you need the minivan to take him to practice anymore.”

“Whatever. It’s just a car.”

“Want to catch a movie tomorrow?”

“I can’t, actually. I have study group. The test is coming up soon.”

“See you next Saturday, then?”

I squinted.

“You’re coming to our Memorial Day barbeque.”

“Wow, is it the end of May already? I think my calendar is filled through June.”

Eve kissed my cheek. “Wiseass.”

She walked to her car parked a few spots away and yelled over her shoulder as she unlocked her BMW.

“By the way, I wrote your telephone number on the back of the check for the hot waiter. Goodnight, Valentina. Enjoy.”

Based on the grin she gave me as she rolled past me and waved, I had no idea if she was kidding or serious.

Jesus, I hope she was kidding.


The next morning when I powered my phone on, I had two missed calls from an unknown number and a text from Mark.

Mark: Chinese or Italian tonight?

It was Mark’s turn to host our Saturday evening study group, and the host supplied dinner. He lived in Edgewater like me. Desiree and Allison, the other two in our foursome, lived on the other side of the river in Manhattan.

Valentina: You do know my maiden name is Di Giovanni, right? I’m never picking moo shu over meatballs. ☺

Mark: Di Giovanni, huh? That’s much more sexy than Davis. You should use it. It suits you better. Italian, it is. See you at five.

He really was a nice guy. Moving things from friendship to more wouldn’t be that difficult. We had a lot in common—both divorced, kids around the same age, and decided on a late-in-life career change to teaching. But I just didn’t see him in that light. Not that I’d actually put any effort into trying, even