SEQUEL: PROLOGUE  

Julia unlocked the door lazily. Home, sweet home, and how lonely.

She was really tired.

Three weeks had passed since the day Mason stunned her by kissing. Since that moment shed been avoiding him, and he had shown no intention of seeking her. He must have been engrossed in trying to make up for the time hed lost with Matt, which was understandable. But there was work that needed to be done in the firm, and there could have been millions of excuses to walk in her office, as thered always been before

Every day Julia was sinking deeper and deeper into her depression. Of course they met, and chatted, and Mason seemed light-hearted and easy-going enough even too light-hearted and too easy-going for the Mason she knew; and he kept making fun of her in his own very special way, and it looked almost as if nothing had transpired between them. Julia did not buy that.

She was thinking of the assorted losers and jerks she had used to believe she loved. She was thinking of her decision to never risk it again with a man, because, well, because men were all the same, and maybe just not for her. Once bitten, twice shy, and Julia had been hurt more than once; she just did not feel she was able to take any more hurt of the kind. Well, she wanted a baby, to give all her love to, thats be secure and thatd be forever.

Now, Mason had seemed quite willing to bed her, but that did not look like he cared for her. That was painfully evident. And yes, they could be lovers, but Julia knew it wouldnt last long. One day Mason probably would meet a woman whod remind him of Mary, whod be as sweet (Julia thought of herself in any terms but sweet), vulnerable, whod need protection and support, and Mason would probably rush to her aid, and fall for her, and marry her. As for Julia, the title of a friend was such a trap! He could be even sharing with her the intricacies of his family life, for all she could tell.

No, in case it was to start, their relationship did not have any future, Julia concluded. What was a relationship if only one side of it was entitled to feel down, or weak, or offended, or mistreated, or unhappy, or all of the above at the same time, and the other side was just a faithful friend whod just always be there, invariably? No good, and very destructive.

So the best way was to flee before anything started happening. Julia had been bearing the decision long enough to come to terms with it. And when Mr. Smith, the senior partner, mentioned Boston as an option, she volunteered instantly. Boston, just far enough from Santa Barbara.

The phone rang. Julia kicked the shoes off her feet and reached for it.

Hallo.

Hi there.

Pearl?

Julia was really glad to hear his voice.

Yeah. How ya doing?

She coughed shortly. And how are you, Pearl? Any news of Kelly?

After a pause he said, Yeah. Shes coming back to Santa Barbara.

The voice seemed to belong to another person, not the merry old soul she knew. Thats good Whats wrong, Pearl?

Im not.

What??

She is, and I am not coming back to Santa Barbara, I mean.

Why? Julia wondered. Have you found her have you talked to her?

Yeah. Thats the point.

Oh, she realized what he was saying. Oh Pearl. Im so sorry.

Julia sat down, clutching the receiver to her ear. She knew how much Kelly meant for Pearl, and she could only imagine how cruel a blow the rejection was; well, she COULD imagine.

So, Pearl said in his usual jovial tone, how are you doing? Hows our dream baby?

Julia sighed. No luck.

Sorry.

I am so grateful to you, Julia said with deep emotion. For all--

Ok, ok, he interrupted hurriedly. He did not like to be thanked.

Where will you stay?

My birthplace.

Which is?

Boston.

Julia froze. Boston?

Well, yeah, you know. A town up there.

You mean in Boston?

Anything wrong with it?

N-no, Julia said slowly.

Well, if that was not a sign she did not know what was.

She smiled, and then she laughed aloud.

You know what? she said. I may be coming there pretty soon, too. To stay.

Oh great! Pearl gave a short laugh. Once again, welcome to the movable broken hearts club, eh, Julia?

Exactly. Oh Pearl, Ive missed you so.

Stop spoiling me, he said. Ready for another round of insemination?

She could not but giggle. Unless you can think of any other way to have a baby.

We could have it a more natural way, he mused.

Pearl!!

Ok, ok, forget it. Well, Ill be waiting for you in Boston, then.

How shall I find you there?

Pearl sniffed. Hey, how do you find a Capwell in Santa Barbara?

What do you mean? she felt suddenly tense.

Use the same way to find a Bradford in Boston. No small fry.

Oh, - oh, I see. Well, I need a few more days there, and then Ill just be transferred.

Cool. Ok Julia, see ya.

She disconnected the line.

Fate was being very explicit. So, Julia felt she was to leave Mason and Matt alone and move to Boston, to move on with her own life.


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