Life is where the good caused by the bad meets the bad caused by the good.
Allison Shaw swore she'd never let a man distract her again. Stuck living with her gossip queen of a mother after a bitter divorce from her high school sweetheart, Allison is ready to forge a path by herself. Life decides to throw a wrench in her plans when a night out with an old friend turns steamy.
Benjamin Diaz's life is just the way he likes it; quiet. But it hasn't always been that way. After his mother's Alzheimer's diagnosis threatened to change everything, Benjamin worked hard to return balance to his life. But a chance encounter with a high school crush threatens to change everything.
“When did you move back to Laguna?” Benjamin asked after taking a sip of water. “Last I heard you and Mike were living in Long Beach.”
“We were,” Allison said trying to keep her wince internal. Any mention of Mikey B made her stomach turn. “I moved back here when the divorce was finalized.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Benjamin frowned.
“Don’t be. It’s nice to be home,” She sighed thoughtfully. “It’s nostalgic sometimes.”’
“Except with fewer cameras?” He smirked.
“Yes,” Allison chuckled. “But somehow it still has the same amount of drama. My mother runs with an, uh… interesting crowd.”
“Let me guess,” Benjamin said, shifting in his seat and clearing his throat. “It’s a group of widowed old ladies carousing for a nice rich man, or boy, and they all gossip about their so called rivals?”
“Yes!” Allison blinked at him. “How did you figure that out?”
“They’re probably the same group my mother eavesdrops on at the senior center.” He sighed with a soft smile and shook his head.
“Other than listening to second-hand gossip, what have you been up too? It’s been almost twelve years since we last saw each other.” Allison laughed and took a drink from her wine glass.
“Well, I got my associates in environmental sciences, shipped my little brother off to college and took a job at the community college.” Benjamin shrugged. “I haven’t really done much.”
“Yes, you have!” Allison swatted at him. “You’ve done so much more than I have! How often do you see your mom?”
“Daily,” Benjamin said as he reached for his wine. He took a heavy gulp before continuing. “I’ve been taking care of her for the past few years.”
“Wow, I can’t even imagine. I don’t even think that my mother would ever allow me to take care of her.” Allison said. A smile played along Benjamin’s lips.
“Yeah, it’s tough but mom’s happy.” Benjamin smiled softly.
“I don’t think it’s ever been possible for my mother to be happy,” Allison mumbled around the rim of her wine glass.
“Yeah, I thought that at one point,” Benjamin chuckled. “But I guess I'm just used to it or she’s given up on trying to fight me.”
“Is she a spitfire?” Allison chuckled and smiled.
“She’s become one. The other day she told me where I could shove it after I wouldn’t let her go to the grocery store at two in the morning.” A wide, toothy smile spread across his face.
Wine nearly dribbled out of her mouth as she broke out into a fit of giggles. “I wouldn’t even know how to react if my mom said that to me! I’d probably just let her go!”