Fate Only Knows

Fate Only Knows

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

Summary

Life in the big city has been busy for Monica Richards since becoming one of the Food Network’s rising stars and recently getting engaged to Sam, an airline pilot. She hasn’t been home in some time and misses her family. An opportunity arises for her to travel back in conjunction with her TV show when she receives an invite from an old school crush, Tristan Livingstone. His family owns a small winery and invites her to tour it. Afterward, she takes some needed time off her active schedule, and she realizes that there is more to life than work. During this period of discovery, Monica also realizes that old feelings never really die for Tristan, which puts her relationship with her fiancé in jeopardy. Will she come to terms with her feelings for both men? What path will her future take?

Summary

Life in the big city has been busy for Monica Richards since becoming one of the Food Network’s rising stars and recently getting engaged to Sam, an airline pilot. She hasn’t been home in some time and misses her family. An opportunity arises for her to travel back in conjunction with her TV show when she receives an invite from an old school crush, Tristan Livingstone. His family owns a small winery and invites her to tour it. Afterward, she takes some needed time off her active schedule, and she realizes that there is more to life than work. During this period of discovery, Monica also realizes that old feelings never really die for Tristan, which puts her relationship with her fiancé in jeopardy. Will she come to terms with her feelings for both men? What path will her future take?

Chapter1 (v.1) - Out of the Blue

Author Chapter Note

"True love cannot be found where it truly does not exist, nor can it be hidden where it truly does." --Anonymous

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: November 18, 2018

Reads: 1048

Comments: 12

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: November 18, 2018

A A A

A A A

CHAPTER 1—Out of the Blue

 

“Are you kidding me?!” Monica Richards blurted at her computer.

Dumfounded, she stared open-mouthed at the email.  It held an invitation from Tristan Livingstone.  Her hand fell over her heart.  Monica noticed how it fluttered like crazy.  The guy made her feel like that way back then, too. 

Twelve years ago, this boy traveled the popular circles.  Monica had not been a part of those, but it didn't stop her from having a secret crush on Tristan all through school. How could she forget when the planets and stars aligned in her favor at prom?  Such a magical night changed her life.

Tristan came forward and told her he liked her.  God, Monica experienced dizzying happiness at his notice because she felt the same, and sadness, too.  So much time went by without knowing Tristan’s true feelings, and they were about to graduate high school. 

By the stroke of luck, Monica landed herself a boyfriend.  Regardless, she would break-up with him before summer ended.  They headed off to different colleges hundreds of miles apart.  That brilliant summer of twelve years ago crowned itself the best of her life.

“What?” her assistant Oliver asked in eagerness while peeking over her shoulder.

Monica blinked back to the slight young man with his wheat hair in a neat blowback style.  Not a hair moved.  It stood like sheer perfection as everything else about him.  It made her want to mess it up on purpose for once.  To be a guy, Oliver Henry was only too well put together for his own good. 

Monica shrugged trying to play it off.  “It’s a guy I used to know who lived next door to my family and me back in Oregon.”

Oliver raised one of his gorgeously waxed eyebrows when she met his gaze.  He nodded toward the computer screen seeing her trying to mask her shock.  “Oh, yeah?  So what does this guy you used to know talk about?”

Monica frowned at the screen.  “He’s offering that I should come and do a show at his vineyard.”

“His very own vineyard, huh?” Oliver inquired with an inflection that denoted interest in further details immediately as he hopped on top of her L-shaped desk.  He crossed his skinny legs that currently sported black pinstripe Hugo Boss slacks with a nice white dress shirt from Armani.  No tie or jacket yet matching pinstriped vest.

Monica nodded a bit annoyed because she hated when Oliver perched on top of her desk so casually as much as him butting into her affairs where not invited.  She shook her head.  When was the last time she saw Tristan?  Had it been the day they said goodbye before going off to college?

“Yeah, well Tristan’s family has been running the vineyard from generation to generation since maybe before 1900,” she informed.

“Hmmm.  Tristan, huh?” he purred.  “Sounds sexy.”

She held up her left hand and waved her ring finger that held her half-carat diamond engagement ring.  “Sorry, but he liked it, so he put a ring on it.  The only sexy I need is already at home.”

“Sure couldn’t tell that by me,” Oliver murmured with the roll of his gray eyes.  “From what I hear your boyfriend can’t seem to stay in town for more than three or four days at a time.”

Monica gasped.  “That’s not true!  He was just here last week for an entire week.  What can you expect from an international airline pilot?”

“Heavy drinking?”

Monica narrowed her eyes at him as her mouth formed a displeased line.  “Not funny.”

He laughed as he teased, “Anger management then due to air rage?”

“Oliver!”

“Okay. Okay.”  He snickered with the wave of his hand.  “I’m just saying a girl needs to see her man every now and again.  All work and no play makes for a dull day.”

Monica lifted her chin and defended, “We’re perfectly happy with our lives as they are.”

Oliver raised his impeccably waxed eyebrow at her.  “Have you moved in together yet?”

She balked with the arch of her eyebrow at him.  “A little personal aren’t we, Oliver?”

“So I take that as a firm no.”

“I take that it’s none of your business,” Monica snapped sternly.  She turned back to her monitor.

“Oooh.  Struck a nerve,” he sang in falsetto.

Monica warned, “Drop it.”

Oliver raised his hands in surrender with the shake of his head.  “Fine.  Just saying it’s the 21st century and living together is certainly not a whore-branding offense.  It’s commonplace just like actually setting a date for a wedding.”

“And how I live my life is none of your business either, Oliver,” she stated shaking her head and feeling more than exasperated by the man’s insistence on butting in.  It felt like she came to work with her sister Georgie every morning for Christ’s sake!

Oliver studied her with his fist propped under his unshaven chin.  “Can you honestly tell me that you’ve fallen for that skirt-chasing pilot and aren’t just settling?”

Monica took a deep breath refusing to lose her temper with him.  Instead, she focused on the task before her while looking only at the monitor showing her the email instead of the lithe man perched beside her.  Oliver meant well. 

Her assistant was admittedly the most organized person she ever met.  He multitasked better under pressure while always completing projects timely.  Oliver kept her straight on her next deadline for the monthly articles written for the Food Network Magazine or foodie blogs with ease.  Despite how nosy, opinionated, and bossy he could be, Monica could not fire him.  Oliver proved far too valuable though she never dared tell him so.  It would inflate his already high opinion of himself.

Frowning while she pondered the email, she commented, “Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve visited any wineries in Oregon before.”

“True and Tristan’s place sounds as though it’s got lots of history.”

“Oh, it does,” she said with a smile.

“With you maybe?”

Monica said absently and rubbed her nose, “A long, long time ago.  Ancient history.”

Oliver’s smile spread.  He nodded knowingly.  “Sounds like it’d make for great TV.”

“What?” she asked coming out of her thoughts.  She blinked at her assistant.  She no longer smiled.

“Visiting the Oregon vineyard,” he clarified, but his smile at her implied that he meant something else.

“Oh, yeah, right.”  Her dark brown eyes narrowed at him because she could almost see some new scheme at work.

“Is it like a hidden jewel?”

“As best I can remember, it’s the only winery nearest to the Pacific and Seapoint, one of the largest coastal cities in Oregon.”

“Really?  Sounds right up your alley then.”

Monica nodded beginning to reread the email from Tristan.  She sighed unable to believe that she actually heard from him after so many years.  Nibbling the nail of her index finger for a second, Monica considered what her assistant said.

“They do make exceptional wine to be so small.”

Oliver nodded, too.  “Even better.  It’d be good for the show since we concentrate on smaller unknown vineyards that make quality wine but don’t break the budget.”

“Right.  The lesser exposure they have, the better for the show.”  Monica glanced at him. 

“It’d be good for you, too,” Oliver said anticipating the protest.

“What do you mean by that?” She leaned back in her manager chair with a frown as she stared into his sharp gray eyes.

“When’s the last time you even took some time off for yourself?”

“Last week.”

Oliver raised the index finger of his left hand and shook it.  “No.  That was just a hot minute in email traffic and work from home.  I mean real time off where you actually didn’t work on anything but relaxing?”

Monica tilted her head at him.  “Oliver, are you trying to tell me that I’m uptight?”

Her assistant batted his gray eyes at her prettily.  “You could stand to loosen up, sure.”

Monica’s mouth dropped open and then shook her head.  “I am not going there with you.  Not today.” 

Oliver flapped one of his manicured hands at her with a limp wrist.  “So that means like almost a year ago.”  He gazed thoughtfully at the ceiling for a moment before meeting her narrowing dark brown eyes.  “Which would have been right around the time you broke up with that investment banker Do-Do or Dustin, and got rid of those gorgeous cinnamon highlights.  Oooh, too bad.  He was so cute, too.”

“Oliver!” she gasped with shock at the casualness of his conversation about her love life, which she never discussed with him.  However, he seemed excellent at inferring much from very little information.  No matter how private she attempted to be due to her belief in keeping private things private, Oliver found a way to weasel information from anyone including her from what she failed to say.

“Well, he was.  Can’t blame a man for lookin’,” he replied sweetly with the beginnings of a wryly smile at each corner of his kissable mouth.

Monica rolled her eyes at him.  “Whatever.”

“Point is you’re so involved in the show you never take time for yourself.  That’s how you let Dustin slip through your fingers.”

“Not true.”

Oliver nodded adamantly after sipping from his mug of coffee he settled beside him.  “Oh, yes, it is.”  He gestured toward her.  “Chickie-poo nearly bit my head off this mornin’.  Next thing I thought your head would start spinnin’.”

Monica pursed her lips with the shake of her head.  “Oh, stop.  You know I’m not a morning person although an exorcism would spice up my week.”

“You put your own spin on that, lady.”

She cut her eyes at him.  “You being chipper and bright drives me bonkers first thing in the morning without coffee since my coffee maker bit the dust.”  Just as he began to comment, she raised her hand and said with the firm shake of her head, “I refuse to buy an eight dollar latte, and I don’t care how good it is.  That’s just ridiculous.”

Oliver sipped from his mug.  “Fine, but didn’t you say that Tristan was next door to your family right?”

Cautiously, she looked to him.  He settled the mug down on her desk beside him.  Monica nodded without saying a word. 

Oliver clapped excitedly.  “What a perfect opportunity for you to visit home!  You know how you’ve been complaining about not having any time to take off because of the show.  Now, look at that!”

Monica looked to the computer with a sigh hating to admit that he was right.  The show, for once, was a perfect excuse to see family she missed desperately on the opposite coast.  The last time that she could remember being home was just after graduation from university.  After that, Monica had not been home since.  Opportunities in Portland took her far from her family farm in southwestern Oregon and made it even more difficult to return when she moved away from the west coast altogether in favor of New York City.  There was always another show to plan or cookbook to write and tour.

“You have a point.”

Oliver waved his hand at her with the shake of his head.  He stared at the ceiling wondering when she would ever learn.  “Of course, I do.”

“You don’t have to sound so smug,” she said with the roll of her eyes.

Hiding his amused smile, Oliver sipped his coffee.  “When did you say your parents were having their anniversary?”

“Uhmm, I didn’t.  Have you been eavesdropping on my conversations again?”

He ignored her as he left her office with his mug in hand and then returned with a tablet instead.  He called up her calendar while perching himself back on her desk.  “Ah, in about a month.”

Monica tilted her head to the side with the sharp twist of her mouth in disapproval.  “Do we need to have another conversation about boundaries?”

Oliver hopped off her desk as he paced behind her with his tablet still in hand.  “We’ll plan the shoot around that time so you can lump a vacation in there, too, since it’ll be the last show pending whether there’s a contractual renewal.”

Monica looked at her Outlook calendar and saw for herself that he was right.  No appointments or assignments appeared scheduled during that period on purpose because she wanted to head home for Mom and Daddy’s 30th wedding anniversary.  It was a huge deal this year because from the way her sister Georgie and her brother Aden described it the whole family was coming down to celebrate.  Those events were always a blast and not to be missed if she could help it.  While her parents understood that her career right now was at its peak, they did miss her and hoped she could make it work by coming to see them on their special day.

Monica glanced back to Oliver.  “Right.  Have you heard any rumors about the renewal?”

He looked to her with the coy lift of his wheat eyebrow.  “I thought you hated office gossip?”

“I do, but you can imagine I’m curious.”

Oliver waved a hand at her.  “Honestly, you have nothing to worry about.  Your ratings this last season were solid.”

“I know, but…”

He shook his head.  “No buts.  You’re one of the bright new stars on the network.”

Monica cocked an eyebrow at him.  “Is that a quote?”

“It’s the truth; no one can doubt.  Why would you?”

She shrugged.  “But, every show has a shelf life, Oliver.  Emeril had his.  So did Bobby Flay.”

“Yours hasn’t expired yet.”  He winked at her.  “Trust me.”

“Is that what you heard from your grapevine?”

A sly smile spread across his perfect face.  “You know me; I’ve got to be in the know.”

“Exactly.  So…?” she asked expectantly with the rise of both her eyebrows at him.

“They’re very tight-lipped right now, but I think things will lean in your favor for renewal.”

She said flatly with the drop of her shoulders as she focused on the computer screen again, “Well, that’s reassuring.”

“Hey, don’t hate on the messenger.  No official news yet.”

Monica glanced back to him hopefully.  “But, you’d tell me if there was news right?”

“But, of course, darling.”

Monica sighed at Oliver's dramatics that failed to arouse any amusement.  “You’ll make all the arrangements for the show then?”

He nodded again.  “Yes, of course, it’s already begun.”

Monica smiled crookedly at such efficiency and manipulative talent.  Of course, he had already started the booking process.  “I’ll just email him back and copy you on the message so that you can communicate anything you must to him.”

“Good.”

Oliver sashayed away very pleased with himself while she shook her head at him.  Having him around since so well connected had its advantages.  Especially, when one considered the bevy of information Oliver came by concerning just about everyone employed by the Food Network.  No day went by without him begging to tell her the latest juicy tidbits of who slept around, who was promoted, who received a new show, or who was issued walking papers.  Somehow, Oliver created an infallible grapevine network that Monica found astounding, but he never revealed sources.

Being his enemy also proved damaging.  Frankly, Oliver held grudges worse than any woman she knew.  Considering he kept meticulous records on everything, one never knew when some piece of information could fall in the wrong hands and end a career.  As long as her head failed to see the chopping block, Monica held little interest in such colorful details Oliver relished on a daily basis.  Her show held all of her attention in that she strived to make it the best that it could be in the five seasons she had been on the air.  If it saw a sixth remained to be seen.

Monica began typing her response to Tristan’s message.  In not thinking about him in years, she wondered what he looked like now.  Was he married, beer-bellied with five children?  Twelve years came and went since last she saw him.  A 10-year reunion invite surfaced two years ago making her feel nostalgic, but as usual, she was swamped and did not find time to go.  A cookbook came out during that time, and she toured for it with cooking demonstrations when she learned about the reunion.

While Monica recalled that her high school years at Myrtle Lake High School were terrible, only toward the end of her senior year did things turn far more palatable.  That change for the better involved Tristan Livingstone.  If there had been any reason for her to return for a reunion, it would have been solely to see him again.


© Copyright 2019 Amy F. Turner. All rights reserved.

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