“Yeah. I’m still sad about that. He’s engaged now.” Flynn waited, like he expected me to say more. “But it’s not just him. I sort of have a dating reputation that isn’t easy to live with.”
“You have a reputation?”
I laughed. “That didn’t come out right. Does a girl having a ‘reputation’ mean the same in Scotland that it does here?” I put air quotes around “reputation.”
“Probably. But you don’t seem like a girl with that kind of reputation, so you must mean something else.”
I nodded. “I do.” And then I told Flynn about being called the husband maker. I didn’t go into specifics about every guy, but enough that he understood I wasn’t joking and that it was a well-earned nickname. He asked a few questions, but mostly he listened without laughing at me.
When I finished talking, he looked thoughtful for a few minutes. I started to think he had nothing to say about the sad tale I had just shared, but finally he spoke.
“You’re lookin’ at it as a bad thing, but I think that’s wrong.”
“There’s a good way to look at it?” I glanced at him skeptically.
“Ya make men think about growin’ up and settlin’ down. So they do.”
“With someone else.” I was glad I needed to watch the road. I didn’t want to look at him looking at me.
“I guess they weren’t the right one for you. But Charlotte—” why did I melt when he said my name?—“ya make them think gettin’ married would be a good thing. It might not be great for you, but I think you should take it as a compliment.”
I didn’t speak. For the second time in two days, someone had chiseled away at the shell that had been forming over my once hopeful heart. I blinked hard. It was one thing to feel comfortable enough with Flynn to tell him about my nickname. It was quite another to melt into a weepy mess when we hardly knew each other. But his words did something to me. They made me a little teary, but that wasn’t all. They softened some of that shell. For more than six months, fear had been calcifying there, making my hope harder and harder to find. Would every man find happiness with someone else? Would there ever be a man who found his happiness in me?
“Thanks, Flynn,” I finally said. I had never been so open about dating and my worries with a man before. I had always been afraid it made me look lacking in some way. But Flynn was easy to talk to. I wondered if it was because this was a short-term arrangement or if it was just Flynn. Whatever it was, the openness was nice.
“Maybe I should be the one who’s scared, aye?” His voice was teasing again.
“You sure you want to call this a date?” I asked. “Are you ready to go home and get married?”
“Ah, Charlotte. You don’t scare me at all.”
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Author Karey White Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist. She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.