The antidote to loneliness

by jodie collins

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We’ve all been there. Buying a coffee and the barista has a cheeky smile, a little flirt. It’s nice and you feel a bit flushed as you walk away. You have a better day.
But what if the barista has a name and one day, he writes his phone number on a takeaway cup. You ignore it. He must have done it with a hundred girls before you, you think, but then he appears where you work and asks you out.
What if he’s also fifteen years younger than you?
This is where Emily finds herself, thirty eight and living a quiet life with her daughter Ellie. But quiet sometimes means lonely and Emily is lonely, scarred from an acrimonious divorce and reluctant to embark on anything new. But Charlie seems nice and he’s heartstoppingly good looking, so she allows herself one night. One night to absolve herself of her usual responsibility and to feel young and carefree.
But one night quickly becomes two and Charlie seems less of a one night thing and more someone who could mean something. He’s funny and kid and sexy as hell, Emily starts to believe that his feelings might be real.
Enter Ryan, a newly divorced old friend, Emily loves his easy friendship, the way he interacts with her daughter and the way that he advises her on her relationship with Charlie. But does she feel more for him than she should, than she thinks that she should?
Emily is faced with a question, should the person you are with invoke butterflies every time that you see them or should you be with someone who makes you feel safe beyond measure?