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Nothing Like the First Time

By:Keren Hughes

To Calum, my one and only baby boy-thank you for supporting me and  telling everyone I make you proud-you make me the proudest mother alive!

To my Nan, who may never read this due to not wanting to read your  granddaughter's sex scenes-thank you for your constant support,  throughout my life and my writing-your faith in me is unwavering and I  love you so very much.

To all of you who are still with your first love-may you always know there is ‘nothing like the first time'.

Chapter One

It was a cold morning, and as I walked down the familiar high street  with its hustle and bustle of everyday life, I couldn't help but think  of all the times we'd walked this street hand in hand. I stood on the  footpath outside the window of the little coffee shop where we would  often stop in for a morning caffeine boost before heading our separate  ways to work. The aroma from inside caused my heart to skip a beat.

We had been young and in love. We had the rest of our lives ahead of us  together to figure out what we wanted to do. I had a job but it wasn't a  career. He had a career but it wasn't the one he'd had in mind. But  none of that mattered as long as we had each other. That was until the  day he left. That was ten years ago. He'd finally found the career he  wanted, but it was on the other side of the world. When it had come to a  choice between the career and the girl, he'd chosen the career. I  didn't blame him. He was young and had to follow his dreams until the  bitter end.

I decided to go into the shop and order a pumpkin spice latte, my drink  of choice back in those days. I hadn't been to the shop since he left  and I had stayed away from pumpkin spice lattes. I also hadn't been able  to keep a relationship for very long. A few months here, a few months  there. No one could live up to my first love. I know it may not be fair  to judge everyone by his standards, but he was my first everything. My  first kiss, my first boyfriend, my first lover.

The girl at the counter smiled and handed me my polystyrene cup. I paid  and went to sit at the corner table where we used to sit and laugh,  cuddle, kiss …

Everything about the shop had remained the same over the years except  for the staff. The décor was still the welcoming warm tones of red and  beige. The floor was still the same slate grey tiles. The tables were  still packed into every nook and cranny.

At least I was safe in the knowledge that he was on the other side of  the world. I could sit here and enjoy reminiscing about my youth.

Talking and laughter could be heard all around me. There were couples  both young and old. There were businessmen and women in their suits,  getting their morning cup of caffeine before work. People were all going  at different paces. Some fast, wanting to get in and out as fast as  they could on their way to work. Some were slow, enjoying the friendly  environment of the coffee shop. Me? I was just relishing in the memories  that were so sacred to me.

I hadn't been down this road much since our split. I'd found a career as  a freelance journalist. It gave me the freedom to come and go, I never  had to use the same route twice if I didn't want to.

I took my laptop from my bag and connected to the shop's Wi-Fi-I had a deadline for a piece I had nearly finished writing.

I was just finishing my second cup of the morning when a squeal caught  my attention. Lifting my head, I saw what all the commotion was about-a  couple stood at the counter and the girl serving was gushing over the  girl's left hand. The light caught on something shiny on her ring  finger. I smiled at the couple's obvious happiness and would have turned  my attention straight back to my laptop except for something that  caught my eye.

It was the way he was stood. That confident stance with his broad  shoulders, his hair that brushed against his collar-it was longer than I  remembered, but it suited him. I would know that body anywhere from any  angle, after all, I had seen it from every angle many times before. My  heart began thumping wildly in my chest. He couldn't be here, he just  couldn't-he was meant to be on the other side of the world, not here in  our old coffee shop, and especially not bringing another woman to what  had been ‘our place.' What the hell was he doing here? I hadn't seen him  in ten years, and now the one time I come into our old place, he turns  up.

I tried to take my eyes away from his beautiful form but I couldn't stop  staring. Like my gaze alerted him, he turned to look around the little  shop. I tried to hide behind my cup. Too late. I'd been seen. I knew it.  He looked right at me, and even from a distance I saw the glint in his  chocolate brown eyes.         



"Carly," came that lilting voice that never failed to send shivers down my spine.

I looked up but couldn't speak. My breath was lodged in my throat.

"Greyston," I managed to gasp out and immediately regretted the sigh that came out at the end.

"How have you been?" he asked casually.

"I've been fine. You?" I stumbled over my words. He'd always caused me  to be a little nervous, even when we'd been together. He was so good  looking. Every woman noticed him. It wasn't just his looks, he oozed  charisma. Every woman in town swooned over Greyston Sterling.

"I'm good, too," he said as he gestured to the chair, a question to see if it was okay that he take a seat opposite me.

I nodded at the chair and he took this as his cue to sit down.

"Good to know. What are you doing back here?" I asked quietly.

"My Aunt Lizzie is sick. You remember Lizzie, don't you?"

"Yes, I remember her."

Of course I remembered every member of his family. I still saw a few of them from time to time.

"I'm sorry she's been taken ill. Is it serious?"

"Hopefully not. She's been having tests at the hospital. I was planning a  trip home anyway," he said as he looked round the small room. The girl  he'd come in with was still chatting at the counter.

"Oh, well … umm …  It's good to see you. You look well," I said as I took my cup to the trashcan.

"Thanks. So do you," he said as he stood, scraping the chair against the tiles.

He looked at me and I saw myself reflected in those beautiful eyes. I  was transported back to the time we shared and I had to blink back  tears. It might have been ten years but I'd never gotten over Grey. What  we'd had wasn't something one got over easily. He was charming,  charismatic, and so very handsome. But he was also kind, thoughtful, and  honest; everything you could want in a man. I'd been so lost when he  left.

A coughing sound brought me back to the present. I looked at Grey and  saw that dazzling smile he always had when he found something amusing.  Annoyed at being thought of as amusing, I didn't return the smile. We  stood there saying nothing for a moment. Then a girl's voice broke the  silence.

"Oh, Greyston darling, there you are," she drawled as she put her finely manicured hand on his arm.

"Hey, Maggie," he said, not looking at her. "Carly, this is Maggie."

"Hi, Maggie," I said as politely as I could.

"Hello," she said a little abruptly.

"Well, it was good seeing you, Grey, but I have to run. So many things  to do today and here I've been avoiding them," I said and made to move  past the two of them.

"It was good to see you too, Carls," he said as he leaned over to kiss my cheek.

I looked at him one last time and offered a small smile before walking  out of the coffee shop into the frigid morning that somehow seemed  colder than when I'd entered.

As I walked through my front door that afternoon, I was greeted by my constant companion, Millie.

I'd had Millie since Grey left. I found her at a rescue center. She's  the cutest thing you ever did see. Someone had been cruel enough to  leave her by the roadside, tied to a lamp post. The center had rescued  her and needed to rehome her. She was only a puppy and I couldn't  believe how poorly she had been treated. When I went that day, she won  my heart in an instant. She's the most beautiful little dachshund with  the sweetest eyes. She loves me for who I am and she doesn't run away to  the other side of the world.

I had some paperwork to catch up on so I booted up my laptop. I had a  quick look at Facebook and saw that I had a new friend request,  Greyston. Part of me wanted to accept and part of me didn't. I couldn't  help but feel like being nosy, I wanted to look at his photographs and  maybe piece together what he'd been up to in the last ten years. He's a  photographer and so there would be many pictures of the places he had  been. Then the other part of me didn't want to see that girl, Maggie, in  all his pictures. I left his friend request unaccepted-just sitting  there in cyberspace waiting for me to make up my mind.

I caught up on my paperwork and cooked a quick supper of meatballs and  tagliatelle. Millie was lying asleep on the sofa next to me and I curled  up with my Kindle to catch up on the latest release by my favorite  author.

The next morning I woke up to a text message from a number I didn't recognize.