I Didn’t See That Coming

Chapter 1 of Life After 30

Maya locks eyes on the author in front of her. She was so close to getting her to commit. This book was going to be the one that gets them an extra boost to their bonuses. Tess McHan was going to be the next J.K. Rowling and Maya was not going to pass this up.   

Not only that, but this will be one step closer to lead editor, just another goal about to be crossed off The List.

Maya made The List when she was 21. It was everything she wanted to do before she turned 30. Make lead editor, get engaged or married, and own her own place. 

After her last promotion, she was able to afford a mortgage to own a condo downtown. She lives there with her boyfriend, Will, and they’ve been together since they met in college. He was a writer, she an editor, and it was perfect. Making lead editor would just put her in a great position to make publisher by 35. 

Maya had everything lined up. Including this book she wanted for the imprint.   

“So what do you say? Do you want to make Big Book House the home for this masterpiece and others like it?”

“I gotta say, I like how you think. I think it’s time to say yes to Big Book House!”

Maya and Tess get up and shake hands, each with a big smile. 

***

After the meeting, Maya’s goes back to her cubicle. Lindsay, Maya’s friend and coworker, is there, leaning against the edge of the desk. 

She claps her hands together when she sees Maya. 

“Miracle worker over here! We have to celebrate! What are you doing tonight?”

“Will and I are going out to dinner. We’re going to Don Jose’s.”

Maya gives her a knowing look.

“Wow, that sounds like–” 

“A perfect place to get engaged? I think so too!”

“Is he going to propose?!”

“Well, I don’t know for sure. But he’s been acting weird lately so I’m suspecting.”

“Any signs of a ring? I feel like you would try to find one.”

“You know I’ve tried! But I could not find one! I think that just means Will knows me so well and has a really good hiding spot.”

“Wish you luck!”

“Thanks!”

Lindsay walks away and Maya sits down at her desk and wakes up her computer. She opens her email and clicks on a message from Evite. It’s an update on how many guests have RSVP’d for her 30th birthday party in 3 weeks. Almost everyone has said yes.

***

Maya and Will sit across from each other at a table in Don Jose’s. They receive their drinks from the waiter: a margarita for Maya and a beer for Will. 

“Let’s cheers!” Maya says, raising her glass. 

Will smiles and takes his. “What are we cheering for?”

“For how I killed it in today’s meeting! We are on our way to another generation of best sellers!” 

“That’s great babe. I’m glad it’s going well for you.” 

“Thanks,” Maya is about to clink her glass to Will’s but he stops his glass. 

“You know, I also have something I want to cheers to.”

“Oh? And what’s that?” 

“My book of poems is going to get published.”

“Baby! No way! Are you serious?” 

“Totally serious. Dylan’s publishing company is taking it on.”

“Wow! That’s so great! I’m so glad you were able to find a home for it. I knew you would.”

“Me too. I do admit though, I wish it was at Big Book House with you.

“I know babe. But I really think Dylan and Reader’s Hut will much better match for it. It probably would have gotten lost at Big Book House. Your book deserves all the attention it will get at Reader’s Hut. Look what happened with Mallory’s short stories book. Now no one talks about it anymore.” 

“I guess you’re right.”

“But let’s cheers! To me, almost lead editor, and you, practically published author. All before we’re 30. What a power couple!” 

They clink glasses. 

Will’s smile lasts for a moment longer before he takes a sip. 

Maya notices but suspects that he’s acting “proposal” weird. 

“What’s up?”

“What do you mean? Nothing,” says Will as he puts down his drink. 

“Come on, I saw the look on your face. Something is on your mind,” Maya says with a smile. “You can tell me.” She bats her eyelashes in an obvious way. 

“Okay… I didn’t want to tell you like this exactly but,” Will hesitates. “I’ve been thinking a lot over the past year. And I know you want us to be that power couple. And it is kind of cool for you to be in publishing and for me to be an author. It’s like we’re taking on the writing world together.”

Maya can’t contain her smile. 

“But I think I need to start taking on the writing world… on my own now.”

Will pauses. Maya is still smiling, until the words start to sink in. 

“Are you– breaking up with me?”

Will looks at her for a moment before saying, “Yes”. 

Come back every Friday for the next installment of Life After 30!


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