The Deal

Chapter 5 of Life After 30

As soon as Maya plops her bag on her desk, Lindsay shows up at her cubicle entrance.

“So! How did it go?! You’re keeping this so low key, I’m honestly surprised my Instagram didn’t blow up on Friday.”

“Oh! Well-”

Maya couldn’t tell Lindsay that Will proposed of course, she would want to see the ring. 

But she also couldn’t tell her that they broke up. 

Lindsay is her best friend but she also has a hard time keeping secrets. If she wanted people to think she and Will were still together, she couldn’t have any chance of the real story getting out. 

“–he didn’t propose. But we celebrated how my meeting went and that he’s finally getting his book published!”

“Oh, congrats! So Reader’s Hut took it after all?”

“They did. Dylan’s doing it.”

“Well good for Will. Would have been icing on the cake to get a ring on top of that.”

“I know. But who knows, maybe something will happen this weekend.”

Lindsay’s eyes light up. “Like during your birthday party?! OMG Maya that would be epic! Everyone will freak.”

“Everyone, including Karolynn with a K.”

“No! She’s coming?”

“Yup. I’d like to see the look on her face when she sees the fancy party I’m throwing for myself. I worked so damn hard, I deserve every bit of icing on that cake.”

“Hell yeah, you do.”

Rebecca, Maya’s boss and who she’s assistant editor to, walks by. 

“Hey Maya and Lindsay, meeting in the conference room in five. We gotta talk about McHan.” 

“On our way,” Maya nods to Rebecca. She looks around for a notebook and pen as she says, “At least I got Tess McHan to commit to me.”

“Don’t worry, Will’s next,” says Lindsay. 

***

In the conference room, Rebecca sits at the head of the table. Maya and Lindsay both sit to the right of her, and Michael, head of marketing, sits to the left. 

“So, since Maya the miracle worker got us Tess MacHan, we decided that Big Book House is going to celebrate when we make the official announcement. There will be a party at the Diamond Resort next week, so get your fine jewels ready!”

“Wow, that’s huge!” Lindsay says as she claps along with Michael. “Way to go Maya!”

“Yes, Maya you definitely deserve this celebration,” Rebecca says, giving her a look. 

“All I can say is, I learn from the best,” Maya gestures to Rebecca. “You’ve been a great mentor.”

“Everyone’s going to be there. All the editors, publishers, even our other authors have been invited. It’ll be a great time.”

At that moment, Maya’s phone vibrates. She looks down and sees a message from Will. 

Let’s meet at Coffee Joes. Can you do 1?

Maya sighs with relief. Coffee Joes was their favorite coffee place. Mentally crossing her fingers, she hopes this is a good sign. 

***

At 1:01pm, Maya walks into Coffee Joes and sees Will sitting at a table with a cup in his hand. Most likely his usual black dark roast. She heads right over to him. 

“Hey,” they say at the same time. 

“Do you want to order something?” Will asks her.

“Um, no, I’m okay.” She was too nervous to order a drink, coffee would just make it worse right now. 

She sits down. She wants to be polite and not just ask, so will you do it?

So she starts with, “How’ve you been?”

“I’ve been good. Reader’s Hut has been working out really well.”

“I’m really glad to hear that, Will.”

“Thanks. How have you been?”

Maya hesitates as she thinks about how to respond. “Honestly, work as been going well, personal life, not as I expected. Still trying to wrap my head around it. And my parents are getting a divorce.”

“Oh Maya, I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Me too. But apparently, I should have seen it coming.”

“Yeah… I kinda feel bad how our breakup was out of the blue for you. But I had to speak my truth.”

“I get it. I would have done the same thing if I wasn’t happy.”

“But I realized that the timing for the break up wasn’t great with your birthday party coming up. I do still care about you and I would want you to have fun at your party that you’ve been planning and not have to stress about your relationship status. So after thinking about it, I’ve decided that I will go to your party and… act as if we haven’t broken up.”

Maya couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Are… are you serious? You would do that for me?”

“On one condition. We both will be straight with everyone after the party. If someone asks me about you, I’m going to say we’re broken up. I expect you to do the same thing.”

“Okay, you got it. It’s a deal.” 

“I’m serious, Maya. It all ends when the last guest leaves.”

“I get it. And I really really appreciate you doing this for me. It means a lot.”

“I know.”

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

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