I’ve been unsure about many things in my life except for one thing, that I have always loved him. Every single minute of every single day that I have been on this earth, my heart has belonged to him. It has never been a question, never a doubt. The love had taken on many different forms over the years, but it had always been a constant.
Everyone has their definition of love. There have been countless songs sung about it. A gazillion books, articles, and poems written about it. There are experts on love who will tell you how to get it, keep it, and get over it.
We’re led to believe love is complicated. It’s not the love that’s complicated. It’s all the crap that we attach to it and put in front of it that makes it difficult. If you’re smart, you’ll realize this before it’s too late and simplify
Amanda Kelly spent her entire life trying to control every aspect of it, while striving for perfection. Her obsession with being perfect, along with her feelings of worthlessness, consumed her. The one thing she thought was perfect in her life was the bond she shared with her best friend, Noah.
Everything was going according to her life plan until she woke up one day and realized she had fallen in love with him. The one thing she couldn’t control was the affect he had on her. Noah had the power to give her one hundred lifetimes of happiness, which also gave him the power to completely devastate her. He was the one thing in her life that was perfect, but she couldn't allow herself to have him.
Her life begins to unravel. Events take over and force her to let go of her dreams and desires. She needs to realize that a person cannot control the events in their life, only their reaction to them...but will it be too late for her to save her relationship with her best friend? Present Perfect is a story of how past events have present consequences and how perfect your present could be if you stopped fighting and just allowed it to happen.
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Alison G. Bailey, Author
Alison was born and raised in Charleston, SC. As a child she used her imagination to write additional scenes to TV shows and movies that she watched. She attended Winthrop University and graduating with a BA in Theater. While at Winthrop she began writing one act plays which she later produced. Throughout the years she continued writing and producing several one act plays, but then life got in the way and she hung up her pen for a while. On the advice of a friend, she started writing again. In January 2013, Alison sat down at her computer and began writing her first novel, Present Perfect.
Alison lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Jef, and their two furry children (dogs). She’s addicted to Diet Pepsi and anything with sugar.
Alison's philosophy: Don't let your obstacles define you, let them refine you. At times life can get pretty overwhelming, but with a great support system and a lot of humor you can get through it. If you have humor in your life your spirit stays strong and you can tackle anything.
*Subject to editing/final changes
Tweet and Noah age 15
We were all sitting around the table eating by the time Noah joined us. He sat in the only empty seat left which happened to be next to me. Dad and Mr. Stewart talked about work while Mom and Mrs. Stewart shared the neighborhood gossip. I was trying to recover from the intense moment in my room earlier. I would have been able to do that if Noah hadn’t been sitting right next to me. That was bad enough, but he kept finding subtle ways of touching me. What happened in my room was a mistake, even though it didn’t go very far, it went far enough. I had to be strong and put a stop to things happening between us.
Noah put his arm around the back of my chair and reached across me for some bread, which brought his face so close to mine his lips were almost touching my cheek.
Keeping my voice low, I said, “I know what you’re doing.”
“I do too, I really like garlic bread.”
“I could have passed it to you if you had asked.”
“Yeah, I know, but my way I get to look down your dress.” My eyes shot immediately to his. ”Oh, by the way, your bra selection tonight…Excellent.”
I slapped my hand to my chest trying to close the gap he had been peering down.
“Please tell me your panties match,” he said, and then leaned back slightly, glancing down. When I looked at him, I was met with a wink and a smirk before he went back to eating.
“Noah, congratulations,” my dad said.
Just then I felt a hand on my knee and fingers creeping under the hem of my dress. My breath hitched and my eyes darted over to Noah. I’d be completely pissed at him if his hand didn’t feel so incredible on my naked leg.
“Thank you, sir.”
How he could remain so calm, cool, and collected in front of our parents while his hand rubbed over my knee was beyond me.
“It’s pretty rare that a sophomore gets asked to join the varsity team. We’re proud of you.” My dad always thought of Noah like a son.
“His mom and I are extremely proud of him. He’s a chip off the old block,” Mr. Stewart added.
The dads laughed as if the comment was hilarious. Noah smiled at his dad while his hand began to move up my thigh. I slapped it away and inadvertently hit the table, causing it to shake.
“Amanda, are you okay?” Mom asked.
‘Yes. I’m fine.” Noah snorted as he tried to contain a laugh. “I was swatting a fly away.”
My mom looked at me, slightly annoyed, but maintained her cheery voice, and said, “That’s ridiculous. We don’t have flies in this house.”
“My bad,” I said.
Noah’s hand landed back on my knee. He squeezed slightly, causing a loud gasp to escape me. All four parental heads turned to look in my direction.
“Um… Mom would you please pass me the…um…”
Noah touching was relentless. He would squeeze my knee then rub the inside of my thigh. It was impossible for me to think or form a coherent sentence.
“The stuff in the bottle, that you…um…pour on…um…lettuce?” My pitch grew higher and higher with each word.
“You mean salad dressing?” Mom said, sarcasm flowing from her words like a torrential rain. I nodded. “You already have some on your salad.”
“I need more. Please give me more.”
She looked at me like I didn’t belong to her before passing me the dressing.
“How’s Emily?” Mrs. Stewart asked while I doused my salad.
A prideful smile appeared across my mom’s face. “She’s wonderful. She’s loving college.”
“That’s fantastic,” Mrs. Stewart said.
“In fact, she joined the debate team. She’s an extremely articulate young woman.” Mom glanced over at me. If she had any idea what was taking place under her dinner table, she might cut me some slack.
I was so out of sorts, I dropped my fork just before loading it up with salad. “I’ll get it, Tweet.”
Noah’s hand disappeared from my leg. I took the opportunity to take a drink of water trying to calm down. Noah scooted his chair back and then bent down to grab the fork.
“Dead horse!” Dad announced while holding up the empty wine bottle.
All of a sudden, I felt a pair of lips on the outer side of my thigh right above my knee. I almost did a full blown spit-take at the exact same time my dad asked, “Are we game for another?”
Noah sat back up and I had four sets of eyes staring at me, wondering what had gotten into me.
“I’ll go get you another bottle of wine. I’m done eating, anyway,” I said, as I wiped the spray of water from my face.
I quickly rose from the table and made my way to the kitchen to put my plate in the sink. Without stopping, I headed to the garage where we had an extra refrigerator that my parents used for their wine collection.
Standing in front of the open fridge, I realized I didn’t know if they wanted red or white. I took a bottle of each to be on the safe side. I closed the fridge and turned around coming face-to-face with a grinning Noah. I took a step back. He placed his hands against the fridge on either side of my shoulders, caging me in. He really liked caging me in.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing in there with all the touching and the kissing? You kissed my thigh under the table. The family dinner table, for god’s sake.”
“I couldn’t resist. You’re mighty tasty.” He waggled his eyebrows and moved in closer.
Holy crap on a cracker, tingles were taking over my body.
“Leave me alone for the rest of the night.” I tried to sound mad, but even I could hear the smile in my voice. It was hard to be mad at Noah, especially when what he was doing felt so amazing.
“Ok. I will.” He dropped his arms and stepped back giving me room to get by.
As I passed him going back toward the door I felt the hem of my dress rise up behind me. I quickly stepped to the side out of his reach. “Dammit, Noah! Stop it! I can’t defend myself with these bottles in my hands.”
Holding his hands up in surrender, he said, “I thought you had a speck of something on your dress. I was just trying to help is all.” I narrowed my eyes at him before heading back into the house.